Friday, March 24, 2017

Daily Goodie Box Review


I was contacted by the friendly people at Daily Goodie Box to review one of their boxes. Their boxes are unique because they are completely free. No shipping, no credit cards ever. You just have to give your opinion of the products.

The box I happen to get was more health conscious than I normally gravitate towards. That being said, it was a good introduction to products I may not have tried on my own.

Even if the products are free, the presentation of the box is much like other subscription boxes. It was fun to get the box in the mail and open it up.

While they contacted me to review their box, all the opinions are my own.


The first product was Herr's Popped Chips. They were very good. I would definitely grab these again if I saw them in the store. They had good flavor, and I liked how light they were.

Okay, so I'm a coffee snob. Like I only drink one kind of coffee I order online. So, I tried Coffee Block's butter coffee when I ran out of my go to coffee (which, if you're wondering, is Cameron's) Err. Not a huge fan. Now, to be fair I don't drink butter coffee normally, so I can't compare it to that, but compared to regular coffee it was too gritty. It was better warm, but once I let it get cold (I often drink cold coffee because I'm a mom...and life happens around here)....yikes.

The Just Chill Rio Berry was pretty good. I liked how it was slightly sparkling, and I could taste berry and maybe a bit of lavender? It was really cold since the box sat outside for a couple of hours. I think it was even better, because it was really cold.

This Xylichew  gum was very very popular with my kids. I thought it tasted like typical gum, but without that other junk.

The Vermont Smoke and Cure Beef Sticks are delish. I have seen these at check outs before, and I'll definitely grab them again.

Just like the beef sticks, I'm a big fan of these Gorilly Goods nuts. They had a curry taste which was just the right amount of spice. It also kept the kids from stealing them. Double win!

These Aloha greens were okay as far as powder goes. I've dabbled in these types of powders before, and this one tasted about on par with those. I might not purchase them again just because I don't generally use powders.

The Dream Water sleep powder was tried by my husband because I am nursing and try to avoid anything like this. He said it was pretty good and did help him sleep...but to be honest, he doesn't have a problem sleeping. Even when a baby is crying in the room next door.

I was a bit scared to try this. I like Fig Newtons, but was afraid that a "good for you" version would just be really gross. (Not a fan of the Naked brand for that reason) I was pleasantly surprised by the Fig Bar. Now, my kids weren't so sure about it. They also haven't tried Fig Newtons, so maybe it's just a taste thing in general.

I am a big fan of the Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda. I have used other all natural soaps in the past, because I cloth diapered my oldest and normal detergents are really hard on the diapers and baby bums. Nellie's worked quite well and I like not putting chemicals into the ground.

The last item I got was the Jack n' Jill Natural Toothpaste. It actually worked out pretty good, because my son doesn't like mint or bubble gum flavoring. That seems to be the only flavors available in main stream toothpaste. So, he's been using this toothpaste off and on again since we got it. I was afraid it wouldn't foam up or do whatever it is toothpaste does. I've tried all natural soaps in the past that didn't bubble up so it was hard to spread them around. This toothpaste actually does a pretty good job.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mommy Blog: Embracing the Shouldn'ts

I am writing this post at 3:00 am on my phone while Sweet Cheeks sleeps on my chest. I was just so moved by the moment that I had to put pen to paper, or rather, finger to touchscreen. 

Today I had a chat with a coworker who has a daughter 6 months older than mine. She is a wonderful mother. She was telling me about her daughter, her first child, has been sick recently and throwing their routine off. I laughed and said that a routine would be nice since my daughter is up all hours. That led to a discussion about first and last children. 

Sweet Cheeks is our last [planned] child. I entered parenthood with the same careful plans I have made my entire life. I wanted three children, I wanted to have them semi young and I wanted them some what close together. Those were the last plans I made because children have a way of making their own. We had a miscarriage initially and were shocked with the news of being pregnant with our rainbow baby. Our second child had to enter the world a few weeks early and hasn't slowed down since. Sweet Cheeks was delayed by all sorts of life decisions, but has perfectly completed our little family.

I think there are many mothers out there that know what it's like to grab on to each moment with the last child. This desperation has caused me to commit my fair share of "shouldn't"s. 

I feel like with my first child we did everything by the book (or rather, by many books since I feel like I read them all). Our daughter slept exclusively in bassinets and cribs. She was bottle fed on a schedule (pumped and donated milk since I didn't produce enough and she refused to latch). Probably within a month or so, she was sleeping through the night. We didn't rock her to sleep because she simply didn't need it. You would say prayers with her, read a book and simply set her in the crib. She would just lay down and go to sleep. It was amazing. (By the way in case you think I'm some sort of baby whisper, I am certainly not. My second did the exact opposite no matter what I did.)

Then there's Sweet Cheeks. The books are gone. Life is crazy. Her siblings are hyper and overly attentive. I should be a stickler with a schedule. She might sleep better. Maybe I should have started solids earlier so she wouldn't have nursed as much. I should pump and let my husband take her over night. Maybe I should let her play on the floor more. Maybe I should offer the pacifier more. I should let someone else watch her so I can go on a date or get work done or have some girl time. 

