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Category — Cool Products

A Few Products for the Road

Occasionally companies send me their products to try in hopes they’ll get a mention on my website. Here are a few that I’ve tried recently:

That Gunk on Your Car was a funny reference book that I enjoyed on a recent road trip. It’s a field guide to insects that have likely splatted against your windshield. It was a cute book for older children or adults. I especially enjoyed the color photos of the splats to help identify some of the insects. It was divided into chapters regarding each of the more common insects. It’s not something you would necessarily read straight through, but made a great reference guide.

Along with that book, I tried a product to help me remove those sticky bugs from my car windshield. It was Prestone Bug Wash windshield washer fluid. I poured it into my windshield washer reservoir and hit the road. It actually did a great job removing bugs after I slammed into them, mile after mile. It did such a good job that I had my teenager clean the front of the minivan with it when we got home.

Finally, I tried the Energizer 15 minute battery charger for AA and AAA rechargeable batteries. It really worked in only 15 minutes, although it was a little louder than I expected it to be because of the fan that runs while it is working. It’s a very small unit, but the plug adapter is as big as the unit its self. It did come with two pairs of batteries to get you started, and also a car adapter plug so you can use it on the road to keep those video game remotes charged and working. After a few uses, this unit would pay for its self, although it’s a little bit of an investment for starters. You can’t beat the 15 minutes to charge though!

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September 21, 2009   2 Comments

Flair for the Road

I recently tried a new product called Glam Bags. These reusable travel bags claim that they will add a little bit of glamor and style to your life while you travel. Now, I am not normally a super fashion-conscious traveler, but I have to admit that I did feel a little bit more luxurious with my precious pretties in these designer bags than I did carrying them around in those old sandwich bags.

The pretty-factor makes me want to reuse them as much as I can too. They are convenient and attractive and that little bit of flair that they add to your trip really makes them worth it! I’ll definitely be taking these along on all my trips from now on.

September 14, 2009   Comments Off

Melissa and Doug Travel Games

My cousin Kirsten is taking a road trip with her kids this weekend in Oregon and found some great new products she recommends! They are called “Flip to Win

Here’s what she says:
We got Hangman and the Travel Bear Hunt – and both are good. Memory looks fun. There are No parts to lose except the pen on Hangman (which has a clip to store the pen when it’s not being used).

Here’s More:

  • These fabulous, travel-style games bring new fun and convenience to old family favorites
  • Innovative flipping pieces won’t get lost
  • Includes one game board with erasable whiteboard, self-storing marker and eraser
  • Great for the road and at home

Sounds great! Definitely worth checking out “Flip to Win“.

Thanks, Kirsten! Have a great trip!

~ Road Trip Mom ~
Momsminivan.com

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April 4, 2009   4 Comments

Say Cheese!

I bought myself a new digital camera recently for my travels. In the past, I’ve owned two different Sony digital cameras and have had issues with the display screens on both of them, and have even had to send them back to the factory for repair. Eventually Sony refused to continue repairing what I felt was a factory defect and should have been covered by the warrantee. But I digress.

I really wanted to talk about my new camera that I LOVE! I got the Cannon PowerShot 1100IS, which is one of the top selling cameras, and I can see why. It’s so slim and sleek, and the view screen is large. It’s easy and takes great pictures. It also shoots movies, and is a versatile all-around camera, perfect for me to shoot pictures of my family and travel adventures. I took a little time learning how to use it, and I also bought a bigger memory card for it that holds a lot of pictures.

Which brings me to another product that I am now using. I have so many photos on my computer now, that I worry about losing them before I can get hardcopy prints made for my albums, or even after I’ve printed them for that matter. After my experiences with Hurricane Katrina, I have seen first hand how tragic it can be to lose all of your family photos!

To keep them safe, I am using the Picture Keeper. It works basically like a flash drive that has software on it that makes a backup copy of all your picture files on your computer to keep them safe. Sure, I could take the time to burn them all onto a bunch of CD’s, but then I’d have to actually organize them, and keep doing it for every update. This thing works like my ipod and updates itself with the latest pictures every time I just plug it in. I don’t have to do anything. And it holds them all (up to 8000 pictures). Super easy, and no worries. (coupon code “momsminivan” will save 10% at their website).

Cherish your memories and keep them safe. Today’s technology makes it so easy, that there is almost no excuse!

