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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Grippies: STEM Toys for Toddlers

g8311_6-1200x1200BurritoBuzz has talked about STEM teaching before, so elaborating on STEM, we’re bringing you a review on Guidecraft Grippies. I had not heard of Grippies prior to being introduced to them, but I was fascinated by the concept.

The toddler STEM building toy, Grippies® Builders, combines tactile exploration, magnetic play and an introduction to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. Grippies® use a unique, magnetic rod and ball configuration to provide a secure, frustration-free set of construction option as children first discover the joy of building. Unique in concept and design, Grippies® provide a fun, safe, and exploratory experience for toddlers. The 30 piece set features 4 soft matte textures in exciting bright colors. Suggested age: 18 months+

  • Open-ended magnetic STEM building toy for toddlers
  • Combines tactile exploration with magnetic play
  • Provides introduction to engineering
  • 30 piece set in exciting bright colors for $59.99 or a 20 piece for $39.99
  • Over-sized ABS Plastic rod encapsulates magnets
  • Accompanying metal balls are overmolded with soft plastic, with seamless texture for secure construction
  • Exterior features 4 soft matte textures
  • Winner of the Tillywig Brain Child Award, the National Parenting Center’s Seal of –Approval, Parents’ Choice Awards Silver Honor, and the Oppenheim Gold and Special Needs Adaptable Product (SNAP) Awards

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My son is 22 months old and really fine-tuning his motor skills at this point. Upon opening up Grippies, not only was my son fully engaged, but my husband and I were enthralled with building all kinds of structures with him. He quickly caught on to the concept of magnetism, so much so that he discovered that he could stick them to theg8311_lifestyle3-1200x1200 fridge, dishwasher, and cold air return grates. And while the structures he’s building now are fairly basic, I have no doubt that he’ll be engaged with Grippies for years to come and build much more advanced structures!

I was concerned about the magnets in these products, because magnets can cause serious damage (and death) if swallowed. I’ve been cautious throughout my son’s infancy and toddler years to ensure that small magnets are always out of his reach. Thankfully, the magnets in the Grippies are firmly stuck on the rods. While I tell my son to not chew on toys, he still does at times. Thankfully, the Grippies’ magnets have not budged. He is still always supervised when playing with them, thanks to my momma paranoia.

Grippies have proven to be a fun, educational activity for my tiny human. They keep him busy for decent lengths of time. My only true complaint is the price; they are overpriced for what you get. I’d love to see them have a lower price-point so all families could affordstem-logo-salsify-1200x1200 them. Check out all of Guidecraft’s awesome and educational toys here and Guidecraft’s STEM toys here! They will make great holiday and birthday gifts for any little one in your life!

Don’t forget to follow Guidecraft on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on all thing Guidecraft!

– Katie

**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.**

Bluebee Pals {Review + Giveaway}

Technology is everywhere and sadly unavoidable for the most part. With cell phones, tablets, computers, TV, and game systems at easily available at home and tablets andgroupshot computers now apart of the curriculum at most schools, screens seem to always be in children’s’ faces. But what if a product that can be used with said technology can help help educate  our little ones? I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Bluebee Pals from Kayle Concepts that combines state of the art technology and traditional plush toys.

Bluebee Pals come in 6 animal styles; Riley the Zebra, Leo the Lion, Hudson the Puppy, Lily the Lamb, Sammy the Bear, and Parker the Monkey so kids can pick their favorite animal to adopt. They are geared for children 3-8 years old but can of course be a lifetime pal to your child! Bluebee Pals use Bluetooth Technology to sync to any iOS and Android device. They can even be used a a hands-free phone with a built in microphone and speaker! riley-the-zebra-pro-510x510Each of the plush stuffed animals has a mesmerizing feature – lip synchronization – that allows the pal’s lips to move as it sings or reads from various apps.

My daughter chose Riley the Zebra and she loves her! She’s incredibly soft, even though she has a rechargeable battery stuffed inside. Hooking Riley up to our iPad was quick and easy. I downloaded several learning and singing apps, but the ones that read stories are my daughter’s favorite. Riley’s mouth moves and “reads” to her, she thinks it’s so cool! Simply prop a phone, laptop, or tablet on the pal’s lap and tuck it into their plush arms. Pal’s work with any app that has sound, including foreign language apps! Check out this video to see one in action!

Bluebee Pals are so fun and innovative, that’s why thousands have been adopted into households, schools, and therapy sessions. Pals  offer so many benefits, including auditory attention and processing, cause and effect, pre-literacy skills, and more. To date, the toy industry has given Bluebee Pals 6 awards, including Mom’s Choice, National Parentingspecial-needs Publications, Parent’s Choice, Creative Child Award, Academic Choice, and Tillywig, they were just listed as #1 on the list of products that impressed STEM Education at International Society for Technology in Education Conference 2016. I also think Bluebee Pals would be beneficial for children on the Autism spectrum, to help with language and communication. Get your little one his or her own award-winning Bluebee Pal here, at Target, or on Amazon for $64.99!

