Honestly Good

Here’s a news flash – juice drinks marketed to kids aren’t always good for them. Often there is extra sugar, preservatives, or artificial ingredients added.

Then there are the products that are all natural and better for them, but they taste bad. My kids always see right through these products no matter how cool the packaging looks. ?If it tastes bad, they won’t drink it.

The nice folks at?Honest Kids – ?a line of organic kids drinks from the makers of Honest Tea with flavors like Tropical Tango Punch, Appley Ever After, and Berry Berry Good Lemonade – offered me some samples and I put them to the test. ?After all, it says “organic” on the label and they contain 30% juice, so they must be healthy, right? ?By the way, 30% juice doesn’t seem like a lot but I guess it’s better than most.

As you can see, Things 3 & 4 both liked it. ?And if you look really close, you can also see Thing 2 giving his vote of approval in the background.

Things On Canvas

These days everyone has loads of pictures of their kids. ?Pictures from the beach, pictures in the snow, birthday pictures, pictures of little league games, pictures of the first day of school, and everything else that happens every day. ?Our kids’ lives are documented in a Facebook timeline. ?So, how does a parent capture a moment in a way that is timeless and?original? ?By printing a canvas from a photo.

I was invited to try a?Printcopia?canvas print. ?Upload an image from Facebook, Instagram, or a file and turn it into a canvas up to 3 feet in size. ? The quality is great and there is something about a canvas print that says piece of art, in a way that framed photos don’t.

Here’s a description from their website

At Printcopia, you can turn your photos into eye-catching wall art with a variety of printing materials and options to choose from including gallery-quality canvas, sleek acrylic, and glorious panoramic printing. ?If you’re decorating a room or a whole house, Printcopia can take your photos and turn them into wall-worthy pieces of art. Our easy-to-use print tools make it fun to upload your photos and turn them into stunning prints. Our canvas and acrylic prints offer unique ways to turn your photos into mini-masterpieces.

We chose to use one from this year’s holiday photo shoot. ?Here is Thing 3 showing it off as an 11 x 14 canvas from Printcopia. ?We haven’t decided where to hang it yet. ?If you are looking for a memorable keepsake or gift for the grandparents, give a canvas prints a try.


New Toothbrushes Motivate Kids To Brush

If you are like me, bedtime is a battle that is waged every night. Go upstairs, put on your pajamas, brush your teeth. It’s like a broken record and nightly negotiation.

Star_Wars_LightupThat’s why I agreed to try these new Sunstar GUM Star Wars toothbrushes. (Disclaimer: I received free product but as always opinions are my own). There were Darth Vader and Clone Captain Rex battery powered, spinning brushes. But the most popular were the Light Saber brushes that glow and blink for a minute while they brush.

Anything that lights up is cool to Thing 3. Something that lights up AND he puts in his mouth? Sold. He opted for the good guy, green colored one. Thing 2 went with the red, Darth Vader light saber.

The results? Thing 2 asked if he could brush his teeth again once he saw the new brush. Thing 3 doesn’t think a minute is long enough and wants to go for two. And he insists on brushing his teeth with the lights off now to see the Star Wars toothbrush glow. How long it’ll last I cant say, but those are sone good results.

Don’t Lose Your Digital Memories

Over the last eight years, we have amassed a large amount of digital pictures and videos.? 132 gigabytes to be exact.? And the number keeps growing.? What to do with all those memories?? How do I make sure they are never lost?

For a long time, I’ve been keeping them on the hard drive of our home computer.? I have an external hard drive where occasionally I copy everything.? But what if there is a fire or flood in the house?? Both would be lost.?? I needed a better solution.

