Shopping Tips for Infant Car Seats and Strollers

 

tips for infant car seats

 

Taking baby on the road? There are a number of things to keep in mind when you are shopping for strollers and car seats. First, consider the age of the child.  Furthermore, how will you be using the stroller or car seat before you buy.

Buckle up baby

First, you will start with a portable infant car seat. It will also double as a carrier and a rocking chair in a pinch.  Infant seats are designed to be rear-facing (the safest seating for a baby) and it snaps into a base. You will find all-in-one car seats on the market.  They are a tempting choice because they could potentially save you money. However, the one-size-fits-all design may not work for smaller babies or smaller cars.  For example, this car seat is big and bulky.  It is built to last and could be a good backup car seat for a caregiver. One car that can accommodate any kind of car seat is the Jeep Compass. Make sure the seat you are buying will actually fit in your vehicle.

Traveling with a toddler

Your next car seat will be a convertible model when your baby is about a year old. Experts advise you to keep the seat rear-facing until your child is at least two years old.  So, the seat has to be able to accommodate the extra leg room while facing backward. When your child has passed the 40 to 50lb. mark, you will want to change the seat to a forward-facing installation.

Toddler booster seats are also available, and they are cheaper than convertible seats.  However, they are only safe for a child who has reached the recommended front-facing age of two years old.  Next, basic booster seats are designed to “boost” your child up to the proper level for seatbelt coverage.  High-back versions are recommended as a safer and more comfortable option.  Be sure to check your state’s car seat regulations.  They could vary from state to state. 

Let’s go for a stroll

Before you buy a stroller, consider how you will be using it.  Will you be walking through the city or down a country road? You will need a durable, comfortable stroller with strong wheels and a safety harness. Some strollers collapse down into a lying position so baby can nap comfortably and safely.  This is perfect for trips to the mall or other events.

If you are moving baby from car to stroller for your walks, you may appreciate the kind where you can strap the car seat right into the frame. As baby grows and is able to sit up, walk and toddle away, you may want to switch to a lightweight, collapsible stroller that is easy to pack when not in use.

As with any baby equipment, it is important to take your time.  Most importantly, do your research and invest in a car seat or stroller that you feel good about. Once you do, pack up baby and hit the road.

What Parents Should Know About Snapchat

 Snapchat

First, it’s hard for children to imagine what life was like for their parents or grandparents.  While the majority of today’s kids are have smartphones, some of us were chained to the kitchen wall with a rotary dial telephone.

Furthermore, if we add social media to the equation we now have a worldwide audience available online.  Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have the biggest following.  But, Snapchat and Instagram also have huge online audiences.  However, most of their users are young people.

Teensafe is a tech app for parents to monitor their child’s online and smartphone activity.  Additionally, Snapchat has over 82 million users with 255 million “snaps” shared daily.  The majority of users are under the age of 25 and 41% of today’s teens use this popular photo sharing app frequently.  So, take a look at this video for more information.

The Internet Is Forever

Also, the majority of parents are teaching their children the important lesson that “the internet is forever.”  It is a fact, that things you post and share online are for an eternity.  However, sites like Snapchat often lure users into a false sense of security. Users think their posts disappear.  Unfortunately, they can saved easily and potentially shared.

As a matter of fact, 18% of Snapchat users admit to saving a humiliating or inappropriate snap or photo.  The intention was to embarrass the sender.  They planned to share it with their own friends or family.  Unfortunately, many young users are tempted to share risky, or damaging messages.  Simply because they believe they will disappear.

Monitoring Messages

Parents should be monitoring their children’s online activity for a variety of reasons.  This include cyberbullying, but there are other concerns when it comes to Snapchat.  For example:

  • Since the messages supposedly disappear, there’s no proof they ever existed
  • If the kids think inappropriate material will disappear, they are more likely to send inappropriate messages. This includes sexually graphic images, aka “sexting”
  • Other users can potentially share snaps with millions of other users.  So, just because they are sending messages to people they know, it can still be shared.

