Stroller Safety Tips & Techniques (or Something Like it)

Besides the straight-up answer of, "Because we love our kids and would hate for them to be hurt", there are a few reasons why stroller safety is important.

If you're like me and have a pre-toddler (is that the right term?) who won't stay strapped into his stroller without crying (unless we've clipped on his fire truck stroller costume) and then keeps doing his best to climb out of the stroller... well, you know how much of a pain it can be to have to keep an eye on them more than usual!

We go to a restaurant every Sunday morning for breakfast, just as a little treat before the work week begins, and have done since he was a whole week old. We know the staff by name and have had the same Bugaboo stroller since. Is it really a wonder, then, that he's started trying to "Houdini" his way out of it?

Why a good stroller is the best purchase a new parent can make

Getting the Bugaboo was one of the best decisions we made in the lead up to little bit being born. At a point, we were overwhelmed by the amount of choice that was only rivaled by the beer I'd had to give up. (Never again! ...unless we decide to do it again! Woo-hoo involuntary sobriety!)

Basically? We did a whole lot of reading.

Online blogs about, like, the best stroller safety tips and stroller safety at Disney World (even though we sooo aren't ready for Disney), mommy magazines about reflux and bad breaks; I even listened to my mom and my mother-in-law, despite the very real fact that stroller safety standards have come a long way in the last 30 years. Everyone had something to say about stroller safety. Our childless friends included!

Their hearts were in the right place when they were commenting on the logistics of stroller safety straps but it's not like stroller manufacturers make them the way they do because they don't know a thing about their own products.

Buying a good stroller that checks all your personal boxes can be such a blessing. We found ours early and it's why we use it now! The stroller safety straps are thick and padded; they couldn't cut a blade of grass or dig in. Little Bit can move around as much as he wants and then cry more because - ha! - mommy and daddy and the Bugaboo are keeping him from literally crawling his tiny baby butt to the ground!

Stroller safety tips (I've picked up from personal experiences)

In one of the new episodes of Roseanne, there's a joke where Dan says, "There are no books on parenting!" Obviously, there are but all the advice inside of them are "perfect scenario" types of advice that doesn't happen when you're a mom or dad. It kinda reminds me of cooking shows where they bring a perfectly browned turkey out of the oven come Thanksgiving. Ha, I say again. Just, ha.

Here are a couple basics I picked up from all 500 books that were given to me over the course of my pregnancy and a few little anecdotes of my own:

ALWAYS apply the breaks when stationary!

Lest ye be prepared to have a heart attack when you see the stroller move an inch, miles and miles away from any danger. It's good to have a stroller safety routine with this as one of the first. Getting "autopilot" about it can save y'all from a whole bunch of stress.

Don't hang your purse on the stroller!

Lest ye be prepared to trip over your purse strap and fall flat on your face in a society that will laugh at anyone who falls over, it's helpful to use the storage basket underneath the stroller and maybe a smaller basket for essentials. (This also means it won't tip which will also cause a heart attack.

Prepare for the rain or shine

Lest ye and your pumpkin be soaked to the bone and have to sit in the car in uncomfortably wet, matching leggings. Take your rain cover with you if there is any chance of rain. Staying inside is boring and fresh air is super good for mommy and baby, so if it rains, clip on the stroller rain cover. If it's sunny, clip on the shade. Clip on the police car stroller costume and voila, you guys are ready to go for a nice walk together.

Stroller safety is important, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Making your baby's stroller safe can be fun, which will make it way more fun for them than when they see you stressing all the time. And obviously, it helps a bunch when they can pretend they're in a fire truck.

Have you seen the race cars for kids that are out there now?

Have you seen the race cars for kids that are out there now?

Race cars for kids come in all manners of shapes and sizes, there are even Star Wars ones now.

A couple weeks back, the husband showed me the commercial for the Star Wars land speeder by Radio Flyer. It wasn't long before we were both bemoaning how many cool toys there are out there for kids now. Both because we hadn't had them when we were younger and because, as parents, we'll be the targeted consumers in a few years. There's $500 out of our future pockets.

Race car toys have come a long way since the days of Matchbox and Hot Wheels (though it has to be said, the line of Star Wars hot wheels toys will also be a target of our future spending). Even the Barbie jeeps of yore look primitive in comparison to the race cars for kids that are available today. I would never have believed I would live to see the day.

What do adults have to hold over our kids now they can drive??

Parenting hasn't changed much. We love our kids and we'd do anything for them, but it's only natural to feel a little bummed with the fact that kids racing cars these days are much more fun looking than our suburbian station wagons.

