Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Benjy has been eating.

Benjy loves to nurse.  When it comes to eating actual food though he is not a big eater.  He loves Mum Mums and will happily eat a package of those.  However, everything else is hit or miss.  He is 8.75 months old.  He does like carrots and will sometimes eat purees.  He does like to feed himself stuff.  He will chew on a chunk of banana, carrot or red pepper.  He finds the red pepper pretty good.

We are doing a form of baby-led weaning. He does like to chew on things.  I am not totally against purees, but I don't give him everything we are eating.  Last night he actually ate a 1/4 jar of carrot puree.  He seems to eat very well when the Chief feeds him.  So the plan is for the Chief to continue to feed him.

I go back to work in a month so I am hoping that he will start eating a bit more as he does not take bottles very well.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

So I fell off the blogger bandwagon

Benjy has been a ball of energy lately. He is eight and half months. He has grown tons. Most of his clothing is 12-18 months and his feet are a wide size 4..  He is very active.  He has 3 teeth now.  His bottom teeth and his top left one.    

He can crawl and he gets into everything.  He is getting very close to walking.  He can stand up on his own. It is really amazing to watch the changes he is going through.

He is still being breastfed and we still co-sleep at night.  During the day he now naps in his crib.  This is a very recent thing.  He started to crawl off our bed when he woke up from naps so for safety's sake he needed to nap in his crib.  It was a rough few days getting him to do it, but now I can put him down when he is sleeping and stays asleep.  I put on white noise and we are able to move around the house without waking him up.

I am still sewing and I made quite a few Christmas presents for people.

It is one short month until I go back to work.  It is going to be very hard to leave Benjy, but I think I will enjoy being back with people all day.





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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Crafts

Cloth diapers will not fit forever, but they are so cute I would like to be able to keep them.  Make minis of things is often done for ornaments so I made a mini fitted diaper.



Next to this diaper is a large fitted I made as well.  I need to add snaps to the fitted as it had velcro but I took it off as it was ripping the diaper apart.


If you are interested in having your own fluff for your Christmas tree these are available at 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bad Blogger

So I have been a bad blogger.  I do like to write, but it seems like I don't always have time to sit down and share my thoughts.  I have been doing a lot of sewing lately.  I even started a little Facebook Company- Momentum Babywear.

So what is new?  Benjy is not 7 months old.  He is so close to crawling, but can't quite get one of his legs to go the right way.  I am sure by the time he is 8 months he will be crawling.

We started feed Benjy solids around 5 months, but he is still not really enjoying it.  He wants to eat them, but he doesn't want to be fed them.  We are having a bit of dilemma, but I am sure things will turn around soon.

Next time I have time, I will share some of my sewing projects.


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Monday, October 3, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Manicotti Made Easy!

This is something that Mark and I came up with.

Manicotti Made Easy!

1 Package of Manicotti Shells (14 shells is best)
1 Package of Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 lb. of cooked ground beef (or any other type of ground meat. Sausage meat, removed the casing is also good)
1 Cup of Shredded Cheese (Mozzerella is best, but we used Cheddar and it was fine)
1 lb. of Ricotta Cheese (400-450g container; Half fat Ricotta can be used)
2, 700ml Jars of Pasta Sauce, preferably Catelli's Garden Select Parmesan and Romano or Tomato and Basil
(My tomato allergy forced us to substitute one jar of pasta sauce for a jar of alfredo sauce)
2 Eggs lightly beaten
Seasonings for the meat mixture (preferably Italian Herbs, like Savory, Basil, Thyme, etc...)

Preheat oven to 350F. Boil the shells until they are slightly flexible, not too hard, but not soft and fully cooked either. Mix together spinach, meat, shredded cheese, ricotta cheese and 2 eggs until you have a uniform mixture. Prepare the pans, at least 1-inch deep, big enough to fill at least 4 shells per pan (we used 4 9 x 9 foil pans). Grease the tins, and put sauce at the bottom of the tins, not too much, just enough to cover the bottom. To fill the shells, take a ziplock bag and cut out one bottom corner. Fill the bag with meat and cheese mixture, and use the bag to squeeze the filling into each shell. Place the shells into the pan and once the pan is full, cover the noodles with sauce, and garnish with parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, covered, and then uncovered for 10 more minutes. Serves 5-7.
If you have extra filling leftover which can happen take about a cup and 1/2 of noodles, some type of sauce and lots of cheese. Mix the noodles, sauce and leftover filling together and cover it in the cheese. Bake the same way as the manicotti and it makes a really yummy pasta bake. Okay I didn't try it when I made it due to using tomatoes, but according to the men in my life it was really good.



