No More Digging for Straps- My Baby Carseat SideKick Review

We’ve all been there… you place your sweet bundle of joy peacefully into their car seat only to realize that they’re laying on the straps and you now have to dig around to not only locate them, but you have to physically pull them out from under your baby and try your hardest not to upset the volatile little one … multiply the anxiety by 1,000,000 if your baby is asleep and your plan is to keep them that way. temporary 5

My Baby Carseat SideKick is here to solve that problem. Using something as simple (and extremely innovate) as a magnet, you can now easily pull the straps out of the way and get rid of the hassle of digging around.

The system is simple- two magnetic strap covers, two magnetic bells and (two sets of) two plastic clips. That’s it! It’s really that simple.

I’m not going to lie, I was super skeptical and so was Danny. We seriously thought that there was absolutely no way a magnet could effectively hold car seat straps out of the way. I’m pretty ashamed to admit how wrong we were, because truthfully, I have no idea what we would do without our Carseat SideKick now.

Installation was easy, like took literally 5 seconds. The hardest part was figuring out what shape clip would work the best with our car seat.

 

temporary 6We have a BabyTrend 1st Debut  and tried both clips (one is rectangular and one is more oval shaped) and found with our car seat, the more oval one works the best. You simply clip it on to the handle on the sides, velcro the strap covers below the chest clip and you’re done.
Price wise, you’re looking at $22.95, with free shipping over $50. For the quality of the product, this price is spot-on and well worth its weight in gold.

I haven’t had any troubles with the magnets detaching or coming undone and I’ve been able to get G in his car seat and buckle him in with no digging around numerous times. He even stayed asleep a few times.

Seriously, this is a must have product for everyone who has children in car seats, and I can tell you that I have found my go-to baby shower gift for all my friends and family. They offer the product in 3 colors: blue arrows, pink leaves, and yellow chevron. So there is a color for everyone and very neutral patterns. We received the blue arrows and I love the pattern and color.

5 out of 5 from me, but if I could assign a 6th star I would.

Kirstyn

**Burritobuzz received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are that of my own and no compensation was provided or offered in exchange for a positive review**

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Stair Barrier {Review}

We all have been there… those plastic, slide adjustment baby gates…there was always that weird in-between setting where it was either too loose or too tight. You end up settling for something in the middle and if the wind blew the wrong way, it fell over. Storage was a pain, taking it down and putting it back up was a pain… If you wanted to install it on the bottom of your stairs, you were S.O.L and installed at the top of the stairs isn’t the safest thing! All it takes is a little weight and pressure and your regular baby gate comes dislodged and your gate and child or pet are tumbling down the stairs.

Cumbersome baby gates, move over- Stair Barrier is the most aesthetically pleasing and versatile baby gate on the market.

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The Stair Barrier is available in a variety of different fabrics , sizes, and Banister-to-Wall or Banister-to-Banister type and requires very little to no time to install. In short, it will easily fit pretty much any staircase without problem.

To touch on the different points-

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Fabric: The variety of fabric choices allows for you to have a gate that compliments pretty much every theme and design style you can imagine. There is also an option to personalize them so if your house is anything like mine, and your stairs smack you in the face when you walk in the front door, having a bit of personalization is a nice touch. Now, the personalization does take about 2 weeks longer, but you have the option of ordering your Barrier and having the personalized patch mailed separate (it Velcro’s on- pretty nifty). They also make an indoor/outdoor version, which would be perfect for keep pets on or off decks and patios!

Sizes: The Stair Barrier comes in 2 different sizes, regular and wide. It’s super simple to figure out which one you need with a simple measurement. There is actually an option to order a custom size as well.

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Banister-to-Wall: This is what I needed as our stairs have well, a banister and a wall.

The install was fairly simple and required a few screws and that was it. Took maybe 10 minutes total to get it installed?

Banister-to-Banister: This one is portable and weighs only 6lbs! It rolls up small enough that you can virtually take it anywhere and everywhere!

temporaryWe received a Banister-to-Wall, wide, black and tan Chevron print Stair Barrier with a personalized patch. Our stairs are smack dab right when you walk in the front door, so I figured something even more aesthetically pleasing then the already amazing solid colors would suffice. The package came quickly in a plain brown box (the patch was mailed seperate). Installation was simple and overall its amazing.

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Although our youngest is only 8 weeks and can’t climb the stairs yet, its extremely helpful for keeping our dogs off the stairs. Being able to roll the barrier out of the way when we need to walk up and down the stairs is extremely helpful.

Price wise, you’re looking at anywhere between roughly $120 and $180 (and up to $269 for a custom size) depending on the style and if you chose to have your item personalized. Is this high? yes. Is it worth it? yes.

Shipping is FREE and they offer a 30 day satisfaction guarantee (which you won’t need because this product is honestly, amazing)

5 out of 5 from me.

Kirstyn

 

 

HearMuffs, Protection for Your Little Ones Ears

Us as parents do everything we can to ensure our kids are well protected at all costs. We spend hundreds of dollars on creams, lotions, sunscreens, and ways to protect our sweet kids from germs. But, what about their precious ears?

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Lucid Audio has brought innovation to the market with their new to the market HearMuffs. This headphone style ear protection allows for the protection from exposure to loud noises starting at the audiologist recommended age of “newborn”.

HearMuffs come in 3 different styles, each equipped with the GrowBand, which is a adjustable, washable, soft and comfortable band that allows for the perfect fit. This band is adjustable from newborn until around 4 years of age allowing the HearMuffs to grow with your child for long lasting hearing protection.

The base model, HearMuffs protect young ones ears from loud noises and distractions. HearMuffs Soothe and Sounds offer the same protection with added features. Soothe offers the protection of the base model, but allows for parents to speak to their child without having to pull off the ear muff with the press of a button while Sounds offers the benefits of both the base model and Soothe, but also plays 4 comforting sounds for added help with distractions and soothing and calming children of all ages.

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I do have to admit that this product is pretty great. With a newborn, although he sleeps through just about everything, it gives me the peace of mind that the vacuum cleaner, or hustle and bustle of the grocery store won’t hurt his tiny, developing ears. G didn’t seem to mind them on his head, however, seemed uncomfortable trying to lay down or sleep with them on as they didn’t really allow for him to lay his head to the side.

The option to play the sounds is awesome and the controls are fairly simple to operate. The ear padding is seemingly comfortable and the GrowBand is easy to adjust. For the amount of time they are reasonably used, I think the price point for the Sounds is fairly high.

Overall, I’d give a 4 out of 5 stars. If you have a lifestyle of hustle and bustle where your precious one will be around loud noises continually or constantly, then this is definitely the product for you. If you are a stay at home mom, who makes 1 weekly trip to the grocery store, then the $70 for the top of the line HearMuffs, may be a little drastic, but the base model would be perfect.

You can get $10 off your order using code HEARMUFFS10 until the end of October!

Kirstyn

****BurritoBuzz received this product free of charge for review purposes only. The opinions given in this review are that of our own and in no way have we been provided monetary compensation for guarantee of a positive review****

 

Minivan Mama

I officially gained my “soccer mom” status this summer when we traded in my little blue SUV for a MINIVAN. And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!! It’s true love. I knew I 17194_600always wanted a minivan someday, because I grew up with my parents always having one, and it always just seemed like the most practical with kiddos. What I didn’t know is how much I would not miss my old car and absolutely love this van!

My husband I had been talking about them for a while and finally buckled down and started researching them after we had our second child. We were tired of not having a lot of room in the car especially if we needed to take any extra people anywhere. Two car seats take up a lot of space. We looked at several minivans on the market, but narrowed it down to the Toyota and Honda. We did have a rental Chrysler that we were happy with as well. After test driving, we were actually surprised at how easy the decision was with the Honda Odyssey. The vans were priced roughly the same, but the Honda just felt like it was made better. We didn’t dislike the Toyota (my hubby drives a Toyota Tundra), but the Honda was just better.

 

 

We waited several weeks for the specific model and color to come in that we wanted, but once it arrived, it was love at first sight. I was so anxious and excited that Saturday morning we were able to go and pick it up with the kids. Our 3 year old was excited for the “new van!” too. It was bittersweet leaving our old SUV, but there are new reasons every day why I am so thankful to be a minivan mama now . . .

Here’s a few of them . . .

1.       The automatic sliding side doors… need I say more?! I don’t have to worry about my kids or I banging any cars parked next to us with our doors. You know how loading and unloading our kiddos goes, these door make it a dream come true!! Because of the sliding doors, the opening is so much bigger than an average car door – WONDERFUL! The doors also open and close by the simple push of a button from either the key fob, by the driver’s seat, or on the inside of the sliding doors themselves.

