Goodbyes Suck

They just do.  I have had the displeasure of saying goodbye to one of my closest, dearest friends this past weekend as she is packing up to leave the country.  Kind of hard to casually hang out when you don’t live in the same state, much less the same country.

I’m kind of mopey and sad today.  She is like family to us, and the house already feels empty knowing she won’t be here any time soon.

She spent the evening with us last night, and I was teary when she left, but just lost it once I stepped inside.  It’s so silly to cry, I know we’ll keep in touch and I’ll see her again.

I think there is something wrong with my eyeballs, they keep leaking.  Gonna have to have that looked at.

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Episencial Giveaway Winner!

So many entries for this awesome gift basket from Episencial!  Thank you, thank you to everyone for entering!  We do have a winner…..drumroll please……

 

The Episencial gift basket goes to……..

 

Meredith T.!

 

Shoot me an email with your mailing info and I will get your basket out to you right away!

 

Isn’t winning fun?

Green Grab Bag Review

My love for subscription services and my quest for greener living collided this month when I received a package containing July’s Green Grab Bag. Awesomeness!  Green Grab Bag by White Apricot brings you a sampling of some of the very best natural, organic and vegan beauty products every single month for only $15 with free shipping.  This is the perfect way to dip your toes in the natural/organic waters and try out some new products without spending a lot of money on something you may not even like.

This is what I saw when I opened my package:

 

How pretty is that?  It is literally in a “green” gift bag!  Beautiful presentation!  And it had a lot of goodies inside!

 

Simply Bath Salts Lavender Blend

Lavender has a lovely scent and natural relaxation properties.  This blend includes more than a dozen pure essential minerals to help relax and rehydrate your skin as you soak your troubles away in the tub.  I love taking a nice warm bath at the end of the day, and the scent of lavender is very calming.

 

EO Certified Organic Deodorant Spray

Speaking of lavender, this organic deodorant spray is lavender scented as well, and does a great job of neutralizing and eliminating the source of body odor.  The cool spray is very refreshing, especially when it’s boiling hot outside, as it has been!  It feels very nice on the skin, and most importantly, it’s effective!

 

La Mellite Strawberry Lemon Sugar Scrub

This nifty, wonderfully scented scrub came in a cool, recyclable cup, with no plastic or excess packaging.  The smell was nice and fresh, and it is a very gentle scrub, good for the face or body.

 

GO Skin Care Ginger Face Moisturizer

From The Ginger People, this fresh smelling ginger face moisturizer is zingy and hydrating, leaving your skin feeling firm and toned and smelling wonderfully!  There are so many amazing health benefits to ginger, it seems appropriate that it would be made into beauty products as well!

 

CoTZ PURE Sunscreen

This sunscreen is made with zero nasty chemicals!  No synthetics, no preservatives, no chemical sunscreens.  The texture is silky smooth and creamy, and is even water resistant with a broad spectrum SPF of 30.  This formulation prevents heat build up in the skin, while protecting from the harmful sun rays.  Definitely a must have summer staple!

 

Mighty Leaf Tea

What day of pampering and relaxation would be complete without a nice, organic cup of tea?  Mighty Tea takes your tea very seriously, and hand crafts each and every single bag, hand picking only the very best ingredients to satisfy the soul.  This tea will change the way you look at your old stand by tea bags.

 

Opalima Beauty Eyeshadows

Made from natural mineral hues, these fine powders are true multitaskers that can be used as a shadow, liner or even a brow enhancer.

 

Included in the Green Grab Bag are several coupon codes for the products included, which will come in handy when you fall in love with the new brands they introduce you to each month.  I think this is a super fun way to try out new products, and with Green Grab Bag, you know that the products are tried and true, with the benefit of also being natural and organic.

Check out Green Grab Bag on their website by clicking HERE.

“Like” Green Grab Bag on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Green Grab Bag on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

The awesome folks at Green Grab Bags provided me with a Green Grab Bag free of charge for purpose of review and so that I could share this awesome company with my readers.  I was not compensated in any other way and I really do love their awesome bags!  

Natural Lice Prevention & Treatment

"Don't Let Lice Make a Monkey out of You^...

