Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Seven April 23rd - April 29th

April 23rd - I'm ready to hit a home run dad!

April 24th - Chunky wanted to learn how to hit too!

April 25th - Celebrating National Pig in the Blanket Day!

April 26th - Ready for a bike ride with the Burley D'Lite.

April 27th - Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream push up pop!

April 28th - We are still wanting to sleep all day long.

April 29th - I can do it all by myself now dad!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Burley D'Lite Bike Trailer Review Part 1

Although you can't tell by looking at pictures of me now, I used to be the very athletic type. I actually attended a Division I college on a baseball scholarship and was relatively light in weight for most of my life. Soon after my playing days were over, my wife and I moved away for her to attend medical school and kids soon followed. I went from living a very athletic life full of exercise to one of staying at home taking care of the kids all day. To put it lightly, I became a couch potato. Worst of all, when the kids were hungry (usually 6 times a day or more) I would not only fix them something to eat but fix myself a meal as well. All these extra meals combined with little to no exercise had me adding on the pounds. I knew that I needed to change my lifestyle and start to exercise. My biggest obstacle was that my wife worked around the clock and I didn't have anyone that I could count on to watch the kids. This was going to be a challenge... or at least I thought.

Burley is the worldwide leader in bicycle trailer design and has been for more than 30 years. They put their heart and soul into every trailer they make so you can be sure that you are getting the absolute best in quality, durability and safety. The mission at Burley is to promote active outdoor fun by designing and developing bicycling products that provide functional design, safety and many years of use.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to learn that I would be receiving a Burley D'Lite bike trailer to review on Chunky and Monkey MD. The D'Lite is their top of the line trailer with the capability of comfortably seating two children up to 100 pounds in combined weight. The D'lite includes cutting-edge features such as bowed-out sides for enhanced shoulder room, an elastomer suspension system, deluxe reclining padded seats, tinted UV protective windows and an adjustable sunshade. Everything about the trailer is weatherproof with an all weather cover and waterproof zippers making it great if you are caught in an unexpected rain shower. The trailer even comes equipped with black 20" alloy wheels and a parking brake. Best of all the seat pad and shoulder harness are removable and machine washable. This will really come in handy for any spilled snacks or drinks on the road.

Love all the features on the D'Lite!
Riding with Monkey Man instead of Monkey Bubba

If you have been around Chunky and Monkey MD long enough you probably already know about my major pet peeve product assembly. Assembly can make or break an product in my book. I hate items that come with an endless number of parts  and hours of assembly with them. Before opening the box I was already starting prepare myself for the worst. Much to my surprise there were only a handful of parts inside the box! The only tool that is required for assembly and not included is a wrench. With the instructions assembly was a breeze and took under 10 minutes from start to finish. What stood out the most to me (once the trailer was fully assembled) was the construction and materials that were used. The frames, hinges, and hitch are all made out of high quality aluminum. There is nothing cheap about the D'Lite. This trailer is made to last a long time!

As mentioned earlier, Burley really takes pride in their work and makes sure safety is a top priority. All of their products go through rigorous tests before being introduced to the public for sale. The Burley D'Lite is loaded with so many safety features that I don't even know where to begin. What stood out most for me was the five point harness for securely keeping your child in place. This harness is similar to what you would use in your car seat and has all the bells and whistles for a comfortable ride. The height adjustable handlebar can be rotated and locked into place to serve as a roll bar should the unimaginable ever happen. There are reflectors all over the trailer, and even the cover has a built in reflective material to help ensure you are seen in low visibility conditions. A safety flag is also included to make sure you are visible when driving around obstacles like parked cars on the street. They really do go the extra mile (no pun intended) to integrate safety into their trailers.

Plenty of room for two boys and their toys. I love the 5 point harness!

 I wanted to share a few comments on Burley's safety page that are from testimonials of real life Burley trailer owners. These comments really speak volumes about the safety of Burley Trailers.

