Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Barbie Cakes

Beautiful Barbie

Many, many years ago (years before five boys) I attended a Pampered Chef party.   The much touted piece for sale was the large glass mixing bowl, that could ultimately double as the mold for the iconic Barbie cake.

I had to have it.  Visions of little girl birthday parties with everyone ohhing and ahhing over the cake danced in my head.

So, I got it.

Now, of course, the bowl has a myriad of other purposes.  I use it to mix up the large batches of pancake batter for the Sunday pancake breakfasts that five boys consume.  It fits nicely the 18 eggs that are required for scrambled eggs.  I use the bowl a lot.  It has never seen the inside of the oven though.  Not many requests for a Barbie cake around here!

Granted, nine times out of ten the boys want an ice-cream cake for their birthday.  On the rare occasion they want a baked cake, it is usually only a vehicle for the amount of sprinkles and other toppings they can put on it.  We have had the typical boy bakery cakes;  SpongeBob, baseball, football, soccer and dinosaur themed cakes.  We even had a cake in the shape of a hamburger!  But cakes are not a big hit around here.  Thankfully they haven't found a French onion dip and potato chip cake, because that would be the bomb in their eyes!

So I swooned the other day when I attended a gathering for a friend's birthday, and there was The Barbie Cake!  Oh so pretty and oh so good!  And angels sang . . .

Seriously though, I have a good many friends who have single gendered households similar to mine.  We made a pact to make Barbie cakes for each other.  

Maybe, someday, my Pampered Chef bowl will be put to it's intended use!

Various cakes throughout the years:

I'm not sure I could convince any of the boys that Ken would look good in a dress!  A hill, maybe?!  We'll see!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Klutch Club - January

I received my second KLUTCHwomen box on Friday last week.  This month's theme was Healthy Weight Management box (filled with products to help you reach your goals).

Shoe box sized box

I first signed up for Klutch Club during a promotion last month.  I believe I received that first box for around $9 total ($1 for the box with $8 shipping).  I liked the box enough to continue with it for at least another month.

Klutch Club is a monthly subscription box that sends "$50 of the best healthy snacks, supplements, fitness programs, personal care products and more delivered monthly for less than $18".  Subscriptions start at $18 for a month to month order and decrease based on your level of commitment.  You chose between a women's and a men's box.

First looks
The box came filled with products!

Lots of stuff!

Ginger People Ginger Chews - this looks like a full sized product with 8 pieces of chewy ginger candy.  Ginger is good for motion sickness and is a nice spicy-sweet candy.  Yum!

Bach Rescue Remedy Gum - another full sized product (17 pieces) of a orange and elderflower natural stress relief homeopathic medicine.  I should be chewing this by the box full come 3pm!

Madecasse Chocolate - 2 squares of their 80% cocoa chocolate for "an all-natural sweetness fix".  I'm always happy with chocolate!

Candy, gum and chocolate

FRS Healthy Slim Chews - Strawberry melon flavored chews (28 count) that provide appetite control and sustained natural energy.  The directions state to eat 2 chews 30 - 60 minutes before each of your two primary meals of the day. This is also a full sized product.  I'm willing to give this a try!!

EAS Lean 15 Bar - one bar in chocolate peanut butter designed for post-workout snacking, it provides 15gm of protein.  "Get lean and toned".  Post-workout snacks are always a hard thing for me to remember (and oh so important) and this may make it easier.

Chews and protein bar

Snikiddy Eat Your Vegetables Chips - a single serving of sea salt flavored vegetable chips.  These chips provide a full serving of vegetables.  I can't wait to try them!  I wonder if they would go over well with the boys?!

Scheckter's Organic Energy Drink - one can of an organic energy drink that states that it gives your body a boost naturally without the chemicals, shakes and heart palpitations.  I'm not a big fan of energy drinks (other than diet Coke), but I'll try one can.

Chips and a drink

TurboFire's Greatest Hits Cardio DVD - 30 minutes of intense cardio conditioning.  I have never really gotten into work-out DVDs.  I may have to watch this on the couch!

Extras:  Hypnosis Network's free session plus 20% off,  LeBootCamp weight loss program $25 off the 1-month open plan and Pro Compression $20 gift card.  I don't really count these as being toward the value of the box, as you have to spend money to use them.  Mark has been complaining of calf tenderness with running, so I may try the Pro Compression socks for him.  The others, probably not.

DVD and extras

Klutch Club also comes with a nice brochure that describes the products in the box.

All-in-all I've been happy with Klutch Club.  I think I will give it a few more months.  I think it is a good value and I like the variety of products I've received.  

Do you get any sports or fitness related boxes that you really like?   Want to try Klutch Club:

Disclosure:  I paid for my Klutch Club subscription myself.  This is my honest review.  I have received no compensation.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January PopSugar Review

It's here!


