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…]


Keeping my Tootsies Toasty with the Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater

It’s been a pretty mild winter here, compared to winters past, but it’s been cold enough to keep the heat running quite a bit. For some people turning on the heat is probably sufficient, but not for me.  I’m one of those people who gets a chill and doesn’t warm up for months. It’s no good.

So obviously I wear layers during the winter, even inside, and I never have bare feet (cozy socks all the way). But still, sometimes my feet get cold and it just travels up my body until I’m shivering. I recently decided to tackle this problem head-on with a space heater, and the Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater has been a real superhero.

Honeywell Logo

The Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater is a little thing (only 9.02″ x 6.5″ x 10.24″), but it packs a powerful punch. It’s a 1500 watt heater that provides quick and even heat for your home. It comes with two heat settings, and you can use it in small, targeted spaces (like on your desk), or use it as supplemental heating for a room that doesn’t get the best heat.

Honeywell UberHeat Controls
Speaking of rooms that are poorly heated, that’s where my UberHeat saves the day. Because I work from home and also blog, I spend a lot of time in my office on the computer. And by office, I mean a designated space in the “formal” living room. It’s a big, airy room and there’s plenty of space for my desk, so it works out well. Unfortunately, that designated desk space is right in front of a giant window, which means it’s also the coldest spot in the room. I use the UberHeat every day now while I’m at the computer, and it’s made the winter so much more bearable. I’m finally comfortable, no longer have freezing fingers and toes, and can shed a few layers while I work.

Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater

Aside from the fact it makes my days more comfortable, my favorite feature about the UberHeat is its design. Most space heaters you’ll find in stores aren’t exactly pretty. After all, heaters are meant to be functional, and looks come second (if at all). Honeywell disrupted the status quo with the UberHeat – it’s actually really cute, and I haven’t seen another space heater like it. The design is modern and unassuming, a sleek round shape with minimal buttons and gadgets. It comes in both black and white, both of which I love. Honestly, I would recommend this heater no matter how it looked (it works so well), but I’m thrilled that I can also recommend it based on aesthetics. It’s a job well done all around!

If you’re sitting at your desk right now, wishing your cozy socks could keep your toes even warmer, do yourself a favor and order one of these. You’ll be glad you did.  To learn more about the Honeywell UberHeat Ceramic Heater, visit HoneywellPluggedIn.com.


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!

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You, Delivered: Give the Gift of You with Flowers from Teleflora

When it comes to the holidays, there are plenty of ways to show how much you care. We take time picking out just the right gifts, we bake yummy treats, and we send heartfelt cards. Those are all wonderful gestures, but in my family, the best gifts we can give are ourselves.

There’s nothing like family, and nothing like being together for the holidays. It doesn’t matter if we have a lot of gifts under the tree; all that really matters to us is that we get to spend time together and share our love for one another.

But what happens when you can’t be there? Life doesn’t always cooperate, and sometimes it’s just impossible to be there in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spread some Christmas cheer! Consider sending a gorgeous holiday bouquet from Teleflora, and I guarantee you’ll be the talk of the evening.

As always, Teleflora has an awesome lineup of seasonal floral arrangements, and these beauties will truly deck the halls. Before I tell you about some of the selections, I want to show you the ones I got:

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Teleflora kindly sent along their Send a Hug® Christmas Cardinal Bouquet, which is every bit as pretty as I’d hoped. All the women in my family love cardinals, so this was the perfect choice.

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This bouquet is seated in an oversized, hand-painted mug featuring cardinals and berry branches, and it’s loaded with red roses, red carnations, holiday greens, red berry accents, and cinnamon sticks (my favorite).

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The Christmas Cardinal Bouquet is so festive, and the bright reds and greens really pop. I also love that once the flowers are gone, we’ll have a pretty winter mug for all the hot chocolate I’ve been stockpiling for the holidays.