It is a subject that parents avoid at all costs.  No one wants to even think about the sheer possibility of their children getting head lice, much less talk about it with other people.  Plus, bugs are icky!  Especially bugs that live and breed on your scalp.

Feeling itchy yet?

I will bravely admit that we have had head lice in our house.  Twice.  Matthew, Isabella and Noah have all had it.  Bella had it twice.  It is a myth that lice like dirty, unclean hair.  Quite the opposite.  They like nice, clean hair to lay their eggs on and chill out in.  That’s not very comforting, is it?

Signs of lice on your child would be a suddenly very itchy head, and small, red little bumps on the nape of their neck and/or behind their ears.

The first time the kids got lice, we went with the heavy duty chemicals.  You know, those crazy overpriced cans of poison that you are supposed to let sit on your child’s scalp as it supposedly fries the bugs and their eggs?  The crazy thing was, even with they heavy duty poison, the bugs were still happily crawling around the head.  It was the actual individual hand removal of each bug and egg that finally ended the lice reign.

The second time the kids were infected, it was just Bella and Noah.  I say “just”, but the second time was equally as horrifying to me.

I decided to look online for less toxic ways to rid the growing bug populations on my kids cabezas.  There are tons of home remedies, anything from smothering the head with mayonaise, hair color, or even blow drying the critters to death.  I decided not to color my kids hair or scald their heads with the blow dryer, and the mayo, well, that just sounded disgusting to me.

I read that you could use Listerine.  Yes, the mouth wash.  As I researched more about this method, I learned a nifty hint about using the Listerine.  If your kids have light hair, do not use blue or green Listerine!  It will dye their hair!  I went with the yellow, stinky, original Listerine for my blonde babies.

The treatment consisted of soaking the hair and scalp with the Listerine for about 30 minutes.  Then rinse and begin the nit picking.  That’s where you have to literally go through your child’s head of hair, one strand at a time, inspecting for the bugs or the eggs.  It is time consuming, but necessary.  We had a nit comb from the previous infestation, but a flea comb would also work well.

You know what I noticed with the Listerine?  The lice stopped moving right away, where as with the “poison” treatments, they were still happliy frolicking around even after the thirty minutes had passed.  We found no live bugs.

You can use the Listerine as a preventive spray as well, but I’ll tell you, it stinks.  Like, p-u.  And every time the hair gets wet again, the smell is freshened, for quite awhile.  It fades, once it’s dry, but I don’t dig that funky smell.

What I like to use for a preventive spray is a few drops of lavender oil in a small spray bottle filled with water.  Before the kids head out the door to school in the morning, they get their heads and necks sprayed with the lavender oil mixture.  It smells nice, and so far, knock wood, there have been no recurrences.  Another thing that is supposed to prevent lice is coconut scented shampoo/conditioner.  The scent is not so yummy to the creepy crawlies, and they tend to move on to a differently scented head.

Lice are gross.  If you have kids, they will probably get it at least once in their lives.  As totally grody as that is, it is pretty easily treatable.  And you do not have to use that crazy, expensive poison.  The heebie jeebies last longer than the outbreak.  Seriously, is your head as itchy as mine is right now?

Duh, it’s summer.

Too darn hot for eating outside

I realize it’s summer time, but holy crap, has it been hot!  The temperatures should be in the 80’s and low 90’s this time of year, not triple digits every stinkin’ day!

Admittedly, I’m crabby when I’m hot.  Even in the house, the a/c is having a hard time keeping up with the high temps, so we have all the curtains drawn and live in a slightly cooler dark house most of the time.

It’s depressing, hiding from the sun.  I love the sunlight, I love being outside.  The poor kids are spending their summer in the house because of the heat.

I am hoping that we actually get some cool fall temperatures this year.  Something to look forward to!

Wah, wah wah.  Another whiny post about the heat.  My apologies.

Brown Eyed Girl

I had my re-check at the eye doctor yesterday for my kerititis.  After the very first day of using the antibiotic/steroid drops, I was feeling so much better.  The redness quickly went away and I was ready for contacts again!