 

2.       Not only is there more room in the doorways, there’s more room EVERYWHERE in this car. I can honestly say I’ve been a passenger in every seat and never once did I feel like I had no space to move. And if you need more room . . . You can MAKE more room . . .

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3.       . . . You can make that extra space because of the movable seats. I know this is typical with most minivans and vehicles with a third row of seats, but the way the Honda was set up was another big selling point for me. Our Odyssey has the option to have an eighth seat. All of the seats are removable (except the front), but with the Odyssey you can have an eighth seat in the middle of the second row. You can easily remove that middle seat of the second row to have 2 captains chairs and an aisle way to the back row, or you can leave it in place to complete the row and have an extra seat. The seat also folds down as an arm rest if it’s left in place. The third row of seats EASILY folds down into the trunk of the van. When we drove to the beach this summer, we opted to fold the third row down so we had TONS of room for luggage and could still see out the back window.

 

4.       Handles on the high way – We drove the minivan on the West Virginia turnpike on our way to Myrtle Beach this past summer, and it handled so much better than my husband’s truck the year before. We could set the cruise control and not have to waver and hit the brake on those winding highway turns.

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5.       Good on gas – I know the gas tank in the minivan is bigger than my tank was in my SUV, but I swear still that the van gets better gas mileage. According to Honda, the Odyssey gets 19 mpg on city streets and 27 mpg highway. Either way, its way better on gas than a huge SUV would be!

 

6.        Does NOT ride like a bus – I traded in a small SUV for my minivan. I had driven it for 5 years. I will say that I was the most anxious that the minivan was going to feel like I was driving a bus after driving my little SUV. I was so wrong. The van does not feel any bigger to me. I would say it sits up off the road the same height as my old car. Even though the van is significantly longer, I really haven’t noticed other than making sure I pull in the garage far enough. The back-up camera has made this easier as well!

 

7.       Bang for the Buck – I’m telling you, you cannot beat a minivan. Even if you have a small family like we do, it is worth considering. For some reason, they get a bad rap, but I can’t think of one negative thing to say about mine. Maybe I don’t look the “coolest” driving the minivan around, but that is the last thing I’m worried about. Most companies offer all the bells and whistles you can find in luxury cars and SUVs, so don’t think those options aren’t available in a van. It’s convenient, affordable, and I know my kids are safe – that’s what matters to me.

If you’re thinking about getting a new vehicle for your new family, growing family, or just want more seats/space, take a look at a minivan. Check out all the options. Take them for a test drive. I think you’ll love it! And if you take the plunge like we did and buy one, you won’t regret it!

-Megan

 

Make Bathtime Safe with Puj

Bathtime is one of our family’s favorite parts of the day. My oldest loves bubble baths and pretending the bath is the ocean with her Octonaut toys and my youngest, who is just now starting to sit up, loves splashing around while sitting in her bath chair. While bathtime can fun (and relaxing for me, as I know bedtime this close), it can be dangerous. This American Academy of Pediatrics article from 2009 states that on average, 43,000 children are hurt in bathtub or shower-related falls in the United States each year. pujbaby_1396039444_280When my daughter was two, she slipped in our bathtub and chipped her front tooth. It was terrifying! I reached out to an amazing company, Puj, who has innovative and simple products, included bath safety products. Puj was kind enough to send me two awesome products that will help keep your little ones safe!

Puj (pronounced Pudge) was created by parents of four, Ben and Katie Richardson, with a simple mission: to simplify parenting with great products, designed to make parents’ lives easier. Puj was born when Ben and Katie were searching for a better way to bathe their second baby. Their solution was the ultimate baby bathtub, the Puj tub (check it out here, it’s an absolute must for infants). Since then, Puj added many, many more innovative and simple products.

I was fortunate enough to have received two of those products, Puj bath treads ($14.99) and an elephant Puj Snug ($9.99), to review. You can get a plain old bathtub mat anywhere, but Puj bath treads are super spunky and fun! Each pack comes with six 6” round bath treads and there are two colors to chose from. They are also BPA and PVC free, so no worrying about chemicals! The grippy surface helps prevent slipping for both parents and children and can even be placed outside of the tub for added traction when stepping out of the tub. They’re super easy to apply: clean the surface of the bathtub with bathroom cleaner, r51Nwg-RxyML._SL256_.jpginse with water and allow the bathtub to dry completely. Once it’s dry, apply the self adhesive treads and allow 24 hours before using the tub. The good thing is they’re easy to remove and don’t leave any residue or damage!

The Puj Snug is so simple and so necessary with children. It protects their little heads and limbs from hitting the spout. I know my oldest has hit her head several times on the spout, (and I have too!) It’s made out of a super soft foam-like material, (made from excess material from the Puj bath tub) that is BPA and PVC free and can easily bend and flex. The Puj Snug elephant comebundle_context3_2100x2100_grandes in four colors: gray, white, kiwi (yellow) and aqua. It allows access to the shower diverter and because it’s flexible, it can fit on almost any spout. Simple and easy but makes a big difference during bath time.

Puj has amazing products, not just for bath time but for mealtime, and body products for mom and dad. All of their products are gender neutral, so it makes it easy to plan for baby. I give the Puj Snug and Puj bath treads 5 out of 5 stars. They have made bath time so much safer for both of my girls and for my husband and I as well. The price points of Puj products great, they’re very affordable and the about the same as similar products on the market. Check out all of the products Puj has to offer here! You won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to follow Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for sales and new products updates!

– Casey

**BurritoBuzz received these products at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

ergoPouch Summer Baby Sleeping Bag {Review}

My little ones never stay covered at night, especially my youngest! He is constantly tossing, turning, and throwing things out of his crib. In the winter, we used a Halo Sleepsack. But for summer, I could not find one that would keep him at the right temperature. More times than I would like, he would wake up soaked in sweat. It was such a struggle.

ergoPouch recently sent me their summer sleeping bag to try out this summer. We have been using it for a few weeks now and I absolutely love it! It’s best for 24C (75f) degrees, making it great for hot summer days and nights.bamboo_sheeting_stripes_900x900_2.jpg

  • Super soft 400+ thread count Organic Cotton sheeting.
  • Stretch inserts in top and side panels allow babies to move freely and sleep in comfort.
  • Double ended zipper for easy nappy access.
  •   Skin-friendly, eco-friendly – no pesticides or chemicals
  •   Highly breathable and antibacterial

This is a very soft sleep bag, it is a super soft sheet-like material giving the perfect layer to cover your baby, but so breathable and luxurious. If your baby still wakes during the night for feedings, then you know how annoying it is to take clothes off to change a diaper. The two way zipper is awesome for diaper changes or just to let your little one have their feet out of they like. Their infant swaddles also have this and makes it awesome for transferring to bouncer or seat safely.

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I found the sizing a little larger than other sleep sacks that I have used. We have the 12-36 month and it was a good 6 inches taller than my 2T little man. It was a little awkward at first, but didn’t really bother him and was still super cute. I have machine washed and dried the sleeping back multiple times and it still looks just like new. It definitely holds up really well as there are no signs of wear and tear.

EPSleepSuitBagDetail.jpgergoPouch offers many products and I will definitely be looking into more of them for my children for this coming winter. Swaddles, sleeping bags, sleep suit bags, sleep accessories, pajamas, and even PJs for mommy!  You can check out all of their awesome products here! Currently, there are some on sale. I know I will definitely will be taking advantage of this sale!

Prices of the sleep sack varies, but is typical for a blanket or sleep sack. The summer sleeping bag is $39.99.twosie_side.jpg

Keep a lookout on Instagram and their Facebook page for regular updates. Right now they are looking for people to try out their new sleeping bag!

I can’t wait for this product to be available in more stores in the US because it is definitely a must for a baby registry!

– Amanda

**BurritoBuzz received these products at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

 

 

MAM Pacifiers & Pacifier Wipes {Review}

I received the MAM pacifiers and pacifier wipes several weeks ago and so far so good! Two more great products from MAM! 61Zmb1yo73L._SY679_

Both of my kids have been “binky babies,” so I was kind of anxious to see if my nearly one year old (at the time) would take to a new brand of pacifier. Since birth, we have pretty much stuck to using the AVENT Freeflow Pacifier. I also used them for my daughter when she was younger. I never really shopped around or tried different ones, but these pacifiers seemed to work with my kids, so I stuck with them.

The MAM pacifiers I received are very similar. My son honestly didn’t miss a beat when I swapped his usual soother for the new ones – that’s a huge plus! Now, I do know that some kids are more particular about certain products, so I think it’s important to note that my kids really haven’t been picky when it comes to pacifiers, teethers, bottles, etc. The specific MAM pacifier I reviewed is the Glow in the Dark Night Orthodontic Pacifier 6+ months.

