Developer Interview with Lisa Molnar from Cades & Birch

Today’s interview is with Lisa Molnar from Cades & Birch.  They have a wonderful variety of handmade items including some great spots to store your tech!  Visit them on Esty, Amazon Handmade and Instagram!  Be sure to tell them you are visiting from The iMums.

Hi Lisa! Tell us about your company and how you got started?  What types of products do you sell?

I am a mother of four. My husband and I have been blessed with three boys, and were finally able to complete our beautiful family two years ago, when we adopted our daughter from Ukraine. My life has been full of people I love and creating beautiful handmade treasures. I believe that it’s those little personal touches that make people feel special and I have always found delight in hunting for the perfect gift for everyone. My favorite part of throwing a party has always been finding those unique personalized accents that make an event unforgettable – and that is how Cades and Birch came to be. We create meaningful keepsakes that are personalized for your events and occasions, distinctive creations you will be proud to display or gift to others.  We are trying to create beautiful products that help our customers celebrate and remember those important moments in life.  From the birth of a baby,  to the death of a furry family member and every graduation and wedding in between.

Tell us about national unplug day?

National Unplug Day is a 24 hour global respite from technology highighting the value of disconnecting from digital devices to connect with ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.  National day of Unplugging 2019 is from sundown to sundown March 1-2.

How can families make a step to cut tech even for a few minutes via small steps?

I really struggle with balancing technology in my home.  I have three high schoolers and a middle schooler.  Finding a healthy balance with technology is a constant struggle and that is how our Unplug boxes came to be.  Our first Unplug locked box was created as a place for me to lock up my sons gaming controllers and then I soon realized that all of us would benefit from locking up our phones during dinner and family time.  Locking up phones during meal time is a manageable small step for every family. Creating a place in your home where all technology sleeps at night is another great start.  All my kids leave their phones in the kitchen at night.  Having the Unplug box on the kitchen counter is a great reminder and its adorable too.  My kids tried to fight this rule saying they need an alarm, so I went to Walmart and now they each have alarm clocks that do not affect the quality of their sleep.

 

Tell us about the various unplug boxes and how you use them.

Our Cades and Birch UNPLUG boxes help you put the phone away and UNPLUG (while your phone is charging up).  We have several customized versions where you can UNPLUG and give your mind a rest for as long as you need.   Our UNPLUG locked version was created because sometimes our devises need to be taken away and locked up.  My son Gabe is the model and is super excited to be the spokesperson for locking up cell phones…not.  🙂

 

 

 

 

We have a small desk size UNPLUG and be Present version that is perfect for a desk or bedroom. All our Unplug boxes have a hole in the back which allows for the phone to be charged while it is in a time out.

 

 

 

This Unplug Planter is our most popular version because several devices can fit inside and it looks adorable on your table or counter top.  Add your own personalization to make it special for your family.  We also sell a lot of these boxes for campers and motorhomes with customizations like “Lets wander where the Wi-Fi is weak”.

This beautiful box is hand painted cream, softly distressed for that sweet vintage style, and engraved with your personalization.

Do you have tech rules in your house for your kids? 

I don’t have a ton of tech rules and can always improve, but these 5 are manageable for me.

  1. No phones during homework.  If they need the phone for music accessibility, the phone needs to be outside the door.
  2. No phones during meals.
  3. No looking at phones while having a conversation.  The phone must be put down and eye contact made.
  4. All phones are charged in the kitchen at night to help encourage quality sleep.
  5. No phones in nature.  My boys are big surfers so we are always at the beach.  When we are at the beach, phones stay in the car.  When we are hiking, phones stay in the pockets unless there is something awesome they want to take a picture of.  When we camp, the phone don’t get charged until we head home.  A dead phone makes for a very creative, fun kid and an engaged parent.  J

 

I am excited to be able to share our products with your readers. We all know we shouldn’t be on our phones all the time.   We know we should put technology down and engage with those around us and our Unplug products are a beautiful reminder to do just that.   Here are the links to our Cades and Birch shops:

Etsy:  link here

Amazon Handmade- Amazon’s version of Etsy : link here 

Instagram: link here

Come and visit us!  Be sure to unplug for National Unplug Day!

MYNT® ES by Slightech – Review



MYNT ES by Slightech is a great solution if you are always losing your keys!  I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten home and not put my keys and wallet in their designated spot – this usually results in a frantic morning when we are looking for my keys and trying to get my kids out the door quickly.  Luckily, MYNT ES has a Bluetooth app and I can attach it to my keys so it will play a sound much like the “find my iPhone” so that searching is no more.