"I just wanted to thank you for making such great products and bar none, the safest trailers in the world. My son and I were rear-ended by a vehicle this week and he flipped in the trailer (a "Bee") and we were pushed across the street for 30 feet. Although he was scared out of his mind, I pulled him out with nothing but a small scratch on his knee."

"I was biking with my son towed behind in the Burley...a red Ford Focus hit the bike trailer. I was flooded with terror as I turned the trailer back over, and even more fear overcame me as I lifted the enclosure flap to see my son. To my greatest joy, Tolle had only one drop on blood on his face from biting his lip and was snug beneath his buckling. Other than that there wasn't even as much as a bruise. He was fine. Thank you, Burley."

As I bucked my boys inside the D'Lite for the first time I wondered what it would be like to pull the boys (50-60 pounds combined) and how the trailer would handle turns, ect. I was thinking I was going to be in for one tough workout pulling the boys. The ride was really quite the opposite. The very first day I jumped on the bike and took the boys for a 5 mile ride. I hardly even broke a sweat. The trailer pulls almost effortlessly, and the boys love the pockets inside the trailer for storing toys and drinks on the road.

Playing a game and riding with our favorite animal blanket.
Quite possibly the best benefit you will receive from pulling a Burley trailer is exercise! Biking is a great way to help you exercise and burn those unwanted calories with minimal stress on the body. I have been trying to take the boys for a ride daily and have seen immediate results. Speaking from my own personal experience, I have lost 15 pounds since I received the Burley D'Lite bike trailer to review! I will state that I have a freakish metabolism, and my results may differ from your own. No matter what, I know that you and your children will have an amazing time cruising the streets in the D'Lite.

All smiles knowing they are about to go on a bike ride!
The Burley D'Lite bike trailer also has to ability to easily convert to a stroller or a jogger by purchasing additional add-ons. This way you can eliminate having to buy a separate piece of equipment for your child. You might be wondering what the age range is for children to use the D'Lite trailer. If you purchase the separate Baby Snuggler you can start to use the trailer as young as 6 months old. The trailer will last until your child/children reach the 100 pound capacity. Should you ever need to replace something on your trailer they also sell replacement parts.

What the D'Lite would look like with the purchase of the double jogger kit. Even comes with a complete hand brake!

Although the Burley D'Lite is a little pricy, ($565) it is worth every single penny. I honestly feel that the trailer will last longer than you or even your bike will last! I highly recommend the Burley D'Lite trailer if you are in the market. They do offer other trailer models such as the Cub ($485), Solo ($449), Encore ($399), Honey Bee ($359), and the Bee at ($249). Prices may vary from store to store but these are actual prices that I found online. Do a little research and find out which model best fits your needs before making your purchase. You can even find an authorized store that sells Burley trailers using their store locator. That way you can go see the trailers in person before making your purchase.

Very simple to connect with the sturdy tow bar.

You can connect with Burley on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and on You Tube to keep up with the latest news and updates about their products. Stop by and say hi. Let them know that Chunky and Monkey MD sent you.

Disclaimer: I was sent a Burley D'Lite for review purposes. No other compensation was given. These are my honest opinions and may differ from yours.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MLB 2030 Here We Come!!!

You are never too young to start learning how to play baseball. I started at a very young age myself and decided that it was time to start a Summer workout program with my own boys. We began our journey to major league baseball yesterday by running wind sprints, doing some abdominal work, and lifting heavy weights. Well, not really but that time come one day down the road. I did, however, break out the ball and glove to start to introduce my boys to baseball. We had a blast hitting the ball and running around the yard touching all the bases. The boys loved how they were able to put baseball paint (aka eye black) on their faces. They thought it made them look super tough and cool. How can I disagree when they look like this?

Monkey giving me his "Game Face"

My little short stop ready for the ball

We were working on staring down the pitcher

Throw the ball Daddy
Watch out Major League Baseball! 2030 Draft here we come!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday Seven April 16th - April 22nd

April 16th - Another rain shower so that meant another crawfish hunt.

