5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Family Car

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Finding the perfect family car can seem like a daunting task sometimes. Not only is it an extremely large purchase, but it’s also something you will be using day in and day out for years to come. Especially if you have kids in sports or activities. If you are like me, you spend several hours a day shuttling kids back and forth. Since I spend so much time in a car, here are my top five tips for finding the perfect family car, hopefully they help you as much as they have helped me!

perfect family car

Image via cars.com

How to Find the Perfect Family Car

I still remember when I was pregnant for the first time. I had a new VW Bug that I loved! It was super cute, but totally not practical at all for a mom with a new baby. It would have been very difficult to get an infant seat in an out of the car. Not to mention, the trunk was not big enough for all the baby stuff we carted around daily. So off we went looking for a new car for our growing family. Little did I know, having kids would change my ideas on what I needed in a car!

Tip One: Infant Seats and Car Seats

What I didn’t know with my first child was how important it was to take the car seat with you when shopping for your perfect family car. With our first child, we leased an Aztec. We felt rushed with time to pick a car and the price was right. However, no matter how much I enjoyed driving that car (it really was a good car), it was NOT a good car for a rear facing car seat. Even having the car seat in the middle seat, it pushed both the driver seat and the passenger seat too far forward. It was NOT comfortable for us at all. So, not only do you need to take the car seat with you, but you also need to read up on the car seat safety checks done on may popular brands of cars.

Tip Two: Test Drive All the Cars

Make a list of the cars you like. Using sites like cars.com, you can easily make a list of cars you like. Once you have your list, go to the dealership, used car lot, etc and test drive the car. Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the lot. There was a car that I thought I loved, but the second I sat down, I realized I did not like the car at al. I didn’t even turn the car on. The shape of the driver seat was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to get out of it.

Tip Three: Features

This may seem silly to some, but the features in a car are very important to me. I drive a lot. We are gone many weekends for lacrosse or soccer tournaments. If I am going to spend a lot of time in the car, I want to make sure it has the things I want. For instance, the three things I have to have in a car are heated seats, a heated steering wheel and remote start. I live in Michigan. The winters are brutal. Those three things insure that each and every time I drive my car, I am comfortable.  So think of the features you want and don’t settle. Make a list with a column of must have features and a column of features that would be nice, but not mandatory.

Tip Four: Backseat Space

After you turn the car seat front facing, the kids really don’t need much space in the backseat. However, once they outgrow the car seat, leg room for the kids need to be taken into account. My husband is tall. When he sits in the front seat, he has to have the seat all the way back. In some cars, it was very difficult for someone to sit behind him. So take your kids car shopping with you so you can see if the car is right for everyone!

Tip Five: Trunk Space

Finally, when I am looking for a car, one of the first things I do is open the trunk. Like sitting in the seat, opening the trunk can determine right away if the car will work for you or not. Lacrosse bags are huge. If they won’t fit in the trunk, the car won’t work for our family. Think about the things you cart around all the time. If you have a baby, make sure your stroller fits in the trunk.

Whether you are checking out local dealerships, used car lots or online searches for your next car, these five tips will help you narrow down your list and help you find the perfect family car.

What tips could you add to my list?

Back to School Lunch Ideas

It feels just like yesterday that I was jumping up and down that I was done making lunches for awhile. Now, in just three weeks, my kids will be going back to school and I will need to start packing their lunches again. Yes, I realize they are in 5th and 8th grade and they are more than capable of packing their lunch, but I like knowing that they are eating something healthy each day for lunch. Since my daughter has decided that she no longer wants to eat sandwiches, I need to come up with some lunch ideas for her that don’t look like a sandwich!

