Citrus Lane Box January 2014!

Time for our monthly Citrus Lane review! ¬†ūüôā

I have aged Saraphina’s box up one full year after being a little bit disappointed in a few of her previous boxes. ¬†Now, that’s not to say her boxes weren’t great! ¬†The problem is when I compared her box to some of the other boxes that I saw on the Citrus Lane Facebook page. ¬†Hehe! ¬†Rather than be envious of the older boxes, I decided to just age her up and honestly, I have been very happy with the aged up boxes! ¬†That said, here is a quick peek at our January 2014 Citrus Lane box!

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*Zig Zag Zebra Coloring Book from Barefoot Books (estimated value: $6.29)

Super cute book this month that is no ordinary coloring book!  The interactive pages have your little one adding their mad artistic skillz to the cute activity pages.  Every page is full color and sturdy, making this book not feel at all like a simple coloring book, which it most definitely is not!  Very fun way to introduce drawing and shapes and even colors to the little kids.

*Duo Tip Washable Markers from Faber-Castel (estimated value: $4.99)

These awesome markers have a colored tip on each side, one wide and one fine, plus they are made from food grade vegetable dyes, so when they inevitably get on your child’s clothes, the stains easily wash out! ¬†Yay! ¬†These are a perfect companion to the coloring book!

*Fruit Set from Plan Toys (estimated value: $8)

This set was exclusively made for Citrus Lane, so I estimated the price by looking up a larger, 6 piece set that was $16. ¬†These super cute fruits are made from wood and Velcro, so you can “slice” them with the included play knife for fun pretend kitchen play. ¬†My kids LOVE cooking with pretend food! ¬†We have had lots of play food over the years, and wood is definitely the way to go! ¬†The plastic play foods get smashed and unrecognizable, and the little cardboard boxes? ¬†Yeah, they don’t last ten minutes in our crazy house. ¬†We have been slowly replacing all the old smooshed stuff with wooden pieces, so this set was an exciting addition! ¬†It’s also fun to “slice” the food and get that satisfying crunch from the Velcro! ¬†ūüôā

*Upset Tummy & Nausea Relief from Mommy’s Bliss (estimated value: $10.49)

This is perfect to have on hand!!! ¬†I noticed a lot of moms saying they had no use for this item, just wait until their kids get their first case of the stomach flu! ¬†Trust and believe, this is a must have for the medicine cabinet! ¬†All ingredients are completely natural and 100% vegetarian/vegan with no gluten, dairy, soy or sugar. ¬†Even if it’s just a queasy tummy from motion sickness, indigestion or gas, it’s nice to know you have something ready to go to ease your little one’s discomfort. ¬†Yes, yes, yes, I love it!

So ends another awesome month of Citrus Lane!  If you are totally jelly and wishing you had your very own box of goodies delivered right to your door each month, carefully curated just for your child, then click HERE and give Citrus Lane a try!  Shipping is always free, and you get an awesome array of goodies each month specifically for your child’s age.  Use coupon code FEBHALFOFF to get 50% off your February box!

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Hot Spot Natural Cure for Dogs & Cats

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And other furbabies too, for that matter!

So, what is a hot spot, you may ask? ¬†Also known as moist eczema, they are a somewhat common skin problem in pets. ¬†They can be caused from a flea bite, an itchy spot, a small cut or scratch, you name it. ¬†It is an area on the pet’s skin that is irritated, causing them to lick and bite at it, further irritating the area. ¬†Often the area will be bright pink or red and hot to the touch, thus the name.

