7 Winter Driving Tips

Arrive Safely With These Seven Winter Driving Tips

7 winter-driving-tips

This post brought to you by Kelley Blue Book. The content and opinions expressed below are that of thismamaloves.

As the kids transition from their summer to their school routines, our weather does a major transition of its own. Those dog days of summer are replaced by that cool crispness in their air that puts a little zip in your step.  The leaves begin to morph into a beautiful pallet of gold, yellow, red, orange and brown. As those leaves begin to fall and they crunch under your feet, the kids get a few weeks of leaf pile jumping fun before the air takes that turn and becomes a cold snap. Before you know it, we are seeing snow flurries, are turning on the heat in the house and the car and winter coats are coming out of storage. As beautiful as a snowy landscape can be, driving in it can be something completely different. If you are not well versed in the rules of the winter roads, you can be a hazard to yourself and others when you take your car out for a winter drive.

For many of us, Kelley Blue Book is known as the Trusted Resource® for their vehicle valuation and information on what people are paying for their new and used cars. What you may not be aware of, is Kelley Blue Book also offers valuable tips to keep you and your family safe while on the road. The NHTSA states there are almost 212,000 accidents each year due to snow and sleet. In order to avoid becoming one of those statistics, Kelley Blue Book  has compiled 7 winter driving tips.

  1. Electrical System: The cold weather can affect your car battery, so you want to be sure it is ready for the cold and wet winter weather. What you may not know is your batter could be on the cusp of needing to be replaced. You do not want to find this out when your car will not start or it leaves you stranded if it starts and then stalls. Take your car in and have a diagnostic run on it to determine if you need a new batter or not.
  2. Cooling System: Most of us think about the cooling system in the summer when the chances of it overheating are greater. In the winter, the antifreeze in the cooling system is what keeps your car from freezing up when it is freezing outside. Many people are not aware your car can still overheat, even when it is cold outside. Be sure to have your fluids as well as your belts and hoses checked before your winter weather gets out of control.
  3. Tires: If you are in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow, you should have the appropriate snow tires. Depending on where you live, snow chains in the trunk should be a no brainer. If you are in an area that gets intermittent snow just a handful of times, you should have a good set of all-season tires.
  4. Wipers: There is nothing scarier than to be on the road in the winter, the snow starts to come down and your wipers are not working. The summer heat can make your wiper blades dry and brittle, rendering them useless in the winter when you really need them. If need be, replace those wipers as well as filling the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
  5. Driving: How well do you know how to drive in the snow, ice and sleet? Many people in the north are pretty versed, but a refresher course is not a bad idea. Read up on the rules of the winter road and then head over to an empty parking lot to practice.
  6. Gasoline: Do not leave your gas tank on empty. This can literally be the thing that puts you in danger. If you run out of gas in the cold, you do not want to be stranded somewhere. Keep the tank with no less than ¼ of a tank and you should be good to go.
  7. Plan for The Worst: All of these tips are good to follow, but they are not 100% foolproof. You can still find yourself in a bad situation and being prepared is imperative in this frigid weather. Be sure your car has an emergency kit that includes warm clothing/blanket, flashlight, water for drinking, food, chains for the tires, kitty litter and flares.

In addition to these great tips, Kelley Blue Book has what you need to make the most informed decision when buying a new or used car. They have put together a compilation of the 10 Best All-Wheel Drive Cars and SUVs under $25,000 as well as the 10 Best Cars for winter. No matter your driving needs and budget, Kelley Blue Book can help you keep your family safe, keep your budget intact and your days merry and bright!


Holiday Poinsettia Paper Wreath Tutorial

We’ve all seen those beautiful Paper Wreath tutorials on Pinterest.  I have loved them for months but haven’t set aside the time to make one or been able to decide what look I wanted…book pages, bright summer colors, or sheet music.  Recently our friends at Staples asked us to go shopping for a few Staples products that we could use to create a great holiday decor hack or DIY project.  I knew right away that this was the perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at a holiday version of the paper wreath!   #HandmadeHolidays


So I headed to Staples and picked up a few things to create this gorgeous holiday wreath!  I could have ordered what I needed online but decided to see what our local store had on hand and found just what I needed.

