July Citrus Lane Box!

It’s mid July, and as has become tradition in this household, that means it’s time for our monthly Citrus Lane box!

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This month’s box was full of all kinds of neat things, so let’s jump right in!

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Bynto by Goodbyn

This month, we were greeted by a huge bynto box, perfect for packing lunches or snacks, and completely dishwasher safe!  The compartments of the Bynto keep food completely separated, even with the lid closed!  No crumbs will be intermixing here, perfect for the pickiest of eaters that refuses to eat anything that has touched another food.  Oh, the horror!

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Dishwasher-Safe Sticker Set by Goodbyn

What kid doesn’t love stickers?  To go along with that huge Bynto, this month’s box included a massive sticker set, with over 100 stickers that are also dishwasher safe!  Now your kids can completely customize their Bynto, and you can still throw that puppy in the dishwasher without fear of the stickers coming off!  A very cool addition to this set is an “I’m allergic to” sticker that can be filled out to alert anyone in charge of caring for your children.  Plus, stickers are just awesome!

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Cool It Buddy Instant Cold Pack by Me4Kidz

This is the perfect solution for bumps and bruises while out and about.  I’m sure as moms, everyone has some sort of nifty little cold pack, just sitting in their freezer and awaiting it’s calling to help soothe a boo boo.  But as awesomely organized as we may all be, does anyone actually think to pack that ice pack with you on the go?  Of course not, that would be a pain to keep cold!  Well, here is the solution!  This pack includes two one time use cold packs that can be instantly activated out in the battlefield..er..playground, just when you need it!  Definitely a cool addition to the mommy secret stash!

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Lace & Trace by Melissa & Doug

We are big fans of Melissa & Doug items in this house, so we were really excited to see this packed into our box this month!  Sturdy, wooden made, fun panels with color coordinated laces, perfect for making learning fun!  The pieces are nice and big, making them easy for little hands to hold, and the fun designs make the kids excited to learn, which is always a big bonus.  This is a set that I know will get a lot of use in our family, and I feel good knowing it’s teaching my kids while they have fun.  Love the adorable farm animals!

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Mighty Shield Bug Repellent Lotion by Episencial

Tis the season for bug bites!  Boo!  Rest easy using this repellent though, because it is safe and effective for the whole family!  No harsh, nasty chemicals here, just natural plant nectars and essential oils in a lightweight formula that is not greasy at all and can be layered with sunscreen.  We avoid the heavy, chemical laden sprays in our house, and in fact, I sent my boys off to Boy Scout Summer Camp with home made bug/tick repellent, so this is a welcome addition to our pest line of defense!

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Postagram by Sincerely Inc.

This is an awesome little app that lets you make printed postcards straight from your smartphone!  This month’s box included a code for 10 free prints!  What a perfect way to share some of those fun summer memories with loved ones!  And come on now, who doesn’t love getting mail?!

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We were very happy with our box this month, as usual!

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We have been getting Citrus Lane boxes for over a year now, since March of 2012.  I pay for my boxes myself, so all of these monthly reviews are completely honest!  I still believe that Citrus Lane is an awesome value and an awesome service.  We have been introduced to some amazing new companies and some really neat products.  I appreciate the fact that they truly go out of their way to pick items that are safe and fun for the whole family.  There have certainly been some boxes that were just over the top amazing, and a few that while a little less exciting, still proved to be a great addition to our growing stash of awesome.  I love getting that happy little box of sunshine on my doorstep each month!

Are you interested in a getting a subscription of your own?  Well, I can help you!  Click HERE to sign up and you will get $10 off your new subscription!  You can get as little as 3 months, or as much as a full year!  You can also Click HERE and enter the code TAKEHALF for 50% off your first box!  You can cancel your subscription at any time, but why would you want to do that?

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Happy Spring!!

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Several days into the beginning of spring, we woke up to snow!  And not just a little snow, we got over 12 inches of snow in less than 24 hours!

Of course the kids wanted to make a snow man, and with Daddy’s help, they made a pretty big one!  Mama decided it needed to be a snow bunny, since we are less than a week away from Easter.  Isn’t he cute?!

The kids are off school today, so I am off to make hot chocolate while they keep peeking out at their snow bunny and giggling.

Gotta love a late season snow day!

