The iMums Christmas Gift Guide 2014 – With Great Giveaways Too!

The iMums Christmas Gift Guide 2014 – With Great Giveaways Too!

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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones? 2014 is drawing to a close and it is time to start shopping for Christmas Gifts. The iMums have been searching far and wide for gifts that will be a hit with family members of all ages. Which ones are on your wish list this Holiday Season ?

We have picked out some of our favorite products from the past year to share with you including products for the home,and office,  for the young and young at heart, gifts for use on the go, photography picks, and some brand new cases for the iPhone!

 

Gifts for The Young and Young at Heart

In this section we highlight some cool products that kids and teens will enjoy, but they aren’t just for kids – adults will have just as much fun racing a rally car, enjoying a light and sound show or feeling the soothing effects of playing with sand.

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For the Home and Office

We have a great selection of gift ideas for the home and office. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a pet lover, a home baker,

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Gifts for On-The-Go

We have a great range of on-the-go gift ideas including mobile storage solutions, portable speakers and bags and cases for the avid traveller and those who like to stay closer to home.

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For the Photographer

Whether you prefer to take pictures with your DSLR or iPhone we have some great gift ideas.

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Stocking Stuffers

These are a few of our favorite gift ideas for $30 or less.

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Giveaways

Giveaway for the Perfect Bake
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a ReadyNAS RN102
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a Minnie Amelie bag from Mia Tui
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win an Ozobot Smart Robot – Congrats to our Winner Helen W – your prize is on the way!!

Sales and offer codes

Yantouch Diamond+ 

From November 18 until December 31, 2014, the Diamond+ is $50 off, priced at only $99 (normally $149) from Amazon Yantouch IceDiamond+  when using coupon code YT50DOFF

Ozobot

To celebrate the launch of #OzoGroove, we’re offering 20% off Ozobot Dual Packs when you use the promo code: GROOVY20 Visit www.ozobot.com to purchase!

Mia Tui

15% off your entire order using the code imums at MiaTuiUSA

 

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 Quandary by Learning Game Network -a Unique Free Game to Encourage Ethical Decision Making Skills

Quandary by Learning Game Network -a Unique Free Game to Encourage Ethical Decision Making Skills



iPad Screenshot 1

Quandary

Quandary by Learning Game Network is a unique award-winning game developed to help youth work on their ethical reasoning skills. It has won Game of the Year at the 2013 Games for Change Festival, the Silver Medal in Education at the 2013 Serious Play Awards, and Most Meaningful Game at the 2012 Meaningful Play Awards. Quandary is free and available as an online game and also as an iPad app. The Learning Game Network  is a non-profit, and the game was funded via a grant, so there is no cost to play and no adverts. When you first play you are asked to create a player profile, which involves creating an account and logging in. You can just play as a guest instead, but creating a profile allows you to save your progress and resume your game on a different device or platform. As a parent I don’t allow my children to play online games often, but I felt this was safe – you are not interacting with other players, the account just lets you save progress and appear on the leaderboard.

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about Quandary in an online chat with it’s creators. In developing Quandary their mission was to create a game that would help children and young adults work on their ethical thinking skills. They deliberately made a game where there is no one “right” answer, to avoid players just picking the obvious right answers, and instead making them really think about the decisions and consider opposing views.  The focus of the game is learning how to take other peoples opinions into account, and working to create the best solution for the society as a whole, rather than for the individual. After the call I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to try it out with my almost 11- year-old son.

iPad Screenshot 3

The app is Science Fiction adventure based in the future, and you play the role Captain of a new human settlement on the far off Planet Braxos. The app currently has 3 episodes each with a different quandary that needs a solution. The background stories about the settlement and about each dilemma, are told via comic strips. If the player isn’t a fluent reader they can tap on the text and it is narrated.

As the Captain of the settlement it is your job to listen to the settlers and decide which is the best solution for the colony as a whole. You must listen as colonists propose different solutions to the current problem, listen to everyone’s ideas and opinions and make sure they are all as informed as possible about the possible solutions. The 3 episodes each feature a different problem- in “Lost Sheep” a native animal is attacking the colonists sheep; in “Water War” the colony well is contaminated, and in “Fashion Faction” discord breaks out in the colony when the colony tailor starts making special uniforms for his friends.

