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

 

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Aldi & Why You Should Consider Their Baby Products

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Aldi. When I moved out right after high school, I had a grocery budget that allowed me to eat pasta for essentially every meal. I think I lived on somewhere around $450 a month and after paying rent and utilities, I was usually left wondering how I was going to stretch the rest of my money. And now I wonder how in the hell did I live on such little money. But, I digress. Aldi was my savior. I could easily pack my cart for under $100, and I was able to get more than just junk food. Aldi offers a fair variety of groceries and their range of products is ever-expanding.

My first several years shopping at Aldi, I obviously didn’t care about baby products. But now, many years later, I had mostly stopped shopping there because I didn’t like being inconvenienced by having to go to multiple stores because Aldi didn’t have what I needed for my son. They had carried diapers and wipes for some time, but there was no baby food or snacks for little ones.

But people of the world: EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED

Aldi now carries a variety of baby goods. Thankfully, I qualified for the most recent VoxBox, which was an array of Aldi baby products. Aldi’s Little Journey line is just what I’ve been waiting for.qualitytested_a408e6f99f.png

LET ME BREAK IT DOWN

Diapers: WINNER081716_R_49856_LTJ_JumboPk_Diapers_5_Horizontal_D__539aefd336

I’ve been incredibly picky when it comes to diapers. Flat out, I hate diapers that leak, are awkwardly proportioned, have intensely fragrant smells, leave cotton residue behind, or have too small of tabs. I have, up to this point, tried Luvs, Pampers, Huggies, Sam’s Club brand, Target brand, Walgreens brand and possibly a few others. Huggies have been my favorite for their lack of smell, absorbance, ease of use and comfort. The Aldi diaper is almost spot on with my analysis of a Huggies diaper, but they seem slightly more flexible (which is great). They are super absorbent and have no strange perfume smells. Even babies with sensitive skin do incredibly well with these diapers. I am exceptionally pleased with this product. And better yet, they are a fraction of the cost of big brand diapers. After I did the math, the price per diaper is right around $.14 in comparison to $.20-$.25 per diaper with other major brands. When you’re going through 10 diapers a day, this is a big deal.

Wipes: WINNER081716_R_51727_LTJ_MoistWipes_Rockline_D-New-at-Al_a6fc1e6ed6

I wish I could say that I just use wipes for my toddler’s diaper changes, but in reality I use them for random spills, removing makeup, cleaning my car, wiping down the dinner table, etc. So we go through a lot of them. (I’m making a hearty effort to use fewer wipes in my everyday life, but sometimes the convenience of a wipe just wins in my crazy mom world.) The wipes are comparable to Huggies. They’re also not incredibly fragrant, which is a plus to me. I prefer baby products that are not loaded with fragrance. The price is right, and for something that we go through like crazy, Aldi wipes are really a steal. I want to see these in bulk instead of single packs. I can go through a single pack of wipes in 2-3 days. Give me these in packs of 10!

Bath Wash: WINNER081716_R_46849_LTJ_BabyWash_New_at_Aldi_PTPA_D_fb9deac720

I am incredibly biased when it comes to bath wash. I conducted some serious tests a few months ago to see which washes were both okay for our babies to be putting on their delicate skin, and truly tear-free. I did this by literally rubbing baby wash in my own eyes to see if they were actually tear-free. Shocker, most of them were not. After finding one that I really loved, I didn’t think I’d find another baby wash that I’d like. While this wash is not truly organic, it is tear-free and pretty mild. Overall, we are happy with it and will use it! The easy-to-use pump makes bathing  an always-on-the-move toddler much easier.

Little Munchers, Yogurt Bites and Puffs: MOSTLY A WINNER

Being the mom of a toddler, I feel like I have to have snacks on hand 100% of the time. Not only does it prevent my little guy from getting hangry during outings, but they can quickly stop an ongoing tantrum. Each of the snacks come in several different flavors and they are comparable to brands you’d already find on your local grocery shelves, but at a fraction of the cost. My son loved each of these snacks, but in particular he devoured the yogurt bites. Puffs do go stale quickly, but this is a problem across the board with all brands of puffs. I’d recommend throwing them out after a week or trying to put them in an airtight container when possible. The snacks are a winner in my book.

