Alexa, make my mom life easier.
Wait, is that possible? While it might not be quite that easy, I do have some awesome tips for using your Amazon Alexa to make mom life and running a household easier. And just in time for Prime Day. In fact, I saw just last night the Echo Dot is already on sale for just $24.99. You can get all the fun stuff we talk about today for the cost of coffee at Starbucks for a week!
Today I am sharing how I use the features and skills on my Amazon Alexa to help take some of the load off my mom brain. If I can add an item to my grocery list or schedule it on my calendar when it pops into my brain, I’m so much less likely to forget it. And there are some great features to help my family get out the door or go to bed at night.
I was inspired to create this episode when I interview Brittany Dixon back in May about Productivity for Moms. Her first tip was to use a digital assistant in just this way. When you free up some bandwidth in your brain, you can focus better on those truly important things for your family. Want to hear how Brittany uses her digital assistant to clear up brain clutter? Click the link below.
MY FAVORITE ALEXA FEATURES
Features are built-in skills that every Alexa comes pre-programmed with. You may have to connect your calendar or register your smart home device. But every Alexa will come with these capabilities:
- Drop Ins….We use this feature like an in-home intercom. From my other device or from my phone, I can tell my kiddos to stop fighting, get back in bed or that it is time for dinner. You can also drop in on other approved devices like grandparents, aunt & uncles, or friends.
- Routines…Custom routines are regular reminders programmed to give warning that a transition is coming and when an action should take place. They are great for mornings when you are trying to get out the door. Or bedtime when you want to make sure the kids to all the things to get in bed at a decent time. You can customize your routine to start at a certain time, by voice command, or by pressing the Alexa button. The routine can include phrases from Alexa, music played from your connected music source, or even utilizing your connected smart home devices like turning lights on and off.
- Smart Home Devices…These connected devices can be controlled by voice through the Alexa devices in your home or via the Alexa app on your phone. Devices include lightbulbs, power strips and outlets, enabled TV, doorbells, baby monitors, door locks and even a sprinkler system. Here is the link to the $15 Smart Bulb we have in our boys’ room.
- Creating Lists….By creating a custom list through the Alexa app, you can add items to a grocery list or to do list by simply saying “Alexa, add peanut butter to my grocery list” or “Alexa, add mom floors to my to-do list.”
- Adding Events to Calendar… When you connect your digital calendar through your Alexa app, you can add events to your calendar via voice command. Just say “Alexa, add doctor’s appointment to my calendar for July 15th at 1pm”
- Checking the Weather…My final feature comes from Instagram. @livy1lynn says “I check in on the weather the night before. I like to keep my mornings as simple as possible so if I know it’s going to rain or snow or just knowing the temp, I lay out what’s needed for the next like hats, boots, etc. That way I’m not searching for things the day of. I also like getting my weather from the device because I can avoid getting sidetracked checking the weather on my phone. Plus, my hands are free so I can continue doing whatever task I was doing.
MY FAVORITE ALEXA SKILLS
Want to know how to customize your Alexa for your family? Adding skills helps Alexa work better for your families needs. Here are a couple of our favorite skills:
You can also build your own custom Alexa skill through Amazon Blueprint. Make a chore chart. Design a workout. Create a task tracker. Or make a custom list for houseguests, babysitters or pet sitters. In a matter of minutes you can have your own custom skill. And it’s FREE!
What are some of your favorite Alexa features or skills you use in your home? Is there something I’ve missed? Let me know in comments below. In the meantime, here’s this week’s cocktail recipe.
Blueberry Lemonade Margarita
A pretty and delicious red, white and blue cocktail for your July 4th picnic or a hot summer day.
Blueberry Simple Syrup
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 1/2 C. Water
- 1 C. Blueberries
- Zest of Lime
For the Drink
- 8 oz Tequila
- 4 oz Triple Sec
- 3 oz Lemonade
- Blueberry Simple Syrup (See Recipe Above)
- 2 T. Salt
- 2 T. Sugar
- Lemon Wedges (Optional Garnish)
For Blueberry Simple Syrup
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add blueberries and lime zest and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until blueberries have burst, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes, then strain mixture into a clean jar. Let cool completely.
For the Drink
On a small plate, stir together sugar and salt. Rim each glass with a lime wedge, then dip in sugar salt mixture. Divide tequila, triple sec and lemonade between 4 glasses. Fill each glass with ice, then top with blueberry syrup. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.
New episodes of “Cocktails and Containers” are available every week.
You can find past episodes “Cocktails and Containers” here.