Monthly Archives

August 2019

Family Travel

10 Things To Do In Vegas With Younger Kids

August 24, 2019

When my husband informed me that he would be working in Vegas for a few weeks this summer, I have to admit…I wasn’t exactly excited to take my kids (including a two-month old) to Sin City. (Not to mention the crazy heat they typically experience in the middle of summer.) After all, I have never viewed Vegas as a kid-friendly town. However, after my first week of getting on a first-name-basis with the hotel concierge, I realized there’s plenty of awesome attractions catered to kids. Below are my kids’ favorite Vegas attractions and activities:

1. Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. When I asked my boys what their favorite part of Vegas was, they both shouted, “Avengers Station!” This amazing interactive experience involves filling out your own S.H.I.E.L.D. agent profile, answering questions through each superhero exhibit, watching videos, posing for photo ops on Captain America’s motorcycle, facing off as a team in a fight against Ultron, and countless more superhero activities. Also on display are a variety of the Avengers equipment such as Iron Man’s armor suits, Captain America’s shield, Black Panther’s mask, Thor’s hammer, etc. A must-do if you have superhero-loving boys!

2. Springs Preserve. This was my personal favorite excursion with the kids. This is where the legendary Old West explorers Kit Carson and John Fremont used to park their horses in the mid 1800s. It contains some fascinating museum exhibits (including a dinosaur exhibit, a gold-mining history exhibit, and a flash flood simulation), nature trails, a train ride, an impressive playground, an outdoor reptile exhibit, and botanical gardens. The historian in me loved learning about the Nevada history, especially the evolution of the area and the Hoover Dam. It definitely is something for everyone of all ages. (Tip: Go on a day that isn’t too hot as you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.) 

3. Adventuredome. Located in Circus Circus, this is an indoor theme park with rides and games (including an arcade, mini golf, laser tag, and 4-D movie adventure) for all ages. I would recommend visiting here during the week, as it can get more crowded on the weekends. Be sure to look in advance at the rides so you know if you want to buy individual rides or an all-day wristband. Prices are very reasonable and the best part? It’s an air-conditioned theme park!

4. Titanic Exhibit. Located at the Luxor, this is a fascinating exhibit for kids and adults alike. With lots of amazing artifacts, photos, stories, and an iceberg, it doesn’t disappoint! My kids favorite part was the ticket they give you upon entering. Each visitor is an actual ‘passenger’ on the Titanic, as your tickets provide you with a little bio about who your passenger was and why they were on the Titanic. At the end, you discover their fate. This unique touch made it more exciting for the kiddos as it kept them interested and focused up until the end. Though it has a bit of a somber feel, it’s incredibly interesting for everyone of all ages.

5. Mandalay Bay Shark Reef. This underwater world with 14 exhibits (ranging from sharks, rays, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and exotic fish) was a favorite with my boys, resulting in two visits. The polar experience was their favorite, featuring an IMAX-like experience watching a huge glacier break off.

6. Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. My kids LOVED this pet comedy show with the cutest pet tricks you can imagine. From cats pushing strollers to dogs jumping rope to lots of circus performing, this show is a home run for younger kids (approx under the age of 7 or 8).

7. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat. Located at the Mirage Hotel, it’s a calm oasis away from the craziness of The Strip. The Dolphin Habitat is a massive tank that holds bottlenose dolphins who take part in various informal shows doing tricks with the trainers throughout the day. There is also an underwater viewing area where my boys loved watching the dolphins play and interact with each other. The Secret Garden is home to a variety of cats including panthers, tigers, leopards and lions. They have fascinating facts posted through out the garden about the cats, as well as incredibly knowledgable cat keepers who will answer any question your little ones can think up.

8. Top Golf. My kids are golf lovers, but even if you don’t play golf, this is still a fun place. They cater to everyone from beginners to advanced golfers, and kids to adults. It’s a great location as well with a good food and drink selection!

9. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is one of the few free things to do in Vegas. It is a beautiful glass dome past the lobby at the Bellagio. It consists of beautiful flower and plants constructed into stunning seasonal scenes. It makes for some lovely photos ops! Note: There’s a great ice cream shop down the hallway with an awesome chocolate fountain.

10. Free Circus Acts at Circus Circus. At Circus Circus, the free show area is upstairs in the Carnival Midway arcade section. You will need to check their daily schedule of acts, but they range from your basic silly clown acts to impressive acrobatic acts, trapeze artists, and animal shows. They’re short yet entertaining for the kids and a nice break from the arcade craze!