Holiday Poinsettia Paper Wreath Tutorial


  • 1 package of Staples Brights Paper (I chose a package that had several colors including red and green).
  • 1 10 pc package brown card stock
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • scissors
  • a cardboard or plastic circle for the base of the wreath (I used a plastic cake plate)

staples paper wreath

I’ve seen lots of tutorials for the paper wreaths that call for using square sheets.  My paper was 8 1/2″ x 11″ and I didn’t want to waste a lot of paper making them into squares so I played a little bit and found that rectangular sheets work just fine too.

If you have a paper cutter, cutting the sheets in half will go rather quickly.  If not, you can use scissors or tear them.  I used about 30 rectangles of green, 20 red, and 11 brown.

paper wreath

Begin by wrapping each piece of paper into a cone.  The top will be open with a pointed tip and the opposite end will be mostly closed.  Use a tiny bit of hot glue on the seam to keep the cone from unrolling.

Glue the cones to the round base, leaving about 1″-2″ between each as you add the first layer.

Holiday Poinsettia Paper Wreath Instructions

When the first layer is complete add another row of green, placing them in the spaces between the first cones.  This will create a layered look.  Continue layering the green onto the wreath until you feel you have enough.  I did three layers.

Holiday Poinsettia Paper Wreath How To

Repeat using the red paper cones.  I added 3 layers of the red as well to create a nice full look.

Paper Wreath Tutorial

When the red layers are complete and you’ve reached the middle of your flower, finish the wreath by adding the brown cones.

Holiday Paper Wreath Tutorial

I drilled a tiny hole in the plastic plate I used for a base and tied a ribbon through to hang the wreath.  You could also hot glue a ribbon or string onto the back if you’re using cardboard or do not have a drill on hand.

This wreath was fun and easy to make.  The kids loved helping with it and decided it looked just like a poinsettia.  It will look beautiful in our home for the holidays!


Fluid for your car

We’re going to just add the liquids in your cars to the list of things I never paid much attention to. Except for wiper fluid and gas, of course. Those I pay attention to. (My husband tells me I have used more wiper fluid since he’s met me than most people use in a lifetime. I’m a little obsessive about it, I suppose).  But there are many fluids in your vehicle and really?  They are kind of a BIG DEAL and we should be paying attention to them. There is a LOT you should know about fluid for your car. Um… that we should know.



Of course, Sears Auto Center has a lot more they do with the fluids in our vehicles.  Its been kind of fun learning about all of this for the Sears Auto Center Road Warriors Program. Yes, I did just say kind of fun.  It’s also been really eye opening.  Not paying attention to your vehicle can cost you – a lot- and worse.

Did you know?

Most folks call it antifreeze in the winter and coolant in the summer, but regardless of season does same job.  Coolant, antifreeze, it’s the same thing.  The purpose of it is to redistribute heat away from the engine.  It’s kind of ESSENTIAL.  It’s often that bright limey-yellow stuff that you sometimes see leaking on your driveway.  (You don’t want that). Coolant/antifreeze is like the starting captain on your team, and you don’t want your captain sidelined for injury.

sears coolant machine



Coolant is the fluid—usually bright green in color, but also found in orange, yellow, and red hues—that allows your engine to maintain its optimal temperature by redistributing heat away from the engine through the cooling system. This is accomplished by circulating the coolant from the engine and through your vehicle’s radiator.

You may ask: why does my vehicle need special fluid for this? Couldn’t a jug of water do the same thing? NO!! While water is one of the most effective fluids for holding heat, water freezes making it a terrible long-term solution in colder temperatures. To combat the cold, your vehicle most likely requires a 50/50 mix of water and ethylene glycol—giving us the term “antifreeze”.

In addition to lowering the temperature at which the fluid in your radiator will freeze, ethylene glycol improves the temperature at which the fluid in your car or truck will boil—hence the term “coolant”.

Along with keeping your car from freezing in the winter, and your truck from overheating in the summer, your coolant acts as a lubricant for every moving part it touches, including the water pump, which pushes fluid through the engine, cylinder head and radiator. If that wasn’t enough, most coolant contains some type of additives to help prevent costly corrosion within the radiator.

Check your owners manual to find when they suggest regular change of coolant. Old coolant can wreak havoc on your vehicle just as too little can.



Coolant isn’t the only key player on your car’s team. There’s also Transmission Fluid.This, you check like you do your oil, with a dipstick.

