Car Seat Safety – Read This Now.

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Here at The Mint Chip Mama we care about Winter Safety. A few weeks ago we shared some very important winter driving tips from our friends over at Kelley Blue Book. Today we want to share some winter car seat safety tips from our friends at Evenflo. I became a big fan of Evenflo when I started using their breast pump and love the philosophy of the company, so listen up!

With slick roads, icy conditions and heavy traffic, winter travel can be a difficult time on the road. This is especially true when traveling with young children. If you are like me, and travel with young children in their car seats at least twice a day, pay attention.

Sarah Haverstick, Evenflo’s  Safety Advocate and certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, has come up with the below essential tips to ensure safe traveling with children this winter season.

1. The most important thing to remember each time you get in your car is to:

Remove your child’s bulky coat before placing him/her in the car seat. 

Why? Because coats can compress during a crash which is not good.

However, once the child has been secured, you can put the coat on backwards over the harness. You can also keep extra blankets in the car to place over your child, once they are secured.

If you want to go a step further, check out this new – and what looks like amazing – option for a car seat approved coat called Cozywoggle. I’m dying to get my hands on one of these so my poor kids don’t have to freeze this winter!

2. Traveling with wings instead of wheels? It is recommended that all children use age-appropriate car seats on planes – even kids under two. Check with your carrier about buying a discounted seat for children under two as well as any restrictions on car seat use in flight. It’s also a good idea to check the label on your car seat before leaving for the airport to make sure it is FAA approved.

3. This last tip is the most important. It is important no matter what the weather is like outside. Luckily, it is very easy to do:

Get your car seat installation inspected.

As I mentioned back in September, during Child Passenger Safety Month, if you are in the 11803 area, Justine at Hassell Auto Body (located at 390 Rte 109 in West Babylon, (631) 587-5500) will happily check your car seat installation weekdays from 10am – 2pm. No charge, no inconvenience, no muss, no fuss, just a smile and her check-list of safety. It takes about 15 minutes. If you are not located on Long Island, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide or safecar.gov to find a location near you that will check the installation of your car seat. This is a simple step that could save your child’s life. Yes, I mean to be that dramatic.

If you are in the market for a new car seat, Evenflo has two worth mentioning:

The Evenflo Platinum Protection Series is line of car seats that features NASA-developed Outlast technology, a temperature regulating fabric that keeps children comfortable during hot and cold weather by actively absorbing and storing hot and cold temperatures and releasing as needed. The Platinum Series line includes the All-In-One seat, accommodating a child from 5-110 lbs., as well as a Convertible and Harnessed Booster seat.

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The Evenflo ProComfort Protection Series is available as an All-In-One, Convertible, and Belt-Positioning Booster. This line of seats is made with an innovative Gel-Matrix cushion that helps reduce pressure point build up. High pressure build up can create extreme discomfort during a long trip or car ride, which is why equalizing pressure points plays a vital role in keeping children comfortable and safe.

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Both seats above come with the new Evenflo SureSafe System. Whether it be an Evenflo All-In-One, Convertible, or Infant Car Seat, all Evenflo car seats now come equipped with Latch Guides and Quick Connectors that increase proper installation.

Here’s to a SAFE 2015! Thank you everyone for making this year – my first – as The Mint Chip Mama so great.

New Years Eve, Big Apple Circus Style!

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Looking for something fun and kid friendly to do New Years Eve? How about “ringing” in the New Year under the heated big top of the Big Apple Circus?

As you know over here at The Mint Chip Mama we LOVE the Big Apple Circus, you can check out my full review here. So when they asked me to help spread the word about this special performance I was happy to help!

The Big Top at Lincoln Center will be filled with music, magic and memories to last a lifetime. The fun begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, December 31st and will end just in time for a count down to 2015 led by the Ringmaster, John Kennedy Kane.

At midnight, welcome in the New Year with a champagne or non-alcoholic sparkling cider toast, and join the cast of circus performers in the ring for dancing with live music provided by Rob Slowik and the Big Apple Circus Band. Special New Year’s Eve party hats, noise-makers and goody bags will also be provided.

If your children are old enough to stay up until midnight, but not ready to be out on their own, this is the perfect way to ring in the New Year!

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Busy New Years Eve but looking for something to do next week over the school break? You have two shows to choose from each day til January 4th (one at 12:30pm and another at 4:30pm)!

