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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Medicine Cabinet

We've been lucky to never have the flu in this household (knock on wood!) nor ever an ear infection, strep throat, or any other typical childhood illness. I contribute this partly to my child's good immune systems and partly to our medicine cabinet.

We don't do the flu shot but do boost the kid's own immune systems. I love Animal Parade supplements and daily the kids take their GOLD vitamins, Kid Greenz, and Acidophi Kidz. When we are out an about we use Dr.Green hand sanitizer (all natural with no harsh alcohol).
When we feel a sickness coming on we also add the L'il Critter Immune C plus zinc and echinacea and Elderberry syrup.
An example of how these immune boosters help is a few months ago when Ben and I had a horrible cold. I started the kids on the L'il Critters and the Elderberry and all the kids got were the sniffles, even Jacob who's immune system was still pretty compromised. Once Ben and I started taking them as well our cold symptoms greatly improved. Now we all start taking these at the slightest hint of a sickness.

What is in your family's medicine cabinet?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cravebox Winter Favorites

Cravebox is different than typical subscription boxes, as a matter of fact, it's not a subscription box at all. Basically, you create an account at Cravebox (totally free to do so). You will then be e-mailed when a new box is available; if it sounds like something you want you sign up to see if you are chosen (so far I've been chosen to receive 2 out of the 3 I signed up for). If it doesn't sound like a box you want you don't enter your name for it. Boxes range in price from $10-$15. There are no subscriptions to cancel and you pick the boxes you want.
The first Cravebox for me was the Winter Favorites. You don't know what is in the box when you order but you answer questions on a questionnaire from them and that is how I think they choose their "winners"...if your answers correspond with what will be in the box to see if it's a good fit for you.
At first I was a bit disappointed when I opened the box, it didn't look like a whole lot for the $14 that I paid. Then I realized that there was a pile of free coupons too! I was beyond happy then! Included was:

*Coupon for free Pillsbury Rolled Refrigerated Pie Crust ($4.01)

*Coupon for free Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough ($3.82)

*Coupon free International Delight Iced Coffee Half Gallon (at least worth $3 or $4)

*Coupon free International Delight creamer product ($3.75)

*Coupon Free Nancy's Frozen Appetizer or Dessert (up to $9.99)

*Buy 1 get 1 free Belvita Breakfast Biscuits ($2.98)

*Campbell's Gourmet Bisques Golden Butternut Squash soup ($3.99)

*Four samples of Vitabath body wash (with scents like Grapefruit vanilla, Beach Blossom, Dreamy Pink Frosting, and Green Tea & Sage). (Maybe 25 cents each?)

*Belvita breakfast biscuit (50 cents?)

*Mary Kay lip gloss in Red Passion ($14)

*Heinz Chili Sauce ($3.99)

So around a $51 value for $14! I know the boxes that came out this month were Dog Lovers (I got in and it should be delivered tomorrow!) and Teen Time. Also New Year's Resolutions which I am waiting to hear back on. What I love about this and subscription boxes is that whatever I can't use will go into my gift cupboard which will make for some awesome goodie baskets next year!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, Cravebox has no idea who I am, I'm just sharing what I love. None of the links are referral links.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Greetings

I'm a little behind wishing you all a Merry Christmas but I hope that it was a great one for you and your family.

I loved our simple Christmas. This was a '4 gift Christmas' and ended up being stress-free and one of the kid's favorites. With that said, our house is still a mess today and while I would love to take the day after Christmas easy and just lounge around and clean up it happens to also be my husband's birthday so we often go shopping, or out to eat. This year we were gifted a "family day out" with a gift card to a restaurant, a days pass to a museum, and a car pass into a park filled with Christmas lights so we spent our day having fun as a family.

With Christmas past us I want to remind everyone that lots of money can be saved by shopping for next Christmas now. Because I stocked up last year when things were 75% off I didn't have to buy any wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, or gift tags this year. Not only that but gifts can be found at awesome prices the next few weeks and not only will shopping early save you money but also stress. Most items are not holiday specfic, so getting lotion, books, movies, gift sets, etc. for 50% to 75% off and sticking them in your "gift cupboard" will make gift giving easy all through the year. Many great deals will be online in the coming weeks as well.

I'm exhausted after a full two days and am heading off to bed soon. Time to get back to normal starting tomorrow!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Challenge Yourself

I'm joining Carla over at Half Dozen Daily for her January Low Spend & Decluttering Challenge.