Transmission Fluid is a slippery liquid that coats all of the moving parts inside your transmission, transmission fluid is designed to cool and lubricate your transmissions internal parts so the gears can shift smoothly without tearing them to shreds. I actually got to see a transmission fluid changed on a 2008 Dodge something or other pickup truck. (I am mortified that I didn’t even ask what kind of truck. Do I get points for noticing it was Dodge?) Fun fact: different vehicle manufacturers use different colors for the fluid they use.


Technicians extract old transmission fluid through the vehicle’s dipstick which removes up to 90 percent of the old contaminated fluid.  This is kind of gross, but fascinating. Well, interesting at least. When you pay attention you can see the stuff coming up through the hose with the fluid…. and you realize, that can’t be good for my vehicle. Transmission fluid doesn’t need constant attention- manual transmissions need it checked about every 30-60ooo miles and for an automatic transmission, 60-100000 miles. Both the techs I spoke with at my local Sears Auto Center told me that they’d not let their vehicles go to 100,000 miles- I don’t think I would either. I don’t know that I want to let things slide with my vehicles. There’s a lot riding on them.

sears flush old transmission


This machine must make life so much easier for the technicians who are working to change our engine fluids and help keep our vehicles safe. They can be more time efficient and also more exact.  Once the techs have checked the dipstick, they insert the extraction hose from this machine (TFE6020) and it pulls out about 90% of the old fluid.  Once the old is out, they can switch to the hose that puts new fluid into the transmission…the machine alerts the tech to start the car, and the tech will go through each gear on the vehicle.  This way, the tech can be sure that the old fluid is flushed out and the new fluid gets everywhere it needs to be.

sears transmission machine mid

Once things are done, the tech checks to be sure the dipstick is reading at the correct level and there it is, a changed transmission fluid.

sears transmission new


Keep an eye on the Sears Auto Facebook page and website during the 12 Days of Car Care promotion from 12/13-12/24, where there will be exclusive deals on Road Handler tires and Valvoline oil changes.

One reader will win a $50 Sears Gift Card!

Thank to Sears Auto Center for sponsoring today’s discussion.

How to select an air filter #HealthierHome

Fall is here, and winter’s coming fast-  I’ve spent lots of time preparing. Switching out summer/fall clothes for their warmer counterparts, and pulling out decorations to fit the season. I’ve also spent A LOT of time dusting. Not going to lie, it kind of grosses me out to see all of the dust I’ve been kicking up floating through the air…


After I dust, I always feel the need to open up windows and vacuum immediately. While it does kind of help to air out the house, I can’t help but feel like I’m just walking around in invisible airborne particles that are lingering around…




Ever wonder exactly what’s in the air in YOUR home!? If you aren’t using a good filter, chances are there’s lots of icky things in your air that are unseen to the human eye. Airborne particles like dust, pollen and mold spores!


Of course, we can’t forget those super pesky allergens like: pet dander, smoke, and other particles that can carry bacteria and viruses.


Everything else in your home may seem fairly easy to clean up, but have you ever wondered exactly how to help improve the air you’re breathing from these pesky airborne particles? I know I have.


I’ve found that the answer to this question lies somewhere you may not expect. It isn’t just in the cleaning, vacuuming, disinfecting, or airing out so much as it’s in the FILTER! The filter you choose can affect how many airborne particles are left to linger in your home. So do you know how to select an air filter for your home?

filtrete healthy air 1900

I recommend the Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction Filter MPR 1900. This filter stands out from the rest, because it captures a whooping 93% of the airborne particles from the air passing through your filter!


I don’t know about you, but that sure makes me sleep much better at night! I have enough things on my mind to lose sleep over. I don’t need to worry about our air quality in the house too!

hairiest dog contest

Be sure to enter Filtrete’s Hairiest Dog Contest!


Filtrete Brand Ambassador Badge

This post is sponsored by Filtrete.  Opinions are my own.


Tech gift ideas #PanasonicHoliday

No matter how far in advance you think you’ve completed your shopping, there always seems to be something that remains undone.  The month of December brings out all of the must have products at some of the best prices, and who can resist? I always seem to find myself stopping to grab that “one more thing” that would be perfect for one of my children, or even the husband.


Especially when it’s a gift I can benefit from myself!


