Graco Jogger: Going Places

Everyone,

(This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. Graco provided the stroller, I provide the words.)

I am a stroller junky. I have had 5 strollers in the past 8 years of being a mom. Plus one I use semi-regularly at my mom’s house. I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of good strollers and bad. And boy am I picky in what I like in a stroller.

I was a little sad when my kids out grew their stroller but couldn’t really justify pushing around a double stroller just for our little Cowboy. So when I was asked to review Graco’s new FastAction™ Fold Jogger Click Connect™ I jumped at the chance. Let’s see if strollers have improved in the past 5 years! And make some new friends in the process!

Graco stroller Lots

It arrived in one big box of glory. There were very few pieces to put together, although Juice did have to read the instructions to put the child’s tray on it. As it stood in my living room, the first thing I did was ask how to fold it. I was holding Cowboy at the time, and reached over to pull the stroller closed. Wow, one handed and SUPER smooth. Then it surprised me. It stood by itself with a built in kickstand! I was sad that that is a feature I will rarely use, only because we have no garage. Our strollers live in the back of my van.

Graco stroller fold

The next thing that stood out for me with this stroller is the parent tray. It has 2 very generous cup holders (they don’t fit my big Camelback water bottle, but really, am I going to be the one using the cup holders? Not with my twins around! The cup holders will fit a normal sized water bottle, I just have a huge one.) and a VERY cool little clip for your smart phone. You can secure your smart phone at the top of the stroller, for when you want to do some jogging and listen to tunes. Or maybe you get lost downtown and need to look at a map while trying to sight see. I loved it. The compartment under the smart phone clip is very generous and fits my wallet and keys.

I clipped my car seat into it. I love the Graco Click Connect™ Technology because that means that my car seat will fit into any Graco brand base or stroller. Plus there is a nice resounding “click” when the car seat is installed properly. Although I haven’t used the kid portion of the stroller yet, I see it’s very roomy and has a 3 or 5 point harness and a reclining seat.

Graco stroller with carseat

The tires are big and air filled for a smooth ride. It also goes over gravel great, and handles our daily walk through the field behind our house just fine. It also handled a jaunt through the woods by the lake by our house. The path was FILLED with roots and even several natural stairs, and it did just fine. I don’t think I’ll let the boys push it around, though because it does seem a little tippy with the car seat in it. I do have to admit that it’s not QUITE as easy to push one handed as my big ol’ BOB but I’ll take it.

Graco Stroller unique I like how everyone’s stroller is the same but it’s unique to what they want to do.

We were able to meet up with several bloggers in the area and talk about how awesome our strollers are. I do have to admit, this is not my first jogging stroller. I never used my BOB for jogging, and I probably will never use this stroller for jogging. I learned that it does have a jogging strap (that tucks away nicely, I had no idea it was there), a locking front wheel, and reflectors for low light visibility. But for moms like me who DON’T jog, this is still a great strolling stroller. It’s the stroller that will go anywhere you’d like it to.  Or anywhere big brothers want to go.

Graco stroller lake

Pros:

  • Easy to open and close
  • Parent tray with smart phone clip
  • Kickstand
  • Smooth ride
  • Great sun shade, and big too!
  • Works with any Graco Click Connect car seat

Cons:

  • Not as easy to push as my double BOB
  • Storage basket underneath is big, but doesn’t fit my bag (the double BOB didn’t either, don’t feel bad Graco)
  • A little top heavy and tippy with the car seat in it, no one else at the event seemed to notice theirs tipping, but I was one of 2 that had tiny babies there, also pretty sure no one else took theirs through the woods and the really bumpy path
  • It doesn’t fold as flat as my BOB
  • I still have to take off the wheels to fit it in my trunk.  Sigh.

I do have to admit that taking the wheels off the stroller is my biggest pet peeve.  I had to do it to my BOB too, so it’s nothing to do with the stroller.  Those nice big tires make the stroller…wide.  I’m glad that they have included quick release tires that come off with a push of a button.

Graco Stroller trunk

In all honesty, I do have a love affair with my BOB, but I’m sure with extensive use (and it will get EXTENSIVE use) I will come to love my Graco just as much.

 

Graco’s NEW jogger is the ultimate crossover stroller, combining all the comfort and convenience features of a traditional stroller (FastAction Fold and Click Connect Technology) with performance and maneuverability of an all-terrain jogger.