According to the legal terms of Snapchat, users are responsible for their online behaviors and the consequences.  In fact, the site owns the royalty rights to everything posted.

 

Snapchat

Know the Lingo

There’s some lesser known lingo that kids are using that will not make parents LOL  But, rather have them saying OMG.  Here are some alarming acronyms that parents should know:

 

  • 8 – Usually referring to the word “ate,” but it can also be a reference to oral sex
  • 53Z – Sex
  • CD9 – Code 9 (parents are present)
  • IWSN – I Want Sex Now
  • KPC – Keep Parents Clueless
  • LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
  • PAL – Parents Are Listening (or peace and love)
  • PAW – Parents Are Watching
  • PIR – Parent In Room
  • RU18 – Are You Eighteen (or older)
  • RUH – Are You Horny?
  • TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
  • WUF – Where (are) You From?
  • WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?

Although Snapchat declines usage for those under the age of thirteen.  Many youngsters sign up regardless of this restriction.  So, please monitor your child’s online behavior. Discourage them from sharing inappropriate information.  It is imperative that they know that it will likely exist forever in cyberspace.

About the Author: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. You can follow her on twitter: @HilaryS33
 

 

How To Establish Boundaries for Grandparents

                                                 My grandson and I at the pumpkin patch


I love my role as a grandmother. I’ve been a proud grandmother for 7 years, and I actually see my role no differently from my daughter’s. I want the best for my grandchildren just like my daughter and son-in-law.    


Grandparents have an obligation to ensure our grandchildren are healthy, nourished, clothed, educated, have a roof over their heads, and enjoy life too.  It’s important that we create memories of them spending time with us as well.  How many children do you know that protest going to visit their grandparents?  There’s a reason for that, and that’s why we have the title “Grand”.  

                                                        Zarriah, sleepy, at Myrtle Beach, SC

It’s a special relationship, one that differs somewhat from raising our sons and daughters.  We have more experience in the parenting field, know the history of the family and most times in a better financial position than we were when we were raising our children.  My daughter and son-in-law depend on me to assist in the upbringing of their children, but they made it clear that they are the parents and I needed to abide by their rules and wishes. Establishing boundaries for grandparents is simple, have a conversation with your parents and talk about expectations.   


Accepting my daughter’s wishes was a hard hard pill for me to swallow, but I knew that I did not want to jeopardize my relationship with my grandchildren or my children, so I swallowed it.  There are times when they are being disciplined that I really have to bit my tongue and not pull rank. I will eventually make things better, but I have learned to be respectful.  Because I have made a conscious decision to not overstep boundaries, I have been able to build a great relationship with my grandchildren without offending my children. 

                                       My grandson and his grandfather at the carnival

Here’s a few tips for establishing a great relationship with your grandchildren without interfering with the parent’s rules and wishes:


  • Don’t cross the lines –  Children need to understand the roles of the adults in their life and see that you’re on the same page as mom and dad.
  • Establish traditions with your grandchildren –  Each year I take Xavier to the pumpkin patch and make sure he gives Santa his Christmas list.  Zarriah is now old enough to be included in these traditions.  
  • Create memories that are only available at grandma and granddad’s – I make special pancakes and waffles for their breakfast when they’re visiting.  We have craft time, go out to lunch or dinner, and they love MawMaw’s chicken wings. My daughter does not attempt to duplicate any of these special moments.    
  • If you’re divorced and I am, demonstrate that you can co-grandparent – I ensure my ex-husband is involved in activities at my home when they’re visiting.  (Gaga is participating in Xavier’s visit above).  
  • Become involved in their school and after school activities – I make an effort to meet teachers, attend school and sporting events etc.  I want to know who’s responsible for their education, who’s providing child care and I want them to know me.  
  • Keep the children on track – Stay on schedule with bedtimes, bath times, manners and discipline.  You don’t want to cause any setbacks for the parents.
  • Be creative – Tell them a story about your upbringing or their parents.  My granddaughter loves for me to make up stores about her being a princess and including family members.   
  • Become the family historian – Talk about other family members and your memories of them.  
  • Polish your craft skills – Children love making things for parents and grandparents.  
  • Take your grandchildren on a road trip – Spend a few days at the beach, camping or snow tubing.  They will remember it forever.  
  • Never discuss conflicting issues in front of the children – If there are disagreements on raising them, discipline concerns etc., discuss them away from the children.  
  • Keep the lines of communication open – Let your children know that you’re available for advice on parenting or just to listen. My daughter values my opinion on raising the children and life.   

