Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Healthy Surprise - May Review

I received a $20 coupon to try Healthy Surprise so I did (naturally) but I wasn't as happy as I'd hoped.  There was lots of choices and variety but not alot of stuff I'd eat..

Happy Hemp Raw/Salted ($6) Thumbs Up
Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips ($1.25) Thumbs Up
California Snax Kale Chips – Italian Blend ($6) Haven’t Tried
Olomomo Mango Chipotle Almonds ($1.25) Haven’t Tried
Rawma Bar – Sesame Mango ($1.80) Thumbs Down
Sea Snax Chipotle Seaweed ($2.75) Thumbs Up
Smooch Superfoods ($1.99) Thumbs Down
Matt’s Munchies Mango Acai ($2) Thumbs Downs
Delights Brownies (3 x $1) Thumbs Down
Miracle Reds Berry Bar ($2.33) Haven’t Tried

Total Retail $28.37
Monthly Box Cost $33 + $6.99 Shipping
I got this for $19.99 with a deal

If I paid full price I would be out $11.62 – NOT a good deal

It was neat to try out some new snacks but their website is not very interactive and you have to contact support  to manage your account.  I prefer sites that let me review the products for points or change/cancel with a login.

The snacks were sort of overly healthy for us – to  the point of not really tasting great.

I do have to say this only took a few days from ordering to arrive and customer service was helpful and understanding.  You are definitely paying for convenience rather than products.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Toddler Learning Activity

So I see these blogs and pictures of what claim to be learning activities for toddlers and every time I think "Pshht - B would NOT sit still to do that!" but over the weekend was pleasantly surprised at this activity..

We have been verrrryyyy sloooowwwllyyyy finishing up the basement.  We made a huge step back in November when we leveled and laid the floor in the third bedroom and painted then we didn't touch it until Sunday when we installed my office in the closet downstairs - yay!  I have big mason jars filled with wonderful, colorful crafty things and Bear chose to play with the clothes pins and pom poms.  He started by just throwing pom pom's at the kitten and then I gave him the idea of dumping out the pom poms and using a clothes pin to drop them back into the jar.

He did REALLY well and enjoyed it!!  I'd like to think he was learning how to be patient and how to control the small movements (or it was just that the pom poms were colorful and he was pretending to be an excavator).

Oh to be three!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Big Bed

The toddler bed, was just not working.  Not for me, not for Bear and most certainly not for anyone's sanity!

So we decided it was time to get a real big boy bed – twin it is!  On our trip to see the in-laws we went to my favorite furniture store – IKEA!!  The plan was to buy the cheap $39.00 bed but we ended up with the one I've had my eye on since Bear was born - $199.00 – EEK!  So we spent more money than planned but it. Was. Worth it.

Bear has not slept in our bed for 8 nights.  I have slept in his bed but it’s been getting better.  Two nights ago I didn't have to get in his bed until 4 am and last night I changed him at 10 PM and he didn't wake up until 6:30 AM!!!! This is the first time EVER that he hasn't woken up in the middle of the night and called for me.

Big bed – success!  I am so proud of him – he also went most of the day yesterday diaper free, no accidents and only used a diaper at nap – hooray!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Honest Co. - Great Stuff

I received a bottle of Honest Co shampoo/body wash from last months CitrusLane box.  It was an off consistency (kind of like aloe) and smelled a little like watered down coconut.  I wasn't sure about it but Bear loves it!  I decided to try their bundle pricing ($35.95) since we're out of our normal household stuff (kitchen and bathroom cleaner) and I haven't found anything that I didn't mind using around the cat and Bear.  Some stuff is too harsh, some doesn't work at all and some smells terrible and leaves a lingering fume.

I had a coupon so I used that instead of their "free trial" since not everything I wanted was in the trial version.