My own goals for January are:

I've done lots of decluttering the past couple month and even have two garbage bags in the back of the van ready to be dropped off for donation. My big goal for January is to organize what we have left - make sure that everything in out home has a place to go. I do want to continue to purge as well and my goal for January is at least 2 full garbage bags filled for donation. I will post my progress as I go along.

I want to get back on track with the budget. Stop spending so much at the grocery store and put at least $50 a week into savings in January. I'll update the totals as the month goes along.

I'm looking forward to challenging myself and starting the year off right. With getting the house ready for Christmas eve here I've already started on my goal of organization/decluttering. Today I've cleaned off my desk totally, organized the office, and rearranged the living room (thanks to my Aunt Pat who told me about a rocking chair at her store after seeing my post yesterday!).

Friday, December 21, 2012


We were told we were to get a lot of snow and the weather men were right (this time!). Blizzard conditions yesterday, close to a foot of snow, and snow packed roads today meant that instead of heading to my midwife appointment and getting a little shopping done (so hoping to find a rocking chair at the thrift shop!) we have been drinking hot cocoa, making almond bark pretzels, and stocking up at the library on Christmas books and Christmas movies.
Winter has began officially today, which also means that it is the shortest day of the year. Every day from here on out will see a smidgen more light at the end of the day.
With just one weekend before Christmas I imagine everyone is scrambling to finish last minute projects. My goal this weekend is to make sugar cookie cutouts with the kids and finish cleaning up the house as we are hosting Christmas Eve at our house.  
I still need to come up with some yummy appetizers to serve on Christmas Eve. Any ideas?
I hope that you all have a relaxing weekend and enjoy it with your family. Let the magic of the season surround you!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brain Splat

*Goodness, only one week until Christmas! Gifts are wrapped, cards sent. Still working on baking but we seem to be eating more than we are saving. Uh-oh, wonder how sparse our gift plates will be.

*The kids are loving the documentary that I picked up at the library titled "Babies". With a baby coming soon they are into babies everything lately. I didn't realize that the show would showcase the African women so "bare"...if you catch my drift. We did lots of fast forwarding of that yesterday.Then today the kids asked to watch it again and I let them watch it in the entirety. It's a way of life in Africa for some tribes to go shirtless, it's not a sexual thing, and I am fairly open to the body when it's shown in a natural way. I remember seeing pictures of women giving birth when I was young. What would you do...allow your children to watch that or not? Why or why not?

*A big snow system is on it's way - looks like we will be having a white Christmas after all! The kids can't wait for it to arrive.

*I am so thankful that our car insurance covers glass. The whole back window in our car was shattered (we aren't sure how as hubby came out of work to find it that). A $900 repair turned into just a $100 deductible for our insurance. Whew!

*Are you getting tired of my subscription box posts? I have more reviews if you aren't bored of them.


P&G eStore Stocking Stuffers

Did you realize that there is a P & G store online, where you can shop from the comfort of your own home? Either did I!

While I typically use natural and eco-friendly detergent there are times when convenience comes into play more than anything else. Tide Pods (in yummy Ocean Mist scent!) make washing your laundry so much easier when you are on the go (no bulky containers to haul around, no worries about leaks) or when your hubby or children are helping with the laundry - it's already pre-measured for you and easy to just toss in the machine along with your dirty clothing. Not only do the pods clean your clothing with detergent but they also include a stain remover and a brightener as well.

Now your laundry as well as your shopping can be done in record time, when you buy Tide Pods (or any of the other great P & G products!) online. The site will also alert you to any rebates for items (and how to send in for them!) and you are also able to use the P & G ecoupons by applying them directly from your  shopping cart! There are also several special offers on the website that you won't find in stores.

Not only do you get free shipping on all orders over $25 but you also get free samples with every order and all first time orders from a new customer get 15% off with code   A9Z-MN5-KY3-ISA

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

I really wanted to like this book, and thought I would judging by the other reviews I had read. Unfortunately, I couldn't even finish it.

Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza (father and son) is supposed to be about how to reach your life and career goals. The main focus would be a good one except for the fact that the book seemed so jumbled. Every chapter seemed almost like a repeat of the previous one. Jared's writings all seemed to focus on Africa and was completely irrelevant to what we experience here in America. Dan plugs his website throughout the book, making it more like an infomercial than a self-help book.

I did like the quotes throughout the book. I enjoy Dan's thoughts on education and how life experience trumps learned facts. I didn't come away from this book in awe or with ideas to change my lifestyle, instead I was just glad to close the book and be done with it. The true meat of the book got lost within the repeated dialogue and cross reference to Dan's website.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers through the Book Sneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. 

