Car Seat Shopping Can Be A Daunting Experience For Parents


Bringing a new life into this world comes with a tremendous amount of joy but it also comes with a burdensome amount of responsibility. It is natural to feel the pressure of being a new parent and often trying to find the right car seat can be an agonizing experience. You want something that will offer the best protection for your child, but you also want something that they will love to ride in. If you have budgetary concerns then you may even be feeling some guilt for trying to save money on something so important.

Then there are the different types of car seats from which to choose. It can get overwhelming rather quickly. Take a deep breath, it will all be alright. We put together a little guide to help you find the right type of seat for your family and hopefully it will make the entire process a little less stressful.

Types Of Child Seats

This is usually the first stumbling block. The three main types of seats are infant, convertible, and booster seats. They each have a specific function when it comes to the height and weight of your child. Here is a quick breakdown.

Infant Seats

These are obviously for infants, usually recommended limits of between 5 and 30 lbs, but each one may be different.


These types of seats are usually lighter since they only need to protect smaller babies. They are easy to carry, and they typically are compatible with a wide range of strollers. This means that you do not have to lift your child out of the seat and place into a stroller, you can simply lift the entire seat out of your car and snap it into the stroller. This adds a level of convenience that appeals to a number of parents. The lighter weight also makes it easy to move between different vehicles. This is a huge plus for multi-car families.


While convenience is nice, there are some drawbacks to starting with a dedicated infant seat. The biggest one is that you can only use it for a short time before you child outgrows it and will need to be switched to a convertible car seat. You might get a year and half out of your infant seat before having to invest in another seat. For parents with tight budgets, this is not an ideal choice.

Popular Models

There are several high quality infant safety seats that get excellent reviews from owners. We have chose a few from different price points that are worth looking into.

Budget Seats (Under $100)

  • Baby Trend Flex Loc
  • Graco Snugride Click Connect
  • EvenFlo Embrace LX

Mid-Range Seats ($100 – $200)

  • Graco SnugRide 30
  • Britax B-Safe
  • Chicco KeyFit 30

High End (Above $200)

  • Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Infant Seat
  • UppaBaby Mesa
  • Maxi Costa Mico AP

Convertible Child Seats

These types of safety seats offer greater flexibility for parents as they can be used for longer. They are typically rated for children from 5 to 65 lbs, but again each seat has their own recommendations. For small babies, you place them facing the rear of your car. They have special inserts and padding that need to be added to keep infants necks and heads secure. Once they are big enough, you then can turn, or convert, the seat to face forward. The inserts can be removed and your child can ride in this configuration until they out grow it.


The biggest and most popular advantage is that you can buy just one seat and it will suit your little one for many years to come. This means that you will end up saving money in the long run.


There are some drawbacks, most noticeably with convenience, that can detract from starting out with this seat. They are a lot heavier than infant seats. It can be a hassle to move this from one car to another. Also, convertible car seats typically do not have any type of stroller compatibility. They weigh to much to make this feasible. You really need to weigh the cost savings against the ability to easily move the seat.

Popular Brands

Fortunately, because of their popularity, it is not hard to find detailed reviews on the most recommended convertible car seats. There are plenty of superb options available to parents no matter what their money constraints may be so you should not feel an ounce of guilt should you look to save. Just make sure to buy a known name brand, from a reputable store, and do not buy a used seat from anywhere else.

Budget Seats (Under $100)

  • EvenFlo Tribute Sport
  • Disney APT
  • Cosco APT 50

Mid-Range Seats ($100 – $200)

  • Graco Contender 65 LX
  • Britax Roundabout
  • EvenFlo Symphony LX

High End Models (Above $200)

  • Britax Marathon ClickTight
  • Diono Radian RXT
  • Chicco NextFit

Booster Seats

You can kind of guess from their name that they give your child a boost when they get too big to ride in a convertible safety seat. This is an important car seat as it is needed as a transition until they are big enough to use your cars own seatbelt. There are a number of parents that make the mistake of not making use of a booster seat, and if the child is not big enough then the seat belt can pose an added danger if it does not rest properly. Since you will not need one of these seats for a few years we will go into detail on booster seats in a later article.

Keeping Things Simple

Buying a new car seat is only as hard as you make it. The first thing that you should always do is think about your need for an infant seat. If you do not plan on using a stroller or you can’t afford to buy multiple seats in the first couple of years then it makes sense to get a convertible car seat. From there it is all about finding a model that you are comfortable with. Reading reviews and finding models that parents rate highly is a great place to start. Taking things step by step and keeping them as simple as you can will help remove a lot of the stress and pressure associated with this big decision. Welcome to parenthood, isn’t it fun?

Poetry In The Kitchen With A Toaster Oven


Top toaster oven options

For anyone trying to eat healthy, but they don’t think they have the time to cook a home made nutritious meal, getting a toaster oven may be the perfect option. Not only are they fast, convenient, and easy to use, but today’s top models can handle many of the cooking jobs of your full sized oven. They are more energy efficient as they tend to pre-heat faster as well. There are numerous reasons why you should consider getting one of these small appliances for your kitchen. There are also plenty of fabulous recipes that you can try to avoid getting bored. If you have not looked at toaster ovens in awhile you might be surprised by what the current models are able to achieve. Below are just some of the better options currently available.

