Thursday, January 31, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Homemade Chicken Soup

I am a firm believer in chicken soup. I am not talking Campbell's or restaurant soup. I am talking about HOMEMADE chicken soup, with a real chicken to make real broth.

It is flu season, and unfortunately, it hit my household on a Sunday afternoon. It has been so long since anyone has been sick, I knew it was time for soup. I ventured out and bought a whole chicken to prepare the healing elixer for Monday's supper.

Don't be afraid of scratch cooking. It is better, healthier and more healing to make a good broth yourself, and believe it or not - easy.

Chicken Soup Ingredients:
whole raw chicken - no giblets, not frozen
lots of carrots (if you are lucky enough to have it available buy organic)
3-4 white or yellow onions (if you are lucky enough to have it available buy organic)
sea salt
Herbs: bay leaf, thyme, rosemary
Rapunzel Vegan Sea Salt & Herb Bouillion
whole wheat egg noodles or regular noodles, I prefer whole wheat
celery if you desire, and I don't.

1. Remove the chicken and rinse under water. Place in a large stock pot. Fill pot with water to cover chicken and 2 inches or more above for a very large batch and place on the stove on medium high heat.

2. Cut the top and bottom off an onion (or two, if you love onions), quarter it and put in the pot. Peel about 4 or 5 carrots or more, cut in very large chunks and put in pot.  Now is also when you can add 3 or 4 stalks of celery if you like it.

3. I add about 1 TBS of sea salt or so and  2-3 tsp of pepper. Then throw in 4 big bay leaves, 1 tsp of thyme, 1 tsp of rosemary.  I really don't measure so this is a guess.

4. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium after it's been boiling for about 15 minutes and let it simmer for 5 hours. This not only cooks the chicken thoroughly but makes it tender and it really gives the broth a chance to dance with all the ingredients.

Once the broth has finished it's 5 hours, I set another large pot in the sink and put a large strainer/colander on top of it. Then slowly and carefully pour the entire contents of the stock pot into the strainer, letting the broth drain into the pot below.

Place the stock pot back on to the stove at medium and pour the broth back into it. You can then put the contents in the strainer into your other pot to remove the chicken from the bones to put into the broth in the stock pot. You DO NOT put the carrots or onion back into the broth, just the chicken meat. You add more vegetables next.

Final Preparation:
Slice as many carrots as you want, as much onion as you want and etc. to put into the broth with the chicken. I add 2-3 cubes of the Rapunzel bouillion. I also add 2 bay leaves. Taste the broth and if it is too your liking season wise, you are good to go, if not, add a little more pepper, or thyme or salt. Whatever floats your boat.

Once this comes back to a boil, and your carrots are cooked to yoru liking, add your noodles if you want. You really don't have to, it is all about whatever feels right with bringing you back to health. If you want just broth, then eat that. You can add rice, or make dumplings. It is about getting well. So let that simmer a little longer til the vegetables or noodles, etc. are done.

I have a lot of prep work done in advance because I participate in a CSA and freeze vegetables for the winter from it. So, as you can see from the photo, my veggies are already sliced and diced. Makes it even easier.

It seems like a lot, but it is not, it's super easy and delicious!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Graze

I have signed on to try another box that has finally been released in the U.S., called Graze. Graze is a weekly snack box delivered to you with a variety of "snack" items that you can trash, try, like or love. They will in turn try to cater to your palate as you figure out what those items will be categorized by you.  I am so excited to try this. I have a habit sometimes of not taking in enough calories when I am running kids, working and being a mom all at the same time, so this will be a fun experiment!

$5 a week people!!  That's basically what I spend on junk right now. I have big plans that this will help me make better snack substitutions and in the process weeding out the processed snacks I my friends Lay's and Pringles and Hershey's and Ghiradelli.

Graze is now invite only, and you can get in immediately with a personal invite code. With the code, you get your first box FREE! I am happy to share mine with you and would love it if you tried Graze too.

