Tula Toddler Carrier

My girl is getting heavy! So, I knew when we were planning our summer trip to London, my beloved Infantino carrier wasn’t going to cut it on those long sightseeing days. Enter, the Tula.

The Tula is the Mercedes of baby carriers. It’s high end, stylish and oh so comfortable for both parents and baby.

I decided to go for the Tula Toddler carrier, opposed to the Tula baby carrier because its a little bigger and has room to grow with your child.

My daughter is 17 months old and is barely at the minimum weight/height requirement for the carrier so it was a little baggy on her but still very usable.

The thing I liked the most about it was the comfort of carrying her. The shoulder and hip straps are thick and heavily padded but very supportive. I could easily carry her for 1-2 hours before I would feel like I needed a break. My back and shoulders never hurt the entire week we were traveling.

The carrier was also comfortable for my daughter. Within 10 minutes of being in it, she would fall asleep — out cold for a sold, refreshing nap. The carrier reminds me of a comfy little hammock that she was nice and snug inside.

We also like the back carry option. When she was awake, we would carry her on our back so she could get a good view of everywhere we were walking. The fabric of the carrier went all the way up her back so I never worried about her wiggling out of it.

Lastly, I love love love the stylish and fun prints that Tula offers! My carrier is the  I felt like I was wearing a cute shirt rather than a plain old baby carrier. I received a ton of compliments/inquiries about my carrier.

The only “negative” I have about the carrier is that it’s pretty bulky compared to my other one. We were able to throw it in the bottom of the stroller most of the time but it was a pain to try and roll/fold it up and shove into my bag when we we needed to condense our stuff. The carrier is made of a thick fabric which is great for baby support but I did feel a little hot and sweaty after wearing it for a while.

Overall, I am so glad we brought this carrier on our trip and I’m glad my girl enjoys riding around in it!

Review: Project Nursery Video Monitor

I’ve been using an audio baby monitor since our girl was born.  At the time we lived in a one story house and she was always just a few feet from me so I didn’t think a video monitor was necessary. I really only used the monitor when I was working in the basement and I wanted to hear her wake up from naps. 

When we moved into our new house a few months ago, I knew it was time to upgrade our monitor as well!

The project nursery video monitor fits our needs perfectly. It delivers a crisp, clear colored picture during the day and a clear black and white night vision picture overnight. I am very impressed with the cameras picture quality. We use the project nursery app on our phones and even through the wifi connection, it still delivers a very clear, real time video feed. 

Additional features include a talk back option from the app so we can check in and see what she’s up to and talk to her when we’re away from the house. You can also record the video feed from the app and take screenshots. The app also tells you the temperature of her room, which is surprisingly helpful when I’m trying to decide what PJs to put her in! 

The camera has a generous tilt and rotation ability so you can maneuver the  camera from the app to see your baby from anywhere in the room. It also lets you zoom in for a closer look at what your munchkin is up to! There are predrilled holes in the base of the camera so you can easily mount it to your ceiling or wall if you wanted. Ours just sits on her nightstand. 

The camera plugs into the wall and stays on all the time. It was easy to turn on and we installed the app in minutes. We do not have a monitor, we only use the app on our phones so I can’t speak for the battery life or feed quality of a monitor. I like the fact that Project Nursery gives you the option to purchase just the camera for about $100 or the camera with a monitor for under $200 at most retailers. 

We are very impressed at the response from the app. If you have good wifi or strong data connection, you should get a great feed from the app. 

We only have a few cons regarding the app. The first is that it drains battery life from your phone so you’ll want to make sure your fully charged or plug your phone in while in use. The second is that it makes your phone very hot after running for more than 20 minutes. You can tell your phone is using a lot of energy to produce the feed. Lastly, if you click off the app to check an email or Facebook or a text message, you’re going to lose the feed and will have to reconnect to the app. 

Overall, we are very happy with the quality and price of the camera, as well as the speed and features of the app. 