Breville Smart Toaster Ovens

Breville is a world famous company that makes extremely modern and advanced small kitchen appliances. They have a reputation for having sleek styling coupled with state of the art features in their machines. Their line of countertop kitchen ovens is a perfect example of this.

Breville BOV450XL Mini

This model is ideal for smaller spaces like dorm rooms or kitchens where there is just not a lot of counter space to spare. Some of the features of this little powerhouse include:

  • Fits four pieces of toast or a small pizza.
  • Smart oven that will automatically adjust cooking temperature for even cooking.
  • LCD display that shows cook timer, temperature, and settings.
  • Pre-set cooking modes for easy use.
  • Quartz heating elements that can change quickly to different cooking needs.

The BOV450XL is a favorite among college students who need something small enough for the confined space of a dorm room, yet powerful enough to cook healthy and delicious meals for 1 or two people. This is one of the best selling toaster ovens as it provides exceptional value for the money.

Breville BOV800XL Smart Convection Toaster Oven

This is the largest model in the company’s line of toaster ovens. It is large, versatile, and it features a convection cooking setting for supreme performance. Some other things that set this unit apart include;

  • Can fit 6 slices of bread or a medium sized pizza.
  • Convection heating that circulates hot air while cooking to provide an even on both sides result. Do not have to worry about hot spots or one side being over or under cooked.
  • Element IQ is Brevilles name for the technology that will auto adjust the temperature inside of the oven based on what is being cooked. A true hands off approach that makes using it truly hassle-free.
  • Features 9 different cooking modes that can be set with the turn of the dial.
  • LCD screen that is easy to read and use. See everything that the oven is doing and easily adjust if needed.
  • Modern stainless steel design is an ideal compliment to just about any type of kitchen.

The BOV800XL is rated as the top convection oven by literally thousands of owners. Toaster oven review sites routinely have this as their number one ranked countertop oven based on user feedback. This particular model continues to be showered with excellent customer ratings.

Cuisinart TOB-135 and TOB-195 Toaster Ovens

Cuisinart is another highly regarded manufacturer of small kitchen appliances. Their toaster oven line is also popular with owners and two of their top models include the TOB-135 and TOB-195. The main differences between these are their design and their controls. The cooking performance, however, is impressive and these would make great additions to any home.

  • Enough room for 6 slices of toast and a medium pizza. Big enough to prepare meals for a medium sized family.
  • Convection baking functionality to ensure even cooking on both sides of the food.
  • Stainless steel styling that looks good and provides a durable, easy to clean oven.
  • TOB-135 has an LCD screen and backlit buttons while the TOB-195 had its controls at the bottom.
  • Pre-set cooking modes for added convenience.
  • Great performance while cooking, baking, broiling, and roasting. Great for serious amateur chefs.

These models are just as impressive as the Breville ovens and they provide a great alternative to using a full sized oven for smaller cooking jobs. Cuisinart ovens may also be a little more budget friendly as well to add to their overall value for owners.  To see how these small kitchen appliances compare to other models visit for current toaster oven reviews and ratings.  These two oven makers are the most popular brands on the market and should get the most consideration.

Do I Really Need To Get A Counterop Oven?

If you have a full sized oven then you really do not need a toaster oven. However, these smaller ovens do have a number of benefits that make them desirable alternatives or replacements for a full sized range. They use less energy, the heat up faster, they can cook faster if convection is used, they are easier to clean, and they can save you money over time. If you think that a toaster oven is good for just toast, then I urge you to check into what today’s modern models can do. You may just realize that a toaster oven can be a real benefit to your quest to cook fast delicious meals without a lot of work.

Important Features Your New Juicer Should Have

Juicer buying guide and tipsWhen it comes to looking for the right juicer, rather than buying the first one you see, you might want to take a few different factors into consideration. With all of the different brand names and types of juicers available it may seem like an impossible task. However, finding the right juicer that will fit your all of your important criteria should be simple with the proper research. Some of the areas that are important for your choice to have should include the following:

Type Of Juicer

There are two main types of juicers, and they will both give you a different consistency of juice. A centrifugal juicer will churn out a smooth cup of juicer that has little or virtually no lumps, where as a masticating juicer will provide thicker juices that aren’t as smooth. The more expensive machines tend to be centrifugal juicers that can give you surprisingly smooth juices with little effort.


When you’re shopping for a juicer, you’ll come across juicers with a wide variety of speeds. The speed depends on the juicers wattage, the higher the wattage, the faster the speed. Another factor that determines the speed is the cost, and you’ll find the more expensive juicers can reach up to 14,000 rpm, whereas the cheaper ones are likely to be less than 100 rpm. Some juicers also come with variable speeds, enabling you to juicer soft and hard fruit and vegetables effortlessly. Centrifugal juicers use centrifugal force to extract juice from the pulp, so these will operate at much higher speeds than masticating juicers. One of the drawbacks of higher speeds is having a loud juicer. This is something to keep in mind if noise is something that really bothers you.

