The Great Group 2/3 Booster Debate!

I think it’s time to talk about the big Elephant in the room!!!… Car Seats for older children- High Back boosters! (Aka group 2/3 car seats)

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Every child should be on the move to their High Back Booster at approx 15-18kg upwards (approx 3.5years) and it will protect them up to 36kgs/150cm tall! Unless of course your current seat has a high weight range, a few models now brilliantly cover up to 25kgs! If not, moving them onto their next seat group can be the safest choice for your child. The high back booster uses the car seat belt. Different brands and models have different features in terms of side impact protection etc, so bare this in mind when choosing the right seat. (Always keep your little one in their previous group range until they hit the maximum weight limit.)

Having previously worked in the nursery industry my eyes were opened very wide to the world that was high back boosters and the incredibly varied attitudes towards them. I genuinely think that this is because of lack of knowledge and information available on them unless you specifically look or ask! What you DO need to know is: if your little one is around 3.5years you need to start keeping an eye on their weight. Once they reach 18kg its time for the move with most seats.

First things first – one extreme is the fab parents that genuinely think jamming little 6 year old “Johnny” into his group one car seat is “for his own good and protection” because it has a 5 point harness and surely that’s more secure!? Wrong! Take Johnny out immediately!

If you are in a collision his body weight will put too much strain on that harness and they could break. Always check the upper weight limit on your Group 1 car seat!!! Chances are his head will be massively exceeding the height of the seat too and this means he has absolutely no head protection. I know you mean well but your not doing him any favors.

Next problem is the old reliable cushion booster.

Meh, not so reliable!

Basically all this does is raise a Childs height fractionally. Given the extreme varied heights and weight of each child, and the time span it should cover, it is just a very inadequate piece of equipment in my eyes.

Manufacturers have stopped making them in a bid to change attitudes and lead them towards a more safer option. It’s not illegal to use them (although I think it should be)… you will however see their decrease in availability due lack of production.

I used to hear a lot of “sure my eldest has been in one of them for years and he’s grand” – Yes Mary, thankfully he has, and thankfully you were never in a collision because if you were…!

Get where I’m going here?

Sure we were all brought home from the hospital in a drawer at one point weren’t we?

Cushion boosters rely solely on the seat belt to (loosely) hold your child in place, and offers no side or back protection.

It also doesn’t have anywhere for your child’s head to rest. Please reconsider using one of these boosters if you are using them.

Image via google

 

A massive problem I came upon was lack of proper/any seat use in some families due to the size of the actual family!!!

A lot of families that have three children and a standard 5 seater car will massively struggle to install 3 car seats of any kind into their car and truth be told it is almost practically impossible to SAFELY & comfortably do this. Each standard infant or child seat needs to be installed on a single seat unit in a car. (You also really need to watch out for older children accidentally popping open the wrong belts etc…)

No, unfortunately that doesn’t mean you should ram a super slim booster into that middle space of the car that most people think is a proper seating area. (The “hump” I like to refer to it as!)

You can certainly try and with some clever google searches you may even find some quirky seat mixtures that SEEM to fit perfectly across the back row!.. and yes, they probably will “fit”. HOWEVER, I have never seen this successfully done without running risks … or it just being an everyday hindrance, constantly checking and rechecking and squashing… oh the squashing!

[All joking aside, you need to be so careful that when seats are installed in this manner, that they are not in any contact at all with the seat belt casing or causing pressure on the neighbours one! It’s so unsafe if you were in a collision, the impact could damage the belt holder]

I’m really playing devils advocate but that’s what it’s about! Sometimes people make the mistake of putting the eldest in the middle alongside siblings in full car seats. With car seats you always need to think what your using them for. It’s for protection in the worst case scenario. If worst case scenario happens while your eldest is sitting between two large plastic car seats you don’t want to think of the rest. (Sorry to be so grim.)

The safest solution is my opinion is to up the seating capacity in your car. Look, you have oodles of children now, your gonna have play dates and the likes, it’s standard mom fashion these days! There are also a good few cars on the market that remain 5 seaters but they have 3 physical seat units across the back row seat so you can safely install three seats. This is also a great option. Consider that you can also use your front seat with some car seats with your airbags turned off. Have a look into this!

I know you probably don’t want to know or have to consider changing a car to fit car seats, but here we are!… Learning lots!

My point hidden in this whole topic is… don’t demote your child’s safety because it doesn’t suit your car. Your car needs to function for your family and if your child is under 36kg I’m afraid this means they should be on a high back booster.