Signs

Feather

I was sitting outside in our back yard when I noticed something ever so gracefully falling from the sky and coming my way.  I watched, absolutely absorbed in the twirling dance of the object as it came closer and closer.  I held out my hand and it seemed to immediately know my desire to catch it.  I smiled as a tiny, delicate little feather landed oh so softly in my palm.

I love to be outside, I spend as much time as I can taking in the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature around me.  For all of my 33 years, I have never witnessed a feather falling from the sky, no bird in sight, much less landing directly into my hand after putting on a lovely little show.

So what does it mean?

Maybe nothing.  It doesn’t feel like nothing though.  I can’t say for sure what it means, but a quick internet search seems to indicate that it can only be good.   Some say it is a sign that your guardian angels are around you, protecting you and letting you know they are there.  Some say it is a friendly hello from heaven, a sign that one of your loved ones is thinking of you and is with you.  Some say it is a sign of good luck to come.

I say it is wonderful.  I feel happy and blessed.  What a lovely little gift!  Perhaps it is a silly superstition, but if it makes me happy, well then, logic be damned!  🙂

Snow Day!

 

Today, we were surprised with an unexpected snow day!  I have to admit, I think I may get more excited for snow days than even the kids do!  Something about not having to jump out of bed and rush around in the morning is just, well, awesome.

We don’t have buckets of snow or anything.  Just a dusting, really.  But it is enough to be pretty and certainly enough to enjoy some hot cocoa and board games with the babies!

Not the weather I think of for the first day of March, but I’m sure we’ll be spoiled with gorgeous weather soon enough.

Happy March 1st!

House Hunting!!

A moving truck operated by Piedmont Moving Sys...

This year holds so many amazing opportunities for us, one of which is buying a new house!  YAY!!!

We outgrew our current happy little abode a couple of babies ago, honestly.  At the time, however, Abe was in school working on his degree, and we were comfortable.  It is hard stepping out of the comfort zone, isn’t it?  Venturing into the unknown?  As terribly excited as I am to begin the process of searching for our new home, I am equally terrified of the change.  Where we are now is old hat.  We have been here for ten years, we know what to expect.  Our home is a part of our family, it is safe and it is comfortable.

This is a change I can embrace though, because it will afford us so much more, with space,  a large yard for planting and playing and for growing.  I guess I am butterfly in the tummy, happy nervous to see how the next several months unfold.  We are very close to completely paying off our current home.  That is a feat!  And then any money we get with the sale can go directly towards our new place.

The kids are beyond excited!  We told them that if we move early enough in the summer, we will get a swimming pool to help cool off in between unpacking and settling in.  Of course, their minds are also racing with ways to decorate their new rooms, wondering if they will be changing schools, etc.  When we talk about moving, Bella always asks if we will bring all our current belongings with us.  I guess it can be confusing to a little one, when we say we will sell our house, they must imagine our house and its belongings as a whole.  We have assured her many times that we will be taking everything with us.  Then she just gets silly and asks if we will bring the ceilings and the walls, etc.  🙂

So many exciting things to look forward to this year!

Snowflakes For Sandy Hook

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Time to break out the scissors and show off your mad snowflake making skills!
When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible. We encourage senders to be as creative as possible, remembering that no two snowflakes are alike. Please make and send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the Connecticut PTSA at:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Donations will be accepted indefinitely to the Connecticut PTSA “Sandy Hook Fund” to provide ongoing support to the community. Please send checks to the Connecticut PTSA address listed above. Group fundraising projects may include walk-a-thons, spirits days, pajama days, etc., which may be scheduled at your convenience.

Donate via Paypal here: http://www.ctpta.org/About-CT-PTA/SANDY-HOOK-FUND.html

Speedy Gonzales

Rainbow bridge

I had a dream last night that my best buddy was still here on Earth.

In the dream, I had an argument with Abe, how out of character!, and was going outside for fresh air.  Upon opening the back door, there stood my best bud, my black lab mix, Speedy.

He looked a little older, had some more gray in his muzzle than I remembered, but it was him.  I remember gasping and running to him, calling for Abe as I embraced him, my mind and my heart at ease and overjoyed to have my fur baby back in my arms.

Abe ran out with the kids, as I started up the stairs with him, letting him in the house, thoughts racing through my head.  “I knew he wasn’t gone,” I said to myself as I hunted for the dog shampoo.