But I could care less about the "should"s. Today Sweet Cheeks almost crawled. She's probably a week if not days away from crawling. And it's terribly bittersweet. Each milestone has great joy mixed with deep sadness. You are hyper aware that no matter how many videos or pictures you take, you won't be able to recall the feeling of your baby sleeping in your arms, nursing, or smelling like she came straight from heaven. All those sensations will be gone. Then they will be replaced with different just as amazing ones like your son trying to tell his first joke or your daughter's delight at losing her first tooth. There's many things I should do that would make life just a bit less hectic than it has to be, but each snuggle, laugh, and nursing session is fleeting. 

I recently hung a reminder in our living room that's says "The days are long, but the years are short." I can't think of a better way to describe being a mother. I end a day thinking about how frustrating it is answer 3,852 "why" questions from my 4 year old in a single day, only to remember when our 6 year old used to ask the same questions and now informs me how things work. 

Parenthood is an awesome job that no one can fully describe to you until you experience it. So while I should put the baby soundly sleeping in my arms back in the crib, I'm going to enjoy this "shouldn't" just a little bit longer. I just know I should enjoy her before she grows up just a little bit more.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

DIY Postcards

You may have noticed there's an uptick in postcards being sent lately. They are one of the ways you can reach your elected officials and go through less security since postcards aren't in a closed envelope. However, buying postcards can be a bit tricky. I tried ordering some blank ones online, but realized quickly they are more expensive than I wanted to spend especially when you factor in postage stamps.

So, I decided to make my own. Postcards are basically just heavier paper cut to a certain size. I've seen some creative ideas on Pinterest using cereal boxes. However, I wanted more room to write on my postcards.

So I bought a package of card stock on Amazon. (I'm confident you could find paper local, but I live in the country and utilize Amazon Prime regularly). The paper was $12.95 for 50 sheets of 100lb extra thick white card stock. Each sheet makes 4 postcards. So for a little work I got $200.00 postcards for $12.95.

Once I had my paper in hand, I tried to print on it. My ancient printer wouldn't feed the paper. So I decided I could hand decorate the postcards instead of print on them. So, I first measured out the size of the postcards. Standard postcard size is 3.5 inches to 4.25 inches high and 6 to 6 inches long. Postcards need to be approximately 0.007 and 0.016 inches thick. Obviously thicker postcards are less likely to be eaten by the postal sortation machines.

Once I had measured everything out, I used a paper cutter to cut the the card stock into the correct size. I used a ruler to make the line on the back where you put the address . Finally I did a small decoration on the front. Something to keep in mind is the bar code sticker may go along the bottom or top (they don't always end up on the back), so you might want to move your decoration away from the edges.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

DIY Girl Scout Cookie Booth Awning


Any other Girl Scout moms or troop leaders out there? If you are included in this category, then you know full well why the blog hasn't been hoppin' lately. Girl Scout cookie season just wrapped up last weekend. First of all, I would like to thank all the troop leaders out there (including our troop leader Wendy) and all the cookie directors out there (including our service unit's, Penny) for what they do. These ladies basically give up two months of their time to organize cookie drop offs and cookie booths, and lend entire portions of their houses for storing cookies. Cookie sales for Girl Scouts do more than just raise money for troops, they also teach girls valuable lessons about goal setting, managing money, running a business and in my daughter's case, teach her how to interact with the community in a professional coherent manner. Her confidence with public speaking improved with basically every door we knocked on.

So, one of the staples of cookie season is a cookie booth. If you do one search on Pinterest, you will see some booths that are pretty darn sweet. Kudos to those moms. With the little one and  a 100 other things to finish, I don't have time for that. However, I did have time to make an awning for our cookie booth. The plan in my head is every year to do something to add to the booth so we can reuse the pieces year after year. So this year it's an awning and maybe next year it's a durable sign. Maybe we get crazy and the girls can hang some sort of giant cardboard decoration from it.

Making this awning is actually really simple and even if you don't have a DIY bone in your body, you can make this is just an hour or so. It's fairly inexpensive and you can reuse it year after year.

The supplies I used for this project were PVC pipes, Quikrete (just one bag), two buckets and various connections for the pipes. I also bought some colored duct tape to cover the pipes so they wouldn't be white, but that's completely optional.

For the pipes, I bought the lengths I needed so I didn't have to cut anything.  If you're willing to cut some pipes, you're probably going to save some money buying longer pieces. I also made mine with several smaller pipes rather than one long pipe, so it would be easy to transport and store. So, the sides are made up of 3- 2 foot long pipes (I used 1 3/4 diameter pipe). The top is one solid piece of 6 foot long pipe. I then bought the various connectors needed to keep everything together.

Once I bought everything, I covered everything in duct tape being careful not to tape where the connectors would fit on the pipe (otherwise the pipe wouldn't find inside them). The last step was to dump some Quikrete into a bucket, put one of the side PVC pipes in the bucket and adding some water in. Once you have added the water, take a moment to make sure the PVC pipe is standing straight up and not leaning to one side (you can tape around it to keep it from leaning if you need to) After everything is dried, the awning is ready to go!

While we used this for a cookie booth, there are many other possibilities. You could keep with the selling theme and use this for a lemonade stand. Or you could use it to create a stage with a curtain, photo backdrop..really anything that would require you to hang something.

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