Holiday Gift Guide: D-Link Day/Night Network Camera

Gift Ideas For The Family

D-Link Network Camera

Product provided for review.

Last year, I blogged about the problem we encountered with vandalism and how we used a D-Link Day/Night Security Camera to fight back. We now own several of these cameras and they have been fantastic, so when we had a chance to test out the newest model, the DCS-933L, we were all over it. It’s nice to have multiple cameras, since we can aim them in a variety of spots around doors and the driveway. These are totally “Plug-and-play” cameras, but because we wanted a more permanent/fixed setup, Jai drilled a hole above the porch so we could run the wire and mount the new DCS-933L camera right above the door. These cameras are intended to be used indoors, but due to the sheltered placement on our porch we think it will be just fine. Here is the view of our porch that this new camera provides:

Hey look, a package!

You know what’s funny? When I pulled up the camera to take this screenshot, I realized that there had been a delivery since there was a package on the porch! So as you can see, this is perfect for monitoring items that get dropped off.

The DCS-933L was as easy as could be to install – there’s not much noticeable difference from the prior Day/Night Network Camera models, although we noticed how well this works with the Wi-Fi – the other cameras are quicker when wired, while this one is just on WiFi and been working very well the whole time.

This would be a wonderful gift for new parents, since the camera can be used as a baby monitor and then turned into a security camera as the child gets older, so it never outlives its usefulness. It would also be perfect for gadget lovers and anyone who is concerned with security or has even experienced theft and vandalism like we have. Because you can access the camera via the web or your mobile device, you don’t have to worry about service fees and can check your cameras whenever you want – perfect for keeping an eye on the house while you’re traveling for the holidays!

The D-Link DCS-933L Day/Night Network Cloud Camera retails for $104.99 and is available on and at retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon and NewEgg.

Total Gym XLS: Month 3 Recap

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

It’s our third month using the Total Gym XLS! Here are today’s measurements:

Measurements Month 3

My measurements weren’t great because I missed half the month exercising due to being under the weather. Fortunately, I’m back to my more normal exercise routine now, which I’m especially grateful for with it being the thick of the holiday season and Thanksgiving week! It’s going to be a rough week schedule and food wise, so it’s a huge, huge help to have the gym come to me. No holiday closures when the gym lives in your home!

How do you get your exercise in during the holidays? If you’re looking for some ideas, check out the video for a quick exercise I demonstrate on the XLS that you can do while wearing a dress!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 4 Premiere

After hearing a lot about “Bronies” last year, I decided I should watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix to see what all the fuss was about. After I watched it, I understood why a lot of people love it: The show is well-written and I feel like I can personally relate to the misadventures of the characters, which makes it very funny to watch. Seeing Twilight Sparkle run around tearing her mane out and stressing over her to-do list cracks me up – I keep saying that Twilight and Spike are just like myself and Jai. So now I guess I am a Brony, or a Pegasister, however you want to call it.

I wasn’t too impressed with Season 3, as I felt like the stories weren’t as well-written and the ponies were acting out of character; I received an early screener link to the two-part Season 4 series premiere, so I was curious to see whether the show had “Jumped the shark” yet. And no, FTC, the episodes were not downloadable so I didn’t “Receive” anything, my eyeballs merely viewed an early online streaming preview at the episodes. Which I was actually happy about, since I don’t have cable and I can see the show now instead of waiting for it all to come on Netflix!

The premiere episodes are “Princess Twilight Sparkle – Part 1 & 2″. This picks up where season 3 left off, with Twilight becoming an Alicorn and being crowned princess. As Twilight prepares for the Summer Sun Festival, she worries about her friendship with the other ponies changing as she gains more responsibility – but soon has much more to worry about when Princesses Celestia and Luna go missing and the forest starts attacking Ponyville. As the gang tries to unravel this mystery, they take a trip back into the past. What could be causing this evil: Is it Discord? Has Princess Luna morphed back into evil Nightmare Moon? Or is it something else? Spoiler alert: The answer involves the Elements of Harmony and a mysterious new power that looks like the makings of a new toy tie-in.

I thought these episodes were a little underwhelming, but I tend to prefer the standalones over the traditional season premiere storyarcs. (I feel like I just time-traveled back to a 1998 X-Files messageboard with that statement!) I feel like they’re dragging Discord out unnecessarily and it’s getting a little old – look, I get that fans love him, and I loved Q on Star Trek: TNG too, but it seems a little stale at this point. I get the feeling they’re trying to angle him as a more regular character, but try not to beat a dead pony with a stick. But the characterizations were pretty true to form and I enjoyed watching the episodes, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season has to offer.

Season 4 of My Little Pony debuts tomorrow morning, November 23rd at 7 AM PST/10 AM EST. Will you be watching?

Total Gym XLS: Week 11 Recap

Total Gym Exercise Chart

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

Neither Jai or I were feeling too fabulous last week – I took the whole week off using the Total Gym XLS and he used it for just a couple of days out of the week. The 3 to 4 hours of sleep and feeling sick was just killing me and making it really hard to function. Thank goodness I’m feeling better and have enough energy to re-join the human race now! I was up to working out last night and should be good to go for the rest of the week.

