Safety Seat Buying Guide For New Parents

convertible-carseatFinding the right car seat for your little loved one is a crucial process for every parent. Getting something that offers supreme protection, a comfortable experience, fits in the backseat of your car, all in your price range can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are a high number of quality safety seats on the market that you should be able to find the perfect seat that meets all of your needs. When shopping for a new child seat, there are a number of features that you should look out for to ensure that you get the most for your money. Buying a new convertible car seat is a significant investment, especially if you are in need of more than one.

Below are just some of the key factors that you should pay attention to when researching your next big purchase. Finding the best convertible child safety seat for your family can go a long way to ensure your little one is protected while giving you something that is easy to use for your particular vehicle. It will also give some peace of mind and help reduce a lot of the stress associated with driving with a small child.

Car Seat Shopping Tips

Unfortunately, there tend to be various recalls on certain seats over time. It would be a good idea to check out the latest recalls as well as get some timely advice on how to best use a child seat to make sure that are well informed.

Safety: The is the main purpose of the seat, so you want to make sure that it has all of the modern safety features that will benefit your child in case of an accident. Proper side impact protection is one aspect that is vital. Harness functionality and position, frame construction, and meeting required safety standards are all things that you want to be aware of before buying as well. Added features like using energy absorbing foam are also great to have.

Newer models tend to have more advanced features and tend to benefit from years of testing from previous years models. A lot of manufactures learn what works best over time and they will incorporate it into their latest child seats.

Comfort: While safety always takes precedence, making sure that your child will enjoy riding in the seat is also a key factor. There is nothing worse than buying something that meets all your criteria, only to have the little one throw a fit every time that they are strapped into the seat. Plush and breathable materials will help in this area, as well as having a cup holder. Little things like this can go a long way to making the experience more enjoyable for your child.

Weight: If you plan on moving the car seat constantly between different vehicles, then the weight of the seat is going to be important. If it is too heavy, you are more than likely going to give yourself a back ache or just end up leaving it in just one of your automobiles. Getting something that is easier to move around and store is going to make you happier with your purchase, so keep an eye on how much a particular model that you are interested in weighs. This is something that is easy to overlook.

Price: We all would love to save money, but we may feel like we are compromising safety if we look to save a few bucks. While more expensive car seats may have added safety features, more budget friendly models still should meet all safety standards. If you buy from a reputable store then should not have to worry as these seats should meet all regulations. Typically, the top rated convertible car seats will range between $150 and $350.

Graco makes some car seats that get great reviews and are a good option for those on a tight budget. They don’t sacrifice on safety, and they get nice scores from parents. On the higher end there is Britax line of car seats. The Britax Marathon is one of their best selling convertible car seats that is a good alternative for parents with a little more money to spend. The point is there are plenty of high quality options available no matter your budget.

Do not buy used: While it may be tempting to save a few bucks to get a used model, avoid it if you can. You should never buy a convertible car seat that has already been through an accident, even if there is no apparent damage as the forces of the crash may have weakened some of the vital components of the seat. Car seats also have expiration dates so it is always advisable to be buy a brand new seat from a reputable dealer to ensure that you are getting a seat that is in perfect working condition.

Owner Reviews: One of the best ways to judge how a particular child seat performs, you should read the online ratings from those who have purchased the item and have used it. It is best to look at models that have a lot of feedback as they will give you a more complete picture of how well it is made, how easy it is to use, how easy it is to clean and how well children like riding in it. You will also get a better sense of what some of the weaknesses of a seat may be as people tend to complain more than they do praise something in customer reviews. This is a great source of information for perspective buyers.

Stephanie / March 27, 2016 / Health

It’s Never Too Early To Start Exercising With The Kids

top jogging stroller for 2016Many people love BOB strollers because they are high quality, stylish and sporty. The BOB Revolution Flex running stroller does not disappoint in all the three categories. It comes with an adjustable handlebar, which many parents have been asking for a long time. The handlebar comes with nine different height positions, which you can adjust from as low as 34 inches to as high as 45 inches. It is the perfect piece of equipment to take your workout off trail while giving your kids an outside adventure that they will truly love.

