Diono Radian rXT: A Safe and Comfortable Car Seat that Grows with Your Child

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not the biggest fan of the new car seat laws in New Jersey that require children under two years old to be seated rear-facing. With babies the choice is clear, but it can be difficult to get a larger toddler (which all of my children are) strapped in a rear-facing seat. It seems they never have enough room to truly be comfortable. They usually can’t straighten out their legs and the side panels make them feel isolated from the rest of the passengers in the vehicle. I always looked forward to the time when I could use a front-facing car seat and enjoy rides with my children.

Diono Radian XT Carseat

I wasn’t so sure the Diono Radian rXT would be different from the other rear-facing car seats that I’ve used, but I was ready to give it a try. I’ll admit that when I first picked up the Diono, I was surprised that it was very heavy, and because of its weight I naturally assumed it would be a large bulky seat; most of the convertible seats on the market are, in fact, bulky in the rear-facing position. In the past, I’ve actually needed to keep the front seat as close to the dashboard as possible so a bulky car seat could fit, which made long trips in the car uncomfortable for my family. Let me tell you: I was so pleasantly surprised that the Diono wasn’t bulky at all! It fit well in my small SUV and left ample room for my two other children and an adult passenger in the front seat. I especially love the feature that allows the base to fold up when other children need to climb in the car. When in the forward-facing position, I can lift the base and my passengers can easily get to their seat. (Note:  The weight is due to the steel frame, which makes it much sturdier than the mostly plastic frames you find on a lot of other brands.)

Diono Radian XT

My big, strong husband was kind enough to assist me with the installation, and he thought it was relatively quick and simple.  We asked a NJ Child Passenger Safety-Certified police officer to inspect the set up and the fit of the harness around my thirteen-month old daughter.  Once he assured us that the seat positioned my daughter properly and the harness was very secure, we were ready to let the little lady take it to the road.  This face says it all, don’t you think? [Read more…]


15 Fun Winter Crafts for Kids

How do you keep the kids busy when the weather causes them to be stuck indoors more than we’d all like?  In my home, we read, we play games, and we do puzzles, but what gets my kids most excited is a fantastic crafting project. If it keeps their minds off of electronics, then I’m all for it.

I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite, relatively easy winter crafts for kids so you can all have as much fun as we’re having during the cold weather.  The kids will love these, and if you choose to use some of their crafts as winter decorations, they’ll be really proud too.  Keep warm and enjoy!
15 Winter Crafts for KidsJust click through each link for details and more pictures:

1. Tin Can Snowman Craft
2. Repurposed Crayons
3. Paper Plate Snowman Craft
4. DIY Ballerina Balloon Snowman Garland
5. DIY Sparkle Playdough
6. Winter Hat Craft for Kids
7. Tissue Paper by Number Winter Scene
8. Science for Kids: Insect Hotel
9. Winter Mittens Craft
10. How-to Craft a Toilet Paper Roll Snowman
11. I for Igloo Craft
12. Frozen Winter Inspired Kid’s Necklace Craft
13. DIY Magic Trick Christmas Card
14. How to Make Homemade Playdoh
15. Pinecone Winter Owls Craft

I’d love to hear which project is your favorite!


Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament + NJ Giveaway

Does anyone else feel like their time in the kitchen increases exponentially between Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’m pretty sure mine does. I like cooking for the family, and I really enjoy whipping up cookies and cakes and holiday treats, but sometimes I just need to catch a break.

I recently baked about a million cookies and decided to load my family into the car for dinner rather than stand over that stove another minute. Since it was a Sunday afternoon, instead of shuffling everyone into the nearest restaurant we decided to mix things up and add a little entertainment to our meal. We went straight to the Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ!

Medieval Times Knights

If you’re not familiar with Medieval Times, it’s a fun, family-friendly dinner attraction based on 11th century feasts and tournaments. Guests at the event are offered a delicious four-course banquet and are treated to a jousting tournament between six knights on horses (each seating area cheers for a different knight). The dinner and event last an exciting two hours.

Medieval Times King and Princess

I had been to Medieval Times in the past, but this is the first time I took my children, and it really was an awesome experience for all of us. They loved the meal, but they were completely transfixed with the show. It was the first time they had seen jousting and sword fighting in person, and they were pretty much in heaven. We even bought them some glow swords, and they haven’t stopped playing with them yet. (In fact, I saw a little crossover fight between a sword and a lightsaber yesterday. I love my kids so much). The show even includes live falcons, which is pretty amazing. Honestly, Medieval Times is a great time whether or not you bring the kids. One of my previous visits was for a friend’s birthday party, and she was turning 29. It really is fun for any age or occasion!

Horses at Medieval Times

We had The Royalty Package, which includes tickets to the show, preferred seating, VIP lanyards, a cheering banner, and a knight’s rally towel for each member of our party. These tickets are an extra $12.00 each, but between the great seats and extra goodies, they’re so worth it.

As for the meal, oh my goodness. It truly is a feast! You’ll get a giant serving of roasted chicken (wing, breast, and drumstick), sweet buttered corn on the cob, tomato bisque soup, garlic bread, herb-basted potatoes, pastries, coffee, and two rounds of beverages. All the food is delicious, but I’ll admit we didn’t love the pound cake. By the time dessert was served, though, we were already stuffed anyway.

Medieval Times Dinner

Just a quick note and a mini rant: the experience is set up like an authentic feast in the 11th century, so the meal isn’t served with silverware, which I think is fun. Some people sneak in plastic forks, but I think that kind of ruins things. Enjoy eating chicken with your hands like the rest of the crowd; I mean, how often can you dig into dinner with such reckless abandon? 🙂

The whole family had a blast at Medieval Times, and the kids are already requesting a return visit, so I know we’ll be going back for more food and fun. Hope to see you there!

