Spring Vox Box: Product Review

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About a month ago I wrote a post about a VoxBox that I received in the mail to give a product review of the Ivory 2 in1 body wash and shampoo. I loved it. It was a fun experience, so I tried again for another VoxBox. I received the Spring VoxBox. Inside the box were:

  • Secret Clear Outlast Deodorant
  • Impress press-on Nails
  • Tasty Kake
  • Osis hair product

My first thought was ‘Press on nails, really? Who does this besides 12 year old little girls?” And I was right. I tried to do it and it went horribly awry. They advertise no nail damage, but to get the nails to stick you have to rough the top of your nail, which weakens your own nails by taking valuable layers off. Bad, bad, bad.

Next, Im trying to be healthy, so I gave the Tasty Kake to the kids for a snack. They loved it. But being a snack cake, it is loaded with sugar and other bad-for-you-but-good-tasting, so we won’t be stocking up.

I was really excited about the deodorant though. I already use the Secret clear brand and think it works really well. I like that it isn’t an antiperspirant, because those chemicals make me a little nervous. I don’t smell, or at least I no one at work has had to talk to me. After the gym, that is usually a different story. 🙂 I know for a fact that this brand has several pleasing scents and is easy to use. Best of all, it doesn’t mark up your dark clothes! This is a product I can and already do use. The travel size was great for my recent trip to Nebraska and to put in my gym bag. Now I don’t have to worry too much about how I smell AFTER my workouts.

OSIS hair product was this powdery stuff you rub together to form a paste and then you use it to create definition and texture.

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{FSC Book Club} …Round 4 BEGINS!

It’s Whats to Eat Wednesday and my kids are gone, so my cooking has been a bit pedestrian lately. So Im sharing this great post I found yesterday. With people building great gardens and going to the farmers market, I thought this was a great fit; a book filled with home canning ideas! Some of the best food Ive ever eaten has been my moms home canned food. It is time intensive, but so great to be able to feed your families healthy food where you know ALL the ingredients and can pronounce them too. I need to focus on studying for my test in September while the kiddos are away. I don’t already have the jars or other supplies for canning, and can’t really afford to buy them this summer. So, I won’t be following along except vicariously through the website. But if you do have the supplies and the time, I highly recommend participating in this book club. I looks like fun!

from scratch club

FSC book club

We read, we cook, we chat.
That is the FSC Book Club.

Round 4 of the FSC Book Club has begun! We  are reading and and cooking our way through Put ‘Em Up Fruit: A Preserving Guide & Cookbook. Creative Ways to Put ‘em Up and Use ‘em Up by the incredible Sherri Brooks Vinton. It’s a gorgeous book filled with great recipes for preserving and using up all of the delicious fruit you can think of. Learn more about the book at our announcement post.

fsc book club put em up fruit

Here’s how this round will work:

Sherri has already divided the book up beautifully by fruit. For FSC Book Club, we attempted to line up fruits with their growing season, at least for the growing season here at FSC headquarters in upstate/Eastern NY. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Most of us in the northeast probably aren’t growing our own grapefruit…

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Tuesday Tip: Lower your grocery budget

Image courtesy of Zaycon

Actually this is a couple of tips all rolled under one heading, reducing your grocery budget. I am raising a houseful of boys, all of whom are healthy eaters, and for a while, our grocery budget was out of control. Of course the kids preferred food consists of Macaroni and Cheese, Pizza and Ice Cream. But, we can’t live off only that, there must be fruits, vegetables and some actual meat once in a while too. I don’t have time for extreme couponing, so I use a few tried and true methods and am able to keep our grocery bills down to about $130 a week or less. My biggest secret? Find great quality at great prices! That is why I like shopping discount grocery stores, warehouse stores like Costco and Zaycon. What is Zaycon? Fresh meat, fruit and dairy delivered on a truck direct from the farms to a location near you. You have to buy in bulk, but for staples like chicken breast (bonless/skinless for only $1.90/lb) or 93%lean ground beef for only $3.49/lb and Organic Whole Milk (low patruized and non-homoginzed for only $5.99/gallon. These are amazing deals and everything is great quality and easy to freeze. Most cases are sold at 40pounds. So to buy a case, or more, can be spendy. But by planning ahead, splitting a case with a friend or following the rest of my steps, I feed my family of 5 for an average of $130 per week!

  • Make a menu
  • Make a list based on the menu
  • Use a warehouse, club or discount store for great deals
  • Watch portion sizes

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ever heard that expression? The school my children attend does not have a cafeteria, so we must plan for 3 meals a day, every day. Lunches during the week gets a little routine so those items are easy to shop for. Its the breakfasts and the dinners that require more planning.