Apart from the handlebar, the only other difference between the BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller and the Revolution Flex is a few new colors. The latter comes in four different colors – orange, lagoon, black and wilderness with black or silver frame. This popular stroller is great for daily adventures and is suitable for children between 8 weeks old and 70 pounds. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty on fabric and small parts, and a 5 year limited warranty on the frame. Below is a quick rundown but you can read a full review of the BOB Revolution Flex jogging stroller and see for yourself why this is such a great choice for running on any type of surface and across all types of terrain.

Flex Features

Adjustable Handlebar

The Revolution FLEX comes with an adjustable handlebar with 9 different height positions that goes from 34 inches to 45 inches from the ground. This makes it easy and comfortable to use for all family members. The handlebar is padded nicely with foam cover to provide you with extra comfort. There’s also a wrist strap attached to handlebar to provide additional security in case the stroller moves away from you when jogging.

Swiveling And Lockable Front Wheel

The stroller’s front wheel swivels to allow for better maneuverability, and locks forward for added stability when jogging or taking on rough terrain.

Adjustable Suspension System

This jogging stroller is also equipped with a state of the art adjustable suspension system with 2 stages of weight support to provide you with a super smooth ride.

Two-Step Easy-Fold Frame

Folding the stroller is a two-step process that requires both hands, but it’s easy to do. The easy folding combined with the stroller’s light frame, allows for convenient and quick transport and storage.

5 Point Harness

Just like most strollers nowadays, this stroller also comes with a five-point adjustable harness to help keep your baby secure and comfortable. And the best part is that you can adjust the harness without re-threading it.

Adjustable Reclining Seat

The Flex has a super padded, adjustable reclining seat, to provide your child with maximum support and comfort while sitting. Measuring 14.5 inches wide and 23 inches high, the seat is considered very spacious, so you can be sure that your baby will be comfortable throughout the ride. Its recline system is deep and has two straps that you’ll need to adjust. Note that you’ll need to use both your hands to recline it and bring it back.

Huge Canopy

This stroller comes with a great canopy just like the SE model. It has 2 panels, which go way down, providing lots of shade for your child. And if you want to see what your little one is up to, there’s a large window made of clear plastic to help do just that.

Large Wheels

The stroller rolls on 3 air-filled tires with 2 16-inch wheels in the back and one 12-inch wheel at the front. The large wheels are made using a high impact polymer material that can tackle any terrain with ease. So expect to go with it to the park, beach, or even for jogging within your neighborhood without any problems.

Large Storage Space

There are 2 mesh pockets inside the seat where you can store snacks, toys etc, a zipper pocket in the back where you can put small items, and a large basket which can fit a diaper bag.

Travel System Compatible

With a BOB infant car seat adapter and BOB B-safe infant car seat (these accessories are sold separately) that matches this stroller, you can have a complete travel system.

Pros

  • The huge canopy of the stroller provides a lot of shade to protect your baby from harsh weather conditions.
  • The handlebar has nine different positions, which you can adjust accordingly to make your walk, jog or run more comfortable.
  • The stroller’s seat is very specious and extra padded for maximum comfort. The seat material is also very easy to wash and durable too.
  • Compared to other strollers, the Flex has a large storage space that can comfortably accommodate most of your baby’s things.
  • The large, strong wheels enable you to tackle any terrain with ease.
  • The 5 point adjustable harness of the stroller keeps your baby secure and comfortable.

Cons

  • No Water Bottle holder – Many parents wish that this stroller should have a water bottle or cup holder where they can put their bottle of water while jogging.
  • No automatic Lock – For now, you’ll need to use a strap and a clip to lock this stroller in place after folding. Hopefully, BOB will include automatic lock in the next updates.