Citrus Lane

I hope that you aren't all getting tired of my subscription box posts. I know it can be fun to see "surprise boxes" even if you have no intention of ordering them. If you are, I promise, a regular post will be up this weekend too!

I received my December Citrus Lane box today. The theme this month is "A few of our favorite things". This is a subscription box for infants through toddlers. They specialize what is in your box based on your child's age so boxes do differ from one another (I know that toddlers received an adorable "green" airplane toy in their box this month).
Each box is $25 but there are often codes or deals out there to get it cheaper. I used a Groupon code a few months ago to get my three month subscription.
The infant box for December included:
*Pearhead Baby Hanging Keepsake ($14.95) So cute!

*Chewbeads Skinny Charles Bangles ($19.50) At first I wasn't real excited about these, but then remembered that when my babies reach a certain age I am unable to wear jewelry because they pull and try to chew on them. These will be perfect - cute bracelets that are chewable!

*Tiny Love Eli Elephant ($6.99) Pull the string and make the elephant move. Baby will love this (and the boys have been playing with it all morning!)

*Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water ($12.99) Great for teething and colic. Will be keeping this in a safe place for when baby needs it!

*Popcorn Fleur de Se Caramel Corn ($1.99) - This is the treat for mom. Looks yummy, I'll share with hubby when we are watching a movie together.

*$15 Ecomom gift certificate. I LOVE Ecomom and should be able to get something free with this!

Total value of the box is $69.42! I was very happy with my box this month!! If you are interested in joining you can buy a month, three month, six month, or 12 month subscription. Your box will be based on your baby's age/gender. Use this link and the code  SRINGFUN for 10% off your order or GIFT10 to get $10 off a 3 month subscription. This would make a great present for an expecting mom, baby shower gift, etc.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review, I am just sharing what I love. Referral links are included.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Must Have Box

Have you heard about the PopSugar Must Have subscription boxes? They are a bit of a splurge at $35 a month but the contents are valued at over $100. The December box is my first box ever but I just had to subscribe after reading reviews on the November and October boxes. They were seriously the bomb.

The December box isn't "as great" as the previous two but I have a sneaking suspicion that is because they also sold a "luxury box" this month for $100 and that all the best is in there (no, I did not purchase that box). I was still very happy with this box. To me it's neat because these are items that I would never buy for myself but will most definitely use. I'm introduced to new brands that I wouldn't run across in my little town otherwise.
*Bodum Bistro Mugs, set of two, $30. I'd never pay $30 for two mugs but these look pretty cool. They are mouth-blown by artisans. I see myself using these a lot in the future!

*Tea Forte' Sampler Box, $15. Smells wonderful! Would be great for a gift but I'm going to gift it to myself and drink it from a Bodum Bistro Mug. :)

*Jaboneria Marianella Soap, $14. Smells so yummy and promises to do wonders for your skin. It will be a hard decision of whether I should keep it for myself or gift it this Christmas!

*Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit, $13. This is a genius idea and will be tucked into the bottom of my purse for any mishaps when away from home. Includes things such as stain remover, safety pins, deodorant wipes, and much more

*Bogdon's Peppermint Poles, $3.99. We already tore into these and they are delicious. Seriously delicious! I could eat the whole box myself but we will dole these out sparingly to make them last.

*Goswype, $1.99. A microfiber cloth which removes dirt, oil, grime, and 98% of germs from your cellphone. Handy to have in our purse.

*Rent the Runway $30 gift card. An interesting concept...rent a cocktail dress, gown, etc.and mail back when finished! This is the only item I won't use from the box (first one to e-mail me at babys_mama1 "at" yahoo . com gets the code!)
Total of the box is $77.98, or if you include the $30 gift certificate it's $107.98. Not a bad deal for $35! This is a box that I will continue to subscribe to as all the past boxes have looked like such fun.

Want to try it yourself? Sign up here and also use the code REFERFRIENDS for $5 off your first box. The boxes sell out fast and I believe that the January boxes may already be sold out, so be sure to reserve your February box!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I'm sharing something that I love. Referral links are included.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cleaning Up

As I've mentioned before, I've been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping online. It's wonderful to be able to shop at home and have the goods delivered directly to me.