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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Amish White Bread/ Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Loaf
Regular Loaf
I have made this recipe lots, both plain and in cinnamon rolls. Recently though I made this bread into cinnamon rolls loafs. It is so yummy. 



Amish White Bread ( originally from All Recipes.com)

COOK TIME: 30 Min READY IN: 2 Hrs 30 Min RECIPE YIELD: 2 - 9x5 inch loaves
INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups warm water (45 degrees C) 
• 2/3 cup white sugar 
• 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast 
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
• 5-6 cups bread flour 

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam. 
2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp warm cloth). Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. 
***(Make sure the kitchen is fairly warm.. If need be turn the oven on to a low temperature, wait a few minutes and then open the door.If your kitchen is still a little chilly, put saran wrap onto of the bowl, then put on the damp warm cloth.)
3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. 
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. 



Yummy Variation#1: Rather than making it into loaves, roll out the dough, put butter, cinnamon and sugar on it. Roll it into a roll, cut into 1.5 inch chunks and put into a square pan. Let it then rise to 1 inch about the pans and cook as above. (The bread does get bigger in the oven as well) It makes big cinnamon rolls that are great to have first thing in the morning. 
Yummy variation #2: Roll out the dough, put butter, cinnamon and sugar on it. Roll it all up into a loaf and put this into the pan to rise. Depending on the amount of sugar used this makes a very sweet, decadent cinnamon roll. Eat it fresh out of the oven or save it till later. It is very good (and quite fattening) with butter melted onto it. If it is cold, put the butter on it and put it into the microwave for 30-45 seconds.





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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Pie Crust

This is a really easy recipe Pie crust recipe
1 lb of Lard ( Tenderflake) or Crisco--comes in a box
6 cups of flour
1 can of clear pop not diet( Sprite, Gingerale, 7up etc)

Yummy Apple Pies I made
Cut the lard up into the six cups of flour using two knives until it resembles a crumbly mixture. Then pour the can of pop into it and mix together. It makes a really good pie crust with enough crust for roughly 6 pies( depending on the size)


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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Managing Money: Having a Budget



Since money does not grow on trees, being able to manage the money that you do have is important.  When you are on maternity leave and receiving a reduced amount of money it is even more important.

While I am very grateful that I live in Canada where I have a year of maternity leave and am able to receive maternity benefits, the money I receive is not the full amount of my regular paycheck.  As a teacher, I make a decent amount of money and have that drop is not always easy to get used to.  On the other hand, when I got back to work, I will have child care costs so actually getting used to having a lower amount of money to work with is a good thing.

Budgeting has become our friend.  It is amazing how a good budget actually gives us more money to spend as  certain amounts are set aside for each thing.  The Chief went online and was able to find a Personal Monthly Budget Spreadsheet from 123Spreadsheets.  These spreadsheets are free to get.

 This budget sheet contains lots of different areas for you to organize where you money is going.  We are able to budget out for different things, but then being able to adjust what we actual spent in the month.  Budgeting your money is only one part of it, but being able to see if you are staying within your budget is very important as well.

Some things that we have budgeted for include gas, groceries, insurance, hair cuts, home and car repair/ service.  We do not need to do home or car repair/ service every month.  We have it budgeted for, but if it is not used it just remains in our account for next month.  Essentially it is providing a cushion for other months where we may need to service the car.

We also set up different accounts at the bank.  We each have personal checking accounts that we put our spending money into.  We also have personal savings accounts.  We have a main account where all of money is deposited and where bills are paid.  We set up a joint savings account for travel.

What is great about giving ourselves allowances is that we know with that money it is ours to do with as we please.  We do not need to check with the other person if it is okay or if there is enough money to do so.  It is our own personal money.  Although it is somewhat difficult, we made an agreement that it doesn't matter if it is a great deal or not, we are not allowed to go over that money.  Even Benjy has an account for spending money for him.

Although we started doing this method of budgeting only a little while ago, the level of stress that we feel about our finances has diminished as we are easily able to see where our money is going and if we are sticking to our budgeted numbers.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

What has been on my TV lately?

Jes's guest post about TV last week is similar to the what I am doing right now.  While I am not restricting TV from anyone in the house, I definitely don't watch it as much as I used to.  We used to have satellite, but we are trying to cut costs so I did a 2 month trial run of going without traditional TV and only using Netflix.  At the end of the 2 months I cancelled my satellite.