  1. I watch the ads, Safeway always has something interesting for $5 on Fridays. Dinners are taken care of If I can find a meat on sale, and figure out 2 different ways to cook it. From the ads, I menu plan the week. We eat leftovers, a lot, so I usually only make 2 main dishes for dinner. Add something easy like oatmeal or yogurt or bagels for breakfast. I let the boys choose what they want for the week, they have to agree on the 1 item. Once the menu is planned, I make the shopping list.
  2. Sometimes I buy things to put in the pantry because the price is right and I know I will use them eventually: diced tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup etc. and if I already have something on hand, then I don’t want to buy it again.
  3. When I have my list together, I figure out the best place to buy my items. Sometimes it is Winco (a great discount grocer in my area), and sometimes it is Costco because of quality/quantity needed. Thankfully these stores are rather close together and I don’t feel like I am running all over town to get the best deal. STICK TO THE LIST. Remember the list only works if you actually stick to it.
  4. When the boys are particularly hungry, or going through a growth spurt it can be more difficult to keep an eye on portion size. If I make a casserole, I do tell the kids that it needs to last at least 3 meals. So we supplement the main dish with salads, veggies, and bananas or an apple after their plate is still clean. By making the main dishes that typically cost more, last longer, we can stretch our budget even farther.

**Disclaimer: If you decide you want to check out any of the Zaycon products, click on the link above. I do earn referral points, but honestly, these deals are so good I just can’t pass them up or keep them to myself! I just ordered ground beef and the milk.

Un.. Motivated

Picture courtesy of urbannight.wordpress.com Click for original article

Ugh, these last few days weeks I have been un.mo.ti.vate.ded. I don’t know if its the end of the school year or if it is something in the air or a hormonal or emotional thing, but, I have been un motivated over the last 2 weeks. The baby came home sick from daycare on Friday and dealing with a sick baby, chores (now that my mom is gone) and Church and I think I got burnt out. Long days at work, chores and kids, it wears a mom down.

Not a good way to start a 90day fitness-challenge. *sigh* Why can’t challenges include wine?

I look at the kids and make sure they are playing well together, then I powered up my iPhone and downloaded a book and read. There are too many free books ready to download and I sat. The kids watched a movie (Raise of the Guardians)Then I sat some more. We even had a finger food dinner, Chicken and Joes from the deli at QFC (Joes are fried potatoes for the uninitiated) – they did have salad for a veggie, so Im not a totally bad mom. But, the rest was finger-food. In fact they noticed and called it a finger food night. That was cool.

But it was indicative of a mom who didn’t want dishes, didn’t want clean up and didn’t want anything to do with work. So, I stacked dishes on the counter, sat and read a trashy romance novel while the kids watched TV. Yeah, this lasted about a day and half.

Then , I got a call from my parents, who sent me plane tickets to visit, so I could drop my kids off for the summer. My kids love visiting on the farm, but WHAT am I going to do without them for almost 2 months? Don’t get me wrong, we went. Then I ran away giggling manically and promptly scheduled 2 girls weekends with some friends. I’m going to miss my kids, but for a little while, this girl needs a break!

My life – not like a movie

Photo courtesy of: http://blog.culturewav.es Click the picture for the website

Trending on twitter yesterday was a hashtag: #IfICouldLiveMyLifeInMyFavoriteMovieItWouldBe and I started thinking about my favorite movies:

  • Pretty Woman – Nope, don’t wanna be a hooker
  • Last of the Mohicans – Daniel Day Lewis is beautiful, but I don’t like the whole “watching my sister die” thing
  • Persuasion (BBC version) – While she ends up with the love of her life, she spends 10 years pining for someone and living with her idiot relatives.I don’t want to be that girl, I was born in the wrong century.
  • The Sound of Music – I don’t want to hike over the alps running from Nazis
  • Bridget Jones Diary – That girl is cute on TV, but I would annoy myself in real life.
  • The Matrix – I get too much screen time as it is. Who wants to really be plugged into a computer?

So then I thought about TV shows.

  • Castle – Its like ‘Murder She Wrote’ either the people you know are dying or are being accused of a crime, not as much fun in real life I would think.
  • Big Bang Theory – While I think Bazinga is a great word and all, no. I couldn’t handle Sheldon.
  • Warehouse 13 – This one is actually pretty cool, except for the getting turned into strange beings or mind altered pretty frequently. At least they get cool toys.

Image from Make. Click for link.

All this made me think, while TV is great for entertainment, it is definitely NOT real life! I get enough real life in my *gasp* real life. Sometimes losing myself watching someone else’s ‘zany’ life is a good idea, but lets not fool ourselves, in most any situation, we would welcome real life vs the fake stuff anyway. Except for the size of those girls thighs, I wouldn’t mind doing some sort of sci fi brain swap thing with a really great/cute actress like Selma Hayek or something. If Im going to pretend, I also ran across a blog called CultureWav that mentions she found a way to immortalize yourself as a super hero. How neat is that? This might be something we do for the kids as a Christmas gift this year. They are BIG right now into being Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc. Or maybe I could get myself one of these really cute aprons I found via Make and Bethany Sew and Sew. I think I could do ANYTHING in these!