She had suggested last week that I may need to switch contact brands.  No big deal, but definitely weird for me.  I have been wearing Freshlook Colorblends for sixteen years.  I’m only used to seeing my naturally brown eyes when I am wearing my glasses.  Even my own kids think I have blue eyes.  As you can imagine, it will be a bit of an adjustment.

I left the doctor’s office yesterday with a new pair of contacts to try, along with some name brand saline solution.  Apparently generic isn’t so great, which sucks because you can get two big bottles of generic contact solution for about $1.99, compared to paying roughly $6.99 or more for one bottle of name brand.  But, the name brand is supposed to be better about not drying out your eyes or contacts, and better at helping remove deposits and disinfecting, etc.  Since it’s my eyeballs, and something I kind of like to use for sight and whatnot, I guess I can splurge on the name brands.

See that teeny tiny eye drop bottle?  The one where the cap is literally bigger than the bottle, containing the antibiotic/steroid eye drops?  Yeah, so  the doctor had given me that itsy bitsy sample to get me started on the drops before I could get to the pharmacy to pick up a full size bottle.  The full size bottle, name brand of course, was $40 with insurance. Holyexpensiveeyedrops, Batman!  And here’s the really annoying part.  The mini bottle was enough for my full course of treatment.  I didn’t even break the seal on the new bottle.  The overly priced $40 bottle.  *le sigh*  I guess I’m prepared for next time?  Good Lord, I hope there’s no next time!

So, my eye is doing great, I am wearing my new contacts right now, which also, by the way, are impossible to see in the solution since they aren’t colored!  I have one more re-check next week to see how I’m adjusting to the new pair, and I’ll order more from there.

Gotta say, I am oh so happy to not be wearing my glasses today!

Episencial Review & Giveaway!

As I have said in posts before, I have made it a priority in our home to try and replace the chemical ridden products that we use, with my focus on finding better alternatives for the babies first and foremost.  It is very hard to trust the “natural” products that you find easily on store shelves, because while they may have some natural elements to them, they are still heavy on the unnecessary chemicals that have no place on your child’s skin.

Episencial looks at skin care as health care, and has no unhealthy chemicals.  The products are made exclusively with all natural ingredients, mostly organic, are manufactured under solar power, come packaged in recycled and sustainable materials featuring the whimsical art of Eric Carle and have lovely scents that come from juice extracts, no chemical fragrances.

This is a line that you can definitely feel good using and teaching your children about greener, more sustainable living.  Plus, they have many health benefits!  The formulations are gentle and soothing to baby’s skin, without the harsh, unnecessary chemicals that can further irritate skin conditions.

This is the popular 3 Step System, consisting of the Playful Wash, Soothing Cream, and Sunny Sunscreen.

The Playful Wash has an amazing, energizing citrus scent.  It is very fresh, and provides plenty of sudsing bubbles for washing.

Noah’s horns are showing in this photo…

The formula is completely tear free and quick rinsing which is an awesome feature when you have babies that despise having their hair rinsed off!

The Soothing Cream is creamy and unscented.  It has organic calendula, neem and probiotics for comforting, balancing and soothing baby’s skin.  These products are high quality and healthy alternatives to commonly used products.  The packaging is happy and fun for the kids to look at, and you can’t beat the quality.

Episencial has very generously sent a gift basket of products to offer as a giveaway prize to my readers!

Here’s how to enter:

First, “Like” Episencial on facebook by clicking HERE.

Second, follow Episencial on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Lastly, go to my Contact Me tab by clicking HERE.  You will see my email address on that page.  Send me an email telling me why you would like to win this gift basket.

That’s it!  Your email will count as your entry in the giveaway!  If you share this giveaway through your Facebook page or Twitter account, you can earn an extra entry.  Easy enough, yes?  So what are you waiting for?  Go enter!

I will select a winner on Friday, July 27, 2012.  Good luck!

The awesome folks at Episencial provided me with a 3 Step System for free for review purposes and so I could share their amazing products with my awesome readers.  I was not compensated in any other way and I truly do love their all natural products!

Bum Boosa!

