The 1 Car Seat Rule You Might Not Know

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Nissan.

Car Seat Rule

I always try to stay on top of all the car seat recommendations and while I was at a car inspection recently they weren’t aware that cars have weight limits for the LATCH system.  While I was very grateful for the service of them inspecting my car seat was used correctly, giving me a discount on buying a new car seat while they disposed of my expired car seat, I couldn’t believe they weren’t up to date on the LATCH system facts.

Here’s the deal…

Most newer cars and car seats use the LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  The LATCH system attaches the car seat to the car through anchor points installed in the car, which makes for an easy peasy installation.  Using this system can eliminate numerous potential errors resulting from improper car seat installation with a seat belt.  However, many parents (and sometimes car seat inspectors) aren’t aware that the 65-pound weight limit for using the LATCH system includes the weight of your child in addition to the weight of the car seat (most average around 20-25 pounds on their own). (By the way, the site which I linked to in this paragraph is wonderful for all information on car seat safety.  They also have a Facebook group which I’ve found incredibly helpful. It’s called Car Seats for the Littles and if you join make sure to read their User Agreement before you post because they have a lot of folks in the group.)

If you check and your little one is over 40 lbs and has reached capacity, simply consult your vehicles owner’s manual and car seat user guide (most are online now if you’ve misplaced yours) to make sure you’ve correctly installed your child’s seat using a seat belt and tether.  Car seats are a paaaaain in the rear.  There’s nothing I hate doing more than installing a car seat.  It’s so much work but it’s all worth it to make sure our most precious gifts are as safe as they can possibly be.

Insanely Genius Car Hacks

This post is brought to you by Kim’s No Bull.

We spend a lot of our lives in cars and these trusty tips will hopefully make your car driving experiences even better.

Car Cooling Hack

Cool Down the Car Quickly

When you’re car is sweltering on a hot day here’s a trick to cooling it down quickly.  Roll down one window and open and close the door on the other side five or six times.  This will push the hot air out and allow cooler air to come in.  My husband told me this tip and I didn’t believe it till I tried it for myself.  It really works!  This is a great car hack.

Key Fob Car Hack

Put Your Key Fob to Your Chin to Increase Distance

If you’re in a large parking lot and can’t find your car, try placing the key fob on your chin ti increase the range of the signal by a few car lengths.  This cracks me up but hey, if it works, why not?  Apparently, the fluids in your head turn into an adequate conductor.

Windshield Crack DIY

Paint Small Windshield Cracks With Nail Polish

We learned this trick the hard way.  We recently moved to a house with approximately a million oak trees and a bazillion falling acorns and one giant acorn feel with such force that it gave our windshield a small crack.  We researched and found this trick.  Once year later and it’s still staying small!  To slow the spreading of a small crack, paint over the crack with clear nail polish on both sides of the glass.

Gas Gauge Hack

Look at The Gas Gauge to See Which Side to Fill Up

If you’re driving a rental, a new car or if you’re just incredibly forgetful here’s an easy way to figure out which side the gas tank is on.  Look at the gas gauge and there will usually be an arrow pointing to which side of the car the gas tank is on.

Photo of Where You Parked

Take a Photo of Where You Parked

This is a tip I used myself when I was at Disney World and on busy days where my mind is clouded with a hundred odds and ends I plan on using this to remember which floor I park on at the hospital.

Pizza Warming Hacks

Keep Pizza Hot With Heated Seats

If you have seat warmers turn them on to keep your carry-out pizza nice and warm on your trip home.  I hope you’ve found these car hacks helpful, if you have any to add please leave them in the comments.

What to Do With an Expired Car Seat

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep.  If you’re looking for a new car to keep your family safe take a look at what they have to offer.  

Expired Car Seat

If you’re like most parents of young kids you probably have an expired car seat hanging around somewhere.  It may be gathering dust bunnies in the attic or collecting cobwebs in the garage.  Either way, I’m sure you want to find a responsible way to get rid of it.

It’s easy to overlook an expiration date on a milk jug but a car seat expiration date is one that shouldn’t be ignored.  There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to be is that they are made from plastic.  Overtime that plastic tends to break down and get brittle – not what you want in case you’re in an accident!