In addition to the Big Apple CircusTicket Specials I’m pleased to offer my readers the promo code BIGAPPLE which will give you up to $25 off each ticket! (Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply).

Ticket Giveaway!

Win two tickets for the 6:30pm performance on:

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

To win, post in the comment section below the name of one of the Big Apple Circus community programs.

Winner will be chosen 1/3/15 at 5pm.

Tickets for this special New Year’s Eve event range in price from $50 to $175 (use promo code CHILD to save 50% on select seats for children under 12!). Tickets are available online at http://www.bigapplecircus.org or by calling (888) 541-3750. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Big Apple Circus Box Office, located in front of the Big Top in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center (Broadway at 63rd Street); there is no service charge for tickets purchased at the Box Office. Hours of operation are Saturday – Monday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Tuesday – Friday, from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Drivin’ That SUV, High On Coff-ee… Casey Jones You Better… Watch Your Speed. Otherwise Known As – Winter Driving Tips

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As a walking everywhere Manhattanite I didn’t drive a car for the better part of thirteen years. When we ventured east, lord knows, my husband had to drive. Just like he has to hold the remote. So I enjoyed looking out the window. Like a dog. Woof.

Cut to last January. We moved out to Long Island and suddenly I was a homeowner with two kids and a SUV. I had to drive to school drop off and pick up every day. As a shrimp who hadn’t driven in what felt like 100 years, I decided to test drive every SUV on the market because I just couldn’t find the right fit. I was like the Goldilocks of test drivers for a solid two weeks. I finally decided a 2014 Subaru Forrester was juuuust right.

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My first car! Now if only I could get the bluetooth to understand “call home”.

Now, on this gross, gross rainy Nor’easter day I sit and cringe about the upcoming winter. As indicated by the squirrels in my backyard – literally storing nuts for the winter (thanks for the holes, shmucks) – the next few months are going to be brutal.

With that said, since my blog is all about fun and safety and helping my fellow humans make the world a better place, I wanted to share some smart winter driving tips from the experts over at Kelley Blue Book.

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Our car – which we parked on the street in Mahattan – after a bad snowstorm in January 2005.
  1. Make certain your car’s electrical system is prepared for cold, wet weather. 

Cold diminishes the effectiveness of a car’s battery, so if your battery was on the edge in the fall, get it checked ASAP. Check the charging system (the alternator) too while you’re there to be safe. You don’t want to get stuck with a car that won’t start. Even worse, you don’t want to get stranded in between errands when you are late to pick-up your child and your phone battery died 10 minutes ago because you left your charger on your kitchen counter, again (not that that ever happens…).

  1. Make sure your car has proper antifreeze/coolant in the cooling system. 

Antifreeze is a no-brainer when the temperature dips below freezing.  What is less intuitive is that your car can still overheat even when it is freezing outside.  Say what? When you are at the mechanic, ask him to check your antifreeze/coolant levels, as well as the belts and hoses.

  1. Check out your tires. 

Make sure your all-season tires have good tread depth and are at the proper inflation pressures. If you live in the Snow Belt, you may want to upgrade to dedicated winter tires. Yes, it is an investment, but well worth it for the increased safety and peace of mind you gain.

  1. Visibility is often compromised in winter weather, so be certain your windshield wipers and windshield washers are working properly.

Know how you keep saying “I need new wiper blades”? Go on Amazon now and order them. Now.  You will have them in 2 days. At your front door. There is even a little drop-down to get you to the correct ones for your vehicle. If your wipers have been soaking up the sun all summer, they are probably compromised, so treat your car to a new set (that means both front and rear). Check your washer fluid levels too.

  1. Prepare your winter driving skills. 

In the winter you will often drive over surfaces covered in snow, ice and freezing rain. Learn how to handle your car in these situations by practicing in an empty parking lot. It is totally cool to have someone hold up a sign that says “Do Not Try at Home” while you whip around doing fishtails.

  1. Don’t drive on “E.”

I am sooo guilty of this. Bad weather can come quickly, and it might leave you marooned. In such an instance the last thing you want to do is run out of gas, because that can turn your car’s warm cabin into a deep freeze. You don’t have to top off every day, but don’t run the car near empty either. I pass a Hess station several times a day. I’m obsessed with the price of gas. It went down NINE cents yesterday within a few hours! NINE CENTS! By the way, their truck looks really cool this year. Like something from Knight Rider.

