Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pebble Smart Watch and Philips Hue Light Bulbs Work Together

Pebble and Hue

I've written a Pebble Smartwatch review and a Philips Hue Light bulb review before, but now they've combined their powers to become even more awesome!

The Pebble smart watch is a device that connects to smartphones to receive messages, control apps and do all sorts of cool things right on the wrist. The Philips Hue is a light bulb that is controlled remotely through smartphones, computers etc. I'm sure when your man finds out about this he will say what all guys have been thinking...

I can finally control the lights with my watch!

This has been a problem basically since the light bulb was invented. It is so inconvenient to use a switch on the wall. 

The app that controls the lights is easy to use and has a convenient interface on the watch.

This video shows my favorite feature that can be done through the watch. It doesn't just turn it off and on, it does a really cool color changing feature. It can do this with several bulbs at a time.

So if you haven't gotten your guy a Pebble Smart Watch yet, or any Hue bulbs they would make a great combo gift or would be fun individually. 
Remember to check out the full reviews here: Hue Review and Pebble Review.

Do you have any questions about these products that I didn't answer? Have you tried them out? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jesus Calling Book Review

Jesus speaks to everyone, even men! Sometimes we just don't take the time to listen.

This daily devotional book, Jesus Calling is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking directly to the reader. At first I thought this might be sort of cheesy, especially as a gift for a guy, but as I read more I realized how useful it is as a way to reflect on Bible verses.

There is a short passage for each day of the year, even February 29th. It has a paragraph or two written from Jesus to you about what He wants from you, for you to think about, or for you to do today. Then the Bible verses where these ideas came from are referenced at the bottom. That is great for further reading or more in depth study, if he has time for it.

I like this book as a gift for guys because it isn't overly mushy, it only takes about one minute to read each day, and it is thought provoking. It is an excellent way to start daily prayer time, as it is naturally the beginning of a discussion with Jesus. Quick, easy and meaningful are some of the best ways to describe the devotions in this book. That's just what guys like. (Or get it for yourself and share with your sweetie.)

It is a hard cover with nice pages, and it has a ribbon book mark attached to keep your page. With a price under $10 you really can't go wrong with buying this as a gift for your guy. It is also available for Kindle if your guy has completely given up on paper copies of books.

What are your experiences with daily devotionals? Have you read this book or any similar to it? Share with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Experimenting with Babies Book Review

When I told my mom that I got my husband a book with science experiments to perform on your baby she said, "You mean to perform with your baby." I said, "No, on." Then I sent her the link to this book: Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid

Ever since we found out we were pregnant I noticed that everyone and everything is focused on mom and baby. Poor dad gets left out all the time. Buying my husband this book is just one of the ways I am trying to help him feel more involved and interested in "baby stuff" by making infants seem fun to him. 

 As you can see, the pictures are just black and white outlines, so it lacks some of the interesting color and humor that Show Dad How has. But, this book is meant to be scientific! It is really cute, fun and easy to follow anyway.

The experiments in this book are meant to test your baby's motor, cognitive, behavioral and language development in fifty different entertaining ways. It suggests ages when the experiments should work and starts right out with newborns and continues on to about two years old. I'm excited to see how this helps with daddy-baby bonding time. 

Do you have any more questions about this product? Do you think the new dad in your life would appreciate this gift? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Show Dad How, for Aspiring Fathers

Instruction Manual with Pictures for the New Dad

Parenting should be fun, or at least not scary. The unknown is the scariest thing there is, so if your guy is a little nervous about this whole "being a dad" thing, get him this book to ease his troubled mind. 

This book, Show Dad How is of course meant to be entertaining, but also has some interesting tips and helpful ideas for men who know nothing at all about being a father. The pictures are cute and funny. There is a part of each section that shows which tools are needed for each job, which is perfect for men. 

It starts out from the very beginning, showing men how they can tell if they are ready to become a dad. Then it gives some tips on how to make that happen. It then progresses through each stage of pregnancy, including how to tell if she is pregnant, and how to make the announcement. There is a useful 40 week plan for what needs to get done when during the pregnancy.

Then it has useful tips about how to deliver a baby during the zombie apocalypse or other such common situations. It gives tips about what gear any dad needs to be prepared, and what to do with the baby once she arrives. 

This is a really fun gift idea for men who want to be dads, who just found out they are going to be one, or who find parenting to be an adventure. Check it out for Father's Day or for a gift to give the new dad at the hospital. 