What we love…

easy to use solution to help you find everything quickly and easily using your tech

What we’d love to see…

way to prevent battery drain on your devices

Summary

MYNT ES is a great tech solution for an everyday problem. I really liked being able to find my keys quickly with just a tap of the MYNT app.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

We recently tried MYNT ES when we were travelling just to make sure it kept track of our belongings.  I had one MYNT ES attached to my keys which I carried on the plane with us and slipped the other MYNT ES into my checked bag.  It was interesting to see my bag as it traveled through the airport on the way to be loaded onto our plane.   I can see this being super helpful if someone travels frequently and is afraid of losing their bag. I also slipped one into my son’s swim bag because he seems to leave it behind frequently – this way I could find it quickly and easily without having to search since I was able to get an approximate location. Batteries inside the MYNT ES last about a year according to the manufacturer and are easily replaceable. You can use up to 8 MYNT devices at a time with the app. I also appreciated that MYNT ES was able to be used in the rain without having to worry that it would get wet like if it was raining when I was outside. In addition you can set a MYNT safe zone like at work or home so that your device is not constantly being tracked.

When you need help locating your belongings, you can simply open the app – tap it and it will send a loud sound signal to your device. The app is user friendly and quick to set up for your first time. From the time I opened the box to using MYNT was less than 10 minutes — and that included setting up two devices.

IF you lose a MYNT ES device, the information will be shared with the MYNT community and if your device is located by another MYNT user information is shared with you so you can locate it. A MYNT will last one to two months, and will decrease after that time.

In terms of enhancements, I did find that using MYNT ES decreased my battery life on my cell phone — this could be coincidental as I have an older device, but if I was using it frequently I found significant drain.  Usually I would launch it once a day when I got home and then I could easily locate my keys on the off chance I didn’t hang them up where they were supposed to be.

Tech Specs
Recommended devices
Apple: iPhone 8/8 Plus iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6s/6s Plus, iPhone 6/6Plus, iPhone 5s/5c/5, iPhone 4s, iPad Touch 6, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad mini 4/3/2/1 and above

Samsung: Galaxy, S8, S7 (Edge), Galaxy S6/S5/S4/S3,Galaxy Grand2, Galaxy Note5/4/3/2

Google: Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 4, Pixel and newer devices

Item Weight 0.32 ounces
Product Dimensions 1.1 x 2 x 0.2 inches
Item model number MYNTES
Batteries 1 CR2 batteries required. (included)

As a mom, I appreciated this MYNT ES help to find my keys and make for much less stressful mornings. I also put one on my wallet and tested them out in a variety of different locations to ensure they worked. It was great to see where my items were and not feel frantic as I looked for my keys or wallet. I also appreciated that it was easy to keep track of my items and ensured that we misplaced them much less frequently. Available for $20 USD from Amazon. Available in black and white to coordinate with your items.

MYNT - Smart Tracker & Finder
MYNT - Smart Tracker & Finder
by Slightech, Inc.

Category: Lifestyle, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with Watch4-Watch4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878, iPadMini5-iPadMini5, iPadMini5Cellular-iPadMini5Cellular, iPadAir3-iPadAir3, iPadAir3Cellular-iPadAir3Cellular
Size: 144.43 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System – Review



Blink Home Monitorblink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a battery powered home monitoring system designed for homeowners and renters which can be easily placed throughout your residence.  The companion app, Blink for Home allows you to set motion alerts, watch live HD video, customize cameras and alert settings.  Set up is super easy – you simply plug in the Blink hub and then using your device download Blink for Home.  After opening the cameras and installing the AA lithium batteries, it’s easy to add them to your system.  After installing you can scan the QR code on the back of each camera to add it to your system.  After adding each camera, you take a photo of the location you plan to put it in so that you can easily tell which camera you want to check.  For purposes of the review I received the Blink Hub and two Blink indoor cameras.  I positioned the Hub near my router and one of the cameras near my front door.  I also placed the second camera downstairs.  There are no monthly fees, wires and it’s movable so if you find a particular location isn’t working well for you – it’s easy to move the camera.  Blink also offers a Blink XT Waterproof camera that can be used outside in the weather.

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a battery powered home monitoring system that takes moments to set up that is perfect for those that rent, own or are simply visiting,  Through the app, you receive motion alerts, can watch live HD video, customize cameras and alerts to meet your needs.  I even brought Blink recently when I went away for a day, I grabbed my router, plugged it into the internet where we were and my cameras were online.

