Scooting Around Annapolis: Joovy 2014 Scooter Review #JoovyScooter

Since Rob returned from his last deployment we have been very lucky to spend some quality time as a family until he starts Marine Corp Command and Staff College in a few weeks. Most recently, we took a trip to Annapolis to show Parker around the US Naval Academy.

It was the perfect time to try out our new Joovy Scooter we received for review. Whenever we take day trips I like to be as prepared as possible and having a reliable stroller with a few bells and whistles always make the trip nicer. After using the Scooter around Annapolis I picked out 10 of our favorite features about that are definitely worth mentioning to anyone who is in the market for a single stroller.

Hands down one of my favorite features about all Joovy strollers are their amazing canopies. The accordion design allows you to choose how much coverage your little one needs. The canopy on the Scooter certainly did not disappoint and was great on our hot sunny day.

Rob loved the adjustable handlebar which made for a more comfortable ride when he was pushing Parker around. The Scooter has 10 different handlebar positions ranging from 29″ to 41.75″ high which you can adjust in seconds making it easy to switch back and forth. As you can see, it also helps with an independent toddler who insists on pushing his own stroller.

I love a stroller that gives me a spot for all of my essential items which usually entails my phone, keys, wallet, and water. The parent organizer zipper pocket is the perfect size for keeping my wallet, keys and phone is a secure place that is easily accessible. The attached mesh cup holder is also a great place to keep a bottle of water or a zippy cup for easy access. There is also a plastic cup holder that attaches to the side of the stroller for a second beverage.

One of the first things I look for in a stroller are the safety features, specifically the harness. The Scooter has a 5-point harness that can easily be adjusted to a 3-point harness when your little one is older. The Scooter also has a bumper bar that Parker just loved to hold on to while he people watched.

There are two mesh pockets on the inside of the seat for a sippy or toys that can be reaches easily by a little one. Parker really enjoys being able to put his own sippy cup away and taking it back out whenever he wants!

Storage on a stroller is extremely important to me since I usually pack a lot. On long day trips that includes water, snacks, and extra clothing in additional to the usual diaper bag items. The Scooter undercarriage gave us plenty of room for two coolers to hold lunch for three of us, water for the day and snacks to keep our hungry hippo happy. We used the Thirty-One Single Thermal Cooler and the Thermal Tote which both fit perfectly underneath with room for our Becco Butterfly and our Skip Hop Safety Harness in case Parker wanted to get out and walk.

One of the hardest parts of being out all day is nap time. We are really lucky to have an awesome napper, even at age two. While he is pretty flexible and can handle a missed nap here and there, I still like to give him the option. The Scooter has two features that make it a little easy for Parker to get comfortable and take a nap while out. The seat has an easy recline latch that allows you to pick the exact position all the way down to a 149° recline. The other unique feature is a two position footrest that attaches to the lapbar so little one can stretch their legs all the way out.

The Scooter has swivel lock front wheels and sealed bearings on all four wheels allow for great handling and easier pushing. The one-step linked parking brake makes it easy to lock quickly. So easy that it took my toddler just a few minutes to figure it out himself.

One thing I never thought to check with a stroller when Rob and I first started searching two years ago was their balance. There are tons of strollers out there but most don’t have a large enough basket underneath to hold everything you would need for an entire day. That’s when diaper bags like our Diaper Dude come in handy because they clip right on to the stroller’s handlebars. There is just one problem… If the stroller isn’t balanced, as soon as the child gets out of the stroller it tips over. The Scooter had great balance and Parker was able to get in and out without the stroller tipping over, or even being close to.

There is nothing worse than struggling to open or close a stroller in the parking lot while wrangling little ones. The Scooter has a quick trigger fold and a carry handle on the seat to easily put it in the car. I love how this stroller is designed so that it never needs to hit the ground when folding or unfolding it. The Scooter can stand on its own when folded and is very compact given it’s comfortable size when open.

Thanks to the Joovy Scooter I had a fantastic time walking around Annapolis. This was certainly the perfect stroller to bring on a long day trip in a fairly crowded area with small sidewalks. I am really looking forward to our next family outing which will hopefully be in DC to celebrate the 4th!

You can purchase a Joovy Scooter for $299.99 in a variety of colors including blueberry, purpleness, black and charcoal. You can also purchase a Scooter Car Seat Adapter that is compatiable with the Chicco® KeyFit 30, Graco® SnugRide® Classic Connect 35, Peg Perego® Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 for $34.99. Or the Scooter Tray for $29.99. 