If you are looking for a fun way to get back into shape while taking your kids along with you, then having a jogging stroller is a terrific option for parents. This particular stroller from BOB is recommended for anyone who is serious about their running, likes to go off road, and wants something safe and comfortable for their children to ride in. It may be a bit pricey, but the things that this running stroller provides active parents is well worth the investment.

Stephanie / March 19, 2016 / Jogging

The Link Between Sleep And Depression

Healthy sleep

Sleep problems and depression are often linked and intertwined. Some of the signs of depression can leave a person feeling moody, listless, low, easily angered, down in the dumps and overburdened. The contradiction of being tired all throughout the day, while not being able to go to sleep at night or just wanting to sleep the entire day away are often indications that something is wrong.

This is a common scenario nowadays which takes place due to depression and lack of sleep. Depression is an illness that affects at least 20 million people in the US. It is not something that you can assume to be cured on its own, or simply ignore. The cause of depression is not known, but with the help of various treatments it can help to be controlled and sleep patterns can return to a more normal routine.

Lack of sleep and depression, have a tendency to travel together. The relationship between both the conditions is complex and the presence of one of these conditions can contribute to or be the cause of the other condition. In some people, issues with sleeping appear before the onset of depression. For others, depression symptoms appear first. Let’s discuss them in detail, one by one.

How Depression Can Affect Sleep Patterns:

Depression is a health condition that affects the brain functions to a huge extent, which includes the sleep-wake cycle. If the sleep-wake cycle or the biological clock is disturbed, it can lead to irregular sleeping patterns, and that further contributes to the depression. Over a period of time, this can turn into a vicious cycle. People suffering from depression have been found to experience a common condition of not being able to fall asleep. However, the manner in which depression affects one’s sleep differs from person to person. Difficulty in falling asleep may be the major problem for most people with depression, but in some cases (10-20% of people) depression leads to excessive sleeping. Depression can affect sleep patterns in the following ways:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep-Sleep that never feels like “enough”
  • Lack of quality-sleep
  • Difficulty going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Waking up too early
  • Difficulty concentrating and irritability
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Feeling tired once awake

Depression and sleep are co-related and regardless of the type of sleep disorder, one of the long-term effects of depression is the development of sleep debt, which further creates new problems.

How Disruptive Sleep Patterns Can Affect Depression and Mood:

Sleep is the most naturally efficient way for our bodies and minds to rejuvenate. You don’t need a sleep expert to tell you that disruptive sleep patterns make you more vulnerable to worry, stress, and anxiety. When we don’t get sufficient amount of sleep, even the simple issues appear to be complicated and overwhelming. Without enough sleep, we can quickly lose our ability to concentrate and maintain perspective, which in turn gives rise to unwanted stress and decreases our ability to calm down. Evidence suggests that individuals with insomnia have a greater risk of developing depression as compared to those with no problems with sleeping. Insomnia has been found to be common among depressed patients since years, but a new research shows that it may actually trigger the mental disorder! In a study, depressed patients suffering from insomnia were seventeen times more likely to not overcome depression after a year compared to the patients who were having a good amount of sleep all year round.

Recurring insomnia can lead to severe depression, so depression and sleep are linked and the diagnosis for your problem needs to be correct. Depression and mood swings are related to disruptive sleep patterns, and disruptive sleep patterns further aggravate depression. But here’s the good news! Treating one of these conditions may have a spillover benefit for the other! The natural solution to get rid of your blues could be as simple as getting enough sleep. If you can look for ways to sleep better during the night time, it will surely help combat your depression over a period of time.

A lot of people who suffer from disruptive sleep patterns are hesitant to go for Western sleep medications as they’re concerned about the possible side effects and addiction. However, if your insomnia is at an initial stage and not too serious, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help you! Various herbs (such as kava kava, passion flower and valerian) have a calming effect on the mind and body. Yoga is yet another non-invasive and a calming way of dealing with depression and sleep disorders. Getting quality sleep is vital to both physical and mental health and problems in this area should not be ignored.

