Thursday, June 19, 2014

Traveling With a Baby? These 15 Tips Can Help


There are many things that you can do to make travel with an infant easier.  As a mom of four who has a mother in law that lives over eight hours away I am seasoned in traveling with babies. 

I know so many people who are afraid of travel with their little ones or overwhelmed at the thought of having to go somewhere far away.  So when it comes to taking trips they avoid it at all costs.  Traveling with your baby does not have to be stressful and you can really have a great time.  These tips can help to relieve some of the stress and make traveling with your little one more enjoyable.

Tip # 1 – Plan Ahead and Pack Accordingly
No matter where you are going weather can change and you might have a need for something that you did not see.  Pack extras like jackets and off season outfits so if the weather changes you are up for everything.  Also think about how many days that you are going and always add extra clothes.

Tip # 2 – Make Travel Fun with New Toys or Books
All children love toys and books while they are on the road.  When your baby gets bored it will challenge you to keep them entertained.  If you have small toys and books that they have not seen before then you will have an easier time getting them interested in something.

Tip # 3 – Technology Can Be Lifesaving
As a parent I do not like to rely on technology all of the time.  However when we are traveling technology can be a lifesaver.  All of our children have loved tablets and being able to watch cartoons while traveling.  If it is something that you do not often do they are going to enjoy it even more.

Tip # 4 – Choose Your Travel Clothes Wisely
Choosing the clothes that your little one travels in wisely is a must.  You want something that is going to make diaper changes quick and easy.

Tip # 5 – Travel with a Copy of Your Baby's Birth Certificate
Having a copy of your baby's birth certificate with you when you are traveling is a must.  It can make it easier to bring her in and out of the country if traveling abroad and can make airlines or trains a breeze when traveling in the US.

Tip # 6 – Choose Longer Layovers
I know that you want to get where you are going as quickly as possible.  However by choosing the longer layover times you will give your baby time to stretch and play while waiting on the next flight. 

Tip # 7 – Take a Travel Bed with You
You might be tempted to use a crib or hotel portable crib because of the ease but these are not always up to date with safety regulations.  So instead choose to take a small portable bed with you.  There are options that are much smaller than a play yard that can fold into a small size and even be stashed in a suitcase.

Tip # 8 – Be Patient
If your baby is getting cranky or upset then it is likely that they have a need.  Try to think about what you would do differently at home and how you would handle the time/situation.  Keep calm and be patient while trying to assess their need.

Tip # 9 – Set Up Your Space
When you arrive the first thing that you should do is set up your space to make it as comfortable and home-like to your baby as possible.  This can help your baby to relax and not feel the anxiety of being in new surroundings.

Tip # 10 – Wear Your Baby
You can wear your baby to help keep yourself hands free while navigating through different places.  This can be lifesaving when your baby is constantly surrounded by new people because they will feel comfortable being right next to you.

Tip # 11 – Stick to Your Routine
Sticking to your routine is very important when traveling.  For me personally this is something that I have always done but sometimes I get odd looks or someone will make a comment.  However if you have seen my children when we did not stick to our routine then you would completely understand.

Tip # 12 – Do What You Know is Best for Your Baby
I know when traveling to see family that it can be tough to keep your baby on a routine or to keep him or her from being passed around.  However sticking to your guns and doing everything that you know is best for your baby will help you feel comfortable enough to travel again.

Tip # 13 – Set Up Different Areas in a Hotel Room
Having different areas set up in a hotel room can be lifesaving.  There are four distinct areas that you want to have set up as soon as possible after arriving.  These include: 
1.   Changing Area – Have everything you need for effortless diaper changes in one area.
2.   Play Area – Pack a sheet with you and designate a specific area of the floor as a play area.  This will help baby not to be confused and want to play in their sleeping area.
3.   Sleeping Area – Have one spot designated for bed time or time to sleep.
4.   Kitchen Area – Have everything set up in one area for quick bottles, snacks, and/or meals.