Products Toddler Products

Choosing a Non-Toxic Car Seat Without Harmful Fire Retardant Chemicals

August 16, 2019

When I was pregnant with my first child and deciding on the ever-important initial car seat, the only criteria that mattered to me were the safety ratings.  After all, the physical safety of your baby should be prioritized above everything else. Now with my third baby, my criteria spread from not only the safety ratings, but also finding a car seat that isn’t exposing my baby to hazardous chemicals every time she is in the car. Fortunately, there are now options for parents to choose a car seat with great safety ratings AND free of harmful chemicals. This makes mamas like me very happy.:)

Why is choosing a carseat without fire retardant chemicals important?

First off, car seat manufactures add flame retardant chemicals to car seats to slow the spread of fire and, thus, meeting auto flammability standards. However, these chemicals are very ineffective and highly toxic creating serious health hazards (i.e. impaired neurological development, impaired child development, and endocrine disruption, to name a few). In addition to fire retardant chemicals, there are PFCs/PFOAs (Perfluorinated chemicals). These chemicals work as water, stain, and grease repellants in the fabric treatments. Unsurprisingly, these chemicals have been linked to other serious health concerns. In short, the majority of car seats are INCREDIBLY toxic with chemicals we certainly want to avoid putting our precious babies near.

From my research, I have discovered four fabulous companies that manufacture car seats without fire retardant chemicals. Fingers crossed that more companies in the near future will follow suit. These companies include:

  1. Clek. I was first introduced to the Canadian-made Clek car seat in the parking lot at my son’s preschool. We were wooed and wowed by their heavy-duty nature and unique look. (Yes, a car seat can produce woo-ing, believe it or not.) Not only do they have great safety ratings on paper, they look it in person! In addition to their great safety ratings, Clek has been known for their eco-minded, high-quality car seats. Their Infant Liing Car Seat, which just debuted in April of 2019, was my first choice. Since I was worried about going into labor early and wanted a car seat at least a month before my due date, I did not purchase the Liing since it hadn’t come out yet. However, I have replaced all of our convertible and booster car seats for my boys in our vehicles with Clek’s Fllo Convertible and the Oobr Booster (with a back) seats and could not be happier. The non toxic material they use is 100% merino wool. (Note: The Clek Foonf is also another non toxic carseat available by Clek.) 
  1. UppaBaby. The infant carseat we chose for Baby #3 was the UppaBaby Mesa Jordan, which has a Merino wool-poly blend making it naturally flame resistant. (Both the Mesa Henry and Jordan models contain no retardant chemicals, nor perfluorinated chemicals.) I love that the wool is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, (for those of you like myself who pay attention to the always important certifications). Since we use UppaBaby strollers, it’s super convenient as it’s compatible with the UppaBaby Vista and UppaBaby Cruz models. Additionally, the NHTSA rating is 5 stars for ease of use. Note: UppaBaby just came out with a convertible carseat last month called the UppaBaby Knox Jordan.
  1. Nuna. This European-based, eco-friendly company makes an infant car seat, Nuna Pipa Lite, with fabric made from wool and TENCEL (made from wood pulp). The nice thing about TENCEL material is that it is biodegradable, moisture absorbent, and anti-bacterial. Moreover, the Nuna Pipa Lite weighs less than 6 lbs and is the lightest infant car seat on the market. Their non toxic convertible car seat is the Nuna Rava (with the exception in the Verona option). I love Nuna products and even though I don’t have their car seat, I appreciate how all their products are responsibly made with smart designs.
  1. Britax. I had an infant Britax car seat for my second baby, and I was very excited to see they were among the companies to join in on the new trend. Their chemical-free infant seat, Britax Endeavors in Otto Safewash, is made with a polyester blend. It is compatible with all Britax strollers, and their fabric is fully machine washable. They also make a convertible carseat, Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB in Otto Safewash, in the same safewash fabric without chemicals. 

It’s truly a shame that most car seats use these harmful fire retardant chemicals and PFCs/PFOAs. Not only are the chemicals toxic, but they also accumulate both in the body and environment overtime, creating even greater health hazards.:( Thank goodness we now have options from manufacturers who are making chemical safety a priority in their car seats. When you spend time everyday in the car with your ever-so-precious cargo, nothing beats having a peace of mind in knowing they are in a safe and non toxic car seat. Lets hope more companies will start making car seats free of harmful chemicals the new normal.