Since we can’t re-sell or donate an old car seat, what are we supposed to do with it?  I recently came into this position and I’m happy to share with you the options I’ve learned.

Look for Trade-In Events

Last year around Earth Day Target teamed up with TerraCycle for a two week event where customers could bring in old car seats to receive a 20% discount on a new car seat.  What mom doesn’t love a Target discount? …and you get to do something good to the planet to boot.

Babies “R” Us locations often host car seat safety days where they’ll check your car seat to make sure they still fit your child and are installed correctly.  This is what we did recently and not only did they give me 20% off any car seat I bought (including ones that were on sale!) but they also installed it for me.  It was wonderful!  I think I heard angels singing.

BabyEarthRENEW

BabyEarthRENEW will disassemble your car seat and they’ll send some of the materials to developing countries, who can use the straps, buckles, and fabric for different purposes.  What they can’t use will be sent to accredited recycling centers.  You do have to pay to ship the car seat to them but they’ll make sure the most possible good can come from your car seat!  Plus, they’ll give you a $5 gift certificate to spend with them.

Recycle

Call up your local children’s thrift stores.  Some will accept at certain times a year and charge you a small fee to dispose of them properly.  Most recycling centers will also take expired car seats but they may have requirements about how the car seat should arrive and may charge a small fee for the service.

Donate

I’ve heard that police departments and fire departments may take donations of used car seats if they’re needing some to use for training.  Before tossing one, it would be worth a few phone calls to see if they could use your expired seat.

Throw it Away

When all else fails, you may have to just throw it away but before you do please take some precautions to keep other families from using what looks like a perfectly functioning car seat.  Cut the straps on the seat or remove them all together to ensure that nobody will snag it for their youngster.

What to do with an expired car seat

Top Road Trip Tips when Traveling With Children

This post is brought to you Kim’s Toyota.

Tips for Traveling with Kids
It is almost time for vacations to begin and families getting out on the open roads taking road trips! So many wonderful memories come from family vacations, and spending time in the car site seeing all over the globe! Today I wanted to share some of the top road trip tips when traveling with children. These will make your life and theirs a little easier!

Car Sick Travel Bag: You never know when someone will end up getting sick, so I recommended making a car sick travel bag. Include medicines like anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, gas medicines, something for headaches and so on. Just make sure you pack medicines for any occasion. I also toss in some sacks in case someone does have an upset tummy, you are not left in a bind. You can store it in a gallon bag and tuck in in the trunk or under a seat.

New Movies for Kids: If you have tablets or a portable dvd player, think about doing new movies for the kiddos. You can rent some from a Redbox if you have a dvd player, or download and/or stream from the tablet. Either way this is a great way to keep them occupied for awhile. You can also download fun games on tablets for them to play.

Prevent Boredom: Like above with the new movie idea, you can also think about other activities to keep your children entertained. Try to find new things like car bingo, or go to your local dollar store and find new toys for them. Anything you think your child might enjoy and be entertained for a little bit.
Shower Caddy Basket to Hold Crayons: Pack up some fun coloring or activity books. Then take a little shower caddy basket, that has the suction cups on the back, and stick it to the window. Then when they need a crayon they can reach up in the caddy to get a crayon or pencil. It keeps the crayons from falling into the seat or on the floor.

Pack Snacks: This is a great one to save a little money and to have snacks when your kids get hungry. Take sandwich bags and pack up some of their favorite treats. Like crackers, cookies, licorice, whatever you want. Then create single serve snack bags. When they get hungry let them pick out a snack to enjoy.

Bathroom Breaks: Be prepared to have more pit stops then if you didn’t have kiddos with you. They will need to stretch their feet and go to the bathroom more than adults. So just make sure to allow yourself the time to have those stops and let them burn a little energy off.

Top Ten Family Friendly Road Trip Songs

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Nissan and contains affiliate links.

