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My Year with Iris, the DIY Smart Home {& Security} SystemNo matter how hard we try to green our houses, when it comes to raising children it’s just as important to consider home security. And, thanks to technological advancements, it’s getting easier and, at times, cheaper to do just that.

The Perks of Today’s Security Systems

After trying out some products from the Iris by Lowe’s line, I can vouch for the ease of installing and using a simple DIY security system. I always considered trying out a security company but was turned off by the high cost and annoyance of a monthly subscription plan. While there is an option with Iris to purchase a plan that works for your family, the idea that I could simply make a one-time purchase and have control over a level of security that meets our needs appealed to me most. In this case, yes, cheaper can be better.

When people hear that a system is DIY, they sometimes go running in the opposite direction, even thinking that the product will have less effectiveness. This is another area that I was pretty impressed, though. Every time someone opens a door or window with a sensor it is logged and I can see right away on the app on my smartphone, whether the alarm is engaged or not. Let’s just say that parents with teenagers may just find some additional peace of mind with Iris. Regardless, alerts are super fast, so no issues there, whatever the issue and with the paid subscription you can even extend those alerts to other family members.

Another perk of this system is that common false alarms don’t have to result in officers making a needless trip to your property. If you have pets or little kids who like to trip alarms, for example. Sometimes, even if you know the cause a tripped alarm on other systems can result in unwelcome visits. I’ve never personally had this type of system but I have been at the home of others when these types of situations have happened.

When It Might Be Good to Purchase the Added Subscription

While I do wish there were more flexibility in the free level of the app, there is a whole host of options available to you with the added subscription – particularly when it comes to the automation of your home. If that aspect of the Iris system interests you, the upgrade is a must, and doesn’t mean you have to be locked into a contract (it’s totally month to month!).

On the security and peace of mind side, if you have elderly or disabled family members living on their own, the upgraded subscription would help tremendously. The Pro allows for other individuals to be immediately notified if the service is tripped, whether by the individual in the house during an emergency (panic buttons and pendants are both available) or by an intruder. I like the fact that it allows for independence while still maintaining safety. We just had a close elderly relative endure an accident in which her hip was injured and this feature’s panic button could have been a huge asset if she had had it. The value here is not even a question.

Another important thing to note is that if you do choose to opt for the paid plans, you can cancel at any time — you are never locked into a minimum monthly plan. This is just one more way that this system is truly customizable for your needs.

Connected Home, Connected Life

Iris by Lowes App HistoryIt’s hard to find a balance in the 21st century between too much technology and keeping that all-important connection to nature and oneself. Some of us may strive to go off the grid and make a homestead while others are happy to live by their smartphones and social media. Truly, there’s no right or wrong way.

I prefer to find the resources that work best for me and my family, to weed out the useless, wasteful technology and just use what I deem to be a good fit for us. Having a foundation of security with this simple system allows me the freedom to turn my attention to our priorities of finding eco-friendly, sustainable ways to live. I do feel those two things can coexist. It’s about balance and finding what works with your flow.

Final Thoughts

I love that this system was easy to install and to integrate into our home. After using the system for about seven months now, I am certainly happy with how the items have held up. Only recently did our first battery die – and that was on our most used entrance. If I could change one thing, it would be more features on the free version of the app. While the system is already affordable, I feel that it would be a better value with more features to try out before deciding to upgrade. It would also appeal more to me as a DIYer who doesn’t like to be tied to monthly subscriptions, and I think others would feel the same.

Overall, my original skepticism over security systems has melted away after using Iris by Lowe’s. I had hoped for a DIY system that would meet my needs and I found it. Thanks to its flexibility in service choices, I don’t feel weighed down by a monthly subscription and I can feel confident that my family is in a more secure environment. To think that there are additional add-ons in the future that might work as our family goes through new transitions is an added bonus.

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Pokémon Gopocalypse { a.k.a. a Slew of Free Pokemon Go Printables! }Pokémon Go mania is in full swing and as much as I’d like to say that we were totally immune, that’s just not the case. My kids have been playing with and trading Pokémon cards since Ethan was in first grade, more moons ago than I’d like to admit. So when the game hit the app store, my kids were all too excited to ‘see’ the Pokémon they love in the real world.