Here are some of its key features:

1. It glows in the dark – This is great! I thought this feature wouldn’t be that big of a deal to me, and41WSjIl2Q6L then I saw how well it glowed in the crib in the dark room at night. I was immediately sold. It was so much easier to find! And I didn’t wake my little one in the process! The only part that glows in the dark is the portion directly opposite the nipple, not the entire shield.

2. Silicone nipple – The pacifier my little guy was used to was also silicone. I’m sure this made the transition easier for him. The silicone is said to feel “familiar, like mom,” so I thought this was important for my breastfed babies.

332aef0d-2b9a-4d61-b07d-a520ab74b815.JPG._CB322275667__SL300__3. Symmetrical nipple is also “anti-slip”. I like that there isn’t a right or wrong side with these pacifiers. It just makes it more convenient and easier for babies to put their binkies in their mouth independently. It is also better for their incoming teeth. I honestly didn’t notice any differences with the “anti-slip.” You might notice this more with younger babies.

4. They’re BPA Free!

 5. There are small openings on the curved pacifier shield. This is important to me because the holes allow air to circulate and my little guy’s skin to breathe better. I don’t have to worry about him getting rashy or his skin breaking down and he is comfortable with the curved shape!
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6. MAM offers two sizes, 0-6 month and the 6+ month size pacifier to accommodate growing babies and their development.

7. $5.99 for a 2-pack on Amazon – you can’t beat the price! These pacifiers last and are of good quality. Perfect registry item or shower gift. Buy yours here: MAM Glow in the Dark Night Orthodontic Pacifier

To go along with my new pacifiers, I also reviewed MAM’s Pacifier Wipes. These were not a product that I was super accustomed to using. I’m a Mom who finds a bathroom and rinses off her baby supplies or applies the 5-second rule when things get dropped. I will admit, these were nice to have in a bind or on-the–go and their small size (each wipe is 4”x6”) made them even more convenient. I still would not consider them a “must- have.”  40 wipes come in the package and they are advertised as not containing any harsh chemicals and also as being non-toxic. They contain no alcohol, dyes, or parabens. To me, those are important things, especially when I’m wiping off items my kids are going to put61e41kfDQ3L._SX522_ right back in their mouths. I wasn’t crazy about the scent. It wasn’t overpowering, it was just unpleasant to me. You could use these to clean any baby item – teethers, toys, pacifiers, etc. You can purchase MAM Pacifier wipes on Amazon for $3.99 here: MAM Pacifier Wipes

Overall, I would give both products great ratings. My son adapted to the pacifier right away, which I think speaks volumes. Even though I wouldn’t use the wipes on a daily basis, they are smart and convenient to use, especially in a pinch.

Be sure to take a minute to visit MAM’s website to check out more of their innovative, and award-winning products for every stage of baby that they have been developing for the last 40 years!

You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook!

– Megan

**BurritoBuzz received these products at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

 

Bring it On, Apocalypse.

Natural disasters. Terrorist attacks. Wars. Zombie outbreaks. Real outbreaks that should be worried about more than zombie outbreaks. Etc.

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All of these things make us worry. In all seriousness, before having a baby, I didn’t care. I just figured I’d face things head on. Once that tiny human of mine came into this world, everything changed. I became this person consumed with thinking of the worst case scenario. If the plague reemerged, did I have enough water to stay put in my house for long periods of time? Did I have enough wood to board up my windows to keep zombies out? Enough food to last a few weeks if I suddenly needed to pick up and go because of a natural disaster? Could I protect my family if a ground war began? I literally dreamed about apocalypses. There is nothing in me that could stand to see my child suffer.

The world is a shitty place. There is a lot of good, but a freaking lot of bad. I think, mostly, the world has always been full of bad people. We generally like to romanticize the past, but shitty things have been done by shitty people since the dawn of time. And mother nature, she’s the biggest jerk of them all. When you have a family, there is no such thing as being too prepared for the worst. Of course, all situations cannot be prepared for but I’ve done my best to take care of some of the minor things that are within my control.

ENTER THE SURVIVALIST MOMMY

I have no doubt turned into a crazy person. But here are some of the things my husband and I have done to make sure that our family has the basics should a catastrophe occur.

91Y4dYU4roL._SL1500_.jpg1. Bug Out Bags: You can make these yourself, but we took the easy route and purchased highly rated bug out bags. Ours is a 4 person set, even though we are a family of 3. Ours came with two fully loaded backpacks. Ours was about $160. It included the following:

ORGANIZATION:
Black backpack (2)
Zip lock bags x5
Waterproof document container

WEATHER PROTECTION:
Reflective sleeping bags x2 (4)
Adult size poncho x2 (4)
2 person tube tent (2)
Hand warmers x2 (4)

FOOD AND WATER:
US Coast Guard approved 5 year shelf life 3600 calorie bars x 2 (4)
US Coast Guard approved 5 year shelf life 4.2 oz water pouches x12 (24)
1 L water purification powder x5
Folding 1 L water container for purifying water
Water purification instruction sheet

LIGHT AND COMMUNICATION:
Dynamo AM/FM radio/flashlight/mobile phone charger
Light sticks x2 (4)

HYGIENE:
Toothbrush x2 (4)
Toothpaste
Comb
Razor
Shampoo
Soap
Feminine pad x2
Washcloth
Toilet paper roll
Sewing kit.

61 PIECE FIRST AID KIT:
Band aids
Dressing
Butterfly closures
Cotton tip applicators
Towelettes
N95 masks x2 (4)
Self-adhesive bandage
Tweezers
Trauma scissors
Pair of medical grade nitrile gloves

MISC SUPPLIES:
10yd duct tape
5 in 1 survival whistle
50 ft rope
Leather palm work gloves
Multi tool knife
Playing cards
GI can opener
Pencil
48 page Emergency Preparedness Guide

Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit, 2 Person, Black

After doing quite a bit of research, I thought that I got the most bang for my buck with these bags. I did end up adding additional emergency rations, which brings me to point 2.

71sY2HepiSL._SL1500_.jpg2. Extra rations of food: I don’t mean bring a few extra cans of pop and some Easy Mac. I mean, get some SOS rations that will last and also contain the necessary nutrients to keep you and your family going.
S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar – 3 Day / 72 Hour Package with 5 Year Shelf Life- 10 PK

717f-So8y7L._SL1500_.jpg3. A way to easily filter a lot of water: I chose to buy a few LifeStraws. If you haven’t heard of these, they are absolutely revolutionary. They filter water as you drink directly from the straw. Of course, you have to be close to a water source or have a way to obtain water. Once you do, this is definitely a must have.

– Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters
– Removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns
– Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine or other chemicals
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

4. Extra first aid supplies: Any large piece first aid kit should do. Your bug out bag(s) should already contain numerous first aid items, but having extra never hurts. We also keep various medications in bags that might be beneficial in extreme situations.

5. Self-Powered Radio/Flashlight/Charger Combo: I own the Eton self-powered radio 71iBq53iBNL._SL1500_.jpg(flashlight/charger) and have used it several times. It has a solar panel as well as a hand crank. I live in Ohio, so I use the hand crank (laughs). We don’t have cable TV, so I often monitor the weather using this radio. I’ve had it for years and have no complaints.

6. Extra light sources: We have a supply of candles, as well as emergency lanterns. I prefer hand-crank lanterns, but we also own a few that are battery powered (not practical long term, but okay for short spurts).

7. Map/Compass: I get lost, even with GPS, so these are just a necessity.

8. Some way to protect yourselves: Something that you can keep from your children in the home. Safety is of the utmost importance and keeping your littles away from dangerous objects is crucial. But it’s a good idea to have something you’re comfortable using. I have a taser and a few other tactical things.

us-passport.jpg9. Documentation: Keep your important documents in a water safe bag or safe and easily accessible. On that note, it’s never too early to get your children a passport. We have a passport and ID for Lucas and having the ID card makes crossing the border fairly straightforward and easy.

10. A Survival Handbook: I prefer the SAS Survival Handbook. This book is so thorough that it’s sometimes overwhelming. This book is more geared towards campers/hikers/outdoors folk, but it’s all the information you’d need to know to live off the land and brave the outdoors.

This list isn’t all-encompassing and there are obviously many things that would be great additions to this list. However, being a family on a budget, this is the prep work I’ve done for emergency situations. I hope I never need to utilize any of these things, but am thankful that I’ve taken at least a few steps to ease any burden we would feel should a situation arise.

– Katie

 

Checking for Lead + Radon in Your Home

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I live in a century home, which I both love and hate. The love: the history here is amazing. You can see the decades in the house and the character truly shines through in simple details like original the woodwork and doors. This house is sturdy, built with plaster walls and oak floors.