As an added bonus, Graco’s innovative one-second, one-hand FastAction™ fold automatically locks & is self-standing.

This post is sponsored by the Graco.

Safire

Baby Changes

Everyone,

You know, it’s been about 5 years since I’ve had a newborn.  5 whole years.  And in those 5 years, a lot has changed.  Oh I saved all of the boys (going to have to get a new nickname for them…) clothes.  And baby gear.  And stroller.  And car seats.  I was set!  The only thing I had to think about buying was warmer baby clothes.  See, the boys were spring babies.  And this is baby will be a winter baby.

But then I started researching things out (because that’s what I do) and did you know that car seats expire?!  And that mine, the one that we got for Butterfly as an infant, is probably expired.  Makes me just a little bit sad because I have pictures of all of the kids in that car seat.  I suppose I can keep it to take pictures of the new baby in it before I do something with it.

So.  All of a sudden I need a new car seat.  Hey, guess what else changed?  My states car seat laws.  In Maryland, you now need to be rear facing from newborn till 2 years old.  Wow, that’s a huge change!  Especially since my kids are long.

I mean, by 10 months old, I’m criss-crossing their legs to fit them into the seat.  Long kids.  How am I going to fit them in the car rear facing until they are 2?!

Enter the Graco SnugRide Click Connect- 40.

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photo credit: sitsgirls on flickr because I didn’t take any pictures.  I was too busy gabbing.

This car seat is the only seat on the market that is designed specifically for kids from birth to 2 years old, rear facing up to 40 pounds.  It has an 8 point harness and an adjustable base to give the baby the most comfortable ride in the car.  And not only is it the most adjustable for comfort, it’s also very safe!

  • Engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. standard FMVSS213
  • Side-impact tested: in addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable U.S. safety standards, the SnugRide Click Connect 40 has been side-impact tested for occupant retention by the harness system
  • EPS, an energy-abosrbing foam, for effective impact energy management

If you’re interested in seeing more about the seat, you can click here.  Babies R Us has an awesome video that shows all the cool little things that this car seat does.  I’m really excited to see our new little one in it on our way home from the hospital, and for the next two years.

Safire

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40– the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.
  Plus, I had an awesome time at the party thrown by Minky.

No Chocolate Chocolate Smoothie

Everyone,

The first time I gave these smoothies to my kids, Butterfly said, “Oh wow! Chocolate!” Sadly, there is no chocolate in this drink, but the kids just guzzle it down. It’s oh so healthy and super easy to make.

First, you start with some yogurt. I use the yogurt I make in my crock pot using whole milk and this recipe. Totally works.

Next, add some honey. I honestly eyeball the honey in my smoothie. I’m guessing it’s about a 1/4 of a cup that I add. I add the honey because frankly, that yogurt I make is not sweetened and is pretty strong! I’m sure you can use less honey if you want or omit it completely if you’re using sweetened yogurt. I just choose not to.

Then toss in some fruit. I’ve got small bags of 8-10 strawberries frozen in my freezer that work out perfectly. I also really like bananas, frozen kiwi (just skin the kiwi and pop them in individual bags in the freezer), frozen blueberries, etc. You can use any fruit you’d like. We just happen to love strawberries and blueberries here so that’s what we use the most. You can use fresh fruit if you’d like. I like using the frozen stuff because it makes the smoothie cold and have a good smoothie texture.

Now this is the secret ingredient. Spinach. You read it right, a whole huge handful of spinach. I buy it in big bunches from the Asian market here. Wash it, and break any stems off and put it into the blender. You don’t have to dry it because the extra water helps it blend together.

Next, drop in a few ice cubes. If you can.

This last step is important. Add a splash of juice. You can use any kind of juice, but I like the nectars that are a little more thick. I also LOVE to put carrot juice in here. Right now I happen to have guava nectar.

Now blend! If you find that the spinach isn’t blending down, stop the blender and push it down. You can also add another splash or 2 of juice or even milk to get things moving.

Smoothie Before it's Blended

No Chocolate Chocolate Smoothie

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey (or less)
8-10 strawberries, frozen or fresh
any other fruit you want- bananas, blueberries, kiwi (which is excellent frozen), pineapple, pears, berries, peaches
one BIG handful of fresh spinach, stems broken off and washed
one handful of ice, or 6-8 ice cubes
a splash of juice- 100% carrot preferably

Blend it up and enjoy! Makes enough for 3 full tall sippy cups of it as well as a 16 oz glass for me.