If I know anything about my kids, it’s that their newest favorite thing quickly becomes the thing that they simply MUST have as their birthday theme. I typically start receiving requests for their next theme about 3 months after their previous birthday. While we’ve never really gone totally Pinterest party on any event, we do like to have some fun touches and since I have some skills, I love being able to design their invitations or other misc. things that can make the day a bit more special.

So that’s my long way of saying “here are some things I made in anticipation of Pokémon Gopocalypse. You can easily print these at home or head to your local copy store if you prefer.

Simply click the photo of the project you’d like to download below to be whisked away to a page with a bit of detail, instructions and, of course, the most important part – the downloadables. There may be more to come, we shall see. I hope you enjoy them!

Pokémon GO: Birthday GO InvitationsPokémon Go HorizontalPokémon Go Teams via EFFblogPokémon Go Vertical

Pokémon Go: PokéBingo Bingo Game

Pokebingo

Pokémon GO: PokéBanner Birthday Banner

PokeBanner Randomized Orientation

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Free Printable Pokémon Go Invitations - several designs and multiple file types for your printing needs!Pokémon Go mania is in full swing and I’ve made a slew of Pokécentric items in anticipation of Pokémon Gopocalypse — or as you might know it, the onslaught of “mom!!! can my birthday be???!!!!!”

I have several Pokémon printables, if you haven’t caught them all you can do so here. (See what I did there?) This page contains the files for the free Pokémon Go printable invitations, or as I like to call them “Birthday Go”.

If you have Photoshop, you can easily download whatever file type you prefer from the list at the bottom of this post and add your details “You are invited to AdorableKidNameHere’s party” or whatever else you like.

If you don’t have editing software you can do it easily, and for free, at PicMonkey.com – just be sure to download the JPG version of the invitations you want.

If you want to get fancy with fonts – there is a free Pokémon font available from DaFont.

Alternatively, if you’d rather just write your info in, you can definitely do that. Just print and get to writing (try a Sharpie on glossy papers).

These invites are 2 per page and formatted to fit on a standard piece of paper (I like to use a full sheet of photo paper). You could easily print it on smaller paper and scale it to fit.

Pokémon Go HorizontalPokémon Go ‘Birthday G0’ 5×7 Horizontal

(featuring Snorlax, Charmander, Eevee, & Pikachu)

PDF Download

Zip file containing JPGs Download

Pokémon Go Vertical

Pokémon Go ‘Birthday G0’ 5×7 Vertical

(featuring Charmander, Eevee, & Pikachu)

PDF Download

Zip file containing JPGs Download

Pokémon Go Teams via EFFblog

Pokémon Go Teams ‘Birthday G0’

(featuring Charmander, Eevee, & Pikachu)

PDF Download

Zip file containing JPGs Download

Professional Printing: If you would like to have prints ordered (instead of printing at home) please email me with the exact invitation you want and I will send you a high res JPG of that invitation.

This file is free to use for personal use only. It is not to be sold or used for commercial purposes in any way, shape, or form. If you would like to make a donation you are welcome to do so, simply click here.

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Pokémon GO: PokéBingo Free Printable Bingo GamePokémon Go mania is in full swing and I’ve made a slew of Pokécentric items in anticipation of Pokémon Gopocalypse (when kids ask for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. to reflect their current obsession.

I have several Pokémon printables, if you haven’t caught them all you can do so here. (See what I did there?) This page contains the files for the free Pokémon Go Bingo game, or as I like to call it, Pokébingo.

This game is formatted to be printed on standard sized paper (8.5 x 11) and is simple to print at home. You can use plain printer paper, or upgrade to card stock for repeat play.

This file contains 10 unique Pokébingo cards + a blank card that you can DIY for more guests. To DIY cards for additional guests simply print as many as you need of that page, cut out the items/characters, and paste them onto the squares to create additional cards.

Pokebingo

Pokébingo Pokémon Go Bingo Game

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This file is free to use for personal use only. It is not to be sold or used for commercial purposes in any way, shape, or form. If you would like to make a donation you are welcome to do so, simply click here.

 

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