It’s week two of having sick kids in the house and as any working mom who is trying to multi-task, playing mommy-nurse, tele-commuting, doctor appointments, and making sure everyone (yourself included) doesn’t go insane in the process is a tall order. These are devices and services that will make your sick days, rainy days and even family movie nights so much easier to navigate so if you know a new-mom, mommy-to-be (or Dad) or know of a home-bound family in need of some respite, these are my recommendations to bring-on a smile (or induce a nap).
Amazon Prime: As of today, you can’t gift an Amazon Prime membership and apparently you cannot use an Amazon Gift Card for a Prime membership either (I did some research for this post) so that’s not my suggestion either, but I think this is SUCH a great service that if you know a mom who uses Amazon you need to help her get this service and if you want to fund it give her a check. Here’s why: you get free 2-day shipping, instant streaming movies and books, access to a library of titles for free (and there are some really good ones), and you are automatically eligible to enroll in Amazon Mom.
XBox Live Membership (starting at $5 a month, Microsoft): For XBox owners, this is a fantastic accoutrement letting you get content — movies, games, TV shows — as well as interact with your friends and networks and get updates to your games and software. If you have a committed Microsoft family in your social circle they will appreciate it. Gift cards are available for purchase.
Hulu Plus (starting at $7.99, Hulu): Similar to other content services, Hulu Plus let’s you access video content across a variety of direct platforms–web, mobile–and third party distributors like the ones I mentioned above. The thing about Hulu is that their best selection is really around TV, their movies are not-so-great but for TV watchers it’s a very well-priced offering, for example you can see pretty much every Glee episode for $7.99 a month…that would cost a lot more on Amazon or iTunes. So when people ask why I have Hulu too, that’s the primary reason. We watch off-season TV on Hulu very cost-effectively. Gift giving on Hulu Plus is is a variety of denominations from1-12 months.
Netflix (Starting at $7.99, Netflix): Having a Netflix account will add to your content library and they have mobile apps where users can add to their Queue. Gifts can be bought in a variety of denominations from 1-12 months.
Roku (starting at $49.99, Roku) : This isn’t the first time I’ve sang the praises of the Roku, and even though we also have a few other devices, this one still gets the most use in our home. Mostly because you can access content and accounts from a variety of sources: Netflix, Amazon and Hulu among them. We’ve had the same one for the last three years so it may be time for an update although I think my husband might be traumatized if he came home and his precious Roku was replaced. We’ve also given this gift for engagements and housewarmings.
Apple TV ($99, Apple): I splurged for my birthday and bought one for my bedroom this year and it’s very cool. Also your content from your Apple account syncs really beautifully. Unlike Roku which allows you to access content from a variety of sources, Apple TV is content from iTunes so the library is limited to content that is on, well iTunes, which isn’t small but not as vast as, say, Amazon. And that’s why I needed both 🙂
WHAT TO WATCH
So now that you have devices and content services, what’s some content to add? I love reality TV but what are some shows that are OK to watch with your kids and not all about supermodels, train wrecks and housewives. My daughter and I got really into A Baby Story, A Wedding Story, Say Yes To The Dress and I Found The Gown. For scripted TV, it can be really fun to relive old episodes of Wonder Years, My So-Called-Life, Growing Pains, and Family Ties.
Lead image: Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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