Posts

Recycle Your Electronics

To Re-Gift Or Not To Re-Gift, That Is The Question

I think we’ve all debated this at one time or another. You just got a new iPad, gaming system or TV and now your old one is sitting in a closet, collecting dust, and you’re not sure if you should offer an old model to someone else. Re-gifting has gotten a bad rap over the years but when it comes to electronics, there are so many great reasons to pass them on.

Let me share a story with you. My children are now old enough to work a computer/tablet on their own. Frankly, I think children are equipped to do this straight from the womb but that’s a story for another time. Because my wife and I both use our computer for work, there isn’t a lot of time to share it between the four of us and we can’t afford to go out and get a brand new iPad.

Enter, Nana. My wife’s mom had an older model iPad she wasn’t using and asked if we wanted it. Because it was an original model, Apple stopped making updates for it which essentially made it useless for an adult’s needs. For a child, however, there are still a ton of educational apps that could be accessed without needing the new updates, making that old, useless iPad and brand new toy for the kids.

The point is, just because an old device or gaming system seems outdated or useless to you, it may be an amazing addition to someone else’s house. I say all this because a study presented to the Ontario Electronic Stewardship in 2011 claimed that 90% of Ontarians have unwanted electronic devices to dispose of. That just seems like a big waste to me when there are so many families in need. If you don’t have someone to give them to, you can look for a local Free-cycle group, find a charity, or go to RecycleYourElectronics.ca to find a drop off location close to your home.

Don’t wait until your gadgets are obsolete and unusable. Get them out of your house and into the hands of someone that can use them. Remember, electronics have no value when they are hiding under your bed! Add in the fact that re-gifting them helps ensure that fewer valuable materials such as gold, copper and other rare metals are taken out of the earth, and you have no reason not to pass them on.

Do you have any old electronics lying around your house that could maybe help a less fortunate family? Why are you holding on to them?

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #ok2regift program from the Ontario Electronic Stewardship, but this message is really important and I am 100% committed to helping the cause.

ShopWise Logo

Why Simply Shop When You Could ShopWise?

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a guy, and as such I am held to a certain standard of cluelessness when it comes to holiday shopping. Well it just so happens that I am smarter than the average bear and located the ShopWise app on my iPhone last week. I am always a little skeptical about apps that are supposed to make shopping easier but I knew from the first featured special that we were a match!

ShopWise Chips

For some background, the ShopWise app, which is offered for free by the Yellow Pages Group, was designed as an everyday shopping app to save you time and money. The app is free to download and ShopWise also just launched their new version 2.0 here in Canada. I figured the app would be good for Christmas shopping only but I have been using it all over the place for everything from restaurants to kid’s clothes. My favourite feature has to be the interactive map that shows you all the deals in the area you are actually in at that moment. It’s genius, and also a little dangerous in the sense that there always seems to be a Dairy Queen in there…

ShopWise Map

On to the shopping portion of the app! We had decided to get our son a scooter for Christmas this year but hadn’t found the right deal yet. Low and behold, two days into my new app adventure, I saw this amazing 40% deal on scooters at Toys R Us! I had never felt more like a bargain hunter and it got me itching to see what else I could save on.

ShopWise Scooter

For my next trick, I got a little fancy and decided to search the word, Disney, to see what would happen. I never got past the first featured item because it was an incredible deal on overstock Halloween decorations, and because that holiday happens every year, the decorations are pretty much always good, in my mind at least. Not to mention that smaller things are great stocking stuffers because the kids love everything Disney!

ShopWise Disney

Last but not least, the toughest person to shop for on my Christmas list, my wife. She is not the best at getting me a detailed list, so I am usually in charge of picking out my own gifts for her. With the ShopWise app, I simply went to the Find button, hit Apparel, and voila, I had two options right in front of me. The one I think she needs and the one she probably wants. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

ShopWise Clothes

Did I mention that the ShopWise app is free?? There’s really no reason for you to NOT check this out and I’m telling you that you will find it incredibly useful. The ShopWise app is available in the iTunes store, on Android and also for Blackberry.

If all that wasn’t enough, if you own an iPhone or an iPad, ShopWise is giving away a $100 prepaid shopping card to one of you just before the holidays! Simply download the ShopWise app and fill out the form with your email address in the “Help” section of the app. Then you can enter the giveaway using the form below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post was
and I received compensation for my opinions on this product.

5 iPhone Apps My Kids Can’t Live Without

Yeah I know, over dramatic post title, right? Well, you try writing a blog and figuring out how to get people to read it, OKAY!

I’m sorry, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I have put this one off all day due to being lazy at work.

Still friends? Good!

Back to the point of the story, my kids are ages 2 and 4. I occasionally let them play on my iPhone, as does my wife, and I thought I’d share with other parents out there, the games that keep the kids occupied, while also stimulating their minds…..sometimes.

I get it. Letting the kids watch TV and play video games is lazy parenting. Well, I have some news for you: I’m Not Perfect!

Every now and then, while waiting for our food at a restaurant or after a really tough day at the office, I’m cool with passing the iPhone to one of the kids for a couple hours minutes. It keeps them occupied and in some cases, can even help out in an educational way.

So without further ado, I let you in on the iPhone Apps my kids love to play!