  1. Plan for a worst-case scenario.

Despite one’s best efforts, you might find yourself stranded. That’s when prior preparation can help you.  Having warm clothing, gloves, an operating flashlight, and water or liquids in the car can aid your survival and rescue in inclement weather. This may or may not also include a few emergency Peppermint Patties. If you live in an area that gets heavy snow, chains can aid traction considerably and kitty litter can help you extricate your car if it gets stuck (meow). Throw in a good book, and you can profitably pass the time. Yes, this counts as “me” time. No, don’t call your spouse and say you are stranded just to be left alone for an hour. Actually— if you have the Peppermint Patties….

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Like the Subaru commercial, right? (I just cried watching it again)

In the market for a new car? Let me share two great lists the experts over at Kelley Blue Book have hand-picked for the upcoming winter weather as well as other driving challenges: 10 Best All-Wheel Drive Cars & SUVs under $25,000 (including the #1 winner – ahem, my beloved Subaru Forrester!) and the overall 10 Best Cars for Winter.

Sadly, none of these come with an in-car app that routes you to the nearest drive thru Dunkin Donuts. Nor do they come with a competent robot to walk your child into the building so you don’t have to get out of the car. Maybe in the 2016 models…

Hope this helps. Stay warm. Stay safe. Looking forward to writing a “Summer Driving Tips” in a few months. Sneak peak—open sunroof, sip iced tea, go to beach. Now, doesn’t that sound better?

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R’s impression of the final scene in The Breakfast Club.

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Holiday Boutique – Mompreneur Extravaganza, The Fox Hollow, 12/8/14, 7pm

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Us women – us mothers – wear many hats. Chief medical person, head negotiator, sock finder, bill payer, house manager, warm clothing coordinator, pretty much anything that anyone needs done at any time of day. We do it with a smile on our faces and a packet or granola bar in our pocket.

In addition to all of the above, some of us think in the crazy wee hours of the night once our kids are dreaming or during those sweet, sweet, hours of freedom some call school – we should get crafty. Crafty literally and crafty figuratively. Enter the Mompreneur. This title refers to a pretty awesome lady who helms multiple ships at a time.

At The Fox Hollow on December 8th, 2014, at 7pm, you will find the coolest group of Mompreneurs around at the second annual Mompreneur Extravaganza. Started by a mom of four, a Mompreneur herself, this event blew out it’s inaugural venue in May and based on chatter, will be the event of the 2014 Holiday season.

Below, I’m excited to introduce you to a few of the rockstar moms who will be at the Mompreneur Extravaganza. This event is free and open to all. I can guarantee you will be happy you came and that you will walk away with some fantastic presents for both youself and the ones you love.

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Tara Allen Health

Tara is a Registered Nurse, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Health Coach. She created SnugBug Fitness (babywearing and pregnancy classes) because her daughter was very attached, and trips to the gym were hard until she figured out she could work out with her daughter in a wrap or carrier. Tara has a 13 month old daughter.

Prior to being a Mompreneur, Tara worked full time as an RN and did some personal training on the side.

Her office hours are whenever she can squeeze them in, often in her “mobile office” after driving around long enough to get her daughter to nap. She simply parks and gets to work.

You can find Tara on Facebook and on Instagram at Tara_Allen_Health.

What sets Tara apart? Her unique training and background. She believes the blend of nursing school, personal training, and health coaching certifications have given her the benefit of approaching health and positive life change from every angle.

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Alysa Renee Photography

Alysa is a photographer based in Syosset. She photographs families, children and events. Alysa’s love of photography began in her High School photography class. Her dad gave her his late fathers old film camera to shoot with and she could not get enough of the dark room. Upon high school graduation she went directly to the School of Visual Arts where her fine art landscapes were shown in NYC art galleries. Her love for photographing children started when she worked at a renowned studio in Manhattan. She has two little girls – 5 and 17 months.

Prior to being a Mompreneur, Alysa was an entrepreneur – she started her business in 2008!

Her office hours are usually on the weekends when most families prefer to set up appointments. She edits photos when the baby is napping and when both children are down for the night.

You can find Alysa on Facebook and you can visit her blog here.

What sets Alysa apart? In addition to being a professionally trained photographer, she seeks perfection when editing her client’s images. She truly loves working with children, with whom she has infinite patience.

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Grow With Me Tee

Grow With Me Tee was started by two cousins who loved taking photos of their kids. They decided to create the three Grow With Me Tee’s products for other parents who enjoy taking photos of their kids too.

Prior to being a Mompreneur, Nicole – one of the founders – taught 4th and 5th grade for close to a decade. She has two kids, 6 and 3.