We want the best for our kids, too, so we do want them to have the best race cars for kids that are out there on the market, even if we are envious that we ourselves never had these choices. (My first 'car' was a budget chaise longue from Mervyn's). But even though we want it for them, that doesn't mean we can't be a tad bit put out that our sons and daughters are going to get to play with these cool race cars for kids and we're not.

We are but human! Humans who are going to have to buy this stuff soon. We need to let ourselves have these feelings.

Race cars for kids are race cars for their parents

Like with the Luke Skywalker land speeder, there are tons of race cars for kids out there that look so fun adults should be able to play with them too. I got this from the husband whose response to the said land speeder, "If we get him one when he's older, I'm gonna have to try it out for science."

If science means fun, sure. The two can be interchangeable. We're adults. We get to make the rules still, even if the kids racing car toys that they can drive around the place are better than our actual vehicles. We still have more than a decade to make those rules before the teen years of door slams and 2030's version of Skrillex is blasting out of a floating speaker.

Source: Us, the parents

And if we get to make the rules, one of those rules can be we get to squeeze ourselves into these race cars for kids as much as we want. Because, goddamnit, we don't need a license to have fun!

So maybe we can't hold the fact we can drive real cars over them. Or that we can use our own smartphones when we all know our babies of today are gonna be teaching us how to download apps by the time they're three. (I hope they're racing games). What we can do, is play with the toys ourselves.

For, uh, you know, our children. So they can learn how to play with their race cars. Even if the hubby is totally gonna have a hard time fitting his butt into that land speeder.

In the meantime, thank God for Stroller Costumes!

Why should our kids have to wait until they can drive land speeders? Meet Jett the red race car stroller costume and his twin sister, Jeanette the pink race car stroller costume.

You can pick up either of these awesomely fun kids race car costumes for your toddler's stroller at the Stroller Costumes Amazon store or directly via the Stroller Costumes website!



What are you waiting for? Race, don't walk!

My Husband and I Bonded Over Dump Trucks, But Wait, There's More...

My Husband and I Bonded Over Dump Trucks, But Wait, There's More...

Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Big Star are responsible for me and my hubby's love story. We like to say to people, "Oh, we met because of our affinity for dump trucks." That tends to confuse but we did, even if it wasn't because of actual dump trucks.

The way my now hubby and I connected was over a shared love of movies. It's so hard to make friends when you get older that we had both joined a meetup group aimed at people like us; people in bigger cities who had no friends to speak of outside of work. We found out through that group that we liked the same movies. Cheesy classics from the 80's, mostly, like 'Back to the Future' and 'Bill & Ted'. He was the only other person I had ever met that knew 'Flight of the Navigator'! 'Heathers' was our shared favorite, and it was in 'Heathers' that we shared a favorite character: Martha Dumptruck.

Needless to say, whenever I think about dump trucks as vehicles, I will always think of Martha and the way she brought my hubby and me together.

Martha Dumptruck

Martha Dumptruck, named as such because of her stature that resembles, well, a dump truck, is the neglected overweight student in high school. Part way through the movie she comes to the conclusion that she's better off not around anymore, and follows the recent wave in trying to do something bad. But because Martha Dumptruck is a dump truck and fails at everything, she happily doesn't succeed, and it's her failure (which is really a success) that allows Winona Ryder's character to realize that Christian Slater's way of life is not one she wants to be a part of.

It's a great movie which is now a stage show, and hubby is taking me to see it the second we can stop the grandmas fighting over where little bit will stay for the night. (We realize how lucky we are). Our first Halloween together, my hubby even dressed in a dump truck costume with 'Martha' as a license plate, so it's kind of a thing now for our family.

Including the little bit

Funny and cute YouTubes are another of our things we love as a family. If we can't watch our favorite movies with little bit then we'll find funny videos that have gone viral like cats in boxes. Our favorite - which seems to be our son's too - are the songs about dump trucks or police cars with videos of dump trucks or police cars for kids.

These are no Martha changing the ways and the shapes of a movie plot nor are they the hubby in his dump truck costume, but the kid loves them and so do we.

Here's an example of one of our favorites:

We could literally watch these vids forever and not get tired. We've memorized a couple of the songs already, and each time we hit the road to head to one of the grandma's, if we see some Ford dump trucks on a construction site or on the road, we'll sing about it. We've even started doing it with every vehicle we see, fire trucks included.

It's funny like that. Some families bond over Disney* and Mini Coopers, me and mine have 80's movies and dump trucks.

*Remember Colossus XXL from Pixar's Cars 2? Yep, dump truck. Maybe all families can bond over them if they try hard enough...

Stroller Costumes' dump truck stroller cover is available via the Stroller Costumes Amazon store and via the website!