Baby Food Purees: WE LOVE THEM, BUT…081716_R_50433_LTJ_AppleBananaPeachYogurt_BabyPure_9a87aa4908

These baby food pouches were indefinitely what I was most excited about. Not only are they fully organic, but they are nearly half the price of their competitors. This is an enormous cost-savings, especially for great quality products. The Burrito Buzz babies loved these pouches. Our only complaint is that all of the pouches contain apple. This is okay for some babies, but for little ones with sensitive stomachs, too much apple is not a good thing. We hope to see more variety in the future, because we’re exceptionally excited about the availability of these pouches!

Formula: WE CAN’T SAY…081716_R_50462_LTJ_SensitivityFormula_D_New_at_Ald_8ba3cd2919

None of our BurritoBuzz babies are currently utilizing the formula. That being said, Aldi says that their line is comparable to Similac. They offer a very fair variety of formula, including a soy option. The price point for Aldi formula is truly going to be a godsend to families on a budget!

Our overall analysis of the Aldi line is that it’s a wonderful, much-appreciated addition to their stores. We are thrilled with this huge improvement and we love the products being offered.

The big downfall? Busy families like mine tend to order things online. Many stores offer free shipping on diapers and baby food and I utilize that free shipping almost weekly. Sometimes it’s so much easier to be able to have a box delivered to your doorstep instead of carting the little ones into a store. If Aldi is listening, please consider offering a free shipping option for parents (or even the option to ship). This would be a very welcomed and much appreciated addition.

Here is a quick pricing breakdown and products offered:

Product*

Retail

Little Journey Newborn

$4.99

Little Journey Size 1

$4.99

Little Journey Size 2

$4.99

Little Journey Size 3

$4.99

Little Journey Size 4

$4.99

Little Journey Size 5

$4.99

Little Journey Size 6

$4.99

Little Journey Size 3 Club

$12.49

Little Journey Size 4 Club

$12.49

Little Journey Size 5 Club

$12.49

Little Journey Size 6 Club

$12.49

Little Journey Training Pants Boys

$5.99

Little Journey Training Pants Girls

$5.99

Little Journey Wipes

$1.29

Little Journey 216ct Wipes

$3.49

Baby Wash Test (28fl. oz)

$2.49

Little Munchers – Cheese

$1.39

Little Munchers – Veggie

$1.39

Mixed Berries Yogurt Bites

$1.79

Banana Yogurt Bites

$1.79

Strawberry Yogurt Bites

$1.79

Strawberry Apple Puffs

$1.39

Blueberry Puffs

$1.39

Banana Puffs

$1.39

Apple Mango

$0.79

Apple Blueberry Banana

$0.79

Apple Carrot

$0.79

Apple Sweet Potato

$0.79

Apple Pear Green Pea

$0.79

Apple Pear Spinach

$0.79

Apple Broccoli Pear

$0.79

Apple Banana Raspberry Yogurt

$0.79

Apple Banana Strawberry Yogurt

$0.79

Apple Banana Peach Yogurt

$0.79

Banana Apple Apricot Rice

$0.79

Prune Apple Butternut Squash Quinoa

$0.79

Advantage Baby Formula

$12.99

Premium Baby Formula (Infant)

$12.99

Sensitive Baby Formula

$13.49

Gentle Baby Formula

$13.49

Soy Based Baby Formula

$12.49

Toddler Formula

$11.49

*Available while supplies last. Items may not be available in all stores. Prices and labels may vary by location. Quantities are limited. No rain checks.

– Katie

**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.**

pureWash Pro {Review}

Over the course of the last several weeks, my family and I have been sampling the pureWash Pro distributed by GreenTech. I reached out to pureWash via Twitter because I was curious about their product and its benefits to my household. I, along with the other BurritoBuzz Moms, am always interested in new technology, especially products that can improve the efficiency of my home. Since I contacted pureWash, they have been nothing but easy to work with and it is true with their product as well. I was skeptical of it at first, but it has continued to surprise me!

