Friday, July 30, 2010

Product Review: Little Grips {Giveaway}


Item: Toddler Spoon and Toddler Fork
Company: Little Grips
Website: 
http://www.littlegrips.com/
Contact: 
Contact Little Grips

Now this is cool. Any of you with children who have learned or are currently learning to use a spoon to self-feed know how messy it can be. There is a definite learning curve with figuring out how to get food in the mouth rather than on the shirt, behind them, on the highchair tray, on the floor, or in their laps. Just a part of life? Ah. Doesn't have to be anymore! Here is a bit about how this got started from the website:
As the father of two children, I never paid that much attention to feeding skills until our daughter began to feed or try to feed herself. I became aware of the struggles she was facing with the fork and spoons available. No matter how hard she tried to maneuver the utensils she kept dropping the food and after no time at all she resorted to using her hands instead.
None of the existing utensils solved the problem, so out to my workbench I went and made my first prototype of Little Grips. I gave it to my daughter and without any prompting from me she immediately picked it up and began eating like a pro. We tried many different types of foods to see if the results would be the same, she could actually eat on her own without the mess and frustration.
We even tried to test her preference by putting a standard toddler fork on the highchair and she wanted nothing to do with it. Little Grips was the only fork she would use. We began to show our family and friends to see what they thought and the consensus was always unanimous, this is such a simple idea but yet so effective and helpful.
We began asking ourselves “are we the only parents who have faced this obstacle?” After a lot of prayer we decided we wanted to bring this product to the retail market; that is how Idea Blvd Inc. was created.
It doesn’t stop there, since then we have several other products in development that we look forward to introducing in the future. Not just baby products but inventions that will solve some of the most basic annoyances we face on a daily basis. Keep watching us and hopefully our products will add ease to your everyday life.
Pretty neat, huh? So why use this product? Again from the website:

  • An ambidextrous product – no right or wrong way to hold
  • Comfortable non–slip grip that fits easily and naturally in your toddler’s palm
  • No–choke safety design with rounded edges
  • Poke or scoop up food easily
  • Reduced clean up – more food in mouth than on floor, bib, high chair
  • Children eat independently creating confidence and self esteem
  • Made from durable, high quality plastic and stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Only $10.95! plus shipping and handling
  • 30 day 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back
Okay, now for our experience. Little Grips contacted me at the perfect time. McKenna was at the age when I knew it was time for me to hand over some control and accept the mess that would follow. We have had this set for about a month and a half. I kid you not, the very first time she used this, she scooped some food and put it in her mouth with no problem. She did use two hands:


Now, I have to be a bit realistic here. We are talking about toddlers and food, so don't use this and think there will be zero mess. Not going to happen. Your toddler will still want to try out putting her hand in the food. She will still want to see what happens if she dumps the spoon. She will still get distracted and drop food all over herself. This is not going to take all of the mess away.

But it will reduce it.

And, it will make it so she can feed herself if that is her goal, which will cut down on the little frustration tantrums that can happen while learning with a spoon.

As she was using this, I thought, "That's nice...but what will happen when she needs to move to a regular spoon. She can't use little grips forever." On the website, they address this concern:

Q: If my child uses Little Grips won’t that make it harder for him to adjust to a “regular” utensil later on?
A: No. Just as your child will learn to do many, many things with their hands, Little Grips helps make it easier to learn how to eat using a utensil. As your child masters this skill using Little Grips it will be easy for them to transition into using other “regular” utensils.

I can't speak to that because McKenna is still young, but I will definitely let you know in the future :)

Now, for the giveaway! Little Grips is giving away a utensil set to one lucky winner! Ready to enter? Here we go:

For Your First Entry:
Become a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment. If you are already a follower (the thing where your cute face pops up with all the other cute faces of people following), comment telling me so.

Sample Entry
I am a follower!


For Your Second Entry:
"Like" Little Grips on Facebook. Once you have done so, come back and leave a comment saying you are a fan.

Sample Entry
I "like" Little Grips on Facebook!


For Your Third Entry:
Follow Little Grips on Twitter. Then comment saying you did so. Include your twitter ID (not mine)

Sample Entry
I am following the tweets!


For Your Fourth Entry:
Go to the Little Grips website and look around. Check out the Parent's Resources tab. Once you have done so, come back and tell me what article you find most helpful.

Sample Entry
I liked the Developing Toddler Motor Skills information.


For Your Fifth Entry:
Blog about the giveaway with a link to this post! You need to have a blog in order to blog about it. Once you have posted your blog, leave a comment with a link to the blog.

Sample Entry
Blogged it! valscreations.blogspot.com


For Your Sixth Entry:
Change your status on Facebook to talk about the giveaway with a link to this post. Leave a comment saying you did so.

Sample Entry
I changed my status!


For Your Seventh Entry:
Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter with a link to this post. Once you have done so, comment with your twitter ID (not mine).