Size Of Juice Cup

While you may not automatically consider the size of the juice cup to be hugely important, if you want to make three or more glasses of juice at a time, you will need a good sized juice cup. A liter cup will hold 2-3 glasses of juice, if you want to make more, you should look for a juicer with a bigger cup so you won’t have to keep waiting for the juicer to catch up.

Wide Feed Tube

If you would like to make the juicing process as effortless as possible, you should ideally look for a juicer that has a 3+ inch feed tube. The wider the feed tube is, the less cutting and chopping you will have to do. Some feed tubes are so wide a whole apple can be placed in the juicer quite easily.

Dishwasher Safe

Buying a juicer that is dishwasher safe will save you a lot of time and effort. These days’ most juicers can be taken apart and placed in the dishwasher. There will always be a few parts that cannot be placed in the dishwasher, but most of the juicer will be safe to add, thereby making your life a little easier.


One of the most important factors that will heavily influence the juicer you buy relates to your budget. Some of the very best juicer around can cost in excess of $400, but you can still get some pretty good ones for under $150. If you’re not looking for anything fancy, and all you want is a basic juicer that gives you a few cups at a time, then you may not have to spend much at all. If you want the works, and a juicer that is capable of giving you some very smooth juice incredibly quickly, then $300-$500 should be your price range.

Brand Names Juicers

Perhaps the two most reputable brands when it comes to juicers are Omega and Breville. Omega makes some of the top rated masticating juicers that you can buy, and when it comes to centrifugal juicers, you cannot beat a Breviile machine. The top 10 juicers on Veggie Files is dominated by these two brands and for good reason. Owner scores and customer reviews for these top juicer makers are extremely high. Getting a cheap juicer will often leave a bad taste in your mouth, sometimes literally, so it is wise to invest a little more in a quality machine up front. You cannot go wrong with either one of these brand juicers.

How Baby Jogger’s Line Of Running Strollers Measures Up

Baby Jogger strollerThe tech behind today’s baby strollers has come a long way. Not only are they safe and comfortable for children, but they also offer design features that make it less of a hassle for parents to use.  Jogging strollers are in a different class, and there are a few things to keep in mind before using them.  However, for serious runners, these can be a terrific way to incorporate family time into their training.  One of the more popular brands on the market today is Baby Jogger. They make a complete line of strollers that are able to accommodate the needs of parents and kids alike. No matter what type of terrain, how fast the pace, or what type of vehicle that you have, Baby Jogger makes a stroller that is sure to be perfect for you. Below we do a quick review of some of their best selling models to see which stroller might just fit your needs.

Top Rated Baby Jogger Strollers on the Market

This company has been around for awhile and they know what they are doing when it comes to making a high quality stroller. From the materials used, safety features, construction, and design, you really cannot go wrong with one of the models below. Their strength is their world class strollers made for the city and pavement, but they also have jogging strollers that will provide the opportunity to go at a faster pace safely.

Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller

This unit is designed to be lightweight for supreme maneuverability in crowded city streets. Its lower weight, coupled with its fast fold system, also helps parents store and use this model on a daily basis with little effort. It has a weight capacity of 50 lbs. so you should be able to get a few years out of this model with your little one. It also comes with 8″ wheels that can swivel with ease, an adjustable sun canopy for UV protection, and a multiple recline position seat to ensure to deliver a comfortable ride. You can read more about the Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller here to see just how much parents love this particular model. For an easy paced stroll on smooth surfaces such as concrete, the City Mini is a wonderful every day stroller option.

Baby Jogger City Elite

This is a slightly more robust option that offers bigger wheels and some added features. The larger 12″ wheels provide a more stable and smoother ride for the kids as well as making it easier to handle for parents. They also allow the stroller to go over slightly bumpier terrain better. An adjustable handle bar helps parents of differing heights to both use this stroller without reaching or straining. It features a hand parking break as well for added safety. If getting out and about is something that you envision doing quite often, then this model would be a better option. Sturdy construction and the added features make this a great choice for the active family.

Baby Jogger X3 Summit

For parents that like to jog or run, then this is the Baby Jogger model to get. It has large air filled tires designed to better absorb off road terrain and provide maximum stability. It also has all wheel suspension to provide the smoothest ride possible to handle all the bumps. When moving at a faster pace, it is important to be able to stop the stroller when needed. The X3 Summit has rear hand brakes to help maintain control of the stroller should you have to come to a quick halt. This model was designed for runners in mind and for those who like to run like the wind, this is a terrific stroller. It also gets pretty nice reviews from Moms and Dads for its overall performance as a jogger. As always, it is important to follow the best safety practices when using a jogging stroller to avoid injury to the runner and the passenger.  You can read the full review of the Summit X3 here:

If you are currently looking to purchase a new stroller, Baby Jogger is an excellent option. They are not only well made, but they are easy use and kids really enjoy riding in them. They also tend to get very high marks from parents in customer reviews. Getting outside is a great activity for the entire family, and having a quality stroller can go a long way to enhance the entire experience. Some of the models listed above should be above to provide you with a fun, safe, and comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors with your tiny angel.

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