Child Safety

Being a full time mother usually stretches your budget and takes up most of your time. Add to that the workload of a college schedule and you probably do not have two dimes to rub together or any spare time for yourself. While we cannot expand the clock, we can help you find ways to save a little while also making sure your children get what they need to stay safe. Car seats are important, and they are required by law, so having one that will serve both your needs and that of your little one is crucial. Luckily there are several options out there that can help without breaking the bank.

Which Type Of Seat Should I Get?

For smaller children there are two types of safety seats to consider. Infant seats are great for carrying your child or for using with a stroller. They are light weight an less bulky. This makes them easier to get in and out of the back seat without disturbing your child. However, they can only be used for a couple of years before your child will outgrow them. At this point you will have to go out and get a new convertible car seat.

Convertible car seats are able to handle infants as well as bigger kids. Smaller children are secured in the seat and it is faced to the rear of the vehicle for maximum protection. Once your child is big enough you simply face the seat forward. Since these types of car seats can handle kids of varying sizes they can be used for longer. This means that you will only have to purchase one seat and can use it for a number of years until they are ready for a booster seat. There are even some convertible car seats that can be used as a booster seat, so you will only need to buy one seat for your child. This gives convertible car seats greater versatility and for anyone on a tight budget this is going to be a smarter investment.

Budget Seat Options

Now that we know one of the main advantages of a convertible car seat is their long term savings, let’s look at some of the more cost effective models currently worth consideration.

Graco 4Ever

At first glance this does not seem like that much of a bargain. It currently goes for between $200 and $300. But when you consider that it can be used as an infant seat, booster seat, and convertible seat, you can see why this can make sense in the long run. It has an incredible 10 year life span. It is currently ranked as the best convertible car seat 2017. This may be the only seat that you will every need and from a financial stand point this is a terrific option. It also has some of the best ratings from parents.

We know that it does have a high initial cost. It may be nearly impossible to come up with $200 or more when you can barely afford to eat. Don’t fret, there are other convertible seats that may better fit the bill.

Evenflo Symphony DLX

This is another All In One convertible seat that will provide many years of service. It can handle children between 5 and 110 lbs. This means that you should be able to get many years of service and protection for your child with just having to get one car seat. Evenflo is known for making affordable and quality child gear. The Symphony DLX is very highly regarded with parents and it has many safety and comfort features that make it quite appealing.

It is not as expensive as the Graco 4Ever and it will cost you between $150 and $200. This is still a steep up front investment for a lot of students but it is worth the cost if you can afford it. Over the course of your child’s first few years of needing a safety seat it will more than make up for it.

Evenflo Tribute LX

This is a more doable option for those with more serious budget constraints. This can usually be found online for under $100. It is not an all in one seat so it does have some limitations. While it does provide excellent protection and safety features it is only rated for kids 5 to 40 lbs. You are not going to get as many years of use out of it as the models above and you are going to have to get another convertible car seat at some point. The lower cost however will let you get something now and buy some time to save up for another seat in the future.

Being cheap doesn’t mean that it will not protect your child either. It has been tested and meets the minimum requirements for child seats for various safety standards. This is an excellent choice if you are in a pinch.

Saving Where You Can

These are just three different options that will let you save a little while also allowing you to get a car seat that you will feel good about having your child ride in. To safe the most in the long run a convertible car seat is going to be your best bet and luckily there are plenty of models that are high quality that will not be too harsh on the wallet. It is hard being a student and being a parent and saving money is something to take advantage of when you can.

Exercise & Fitness

Running is an exercise that has tremendous benefits and is something that numerous people turn to for their fitness needs. You do not need a membership, you can do it at any time, and it is a great way to get outdoors for some fresh air. All of these advantages also apply to parents that own jogging strollers. However, pushing around your loved ones also carries with it some extra challenges. To keep your family safe while out on the road or on your favorite trail, we put together a list of some precautions you should take to ensure everyone gets the most out of the experience and gets home safely.

Path Awareness

Ideally, having a desolate road to run on would be the safest option. But since you share the road with other vehicles it is vital to always be alert of your surroundings. If you run on a sidewalk you must always look ahead and make sure that you will not encounter any pedestrians. If you are on the road you will want to run against traffic so that you can see what is coming your direction.

You must exercise the same precautions as regular pedestrians when crossing the street or at busy intersections. Try to avoid congested roads, at least during the busiest time of the day. Your biggest challenge while using a running stroller is to keep an eye on what’s ahead of you and try to anticipate.

Minimize Distractions

While it may be part of your normal workout routine to listen to an mp3 player and use your headsets, these will prevent you from possibly hearing sirens, cars, pets, and pedestrians that may be near your path.

Braking System

You always want to be in control and you need to be able to stop the stroller as fast as possible. While there are some strollers that come with a brake that you can operate with your foot, these are not ideal and as readily accessible as having a brake on your handle bars. All of the top reviewed jogging strollers currently on the market are going to have a simple to use and adequate braking system.

Working Front Wheel

If you like to get the most out of your stroller and run at a fast pace having a swivel front wheel that can lock in place is also another safety feature you will want. When locked in place the front wheel is more stable at faster speeds and is easier to keep in a straight line. When you are going fast the last thing that you need is a stroller that wants to stray off course are have the front wheel start to wobble. At slower speeds you can unlock the wheel and this will increase your ability to safely maneuver the stroller around tight corners.

