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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kiwibop Postcard Pals

I have seen cute things in my life.
I have created cute things in my life.
There are tons of "cute" subscription boxes out there....
but I think ... I may have found the cutest of them all.....

A Postcard Subscription Box - Just For Kids!


Kiwibop Postcard Pals
Remember this name because if you have children... you will hear it again I am certain.

This subscription is so clever and such a creative way to get kids to learn about so, so, so, many different topics.

Here's how it works..
The monthly subscription is a MERE 3.99
I got the introductory kit which included 4 postcards, cutout mustaches and glasses, a hello from the kiwibop pals and 4 stickers.




Each of the cards has facts about a place or a thing or an animal. My oldest daughter who is 7 is an independent reader so this... is so perfect for her... she absolutely loved it.

You are also encouraged to go to kiwibop.com/explore on each card to learn even more!

This isn't just for older kids though, my daughter who is five listened as her sister read these to her which was really nice to see and she loved the stickers and the dress up mustaches and glasses. 

 The postcards are high quality and the emphasis on getting kids into reading and learning in a new and fun way is so much fun and at $3.99 a month... how can you say no?!

*I received this product complimentary for an honest review. All thoughts herein are my own


Monday, March 30, 2015

Montagne Jeunesse: Manuka Honey Peel Off Masque

So.. you probably remember this is part 3 in a 4 part Montagne Jeunesse series.

I love masques.
I particularly like the MJ variety. Always something different... even if it isn't exactly right it's totally different and unique. It's what gives this company it's flavor. I received these free for review!

This masque was cool. It was like opening up a container of honey .... seriously.
But before we get into that - this isn't just honey that you find any ol' where this is Manuka Honey which I didn't even know was a thing. In fact I want to keep saying Hakuna. But yes Manuka Honey apparently has medicinal properties.

THE MORE YOU KNOW!

Anyway back to the show folks.


Yep, there I am... ol' shiney mcshine face wearing Hakuna Honey


So like I said when I squeezed this stuff out of the pouch it was literally like gobs of honey.It smelled like honey as well. 
15-20 minutes later the masque is tight and it's time to peel it off. It got stuck in my hair but no biggie. I didn't however notice any real results... it was fun to put on and it smelled good but I won't use this one again.
Also, this company in case you weren't aware is Cruelty Free, Peta approved, and vegetarian friendly!

*I received this product free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts herein are my own

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Homemade Peanut Butter - How to

Hello Everyone!

I hope this finds you all well!
Just another Saturday around here... I had planned on making some homemade peanut butter and posting how to on here ...

Here's how that played out for me.

 

So the instructions say to shell 2 cups of unsalted roasted peanuts.


I'm a maverick I bought salted...
TAKE THAT PINTEREST PIN!

OK, so we had to shell two cups of these - which is relatively simple.
and tedious
and boring
and lame
and suckalicious
But we did it - as a team!

Then,


take your 2 cups and add them to your food processor


Ah yes, put it all in the good old Ninja and get ready to go to town on that button.

The recipe says to pulse for 30 seconds and then process for 3 minutes.

So, basically you're going to tear the peanuts to shreds - and by shreds I mean WE WANT A FINE PEANUT MIST.
(also the recipe says if you have trouble with them being too dry you can add a little bit of a neutral oil, like canola.)

Unfortunately, at this exact moment in the space time continuum, the reasons I want a Vitamix become blaringly clear.....

See how it looks kind of blurry on the stem there?
That's not the camera
My ninja is stripped.... I couldn't be less enthused.

I am currently writing this while my daughters do an easter craft and eat two cups of shelled and salted peanuts.

At least they are happy. The End

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Walmart Beauty Box Unboxing + Giveaway

So this is where you leave a comment to let me know you liked the facebook page and shared the giveaway post!
Good Luck to you all!
I will choose the winner on 4/4!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Angels' Cup: Coffee Review

So, the nice people over at Angels' Cup sent me some samples over to review on the blog...