The personal invitation code has been deactivated, they've limited the invitations now.  I will post a new one when I get to invite again...sorry!!!!
I won't be doing a weekly review after the first  box, but will go to a monthly review on these, as I don't think I will be able to keep up!!!
Happy snacking!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with PopSugar Must Have January

PopSugar Must Have seems to have been getting a lot of bad press lately...I have read so many complaints and rants on how disappointed people were with the luxury box, December's box and now this month's. I did not order the Luxury one, $100 for that was not a priority. But, I really liked December's, the mugs are still awesome and I really liked the products in it. With that being said, I was still worried about January because of the obvious focus things tend to take on fitness and health amid resolutions. Lots of boards were ready to pounce before there were any spoilers.

 My take? I really liked the January box. See below!

Merithew Stability Ball:
I love this! I have been going back and forth for a year about buying one of these since I quit the gym (because of my working at home/stay at home mom schedule...not because I'm a quitter). I recently bought one 12 lb dumbbell, planning to buy a second and I am set for a little mini home gym now! I wish the ball was silver or black, but that's ok, at least now I have one. It also came with the pump. PopSugar included a card that showed a few exercises I can do to get started.

The Remix Timebomb Watch:
I am not normally a watch wearer, but the fact that I received the black one meshes well with my workout gear :) I have been just using my phone, and it's probably not the best tool to have on a 5k. It's not uber-fancy, but it will do the trick with the second hand going around. I am glad I got black! The lights are cool, the kids will mess with it I am sure. It has a ginormous face...I will look like those little 3rd graders with the big watches from the 80's, but I don't care! Also, the watch is not water-resistant, but is splash proof, meaning it can get a little wet, just not submerged.

Epicuren Discovery Lip Balm:
This balm is a pleasant little surprise. Loved the tea tree in it, gave my lips a tingly, refreshing feel. The smell is a little medicinal because of the tea tree, but I really don't mind it, it felt great on my lips and took away the burn of chapping. With an SPF of 15, it is definitely my new go-to balm for the cold Minnesota winter. My 4 year old, Peanut, even likes it.

Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick:
I hope this bar is all it promises to be...what better way to spend my afternoon writing than with a cup of hot cocoa...and made with milk, too. Two bars came in the box, one milk chocolate, the other dark chocolate. You just fill a cup with 8 oz. of hot milk, put the hot chocolate on a stick in the cup and stir for a couple minutes until you get the chocolate-i-ness of your desire. Step 4? Enjoy.

Jet-Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits:
Miniature marshmallows. I would say you can't go wrong, but I don't eat them unless they are in a Krispy Bar. But...I have two little critters who love them, and will be enjoying them in their own cups of hot cocoa. Mind you, not my cocoa on a stick. Sorry - not sharing! They will have cocoa, too, and loaded with the mallow bits. Ok, wait...I just tried them, and I might have to have an occasional handful.  They are actually tasty, sweet and a little bit crunchy. I give in.

Think Thin Bars:
PopSugar labeled these as special extras in the box. I received three bars: ThinkThin Crunch, caramel chocolate dipped mixed nuts bar; ThinkThin High Protein Bar, creamy peanut butter; and ThinkThin Divine, a dark chocolate coconut bar. I can't try one right now because I am eating the mallow bits, but I am sure they are good. They look better than some of those natural raw bars, which I think are disgusting.

Also in the box: a voucher for Casetagram for instagram and facebook photos which I won't use and a coupon for $1.00 off two ThinkThin bars.

Final thoughts: A lot - and I mean a lot - of people have been complaining about the ball being in the box, also complaining about the watch. You know, you can't please everyone and it is their business on how they run their business and what they see trending, so it's a chance you take.  If you hate it..unsubscribe.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with SeasonsBox January

Hello to my new subscription, Seasonsbox. I missed out on the inaugural box in December but I am glad I missed it. January's was so much better!! This box is a little more spendy, and comes out of Canada, but all the products thus far, except an extra bonus item, were full size.