What do you think? Would this make a great gift for your guy? Mine really likes his but I want to know what your thoughts are, share in the comments below!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nerdy Dad

Binary Dad
As I was making a list of items to pack in our hospital bag (new baby on the way) I realized that my husband will need a change of clothes. I saw this as a fun gift opportunity. He wears t-shirts a lot, so I figured a nerdy shirt that would suit the occasion and be good for every day use would be perfect. 

This shirt says "DAD" in binary. (For the non-geeks out there, binary is a computer code language made up of 1's and 0's.) As soon as I saw it I figured he would like it for a few reasons. His friend has a LED Binary Clock that he really gets a kick out of, so I thought he might think this is funny, too. Another reason is that although it announces that he is a dad, it isn't the typical cheesy "World's best dad" shirt that you see everywhere. It is a little more subtle. And, it is nerdy.

When he first opened the gift I thought he could read the binary because he said, "Does this say Dad?" But then I realized the sticker on the bag said, "Binary Dad" with the shirt size. He still likes it, and it will be fitting for him to wear holding the new baby. It is probably one of those things where his guy friends will ask about the shirt before they ask about the baby.

Cute Gift
This is a great gift for a slightly geeky new dad, or any proud nerd dad. It would probably even be a fantastic way to tell your husband that you're pregnant. At least he gets a door prize!

If you are also on the nerdy side and want to make this a fun family geek gift, they have a Binary Mom shirt and a Binary Kid shirt as well. Lots of people like to put all of them on together for pictures at the hospital. We like dressing alike because we are corny like that and we think it is funny, so it works out really well for that sort of thing.
Binary Kid

Binary Mom

(Here is a picture of that clock in case that sounded interesting as well.)LED Binary Clock

Do you think this sounds like a good gift idea for a new dad? What did you get your husband as a new baby present? Share with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Skewers for the Grill Master

For the Grilling Guy in Your Life

We have recently found out that making kebabs, or just skewering everything is one of the easiest ways to get food cooked on the grill. It adds to the flavor and makes the meat cook faster because it is cut in to smaller pieces. It also makes eating pleasant because there isn't as much cutting at the table. 

So of course, if there is a job to be done then there is a tool for it! -Says every guy ever. These metal skewers from Quirky are a great tool for grilling. This set is all metal. They are durable, we have used ours several times. They are strong and convenient. 

Part of the convenience is in the slider. When the food is ready the metal slider can be pushed down to remove all the food on to the plate. Please don't do it like in the picture though. As I said, these are all metal, and if they have been on a hot grill then obviously you will burn your hands. 

We like to pack all the food on to the four skewers (each set comes with four) cook it, and then slide it all off in to a serving dish for everyone to share. I suppose you could put one skewer on each person's plate, but they are pretty big and hold a lot of food.

Because of the all metal design these skewers also work great in the oven. 

Sounds great, who should I buy it for?
These skewers make a really nice gift for anyone who likes to grill-especially that guy who has all the special grilling equipment and that apron that says something obnoxious on the front. They will like to show these off to all their friends. These are also a nice gift for the chef. As mentioned above, they work great in the oven as well. Anyone who likes to prepare food will appreciate the genius design of these skewers.

Worth Mentioning...
Quirky put out a similar product but the sliders and handles are plastic. We do not have those, but as I suspected, many of the other reviews I've read have said that they melt. I'm not surprised. The product description says they are heat resistant, and some of the other reviews are great. (Plastic shown below and linked here.)

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you used the plastic or the metal version of these skewers? How did they work out for you, or for your man? Share with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MacBook PowerCurl Cord Organizer

For the On-the-go Apple User

Okay, actually this product is for any Apple user, not just the ones on the go, but it is really useful for those guys who pack their cords up for transporting.

The Quirky PowerCurl is designed specifically to work with different Mac products. The base goes in the center and then each end of the cord has an area to wrap around. It keeps the cord neat and organized. No tangles or messes. Maybe they should make hair conditioner!

PowerCurl helps prevent damage when the cord is being transported, and helps keep it look neat for stationary use. The cord can be used even when partially wrapped up so it solves the problem of extra cable going all over the place.

My husband loves his and uses it all the time. I love it because it makes it easier for him to clean up his technology messes. (I don't think he sees having electronics laying all over the place as a problem so much as a convenience.) He uses his MacBook at home and at work so he packs and unpacks them frequently. This makes the whole process easier.