Family Road Trip Songs

As a family we love singing in the car. LOVE it!  So of course as I’m planning out every detail of our next vacation you can bet that a play list or 12 will be made.  It’s a long, long drive but these traveling tunes will help put us in the mood for a road trip!  I’ve compiled my list of family friendly road trip songs to help you get your motors running! 🙂

10. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash

In four verses, 91 places are quickly listed off.  Destinations big and small are listed and it will be fun to cheer when he sings about a place where we’re from, or headed to, or are currently driving through.  You can’t beat the man in black.

9. On The Road Again by Willie Nelson

This is the perfect road trip song!

8. King of the Road by Roger Miller

I can still remember my parents playing this song on road trips when I was a kid.

7. Riding In My Car by Woodie Guthrie

My husband introduced this song to me recently and it’s one I think my kids will love to sing along with!

6. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

This twin duo will get everyone singing and bobbing their head along with the tune.  The song may be about walking but it’s still an upbeat song about traveling so I had to include it.

5. Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers Band

This song makes being on the road seem more appealing than ever and hopefully it will keep the kids enjoying the trip for a few more miles.

4. Route 66 by Chuck Berry

Bobby Troup wrote this song in 1946 and it has been covered by many but I’m partial to Chuck Berry’s 1961 rendition.  Not only is this a great one to sing a long to but it gives parents a great opportunity to squeeze in a mini history lesson in between songs.

3. Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys

This song pays tribute to the 1932 Ford Model B…or is it Model 18?  Either way, this bouncy hit will have you dreaming of cars and the iconic life by the beach.  All of The Beach Boys songs remind me of road trips because it was a tape that my family played over and over and over again on our trips. The Beach Boys’ songs will always hold a special place in my vacation memories.

 

2. In the Car by Justin Roberts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Justin Roberts but these last two songs on my list totally deserve their spot.  They’re catchy, singable, and best of all, kid-friendly without being annoying.

1. Do You Wanna Go? by Justin Roberts

Do you wanna go?  What else needs to be said!  Take a listen, it’s a great song!

I’m listing The Wheels on the Bus as an honorable mention.  While it’s a great road trip song for kids, finding a song of it that wasn’t annoying was an impossible task.  Maybe getting an annoying song stuck in your kid’s head probably isn’t the best idea anyway.

What songs are on your family’s road trip playlist?

How to Find Good Deals on Tires

This post is brought to you by Len Stoler Lexus.

Cooper Tires

Having good tires is a must when you own a vehicle. They keep you safe while traveling and tires can affect your gas mileage. It is no lie tires can cost a good amount of money, but I am here to help give you ideas on how to find good deals on tires.

I hope that some of these options might help you in to finding a good deal on tires. Tires truly do play such an important role in driving safety. It is never fun when your tire blows out driving down the road. So make sure your tires are in tip top shape.

Steps to Finding Good Deals on Tires:

Online Deal Sites: If you find a deal site, like Groupons you might be able to score some good savings on tires. They from time to time offer discounted prices on tires, anywhere from 50%-80% off. Sometimes you will have to buy the tires online and others you can get a discounted price for some tires at a local store in your area. It is worth looking at to see if you can find any deals on the tires you need.

Coupons: Every now and again you might find a deal on tires, buy 3 get 1 free, or $10 off a tire. You can search online for deals on tires to see if you can find any. You can search the stores name and coupons on tires, or just search coupons on tires if you don’t mind purchasing tires online. Just make sure if you buy online you watch out for shipping costs. If you have a store near you, you might be able to ship it to the store and pick it up for free.

Buy Used: Buying used tires is a way to save a little money. You can find buy, sale, trade groups on Facebook for your local area where someone might be selling a set. Also make sure to check with your tire dealers around you to see if they have any used tires they are selling. Just make sure they are reputable and you look over the tires when you buy used. Make sure there are no cuts or really worn tread on the tires. Buying used you do take a risk of them not lasting as long as new. But if you don’t have the money for a brand new set this can be an option.

Buy More Tires: I know buying more tires might sound crazy but sometimes buying one tire can be expensive. When you buy say two or more tires you might get a price cut. Check with your local tire dealers to see if they are offering a deal when you buy more than one tire, if the cost per tire will go down.

