I Have a Dream Today (and Every Day): Learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For the past few years, I take this important day to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech with J.  For me, it’s important to leverage this opportunity to chat about Dr. King’s work, his life and how his actions and words continue to elevate generations today and tomorrow. 


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I trust that his teacher does an adequate job introducing Dr. King’s monumental influence but, does she have a conversation that only a parent might be able to engage?  As a biracial child, my six year old doesn’t fully comprehend ethnicity yet, though he understands that multiculturalism and different skin tones exist in our world.


I may not have a History degree, but candor and honesty in this case are valuable—nay, imperative—teaching tools.  Even further, for reinforcement mini lessons, YouTube and Pinterest are invaluable resources.  For this convo, I turn to the tv and computer to help teach the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s wise words. This is when Apple TV and YouTube become teaching tools. After reading an excerpt of the speech on our own, I loaded some videos online and we watched Dr. King’s speech together, pausing in between to ensure J understands language.  


Here’s a great mini-bio that we watched this morning from the Bio Channel.  At just under five minutes, we had a great discussion about Dr. King and his children.  However you choose to engage in a conversation about Dr. King, I hope it’s meaningful and thought-provoking.  






I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

CES 2014: Smart Bulbs, Smart Monitors and New Tech for Babies and Beyond

I’ve been following the reports from Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show which is the international trade show that unveils the latest and greatest in technology.  From curved tvs to smart light bulbs, it seems everything is connected or has a smart element in it these days.

CES Logo

Since I’m not at the show this year, here are just a few interesting products I’ve found and read about:

 Lumen Smart Bulb

The Lumen TL800 is an app-enabled Bluetooth smart bulb that is said to last 30 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb, but uses five times less power.  There are 16 million color options and the dimmable LED bulb create their own lighting atmosphere. It’s like the ultimate black light and beyond.

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With its proprietary app, this smart bulb features include:


  • Call Alert Mode: Notifies users of incoming calls by flashing when the phone rings.
  • Music Sync Mode: Visualize your music by synchronizing your music and lighting effects. 
  • Party Mode 1 and 2: Transform any space into a dance floor with pre-programmed flashing beats that match the music.
  • Wake Mode: Mimics the sunrise in the morning, gradually brightening until it reaches maximum intensity at the stipulated wake up time.  Users can customize how long the brightening process should take, from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. 
  • Romance Mode: Creates the perfect condition for a romantic date or quiet evening at home with a warm atmosphere.
  • Relaxation Mode: Simulates calming moonlight, creating a relaxing ambiance.


I actually think this bulb would come in handy for parents of young children, especially those who rely on night lights.  Think of those late nights when you’re up feeding late and need minimal, yet functional lights to change a diaper or get to the restroom.  My phone is always accessible, especially during late night feedings, so this would be something I can see parents using to update nurseries and kids’ rooms.  

The TL800 is available at Amazon.com for $69.99. Check out a video of the TL800 here.


Baby monitors are getting even smarter.  Taking a cue from other smart devices, Mimo uses a small monitor that clicks onto a compatible baby kimono and, literally, tracks baby’s every move.  Baby’s movement is reported on its proprietary app, and parents can track from their smart phones.  The small turtle-shaped Bluetooth-enabled device is too big to be a choking hazard and it comes on and off of the kimonos.  The organic cotton kimonos are machine washable, as is the device itself.  

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And while traditional media seems to be reporting Mimo to be an “extreme” monitor, I can see this concept as being borderline excessive.  Do we really need to know baby’s every move?  

But on the flipside, consider parents with sick babies or babies with special needs who do require extra care.  With an infant who was diagnosed with epilepsy at four months old, I could have used this device when we returned from the hospital after his diagnosis.  We went from 24-hour care from the most knowledgeable nurses to me, on my own, caring for a small child with a neurological condition that I knew nothing about.  Though he sleeps right next to my bed, there are times when we are away from each other and his breathing patterns can indicate an oncoming episode. 

I think the smart baby monitor is going to change parenting and how connected we are to our children, but it certainly won’t escape its critics.  Talk to any parent who has had to rush their small child to the ER because of a sickness; knowing those exact vitals could be life-changing.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to learn even more about this device.  Stay tuned, and hopefully, I will get more info as it this shelves after CES.  I dislike the whole mom brain angle (we’re all exhausted, but this is a tired excuse) check out a video of Mimo here.



The Owlet is another smart baby monitor that provides an overview of baby’s well-being with a Blue-Tooth enabled sock. 

According to the manufacturers, the Smart Sock uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transmit information to your phone.  The Owlet tracks baby’s heart rate, oxygen, temperature and roll over alerts via pulse-oximetry.


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This monitor reminds me of the devices that are used in the hospitals to track sick babies’ vitals.  The Owlet monitor is bringing the comprehensive smart technology that’s been used in hospitals for years to the homes of consumers. To reiterate my feelings on smart monitors, this information is great to have, especially for sick or babies with special needs.  But if there isn’t medical necessity to know all of these vitals, do we truly need all of this information about our babies day-to-day? Are we harboring anxiety for new parents with this sort of technology?