Don’t forget to follow Joovy to find out their latest products and giveaways!
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#JoovyScooter #ScooterStroll

The Honey To My Pepper

I have always enjoyed dinning at Applebee’s. Eating delicious food and experiencing great service always makes for a great meal out. I was so excited when I found out about the Applebee’s new Honey Pepper Grill items and thrilled to have a chance to review them.

My family has a very dynamic palate. My Dad pretty much loves all kinds of foods and can never have enough spice. My sister is also pretty adventurous and can handle a moderate level of spice. I am somewhat of a picky eater but love foods that happen to be spicy. Unfortunately, I have no tolerance and end up consuming twice the amount of water I need for the week in a single meal. My Mom is pickier than me and likes flavorful foods but with little to no spice.

My parents are in town helping prepare for some house renovations so I thought it would be nice to take them out as a thank you while testing out some of the Honey Pepper Grill items. Of course we let this handsome little devil tag along too 🙂
Parker enjoyed the kids mac n’ cheese. I tried to sneak some broccoli in but he didn’t skip a beat and started separating them. Even at 15 months old he is taking after his momma, oops! 
 

The soup of the day was the potato, cheese and bacon. I don’t usually go for soup but this sounded way to good to pass up. It tasted fantastic and we all ended up sharing it before our meals came out. 
I decided to try the Honey Pepper Chicken & Shrimp which came with a healthy portion of green beans and potatoes. It’s very rare that a meal comes out looking like the pictures. Even taken with my iPhone, you can see what a great job they did plating the meal. The shrimp was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. There was a sweet and salty taste that was simply fantastic. You could taste the honey and pepper in each bite which mixed nicely. The chicken was juicy and tender pairing perfectly with the shrimp. I happily ate my green veggies that day as they also had a sweet and salty taste. The potatoes were a great side also I was enjoying the veggies, chicken and shrimp so there were some left. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.   

I have to admit I was a little jealous when I saw my Dad’s, 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders. His plate looked amazing. It was a hearty portion, enough for two, of mac n’ cheese with three chicken tenders and bacon sprinkled on top. He let me taste some, ya know for review purposes 😉

The Mac & Cheese was rich and very cheesy. The chicken tenders had a great mixture of sweet and salty and were really juicy inside. The bacon added a nice crunch and a little more of the salty taste.

Not only did Parker finish his whole meal, but he managed to get a hold of my Dad’s plate and started digging in! Dare I say he liked my Dad’s meal more than his 🙂  

Applebee’s Executive Chef Michael Slavin was asked, what was the inspiration behind creating the Honey Pepper Grill menu?”

“We wanted to combine great textures with a smooth, highly cravable sauce that would balance nicely with steak, chicken and shrimp.  The soothing appeal of warm honey with the earthy bite of cracked black pepper created the perfect blending of flavors.  Each dish has a distinct crunchy element to it.  The Honey Pepper Sirloin has crispy jalapenos and onion straws, the Honey Pepper Chicken and Shrimp has Panko breaded shrimp and fresh green beans and the 4-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders gets its crunch from bacon strips and chicken tenders.  These specific ingredients really benefit from the sauce we created because of the way it easily coats and enhances each item.”
Parker was the only one who finished his entire plate but he isn’t the only one who gets to enjoy a treat! One lucky Cherry Blossom Love reader will win a $50 gift card to Applebee’s. Take that special honey to your pepper out for dinner and enjoy one of Applebee’s new menu options! 
Applebee’s is a proud member of the Kids Live Well program. With about 2,000 locations in 49 states, 15 countries and one U.S. territory there is surely one near you! The Honey Pepper Grill items are available on the 2 for $20 menu until November 12th. Enjoy two full-sized entrees and a shareable appetizer for just $20. Just make sure to leave enough room for dessert! 

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Giving Thanks And A Little Shopping

I decided to combine a few posts into one about our trip home to NJ for Thanksgiving. I know I always say, “this is my favorite holiday” for every single one but I love them for different reasons. For Thanksgiving, you get to spend time with family, eat some delicious food, shop and at the end, start decorating for the next holiday. No waiting in between!

Wednesday
I was really excited when Rob got the “wink” that he wouldn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. I was prepared to stay home and make a nice dinner for the three of us, but welcomed the good news.

Rob got home Wednesday morning, we packed the car and headed to NJ. I drove since he had been working all night and welcomed the peace and quite when both the boys were sleeping (all 30 minutes of it!). We made it home in pretty good time and actually beat my Mom and Sister who were out shopping.

