What You Need to Know About Car Seat Safety

It wasn’t that long ago that car seats were a luxury to most parents – kids road in the back of the cars, usually without seat belts. They road in the back  of the station wagon without a seat, sometimes crammed in next to the groceries. Seat belts weren’t mandatory, and sometimes kids road in the floor or even sitting upside down!

Fast forward 30 some years, and with research it’s been found that car seats save lives (imagine that!). But the scary part is that over 80% of these car seats are not installed or used properly, causing an even bigger safety issue!

So I wanted to share some Car Seat Safety  info that someone passed along to me, so that you can be sure you’re little ones are safe while you travel!

Know Your Car Seats Expiration Date. Did you know car seats expire?! Purchasing or re-using an older car seat can be dangerous. Over time the car seats material can fatigue and start to crack, severely hampering the seat’s ability to protect your child in an accident, also the engineering improvements and safety regulations are always changing. Most car seats are good for six to ten years – but always check the seat for more information, or call the manufacturer.

Replace Car Seats Involved in an Auto Accident. Unfortunately I had to learn this one first hand – somewhat like the seat expiring, the seats ability to protect your child after already being involved in an accident lowers quite significantly. Even in a minor accident, it is always best to replace the car seat since the hardware of the seat has been compromised. Most insurance companies will pay to replace car seats involved in an accident,  be sure to contact your claims adjuster for details on how to get it replaced!

Know What Car Seat Your Child Needs. From ‘pumpkin’ seats, to rear facing, front facing, and booster seats, you need to do your research. Every child is different and it doesn’t always go by age. Check height/weight requirements on the seat, as well as with your state.

Get the Seat Installed Correctly. I never left this one to chance – though I’m sure there are many parents who could properly install the car seats correctly, I always recommend going to your local fire department to have them install the seats in your vehicle for you. With special training (and those muscles!) they know the proper way to have the seat installed…and its FREE. .and you get to see hot fire men… why wouldn’t you??

All kidding aside, motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of children in the U.S. don’t risk  your child being another statistic!

 

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Easy & Delicious Holiday Treats

One of our family traditions each year around the holidays is taking time to bake together. I’m not just talking a few dozen cookies  – I’m saying an all-out-all-day bake fest. My Grandma, Mom and Aunt have been doing this since I was a little kid, and I guess officially the past few years I have been deemed old enough to join (though I will have to say being the ‘kid’ and taste tester is way more fun).

We have a few classics we always make that are pretty easy (see below) – and I’ve found a new one I want to incorporate to our plans this year that looks delicious (and you know I love any recipe that includes the word easy). Easy Rugelach   from the Farm Girls Gab looks right up by alley. I can’t wait to try it out this year!
easy_rugelach

Peanut Butter Blossoms is one of my favorites! (especially right when they come out of the oven). This recipe from Musings From a Stay at Home Mom is right on target. You definitely need to add this to your holiday baking list!
peanut_butter_blossomsBeing from Ohio Buckeyes are also a traditional item we bake every year. Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom has a great step-by-step instruction guide for you to follow to make your own buckeyes at home!

buckeyes

This post is already starting to make me hungry  – I almost can’t wait to get baking! We can’t forget a few more of our holiday favorites though, like Chocolate Crinkles – the closest recipe I could find (without giving away family secrets lol) was through SimplyRecipes.These are also one of my favorites and my kids too!

chocolate_crinkleschocolate_crinkles

and last but not least – we call it Peanut Raisin Candy,but others usually use Peanut Raisin Clusters. I think this is 110% my absolute favorite. Check out the crockpot recipe version over on Punkie Pie’s Place. What I love about these is you can freeze them for up to a year!
peanut_raisin_candy

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Vehicle Safety: Are You Prepared??

Since summer is now in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start thinking (and preparing) for the harsher winter months. Besides making sure your home is well prepared, one of the  biggest concerns is having vehicle issues, or being stranded in your car during a big winter storm. With my husband being a trucker, we’ve experienced some pretty scary weather over the years, and we’ve came up with a list of things you need to do – or have – to make sure you are prepared for anything that might come your way.