Her office hours are while the kids are at school and at night after bedtime.

You can find Grow with Me Tee on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at growwithmetee.

What sets Grow With Me Tee apart? Our Grow With Me Onesies are a cute way to photojournal your growing baby.  The onesie will be huge on the baby during the first photograph, but having your child take the photo in the same shirt each month really gives you great documentation of his/her growth.  Their line continues as your child grows with their “ruler shirt”‘ and “class of” shirt.

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Jodie started Un Deux Trois Style because as a recent Manhattan transplant, she yearned for a fun and intimate shopping experience on Long Island. She wants the women who shop with her to feel good, be themselves and look unique – so she decided to bring the boutique to them in a party setting. Her passions in life include fashion, music, family, her husband and two puppies.

Prior to being a Mompreneur Jodie worked in event planning, corporate finance and social media.

Her office hours are in the wee hours of the night once everyone is sleeping.

You can find her on FacebookTwitter and on Instagram at undeuxtroisstyle.

What sets Un Deux Trois Style apart? Jodie brings her limited, constantly changing inventory to you! Her goal is to help clients save time, a little bit of money, and have fun with their friends while shopping in someone’s home. Jodie lives by Kate Spade’s mantra, “Playing dress-up begins at age 5 and never truly ends.”

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Rodan + Fields 

Rachel, a Level V, Executive Consultant for Rodan + Fields started her business in 2012 with the goal of paying for her daughters summer camp tuition. She was ready to both contribute to her family financially and for something new to call her own. She was looking to gain back her financial independence and swagger. She has two daughters, 8 and 4.

Prior to being a Mompreneur, Rachel was in Advertising on the agency-side.

Her office hours are in the nooks & crannies of the day, but mostly during school hours.

You can find Rachel on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram at RayRayDank.

What sets Rodan + Fields apart? It is a dermatology based skincare brand. It’s unique because the doctors that created this brand also created Proactiv – they know how to create systems for the skin that solve problems. What sets Rachel apart? She loves helping others feel better about themselves whether it is through R+F’s clinically proven products or via their incredibly generous business model.

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Labels of Luv

Randi began her company after being stuck home due to frigid temperatures, snow, ice, school closings, a toddler and a pre-schooler.  She was making labels for friends over the years as a hobby. Once people started seeing her labels on gifts and spreading her name around, she decided it was time to “start up an at home business”. She began with making labels for Birthday presents and now makes labels for presents, favors, holidays, showers, bris, address labels, place cards, we’ve moved cards, thank you cards, business cards and invitations. She has a daughter who is 5.5 and a son who is 2.

Prior to being a Mompreneur, Randi worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist two days a week.

Her office hours are when her kids are asleep or napping.

You can find her on Facebook and on Instagram at LOLlabelsofluv.

What sets Labels of Luv apart? Randi is a local mom who is willing to make your labels at the drop of a hat and nothing is printed until you – the customer – LUV your labels. She is happy to email, text or meet you with a proof and modify it as many times as it takes to make you LUV your label.

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Finally, I would be remiss if I did not include my own company!

RSDubs Ribbons

I started RSDubs Ribbons haute couture hair accessories with my daughter in April of 2014. She was looking for some specific hair ribbons and we could not find them. Having a background in the arts as well as a kid who loves to do arts and crafts, RSDubs Ribbons was born. We often sit together and design the hair accessories, which is fun for both of us. I cut the grosgrain ribbon and she picks out the organza ribbons to compliment it. I have two children, my 4.75 daughter (don’t you dare say she is 4.5) and my 1 year old son.

Prior to being a Monpreneur, I worked in finance, marketing, and customer service for luxury fashion and cosmetic brands. I started writing for Macaroni Kid while living in Manhattan and then The Huffington Post. I launched this blog, The Mint Chip Mama in August of 2014.

My office hours are both on the weekend – when we are able to design the hair accessories and at night while I sit on the couch with very busy hands watching tv with my husband.

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

What sets RSDubs Ribbons apart? RSDubs Ribbons are the original haute couture organza ribbon and character grosgrain ribbon hair accessories made just for you! All of our hair accessories can be customized with any character grosgrain ribbon and your choice of colored organza ribbon. RSDubs Ribbons are perfect for school/cheer fundraising and party favors. I am more than happy to donate to any charity that is important to you, just ask!

See you all on Monday at the Mompreneur Extravaganza!