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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The Cibo Placemat {Product Review}

I never thought I would be so thrilled about a placemat but this product is awesome!

Free of Phthalates, BPA and harmful dyes catch-all placemat comes in four adorable colors and sticks to virtually every hard surface, making it versatile for at home and for travel.

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I first asked myself how in the heck this thing was going to stick to my table and actually stay in place, but I decided that it’s simply just magic, because my 3.5 year old couldn’t make it budge during breakfast time.

The menu today included scrambled eggs with ketchup, raisins and sausage links. Usually 1/2 of the eggs end up on the floor for my 4 legged vacuum cleaners to clean up, but not today folks. Not today.


Go figure, I whip out The Cibo and he eats like a saint and drops next to nothing. However, direct your attention to the eggs in the tray that were caught and didn’t end up on my floor! After breakfast, I grabbed the whole placemat, tossed it in the sink and sprayed it off. It makes for a super easy clean up. The flexible silicone allows for easy roll up for storage and travel as well.

My only complaint is the cut out for the plate. Maybe if I put him in a booster it would work better, but it was simply too far away from him to reach his plate, let alone becibo-logo.jpg able to eat. If I pushed him in further, his chest/tummy folded the catch tray closed. Obviously, I just moved his plate onto the mat (as you can see).

And it’s good for so much more than meal time. K enjoys Beado’s, but if you drop one of those little buggers during the making process, they either bounce erratically all over or they simply roll off the edge of the table. The Cibo mat helped with this as well as the tray caught any stray beads that were dropped or rolling away. The possibilities are endless with this product! The price point may be high for those who enjoy sweeping and mopping after every meal and snack, but for me, $24.99 is well worth it. You can find yours here!

Amy, the creator of The Cibo, also donates a percentage of sales to charities that help eradicate hunger! Listed on her website are some of the charities she donates to, be sure check out the list here. I give The Cibo 5 out of 5 stars! Great job Amy!

Follow Amy and The Cibo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for sales and new releases!

– Kirstyn

**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.**

 

Playground Etiquette 101

2009-04-21_Hampton_Forest_Apartment_Homes_playgroundTrust me, it’s a real thing and no one seems to know about it. It’s like a list of silent rules to abide by in order to not make other moms and dads despise you (and your child) on the playground. With warm weather becoming more steady, and playgrounds being a great way to socialize and wear out your stir-crazy toddler, I figured it couldn’t hurt to share the (unspoken) playground rules.

  1. It’s a jungle gym, not a babysitter. I know “gym” sounds like “Jim” and it can be confusing for some, but I assure you “gym” won’t take very good care of your child. Under no circumstance is it okay to leave your child, no matter the age, at the playground. Please do not try to give me your phone number and ask me to text or call you if there is an emergency. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. See Rule #4.
  2. Don’t let your kid be a punk. I know, I know, name calling isn’t nice and I would never tell your kid he’s a punk to his face, but I would have no problem letting you know. If your kid pushes, hits, kicks, spits on or throws a handful of mulch at my kid, the playground drama will be redirected between you and I. I mean seriously, its a park. It’s full of fun things, let’s keep it fun.
  3. Stay off your phone. This is my biggest pet peeve and I’m sure everyone else would agree. Pay attention to your child, and not whatever time consuming electronic you brought with you to the park. This kind of goes hand in hand with Rule #1 and #4. Multiple times I have seen parents show up to the park, release their children and find a shady bench under a tree and sit down and scroll through what I’m assuming is Facebook. It only takes a second for your kid to put themselves in a potentially dangerous situation and I’m sure your Facebook feed isn’t nearly as important as the safety of your child. I can’t make this up… 2015 Mom of the Year shows up to the park with her 3 kids. Kids run to the play area, mom sits on a picnic table in the shade 100+ yards away and digs out her phone and throws on some headphones. I’m paying attention to my child and chit chatting with the other parents whose child is playing nicely with mine. Fast forward 10 minutes… Mom of the Year hastily runs over in a panic to me and another mom, and asks if we have seen her son and how she doesn’t know “how this happened” and that she was “checking her email and listening to Spotify”.  Turns out this kid is severely non-verbal autistic and he wandered over 400 yards from the play ground and was on the walking path through the wooded area by himself. SEVERELY NON-VERBAL AUTISTIC CHILD. FOUR HUNDRED YARDS AWAY… on a WALKING PATH THROUGH THE WOODS all because his mother wanted to sit in the shade and rock out to the Biebs. What irks me even more is when I hear a kid yell “Mom look at this!” and the poor kid gets an “uh huh” while their mom scrolls through her phone not even glancing up. Come on lady, your kid is begging for your attention. Who cares if you’ve seen them go down the slide backward 99 times before, they obviously think the 100th time is just as cool and important as the first 99. The little moments go by in the blink of an eye, and the next thing you know the “Mom look at this” comment is when they’re handing you their college acceptance letter.
  4. Your child is not my responsibility. Attach this to Rules #1 and #3. If little Tommy wants to climb to the very top of the highest piece of playground equipment, I will most likely belt out a friendly “oh no don’t fall” and then proceed to tell my child that if he ever thinks that’s a good idea, to unthink it. If your child falls face first in a pile of mulch and you’re not paying attention, please DO NOT get an attitude with me because YOUR child fell while YOU weren’t paying attention. My child is my responsibility and your child is yours. It’s that simple. Maybe I should make it a habit to get non attentive mother’s cell phone numbers so when their child is in a situation where they will  have splinters of mulch in their face, I can just shoot them a text to advise her.
  5. Unless your child is “5 or under”, they shouldn’t be in the “5 and under” area. This is pretty self-explanatory. If the sign says “5 and under” then keep it that way. Us toddler parents use it as a safe haven from the oblivious-to-others older kids who run around playing God knows what and trampling our toddlers. Yes, I will tell your child nicely to watch out for the little ones and that “this area is for smaller kids”. Why would I correct someone else’s child? Because clearly their parents haven’t told them.