-Angels'Cup is a monthly or weekly subscription for coffee tasting "flights"-

and if you know me, you know I love coffee.
I've worked with coffee as well so I like to fancy myself someone that knows what they like.

Angels' Cup goes way beyond that though, it's a subscription coffee service that gives you either monthly or weekly a selection of 4 - 1 ounce packages of coffee. And at 7.99 it's very affordable.



This service is a great way to try a lot of different coffees to find out what you like
When you do find one that you would like to buy more of you can buy it at their online store!

I received my samples:

Just as promised 4 - 1oz packets of coffee


You get a little paper that explains to you how to go about your taste testing


Along with this you also get a menu or "cheat sheet"
You are however, encouraged to use the app on the Angels' Cup website


My experience:
I was excited when I got the samples because I really wanted to use the app and see how good I was at discerning the different flavors and notes in the coffee! 

So I went numerically with each coffee over the course of a few days. 
I got samples #0088, #0089, #0090, #0091.

SPOILER ALERT 
(if you don't want to know what's in these coffees do not read any further!)

#0088 was really good. From a company called Gimme! Coffee
As you can see from the description it's a Kenyan blend. 
I would describe it a vibrant... seems almost to jump around in your mouth - I would also describe it as the lightest of all the blends.

Now, as you can imagine I tried to use the app and I thought that I had it all on lock. I had prior experience with coffee so I assumed that I would go in there and I would just WIN the coffee app. 
Not even close.... I set myself up to begin with, you have the option of beginner tasting or advanced. OF  COURSE, I did advanced... I was immediately overwhelmed realizing I actually knew very little about flavor... and could stand to learn a lot from this service. 

I switched over to beginner tasting and did my best but realized I was out of my league and used the cheat sheet to help me. 

#0089 is a Peruvian blend also from Gimme! Coffee.
Sadly, this was my least favorite I realize however, this is all about opinion. 
It seemed to have an aftertaste that stuff around in my mouth a little darker than the first blend

At this point I would try the app but mostly relied on the cheat sheet! 
I'm no sommelier! But hey! At least I tried

#0090 is an El Salvadorian coffee. This and the final sample are from a company called Gorilla Coffee.
I actually did really good on the app with this one - somehow though I didn't pick out it's sweet qualities. 
This was a little too dark for my taste but still very good

#0091 my very favorite coffee of them all. A perfectly smooth, mellow coffee from Brazil also from Gorilla Coffee. 

I was overall thoroughly impressed with this entire experience. I feel like anyone - as long as they like coffee- could benefit from using this service. 
You get the experience of actually "taste testing" coffees as well as knowledge about the different flavors and complexities that are actually involved in different roasts of coffees and at eight bucks a month it's TOTALLY affordable!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Craft: Dandelion

So, I wanted to do a little craft with the girls after I put Oli to bed.
I subscribe to the mailbox and they email me a weekly craft that is usually seasonally themed.
Today's was "dandelion wishes"
I had a couple reservations because I couldn't imagine how it was exactly going to work.

Here's a breakdown of the supplies you'll need:

  • White Tempera Paint
  • One Gift Bow
  • Construction Paper or Cardstock
  • Glitter
  • Green Paint 
  • Q-tip
Alright so the instructions are basically 
  1. Mix the white paint with glue
(I didn't have tempera so we used acrylic) 

2. Get your paper ready 
3. Dip the bow into the glue and paint mixture and dab onto your paper
4.Don't worry if it looks bad, mine does too! Your kids will like it anyway!!

Penny had a meltdown whilst crafting
She won't be in anymore of the pictures...
Bye Penny!
5. Add glitter to your wishies
6. The mailbox suggests that you use a q-tip and green paint to create a stem... I'm a maverick and decided to use pipe cleaner. Ah, to no avail ... you can't glue pipe cleaners!

So, this project wasn't a win by any means

That's our final product

However, Belle had a grand time and for that it was worth it!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thoughts on Karma

Just a random thought...

people talk a LOT about Karma and how it's going to "get" someone that's done something to them that they perceive to be wrongdoing.