I Always Wanted a Princess Carriage to Carry Me Far, Far Away

I Always Wanted a Princess Carriage to Carry Me Far, Far Away

Dramatic as that may sound, I still dream of that princess carriage, some days. Drawn by four stunningly white pegasuses—is that the plural for pegasus?—with their hooves painted gold and sparkles in their manes and tails. I am also extremely jealous that the 24V Disney Princess carriage ride on exists when I am far, far too grown up for it and in a family of boys.


We're having a... boy!


When I was pregnant with my son, my husband was convinced we were having a girl. He got real cocky about it. I knew he'd have preferred a son—and loved the child regardless—but he also wouldn't have minded being right. I can't help the fact that I always am.


I am always right and I was right enough that my totally gender-specific dreams of dressing my little girl up in cute princess dresses and fairy outfits and painting each other's nails had to go right outta the window. As did the hope that she would grow up to want the princess carriage I had dreamed about oh-so-very-much.


This isn't to say I'd disapprove of my son wanting a princess carriage if he did. As I mentioned a couple weeks back when talking about police cars for kids, my son has a Barbie and he loves it. I wouldn't disapprove one bit!


It's just that if it was the 24V Disney Princess carriage ride-on that my child wanted, no matter their gender, I would have to let them down the hard way. Kids don't think about money and I wouldn't want to force upon my son how much his Star Wars light saber cost us last winter, but the 24V Disney Princess carriage ride on is almost $400-at Walmart, for cripes' sake!


May the Disney odds, like, ever be in our favor...?


The hubby says it's because it's rechargeable, to which I replied, "It damn well better be for that much money!" because whatever. Then, he asks me why I'm looking up princess carriages when our son is in the deep midwinter of his dump truck phase and we're teaching him about spaceships. I don't have an answer and he knows it, which means this time, HE is right.


I think he worried I was gonna surprise him with a pregnancy test announcement again. Surprise! Nope, it's more shocking. $400 is a lot of cash for a regular middle-class family like ours, so it's good there are other options that are more in our price range. Even if they aren't battery-operated. (It's not like Cinderella's Fairy Godmother-crafted pumpkin  princess carriage was, right?)


Needless to say, we are not pregnant (phew) and the hubby and the little bit are watching that Lego Batman movie for the 800th time. I'm pretty sure I am safe in predicting that instead of wanting a princess carriage, he's gonna make his daddy proud and want a Batmobile.


How does one make one of those out of a cardboard box?


Huh... I guess I'll let the hubby handle that one when the time comes. Or maybe I can kickstart my fire truck plan early.



Do's and Don'ts of Halloween

Do's and Don'ts of Halloween

Halloween 's not really a formal affair where not following the strictest etiquette and fashion rules can lead to your social down fall. But there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure you and the people around you get the most enjoyment out of it as possible. Most of it is common sense. Still, common sense can get away from the best of us sometimes. Here are some things to consider before carving up the pumpkin.


Don’t Get Political, Especially with the Kids


The US is more divided politically than it has been for a long time, and passions have reached a boiling point for some people. For some, it’s all consuming. That is fine for adults. It’s their life, and they are free to do what they want. However, they shouldn’t bring their politics into Halloween. Let kids be kids and have fun. Don’t use them as political props, and don’t into political discussions with other parents.


Don’t Get Healthy


Every single year, some doctor gets on TV in a horribly misguided attempt to ruin everyone’s fun by suggesting we do something besides candy this year. Forget Dr. No-Fun. Get candy for the kids (and yourself) and enjoy it. Save healthy for another day. The only caveat, if you know of a kid who can’t have sweets, pick something up special for them.


Know Who’s Doing What


Halloween has gone from a holiday for kids to a holiday for the family. This means that some people go for more of The Walking Dead side of Halloween while others choose the classic monsters and cute race car driver costumes.

Don't take your kids to places where they could see costumes and decorations that aren't age appropriate. If your little one is boasting her toddler princess costume, don't take her to the land of zombies unless she is dragging you there.


And if you are throwing one of the more adult themed Halloween parties, remind parents to leave their kids and the baby Halloween costumes at home. 


Keep the front door G/PG enough for those parents who have the little ones.  The last thing you want to do to a parent after she's spent hours combing the internet for the best baby girl Halloween costume ideas is scare her kid away. Keep the intense stuff for the rest of the house.



Keep Costumes Appropriate


There is a fine line between fun and something that could be considered inappropriate. The “sexy” version of any costume for an office party or school event isn’t the best idea, and costumes that might be considered culturally insensitive should be avoided. Great baby costume ideas should be kept baby appropriate.


