Keep an Eye on Your House and Kids While You are Away with There Logitech Circle 2

Keep an Eye on Your House and Kids While You are Away with There Logitech Circle 2

The Logitech Circle 2 Video Camera was provided to Digital Mom Blog for review. 

Last year, our friends sent us over the Logi Circle home security camera for review. It has been a total game changer in our house in enabling us to watch our kids from a distance when they stay at home alone and give us peace of mind when we are away.  Logitech’s Circle cameras allow you to keep an eye on your kids and home from anywhere with the Circle app.

Circle 2 Review

This year, Logitech introduced two new Logitech Circle 2 home security cameras. Both a wired and wire-free versions of the camera. In addition to the new edition, Logitech has made several updates to the camera. 

Logitech Circle 2 Review

We received the new wired version of the Circle 2 video camera for review. Here’s what you need to know about the wired Logitech Circle 2. The camera can be used inside or outside. We use our’s in our living room. 

The Logitech Circle 2 wired offers the same Logitech Circle app that the original Circle camera used, but the actual camera has received a complete makeover.

Logi Circle vs Logitech Circle 2

The Circle 2 offers a complete cosmetic change. No longer is there a charging ring design. The body is now a new sleeker shape and offers an IP65 weatherization rating. (And IP65 weatherization rating means it can withstand waters and temperatures from -4 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to cosmetic upgrades, Logitech has built in significant upgrades to the core technology. The camera now offers a 180-degree field of view, versus a 135-degree angle. The original Circle camera offered a 720p resolution, where the new Logitech Circle 2 offers up to full HD 1080p resolution. Another feature is the new integrations with Google, Apple and Alexa –  read more below. 

Logitech Circle 2 Review

Both the original Circle camera and new Circle 2 camera offer motion detection, up to 15 feet of night vision and two-way audio. 

Here you can view a photo taken with the original Circle in December 2016:

Logitech Circle Camera

This photo was taken with the new Logitech Circle 2: 

Logitech Home Security Camera

As you can see, the new camera is in a different location. The house is a mess, but you get the idea. (I like to keep it real, actually – I just don’t have the energy to tell the kids to clean.) You can see the clarity that the new Circle 2 surveillance camera provides. Also, check out the view – you can definitely see the 180-degree wide view and the clarity of the photo. Again, both of these were taken with the camera via the Circle app. 

Setting Up the Camera

Setting up the camera required minimal effort.  Here are the steps to set up the wired Logitech Circle 2 camera:

  1. Unbox your Circle 2 Camera.
  2. Line up the indicators on your camera and mount. 
  3. Attach your camera to the mount. 
  4. Rotate the camera on the mount to the preferred orientation.
  5. Plug the USB cable into the USB adapter 
  6. Plug the USB adapter into an outlet
  7. Install the Logitech Circle app
  8. Add a camera

From unboxing to using the camera was maybe 10 minutes total. 

Logitech Circle App

The Logitech circle app is your link to the camera. Within the app, you can view live what is happening, click day brief to view a time-lapse compilation of the day’s videos, and more. 

Out of the box, Circle comes with 24 hours of free storage for your surveillance video clips. You can upgrade to a Circle Safe or Circle Safe Premium subscription for more storage and advanced features. 

Circle 2 Integrations

Circle 2 integrates seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. 

Tell Alexa to turn on Circle 2 before you leave home, use Apple HomeKit to control your place while you’re away, or ask Google Assistant to pull up your camera’s live stream on your phone or Chromecast device. No matter how you manage your smart home, Circle 2’s integrations have you covered.

We haven’t yet set up on integrations, but looking forward to all of the possibilities that this offers! 

Keeping an Eye on the House and Kids

As a parent, I can’t stress the usefulness and peace of mind that this home surveillance camera provides. As mentioned, the above photo was snapped with the camera while I was out shopping. My husband has been sick and was asleep in the room. Our third kid wakes up early every morning. I was able to log in from the Logitech Circle app, see what he was up to. Since the camera has a mic, I was able to hear what he was watching. With the two-way audio, I was able to tell him good morning and check-in to make sure he was okay and knew that dad was asleep.

Logitech Circle 2 Review - Home Surveillance Camera

There is SYRUP on the coffee table! Mom is obviously not home.

Another reason we love the camera is being able to know what is going on when the family isn’t home. We go out of town as a family several times a year. We have 2 dogs that require a dog sitter while we are out-of-town. The camera lets us know when the dog sitter arrives, also helps keep an eye on the house to make sure that we know what is going on. 