The hate: constant upgrades. Century homes require a lot of work. We’ve finally got our house into an updated state, but it took blood, sweat and tears. On top of that, there are a lot of unknowns that you wouldn’t have with a newer home. So my big fear this past year has been the unknown: toxins, hiding in plain sight. I wanted to be sure my home was safe for my one year old son, so I decided to take some precautions.

Water Lead Testing

Because of Flint, Michigan’s tragic led poisoning, we’re all a bit more aware of how systems can fail. Our government doesn’t always take the necessary actions and precautions, and unfortunately many of us are oblivious to the harms that can be hiding in our homes. Water, a basic necessity to life, can poison you when filled with harmful particles like lead. Because we live in a century home, I was worried about old plumbing and piping. Testing for lead made me nervous. If the results were positive, that meant  spending thousands of dollars to fix the problem.

I purchased this watersafe lead test, which runs between $10-$15. WaterSafe Water Test Kit for Lead

The kit was simple. The instructions were clear and after prep and testing, I knew the results within 12 minutes of opening my kit. Thankfully, there was no lead in our water.

Lead Paint Testing

My home is three stories + a basement. Each room has been painted many times over, quite certainly. The top coat paint in each room is lead free, since most of the rooms in our home have been painted since we moved in. However, places that have chipped away needed testing, as did our basement, where the paint is obviously older.

The kit I ordered is around $12 and comes with two swabs.
LeadCheck LC-2SDC Disposable Non-Staining Lead Detection Swabs, 2 Per Pack

I was a little frustrated by the options for lead paint testing. Most kits only come with two swabs and I wanted to test around 20 surfaces in my home. To actually buy enough swabs to test 20 surfaces, it would have cost me way more than I wanted to spend. So I took the advice of many others that have done these tests: when I broke the tube, I swabbed Q Tips inside and then rubbed the them onto the surfaces I was testing. It worked wonderfully and I tested a ton of surfaces. Surfaces with lead make the Q Tip turn pink. Otherwise, the Q Tip stays yellow. The yellow liquid does show on your walls/surfaces, but wipes off easily. Results show within about 30 seconds. You do have to scrape away paint to get to the layers of paint you want to test. Thankfully, I tested areas that were already chipped.

Radon Testinghow_radon_enters.jpg

You may have had this test done when you moved into your home. We did not. We were young, naive, and didn’t understand the importance of a Radon test. Radon is fairly common in the area of Ohio that we live in. It has been shown to be exceptionally harmful to a person’s health and as such, we wanted to be sure we knew what we were dealing with in our own home. If Radon is detected, a system can be placed into your home to remove the gas. This test is a bit more difficult and precise.

A radon test kit is around $12.
First Alert RD1 Radon Gas Test Kit

Unfortunately, this test doesn’t give instant results and must be sent in. The directions are very specific, so make sure you follow them. After you mail your kit in, you are able to check the status online by using a tracking number that they give you.

These tests should be done in any home, but even more so when you have children. I know that I cannot control every environmental factor, toxin or carcinogen that will come in contact with my child, but I can try to control what I’m aware of. 

We are thrilled that we were able to do all of these tests on our own for under $50. It was definitely $50 well spent for peace of mind.

– Katie

Ingenuity SmartClean ChairMate High Chair {Review}

ingeniutybb1Gone are the days of huge bulky high chairs. I don’t have space or patience for them anymore! I shared a while ago about how I downsized my baby gear to accommodate having two under two.

I hated our big & bulky “fold away” high chair. It was something like this one. I can’t even find the original one that we had anymore. It was a gift, so  NO COMPLAINING here! But I will tell you what made me crazy! Obviously it was large, and took up so much room! Sure, I could fold the legs together, but that didn’t do too much as far as storage goes. It was super hard to clean! It had so many little crevices that you couldn’t take apart to clean, leaving you scrubbing with a tooth brush, and just grossed out after a peanut butter & jelly!  I just couldn’t imagine having two. We switched BK#1 into a simple booster seat like this : Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat, Green/Blue, and then I went searching for a chair top high chair. I found this Ingenuity one and purchased, because of the ability to completely dismantle it to clean it!

Ingenuity SmartClean ChairMate Chair Top High Chair, Aqua
Pros: Sleek design. There isn’t any fabric to wash or that can get stained.

Can sit on any chair, and has a very large base to insure that your child isn’t going to tip backwards.

The height is adjustable, so you can push it up to any table.

leanbb1Reclining seat. I love this for when I feed little babies who cant sit up on their own just yet. There is no worry of them flopping forward, and you know they are comfortable.

ingenuitybb2The headrest portion can completely be removed to turn it into a booster seat for a toddler.

5 Point Harness. The straps on high chairs always make my DH nuts, but I am alone a lot, so it is definitely a safety feature I appreciate! I can walk away without worrying that my 10 month old is somehow going to get out of his chair. (He can climb out of just about anything that doesn’t have a strap!)

Super soft foam on the seat and head rest.

The tray has a removable top, to make clean up really easy!

Both pieces of the tray, the foam seat, and the foam head rest can be put in the dishwasher! Parents don’t always have time to scrub every nook and cranny of baby gear; I love that it can just be put in the washer, and you know its going to be clean & sanitary! dishwasher safe bb

 

 

Cons: The removable tray doesn’t always sit flush. The front edge pops up and creates a gap.It’s not a huge deal, but definitely something that I wish could be fixed.IMG_20160604_141903

Also not a huge deal, but I wish the seat itself sat a little higher. My LO has just about zero room to grow with this seat. Unfortunately, it is sitting pretty close to his lap, and I’m not sure what we are going to do if he has a big growth spurt.

Overall we really do like this chair! It has saved me a lot of time cleaning, and we now have a lot more room in our dining room.

4 stars, and a great registry item!

I hope to see some adjustments in the future. Ingenuity makes a lot of products, and I had never really heard of the company, so I will be sure to share if we purchase anything else!

~Amanda

I’m not throwing caution to the wind…

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I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about “being tough on your kids” and “let them bleed” philosophies. The idea: that life is tough, so get a helmet.

To each their own, but I’m not that mom.

I think there is a fine line between coddling your baby, and just wanting them to avoid unnecessary harm. I fall into the latter category.

When my baby is whining for no good reason, I let him whine. When he’s genuinely not injured and milking it, I let him whine. When he does NOT want to sleep, even though he’s tired… I let him whine. I’m not reacting to his falls unless they’re warrant attention. I’m not endorsing reckless behavior. I’m certainly not allowing him to dramatize situations merely for the attention of it.

You get it.

But the “let them bleed” mentality is not for me. If my toddler falls and is obviously in pain, I’m going to snuggle him until he feels better. Am I going to leave my child unattended to play outside? Not anytime soon. Am I going to let him crawl up the stairs without me right behind him? Someday, but that day isn’t now when he’s 15 months old.

My child is a pretty stinking independent kid for his age, and I think it’s important to let him play and learn on his own.

But I draw a line when being cautious with your child is somehow a bad thing. Avoiding unnecessary chaos? I’m all about it. We instinctively protect our children, and from an emotional and even biological standpoint it makes sense. Apologizing for my intuition to keep my child safe/healthy is not something that’s happening any time soon.

So here’s what I’m getting at: balance. Not coddling, but also not being cold to the fact that your child is just that… a child. They’ll know the harsh realities of the world soon enough no matter how you parent. And as my child gets older, I’ll step back, because I’m raising him to be a responsible, mature, adult that can choose caution on his own and will certainly make mistakes.

My son is our one and only. We struggled to get pregnant, and could have lost him so easily in labor had things gone differently. Perhaps a combination of these things has made me think day in and day out how much I want him to just live a happy, healthy, safe life. And, if that means my biggest vice is being too cautious… so be it. My parenting has in no way been a hindrance to his development and independence.

We’re all doing the best we can do. Parenting styles differ, and to say that being a cautious parent is a bad thing… well, if that’s the worst thing I’m doing then I’m doing pretty well at this parenting gig.

-Katie

 

 

Baby Gate {Review} Summer Infant

Baby gates. Often necessary, but almost always ugly and inconvenient. More often than not, they don’t fit the space that you need, or require being hard-mounted directly into the wall. My home is a century home, and drilling in to that original woodwork just wasn’t happening. The space that we needed a gate for was also far wider than a typical gate opening.IMG_1610

There are very few options for wide gates that pressure mount. Even fewer that are appeasing to the eye.

Thankfully, Summer Infant solved all of my problems. Their gate is dark gray metal, and has a nicely finished wooden door. It has a total of 4 pieces that easily fit together to fit the width of most areas. We needed all four pieces to span our doorway. The pressure mount was simple, though much easier with two people if you’re using the widest setting. The pressure mounts have a rubber backing to protect the surface of your wall and also keep the gate from sliding.