Yes, it’s brown when it’s blended. Yes, Butterfly thinks there is chocolate in it and I haven’t told her there isn’t. Yes, it’s GOOD. This is what Butterfly requested on the morning of her birthday for breakfast. I don’t have an after picture for you (I think I was tired that morning) but it’s really great. I feel good that the kids are getting their veggies in, and also their fruits and yogurt!

Today’s giveaway is a big one. First, look at this cute picture of me and my boys.

doublecarryergo

Aren’t we adorable. We were hiking with Lolli and her family in Harper’s Ferry that day. I had one of Lolli’s wraps on the front and a Ergo carrier on the back. It was my very first use of it and it was amazing. Boy do I love this carrier. It’s easy to put on. It’s easy to put the kid in. And it’s so very comfortable! I like that I can carry both boys around and still have my hands free with this set up.

Now, after having it for over 2 months, the boys scream “RIDE!!” whenever they see it. I either leave it in the car tucked under the seat (and out of sight) or I’m constantly getting it shoved in my face with little boys who want to ride in it. Juice has even carried Butterfly around in it, in all her 60 lbs of limbs. And really, the carrier can withstand up to 90 lbs so she’s perfectly safe. She even said it was really comfortable.

Do you want one? I have one to give away. It looks just like the one I’m carrying Pirate with on my back in the picture.

To enter, you must do 2 things. First, leave a comment. I love comments. Next, you have to join my blog via my cool new thing: Google Friend Connect. If you were a previous follower of my blog before, you get an extra entry! And for one more extra entry, you can tweet about it, including @safirecat so I can keep track of them.

As always, this giveaway will end a week from today.

Happy Commenting and let me know how you like that smoothie!

Safire

Earth Hour 2010- From SEED to sapling

Everyone,

This past Saturday at 8:30pm found Juice and I (and the kids who were asleep) sitting in the dark. While it’s not unusual for us to turn off the lights on a Saturday to watch a movie or something, this Saturday was different. We turned off the lights as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s global Earth Hour.

What is Earth Hour? According to their website, it is an hour when millions of people, governments, etc, around the world come together to make a statement about the climate by turning off their lights for one hour.

Not just people are doing this. Governments are turning off spotlights on their buildings. The Las Vegas strip turned off their lights for an hour. See this cool video slide show from last year.

At the last minute, Juice and I decided to participate. It was kind of cool to feel like we were part of the millions of people also sitting in the dark. I saw a lot of people with candles (you can send in pictures of what you did that hour) and those cool glow in the dark necklaces that Butterfly loves so much. We joined over 4,000 cities in 125 countries that sat in the dark for an hour.

Yes, I realize that an hour is probably not going to do much to globally impact the world. It really didn’t do much for us but made us cheer when we turned the lights back on. It also made us realize that we should really find all of our flashlights. It was a preparedness reminder. Next year I’m going to make it fun for us and have a candle light dinner. And flashlights. With working batteries!

This is the 3rd year that they have been doing this Earth Hour and it’s grown very rapidly. From this, Mt. Rushmore has decided to turn off it’s lights starting at 9 pm, instead of 11 pm every day. They are making a progressive change in their business style. So it got me thinking about what kind of change I could make in my own life for the environment.

As I got to thinking about it, I’ve already made my own change. I’ve been using the SEED shampoo bar for over a week now and I seriously love it. But what does this have to do with the environment? Well, the bar has a smaller ecological footprint than the big liquid bottles. They don’t have plastic packaging, use less water to make and cost less to ship. They are made right in the USA. Their packaging is 100% biodegradable. Plus it makes my hair more fluffy and shiny. That’s my favorite part.

It may be a small change. A tiny change, in fact. Just like us turning our lights off in the house for an hour was tiny. But every drop in the bucket counts. And sooner or later, that bucket is going to fill.

So I’m glad to be doing my part by putting my tiny drops in the bucket one at a time. And I look good doing it too.

Safire

PS- TOTALLY check my blog tomorrow afternoon for a HILARIOUS video staring myself and Lolli. Seriously, it’s worth watching!

PPS- Written in hopes that SEED and Jen from Hip As I Wanna Be will pick me for a sponsorship to BlogHer 2010. Pick Me SEED! I really want to go and celebrate my 30th birthday with you.