A few months ago I was introduced to The Honest Company by a friend. I signed up for some samples to see if it was my thing and I really liked what I tried. These are safe natural cleaners, baby products, and health and beauty products. It's least expensive to "buy by the bundle". You can also sign up for the subscription service which means a box will be sent monthly (or however often you want, you can go to your account to set up shipment dates).
There is a baby bundle which includes natural diapers and wipes and then there are household bundles which include everything from cleaners to laundry detergent to lotions and bath soap. A lot of people want to use more natural, eco-friendly products but since they aren't readily available in most stores it becomes a hassle to purchase them. This is so easy - free shipping and auto-ship if you choose. My favorite part is that you can manage everything in your account page online (change shipments, skip a month or two, etc.) but best of all, the household bundle can be changed monthly if you choose. There are so many products to choose from and you can select which 5 you would like in your bundle (and choose more items at a discount if you choose). One month you may need toilet bowl cleaner and the next you may substitute that with body lotion.

This month I chose laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent (really want to try their dishwasher packs but they seem to sell out quickly), face and body lotion, dish soap, stain remover, and added a three pack of lip balm (which will be included in the kid's stockings). I added the sixth item to get free shipping.

If this sounds like something up your alley or just something you'd like to try, use this link to get $10 off your first order! By doing so you could get everything in the photo above for just under $31! For healthy, eco-friendly products! 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, The Honest Compay has no clue who I am. I just happen to really like the products and wanted to share. There are referral links in the post.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Angels All Around Us

You may notice that I am on an angel kick when it comes to my choice of reading recently. Maybe it's that time of year?

Angels All Around Us; A Sightseeing Guide to the Invisible World by Anthony DeStefano was a thrilling read. I feel that the title is a little misleading as I expected either angel stories or a book all about angels. While angels were the main focus this book goes deeper than just angels. It was previously titled The Invisible World and I think that title would fit better.

That's my only complaint. Other than the title I loved everything in this book. It does discuss the Biblical basis for angels (and "fallen angels"), it digs deep into guardian angels. Mr. DeStefano uses personal life lessons as well as Bible verses and other analogies to explain what he is teaching. This is more like a friend to friend conversation rather than a textbook reading.  

This book also explains us humans - both body and spirit. It goes so far as to clearly explain our choice between heaven and hell.

It may sound deep but it was in layman terms and easy to follow along. There were so many places were I wish I would have highlighted my favorite quotes and many places that I stopped to read aloud a paragraph to my husband. My husband even asked to read it after I was finished and he never does that - we really don't have the same tastes in reading. Right there it showed what high marks the book would get. I will be reading this book again in the future just to let it all sink in.

I think this is a must read for all Christians and would even go as far to say that it will probably fascinate even those who don't believe but may have a sense of something spiritual being in this world.

A paragraph taken from the back of the book describes the book well: "All aspects of the spiritual realm are discussed, including the existence of angels and demons, the whereabouts of loved ones who have passed, the gift of grace, heaven, hell, and even the presence and activity of God in our lives."

 I received this book for free from WalterBrook Multnomah Publishing for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Brain Splat

A tummy bug has been lingering in our house the past few days. It's strange, as in between bouts of throwing up or tummy aches the kids feel fine and eat and play as normal. Hopefully it will be out of their systems soon.

I made another duct tape box to basket today since Becca has been begging me for one.
It's the perfect size for organizing her dresser drawer.
I've been using this fun decorative duct tape for other projects (photos coming soon) and have a fun Christmas idea for some of those other cardboard subscription boxes.

My sister has been teaching me how to crochet a hat.

This has been the least stressful Christmas ever! I am loving the simplicity of it! Presents are all bought or ready to be picked up, house is decorated, cards are out, and all that is left is baking. I fell in love with online shopping this year and will probably stick with it in the future - such good deals and so simple! I'm also loving that I bought many of the gifts with my Swagbucks - how awesome is that?!

I'm back to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. Yay!

You can find some more of my brain splats and rambling on Trenches of Mommyhood's Facebook Page or Twitter account!

Friday, December 7, 2012


I've been craving peppermint cocoa the past several weeks. I've looked for cocoa mix with peppermint flavor but have been unable to find any at our local grocery store. I run into Kwik Star (our local gas station) from time to time for a cup of their peppermint cocoa but the majority of the time when my craving hits it isn't convenient to go somewhere to get some. Not to mention that a 99 cent of cocoa may not seem like a lot but multiply that by 4 (really, how could I drink it in front of the kids without sharing?!) and it can add up.

