By Drew Bennett

Husband, Dad, Blogger, Photographer, Transformers Fan and Wired Kayaker

  • Cue and dot
    Photo-A-Day #4542

    Wonder Workshop saw my post about Coding Toys, Games and apps for Kids over at the Toy Insider Parent Panel Blog and asked if I would like to review their new robots, Dot and Cue. I said yes and they sent me review units for each of the robots. Opinions of these robots are 100% my own.

    After I agreed to do the review I was sent a ton of embargoed information that I can release to you today because today is the release of these new robots. Actually, Cue is brand new. Dot is the same one that was out before but with a new color scheme and this time comes as part of a Creativity Kit. I got a personal instruction on both robots from the CEO of Wonder Workshop, Vikas Gupta via a Google Hangout video chat! He was really cool and told me all about these great robots. I could not wait to play with them but would have to wait until around 3pm for them to arrive. I had just enough time to take each out of the box and that was about it. So the actual full on review of these toys will be on another day. However, I would like to provide you with some information so that you can decide if these toys are right for your kids and I would encourage you to place an early order since they will most likely be very popular and scarce once the holidays roll around. read more!

    #4542
  • National Cheeseburger Day
    Photo-A-Day #4541

    Tonight is Marcia and Dan’s last night up here. They head home in the morning. We knew that getting back into the week and everything else would make for a tough time getting dinner together. So, after I picked up Eva from Theater (She got a really nice role this year) we headed to House of Fortune. However, Allison called to let us know that it was a Monday and it was closed. I remembered that it was National Cheeseburger day and so I told her that we should go to KC’s Classic Burger Bar. I did not have to twist any arms at that suggestion.

    We had our customary appetizer of Fried Pickles but Monday’s are also $0.50 wing night and we got 10 wings to split as well. Allison and I got a Super Sport with Bacon to split. That is what is pictured above. It is a cheeseburger with their homemade spicy mayo sauce which has a name that changed and so now I forget the actual new name, but it tastes great, plus fried pickle chips and more. We split that which was a good idea since we were pretty filled up from the appetizers. There were plenty of shakes going around, too. Andrew, Dano, Marcia and Allison got them. It was a very tasty meal and a nice way to enjoy the last night with Mimi and Dano.

    Now the kids are introducing Mimi and Dano to Beasts of Balance. It is a fantastic game for families. I did a review of it yesterday. Dano just scored 129 points in the game, the highest score we have ever seen!

    #4541
  • The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

    the Cujo Smart firewall protects your home network

    I am the family I.T. support and now I can’t just answer the phone with, “Did you try turning it off and on again?” I have to take care of whatever comes along, settings changes, instructions and so much more. I also have to worry when viruses come up. Not only am I taking care of all of the devices in my own home, I am taking care of those at my parents’ house as well. I probably should have set up my new CUJO Smart Firewall at their house and got one for our house. But, when my CUJO Smart Firewall arrived I immediately set it up on our home network, which was a snap, and then proceeded to explore the features of the app.

    First off, the customer service is freaky cool. I setup my CUJO Smart Firewall and the app and attempted to set it up with a Google WiFi that I had installed recently. I learned through the customer service that I could only use the CUJO Smart Firewall in a certain mode with the Google WiFi. However, I still had my cable modem and router so I connected my Cujo to that to prevent anything coming into our home as the first line of defense against hackers and spam sites and malware. How do I know that I am being protected? My CUJO Smart Firewall app sends me messages when certain devices in the house attempt to connect to these questionable sites. I don’t have to worry because CUJO Smart Firewall has these excellent features:

    • BUSINESS-LEVEL INTERNET SECURITY
      Detects and blocks malicious sites and hacks
    • GUARDS ALL DEVICES
      We’re talking phones, tablets, computers, baby monitors, thermostats, security cameras and more
    • PARENTAL CONTROLS
      You can control what your kids access online. Set time limits, schedules, and sites that are permitted. Apply access policy to any or all devices.
    • CONNECT TO ROUTER, CONTROL WITH APP
      The CUJO takes just a few minutes to start. Plug the CUJO device into your router and follow the step-by-step guide on your CUJO app.
    • BLAZING FAST (built with 1GB Ethernet)
      With Dual core 1GHz processor, 4GB flash memory and 1GB DDR SRAM memory inside. There are also Two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the device.