Here are some points I have to make about that statement:


  1. How do we know this isn't YOUR bad Karma that you're receiving back?
  2. Maybe what you perceive as "Karma" is just that person having to learn the hard lesson that you've already had experience with
Life is about accepting what happens to YOU
Everyone else is walking their own path... and we musn't judge (believe me I deal with this all the time myself)


Just had to get the thought out though.. 

Thoughts?


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Chore Chart

If you know anything about me you know that I have three children. 
A 7 year old, a 5 year old and an almost two year old.

I watch a lot of parents giving their children things.... but never asking for anything in return.
And I'm not saying that is wrong, but usually when they explain why it sounds something like, "I'm their parent." or, "I want them to have what I didn't".

I respectfully disagree and here is my reasoning.
Life isn't about take.
The world doesn't hand things out at a whim and for no good reason.
Everything that's worth anything - 
                   takes work


It can be really hard to... trying to find this balance between the part of you that wants to be a fun parent and the part of you that wants to instill a really good structure... 

I'm really big on structure because while I had stability - structure is something that I always lacked growing up....

it lent to me being a little bit of a round peg in a square hole... which is kinda good but as an adult I suffered a long time trying to figure out how to go about even the simplest of tasks. 

So, to help my children avoid this in their lives we've devised the chore chart and I really hope it can help you too.

It's super rudimentary but this is basically what we draw up for each of the girls to follow.

My 7 year old daughters looks like this:

So if you take a look there's a row for each day of the week.
We have set chores that are everyday.

They're pretty simple

clothes in the hamper
make bed
clean sink (after brushing teeth)
pickup room
clear spot at table
and for Penelope  get the mail

It gets interesting because then we start alternating

There's a chore every other day we consider a *special* chore

wiping cabinets 
sweep
vacuum
and on the off days it's bath night



This is Isabelle's chore chart. These were all chosen from a chart of age appropriate chores that I had found on Pinterest

So, how does it work? 
  • Well it requires involvement... honestly about as much as if I'd done them myself. 
  • At the end of the day we go through and check off all the regular chores that they've done. 
  • If they haven't done a chore they get a number 1-5 and on the fifth regular chore they miss they get a privilege revoked for the rest of the week. (As you can see on Belle's she is at a 4 in the first week.) 
  • If you look at the second week however, you'll see there is a -1. That is because she chose to do something helpful and we've decided if she has demerits she can negate one of them with that. 
  • The special chores are treated differently mostly because they require skill. If they do them they get an X. The level of quality is what decided whether they get an allowance for it or not. (If you look at the specials they have boxes around the x's - this means she did the chore but not well enough to warrant the allowance.)
  • We go through the whole week and on Sunday we do the allowance
  • Each regular chore that is done all week gets a dime
  • Each special chore that is done without a box gets a quarter
  • There is a special chore bonus ... if you do them all even if you get a box you get an extra quarter
Basically, they bitch about it a lot! But I continue because I believe in it, and I really think it works. 

What does your family do? Do you have a chore system? Are you more relaxed? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Spirit T-Shirt

Can be found here!


Montagne Jeunesse Part 2: Creamy Coconut Face Masque

Montagne Jeunesse
So, here we are at the second installment of our four part Montagne Jeunesse Face Masque Review.
While the first one was a rave only in the RESULTS department this masque is definitely a win all around. We did receive this free for review

I decided last night I would put it on wait the 15 minutes and soak in the tub. A "mini spa" if you will.
It was fantastic. The texture is thick and seemingly nourishing without being goopy (which in this writers opinion is the WORST)
The smell is divine, I'm reminded of coconut gelato. It's so rich and really the best word to describe it is "nourishing". They use the word "hydrating" and yes that's a fitting adjective... I just think nourishing sums it up much more.

Regardless, I decided not to post my rave last night and opted instead, to see how my skin looked this morning. 
I looked fabulous (as always!) (kidding, kidding)
My skin felt smoother and more supple. 