“We’ll have to watch him around the babies, ” I warned Abe.  He was not a fan of kids in general, but he was protective.

I remember smiling, kissing his soft fur and laughing.  “See?  He’s not gone!  He went on an adventure.  I knew he would come back!”

And all too soon, I awoke, reality set in, and now tears are running down my cheeks as I type this.  Speedy used to kiss away my tears whenever I was sad.  It’s hard to keep crying when you’re laughing from the tickle of a nosy puppy in your face, licking away the tears as if to say, “Stop it!  Let’s play!”

Speedy was 13 years old when we lost him, just a little over two years ago.  He was taken outside, and in the rush of everything going on, no one noticed when he didn’t come back in.  A short while later, when things calmed down and I noticed he was no where to be found, I was frantic.  I ran through the house, searching every hiding place I could think of, before running outside and screaming for him.

We walked through the woods, getting covered in seed ticks as we searched for Speedy.  Going to bed that night without him made me physically ill.

The next morning I printed out 100 photos of Speedy to hand out to the neighbors, feeling certain that someone must have seen him and just taken him in, feeling bad for him.

It wasn’t long after handing out a handful of fliers that we heard something disturbing.

A dog was seen wandering around, not acting well.  This was in August, but the temperatures weren’t overly hot.  Still, it must have been too much for him.  I think he was having a heat stroke.  Instead of trying to help, the neighbor called the subdivision manager to get him out of her yard.  By the time he got there, he had passed.

The manager then wrapped him in a trash bag and put him in the dumpster.  Threw him away like he was trash.  By the time we found this out, the dumpsters had been emptied, there was no way to be sure, there was no way to say good bye.  No closure.

The guilt of what happened, the shock of losing him, the loss of my friend…. I was a mess.  The grief overtook me.  Speedy was my first baby.  I remember telling Abe before we ever had any kids that Speedy would always be number one in my heart.  If he didn’t like our kids, tough for them, because Speedy wouldn’t be going anywhere.  Luckily for our kids, he tolerated them pretty well.  🙂

So did Speedy’s spirit/ghost/whatever you want to call it come to visit me last night?  Well, call me insane, but it helps my heart to think that he did so that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

What I wouldn’t give for that dream to come true!  To open the door and see my buddy, just waiting for me, ready to step back in and take over where he left off.

It helps me to think that one day, I will see him again.  Have you ever read the Rainbow Bridge?  It is a poem that was written to help owners when their beloved pets die.  It is a tear jerker, that’s for sure, but it is also beautiful.  I guess I will end this with that poem and just say to Speedy, thank you for being awesome.  I miss you.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. 
Author unknown

Mice are icky.

I’m sure whether you care to admit it or not, you have probably experienced a mouse or two in your house from time to time.  It has nothing to do with cleanliness, rodents, and bugs for that matter, are resourceful little boogers that want to find a way into your house and they will.

We have had mice come visit our home uninvited a few times over the years, but having two cats, and the growing population of stray cats in our neighborhood has greatly reduced that number.  The last time we had a mouse inside our house, our two cats found it and kept it trapped until Abe came home to catch and release the little intruder.

Mice carry diseases, they are gross, filthy little things.  Have you heard about the bubonic plague making a comeback?  Seriously.  2012, and bubonic plague is still around, kickin’ it medieval style.

All this said, we grow up watching adorable little cartoon mice on television, begging us to love them.  Mickey Mouse anyone?  So, it seems natural that when confronted with a mouse, though totally grody as mentioned before, that something inside of you, whether you like it or not, will tend to think that it looks like a sweet little creature.  Something not to be feared, but to be adored and protected.

No, we don’t have a mouse in our house, but the kids did find one outside last week on the way to the bus stop.  Now, as you may recall, they recently found a very dead mouse, while digging around outside.  Probably something that a cat found, played with, chewed a bit, and then left for dead.  Cats are evil like that.

The mouse they found last week was alive, but barely.  I’m pretty sure it was also a kitteh play thing.  We found it wet and not moving much.  I hate to say it, but it was adorable.  Tiny and helpless and just precious.  You know, in that gross you know you aren’t supposed to think this thing is cute kind of way.

