*Thrifty Living * Homeschooling * Natural Living * Creating * Baking * Learning * Exploring * Subscription Boxes * Childhood Cancer* Death of a Child*

Sunday, January 26, 2014

This Week

*We are burrowing in and staying put here at home as a winter storm swirls around us. I'm not minding the snow, but not looking forward to the -30 to -50 below zero windchills. We've had too many of these arctic days this month.
*I'm still in awe of how many lives Jacob has touched, both before and after his death. Follow his Facebook page to read the random acts of kindness that have been done in his memory. Everyday he reminds me to be a better person.

*I'm in a 11 week Bible Study and studying the Book of James. This short text fits a whole lot of wisdom within it. I love my little Bible Study group - it's amazing being with others who are wanting to learn more about God's word. I learn so much from everyone there!

*My braces go on in three days. I'm not looking forward to being "metal mouth" for the next two years but excited about the end result. Any hints or tips from those who have had braces?

*We are finalizing plans for Jacob's headstone but it won't be put up until Spring. His little grave looks lonely right now with just a small marker.

*I'm missing him more and more as the days go by, if that's possible.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January IPSY Bag Review

I'm a bit late reviewing my January IPSY Bag, because it was late getting to me! I wonder why packages take so long to arrive when other bloggers have them way before me?
I was very happy with the design of the make-up bag this month. It's cute and durable feeling.
Included in my bag was:

*Healthy Sexy Hair Leave In Conditioner ($3.50)

*ProActiv Mark Fading Pads ($2) I'm curious to try these, though doubt four packets will be enough to notice how well they work or not.
*Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Creamy Eye Pencil ($6)

*Skiin Soothing & Smoothing Eye Cream ($14) Eye cream is always useful when one isn't getting enough sleep!

*(Malin + Goetz) Mojito Lip Balm ($10) Love this almost as I love the Detox Mask I received in my PopSugar Box from this same brand.

About a $35 value this month, which is on the lower end of what they typically are but still a great deal for the $10 a month. I liked some of the other variations of the bag I saw this month better (you will received certain products based on your profile) but am still happy with this one. Ipsy

Disclaimer: Referral link included in post.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Double Dutchery

Remember when I used to tout the merits of the clothing swapping site ThredUp? Then their customer service went down the drain and they suddenly switched from trading clothing to an online consignment store. Most of the customers were quite upset and stopped using their service altogether.

I'm happy to report that I found a new clothing swapping site! Double Dutchery is a new swapping site that swaps children's/teens clothing and shoes.   
You list a box of your own child's outgrown clothing or shoes and earn a "point". You can then use that point to pick a box that you would like to order, and pay shipping costs along with a $5 fee. So, basically, you are swapping a box of your child's clothing and paying around $16.95 in order to get a full box of clothing in return.
I'm lucky that we have a good selection of consignment, thrift stores, and garage sales in the area. Yet, even with all that, sometimes it is hard to find exactly what my kids need, especially in larger boy sizes. I ordered a boys box of 6/7 clothing for $16.95. It included nine pieces of clothing which equals out to about $1.88 per item. You can't beat that - these were all great brand names shipped to our house. I didn't have to drive around using up gas, or wrangle children while trying to search for the correct items.
Joe was thrilled with his new duds, and though I ordered them to put away for next year he immediately wanted to try them on. :)

When I asked Wendy, the founder of Double Dutchery why they started this site her answer was:
"We started Double Dutchery because, first and foremost, we’re parents. And like
countless other parents with young kids, we were struggling through the worst
recession of our lifetime, coupled with the fact that it’s only getting more
expensive to raise kids these days. We’ve been huge fans of (in-person)
community clothing swaps for quite some time, and we were surprised to learn as
we were building our site that the biggest online community, ThredUp, had
recently switched its model -- presumably because they couldn’t make enough
money for its investors -- and left many people a bit upset.  Reading some of
the old message boards about ThredUp was pretty eye-opening. Lots of passion
around a great service that ultimately chose a more traditional model over
direct sharing. Living in the Bay Area ourselves, we were somewhat familiar with
the way Silicon Valley had taken “the sharing economy” and tried to productize
and profit from it with varying results. We wanted to avoid all

Given the fact that my husband Robbie is a website developer, we were able to quickly
prototype the platform without external funding or investment. It may not be the
prettiest software, but it’s getting better with every update!

A community powered by parents, that’s been our goal. And it really starts with
people, like you. People who perhaps see the value of trading with other
parents, and that the vast amounts of textile waste going to landfills should be
lessened, especially when so many people could put it to good use."
Their goals for the future:
"Our immediate goal for Double Dutchery is to get as many members as possible signing
up and listing boxes to swap. We envision Double Dutchery being a community
clothing swap on a nationwide level so everyone who comes to our site finds what
they need when they need it. Through our very grassroots efforts we hope to
build that community of like-minded parents who believe there’s a better way to
combat the rising cost of children's clothing while simultaneously minimizing
unnecessary waste."

I am in no way affiliated with Double Dutchery, nor is this an endorsed review. I just know a good thing when I see it and want to spread the word for other mamas who are trying to clothe their children on a budget. 

5 Months

It's been 5 months since I've seen his sweet face. Since I've hugged his frail body. Since I've smelled his fluffy little head. It feels like forever.

Monday, January 20, 2014

This Week

*I'm getting loads from my to-do list done. And yet, I don't notice much of a difference in the appearance of the house. *sigh* Someday it will be clean, right?!