Give and Take

 Do's and Dont's Halloween

Split the Halloween fun up into trick or treating, and handing out candy to trick or treaters--if you can do that. Not everyone lives somewhere with a high degree of Halloween foot traffic. Handing out candy is almost as much fun for the kids as trick or treating, and teaches them that doing something for others can be fun and fulfilling.


Most of All, Have Fun


One of the worst things about modern holidays is how often we get so wrapped up in their trappings and doing what we think we are supposed to do that we forget that holidays are supposed to be fun. Halloween is no different. Don’t stress over things. Dress up your little princesses, firemen, and race car drivers in their costumes, and decorate that stroller. The evening is yours to enjoy.

Stroller Costumes - Police Cars for Kids

The only acceptable kinds of police cars for kids

In my last blog about fire trucks, I mentioned the ride that my brother and I took and it got me to thinking back—like you do as a parent when your little one's caught a cold and you can't sleep because of the pain of hearing them suffer—and how there used to be a section of the town fair where the cops would bring one of their cars out. (Holy run-on sentence much!)

Anyhow, the cops would let us kids climb in and start the sirens. The little cardboard sign they would put out read something like, "police cars for kids $1" or, like, "RIDE IN A COP CAR $1" (it was for sure $1) and we would rush right to it.

Even after the fire-truck-arm-breaking incident.

Playing pretend cops is still super fun

Like firefighters and veterinarians, becoming a cop is such a thing for kids. My own came after seeing Police Academy—the 80's version of, "I saw Brooklyn 99 and now I want to be a cop!—and it also came sandwiched between the ballerina phase and the pet phase.

The cop phase did bring with it a lot of experiences inventing ways to make our own cop cars out of old boxes, couches, and even sometimes being able to use the outside of my dad's station wagon like it was my own personal police cars for kids $1. It was so fun. I had a great time and I totally thought I would grow up to join the academy for a while there. I literally did think I was a kid cop-in-the-making and how super amazing I would be at my job.

Barbie can be a cop if she wants to be

Little Bit picked up a Barbie last week. Most of my friends would freak out if they did that, but he's only little and so he likes Barbies, so what! Who's to say Barbie can't be a cop herself? She is involved with a crazy amount of professions these days because she is awesome.

If he wants to play with a Barbie even when he's older, then we'll get him a Barbie and maybe he'll take it with him in his little cop car he makes or has. Maybe they will be partners and no criminal will ever be able to fool this duo!

It is funny, though.

Miniature police cars for kids

I've been doing pre-emptive birthday Google searches a month early, lately. I started on looking at those tiny guitars you can get, but a lot of the real ones seem to start at age 3+ which... that's cool, we can work up to that.

Then I wondered how old a kid has to be to drive one of those little cars, you know the little red and yellow ones? If they even still make them, so I searched Amazon for that too and nada. Still too young. Which... that's cool, he is super little.

BUT, and I say but one good thing that happened was I discovered how there are police cars out there for kids, like actual genuine (toy) police cars for kids ($1!!!!) Which... how cool is that?

Until he's old enough to make his own toy vehicular decisions, there's always a police car stroller costume, aka the best purchase ever (since I discovered See by Chloé which smells like heaven and is 100% my signature scent that is. Thank you, TJ Maxx and also thank you, Stroller Costumes!)

Stroller Costumes' police car stroller costume is available via the Stroller Costumes Amazon store and via the website!

Fire Trucks are one of the coolest vehicles out there... for good reason!

Fire Trucks are one of the coolest vehicles out there... for good reason!

Fire Trucks are one of the coolest vehicles out there... for good reason!

One of the first jobs your little one will want to have is being a firefighter, and I genuinely feel like that's because fire trucks are so recognizably wonderful!

Oh, and the saving lives and being a hero thing...

Whenever a fire truck drives past us, Little Bit (that's my nickname for my little one and feel as though I should mention that now, for anonymity's sake) looks up from his stroller and stares at it, fascinated by the lights, the sound, and the bright red sheen on the truck itself.

After, I wonder at which point of my life I started to worry about why there was a fire truck there rather than to witness it the way Little Bit does; wide-eyed and excited. Then I figure it's likely around the same time I stopped playing make believe or dressing up. What I like to call, "the ides of adulthood." (Something having kids changes exponentially, as I probably mentioned in my last post kids and babies costumes).

I cannot wait for the day he says to me, "Mama, I'm gonna be a fireman." Every kid goes through so many careers they want to do, and my idea is to nurture his imagine with every idea he comes up with. If he wants to be a Marine Biologist, he can be one. If he'd like to be President of the United States, well, all he needs is his own reality show.

