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A Bit of This and That

I’ve got a special video for you today.  It’s probably not at all what you’d expect but I wanted to share something very dear to our hearts…our washing machine.  The washing machine in our house plays a lovely, happy tune every time it is done washing to let you know it’s finished.  It just makes us so happy to hear it and makes you feel glad to do laundry.  Ha, never thought I’d say that.  All washing machines should play this tune.

Other things:

We just learned last week that children in the primary grades (that’s the equivalent of Kinder through 6th grade) don’t get grades.  That was a surprise.  I can see positives and negatives with this.

Our baby is turning 3 on Sunday.  Everyone already thinks he’s 3 or 4 because he’s so tall.  We’re doing a small party at our house with just us and our neighbors.  He’s been obsessed with Mickey Mouse since before we moved so that’ll be the theme.  We got him a radio controlled car that can go in water or land which will be great for our weather and rocky yard.  We also got a pirate Playmobil set and this blue horse.  It is like the Rody horse but it comes with a pump and is cheaper.  The reviews for it were just as good.  I figured it’d be a good way for William to burn off energy in the house when it’s yucky outside.  We’ve also received a lot of cards from family that we’re waiting to open on his birthday.  I’ve been so impressed with how on the ball they’ve been. We are generally pretty terrible about getting cards out on time and being over here isn’t helping.

Here’s a random picture from a few weeks ago when the kids wanted to go camping out in our front yard.  Also, they don’t say yard here, they say garden.

camping

We are hopefully getting a car this week.   We’ve survived fine without one but it’ll be nice to have one for exploring the country or running errands in surrounding towns.  We keep running into issues with figuring out costs though with insurance or the yearly tax they charge based on the type of car/engine it is.  Finding anyone to give us a loan is another story.

We’re getting a new boiler in the house today – well, work has started on it.  A plumber came last week.  We thought it would be to get the radiators unstuck and to make the noise in the pipes stop but he told us that the boiler was leaking gases so he turned it off and unplugged it.  It’s amazing how not having hot water in the pipes of the house really makes it feel a lot colder.  Thankfully, we have an electric heater in the living room where we spend most of our time and then are warm under our blankets in bed.  Also, we have 2 showers that are electric so the water is heated for them right at the shower and a dishwasher which heats the water as well. So, it’s only been a minor inconvenience.  We’re so thankful nothing bad happened to us with the leaking gas.  Yikes.

I am planning on doing a food post at some point to show how a lot of the food here comes in tiny packages.  We joke sometimes that it is food for hobbits.   Although generally it seems that is the case more with processed foods than if you are buying meat or fruit or vegetables.  When you buy fruit snacks you get 5 packs to a box at the most.  When you buy microwaveable popcorn you get 3 packs to a box at most.  When you have 3 kids or a group coming over it makes you have to order a lot more.

I made my computer be in British mode to make some things more convenient but spell check changes my words to British spellings when I don’t want it to.  If I’m talking to an American then I want American spelling.  Also, the calendars (called a diary) here go from Monday to Sunday which throws me off at times.

One more picture.  The highland games happened a couple of weekends ago and it rained the whole day and was really cold. We tried to adventure out into it since it only happens once a year but after a couple of hours the kids were miserable.  Actually, they were before then but we could no longer handle it anymore.  This picture is from our walk back home.  All the pipe bands were parading down to the event.  I felt so bad for everyone competing that day.  They were such troopers.  We enjoyed our two youngest screaming pretty much the entire walk home. But we picked up some meat pies at the butcher on the way home and put warm, dry clothes on and had a nice hot lunch in front of our electric fireplace.  Hopefully next year the weather will be nice for it.

Pitlochry Highland Games

 

Well, just some random thoughts and updates.

I almost forgot!  I have been cutting my fabric for my ornaments and have just been waiting for the string to come in to start sewing and it just came through the door!  I also just got the bags for my ornaments yesterday.  It’s fun to be getting in all the supplies.  I still need to order tags and business cards but haven’t decided on a printer yet.  And then mailing supplies but that shouldn’t be difficult.  Hope you are all having a nice week!

 

 

Have You Seen the Mifold Booster Seat?

mifold booster seats

*Update down below on how we like them.

I have been keeping an eye on a new booster seat for the kids. It’s called the Mifold.  Instead of pushing the kids up so that the belts sit on them correctly this pulls the belts down to them.  It is still in preproduction and for pre-sale on Indiegogo.  I finally pulled the trigger and bought two for my big kids so that I could get the 20% discount.