Home Security

All-in-all we love the ease-of-use, convenience, and peace of mind that the Logitech Circle 2 home security camera provides our home and family.  If you are in the market for a home security camera, the Logitech Circle 2 offers both wired and wire-free options for whatever your DIY home security needs are. 

Learn more at Logitech 

 

5 Things Kids Can Learn From Playing Video Games

5 Things Kids Can Learn From Playing Video Games

This post is brought to you by Energizer®. All opinions are my own.

I know as a mom, I tend to always dwell on the bad of a ton of screen time – especially video games. Everything in moderation, right? But there’s some good news. Maybe those video games your kids play for hours on end, actually aren’t all that bad. We did some research and found several benefits and things kids can learn from playing video games. 

What Kids Can Learn From Playing Video Games

5 things kids can learn from video games #parenting #kids #videogames

Parents, video games aren’t entirely bad! Rather than dwelling on the negative, let’s look at the positive. Here are 5 things your kids can learn from playing video games. 

Problem-Solving Skills and Creativity

Each of our 4 kids loves playing Minecraft. Minecraft helps build problem-solving skills and creativity. As they build worlds, creativity is a must.  As they overcome various obstacles thru-out the game, their developing brains are learning how to problem solve. 

Socialization

Video games and socialization can be a tricky subject so want to start this out with that it is always important to know who your child is playing video games online with. That said, our older kids regularly play video games online with friends from school. When the kids have sleepovers, most of the time the kids are spending time socializing around the television. 

Critical Thinking

The Portal video game is a family favorite. It encourages critical thinking as game players are required to put objects in the right place and get through multiple portals in a short amount of time. 

Reading Comprehension

Videos games encourage reading and reading comprehension. We have seen this first hand with our 6-year-old. He is a hard-core Zelda fan and I credit the game for his interest in learning to read. Initially, we could not get him interested in learning to read. He started playing Zelda and suddenly he needed to know how to read in order to play certain parts of the game. While we helped him, over the last year – he has taken on trying to read and understand the words himself. 

With our 7-year-old, we use Minecraft books for his 20-minutes of nightly reading, required by his school. Not directly a video game, but definitely inspired by one!

Sports and Music

I credit the Nintendo WII for teaching my kids about sports. My husband and I aren’t sports people, but several years ago when we purchased a WII – you would think we had a family of athletes. It was WII Tennis every single night. 

Rock Band introduced our kids to various instruments. It also taught us that not all of our kids should sing. Hey, just being honest. Our third child discovered a love for the drums while playing Rock Band. He has taken that passion offline and now plays real drums. 

Best Gaming Batteries – Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™

When getting your game on, make sure your controllers are loaded with Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries. Here is why these are the ultimate gaming batteries. 

Best Gaming Batteries

Play Longer

As the #1 longest-lasting AA batteries, Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries extend your video game playing time.

Lighter Gaming Controller

The Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries are 33% lighter than alkaline batteries. Lighter batteries mean a lighter gaming controller!

Extended Storage

Have you ever grabbed batteries from the battery box to only find them dead or nearly dead? No worries with the Energizer® Ultimate Lithium. They hold power in storage for up to 20 years (AA/AAA). 

Leak-Resistant

The Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries are constructed to be leak-resistant, which means prevents your gaming devices from leak damage.

Learn more about Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ Batteries.

Reviewing Video Games Before Kids Play

It’s always important to know what your kids are playing. Make sure that the games are age appropriate. I strongly recommend playing the game before your child does to make sure the content is appropriate for your child. Thankfully my husband is a gamer (never thought I would say that!) He reviews all games before the kids are given the okay to play. 

Additional Video Game Benefit – Stress Relief

An additional benefit that we found for kids playing video games is stress-relief. We have experienced this first hand with our 7th grader. It’s been a very stressful year. Middle school is hard. New processes, lots of homework and pressure to do good has our kid stressed. Video games help take his mind off of having to perform in athletics and academically. Again, all things in moderation – but stress relief is definitely a benefit for our kid. 

Don’t Forget The Batteries!

Don’t forget your Energizer batteries this holiday season! 

don't forget the batteries

Do you use Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ batteries? Let us know! Follow Energizer and use #StillGoing

Special thanks to Energizer for sponsoring this post. 

Best Instant Pot Chili Recipes – Including Our Family Beef Chili IP Recipe!

Best Instant Pot Chili Recipes – Including Our Family Beef Chili IP Recipe!

Looking for cold weather food? Try one of these Instant Pot Chili Recipes!