My daughter enjoys listening to me tell the children stories and watching us make cookie and brownie treats. She looks forward to me visiting and spending time with the children, because she knows that I respect her as a mother. In return, she respects me as their grandmother. Many times she wants to participate in the activities as well. It’s a great feeling when she calls and asks when I’m coming to visit.  

My advice to parents, accept that grandparents play a special role in a child’s life. We’re sugar queens and kings and we become sneaky creatures. Yes, our perspective on things have changed from when we raised you. We can justify anything that our grandchildren do as long as they’re not bringing harm to themselves. Our job was to get you out of the house, our job now is to get our grandchildren in.

You may also like:  Celebrity Grandparents

10 Tips for Single Parents

parenting tips, single parenting
Raising children as a single parent, whether you’re a mother or father, can be exhausting.  It takes focus, strength and determination to succeed, but it can be done.  If we accept that each and every one of us are where we are because of decisions that we’ve made, we will be more willing to make better decisions.  Life doesn’t have an eraser, and as long as we continue to make bad choices we will come up short. Life is not perfect, we will all fail from time to time.  Don’t let poor decision making n’t be what’s driving you if you change your attitude and perspective.  

When you decide to change courses, drive will be what takes you from Point A to Point B and beyond.  If you don’t have any drive get some.  You must be willing to dig deep inside of yourself when you feel you can’t go on and you must be willing to make sacrifices.  Life isn’t easy, and the world doesn’t owe you anything because of you’re a single parent.     

I have educated myself, went up the Corporate Ladder, purchased a home, have a savings, take several vacations a year, college educated my daughter, and I’ve done it all as a single mother. This is not a boast, it is a fact.  You have to decide how you want to live and want kind of life style you want to offer your child.  I decided that I would not have others pay for my choices and whoa me would not become a part of my mind set or vocabulary. I wanted to set a great example for my daughter.  I wanted her to have every opportunity available to her in this great country, and I didn’t ever want the words “I didn’t have an opportunity because my mom is a single parent” to come out of her mouth.       

Most importantly, I was determined to not allow my judgement in a relationship to define who I was as a person or as a mother.  I refused to allow myself to fall into the stereotypes that society has set aside for single mothers. Have you noticed that single dads are praised for their endeavors, but women are looked at differently?  Unfair maybe, but it is indeed a fact. I refused to depend on the system to take care of me or my child.  I have no regrets about my decision!  I believe the system should be a stepping stone if it’s going to be used.  Many may disagree, but that is my belief and I’m sticking to it.  

Here  my tips to help you succeed as a single parent: 

  • Start with you.  Decide that you’re going to make it and nothing will stop you. You have to be focused and determined. 
  • When the going gets tough, dig deep within and find the strength.  Know the strength is there and your child or children need you to plow on. 
  • Listen to your intuition.  It is usually right.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I looked the other way when I should have been paying attention to that little voice inside.  
  • Decide that you’re going to be a good example for your children.  –  Become the person that you would like them to be.  (Think about the characteristics that are important to you, honesty, reliable, etc.)  
  • Remember the world doesn’t owe you anything. – You need to make your mark and become self sufficient. You’ll feel much better about yourself.  
  • Come up with a plan –  You must plan in order to be successful.  Decide what you want to do and what you need to do to accomplish your goals.      
  • Find support either on-line or in your community.   – You’re not alone.   
  • Always make your children a priority.   – You can balance a job and your home.  Women do it every day.  If you need to enhance your skills before seeking a job, get in a program where you can get assistance.  Finding balance is key.  
  • Don’t neglect yourself.  – You need to feel good about yourself.  When you feel good about yourself you’ll achieve more.  
  • Find a higher power or church. – It’s important that you believe in someone or something other than you.  You will be calling on them for strength and support along your journey.     
Please share some of your struggles and how you’ve overcome them as a single mother.  There may be someone who can relate and build on your tips.  