My January PopSugar box arrived yesterday and it took loads of willpower to not rip it open until today!  It took my friends even more willpower to not talk about it in my presence!!  Thank you!!

PopSugar Must Have started last summer.  I joined a couple of months in.  I believe my first box was September 2012.  It is a subscription box service for $35 a month.  It is the priciest of the boxes I get, but always well worth it, and always a good value.  I have definitely had some favorite months and products, but who doesn't?  What appeals to me might not to you.

First looks
The box always comes fully packed.  Awww . . . .

Everything inside
A wonderful booklet is always included which describes the product, why it was chosen and links.  The products are broken up into categories:

Stability ball
Must Have Fitness:  Merrithew Stability Ball - funny enough, I just got rid of an old fitness ball, so a new one was in order.  The box contains a card with several exercises, a pump and a discount code for a  pilates dvd.

Watch and lip balm
Must Have Fashion:  The Remix Timebomb - This is a pretty funky watch.  I don't have a white watch so I'm glad I got this color (I think people also got pink and blue ones)!  There is a LED light that provides quite the light show.  I believe you can also buy other bands and switch them out by popping out the watch face.

Must Have Beauty:  Epicurean Discovery Lip Balm - I was most excited about this item as I have a small obsession with lip balms/glosses.  Then I saw that it was tea tree oil based.  I'm sorry, but tea tree oil makes me think of head lice, as it is a natural repellent for those pesky bugs.  Unfortunately, head lice were popular during preschool years and we used this on the boys regularly to ward them off (it works!).  Therefore, not a good association for me!  Nevertheless, I tried it, and mine really smells bad.  Not sure if my balm is bad or if this is just how it smells.  Is yours yucky too?


Must Have Food:  Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick and Jet-Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits -
Okay, what's not to love?  Stir the hot chocolate stick in warm milk and add some marshmallow bits. Love.

Booklet and Casetagram voucher

Bars and coupon
Special Extras:  Think Thin Bars and Casetagram gift certificate - Three thinkThin bars in various flavors were included.  I also got two coupons.  I like thinkThin bars, and I like that there were three different varieties.  The Casetagram voucher is for $15 off your order.  Casetagram allows you to customize cases for your phone or tablet, or purchase ones by designers.  Maybe . . . 

I always like the variety of things in my PopSugar boxes.  The value of the box exceeds $100.  I figure if there is one thing that I really like that covers the $35 cost, it is a win.  I'm happy!

Have you signed up for PopSugar Must Have box yet?  Have you been happy with it?  What's been your favorite item?

If you haven't signed up yet, you can use code: REFERFRIENDS for $5 off your first box!
A link:

Disclosure:  I paid for my PopSugar box myself.  I have received no compensation for my review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cravebox - Resolutions

I opted in and received the January Resolutions Cravebox which arrived for me on the 11th.

My banged up box
From their site: "Cravebox is a wildly popular product discovery service that puts extraordinary and crave-worthy products into the hands of our curious, adventurous and fun-seeking Members. Our Cravebox Curators pack up handsome and hefty boxes filled with the latest new products, gadgets, supplies and offers focused around a theme, activity, occasion or hobby that our Members love."

First looks!
I started with Cravebox over a year ago when they were in their beta-phase through SheSpeaks.  Initially they were a monthly beauty subscription box which eventually morphed into a themed box for purchase.  Boxes cost from $13 - 15 and are an opt-in drawing.  They recently started a "series" option where you can automatically receive all of the boxes in a certain theme, such as dog lovers, book lovers, etc.

All of the goodies!
This box came jam packed!  The goods:

Tea with coupon
Celestial Seasons Metabo Balance Tea (2 bags) with coupon:  I've already had this tea and liked it a lot.  Even better there was 2 tea bags!

Reduced calorie soda
A&W Ten and 7UP Ten:  I have a big addiction to diet soda.  It's a problem, I'm aware of it.  Both of these taste great!

Wholly Guacamole chip clip and coupon for free product.
Cocoa Via samples
Wholly Guacamole Free Product Coupon and Chip Clip:  I love this product for when I don't have time to make homemade guacamole.  Chip clips are always in demand in this house.

Cocoa Via (4 samples and 20% off code):  "You. Renewed"  From the Cravebox website:  "The cocoa flavanols in CocoaVia® cocoa extract supplement are scientifically proven to help support cardiovascular health by helping maintain healthy circulation."  I'll give it a try but doubt that I'll end up buying any online.

SunRype bars
4 SunRype bars:  I received four bars in various flavors.  I love that these are "100% fruit" bars and only 120 calories.  A good afternoon snack.

