Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stroller Addict

A lot of people are addicted to a lot of different things.  I, myself, have several addictions but my latest (and quite expensive, second only to photography) proves to be strollers.
Today I just received my new Britax B Agile, the 9th stroller I have purchased in 3 and a half years. I love it and I want to tell you all about it but I am going to take you on quick trip down memory lane so you can see how I ended up here.
With Emma, baby number one, I did a ton of research on car seats and travel systems.  I ended up purchasing the the Chicco Cortina travel system. It had tons of good reviews and the car seat seemed to be one of the best on the market. I used the travel system for a little while but it was always hard to get in and out of the car and I finally just started opting to carry the infant carrier.  Finally, I came across the stroller frame (I think mine was by Graco but I know there are a lot of brands out there now so I don't know for sure.)
The frame was a life saver. Had I only known that in the beginning I would have probably just purchased it and the car seat instead of a whole travel system. I used this stroller until we upgraded for a bigger car seat.  I knew that I wanted something with a basket, canopy, and the ability to recline.
Next I purchased the Combi Flare, used. I was not at all impressed with it. It felt cheap and poorly made. I at only 5'4", kicked the wheels when I pushed it. It was bad.  We shipped the flare off to Grandmas (we dont use it much there and since she purchased another) and purchased a Maclaren Triumph used.
With the my first push of the Triumph I knew I was done messing around with cheaper strollers. The only reason we didn't try this first is because I was trying to avoid spending the money (if I had only known what dark addiction I had looming around the corner.) It was so silly because this stroller was fabulous. My only complaint was the canopy was a little small and the basket was small and kind hard to get stuff in and out of but I could deal with it and I used it a lot.
Then came Eli, baby number two.  I received the Joovy Caboose for a baby shower gift and passed the Maclaren to my mom. The Joovy had some great ideas but for our family, it just didn't work. My daughter did not like to stand on it and when she sat and the infant seat was in, she had to lean way forward. She was also not keen on riding backwards. Two babies was proving a lot to handle so I decided I wanted a better stroller. This next one was a mistake!
I went with the Peg Perego Duette - used. I knew I didn't want side by side because I was afraid it would be too wide. And I knew the Duette would be long but it was awful. Have you ever used those carts at the grocery store with the cars on the front?  Well load it down with groceries and push it, thats what this stroller compared to.  I sold it right away and was just glad to recover from that decision.
Finally, I saw a mom at my mom's group with the City Select Double and asked her about it. She raved about it and said it was steep but worth every penny.  I went home and looked it up and was like, there's no way I am buying a stroller for that much and they are too new, not any used ones I could find. SO, I came across the Britax B Ready.

I was thoroughly impressed (I mean look at all the cool configurations) and started selling off everything baby that I didn't use anymore because I had to have it.  When I was finally ready to make the purchase I found a great deal with free shipping and you got a free second seat or infant car seat with the purchase of the stroller. Making my total cost way lower! The day it came in was like Christmas morning.  It was so awesome and the red was so pretty!
I was very happy with it. It was a little heavy and that was my only complaint. But it was a double stroller and doubles are heavy. Soon enough though, Emma stopped wanting to ride in it. I was using it with just the one seat and started thinking "maybe I should get a little lighter stroller not that I've only got one rider." It wasn't long after that the addiction got the better of me (one last time) and I started looking into Maclarens and lightweight strollers.
I almost just went right for the Maclaren that I know and love but decided to look around. I came across the City Mini and the Britax B Agile. They both weighed in at 17lbs but their basket and one handed fold immediately eliminated the Maclaren.

I went to my favorite baby gear reviews at and watched the video review on both. I was a little torn and they were within a dollar on the prices so that wasn't a factor either. In the end brand loyalty pushed me toward the Britax.
Now that I have it hear I am confident in my decision. It took a whopping 4 min to put together. It was only a matter of snapping on the wheels and the canopy. The basket is just as easily accessible as the B-Ready's. Which makes it easy for me. The rear axle is curved so you can kick it. I can spin it a complete 360 degrees with one hand, loaded with a kid. The fold is truly one handed. It folds almost flat and you can make it even flatter by just popping off the rear wheels, which is easily done with the push of one button. It reclines and has a great shade canopy. Its perfect! Now this, I wish they had when my first was born because whats more, it comes with the clips so you can attach a car seat. Imagine that, I could have just had one stroller all along.
I hope this helps if you are trying to purchase or decide on a stroller. Consider Britax, single or double they have something that works!  Its worth the money, you may even be able to find it used. If you are waiting for a great deal, usually has them! Email or comment if you any questions or suggestions.
Thanks for indulging me in a "stroll" down memory lane. Ok ok, the last part was a too much!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making plans

With the new year right around the corner I've been making plans to get organized.  I realized that lately, I have been totally horrible about remembering things and keep my daily lists in my head. It must be because I'm getting older Emma started school. A very good Mommy friend of mine, who happens to be Emma's homeroom mom has stepped up to the daunting task of making sure I am always on the track with whats going on in the girls' class (I know what a good friend, right?) I've decided that maybe its time I be a good friend back and get a planner going to keep me organized.
Well since I have arrived at the decision I have been searching for the right one for me and my family and I've developed some real planner envy.  But, like a lot of people we are on a budget and spending $50 on planner seemed a bit silly. Plus, I kind of want more of a "home management" style.  So, I've decided I need to make a family notebook planner (thank you all you awesome pinterest pinners!) Here are the beginnings to my adventure. I hope it motivates and helps you make one of your own so that you can keep those New Year's resolutions and not forget your kid's picture day (yes that happened on my kid's first ever school picture day!)