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November 21, 2008   1 Comment

Turkey Defense

Here’s my dad in 1981 with “Meaty”, our aptly named pet turkey. Meaty was quite the barnyard showpiece. We’d raised him from a chick. And, well, kids do dumb things, and I was no exception. I teased him a lot when his voice began changing from a cheep to a gobble. I gobbled loudly at him constantly to make him gobbly-cheep back. It was hilarious at the time. As a result, he grew to dislike me intensely.

I have no idea what was going on inside his bird brain, but as a fully grown turkey, he would sneak up on me at every opportunity to attack. It was only me that he disliked. Everyone else could pet him on his bumpy red head and play with his weird warm waddle affectionately. Not me. He would pick me out of a crowd of people, flapping his wings like baseball bats against my thigh and driving his 2-inch talons into my calves. One day in my self defense, I waved a horse’s lead rope and halter in his direction to fend him off, and accidentally knocked him on the head with the metal buckle. He flopped to the ground completely unconscious. I thought I’d killed him.

I panicked and tried to think of what I would tell my mother about the beloved family pet. I stroked his knobby head and told him how sorry I was. I said a prayer to please undo this mistake. My prayer was answered. About 60 seconds later he opened his eyes and hopped up, seemingly good as new. What great relief. Meaty and I pretty much avoided each other after that, managing to co-exist somewhat peacefully in the barnyard. … until he met his untimely demise a couple of years later at the jaws of a hungry coyote.

It seems I am not the only one who has ever fought with a turkey. Recently, a friend sent me a hilarious turkey-wrestling video ad for a JennieO Oven Ready Turkey. I could totally relate. The moment the woman in the video sent her unruly turkey soaring out of her kitchen window and into the back of her husband’s head, I knew I needed one of these birds. Given my special affinity for turkey wrestling, I was hooked. So, this past Sunday night I cooked the “Oven Ready Boneless Turkey Breast” from their product line, or as my family called it, “turkey boob in a bag”.

I literally took it out of the freezer and put into my oven already in its cooking bag. No thawing, no seasoning, no preparing, nothing. I didn’t have to do a thing or even touch the raw turkey. It seemed too good to be true. I kept re-reading the instructions for the catch. I even started to dig around in the kitchen drawers looking for my meat thermometer, until I realized it already had one of those nifty pop up things. This was one of the easiest dinners I have ever made.

All three kids gave it a thumbs up, and ditto for the gravy that came with it. Delicious. And no one was hit in the head by a giant flopping bird. …Or stabbed in the leg by a spit-angry flapping one. If only I could have gotten along as well with ol’ Meaty.

November 12, 2008   5 Comments

Classic Bingo for Travel

Product Recommendation from Road Trip Mom! Travel Bingo Shutter Card Game Set

This is not the old favorite “Auto Bingo”, but it does have the nifty sliding windows that kids love. It’s regular B-I-N-G-O, where the caller picks a random number from the bin and calls it out like “B-15″! Then everyone marks their cards. This one can be played over and over again since your numbers are marked by sliding the windows. A pluck of the finger marks your number!

I have found that kids will play this game much longer than the other auto bingo which is more like a scavenger hunt looking for items out side the car. Older kids especially appreciate this one. And if you offer up a prize for the winner (think lollipops, or Tootsie Rolls), you can guarantee to hold their interest for quite a while, though several games. Keep playing until everyone wins. Even the driver can “play” by having someone else in the car play the card for you!

This set has 6 cards in it, and is completely self contained. No loose pieces and no markers needed. Great for the car or a plane. A definite winner in my book. Get it here.

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October 10, 2008   Comments Off

Car Sickness Blows!

Allow me to introduce my champion of chunks — my darling daughter#2 (Dd2). It’s a little ironic that she is such a barf queen now, because as an infant, she was the LEAST vomituous (I just made up that word I think) of my three children when it came to baby barf and spit up. As she grew older she thoroughly surpassed her older siblings in the heave-ho department. Most of her barfage is due to the dreaded result of car sickness. Poor child… motion sickness bags are her mainstay.

She is our baroness of barf. The terror of the technicolor yawn. A wizard at whistling beef. A trendsetter at tossing cookies. The heralder of heaving. Sweetheart of the stomach tsunami. A goddess at shouting groceries. Yup, she’s in training to be a supermodel. ;-)

We have found many ways to deal with her up-chuck when it presents its self. We try to avoid it when possible using many of these useful tips and motion sickness remedies , but sometimes barf happens anyway. When it does, I am now armed with a new product called the YakPack, a vomit clean-up kit for travel.