Pantene Moisture Whip
Mary Kay eye cream
Pantene Moisture Whip:  A travel-sized sample, this is essentially a hydrating mousse, which my hair will certainly appreciate this time of year!

Mary Kay Timewise Repair Eye Cream:  I believe this is a full-sized product (!) and it claims to restore a youthful appearance.  I'm game!

Zone Perfect bar
Perfectly Simple by Zone Perfect Bar and Coupon:  I love Zone Perfect bars.  This one has 10 grams of protein and is gluten free.  Another good snack!

Also, not pictured, was a free product coupon for a Smart Ones by Weight Watchers item.  In addition to meals they also carry desserts!  Yes, I opted for the dessert!

All-in-all a great box for $15.  I received products that I already love and use and some that I have never heard of and look forward to trying.

Have you received any of Cravebox's boxes?  Do you like this concept?  Check them out:  Membership is free!

Disclosure:  My Cravebox subscription was purchased by me.  I receive no compensation for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Have A Dream

In honor of Martin Luther King day yesterday, a thought:

A very strong statement and one that we try, try, try to instill in our children (growing men) and remember ourselves.  I would also add "when no one else is watching".

Hopefully you enjoyed the day off, if you had it.  We froze on the ski slopes.  But, as I remarked on the drive home, it is so nice to have a family experience that is enjoyed and participated in by all, ages 7 - 47.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 2013 Birchbox

"Best Year Ever" is the theme for the January 2013 Birchbox which arrived for me this week.

Birchbox is the first beauty subscription service that I subscribed to over a year ago.  $10 a month gets you 4 - 6 sample sized offerings in a range of beauty products.  Sometimes you will even get a fashion or food treat thrown in!  Birchbox tailors their boxes to a profile that you fill out.  My understanding is that there are approximately 35 different boxes shipped out each month.  My box is probably completely different from yours.

This month my box looked like this:

First appearances

And upon opening:
Everything inside

The first item in my box was alessandro Nail Polish in Blue Lagoon.  This was a nice French blue color and a good sized sample.  I think it will look good on my toes, and if I'm brave enough maybe even my fingers!  I love mini nail polishes as I can never see myself finishing a full size bottle of polish.  Ever.

Next up was theBalm cosmetics Put a Lid on It Eyelid Primer.  I have used eyelid primer in the past and do think it makes a difference with eyeshadows staying power.  I look forward to trying this.

somewhat blurry but you get the idea

I also got a sample of Harvey Prince perfume:  Skinny Chic.  I really like this fresh citrus scent.  I'm just bummed that my little pump bottle is not working properly.  Ugh!

Ojon damage reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum was also included to smooth and hydrate hair.  It's a small sample, but as it is an oil, I expect it will last awhile.  My hair can definitely use it this time of year!

Lastly, as my "beauty extra" I received two packets of Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream.  I have used other Fresh products in the past and have liked them.  I appreciate the fact that I was sent two samples to really give this product a try.

Two "extras"!

All in all, I'm happy with this month's Birchbox.  I think it is a win for $10 a month.  I can also earn points by going on their site and reviewing the products I received.  Points can be redeemed towards full sized purchases!

Check Birchbox out:

Disclosure:  My Birchbox subscription was purchased by me.  I receive no compensation for my review.  All opinions are my own. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another Four Eyes

My poor children.

When I met Mark, and ultimately married him four years later, I thought that we had discussed just about every thing there was to discuss pre-marriage.  Goals, children, religion, family and money were all covered.

We had even covered health-related topics.  I was fully aware that he needed corrective vision and required braces as a teenager.  As did I, so nothing worrisome there.  Right?

Five children later, we are now well into our fourth set of braces, barreling towards our fifth set.  Our orthodontist sees our family enter his waiting room and is planning his trip to Europe in his mind.  I'm good with that.  Although I think it is a shame we have such crummy dental coverage.

So, it should honestly come as no surprise that all of the boys are also barreling towards Lasix surgery.

Patrick, Conor and Aidan required glasses in the fifth/sixth grades.  They have all rapidly progressed to wearing contacts to facilitate participating in sports.  Aidan made the contacts jump just this month.  Lo, and behold, Liam has become the latest glasses wearer of the family.

Liam's four eyes

Seven people in the family and 24 eyes now.  Poor Rowan doesn't stand a chance.

Funny, but it was Aidan who inquired about how soon he could have Lasix! (umm, when you can have your own health care spending account at work)

My optometrist is now planning his trip to Europe . . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Starting Over

Trying to start up again.

New Year's resolution?

Not exactly.

Just trying to combine some of those things I love and want to document.

Hmmm . . . children, books, food and subscription boxes (my guilty pleasure).

More to follow!