How often have you found yourself screaming at the top of your lungs to your teen or preteen, only to find them completely drowning the world out with their headphones? That’s a common occurrence in my home.  It scares me to think of them wearing their headphones out in public, and being totally unaware of their surroundings. I am being compensated by Panasonic for my participation in this campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network.


My partnership with Panasonic this holiday season has helped me find the perfect solution! Their Open-ear headphones allow the person wearing  them to hear everything that’s going around them! The Bone conduction technology in these bad boys actually sends music from the cheek bones to the inner ear, meaning your child can still experience the full effect of their music or game, without sacrificing awareness for the rest of the world! Not just for kids- the athletes in your life will also appreciate getting great sound AND being aware of their surroundings. (Open Ear Headphones MSRP: $79.99)


Children (and the Grinch) aren’t the only ones Panasonic has great gifts for either!


The Link2Cell Digital Phone is something that I wouldn’t mind having myself (shameless hint to the Husband).  It brings back the convenience of home phones, without having to have an extra number! Simply doc your iPhone into the docking station, and the home phone receivers will ring when you have a message or a text! Living where we do, cell signals in our house aren’t always great… but I don’t often give out our home phone number… but I don’t like being tied to one area when on the phone. I love being able to hook my (and another- you can get 2 phones connected to this system!) phone and have that great signal regardless of where I am in the house. You can even stream music from your phone through your entire house with the built in speakers! (KX-PRL262B Link2Cell Phone MSRP: $199.95)


These are just a couple of the neat gifts Panasonic has in their holiday line up! Be sure to visit their website or Pinterest for more holiday inspiration!


Getting rid of pet hair #NeatoVacuumBestForPets #Giveaway

The word chaos does not even begin to describe my home at times. Especially in the winter, when we are all confined to the indoors for a large majority of our time. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it…. But I also often find myself dreaming of cloning myself. Just one extra me would go along ways in helping me to maintain my sanity.

I find myself running behind the kids and their various friends throughout the day reminding them to clean up after themselves in an effort to keep the house tidy. Then, as much as my children are running around leaving things behind, my pets seem to jump right in and pick up where the children left off! Those are a bit harder to chastise for not being neat and tidy. Especially when the problem is shedding, something they can’t easily control.Getting rid of pet hair is one of my biggest challenges!

Then… there was a Neato Robot Vacuum.

The Neato Robot Vacuum is seriously the “Best for Pets“. Not just because I said it, (although come on, you guys!) but because they’ve also won numerous awards titling them as just that! Not only does the Neato keep floors neat and tidy… it’s hands free and effortless! No more daily floor cleaning with standard vacuums or sweeping with brooms… the Neato handles that for you.

How does it work?

You pick the time and date and schedule when you’d like the Neato to clean, or use the one button start. When it’s time, it moves around your house picking up debris. The Neato actually learns your house! It uses laser mapping and laser guided navigation to do this. It also includes boundary markers/sensors to protect pet bowls, stairs, and your important valuables.

The wide suction area and edge cleaning brushes can be used for through clean. The stealthy vacuum can also easily maneuver under furniture, around corners, and the square edge gets in corners and hard to reach spots!

This vacuum literally saves hours a month! It’s the next best thing to having a full time maid! And guess what happens when it’s done cleaning? The Neato Robot Vacuum just returns itself right to it’s base to recharge! How “neat” is that (see what I did there?).

What room could you use a Neato in?

Be sure to check out the Neato Robot Vacuums “Best for Pets” pet-friendly webpage dedicated to providing pet shedding resources, tips and even a Pet Shedding Solutions Guide featuring content from PetMD and Pet360.

Sweepstakes Offer – you could win a Neato Botvac 85 Robotic Vacuum! Enter here by November 25.

Be sure to check out the Neato Robot Vacuums “Best for Pets

Sweepstakes Offer – you could win a Neato Robotic Vacuum!

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Visit Neato for more information on why the Neato Robot Vacuum is best for pets! And be sure to enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win your own Neato Botvac™ Robot Vacuum!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Neato Robotics® Best for Pets Vacuums. The opinions and text are all mine.