The gate also is easy to open with one hand, something very necessary if you’re carrying your baby/toddler in your other arm. This gate does not automatically close like many others, but I prefer gates that aren’t spring-loaded.

Summer Infant Decorative Wood and Metal Expansion Walk-Thru Gate

The Summer Infant gate will run you around $75. This is a pretty standard price-point for a gate this size, and much more aesthetically appealing than many of the competitor’s gates.IMG_1611

32-inch tall gate fits openings 36-60 inches wide.

We’ve owned ours for the better part of 6 months now, and have been told many times how nice it looks in comparison to other gates.

Thanks to Summer Infant for a great product!

-Katie

 

Pacidose {Product Review}

I find it super frustrating as a parent and as a nurse when I have to give little ones medications. Usually, kiddos are already fussy, snotty, and cranky, and then we come along and try to force some nasty medication in them. We cross our fingers and hope they get the proper dose and dread the next time we have to medicate them. This has not been the case with my little experience with the Pacidose. The Pacidose is a product designed to medicate our kiddos using a typical syringe and a pacifier. GENIUS, especially if you have a binky baby.  My kids have both been binky babies, so I think that aided in the success with using this product with them. I think it would work for non-pacifier babies as well.

The Pacidose is easy to use by just drawing up the desired amount of medication through the syringe like you would normally (it also works with syringes other than the one it comes with!). Once the med is 61ENriIl2NL._SX522_drawn up, the syringe just attaches to the binky portion of the product. There is a narrow tube going down the middle of the pacifier that then delivers the liquid med.  According to the Pacidose, this tube “prevents wasted medicine. Medicine is delivered to the back of the tongue, decreasing the chance of rejection.” I found this to be accurate with my 8 month old. He fortunately has not had a lot of experience with taking medications, but he received the whole dose I drew up using the Pacidose. Once he started sucking on the binky, I started to slowly push the plunger of the syringe until he had swallowed all of the medication.

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Here were some other benefits I found with the Pacidose:

          Available in 3 different sizes (0-6 month, 6-18  month, and 18+ month) Although I only sampled the 6-18 month, if I have any more new babies, I will be investing in the smallest size!

 Pacidose-Sizes

          The pacifier end actually feels like a pacifier! I thought this was important because then it didn’t seem as foreign to my little guy. The package recommended putting the pacifier into another type of liquid (formula, breastmilk) and then giving it to your kiddo so they can get used to the pacifier before you use it with medication.  I think this would be good if your child doesn’t do well with pacifiers.

 

          The syringe is easy to read to ensure you are giving the right amount of medication. I haven’t noticed the markings wearing off at all, but I also have not used the product very much. Hopefully they hold up!

 

          As a nurse, I would LOVE to have something like this to dispense medication to our little ones that come in for surgery. where I work. So often the kids are upset, and they almost always have to take oral medication before and after their procedure. They DO NOT want to take it from me, a total stranger!! This would be great to have in the hospital/doctor’s office setting.

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The only downfall I can think of with this product would be that it is not dishwasher safe. Some reviews I have read talked about the pacifier portion falling apart after only minimal usage. I have not experienced this. I think if the product is taken care of properly (not put through the dishwasher); there won’t be any trouble with this. It seems to be of good quality and very well made.

You can purchase the Pacidose for $12.99 right from their site or from Amazon Prime for $14.99. This might seem like a steep price, but I think it is worth it. This product would also make a fabulous baby gift for new moms and moms-to-be! In my mind, you can’t put a price on making sure your kiddos are healthy and happy and this product does both!

 

-Megan

 

 

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Infantino Fusion {Babywearing Review}

I am a huge proponent of baby-wearing, and love that the concept has gained so much momentum recently. Baby-wearing can be seen throughout history, but seems as though it was pushed to the back burner for a long period of time in favor of various other options. Not only does baby-wearing help a new mom/dad bond with their baby, but it frees up your hands, something we all know is crucial when you’re just trying to get a few things done in the day. Baby-wearing is shown to help with post-partum depression and baby blues, too!

So I’ve tried a few carriers. When my little guy was super little I liked to have him curled into a Ring Sling. When he was a little bigger, I tested out the Tula. I soon hope to test a few other great carriers, but one that I tested that I think could use some improvement is the Infantino Fusion, Flexible Position carrier. And I’ll be the first to tell you, when it comes to baby products you generally get what you pay for.

All of these carriers are “safe”, but some are better for both you and your little. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not certain carriers cause hip dysplasia or not, but I’m not a medical expert, so I’ll skip the subject and let you do your own research. What I can say, is that both myself and my LO were much more comfortable in more ergonomic carriers. 

  • The Infantino is structured to allow many different carrying positions (back, forward facing in, forward facing out,) and babies 8-32 lbs.
  • There are flaps that can be buttoned in or out to make for a wider or more narrow seat. The buttons were exceptionally difficult to use, and not worth the hassle.
  • The fabric is thick, and while maybe comfortable at first, my LO quickly became pretty toasty in this carrier.
  • There is a head flap that can button down, or stay up for additional head support. No qualms here… this was a feature I liked.
  • The straps for the carrying parent are thin, not particularly comfortable, and not very easy to put on along. They also don’t offer safety elastic like many other carriers do, a feature that is reassuring and I’d prefer to have.
  • I also love that many other carriers have sun shade hoods, drool pads, and a pocket. Non of which the Infantino has.
  • I also struggle to understand the narrow center of the carrier. The carriers that I’ve been a fan of have been wide, and wide from top to bottom. Not only does this provide comfort and a place to snuggle in, but good coverage from the sun when out hiking around.
  • The carrier is, however, much more affordable than a typical carrier. The Fusion can be purchased for about $40, which is well under the typical $150 you’ll spend with any other brand.

Overall, adjustments do need to be made to this carrier and it’s not currently one I would recommend to the baby-wearing parent or caretaker.

-Katie

I want to keep my kiddos in their bubble forever!!

Lately, I have been quickly reminded that as parents, we are not always going to be able to protect our little ones. For some reason, I thought that as my babies got older, things would get easier. Boy was I ever wrong!! It is only going to get more and more difficult to protect them. What was I thinking?! I should have known better!! I just hope I can get better at “letting go” and “dealing with” the fact that I can’t control everything. I can’t keep my kiddos in a little safe bubble forever and ever (even though I wish I could).

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Just recently, my oldest (she’s almost 3) slipped and fell in the shower. This was not her first time in the shower with her dad or I, and it wasn’t even the first time she has slipped. Kids slip, kids fall, kids can even get hurt, but this time was different. She developed a goose egg above her eye immediately that I noticed as soon as I scooped her up off the floor. I had a pit in my stomach and the “I want to vomit” feeling instantly, but did my best to remain calm and get my husband. She never lost consciousness and eventually stopped crying, but her eye kept swelling, to the point where she could barely see out of it. We put ice on it and got some advice from a family member who is a physician (it was a Saturday night of course). She ended up going to bed that night, but I couldn’t help but worry about her and if it was going to be okay. My husband ended up taking her to the ER the next day (here’s a helpful site on when to take your kiddos to the hospital). Everything turned out to be fine, but it’s over 3 weeks later and the little thing still has a bruise and a bump. If I could just protect her from everything, this never would have happened! I couldn’t help but blame myself.Mommy-Guilt-Drs-Orders-CrestProHealth-Sponsored-MamaMommyMom-2

 As parents, we’re going to beat ourselves up about every little thing that happens to our kids. We can’t help it; it’s how we’re programmed. It doesn’t mean that we are bad parents when our little ones get hurt or injured. It just means that we love them when we sit and think about not wanting anything to ever happen to them! We have to lighten up on ourselves though! I took total responsibility when my little girl got her first black eye/goose egg. I was worried sick about her. I felt like the worst parent in the world, but it happens. It wasn’t my fault. I’m not the worst mother on the planet. She’s probably going to have more goose eggs. It took me a long time to come to terms with this, and I am still working on it.

 We experience this feeling of guilt for a multitude of reasons and on a daily basis.  My “mom guilt” 2ad5c4477fb3f866c83f63d3365610f4occurred instantly when my little girl slipped and fell. Sharing what happened with others and hearing them respond with stories of their kiddos having similar accidents, made me feel like I wasn’t alone. People reminded me that things like this are going to happen, no matter how much I try to prevent them. It’s how my kids are going to learn and grow, but we have to let them. They can’t aren’t going to stay babies forever.

So, for all you parents out there who might have experienced something similar with your little ones or are just worried that someday you will . . . IT IS OKAY!!! You’re still a fantastic parent and your kiddo is going to turn out fine! If you still worry all the time, that’s okay too, but cut yourself a break sometimes. You’re not alone. We are never going to stop worrying about our kids. We are always going to want what is best for them and to protect them. It just means we care!

