Tag Archives: Featured

Camelbak Water Bottles – The Best Bottle for Kids

Background – Hiking in Colorado

We were in Breckenridge a few years ago at one of the condos for some summer hiking. My wife bought a Camelbak Backpack to keep hydrated. I bought a Camelbak Water Bottle. We went hiking and rented a BOB Stroller to push one child one the trails and a Backpack to carry the other child. Very quickly is became apparent that the Camelbak water equipment and the BOB stroller were amazing! Today’s article focuses on the water equipment and the next article will be about the stroller. Oh, hiking in Colorado is amazing but so is hiking in the Appalachian mountains where I live.

Camelbak kids water bottles, replace!wnt straws and replacement mouthpieces
Some replacement mouthpieces, new bottles (with mouthpieces and straws) and a replacement straw and mouthpiece + straw replacements.

The Problem – Kids need to be Hydrated

Well this article isn’t exactly about hiking hydration but it is how we discovered Camelbak gear (they didn’t hike much since I was pushing one and carrying the other…lucky wife). Kids need waterbottles to take to school (and preschool), soccer, baseball, football, playground, backyard, and even in the house. Many water bottles spill, get stepped on and broken, weigh a lot, contain less than desierable chemicals and have numerous other problems. Some previous water bottles include generic sports bottles, aluminum bottles, steel bottles, flasks, canteens and ordinary 20 oz disposable water bottles.

The Solution – Camelbak Water Bottles

Camelbak Kid’s Water Bottle, this product is the king of all water solutions for kids of all ages (even 31 year old husbands). While hiking the first day after getting the Camelbak backpack and the adult water bottles we just had to buy one for each kid. Two years and another child later we now have a dozen of these (and the adult bottles). They have been sent to preschool, elementary school, college, graduate school, work, sports, boating, hiking, biking and everywhere else the five of us go. The youngest (14 months old) started using the bottles by stealing them from his brothers and went straight from a bottle to these (this is not an endorsement of the bottle for a baby, ask your doctor if this is OK, it is only a description of what we did).

This was a few months ago and I am not sure exactly how old he was but this was immediately after a bottle (sippy cup stage). His powerful jaws were able to squeeze the comfortable silicone aparature to allow the wate out. Inside you can set the bottle up two different ways. The first way is with a straw that connects at the underside of the apeaperture of the cup and allows you to suck water from the bottom. The second way is without a straw which allows the cup to be tilted up and drank from like a sports bottle. The baby is able to drink from it using both techniques.

When the lid of the bottles are unscrewed there is a wide mouth opening which allows for easy addition of ice, and easy cleaning. The straw easily slides out of the slot for easy cleaning or replacement and the silicone mouthpiece can also be removed from the lid for cleaning or replacement. The bottles have proven to be very durable (we haven’t tried freezing water in them in the freezer but everything else they seem to endure, including repetitively falling from the top bunk to the hardwood floor. The bottles come in many colors and the kid versions have beautifully fun decorative prints.

The only downside we have found is that the soft silicon mouthpieces are not extremely durable to the knawing of young children. When our middle child was three we had to replace a few mouthpieces because of this and our one year old has destroyed two of them. Fortunately there are cheap replacement mouthpieces and straws that can be purchased. It is always nice to have a few handy for when they become needed.

Camelbak Lid
Inside the Camelbak lid the mouthpiece can be pulled out or a straw can be inserted into the hole.

A word of caution, only use water inside these bottles. If a child loses one (and they will) when it turns up again it will be extremely gross if anything but water was inside.

Conclusion – Camelbak Water Bottles are Awesome!

After using many different water bottles over many years for multiple purposes the best product my family has found are the Camelbak bottles. The backpack is great, the kids bottles are great and the adult bottles are great.

Keurig 2.0 460 – Coffee, Tea, Hot Water – A Solution A Day

Background – Our old Coffee Machine

About two years ago we purchased a Starbucks Verismo 580 coffee and espresso machine. It is a great coffee machine and an owner can easily use it to produce on demand hot water or on demand coffee. Unfortunately, there was a downside, in the U.S. the only pods that you can buy for it are Starbucks brand, Starbucks Brand Pods. This is fine if you live close to a Starbucks that sells the pods or plan enough in advance to order them online. Shoot you can even order Starbucks Milk Pods for an espresso or hot milk with tea. When we purchased the coffee maker we had hoped that it would expand in the U.S. and competition would roll in (like happened with Keurig). Now there is no denying that the Verismo makes a good cup of coffee and if that is what you are looking for then it is a great option (just be aware that you will be locked in to Starbucks only products).

Keurig 2.0 k460
The New Coffee Machine

The Problem – Starbucks only was limiting

In many larger cities perhaps it is not that difficult to walk down the block to the Starbucks grab your pods and go. However, in a city of 1,500 people and a 25 minute drive from the closest starbucks (40 minutes to the closest Starbucks that sells the pods) it is not practical to drive so far for pods. I like Starbucks (I can get Keurig cup Starbucks closer, but apparently they don’t work with retailers in my area on their Verismo cups).