April 17th - Playing with my ball shooting fire truck!

April 18th - Getting some Mater ink... or a temporary tattoo but shhh don't tell him that.

April 19th - Playing on a slide at Moody Gardens.

April 20th - I surprised him with a treat and this is how he reacted.

April 21st - Not a good day. Chunky is starting to get sick.

April 22nd - Chunky can't even stay awake during snack time.

ZeroWater Review & Giveaway!

Can you taste a noticeable difference between bottled water and your tap water? Have you ever stopped to think about what makes it taste different? If you haven't stopped to think about why your water tastes different, now may be the time to do so. Total dissolved solids (TDS) are what you are tasting in your water. TDS include inorganic substances such as salt, metals, and other elements that are present in your drinking water. They can come from both natural deposits and man-made sources such as road salts, old piping, leaves, ect. So, just how can you prevent yourself from drinking these dissolved solids? You have a couple of options. You can either purchase expensive bottled water or buy a ZeroWater filtration system.

ZeroWater offers a variety of water filtration products to meet your everyday needs at an affordable cost. Using a 5-stage Dual Ion Exchange filtration system process which has traditionally been utilized in commercial water purification, ZeroWater is able to remove virtually all of the dissolved solids that traditional filters leave behind. ZeroWater is certified to remove many contaminants including lead, mercury, chromium, aluminum, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, iron, and zinc. They are the only filtration pitcher certified for lead reduction by NSF as of 5/14/2010. For as little as 50 cents a gallon you can have ZeroWater filter and produce purified quality water right at home.

I was excited when a 10-cup ZeroWater filtration pitcher arrived at my house. As I took it out of the box, two features immediately caught my eye. I noticed that a TDS tester was included with the pitcher so that you could measure the total dissolved solids in your drinking water. I also noticed that the pitcher has a spout on the bottom to make it a little easier to pour the water in your cup. I proceeded to wash all the parts as recommended so that I could begin to filter my water and taste the difference. Assembly of the pitcher was a breeze as all you have to do is screw in the filter into the lid. Make sure the rubber seal is in the correct place so that your tap water does not leak through to the filtered water. Then simply remove the lid and pour water straight from your tap into the reservoir and wait for the water to filter through to the pitcher. This process takes a little time to complete as the water travels through the filter. Once the pitcher was full it was time to do a little experimentation with the TDS tester.

For my experimentation I filled 5 cups all the way to the top with water from various sources. I then dipped the TDS tester in the cups of water. The electronic water tester produced a readout on the screen telling me how many parts per million of dissolved solids are present in my water. The higher the reading meant there were more solids present. The very first cup I tested was filled with ZeroWater. The TDS tester came back with a perfect score of 000! I then tested the tap water that comes out of my kitchen faucet. That water came back with a TDS reading of 234. Yikes! Next up was the water that I have actually been drinking which is filtered through my refrigerator. The reading on that water for total dissolved solids was 216. This was better than my kitchen faucet but still much higher than the reading ZeroWater produced. I then decided to test bottled water from a very well recognized company. I do not wish to name the company in this post but I was expecting a reading similar to that of ZeroWater. I was surprised when the reading for the bottled water came back at 027. I guess even expensive bottled water still has TDS. My final cup of water that I tested was from an outdoor faucet that ran through a water hose. I wanted to test this water because at some point in our live we have all probably had water from a water hose. This is especially true if you play sports. I know coaches and trainers fill up those gigantic 5 gallon coolers with water from water hoses. The hose water that I tested produced the worst reading at 272. Makes you think twice about where you get your water from...