I chose:
SPF 30 Sunscreen $13.95 - Not greasy, yay!  We haven't had enough sun to really use this yet.
Bug Spray $12.95 - It's a spray and smells like citronella   Not sticky going on and worked pretty good on Bear yesterday afternoon when the bugs came out.  I got bit, he did not!
Fruit & Veggie Wash $6.95 - Since we're shopping at the farmers market and tend to eat fresher vegetables in the summer, I got this for cleaning up the fruits.  It's pretty much like any veggies wash I've ever owned.
Bathroom Cleaner $5.95 - This is amazing, it smells kind of minty.  I cleaned the whole bathroom with it.  It wasn't as wonderful as I'd hoped on our tub, but to be fair our tub just needs to be re-sealed and replaced.  Great for everyday type cleaning and for tile (our tub walls are tile as well as the floor).
Multi-Surface Cleaner $5.95 - I loved this the most.  Got stuff that was stuck on our counter (also tile) off without scrubbing and even cleaned our glass-top stove really well.  I also used this on our kitchen floor with my swiffer wet (I use hospital socks instead of the cleaning pads you have to buy - toss it in the wash when done).  This one smells like....wait for it...nothing!  I even let Bear help me clean since it's basically corn alcohol and cant really harm anything.

Total individually - $45.75 (does not include shipping)
I paid - $34.71 (includes shipping)

Overall I was happy with what I got.  They have it set up as a monthly subscription for $35.95 that is easily cancelled right on their website. You can also just choose your next bill date so I could have this set to send again in two months, one week, whatever.  My plan is to get the Oxy Boost, Stain Remover, Floor Cleaner, Toilet Cleaner and one other thing in the next shipment then I'll put it on hold until I need more.

I am one to buy dollar store cleaners but I am officially converted to the all natural stuff.

I highly recommend The Honest Company


PS A reminder that these companies are not paying me for praises.  Companies I recommend are because I like them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Something for the Grandma-Nana-Grammy-Noni in Your Life

I know Grandparents have their own day but I still like to give something to my moms on Mother's day too from the kiddo.  When it comes to Grandparents, home-made is always better.  Especially when they live far away, although I know my mom treasures Bear's handmade gifts too!

For Christmas one year we made hand print snowman ornaments and for Mother's day we made these super nifty sun catchers!

So easy to make, got the idea from blogger mom over at WorkmanFamily

This was our test one, if you want pretty pictures, go to the blog mentioned above.  I will update with nicer images after we make the final products to ship out tonight! See prettier pictures below!

You will need:
Clear Pony Beads - I got a 1lb bag from Jo-Ann Fabric for $2.99 with a 20% off coupon (print coupon on their website)
Round Metal Pie Pan - Ours had a brand name embossed on the bottom.  Find one without because it shows up on the final sun catcher.  Glass also does not work.  For tonight we bought the toss away ones that have a bumpy pattern on the bottom - I think this will help refract the light when they are done
String - Yarn, twine, fishing wire, etc.  Pretty much anything will work.
Philips head screwdriver OR a drill.  To make the hole I didnt want to drag out the drill so I just used a screwdriver and some elbow grease to make the hole.

How to:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Fill the bottom of the pan with pony beads.  Bear liked that part.  Then turn each so the hole is aiming up.  That part is easier for older kids.  Bear did some but lost interest so Mommy finished. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack.

Now light a nice smelling candle.  Bear took a bath during this part.  I am not going to lie, you are melting cheap plastic, it will smell.  It's not really bad and it doesn't linger so you can open a window or wait it out and be fine.

Take it out to cool.  You will know when it's done when all the holes have melted and it looks like a nice even shiny puddle.  After about 5 minutes it will be completely cooled and will literally fall out of the pan.  Don't grease it or anything (this is why we use metal instead of glass or ceramic).

Bear thought it made a cool plate.  On our tester the edges were a little brittle so make sure your kiddo is careful, you can sand down the edges with fine sand-paper if you want but try not to rub elsewhere because it scratches easily.  Drill or make a hole 3/4 of an inch from the edge, tie a string and DONE!  We are going to write Bear's name and the date in sharpie above the hole to make it more keep-sakey.

Other variations:
We made little ones I thought would be cool on wind chimes from a metal cup-cake pan.
Use sparkly clear beads for extra shimmer.
Instead of a hole you can glue a suction cup so it sticks right on the window.
We made some all one color and some mixed colors.

This is a pretty easy project.  Once you do it once, you'll want to do it a million times!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Silly Rant Post..

