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iDrive You Crazy

Prank gift box - idriveWith Christmas nearly upon us, it’s time to finish the holiday shopping! If you’re anything like me, you have no idea what to get for that special someone in your life. With smart phones, e-readers, and tablets more popular than ever, a techy-type gift would be great, but where to start?

Well, how about something to take that iPad or Kindle to the next level?

We all know the dangers of texting and driving. Hold the device up above the steering wheel and you obstruct your view of the road. Hold it in your lap and you risk spilling your coffee on it. Who wants that? If only there were a way to make texting/browsing/emailing while driving more comfortable and convenient!

Enter the iDrive! I found it at locally but it’s available from Amazon too! This steering-wheel-mounted device can hold your tablet right at hands’ level! Your eyes will barely have to leave the road while you finish that novel or play Sudoku.

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Even better, the iDrive can be mounted on a motorcycle, bike, or even a jet-ski!

Prank gift box - idrive 4 Prank gift box - idrive 3

Before you have a heart attack or throw your computer/mobile device across the room in fury (or veer off the road if you’re using an iDrive): I’m sort-of kidding.

I really did buy this, but it’s just an empty gift box meant to fool your loved ones. I’m planning on giving it to my husband. I’m not sure what I’ll put inside, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be far less likely to result in a vehicular manslaughter charge than a real iDrive would.

I can’t wait until Christmas morning, when I can witness the look of horror on my husband’s face. Ah, ’tis the season!

Not interested in an iDrive? Perhaps a NapSack would be the perfect gift for that special loved one or work colleague? Or a Family Blankeez for your sister-in-law or your child’s teacher. Maybe you know a new or expecting mom who could really use a Crib Dribbler Feeding System – it would certainly make a memorable shower gift! For the carnivores on your holiday list – how about bacon scented dryer sheets? Let’s be honest, there’s nothing like warm, bacon-scented clothes right out of the dryer on a cold winter morning! And there are plenty of other prank boxes to choose from – truly something for everyone on your list. 

Prank gift box - NapSack Prank gift box - family blankeez Prank gift box - Crib Dribbler Prank gift box - bacon dryer sheets Prank Bath and Brew  Prank Pet Sweep

CarseatBlog’s Holiday Gift Guide: Jennie’s Picks

‘Tis the season, and some of you might be racking your brains trying to figure out what to get those special someones in your lives. CarseatBlog is here to help with our list of fun and/or useful gifts for everyone on your list.

For the grown-ups:

Res-Q-Me

Res-Q-Me Keychain Escape Tool

This handy tool takes up little room on your keychain, but in an emergency it can cut through a seatbelt or break a window. Chances are you and your loved ones will never need it, but the few bucks is worth the peace of mind, in my opinion. Makes a perfect stocking stuffer for the driver in your life!

 

Windshield Cover

Windshield Covers for the Snow

This is the first year we’ll need to park a car in the snow. I’m not looking forward to spending precious minutes (in the freezing cold) scraping off snow and ice. Enter the windshield covers that supposedly let you lift them off and go. I forget exactly which model I got, but there are lots to choose from on Amazon. Hopefully they work!

 

Crio Bru

Crio Brü 

Know someone who loves coffee but wants to try something different? Or someone who hates coffee but enjoys warm beverages? Try Crio Brü, my new favorite drink. You brew it like coffee (in a french press is best), but it’s not coffee: it’s roasted, ground cacao beans. It’s unsweetened so it’s bitter, but much less so than coffee, and has a wonderful chocolatey flavor. You can add cream and sugar or other flavorings to sweeten it to your liking. I prefer it black or with an occasional dollop of whipped cream on top. There are lots of varieties to choose from, each imparting different undertones based on where the beans come from. They also have different flavor blends, like the Pumpkin Spice and Mint I just ordered. These would make perfect gifts for friends and neighbors for the holidays, or great host/hostess gifts any time of year.

