Installing a car seat for the first time

Car seats can be expensive when they include extra safety-features, and parents can sometimes become too reassured by the fact they paid more and forget about the first rule of driving with children: properly installing the car seat. A car seat that’s not well fitted will not only fail to do its job, but also may end up being the main cause of injury. As statistics show us, this is the first reason for child injuries and death in car accidents.

The first step in installing the seat is deciding its position. The best place to put a car seat is in the back, on the middle seat. If that’s not possible, place it on the left side. The car seat’s place will also depend on the existence and position of airbags in the car: rear-facing seats should never be placed on a car seat that has a front airbag. If the airbags are placed on the sides, the car seat needs to be outside of the airbag range, or as far away from the door as possible.


After you’ve found the best place to place it, identify the LATCH anchorage points in the car and the connectors of the seat. They should be very easy to connect as they were specially designed for ease of use. You should remember that there is also a top tether that needs to be attached either to the anchor at the back of the passenger seat in forward-facing position, or to the anchor of the front seat, in case of a rear-facing car seat. A foot prop is sometimes available. If you’re not sure you’re doing a good job, check the user’s manual for the chair, and take a minute to verify again the compatibility list to make sure your car seat matches the car’s system.

Infant car seats are going to have a detachable base that has to be installed in the car, from which the seat can be snapped out and in, with just little effort. On convertible car seats and all-in-ones, the process might be a little more difficult the first time, but since they’re not really portable, you will probably go through it just a few times.

Whether you’re installing the seat on a daily basis, or you’re leaving it in the car for long periods of time, the only way to know your child has all the conditions for safety is that you verify it’s state before every car ride.

Point and shoot cameras – the best investment


For those of you who want to have a reliable camera that will take good pictures, but won’t break the bank, buying a point and shoot camera might be the best thing you can do with your money. These cameras may come in small packages, but their configuration allows you to photograph your favorite scenes without having to cringe over the image quality. While a professional might be unsatisfied with the performance and potential of a point and shoot, the common individual who simply wants to document his/her trips and life experiences will be happy with what these instruments have to offer.


Point and shoot cameras are extremely lightweight and easy to take away with you wherever you go. They are simple to use and offer the possibility to shoot the minute you get it out, with the auto mode, or with one of the pre-programmed shooting modes.


12You might ask why you need to buy a point and shoot if you already have a smartphone that you carry all over and is just as simple to use. The most convincing argument in this respect is the sensor size difference. The common smartphone simply cannot match the sensor on a compact camera, let alone offer a good optical zoom. Draining your phone battery while you’re alone on a mountain trek can also be a good reason to get a dedicated apparatus.


Point and shoot cameras are known to create depth of field, meaning they make everything in sight appear sharp, which can create beautiful landscape photography. Depending on the type of photography you want to create, a point and shoot might actually be better than a DSLR.


Highly convenient, point and shoot cameras have a fixed lense, meaning you won’t have to struggle with carrying and changing a whole range of lenses. Moreover, the lack of an optical viewfinder makes it take pictures quietly, without scaring away the wildlife you intent to photograph. Many professional photographers admit that, along their heavy, high-end equipment, they also carry a point and shoot, for it is fast and can be used as a very effective complementary tool.


Overall, point and shoot cameras are small, lightweight tools that usually offer a combination of 1-inch sensors and 10x+ zoom, which is more than enough to take more than acceptable photos, all in a budget-friendly package, so we think having one of these is a good investment.

Why I don’t like cordless vacuum cleaners

Last Christmas, my husband decided it was time to gift me with the benefits of modern technology and bought me a cordless vacuum cleaner. He said it was going to relieve me from the pain of having to bow down to plug and unplug my old vacuum every time I changed the room. I unboxed the thing and immediately realised I wasn’t going to use it, although it seemed much lighter and maneuverable than the big canister we had for decades. Some of you may wonder why I disliked it so much. Here it is.

8We own a big family house, with grandchildren and nephews around all the time, so crumbles, hair and all sorts of debris constantly menacing to pile up on every corner. This means I need a big bag on the vacuum so I can fit in everything the machine picks up, and the bag on this cordless model was simply too small. This way, while I didn’t have to stop for unplugging the machine, emptying the bag would still make me take a few trips to the trash can and back.