I’m super excited that it takes up so much less space than a traditional booster seat since fitting 3 kids in the back of a car is a challenge.  We are currently car shopping and trying to figure out all these European cars over here.  There are some larger cars that easily fit 3 car seats across the back seat but some of those cars are huge and the roads around here are so narrow at times.  I really want a car I can park easily and zip around without fear.  Also, bigger cars are more expensive so having a smaller car could save some money.  We hope to travel a lot since we’re across the Atlantic now and having these will make taking the boosters along with us for rental cars and taxis much easier.  We can just fold them up and stick them in the suitcases.  Then we’ll only have one car seat to deal with.

I’m laughing at this post cause it sounds like I’m a commercial for them or that I’m affiliated in some way (which I’m totally not!).  I’ve never seen one in person so I can’t vouch for them.  But I’m hoping they work as well as they say which will be a great help to us in our situation.  The only downside so far is that they won’t be shipping until March so we still have a while to wait.  But since we’ve gone this long without a car and this long with borrowing booster and car seats we can hopefully hold out a bit longer. I’d been holding off on buying booster seats and a car seat until we got a car so I knew they could fit across but with these I’ll just focus on getting a car seat that isn’t too wide.  Oh, I just thought of one more downside and that is the kids will be lower and not able to see out the window as easily.  But they’ll grow and it’s probably safer that way anyway.

We didn’t bring any of our boosters or car seat with us since they have to be EU approved and none of the US ones are.  Well, probably the simple boosters would have worked but they were really wide.  We actually gave them all to Disney when we left (since we flew here straight from Disney World) and they were happy since they said sometimes someone needs a taxi and doesn’t have a seat.  We were glad they found some use since we thought they might otherwise get tossed in a dumpster which would be sad.

Anyway, I just thought I’d post about it in case anyone else is in a similar situation and would find it useful and hadn’t heard of them yet.  Crossing fingers it works as easily and as well as they say.  Here in the UK you have to keep you kids in a booster seat until they are 12 now so I’m sure the kids will appreciate a seat like this more as they get older as well.

This doesn’t apply to us but it mentions carpooling and I can see how having this tucked in your car for when you have an extra child every once in a while would be very helpful.  You wouldn’t have to lug around another seat all the time, taking up space in the back seat or trunk.  It’d be great for grandparents as well for that reason.

Update: March 6, 2017

We’ve been using 2 Mifold seats for about 7 months now?  I forget when we actually got them because we ended up having to wait about a year for them to arrive…which was a bit insane and way past the original date but I guess that is part of buying something from a crowdfunding place where production times can be unpredictable.  Anyway, we were really excited to finally get them.

The pros:

The are tiny and you can easily fit 3 in a row.

They would be nice as a back up for when having extra kids in your car occasionally because they’d be easy to stow away when not in use.

Because of the size they also travel great. We took them to the US with us when we visited family and friends last fall and it was great slipping them in our suitcase without adding a lot of bulk or weight to them.

The cons:

They are not as simple/fast to put on as advertised.

They are really difficult to take off at times.  The two arms on them that extend, lock so that they slide out farther without pressing a button BUT they don’t lock for sliding back in.  It looks like this was done for the convenience of putting them away without having to push a button but we feel it is a major design flaw because as the kids are sitting on seats with the belts on the belts end up pulling the arms all the way in.  Once the arms are pushed in it is really hard for the kids to get the belt out of the hook that is in the arm.  It would work so much better if the arm locked both directions so it would stay the width you need it to.  The button to release the arm is under the seat so it is difficult for the child to pull the button while sitting on it to release the arm again.  We have had many a time when our two kids (ages 6 and 9) were crying out of frustration or refusing to use the seats correctly because they were a pain to use.  We can buckle them and unbuckle them to help but it seems silly to have a seat that makes a 9 year old unable to use himself easily.  It is also difficult to reach the child in the middle over the other children to help them.

Conclusion:

So, I actually just bought 2 cheap foam booster seats off of amazon the other day that don’t have arms (since that is what makes booster seats so wide usually) and the kids are much happier.  We will still keep our Mifold seats to use when travelling or if we have another child join us who needs one.  But for everyday use it just got too frustrating and I worried about their safety since they weren’t always buckling correctly to avoid getting stuck in them.