 

Happy Valentine’s Day



Happy Valentine’s Day to all my followers.  May you and yours find the love you desire and deserve.  Art work courtesy of my little Picasso, Xavier.  

                                                                                

Plus Size Barbie


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Plus-size... or obese? A mocked-up image of a plus-size Barbie beside a traditional Barbie by Worth100 has sparked a debate about the doll's impact on female body image
Would you buy a plus size Barbie doll for your daughter?  Apparently the idea is being looked at; however, the plus size Barbie shown is drawing controversy.  Facebook group, Plus Size Modeling, generated the question “Should toy companies start making plus-sized dolls?  They have gotten 36,000 likes and 1,600 shares on the idea. 

Personally, I think it’s a great idea.  Most women are not pencil thin.  Most have curves and are proud of them.  The plus-size Barbie shown was produced by artists at Worth1000.com, not Mattel.  Mattel has not stated, to my knowledge, that they are entertaining the idea of a plus-size Barbie.   


This plus size Barbie has come under fire by many.  Many believe the image created is not how plus size women should be portrayed.  In fact, many think the Barbie shown is obese not plus size.  There is a difference.  Not all plus-size women are obese.  Did you notice that the plus-size Barbie has a triple chin and is basically three times the size of the original Barbie.    

When I first saw the doll, my response was WTH.  I am a plus size.  Yep, size 12/14W and I am comfortable in the skin that I’m in.  My goal is to be healthy and if I can accomplish that at a size 12/14, than I’m happy. I don’t have 3 chins and I’m not three times the size of a pencil thin woman.   Most of the women in my family are plus size.  My daughter however is petite.  Imagine that.

I believe in diversity and want to expose my granddaughter to a variety of doll images.  I purchase Black, Hispanic and Caucasian dolls for her.  After all, the world is made up of many people from many backgrounds in a variety of hues.  I want her to see the world for what it is and know that it’s okay to not be pencil thin.  I want her to know that women of color are beautiful, intelligent and successful.  I want her to know that not everyone looks alike, has the same shape or is the same size.  That’s the beauty of the human race.  I don’t know what genetics have in store for her, so I want her to have this knowledge at an early age. 

If a plus size Barbie is to be marketed, plus size women should be on the team while she is being developed.  I wonder who was behind the development of this doll at Worth1000.com, but more importantly who approved the final plan.  They obviously need to return to the drawing the board and take some time to learn about healthy full figure women.         

Don’t Slap My Child

A passenger accused of slapping a 2 year old toddler on a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta is sentenced to eight months in prison.  According to the mother, Jessica Bennett, Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, former president of an aircraft parts manufacturer based in Idaho was seated next to her and her son on a flight to Atlanta.  Her son became frightened upon decent and started to cry.  Hundley yelled at her to shut the “ni**** baby up.  He than slapped the toddler.  The adorable baby suffered a scratch below his eye after the assault.  

Thankfully, other passengers witnessed the assault and came to her rescue.  Passengers 12 rows up heard the racial slur.  I wonder if people were raised under rocks at times.  Ms. Bennett stated that Mr. Hundley reeked of alcohol during the flight and his speech was slurred.  According to Ms. Bennett, Mr. Hundley had been complaining about her son prior to the incident.  Earlier he had asked the stewardess about the regulations for holding children on laps.  Ms. Bennett also stated that he told her the toddler was too big to be sitting on her lap.  She said she spent most of the flight in the rear with her son, so she could stay away from Mr. Hundley. 

According to Mr. Hundley’s attorney, he was on his way to Atlanta to remove his son from life support and he was distraught.  Although I understand his pain for having to make such a heart wrenching decision, nobody has the right to slap another person,  Especially a child.     