I found this really helpful blog by Shayla at design She has a lot of great ideas, several more which I feel I will be blogging about very soon! She has gathered some really great week at a glance pages, menu pages, cleaning schedule, and if you are a hard core blogger there is even a blog planner! The best part is they are all free.  I went with number 2 for my calender, then number 5 for my menu, and number 1 for my cleaning schedule. You'll have to head on over to her blog to check out the rest because her blog deserves a visit for all her hard work

I just printed these and am going to try them all for my first couple of weeks before I go through all the steps to get a binder together. Plus I am looking for a few more things to add. So for now you'll have to bear with me. All my copies are only black and white and I am holding them all together in my couponing notebook which is embarrassingly light these days.  You see blogging is not the only aspect in my life I have put to the back burner. BUT thats the purpose of this whole deal. 
Now back to the "other" sections:
I decided I wanted a monthly view too. So I downloaded this print out, also for free, by Michelle Undewood from Two Peas in a they have a color and a b/w version. Since Im only printing in black and white for now I went with it...

There will be a few more sections to add:
Contacts - with all the family contacts names, numbers, and addresses. (sub section in here for home repair and another for take out with menu included)
Medical - with all our dr info, insurance info, medical releases...
A section for each kid -  to keep things that need to be filled out or returned, school schedules...

As soon as I get this figured out and together I will post some pictures.  But for now I have a hungry little boy and am dying to try a new recipe. So you start your notebook and I'll hurry to finish mine because up next: the 21 Day Organizing Challenge from Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons. Be back soon with the full report,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A yummy lunch

I know, I know, I really need to work on doing better at my blog promises. New Years resolution perhaps?  But today I bring to you a recipe! Well sort of.
If you are anything like me you love pasta salads, chicken salads, and things of that nature (is there a collective name for these things?) I also love avocados. So when I came across this recipe on pinterest I had to follow the link over to Cheeky Kitchen and check things out. I decided that I did need to try this

Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad
The flavors of this chicken salad are reminiscent of summer grilling. If you've got a bit of leftover chicken from the night before, this is a great way to use it up for lunch. Otherwise, feel free to boil a breast of chicken or zap one in the microwave for a super-speedy meal. Enjoy!


1 cup chicken breast, cooked and shredded
¼ cup corn
¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup green onions, chopped
¼ cup tomatoes, diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup corn chips, crushed
2 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt to taste
2-4 avocados, sliced in half with pits discarded


In a medium bowl, toss the chicken breast, corn, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and corn chips together. Add the vinegar and mayonnaise to mixture and toss to coat. Salt to taste. Spoon salad into halved avocados. Serve immediately with a spoon and fork. Enjoy!

Yep, I was going to check this out!

Her pictures look amazing but, I made a few changes of my own allowing this to become a really quick and easy lunch. Here's what I did...
2 cans of shredded chicken (I like Tyson the best, or you could shred a rotisserie chicken)
Mayo (I used just enough to make the chicken moist)
Black beans, rinsed and drained (I used a handful)
Corn, rinsed and drained (I used a handful of this too)
Chopped cilantro (about a tablespoon)
Chopped green onions (I used a small handful)
Shredded cheese (a handful)

Mix mayo and chicken together to coat chicken lightly.
Mix in all other ingredients except Avocado.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
At this point I just have an easy lunch for a few days.
When I go to make my lunch I just cut open and pit the avocado then peel it (if thats what you call it with an avocado.) Then with a fork I smash it up like I'm making guacamole get a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture and mix it all together. I heat it for about 45 seconds then eat it. Its great on crackers and probably would even be good on bread but since I'm still watching carbs, I eat it like it is. Also if you wanted to add tomatoes you could just use grape tomatoes. I tried it with them and didn't really like the flavor combo (as my husband says) I just don't know that I would add the tomatoes if I knew I was going to refrigerate it for a couple days.

Ok fellow avocado and pasta salad-y lovers, go try both or come up with your own! And check out Cheeky Kitchen, she has lots of other great stuff!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A promise

Well I have to be right up there in the running for the "world's worst blogger." Its surprisingly hard to keep up with, on top of that I have a long list of excuses as to why I haven't posted lately.  What boils down to is our family traveled a lot and had a generally busy summer. Finally we are starting to settle in to a schedule (just before the craziness of the holidays) and so I am making a promise and to you guys (that makes me more accountable) to stick to it.  So, while this is a really lame post, I am using it to get the ball rolling again so you'll have to be a little forgiving!  Thanks for hanging in there with me and I have high hopes you'll be reading something new and wonderful soon!