The PowerCurl is available in several different colors. I think my husband's is grey. The important thing to know is which product to buy because they are slightly different depending on the type of computer he has.

Here is a guide to make it easier!

45W = MacBook Air
60W = MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro
85W = 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro
85W long = older generation 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro (rectangular)

Quirky PowerCurl 45w Clip-On Cord Wrap for Apple MagSafe Power Adapter - for MacBook Air Gray

Quirky PowerCurl 60w Clip-On Cord Wrap for Apple MagSafe Power Adapter - for MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro Gray

Quirky PowerCurl 60w Clip-On Cord Wrap for Apple MagSafe Power Adapter - for MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro Blue

Quirky PowerCurl - 85w Clip-On Cord Wrap for Apple and Magsafe Power Adapter Blue

I wish this product was available for so many different items! It seems like cords are always too long or too short and there are always cables stuffed behind everything or else I'm tripping over them.

I hope this helps. Have you tried this product or something similar? Share what you think in the comments below!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Most Complete Lives of the Saints Books

For the Spiritual Historian

If your guy likes books such as Tolkien's The Silmarillion or if he is always watching the History Channel, then he just might enjoy the four volume set of Butler's Lives of the Saints.

We were first introduced to it by our priest who always had the most interesting little stories and facts about these great people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. I've done some reading about the Saints online before, but was never able to find the same level of detail as he always presented. And, I certainly wasn't able to find much information about some of the more obscure Saints.

I got the set for my birthday last year and loved it. One of my first thoughts is about how much my brother would like it. (The same brother who sports the Two Handed Great Sword.) He is the kind of guy who likes to know all the facts. He loves rich history. He enjoys deeper learning; just the surface level stuff would never do for him. He likes to get to know the people who shaped history itself. If that sounds like your guy, then this will also be a great gift for him.

Each Saint has a designated memorial day and the books are divided by those days. Each volume covers three months. The Saints can also be looked up by their name for easy reference. It should be noted that some of the feast days have changed since the original writing and printing of the book, but if you don't find the Saint under the expected date then you can just look them up by name. It also doesn't include the most recently canonized Saints since it was last updated in 1956.

We have found it interesting to read about the Saints on their feast day, so there are new exciting stories every day. Some of them are pretty bizarre, but all the stories are written as factually as possible, admitting when there isn't much reliable information about the facts surrounding a particular Saint. This happens with some of the early martyrs or other men and women who didn't have much written information about their lives.  

Thoughtful and Unique Gift
These books are interesting and life changing. The stories of these amazing men and women give the reader a lot to think about. Although it is obviously a Catholic work, it is still of interest to non-religious people for its historical value. However, it is probably best for religious occasions such as confirmation, godparent gifts, etc.

Have you read this or other Lives of the Saints books? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some Guys are Religious about their Legos

My husband is a huge Lego fan, and has been his entire life. (He recently went to see the movie with one of his other grown-up buddies and is still talking about how great it was.) When he saw these Brick Bibles in a book store he was captivated instantly.

These books have scenes from the Bible portrayed with Lego pieces. The work is beautifully done, and it is very creative. My husband has the Old Testament and the New Testament. Of course since it is a picture Bible it doesn't have every single story, but it covers a lot more than most illustrated books of its kind. The Biblical references are also written on each page so you can find it in a real Bible if you'd like.

Get Kids Interested in The Bible
I borrowed these two books to help me teach Kindergarten students a religious education class at our church. They all loved them, but in particular the boys. Every week the boys would come in, barely say hello, and ask, "Did you bring the Lego Bible?" One of the 6 year olds would even sit quietly and just read (or at least look at the pictures) for an hour. I don't know many books that can hold the attention of a little boy like that for so long.

Notes for Parents
There are a few things to note about these books, however. Apparently the author is an atheist and his intention is to show the Bible in a negative light. He does this, however, by being as accurate as possible. While Legos are usually associated with kids, Bible stories for children are usually "cleaned up" and the uncomfortable truths are removed. The violence, sexual impurities, and other adult situations that are involved in the Bible are shown in these Brick Bibles.

I have read through most of them and have not found inaccuracies. If you are planning on giving them to kids, just keep in mind that it isn't the typical kids Bible story book that glazes over deaths and completely leaves out certain sinful acts. Personally, I like this better since it is more accurate, but it does require parents to be more active and find ways to explain things on their level. It ended up working well for the 5 and 6 year olds. It really increased their passion for reading the Bible at a young age.