It’s really not that hard. It’s very basic concepts but the lack of common sense when on the playground makes it miserable for everyone involved. My kid cries because your kid is being mean, your kid cries because you’re not paying attention, you’re crying because your child wandered away. It’s a playground, let’s keep it fun.

-Kirstyn

Zulily – Unique Products

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I don’t know about the rest of the moms out there, but ever since I became a mommy, I cannot shop like I used to. Before my kiddos, I could enjoy several hours shopping for nothing in particular. There isn’t time for that now. It is the furthest thing from enjoyable to take my kidd out for a few hours of shopping. It also makes me incredibly anxious just thinking about getting them in and out of the car, in and out of the store, and through the parking lot. It is DEFINITELY not my idea of a good time anymore. With that said, I am so thankful for the website Zulily. Because of Zulily, I don’t even miss being able to “get out of the house” to go shopping.

I was a new mom when I first downloaded my Zulily app. I wasn’t shopping for anything specific, I just wanted to browse. I knew that Zulily targeted moms and specialized in unique brands and products. I was curious then, and I have been hooked ever since.

I love Zulily because of the wide variety of products and brand names. Items on their site include anything from shoes, toys, clothing, décor, and household items. Here is a listing of some of their most popular under-armour_416x416photobrands. You’ll see brands like Vera Bradley, Carters, Coach, Graco, Nike, Crocs, Burt’s Bees, and Aden and Anais are amongst the lengthy list. These brands and others open new “shops” of products that start up every morning, so there is always something new to see, which I LOVE. The catch is that these “shops” do not stay open for long. Most often, it’s only 48-72 hours, and then those items are gone; those “shops” are closed.

To me, Zulily is tough to beat. I know they have competitors out there, but they have kept me loyal and coming back. I have bought a variety of items over the last few years including baby items, shoes, kids’ clothes, purses, bathing suits, kitchen gadgets, bed sheets, toys, and magazine subscriptions. They even have personalization with some shops. You really can’t beat their prices either. They advertise their prices to be up to 70% off every day and offer a $15 credit for every new customer you refer. Most often their shipping times are lengthy (10-14 days), but I have gotten used to that. You also aren’t able to return items if you are unhappy with them.

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Overall, Zulily is a great site, especially if you are a busy Mommy like me and crave the shopping you can’t find the time to squeeze in anymore. The app is user friendly and there are always new shops and products to browse. Check it out ASAP – there is something for everyone!

-Megan

 

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table {Review}

We bought this for my oldest child’s first birthday 2 years ago, and it has been such a great toy for her. Now, we are preparing to use it all summer long with both of my kids. My oldest is now 3 and she still enjoys playing with it. My youngest is almost a year ol and he already loves it. We usually have it set-up on our deck out back. We have a hose nearby which makes it easy for us to fill up when needed. When we are ready to empty it, we just unplug the drain and let it empty through the deck. Perfect. Even when it’s not filled with water (all winter long it was stored in our basement), the kids still love playing with it!

Here are some more cool features:

img_3976–       Five character balls were included with the table that fit down the spiral slide in the middle of the table. They also squirt water – what kid doesn’t love to squirt their parents?! You can also scoop them up using the attached Ferris wheel or included water cup. I love that you can see through the spiral slide so the kids can watch as the balls come down.

–       The kiddos can use the included water cup to pick up the character balls, pour water through the spiral slide, funnel or Ferris wheel, or just splash each other. My daughter loves that the cup has little holes in the bottom of it too.

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–       The water table is the perfect height for toddlers. Even my youngest stands and plays at it well. He can’t reach to put the balls down the spiral slide, but he is able to play with everything else with ease and loves it!