    I like how the CUJO guards all devices. In the net few weeks I am going to be installing some connected items into the home. Digital Thermostat, Security cameras, connected doorbell and the like. With CUJO I know they are being protected from outside hacks. that is important to me.

    the Cujo smart Firewall has a great app read more!

  • Beasts of Balance
    Photo-A-Day #4540

    We received a copy of the new game Beasts of Balance for free to play with and review. Opinions are our own.

    I saw Beasts of Balance for the first time at Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite 2017. I even got to play a little while and the game looked quite interesting to me. Today we played as a family (minus Eva, she was doing her own thing). But Andrew and Allison were interested in playing this game. There is much more to this game than merely stacking oddly shaped pieces. Each piece does something in the game and you quickly realize that you need to not only balance the physical items but also the world that you are creating in the app. Yes, this game is an augmented reality stacking game of dexterity, strategy and creation. read more!

    #4540
  • cousins
    Photo-A-Day #4539

    This may be a weird photo for what happened today but I didn’t think that anything from earlier in the day would have been appropriate. These are a couple of LEGO sets that I have. the smaller one is a LEGO creator set that I saw and picked up because the little robot looks like it would be fun to use for a stop motion. The larger robot is Vernie from Boost. This is a robot that you can program to do a whole bunch of things. Why did I shoot these two. Well, it was a long day and I thought of it in the last minutes of the night.

    Today was Allison’s grandfather’s funeral. Grandpa Bob passed away earlier this week and today was the funeral, burial and convocation. We were all pretty wiped out. Last night I let the kids stay up way too late because I had taken them home from the wake early. I got them some pizza and then I took them to the pool so they could play with their cousins. Eva took a shower and I helped Andrew with his. I also let them watch some Disney Channel and we all lost track of the time. Allison stayed at the funeral home and then went to dinner with her parents. The kids were asleep by the time she returned to the hotel room. We slept fitfully and were not well rested this morning.

    We had to be at the church by 8:30am. I was a pallbearer and Allison was a reader. We must have been on our game this morning because we were 45 minute early.

    The mass was celebrated by Allison’s uncle, Fr. Tom. He also con-celebrated our wedding. He did a very nice homily. At the mass Andrew nearly had his first communion. He’s two years away from that. That happens in second grade. Allison, the kids and I were all seated in different places in the church. I had to sit with the pallbearers across the aisle from Allison. she sat on one end because she did a reading. the kids sat with their cousins. they don’t normally go to church and so they don’t go up for communion. Andrew has been going to church with us his whole life and he walks up when it is time for communion. However, he crossed his arms in front of him and places his hands on the opposite shoulders so that the priest knows that he is not receiving and that he gets a little blessing. He is normally in front of Eva but this time was behind her. This time he did not cross his arms but put his hands up. Why? I do not know. Poor Uncle Fr. Tom, he was panicked. He looked for Allison, and didn’t catch her eye. So he called to Eva as she walked away and asked her. She told him that he did not receive so Andrew got his blessing and went back to his seat. He then proceeded to cry. Today was hard.

    Both kids were very upset. Eva went through tissue after tissue while Andrew acted out in different ways but also asked Allison and I some very tough questions. The he made a statement to us before we entered the cemetery.

    Now, when you think that your kids are not listening you find out that they are and just how much they are listening because this was something that only a kid would come up with. Andrew said to us, “I don’t think that Grandpa Bob liked God. they said that he liked God but I don’t think he did.” Allison asked him why he thought that and he told us. “Because the priest said that if you love God then you will live forever and Grandpa Bob did not live forever.” He’s a deep kid. He’s picks up on everything even if you think he is not listening.

    After the ceremony was the reception. All the kids got along really well with each other. Marcia got them all coloring pads and colored pencils. They had a great time coloring and then playing together. We heard some nice stories about Grandpa Bob and then came home to crash. We were all tired so we had popcorn for dinner and watched the Peanuts movie, only thing we could agree on.

    I did try and get one photo at the convocation of the kids playing together but they moved out of the perfect position the moment I tried to take the shot.

    #4539