October 5, 2015

Comparing the NEW! Lillebaby Essentials

Disclaimer: I was provided this carrier for review purposes however all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, that give me a bit back for sharing with you at no extra cost to you!

It's no secret that I love Lillebaby carriers. We got our first when little man was just a couple months old and I've never looked back at any of the other carriers I had before. The Lillebaby was simply the best I had ever used.

Lillebaby's COMPLETE carriers offers so many amazing features: 6 carrying positions, a lumbar support, and dual adjusting straps. I own 4 of them because I love them so much! At $120+ they are an investment piece but I use mine with my 1 year old and with my 4 year old so really, it's a piece that will last me for years.

Lillebaby recognized that not everyone needs all the bells and whistles of their COMPLETE carriers but still wanted to offer an amazing 4 position carrier at a price point affordable to all! Enter their newest carrier, launching TODAY, the Lillebaby Essentials!

The Essentials offers many of the amazing features of a Lillebaby in a perfect compliment to their higher end line.  At under $90 (by a penny!) they are offering every family the ability to afford an amazing carrier. The carrier can be used from 7 lbs (with an infant insert coming early 2016) to 45 lbs, which is the same as their current COMPLETE model. Without the infant insert, they are recommending 15lb+ or 6 months+.

It also offers 4 carrying positions: front carry, with the insert early next year, or for 15 lbs+, a back carry, or a hip carry. Having NEVER used the forward facing carry in my COMPLETE carriers, it's nice to not pay for a feature that I am not using!

What is new about the Essentials, is that it offers Personal Fit Adjusters, or PFAs, that allow you to play with the straps even more! I could shorten them to get a good high back carry while apple picking last week! I love the super large pocket that allows me to carry around my phone and my keys, plus it's lumbar compatible so I can use any of the lumbar supports I already own, or I can purchase a separate one just for it!

I've used a few types of carriers, ranging from full mei tais, to structured carriers from other companies, but since I've been a devout Lille-er for a while, I reached out to my friend Palestina, who owns Instinctive Parent (find her Facebook page here!).  She has an aamzing "shop" but instead of being a store front, she brings her various carriers to you, let's you try them all on and helps you find the perfect fit in all of them. While I've used a Tula before, I've never had the chance to try out the harder to find carriers, like Lenny Lamb and Kinderpack. Palestina brought them all to me so I could do a through comparison of all of them. I made this chart for those who really want to see the differences in the carriers.

** My son loves his arms out! Even if the panel is high, he wants them out-- I promise he was comfy! ;)

My little guy is 17 months old, 32 inches tall and about 23 lbs.  You can see how he fits in each of the carriers. I have never been able to wrap. I can say it, I am constantly petrified that my little guy is going to fall out, crazy, I know.  I prefer something with structure because of that.  I like the buckles and the thicker fabrics-- I feel more secure but it's a personal preference.

Out of all of the carriers, the COMPLETE is my absolute favorite.  It has so many wonderful amazing features and is literally the one carrier you buy for your newborn to 5 year old.

The Tula offers the structure I like but without the extra hip carrying position and no pocket, I'd prefer to spend less money on the Essentials.  The Essentials offers more at a lower price.

I will say that the Lenny Lamb wrap conversion was super super soft and floppy, but because I prefer the structure and support in "stiffer" fabrics I had a hard time getting comfortable with the Lenny Lamb. I didn't like how it felt "loose".

The Kinderpack was a comfortable carrier but because of it's sizing, I would have to purchase two of them to work from 7 lbs to when he outgrows it. It felt the closest to the COMPLETE but lacked many things I loved about the complete: no lumbar support, only 2 carrying positions, and the hood stowed in the top of the panel made it bulier than I liked.

The COMPLETE is by far the best carrier out there. Lillebaby created an amazing product that works for parents from birth until they outgrow it, and my daughter, who is 4 ( 35 lbs and 41 inches) still fits!

The Essentials is a perfect compliment to the COMPLETE.  Maybe you want a second carrier but don't need to be able to forward face? Maybe you love the company and customer service behind Lillebaby but a $169 Embossed just is out of your range. It offers so much with such a small price tag.  While it offers less than the COMPLETE, it still offers so much more than other carriers!

I'm so excited we got a chance to try it out and would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Some other mamas had the chance to test it out so be sure to say hi and see what they think!

September 29, 2015

Make #EffortlessMeals Tonight with Walmart!

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessMeals #CollectiveBias

Oh man, you'd think after a month of being "back to school", I'd get the hang of it again, but it's so hard. I feel like I'm always running around. Running from school to home, running out to the store get get whatever we've run out off, running back into the house to get dinner and bedtime done each night. I sometimes worry that I'm not being "enough" of a mom, because I'm so bogged down with errands and schoolwork, there are nights that I barely have time to make dinner, or I'm so exhausted from the day that I do't want to spend the time making a healthy dinner. 

