I am such a tech lover. It makes me more productive, allows me to have more time for family, and can solve every day frustrations. This is why, from the moment I heard about smart home technology, I embraced every new item I could. Unable to whip out and upgrade my kitchen appliances, I started small with fun and manageable options.

red-ambiance-living-roomThe first purchase I made to give life more sparkle and update my home’s ambiance were Philips Hue LED bulbs. They were so easy to use – just screw in the bulbs to your existing lamps, plug in the bridge and sync it to your home wifi using your smartphone. (They come in starter kits with three lights to a box + the bridge). Voila! My living room now had the option of being lit in 16 million colours and I could set the colour of individual lights or regions in the house according to my mood. I quickly added a lightstrip for the kitchen and funky Bloom lights in the kids’ rooms. Placing all of the lights on timers via the app served many purposes, from brightness during vacations, to automatically setting the kids’ lights to shut off as we leave for school. Because they forget to turn them off and we used to fight about it every. Single. Day.

blue-breakfast-barOver the past year, I added a few other smart items, and have also been using IFTTT (If this, then that) to streamline my home and life. As easy as all of these devices have been to control on respective apps, sometimes (ahem) when I misplaced my phone or was in a different room, it wasn’t as convenient as I knew it would be somehow in the future. Isn’t it exciting how things just keep getting better and better?

hue-bulbs-google-homeThe future is here. Google Home arrived, but only to the USA. I heard mutterings about it and was dying to see for myself. We can all do a happy dance that it is now also in Canada. I snatched mine up the day it launched! Now, every time I say “Hey Google”, the world – or my house at least – is able to be controlled, hand-free. In terms of my lighting, for instance, a simple: “OK Google – turn my living room lights purple” will instantly change the ambiance. Similarly, “OK Google, dim my son’s lights at 8pm and turn them off at 9pm” will curb his late-night reading habit. Dinner party? “Ok Google, dim the dining room lights by 20%”.

The experience is now so much more immersive that I want to change every bulb in the house to Philips HUE. Lights can be grouped per area or per floor in order to help the Google Assistant identify exactly what you desire.

google-homeThough I am especially excited about the lighting options, there are other fun commands. Here are the best Google Home commands for parents to streamline your life.

Life: (All preceded with OK Google:)

  • Good morning. (includes personalized greeting, info on weather, traffic, and curated news stories)
  • Remember that I put my car keys in the crisper.
  • Where are my car keys?
  • What is the capital of Alaska?
  • Ask NORAD where Santa Claus is flying right now.
  • How many Euros are in $100?
  • Play political news.
  • When is Easter?
  • When does my favourite sports team play next?
  • What’s the best restaurant in Boston?
  • Find me a flight to Hong Kong.
  • Let’s play trivia.
  • What actors star in Beauty and the Beast?
  • Give me a quote about love.
  • What is a herniated disk? (And you can ask that one lying down..)

Music:

  • play music from Sesame Street.
  • what is this song called?
  • turn the volume to 11. (That is the max)
  • play an F sharp. (so you can tune an instrument)

Time:

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • How much time is left on my timer?
  • What time is it in London, England?
  • Set an alarm for 7am.

My home is now cozy – swathed in endless combinations of energy-smart LED light from Philips HUE, and far tidier. I don’t have as many remotes, measuring conversion tables or agendas laying around, and the whole family is getting into the action.

Kids:

  • Who is Mommy’s favourite child?
  • Why do I have to go to bed?
  • When can I drive a car that isn’t plastic?
  • Why did the tooth fairy forget to come last night?
  • What does ‘irritating’ mean?

Just kidding. But seriously all of our smart home technology is fun, and now it’s even more seamless.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Philips HUE. All opinions and product love are our own.

The Philips Hue White & Colour Ambiance starter kit  retails for $169.99
Retail Price of Google Home: $179.99

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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