You open the box and the wonderful aroma just poured out of it, and you could tell it was going to be fun. The theme was Soft & Cozy, featuring environmentally conscious products from Thailand and the U.S.

Kitira Boutique Hand-Woven Scarf:
This is my favorite item in the box, and I sure hope that this breakdown of items continues, with an apparel item in each month or something like it. The scarf is big enough you could wear it as a wrap too. They are 100% cotton and hand dyed with natural products. The one I received was a natural color with some brown in it. Very pretty.

Vance Kitira Hand Poured Cathedral Candle:
From Taiwan, the candles are made from the best quality of paraffin on the market, and is food grade. The scent I received was caramel pear, and was 5 inches or so tall, and a brownish/gold color.

Whispering Willow Whipped Shea Butter:
Made from organic shea butter, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil, this cream melts when it comes in contact with the heat of your skin. I received Peppermint. I am going to use it on my feet with some of those spa socks you can get.

Unearth Malee Thai Herbal Steam Bath Tea:
Certified organic herbs mixed together to relieve stress, relax muscles, open sinuses and detoxify. Lemongrass for inflammation, circulation and muscle tension; eucalyptus for respiratory issues; mint as a decongestant and headache reliever; galangal root for warming; ginger to detoxify and stimulate; kaffir lime leaves as an astringent for the skin and tone; dead sea salt for skin and detox. Looking forward to trying this. It smells so good, and next time I have a bad cold, this will be my bedtime relief.

Perfumessence Organic Shower & Bath Bomb in "Breathe":
For an irritated throat or winter congestion, the bath bomb is made with eucalyptus mint, lavender and rosemary.  I wonder if I need to find an excuse to get a cold!

My first Seasonsbox was a real treat, and I loved most everything in it. I liked the candle, but the only thing I didn't like was the caramel pear scent, I like more spice, floral or natural scents and not so much food or fruit, but it is a pretty candle. I hope they keep up this kind of product breakdown, like I stated above.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Birchbox January

The January Birchbox arrived promising me the Best Year Ever. I sure hope so. 2012 ended with a heck of a bang, and 2013 is starting off with a half of a year of major changes.

Frownies Eye Gels:
Under eye and eyelid treatments for smoothing wrinkles naturally. They are reusable gel patches made of cactus collagen, aloe, niacin and other vitamins from plant sources that "increase circulation and deliver deep hydration and nutrient support". To use: Initial use start with 3 days in a row, then go to once a week. One half hour treatment is said to smooth lines, wrinkles, bags, dark circles and skin tone. To reuse, they must be placed back in their tray and rehydrated with the rose water hydrator, refrigerated and sealed in a plastic bag -- if removed within the 30 minute treatment session. I actually am looking forward to trying these. With my inability to fall asleep lately, I am looking wrinkly and puffy, and I am hoping these really do work. I will update.

Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray:
This is the product you use with the Frownies Eye Gels to keep them hydrated and activated. But it also has a secondary use as a toner AND hydrating mist to balance your skin's ph levels and plump fine lines with the hyaluronic acid.

Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture:
I gotta be honest, this perfume reminded me of something bottle of fragrance I had in Junior High, and it took me back...way back. Described as wild berries flirting with mandarin and soft floral was a cute scent, and ended with something that reminded me a little bit of cherry Twizzlers. For real. A fun daytime fragrance!

Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer by My:
This moisturizer promises to give skin a matte finish lasting all day, while having anti-aging properties. Made with pili and moringa oils. I don't normally have shiny skin except for the bridge and end of my nose, so I will give this a try.

Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer from theBalm Cosmetics:
I don't wear shadow much, but when I do and I use primer I notice that the shadow goes on darker and seems to stick better. So, I don't know much about primer...I will give it a try and let you know if it makes the color last and stay.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Yuzen January

My Yuzen box for January arrived with a little bittersweet message reminding me they are going quarterly, with seasonal boxes for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. So, it is with a little sadness I write my review for the last monthly box.