Of course, my husband was determined to make me use it and I didn’t want to get into a fight or hurt his feelings so I gave it a go a couple of times, but that only increased my disatisfaction. Like I said, we have a big house, and by the time I was through with half of the first floor, the battery was gone, and I was obliged to drop everything and wait a lot of hours for it to recharge. Not only that made me feel like I was wasting time, but it became something very tiresome for an old lady like me.

9Finally, and this could be just my cleanliness obsession, but I had the impression that this vacuum was made for light cleaning. I had to make multiple passes to be sure I had picked up most of the dirt, but I never felt completely satisfied with the work it was doing. My husband explained that it had something to do with the batteries, which couldn’t power the motor enough, so I began wondering why on earth would anybody consider having such a weak machine.

Well, I complained about it so much, nobody in the house dared to contradict me and I was free to return to my old, canister friend.

Best ways of recording a family trip

We all cherish the time we get to spend with our families in these hasty days. Going on vacation with your loved ones is a great way to bond and have fun together, and recording the adventure can only help you relive the joy anytime latter. Here are a few tips on how to save the best moments of your trips.

Vacation photograph albums have been trending for decades, but isn’t it time to take it to the next level, and record more than just a few frames? Camcorders are a fairly affordable way to get entire videos of family fun, and they offer the same mobility feature as a point-and-shoot camera. They’re also not only a means to record the faces of your children, but also let you hear their young voices over the years. Plus, having a video camera will only add to the fun time, letting you shoot their funny sketches, impressions or other funny games. With their increased storage possibilities, modern camcorders can help you bring back home the essential experiences in your family vacation.

The internet offers a lot ways to document all kind of experiences these days. So it will be pretty easy to create your own family blog where all the family members can post their favorite moments, pictures and videos, and share the best stories from your trip. Travel photography boards are available on platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, and vlogging has become quite a fashion among the young and the elderly, and it would certainly get your little ones giggle whenever the camera’s on.

In terms of the old problem regarding whether you should go for a dslr or a camcorder, the following video features also on can help you to analyze pros and cons for both:

Keeping a travel journal can also be a great way to catch the vacation experience from multiple point of views. Photographs, leaves, pressed flowers, tickets and personal notes from the whole family can compose a beautiful book that will keep your memories fresh over time.


13And if you’re keen on taking pictures, make every one of them memorable: the people you’re going with are more important than the scenery. Surely, there are beautiful sunsets and impressive mountains out there, but including a family member in the picture will make it much more precious. Family group photos aren’t really that if someone’s missing. Ask other persons to take the picture, or simply use the camera timer to have enough time to get in the frame for a real family photo.

Expensive blow dryers – my thoughts

If you’ve ever been in a personal-care store, you’ve probably observed the tens of offers in the blow dryers section, as well as the huge difference between price tags. But have you ever wondered what makes the expensive blow dryers so expensive and if they’re worth spending all that money? Without discussing brands, I will try to present a few key features you will encounter on a more expensive blow dryer, as well as what I think about the advantage it offers.


The first feature that makes the difference between drugstore and expensive models is the wattage, meaning the power of the dryer. The bigger the wattage, the stronger the air stream, and the faster the drying. But, to my knowledge, not all hair types are able to sustain the damage that strong air flow or great heat induce. So if you’re going to spend money, it’s better you first check if you won’t end up ruining your hair.


Another important addition that makes blow dryers prices rise is the use of certain materials that bring great benefits to the entire process. Ceramic has begun being quite common, as it emits negative ions that break the molecules of water, making the drying time much shorter. Also, these particles seal the cuticle, reducing frizziness and stopping the dehydration that occurs when the hair is under a flow of heat. Tourmaline has recently become the mark of high-end blow dryers. Its major advantage consists of the larger number it emits, but the difference in price comes more from the fact that tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone.


Other details that add to the costs of blow dryers are accessories – diffusers, concentrators and so on, and multiple levels of heat, including the “cool shot” button. These give the buyer many more styling options, and turn the blow dryer into a versatile tool, that can be used by the entire family.

I am aware that many brands price their products higher than others solely because they feel people will pay anything just to own that brand, but I also believe in the advantages that some of these accessories and improvements can bring. The health of your hair is not just something you should think about from time to time. If paying a little extra can help you maintain a beautiful, strong set of hair, then maybe you should consider it. I know I have.