When and if you do buy a high back, you need to ensure that your little one is actually fitting into it properly. Don’t fall at the final hurdle.

All high back boosters are height adjustable to grow with your child’s height. It will extend to accommodate a child of approx 135cm+ (uk law states 135cm, Irish law states 150cm) or 36kg, whichever milestone is reached first. That’s when they graduate to shotgun ! Whoop! (Joke!)

PLEASE ensure the seatbelt is threaded through the belt loop and that it is sitting approx 1cm above your child’s shoulder for maximum safety. NEVER below the shoulder, the belt should not contact the arm. You should see this lie perfectly from their shoulder , across their belly and it should return across their lap, always in full contact with the body, ensuring there are no twists/kinks in the belt.

If the seatbelt does have twists it can cause unnecessary injury if you had a RTA.

Always check that the seatbelt is flowing in and out of the loop smoothly and the seatbelt is springing back when opened.

YouTube has a tutorial for nearly every make of car seat. It’s an invaluable resource.

Always make a point to regularly re adjust the seat as your child grows.

If they buckle themselves in, always show them that the belt can’t be twisted.

Don’t allow room for argument about seats with older children. It’s a non negotiable, the more normal it becomes in all families the less of an issue it will be.

Don’t rebel against progress. Nobody is trying to rip you off. (I used to get this ALOT)

Car seat companies are trying to reach higher standards and keep our children safe.

Invest wisely in products that have safety properties and work them out at a cost per use. I understand they aren’t cheap. It’s all about having proper knowledge in advance and planning forward for items you will need to invest in along the way. On my baby journey the highback booster was always the last big equipment investment I made and I was happy in doing so when I realised why I was doing it and the fact that they should be getting at least 6 years plus out of it.

Please always educate yourself on the specific car seat you purchase for your little one. As you can guess technology is thankfully progressing and there are some brilliant new models out there that cover higher weight ranges etc, which will mean your move won’t be as early. Perhaps if your reading this in the early stages they could be an option to consider investing in.

Hope this was of some benefit, please feel free to ask me any questions! Let me know if your interested. Tag any friends that this may be of interest to!

Happy & Safe Spinning

Cassandra

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Choppin & Squashin Soup!

I allowed my little boy Noah make most of this soup and he dubbed it his “Choppin & Squashin Soup”.

I’m gonna share this recipe as by some stroke of luck – and it was pure luck- this soup turned out gorgeous! We didn’t follow a recipe, it was more like chuck anything left in the fridge into the pot! I think I only noted the ingredients because  he was asking me “what’s next” and absorbing it all, I’m glad now!

I used Coconut Milk and it gave it the nicest flavour and consistently. It does make it sweeter, I think this is why my guys gobbled it up and it will now be in our winter mealtime rotation!

Here’s a little video of the prep. He done it all himself bar peeling the butternut squash , but I can hardly do that myself (buy the pre prepared bag guys ha!) He loves cooking so I try and allow him as much as possible. He even cried through chopping the onions but I showed him my running water trick and he was delighted.

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut squash
  • 2 yellow Peppers
  • 1 red Pepper
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1/2 spoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 spoon Chilli Powder
  • 2 Knorr (Chicken) Stock Pots
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • Ground Pepper
  • Thin slice of real butter/Spoon olive oil

Method

  1. Prep your peppers first, slice in half and roast in oven for 20/30 minutes. (This step is optional)
  2. Prep all other vegetables and cut evenly
  3. (Remove peppers from oven and remove skin & slice)
  4. Dissolve 2 stock pots into 3 cups of boiling hot water and add your cumin and chilli powder and set aside.
  5. Heat your butter / oil in a pan and add your Onions and Garlic (and finely chopped peppers if not roasting). Allow to sweat for 5 minutes. Stirring frequently.
  6. Stir up your stock and add into your pot.
  7. Add all the rest of your vegetables and bring to the boil. Reduce heat once on boil to a simmer and cook for 45/55 minutes.
  8. Blitz soup until creamy and allow to cool to a lukewarm temperature or below.
  9. Gently add your can of coconut milk (shake well before opening), carefully stirring in. Blitz again until completely smooth and creamy. Add ground pepper to suit your taste. If you don’t allow your soup to cool before adding coconut milk it will curl.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!!!!

Let me know if you give this a shot and what you think. Happy cooking all.