This months box was a theme on new beginnings and inspired awakenings. With that - on to the products.

Aromafloria Stress Less Foaming Bubble Bath:
I am looking forward to a nice soak with this product. A bubble bath to soothe the soul, it contains lavender to soothe and relax, chamomile to calm and rejuvenate and sage to relieve mental fatigue. 100% organic, with no synthetics, parabens or formaldehyde, you can safely soak and cleanse away the day. Mild and non-drying can be used to calm itchy skin because it is ph balanced. It smells divine and it will do me some good, I can tell.

Tilvee Lavender & Lemon Hydrating Lip Balm:
Made with cocoa butter, jojoba oil, rosehip seed oil, shea butter, almond oil, avocado oil, beeswax, and contains vitamin e, lavender, lemon and rosemary. This tube of balm is wider than an average chapstick, so it does have a lot more coverage on the initial application. I didn't care for the scent right off the bat, but once you apply, it goes away and you get the aftertaste of the lemon (only slight) that takes over and you don't notice anything else.  I like the lemon essence, it's really nice and that's what stays with you.

Sweet Riot Cacao Nibs:
One calorie per nib, yes, you read that right, and packed with antioxidants. These little treats are 65% dark chocolate covered cacao nibs, made out of cacao from Latin America. The chocolate is dark and rich enough that a small portion is very satisfying. It also comes in a cute little tin container to recycle.

Essence of Vali Sleep -a Bedtime Ritual:
I think this product is going to come in very handy for the next several months of my life. With all the stress of trying to sell my home, single parent while my husband has relocated already and trying to find a new home, I am not sleeping well at night. My mind is SOOOOO busy. Made with lavender, marjoram, cedarwood and ylang ylang, the mixture of essential oils is meant to ease you into sleep...with one drop. The directions clearly state to NOT use this on your skin, but to apply to a corner of a handkerchief or tissue inside your pillowcase, or in stressful moments, put on a tissue and breathe in. I am going to use this tonight.

Pangea Organics Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Face Cream:
Made for dry/sensitive skin, the cream hydrates and well as provides anti-aging, antioxidant, smoothing and calming. The red mandarin is refreshing, nurturing and elevating. The rose softens lines, is rehydrating and balancing. To use: After cleansing and toning, you apply a dime sized amount to your face, neck and decollete by gently patting it with an upward, rolling motion. Best if used both morning and night.  It smells nice, lightly scented, reminds me of a spa, lol. Very aromatic.

Shea Terra Organics Moroccan Argan Oil:
This is my third little vial and dropper of argan oil, so it must be THE hot beauty item this year. It is a multi-tasking wonder, and I've written about it before. I am not a fan of applying it all over my face or in my hair directly, but I do use it directly on the fine lines around my eyes, but I do need to be more consistent and get this into my daily habit, like flossing. I think then I will see the real results. We got a nice little cheat sheet for 10 uses for the oil. Wrinkles, stretch marks, crow's feet, lips, nails, cuticles, hair, flyaways and bath water softener. With that being said, I resolve to start using this miracle oil daily.

Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner:
Designed to bring lots of moisture to your mane. With argan oil, CoQ10 and Omega 7, this shampoo brings a triple moisture system to repair damaged hair. 100% plant-based product and is vegan and is cruelty, sulfate, paraben and phthalate free. It has a wonderful almond scent.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with the best bouillon ever

I cannot say enough about Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Sea Salt & Herb Bouillon.

I use this in every soup, stew, broth, savory dish I make. It is almost becoming a staple.

Rapunzel out of Switzerland, has been producing organic products since 1974. They have an amazing company philosophy and are committed to changing the way food is made. Their website, linked above shares their whole mission, business practice and the projects they are involved in.

