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Kids Archive

The Not So Angry Vitamin

Natrol offered CarSeatBlog a chance to review some vitamins, and given my kiddo is usually down to try just about anything, I took them up on the offer.

A few weeks later a package with two bottles arrived in the mail. Liam was jumping up and down because of course he loves playing Angry Birds on the iPad and these vitamins just so happen to be Angry Birds themed.

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I got two different bottles, one containing vitamin gummies and the other containing vitamin chews.
The gummies came in a red bottle with 60 gummies per bottle. It retails for about $5.99 at Amazon.com. Kids are to chew 2 gummies a day, which of course Liam had no problem with. They taste great (yes, I had to try them too!) and don’t stick to teeth as much as your run of the mill gummy treat so I like that aspect since anything gummy related usually makes me cringe. I typically avoid gummy vitamins altogether but these really weren’t bad as far as stickiness goes! They don’t contain as many minerals as the chews do, but have higher amounts of the ones they do contain. They are sweetened and colored with fruit juice extracts. They do contain tree nuts (from fractionated coconut oil) but are free of egg, fish, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, soy, yeast, and artificial colors or flavors.

The chews came in a big blue bottle with a count of 180. They retail for about $6.95 at Amazon.com. These are the more classic chewable vitamin, with a light berry flavor. They have more of the typical vitamin taste- I believe it’s probably the iron, which the gummies do not contain. Liam ate them no problem, and I didn’t find them offensive in the least. The instructions are to chew 3 tablets daily, which is quite a bit considering they are on the larger side in the first place. Plus 180 seems like a lot but you have to remember you’re taking 3 a day. However, it’s still about 60 days worth of vitamins for just over $20 so that’s still pretty darn good for a quality multivitamin! The chews contain additional B1, B2, B3, K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum, all of which the gummies do not contain. They also contain beet root powder, artichoke extract, bilberry extract, carrot powder, and cranberry extract. They are free of milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, yeast, and any artificial colors or flavors. They do contain wheat, but are a good choice for those with peanut or tree nut allergies!

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All in all, we liked them. I do wish they contained more whole food additives since we try to avoid most synthetic vitamins but they were much better than typical mainstream vitamins you pick up at the drugstore. I also wish the B12 was methylcobalamin instead of synthetic cyanocobalamin, but to be fair, it is very difficult to find methylcobalamin in most supplements. They tasted great, are fun for the kids (who doesn’t like an Angry Bird?), won’t empty your wallet, and are easy to obtain. Plus they came with a fun little bird prize that unfortunately had to go live on top of the refrigerator so our vacuum, I mean baby, doesn’t suck it into his esophagus.

Thank you to Natrol for the sample bottles and the chance to review the vitamins! This review and all opinions are entirely my own and myself or CarSeatBlog were not provided any monetary compensation from Natrol.

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Where do they grow these giant kids?

Boost_Til_8We’ve all seen it before. I’m talking about the information in pamphlets and flyers regarding kids and booster seats. Most read like this: Kids should remain in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4’9″ tall.

Excuse me? I don’t know where this age 8 came from but where I live we don’t see too many kids who are almost 5 feet tall at 8 years or younger. I’m sure they’re out there but seriously, most 2nd and 3rd Graders are NOT the size of small adults. So what gives?

Honestly, I have no idea why it’s so common to see age 8 listed as the “magic number” when kids can graduate to the adult seatbelt. Yes, I realize that it often says “at least 8″ but trust me when I say that it’s not the “at least” part that most parents remember. Most don’t even remember the 4’9″ part of the message. So where does that magic #8 come from? They sure aren’t referencing the CDC growth charts!

Maybe it’s a social change thing. We’re still getting a lot of parents used to the idea that their 6 and 7-year-olds need a booster. Perhaps we’re worried that we’ll turn them off completely and they’ll think we’re all nuts if we tell them the truth. And age 8 seems like a reasonable number for most parents to ditch the booster seat, right?

8 year old still needs a booster!

Wrong.

Most 8-year-old kids do not fit safely in the adult seatbelt of most vehicles. Sure, there are always exceptions, like some 3rd row seats which are clearly designed with smaller people in mind. But generally speaking, most kids do not actually pass the 5-Step Test until they are at least 57″ (4’9″ tall). For many kids even 57″ tall isn’t tall enough to get optimal belt fit.

Now, let’s have a look at those handy-dandy CDC growth charts. An 8-year-old boy who measures in the 95th percentile for both weight and height is 35kg (77 lbs) and 54″ tall.  And an 8-year-old boy who measures in the 50th percentile for weight and height is 25kg (55 lbs) and 50″ tall. According to the growth charts – a boy who measures in the 95th percentile for height won’t hit 4’9″ (57″) until he is 9 years old. That kid in the 50th percentile won’t get there until he’s 11. And a kid in the 10th percentile for height will be 13 before they reach 4’9″.