Buy Locally: Sometimes your local tire dealers can be cheaper then bigger stores online. You don’t have to pay for shipping and handling if you order online. Another note is some stores will put the tires on for free or at a discounted price when you buy the tires through them. So even if the tires are a little more in price, you factor in getting them put on for free, it can be less or equal to what you find online.

How to Create A Money Saving Plan For Buying a New Car

This post is brought to you by Len Stoler Dodge Chrysler Jeep.

Kids in the Car
If you are thinking you might be in the market to buy a new car soon, you might need to create a money saving plan. Buying a new car can be a little pricey with all the extras that go along with your big purchase. So before you head out to go shopping make sure your finances are in order and you know that you can afford the car you want. Now if you have all cash that is great, but if not, buying a car can impact your budget greatly!
Again these are just things for you to keep in mind when you go to buy a new vehicle. It is a big deal to buy a new car, and it can be a little costly. Making sure you still have money left after you make your payments will make your everyday life a little easier, so you don’t feel so strapped.

Time Frame of Buying a Car: You need to make sure to sit down and plan when you want to buy a new car. You may think in a year I will be ready, or even a few months down the road. Regardless you will need to have a down payment most likely for your new vehicle. Some places offer no money down, so you need to consider if you don’t go to a dealership that offers no money down, you might need to put down a thousand or more.

Look at Cars Online: If you have an idea of a vehicle you are wanting, you can look online at dealerships in your area to get an idea of the price range. This will help you to see how much money a vehicle you are really wanting might cost.

Monthly Car Payments: When you get a loan for a vehicle it can vary a lot depending on the price of the vehicle. You could spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a thousand. They do offer ways to figure what your payment would be online for a vehicle, or your dealership can tell you. This is a great way to get a rough estimate of how much your car payment would be each month. Just make sure you also factor in for insurance each month. Most states require full coverage on a vehicle that has a loan against it.

Car Tags and Insurance: Along with buying a car you have to factor in insurance premiums, and car tags and registering your new vehicle. If you have a type of vehicle you want, say a SUV you can talk to your insurance company and they can give you a rough estimate of what that type of car you want would cost each month. Some styles of vehicles (sports cars, etc) can cost a lot more than others.

This is a great way to ensure you can afford the vehicle you want. Sometimes people forget you have tags and insurance that go along with owning a car. You just need to make sure you have money in your budget and then you can sleep easier at night with your new car.

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

This post is brought to you by Fitzgerald Auto Mall.

Tips for Spring Car Maintenance

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Winter can be so brutal on your car. Some parts of the country you are faced with snow storms, below-zero temperatures and more. When they put the ice melt down on the streets that can be really harsh on your car, it can cause rust and more.

When spring arrives it is a great time to wash away the winter and freshen up your car! Below you will find some great spring maintenance tips for your car. If you are not able to do any of these car maintenance jobs yourself, take your car to a local mechanic shop and they will do it all for you!

Tips for Spring Maintenance on Your Vehicle

  • – A Good Wash: If you live where you get snow, it is very important to wash your car really well. When they put salt down on the streets it melts the ice but as you drive it gets all over your vehicle. It can cause a lot of damage to your car, so make sure to wash it really well. This includes the undercarriages where that salt if left over time could rust the metal.
  • – Oil and Fluid Check: It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. So if you are close to needing an oil change do that and make sure to check your fluids. Sometimes we can forget to check power steering fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If you don’t know how to do this, stop in and let a mechanic do this for you.
    – Check Tires: Make sure to rotate your tires, check the pressure and make sure you have good tire thread. Your car’s tires are so important, it affects how your car rides, handles, and of course safety. It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even!
    – Brakes: Make sure to have your brakes inspected. Sometimes the pads and rotors can get worn and go out. You need to make sure that you can stop safely and easily in case you need to when driving.
    – Alignment and Suspension: If you ever have been driving and notice that your car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you might have a problem. Just driving alone can cause your alignment and suspension to get off, and it is important to make sure it is all where it needs to be. If you live where you have rough roads or pot holes that can be to blame for your car going out of alignment. This check is normally $20-$50 depending on where you live.