Tip # 14 – Know Your Airline's Policies
When traveling on an airline call ahead of time to ask about car seats and strollers.  These items are generally free to take along with you and most of the time they can be gate checked if you need them while at the airport.  Knowing ahead of time what your airline allows and will do is very valuable.

Tip # 15 – Give Your Baby the Right Nap Environment
Some babies will sleep while you are baby wearing, in a car, or in a stroller.  Others will not.  Know your baby and if yours is one that needs to be at home to nap then plan on taking turns at the hotel room for naps.

Traveling with your baby can be a stress free and enjoyable experience that creates memories for you to cherish.  These tips can really help you to feel like you know what you are doing and can help you be prepared for anything while traveling with your little one.




Amanda Walton is a stay at home mom who works as a blogger and writer.  You can check out her blog Simply Shawn N Jenn or check out her ebooks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kid-Friendly Sushi Recipes


Lots of little ones enjoy watching mommy and daddy eating sushi with their chopsticks, but they might not be quite as keen on the idea of eating raw fish. We went on the hunt for some fun, kid-friendly "sushi" recipes to satisfy your kiddos's crave for Asian-style cuisine. Enjoy!

Veggie Sushi- healthy, fresh, and delicious!
Photo by James Tse from CanadianFamily.ca
Just slice up some cucumbers lengthwise and add some cream cheese and your favorite raw vegetables... a perfect summertime snack or lunch item. Full recipe here.

Peanut Butter & Banana Sushi- a sweet treat!
Photo by PeanutButterBoy.com
Smear some peanut butter across a whole wheat tortilla, wrap it around a peeled banana, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon, and voila- You have a very yummy sushi that your kids will go *bananas* for! Full recipe here.

Sushi Sandwich- a twist on an old favorite!
Photo by DomesticCharm.blogspot.com
Tired of your regular old turkey or PB&J sandwich? Mix it up by rolling up all of the ingredients in a slice of bread instead of layering. Be sure to incorporate lots of veggies and meat for maximum flavor. Full recipe here.

What better way for your children to eat these fun sushi recipes than with the Combi Chopsticks Training Set

The Chopsticks training set is designed to adjust to your child's hand growth while teaching him or her to use chopsticks properly. This three-stage item converts from children's chopsticks with full support to a normal set of plastic chopsticks. As an added bonus, they are microwave and dishwasher safe! You can purchase them now on CombiUSA.com for just $9.99. 

Want some pointers on how to make your own "adult" sushi? Check out PBS' step-by-step instructions with visuals: How To Make Sushi with Step-by-Step Breakdown

Monday, May 19, 2014

Combi Day 2014

Each year on May 16th, Combi employees celebrate Combi Day as a way to honor the global Combi brand and give back to the community.

Combi's parent company, Combi Group in Japan awards one individual the "Combist" award each year on Combi Day. Each Combi branch gets to nominate employees who embody key characteristics that are important both inside and outside of the office. Once each Combi division submits their nominees, all Combi employees in the world vote to select that year's Combist. Combi USA was pleased to nominate Rodney Pipkin, our Warehouse Supervisor, and Tanika Snyder, our Accounts Payable Clerk for the award this year. We celebrated their accomplishments with a staff breakfast this past Friday morning. Rodney and Tanika were also presented with certificates and Combi souvenirs as tokens of appreciation for their dedication to the company.





In addition to honoring and celebrating our colleagues, we also see Combi Day as an opportunity to give back to our community. Located in Charlotte, NC, we chose to donate items to our local Safe Kids chapter for use at an upcoming car seat check event. We donated goodie bags filled with fun Combi items for each parent or caretaker to take away from the car seat check. Safe Kids also plans to fill the bags with educational materials containing car seat safety tips. 