Let them eat Cake!

If like me you love the idea of baking your loved ones cakes for their special day but break out in a sweat at the thoughts…. I have the answer to your prayers!!

This classic recipe was swiped from my old Home Ec book last year when Home Ec books came en Vogue! It inspired me to resurrect mine! You simply can’t go wrong with it! It’s a total Bish Bash Bosh one!

You will need!

Cake

•300g Self Raising Flour.

•300g Butter, at room temperature.

•300g Caster Sugar.

•1½ tsp Baking Powder.

•6 Eggs, beaten.

•3 tbsp Milk

Buttercream

•375g Butter, at room temperature.

•500g Icing Sugar.

•1tsp Vanilla Essence (optional).

-Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

-Grease and line three 18-20cm tins with parchment paper.

-Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until it becomes a smooth batter containing no lumps (yes, really, bung it all in).

-Divide into 3 tins and cook for 25/30minutes. (Knife should come out clean, you know the drill!!

-Cool on a wire rack. (If they are bellied after cooling simply level off with a bread knife)

Buttercream: Beat the butter until soft and slowly add the icing sugar, beat until mixture becomes stiff! Add vanilla extract towards the end if you are adding


  • Build the cake:

    Put a small scrape of buttercream onto cake board to stick bottom layer of sponge.

    Spread buttercream with pallet knife or spatula and repeat until 3 layers are done.

    If you wish, you can add a layer of jam before the butter cream on each layer. I always do this with a very plain simple strawberry or raspberry jam, this is not the time for your top shelf special reserve jams, unless you like very sweet cake!

    Now cover the outside of the cake with the remainder of the buttercream using a pallet knife, flat edge knife or spatula. You can decorate with sweets (easy option if you don’t fancy getting messy)

    For mine I applied sprinkles using the flat edge of a large knife and spill the sprinkles between the knife and the cake in an upwards motion.

    I then used the remainder of the buttercream by adding blue food colouring and piped his name and pipped the edges as seen in picture. Take a peek at the nozzles I use for this effect. ( tip: It’s a good idea to refrigerate remainder of buttercream before piping as it can melt quite quickly when doing this. )


    Rainbow Surprise Cake!

    • For this particular cake I tweaked the method a tad. I wanted to make a fun cake for my little boy who was turning 4.

    Before putting the mixture into the tins I divided the batter evenly into 3 bowls and added food colouring into each mixture. (At this point I would like to point out that Aldi Blue food colouring IS NOT blue. As you can see, but it didn’t cause any harm… well, a little. I’m OCD like that!! But, not OCD enough to drive around looking for it at night time. I just pretended I was aiming for “Duck Egg blue”.)

    Whilst building the cake I cut a generous circle out of the centre sponge and filled it up with chocolate sweets! It added a little bit of a surprise!


    Bakers Tip!!

    Less is more with this cake, it is simple and tasty and a real crowd pleaser, your classic buttercream birthday cake! What’s not to love?

    I added the vanilla essence to the butter cream and the sweets on the inside as well as the sprinkles outside, it really was fun but sweet experience!! Bare this in mind if you are trying the rainbow surprise version, I keep it a lot more simple for adulty do’s and the likes !

    I hope you give this a go and find it as simple as I do! Let me know how it goes if you do!! Tag me , I would love to see.

    Cassandra – @theschoolgateadventure 💛


    The Boys Banana Bread

    I’ve been making this banana bread religiously for about 3 years now, and it’s a firm family favorite! It’s ridiculously easy!

    It’s adapted from a recipe my friends mom shared with us. It was amazing from day one but I have excluded the sugar content with the boys in mind… and added a few optional extras to change things up a bit from time to time !! Lemon zest and poppy seeds are my old reliable extras!

    Top Tip; When you see those brown bananas in the fruit bowl, don’t dump them , peel them and store them in the freezer until your ready to make some banana bread. Store in batches of 3 or whatever amount your favorite recipe needs. (Defrost in a sieve as they hold a lot of water)

    You will need:

    An oven preheated to 180•C

    • -3 Mashed bananas
    • -1.5 cups of flour
    • -1 beaten egg
    • -1/3 cup melted butter
    • -1 tsp of vanilla extract
    • -1 tsp of baking powder

    Optional extras

    • -Coconut (1 tbsp approx)
    • -Poppy seeds (1 tbsp approx)
    • -1/4 cup sugar (original recipe has 1/2 – 1 cup)
    • -Blueberries (handful)
    • -Zest of a lemon
    • -Chocolate Chips
    • -Flaked Almonds to sprinkle on top.