In the first section of each episode each colonist has something to say about the current issue. The player then sorts these into facts, solutions and other opinions. This encourages critical thinking – I liked how it made my son think about what people were saying – was it a fact or merely an opinion, where they offering a potential solution?

Next you look at the possible solutions you have identified and choose 2 possible solutions to explore further.  You listen to each colonists viewpoint on the possible solutions and you can also present individual colonists with the facts you have discovered, to see if it changes their mind. It is important to listen to both the arguments for, and against, each solution.  After listening to all sides you decide which you think is the best solution for the colony as a whole.

iPad Screenshot 4

You then recommend a solution to the Council back on Earth and present 2 arguments for and 2 arguments against the solution you chose. The council makes their decision and you inform the colony and see what the result is – did the Council agree with your recommendation and do people react how you think they will ?

The first time my son played the game I played with him so we could chat about the decisions he made, and why he chose them. I gave him the option of playing online via our Mac or on the iPad, he chose it play on the computer and was excited to learn later that he could continue his game in progress on the iPad too. The game is played via interactive cards – this was a new experience for both of us as neither of us had played this style of game before.  My son really enjoyed the experience and has chosen to replay the episodes several times to see how changes in his decisions affect the outcome.

After playing it on the iPad he discovered the extra feature on the iOS version that isn’t online – the Character Creator. With this  tool there are 5 more challenges. For each new challenge you select a fact and then need to create a new character and a possible solution for your character to present. You then create a second character with an opinion in support of your possible solution. Although you don’t get to work fully through these challenges they way you do in the episodes, I think the Character Creator is a really useful addition. My son enjoyed creating different characters, and I thought it was a great addition to the game as it got him thinking about creating his own possible solutions to new dilemmas.

iPad Screenshot 5

My son really enjoyed playing Quandary and I thought it did a great job of getting him engaged and really thinking about the issues. Decision making in general is hard for him, so I wasn’t sure if he would find it stressful making these decisions, he didn’t instead he found it fun. As a parent I appreciated the fact that it let him: work on his decision- making skills; had him practice discriminating facts from opinions; learn that decisions often are not black and white, and practice listening to different peoples’ perspectives. I also thought the Character Creator was a great tool for taking these skills one step further in thinking about your own possible solutions to problems. This is a video game I feel good about him playing, it is practicing important life-skills of critical thinking, decision making and perspective taking which is great practice for using these skills in real life.

I would love to see more episodes added in future, I would highly recommend Quandary and it is totally free to play too !

Play online at: QuandaryGame.Org

Or iOS version

Quandary – Learning Games Network

Quandary
Quandary
by Learning Games Network

Category: Games, Entertainment, Educational, Puzzle
Requirements: Compatible with iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 87.49 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: This is a sponsored post as part of the Mission List / Quandary campaign. All opinions offered are my own.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Eyefi Mobi SD card by Eyefi – Review

Eyefi Mobi SD card by Eyefi – Review

Transfer wirelessly

What we love…

Simple to set up and use with automatic sync to your devices

What we’d love to see…

reminders as Eyefi cloud is closer to expiring as well as a bit more use friendly interface

Summary

This card made me start using my digital camera again – I had so many photos that were on there that I had never downloaded – now it’s so simple!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

How many times do you take photos on your digital camera and find them “stuck” on the camera when you can’t find your camera cord, don’t have time to sync them or even worse lose your camera?  Eyefi has come out with an innovative card which allows you to wireless sync your photos from your camera to your phone, tablet and computer as well as storing them in the cloud – all without you having to do anything other than put the camera on view mode and sync with your wireless network once.

Eyefi Mobi is just like a regular SDHC card and is compatible with many cameras  including a point and shoot as well as a DSLR which includes a built in WiFi which will automatically pair your camera to your smartphone, tablet, or computer which allows photos to be synched in moments – without having to worry about finding the cord!  There is an app for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire to allow for easy interface and downloading.  The photos are instantly sync’d allowing you to share and enjoy your photos and enjoy them in the moment with the quality of a digital camera.  I loved how easy it was to sync and the fact that I didn’t have to worry about losing my camera or having pictures stuck on there until I did an annual photo book or needed one.

In terms of improvements, I would like to see enhancements in the iOS app.  I also found that my EyeFi Cloud membership expired one day when I went to sync my phone and it was a bit of a hassle to renew it which I had to do in order to download my photos.  The card comes with a free 90 day cloud service – and I wished that I had been reminded sooner so I wasn’t forced to renew it.  The unlimited cloud is $49 a year.