Happy Kids on Road Trips

This helpful post is sponsored by Hiley Volkswagon of Arlington.

Kids in the Car

There is nothing that spoils a road trip like an unhappy child – cooped up, cranky, bored and the kid’s aren’t too happy either. If you are going over 50 miles with kids under 12 you are going to want to have a game plan and load the car with plenty of kid friendly gear, food bribes, and fun activities. These tips are sure fire tools for success.

  • –  Comfort. At this point in parenthood you probably don’t need to be told to make sure the kids empty their bladder before leaving but just in case you need the reminder this is #1. If they say they don’t need to go, don’t trust them…MAKE THEM GO! After that is out of the way, be sure and dress them comfortably and cut out some of the complaining by putting them in loose, comfy clothes. Avoid tight waist bands, collared and buttoned up shirts, and anything that doesn’t support total comfort.
  • –  Snacks. Next you are going to want to pack snacks – Preferably items that won’t completely destroy your vehicles interior. Nothing sticky, oozing, or hard to clean.  Dried fruit, fruit snacks, pretzels, goldfish, and  juice boxes. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer are also must have items. Let them pack some items they want to have along for the ride-grab a small backpack or basket that will fit in the backseat and let them choose items like crayons and paper, their favorite book, doll, or handheld game (don’t forget the headphones). Dollar store cookie sheets make great activity trays for the road, throw on some magnets and you have a busy board that will keep kids from toddlers to tweens busy.
  • –  Music and Movies. Let them have a turn choosing music and the movies if you have portable dvd players in the car.  Keep in mind that it is their trip too and allowing them to have some say so will lead to increased cooperation (just choose movies ahead of time that you can tolerate, if not enjoy).
  • – Play games WITH them.  Punch Buggy, License Plate Bingo, anything to pass time and keep their minds occupied.  Who can spot the most pickups in 20 minutes?  How many yellow cars are in the state of North Carolina? Make them up as you go, be a part of the fun and you might find the trip goes faster for you too.
  • – Sing songs together.  Justin Robert’s music is our all time favorite.  If you have kids and HATE “kid’s music” you have to check this out!  Fun music that will have you reminiscing of your own childhood and singing the songs to yourself when you’re not even around your kids.
  • –  Stop occasionally. Kids are meant to move, it is cruel and unusual to strap them in and expect them to stay within the confines of a seat belt or car seat for 10 hours. Every once in awhile find a rest stop or even a park, let everyone out to stretch their arms and legs, have a run or quick game of catch if possible to get the blood pumping and burn off some energy (be sure to pack a football, a jump rope, or a Frisbee for stops).  This will make the time in the car a little easier to handle.

If you’re a pro traveler with kids I would love to hear what tips and tricks that have worked for you!

Car Maintenance Checklist

This helpful post is sponsored by Hiley Mazda of Arlington.com.

Used Car Tips

How well do you know your car? Perhaps you need reacquainted and to spend some one-on-one time with each other. Setting some “dates” with your car could continue the relationship a bit longer!

Every month you should check your:

  • – Oil level – Add oil if it’s low, and take it in if it’s very low as there may be a leak.
  • – Hoses – Replace them if they’re brittle.
  • – Belts – Replace them if they’re worn or frayed.
  • – Tire pressure – Check the pressure and add air if it’s too low.
  • – Coolant/antifreeze – Add more if it’s low.
  • – Air filter – Replace if it’s dirty.
  • – Tires – Looks for damage or uneven wear.

Every 3 months you should check your:

  • – Oil and oil filter – Change every 3,000 miles or as is recommended by manufacturer.
  • – Windshield washer fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Power steering fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Transmission fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Battery terminals and cables – Clean if corroded.
  • – Lights – Check to make sure all lights and turn signals work. Easy one!

Every 6 months you should check your:

  • – Wiper blades – Replace them if they’re worn out and brittle.
  • – Horn – Beep, beep!
  • – Brakes – Have them inspected for unusual the wear and tear.
  • – Spare tire – Make sure it’s fully inflated and accessible.
  • – Exhaust system – Inspect for damage or loose parts.Shocks – Inspect for wear.