    Get creative….. OH! Berries are fab too!

    METHOD

    •Combine all ingredients by hand or in food mixer. Viola!

    •Grease your loaf tin well.

    •Place in oven at 180•C for 30-40 mins.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as my guys do. I like to give them this as a treat on Fridays in their Lunchbox, or as a snack before after school activities. You can also make it into muffin cases, I just reduce the cooking time. It freezes really well so I tend to double the recipe up and keep some for emergencies!

    Let me know if you make it and how it goes!

    Cassandra

    February Beauty Faves

    Having lived a previous life of being a Beauty Therapist and Make Up artist, I am card carrying self confessed product addict!! If a new product is buzzing I-am-on-it! It doesn’t mean I buy it and it most certainly doesn’t mean I’m looking like I’m wearing them! But I do research!… I do weed out the “fads” and I eventually buy the ones worthy of a seal of approval.

    My “Oily” hair was somewhat of a lifelong battle. I have oily hair. That was it. I wash and blow-dry my hair daily. What a pain in the ass! (As I write this I now begin to wonder what sounds more dirty, oily or greasy, but, as Sabrina from New Hair Revolution would say!… “O-I-L-Y HAIR , you have Oily hair!”). Alas…. que said Sabrina’s Snapchat rant and my.life.changed.for.the.better! 20 odd years of washing my hair daily and one product changed all that… Alphaparf Balancing Shampoo! This stuff is amazing!!! I now get 2-3 days from my blowdry (MY being the operative word; my self blowdried hair, don’t be getting notions of me in a hairdressers every few days)! Anyway , It’s what my hair dreams have been waiting for! (FYI It does leave the hair sqqqqquuuueeeakkkkky clean, I describe it as ‘draggy’, that’s about as technical as the description is going to get… so to combat this, I always quickly brush my conditioner lightly through for a few seconds with a tangle teaser just to loosen out any tangles at the scalp. )

    Sticking with the haircare, my absolute fave conditioner is the KPak Colour Therapy Conditoner by Joico. Ive been using it for ages now and never have any issues with the condition of my hair, if I slack and pick up a supermarket brand every now and then I notice a massive difference!! I also have the mask and use that regularly too! Joico is an amazing brand. It’s the highest quality haircare but yet, the price point won’t make you actually tear like its competitors!

    Movvvving swiftly along to my favourite find of 2018 so far!!! In a world full of; “To Peel or not to Peel”. “Manually exfoliate, no, cosmetically exfoliate”. “Professional skincare v luxury skincare!” It’s all a bit of a headwreck…. what I do know is I bought Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner recently and it has , nearly, transformed my dull blotchy complexion. I always buy big when I buy skincare but this is the only item I’ve ever bought that I’ve instantly seen noticeable difference, and at a fraction of the cost of my normal buys. My skin is hydrated, clear and my uneven skin tone is definitely improving, dare I say, I even look a bit glowy! I don’t care who’s saying what, I’m using this on my mug and it’s working like a dream baby!…

    My next find will have you smelling like a Refresher Bar!… in a very good way. Dr Hauschka Lemongrass Body Milk is going to be your best summer body lotion if you decide to purchase. It’s light, it dries quickly, doesn’t stick to delicate clothes and does what it’s supposed to, keeps your skin hydrated!! It’s the most refreshing lemongrass smell and instantly makes you feel invigorated! It makes me long for summer. Believe me, your skin will thank you. Disclaimer:My children did sniff me, asking was I eating sweets, they do that, it’s for another days story though….

    Last but not least! What mom can be without a concealer? Not me, although I’ve half gone past the caring stage, there are those couple of days a week when life is more hectic than getting out the door with concealer on! However, on the days that I do manage I find this Maybelline Eye Erase so handy! I leave a few around the place, and blend them out on high colour areas if I suddenly need to pop in somewhere that requires me to look human! Viola!! In car essential.

    I will try to bring a few products to you all every month or so, but let’s just see how this blog world goes first!! Oh yeah, did I mention this is my first “blog post”!!? Here comes the cringe bit! If you like what your reading and want more, you will find me on my Instagram or Facebook @theschoolgateadventure ! If you could give the pages a like that would be SHAMAZING! Sharing is caring and all the jazz!

    Have a great week x