*I seem to have stopped my photo-a-day challenge. I missed one day and it seemed to go downhill from there. Maybe I'll try to resume that today. Or not. We'll see.

*I'm in love with the Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask from the January PopSugar Must Have Box. This stuff is seriously like a bubble bath for your face. You can actually see it, as well as feel it, working it's magic!
*When I received this dry shampoo from Fortune Cookie Soap I didn't think I'd have much of a need for it, though the "Zero" scent smelled delicious. Fast forward to a month later when our hot water heater didn't work one morning and I was off to an appointment and really wanted a shower. This stuff refreshed my hair and left me smelling great. This is why I love subscription boxes, I find favorite things I never would have tried on my own.
*I've challenged myself to read 50 books this year and am already well into the challenge with 12 books read. I'm keeping tally over at GoodReads. If you want to stalk follow me over there I think you can search by e-mail address, which is babys_mama1 "at" yahoo.com

Friday, January 17, 2014

January PopSugar Must Have Box Review

My January PopSugar Must Have box finally arrived! It seemed to be late getting sent out this month. 
I had seen spoilers a few days ago and wasn't terribly excited but thought it was better than last January's box.
Included was:

*The Juice Generation recipe book ($15) I don't have a juicer, though I wonder if a Vitamix would make recipes similar?

*Pipcorn Truffle Delicious Mini Popcorn ($6) Yum! The kids and I are snacking on it right now.
*Rifle Paper Flip Around the World Desk Calendar ($16) This is something I would never pick out for myself but I actually really like it and think it looks cute on my desk.

*Jack + Lucy Knit Gloves ($20). These are tech gloves, which I don't really need as I don't text ever when outside. But, they are a soft knit and will keep my hands warm so will be useful.
*Malin + Goetz Face Mask ($40) An expensive face mask, which I am looking forward to trying.

*Revlon Box of Files ($3.50) My nails somehow shape themselves. Seriously, I never file them and they are always rounded. Won't use these myself.

This was a fun mix of items. Not my favorite box, by far, but useful. I'm looking forward to the February box as I really enjoyed last years Valentine box. If you are a new subscriber, go here and enter code ASK50 for 50% off your first box.

Disclaimer: My referral link is included in post.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Citrus Lane January Box Review

My subscription boxes have been whittled down (to 3 or 4) but there was an awesome deal on Citrus Lane awhile back and I just had to resubscribe for Joe, as he looks forward to these boxes so much each month. These boxes run for ages 0 to 5 and what you get in the box corresponds with the age and sex of the child. This is the January Citrus Lane box for a 5 year old boy.
Included in the box this month was:

*Fruit Set from Plan Toys ($10) Joe and Amy have been playing with that all day

*Upset Tummy & Nausea Relief from Mommy's Bliss ($9.99) I'm sure this will come in handy from time to time.

*Zig Zag Zebra Coloring Book from Barefoot Books ($3.50)

*Duo Tip Washable Markers from Faber-Castel ($4.99) These have been a hit too, keeping Joe quite entertained today.

If you are a new subscriber to Citrus Lane you can use discount code TAKETEN for $10 off you first box.

Disclaimer: Referral links included in this post.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 13 - A Building


Snippets of our grief recently have been:

Joe: "When I'm dying on the couch, can you get me M&Ms, Mom?" Said very matter of fact and without fear.

Finding myself sobbing in the car on the way to Jacob's grave, only to have a song from The Bee Movie (Here Comes The Sun) start playing on the radio. A song that always makes me think of Jacob, as he and I watched that movie over and over again while in the hospital.

Watching a video from our trip to Disney World two years ago. Hearing Jacob's sweet voice say "Candy, Mama!" and wanting to hear it over and over again.

Smelling Amy's head and remembering Jacob's fuzzy downy head smelling exactly like that as I kissed him goodnight for the final time. Closing my eyes as I took a deep whiff of her head again, wanting to go back five months to have one more chance to kiss his head. Yet one more time would never be enough.

Finding myself having conversations with Jacob in my head. Or just saying his name. Over and over again.

Asking Amy "Where's Jacob?" expecting her to look up at the photo on the wall that I talk to her about. Instead, she always looks out the window when asked that question.

It's all such a daily struggle, when your heart is hurting with it's missing piece.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11 - Open

Stranger Things

I stayed up until 2am in order to finish reading Stranger Things by Erin Healy. It's the type of book that "makes you read it", meaning one full of suspense that you just need to find out what happens.

The story line was full of twists and turns, though I did figure out where it was going towards the beginning. There weren't a lot of surprises or a twisted ending.

Parts of the story seemed to be more science fiction, or supernatural, and confused me to a point. The beginning seemed to flow in and out of supernatural and throughout the book there were bits and pieces of it. I, personally, don't feel that it fit with the story because I still can't figure out what it was. A dream? Real? Emotions stirring up those thoughts? I could have done without those parts.

All-in-all a good suspenseful read.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 6 - Outdoors

There is just no way to capture the bone chilling cold that we have today. This ice forming on the furnace vent outside may show a small glimpse of it. 15 below zero for a high today, with wind chills around 50 below zero at night.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bedtime Prayers the End With a Hug!

We had Bible Stories that End With a Hug! so we were excited to be able to review Bedtime Prayers the End With a Hug! by Stephen Elkins.

Each chapter has a verse, snuggle time, a bedtime Bible thought, a hug-a-bye prayer, and ends with a hug. It's short enough to keep the child's attention and is a cute little ritual each night. Perfect for kids ages 3-5.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Day 5 - On the Counter

This picture sits on kitchen counter in the corner. It may be true...


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