Perfect 000 TDS Reading
TDS reading of 234 in my kitchen

TDS reading of 216 from my filtered fridge
TDS reading of 027 from bottled water

TDS reading of 272 for an outdoor water faucet

As I tasted each of the cups of water it is remarkable how much better the cup of ZeroWater tasted from all the others. Even the difference between ZeroWater (000) and the bottled water (027) was noticeable. The difference between ZeroWater and what I had been drinking was like night and day! I will never go back to drinking water filtered through my refrigerator again. I use ZeroWater for everything now. My coffee in the morning tastes so much better and the sodas that I make with my SodaStream taste much crisper now. I highly recommend the ZeroWater filtration systems.

You may be wondering how long your ZeroWater filter will last. ZeroWater recommends changing your filter once the reading is 006. The higher the TDS reading of the water you are filtering, the fewer gallons you will get before needing to replace your filter. Below you can see how many gallons of filtered water you should get based on your TDS reading.

If you would like to check and see what the TDS readings are in your area you can enter your zip code on ZeroWater's TDS Form to see readings other people have recorded in your area. You might be surprised to find out what you are drinking.

ZeroWater is generously giving Chunky and Monkey MD a water filtration pitcher to give away to one of our followers! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below. If you are not lucky enough to win the pitcher and still want to purchase one, ZeroWater has given me a code to share with you to use to receive $15 off a 10-Cup pitcher when you purchase on the ZeroWater website. Use the code: blog15 (all lower-case) when you checkout.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more chances to win a ZeroWater Filtration Pitcher please stop by and visit these other blogs who are also hosting a giveaway. Good Luck!

Disclaimer: We were sent a ZeroWater 10-Cup Filtration Pitcher for review purposes. No other monetary compensation was given. All opinions are our own and may differ from yours.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday Seven April 9th - April 15th

April 9th : Monkey discovered he could climb the tree in the front yard.

April 10th : Chunky emptied all the toys from the toy box so he could climb inside.

April 11th : Monkey decided to take Chunky for a ride on his two seat bike.

April 12th : Chunky decided to wear this shirt for Nanny Malaina who was hit in the head with a softball bat and had to go get some stitches.

April 13th : Boys splashing and swimming in the bath tub making a huge mess.

April 14th : Chunky at the park going down the slide wearing his new hat that Gammy bought him.

April 15th : Chunky wearing his PJ's and giving me a big smile right before bed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

KidCo PeaPod Plus Review & Giveaway

Sleeping arrangements are always difficult anytime I take the boys to visit family. I usually have to travel by myself since my wife works around the clock. When we are away from home the boys and I will usually end up staying at my grandparent-in-laws or as the kids call it, "MoWo's House."  The bedroom we stay in is far enough away from the grandparents bedroom that we will not wake them up if one of the boys has a bad dream and starts to cry. Even though we have half the house to ourselves, it is still difficult to sleep since we do not have toddler beds or cribs for the boys. Both boys usually end up snuggling with me in my bed, and no one gets very much sleep. They will often fight for the best spot next to daddy and kick each other all night long. This usually makes for a very long night and a grumpy tired daddy the next day. I knew there had to be something to help us all sleep better while on the road.
Recently I received a PeaPod Plus from Kidco to review. The PeaPod Plus makes for a perfect travel bed for your little ones. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the PeaPod Plus is lightweight making it portable enough to take just about anywhere. What makes the PeaPod Plus perfect for outdoors is it's UV protection and adjustable wind screens. The adjustable wind screens are great for letting in sun and air when rolled up or to keep out the light and our pesky Texas mosquitos when rolled down. The PeaPod Plus also comes with an inflatable mattress and pump to provide a comfortable place to sleep no matter what the surface is underneath. Did I mention that this makes for an amazing play place when not used for sleeping? My boys (and often times my cats) can spend hours inside just playing with their toys imagining they are on a wild adventure. When you are finished using the PeaPod Plus, it's easy-to-fold design makes it ideal for storage at a moments notice. For folding instructions you can visit their PeaPod product page or their You Tube page for help.