Combi Day is always such a fun time to recognize those at our company and in our community who are going above and beyond what is required. If you could give back to any organization in your community, which organization would you choose?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Look Up

OK, we admit it. We're incredibly guilty of using and relying on our smart phones WAY too much and we're sure some of you can relate. We came across this spoken word film created by Gary Turk that really drives home the idea that "social" media and technology ultimately results in us spending more time alone and becoming more and more disconnected from other human beings.

We think this is something super important to consider, especially for parents. Children often copy what mommy and daddy are doing. Children learn from their parents. If we are teaching them to rely so much on their mobile devices rather than relying on one another, what are they really learning? Do we want them to live in a world where people spend more time on their phones than forming relationships with those around them? Just some food for thought. Would love to hear your opinions in the comments below!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Tips for New Parents

  1. BE YOURSELF! No one knows what's best for your child except you, so do what you feel is right in any situation and don't let others get to you if they don't agree.
  2. GET SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN. Take advantage of those rare nap times or visits from grandma. You'll thank us for this advice during your 3AM feedings.
  3. DON'T SAY NO TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP. We know you'd like to be SuperMom, but let's be honest- motherhood (and fatherhood!) is hard work! There's no shame in getting a helping hand from others who love you and your little one. They most likely would love to be around your new bundle of joy anyway!
  4. PREPARE YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE. When baby comes, all of your attention is focused on him or her and all your personal needs (including food) are no longer a top priority. You likely won't have time to cook, so make some meals ahead of time and store them in the freezer until you're ready to chow down.
  5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Like we said in #4, a new baby means mommy's and daddy's needs are put to the side, but this doesn't mean that you should ignore them either. Be sure you're eating nutritious foods, getting *some* rest and paying attention to your health. Being sick with a newborn is no fun!
  6. DON'T BE ASHAMED TO ACCEPT A HAND-ME-DOWN. We know- baby gear is expensive. Go ahead and purchase the items you've been dreaming of, but don't break the bank getting every latest, hottest item on the market. Turn to others who have children a little older for non-essentials. We bet they have a lot of stuff they'd like to get rid of!
  7. DON'T PANIC! Parenting is challenging and frustrating at times, but stay calm! You can do it and will make it through every tough time you have along the way. It will be worth it.
  8. TAKE YOUR TIME FINDING A BABYSITTER OR DAYCARE PROVIDER. Every mom and/or dad dreads going back to work after a maternity/paternity leave. After all, who wants to leave their snuggly little baby for the ENTIRE day?! Take your time deciding where you want baby to stay while you are away at work. Find someone who understands your parenting style and values. If you're comfortable and happy with your little one's caregiver, you will be more productive during the day and will find yourself worrying less. 
  9. LEARN THE DO'S AND DON'T'S OF CAR SEAT SAFETY. We cannot stress this enough! So many parents are uneducated about car seat safety. Read your car seat instruction manual thoroughly to ensure that you are installing properly or consult a local CPST for help. Be sure the harness fits snugly and all buckles/clips are positioned correctly. Know that car seats are designed for use either in a car or a stroller (unless otherwise stated in the manual) and you should never place a car seat on/in a shopping cart, countertop, bed, etc.
  10. SAVOR EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Enjoy the laughs, cries, dirty diapers, long nights, first steps and everything else in between because it will be gone in a flash! You will be a parent forever, but your little one will soon not be so little anymore. Take advantage of every good and bad minute you have with your baby!
Tell us below: what tips for new parents would you add to this list?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things to Look for in a Stroller

We know that walking into a baby store or researching baby gear online can be pretty confusing and overwhelming for expecting mommies and daddies, so we wanted to share our ten ideal features to look for when picking out a stroller that is perfect for your family's lifestyle. So, without further ado, here are our stroller must-haves!