The Red & Yellow Knight at Medieval Times

Oh, one more thing: right now, Game on Mom readers can grab Medieval Times tickets for a special price! With code MT3629 you can buy adult tickets for $36.95 and children’s tickets (12 and under) for just $29.95. This code is valid through 2/28/2017, so don’t miss your chance to snag this discount. Visit MedievalTimes.com to purchase today.

Enter now to win a 4 pack of tickets to the Lyndhurst, NJ Medieval Times!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 1/5/17 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

[Read more…]


My Little Pony: Puzzle Party App & Prize Pack Giveaway

We’ve got good news for all you Equestria fans out there.  Back in October, Hasbro and Backflip Studios (makers of DragonVale and Paper Toss) came out with a brand new My Little Pony game!

My Little Pony Puzzle Party

My Little Pony:  Puzzle Party is a hi-def, match-3 puzzle game featuring hundreds of adventures where players can recruit all of their favorite ponies to use their unique “pony power-ups” to master magical levels throughout Equestria.  All of the “Mane 6” is represented here, and each pony is voiced by the real actor from the Friendship is Magic television series.

My Little Pony: Puzzle Party Game

Puzzle Party is available on both Android and iOS.  They’ll be updating it regularly to offer new challenges and characters from MLP:  Friendship is Magic.  Download it now so you can get started puzzling with Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie!

My Little Pony fanaticism is by no means a requirement to play Puzzle Party.  If you enjoy vibrant, fun puzzle games, you’ll fall in love with the challenges and the graphics.  The puzzles really can get complex, so despite the fact that it’s MLP-themed, it probably wouldn’t be much fun for younger kids.  Older kids, young adults, and adults, on the other hand, will be hooked.  Download MLP:  Puzzle Party  now, and see for yourself!

To celebrate the release of this new game, we’re giving away a My Little Pony Puzzle Party Prize Pack!  One lucky Game On Mom reader is going to receive a package that includes:

  • My Little Pony: Puzzle Party Bag
  • My Little Pony Figure
  • Rainbow Dash Headphones
  • My Little Pony Sticker Set

Use the Giveaway Tools form below to enter to win.  Open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 1/5/17 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

My Little Pony: Puzzle Party Prize Pack Giveaway [Read more…]


When to Start Giving Your Baby Water + Reducing TDS in Your Water

Yesterday I got to meet a friend’s baby for the first time. He’s about 9 months old now, but since they live in a different state it’s been difficult to be in the same place at the same time.

Anyway, being able to hold that precious little boy took me straight back to the days when my own children were babies and it made me nostalgic. All evening I kept thinking of what it was like to have a baby in the house and remembering how confusing it is to care for your first child. I’ll admit it: I wasn’t exactly clueless, but I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies. If I had a dollar for every phone call I made to find out if I was doing something wrong, well…there would be a lot of dollars.

I remember one question in particular that required a lot of research on my part. When is it safe to give babies water? Thankfully, the internet and my family had the answer!

Baby Drinking

Water is critical for humans, so at first glance it might seem that babies need plain old water as much as anyone else. That’s not true. Giving water to babies under 6 months old puts them at risk of malnutrition and diarrhea, and can also cause them to stop drinking breastmilk. Breastmilk is comprised of more than 80% water, so it satisfies thirst while continuing to keep babies safe from infections. Even in hot climates, babies under 6 months should not be given water.

After 6 months, you can slowly introduce your baby to water with small sips here and there. Too much water at once can easily cause a tummy ache or make babies feel too full to eat. Once your baby reaches one year old, you can start letting them sip water regularly and help foster a love of water early on. We all know how important that is!

Water Cup

As for making sure baby gets the best and cleanest drinking water, you can try something like the ZeroWater filtration system. I like ZeroWater because they are committed to eliminating total dissolved solids in water.

What is a total dissolved solid (or TDS)?  It’s basically any inorganic salts and organic matter that are dissolved in water. TDS in the water you drink come from natural sources, sewage, urban run-off, industrial wastewater, and water treatment chemicals.  It doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it?  In fact, it sounds downright scary. Those are not materials I want present in my kids’ drinking water. Obviously, we feel pretty strongly that a water filter is a must, but not all filters are created equal.

ZeroWater products are available in several forms: pitchers, dispensers, and even portable bottles. Where ZeroWater really stomps the competition is actually in its name; “zero” refers to the number 000, which is exactly how many total dissolved solids you’ll find in your water. Let me explain that a bit.

TDS Meters - Before and After

When measuring TDS, they’re counted in parts per million (or ppm). The amount of TDS in purified water is 000 ppm. Many other conventional water filters manage to eliminate some TDS, resulting in numbers like 115 ppm. For reference, I checked the TDS readings for my zip code and found our water is 120 ppm straight out of the tap; when I checked my own with a TDS meter, I learned mine is actually 165. Not great. A traditional filter would then take it down to about 115, but now that I know ZeroWater can take us to 000 by eliminating 99.63% of all TDS, there’s really no question which I’ll choose.

You can easily test your own TDS levels at ZeroWater’s website (just enter your zip code for a reading). You can also check out their full product line, purchase dispensers and filters, or find ZeroWater retailers near you if you’d like to check them out in person. If you sign up for coupons, you can also grab $30.00 in savings! Visit ZeroWater.com to get started.