Using A Tether

This is another feature that most high performance jogging strollers come with. It keeps the runner tied to the stroller, usually with a wrist band. One of the scariest things to have happen when transporting your child is to have a runaway stroller. If you should trip and fall, using a tether means that the stroller will not get away from you completely.

Challenging Terrain

If you are at the bottom of a hill and are not sure if you will be able to make it completely to the top, then it is probably a good idea to forgo it. You do not want to get half way up and then start to lose strength and control. The same goes for extreme downhill routes as well. You always want to be confident that no matter where you go with your jogger that you will be able to maintain control.

Other Tips

The above are just some of the basic safety precautions for being on the road but there are some other measures that you can take to make sure that your child is comfortable and further protected while out jogging.

Sun Protection

The sun can do immeasurable damage to the skin of young children. Finding a running stroller with an easily adjustable canopy can help shield them from dangerous UV rays. Even on cloudy days this is something that you should pay attention to.

Pack Accordingly

Always bring your cellphone for emergencies as well as pack extra diapers, water, milk and other essentials. You never know what will happen and it is always good to be prepared. Finding a stroller with adequate storage will be a huge plus.

Suspension and Tires

This is also another component of your jogger that can add superior comfort to the ride. Should you want to go off road and away from smooth concrete surfaces having a stroller with proper tires and independent suspension will help cushion your child from all of the bumps and lumps along the way.

Weather Conditions

Remember, children are more sensitive to temperature changes than adults. You will not want to go out in the tremendous heat of summer or the chilly weather of winter if you can help it. It is always important to remember as well that you are pushing around extra weight and your running activities will be more strenuous than normal. You will want to make sure not to over exert yourself on those hot summer days and wind up suffering with heat exhaustion.

Proper Preparation

Using one of these types of strollers is a fabulous family activity that can provide a number of healthy benefits. But when dealing with being on the road, it is always important to be fully aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents with both cars and other pedestrians. We also recommend you visit some of the top review sites like as they are a great place to start and can you help narrow down your choices and find the safest jogging stroller for your family’s needs. Hopefully some of these tips will prove helpful and keep you and your loved ones safer on your next run.

Cooking

small-toaster-oven-options

Most of at some point have lived in an apartment or house that did not have the biggest kitchens. Unfortunately, countertop space is a rare thing that was always at a premium. There was barely room for a coffee maker let alone a big oven. However, today there are some high quality options that can make the effort to find room worth the effort. A toaster oven can save energy and still help you cook just as well as your full sized range. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at just what some of the modern toaster ovens can provide you in a cramped space.

Top Toaster Oven Brands

Toaster ovens are quite popular and luckily there are quite a few options to choose from. Brands like Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and Breville make some of the most versatile and highly dependable countertop ovens from which to choose. Whether you feel like baking cookies, creating your own homemade pizza, or reheating left overs, there is something out there that is perfect for your kitchen. Below are just some of the best rated small toaster ovens that we found that won’t take up a lot of room and should suit your cooking needs no matter how big or small your budget.

Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven

Breville makes some terrific toaster ovens and the BOV450XL is probably the top of the line option for smaller sized ovens. It is sleek and modern with an LCD display and it has all of the modern cooking technology you would expect from a Breville appliance. It comes with what they call their “Element IQ” technology that ensures that nothing gets overdone and every side of the food gets cooked to perfection. It may be tiny in stature, but this oven really packs a punch when it comes to features.

This is probably going to be the most expensive of the small ovens on our list, but it still just comes in at just under $150. This is a high end model but it still will give you extreme value for the money.

Cuisinart TOB-40N

We absolutely love Cuisinart appliances as they have a well deserved reputation for reliability and performance. The TOB-40N is perhaps their best compact oven that can handle a wide number of different cooking tasks. It looks sharp with a brushed stainless steel design, which also makes it easier to clean. It can fit up to 4 slices of bread for toasting or an 11 inch pizza. Like Breville, Cuisinart institutes their own cooking technology called “Always Even” shade control. This will produce a thorough and constant heat to all sides making sure that there are not hot or cold spots. With simple to use controls, this is a pretty straight forward oven that requires almost no learning curve to master. It is still roomy and powerful enough to prepare a number of delectable recipes that may surprise you.

This particular model oven is even easier on the wallet and can be found online under $100. Even though it is less expensive, it does not mean it is cheap. This is a great option for anyone who just wants something that will work every time without all of the fancy bells and whistles that may come with more costly ovens.

Hamilton Beach 31138

While the model name is rather indistinct, this toaster oven is perfect for crowded kitchens. This also has a modern stainless steel design that is durable and simple to clean. Easy to read knobs make operation easy and basic. This is not all that fancy, but it just works and can cook, reheat, toast and bake. The best part is that it is the most affordable of the ovens on our list. Coming in at around $50, the 31138 is going to give you the most bang for the buck in the kitchen.

Great Gifts

If you know someone who lives in a dorm room, small apartment, or needs something for their basement kitchenette, a small countertop oven is going to be the perfect gift, especially with Christmas just around the corner. Nothing can change someone’s mood faster than home cooked food. So it goes without saying how well received something that can provide a means to make comfort food is going to go over. Not only can they make delicious dishes and treats, but they are also more energy efficient and less intimidating to use than a full sized oven. Any one of the ovens above should produce all smiles to someone currently stuck in a cramped space.