The kit contains vomit-absorbent/odor neutralizer, a scoop and scraper for rapid pick up, antimicrobial hand wipes, heavy duty dry cloth and non-latex gloves for clean-up. It also has a plastic bag for removal and disposal, a clear zipper bag for convenient storage, and a barf bag and absorbent lap pad to protect surfaces (although it’s probably too late to use these by the time you need the kit). The odor neutralizer smells really good, or at least it does now before the barf has been added.

Where has this been all my life? (all of her life, rather). It has everything needed to clean up when I’m on the road or in the air, and it fits easily into a carry-on bag or in my glove box. I’m SO excited about it that I can hardly contain myself.

That’s right folks, I can’t wait for my kid to hurl in the car so I can try it.

. . . Is that wrong?

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August 5, 2008   2 Comments

Rolling Reviews from the Backseat: Doodleballs

By The Back Seat Reviewer — Road Trip Mom’s Daughter!

Step away from the Doodle Balls. You might get addicted. These tiny magnetic balls are a perfect way to keep any kid of any age busy on a long road trip. All you do is move the magnet above the Doodle Balls to drag them around and make a picture, number, or word. Doodle Balls are also a great deal for the money. They will last a long time and be loved by everyone!!!

The only thing I don’t love about Doodle Balls is that the magnet stick is very easily lost. You can use any magnet, but it is easiest with original magnet.

Any kid short, tall, big, or small would love Doodle Balls. I like them, and so does my 9-year-old sister. I’m sure you will too.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by my road trip daughter! She is becoming a regular on my website with her product reviews and backseat opinions.

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July 20, 2008   1 Comment

Rolling Reviews – Autolite Triglo and Blink Trash Tossers

Here are a couple of items I recommend that make my road trips safer and more comfortable…

Autolite Triglo - This would have been a great item to have with me on a recent road trip when I had a flat tire on the interstate in the dark. After that experience, I am making sure never to leave home without an emergency light such as this.
It serves two functions – to warn passing cars that I am pulled over, or to light up my work area to change a tire in the dark. It can’t do both at the same time though, so you need to choose one or the other. It stands up on it’s own and is very sturdy.

It’s is not as big as warning triangles that truck drivers use for road side emergencies in their 18 wheelers, but since it’s more of a compact item, it stores easily in the car at all times. I feel better having this with me, especially if I end up changing a tire alone in the dark again.

Blink Trash Tossers – This is from a line of products for moms like me who spend a huge amount of time in our vehicles, either on road trips or carpooling kids around town. There are 20 bags per pack – more than enough for several road trips. The bags can be filled up and “downloaded” when we stop to fill up, or hung on the back of the seat and used on the go.

With three kids, my child in the way-back row never had access to the trash bin before. Now he can have his own bag for the massive pile of gum wrappers that he seems to generate on long trips. These bags are also fantastic for stashing that dirty diaper that you have to carry around with you in the car until you can find a trashcan to unload it. Hmm… and I’m thinking that my perpetually car-sick child will probably get a few good uses out of these bags too.

There are a few more tips on this video Moms Get Road Ready that I found helpful. And of course, to really be road ready, make sure you hit my printable car games page for some activities for the road! Happy travels everyone.

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July 9, 2008   Comments Off

Rolling Reviews from the Backseat: Vanity PL8 Puzzles

By The Back Seat Reviewer — Road Trip Mom’s Daughter!

We recently got a copy of Vanity Pl8 Puzzles. I think it is a fun and entertaining book — on the road or off. The book is filled with over 170 vanity plate puzzles and fun facts about license plates and their history, appearances on famous people’s cars, and other odd things. It was moderately challenging and very interesting.

I had loads of fun figuring out what these license plates said. Some were harder than others, but luckily the answers are in the back.

The only problem is that some kids, like me, get carsick when they read in the car. If that is the case, you can always look for real vanity license plates and try to figure out if they have special meanings. I would definitely suggest this product as a time-passer in the car to any kid, or adult who likes solving fun puzzles.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by my road trip daughter! She is hoping to be featured regularly on my website with her product reviews and backseat opinions. Please give her a warm welcome!

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June 23, 2008   3 Comments