Monkey playing inside the PeaPod Plus.
While my kids had a blast playing with their new PeaPod Plus around the house, I was ready to put it to the test at my grandparent-in-laws house. This past weekend I went to visit family and brought the PeaPod Plus along for the trip. When it was time for bed I unfolded the PeaPod Plus in a spare bedroom to get ready to put Monkey to sleep. This literally takes seconds, and it is as simple as taking the PeaPod plus out of the bag and letting it open on its own. I then took out the pump and started to blow up the mattress. I am so glad that a pump is included! With most blow up toys I often have to blow for such an extended period of time that I will get light headed. This pump will come in handy for my other blow-ups as well. Once blown up, there is a zippered pocket located underneath the PeaPod Plus for you to insert the mattress. This way there will be a floor or a layer between the mattress and your child.  It is not intended to go inside the PeaPod and should not be placed there. Once the mattress was in place I gave Monkey a pillow and a blanket to take with him to sleep and zipped him up inside. The zipper door might be my favorite feature because if he were to try to get out in the middle of the night, I would hear him fumbling to unzip the door. After telling him "night night don't let the bed bugs bite bite bite" I turned off the light and hoped we would all get some sleep.

Monkey getting ready to snooze at MoWo's.
I am happy to report that Monkey stayed asleep inside the PeaPod Plus all night by himself. There is plenty of room for Chunky to sleep in there with him but I thought it would best to keep them separated on this trip.  Even though I still slept with Chunky in the bed next to me, we all slept much better over the weekend. Monkey loves the PeaPod Plus so much that he will occasionally beg for me to put it in his room at night so that he can sleep inside his "tent bed" instead of his actual toddler bed.

Monkey sleeping in the PeaPod Plus instead of his own bed (pardon the Mickey Christmas jammies, he chooses his own night wear.)
I love the PeaPod Plus especially for when we travel to visit family. It is highly recommended by this stay at home dad for use as an extra bed on the road or a fun indoor/outdoor play tent. You can purchase the PeaPod Plus online using their online store locator to find authorized websites that sell KidCo products. If you prefer to go to a store to purchase a PeaPod Plus or other KidCo products you can use their retail store locator to find a store near you. I entered my zip code and found 5 stores selling KidCo products within 50 miles of my house.

You can connect with KidCo on Facebook, Twitter, or on You Tube to keep up with all the latest news and updates on their products.

The best news I have to share with you is that the generous people at KidCo have offered to give one Chunky and Monkey MD reader a PeaPod of their own! All you have to do is follow the simple to use Rafflecopter entry form below to be entered to win. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a KidCo PeaPod Plus for review purposes. No other compensation was given. These are my honest opinions and may differ from yours.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Substitute Pacifier?!?!

Lately Chunky has been eating and sleeping A LOT! I can't seem to feed him enough. When he is not stuffing his face with food I can usually find him curled up on a couch sleeping. He has to be going through a two year old growth spurt right now. On our way home from gymnastics today I stopped by our favorite "restaurant" to treat the boys to a Happy Meal. Like I always do, I dumped the nuggets and fries in the Happy Meal box so the boys could eat their meal while I finish driving home. I guess Chunky was a little tired from an exciting day watching Bubba do gymnastics. He either fell asleep in the middle of eating a nugget or decided to use the nugget as a substitute pacifier. Either way this is how I found him when I pulled in the driveway.

Chunky buckled up sleeping in his car seat with a nugget in his mouth.

Close up of his substitute pacifier.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunday Seven April 2nd - April 8th

April 2nd : Chunky playing "peek a boo" behind the blinds with me.

April 3rd : Monkey practicing his forward rolls for gymnastics.

April 4th : Monkey hanging over the top railing of our tree house.

April 5th : Monkey early in the morning playing with his toys on the floor.

April 6th : Captain Monkey and his first mate Chunky in our pirate boat sandbox.

April 7th : Chunky wants to know if that strawberry cupcake is for him.

April 8th : Chunky hunting down Easter eggs in Grandmother's front yard.