I would recommend this to almost anyone... it definitely isn't NOT FOR anyone.
If you would like to purchase click here! 
Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 2015 Birchbox

*contains referral links
Ahhhh my first Birchbox!
*In case you didn't know Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that sends you a selection of beauty samples based on a quick survey you fill out upon signing up.*
My initial thoughts were that:

  1. I do really love the box but what do I do with them?
  2. It's wayyyyy smaller than I thought
So that was my initial impression of the box as a whole. 

Which looks.....

like this

Pretty, right?
(especially with my super pretty orange throw underneath it)
Did I mention I like orange? 
Because I do!

But anyway back to the box.

In my box I received five different brands, and a total of seven products.. two of which were just once and done samplers.

So first up Davines:

Pictured on the right are the two small samplers of the Strand Nourishing Davines Duo (Shampoo and Conditioner)

OK so we'll start with worst to best in terms of thoughts. 
Shampoo in all honesty to me, is shampoo... TRUETALK
    So, while the smell was nice it's basically the same thing I could get with any other drugstore product. Shampoo really has to blow me away to get a rave review
Conditioner was really nice left my hair feeling smooth and soft
This conditioner is for you if: You have dry hair, damaged hair, split ends
This conditioner is Not For you if: You have oily hair.... just stay away from this stuff

Beautifying Potion is probably the reason - in essence- why Birchbox has been such a successful subscription box company...it knows you. This was so perfect, not only for me but also for my daughters who have notoriously thick and one with RIDICULOUSLY course hair... this was the big win in my box.

The potion is for you if: You need a little extra shine and detangling also the advantage of some weight from the oil 

This potion is NOT FOR you if: Your hair is limp or shiny- I also wouldn't recommend for straight hair

The full size sells for $41 I got a large sample that sells for $18.85 on Amazon

So, next item. Harvey Prince Singular Scentsations Imperial Gardenia Tester (Pictured on the left above)
OK so here's the back story I used to love gardenia and then I got TIRED of it - it started seeming old lady on me so I stopped using it so much so when I saw this tester was Gardenia I had mixed emotions... will I like it? WILL IT GIVE ME A HEADACHE?
It was truly delightful and I definitely would buy a full sized version absolutely - hands down worth it.

For you if: You like Gardenia
Not for you if: You don't like Gardenia :P
The full size goes for $29 the closest I can come to a price for this is 3.00 on Ebay


This product was great I am sure, just not for me. I have dry skin and this I think is intended for someone who has a more oily skin type. Obviously it's for Acne and I don't really have a problem with that.. however it did leave my skin feeling nice I just had to apply extra moisturizer afterward.

For you if: You have acne, blemishes, and overall oily skin
Not for you if: You have dry skin that is prone to getting red from cleansers with alcohol

The full size version retails for $22 I got a .5 fl oz sample $1.63
Pictured on right

NEXT!
Spa Therapy Body Wash Pictured above on the left
This was nice - not too smelly - I like subtle scents but it didn't blow my hair back... it's worth a try and there's definitely nothing wrong with it... it's just average. I do like the name and the packaging though... very pretty

For you if: You like to wash your body
Not for you if: You are allergic to any of these ingredients :P
The full size retails for $15 I received the 1.35 fl oz sample seems to be averaging about $3 on ebay

Last, but not least
This product is deceptive...
and I have a funny little story to share with it
This looks like a tiny little bottle for nail polish and I DON"T LIKE TO READ INSERTS
I opened it up and figured I would try it
Started saying things to myself like, "Wow, this product is CRAPPY" "I would be embarassed to send this to somebody" I ended up with this result


I knew something wasn't right... read the insert and kicked myself in the butt. I put it on my kids cheeks they looked cute.. if you are into highlighting your cheekbones very subtley this is FOR YOU
If you are not... well why would you even consider this product. 
I will admit it's a clever way to distribute a product
Honorable Mention for that!
This is actually $14 Wow!