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There are several other bouquets available in Teleflora’s holiday collection:

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  1. Sparkling Star Centerpiece: A dazzling centerpiece featuring a mercury glass bowl, fresh red roses, white cushion spray chrysanthemums, festive greens, silver ornaments, white snow-tipped pinecones, and red tapered candles
  2. Snow Day Bouquet: A bouquet tucked into a hand-glazed holiday cookie jar, featuring roses, miniature carnations, holiday greens, candy canes, and shiny ornaments
  3. Gift Wrapped Bouquet: A sparkling bouquet of red roses, white carnations, chrysanthemums, holiday greens, red berry clusters, and silver ornaments presented in a ceramic gift box jar
  4. Send a Hug Christmas Cardinal Bouquet: A hand-painted mug overflowing with roses, carnations, holiday greens, red berries, and cinnamon sticks
  5. Silver Christmas Bouquet: A sparkling snowflake vase featuring a bright bouquet of red and white flowers, eucalyptus, and white pine.
  6. Thomas Kinkade’s Jolly Santa Bouquet: This bouquet is a tribute to the “painter of light,” Thomas Kinkade. This hand-crafted, hand-painted holiday scene features a gazebo at the North Pole and families awaiting a visit with Santa. This scene actually lights up, and is surrounded by red flowers and holiday greens.

Nothing brightens up the home quite like flowers, especially during the holidays. If you can’t make it home this year, sending a bouquet or centerpiece from Teleflora is a sure way to make your family smile! To check out all of their holiday arrangements, visit Teleflora.com. I just know you’ll find something perfect!


K’NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Giveaway

Last year, my daughter got the K’NEX Mighty Makers Fun on the Ferris Wheel Set, which we assembled together and have been happily playing with since.  My son was part of the fun, but I guess since the set is kind of pink, he knew that it really belonged to his sister, and he was a tiny bit jealous.  Well, his year was just made because he’s now the proud owner of the K’NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Building Set!

K'NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Set

 

The Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Set comes with 347 colorful pieces, including a car, a launcher, and enough parts to make a track that’s more than 13 feet.  It’s certainly large, but let me tell you that when a child puts time and effort into building 13 feet of a roller coaster, he feels like a very accomplished little boy.  There’s a sense of pride there that you just don’t get from winning at a video game.

Follow the included instructions or experiment with your own configurations.  Once it’s all put together, you propel the car with a slingshot style launcher.  There are no batteries required here because it’s a totally interactive experience.  Motorized sets are fun, but I have to admit that I really prefer this manual situation a lot better.  My son is challenged as he figures out how to propel the car so it makes it all the way through the track, and my kids love taking turns trying to outdo each other.

Like other K’NEX building sets, this is more than just a fun afternoon.  Both building and playing with this set stimulates your child’s imagination and curiosity while encouraging an understanding of STEAM concepts.  They’ll also be clicking their ways toward better spatial awareness, problem-solving, and fine motor skills.  There’s nothing better than an engaging toy that helps your child grow.

K'NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster

Something else I love about K’NEX is that they’re the only construction toy company committed to manufacturing in the United States.  All of the rods and connectors in this set were made right here in the USA, Pennsylvania to be exact.  The car and launcher are, however, made in China, making this 99% US made, which is still a lot better than most toys I come across.

The K’NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Building Set is recommended for kids 7 and up, and although the color-coded instructions are easy to follow, I think some 7 year olds are going to need help putting the track together.  That’s fine by me though, because I love constructing K’NEX sets with my kids.  It’s like working together to build a big 3D puzzle that we get to play with when it’s done.  We’re having fun and making memories!

You can pair the Infinite Journey Coaster with the K’NEX Clockwork Coaster and Revolution Ferris Wheel to create your own miniature theme park!  That’s our ultimate goal, but for now, my son keeps his coaster next to his sister’s ferris wheel, and watching them play together is just wonderful.

K’NEX is generously offering Game On Mom readers a chance to win an Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Set!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 12/28/16.  Good luck!

K'NEX Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Giveaway

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