 

Veeptopus

Veeptopus Strange Artwork

Have a history buff, octopus fan, or lover of surrealist art on your list? Veeptopus might be your answer. This guy has found a way to combine cephalopods with the Executive Branch by painting every American Vice President with an octopus on his head. He also has new lines featuring William Howard Taft cavorting with badgers, and some badgers wielding axes and Santa hats. Some might ask, “Why?” Others might ask, “Why not?” (I’m a “Why not,” and if anyone wants to buy me a gift, I’ll take the one with Taft wearing a badger mask atop the badger wearing the Taft mask. Classic stuff.)

 

For the kids:

Placing Blame

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 1.41.56 PMMy somewhat extreme fear of death is one of the main reasons I got involved in child passenger safety many years ago. Perhaps your reasoning is similar. It’s impossible to discuss why we do this without expressing a desire to prevent injury and, of course, death. 

I spend a lot of time discussing car seats on social media (Facebook and message boards like car-seat.org), and quite often, someone will post a story about a child who was critically hurt or killed in a car crash. That leads to the inevitable discussion about how the child was restrained. Sometimes we know the answer and sometimes we speculate, but the sense I get from these posts is that people are always quietly shaking their heads and thinking the parents could have or should have done better. 

Sometimes that’s true. There are cases of gross neglect, where a drunk parent drives around with a completely unrestrained kid, and bad things happen. Other times, a caring parent makes the same inadvertent mistakes we technicians see every day: a seat was installed too loosely, perhaps, or the harness wasn’t buckled properly. Maybe a parent turned a child forward-facing “too soon” (which I put in quotes since the legal requirements are different than the suggested requirements, and it’s hard to fault a parent for doing something within their rights).

Given the rate of misuse—which varies from 75% to 90% depending on what stats you look at—it is likely that almost every child involved in a crash could have been restrained better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the misuse caused the injuries. It’s also sometimes impossible to determine misuse after the fact. In a severe (or even moderate) crash, seatbelts and LATCH straps can stretch and seats can shift. Although possibly somewhat irrational, one of my worst fears is getting in a crash with my kids, and an uneducated officer making a statement about how my children were improperly restrained simply because they see something they’ve never seen before. A rear-tethered Britax? A Coccoro with European belt routing? A rear-facing 3-year-old? Those could easily be seen as misuse by someone unfamiliar with certain seats or best practice.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 1.42.14 PMI find threads about serious crashes interesting but largely uncomfortable due to the implied (and sometimes overt) contempt that is shown for many of the parents involved. Yes, perhaps the child would still be alive or uninjured if things had been done differently, but acting sanctimonious about how much better “we” do things doesn’t win anyone over. We wind up being Monday-morning quarterbacks to someone else’s tragedy, and that feels wrong.

At the same time, I understand why it happens. We’re all terrified of losing our kids, and as long as we do things differently, our kids will be ok. Except that there are no guarantees. Yes, properly restraining a child reduces the likelihood of injury or death, but nothing can eliminate it. It’s hard facing the reality that there are some things we just can’t control, which leads us to grasp so tightly to the things we can.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss tragic collisions. It helps us learn, it helps us educate, and sometimes it helps us cope. But we need to make sure we don’t jump to conclusions or place unnecessary blame. When we discuss crashes, we should think and speak with compassion, not contempt. Saying “I told you so” won’t bring back a child and won’t save our own.

CarseatBlog Chopped: Putting Faud to the Test

Darren has posted about his family’s faud recipe a few times now (you can read about it here and here). If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched those videos and thought, “Ehhh…” I mean, there’s noting like thick, pale, gluey gruel to get the mouth watering, right?

Well, last December I went over to Darren’s to try this elusive faud for myself. I’ll admit I was apprehensive, but as long as a dish doesn’t contain fish eyes, mushrooms, or anything still living, I’m generally game.

Here’s what happened when I tried it:

In case anyone’s wondering, those cookies were absolutely delicious! Not overly sweet, so you could eat a bunch without feeling too guilty. At least that’s what I told myself.