My flat iron accident

Up until recently, I straightened my hair with my 10-year old flat iron, which I got for my 18th birthday from my dear, old, grandma. While it had metallic plates and looked like it was pulled out of a fire, it did a good job, and I was always careful not to burn my hair, or the house, for that matter.


But all good things come to an end, so two weeks ago, I almost burned half my hair because of it. It started 2like a normal session: I plugged it, sectioned my hair, brushed the first strand, and just as I clamped the plates over it, I realized something wasn’t going the way it was supposed to. The plates were moving with difficulty over the hair, not smoothly as
they usually did. I began to be a little worried, so I tried to pull the flat iron away, by releasing the plates, but I couldn’t. Some of the hair was stuck on one of the plates, as I could see in the mirror. By then, it had started to smell a little like burnt hair, and I didn’t want to take the risk, so I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the strand out. When I looked closer, I saw a big crack on that plate, and the hair was stuck in it. I guess someone in my house dropped it on the floor, but forgot to check or mention it.


23Anyway, I now have to buy a new flat iron, and I don’t even know where to begin. The models these days are mind-blowing. You can choose between different plates materials, like titanium, or ceramics, and even tourmaline. They are supposed to distribute heat evenly and they release small particles that shut the cuticles, leaving the hair smoother. There are also a lot of different levels of heat, but my hair is quite thin, so I usually have to keep the temperature down to avoid damage. After the accident, I had to go with a shorter haircut, and I’m being told there are special flat irons for short hair. They have thinner plates, so they can grab the hair as close to the scalp as possible, and they make working on the back side much easier.

I guess I still have a lot to learn and I have to make a serious decision, as some of the models I’ve seen are pretty expensive. But a girl can always dream.

Cribs for twins – what you need to know

The arrival of a new baby can put a family through all sorts of stretches as they have to prepare a lot of things for the arrival. But when twins are on their way, the problems double. Or don’t they? Here’s what you need to know about cribs for baby twins.


Special twin cribs can be found on the market, but with difficulty and at high prices. They often come in the design of bunk beds, which means the baby in the low bed will suffer some confinement. Other models, that keep the beds side by side are available, but they tend to be space-consuming and heavy, posing serious trouble when they have to be moved.

Another problem that comes with buying twin cribs is that once they’re outgrown, you have to get rid of them and your investment is lost.


However, it is a common agreement that twins don’t necessarily need special twin beds, as they are small and don’t move too much during their first period of life. A standard crib with a changing table can easily accommodate both of them for during the first few months, after which getting a second portable or travelling crib will be a much more thrifty option.

A convertible crib could solve the replacement problem as well as meet the need for more space once the children have started to outgrow the standard crib size. But of course, they won’t be so space-efficient and in the end, will be also insufficient for two grown children. Besides, if your twins are agitated and tend to roll over in their sleep or like to move around a lot having them enclosed together in the same crib might get them to climb on top of each other or suffer other kind of damages.


Of course, these are just theoretical considerations that are meant to give you an idea about the advantages and disadvantages of each option. In practice, every parent chooses what’s best for his children, and in conformity with the available space, financial resources and of, course, convenience.

What’s more important is that, regardless of the type of crib they pick, parents check for the safety features and certification that every crib must have in order to be considered safe.

Radar detectors – how do they work?

We all know that radar detectors are supposed to tell us if we’re about to pass near a police radar and help us avoid being pulled over for speeding. But how do they work? Nothing reinforces the confidence in a machine that to know a little bit about how it functions.


To understand how this device detects radars, we must first get to know how radars work themselves. These pieces of apparatus create and broadcast electromagnetic waves, which, in their path, encounter different objects and bounce back off them. It is the same principle that bats use when they’re flying. The time that the wave needs to return to the radar is used in calculating the distance of that particular object. As to the speed of a moving object, the radar reads the different frequencies of the returning wave and is able to calculate the speed of the object the wave hit. So basically, a radar consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The more expensive it is, the better results you will experience. 

So a radar detector actually detects the electromagnetic waves that are emitted by the police radar – in theory. In practice, radar detectors detect all the waves on the frequencies it’s capable of reading, so if a garage or supermarket door functions on the same frequency, the radar detector will go off.