 Although I will miss some of the newer shows that come out, I find Netflix suites my current lifestyle better.  I used to keep the TV on all day, but not really watch it.  Now I watch TV mostly in the evenings.  I don't watch it every  night.  Because I can watch it when I want and not when the network decides to play it, I don't feel drawn to tune in all the time.

Another thing that I enjoy is the ability to pause and rewind.  Often times Benjy is nursing or sleeping when I watch, but at times he is fussy.  I don't own a DVR so pausing live TV was never an option for me.  With Netflix, I am easily able to pass the program to deal with Benjy and calm him down and turn it back on later.
I am not saying that I will never get satellite again as I do enjoy lots of shows on TLC and the major networks, for the time being Netflix is much more convenient and cost effective for how much I watch.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Lemon Pillow Cake




Lemon Pillow Cake

Prepare a box of white cake mix. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan. Take Lemon pudding ( either from a can or some that you have prepared) and put blobs on top of the cake. As the cake bakes, the cake will bake over the pudding. Bake the cake as directed on box.

Once the cake cools top it with this:
1 container of lemon or vanilla frosting (add lemon juice to vanilla) mixed with 1/2 to 2/3 a container of cool whip
Mix frosting and cool whip to together.

This makes a really yummy summer dessert.

It must be refrigerated if there happen to be any leftovers.

Meg's Note:
A cool variation although I haven't tried it would be to use a chocolate pudding with white cake and vanilla icing or for even a more death by chocolate combination, chocolate pudding with chocolate cake with chocolate icing.


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Monday, September 12, 2011

Things I Found Useful: Nursing Pillows

I have mentioned some things I have that I found were worth having around with the baby.  Two things that I really enjoy are my nursing pillows.  They are both made by Jolly Jumper.

1. The Boomerrang Nursing Pillow.

I use this pillow all the time.  It is my go to pillow for nursing.  It is soft and comfortable ( my son is next to me asleep on it).  It positions him just right for latching on and keeps him on my lap when he falls asleep.  The cover is able to come on and off every easily ( which is a good thing since my son is a puker).

I also used this pillow while I was pregnant as it was comfortable to lay on..

Boomerang Nursing Pillow - Slip Cover

2. The other nursing pillow that I like is the Baby-Sitter Pillow.  I only used this one a few times for nursing as I found it stiff and not that comfortable to use.  However, I love it for right now as my son is learning to sit up. It provides great support to him.  He is still able to move around, but I don't have to worry about him falling all the way back.

Baby Sitter - Nursing / Play Pillow


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Review and Giveaway



One of the many things I have wanted to do for Benjy is to create a scrapbook of pictures that we have taken of him.  I have a scrapbook and have bought some paper and stickers.  So far I have gotten exactly one page done. I get started on working on it and then he wakes up so scrapbooking the traditional way is just not working well for me.  My Memories contacted me about doing a review of their digital scrapbooking software.  I immediately replied back after checking out their website as this seemed like a good solution to get some scrapbooking done.


This program is available by download or hard copy disk.  As we get more and more digital, a download only copy appeals to me as I don't have to worry about where I put the CD.  As long as you are logged into your account, the ability to download the program is available which is handy if your computer crashes and you need to re-download it.

The set up of the program took a few minutes.  Once the program was set up, I had the option to start scrapbooking right away.  The program comes preloaded with quite a few papers, embellishments, templates, and books.  On their site they also have quite a large selection of free kits to download which change often.  For kits to purchase that vary from quick make pages to full out design kits, the prices range from 84 cents to $7-8.  I find this to be very reasonable as from looking at kits in scrapbooking stores, the prices seem to be quite similar and that is for a one-time use product only.

Within 5 minutes of downloading the program and the extra kits, I had already created a scrapbook page.  I choose not to use a template, but use different design elements to create it.  The background of this page is Funky Polka.

I choose to use shapes on my picture to get the nice oval.  The words I put in using both the text feature and the word art tab.  I used embellishments to get the flowers and the stitching that goes across the top of the page. It did not take me long to make this page and I think it looks pretty cool.

The program is very straightforward to use.  As shown in the picture above, adding different elements to your page is very easy to do.



One of the things I really like about this program and digital scrapbooking is that there is an undo button.  This  makes life so much easier.  If you do something and it doesn't look right, just hit undo.

This is what the full program looks like when it is open.
Since this program also has lots of templates for those that are not as crafty or do not have the time to design their own pages, I thought I would also share a few examples of those.

Why yes, that is Bacon in a Santa hat.  
This examples shows journaling.  It is a picture template that I used to create this one. I had to add the background page and all the text.