 

Check out the Parents website for more helpful links related to infant emergency situations. They have links to common infant health scares and first aid tips.

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-Megan

Baby Safety

My son has become a running, climbing maniac in the last month. I kid you not (pun intended.) I baby-proof one thing, and he finds something else I need to remove from the room.

So, here are my most recent baby-proofing tips:

Corner-protectors. I thought I could live without them, until my son nearly gouged out an eyeball falling. So, the Caring Corners gel guards are now on all corners in my living room. They are incredibly easy to use, and remove. You can get them for $13-16 for an 8 pack on Amazon. The nice thing about these for us: our TV stand isn’t flat on all sides, but they still affixed to the gel protector and stayed on very well.

Baby-Keeps Latches. I actually ended up buying two packs of these, because I loved them so much. Easy to use, and remove. And best of all? You can open them with one hand (which is more practical since we often have a baby/child in the other arm.) These run $20 for 6, and each box comes with a free gift (which is a little snail stick on that keeps doors from closing on your child’s fingers. Great bonus.) You can also snag these on Amazon.

 Baby gates. I have several. One of which closes automatically. Sometimes, this is practical, but other times I just want it to stay the EFF open. So, my husband Polish-rigged it with a command strip and hook. Genius, and cheap.

Outlet covers. Obvious. Sometimes you don’t have them though, so use a band-aid as a quick fix until you can pick some up.

Munchkin Latch: I use these on my appliances, particularly my oven, which CAN fall over if the door isn’t properly secured.

Easy DIY Crib Rail Guards: Not only do I not want my little teething baby to destroy the rails of his convertible crib, I also would prefer that he not eat paint and wood chips. Perhaps that’s just me. Either way, you can find the DIY instructions here.

Wiremold: We had wires running along the walls in our living room. I thought it was all kosher, until my son started ripping them from the wall and trying to eat them. Yum. You can get cheap, easy to use wiremold, again, on Amazon.

TV Straps: If your TV is up high, no worries. Ours, however, is not. We quickly realized we needed to secure ours (we secured ours to the TV stand instead of to the wall.) TV Straps can be found here.

Safety 1st LED Nightlight, 2 CountNo Bulb Nightlight: For obvious reasons, you probably don’t want your LO crushing glass in their palms. This night light comes in a two pack, and there is no bulb that can be crushed by your tiny minion.

For those with cat trees: Secure those suckers to the wall. We have a three-story cat tree that my son recently tried to climb and pull to the floor. It’s heavy, and could really do some damage. We used furniture brackets, but you can use furniture straps just as easily.

An item to avoid? Foam molding. We used it, and it absolutely ruined the finish of our furniture. There are plenty of Pinterest solutions that will work better (like cutting pool noodles in half.)

Remember, all of these solutions are so temporary. You’ll likely have your home baby-proofed with gates and latches for about a year, sometimes a little more. Look for the affordable options!  Here are some other great DIY baby-proofing solutions!

-Katie

Munchkin Click Lock {Product Review}

71MMm8ir4EL._SL1500_.jpgThe sippy cup nightmare. BurritoBuzz has posted several sippy cup reviews in the past, and all of us have said the same thing: you’ll buy 20 sippy cups, and you might have ONE that doesn’t leak. It’s definitely not an understatement to say that sippy cup designs are seriously flawed.

So my cupboard is no exception: I have somewhere between 15 and 20 sippy cups/straw cups, and I’m unimpressed with 80% of them.

I purchased this Muchkin Click Lock cup with high hopes. It has handles, a silicon straw, and a weighted straw bottom that sets it apart from the comparison cups. The weighted straw helps when you are training your little one to use a straw cup, as it helps to ensure they are drinking fluid instead of air (because they don’t quite grasp the concept of a cup needing to stay upright yet.)

My initial analysis was mostly good. I loved the double handles and weighted straw. My son caught on quickly with this cup, and it was great for travel since it has a flip down lid.

The cup is easy to clean, and comes apart into 4 pieces. (I can’t stress enough how important it is to fully disassemble sippy cups and bottles since they can grow mold in all the crevices.)

The bad news: this cup leaks A LOT. I can’t quite figure it out, but it seems to be related to the pressure within the cup (maybe changing temperature of the fluid inside.) But the fluid is pushed out the top of the straw in rather large quantities, even when it’s been sitting totally upright. These aren’t just small leaks, it’s about an ounce of fluid sitting on my counter/carpet/couch each time. I’ve mostly stopped using this cup because of the huge clean-up hassle.

This cup isn’t incredibly cheap either. It’ll run you $7-$10, just a few dollars above the average cost for a cup like this (and I purchased a few of them.)

So, overall, I’d avoid this sippy cup. It’s a great design idea, but unfortunately it wasn’t executed very well. Save yourself some clean-up time and purchase one of these alternatives:

Munchkin Miracle 360 Cup71NOJxFadQL._SL1500_

Tommee Tippee Straw Cup

OXO Straw Cup

These alternatives don’t have the weighted straw, but they do the job. The first alternative is for babies a little older that don’t require the handles/straw, and the second and third are really great lightweight training cups with straws

Hopefully Munchkin will soon revise their design and we can rewrite this review!

Let’s go Muchkin engineers!

-Katie

 

Fight the FLU

*BurritoBuzz is a group of moms that gives advice, and any medical content should be regarded as non-professional advice. Please consult your physician with any medical concerns you may have.*

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I will start off by saying that I am not a physician. I’m only listing my recommendations from the perspectives of both a mother and a nurse. I cannot guarantee that you won’t get sick if you listen to me (wouldn’t that be a money maker!). My hope is that these simple tips will keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy this flu season. These tips come from experience (I have two kiddos and I work in healthcare) and I believe have helped keep myself and my family in good health in the past.

 

  1. Get a flu shot

You can read more about vaccinations in this blog by one of our guest bloggers about a month ago. No one enjoys getting stabbed with medication or watching their children get stabbed and crying hysterically thereafter. Let’s face it, it sucks getting shots. It also sucks being sick with the flu – fever, body aches, chills, fatigue – symptoms that last far longer than the quick little poke of a vaccine. These symptoms are also easily spread to others. Please get the vaccine to keep yourself and others at a decreased risk of getting the flu. It is so easy to get at most doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Most often it’s free. Your arm will be sore and your kiddos will probably cry but it is totally worth it!!!

 

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  1. Drink water!

If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough water, you probably need to drink more. According to the Institute of Medicine sited on Mayo Clinic, it’s recommended that women drink 9 cups of beverages a day and men to drink 13 cups of beverages. I know I personally struggle getting in this amount, but I really do try to have my own bottle/cup when I’m at work that I’m always refilling. I try to do the same thing at home. The bottle in the photo is similar to the one I received from my hospital after having a baby and I LOVE this thing. My 2.5 year old does too. It’s perfect because it large, insulated, and clear. I know I’m always getting plenty of water and it’s measured so I know how much!

 

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  1. SLEEP

I know, I know. It is easier said than done, especially with little ones at home. Try to make an effort to get as much rest as you can. Even if it’s not always “sleeping,” resting/relaxing and just letting your body recharge and catch up is a good way to stay healthy. If you have kiddos at home, make sure they’re getting the rest they need too. Let them sleep in when they can and try not to skip nap time. We all need our rest!

 

  1. Wash your hands

This is a simple task. It’s so simple that sometimes it’s easily overlooked. We all should be washing our hands quite frequently especially when germs are more prevalent this time of year. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing and eating food, after being in public places, after coughing/sneezing into them, the list goes on. If you’re not sure, just do it. You can use sanitizer too. Keep sanitizer always on hand – leave some in your diaper bag, purse, in your car, and around the house. Sometimes I just have my little one sanitize after using the bathroom or being outside, but other times a good hand washing is the best. Along with keeping your hands clean, try to keep other commonly used surfaces throughout your home clean too (this will keep those germs off of your hands in the long run!). I love my CLOROX wipes any time of year!

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  1. Cover your cough

Use a tissue or cough into your elbow to avoid spreading those germs when you cough. If you do end up coughing into your hands, avoid touching anything and wash them ASAP. Pass these good habits on to your little ones. The sooner they learn to cover their cough appropriately, the better off everyone will be!!

 

  1. Stay away from others who are sick

This goes both ways. Try to avoid others that you know are ill and being in public places where you could come in close contact with potentially sick people. The same goes for you and your kiddos. If any of you are sick, stay home. Avoid spreading that sickness any further than beyond your own home.

 

  1. ENCOURAGE

We need to hold each other accountable. I mentioned before about teaching our kids early on about covering their cough and good hand hygiene. We should do the same with adults. Encourage visitors at your home to wash their hands before they hold your babies or coworkers to sanitize after blowing their nose. We have a strict policy at the hospital I work in to wash/sanitize our hands before and after entering a patient’s room. It doesn’t matter whether or not I touch anything while I’m in that room. Germs spread like wild fire, and we need to look out for ourselves and each other.