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What is pureWash Pro?

“pureWash is an environmentally friendly appliance designed to work with your residential washing machine, adding enhanced oxygen and Photo Catalytic Oxidizers to the cold water supply. Water treated by pureWash aids in cleaning laundry and killing bacteria without leaving residual detergent in the fabric.”

How is pureWash installed?

My husband installed our pureWash Pro with ease shortly after we received it. It simply hooks up to the cold water supply that normally runs to your washing machine. We have a traditional top loading washing machine, but pureWash can be installed to any model. pureWash needs to be attached to a secure surface at installation to ensure it remains stable and level for its usage. My husband attached ours to the shelving unit next to our washing machine, using the mounting bracket that was included.

Once pureWash is installed, it’s ready to use! Easy, right? Simply operate your washing machine like you normally would. The only difference with using the pureWash is that you can only use the cold water setting to experience the benefits of the pureWash. “If hot water is used, it dilutes and defeats the effectiveness of the oxidizers that the pureWash has introduced into the wash water.”

Some things we noticed immediately after using pureWash:

  1. The first load of laundry we did with the pureWash was towels. We noticed right away that they felt softer and fluffier than normal. We did not use any detergent and the towels were soft, appeared clean and had a fresh scent. I was anxious to keep washing after that!laundry-basket
  1. I mentioned the fresh, clean scent above. This is true for every single load that is washed, not just that first load of towels. This is the “ozone smell”. I love it. The laundry smells so clean once it’s washed. This is not a smell that can be found in any type of detergent or fabric softener.
  1. The purpose of the pureWash is to use little or no detergent. This is where I was skeptical. Really, no detergent at all? How in the world would anything get clean with just water? But it does. Most often, we have not washed with any detergent using the pureWash. Unbelievably, our laundry is clean with only the cold, oxidized water. “Detergent build-up promotes mold growth and does not kill bacteria. Independent, scientific studies have proven pureWash Pro kills 99.9% of both with cold water.” (Sounds clean to me!) I do appreciate that I can add detergent if I want to. When I wash what I would consider a heavily soiled load of clothes (my nursing work scrubs, for example) I can still add detergent to the machine.
  1. Stains on laundry still need to be pre-treated before washing them using the pureWash. Sure it has worked great, but it’s not a miracle worker. When my kids’ clothes are covered in food or dirt, it’s going to take more than cold water to get those stains out. Once they’re treated with the stain remover you would normally use, simply throw your clothes in and wash like normal.
  1. There is a “Household Water Out” option on the bottom of the pureWash that allows you to use the water for other household cleaning needs. It can be used to clean, water plants, wash pets or rinse fruits and vegetables. I liked this option and plan on taking advantage of it.
  1. With babies and toddlers in my home, we often separate the laundry and use different detergent for the them. This is not necessary with pureWash. It’s so much easier washing everyone’s laundry together and not worrying about my kids breaking out in a rash from soap and detergent. pureWash is “ideal for those who suffer from allergies triggered by bacteria and mold found living in our laundry.”

I think it’s important to note that we use city water and a water softener with our pureWash hook-up. According to pureWash, “it will work with all typical household water qualities, but the better the quality of the water, the better results you will have. If you have hard waterptpa-seal, pureWash recommends a water softener and the removal of chlorine will improve the unit’s performance.” pureWash also recommends consulting a water filtration expert if you have any concerns about the quality of your water (high iron content for example) while using the pureWash.”

Overall, my family gives the pureWash 5 out of 5 stars. I have never seen a product quite like this, but it has surprised me with its ease of installation and use. It’s comforting to know I’m not using tons of chemicals and soap in my family’s laundry and it is still clean. And you know what else, I am saving money! I’m saving money by not using as much detergent and also eliminating the energy waste from washing with hot/warm water.