Desi recently came down with a hot spot on one of his rear feet. ¬†It was red, hot, and angry looking. ¬†He had been nibbling away at it and even chewed away a good amount of fur, making it look even worse. ¬†Now, if you have never had any experience with a hot spot, or if your pet has an injury that you have never seen before, obviously you should take them straight to the vet. ¬†This post is just some helpful advice for those of us who are familiar with hot spots and are looking for an effective at home treatment. ¬†I will tell you, I am a registered veterinary technician, and I have had a good amount of experience with these babies. ¬†If I weren’t certain of what it was, I would have him checked by our vet immediately. ¬†The hot spot can quickly get worse and even get infected. ¬†If the cause is a flea bite, you will also need to treat the flea problem, or you aren’t really helping the issue.

Desi’s spot was from a small cut on one of his toes, probably from running around in our backyard and playing with Lucy. ¬†After thoroughly cleaning the area, I made up a mixture of 1/3 Listerine, 1/3 baby oil, and 1/3 water. ¬†I just used a small spray pump bottle, like the ones you find in the travel section of any big box store. ¬†Shake it up, and spray on the affected area, rubbing it in and getting all the nooks and crannies all nice and coated.

I repeated this step several times a day for the first day, and by day two, I saw a huge improvement! ¬†I continued applying a few times a day for about three days total, and now his foot looks good as new! ¬†Well, the hair is still short and growing back, but you know what I mean! ¬†ūüôā

So why does it work?  The Listerine prevents infection and has anti fungal properties, and the water dilutes it so that the high alcohol content does not burn the inflamed area.  The baby oil seems to help the Listerine really stick to the spot, and crazily enough, does not make an oily mess at all!

This is definitely a good trick to know, especially since often times these little hot spots like to pop up on weekends when the vet is not open.  Give it a try!

Nerd Block Review January 2014!

Have you heard of Nerd Block yet?  If you are geeky in any way, or have a loved one who is oh so geeky, then this awesome subscription box is most definitely for you!

First things first, Nerd Block is a monthly subscription box completely catered to nerds/geeks. ¬†In each box, you find all sorts of goodies ranging from Lord of the Rings Pop Vinyl figures to Nightmare Before Christmas plush toys. ¬†There are all sorts of neat goodies, and each box comes with a geeky t shirt as well! ¬†You can pick from a very large variety of sizes for your t shirt, from kid sizes, to women’s and even plus size men’s sizes! ¬†Better yet, you can change the t shirt size every single month if you like, making sure everyone in the family gets a little bit of geek. ¬†I LOVE that! ¬†And with partners like Nintendo, Marvel, Star Wars, DC Comics and Adventure Time, just to name a few, well, you are pretty much guarantees awesome in each and every box!

The cost is $19.99 each month, plus the cost of shipping, which can vary depending on where you are located. ¬†Nerd Block is based in Canada, so shipping to our house is just under $10, making the complete cost of our Nerd Block just under $30 a month. ¬†But I think that is a bargain, considering the super nice quality shirts included each month that are also exclusive designs that you won’t find in stores or available elsewhere!

Whew! ¬†This post is getting wordy! ¬†Let’s just show the awesome January box, shall we? ¬†ūüôā

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*Batman Shirt Punch Nerd Block Exclusive T-shirt (estimated value: $20)

*Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Splat Flyer (estimated value: $15)

*Pop! Vinyl Iron Man Figure (estimated value: $10)

*My Little Pony Mystery Mini (estimated value: $9)

*The Hunger Games Catching Fire Pre Painted Collectible Miniature (estimated value: $3)

Pretty cool stuff, right? ¬†Each box has a little bit of everything for our family, there has not been a box yet that has been a disappointment! ¬†Are you dying to get a box of your own? ¬†Don’t die, just CLICK HERE!!

We pay for our boxes ourselves, no freebies here, but definitely look forward to this box-o-awesomesauce each month.  Still waiting for something Walking Dead related, hint hint!!  And there definitely needs to be more girly stuffs, but that said, we have been subscribing since September and we love it!

We survived snowmageddon!

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Being in the midwest, we get our fair share of weather.  Snow, storms, tornadoes, you know, the fun stuff!  While we typically get a good snow once or twice a year, it has been quite a while since we had such a crazy storm like the one that plowed in on January 5th!

