Thursday, October 24, 2013

DIY Kids Bookshelves - IKEA Spice Rack Shelves

We have a whole shelf full of kids books in the living room, and I have been looking for a better way to store them. I was looking for an option that would allow the books to face front, because it's more engaging for kids.

I was very interested in a KidKraft sling bookshelf, but I realized that it just would not work in the space that I had. I had heard about the Ikea spice rack bookshelves, and after doing some research, it didn't look too hard. 

These DIY bookshelves are all over Pinterest, and the directions are really easy. I purchased four of the Bekvam Spice Racks available at IKEA or on Amazon. You pay more if you purchase from Amazon, but if you don't have an IKEA nearby or can't get to one soon, they are available. 

Assembling the racks took about 3 minutes per shelf, and my toddler had a great time helping to tighten the screws. Then came the hard part! I am really challenged when it comes to home improvement things, but we borrowed an electric drill, and I manged to hang the shelves with minimal issue. They are pretty crooked, but I am not starting over, and Munchkin seems pretty happy with the results. I like that he can see the books, and I feel like we are making good use of the space. 

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Extended Rear Facing

Munchkin (how I will be referring to 2.5 year old A from now on) is still rear facing. I get a lot of comments that make it sound like what I am doing is weird or extreme. He is a big guy - at 2.5, he is 31 pounds and 36 inches. He still fits very well rear facing in his Britax Marathon 70. He has never complained about being uncomfortable, and he loves car rides. After watching the crash test videos that show the differences between a rear and forward facing child, I am honestly afraid to turn him around.

I just came across a blog post about the myths of rear-facing kids, and I think it reflects a lot on how I feel about this subject. I believe that every parent has the right to turn their kids around when they wish, (obviously after the minimum guidelines are passed) but I don't think I should be looked at weirdly for doing whatever I can to protect my children.

After looking at these photos, I got nervous that maybe A had reached the height limits for rear facing. But after measuring, he still has a good 2 inches between his head and the top of the shell, so we should be good for a few more months!

On a related note, we just moved Baby E into the Marathon 70-G3 and I am planning to review it soon, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: Step2 Push Around Buggy

I purchased the Step2 Push Around Buggy around my toddler's first birthday. I was looking for an alternative to the stroller for short walks to the park, or just around the neighborhood. I really like the car, but we didn't use it as much as I thought we would. Now that Baby E is starting to enjoy the car as well, I am really happy we have it! Here are a few points to think about if you are considering buying this push toy:

Baby E getting  ride from Grandma

  • It pushes really well! It is really easy to push outside, even with a pretty heavy toddler inside. Turning the buggy takes some getting used to, because the handle doesn't turn, but once you get the hang of it, it's not difficult. The handle is also at a great height for adults to comfortably push the car. 
  • It is a great stroller alternative for short outings. Kids have more freedom in the buggy, and they can "drive" the car and beep the horn. 
  • The buggy has some great features including a buckle, and a small trunk area for storing water bottles, snacks, or small toys. 
  • The wheels are very loud. If you are looking for a quiet ride, this is not the push car for you. The wheels are loud, but it hasn't bothered either of my kids, both of whom are extremely sensitive to noises. 
  • The seat area is not very roomy. By 18 months, I had a hard time fitting A into this car, although he is above average height. At 11 months, Baby E fits perfectly in the buggy, but I don't see him fitting much past 18 months either. 
  • I believe some models of this buggy have a removable handle, but mine does not. Assembly of this car was fairly straightforward, but I would have preferred a car that was already assembled. It is extremely sturdy however, and can withstand a lot. 

An old picture of Big Brother A in the buggy around 14-15 months

  • Keep in mind, that the way this toy is constructed means that there is no way for toddlers to propel themselves. The car really needs to be pushed in order to move. 
Overall, I think this is a great addition to our riding toy collection. 

What are your favorite riding toys?

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