Sample Entry
I tweeted! @valplowman

Entry Rules

  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good.
  • You don't have to do all seven entries...for example, if you just want to follow Little Grips on Twitter but don't want to enter through the other methods, you can just do entry three.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Up to seven entries per person.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will remove your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, August 13 Mountain Standard Time.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at random.org
  • The winner will be announced Saturday, August 14.
  • If you would like, you can add your email address to your entry. If you are the winner, I will email you to let you know. You do not need to add your email address in order to win. I understand not everyone wants to share their email addresses with the world. I will announce the winner on the blog, so you can check the blog Saturday to find out if you won.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen.
Good luck to everyone!

Last Weekend To Enter

Sunday night at 11:59 PM MST is your last chance to enter to win the baby food making kit! Go check it out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Emergency Kits for the Vehicle

Last week, we talked about 72 Hour Kits. This week, we will focus on something a lot less overwhelming: The emergency kit for the car. Now, you have to think it through and decide what an emergency kit in the car means to you. I will tell you what it means to me. I envision it as being used if our vehicle broke down while we were driving it. My purpose is not to sustain us through a natural disaster. That isn't a bad idea--some people will even keep their 72 Hour Kits in the car--but my purpose is to help our family stay safe if we broke down.

The first thing you need to do when compiling your list is think about the type of driving you do. Do you drive basically just around town? Do you take road trips? What are roads like where you drive? It is best to be prepared for the worst, or course, but I would guess most of us don't have a whole lot of extra space in our vehicle for storing lots of supplies. There are some basics that are a good idea no matter what your driving habits (like a flashlight or a first aid kit). Also, I think a great frame of mind is to keep things on hand not just so you can help yourselves, but so you can help others in need, also.

Standard First Aid Kit
Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit, Safe Travels (Pack of 2)Our first aid kit is not fancy. It is just your basic first aid kit. You can get a bit more fancy than we have. We once had a lot of money left to spend in our flex spending and decided to get some amazing first aid kits. But after consulting with our friends who range from nurse to paramedics, we decided it was unnecessary to spend over $100 dollars on a first aid kit. The one pictured here is $15. We just bought a new (er) vehchicle, and switched. Of course the first day we were driving it, I gave myself some very deep paper cuts and we hadn't moved over the first aid kit. You just never know when it will come in handy.


Blankets
Emergency Thermal Blankets (4 Pack)There are a variety of blankets you can get out there. Emergency blankets like the one shown here take up very little space and retain up to 90% of your body heat. These are blankets you want in your 72 hour kit. For me, I chose to go with extra blankets we had in the house. We have a large wool blanket plus a small blanket for each child in the vehicle.



Flashlight and Batteries
Mag-Lite ST3D016 3-D Cell LED Flashlight, BlackNo matter where you drive, a flashlight is a must. This is helpful in a variety of situations, including if you get a flat tire. Light is always a good idea. We really like Mag-Lites, but any flashlight will do. Don't forget the extra batteries. Flashlights and batteries can be kept in a center console or in the glove box.






Tools
Goodyear Emergency Roadside Car KitIt is a good idea to keep some tools in your car, even if no one in your family knows how to use them. You might get someone to stop and help you who knows how but doesn't have them. There are lots of ranges in price for these tool kits. Of course, the kits tend to contain very inexpensive, cheap tools. These are not nice tools you are buying. But they should do the job. The one pictured is almost $60, which is quite a lot, but it includes a first aid kit, reflectors, flashlight, seat belt knife, glass hammer, tow strap, booster cables, camera (good for accidents)...it is quite complete. There are also kits that contain only tools that are usually around 20-30 dollars. My husband is a mechanical engineer as well as a mechanic, and he says a cheap tool kit is just fine for this situation, and some are rather nice (for the money).

Jumper Cables
Coleman Cable 08666 4-Gauge Heavy-Duty Truck/Auto Battery Jumper Cables with Polar Glow Clamps, 16-FootNow when it comes to jumper cables, you do actually want a nicer set. Everyone needs jumper cables.  The heavier the cable, the better. You can tell its heaviness by the gauge number--you want it low. Heavier cables transfer electricity better than smaller cables, which is cruicial when starting a vehicle. We have a cheaper and smaller cable in our car because the engine is smaller and doesn't take as much to start. In our SUV, we have a nice large cable because it is bigger. Now, while a nicer set is better, cheap jumper cables are better than no jumper cables. My husband says 2 is hard to find. 4 is about as heavy duty as you can get easily. 6 is a good middle ground and he would avoid anything higher than an 8.

Reflectors
New Emergency Road Safety Triangle Car Truck Warning !!Reflectors are good for if you are doing something like changing a flat tire in the dark on the side of the road--especially if you are changing on the side that is by the cars driving by. This is an item I would consider a very good idea, but not necessarily a necessity. If you are building your kit slowly, it wouldn't be the first thing in it, but as you add things, I would add it at some point.