Stephanie / March 3, 2016 / Health

Why Getting A Juicer Is A Great Investment For Your Health

Juicer review buying guideMany of us will understand the health benefits that come from eating fruits and vegetables, though we still prefer junk foods such as cheeseburgers, fried chicken, doughnuts and many of the others. If you find it difficult to consume veggies, buying a quality juicer is an incredible idea to help improve ones’ health. With a juicer, it is possible to maximize intake of nutrients from both the fruits and veggies since it is convenient compared to preparing two separate meals.  Plus, with all of the possible healthy juicing recipes to experiment with, you will never get bored with all of the different combinations that you can try.

Studies liken ingestion of freshly made veggie juice to a shot of intravenous infusion of enzymes, minerals and vitamins as they are directly absorbed by the body. For example, light energy is present in a raw fruit juice and helps to restore body energy faster.

A morning intake of the juice gives one an immense natural energy boost instead relying on stimulants such as coffee. This is because the juice already exists in a digestible form that readily revitalizes the body’s energy levels in a very short period. Freshly made fruit and veggie juice increases body energy. This is because with sufficient nutrients under optimum balanced pH, you ought to feel positively energized. Although it does cut out fiber which is beneficial to the digestive tract, juicing does have numerous benefits that can positively impact your overall health.

Helps Reduce Health Risks

Fruits and vegetables offer a variety of minerals and vitamins, which actually does not matter whether it is in solid or liquid because it is vitally beneficial to our health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that fruits and vegetable nutrients reduce risks of getting bone loss, kidney stones, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Unfortunately, most households fall short of the recommendations for consumption of fruit and vegetables. Juicing enables and guarantees us meet the daily threshold consumption of a healthier amount of fruits and vegetables more efficiently.

Still Nutritious

Liquid calories are easily received and handled by the body as compared to solid ones. This is thus it is comfortable and easy to consume more of the juice than eating them whole. For instance, it takes four to five passions to make one cup of liquid, which avails the same quantity of minerals and vitamins, but in a larger portion than taking each fruit at a time. At some point, you get fed up before finishing them.

The same is to veggies as it is possible to broaden the variety of veggies in our diet. A lot of people consume the same type of vegetable-salads throughout the year, which violates the principle of constant food rotation and risks inviting an allergy condition for certain foods. It restricts the number of various phytochemicals in a diet that crucial to boost immune system, as each vegetable contains unique nutritional benefits. With juicing, all these are combined in one meal.

Efficient Digestion

Indeed, juicing process removes fiber from vegetables as well as fruits, however, the liquids digestion process requires less energy than solids one. So, juices are readily digestible thus allows for the efficient digestion process. Additionally, juicing leaves the fruit and vegetable enzymes intact, unlike cooking, heat sometimes destroys them. The enzymes are very important catalysts for chemical and metabolism reactions.

Due to less-than-optimal diet choices over several years, it ends up impairing our digestion system. This is likely to limit the body’s absorbency ability of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Juicing helps “pre-digest” such essential nutrients hence avails a great portion of the nutrition to the body saving it from excretion.

Weight Loss

Other than the aforementioned benefits, juicing helps promote weight loss. A health research has revealed that adults who integrated fruit and vegetable juicing in their diet, and drank more than seven ounces of the juice shed off four pounds over three months. Whereas the rest who stuck to the diet, but ate them as a whole meal managed to lose one pound. This is attributed to a significant increase in potassium and vitamin C intake and reduce overall carbohydrate consumption.

Lead a healthy life by juicing all the fruit and vegetable meals to avoid losing such freshness and nutrition. Processed products come with intoxication that overtime pile up to eventually harm different body organs like liver, kidney to mention but a few. Take control of your health by producing your own customized drinks for a better lifestyle.

Buying A Juicer

If you have gotten to the point where you are ready to take back control of your diet and the foods that you depend on every day for energy, it is time to pick yourself up a juicer.  But where should you begin your search?  We recommend Veggie Files juicer reviews for the latest juice extractor details and how well they rate with owners.  There are several high quality centrifugal and masticating juicers that will get the job done.  There are also several brands that make dependable high end juicers such as Breville and Omega.  Reading the latest reviews will give you a solid foundation to help you find something that will best serve your needs.  If you don’t want to spend a lot of time juicing, then a centrifugal juicer is a better choice.  If the highest quality, nutrient dense juice is most important, then a masticating juicer is the way to go.