Can I just start this review by saying how fun it is to say Bum Boosa?  Try and say it without smiling.  Impossible!  You’ll be smiling when you hear about this awesome company too.

As parents, how many baby wipes do we go through while our little ones are growing up?  Too many to count!  Well, Bum Boosa happens to make non synthetic, tree free baby wipes.  What do they make it out of?  100% viscose renewable bamboo!  Their wipes are alcohol free, paraben free, sulfate free and are formulated with gentle ingredients that include organic aloe vera and calendula extract.  They have a very lovely, mild scent of lavender and sweet orange.

Bamboo is completely renewable and sustainable, requiring no pesticides or insecticides, things I don’t care to wipe my baby with.  And with every purchase of the 80 ct wipes, Bum Boosa, in partnership with Trees For The Future, will plant a tree, helping to restore deforested regions around the globe.  Ummm…..that is really amazing.  Buy wipes, which you need anyway, and plant a tree, rebuilding a forest.  Yup, sounds like a plan for me!

I have been enjoying the wipes with my babies, they are soft and strong, and leave a very pleasant scent.  They are also very gentle and soothing on delicate baby bottoms, which is very important especially when you have babies with sensitive skin.

Speaking of sensitive skin, Bum Boosa also has an amazing diaper rash ointment.  It is 100% natural, made with nourishing plant based ingredients. A soothing formula of zinc oxide, vitamin E, lavender and chamomile make this powerful, effective and again, very pleasantly scented.   It is also made at a factory utilizing 100% wind power!  Bum Boosa isn’t just talking the talk, they truly are giving back and doing their part to make this planet a better place to call home.

Check out Bum Boosa on their website by clicking HERE.

“Like” Bum Boosa on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Bum Boosa on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

The awesome folks at Bum Boosa provided me with a sample of their wipes and diaper rash ointment free of charge so that I could share their awesome company with all of my readers.  I was not compensated in any other way, and I really do think their products are awesome.

July Citrus Lane Box!

It’s the middle of the month, and that means we had our favorite box on our doorstep once again!  If you haven’t heard of Citrus Lane, well then, where have you been?  Long story short, they curate boxes for babies from newborn to age 3 and include several items to match each month’s theme based on your child’s age.

This month’s theme is Bon Voyage, and included several items to make traveling with your little one just a wee bit easier.

Sara is always quick to dive into her box each month!

As always, Citrus Lane includes a flier that tells you all about the items in the box, where to find them, and even special coupon codes for discounts on more.

Someone has her eyes set on a yummy snack…

Ella’s Nibbly Fingers $3.99

From Ella’s kitchen, this box included a package of five snack bars for babies.  Made with organic fruits, veggies and wholegrain oats, these make the perfect snack for baby in between meals when meltdowns are just around the corner.  There are no nasty chemicals, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners or preservatives and they are just the right size for little hands that insist on feeding themselves.  They are pretty yummy too. Hey, what can I say, Sara likes to share and I was intrigued.  Two thumbs up.  Well, two mommy thumbs and two messy baby thumbs.  That’s how you know they’re good!

Green Toys Race Car $8.99

Making yet another appearance in our box this month is an awesome Green Toys item.  This time, it’s a race car!  This car is nice and chunky, the perfect size for little fingers to grab onto, and even cooler than that, like their other items, this toy is made 100% out of recycled milk containers!  I am amazed every time I read that.  Don’t be fooled thinking that makes for a flimsy car!  No, this is very sturdy and thick, well made for all the inevitable crashes it will have in a house full of kids.  This car is also BPA, PVC and phthalate free with no metal axles or small parts.  Vroom vroom!

Baggu Standard Bag $9.00

This is a handy dandy reusable bag, made from ripstop nylon which is capable of holding up to 50lbs!  I wouldn’t load it with 50lbs of anything, but I am guessing my hubby would in his neverending quest to carry all the groceries in with one trip.  This neat little bag folds nicely into the perfect little pouch when it’s not in use.  It’s so small, it would easily fit into a purse, diaper bag or even the glove compartment of your car so you always have a large, sturdy grocery bag with you should you need it.

Notice how she is consulting the insert as she inspects her goodies.