Other Titles
We have the Old Testament and the New Testament Brick Bibles, but there are some other Bible favorites shown in Lego scenes that we might be interested in getting soon.

The Ten Commandments 

David and Goliath 

The Christmas Story 

Noah's Ark 

Great Gift Idea
The Brick Bible is a fun and educational gift idea for just about anyone. It is particularly attractive to boys. As noted above, if you are buying for a child just think about their maturity level first. Adults love these books as well. It is a fantastic way to get people interested in reading the Bible. It makes a good gift for religious occasions such as First Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, Christmas, or any other gift giving event. 

Have you tried any of the other Bibles geared towards boys? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Learn to be a Jedi ... or Sith

Okay, so now your husband / boyfriend has the Jedi Robe and the Lightsaber. (Maybe he even has the Death Star Tea Infuser for good measure.) He is starting to think he is a real Jedi, but he hasn't done any real training! He's not even a Padawan at this point. So, if he wants to learn the ways of The Force, but you'd rather have him skip that awkward "Jedi Mullet" stage they all go through (or even the Padawan Rat-Tail phase) then the best way to get him educated is through The Jedi Path. It is a handbook for Jedi (or Sith).

Colorful pictures and a side note from Yoda.

Signatures from all the Jedi who use their own handwriting to write notes in this book.

My husband was first attracted to The Jedi Path book because of the fact that it is written from the perspective of his favorite Star Wars heroes. It is something that Yoda, Obi'Wan and all the rest wrote in to pass down their notes to future Jedi. In fact, it even has notes with different handwriting representing different Jedi. There are attractive colorful pictures, which makes any book more interesting and easy to follow.

This picture shows the famous Padawan Rat Tail as depicted in The Jedi Path book.

"The Book of Sith" has a whole different look and feel to it. The author did a great job of making each one appropriate to the audience. They are hardcover books and have an option to get a "Vault Edition" which comes in a neat box.

 The Book of Sith still has great pictures and hand written notes, but the design and even the paper itself are geared towards the Dark Side.

A page from the Book of the Sith.

The Bounty Hunter Code book is the newest in this series, and the price hasn't come down as much yet because it is new. (This is also the only one that I haven't looked at personally, and that my husband hasn't tried out, but it is the same author so it has promise.)

These books are a great gift idea for any guy in your life who is trying to learn to use The Force. The official reading age the book gives is "10 and up" and my husband agrees that sounds about right. As with most nerdy gifts, these are really exciting for boys of any age, from 10 to adult. Star Wars fans are ageless.

What do you think? Will your guy enjoy reading through these books? Have you ever read these or any like them? Share with us in the comments section below!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Power Strip that Makes Sense

Here's another common sense idea from the people at Quirky!

You know how many electronics have those bulky block type plugs? When you plug them in to a power strip they take up at least two spots, which sort of defeats the purpose of the power strip itself. Well, the Pivot Power solves that problem! Since each outlet on this power strip rotates, they are all accessible no matter how big the item is that is plugged in next to it. 

My husband bought two of the regular Pivot Power outlets. One is black and the other is white. I love this product! Oh, and so does my husband. It makes all the power cords so much easier to organize. It just makes sense. He loves it because he can plug everything in with no hassle. Plugging in electronics is important to him.

The Pivot Power Junior has four outlets instead of six. It takes up a little less space, which can sometimes be nice if you don't need more than four things plugged in.

The Green Pivot Power is usually marketed for Christmas time for use behind trees or to get all those lights plugged in properly. But, if green is his favorite color, go for it any time of year!

We bought the Pivot Power 2x3 for his dad for Christmas. The workshop version of the Pivot Power is especially helpful for plugging in power tools and has a nice long cord that wraps around it when not in use. This saves storage space in the garage. This version is bright yellow and black, to give it a nice industrial safety type look. 

The Pivot Power Genius looks really great, though we haven't used it personally yet. I'm sort of surprised he hasn't asked for one. He loves controlling everything with his smart phone. The video below shows more details about it, but the general idea is that you can control each item that is plugged in to it with your smart device through a mobile app. So even if you haven't bought any of the Hue Light Bulbs, which can be controlled through an app, that's okay! You can turn a lamp on or off if it is plugged in to the Pivot Power Genius.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your frustrations with power strips? Please share any thoughts with us in the comments below!