The ingredients listed: sea salt, organic non-hydrogenated palm oil, yeast extract, organic basil, parsley, garlic, turmeric, lovage, celery and dill.

The sea salt itself is sun-dried from the French Atlantic Coast. They also offer a regular bouillon with sea slat, and one with no salt added.

The flavor is just right, adding a little more depth without having to guess. In addition, I add bay leaf to all broths too. It comes in a box of 8 cubes, in which you add one cube to 2 cups boiling water.

A couple of recipes I will be adding down the road, my homemade chicken soup, and homemade vegetable soup, use this ingredient.

Give it a try, it really is delicious!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Quarterly Co. #BVH01

One of the subscription boxes I have eagerly anticipated (since early October if you can believe it) was the Quarterly Co. one, curated by contributor Joel Johnson. I think the main purpose of this box is to create an experience, with their contributors being some of the most interesting, intellectual people who are active in the creative community right now.

It finally arrived and I couldn't be more intrigued and giddy.

In a quote from the description of the box, direct from Quarterly Co's website:
"What can I expect to receive from Joel?Do you like old cashews and spark plugs? Because if I trusted my own judgment, that’s what I’d give you four times a year. Fortunately for you, my Quarterly is guided by the (figurative) spirit of my grandma, Vivian, who didn’t quite raise me but certainly refined me. I’ll be exploring the life she lived and the lessons she learned, passing on things that remind me of her. I hope my mailings will make you feel as comforted and inspired as she made me.

If you enjoy good smells, quiet mornings (about to erupt with the screams of ornery children), and a worldly sense of style filtered through post-Depression hillbilly pragmatism, this box is for you."

Inside was a beautifully written letter, which, by request of Joel, I will not write about, talking about being a contributor and the contents. I have to write this review differently, it is just not like a product review. This truly is an experience, something that invoked childhood memories for people, including myself.

Upon opening, I felt like the box was made just for me, like a personal gift from someone who knew what I would find interesting and useful. The first item I took out was The Original Butter Bell Crock. I kid you not...I was just complaining yesterday that I was sick of not having something for my butter. It was rock hard for my sandwich yesterday, and I hate pulling it out to soften in ugly plastic. I was thrilled to see this, it will solve my problems, look cute, and match all my dishes. I love butter, I believe in butter.

The second item was a Jiffy Mix Recipes Booklet. Coupled with it was a third item, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. The purpose of these two products was to help go a little deeper into the experience of Joel's grandmother. It reminds him of her and his childhood.

The final item was my second favorite, a Lodge Mini Cast Iron Skillet. I love it. It is the cutest, most heavy, most fun little pan I've ever seen. It is the perfect size to make an individual size corn muffin in the oven.  I am so excited to season this little guy and do a little baking with it. Again, all for the experience.

I am beside myself with anticipation for the next box, which unfortunately won't ship until March. Kudos, Joel Johnson, this was truly a warm, heartfelt package giving me a window into your world. Thank you.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with some love from Germany

I have this fabulous cousin who is spending time (or years) in Germany. For Christmas we received a box full of German candy bars, chocolates and such.  In order for me to do a well thought out, prepared review, I need to brew a K-Cup of coffee, and chose Wide Awake Company's Colombian (I will be reviewing these a little later). Let's go on a taste adventure!


These are like KitKat's, crispy waffle strips covered in chocolate, and mixed with what I gather are a picture of hazelnuts. Those Germans like their hazelnuts.

The first bar is Trauben-Nuss (which I believe is hazelnut raisin) and taste's like those Chunky bars only better. The second bar in my selection was Luflee, which is a milk chocolate bar with air bubbles in it, very similar to Hershey's Air Delights.

Ferrero Giotto:
We got two flavors of these. The dark brown is Cacao (dark chocolate), the light tan is Haselnuss (hazelnut). This candy reminds me of ferrero roche in that it is a crisp wafer ball covered with chocolate and crumbs with a flavored cream filling. Yum!

