Alexa’s living in our kitchen now and she’s a delightful houseguest. She’s knowledgeable, well behaved, entertaining…adding both enjoyment and enlightenment to our mornings. Plus Alexa never plants big fat paws on my counter to steal food, so she’s got that going for her.

We welcomed our Echo right after Christmas, and she is a dream. Here are just a few things I love about her:

** She keeps me in the know.

I’m multitasking like a beast in the morning, so scrolling through a news app isn’t in the cards. Some days it’s a miracle that everyone eats and I get my coffee (plus, you know, dressed), so a device that shares news from NPR, CNN, and Reuters? Yes, please. Plus Alexa will stream stations like NPR or CNN. Score!

** She tells me the weather.

This one is almost foolproof. Alexa can tell me what the temperature is at the moment, the weather for the day, or the forecast for tomorrow. Shoot, she’ll even tell me the weather in Paris, so you can basically know what it feels like anywhere on earth. The only question that’s stumped her so far was about the humidity, but I betcha Amazon could tweak that.

** She plays music. Lots of music. In practically any configuration.

Alexa is my JAM. She’ll play songs by a particular artist or band. She’ll play an artist’s station on Amazon so we’ll hear music in a particular genre. She’ll stream a radio station or search for a song or do random stuff like “Alexa, play music that’s popular in Chicago.” Say WHAT? Super cool, man.

** She is the ultimate in Hands Free.

There are a gazillion ways I need voice control in the kitchen. Hands wet from the sink, fingers gunky from raw chicken, juggling pans and baking sheets during dinner prep…in the good old days I’d just have to suffer through that annoying song I heard a hundred times on the radio, but now? Alexa never judges me, no matter how many times I change my mind about what she should play.

** Falling in the bonus column: Alexa schedules reminders and alarms, too. Because there’s nothing quite as funny as hearing her melodious voice announcing, “This is your 10:50 reminder to: Leave.”