We happened to need groceries on the 4th, shopping on the day before ¬†a big snow. ¬†Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it. ¬†People go nuts. ¬†I mean, like, end of the world, the zombies are coming, bread is the new gold crazy. ¬†o.O

Somehow we managed to survive the crowds, just barely, and then we were home to wait for the snow. ¬†The kids were scheduled to go back to school on the 6th, but we pretty much knew they would be extending their winter break. ¬†Over about a 24 hour period, we ended up with just shy of a foot of snow. ¬†It was gorgeous! ¬†But the temperatures were far too cold for the babies to play outside, we had windchills in the -40’s. ¬†Now, I know that’s not too crazy cold for the northerners who are used to the deep freeze, but we rarely get below 20 here in Missouri, so those temperatures were shocking to us.

So we had all of this glorious snow, no school, and the kids couldn’t even go out and play in it. ¬†That was a bummer, but they had plenty of new toys to play with and books to read, so they didn’t complain much.

I didn’t even let Abe try to leave for work on Monday morning, the roads were a nightmare! ¬†It was nice having him home with us, and I will admit, I enjoyed the extended vacation with the kids, which ended up being the whole rest of the week! ¬†I was most definitely ready for the warmer temperatures to come melt away the snow though, and help us get back into our regular routines.

I haven’t had all the ingredients needed for following the 30 days of smoothies plan through Young and Raw, so I have been going rogue with what I have on hand. ¬†I have tried to make every recipe as written at least once, so I could say I tried it and decide whether or not I like it, but I have to say, if you have been following the smoothies on the Facebook page, you now know that I hate bananas. ¬†Bananas are a regular staple in a lot of the recipes, and I just can’t make myself even try to drink one more smoothie with any hint of that slimy abomination, disguising itself as a delicious fruit. ¬†Blech! ¬†And the same for cilantro! ¬†Like, gag me with a spoon, grody to the max, and so on and so forth.

So, I haven’t been posting pictures of the smoothies because it’s pretty much the same thing every day. ¬†I use spinach and either coconut water or almond milk, depending on whether I want a lighter or creamier smoothie, and then I add whatever combination of fruit I feel like having. ¬†Not so fancy or glamorous, but it works for me. ¬†Smoothies can be cheap and easy, or pretty pricey and complicated. ¬†I think for me, where I’m at right now, cheap and easy is the way to go. ¬†It’s tough to find a lot of the more exotic ingredients, although I will say, I also add chia seeds and or flax seeds because they are an easy add in that doesn’t affect the taste and they offer great health benefits. ¬†I’ve never been one to follow strict rules anyway. ¬†ūüėČ

After Christmas Sales!

Do you go shopping for after Christmas bargains in the days following the big event?  As you may know, I have a passion for clearance, and often score amazing holiday deals by scoping out the stores in the few days after holidays.  This includes Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and of course, Christmas!

My personal store of choice is Target, mainly because they are really generous in their markdowns, but also because they tend to have just the absolute cutest things. ¬†This year, we waited longer than usual, totally skipped the 50% off sale and went in when things were marked down 70%. ¬†I’m glad we waited! ¬†There was way more stuff left that I would have imagined, things I definitely would have snagged at 50% off and ending up paying more!

Abe loaded up on LED Christmas lights for next year,and I got loads of fun decor and even, dare I say, a few gifts for next Christmas! ¬†Yes, I am a planning kind of girl, I love to have things planned out as far ahead of time as possible, so you can trust and believe that this mama always has a fully stocked gift closet! ¬†I’m able to give my friends and family really nice gifts for a tiny fraction of the original price! ¬†And when the kids spring a last minute birthday party invitation on me, I can go shopping in my gift stash to find the perfect gift, no stress involved!

If you can stomach the holidays for a few more days past their prime, clearance sales are the place to be!  Best of all, our cashier told us we saved $242!  Happy dance!