–       The table is advertised to hold 7 gallons of water. I don’t know if this is exactly true, but either way, it holds enough to make it sturdy to not be pushed or moved around. When my little ones are standing at it, I can trust that it’s not going to push out from under them and they will be safe. The table is light enough when it’s empty (10 lbs) that is can be picked up and moved around with ease to wherever your kiddos want to play.

41ufn0EEkmLOur family gives this Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table 5 out of 5 stars. I can see the table being helpful with my 3 year old in developing her imagination and sharing skills further, especially now that she is a big sister. My littlest will hopefully get stronger and better at cruising around the table as the summer goes on. The only downside I can think of is that the assembly was difficult. It has been a couple of years now since I put it together, but I remember saying a few choice words and needing my husband’s help.

You can find this summer fun item on the Little Tikes website which is offering 10% off currently or on Amazon

This is the perfect toy for your little one’s first or second birthday and this coming up this summer. They will stand and play for hours and years to come!

-Megan

Have an Egg-celent Easter-How to Easter Egg Hunt with Toddlers

So unless your kid is some sort of sharing, not greedy breed of child then an Easter egg hunt involving anyone but him/herself is going to be tremendously disastrous! 

We opt out of city functions when it comes to Easter because I don’t want to have to explain to Cayden why kids twice his age have 50+ eggs, and well, he has 2. So we set it up at my mother in laws house for the 4 grandchildren and it’s phenomenal. 

  
1. Color coded eggs- when you have more than 1 child varying in ages participating, this is a life saver. Last year was semi-disastrous as E (who was 11) was able to find the eggs more effeciently than C (who was 2) therefore creating a huge ordeal. So this year, color coded. E has his own color and is only allowed to pick up his color, K has her own color…and so on and so forth. 

2. Make the eggs visible- Your toddler is not going to think to look half way under the birdhouse on top of the post in the back yard. He just won’t. Kids don’t care where they are, they just care that they’re there.

3. Make them reachable- again, logical. If your kid is only 38.75″ tall, placing an egg in the “Y” of an oak tree isn’t feasible. 

4. Count-For once, count your chickens before they hatch…or at least your eggs. Knowing how many are out there keeps you from having any piles in your backyard in a few weeks or flinging a plastic egg full of Jelly Beans through the car window the next time you mow. 

5. Edibles- Do NOT…I repeat, do NOT fill all of your toddlers eggs with candy. It’s easier to avoid the meltdown rather then calm it down. Your toddler will want every single candy item and they will want it now. So if you fill the eggs with other edible things such as dried cranberries, goldfish crackers, popcorn, grapes…you get the jist, you can allow your toddler to eat it all and they won’t go into a sugar induced coma. 

Last but not least, 

6. Just stop stressing-Grab your camera, make little Susie poses for a picture with bunny ears on and then relax…let them have fun. Your child is a child, not a professional egg hunter. 
Happy Easter

-Kirstyn

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

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

The Shelfie {Product Review}

Bathtime is a favorite in our house. My 3 year old would sit in the tub until the water was freezing and her little toes and fingers were pruned beyond recognition if I let her. She loves to act like she’s deep sea diving for her little sea creatures and she often says the ‘waves’ are out of control in the ocean, so she puts her animals on the edge of the tub, causing water to go everywhere. Mommy does not like cleaning up water off the floor every night after bathtime, although I’m sure the floor welcomes a nightly cleaning. That is why I am so thankful I came across this genius product that not only I love, but my daughter loves as well.   The Shelfie is a thick blue plastic shelf with about a 1 inch lip around and has 2 suction cups on each end (they’re really strong, too, and stick where you put them, even on the wall after bathtime) and adheres to the side of the tub. It allows little ones to be able to play on the edge of tub and it contains the water so you’re no longer cleaning up tons of water. However, it DOES NOT help protect your bathroom floor when your 3 year old decides to pore a bucket of water (twice) on it, as my daughter did the first night we used it. Luckily, she figured out that you cannot dump water on it, only play with her little animals and toys on it. She really loves being able to play on the side of the tub and even says it’s her animals ‘house’. When we’re not using it, I suction it to the wall or the tub so it’s out of the way, I don’t have to dry it every night and it’s always in reach for bathtime. If you’re tired of cleaning up sopping wet floors, check out The Shelfie. It’s now a must during every bath and it is super easy to use. I’m sure (sitting) babies would love to play on it as well. Again, just don’t let your little one(s) dump large amounts of water on it, you’ll be needing a lot of towels if you do! I would give this product 5 out of 5 stars, it really does chsnge the game of bathtime for us. If you get a chance, follow The Shelfie on Instagram @getashelfie and use the link below for more information and to order your own Shelfie! 

Get your own Shelfie here!

– Casey 

  

  

  

  

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