Best Instant Pot Chili Recipes

Instant Pot Chili Recipes

As soon as the temperature starts dipping down below 70 degrees, I get chili on my mind! I love a good bowl of chili, but now that I make just about everything with my electric pressure cooker – you know I am making it in my IP!

Chili is one of those things that certain people like certain ways. I am including my favorite chili recipe – but have also including what we think are the best Instant Pot chili recipes, to make sure that you get that bowl of chili that you are looking for!

Beef Chili Instant Pot Recipe

I’ve made this beef chili for years. Previously I would cook in the slow cooker, but in recent years, we’ve adapted this for the Instant Pot. This is a quick chili recipe, but the beauty of the IP, you can gain more flavor by changing the Instant Pot mode to slow cooker. When you let the chili sit in slow cooker mode, it will bring out more and more flavor. 

beef chili instant pot recipe

This is our family chili recipe and the beautiful thing is it’s very forgiving. You can add and subtract ingredients to make this the way you like it. If you need to make more, just increase the ingredients – though you may need an 8 qt Instant Pot if you make much more. I use a 6 qt Instant Pot and it suits my family just fine. Not sure which Instant Pot to get?  Compare Instant Pots

Our beef chili instant pot recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes. We LOVE quick recipes, but this also tastes amazing when left in slow cook mode. This dish also tastes better each and every time you reheat it. Let’s stop yapping about how this is the best chili instant pot recipe ever, and let you just try it for yourself. From our kitchen to yours, bon appetit!


beef chili instant pot recipe
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Best Beef Chili Instant Pot Recipe

The best beef chili Instant Pot recipe - make this for the masses, perfect for a cold night or for eating while watching football! This recipe is hardy!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bag frozen chopped onions use as much or as little as you like
  • 1 lb ground beef I use 90% - I know, not traditional for chili, but I try to reduce fat where I can
  • 1 can kidney beans either light kidney beans or dark kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chili beans or pinto beans work too!
  • 2 cans rotel tomatoes can use regular canned diced tomatoes for less spice
  • 1 can tomato sauce 16 oz
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 clove crushed garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper optional - 1/2 - 1 tsp

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute

  2. Cook beef, onions and garlic together

  3. Brown the ground beef until no longer pink

  4. Add in all spices

  5. Saute for 2 minutes with spices

  6. Add in beans, tomatoes, and water - jump dump into the Instant Pot

  7. Push the manual button on your Instant Pot

  8. Let Instant Pot natural release

  9. The best beef chili is complete! 

  10. Not quite ready to eat? NO problem. Let it cook a bit longer for a more developed flavor. Stir and set Instant Pot to slow cook. With the slow cook function, the Instant Pot should stay on for 4 hours. Perfect for cooking ahead or if your family wants to eat chili thru-out the day. 

    instant pot slow cooker

Recipe Notes

If the chili it too thick, or if you are leaving on slow cook function, I add more water. This is a VERY forgiving chili recipe and you can make it your own. If you don't like garlic, don't add it! If you like more garlic, add it! Making chili in the Instant Pot is super easy and hope you find this recipe delicious! 

Chili Garnishes

To garnish, our family eats our beef chili with sour cream and cheese. Half of the family adds saltine crackers. The other half of the family adds Frito corn chips. If we have it in the fridge, I will add a little cilantro to give the dish a more Mexican food flavor. If I want it spicier, I usually add red pepper flakes.

Occasionally we will make cornbread to accompany the meal, but truth be told 9 times out of 10, I forget to buy cornbread. 

Growing up, my parents always served chili over rice. My family had mixed reactions to this, but this is just another alternative to serving this dish. The rice does make it even MORE filling. So if you need this dish to go a LONG way - add in rice.

Reheating Chili

How you eat it is up to you! This meal is versatile, very filling and gets better each time you reheat it! We typically throw leftovers into a pot and then put in the refrigerator. This lets us reheat the chili easily in just a few minutes on the stove top. 

 

Chili Leftover Recipes

As a mom, my favorite thing about chili is we make several meals out of it. In addition to chili, we also make chili-cheese burritos or chilitos, as our family calls them. Other chili leftover favorites include chili hot dogs and Frito chili pie. Needless to say, I make a lot when I am cooking it, it lasts about 5 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze for later.

While I am partial to our family’s recipe, chili is one of those dishes that can be made a thousand ways! We’ve rounded up a wide variety of Chili Instant Pot recipes from all over the internet for you to try. From vegetarian to no bean to chicken or turkey – we have a wide variety of chili recipes for the Instant Pot that you and your family will surely love!