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lunch ideas

As you know, since I’ve talked about it MANY times, my husband and I follow the Keto diet. While we do not have our kids follow the Keto diet with us, we have had many talks with them about eating healthy and limiting the sugar that they eat. I don’t know if it was before that conversation or after, but my daughter told me she did not want to eat sandwiches anymore. I don’t know if it’s that she doesn’t like them or what, but all summer long she has been eating meat and cheese rollups with broccoli and dip. To continue her new lunch ways, I’ve looked at the following lunch boxes for her:

Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box - Bento-styled Lunch Solution Offers Durable, Leak-proof, On-the-go Meal and Snack Packing (Blue)Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box – Bento-styled Lunch Solution Offers Durable, Leak-proof, On-the-go Meal and Snack Packing (Blue)PlanetBox ROVER Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box with 5 Compartments for Adults and Kids - Black Carry Bag with Sports Balls MagnetsPlanetBox ROVER Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box with 5 Compartments for Adults and Kids – Black Carry Bag with Sports Balls MagnetsBentgo Fresh (Aqua) – Leak-Proof & Versatile 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box – Ideal for Portion-Control and Balanced Eating On-the-Go – BPA-Free and Food-Safe MaterialsBentgo Fresh (Aqua) – Leak-Proof & Versatile 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box – Ideal for Portion-Control and Balanced Eating On-the-Go – BPA-Free and Food-Safe Materials

What I like about the different boxes above is the wide variety of foods I can give her. She loves to eat salad and will often times ask me for it for dinner. Truth be told, I think she eats salads because she is obsessed with croutons, but hey…she’s eating vegetables so I’ll go with it!

Lunch Ideas

So what will I put in her lunch box if we go with one of the lunch boxes above, instead of one filled with plastic baggies and a bunch of stuff to throw away each day? Here are some of my lunch ideas for her:

  • Meat and cheese rollups
  • Broccoli and ranch dip
  • Applesauce
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Salad with chicken and croutons <–can’t forget those croutons!
  • Fruit
  • Leftover pizza cut up
  • Peanut butter and jelly quesadilla

I’m sure, as the year goes on, we will come up with a bunch of different ideas. These type of lunch ideas work great for my daughter. My son…he’s a different story! He eats me out of house and home and the amount of food he takes to lunch is insane. So one of these lunch box ideas will not work for him. Instead I am looking at something like this:

Everest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One SizeEverest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One Size

While I am relatively new at figuring out what to put in lunches that don’t have sandwiches (and why this seems so difficult to me, I don’t know), I will be checking out different sites (like this one) for other lunch ideas! In the mean time, please leave me a comment with your lunch ideas! Bella and I will appreciate the ideas!

Living the Keto Lifestyle Long Term

January 23, 2016. That was the day I decided to introduce my husband to the Keto lifestyle. Let me tell you, we were very nervous to start. Me more than him, but that’s normal for our relationship! I do the freaking out on things and he calms me down and says “everything will be alright”. Even when he has no clue if it will be. Oddly enough, I know all this, yet it does calm me down…some! We’ve officially reached the year and a half mark. Can we do this Keto lifestyle long term? We’re planning on it!

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keto lifestyle

Image Via Pexels

Keto Lifestyle Long Term?

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet and the first thing you think (after you get over the shock of giving up sugar) is “can I do this long term?”. The answer is that you absolutely can! My husband and I have been following the Keto lifestyle for about a year and a half now and in that year and a half, we have had several holidays, many birthdays and a TON of family get togethers. We’ve always managed to stay on our plan 99% of the time. I say 99% of the time because I don’t want to lie AT ALL! I did taste the frosting on my sons cake at his birthday. I also ate a little bit of watermelon at a family BBQ.  Are those thing part of the Keto diet? Of course not. However, that one taste did not derail me. I didn’t go on a cake frosting bender. The Keto lifestyle is so ingrained in me that I will not allow myself to go back to my old lifestyle.