For us, it works perfectly for occasional check ins when we’re out of the house or if she wakes up in the middle of the night and we want to see what she’s doing before we go into her room. 

Review: Infantino Flip Advanced 4 in 1 carrier

The Infantino Flip Advanced 4 in 1 carrier is a best seller for good reason! Let me tell you how much I love mine! This is hands down the best gift I received from my baby shower and one of the most used pieces of baby gear that we own! 

I initially registered for this carrier because of the price, it’s a great value (under $30) at most retailers. It had high reviews and I liked the functionality of having 4 different ways to carry my baby. 

I was not sure if our girl was going to like being in a carrier and I figured if she liked the carrier, we could always invest in a “better” one (but we never needed to). 

2016-10-01 11.56.51-1
Me and my little bean (6 months old) apple picking with our trusty Infantino carrier

So here’s a breakdown of why we love it so much. 

  1. Easy. It’s quick and simple to put on by yourself. A few snaps and you’re ready to roll down the isles of Target. 
  2. Multifunctional. You have 4 ways to carry your baby beginning from newborn (8 lbs) to toddler (32 lbs). Front facing outward is what our girl liked best. 
  3. Lightweight. We used this during the summer months at zoos, amusement parks, baseball games, etc. It’s lightweight and uses minimal fabric so it kept me and baby cooler than other, thicker carriers. 
  4. Durable. I machine washed this thing at least 100 times and it still looks brand new. 
  5. Comfortable. The carrier does a good job of distributing my baby’s weight evenly. I could walk a good distance with her (a trip around the zoo or the mall) and wouldn’t feel any pressure or pain in my shoulders or back. I’m 5’8 my husband is 6’3. We could both adjust the straps and wear the carrier with room to spare. 

This is an overall great carrier. It’s ideal for budget conscious moms or moms who aren’t sure if baby wearing will work for them and their little one. For the price, it’s definitely worth trying out! 

Braun Forehead Thermometer

A reliable thermometer is a must for any parent and we’ve found the best one so far!

I did a lot of research on what type of thermometer to get for our baby and the most consistent thing I heard was that the rectal digital thermometers were best. So that’s what I registered for and that’s what I used when our girl got her first cold around 4 months old. Seemed accurate, she cooperated, all was well.

Fast forward a few months and our mild-mannered newborn is now a squirmy, independent, won’t hold still for 5 seconds infant. A rectal thermometer wasn’t going to cut it. So I schlepped to Target and picked up the Braun Forehead Thermometer. Braun thermometer I wasn’t thrilled with the nearly $40 price tag but was hoping it was worth the money! And it was! As soon as you take it out of the packaging it’s ready to go.

It’s simple, fool-proof and gives you the most accurate reading in seconds. Just a quick tap on your baby’s forehead and it gives you the temp.

I also like the light up features that it has. It will light up “green” if your child has a normal temperature, “yellow” if they have a slight temperature and “red” if they’re running a fever.

You have to tap slightly above the eyebrows and in the middle of the forehead. If you go too high you’ll get an error. If your skin is wet or sweaty, you’ll also get an error. It gives you a quick beep when it’s done taking the temperature. I like these features because I feel like it helps you get the most accurate reading.

When you’re done, simply press the power button off and put the cap on the lens. It runs on two double A batteries.

Bissell SmartClean® Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum Review

Robot vacuums, there are many in the marketplace and they used to be an expensive luxury. Bissell saw that as an opportunity and released the very affordable $299 SmartClean. Does the SmartClean make a strong push for you to automate your cleaning, lets find out.

 

HOW DOES IT LOOK?:
Stylish and high-tech are two thoughts that come to mind with the SmartClean. Good used of colors in black, grey and blue that really accent the round shape. The top is donned with an LCD display with a range of buttons for setting up and changing the settings. Underneath is a small 5-inch gap for dust to be vacuumed up plus the main brush and the spinners.

