Stop Agonizing Over Finding A New Child Seat

In our day to day lives there is nothing more heavy metal than our vehicles…literally. Parents know this and this is why so much time and research is spent trying to find the ideal car seat for the family. The sense of dread and responsibility can be a bit overwhelming. When you add into the equation the expense of a new child seat the outcome may seem bleak. If you have just started your journey then you should take some comfort in knowing that it is possible to get something safe while not breaking the budget. We were once in this situation and came out of it with a new convertible car seat that we could afford that we felt confident could protect our child fully. Exhale while we show you some of the better alternatives for parents with not a lot to spend.

Budget Options That Will Serve You Well

The first thing that you should do is to extinguish the guilt you may be carrying around with you because you are not able to splurge on a top of the line convertible car seat. The bottom line is that all child restraint seats sold in stores must pass minimum safety standards before they are able to be sold to the public. As long as you buy from a reputable outlet and get a name brand with a solid reputation you should be just fine. There is one caveat, you must also use the seat properly to get the maximum benefit. Installing your child seat correctly is just as important as buying a safe seat.

Graco MyRide 65

Graco is a name that you can trust as they are known for making more affordable child gear that parents love. The MyRide 65 is so named because it is designed for children from 5 to 65 lbs. You can use it for infants in the rear facing position and then when they are big enough you can switch them to the forward facing position. This model has all of the safety and protection features that parents desire but in a less expensive price range. This particular seat goes for around $100 which is pretty good considering everything that you get. Another great thing about this convertible seat is that it gets high praise from parents. Good ratings leads to better confidence when buying. If you can squeeze this within your budget then this Graco seat comes highly recommended.

Evenflo Tribute LX

This is probably one of the more popular budget options for parents out there. The one downside to this seat is that it has an upper weight limit of only 40 lbs. This means that at some point you will have to purchase another convertible child seat somewhere down the line. This is a good starter option if money is tight now but you think that you can afford something a little higher in a few years. It has an excellent reputation for safety and it does get decent reviews. For those who are in a pinch this model will run you between $55 and $75 typically.

Cosco MightyFit 65

Cosco is another quality brand that makes some standard but safe convertible car seats. As you can guess by the name that it can handle children up to 65 lbs. This is a nice bonus since this seat usually goes for $100 or just under. Safety tested and parent approved, this is another fine budget seat. It also has a somewhat small footprint that lets you fit 3 of these seats across the back of your vehicle if you have multiple children that you need to protect.

Evenflo Tribute Sport

This model is similar to the Tribute LX but it can be had for a little bit less, usually around or under $50. This too is also only rated for kids up to 40 lbs. so we only recommend this as a starter seat. One nice feature of this model is that it is rated for airplane travel and meets all FAA requirements which is great for parents who need to fly. Light weight, solid, and decent reviews from parents make this another excellent option.

Being A Parent Is Expensive Work

If you happened to stumble across a list of the top 10 convertible baby car seats of 2017 you might have experienced a little bit of sticker shock. The highest rated seats are often some of the more expensive options. While some may offer advanced safety features, it is mostly due to the quality of the materials used as well as their usability for parents. It is important to keep in mind that no matter what your budget may be you will be able to get something that is designed to protect your child in the event of an accident. Today’s child restraint seats, no matter how much they cost, must meet certain standards before they are deemed safe for the public.

You should not feel bad because you cannot afford a $300 seat. We had to get something that we could afford and in the end our child is very happy and safe and we don’t feel once ounce of guilt about it, nor should you. We now have something that we enjoy using every day to go to the grocery store and it has served our entire family well. It can be done on a budget.

Cooking Your Vegetables With A Countertop Oven

If going completely raw in your efforts to maintain a vegan lifestyle is too extreme of a move then fear not. Cooking your veggies can be just as rewarding. Whether it is a nice vegetarian fajita, roasted peppers, bean casserole, or anything in between, having a hot meal is easy to achieve with the right equipment. For us, having a toaster oven in the kitchen has been a true blessing. The funny thing is that we do not even use it for making toast. Instead we give it a workout baking, roasting, and broiling some of our favorite vegan meals and side dishes. If you need something to ease your way into this new diet undertaking, a little heat can make a big difference.

We have used primarily a couple of different models over the years, just having upgraded to a real top of the line gem. However, most of our friends make use of a countertop oven as well. We decided to give you some of our favorite ovens that can help your vegetable adventure get off on the right foot. There really is no limit to what you can achieve with food with the right imagination. Once you are set up you can try limitless vegan cooking recipes and take advantage of what it has to offer.

Quick Reviews & Highlights

First, we are not experts at reviewing small appliances, but we do have experience in the kitchen. There is really nothing scientific about our list. It just includes toaster ovens that we really like to use and think you will too.

Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro

Ok, this is the gem that we mentioned earlier. This is one awesome cooking machine. For years Breville has been the leader in countertop ovens. Their BOV800XL has been consistently ranked as the best toaster oven that you can get for your kitchen. The BOV845BSS is basically the same exact oven but with two added features. First, it has a light on the inside. You would think that every oven out there would come with this but unfortunately the older model Breville’s don’t. This is really handy to have. There is a button for you to activate it whenever you need and it goes off after a few seconds. Also, with 30 seconds left on the counter the light will come on automatically.

The second feature they added was an additional slow cooking setting. This unit comes with 10 preset cooking functions to help take out most of the guesswork. We have yet to use this setting but it is a nice bonus to have.

So far we have been amazed with what we have been able to make with this oven. Casseroles come out perfect and roast sweet peppers are done to perfection. The only negative thing we have to say is that it is a bit pricey. When we last looked it was the most expensive model coming in at nearly $270. It did hurt the pocket book, but we have not regretted it one bit. If you love cooked vegetables like we do then this oven is an ideal choice. It also cooks meat well, if you are into that.

Cuisinart TOB-155

This was our previous toaster oven that really took a beating. I am not even sure that they make this model any more, but Cuisinart makes some really dependable ovens. We looked into their current offerings and there were a couple that caught our eye. If it was not for the Breville that we ended up getting we would sure have no hesitations about picking up another Cuisinart. It was sad to see our old reliable go, but we got many great years of service. It was our side dish oven that we used for every dinner party that we threw. Our family friends also were sad to see it go since they benefited from it just as much as we did.

Other Brands We Like

Besides Cuisinart and Breville, we have also seen some Oster and Hamilton Beach ovens in action and were also thoroughly impressed. The terrific thing about these two brands in their affordability. If you don’t have the budget to go out and splurge on a new kitchen appliance then these are two names that you should look into.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Some Heat

Going totally raw can be daunting and very hard to keep up daily and this is why adding the comfort of a hot meal can help you get acclimated to such an abrupt change to your diet. Not only will having a toaster oven making things easier to make but they also clean up easily. You want things to be convenient, taste good, and be simple to maintain. A countertop oven can help you with all of these aspects. Don’t be weary, be adventurous in your kitchen and enjoy a lifetime of rewards to your health.

Taking The Plunge And Converting To A Vegan Diet


Ever since I entered college, I’ve been a bit infatuated with food. In experimenting with various diets over the years, I have always concluded that those which do not contain meat and dairy are the best. Although I was once vegetarian, I eventually gravitated towards the vegan diet after recognizing that it was a healthier choice. Then I somehow stumbled upon the raw vegan diet. After going through a detoxification period marked by periodic bouts of fatigue and cravings for cooked food, I felt more wonderful, both physically and mentally, than ever before.

If you are currently following a diet that compromises your health or precludes you from operating at optimum levels, you may want to consider converting to a raw vegan diet. Here are three ways to make your transition easier:

1. Do Research

During my conversion process to raw food, I spent endless hours watching YouTube videos and reading articles about how to be successful on the diet. You should do so too. Why? Because gaining information about raw veganism will help you determine whether it’s right for you. Additionally, raw vegan experts can provide you with great advice regarding how to handle detox symptoms, how to overcome cooked food cravings, and more. Get your hand on all of the latest vegan books that you can find and study them intently. You can never stop learning and having a firm grasp of what to expect is the best way to succeed.

2. Buy The Right Tools

Although no two raw vegans are alike, most of them tend to have juicers. This is because eating veggies all day can get a little tiresome and make you feel like a grazing farm animal. Using a juice extractor can break some of the routine and it can offer you a convenient and fun way to still get the nutrients from fresh foods that you need. Vegetables are keen and the best type of machine to use is a masticating juicer. Cold-pressed juice breaks down less quickly and the vitamins and enzymes are more protected from oxidation. Investing in one of these units is well worth the price. Omega, we know by experience, tends to make some of the best cold press juicers out there and they will give you a means to get the most juice out of your fruits and vegetables. They excel with leafy kale, cabbage, and spinach which are a pain to try and juice with a centrifugal machine.

3. Clean Out Your Pantry

Cleaning out your pantry can be a very effective strategy for individuals who are converting to the raw diet. This is the case because keeping cooked food in your living space increases the likelihood that you will eat it. Doing so will be detrimental to your new raw food diet for several reasons. First, it precludes you from experiencing the cleansing effect that results from eating foods in their whole, unprocessed forms. Second, it continually trains your mind and body to crave foods that you are attempting to eliminate from your diet. Thus while you may have qualms about wasting food, cleaning out the pantry can work in your favor during your transition to the raw diet. If the idea of throwing food away is particularly egregious to you, consider giving it away to a food pantry.


In order to lead a healthy life, you have to make healthy decisions. And one of the healthiest decisions you can make is converting to a raw vegan diet that contains copious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have been thinking about making this type of transition, consider implementing the strategies I’ve listed above. Good luck!