 

Keto Comfort FoodsKeto Comfort Foods

Starting the Keto Diet

When I started the Keto diet, I did a lot of reading up on the subject. Remember, I told you I freaked out at first! Everything I read stated that you need to follow a high fat/moderate protein/very low carb diet plan. As I’ve evolved through this diet, I have learned even more things and thanks to the Keto Facebook group I belong to now, I learned that we really only need to eat 50g of fat because the rest of the fat in our body (that we want to burn off) makes up the high fat macro! So using this nifty macro calculator, I recalculated my macros for My Fitness Pal and I am trying this “new” way to follow the Keto lifestyle. Was the way I started out with Keto wrong? No. Absolutely not. I believe that this, life everything else, is just another way to accomplish the same thing. I mean, I did lose 83 pounds…

keto lifestyle

Keto Tips

Like anything else, it’s always best to get started with a few tips. No one likes to go in blind. If I have to give you just five tips to get started, they would be:

  1. Go in all or nothing. This diet is not one of those diets where you have cheat days. You either plan on sticking to it or don’t bother doing it. Trust me. You don’t want to experience the “Keto flu” more than once.
  2. Read this post on the Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves. Bacon Jerky is so delicious!
  3. Purchase the premium version of My Fitness Pal. It’s worth it. Especially if you are like me and you need everything to be exact!
  4. Don’t be afraid of fat bombs. Especially this Chocolate SunButter Fat Bomb recipe!
  5. You can have gummy bears!! Not the store bought ones, but these homemade Gummy Bears are just as good and no sugar!!

The biggest thing you need to know when embarking on the Keto lifestyle journey is that YOU CAN DO THIS! If my husband and I could, then you definitely could. Actually, I should say, “if I could”…I was a sugar addict. I’m not even joking. I ate a weeks worth of sugar in one day…every day. Giving up sugar was probably the best thing I have every done. When I reach my goal weight, I will probably add in a little more carbs in order to maintain, but I will always be low carb. There is no going back for me. To me, following a Keto lifestyle is no different than me eating gluten and tree nut free due to my allergies.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to click the Contact Me button at the top of the screen!!


Talking to Your Kids About Limiting Sugar

Ever since my husband and I started following the Keto lifestyle and completely eliminating sugar from our life, the one thing people always ask us is, “what about your kids?”. My answer has always been that they do not follow the Keto diet. I feel that for kids, it is way to hard for them to eliminate sugar, etc. I truly believe, and have seen, that when you try to tell your kids “no candy” or “no pop”, they will sneak it or overeat it any chance they get. That completely defeats what you are trying to do. Instead, we talked with our kids about the importance of limiting sugar.

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limiting sugar

The Talk – Limiting Sugar

When I made the decision to talk to my kids about limiting sugar, I wanted to really think about my words. The last thing I wanted was to create some unnecessary relationship with food for them. As a teen and young adult, I dealt with many eating disorder issues. That is something I hope neither of my kids ever have to deal with. Since my husband and I have spent the last year and a half really focusing on what we put in our bodies, and sharing with others about our new lifestyle, I knew that it would not come as a shock to my kids when we sat them down to have a discussion.

Pro tip…get your kids in the habit of drinking water and staying hydrated. We like this water bottle.

Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-OunceNalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-Ounce

Since I knew the idea of eliminating sugar altogether would be a bad one, I wanted to make sure they understood that as well. We talked about the things they saw us do over the course of the year. They paid a lot more attention than I thought they did! They knew that we do not eat any sugar or grains and that most of our daily carb intake comes from vegetables and fruit was our candy.

Don’t Drink Your Sugar

I was never a mom that bought fruit juices. My kids drank it at their grandparents house and that was basically it. When we were at a restaurant, I would let them get Sprite. Without evening thinking about it, they would sometimes drink several glasses. So we talked about how we would much rather eat something with sugar than drink it. They both agreed. A couple times since our conversation, we were out and they got Sprite to drink. When the waitress asked if they would like a refill, they responded, all on their own, “may I please have water?”! I call that a success!

Counting Carbs and Calories

No. No. No. No. This is not something I want my kids worrying about; thinking about; or doing. With that said, they aren’t stupid. They see what we eat and don’t eat. Bella knows that bread for sandwiches has a fair amount of carbs in it. She asked me if I would get her YUMBOX Bento Lunch Box. Rather than have a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she would like to have meat and cheese roll ups, broccoli and ranch, and Goldfish crackers or a cookie. In her eyes, just like wasting sugar on Sprite, why waste it on bread when she doesn’t really care if she has it. She’d rather have crackers or a cookie.