Instant Pot Chili Recipes Round-Up

The best Instant Pot Chili recipes from across the internet! From chicken chili to vegetarian chili, here are the best recipes for making chili in the Instant Pot!

Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe for the Instant Pot

If you love Wendy’s chili, check out this copycat recipe! via A Night Owl Blog

Wendy's copycat chili recipe instant pot

Smoke Chipotle Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili

Looking for a healthy chili recipe? This smoke chipotle turkey and sweet potato chili can be made on the stove top or IP. 

Smoky Chipotle Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili (Instant Pot + Stove Top)

Instant Pot Ground Turkey Lentil Chili

Herer’s another turkey chili recipe, but this time with lentils. 

Instant Pot Ground Turkey Lentil Chili

5 Minute Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Add the word MAC to any recipe and my kids are totally in. This unique chili recipe feature macaroni! Talk about kid-friendly!

5 Minute Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Turkey Chili

Instant Pot Tasty Turkey Chili

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is one of my new faves. I love everything about this recipe! 

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Chili (Paleo + Whole30)

This is another fun twist on chicken chili. Bonus – Paleo and Whole30 friendly! via Farmstead Chic

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Chili Recipe

4-Ingredient Instant Pot Chicken Chile Verde

4-Ingredient Instant Pot Chicken Chile Verde

Pressure Cooker Vegan Chili

Vegan? I told you we have a recipe for everyone! via Eat Within Your Means

Vegan Instant Pot Chili

 

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili Recipe

Here is another sweet potato chili. I have made a similar dish and was amazed at the way sweet potatoes work so well with all of the other ingredients!

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili Recipe

Instant Pot Chicken Chili No Beans

Looking for a chicken but NO beans chili recipe, well here you go! 

Instant Pot Chicken Chili No Beans

Now you are set! No excuses, get out your Instant Pot and start pressure cooking!

Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

Check our favorite Instant Pot Recipes


Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Instant Pot Recipes

Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Instant Pot Recipes

Make your Thanksgiving sides in no time with these thanksgiving menu Instant Pot recipes. 

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Instant Pot Recipes

It’s that time of year. In just a few weeks, a plethora of family and friends will gather to eat, drink and be merry and grateful. The only problem is that you have to do the cooking. We don’t want that to be a problem – we’ve got you covered with Instant Pot recipes for your side dishes for Thanksgiving. 

Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Instant Pot Recipes

This past year, our family has become a family of IP users.  That said,  I know several of these Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes will be used for our family feast!

Whether you are looking for easy Thanksgiving sides or traditional Thanksgiving sides, the Instant Pot can not only make your food in a jiffy – it will make it delicious.  We have gathered the best Thanksgiving sides to cook in your Instant Pot. They are organized below and we hope that you find just the recipes you need to complete your Thanksgiving meal. 

Thanksgiving Vegetable Side Dishes

Looking for some veggies to add to your menu? We’ve rounded up several Thanksgiving vegetable side dish Instant Pot recipes. 

Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides Instant Pot Recipes

Cheesy Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

Kick up your asparagus game with this delicious Instant Pot asparagus recipe. 

Instant Pot Cheesy Asparagus Wrapped In Bacon

2 Minute Steamed Broccoli

Broccoli in 2 minutes? YES, please. 

Instant Pot 2 Minute Steamed Broccoli

Brown Sugar Carrots

I’m not a fan of carrots, but definitely a fan of brown sugar! This delicious vegetable side only takes 4 minutes to cook!

Brown Sugar Carrots Pressure Cooker recipe

Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole

Not a favorite of mine, but something my mom will for sure have on the dinner table is green bean casserole. 

Instant Pot or Slow cooker Green Bean Casserole

Instant Pot Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob takes just a few minutes in the IP. It’s a crowd favorite and will fill a menu slot for one of your Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes. 

How to Make Delicious Instant Pot Corn on the Cob

Sweet Potatoes

YUM! Cinnamon and sugar, butter and oh yes, the sweet potato. Who says vegetables have to be 100% healthy? 🙂

Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes 

Somethings people expect on the table each and every year. Here is a collection of traditional Thanksgiving side dish Instant Pot recipes. 

Traditional Thanksgiving SIdes - Instant Pot Recipe

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

My friend Gena knows her way around the kitchen. Mashed Potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple and this IP mashed potato recipe does NOT disappoint!

How To Make Easy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Instant Pot Stuffing

Yes, folks – even your dressing or stuffing can be made in the Instant Pot. Here is proof.