Thursday

Thanksgiving was so much fun, as usual. If you know me IRL (in real life) you know that I come from a decent size family, on each side. This Thanksgiving we had 35 for dinner. P did great and my cousins, Aunts and Uncles were super sweet to him. He sat in his high chair and had oatmeal and peas while we all at dinner.

Since we had dinner at my Uncles office, we decided to do a little photo shoot. 🙂

“Let’s see, if I can just grab this and make a few folds…”
Ah, Daddy would be please!”
“I simply don’t understand what all the commotion is about. These cubicles are HUGE!”
“Listen, if you want me to sleep through the night I am gonna need something in return. “
We decided to leave Big Chief a note for when he came back into work. 
For the past five years (ish) I have been able to go Black Friday shopping. Some years it was with my Mom and Sister, then with Rob and this year I got to go with all three while P stayed home with his Big Chief. After Thanksgiving dinner, we hung out in our room and came up with a game plan.

We were well prepared and I even downloaded and awesome Black Friday app where I could scan the sales and even make a wishlist by store.

Friday
We got up at 3:30 and were out the door by 4:00 am. Every year I seem to run into someone and wish that I looked a little more presentable. This year I actually got dressed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on some pearls and even some mascara. Go figure, I did not see ONE person I knew. Oh well, at least I felt like a million bucks 😉

First stop was of course Kohls!

We made out really well and since the store opened the night before, we walked in to no lines. Pretty good deal seeing as though we didn’t want any of the crazy items, just the sales and Kohls cash. Mom even found a box of candy bigger than her head!

Our next stop was the mall. Let’s just say, it wasn’t very crowded…

After a quick and successful trip to Bonton (we finally found an item where you could use that stupid $10 off a single item $10 or more excluding doorbusters) and Sears, we headed home to unload our first hull of goods.

I checked in on Big Chief and P, who were still sleeping and we set out again! This time we headed to Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Michales and Hobby Lobby. No surprise here, Michaels and Hobby Lobby were among my favorites and I scored a bunch of cute decorations for the house! Our last stop was Toys R Us to pick up a baby gate that was on sale. I also managed to score some Baby Gantics products that were buy 1 get 1 free!

“Do I need to stop for spreading.” In reference to our stop at the Panera drive-through for breakfast.

“On to the screw section.” In reference to trying to find organizer containers for screws and nails in Home Depot. I also caught some pretty funny shots on camera…

I was so excited when they agreed to let me take their picture for my blog! This is the Black Friday spirit I LOVE! 
Apparently we all wanted/needed cutting boards and decided we would give them to each other for Christmas but would actually take ours home this weekend to start using.
This will be perfect for P when he visits Bam and Chief! 

But here is my favorite… About 9:00 am we started talking about lunch because we had already been up for 5ish hours. There was a Texas Roadhouse that I suggested but my Sister promptly said, this isn’t a sit down lunch kind of day. Then my Mom proceeded to say, while making this motion, “this is a hamburger in your face kind of day”. I spent the next 10 minutes or so laughing!

At the end of the day, we packed the car as tight as we could and headed home to look through our stash to see how we made out!

Of course, Daddy snuck in some cuddles with his little P!

Saturday ~ Sissy’s moving day! 
On Saturday we packed up a trailer and moved Sarah to her new apartment. 

Completing her move-in apartment check. 
Since the door was open, Bam insisted that P was cold and put socks on his hands. He wasn’t a fan but what Bam wants, Bam gets 😉
She definitely had less stuff than we did! 

We had such a great weekend and I am so happy we were able to make it home to NJ! Our trip back to VA included several stops for diaper changes but we were glad to be home and to start decorating for the holidays!

Saturday Top Five Laughs

I love Saturday’s for many reasons but one of my favorites is being able to recap the things that made me smile, or laugh, over the past week and share them with The Mommyhood Chronicles, Saturday Top Five Laughs!

Number 5
Parker yet again peeing on Bam while he is being changed. This time however, he was holding his feet and ended up hitting him in the face!

Number 4
Watching Rob and I yet again maneuver through a consignment sale with P in two hands, arms and shoulders full of goodies!
Number 3
Watching my Dad’s face when I asked him to put yet another piece of IKEA furniture together!
Number 2
We got a new bouncer for my art room doorway so that P could have a little more fun while I am working on stuff. As soon as we put him in, it was nothing but laughs!

And Number 1
Lately, I have had to do a lot of “work” to get little P to laugh. One of the sure fire ways to to blow raspberries on his neck. Well, on Thursday night he started making these funny noises. It’s wasn’t until we were eating dinner at the table with my Parents on Friday night that we realized he was imitating us and trying to blow raspberries!