On-the-Go Baby Laundry Detergent $1.99

I think every mother has had the not so wonderful experience of heading out with her baby, dressed quite adorably, and then having a massive diaper blow out, thus ruining the cute outfit.  Perhaps you have tried to rinse it in a sink with handsoap?  Yeah, that doesn’t work too well.  Believe me, I know.  With the Dapple sink packets, you can literally wash a sink full of soiled baby clothes.  There are no parabens, no toxins, and it is completely hypoallergenic.  These would also be awesome for hotel stays when you aren’t close to a washer, especially if you want to be sure and clean the clothing before stains have a chance to set in.  Always be prepared!  This package has 3 packets for three sink fulls of cleaning power.

Me4Kidz Medi Buddy $5.95

This is brilliant!  I am guilty of having a ratty old ziplock bag of bandaids and cleaning wipes stashed in my diaper bag.  This compact little kit has 40 items inside!  Bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, even stickers!  Everything you can think of, in a hard plastic case that protects the items inside and makes it easy to always be prepared.  This would fit easily in a purse, diaper bag, car, back pack, stroller, just about anywhere. Plus, you will be the cool mom, handing out boo boo stickers to the kiddos when they get cuts or scrapes.  Who doesn’t want to be the cool mom?

California Baby Travel Set $10.50

You may have seen California Baby items on the shelves of your local Target while perusing the baby aisles.  This company is committed to creating toxin free skin products that are both healthy for kids and the environment.  The formulas are tear free and contain natural plant extracts that are calming and soothing to young skin.   They smell pretty amazing too.  I can’t wait to try some wacky do’s on Noah’s hair with the Jelly Mousse!

Included in this month’s box was also a coupon code for Sincerely Inc.  10 free Postagrams, a $10 value.  I think this is super cool, and I truly wish that I could use it, but Postagram is an app for smartphones, something this old school mama doesn’t have.  Cry me a river, right?  I wish it could be used online through a computer as well.  I like to think I’m not the last person in the world to not have a smartphone.  It’s a cool little bonus though, and if I don’t use it, I know plenty of people living in the here and now that could certainly use it with their fancy phones.

UPDATE: It appears that you can indeed use the Postagram feature online!  Yay!  See?  We don’t need no stinkin’ smartphones!  lol

So add everything together and we are looking at a box worth over $50!  And it is all delivered straight to your door, no packing up the kids in the yucky hot weather and wasting gas to go shopping.

Try out your very own subscription to Citrus Lane by clicking HERE.  Once you follow that link, enter coupon code 20TODAY.  This will save you $15 on a 3 month subscription, $25 on a 6 month subscription, or $50 on a 12 month subscription.  When you subscribe for a full year, they also give you two months free.

We love Citrus Lane in our home.  As I have said before, the value of the products each month for the small price paid is just fabulous.  And much cheaper than a “quick” trip to Target for me.  I love being introduced to new brands and companies, and we have loved everything we have gotten so far.

Back to School

World-famous Crayola crayons are manufactured ...

The stores are filled with back to school supplies, the supply lists are out, the summer, though just begun, is quickly coming to an end.  The kids start school mid August.  Craziness.  I remember when the school year started after Labor Day.  Yeah, I guess I’m getting old.

One thing that has always irked me about the kids supply lists, is the insane specifications of exactly what color, what brand, etc that they have to have.  What annoys me further is when the teacher uses the all caps and bold fonts to really pound in the message that Roseart crayons are not good enough, they must be CRAYOLA!!!

Do you know what that does to a stubborn headed, childish, Latina mommy?  Well, if you guessed that I buy the Roseart crayons just because it’s the opposite of what the anal, OCD teacher wanted, then you are correct!  A crayon is a crayon.  A folder is a folder.  A notebook is a notebook.  I could go on and on.  I get everything on the list, I even send in extra Kleenex and hand sanitizer and anything else I think could be useful for the classroom.  But holyantiauthority Batman, let’s not get on a power trip about art supplies.

I was pleasantly surprised this year to see that the lists aren’t crazy specific as they usually are.  That makes the entire supply hunt so much less stressful.  And cheaper.  And less passive aggressive.