Tow Straps/Ropes
Highland 10177 30' Tow Strap with HookTow straps are important if you are ever stuck, like in mud or snow. I think most people who live somewhere with heavy snow falls each year have been pulled out with a tow strap at some point in life :). Now, you can do straps or ropes. My husband likes straps better. He says they are stronger, take up less space, and not as stretchy. Stretchy is bad when you are trying to pull someone out. Even if you drive a car, keep a tow strap so a passing truck can pull you out if needed. Not all truck drivers will carry tow straps because they have 4 wheel drive. With tow straps, you can get hooks or loops--we recommend hooks.

Fluids
Mobil 1 44976 Extended Performance 5W-30 Motor Oil - 1 Quart, Pack of 6It is a good idea to keep on hand esential fluids for your vehicle. We keep oil, washer fluid, antifreeze, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid in case we run out.







Change of Clothes
This one might seem strange to you at first. The main reason for this is in case you get wet. This way, you can change out of wet clothes and into dry clothes. It might also be nice if you are stranded for more than a day.

Extra Shoes
Again, in case they get wet. I would do sneakers--good walking shoes. That way if you need to walk for whatever reason, you can. I doubt every time you drive somewhere you wear good walking shoes (I know I don't), so this way you have them if needed.

Seasonal Clothing Items
Solid Blank Short Beanie Cap - BlackThe emergency car kit needs to be slightly dynamic. Your tools and tow ropes can sit and collect dust unless and until you need them, but your clothing needs to be rotated and updated. For children, you need to update to the correct size. For the family, you need to make sure clothes are appropriate for the weather. For winter, you might have beanie hats, gloves, and socks. For summer, you might have sun hats and something you could use to fan yourselves with (like paper). When we were gathering beanies for our 72 hour kits and car kits, we just waited for them to go on clearance after the season was over. We got each hat for less than a dollar. This hat pictured is only 3 dollars. We also keep jackets for each person. We do light jackets because if it is really cold, we always take our winter coats with us. A tip for those of you with more than one child, you can use hand-me-down jackets as emergency. Both Kaitlyn and McKenna have old jackets of Brayden's. They are boy jackets, but in an emergency, no one cares (the girls don't care anyway at this point, but you see what I mean). Fashion is of no consequence in emergencies :)

Water
Fiji Natural Artesian Water, 16.9-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 24)Water is very important to sustaining life. We always keep bottled water in our vehicle, and while we have never faced a true "emergency," we have faced what would be considered emergencies by our children who are super thirsty and can't possibly wait 20 more minutes until we get home. We have also done things like go to the zoo and forget to bring water with us, and instead of paying ridiculous prices for a bottle of water, we could bring in our own from the vehicle. It comes in quite handy.


Sippys/Bottles
Playtex Sipster Cup 9 oz - 2 Pack (Colors Vary)I also like to keep an extra sippy or bottle for the children still prone to spilling. They stay more dry and aren't going to spill water that is suddenly quite precious.







Food
This one is harder to stock up on, I think. One idea is an MRE. That might be a bit overkill. Something else you could do is just make sure you have food if you are going on a long car ride. If you are riding to the grocery store and back, extra food is not vital. If you are driving somewhere that is traveled lightly or has limited cell phone service, bring food. If you are traveling during inclement weather, bring food. For every day, you could simply keep a box of crackers or something. When I have babies, I am sure to keep some formula in the vehicle so I can feed baby if needed and for some reason I cannot breastfeed.

Diapers and Wipes
We keep extra diapers and wipes in the vehicle. These come in handy quite often.

Disposable Camera
Kodak MAX Water & Sport Single Use CameraThis is useful if you are in an accident and need to take pictures, but you might not need this if you have a cell phone that takes photos.





Umbrella
American Tourister Travel Umbrella,Black,One SizeI think most people keep these in the car. If not, add one.








Life Hammer
LifeHammer Orange Original Emergency HammerThis is something I would consider optional for most people. It is quite inexpensive (15 dollars) and can come in handy if you are trapped in your car--so not a bad idea at all. We don't have one, but as I type this, I am starting to think we should.






Lots More
There are a lot more tools out there you can get your hands on. If you are interested in more ideas, you can see the Bestsellers in Automotive Safety on Amazon.

Organizing
So how do you organize all of this stuff? Some of it, like the flashlight or life hammer, natrually goes in the glove box or center console. Others, like an umberella, might fit nicely under a seat. For our fluids, we have a small, heavy duty tote. That way they can't spill and can't stink up the vehicle. We also put our tools, cables, tow straps, etc in there. We then have a smaller tote or a heavy duty canvas bag for the extra clothes. For baby stuff, we have a diaper bag with diapers, wipes, and other kid stuff so we can access it quickly and efficiently.

Making This Work
Many of these things need to stay in your vehicle at all times. Items like clothing and hats, however, do not need to. If you are short on space or money and can't feasibly leave these items in at all times, you can keep a list of items to add to your car before a long trip when they would be more needed.

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