Monday, November 7, 2016

Best Baby Travel Systems and What to Avoid

You are expecting, maybe getting ready to adopt, and you're staying up way too late reading online reviews and going absolutely crazy looking for the perfect (and best) travel system for your new bundle of joy. Here's the deal. There's isn't a perfect travel system. And how do you know if you even really want an entire travel system?

So sit back for a minute, and evaluate:

1: Where will you be spending most of your time?
2: When it is time to travel with baby, will you be alone or have an extra set of hands to help?
3: Do you have physical limitations?
4: How much space do you have in your vehicle?
5: What is your budget?

This list could continue forever. The important part is that you step back for a moment and decipher between wants and needs, and make the purchase that best fits your needs.

If you're not a fan of the travel system, there are great options for a simple frame stroller that holds a carseat, and brands have been good to make these stroller frames as universal as possible. There are exceptions, however, so make sure you do the research to make sure that the carseat you have is compatible with the stroller frame you want, or if you need a conversion kit. The frame stroller option is simple and allows you to quickly snap the carseat on top and go for 'buggy' type traveling. It's also a great option for infants since you can leave the sleeping babes in the carseat and transition to a lightweight, easy-to-lift and store stroller frame. Weight and trunk space can be a huge issue for new mamas.

Here are some options if you want to try a stroller frame:

Baby Trend Universal Snap-n-Go

Chicco Key Fit Caddy

Britax B-Agile 3

Graco Snugrider Elite

Things to Avoid:
When you are buying for baby, it's easy to go a bit, ummm, crazy. You see the fabulous Instagram mom who has a crazy expensive stroller and the cutest pictures of her daily strolls. That's great, and maybe you want that. If so, then go for it. But don't get caught in the pit of buying crazy pricey baby products if they 1) don't fit your needs, and 2) don't fit your budget. Take a moment to decide how long you want a specific stroller or travel system, and buy accordingly. How long will your baby be in a rear-facing infant carrier? Do you want a frame stroller but only plan on using it for the first six months? If so, maybe you will want to transition to a jogging stroller for when baby is bigger--either to exercise or for the ease of more rough road travel/walks. Have you tried pushing a regular 4-wheel stroller through grass or over rocks? No bueno. So think beyond what you want right now, and determine what you NEED now, and if those needs will morph as your baby grows, and buy accordingly.

As with all baby products, the first priority is the safety of your precious little bundle, so make sure that your child correctly fits in the carseat, and that your carseat is compatible with any travel system or stroller frame, that it latches in correctly and is secure. Take some time and do your research, and decide what works best for you and yours.

Happy Hunting!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Baby Equipment Info and Compatibility

While recently searching a ridiculous number of sites and trying to decide on the best equipment for baby, I came to an extremely important conclusion; there is not one site that through either product information, online chat or even customer service call centers that offers complete and accurate information regarding the complete inclusion/exclusion or compatibility of products.

This situation requires that the customer proceed with an exhausting and quite intensive search over the internet, in stores and through personal opinions. Now, I consider myself an intelligent internet user/searcher, but even with my search experience I found it a bit difficult to find the exact information I was seeking regarding the products I wanted to buy (in this case a car seat and stroller base.)

So, here is a listing of helpful options should you find yourself in a similar situation.

First, try to narrow down your options/selections/wants to a few. Read as much as you can about the actual product, and even try calling for more product information if you think that will procure results. If you live in an area that houses the actual retail stores that hold your product, you may want to make a quick stop and try the hands-on elimination and evaluation process.

Next, while looking online, read as many reviews on the product page as you possibly can. Thank goodness people take the time to write reviews, because you can often find the answer you are looking for without going through the same awful experiences that many reviewers do. Reviews can be found on almost any website that offers a product, so just make sure you check out a couple different locations and really get a good feel for the general consensus of the product.

Note: If you write a review, try to include your experience with product compatibility to save someone else the extensive search.

Now, once you have exhausted your immediate resources, try asking around your group of friends or other individuals who have perhaps been in your same position, and see what worked best for them.

If you are like me, all of these steps can be time-consuming, and you really just don't have much of a desire to do them. However, if you do, you will be able to make the best decision that you possibly can. To help aide you in your baby products search for information, there are multiple sites that offer question entries and give feedback from people who have "been there and done that." An excellent example was this question and answer website known as baby center and it proved to be extremely helpful due to the continuous and updated feedback that is provided. You can ask almost any question, and in my experience, you almost always get an answer. All that is required is a quick registration, and of course you can always opt out of the email updates list.

If you are anything like I, not only do you want the most bang for your buck, but you also want to be sure you are getting quality and safety (the best) with your purchase. It is SO important to not only read reviews of functionality and compatibility, but to check out as many regulatory and test-reviews sites that you can. Some, such as will require a subscription, but there are hundreds of government-funded sites that are free of charge and will give you all the info you need.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buying vs. Building a Home

The task of purchasing a home in Logan, Utah can prove to be something that is extremely time-consuming and often stressful. The process of building a home can rival a buying experience. Therefore, how do these two options compare when standing together? Logan, Utah real estate, whether provided through a brokerage or home-building company, offers residents various property and housing options. While lots in Utah, as well as large or small land lots in Logan have experienced a drop in price since the housing recession, land in Utah has held value and is experiencing an increase in value as of late.

The Ease of Purchasing

Many websites, such as, offer buyers access to Utah land lots and Utah homes all throughout the state. This has given home buyers the convenience of browsing, selecting, and purchasing land, Utah properties, and real estate in Utah from the comfort of their homes. Such unlimited access has completely changed the real estate market the game for Utah brokerages and agents, as well as home builders and contractors. Having the ability to make home customizations is what many people seek, while others are content to settle for purchasing a home and making do with what it offers. The list of pros and cons is continuous and requires some serious thought before making a decision.

Price Comparisons
On average, Logan, UT homes begin in the mid and upper $100k range, and can greatly increase depending on location and home features. However, there are many foreclosures in Utah, as well as short sales and even Utah condos that can be purchased at all-time low prices. The only disadvantage of purchasing a foreclosed or bank-owned home can be dealing with the paperwork and the processing time for home closures.

Building a home in Utah offers the advantage of selecting from an array of pre-designed floor plans and features, or customizing as little or as much about your home as you desire. There happen to be hundreds of building companies in Utah that offer everything from simple "cookie-cutter homes" to immaculate cabins, homes, and townhomes in Utah. Many companies charge a set fee for the level of construction that you choose, as well as either coordinating with property owners, or themselves owning the lot on which you wish you build. Passed the basics, you can stick with what they have to offer, or you can pay additional costs for developing your own plans or upgrading features. You can expect this process to start in the one to two-thousand-dollar range.

Brokerages and builders work closely with financing and loan officers of Utah, which can help make the lending and closing processes much easier, since the financing officers and institutions have a working relationship with the Utah real estate agents and are familiar with their workings. Some Utah loan officers work almost exclusively with specific agents or builders.