Which Toaster Ovens Make Dad’s Job Easier

Cooking for the kids is usually a daily adventure. You want them to eat healthy of course, but you also wish to make something that is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Luckily, modern toaster ovens give you both control and convenience. Serving up nutritious and delicious meals for the family has never been easier. Not only are countertop ovens simple to use, but the hassle and energy saved make them our go to appliance for everyday culinary magic.

Obviously, the first thing you think about when referring to this type of oven, is toast. However, we were amazed with the versatility of these machines and what they can do for your in your own kitchen. Now, we didn’t get a basic toaster oven, we got a convection toaster oven, and there is a huge difference in the technology and the functionality involved which we will touch on in a bit.

We started our quest for finding a new countertop oven by reading some of today’s best toaster oven ratings and reviews to see what was out there. We wanted a general sense of direction as to which ovens are currently popular with owners and were worth considering. Breville makes the best convection countertop oven but it does get some worth competition from other brands, including Cuisinart.

Convection Cooking Basics

This type of oven can really make a huge difference in the way that you cook food. Basically, a convection oven uses an internal fan to circulate hot air while you are cooking food. This may not seem like a huge deal, but this action can reduce your cooking times by up to 25%, and it uses lower temperatures to achieve this. It can also be a little more energy efficient which means not only will save time but you will also save energy. Once we discovered all of the advantages of this type of cooking method, it only made sense to get one of these ovens, but which ones are worth your money?

Breville Smart Ovens

Breville has three models that make use of a convection feature. Their BOV800XL has been quite popular for years but they have recently come out with a couple of new models that add a little more functionality. Their BOV845BSS is quickly making a name for itself as it adds another pre-setting to its menu as well as an interior light. This seems to be the new gold standard when it comes to small convection ovens.

  • You can cook slowly for up to 10 hours.
  • Stainless steel finish and construction that fits any type of kitchen style.
  • 10 functions that are displayed on the futuristic LCD display screen.
  • Intuitive controls that are simple to learn.
  • Exceptional cooking performance that lets you bake, roast, broil, reheat, defrost, and more. Its convection feature speeds up the cooking process by up to a whopping 30%.
  • Excellent customer reviews and ratings. Owners love using this oven in their kitchen.

Cuisinart TOB-260

At first glance this might look like a Breville knock-off, but this model can truly stand on its own. Cuisinart’s latest entry into the countertop convection oven market has also been a huge hit with amateur chefs.

  • Exact Heat technology that cooks food evenly on every side. You do not have to worry about hot or cold spots, and it does it automatically.
  • Not one, but two different convection features that you can use to cook your meals. No other oven on the market has this capability.
  • Sleek design with stainless steel materials. Perfect for modern and traditional kitchens alike.
  • Big interior space that can handle a 13″ inch pizza or 9 pieces of toast.
  • Very fast heating, don’t waste your time pre-heating the oven. Get straight to cooking.

Convection Adjustments

Perhaps the only downside to cooking with convection is that you will have to adjust your recipe times to account for the faster results. Once you get this down however, it will open up a new world of not having to wait as long to enjoy your food. Both of the options above take a lot of the guess work out of preparing healthy and delicious results that your family will absolutely love. We were pleasantly shocked with just how much the new countertop ovens can accomplish, and now that we have one of these machines in our kitchen, our standard oven is sure to be collecting a fair amount of dust.

Keeping You And Your Little One Safe While Using A Running Stroller

Strollers are perfect conveniences to have not only for your baby but for you. They help you carry the baby along during errands and days out using the least effort. Finding such products should never be a daunting task especially since there are many in the market. In recent years, jogging strollers have become quite popular as you can use them to take your baby out on jogs and runs.

Safety should always take precedence over comfort, but practically speaking, it is important to have both. As a parent, it can be a little overwhelming to find something that is both safe and enjoyable for your child to ride in. With a little attention to detail, it is possible to have a worry-free workout while keeping everyone protected while have a fun outdoor expedition.

Key Safety Aspects

Modern running stroller manufacturers know how important safety is for parents and put much effort into integrating features to enhance this aspect of the product. Some of the things to keep an eye on while buying a jogging stroller include the following;

  • Remodeled three wheels – Your typical four wheel stroller should never be used for jogging and running. It is not designed to suite such needs and will easily topple off balance without much force. They should not be used for this purpose. Instead, use the remodeled 3-wheel stroller that offers more stability and grounding for your baby. The design and balance achieved from three wheels makes it ideal for racing and jogging.
  • Connected handlebar tether– Safe jogging strollers come with a safety wrist strap attached to the stroller’s handlebar. Make sure to use that wristband and always tie it around your hand when on the move, particularly when moving downhill. Strollers will quickly pick up speed moving downhill and may just slip out of your grasp if you were running. Using the safety wristband will ensure that stroller is constantly kept within your grasp thus protecting your baby from accidents.
  • Wheel locks – Most jogging strollers come with a lever that you just need to flip to lock the wheels. These levers must be flipped every time you are not controlling the stroller (before and after running). Strollers are specifically designed to allow smooth effortless glide and will take off at any slight gradient when the surface is not level. If you have no wristband cuffed on you and are not holding the handlebar, then the wheel locking lever should be in action.

There are other minor safety features you may find in jogging strollers although most are just hyped up examples. ND-Magazine has some more precautions but the above 3 features form your core safety requirements.

Personal Responsibility

While the safety features may help you prevent various accidents, it is your personal responsibility that will keep your baby safe. Choosing safe routes, assessing the weather forecast, avoiding danger by remaining over-vigilant during your outings are very important aspects of keeping your baby safe.