#5 – Talking Bacteria John by Out Fit 7 Ltd. – This is probably the most ridiculous App I’ve ever seen but the kids laugh harder at this one than any they’ve played so it makes the list. It provides no educational or emotional value, unless you count laughing as a value. It’s basically a bunch of blue blobs floating around that repeat everything you say and you can feed them donuts. They also have an infectious and irritating laugh that keeps you coming back for more!

#4 – Sesame Street: The Fix-It Shop by Sesame Workshop Apps – It’s got some cool features like stories and recording and blah, blah, blah. My kids love the coloring book feature on this app. My daughter will play this until I yank it out of her screaming hands! The only issue with this one is that she doesn’t know how to change colors, so she asks every 30 seconds…

#3 – Shape-O by Bellamon – Now we’re getting to the good stuff! This puzzle game is really incredible and I’m so glad my son loves it! There are tons of puzzles, where you not only place the pieces but also have to match the letters in the word before you can move to the next puzzle. This is a great one and I highly recommend it!

#2 – Garage Band by Apple Canada Inc. – The funny thing about this one is that it was MY app for my band. We are able to share new sounds and vocals through this app and it’s very useful for our music. And then my kids heard me playing on it and stole it from me. Now my son and daughter fight tooth and nail to see who is going to get to pay drums and keyboard and guitar! I secretly love that they love the music because that’s something I can share with them. It came out of nowhere but this one is great for kids to make and record music.

#1 – Angry Birds by Rovio Mobile – Was there any doubt about this one? It’s the classic time wasting game and the kids love it! I don’t even know what to say about this game that you don’t already know. Addictive is the word I would use to describe it. Like I always say, “When in doubt, Kill some green pigs!”

 

That’s it for my list. I wasn’t paid by any of these companies, nor do I ever plan to be, lol. My kids just love these games and I thought other lazy parents could benefit from the recommendations.

Honorable mentions to Flick Home Run, Cars 2 & Talking Tom & Ben News. All great in their own way but just not quite loved enough to make the Top 5!

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to share your favorite apps in the comments section!

Cheers!

Dads, Kids, Video Games and Animal Awareness

There’s something about being a man that instills in me a need to excel at video games. I’m not talking about a specific genre of video game or gaming system, I mean that I feel the need to excel at EVERY video game I play.

So it was no surprise that I found myself wanting the same for my children, especially my son, who is now at the age where he is showing a lot of interest in them.

It began with some iPhone puzzle games and then evolved into an Angry Birds obsession that was beyond comprehension. My daughter started wanting to play too but she mostly just stares at the birds on the screen and laughs when they make noises. I have no expectations for her as far as gaming goes, it’s stereotypically a male thing anyway.

Now before I continue, I want to point out to all the parents who think letting your kids play with electronics is bad, that I am a dedicated father who loves to play things with my kids other that video games. We are an outdoor family who loves sunshine and snow alike but sometimes we also like to enjoy a good video game too, so back off!! LOL.

Back to my son, he recently saw a friend playing Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii and decided that he wanted to play too. He’d seen the Mario box at our house but never knew what it was until that day. He started asking about it but I figured at 3 years old, he probably wasn’t ready yet. I lasted about 2 months before caving the other night and on went the Wii.

Had I known the reaction this monumental event was going to get, I would have started videotaping sooner but better late than never I guess. When I said yes, Luke began running around in circles like a maniac, shouting “Mario, Mario, Mario!!!!” His sister followed suit except her shrieks sounded more like “Mayo, Mayo, Mayo!!”, of course we knew better than to give her a cup of mayo. Even trying to explain the chaotic scene, there’s no way to properly do it justice.

Now, I understand that Luke is only 3 years old but when a video game starts, a man tends to lose control of his regular brain functions and turns into a modified version of a young boy. Common sense doesn’t apply and the competitive side comes out in full force. So on day 2 of playing Mario Kart, I fully expected my son to have figured it all out and to be crushing the computer Princess in every race. This was not the case.

The reality of it is that he has no idea what he’s supposed to do and just likes playing with the Wii steering wheel that came with the game. I think the fact the he has his serious face on is what throws me off, as it looks like he ‘IS’ Mario and wants to win at all costs. In reality, that’s the type of focus kids portray with most things they do and it took everything in my power to not yell “You have to turn there man!!” or “”Shoot the Banana at that guy!!”.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and I took some time to enjoy watching the gaming experience through his eyes. I even found out that we must be doing something right as parents because Luke stopped driving the Kart at one point to let the cartoon cows cross the road, explaining that he didn’t want to hurt them.

Point is, when he eventually figures out that he’s losing the game, he’ll probably get upset about it and I’ll lie and tell him it’s just a game. For an adult male, playing video games, there’s no such thing as “Just a game” because if it was in fact just a game, we wouldn’t be playing it. We eventually to get too old or too fat to do anything else well and this becomes a place where we can excel at something into our later years.

Don’t believe me? Ask my wife about my journey through all the Call of Duty games. Ask my Mom about her experience living with my gamer brother. As the saying goes, “You can’t take the boy out of the man”.

Do you have a funny gaming story? Share it below in the comments and don’t forget to do the Facebook/Twitter thing if you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support!!

Cheers!!