 

Along with what I consider “The Top 7,” it’s important to maintain a nutritious diet, regular exercise regimen, and manage your stress to stay healthy and avoid the flu. Even though flu season is upon us now, all of these tips should be utilized year-round as best we can. With just a few easy adjustments to our daily living, we can avoid feeling miserable and downright bad with crippling flu symptoms down the road.

 

Check out the CDC’s website for even more helpful links and tips to keep your family happy and healthy!!

 

– Megan

BabyKeeps {Safety Product Review}

My nearly ten month old son is into everything. He’s nearly walking, so he can reach most things, open most things, and destroy most things.

And I have a love-hate relationship with most baby-safety products. 

  1. I hate spending money on things that I’m going to use for such a short time.
  2. I do not want to drill holes into all of my nice woodwork.
  3. It all looks like crap. Nothing says “welcome to my home” like giant, white plastic safety locks on all of the cabinets. Need some toilet paper in a jiffy? Good luck.

After using a few very dated safety latches, I went on the hunt. Hello, I’m a mommy blogger. Isn’t that my job? It was time to put my Amazon Prime membership to use (as if I don’t already do that daily.)

I stumbled upon latches from a new company called BabyKeeps. They looked simple enough, and the brown plastic I ordered matched most of my cupboard fairly well (they also come in white.) These will run you right around $20.00. (A little pricey for my personal taste, but I thought they were worth a shot.)

They are straightforward. The latches attach with adhesive. You clean the contact surfaces that you’ll be attaching the latch to, measure the length that you’d like the latch to make it tight and secure, cut off the excess, lock in the end that won’t be opening, and stick both ends on! It takes less than a minute per latch.

I now have these latches on our kitchen appliances, cupboards, our TV stand, end tables, and our pantry. They have held up very well, and I’m confident that my son will be unable to open any doors that he shouldn’t be opening (I still always have him within eyesight, but with much less worry.)

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I love how easy the latch is to get undone and re-latch. I often have my son in one arm and need to be able to undo the latches with one hand. I can do that with these, with very little strain. The latches fasten back together by just pushing the plastic down.

And for those worried about the adhesive ruining your surfaces? Not to worry. Simply take a blow-drier to the surface for a few minutes, and then break the seal with a butter knife. I attached one of my latches incorrectly (because I needed to tighten it,) and quickly removed it and re-attached it with new adhesive.

The kit comes with 6 latches, and one bonus gift, which I love! The bonus gift is a little snail that adheres to a door. The snail can swivel to prevent the door from closing (to save tiny fingers,) or to allow it to close completely. Cute, and practical!

I highly recommend this product from BabyKeeps, and hope to see more from them in the future! As a side note, their product has a lifetime warranty! Icing on the cake (or in my case, guac on the Chipotle bowl.)

-Katie

Your shoes are gross…

When I was younger, the rule of the house was always to take your shoes off as soon as you entered. This applied to both the individuals that lived in the house regularly (my family) and guests. As a guest, you were expected to take your shoes off, too. We had a small area for removing shoes right within our entrance door, as most homes do. I always removed my shoes upon entering others homes, and when someone says to me “it’s okay, you can leave your shoes on” I think to myself both “no” and “gross.”

I know where my feet go throughout a typical day. They walk through wet parking lots where you can generally find cigarette ashes, gum, and all kinds of other gross things. They walk through parks, through stores, through restrooms. They walk in the mud, and in the pesticide/fertilizer ridden grass of many locations.

As an adult it shocked me the first time people walked through my home with their shoes on. (I try to be a good hostess, because I want people to feel welcome in my home and feel that it’s generally bad etiquette to ask someone to take their shoes off.) However, having a baby changed everything.

My son is 9 months old. He spends his day crawling around on my floors. All day. Every day. On top of that, he has his hands in his mouth constantly.

So yes, when you come to my home, as a common courtesy to my infant especially, I expect you to take your shoes off.

In a recent study, it was found that your shoes are dirtier than a toilet seat. Would you let your child crawl around on a toilet seat? Me neither.

And though this sign might be a little obnoxious and bold, it’s now hanging in my mud room:

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Just a reminder, to be understanding when entering into homes (especially the homes of parents trying to keep their little ones healthy.) We really aren’t trying to be rude.

-Katie

Raising the Plugged-In Generation

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How many times have you heard the following phrases:

“Don’t let them watch too much television, it’ll rot their minds”

“Those video games, they’ll make him violent!”

“You never know what they’re looking at on the internet…”

“Why would she need a phone? She’s a child.”

I saw this Dateline 20/20 Nightline whatever episode recently that said “we” (me and you, current parents of small children) are raising the “Plugged-In Generation.” And it’s this horrible, scary thing where our kids are ruled by technology, and their minds really are mush and they’re doomed to be socially inept their entire lives because computers and smart phones will do everything for them. Okkkk….

So then I visited a mom friend the other day that told me that they have their television on for a total of 30 minutes a day. THIRTY. I found this out when naptime was approaching for the kids so I turned on a quiet cartoon, went to the bathroom, came back and the tv was off. Alrighty then.

Is it true? Is all the technology of today still rot-your-brains-out horrible? I’m not so sure.

Call me Mom of the Year, but my tv is rarely off. Sorry Mom Friend, but I think you’re a little nuts. But I also don’t want my kid to only speak in Jake the Pirate lingo and not be able to function outside of a computer screen…image

And when I say my tv is on all day, listen, I’m a stay at home, military mom. My DH is in and out constantly and I just can’t be in a house alone with my LO, sitting in silence all day. But that also doesn’t mean I park her in front of the tube and she sits in zombie mode for hours on end. In the mornings, we snuggle and watch a few episodes of Curious George. And then she’s off. Sometimes its a cute, toddler-appropriate cartoon in the background, sometimes it’s the Disney Pandora station. But my tv is on for the majority of the day for the simple purpose of background noise.

So besides my tv always being on, what other brain-rotting sins do I commit? Well I have a Fisher Price app on my tablet that she loves to play and if she could figure out Facetime on my phone, I’m sure she’d call my sister 37 times a day.

I’m a little conflicted here. I’m not a doctor or a scientist. Just a sahm, shrink in training (read: grad student in Professional Counseling), trying to make the best, most practical choices I can for my kid. So here’s my opinion:

1. Cartoons aren’t what they used to be. When we were little, it was Rugrats, Scooby Doo and Wiley Coyote being blown up by a bird. Now, my child has a ridiculous amount of educational shows to choose from. And they really are educational. Daniel Tiger learns how to share, Curious George does odd jobs to buy a kite, and Sofia the First deals with bullies. These are life lessons, in bold colors, with catchy songs that kids remember.

2. Use technology to your advantage. Sure, as your children get older they’re going to learn that there is a world of opportunity available out there on the internet. So be smart. Use the parental settings on your smart phones, your cable and your internet plans. Block what you don’t want them to have access to, give them kid-safe technology like a Leap Pad. As they get older, regulate who they can and cannot contact on their phones. Technology is expanding every minute but that doesn’t mean you have to be an ignorant parent. Stay up to date and monitor what you child, at any age, has access to.

3. Be safe. Get your middle schooler a phone if you want. Shoot, get your elementary schooler a phone. Give them text and call services and teach them that this is for emergencies only. Sure they may text their friends when you turn your back, but this isn’t a Mayberry,-leave-your-doors-unlocked kind of world anymore. My child having a way to contact me should there be, God forbid, some horrible event happening at their school or just some creeper near the bus stop, gives me peace of mind. It’s a safety measure I think is necessary here in 2015.

 4. Teach them OTHER things. Start young. Have scheduled play time OUTSIDE, every day if possible. Read to them. Read in front of them. Instill in them a joy of reading, crafts, music, couch-fort building and imaginary tea parties as soon as you can. The more you encourage non-technology related activities and make them appealing to your children, the less they’ll even care about watching Frozen for the 94th time this week.

Promoting the fun in other activities will also help avoid that feeling that they are addicted to technology. It can be helpful to reward positive behavior in your children, especially when they are toddlers. But constantly using your own personal phone or tablet as a reward WILL turn around and bite you when you eventually need to take it away, resulting in that dreaded inconsolable tantrum in the middle of Walmart that we all love. Try stickers or a musical toy, something fun they don’t always have access to as an incentive for good behavior.

If you want them to have “app time” during the day, schedule it into your routine. This way, they’ll know when to expect time on the tablet and won’t demand it at random moments throughout the day. Routine works!!!