At about 13-inches in diameter and just 3.5 inches tall, it will make its way under some furniture, which is a plus over some of the other models we have tried. The kit comes with a docking station, charger, invisible wall detector, one filter and a set of spare brushes.

HOW DOES IT WORK?:
Bissell has many years in the suction business and they used that knowledge to make a small pizza sized disc that glides around your floors cleaning up after you. Running on a lithium ion battery the SmartClean gives you over an hour of cleaning on multiple surfaces, using a mix of brushes and pretty powerful suction for the price. It also offers advanced features like auto docking for recharge and hazard avoidance.

The Bissell is very fast. It can avoid obstacles at those high speeds and maneuver fairly quickly. The biggest issue we had with the SmartClean is that it is not very efficient in its movements. The SmartClean has the ability to change its motion path from “Z” shaped, spiral and around the edges but it doesn’t do it intelligently.

This creates lots of missed paths of carpet and floor and for the lack of a better term, it ping pongs around which wastes time and battery. Unlike other robot vacuums (granted at a higher price range), the SmartClean doesn’t seem to map out the room by going around the edges, something that would make it more efficient.

Secondly, the user interface is clunky. Granted it is hard to include all of the options on the top with few buttons and without an app, but if you don’t hit the button at the right pace it will either not register your presses or the SmartClean will take off before you finish what you were trying to do. It also doesn’t do well with steps. It does have a drop detection while moving forward but backwards is not safe. Use the battery operated barrier to keep the SmartClean away from stairs.

It is smart enough to return to the docking station when it needs some juice and charges pretty quickly before getting back out there. You can use the dock to schedule cleanings which might be the best move for the SmartClean.

Cleaning wise it does a decent job. Lots of suction but a small 5 inch gap for everything to go into is kinda small. The spinners have to do a lot of work pulling everything into the mouth. This actually is a good thing for edges and harder to reach places, which there are many based on the circular shape. Lots of pet hair will get caught up in the small mouth so keep track of that to make sure the SmartClean is it tip top shape. The dirt bin is small and fills up quick.

Adding some features to make the issues above go away will drive the price up and it seems that Bissell has been successful at this price point. With the Bissell name and a very approachable entry-level price, the SmartClean is a good start for people interested in having a robot clean the house. It will not totally replace a good ole human run vacuum but it will provide a clean house so you use that stand up vac less.

*Originally posted on http://www.gameandgadgetgrader.com*

Monbaby Smart Baby Monitor

We got the Monbaby as a way to monitor our newborn and give us a piece of mind while we were sleeping.

 

We liked the fact that it connects to her sleeper or onsie so we don’t have to keep taking it on and off with every diaper change. It’s light weight and doesn’t seem to bother her when she’s wearing it. 
The app was easy to install and worked on my iPhone and my husband’s android. It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles but it provides breathing movement and lets you know if she’s sleeping on her back or if she has rolled over. Those were the most important things we were looking for. It also gives “activity percentage” which shows an increase if she was starting to get fussy or move around a lot. 
The biggest issue that we had was that it doesn’t have a long range and will disconnect if you move to a different room. It’s great if your baby is sleeping in a bassinet right next to your bed. We were also hoping to use it when we transition our daughter to her crib in her own room but it disconnects as soon as you walk a few feet away from your baby.
The app would also disconnect anytime we opened another app on our phones. When the app disconnects it has to recalibrate and it seems like it took a long time for it to reset itself. 
We also wish there was an easier way to turn it off when it’s not in use. Since there is no “off” button, you have to take out the battery to preserve the battery life. 
I would also set off the false alarm when I was breastfeeding/ burping our baby so I wish there was a way I could temporarily pause it when she was awake. 
Overall, it’s a good product if you want an extra little piece of mind at night with your newborn. 
*Content originally posted on http://www.thegameandgadgetgrader.com