No matter what type of juicer you end up purchasing, you will be well on your way to reclaiming your health and improving how you feel.  Juicing is here to stay as more people realize just what it can do for them.  Do something good for yourself today and get a juice extractor for your kitchen.

Stephanie / October 7, 2015 / Health

Walking Home With A Toaster Oven

While I always try to give as many reasons to participate in charitable events as possible, such as a walkathon, I will now appeal to the selfish side that is lurking in all of us. Some of us do not like to admit that it is there, and it is bigger in some people than others, but we all possess it. So for those that need some extra motivation, I present to you the wonderful world of raffles. Yes, most of the events that I go to have some sort of raffle, and through the kindness of product donations you can walk away with some pretty nice gifts.

Case in point, 4 months ago I came home with a brand new toaster oven. I did not think that I needed a toaster oven, I was not looking to get a new one, I do not even make toast but twice a year, but this thing is awesome. It is actually more oven than toaster and I now find myself using this everyday. And this is just one of the many awesome things that you can end up winning. All you have to do is buy a cheap ticket to get in the drawing.

After Winning

Breville convection toaster ovenWhen I got home with my new haul I wasn’t quite sure what I had. I didn’t know if it was a cheap appliance that was one step above an Easy Bake oven. Well to my surprise I had won one of the top toaster ovens on the market. I started going through various online reviews and found that the Breville smart oven that I was staring at on my kitchen counter was the best rated toaster oven on most of these review sites. Talk about excited.

When I finally unboxed the BOV800XL (best model) I could see why this thing was so highly rated, and I hadn’t even plugged it in yet. This thing is sharp looking. Stainless steel, shiny knobs, and a LCD display. This is a toaster oven straight off of the Starship Enterprise. The next step of course was to give it a test run.

Turning on My Breville Smart Oven

After quickly flipping through the instruction manual I figured there was no better way to test it out than to make some toast. This helped me meet my quota for yearly toast consumption. The inside of this oven is quite roomy and I had to take some other appliances off of my countertop, that I don’t use, just to make some room for it. It did a wonderful job on the toast, not that I am a toast expert, but I was impressed.

The first night with my new machine I was like a kid who just got a new bike at Christmas. I would just stare at it sitting all shiny in my kitchen. That was actually the first time that I felt bad about the shape my kitchen was in, that is how nice this oven looks. After that I was ready to delve into the world of cooking with my new toaster oven.

No More Fast Food

After I had gone through the oven reviews, I next tried to find me some recipes to give this thing a proper workout. I ended up trying a simple chicken drumstick and potato dish. I did not want to turn into a snob so fast and just left it simple. After following the recipe I was left with meal that was probably the best that I had in a few months. I was skeptical that a countertop oven could actually cook something good, but this dish came out better than good. It was moist, cooked evenly, and it smelled fantastic. From that moment on I was hooked.

I then started finding more recipes that I could use for the entire family. Full bird chicken dishes, casseroles, fish, you name it and this Breville toaster oven could handle it. Of course I quickly realized just how well this gem bakes as well. We went on quite the cooky binge at first, although we have tapered down from our sugar rush. After a few weeks I found that I was cooking more, and getting fast food, or frozen meals less. Not only was it simple, but I was able to make healthier meals that everyone could enjoy. I was a happy Mom, and this little oven did it.

Moral of The Story

You never know what you are going to get when you end up doing good things. I ended up going to this rally for breast cancer, and I come home with something that has transformed the way that I feed myself and my family. Good things to happen to good people sometimes. So get out there and give of yourself, because you never know what you might get in return.

Check out the following video to check out what my awesome oven can do.

Stephanie / May 4, 2015 / Cooking