Stuffing in the Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Okay, Macaroni and Cheese is not just for kids. Consider making a Macaroni and Cheese bar with bacon, chives, various cheese and you can appease the mac and cheese loving masses! Best part, in the Instant Pot this traditional Thanksgiving side dish takes no time.

View the Recipe at Slap Dash Mom

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce, anyone? Make lots of this and use the cranberry sauce as a spread on day after Thanksgiving sandwiches.

Homemade Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Rice in the Instant Pot

Rice may not be a traditional Thanksgiving recipe in your home, but in ours it totally is. My dad is half-Japanese. We grew up eating rice with EVERY meal. Like seriously. I remember rice in the rice maker, with SPAGHETTI. We make rice a lot in our house, and in the Instant Pot it is the absolute best.

Here is a tip – splurge and buy the Japanese medium grain or short grain rice. It’s a game changer. 

View Recipe at You Make It Simple

Unique Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Make it unique! Want to spice things up this year? These Unique side dishes for Thanksgiving all can be made in the Instant Pot and aren’t too far out there! 

Unique Thanksgiving Side Dishes - Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Guinness Mac and Cheese

Definitely not your traditional side, this unique side dish for Thanksgiving take mac and cheese to a whole new level. 

Instant Pot Guinness Mac and Cheese

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Make this ahead of time as a Thanksgiving appetizer! 

Instant Pot Artichoke and Spinach Dip Applebee’s Copycat

Cheesy Grits

This unique side dish will add a different texture to your meal. 

Instant Pot Cheesy Grits

Instant Pot Cinnamon Apple Sauce

Do you have a lot of kids coming for dinner? Cinnamon applesauce in the Instant Pot is a great unique Thanksgiving side dish that both parents and kids will appreciate. Bonus, make extra – this stuff is amazing and you will want to eat after the holiday!

Easy Instant Pot Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe

Brazilian Potatoes

These aren’t your traditional Thanksgiving potatoes, but doesn’t mean these aren’t delicious. Bonus – they are Whole 30!

Whole 30 Hearty Brazilian Potatoes In The Instant Pot

20 Minute Jacket Potato Recipe

These look so delicious and a great unique alternative to the traditional mashed potato side dish.

Instant Pot 20 Minute Jacket Potato

Cinnamon Honey Butter

This side is to be used to smear on your favorite rolls!

Cinnamon Honey Butter Recipe

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and I hope that these Thanksgiving side dishes that can be made in the Instant Pot make their way to your table!

Thankful Printable

Download our free Thankful Printable

 

How To Write Thank You Notes In Bulk – Thank You Note Hack!

How To Write Thank You Notes In Bulk – Thank You Note Hack!

Do you have a ton of thank you notes to write? Well we have a thank you note hack that has saved us several hours, and just might do the same for you!

Thank You Note Hack

We are in the season of gratitude and a great way to show your appreciation is a thank you note.  Perhaps you are writing thank you notes for wedding gifts, baby shower, a birthday party, bridal shower or maybe Christmas – whatever the reason, if you have several thank yous to write – we have a hack that you will love! 

Thank you printable hack

Thank You Letter Writing Campaign

So here is the deal. Our school has a Thank You letter-writing campaign that they put on each fall before Thanksgiving break. The idea is that parents write letters of thanks showing gratitude to any and all teachers and staff that they feel need recognition and praise. 

We have 4 kids in 3 schools. Our kids require a LOT of support, and our school district is amazing at doing just that. So, of course, we are going to participate and write letters of gratitude, but there are so many to write. Last year, I started using this thank you hack and it was a time saver – plus it looked so much better than my terrible handwriting. Here is how I write thank you notes in bulk. 

Writing Thank You Notes in Bulk

I made a YouTube video showing you exactly how I write all of these notes in a short period of time. This is a great hack to speed up the process and yet still show your gratitude and appreciation. Again, this thank you note hack works great for any situation in where you have to write a large number of thank you notes. 

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PicMonkey Tutorial

Picmonkey Tutorial Thank you notes

We use PicMonkey in the tutorial above – and for a majority of our graphics projects. It’s super easy to use, especially if you are in need of a simple but powerful graphics utility. Click here and get a 7-day free trial.

Paper for Notes

This is the paper that I use to print the thank you letters on. 

Free Thank You Note Template

Here is the free Thank You Note Template. Use this free thank you printable your notes of gratitude!

free thank you printable

To download our free thank you printable – enter your email below to receive our free thank you printable as well as subscribe to our free printables list. 

 
Be obsessively grateful
Be obsessively grateful this holiday season, and thru-out the year. A simple thank you note can make someones day and shows how much you appreciate their kind gestures!