So in conclusion for my $10 spent I got appoximately $40 
Not too shabby! 

So for my first Birchbox I got creative!
I would love to know what you guys got and your thoughts! Leave them in a comment for me!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Michael's Kids Club: Windsock

As promised I am reviewing and also providing a tutorial for the Michael's Kid's Club craft.
So, for this craft the kids were building a foam windsock for the coming of spring!
When you arrive you go to a private room with a table and chair for the kids, in our case there was only one other child there when we arrived at around 10am. The kids have up to an hour to complete their craft. While they do the craft you are welcome to hang out OR walk around and shop ALONE! SANS CHILDREN!

I see what you are doing here Michael's! 
and i LIKE it!

So the kids are comfortable and I walk around the store and check in here and there to see how they are doing... surprise they are alive and mingling with the crew of children that have now arrived to also do the craft! The truth is I have idealized the amount of time that I like to shop. Because I was done shopping long before these guys had finished their craft.

This was for the 2 dollar per child fee sooo, soo worth it. Particularly if you don't get a lot of alone time but (like me) don't want to just drop your kids on someone and peace out. We're definitely doing this again, win for the kids - win for mom.... win all around!

Belle's Windsock

Penny's Windsock

How to make your own:

Things you will need:
  • Foam sheets
  • Foam stickers
  • Pieces of fabric cut into strips
  • Pipe Cleaner
  • Hole Punch
  1. First thing you want to do here is choose a color foam sheet for the body of your windsock.
  2. Once you've selected the one you'd like you wrap it around as though you are making a tube and overlap the two ends just slightly 
  3. Apply the hole punch two to three times in the space where the foam sheet overlaps
  4. Use either pipe cleaner or some of your strips of fabric to fasten the ends of the foam together
  5. Go around the base of the windsock with the hole punch and apply approximately eight holes
  6. Take your strips of fabric and pull them through each of the holes until they are about halfway
  7. Put two holes in the top of the windsock with the hole punch
  8. Tie a piece of fabric from one end to the other (this will be your hanger)
  9. Get out those foam stickers and EMBELLISH BABY!!!!!!!!
See, super easy and fun and I'm sure your kids will like it!!
Let me know what you think!
And also if you have participated in a Michael's Craft or any class at Michael's I would love to hear about your experience!






Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Montagne Jeunesse - Black Seaweed Peel off Masque

This is part one in a four part Montagne Jeunesse Review.
They recently sent me some samples to review for you guys. 
I figure one a week is plenty as that is the recommended usage.

Tonight I tried the black seaweed peel off masque....




First off, the packaging is kind of creepy, no? That was the immediate thought of the packaging - the other packages are similar but because of the intense black color of this masque it just comes off a little menacing.

On to the product! So, it has a sort of medicinal smell, however I can get past that. The reason I'm sold is that as soon as I put this stuff on I definitely have the 15-20 minute application time entirely to myself  because my children will have nothing to do with me... seriously they are HORRIFIED.


Case and Point

So let's recap, if you are a packaging gal (or guy) this isn't going to rope you in at the store. It has a very overwhelming color and that may turn some people off... however, I'm about RESULTS.

This product made my skin feel great and look great as did the Montagne Jeunesse products that I've used in the past. In fact this the only product thus far that wasn't over the top in all the areas that I'm looking for. 

In conclusion - a solid product but not one for a novice or the faint of heart. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Arnott's Tim Tam Cookies

So via Bzz Agent I got selected for a Tim Tam Cookie Campaign.
These are ridiculously appealing to me because it's a chance to try something that up until now wasn't even available in the US. You can now by them at Target.

The cookie itself is delicious... super filling so you need to really eat in moderation but the consistency and melding of the flavors makes for a luxe and decadent treat on your cheat day!

There are two flavors available, unfortunately I only got to try the chocolate... (I know, I know BIG sad face)
But if you have a sweet tooth these are definitely a safe bet!
You can find out more about them here at the arnotts website