Yesterday while at the store I ran across Coffee Mate's Peppermint Mocha creamer. The wheels in my head started spinning.
At home I made the perfect cup of peppermint cocoa! I could seriously sip the concoction all day! Any hot chocolate mix will do (even a box of 99 cent packages!). Mix it up with hot water as usual, and then add a small (or large!) dash of the creamer. Stick a handful of mini marshmallows on top and call it heaven. Pure sweet delight!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Magic Ornaments

Thanks to a Facebook friend, we were introduced to a new craft to create. Not only was it simple but we had all the ingredients already on hand.
I decided to call them magic ornaments because I didn't tell the kids what would happen and the next morning they thought it was magic to see what their ornaments turned into!

Make shapes out of pipe cleaners

Tie a string to the top (in order to hang on the tree when finished)

Mix 2 cups of boiling water and 6 T. of borax in a glass jar.

Optional: If you want colored ornaments mix a few drops of food coloring in

Submerge the ornament into the solution and let sit overnight.

The next morning you will have some sparkling "magic" ornaments! Let dry on a towel and then hang on the tree!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lifted By Angels by Joel J. Miller

I have always been fascinated with angels. I figured this book would be right up my alley.

Lifted By Angels by Joel J. Miller is more of a textbook case on angels, rather than a feel-good book of angel stories. I, like other reviewers, found parts of it to be dry. While the Biblical accounts of angels and their purpose are interesting, there is only so much of that before one gets a bit bored while reading.

Two chapters interested me fully. The chapter about fallen angels and the chapter about guardian angels. I've always had the belief that each of us has a guardian angel, and have experienced the protection of mine in a few instances. Reading more about the Biblical basis of guardian angels was fascinating. Reading about the dark (or fallen) angels was equally as fascinating, as well as a bit bone chilling. Because it is only more proof that while angels can have a very important part in our life, so can the dark angels. This book brings home the point that that we literally are in the fight daily between good and evil.

While this was not a page turner for me, I would recommend it for anyone who loves the topic of angels, or wants proof of where in the Bible angels are mentioned and what part they play in our lives as Christians. It makes for an interesting, though possibly slow, study on angels.

This book was provided by Booksneeze as part of their book review bloggers program. I have not been compensated for this review, nor was a positive review expected. The opinions presented in this review are my own.


Stork Stack

Last month the subscription box "Stork Stack" had a discount code for the first box. I decided to try it out and just received the December box today.The theme this month is "Rock, Roll 'n Roar"
I get the infant box so this is what I received:
The subscription is usually $28 a month. While I like everything that I received in this box I would have been highly disappointed had I paid $28 for it.

*Rockabye Baby "Good Day, Good Night" 2 Cd Set ($24.98). This has lullaby renditions of "The Beatles", "u2", "Metallica", etc. I'll be the first to admit that I hate typical lullaby music and that this is a CD that the whole family may actually be able to stand when it's playing (maybe even hubby!) but I would never buy a CD for $25.

*BearHands & Buddies Fleece Mittens ($12.99) Adorable and warm

*EDUSHAPE Baby Maraca ($3.75) Seems to be like something that could be purchased at the dollar store. Not impressed.

*Zubels Guitar Rattle ($17) It's 100% hand knit and organic. Love that aspect as I won't worry about the baby chewing on it now but I wouldn't pay $17 for it.

*Rockin' Green Detergent 4 load sample ($1.25). I LOVE Rockin' Green so this was fun.

This box was valued at $60 this month but I truly don't feel I would pay more than $15 for this whole box without being disappointed. I know that other ages get other items in their boxes and I am curious to see what they receive. I've been impressed with the past boxes that I have seen so wonder if this theme just "isn't us" or if this is an "off month" for Stork Stack. I will probably cancel for now as I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped.

Disclaimer: This is just my honest review of Stork Stack. They have no idea who I am and I was not compensated for this review, nor are there any referral links in this post.


*We are working on our Christmas chains. The minute the calendar page turns to December the kids want to get their craft on!

*I really want to stay in my pjs today but there are lots of errands needing to be checked off the list so I suppose I need to resemble a human while out and about. By the way, have you ever worn your pjs out in public? I beg of you not to!

*While shopping at Goodwill this past weekend I spotted an adorable corduroy Fossil purse. It's the real deal, but was only $2.50 because it had a large white stain inside. I figured no one would see the stain seeing as how it's inside the purse so I would buy it, but also attempt to wash the purse to see if it would come out. This morning it emerged from the washing machine looking brand new!  It really never does hurt to try.

*I'm trying to get together my to-do list for baking this holiday season. What is your all-time favorite holiday treat?


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