Preserving digital memories

I am going to admit here and now I’m horrible about printing our photos.  Going back since our oldest was born? I could easily guess we have over 10,000 photos I have not printed.  I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t print all of them, but I’ve printed almost NONE of them.  It’s not deliberate- but as time’s gone on… it’s seemed more and more daunting and easier to just keep adding storage devices, adding more as they filled.  But really?  It would be fun to go look AT those photos and share those memories.  My goal in the near future is to start adding some photos from external hard drives to our Lyve device.  Then, we’re not just looking at recent photo memories of our family and friends, we’re also able to see memories from years ago.  Even some photos of loved ones who aren’t here with us anymore. It’s time to get our memories off of our phones and into our living rooms, you guys.  Those Facebook albums are great but I want to be able to access my memories whenever I want, without having to hop onto Facebook (because let’s face it, I’ll get stuck on there for a half hour or more…).

We use Lyve for preserving digital memories in our house- with the Lyve Home and with the Lyve app.  The Lyve Home device moves around our house frequently- I hadn’t realized how much my kids loved to see the photos over and over until I saw them bringing it with them from the kitchen to the living room so they could see photos while playing a game, etc.


New phone means lots of new photos to add and update our Lyve!

The Lyve Home (retails $299, 2 TB storage) isn’t just a storage device for your photo memories.  It’s also an organizer and an ongoing digital slideshow.  Photos are organized by date, album, or who’s in the photos.  Automatically.  As in, you don’t have to organize the photos.  It’s done for you.  Procrastinators, unite! We have been rewarded for that procrastination! We love touching the screen to look around at different albums – the touchscreen is just one more way this device is so user friendly. Between the photos that I take and what my kids take with our devices, I would have thought that our Lyve would be filled up already. Happily, it isn’t.  (We have 99% storage available still!) It’s so much fun for the kids AND for us (parents) to have the Lyve around to look at and catch a glimpse of throughout the day.  You never know what photo will pop up when you walk by, so it’s usually a fun surprise.


The Lyve is a FABULOUS gift idea for loved ones- even those who don’t have a computer like, for instance, my in laws- we can bring photos to their house and upload them and they can enjoy seeing them anytime they want.  For those who are “with computer” it’s a way to send and share photos of loved ones, even remotely.  I have many friends who live thousands of miles from family who share photos back and forth via texts, etc. Think of how happy it would make loved ones to have hundreds of memories accessible at the touch of a fingertip on the Lyve or in the Lyve app.


There’s a newish (to me) Lyve app, as well, available now for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows.  Install the app on all the devices you use, and the photos and videos are collected and organized FOR you. As new content is added, it’s presented in a single library, organized by date (newest first) and viewable as one timeline. You can do the app with and without the Lyve hardware based devices. The app detects what kind of device you are on and photos show to fit the device.  That means when we go visit my husband’s great aunt, we can bring our iPad3 and she can enjoy looking at photos in a nice large format.  She adores looking at photos and hearing our stories that go with them, and now we can share even more of them with her. Having the app also means I can bring my large tablet to visit my dad (who has Alzheimer’s but also doesn’t see very well anymore) and I can share so many images and memories with him that are large enough for him to see.


Visit MyLyve.com to learn more about this fantastic way to preserve digital memories and to order yours!

ptpa winner



 Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Lyve and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Getting stains out of clothes

We are a sports family, through and through. My children absolutely love to participate in sports and activities. Although it does take a lot of ripping and running on my Husband and I’s part, we love them being able to participate in the activities they love as well.

You know what DOESN’T love all of their activities though?

Their clothes.

Seriously, one of my hardest task as a mother has become scrubbing stains out of soccer uniforms and getting stains out of clothes in general- in an effort to get them clean as possible without fading the actual uniform. Has that ever happened to you before? You do your best to get one stain out, and before you know it the entire outfit is looking faded and lackluster… pretty annoying, right?

What’s even worse is that they children, of course, don’t only practice with their uniforms on. That would be way too convenient, huh? You can catch them practicing any chance they get, whether their outfit is suitable for their actions or not. This means a scramble to get nice clothes off after events and get them back into play clothes.

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I worry that may not be possible. They’ll be running around playing with friends and family and likely paying entirely no mind to how their adorable outfits look.