One low budget idea that came to mind was to keep the external drive at a friend’s house.? That way it would be safe from a disaster at my house, but it would be a pain to keep it in sync with the latest pictures and videos. ? A better idea would be to store them in the “cloud”, using a backup service to copy files to a hosted computer that is secure.? But all the online backup services I looked at were expensive, costing hundreds of dollars a year to maintain.

crashplan_logoEnter CrashPlan.?? (Disclosure: I received a free one year subscription to CrashPlan+ to write this review, but what I put in the review is completely my own).? CrashPlan has the features I’d expect from a backup service.? Install a client to your desktop, select which folders you want to backup, and it runs continuously in the background keeping your files in sync with the backup location.? But here’s where it gets interesting.? The backup location can be 1) Another folder like an external hard drive, 2) Another computer anywhere like a friend’s house, or 3) Online at CrashPlan’s computers.? The first two options are completely free.? If you don’t have a trustworthy friend you can pay a few dollars a month for option 3.

Your backed up files are available online, to download whenever you need.? You can even restore the files as they existed at any point in time, which is handy if you mistakenly overwrite a file, or if tiny fingers on the keyboard manage to delete a file.? There is even a free iPhone or Android app to let you access files remotely.

If you have lots of digital pictures and videos, you need a backup plan.? I suggest you take a look at CrashPlan.

A New Way To Coupon

Do you use coupons? Of course you do. It’s free money.

You probably get pages of coupons with the weekend newspaper. How many coupons do you end up tossing away because your family doesn’t use the products?

What if there were an easy way to trade the coupons you don’t want, for more of the ones you do? What if it were absolutely free? Enter Coupon Whirl. A free online coupon exchange that makes it easy.

Coupon Whirl is SuburbanDaddy’s latest side project. I conceived it while watching an episode of TLC’s Extreme Couponing with SuburbanMommy. (Before you make fun and take away my man card for watching TLC, realize I have 4 kids and lost that card a very long time ago).

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Can’t Beat A Classic

Maybe there really is something to the old expression “they don’t make ’em like they used to.”

The classic toys and games, many of the same ones I played as a kid, are still great and kids love them.

Right now, the most popular game in my house is Hungry Hungry Hippos. It’s not very exciting by today’s standards but seems to work. Thing 3 keeps it in his bedroom and asks to play it all the time.

Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and Slip n Slide have all been hits in our house. What other classics are still popular?

A Worthy Investment

We’ve been having problems with the air conditioning system since, well, last year.? It’s been leaking refrigerant which we’ve refilled three times.? It’s probably not the best thing for the environment, especially since it’s an older unit and that type of refrigerant isn’t allowed anymore, but refilling for a few hundred dollars is much better than the replacement cost of a new A/C system.

But we realized we’ll have to do it sooner or later so yesterday we had a brand new, Carrier Infinity installed.? It’s the mac daddy of air conditioners home comfort technology.? It’s got a lot of whiz bang features like showing you the outside temperature on the thermostat and speaking of thermostat, it looks like an iPad hanging on the wall.

All that is nice, but last night I found out the feature that makes the hefty price tag worth it.? Apparently it does such a good job with its “home comfort technology”, that everyone in the house slept in until 6:30am!? At the same time.? You have to realize how amazing this is for us.? In the last 8 years, I don’t think we’ve ever slept that late.? We’ll see tomorrow if it was a fluke or the Carrier Infinity.

Little Looster

It was difficult at times, but somehow we managed to potty train 2 out of 4 Things. We are close to starting down that road with Thing 3, mainly because he needs to be out of diapers before moving to the next preschool class in September. Unfortunately he wants no part of it. So I was happy when Monica Mylet, the inventor The Little Looster, invited SuburbanDaddy to test out her new product.

The Little Looster is a plastic stool that surrounds your toilet.? It is designed to help little ones climb up on the potty, and because of its unique wraparound shape, gives them a place to rest their legs while sitting.? Ingenious!

The stool is made out of sturdy plastic and was able to easily support my weight.? It is wide in the front and narrower along the sides, providing a nice fit along the toilet base.? And it’s slim enough not to interfere when adults use the toilet.

It arrived in a big shipping box, with bubble wrap, which was enough to get Thing 3’s curiosity way up.? I was hoping the excitement would be enough to get him to actually sit on the potty.? But he still refused, and I know enough not to push it with him.? Luckily, Thing 2 was more than happy to demonstrate how it works.

You can find out more about The Little Looster? at littlelooster.com.

Little Looster