Keep Up with Proper Car Maintenance. Keeping your vehicle in top notch shape is one of the most important factors in vehicle safety. Simple things like changing your oil and filter and topping off other fluids on a regular basis is very important when traveling especially in bad weather. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, you always have a full gas tank, and you have extra fluids in your car just in case of an emergency.

Update Your First Aid Kit. I have to admit sometimes I am guilty of this myself; my first aid kit may or may not have the original band-aids, and alcohol wipes that came with it when I bought it. Besides the already-made first aid kits, it’s always a good idea to add your own items as well. You can find a list of some great first aid items here and other emergency kit items here. Remember to update your kit and replenish at least once a month!

Know How to Avoid a Bad Situation. Staying off the road before they are cleared, avoiding back roads when possible, and learning how to control your vehicle under certain road conditions are key to keeping safe. If you’re not sure – don’t risk it. Listen to the news or radio to find out if your town is under a driving restriction.

Following these simple tricks will not only make you feel more confident as you are traveling in less than desirable conditions, but it will also have you prepared for almost any situation that you find yourself in!

 

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Candy Corn Recipe Round Up

My son and my nephew are completely obsessed with candy corn. Unlike other kids who can’t wait for Halloween to roll around for the chocolate, they are stalking their candy bags for candy corn treats! This year we decided to make some festive fall treats, and I was amazed at all the awesome (and tasty) looking recipes I found using their favorite, candy corn! So I had to share some of my favorites – which ones do you like best??

This Candy Corn Pretzel Bark from The Farm Girl Gabs looks like it would be a favorite of my entire family.

candy_corn_pretzel_bark

These candy corn and white chocolate chip cookies look absolutely amazing as well. I love homemade cookies –  who doesn’t right?
candy_corn_white_chocolate_cookiesI love the idea of this cute “Candy Corn on the Cob‘ idea-

candY_corn_on_the_cob

and last but not least, these Candy Corn Popcorn Balls I found on MyRecipes.

candy_corn_popcorn_balls

 

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Kids, College, Cars and Auto Insurance

It’s officially Back to School for most of the country. I’m still in denial that summer is over but the list of school supplies and class schedules are bringing me back to reality. This is the time of year that not only my personal life gets busy, but my job does too. Working in the insurance industry I get tons of calls with questions from parents about their teens heading off to college, and what is the best way to save money when it comes to their auto insurance. Though I don’t claim to be  an expert, I have had over 10 years in the industry and I have a few tips for parents (and teens) to save money on auto insurance.

 

Buy Used. I am still surprised after all these years that parents and teens think it’s the best idea to buy a new car. Sure overall they can be more dependable, but I will assure you the savings you get in just a few months of a large payment, or a few months of full coverage insurance, you will have enough saved for any minor repairs needed when you purchase a used car. Save that extra money for tuition, supplies, or even towards a new car in a few years. There are many great tips on what to look for when buying a used car that can help steer you in the right direction.

Carry Liability Only. Referring back to buying used, try to pay cash only when purchasing a vehicle; not having a loan leaves you free to choice what coverages you carry on your insurance policy. I do recommend, if you can afford  it, adding comprehensive coverage to your liability only policy. Most of the time comprehensive coverage is offered at an affordable premium, and covers everything other than an accident – so things like rocks hitting and breaking your windshield, vandalism, theft, or even hitting an animal, you’re car will be covered.

Keep Your Grades Up. Carrying a 3.00 GPA or better can save you quite a bit of money on your auto insurance policy; especially for males. Most companies just need a  copy of your progress report, or report card to put the discount on your policy. Be sure to make yourself aware of how often they need an updated transcript so the discount doesn’t get removed.

Call Before You Buy. No matter if you decide to get a used or new car, always always call your auto insurance company and compare rates on the different vehicles you are looking at purchasing; calling with a year/make/model of a vehicle to get a quote can sometimes be a deciding factor in a vehicle purchase. If possible provide the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to get an exact quote. You would be surprised how sometimes the cheaper vehicles will actually cost you more in insurance than one a bit more expensive.

Shop Your Rates. As a co-worker of mine always says, “nothing is good or bad without comparison.” Calling around to see what other rates may be at a different insurance company is always a good idea as well.

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