A little planning ahead goes a long way, and I’ve already come up with a solution. I grabbed a bottle of Clorox 2 Stain Remover & Color Booster. Clorox 2 Stain Remover & Color Booster makes it possible to get out even the toughest most set in stains. This makes me feel soooo good because I can enjoy family on Thanksgiving, rather than chasing my children around monitoring their clothing. Clorox 2 can also be used through the wash to boost the power of your regular detergent. Not only does it effectively fight the stains, Clorox 2 Stain Remove & Color Booster also keeps your whites white and your colors brighter.

I’m very glad I can check stains off my list of holiday worries. Now on to list items 2 – 5,000.

What’s the worst stain you’ve ever tackled?

This post is brought to you by Clorox [www.clorox.com]. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox 2 Stain Remover & Color Booster. All opinions and stories are my own.

What do I need to know about tires? #SACRoadWarriors #RoadRules #CarCare

We all, all, at some point in time, rely on tires. Maybe we don’t use our own tires, maybe we don’t even ride in vehicles. But something we purchase does, or a service we use relies on tire.  They are kind of a BIG deal in the world of auto safety. If your tires go bad, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

It’s not something I really gave a whole lot of thought to up until quite recently.  Or really, at all. I mean, I knew I had tires on my van (or previously, car). I knew they needed air, but I didn’t check the pressure, like, well, ever.  I sort of know how to change a tire in an emergency because my dad didn’t let any of us kids get a driver’s license without being able to 1. drive a standard, 2. check the oil and 3. change a flat tire.

I’ve never put the tire thing into use. Fortunately for all of us on the roads in a 100 mile radius of wherever I am, I haven’t needed to.  What I DO know is that I need to pay some attention to my tires. We all do.  Why?  Because they are how we get from A to B and everywhere else. Sears asked me to be part of their Sears Auto Center Road Warriors Program recently, and I was quick to accept the opportunity- I realized that what I don’t know, lots of us may not know, and we need to pay attention. My first assigment?  To learn about Tires.  (Tires 101 was VERY helpful for me!)


So what’s the big deal about tires? What do I need to know about tires?


Tires are important to educate ourselves about. Tires have treads on them.  Those treads are designed to give traction on the road surface.  Think worn treads don’t make a difference?  Do a search on YouTube.  I’m pretty sure it’ll change your way of thinking.  That’s not to say that all worn treads immediately mean you need 4 new tires.  It means that you have to pay attention.


How do I know if I may need new tires?

Well, you can visit a local Sears Auto Center, for one.  In just a few minutes, you can have a FREE “health assessment” of your car.  During the One Stop Quick Check, your tire treads are measured, wear is measured, alignment, and battery life are all checked without you doing a thing (including taking out your wallet).  You’ll get a printout with the results.


Significant tread wear – if there’s little to no tread left on your tires, it’s time.  Don’t wait.

Cracks in your treads, cracks, grooves, etc on your sidewalls of your tires 

Uneven tread wear

Well poo. I need new tires and likely a battery. @searsauto#SACRoadWarriors #client

A photo posted by Brett Martin (@brettbmartin) on

You can see in the instagram shot above that my back tires aren’t wearing as evenly as the front.  That’s actually OK for now, because we rotate our tires regularly and that’s part of why you rotate them.  Significantly uneven wear is when you have cause for concern.   (Let’s just pretend we don’t see the battery health)

Tire tread less than 2/32 of an inch in depth (Have you ever heard of the penny test? This is where that comes in to play!)

How to do a penny test: hold a penny upside down on the tire.  If Abe Lincoln’s head doesn’t disappear when you do this, your treads are not ok and you need to think about investing in new tires.

Bumps or bulges (see those bulges?  BAD news! for the record that is NOT my tire. It was on display at my local Sears store).



How do I know what tires to buy?

Listen, there’s a LOT of tires out there.  I get overwhelmed.  Everyone seems to say theirs are the best.  But they can’t ALL be the best!  Here’s what I’m learning is a good way to find the tires for you. I found this great infographic that really just lays it out for you in terms of what means what on your tires.  But knowing WHICH to buy? Well, that depends on a lot of factors.


Look at the treadwear numbers/ratings on a tire.  Remember that the amount of time you can expect your tires to last DOES depend on other factors and not just the tire.  Driving fast, changing lanes, slamming on brakes, hitting curbs frequently, and other less than ideal driving habits can impact how long you can expect your tires to last.  A higher treadwear number should result in a tire that lasts longer.  Climate can impact that lifespan of your tire, as can road conditions.  If frost heaves mean anything to you, you know they can affect your tire’s lifespan.  Potholes, uneven terrain, etc can all shorten your tire’s lifespan. If you live in an area with a fairly mild climate, you may not need as high of a temperature rating as someone who lives in more extreme climates.