5. Lead by example. The phone/tablet/laptop/smart watch…whatever…put it away. Don’t text and drive. Don’t check emails at dinner. EAT DINNER AT THE TABLE. Talk to your kids, no matter how young they are. I’m a student and I write for this super awesome blog so I suppose you could say I “work from home.” My child sees me use technology often. But I make technology-free time for her all day long. When you’re interacting with your child, be present. Listen when they have something to say. Set the example that you want them to follow.

I really don’t care how many hours a day my television is on. I’ll give my kid a tablet to play an age-appropriate app every now and then. What’s important is that technology doesn’t rule her life. I’m teaching my child how to speak politely to adults, the importance of fitness and a love of several different hobbies that don’t involve a keyboard or remote.

In the right context, technology can be so beneficial for children of all ages. We need to be forward-thinking parents. We need to not be ignorant to changing technology and current safety precautions. Keep up with your kids, stay current in their lives, and set the example you want them to follow. Technology isn’t the enemy, poor parenting is. We can’t protect them from everything, but we can guide them toward becoming successful, intelligent, social human beings that don’t have carpel tunnel from video games, but instead understand the value of new, evolving sciences that will shape their tomorrow.

-Chelsea

 

 

Munchkin Xtra Guard Latches {Review!}

512cg9-v3AL._SX466_Kitchen safety: super important. Between cleaning supplies, random chemicals (dishwasher detergents, especially,) hot surfaces, sharp objects… it’s definitely the place to spend some time baby-proofing. My kitchen was fairly straight-forward: a few things moved into new spots out of reach, and a few cupboard latches.

What I was most worried about was our oven. New ovens are decently lightweight and easy to tip, especially if the door is pulled open. My LO loves to climb on everything right now, and he really likes to use the oven handles to push himself up. IMG_7899

I had heard of children being severely injured or killed by falling furniture. Most of my tall furniture is secured to the wall, however, our oven door was a conundrum to me. A quick search resulted in these multi-use latches by Munchkin (there are several other brands, as well.)

These have adhesive that sticks firmly, but can also be peeled off without too much of a struggle. One adheres to the oven door, and one to the side of the oven (you can also use these on microwaves, refrigerators, etc.) Each square clip has buttons on each side that push in to release the latch. This then swivels into a vertical position, out of the way of your door. Really, a simple yet great design.51XjuH-IwxL

The ease of use makes it easy to cook without becoming frustrated by all of the baby-proofing. My husband and I use this daily, and I think that it’s one of the easier security items that we’ve purchased.

A two pack of these will run you around $7. And while I watch my 9 month old in the kitchen at all times, it’s helpful to know that if he pulls on the oven in the wrong way, he’ll be safe.

-Katie

Levana Lila Monitor {Review}

I spent a decent amount of time reading reviews before putting items onto my baby registry. Of course, everyone has a different opinion so I tend to go with the general consensus. I (mostly) like Levana products, but this Lila monitor is the exception.

51gFRPuBgvL._SY355_The monitor has mixed reviews. It’ll run you around $120, and can easily be found in most stores and online retailers.

I, of course, wanted a video monitor that wouldn’t cost $400-$500 (crazy.) While my son slept in our room for the first 6 weeks or so I definitely wanted to be able to keep a close eye on him when he moved into his own room (he had severe reflux and had several choking episodes when he was itty bitty.)

This monitor was a giant disappointment. 

It interferes with any wifi signal and cuts out. I HAVE to turn my wifi off on my phone at night for the camera to work (since it sits docked right next to my phone.) I can’t change my wifi settings, so I guess I’ll continue to run up my cell phone data since the monitor is incompatible with the waves. (Come on Levana– most households have wifi, so this just isn’t acceptable.)

The picture is rough, at best. The night vision is good, but the monitor REALLY struggles when it’s not dark enough for the night vision and not bright enough to create a good daytime photo. It’s grainy and has a pretty poor picture.

-The interface is clunky. Like, if Windows 98 were a baby monitor, this would be that monitor.

-Cheaply made. My stand broke just from your typical every-day use (mostly, sitting on my night stand not being moved.) Getting a spare part from Levana? Good luck. I emailed WEEKs ago and was informed that it would be around a 6 week wait. So now I have my Levana monitor duct taped to stay up. #ThanksLevana When typical, everyday, baby products break so easily, the customer service should be much better. If you don’t have the stand, offer something else. 0871363024510_AV2_500X500

Battery isn’t great. I plug mine in all day, and keep it plugged in all night. It lasts for the time I need to have it and carry it around with me during naps, but otherwise, don’t expect to leave it unplugged for more than a few hours.

-Changing the brightness on this camera is really awkward. It loses all contrast if you up the brightness.

Cord is too short to be able to mount this high on your wall. We had to rig this with a strange extension cord to get it in the corner of the nursery.

The Pros: Price was OK. Also, I love that the monitor will stay on continuously, or it has 3 levels of sound that it will turn the display on for. The mount works well, and the camera has a decent (manual) swivel for wherever you need to aim it.

I wouldn’t recommend the Levana Lila. Levana has some really great products, but this is not one of them. Save your pennies and buy a different monitor.

-Katie

Mixing Babies and Fur Babies

IMG_7652Many years before having our son Lucas, my husband and I adopted our cats, Edgar and Basil.

Our cats are mellow, and they’ve enjoyed the quiet of our home.

Alllll that changed once Lucas was born. We knew it would be a huge adjustment for them, and really started to plan for introducing the new baby to them. Their entire world was about to be disrupted by a tiny human that needs constant attentiontheir days of cat nip every day and warm milk in a dish were numbered.

When we brought our baby home, we let the cats first smell his blankets and clothing to get used to his scent. We then put our newborn in his infant seat and let the cats approach and smell him at their own pace. The transition went really, exceptionally well. 

I should note, we were even more concerned because both of our cats have feline herpes. You heard me. While it’s not quite as gross as it sounds, it still sucks. Edgar initially had it, and transmitted it to Basil. Thankfully, they can’t transmit to humans. Essentially, when they get stressed they get eye infections that require an expensive ointment. If you’ve never put ointment into a cat’s eye before, count yourself lucky. So, #firstworldcatproblems, I have to worry about my cats being STRESSED. HA. We painted our living room once, and it stressed our cats out so badly that they were both running around with eye infections (our vet told us any small change can trigger it.) Thankfully, bringing our baby home didn’t stress them out and we were eye-herpie free.

When we put our son in his nursery to sleep for the first time (around 8 weeks old,) we made sure to keep the cats out until they understood that they were NOT allowed in the crib. Until we were comfortable with the cats in the nursery, we had a baby gate up that was too high for them to jump over. To this day, we’ve only had a cat jump into the crib once (and I think it scared him so badly that he’ll never do it again.)

One of our cats, Basil, does like to push the nursery door open. We’ve (mostly) solved this problem by spraying him with a squirt bottle when it does it.

BUT, more importantly, now that our son is old enough to understand the word “no” we are teaching him to be gentle with the pets. We never allow him to chase them, tug at them, or get in their faces. I have let Lucas pet the cats with an open hand and tell him to be “soft”. IMG_7647

Our animals are gentle animals. But they are animals. If provoked, they will likely revert back to their instinctual cat selves and hiss or scratch if they feel threatened.

When I see photos of small children pulling on dogs, or up in their faces, I instantly get anxious.

No matter how much you love and trust your pet, keeping your child safe is your first priority. Animals are unpredictable, and whether you think you know your pet or not, it takes a split second for their demeanor to change.

Here are some basic guidelines that we abide by with our pets, and with other pets that our son is around:

  1. Make sure all pets have had the proper veterinary care. Keep your pets healthy, and keep their nails short to avoid scratching.
  2. Do not leave your pet unattended with your child.
  3. Do not allow pets to cuddle with infants that are not old enough to move away if they are being smothered. (We don’t allow our 9 month old to cuddle with our cats anyway.)
  4. Pets can be extremely dirty. Keep your animals clean. Don’t allow them to get into the habit of licking or putting their paws on your child (especially their face.) Our cats use litter boxes, and for that reason I try to keep Lucas from touching their paws.
  5. Keep animal things out of reach of your baby (food, medications, litter, etc.)
  6. Start teaching your child as soon as possible not to provoke animals, and that they should always be handled gently.
  7. Keep large animals from sprinting through your household and injuring your child in the process. (I’ve been hurt more than once by a large dog that is too rambunctious.)
  8. If all else fails, keep your animals contained to a part of the house that your children are not in until they can be properly socialized.

The ASPCA has some great resources on co-mingling babies with cats and dogs. The Humane Society also offers some great advice.

I’m a huge animal lover, and as such, I want my family to be a cohesive unit where our son can hang out freely with our pets. Precautions are key to avoiding issues and injury. Know that this is an adjustment for all of you, and that it sometimes just takes time and understanding.

-Katie