Dear Mirena,

We've had some..ok..times and lots of bad times but it is finally time to part ways.  Oh how happy I am that I finally grew the balls to get rid of you.  I have to say I will miss our periodless months and worry-free cycles.

The back pain, strange happenings and mood swings on the other hand will not be missed. I feel as though we've become one over the last three years, but don't worry, I will get along fine without you and I am sure the landfill you will soon find to be your home will be quite inviting and much more free than crammed between my ovaries.

I am not going to lie, you will be replaced by small amounts of compressed powder that will dissolve into the stomach-acid-abyss.  I am sure I will come to hate them too, so don't feel bad.

Goodbye, farewell and I wish you luck.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Gearing Up for...SUMMER?!

Finally!  I have been doing a lot of research on what is good and bad for kids and there is SO much information out there it's hard to decipher what is fact and what is opinion and what is just plain made-up.

I have issues with bug spray and sunscreen - I rarely wear it unless I absolutely have to but I know little B should definitely be wearing it.  Last year we opted for the cheap drug store crap but the sunscreen was always so greasy and/or liquidy and the bug spray..well..smelled like it was killing more than bugs.

I was introduced to Episencial through CitrusLane.  They included a bottle of everyday lotion that was not only in great packaging but it is "Free from the bad stuff" as they put it and "100% guaranteed to be effective" - what more could you want, right?  They offer an array of products from butt balm to itch cream to bubble bath.  I love the lotion so much Bear and I both use it.

It's already getting buggy here and well my weirdness kicked in because I have used "all natural" bug spray before and it smelled like someone mixed dirt and some yankee candles to make a sticky substance that didn't all.  As for sunscreen, it is one of those things I forget until we are AT the beach so I end up buying what is available. SO I was hesitant to buy these things from Episencial just in case they ended up being disgusting.

I ended up looking around their site and since summer is coming they are offering samples for just the price of shipping ($5).  It was well worth it. Samples of the sunscreen, balm and bug stuff are small but enough to get an idea of how they smell and work.  They all smell wonderful (for those of you who are like me) the bug stuff smells like a mild lemon and everything else just smells like a nice mild lotion (yay).

Nice little pouch of samples!

In the samples:

Nurturing Balm - $10 Full Size
Soothing Cream - $11 Full Size
Sunny Sunscreen - $15 Full Size
Mighty Shield - $12 Full Size
Snugly Lotion - $12 Full Size

They also offer "sets" that seem to be cheaper than buying individually which I think is what I will do.

And two coupons to share with friends - and I am sharing with you! Code HEALTHYBABYTIME for $5 off and Free Shipping! (through March 1 2014)

If you are hesitant to commit to the product the samples are worth it - and they make nice emergency back-ups for your purse.  If you want to take my word for it then try out the coupon :)

Also trying out's comparable products so I will be doing a comparison to see what works best for us.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Family Time - Coupon Style!

Throughout the last several months I've been saving up groupon and living social credits and buying small $5-10 deals here and there for local outings.

I am doing a different take on the Date Night Sticks post (which I never actually successfully did) for Weeknight Family Outings! I have an envelope in our closet with all the pre-paid vouchers and will write each of the activities + some free ones on popsicle sticks for Bear to choose.

Why am I doing it this way?  Tim and I are paid bi-weekly on the same schedule.  It sucks to say the least but we both end up broke by the same time each week and feel a bit bummed.  This way, when we're all a little sick of the yard, we can just pick one and go with no worries about checking the bank.

Here are some of the things I have so far (most expire by September so we are doing these as summer outings)

$25 Gift Card to a local toy store - we got this as a gift and have yet to use it.  Why not make it a special treat!
$10 to spend on feeding tokens at Smiling Hill Farm's petting zoo - I paid $5 at LivingSocial
$10 to spend on GoBerry Local Frozen Yogurt - I paid $5 at LivingSocial
FREE - Trip to Fort Williams to explore the bunkers and see the lighthouse
FREE - Mini-Golf in Old Orchard Beach - got this last year at the end of the season $15 value
$30 to spend at Maria's Italian Restaurant - I paid $8 at LivingSocial

I figure this is a great start - super excited to surprise everyone with fun stuff! Kept this one from Tim too so it will be a big treat :)