Here are a few links to recommended educational apps from the Bluebee Pals website, but be sure to visit their site to see all of the recommended apps:

Would you like to win a Bluebee pal of your own? You’re in luck! One winner will get to adopt a Bluebee Pal of his or her choice! Just follow these easy steps to enter:

  1. Like @burritobuzz and @bluebeepals on Instagram
  2. Like the giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends (one per comment) that you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

bluebee_palsThe giveaway will start Saturday, November 12th at 12pm and end Monday, November 14th at 12pm. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced within 24 hours. Goodluck! **This giveaway is no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Bluebee Pals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for updates, new products, and sales!

– Casey

**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.**

 

Draw Your Own Circuits with Circuit Scribe {Review + Giveaway}

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We can all agree that STEM, the education of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is super important for our children learn this day and age. Technology is our future and where most of the new jobs are being created. With that being said, I love toys and activities that allow young children to learn how technology works and opens their world to new ideascircuit-scribe_copy-of-i-8njccmm-xl_lr and thought processes. I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Circuit Scribe from Electroninks, Inc. and was completely blown away by how much I learned (at 28 years old) and I am now hooked!

Created by a company based in Austin, TX and Cambridge, MA, Circuit Scribe is a revolutionary pen that uses non-toxic conductive ink that makes it easy for newbies (like myself) and expert makers to have fun with electronics in a new and easy way. Geared towards children 8 years and older, Circuit Scribe is an easy way to introduce STEM to kids and is also great for those who are already experienced. I have to admit, when I was asked to review this product, I knew nothing about it. But I did know that STEM is huge right now, and being integrated in schools across the country and all over the world. I knew I personally wanted to circuit-scribe_img_0048_lrget my hands on a kit (my electronic-loving husband also wanted to give it a whirl) and I definitely wanted to share it with our readers!

First of all, if you’ve never done anything with circuits (or if you have no idea what a circuit is), the workbook/sketchbook is so easy to read through and understand. I couldn’t wait for my husband to help explain everything to me, so I took it upon myself to learn how it all worked and it was surprisingly easy, even for a newbie like me. Here’s the gist of how it works: simply draw traces with their quick dry conductive ink pen, then snap on their magnetic modules to create fully functional electrical circuits instantly! You place the magnetic steel sheet under a sheet of paper, then use the circuit stencil with the conductive ink pen to draw pathways for the current to allow the modules to interact, creating the circuit. Each module is different and does something different. Here is a list of modules included in the Maker Kit that I received:circuit-scribe_ultimate-kit-contents_lr

  • 9V Power Supply and battery (power)
  • SPST Switch (input)
  • Photo Sensor (input)
  • Potentiometer (input)
  • Blinker (connect)
  • 2-Pin adaptor (connect)
  • NPN Transistor (connect)
  • BI-LED x2 (output)
  • RGB LED (output)
  • Buzzer (output)

The Maker Kit consists of 17 pieces, including 11 modules, 1 conductive ink pen, a circuit stencil, jumper stickers, a magnetic steel sheet (that has an awesome symbol guide for quick reference), and an easy to read step by step workbook. There are several different Circuit Scribe kits available, starting at $9.99 for the Mini Kit (available or pre-order), the Basic Kit for $44.99-$59.99, the Maker Kit for $79.99, the Ultimate Kit for $99.99, and the Developer Kit for $194.99. There are also classroom kits available so entire classes can participate and learn about circuits thanks to Circuit Scribe! You can also circuit-scribe_maker-kit-with-contents_lrorder replacement or extra modules right on their website, too. Check out all of Circuit Scribe’s products here! We also have an exclusive code for 15% off your Circuit Scribe purchase, jut use code BURRITO15 at check out!

This is the coolest, most educational product I have had the privilege of reviewing for BurritoBuzz. I have learned so much from playing around with the different modules already, and my husband is a big fan also. Although we’re still learning, we are having a blast going through the workbook together. If you have children or nieces or nephews that are interested in science and technology, I highly recommend Circuit Scribe! It’s a great way for kids (and adults) to learn and have fun at the same time. It would make a fantastic gift this holiday season, I know I will be gifting a kit or two myself this December! Here’s a video of my handsome husband showing how some of the modules work:

And guess what? We’re giving one lucky winner a Maker Kit of their own! Follow these quick and easy steps for a chance to win!

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @circuitscribe on Instagram, we will be checking!
  2. Like our original giveaway post.
  3. Tag a friend who would love the chance to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

The giveaway will start at 12pm EST on Thursday November 3, 2016 and end at 12pm EST on Sunday November 6 ,2016. You can tag as many friends as you’d like to get one entry per tag/comment. Good luck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Instagram.**circuit-scribe_electroninks_wallpaper-logo-3_lr

Don’t forget to following Circuit Scribe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on sales, new products, and more!

– Casey

**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.**