I did get to sample one of these at my parents, but no picture. They are chocolate covered crispy waffles with vanilla filling.

Crunchy waffles with chocolate filling and hazelnut pieces. I have no real way of describing these other than they remind me of the chocolate wafer cookies, you know, the ones that came in yellow, pink and brown, and my Grandma always had them in her kitchen.

Kinder Country:
Picture Honey Smacks without the honey (just puffed oats) with a cream filling covered in chocolate. 'Nuff said.

Ferrero Rafaellos:
More little wafer balls covered with white chocolate and coconut flakes filled with coconut and a whole hazelnut in the middle. Divine. I normally don't eat a ton of coconut candies, but these were good. Not in your face coconut, just the right amount.

The only thing I didn't get to try that my sister got was Schogetten, in Tiramisu flavor, which would have been tasty I am sure.

So, thank you Melissa, I know you read this. The treats were amazing. I hope my review does them justice. I am looking forward to my next "subscription box". Maybe a "German Jerky Box" or German Salty Treats". I am game, just not game for game. Throwing some ideas out there for you. Just let me know where I need to send the check. :)

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Love With Food January

January's Love With Food was the first box of the month to arrive.

I signed up for this one with a year subscription, which is working nicely for me. This box didn't have a packing slip or list this time. It was printed on both sides with the same art. of the products is blank, and another has no information on what it's contents are. I will do my best to figure out what these products are!

David Rio San Francisco Tiger Spice Chai:
All you need to do is add water or milk for "a rich and creamy mixture of black tea and exotic spices." I am looking forward to trying it this weekend. I love chai, and we are supposed to get a big snow storm. This will go perfect with breakfast Friday morning or mid-morning snack on Saturday...I will update you.

GoGo Squeeze Applesauce on the Go:
Containing nothing but fruit, I got Apple Strawberry. This will be good, I know the kids will LOVE it. My only complaint? I wish we had gotten two because the kids are going to fight over who got more.

Turbana Plantain Chips:
A single serving sized bag of sliced plantain chips in Lightly Salted. A good source of fiber, the chips pack 8% of your daily allowance, no cholesterol and 5g of fat. They weren't bad, although, because they are a little sweet, I would have preferred them in a Lightly Sweetened flavor like honey or cinnamon. But, they will not go wasted, the kids liked them and I enjoyed a handful. I don't know that I would buy them in this flavor in the future.

Kyotofu Modern Japanese Desserts:
These were little flower shaped cookies in three different flavors, none of which I actually know because they weren't labeled other than the title above. I went to the website but it wouldn't load. So, there you go. Am I still game to try? You bet. The first one was green, crisp and sweet, and from what I could tell was either almond or pistachio flavored. The second was grayish, and it's almost like coffee, but maybe some other spice and pepper, sesame? The third is orange, yellow and I have no idea what the flavor is. In fact, they could all have been the same flavor and just colored differently, haha...who knows.  But, they were good and I liked them!

Biscotti di Suzy Almond Anise Biscotti:
This is the no label, no description item, but I found info for it on Love With Food's shopping page. I took a bite and it is good...but it is going to be better with the chai later. :)  It is pretty standard in taste. Good though, and not stale or "pre-packaged" tasting.

Chuao Chocolatier, Firecracker Chocopod:
Kudos to the inventor. What a weird candy, I loved it! I think a tray of these for a Fourth of July or New Year's party would be perfect. These little pods were a mixture of dark chocolate, chipotle and popping candy (poprocks!) and when you bite into them your mouth sizzles from the pops and the pepper, leaving a little burn in your mouth. Definitely worth trying.

NewTree Speculoos:
This is a tiny piece of chocolate in dark chocolate with Belgian biscuits and flax seeds. Tiny as it is, it packs a flavor punch. The dark chocolate is richly dark and the Belgian biscuit adds a bit of crunch. Loved it.