This one here is a quick page.  All the design elements are provided.  You just need to add your pictures underneath and use this as a frame.



This program is designed for both a Mac or Windows.  I am currently running Windows XP, and it is working well..  My computer is 5 years old and runs it quite easily.  It only stalled once,  and I think that is because I had too many things running at once.  

Once you are done your creation, you can easily have them printed out.  There is an option for you to print them yourself or upload it to them and have it printed that way.  They have many templates that are in book form so it is very easy to make your own digital scrapbook and have a paper copy of it as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed using this software.  For me personally, I prefer not to use templates and just use all the design features on my own to create pages.  The great thing about this software is that it offers you choice.  You are not limited to only using templates or doing it all on your own.  I made the new banner for my blog using this software.

My Memories also has a Youtube channel to demonstrate different aspects of their program http://www.youtube.com/user/MyMemoriesSuite

My Memories Suite Scrapbooking Software retails for $39.95 USD.


Would you like your own copy so you can start making digital scrapbooks?

Go to My Memories  and use this promo code STMMMS49904  . This will get you $10 off the software as well as a $10 coupon to use in the Mymemories.com Store.


OR

 You can win a copy below by entering the giveaway using Rafflecopter.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our First Date Night

With a new baby in the house things have changed. No longer are we able to get up and go anywhere at any time.  Things need to be planned more and since we bring the baby everywhere we go, things need to be packed mainly changes of clothing and diapers.  So we planned our first date night without the baby.  The Cheif's mom was coming over to baby sit Benjy.  We would be gone only 5 hrs, but I pumped 9-10 oz to ensure he would not go hungry.

So we said goodbye to the baby and left to go out to dinner and do a bit of shopping.  The hour long car ride was nice as I was able a) drive and b) sit next to the Chief.  We had lots of good conversation on the way there. We went to Montana's and both of us ordered ribs. I love ribs, but eating ribs when you have a baby that often wants to be held is not easy so I took the opportunity to eat them. They were finger-licking, get sauce everywhere good.

After our meal, we went over to the mall where we bought Benjy his new carseat and books for him with a giftcard I had one from the local health unit.  Then we went to Walmart and bought things like shampoo.  Very Thrilling.

After that we proceed to drive home.  This time the Chief drove.  When we got home, Benjy was asleep on the couch and began smiling in his sleep when he heard our voices.

Unfortunately, he did not have as good of a time with his Memere.  He very much wanted me and refused to take a bottle.  He cried for 4 out of the 5 hours we were gone. His Memere held him the whole time and I can't imagine it was pleasant to hold a crying baby for that long. He was happy in his bath, but started to cry again.  Unfortunately it was rainy out so she couldn't even take him for a walk to get a change of scenery.

I think he is used to his night time routine of nursing and did not find a bottle to be an acceptable alternative.  He does takes bottles occasionally, but I think I am going to have to give him some bottles more often to get him used to it.  So the Chief and I decided that will be the last date night for a while.  We have gone out during the day and he was fine so we will have to stick to date days.



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Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post: TV and Children's Imagination

Jes, a mother of 3, over at Here We Go Again wrote this post about what changes were caused by removing TV in her home.


Almost 4 months ago my husband and I decided to remove all of our television sets from our home. We still have them in our possession, just not accessible on a daily basis. I thought it would have been hard to go without a television to entertain my two younger children as I home schooled my oldest. I have since found that, yes it has been much more difficult to home school, but that is far outweighed by the growth of their beautiful imaginations.

I had a habit, of allowing my children to watch TV when they wanted. It was always educational, so I figured that it wouldn't have been doing them any harm. I was a wee bit off the mark. While my children were excelling intellectually, they were suffering tremendously imaginatively.
They did not play house, did not make up voices, nor did they play with their dolls or teddy bears. They were just existing.
I had allowed their imaginations to become null and void, in exchange for an easier life for myself.
Once my husband and I came to this startling revelation, we decided to take action. So we took the TV's out. It was also hampering our relationship, as we no longer had conversations extending past the time of the next show's start.
My house is now a whirlwind of activity. Some days Spiderman even comes to stay with us, while other days I have wild Indians running through my living room. I've even had the Transformers visit. My son also has the ability to be an excavating machine. With his bare hands.
I've heard Mickey Mouse having conversations with the teddy bears, Peter Pan's shadow has visited their bedroom. Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater call on them often as well.
Each of the Disney Princesses have called and asked for me personally on their cell phones! How many parents can claim that?
They have been stranded on an Island, and lived in the caves (their bunk beds with blankets enclosing them). They have been daddies and a mommy to many dolls and bears, and they have even befriended bumblebees when camping. My oldest named them Aura and Maynor.
So when people tell me they think I'm crazy for taking my televisions out of the house I smile and say that I am.




