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?

Creative Costumes for Halloween

Before having kids, Halloween was just another day. I didn’t really care too much about it. Dressing up was not something I really did. Well, minus that one year I dressed up in my husbands old high school football uniform for a party we went to. That was kind of fun. However, since having kids, we start thinking about Halloween costumes for the next Halloween on November 1st. My daughter is forever trying to come up with creative costumes for Halloween. I have to say, I think this years takes the cake! I’m pretty impressed with this years costume!

*This post may contain affiliate links*

creative costumes

Image via Pexels

Creative Costumes

Bella and I were walking down the Halloween aisle at Target when all of a sudden she squealed. They had a Taco costume. This child LOVES tacos. She would eat at Taco Bell for all of her meals if I let her. Not even joking. So of course, she had to get the Taco costume.

creative costumes

Being Bella, she has to take the costume a bit further. She doesn’t want to be just a taco. Instead she wants to add some cat ears, a little makeup on her face, black gloves and goes as a Taco Cat. Her two favorite things…cats and tacos! Have you seen that shirt that says, “Tacocat spelled backwards is still Tacocat”? Yea…it’s a favorite of hers!

Rasta Imposta Taco, Tan, StandardRasta Imposta Taco, Tan, StandardJacobson Hat Company Plush Cat SetJacobson Hat Company Plush Cat SetTACOCAT Spelled Backwards is TACOCAT Kitty Cat Navy Graphic T-Shirt - MediumTACOCAT Spelled Backwards is TACOCAT Kitty Cat Navy Graphic T-Shirt – Medium

Are you looking for something else? Here are some other creative costumes for Halloween. I am sure you will find one you love! This next one is something that you could totally make! It’s super creative and could definitely win a costume contest! Don’t have time to make it, don’t fret! Amazon has a Rubiks Cube costume you can purchase!

creative costumes

Image via 730 Sage Street

Some families love dressing up together. I love when pictures of Neil Patrick Harris come out after Halloween. He and his family really get into Halloween. This 101 Dalmatians costume is perfect for the whole family! The beauty of it…it doesn’t matter how many people are in your family because there is a role for everyone!

creative costumes

Image via Really Are You Serious

Finally, if scary costumes are more your forte, then this La Llorona the weeping woman costume will be perfect for you! With a few supplies from Amazon, you can put this costume together pretty easily!

creative costumes

Image via Mom Luck

Still unsure on what you or your kids want to be for Halloween? Check out these other Halloween costume posts for some inspiration!

Homemade Halloween Costumes!

Toddler Halloween Costume Ideas


“Show my Photos” on your Amazon Fire TV

What if I told you that you can use your Amazon Fire TV for so much more than just watching your favorite Netflix show (side note, I’m currently watching Friends From College, a Netflix original show and it is hilarious)? When you have friends and family over, unless you’re there to watch a sports game, your TV typically just sits there. Why not use the biggest screen in the house to showcase your beautiful photos? With Prime Photos and your Amazon Fire TV, you can do just that!

*Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post. Amazon, Prime Photos, Fire, Amazon Fire TV and the associated logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Ic. or its affiliates*

amazon fire tv

First of all, if you are not familiar with Prime Photos, then you need to be! Your Prime membership not only gives you that super fast 2-day shipping, but you also get free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. In the US, all Amazon.com customers receive 5 GB of FREE digital storage for your photos, videos, and files. This is huge you guys! If you are a Prime member and you are not taking advantage of this amazing deal, then you need to hop on it!

Now, with the Alexa Voice Remote that has launched just in the United States right now and the Prime Photos app, you can view and search for your favorite photos and albums on your Amazon Fire TV! With simple phrases like, “show my photos from last summer” you can share your summer vacation pictures quickly and easily!

So not only does Prime Photos give you a place to store your memories and keep them safe, but it works hand in hand with your Amazon Fire TV to help display those pictures too! I just received my Amazon Fire Stick and I have to tell you, I really like this thing! Not only can I watch my favorite shows, but I’m already thinking ahead to when my son and daughter graduate. Using Prime Photos, I can set up different albums to play a slide show at their graduation party! Now I can stop stressing about those scrapbooks that seem to be stuck on age 4 (they are 11 and 13)!

GIVEAWAY!

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Have you used Prime Photos yet?

HELP! Scale Not Moving on Keto Diet

One of the hardest things I had to do a year and a half ago was believe that the Keto diet (when done properly) will work. The idea of eating fat to lose weight was foreign to me. It went against everything I had ever been taught about dieting and losing weight. However, I was at my breaking point and knew I needed to do something. Having the scale not moving at all should freak me out, right? WRONG!

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scale not moving

Pre-Keto Diet

A few years prior to starting the Keto diet, I tested in the Type 2 diabetic range. I started monitoring my carb intake, like my nutritionist suggested. However, I was not committed to it and I gained everything I lost (and then some) right back. I had ballooned up to 250 pounds. My highest weight ever. I was miserable; hated shopping for clothes; and I had begun to resign myself to being fat for the rest of my life. My friend Summer (go read her blog, The Dirty Floor Diaries) started telling me about the Keto diet. To be honest, I thought she was crazy. No way you can eat cheese and bacon and still lose weight. But…I was 250 pounds. What did I have to lose?

scale not moving

At my highest weight, I wore a size 22 for pants, a 22/24 for shirts and I was absolutely miserable.

Keto Diet Success

In the year and a half that I have been following the Keto diet, I have lost 83 pounds! I am currently holding steady at 167 pounds. My pant size dropped to a 10/12 and I went a medium or large in shirts. Here is a picture of my husband and I this past weekend:

scale not moving

The three biggest things I can tell you to do to be successful on the Keto diet are:

  • Weigh everything you eat
  • Track everything on My Fitness Pal
  • Drink your water

If you hear the words “lazy keto”, don’t listen to them. There is no such thing as lazy Keto.

 

Etekcity Digital Kitchen Scale Multifunction Food Scale, 11 lb 5 kg, Silver, Stainless Steel (Batteries Included)Etekcity Digital Kitchen Scale Multifunction Food Scale, 11 lb 5 kg, Silver, Stainless Steel (Batteries Included)

 Scale Not Moving

I hinted at the beginning about the scale not moving. Which is true. I’ve been stuck at 167 pounds for months and months. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it upset me. We put so much stock in what the scale says. However, I’m here to tell you to stop that! If you still feel amazing; if your clothes fit great; THEN WHY CARE ABOUT THE SCALE NOT MOVING? I just told you that I am a 10/12 in pants. That JUST happened. A few months ago, I tried those same pants on and I couldn’t button them. This weekend I tried them on again and not only did they fit, but they fit well. And I don’t mean in a, “I crammed my body into them” kind of way!

I love that Facebook shows you what you posted over the years. The other day, a picture popped up from a couple years ago. It really helped to show me that I have come a long way and while the scale not moving may be annoying, it doesn’t mean I’m not still losing inches, etc.

scale not moving

If you find that the scale doesn’t seem to be moving, but you still feel that you have weight to lose, then try doing these things:

  • Recalculate your Macros
  • Read up on Ketogains (and use their macro calculator)
  • Change up or begin an exercise program

All in all, I know this plan is working for me. While I still get upset with the number on the scale, it’s definitely not the be all and end all when it comes to my success on the Keto diet. Try finding little wins elsewhere. I guarantee you, they are there!


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!