 

What we love…

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is easy to use wireless home monitoring system that helps you monitor your property including mailboxes.  It’s so easy to set up that my son did it!

What we’d love to see…

ability to toggle on/off the flash

Summary

Overall blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a great way for me to keep track of any movement in my home and watch my house from inside when I am expecting a package.  I love that it has no wires and is so easy to set up!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

I loved how easy blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System was to set up – I even had my 9 year old help me,  Simply scan the QR code using your iPhone or device and you take a quick snap after installing the battery.  The system was up and running in moments.  Blink has great battery life and I loved that you could move around the cameras as needed within the house easily.  Package theft is real, and I also loved that I could aim it outside to watch for when packages were delivered as well as monitor if anyone was here that wasn’t supposed to be.

One thing that I didn’t like about blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System was the “flash” when we used the camera.  I found that this would wake up my little one when I had it in his bedroom since it was bright.  It would be nice if there were a way to turn it off.

Overall blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System is a great, easy to set up home monitoring system that could be portable when I needed it to be. No wires, no fuss. I had the system up and running in about five minutes. The photo quality and videos were great and it was so easy to use! It’s great to use when away from home and the internet is running too! No phone line required.

blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System (as tested) RRP is $169.99. You can get a blink: Wireless Indoor Security Camera System with one camera for $99.99 USD. Blink XT Add On Camera is $119.99 USD.

Check out Blink Wireless Home Security & Video Monitoring Systems

Blink Home Monitor
Blink Home Monitor
by Immedia Semiconductor

Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone5-iPhone5, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878, iPadMini5-iPadMini5, iPadMini5Cellular-iPadMini5Cellular, iPadAir3-iPadAir3, iPadAir3Cellular-iPadAir3Cellular
Size: 88.15 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

 
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Arlo Pro 2 Security System by NETGEAR -Review

Summary

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible WiFi HD security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

 

The Arlo Pro 2 security system from NETGEAR is the latest high definition wireless camera system in the Arlo range. We reviewed the original Arlo in March 2015, it was a great system then and has had lots of upgrades and improvements since.

What’s in the Box

The Arlo Pro2 is available as a system with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, a system with 4 Arlo Pro 2 cameras or as a single camera to add to an existing Arlo system. We tested the starter set with 2 cameras.

The system comes with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, each with rechargeable batteries, a base hub, power supply for the base, 1 camera charger with charging cable, 2 magnetic mounts with hardware to attach to wall, ethernet cable and quick start guide.

 

Set Up

It is very quick and easy to set up the Arlo Pro 2 system:

  • Insert rechargeable battery in each camera (they come fully charged)
  • Connect Base station to WiFi router using included ethernet cable
  • Plug in base station power supply and switch on
  • Wait until lights on front turn green (about 2 minutes)
  • Download Arlo app
  • If you don’t already have an Arlo account you need to set one up from the Arlo App on your smartphone, if you do just add the base station and cameras to your account
  • Sync cameras with base station by pressing sync button on base station, bringing camera  within 1-3ft of base station, then pressing camera sync button
  • Place your cameras where you want them, and you are ready to go!

Mounting Cameras

Like the original Arlo cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be mounted using magnetic ” ball and socket” type mounts or placed on a flat surface such as a shelf. Two magnetic mounts are included in the set, these can be attached to a wall using included screws. I love this mounting system as it is really easy to adjust the camera angle and literally takes seconds to take down a camera or move it to another mount. If you are concerned about your outdoor cameras being stolen there is also the option of a screw threaded mount which can be purchased from Amazon or Best Buy for $19.99.

Features

  • HD 1080dp video recording
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Wireless
  • Long Lasting Rechargeable batteries
  • Indoor/ outdoor use
  • IP-65 certified Weather resistant
  • 100 dB security siren built-in
  • Free cloud storage of 7 days of motion and sound activated recording
  • Live viewing
  • 2 way audio
  • Option to plug in to indoor outlet for extra features such as activity zones and 3 second look back
  • Automatic night vision mode
  • Can add more Arlo, Arlo Q, Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 cameras to system
  • Optional recording plans if want continual 24/7 recording
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Stringify and IFTTT
  • Option to add local back up storage by connecting a USB to the base station.
  • Can schedule different sensing and recording modes

Picture Quality

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD so the image quality is very good. The cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions.  Within the Arlo app there are 3 options for video quality- best video, optimized or best battery life- so you can change the setting if battery lift is more important to you than the image quality. Day time images are recorded in color and night vision recording are black and white. When watching the camera feed live, or the video recording you can zoom in on an area to see it in more detail.