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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Introducing Solid Foods

Up until this point, Benjy has been only drinking breastmilk.  He has not had any solid foods and other than a bit of formula at the hospital, he has been exclusively breastfed.  Benjy is 5 months old and is showing many of the signs for starting to eat real food.  I am following the World Health Organization's suggestion to hold off solid foods until 6 months.


I don't think I have mentioned this in much detail, but Benjy seems to have a sensitivity to dairy.  If I have any in my diet he spits up a lot and has very mucousy poops.  Since I have cut it out and done my best to avoid it, the amount of spit-ups and mucousy poops has gone way down.  This is another reason why I am apt to wait a bit longer to start him on solids to avoid him having any long term allergies.


Most of my experiences with babies' starting food has usually been with pablum or jars.  Although jarred food is good for when you are in a pinch, I plan on making my own food for him to eat so I know exactly what is in it. Another concept that has me interested is the concept of Baby Led Weaning.  This method of weaning a baby is essentially allowing them to eat small finger foods right from the start of the process.  As I still have a few more weeks until Benjy is 6 months, I am going to continue to research it and see if this method is right for me.

Do you have any suggestions on a good way to introduce solid food?

 



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Under Construction



I started playing around with the settings and everything is funky right now so bare with me while I try to fix it.


Wordless Wednesday 9-7-11





Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Kettle Corn

My goal is to bring you a tasty recipe every Tuesday.  Any recipe that I share is something that I have made and know works out well.


This week's recipe is the perfect addition to any Autumn Party.



Kettle Corn ( author unknown)


1/2 cup of popcorn
1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter flavoured oil ( I used canola)
1 1/2 -3 tbsp brown sugar ( lightly sweet to very sweet
Salt to taste


Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan that has a lid ( Dutch oven/ spagetti pot)
Pour in the popcorn, sprinkle sugar on top, and cover
Once the popcorn starts popping, shake continuously until all the popcorn is popped.  ( Using oven mitts to hold the lid on as you shake is a good idea)
Transfer to serving bowl and salt lightly.  Makes 8-10 cups


Side note: Making only 1-2 batches at a time.  Any more than that the sugar begins to caramelize in the pot and burn.


Meg

Monday, September 5, 2011

Autumn is in the air

It is starting to get crisp outside.  Maybe in your neck of the woods it is still very warm, but where I live the temperatures begin to drop very early.  It was only 4C this morning.

So since fall is quickly approaching and who am I kidding winter as well, I have made the colours of autumn show on the blog.  If you noticed my new title banner which I made myself is a little different than normal, that is because it is.  It was made with a program that I am currently reviewing and will be hosting a giveaway for sometime next week.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomato-less Chili

 I am unfortunately allergic to tomatoes.  I developed this allergy when I was 18.  I get lovely rashes and headaches when I eat most things with tomatoes in it, but oddly enough, BBQ sauce in small amounts does not bother me.

But  no pasta sauce, salsa, or pretty much most things with tomato paste in them.  Most things I have lived without, but I have really missed chili.  So I did some experimenting the other night and actually came up with a pretty good substitute.

I pureed 1 red pepper with a medium onion with some water.  Then I also pureed about 2 cups of zucchini with some water.  I mixed them together in a pot with some ground chicken I had fried up.  I also added a pack of Old El Paso chili seasoning, a can of white kidney beans, and 1/2 jar of green tomatillo salsa.  The end result was quite yummy.


My red pepper chili

Comparing my red pepper chili to the regular chili I made for my tomato loving husband.  Doesn't look half bad..

Benjy is 5 months/ New Car Seat

I can't believe how quickly time has gone by.  My little boy is already 5 months old.  I was organizing things this morning and put away his old sleepers.  I held them up to him and there is no way he would fit in them now, but at one time they were loose on him.

He is 20lbs and 27 inches.  Quite a bit bigger than the 8lbs 1/2 oz and 19 3/4 inches he was at birth.


Because he is nearing the weight limit of his infant car seat which is a Graco Snugride, we decided to get him a new car seat.  We have a 2010 Nissan Versa Hatchback, so not just any car seat will fit well into our car.  The two choices that I found from other reviews that fit well were the Graco My Ride 65 and a Safety 1st seat.  I like our Graco products that we have so I went with that seat.

Here is a picture of Benjy sitting in his Graco My Ride 65 in Spiral.