Simple, easy to use and preserve your memories.  This card made me start using my camera again.  I had misplaced the cord and had been unable to locate it.  We were without a desktop computer at the time so I was very excited to take photos of my kids with the card so I wouldn’t lose out on memories of them and they were better quality than what I was able to get on my smartphone.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

The card retails from $49.99 for 8 gigabytes and a 90 day cloud storage to $99.99 and 32 gigabytes along with the same cloud storage. A full year of cloud storage can be purchased when you get the card as well. Available from Eyefi, Best Buy, newegg.Amazon another other retailers.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Space Bar Monitor stand + 6-port USB hub by Quirky – Review

Space Bar Monitor stand + 6-port USB hub by Quirky – Review

Quirky - Space Bar 6-Port USB Hub - Back

What we love…

easy to set up out of the box, reduces clutter on your desk and maximizes charging space for a variety of devices which use USB charging

What we’d love to see…

a better place to store your cords when not in use as well as a better description of which ports you can use for what, I found some ports worked for synching my iPhone while others did not

Summary

Overall, a fun easy to use accessory which will minimize clutter on your desk and allow you to charge multiple devices as well as providing additional storage space

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The Quirky Space Bar Monitor stand is much more than your basic monitor stand – it’s also a six port USB hub that also holds your monitor.  The dimensions of the product are 21.88 x 6.63 x 1.88 inches and on each end it includes four USB hubs along with power on the back and two additional plugs for USB products.  I placed a standard 27″ monitor along with the various devices I was charging including my camera, two iPads, an iPhone on the stand.  The stand is rated to hold 25 lbs and I think mine was holding about that with all the items I was charging.  The device does take up quite a bit of space, especially on smaller desks, but it makes up for the lost space in being multifunctional.  In addition, when not in use, a standard Apple keyboard (and some PC keyboards) will fit in underneath the stand allowing you to have more space at your workstation.  Quirky is a company that works with inventors who submit their ideas for a product.  Once the product is submitted to Quirky, the power of social media takes over and a variety of people help the inventor with their idea and  decide if the product should be built out further and then voted on to see if production should move forward.  After that, if the product is selected to be manufactured then people can purchase it via a variety of methods including Quirky’s site, Amazon and other sites.  Typically once the first run of a product runs out, Quirky will incorporate feedback in the product before making another batch of them.  The inventor of this product is Michael Cavada who is a teacher at a school in Pennsylvania who teaches photography and runs a Mac® computer lab who was trying to come up with a solution for keeping the room neat and tidy.

More space, more portsThe Space Bar is a sleek addition to my desk which allows me to seamlessly charge my gadgets.  I liked that you could charge any device that used USB which meant you could charge phones, tablets, speakers, frankly anything that used USB.  I frequently have more things to plug in than space on my desktop and laptop so this seemed like a nice solution that was very quick to set up out of the box and start using.  I liked that it helped to minimize the clutter on my desk by providing one spot for me to charge everything and the black surface made it easy to clean and didn’t collect dust on my computer parts.  Another solution could be that instead of using the space underneath for your keyboard that you could slide your gadgets underneath and put them out of sight.  I also slid an external backup drive as well as a few other things underneath the device instead of putting my keyboard under there which meant they were quick at hand when I needed them.

One of my wishes for the Space Bar was a place to store the cords when I wasn’t charging things.  When I finished charging things I was left with the cables which were just hanging out on my desk.  It would have been nice to have something to coil them up on so I could leave them plugged in but not have the clutter on my desk.  I also wish there was a way to have the USB ports sync your Apple devices with your iTunes account, currently the front four ports will allow you to sync but the back two do not.  I also wish that there was an option to remove the backlight from the ports when not in use – it’s a neat feature during the day, but if you have your computer set up in your bedroom it can be a bit of a deterrent to sleep.

Overall, this is a space saving solution that provides six USB ports in either white, aluminum or black to match your choice of colors for your desk.  The model I tested had USB 2.0 ports, although I’ve been told they have upgraded to USB 3.0 now.  The price point for the product seems to be on target given that you get additional desk space, the ability to charge multiple devices as well as a cleaner look for your desk.

This product can be purchased in black or white for $99.00 or for $129 in brushed aluminum and is available from Quirky here .

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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