Keurig K-Cup Starbucks Pod
With the Keurig you can still use Starbucks Pods.

The Solution – A New Machine – Keurig 2.0 K460

Well the wife finally had enough and bought a new coffee machine, the Keurig 2.0 K460 Brewing System. I have to say this machine is pretty cool it has a LED light inside the water reservoir for stylish looks. The water reservoir can hold 70 ounces of water. There is a filter to ensure the water is higher quality. Even cooler I can control how many ounces it pours (4-10) for a single cup. It will pour just hot water or make hot chocolate, tea, coffee, etc…. It will even brew enough for four cups at once, Keurig Carafe pot, using slightly different pods that the machine will use,Keurig Carafe Pods. There’s even a carousel if you have counter space and want a decorative coffee pod holder, Keurig Carousel. The carousel will accommodate both the larger K-Carafe pods or the smaller K-Cups just like the machine.

Fresh Coffee form the Keurig 2.0 K460 machine
Fresh Starbucks Coffee Pouring out of the new Keurig 2.0 K460 Coffee Machine.

Conclusion – A Winner

Ok, so I am pretty impressed with the Keurig 2.0 K460 Brewing System coffee machine. We have only had it for two days and so far it has worked flawlessly and wonderfully. The old coffee maker will be going to the office with me while the new one which is more suitable for guests and multiple people will remain at home. There are a few reviews online that rate this machine lower than I feel it deserves. It seems that the main complaint is that for the 2.0 model Keurig has implemented a scanning device to check if the cup is certified by the company. Apparently some of the older machines would break and it was due to cups being used which were not high enough quality for the device. This kinda sounds like hogwash and more what the reviewers who ding it suspect, that the patent was expiring and they wanted to keep selling pods instead of the competition. In any case Keurig labelled pods which are accepted by the machine are everywhere and often even cheaper online if you have the forethought to order them before you run out.

Making hot water with the Keurig 2.0 K460
The Keurig 2.0 K460 making hot water.

From an environmental perspective I would score the device as inconclusive. It has the advantage of only heating the amount of water needed when it is needed (much like an on-demand water heater). Though the pods are not recyclable and the device is designed to prevent the reusable cups that were popular on earlier Keurig machines. The machine will let you run the water through the cup at a slower rate to allow less water to brew more potent coffee, this perhaps will save some water (though I have been using the larger water setting, so maybe not). This is probably not a device to save money or the environment but for a convenient cup of coffee it is pretty good. If Keurig can solve the non-recyclable pod issue (they plan to by 2020) then this device would score much higher on the environmental side. The Verismo was about the same regarding the environmental issues (Starbucks does say their pods are recyclable but check with your recycling company) in the end I think either machine will make a satisfactory cup of coffee and it just comes down to preference (and if you want to be using exclusively Starbucks brand coffee). If you know someone with a new Keurig a variety pack might make a good gift as it can expose them to different flavors of pods.

Answers to Questions:

Q: Will Starbucks Verismo pods work in a Keurig?

A: No, the pods are different and not cross compatible.

Baby in the Toilet

Background – I was at work

This one afternoon I was at work. Apparently the wife was having a relaxed day.  She was hanging out with our one year old playing and having fun. It was a good break after yesterdays cleaning effort where she bleached the toilet scrubbed the bathtub. washed the mirrors and more. Suddenly her phone rang…who could it be? She darted to the other room to answer it…it was her mother with a quick question. A minute later she walked back to get the baby and guess what she found?

 

Baby in the Toilet
You never know what might happen when the phone rings and you have children.

The baby had climbed into the toilet and apparently very proud of himself.

The Problem – Baby in the Toilet

The obvious problem is the baby climbed into the toilet….ewwww. Previously we have been having the problem where the baby goes and splashes in the toilet and gets his hands dirty. To solve this we had been very meticulous about keeping the door to both bathrooms shut. This photo is evidence of failure to close the door meticulously enough.  For some reason he is obsessed with the toilet so we have to be very vigilant about keeping the toilet clean and encouraging his older two brothers (8 and 5) to flush every time and keep the doors shut.

The Solution – Baby out of the Toilet

Well the immediate solution, obviously, is to remove the baby from the toilet and wash him off thoroughly…very thoroughly (thank goodness it was clean and bleached yesterday and that he had the sense/luck to not go headfirst). I am looking for more permanent solutions, currently we are very obsessive (not enough apparently) about keeping all bathroom doors closed (you see the result of failure to do so). I am ordering a seat lid lock such as this, Mommy’s Helper Toilet Seat Lid-Lok, hopefully a lock will prevent future problems. The main item of concern when picking out an appropriate seat lid lock will be to ensure that the older brothers can easily lock and unlock the device (we wouldn’t want any accidents).

Conclusion

Well a baby in the toilet is never good. There are products to help with this which I am strongly considering purchasing at this point. Oddly, yesterday I hinted that today’s article would be about behavior in the bathroom and this was not the intended article. Tomorrow the article will be a Sunday Special dealing with Starbucks.