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Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page for today’s smoothie picture and my random awesome thoughts. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Click HERE and don’t forget to follow! ¬†Thanks, friends!

New Beginnings!

“Everything will change. ¬†The only question is growing up or decaying.” -Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni

A brand new year always feel like a clean slate, a perfect diving board for starting fresh with anything in your daily routine that isn’t quite working for you. ¬†I mentioned yesterday that I won’t be making any grand resolutions, simply because of my utter lack of tolerance for anything less than perfect when it comes to myself. ¬†Yeah, I’m a sore loser. ¬†If I make plans for myself and things don’t go accordingly, I pretty much do the equivalent of flipping the table, grabbing my toys, and storming home, not before screeching, “I’m not your friend anymore!” ¬†I’m kind of ridiculous.

So this year, my goal is happy.  Easy enough, right?  I want to make choices that make me and my family happy.  I want to feel better, to do better, just all around to be better.

This year holds lots of pretty big ambitions, and we all need to be in the right place to achieve them.  Baby steps.

Organization wise, we have got to finish un-packing! ¬†It is such a daunting task, looking at the sea of boxes in the garage. ¬†So my goal with that is to do just one box a week. ¬†I know we don’t have 52 boxes left to unpack, so that means it will easily get done before the end of the year. ¬†I also know that while one box is the goal, maybe one weekend, Abe and I tackle a handful of boxes. ¬†If the goal is small, anything more is just icing on the cake.

Health wise, well, I’m a hot mess. ¬†It’s easy to put up drastic expectations, a strict plan of attack and discipline, but I know I would fail at that. ¬†It’s kind of my thing. ¬†I don’t like rules, so I break them every chance I get. ¬†Yes, I have the maturity of a four year old when it comes to rules and authority, I realize. ¬†ūüėõ ¬†So, I will simply do small things this year. ¬†I’m starting with a month of a green smoothie a day, to help me to get more greens and other healthy fruit and veg that I know I’m not getting enough of. ¬†Don’t misread that. ¬†I won’t be only drinking green smoothies, I won’t be replacing meals with green smoothies, and I most certainly won’t be giving up bacon, so let’s just be clear with that! ¬†(Mmmmmm….bacon…) ¬†I am just adding needed nutrition to my regular day. ¬†If it happens to make me feel better and crave less crap, that is an amazing bonus! ¬†I will try to share pics of my smoothies, for as long as it lasts. ¬†No promises, I’m aiming small, remember. ¬†ūüėČ

Family wise, we need to slow down. ¬†We have crazy schedules, with school, work, scouts, dance, appointments, etc. ¬†It is easy to feel rushed and out of control for most of the week, and I can tell you from much experience, that feeling sucks! ¬†I’m not sure how, but I want to instill some calm into our daily routine, even if it’s just acting calm. ¬†Hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? ¬†Part of the crazy, involves the commute that Abe and Matt currently take for Boy Scouts. ¬†When we moved, they stayed with the old troop. ¬†That’s great and all, but it’s a half hour commute on a busy dance night. ¬†Throw in four hungry kids, cold dark winter, and tired parents and well, it means Monday nights just suck hard in our house. ¬†I am hoping that they can try out the Boy Scout troop close to home. ¬†Their meeting times are better, the commute is a tiny fraction of the current one, and it’s still scouts! ¬†We shall see, this mama has her fingers crossed!

So that is a taste of some changes I want to make with my family and myself this year. ¬†Do you have big plans and goals for 2014? ¬†Consider taking baby steps! ¬†Be kind to yourself! ¬†You have a whole year to work on making change, don’t let failed grandiose ideas rain on your parade! ¬†This year can be the best year of your life! ¬†Positive attitudes will get you everywhere in this world, even if it’s at a slower pace, at least you were smiling throughout the journey! ¬†ūüôā

Watch for pics of my green smoothies and whatnot on the Facebook page HERE.