However, radar detectors manufacturers have thought of ways to eliminate the number of false alarms, by giving the driver the possibility to turn off some of the frequency bands, for example the x-band, which is the oldest and is now slowly becoming obsolete. Another addition to the modern radar detectors is the integrated GPS that shows you where the immobile red light cameras and speed cameras are, and let you see is you have other type of emitters nearby.


Lidar or laser guns are much more difficult to avoid, since their beams are shorter and quicker. However, some radar detectors can be accompanied by a light-sensitive panel that will catch the laser beams from a lidar gun.

POP radar was invented to take drivers who use radar detectors by surprise, by emitting a radar transmission with a very small duration and it was a very effective method for a while, but now most radar detectors are prepared to seize these types of beams as well.


Memory foam mattresses – their benefits?

Memory foam mattresses are becoming the celebrities of the bedding industry, raising waves of satisfied buyer’s every day. Is this hysteria founded or is it a simple fascination caused by the sophisticated explanations sales assistants offer each time they get the chance?


The first thing we find out about the memory foam mattress is that it is incredibly comfortable. The foam reacts to the heat of the body, becoming even more soft, surrounding the shape of the body and thus giving it full support. Some compare sleeping on a memory foam surface to sleeping on top of a cloud.

A high-density memory foam mattress is usually the best combination between a soft surface and good support. This helps especially with pressure points, relieving them and making back and joint pain much easier to endure. Spinal alignment is also better achieved when laying on such a mattress, precisely because the spine benefits from support all along its length.

Another benefit that you’ll appreciate on a memory foam mattress is its ability to muffle down the movements of your partner and yours. This feature is called motion transfer reduction and basically stops the vibration coming from across the bed, letting you enjoy your good night even though your partner is doing the twist on his/her side of the bed.


Furthermore, memory foam is the best option for those who suffer from allergies. While in some cases, allergies are caused by some of the materials themselves, most of the time he dust mites that collect into the organic fibers of the mattress are to blame. In the case of the memory foam mattress, however, the polyurethane that constitutes the foam is less subjected to collecting dust mites than organic materials, thus remaining safer for allergic persons.

Finally, one last great benefit worth mentioning is the longevity and good condition a memory foam mattress remains in during its lifespan. While innersprings break or lose resistance with time, and natural fibers deteriorate under the action of humidity, heat and pressure, polyurethane foam preserves its qualities much longer. This means that if you take care of it properly – use it with a cover and flip it over and rotate it once in awhile – you can sleep on it just as well for 10 years and maybe more.

In conclusion, although you will spend a little more on a memory foam mattress, the benefits it brings seem to be really worth it.

How to use a GPS unit safely

If you’ve been contemplating buying a GPS unit for your car, you are probably aware of the fact that many states in the USA have strictly forbidden its use on certain parts of the windshield or of the dashboard, and that there are some reasons for it.


Just as a phone conversation, texting, an inebriated front seat partner or all other distracting activities are forbidden or strongly recommended against, having a visual element that will most probably keep your eyes off the road is going to pose a continuous threat to the safety of your car ride. This is why you should always check for the legal limits for the use of the GPS and the recommendations of the NHTSA regarding this type of device. After you’ve mounted it in the right position, be sure to not let yourself distracted by the images on the screen and remember that, no matter how accurate the technology is, it can never replace your eyes.

This leads us to our next recommendation, which is to get accustomed to the route before leaving, so that you get an idea about speed limits and geographic features of the road that might not be pointed out by your device. Not only that signal can be lost at times, but maps are in continuous change, and you can never have too much information.

If your unit is a portable one, then it will need to be mounted somewhere in sight, preferably under the level of your wheel. However you place it, special attention must be paid to the mounting process, since a possible accident might turn the unit into a flying threat.


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Another important rule is to not program the GPS while you’re driving. Whether you introduce the destination before you start the engine, or you ask a passenger to be in charge of the device, you need to keep your hands on the wheel and your mind focused on the road.

Lastly, many GPS units available on the market nowadays come with integrated voice command, and this is one perk that will certainly help you concentrate your attention on the road, instead of the screen. So if your unit has this feature, use it as many times as you can, for it is designed to ease the interaction between you and the unit, thus minimizing the risks of operating the device.