Just last week, I was super stressed over the National Honor Society Induction at my school. As an adviser, I was busy. Every single night I was running out to the store to grab one more thing we didn't realize we needed. On Wednesday, I had to run in to Walmart and grab spoons for the cake we had ordered and figured I would just grab some fast food on the way home. I hate the drive thru but sometimes it's just too easy to say no to!

As I ran into Walmart, I was immediately drawn to the smell of rotisserie chicken and warm pizza. It's amazing how good it smells, especially after a 9 hour work day and another 2 hours of errands. When I saw the sign advertising their amazing price, I decided to forgo the drive thru and grab a rotisserie to make an easy, healthier, dinner.  The pizza also smelled delicious so instead of grabbing a Hot and Fresh pizza, I grabbed one from by the deli to have on Thursday night, since I knew Thursday would be hectic also!

Walmart offers an Effortless Meals option of pizza with a 2 liter of soda and while we're not huge soda drinkers, Emma loves having a special "Red Soda" on occasion. What's Special "Red Soda"? A Shirley Temple!

So we headed down the soda aisle and grabbed Sprite and some maraschino cherries. We went back towards the deli and grabbed the pizza, a fully cooked rotisserie chicken, and a 2 lb tub of coleslaw to go with!

The bright red Effortless Meals signs made it really easy to find the components for dinner! So easy!

Our favorite effortless meal with a rotisserie chicken is just some chicken with some veggies and a side of potatoes or pasta salad, but that night I really wanted something barbeque, so I decided to make our BBQ Chicken Quesadillas that the kids love! They are so easy! A side of coleslaw made it a perfect, effortless meal.

Effortless BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Need: 1 Rotisserie chicken
BBQ sauce
Cheddar cheese
Tortillas (I like wheat!)

1. Remove chicken from the rotisserie and shred with fingers.
2. Place a spoonful of BBQ sauce on the tortilla and spread on one half. 
3. Add 1/2 cup of shredded chicken on top of the bbq sauce.
4. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the chicken and fold in half.
5. Cook in oven at 350* for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges start to brown.

You can play with the ratios of your quesadillas! I don't like much cheese but you can add more! want more chicken, add it! I like to dip my BBQ Chicken Quesadillas into Ranch dressing but it's up to you!

It might seem strange, but I also love dipping pizza into ranch dressing!
On Thursday, I made Walmart's super easy, super delicious cheese pizza for dinner.  I paired it with some raw veggies and a cup of ranch dressing, of course, and the kids loved it!

I don't cut my pizza the normal way either... we make pizza dippers! So much easier for the kids to hold!

Two, simple, effortless, delicious dinners that were easy to make with only 1 trip to the store! With our busy back to school schedules, I know I'll be making both meals more often!
There are so many more ideas on their website, which do think you'll try first?

September 24, 2015

Go! Go! Smart Animals Grow and Learn Farm Review and Giveaway

Disclaimer: these toys were provided for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

There are very few companies where I love every single product that they put out, but VTech has accomplished that feat.  I was lucky enough to see some of the really cool toys coming out for the holiday season at Blogger Bash, and I am thrilled!  With two kids, three years apart of opposite genders, it is so easy to get caught up in all the different toys. VTech makes my life so much easier by creating toys that spread across the age gap and are enjoyable for both my son and my daughter! Rather than buying them each a toy that only they like, I can get away with buying them each a toy that they like, but that the other likes too! It's like a two for one!

Last year, we had the chance to play with the new Go! Go! Smart Animals right when they came out and we've quickly accumulated a lot more!

We were thrilled when VTech asked us if we wanted to check out the new Go! Go! Smart Animals Grow & Learn Farm.

We love it and it fits seamlessly in with our other pieces! 
The Go! Go! Smart sets can be connected together for hours of play and I love that both kids want to play with it! Designed for 1-5 year olds means that one toy can, and will, keep both kids happy!

The Go! Go! Smart Animal Grown and Learn Farm has 7 Smart Points and the rooster plays music, sings songs, and says phrases, while the colorful barn introduces the 1 year old to colors and shapes, while it helps the 4 year old with her alphabet! While Tyler loves pushing the (included) rooster in the swing, the cutest part of the set is the growing garden!

It's Emmalee's favorite part. She "waters" the plants by pushing the watering can and they slowly grow!  We've already been looking at other pieces we can add to the set this holiday season, including the stable and the wagon.  I just know that on Christmas morning, there will be VTech Go! Go! Smart Animals and play sets everywhere!

VTech Toys wants to give you a jump start on your holiday shopping with a chance to win a set yourself! Enter below. Only open to US residents.

Afterwards, be sure to check out the other great toys that VTech has on their site, like the Spinning Lights Learning Hippo, Ultimate Alphabet Train, Write and Learn Creative Center, or the Spin and Learn Ball Tower!


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