Fortunately, taking close to 2 weeks off didn’t set my progress back too much:

Measurements: Week 11

And I’ll tell you what – getting back into my workout routine after being under the weather is way easier with the Total Gym. Jumping on the XLS for a few minutes after being sickly is way, way more doable for than me than the idea driving to the gym or going for a jog!

Ben 10 Omniverse 2: Gamer Gift Idea

Gift Ideas For The Family

Ben 10 Omniverse 2

Promotional game provided. Post contains Amazon Associates links.

Last year, I suggested Ben 10 Omniverse as a gift idea for teens. Well, Ben is back for Christmas 2013 with Ben 10 Omniverse 2, available for XBox 360, Wii, Wii U, PS3 and 3DS. Check out a preview of the gameplay below:

Ben 10 games can be a lot of fun, even for us oldsters playing on a black-and-white TV, so this could be a good one for the family to enjoy together; the game is rated E for Everyone aged 10 years and up. You can pick up a copy on Amazon today.

Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures for WiiU

Gift Ideas For The Family

Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures

Promotional game was provided. The post contains my Amazon Associates link.

Children of the ’80s such as myself will naturally remember good old Pac-Man. He’s been a familiar sight through childhood and even through adulthood, a retro favorite to play at gaming parties! Well, he’s been reinvented for the next generation of gamers in Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures. Taking its cue from the Disney XD show of the same premise, this game gives Pac an updated makeover with slick graphics and elaborate, updated gameplay. It’s available for Wii U, PS3, Xbox, 3DS and PC and can be picked up now on Amazon!

Boxing Day would be a great time to put on your “Pac-Man Fever” record and settle in for a little nostalgia with a family game of Pac-Man!

Total Gym XLS: Week 10 Recap

Total Gym XLS Workout Week 10

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

Today is our 70th day with the Total Gym XLS! Here’s how we’re doing:

Measurements Week 10

I’m thankful that both our measurements are still on track this week. I was a little concerned for my own progress, because I have not been feeling well at all. I’ve got some kind of head/sinus cold trying to take hold and I’ve had a hard time getting any sleep; last week, I kept falling asleep at midnight and waking up automatically for the day at 4 AM. Every day. Yuck! I’ve pretty much been just dragging myself around to get what I need to done, so I only worked out twice last week. The Mayo Clinic has some sound advice about exercising while sick, with one of the messages being “Let your body be your guide”. So this week, I did just that. And happily, it hadn’t set my progress back any, so hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot better in a day or two. The lack of sleep is the worst part, so I’ll feel a lot more eager to workout when I’m not surviving on a couple of hours of sleep!

I’m curious: Do you work out when you’re under the weather?

Wellness Wellbites Dog Treat Review

Wellness Wellbites

Complimentary chews provided to Bob for his expert opinion!

Bob got a big treat recently when we brought over a bag of new toys AND a new snack to munch on: Wellness Wellbites in Chicken & Venison flavor! These little treats are made in the USA and come in bite-sized squares.

Bob With Toys And Treats

“I get a brand new ball AND snacks?! Ohboyohboyohboy!!!”

We brought Bob the bag of snacks, plus a brand new ball and a squeaky toy. He was so excited that it was almost like sensory overload – if you know Labradors, you’ll know that they are obsessed with playing fetch, so it was hard to get his attention away from his new tennis ball. But once we did get his attention, he seemed to enjoy his munchies!

Bob Eats a Wellness Wellbite


Wellness Wellbites are available on for $8.11!!

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands & Healthy Feet: Practical Stocking Stuffers!

Gift Ideas For The Family


Samples provided for review.

If you’re looking for a twist on the usual fruity hand lotion gift sets this holiday season, then I have a therapeutic cream to recommend that is the perfect size for Christmas stockings: O’Keeffe’s! This brand offers two intensive creams: O’Keeffe’s Working Hands and O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet.

Both creams come in a round jar and have a consistency that reminds me of coconut cream. The Working Hands cream has a very slick feel going on, and it has a very dry finish – almost the same sensation as when I wear a matte lipstick, if that makes sense? I’m used to using creams that leave a moisturizing top coat, so I would use this in conjunction with another lotion for comfort. It almost feels a little sticky on my hands after application. As for the skin on my hands, it’s looking good after about a week of sporadic usage; I’m not sure if this is correlation or causation. At times, it seems like this cream can be a bit irritating to my skin, but again, I haven’t used it long enough to tell correlation or causation.

I have also been giving this cream to Jai, since he has been doing a lot of construction and his hands are totally torn up – they feel rough, cracked and splitting. I do think this cream helps his hands so I’ve been encouraging him to use this as much as possible!

Both of us are liking the Healthy Feet cream. I swear by foot lotion as a way to keep my feet soft and looking nice, but I often forget to do it – especially the last few years, when I couldn’t even bend my knees enough to reach my feet without pain! Jai has very, very dry and cracked heels, so he needs this even more than I do. The great thing about these products is that the packaging is very gender-neutral and utilitarian, so they are perfect for everyone from busy moms with dishpan hands to guys that do jobs with heavy labor. And of course, some dads have dishpan hands and some moms pour gravel, so any person who works with their hands or has dry skin could enjoy these!

Visit to order online or locate a retailer near you!