I told the kids not to touch it and we went off to catch the bus.  On the way home, I couldn’t help but stop and look at the mouse.  Not wanting to touch it with my hands, bubonic plague!, I grabbed a small stick and gently prodded it, seeing if it could move.  The poor thing seemed scared to death.  He moved, which is a good sign right?  I saw no obvious injuries, no bloody tooth marks, nothing that hinted at what may be wrong.

The thing is, where he was, right out in the open, well, he was easy prey to any cat passing by.  And as I said, we have quite a few cats that pass through our neighborhood.  So.  I coaxed him with the little stick, my home made mouse prod, over to where I thought he would be safer.  I thought to myself how insane the Wildlife Rescue people would think I was if I scooped up this little mouse and brought it to them to save.  I tried to remind myself of how icky this thing was, no matter how cute it may be on the outside.  He could have the zombie virus for all I know!

Probably not, but mice are icky.  Right?

*sigh*

Wanna see the icky mouse?  I took a picture.  It’s what I do.

 

Look at those tiny little paws!  The itty bitty whiskers!

I am such a bleeding heart, bubonic plague be damned.

I resisted the urge to name him and make him a pet, but I worried about him all day until Abe came home and I told him to check if he was still out there.  I asked him to tell me he was gone no matter what, and if he was still there, to move him into the woods but not to tell me.  I want to assume in my goofy little mind that he got his act together, found his way home, and is living happily ever after, bubonic plague free with his adorable little mouse family.

I am crazy, I realize.

 

Chinese Evergreen Flowering

It has been years since I have kept houseplants, mostly because our kitties like to chew on them, rip them to shreds, and then, adding insult to injury, sleep on top of the dying plant.  Cats are evil, what can I say?  Also, when it comes to houseplants, my thumbs are undoubtedly black.  If the cats didn’t murder them, my neglect would before long.

This past May, whilst browsing the plant section at Lowes, I noticed some house plants that were advertised as both pretty and easy to care for.  Their tags said “Plants of Steel”, so I decided to accept the challenge and see if they really are as tough as their tags imply.  Well, four months later, I am shocked and happy to say that they are not only still alive, but they are thriving!

*happy dance*

This morning, I noticed my Chinese Evergreen, also called Aglaonema, is flowering.

 

Happy plants make flowers, not sad and dying ones.  I declare myself the best gardener/houseplant keeper in the whole entire world.  Yes, the whole entire world.  Now don’t ruin my moment, just ooo and ahhh along with me.

Discovering Things

This past weekend brought us gorgeous, cool,  fall like weather.  I very happily opened up the windows to let the fresh,  crisp air in, and just as happily kicked the kids outside before they had a chance to fight about anything.

The nasty hot summer had them stuck inside far more than they are used to, so I was determined for them to soak in as much outside time as possible.  With the windows open, we could hear them excitedly talking as they followed the trails of butterflies or hopped around after a large grasshopper.

Bubbles were blown, drawing were made with chalk, they played on the swing set, they even made discoveries.

Abe and I were inside feeding the two little ones, when we hear Matt and Bella very excitedly talking about their great “discovery”.  They had been digging around and were talking about discovering fossils, so I assumed they found a rock that they decided to pretend was some sort of dinosaur bone, or whatever.

They started talking louder, getting more excited as they tried to decide what creature they found and what they should do with it.  When Bella suggested burying it, well, my brain started imagining what they possibly could have found.

When they declared that it had sharp claws, okay, game over.

Bella was coming up the front stairs when she opened the door to make her announcement.

“Mom, I have good news and some not so good news.  The good news is our dig was successful.  Too successful.  We found a dead creature with very long, sharp claws!”

Oh dear baby Jeebus.

“Did you touch it?!”  Ick factor to the max!  I sent Abe outside to see what they had found and sent them to scrubbing their hands clean from the dead “creature” cooties.

Abe said it was probably a mouse as he headed outside, to which they adamantly disagreed.

“No!  It can’t be a mouse, it has long sharp claws!”

Well, I don’t know what they thought they found, and I certainly don’t know what part of their brains were thinking it would be awesome to play with a dead anything.  But here it is, in all of its icky glory:

 

Doesn’t that look like an awesomely fun thing to play with?!  Blech.  And yes, it’s definitely a mouse, probably the remains of some stray cat’s snack.

They came inside and played video games after they used up all the soap washing their grody little hands.  They did make the day interesting, I’ll give them that.