Limiting Sugar Success!

Ladies and gentleman, this is what I wanted to happen. I wanted my kids to be able to make decisions on what to eat that are healthy and in moderation, without me saying “no don’t eat that” or “that has too many carbs”, etc. By doing it this way, they are making a choice based on the healthy choices in the house. Do I buy cookies? Not all the time. Do I have Goldfish crackers available as a snack option? Of course. Are they portioned out in little baggies for easy on the go snacks AND to prevent them sitting down with the box and eating it all? Yes.

When it comes to talking to your kids about limiting their sugar, it’s all about how you approach it. If you give them little bits of information and allow them to make the decisions for themselves, then you are setting them up to be able to make good choices without feeling like they are doing something wrong when they do drink a glass of Sprite or eat a cookie. And remember, YOU are the one that does the shopping. If you don’t bring the food in the house, they won’t have it to eat. Just remember though, you don’t want your kitchen to be so strict that the first chance they get, they go hog wild somewhere else.

Talking to Your Tween About Shaving

I remember, when I was approaching that tween age (they didn’t call us tweens in late 80’s/early 90’s), my mom didn’t really talk to me about what to expect when puberty hit. Instead she bought me the What’s Happening to My Body Book for Girls. It just so happened that I had a sleepover that same night so my friend and I read the book, cover to cover, and laughed at the pictures. Even though I was mortified at the thought of periods and everything else I read in that book, the one thing I remember being super excited about was shaving.

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shaving

Tweens and Shaving

If you have a not so girly girl like I do, then the topic of shaving could end up being rather awkward for both of you (mainly her). The first time I brought it up, mainly to let my daughter know that I was A-OK with her shaving whenever she wanted to, she looked at me with a horrified look on her face and then walked away. She wanted nothing to do with the conversation. Since I knew what it was like to shave in secret (and cut the heck out of my legs), and I knew how cruel kids can be nowadays, I decided to just pick something up for her and not make a big deal out of it.

Schick Intuition Plus Pomegranate Renewing Moisture Razor & Pomegranate Intuition Razor Refill Cartridge 6 Blade + Bonus 1 BladeSchick Intuition Plus Pomegranate Renewing Moisture Razor & Pomegranate Intuition Razor Refill Cartridge 6 Blade + Bonus 1 Blade

Best Razor Option

There are so many razor options the market. I did briefly ask her if she would like an electric razor and the idea of that horrified her so I decided that the Schick Intuition razor was a good option. With that thick moisturizing bar, not only does it make it super easy to use in the shower, but out of all the razors I’ve ever used, I find that with the Schick Intuition I have a very difficult time cutting myself, so I knew that would be a good starter razor for her.

Rather than embarrass her anymore than I already did about the whole topic of shaving, I simply purchased the razor and put it in the shower. When she was about to get in the shower, I let her know it was there and told her that she had to let me know when the moisturizing bar was getting low because she would need a new one. She knows that if she needs help or isn’t sure how to use it, to ask me. While me bringing up the subject was embarrassing to her, I know that she will (and she has) feel perfectly comfortable asking me for help if she needs it!

Talking to Your Tween

One thing I have learned many times over is that how you handle things with one kid, may not be how you handle it with the other. My son loves to talk about anything and everything having to do with puberty. Part of me thinks he likes to because of the reaction he gets when he brings the topic up in weird places like the frozen food aisle at Meijer, but nevertheless, the topic itself does not embarrass him. So with him I can say whatever and it’s fine. With a child like my daughter who doesn’t want to hear anything about the topic, I have to approach things very differently and do it in small doses. And get her things like the What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Girls: Revised Edition (the whole “revised edition” cracks me up. What in the world did they revise???).