I would love for him to be a fireman, or even to want to be one. My uncle was a fire fighter and a medic and I am so proud of everything he has done for the good of the world. He and a couple guys from his department took my brother and I on a fire truck once. My brother broke his wrist but it was literally the most fun my lil 8-year-old heart ever had. (Sorry, John!)

Fire fighters save lives by putting their own at risk. If that isn't the definition of a real "superhero" in the dictionary already, it should be! Where do we go to petition this? If Little Bit decides he wants to become a dictionary editor, he can help make it happen.

So, yeah, I hope he tells me he wants to be a fire fighter as soon as he can, or maybe he'll tell me he is one. Imagination is such an important part of growing up that, as a parent, along with nurturing it, I want to help him along with his ideas. If one of those ideas is becoming a fireman, then Stroller Costumes' fire truck stroller costume might should have his name on it already if it doesn't yet.

Maybe that's the next step in the imaginative, crazy fun world of stroller costumes: customizable name plates!

Until my son can be a real fire fighter with a real fire truck, the fire truck stroller costume will more than satisfy his curious nature. You can buy it here!

Get Stroller Costumes' Fire Truck stroller costume on Amazon!

How I Combat the Overwhelming Amount of Choices in Stroller Accessories

How I Combat the Overwhelming Amount of Choices in Stroller Accessories

5 Halloween Costumes to Borrow Your Friend’s Baby For

5 Halloween Costumes to Borrow Your Friend’s  Baby For
Halloween costumes shouldn't just be for older kids. They can and should be for tiny kids and their strollers, too! Take a look at five great and spooky pop culture-related ideas for Baby’s first Halloween!

10 Halloween Hacks

10 Halloween Hacks

There is almost an endless stream of ideas for things to make and do to help usher in the Halloween spirit. Most of these are simple craft projects that can help someone stay under budget.

Decorating hacks can help you save money that can be better spent elsewhere. When you have kids, Halloween should be about more candy, creative family costumes, and even stroller costumes to tie those family together themed outfits together.

If you can save a few bucks on the decorations, you can go all out on the costumes.

Milk Jug Ghosts

Most families tend to go through gallons and gallons of milk per week, so there should be plenty of empty jugs laying around. Use a black sharpie to draw a spooky face on them, and cut a small hole in the back.

Next, use a string of clear Christmas lights, or colored Halloween lights, and insert them into the hole you cut.

Formal Dinner Dracula

Remember those cheap, plastic vampire teeth that used to destroy our mouths as kids. Grab a bunch of these, and place them on the plate, or near it. On the plate gives the best effect though.

Next, roll up a napkin, and put it in the teeth, and now you have a festive Halloween napkin holder.

Now you have ice with spiders in them.

Just make sure the kids don't choke and make sure adults don't have a heart attack.

Mummy Juice

Kids love their juice boxes, now make them terrified of the things. Not really, but you can Halloween them up real easy.

Wrap them in white tape, add a couple of googly eyes, and now your sugary, but marketed as healthy, drink is an Egyptian undead.

Arachnophobia Ice

This is a super easy one.

Get a bag of cheap, plastic spiders. Place them in ice cube trays, and let them freeze. Now you have ice with spiders in them.

Just make sure the kids don't choke and make sure adults don't have a heart attack.

Handy Candy

This is great if you have a lot of candy to give to a small number of children. Fill a surgical glove with candy, and “hand” it out.

Weird Eyes

Keep those old toilet paper rolls, but don’t let anyone know you’re doing it. Cut out eye shapes on them, and place a glow stick in it.

Now, place those crazy glowing eyes in bushes, outside of windows, or in the back of the car in a way they will be staring back at the surprised driver in the rearview mirror.

They’re loads of fun.

Blood Stained Towels

The towel will be done for, but putting fake blood/bloody handprints on a white towel can make for a spooky decoration. Bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom. It's all scary here.

Freaky Legs

This is a good one if you want to lose at least one friend this October. Take a pack of those cheap plastic bugs (rubber roaches and spiders work best) and attach them to your pantyhose or stockings. Guaranteed to make someone lose it, especially if you're pushing around a kid in a stroller.

Candles & Candy Corn

Need something festive that will make your laziness look like creative brilliance? Do this.

Take some black candles (one huge one or three of the medium standalone kinds) and place them in a bed of candy corn.

Getting the good stuff costs a pretty penny, and the scariest thing in October shouldn't be your bank balance.

Luckily, there are a ton of good Halloween hacks that mostly use the material you would have probably thrown out anyway. If not, you can snag these cheap supplies from The Dollar Tree.

Happy scaring!