Mr.  Hundley apologized in court for his disgraceful behavior.  He admitted that he had an alcohol problem and was attending AA meetings and had enrolled in an anger management course.  He will be spending the next 8 months behind bars, so he will have plenty of time to reflect on the incident and how he will re-enter society.  Hopefully, he will be rehabilitated and will have made peace with the death of his son . 

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail.  

Easy Recipes: Crockpot Cube Steak


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  • Family pack of cub steak
  • 2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup or 1 large family size
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3/4 cup water (I did not use water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day.  The recipe calls for a 3/4 cup of water; however, I didn’t include the water.  This recipe makes a nice gravy and is best served with mashed potatoes.  I didn’t want to put the energy into mashed potatoes today, so I fixed a baked potato and a side salad.  You can also serve it over rice, noodles or with your favorite side dishes.  Enjoy. 

Dreams Really Do Come True

                                                                     

  

Dreams really do come true.  My daughter has been a Tar Heel fan as far back as I can remember.  I purchased Tar Heel gear for her all through high school so she could show her love.  She has passed her love on to Xavier.  He has on his University of North Carolina colors, light blue and white shirt, and a smile bright enough to light up the sky as he stands in front of the NC Chapel Hill logo.  A big moment for a little boy. 


My daughter was given 4 tickets to see the Tar Heel basketball team play this pass week-end at the Dean Dome, which seats 21,750 fans.  That’s a huge stadium.  I don’t know who was happier, Xavier or Marisha.  My SIL, who is not a UNC fan, swallowed his pride and made arrangements to take the family and one of Xavier’s friends to Chapel Hill, NC for the week-end.  They had seats directly behind the team, 12 rows away.  How great is that.  To put the icing on the cake, the Tar Heels won 80-51.  Go Bighorn Rams. 

Wondering where the name Tar Heels comes from.  Here’s the history:  North Carolina settlements provided tar, pitch, and turpentine for the navy, in particular the British navy. It was used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships to seal them and to prevent damage to the hull from shipworms.  During the Civil War, it was stated that troops stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels. The nickname “Tar Heels” was born. 

This is a picture of Marisha, Xavier, and Xavier’s friend with Rameses the Tar Heel mascot.   Rameses first appeared at a pep rally before a football game against Virginia Military Institute in 1924.  The Bighorn Ram was officially adopted as the mascot and continues to cheer on the Tar Heels. 
Some well known graduates from UNC who went on to play pro ball are Rick Fox and Michael Jordan.  Rick Fox was married to one of my all time favorite singers, Vanessa Williams, and he turned out to be a great actor.  
Family is important and making memories with family is just as important for children.  This family event will live in Xavier’s memory.  He will always remember being at Dean Dome and all of its surroundings when he’s watching the Tar Heels play on TV.  He will always remember daddy making arrangements to take him and mommy to see their favorite NCAA team.  He will be able to look at these pictures and remember one of the most exciting activities ever with mommy, daddy and friend Prince.  I see a scrapbook of this trip in his future.     


ABCya


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ABCya!  ABCya is an educational site that we found for Xavier and he loves it.  He’s outgrown Nick Jr. so this site is the replacement.  The site has educational games and activities for Kindergartner’s through fifth grade, and has become the leader in on-line education for kids.  One of the great things about the site is that you don’t have to create a username or password to access it.  The site was created by teachers and it’s goal is simply to assist parents and children with education.       


The site has math and language arts as well as basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade activities are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. You can found holiday activities in the grade sections as well. 

Xavier has become astute in navigating the site.  We use it primarily for spelling, math and occasionally game play.  The site makes learning fun.  There’s Bingo to help with spelling and math.  There’s an app for sight word recognition, learning the coins and how to tell time.  

ABCya.com has been featured by Apple, The New York Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine and Fox News and has received many awards.  I understand why.  I suggest that you introduce your child to this site.  They will love learning in a creative and fun way.