Traction- the faster you drive, the higher you should probably look for a traction rating on your tires.  This is a big one, because it’s how your tires perform when trying to stop on wet pavement. Most vehicles may not need the highest traction rating, simply because we won’t ever be driving as fast as say, a high performance race car.  Spend some time researching tires BEFORE you need them so you don’t end up buying something you maybe don’t need.

What’s the difference between tire types? Is there a grading system?

Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG): printed on the sidewall, a tire’s UTQG consists of three factors and is assigned by the tire manufacturer. UTQG is listed as follows: Treadwear XXX Traction X Temperature X. These ratings can be compared within the same brand but not across brands.

Treadwear: the numeric portion of the UTQG, the tread wear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test track.

Tread wear grades are not a guarantee of actual tire mileage as factors such as driving habits, climate and road characteristics impact tire longevity.

Traction: traction grades range from AA – C, with AA being the highest and C being the lowest. These grades represent the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on specified government test surfaces of asphalt and concrete.

Temperature: temperature grades range from A – C with A being the highest and C being the lowest. These grades represent the tire’s resistance to the generation of heat at speed.


How do I take care of my tires on a day to day basis?

Look at your tires.  Pay attention to them.  Be familiar with how they SHOULD look, so that anomalies will be apparent quickly. (This is my first goal for tire maintenance in my own life. I’m guilty, guilty guilty of not paying attention to my tires).

Maintain proper tire pressure (Look on the inside of the driver’s door of your vehicle.  NOT on your tires!!). Low presure (or too high pressure) can impact the lifespan of your tire and the performance.


Rotate your tires regularly (Sears recommends every 5000-8000 miles) We usually rotate when we get an alignment, which we do about every 6 months if needed. Check the alignment and have your vehicle realigned as needed.

Replace– Tires typically are made to last 3-5 years.  They do have a ‘birth’ date on them.


So here’s a question for you- how often do you pay attention to YOUR tires?


Thanks to Sears for inviting me to be part of the Sears Auto Center Road Warriors Program and for sponsoring today’s post.  Opinions are my own. 


Hosting a {Family Friendly} Oktoberfest Party

Does your family love to get together and party?


We do!


Any reason that we can get together and spend some time together is a good enough reason for us! While there are tons of holidays throughout the year that give us reason to celebrate, some are just more fun than others.


Oktoberfest is one of those!


What’s Oktoberfest?


This is a holiday that comes from Germany. Basically many spend this holiday drinking beer (lots of beer), and just hanging out with friends! Your party doesn’t HAVE to involve alcohol though.


Our family involves our children in just about everything that we do. Oktoberfest isn’t any different! Since not all of our friends choose to celebrate Halloween, Oktoberfest is actually an optimal time to plan a fall party. That’s exactly what we did!

Here are the staples you’ll need to plan your Oktoberfest party!


Finger Foods: Like any other party, finger food is a very important part of planning for Oktoberfest! Our favorite finger food is Ristorante frozen pizza by Dr. Oetker. Not only will you enjoy the yumminess of it, it’s quick and easy to make. It’s also quite versatile in that it can be used as a main dish or an appetizer.


Sparkling punch: Just because you aren’t serving alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t whip up some pretty awesome drinks! I like to make a simple punch with orange sherbet and sprite! It’s delicious and matches the color scheme well.


Sweets: No party is complete without a few sweet treats! Puppy chow, caramel apples, and pretty much anything pumpkin flavored are great treats for a fall party. You can also double a treat as a craft time by allowing your guest to assemble it themselves.


Do you have any special plans for Oktoberfest?


I’d love to hear about them! Drop me a line in the comments below.


ristorante quattro fromaggi

To learn more about Ristorante by Dr. Oetker, be sure to visit their website and like them on Facebook! To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

tasty triumphs

Be sure to enter Ristorante’s Tasty Triumphs Sweepstakes which runs on Facebook until November 5th! There’s a chance to win up to $1,500 in prizes and hundreds of daily instant win prizes.





This post is brought to you by Ristorante.  Opinions are my own.