Recording Triggers

The default mode is that recording is triggered by motion or sound with cameras armed. You can add your own custom modes. you can switch modes manually using the app or set them up on a schedule so that they can automatically change between modes at your designated times, which can be different on different days of the week. There is also an option to using geofencing to automatically change modes based on whether or not you are home, but to use this you do need to have location services on continually on your phone, which can drain your phone battery more quickly.

Setting up Modes and Schedules for Arlo

I initially tried setting up modes via my laptop which I found a little confusing, luckily there is an active online NETGEAR Arlo Commmunity and a quick search there was able to answer my questions. I have found this community to be a great resource to answer any questions I have about set up and use of Arlo systems.

Ultimately I found it much simpler to set up modes and schedules via the Arlo mobile app. On the bottom of the screen is a “mode” button pressing it gives a list of all your current modes and the option to add new modes. When you add a new mode you can set it up to respond to motion, sound detection, or both, from one of your cameras. You then set the sensitivity and decide what to do – record on that camera, record on another camera or do nothing. You also choose to receive notifications via push notification, email alerts, both, or nothing. Once you’ve set up the rules for one camera you can add the rules for any other camera within the same mode.

Once you have set up modes to create a schedule:

  • Tap mode
  • Tap “schedule”
  • Tap the pencil icon to edit
  • Tap anywhere on a day and you are given an option to choose a time of day and a mode, you can also chose to have that schedule on just one day, every day or your choice of days

Your cameras will then switch between modes automatically based on your schedule. You can over ride this at any time by tapping “mode” and picking armed, disarmed or any of your custom modes.

Once i got over my initial confusion from trying to set it up on the laptop I found setting up modes and schedules via the Arlo app to be quick and easy.

In Use

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are very easy to set up and you can start using them straight away without any customization. It does take a little longer to set up your custom recording modes but it is worth it so that you only record what you want to see, and avoid getting swamped with recording notifications.

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be used totally wire free, which means that you can put them in places where wired cameras could never be mounted without having to do extensive wiring or using extension cords. The weatherproofing is great too- living by the ocean I appreciate having an outdoor camera that can withstand the elements.

I love having the rechargeable batteries it is so much more economical and greener than using disposable batteries, especially if you are doing a lot of recording or forget to switch off recording when you are home! The “official” battery life is about 4-6 months, but this is based on only recording a short period each day. I tested it out by letting it record every time there was any motion near my front door, which with a family of 5 plus dog coming and going is a lot of recording! Even with this heavy recording schedule the battery has lasted over a month and still has approximately 50% battery life left.

If you have an indoor camera that is near an outlet, it is nice to also have the option to plug it in which and this lets you add activity zones to further customize your recording.

As well as the rechargeable batteries another new feature compared to the original Arlo is the addition of 2 way audio. This is really useful when using the Arlo Pro 2 to monitor a sleeping child. I have older children and like to use it to check my children are working on their homework and remind them to start if they are not!  The 2 -way audio is also useful to communicate with a caller at the front door, even when I’m not home. I think having the alarm is a great additional security feature if an intruder is ever spotted, and the high quality images are useful for identification in those circumstances too.

There are lots of optional extras accessories available for the Arlo Pro 2 system including: extra rechargeable batteries, a dual battery charging station, camera skins, and a solar charger.

Installing the batteries

Price and Availability

 Available from Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and Costco. RRP for starter set of base station and 2 cameras US$479.99

Overview

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD- giving high quality images, the cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions. They come with rechargeable batteries and can be used totally wire free or can be plugged in.  The Arlo magnetic mounting system makes installation very easy and moving cameras is a breeze. The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are rugged and designed to withstand the elements with an iP65 weather certification. They have 2-way audio, sound and motion detection.  A siren is built-in to the base station, and can be triggered remotely if you see any suspicious activity.

A rolling 7 days of motion and audio triggered recordings are stored for free on the Arlo server, paid plans are available if you want more storage. You can also store videos locally by attaching a USB to the base station. ARLO PRO 2 system has lots of optional accessories available including a solar charger, dual battery charger, security mounts, skins and extra rechargeable batteries.

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible, fully featured, high quality, HD wireless WiFi security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

The Arlo Pro 2 is included in our 2017 Christmas Gift Guide 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.