New Tree Cannelle:
This piece was milk chocolate with cinnamon and lime blossom extract. I do not know how to describe the flavors that mingle is such a different experience, one to be savored, truly. It was really good, and would be perfect with a rich, dark coffee. These chocolates intrigue me, so I searched and found their website Newtree, and found lots of sexy flavors to broaden my chocolate horizons.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Uh-oh! Another box!

The news is out, Yuzen, my favorite box, has gone quarterly. NOOOOOO! Oh, I'm devastated! Good news? This has opened a window of opportunity to try out another box on my radar. Enter Seasonsbox.  This is a new monthly focusing on pampering items and has a Yuzen/PopSugar feel to it. But different.  I am excited to try this. This box has options to skip, options for several different subscriptions, and also reveals the contents of the box on the home page, if you are the type that has to know. So beware, it's right there if you don't want to know.

It is a little spendy, but I dropped Conscious Box and am thinking I will drop beautybox 5, and contemplating birchbox. Why, you ask? Because let's face it...I am no beauty maven. I wear as little makeup as possible, but focus on skin care and am avoiding growing old. So, thus far, these boxes haven't done anything for low maintenance and wrinkle-free skin, even though I've filled out profiles. I have enjoyed new products, but I don't wear a lot of cosmetics, and don't have time to perfect the smoky eye.

I do, however, enjoy what are called "lifestyle" boxes, which have a little something for different aspects of, food, home and style.  I am excited, and can't wait.

They are offering up a special right now until January 31 and it is a heck of a deal, adding up to almost $170 off the month to month with a 12 month commitment. It seems like a lot, but in the scheme of things, it is a great savings and because of the lifestyle promise, I am willing to give them a shot.

If you are too, I'd love it if you used my referral link below:

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with Goodies Co. December

Finally! December's Goodies Co. box arrived. So far, I am really enjoying what Walmart Labs has to offer. While I have seen many of the products that have come in two months already at the store, I don't always try them, so this has been fun.

Again, this box is $7/month and so far has been the best value for a food box out there. I think I like this box better than Love With Food, though I much more appreciate what LWF stands for by donating a meal per box purchased.

This month's theme is Naughty or Nice? It was made up of six samples; three of healthy choices and three of naughty indulgences. It's focus was trying to be healthy but allowing ourselves to let loose and indulge once in a while.

On to the contents:

Barefruit Cinnamon Apple Chips
Nice: I will admit, I wasn't too sure about these, but ended up pleasantly surprised. 100% natural, the only ingredients listed on the bag were apples and cinnamon. That's it! No added sugar or preservatives and fat, cholesterol and gluten free. And, the serving size guarantees one whole apple per bag. The chips are really, really good, and have a great crunch to them, still have the peeling on the slices and are super sweet. I would definitely buy these and am willing to try other chip flavors if they came out with them...can you imagine peach chips or pineapple chips?  Yum!

Effie's Homemade Oatcakes:
Naughty: Very naughty. These small little cakes, all buttery, crispy and flaky at the same time contained 9 grams of fat, lots of cholesterol and sugars. But, oh amazingly delicious. They tasted like my mom's homemade Christmas cookies. I don't think I will ever enjoy some plain old oatmeal health bar ever again. I am going to chalk these up at sort of healthy...I mean...they contain wheat flour and rolled oats, right?

EatSmart by Snyder's of Hanover Naturals Garden Veggie Chips:
Nice: A single serving bag was packed full of a trio of chips made from potato, tomato and spinach. I liked this snack, it was satisfying when I got that craving for something salty...but I wish they were just a little saltier. I can get away with a little more sodium - no blood pressure problems here - so that would have put them higher on my list. I have bought these before, but it was veggies straws and my kids ate them up.