Ensure the stroller is kept at optimum working conditions by performing regular maintenance and inspections. Check the tires before each run and inspect the levers, handle, carrying compartment and wristband. Look for squeaky sounds and remember to lubricate the joints. By maintaining your stroller, you are ensuring you and your baby are safe and protected from a mechanical point of view.

It is also very important to assess your jogging form and habits. If you are keeping one hand on the handlebar while the other is pumping, remember to alternate the hands after every 5 minutes. If you have a wide (double size) stroller, it may be wise to keep both hands on the handle bar. Avoid leaning on the stroller even when you are tired. By trying to use the stroller for support, you are increasing the risk of toppling.

If it sparks your interest, you can sign up for stroller racing classes and competitions. There are several websites that allow parents to sign up for stroller racing classes and competitions. These platforms will equip you with insights and more ways to protect your baby and remain safe on the road.

Happy Running

These are just some of the safety precautions you should keep in mind while out running with your little one. As a parent, nothing is as important as protecting your baby and keeping them safe. Jogging strollers offer a chance to show your baby new things during your exercises and also creates a bond with them yet even this should not cloud your protective instincts. Choose strollers specifically made for jogging and always keep an eye on everything around you. If you park your stroller somewhere, remember to perform checks before starting the race again.

Convertible Car Seat Mistakes Moms and Dads Can Avoid

One right of passage for new parents that can often make them lose sleep is buying a new car seat. I remember the stress and anxiety that would build up trying to find just the perfect convertible seat that gave the ultimate safety for our child. It also had to be comfortable and easy to use. This is something that we were going to use for many years to come so we had to get it right. We are both careful drivers but this experience has probably made us overly cautious. A child restraint seat is one of the first big purchases you will make so it is good to know what to avoid.

One thing that we didn’t foresee as we were combing through countless reviews of the best convertible car seats was how this was just the first step to ensuring their safety. Once we picked a seat we were happy with we then had to learn how to use it correctly. Making sure that our child fit just right and that the seat was securely fastened to our vehicle required a little bit of a learning curve. Over time it became routine, but this is something that every parent should be prepared for when shopping for a new safety seat.

Getting Expert Help

Reading the car seat manual and adhering to its recommendations is vital. However experts advise parents to also read what the car maker says about car seat installation. One should make a point of following the two sets of guidelines. The same applies when moving the seat to another family car, since every car is different. It is therefore critical to make installation adjustments when a switch is made to ensure safety is maintained. Getting an expert second opinion from a certified technician is also a smart idea. Local firehouses and police stations routinely have car seat inspection events throughout the year which can help you get a better grasp on how to install the convertible seat correctly.

Making Sure All Straps Are Snug

If the car seat has no harness, kids need to wear seat belts fitted properly for protection. If the child is using a seat belt, with or without a booster seat, the belt lap section must rest low on the hips, not across the stomach or legs. The upper section should be across the chest, resting upon the body shoulder rather than on the neck. It should also not be put under the armpit. All children weighing between 40 and 80 pounds and are over 4 feet and nine inches tall require a booster seat to ensure the car seat belt fits properly. Also, it is advised that children below 13 years should not sit in the front seat.

Keep Rear-Facing As Long As Possible

Turning the child in order to see their faces using the rear-view mirror may seem convenient to the driving parent-but there are safety reasons to delay this.Experts recommend that kids should face the rear until they are two years old. This is due to the anatomical growth of the child. The vertebrae of children only fuse together only when they are aged between 4 and 6 years old. Therefore the impact of a frontal crash can severely damage the spine of a young child. In addition, if the child sits near the seat in front, they can hit it hard enough to cause serious damage to their legs, feet or even their brain. Facing the rear is a lot safer during all kinds of collisions. Most car seat manuals provide appropriate guidance on this. Some car seats can securely hold a larger toddler facing the rear.

Securely Fasten Everything

While it is inconvenient to keep loosening and tightening straps when kids get in and out of vehicles, the hassle is worth the effort to avoid them flying out in case of a crash. To ensure a proper and tight fit, the parent can do the pinch test. This is where after tightening the harness snugly, the parent can use his or her index finger and thumb to lightly grab the harness at the child’s collar bone, without digging too deep. Also ensure the harness chest clip is not too tight since this may lead to discomfort and red marks on the child’s skin.The chest clip should be slid up so it becomes level with the armpits.

Making Adjustments Over Time

Generally, safety seats are designed to fit a range of different ages. Therefore as the child grows, adjustments need to be made. An example is adjusting the shoulder straps for the forward facing kid. Parents should ensure that shoulder straps begin on the child’s shoulder, not below. Seats come with several different strap slots hence parents should ensure they adjust them upwards to match the child’s growth. Once the child’s shoulder is over the highest slot a new seat must be installed.

Getting The Right Seat

Whereas car seats come with age guidelines, the weight and height of a child is more important when choosing which one to install. There is a car seat finder tool on the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website that can help a parent calculate the best seat for a child’s size.

Getting a Used Seat

Using old seats may be cost-efficient but may lead to safety concerns. Before installing a used car seat, one should ponder over several issues. This includes asking whether the car had been involved in a crash or if it is on a recall list. Older seats may be compromised since they may have been damaged in a car crash. The seat must not be over five years old since plastic weakens with age.


You obviously know how big of a deal getting a quality seat is, but knowing how to use it is just as important. Reducing the risk of injury by making the seat is used correctly will help put your mind at a little more ease and let you focus on getting to your destination without distraction. With a little practice and study, you will be an expert in no time.