You can read more about the pureWash here or purchase it through Amazon using this link: pureWash PRO by GreenTech. If you are unhappy with your pureWash after 30 days, they offer a money back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied with it. Trust me, it’s definitely worth trying and you won’t want to send it back!

Here’s a short video explaining how the pureWash works:

– Megan

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of product review. 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.**

Boingo Fasteners for Cloth Diapers {Guest Review}

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Boingo Fasteners for Cloth Diapers Review
Mallory Menegay
Boingo Baby

We have been successfully cloth diapering since our little guy was one month old. Now, 14 months in, my time in researching this topic seems to be a close second to our switch to organic and clean eating. I did some digging into the best closure tools for cloth diapers that use a cover (basically anything other than the pocket 319479363and all-in-one style diapers). We mostly use pre-folds and flour sack towels with covers and pocket diapers. I settled on the Snappi, but the Boingo was a close second.

I was given the opportunity to use the Boingo fasteners from Katie here at BurritoBuzz and was excited to try them! In all honesty, the first few times using them, I hated it. I was used to the convenience of the little tabs on the Snappi, and really fought with the Boingo to get it off of the diaper. I do not like to touch a pee soaked diaper if I don’t have to, and the Boingo fasteners definitely make me do that. Yuck. There may be some trick to getting them off, but if there is, I haven’t found it.

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I kept using them to see if I could find a good technique that worked for us, and they began to grow on me.

The fasteners come in a wide range of colors and are very stable and sturdy. Being so thick, they are harder to maneuver, and I prefer the Snappi over them for this reason. They are one size and come in a pack of two, so you can use one fastener for smaller babies and two for bigger areas. This is nice, because comparing this to my use of the Snappi, the convenience factor is greater (Snappi’s come in sizes, so you have to buy more as baby grows). The prongs on the Boingo seem to grip better than the Snappi, and hold on great. The non-toxic, medical grade silicone covers the BPA-free hard plastic parts well, so there hasn’t been any rubbing or poking on baby’s skin for us.

Overall, I’ll continue to use them, and I do like them more now than when I first gave them a try, but would recommend them hands down if they were adjusted a little to make them easier to get off of the cloth!

Boingo Baby Cloth Diaper Fastener – Solid Gold

-Mallory

**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 and we never guarantee a positive review.**

The Wet Brush {Product Review}

This is by far one of the best gifts my nearly 3 year old has received. Her auntie is a hair dresser, so she knew The Wet Brush was a top-notch product. Mommy, on the other hand, had no idea there was a product on the market this awesome or we would have had a long time ago! My little lady has never really fussed or complained when we comb/brush her hair, but as she gets older, she wants to do it herself and her hair is only getting thicker and longer.

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This brush looks like any ordinary old brush, but don’t be fooled; this thing is a miracle worker! I could not believe the ease that this brush made it through my little girl’s messy hair.71JHo5LLGLL._SY679_ It wasn’t even necessary to use a detangler spray prior to using it. I cannot wait to tackle her knotty hair after a day at the pool or when we visit the beach this summer. The Wet Brush is advertised to “quickly and painlessly detangle even the thickest, most stubborn hair thanks to its revolutionary bristles.” The bristles are called “IntelliFlex” and are “designed to be ultra thin and flexible, yet still have rapid recovery memory to instantly bounce back to its original form. In addition, the ball tip bristles provide a massaging action that stimulates circulation at the follicle and is a proven benefit for hair health.” I know, I know, this sounds very high-tech for a “hair brush,” but I’m telling you, whatever it does, it works

My little one’s hair is long (never been cut yet) and thick, so after showers, playing all day, putting her foodie hands in it; it can be a mess when it comes time to brush it. The Wet Brush works with ease, no matter if her hair is wet, dry, sticky, or somewhere in between. She can use it herself without difficulty too.

