Sorting Through The Overwhelming Options Of Today’s Convertible Car Seats

As an expectant Mom, I was quite shocked when I went car seat shopping for the first time. The number of available options as well as the different types of seats to choose from was a little hard to process at first. Luckily I had some friends who had just gone through the same experience that were able to shed some light on everything for me. The first thing they suggested was to decide which type of child seat was going to make the most sense for our family’s situation.

With a mind on our finances, we decided that getting a convertible child seat made the most sense for us. We really did not want to end up having to buy a new seat every two or three years, so this seemed like the logical choice. Once that was set, then we could set out to find the right convertible car seat that would be the most suitable for our family. This let us really zero in on a few models and made things a lot easier for us. With that in mind, we thought we would do the same for you.

Convertible Car Seats On Our Short List

Now we were lucky enough to have a rather healthy budget when we went shopping, but there were also a few budget-friendly models that appealed to us. Below are some of the more appealing car seats that we realistically considered.

Britax Marathon ClickTight

This particular seat seemed to have the right balance of safety and convenience features at the price point we were hoping to come in at. Britax is a highly reputable brand with a proven track record for making high quality seats for kids. We really were intrigued by the “ClickTight” system on their seats that led to easy installation. We planned on moving it between two different cars and we did not want to get something that was a pain to deal with every day. This model had a lot going for it.

  • Excellent side impact protection with padded foam designed to absorb energy from a crash.
  • Easy installation that is laid out well and is easy to follow.
  • Easy to maintain materials that are plush and comfortable.
  • Easy to adjust harness and buckle. No fuss to get the right fit on your child.
  • Mid-range price that made it extremely appealing to us.

The Marathon ClickTight also got excellent feedback and reviews from parents which helped raise our confidence level. But did we buy this one? Find out in a bit.

Chicco NextFit Zip

This also sounded like a winner for us as the ability to unzip the seat cover and drop it in the washing machine sounded almost too good to be true. We know that kids are a mess waiting to happen and to have something that could stand up to years of use and be able to easily wash when needed was indeed an ideal selling point.

  • Easy maintenance. The “Zip” is music to the ears of obsessed parents who must have everything tidy and clean.
  • Excellent safety features that shine in tests to meet all of the required standards for child seats.
  • Sturdy frame and strong construction that you can feel. You can definitely drive with peace of mind knowing your angel is protected in the back seat.
  • Superb ratings from parents that give it very high scores for its performance and every day ease of use.
  • Two cup holders, which is something to not overlook.

The NextFit Zip hits a lot of the important marks that we were looking for in a new seat. Its features and owner reviews put this at the top of our list after we got done reading about it.

Graco 4Ever

This seat from Graco is an all in one option that not only does everything an infant seat can do, but it even transforms into a booster seat when your child is big enough. It is designed to be the only seat that you will need and has an amazing 10 year lifespan which really sounded amazing to us.

A convertible seat that is rated for kids 5 to 110 pounds. It can handle the duties of an infant, convertible, and booster seat. You will really save a lot of money in the long term with only having to buy one seat.

  • Tested and passed all safety standards with formidable side impact protection.
  • Easy to install and use on an everyday basis with adjustable harness and multiple recline positions so you can achieve the perfect fit.
  • Cup holders which are a real blessing.
  • Fantastic overall value.

This is another safety seat that also gets raves from parents. This is important factor for us because we value the advice of those who have actual experience with their child seats. The Graco 4Ever gets very high feedback, which made our decision that much tougher.

And The Winner Is…

After reading some of the best convertible child car seat reviews we decided to go with the Chicco Nextfit Zip for a variety of reasons. I mentioned something about it being perfect for obsessed Moms who need everything to be clean, well I was talking about myself. The convenience that this child seat offers to quickly zip the seat cover on or off has been a godsend for me. It has indeed been a breeze to maintain and keep looking like new.

We absolutely love using this seat and our daughter really enjoys riding in it. She also loves to sleep in it which also makes for a happy driver. We do recognize that we are going to have to get a booster seat at some point, but in the mean time this model should be exactly what we need.

You really couldn’t go wrong with any of the choices above, and in all honesty, there are lots of other great choices out there. But these are the car seats that made our list as we looked to narrow things down and cut through the confusion. Hopefully, it has done the same for you.

Stephanie / October 2, 2017 / Health

Tips For Transitioning Your Child To Solid Foods

Starting babies on solid foods can be a fun and messy activity for parents. The important thing to remember is that this is a slow and patient process. You have to monitor their progress continuously.See what foods your baby prefers over others and feed only those items to ensure that the baby doesn’t eat less than usual. The following are some things you must know about introducing solid food to newborns. This is just a guide and you should always consult your pediatrician for the best possible advice concerning your child.

What Foods Should You Start With?

First of all, ensure that the food is pureed and bland. This includes vegetables, fruits, barley cereal, oat cereal and rice cereal. You don’t have to spend extra money to buy pureed baby solids. This can be easily done at home as long as you remove the seeds and skin. Pureed fruits and vegetables are also nutritious and you will find out about the preferences of your baby in this way.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

For the initial two years, don’t go for foods that might cause the baby to choke. This includes foods with thick skin, seeds or nuts. Also avoid foods that are allergens like nut oils and shellfish. Stay away from cow’s milk. These foods can put some pressure on the digestive system and your baby’s system isn’t strong enough to handle it. You should also stay away from honey in the first two years.

Should The Food be Organic?

It is not a strict necessity for the food to be organic. Most foods with the label of ‘infant food’ are carefully tested in the industry and are safe for your baby. However, if you want to go for organic food for your baby, you can buy it.

What Is The Frequency of Feeding Solid Food to Newborns?

Solids are typically introduced when your baby is about 4 – 6 months old. Make sure that you feed small servings of solids once a day. The serving size should be between 1tsp to 1tbsp. As your baby grows older, the serving frequency can be increased by months. This means, that if you are serving the baby 1 serving at 4 months of age, you can move on to 2 servings at 5 months of age and so on. However, for a one year old, the servings shouldn’t be more than 6 a day.

Do You Need To Buy Special Equipment?

All you need is a feeding utensil and a spoon to feed the baby. No other special equipment is necessary. Don’t use forks or knives because they are dangerous. You might find some special feeding equipment in the market and if you can afford it, you can buy it.

What If The Baby Eats Less Than Normal?

Babies are fickle. They might eat a lot one day and not at all the next. It is nothing to worry about. However, if you notice some sort of a pattern or your baby hasn’t eaten in 3 days, you should definitely consult a doctor.

Be patient with the progress and introduction of new solid foods. This can be a nail biting experience but is something that all parents get through just fine. Here is a quick video to further illustrate some of the points above.

Stephanie / January 26, 2017 / 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

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