So I’d like to know where they grow these huge 8-year-olds that everyone seems to be referencing? We know that we’re failing epically at keeping kids in boosters until they are really big enough to fit properly in the adult seatbelt but maybe our “helpful” literature and awareness campaigns are partially to blame? I think it’s time to ditch all references to 8-year-olds and move to something more realistic like 10-12.

Ho-Ho-Homade Ornaments

salt dough 2Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving was so late, or maybe it’s because this is our first holiday season in a cold environment, but we cannot wait for Christmas this year! I’ve been itching to do some crafts, and I figured the day after Thanksgiving was the perfect time since there was no way you’d find me heading to the mall.

Now, I consider myself a fairly crafty person. I love doing crafts, but I’ll admit I don’t love doing them with my kids. I have a low tolerance for glue and paint in all the wrong places. But I also know it’s good for them to get creative and for me to step out of my comfort zone, so this Black Friday, it was all about family crafting.

snowmanFirst up were the Melted Snowmen ornaments. I forget where I first saw these, but I filed it away in my mind a long time ago. You fill plastic (or glass, if you’re brave) ornaments with salt, add some peppercorn “coal,” and carrots and sticks made of polymer clay. Sculpting the clay parts was the most time-consuming step, but even that went pretty fast. A few minutes to bake and cool, then everything got added to the globes. (Hint: Use a funnel for the salt!) The whole project took less than an hour.

Next: salt dough ornaments. I turned to the interwebs for a good recipe, but everything I found was different, and people reported different levels of success. I lucked out on my choice, though. The dough worked beautifully, and the end result feel more like bisque or stone than baked dough. Here’s the recipe I used:

salt dough2 cups flour

1 cup salt

3/4 cup warm water (plus more if it’s too dry–I needed just a bit more)

Mix together with a spoon then knead until smooth.

I rolled mine out to 3/8″ then we used various cookie cutters to make our designs. Remember to add holes for hanging!

Bake at 200 degrees for two hours. (I put mine on parchment paper, but the bottoms wound up still damp so I had to put them back in without. Next time I’ll skip the parchment.)

The colored ones were stamped with regular stamp-pad ink before they were baked. We planned on painting the other ones, but I think we might leave some blank because the stone-look is so cool.

(In case you’re wondering, I ordered the Minecraft and Starbucks cookie cutters from a seller on Etsy.)

The day wasn’t without mishaps. My 2-year-old spilled a whole bottle of peppercorns on the floor (those things can roll!) and I wound up vacuuming four times. But we had so much fun, I just might declare every Black Friday “Ornament Day.”

What are your favorite ornaments or holiday crafts to make with kids?

 

Unofficial Product Review: Pink Rubber Frog From the Floor of Home Depot.

Product: See title.
Manufacturer: I don’t know but it might as well have been Jesus himself.
Uses: Everything.

Liam found this gem on the floor of Home Depot when I was picking up some mulch. It is a very very soft rubbery pink frog about the size of a quarter that was laying in a puddle of filthy water, just waiting for some grubby small hands to snatch it up while an adult voice echoes in the background, “Noooooo! Get out of that water!!!!”.

At first glance it seems to be another piece of crap that will end up on the floor of your car, in that awkward space between the counter and the fridge, or clogging up your vacuum. But no my friends. Don’t judge. This small frog will make your day about as smooth as it can be with a spirited, stubborn, and determined toddler. This frog can be rolled between fingers, causing your child to actually SIT IN A CHAIR while eating breakfast. It can be used as a bribe to get on the potty and pee before leaving the house. When dangled along the driveway, it can be used to lure the child in a *gasp* timely fashion to the car. While in the car, the sunlight shining in from the window makes sparkly reflections off it’s pearlescent back and onto the vehicle seat, distracting the child from kicking on the 5 minute drive to Target. While in Target, the frog fits perfectly in the fingers of the child, and hops from pack of toilet paper to pack of toilet paper, then along the wall, all throughout the store. Being so small and rubbery, it’s limbs can get caught on the metal shelving, causing a leg to rip off. Instead of tears, this causes a whole new interest of trying to do toddler “surgery” to get it back on, all while riding quietly in the cart. Once back in the car, now the body and the severed limb make not one but TWO shiny spots!! At home, it can be placed on the very top of a dresser, and used to bribe the child into a nap with the promise of burying it in the sand at the park later. It also works as a bribe to take a bath, get jammies on, and get in bed because it has magically developed the ability to speak (but isn’t it weird that mama’s lips are moving too?). This frog trumps every $50 toy your child will ever own.

Folks, this is a quarter sized pink rubber bribe. For free. Aside from the potential biohazard of the puddle it was originally found in, and the fact that it’s conveniently the size of a child’s windpipe….but hey, we all have to take risks for our sanity, right?

Next time you’re at Home Depot, check all the puddles that look like sewage. And if you’re not quite ready to commit but may be interested in just a pink rubber frog leg, it’s somewhere in the sandbox in Mint Hill, NC.

This frog will change your life. Or day.

This frog will change your life. Or day.