 

You can find The Wet Brush at beauty supply stores or Target, but if you’re an online 71qIcPaZiaL._SY679_shopper like me, there are several places you can go. On Amazon, you can pick from TONS of colors and it runs about $8.95 there – totally worth every last penny. Here’s another link on Groupon where you can buy 2 for $12.99. You can also check out the official website for The Wet Brush where they offer free shipping on orders over 10 bucks. They have other options available too, including brushes for baby, combs, hair clips, and brushes for men, etc.

 

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I honestly do not have anything negative to say about The Wet Brush and would give it 5 out of 5 stars without hesitation. We’ve had it for several months now, it’s used on a daily basis, and it has held up perfectly. All of the bristles remain intact and they’re still sturdy as ever. I’m anxious to see how long it really does last.

If you or your little ones struggle with tangles in your hair, or you just need a new brush, I’m telling you, this brush is for you. You will be so glad you bought this product!!

 

-Megan

Put More Bank in the Piggy

It’s mind blowing how advanced technology has become and what a phone can do. One of my favorite things about my iPhone is that I can use it to make and save money! Being a mom, saving money is so important to me. If you have an iPhone or an Adroid, do yourself a favor and download these free apps to make and save big money! It’s so easy, requires little effort and the savings really add up.

Receipt Hog  Receipt Hog is one of my favorite apps because it’s so easy and it uses receipts you’re going to throw away anyway. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt (from grocery stores, gas stations, coffee shops, retail stores, ect.) and you’ll get coins for each receipt. You will also get 1 spin on the slots for each receipt which could earn you more coins! Once you get at least 1,000 coins, you can redeem them for $5 through PayPal or a $5 Amazon gift card. Redemption takes up to a week but it’s legit and it’s free money just for taking a picture of your receipt! 

iBotta This is an awesome rebate app that gives you money back for purchasing certain items (brand names or they’re often ‘any brand’ products like bananas or a gallon of milk). There are rebates from so many stores, including retails and grocery stores, for baby items, grocery items, electronics, they’re always adding stores and rebates. To unlock a rebate, you’ll be asked a short poll question about that product or watch a short 30-45 second video. Once it’s unlocked and you purchase the item you verify the product is eligible for the rebate by scanning the bar code and either upload a picture of the receipt or you do nothing because certain stores verify purchases soley through their loyalty cards that you must link to your iBotta account. Be sure to unlock rebates before going shopping! Once your rebates add up to $20 you can ‘cash out’ through PayPal, Venmo or several store giftcards (must cash out $25 or more). If you’re already buying these items, it’s a no brainer to take the few minutes to unlock the rebates & earn money back! You can also you coupons in-store on top of these rebates to save even moreDownload & sign up here!

Checkout 51  This is another great rebate app that requires very little effort to get cash back. All you have to do is purchase the qualifying item, take a picture of the receipt and upload it. No need to verify by scanning the barcode either. My favorite part of Checkout 51 is the limit for each item is different. For example, there may be a $.50 rebate for hummus with a limit of 4. So you can earn a total of $2 if you buy 4 containers of hummus. It makes a great deal if they’re on sale plus using coupons if available. When you reach $20, you can cash out and a check will be sent. Again, free and easy cash back for items you already buy. 

SavingStar  This is another rebate app that is similar to iBotta and Checkout 51 but you only have to have $5 in your account to cash out, which is by PayPal or you can opt for a Starbucks, iTunes or AMC Theatres gift card. SavingStar only has about 10 qualifying stores and you link your loyalty card to those who have them instead of uploading a receipt. Target, Walmart, Family Dollad and Walgreens are a few of the stores that SavingStar accepts receipts from. Along with food rebates, every month SavingStar offers rebates from Unilever, brands like Axe, Dove, Caress and Suave. To redeem a rebate, just hit the (+) under the picture to add it to your list. Do this before you shop if using a loyalty card and before you upload a receipt.

There are a lot of rebate apps out there and I feel like I’ve tried them all. These 4 are the ones I use on a daily basis and are user friendly. If you haven’t already, download one, two or all 4 of these amazing apps and start earning and saving money!

– Casey