I’ll be interested to see how consumers embrace this new technology.  Whether we really “need” it or not, I think this new technology is simply amazing.  Check out the Owlet video here.



Family Tech to buy with holiday giftcards



According to NRF’s Gift Card Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, holiday shoppers were projected to spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4.0 percent from spent last year. Total spending on gift cards was said to reach $29.8 billion.  That’s a lot of gift cards!


Did you or the kids get gift cards for Christmas? Got a bunch of Christmas gift cards burning a hole in your pocket?  We rounded up a collection of great tech gadgets to buy with all of those gift cards.





Headphones eKids from iHome


With all the new technology for kids, peripherals are something that I often forget.  While I’m not big on the kids isolating themselves with tech, I love the conveniences gadgets can provide.  When the tot is in his therapy sessions, my older son can read ebooks or play games quietly with his headphones on.  Our most favorite headphones, by far, are the Over the Ear Headphones from eKids.  They come in a variety of popular characters and licenses, including Skylanders, Disney and more.  These headphones might be kid-centric, but they’re just as comfortable for adults as well.  The size can be easily adjusted and the cord features a long length and accessible volume control.




iHome speakers


Need a way to listen to tunes you just downloaded onto the kids’ iPods and other devices?  eKids also has a fun selection of portable speakers.  These wired speakers connect to devices with an audio output cable.  The sound is great and the size is convenient for dance parties on the go.


Cellairis Rapture case

Get a new cell phone for Christmas?  Cases are one of those accessories that we always forget to buy.  I’m always on the hunt for protective, sleek, yet stylish cases.  Cellairis has an expansive collection of stylish cases, but we found the Cellairis Rapture case to be stylish AND functional.  It’s sleek and trim, yet showcases apple logo, something that I personally love.  Best of all?  It’s affordable and unique.


LeapFrog Leappad


As far as kid technology goes, it was like the year of the tablet in my circle of friends.  For many, the big ticket gifts were tablets or similar devices.  LeapFrog’s Leappad was a big contender in this category, offering a kid-friendly, educational platform for the tablet realm.  LeapFrog’s latest version of the LeapPad boasts a library of more than 800 educational games, creativity apps, eBooks, videos, music and beyond.  The Ultra has an incredible hi-res screen, paired with a stylus for kids to navigate their interactive experience.  In addition to the kid-tough exterior, the Ultra features power on the interior such as its rechargeable battery, 8 GB of storage and a safe web content via LeapSearch.  My six year old’s favorite are the cameras, which he can use the front and back to take still photos or record videos and manipulate when he’s done.  The LeapPad is available at major retailers such as Toys R Us.  We’ll be stocking up on games and other LeapPad peripherals with our Toys R Us gift cards.



Duracell Powermat


If your family is anything like ours, then it’s likely you have a bundle of devices that require charging.  Since everyone is constantly on the go, power outlets aren’t always accessible, which makes a portable battery a necessity.  Duracell Powermat is known for excellent power and charging options.  The Longhaul Charger, though, is definitely a top notch gadget for recharging multiple devices while on the go.  The Longhaul Charger provides up to four charges for multiple devices, which is suitable enough for a weekend away.  We found ourselves using this charger all throughout our Christmas break, which made charging our two iPhones and tablets everywhere we went so convenient.  It’s portable, convenient for families with its two USB ports and works with other Powermat charging devices.  Because of its capability to charge multiple devices, the Longhaul Charger does take a while to charge, but once charged, it’s a lifesaver.





Game Stop now offers new gaming consoles and, of course, offers the latest games.  Want even more funds to defer costs of new electronics and games?  Consider trading old video games, consoles, smartphones, tablets for store credit or cash at GameStop. I will personally be hitting up GameStop to trade in several old and duplicate games to grab some fitness games to help me get back in shape.  If you are a frequent shopper at GameStop, be sure to check out the PowerUp Rewards program where you can earn points for every dollar spent on purchases or trades. With those accrued points, you can buy collectibles, gaming accessories, more games, merchandise and more.  Choose between a basic or the $14.99 the pro membership, which comes with a year subscription and extra discounts.


Apple TV

Though we already own a smart tv and Google TV, getting an Apple TV seemed frivolous at best.  The Apple TV isn’t a new concept or have any new technology, it’s just cool to have.  It’s a fun luxury that makes gives Apple devices and tv a new dimension.  Nonetheless, our Apple TV was my husband big Christmas gift and it’s safe to say, we’re all in love with this gadget.  Apple TV streamlines our media, including our iPhones, iPad and my Macbook. I absolutely love the fact that you can mirror your devices onto your tv with the Apple TV, but to be able to stream shows and movies from apps makes the Apple TV that much more convenient.  At just under $100, so far, the Apple TV has been our most used and surprisingly best tech gift this year.



Full disclosure: some product samples were provided to facilitate this review.