  1. Large storage basket: Whether you like it or not, mamas have a lot of stuff to carry around 24/7. From the dreaded diaper bag to a purse to shopping bags, you're definitely going to need a place to store all of these essential items. Purchasing a stroller with a large basket secures that extra space if it's needed and lets you rest assured that you won't be throwing heavy bags over your shoulder when on the go.
  2. Oversized canopy with peek-a-boo window: Besides transporting your little ones around, strollers are also used to shield them from the weather! Whether it's pouring rain or the sunshine is out in full, ultraviolet force, it's important to have a large canopy to protect baby from the elements. Peek-a-boo windows are an added bonus because they allow mom or dad to keep an eye on baby without having to walk around to the front of the stroller.
  3. Easy fold: Let's be honest. No one wants to have a hard time packing up a stroller after an exhausting day out with baby. Find a stroller that you can fold quickly to minimize frustration and time away from your little one.
  4. Convertible harness: Products that grow with your child are currently all the rage. Strollers with a convertible harness allow it to convert from a 5-point harness to a 3-point harness and give the product a longer life span. It's always good to get more for your money, right?
  5. Lockable wheels with easy-access brakes: Wondering who is going to hold the stroller while you load groceries into the car or how you'll keep the stroller in place when you bump into an old friend at the park and want to have a chat? Wonder no more!  Pretty much every stroller on the market has some sort of lockable wheels and/or brake system. We recommend strollers with brakes that can easily be depressed and released with the foot, making it super-easy for parents. If you can find a stroller with linked brakes, go for that one! These strollers have one lever that controls all of the wheels. Pretty cool, huh?
  6. Parent cup holder and organizer: Now, this isn't something that parents typically think about or miss until they actually begin using the stroller. If baby has a cup holder, why doesn't mommy or daddy? It can be annoying to have to hold your water bottle and cell phone while strolling around town, so if you think that's something you'll want to do, it would be wise to consider a stroller that includes these accessories so you don't have to purchase them separately.
  7. Infant car seat compatibility: Complete travel systems are the most convenient option for parents. They allow you to take your infant out of your car with baby still buckled in, and attach to your stroller. This is perfect when you have a sleeping baby and don't want to wake him or her by transporting from the car seat to the stroller. It also reduces the hassle of loading children in and out of the car.
  8. Wheel suspension: A bumpy ride is less that desirable for your little ones, so consider a stroller with wheel suspension. This feature gives little ones a much smoother ride and allows you to use your stroller on a variety of terrains.
  9. Shoulder and buckle padding: Along with safety, comfort is a main selling point of a stroller. After all, who doesn't want their children to be extra cozy? A stroller that offers shoulder and buckle padding provides that extra plush material to keep the rough straps and hard buckle from rubbing against your little one's sensitive skin.
  10. Washable seat pad: Just think about all of those graham cracker crumbs and juice spills lurking in the crevices of your stroller... babies are MESSY! Because of this unavoidable fact, it's important to purchase a stroller with a removable, washable seat pad. If you're not able to throw it in the wash, it's likely that you'll never get it 100% clean.
We hope this gave you some things to think about and consider the next time you decide to delve into the world of baby gear! What's your personal must-have stroller feature? Tell us in the comments below!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Catalyst Demo

video

The Combi Catalyst is a versatile, modular stroller that can easily converts from a travel system to bassinet stroller or toddler stroller. With multiple seating configurations the Catalyst is adaptable to every travel need. The universal infant car seat adapter, is included, and compatible with the Combi Shuttle infant car seat, and other major brands, to create a travel system. The seating unit converts to a bassinet* that lays flat to provide a cozy sleeping area for infants starting at birth. In bassinet mode the seat quickly configures to a large, cushioned toddler seat that can be used for older infants and toddlers and provides three seating positions with an adjustable recline. The reversible, multi-function seat has a weight capacity of 50 lbs. and also features an adjustable, 5-point harness system and removable shoulder and buckle comfort pads. All-wheel suspension with front-lock swivel wheels absorb bumps and provide for a smooth ride. A single step brake pedal locks and unlocks both rear wheels. Parents will further appreciate the one-hand telescoping, comfort-grip handle, the over-sized canopy with ventilation window, and the extra-large storage basket that is easily accessible. 
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