Rocky Mountain Popcorn in Cinnamon Sugar:
Nice: Natural air-popped popcorn dusted with real ingredients: cinnamon sugar and popcorn. Cotaining 10 grams of whole grains per serving this products pacts a whopping 10 grams of fat, but is still a better choice than a bag of microwaved movie theater butter popcorn. The popcorn itself was fluffy...slightly stale, but not much, because it was still melt in your mouth fresh. There was plenty of the dusting of the cinnamon sugar, and was really tasty. They reminded me of those county fair cinnamon sugar mini donuts, so if you are looking for something really naughty like those, this would actually be a good substitute to curb that craving.

World Table Chocolate Mint Cookie Thins:
Naughty: I have tried the lemon thins by this brand before, and loved them, so I was looking forward to trying these. I received a full size package, containing two packets of 14 cookies. Peanut said they were "Yummy!" I concur. The buttery, crispy cookie meshed perfectly with the layer of not too sweet chocolate mint on the bottom of the cookie. These were really quite delicious. All I need now is a hot cup of coffee to enjoy them with.

Sun Cups Sunflower Butter Milk Chocolate:
Naughty: Basically, a nut free take on the classic peanut butter cup. Personally, this was my least favorite product in the box.  I gave it a try, but sunflower butter is not my favorite flavor. So, with that said, I will comment on the positives: smooth - no graininess of real peanut butter cups; and the chocolate was really good. Sunflower butter just has a weird aftertaste to me, like something that got old and stale. But, if you have peanut allergies, you can still enjoy a spin on those delectable Reese's :)

Sun Cups Dark Chocolate Mint Cup:
Naughty: I ended up with one extra product, a mint cup. Even though I didn't like the sunflower cup, I was still game for the mint one. I am not sure what this one was filled with. I know it was peppermint, but it wasn't white and it was grainy, but I am guessing it was made with sunflower butter and peppermint flavoring. It tasted good, though. Not as yummy as a classic York Peppermint Patty, but still enjoyable. I give these a B+.  Since I received the extra naughty product, I must have been nice this year!

FUN Holiday box!!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Deleting the naughty...with a brand new year.

As we rang in the new year last night, I couldn't help but think about all the changes we face in 2013.

2012 started out like a normal year, with no inkling how the year would end. Really, life was just beginning to stabilize. Our kids were all transitioning to the year's changes in their lives...Monkey growing up into such a fine, young boy starting Kindergarten. Peanut leaving toddlerhood behind and becoming a little lady and in Preschool. My husband and I not facing any health challenges or work challenges. Really, it was looking up.

October came and it seems like everything has been a whirlwind since then. Husband has taken a new position with his company and we are moving to a new state. A new community. A new experience.

It has been 22 years since I left home to attend college in a new town, where I ended up graduating, staying, working, marrying and started a family. I am unprepared. I swore when I graduated that I was going to go South, where it was warm, where there was a beach.  But I didn't as an opportunity came my way and it was important to take it. Then as the years went by, and boyfriends came and went, jobs changed, I got restless again.  So, at 30, the search for the South began again. A job interview popped up and I flew to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to seek a new life. When I came home from that, an Email from a co-worker in another department popped up. That Email changed the course of my life forever. Little did I know, it was from my future husband.

Now, as I reflect on all the coulda woulda shoulda's, I though about how one decision made differently would have changed my path completely. It makes me grateful. So, after thinking hard, I decided to take the risk my husband was asking of me, and follow the new path in front of me. Scary? Yes. Defining? Absolutely.

My wanderlust has kicked back in, my love of travel and new adventures is in high gear. I am searching for schools, homes, experiences, a new church, a new set of friends to make. It's certainly enough for one to do, let alone do it with the kids in tow and the husband already relocated.

I am going to miss him terribly while we work on selling our home, finishing the school year and our activity commitments. But, I know that he only has our little family's best interests at heart and we will make 2013 our year.

It will all work out and next New Year's Eve, we will be toasting again, but hopefully not another move. Cheers to you and yours, and thanks for taking the time to read my stories.

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