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, February 12, 2013

Birchbox Review - February

Birchbox was amazingly, awesomely fast with their delivery/shipping this month.  Oh, how I wish it would continue like that!  In fact, I've gotten to the point where I don't even check my shipment notice, because it really just upsets me that it takes so long!

Kudos Birchbox!!

What I received:

February Birchbox

The theme this month was Red Carpet Ready.  Items were chosen to help you look your best for whatever big event you had coming up this month.  I wish!

Closer look

Oscar de la Renta live in love - perfume sample.  Unfortunately, perfume samples are becoming the norm for Birchbox.  I like this scent okay.  I'm just over all the perfume though.  Especially since this is the same exact size I would get at the perfume counter of the department store if I asked, for free.  I'm considering changing my profile to state that I have a perfume allergy.

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint - this is stated to give you a healthy glowing complexion.  It is also SPF 15.  I'm looking forward to trying this.  It is a bitty sample though.

Kiehls Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream - I like Kiehls products and this is a nice sized sample.  This is touted as an anti-aging powerhouse.  Yes, please!

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle - I was most excited to receive this product after watching the Birchbox spoiler video.  I have fine, straight hair that tangles like crazy.  I live for detangling sprays.  This is one product I may have to purchase full-sized if I like it.

Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate with Caramel Square - enough said.  I don't think it lasted five minutes after opening the box. Thank you!

Overall a fairly decent box.  I can't wait to try the detangling spray and hope I love it.  As you can tell, I'm most disappointed in the amount of perfume samples, but I think I can fix that.  Still, Birchbox continues to be a nice surprise for me every month, and I love that they stepped up their shipping timeliness!

What did you like most in your Birchbox subscription this month?  Did you get different products from my box?

Want to try Birchbox?  For just $10 a month, you can!  Check it out: (my link).

Disclosure:  I purchase my Birchbox subscription myself.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.  My link does get me referral points, so thanks for clicking!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


It's a beautiful thing . . .
(source: Pinterest)

Congratulations Rowan!

Rowan 02/09/13

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Graze - Box #1

There's a new snack subscription box called graze.  It is a service that sends you four snack-sized servings of healthy snacks that are "nature delivered" on a weekly basis.  Graze costs $5 a box, but I was able to sign up with a promotion where I got my first and fifth boxes for free (essentially $15 for 5 boxes).

What is great about this service is that you can go on their website and note any allergies, likes and dislikes prior to receiving your first box.  Gluten free, nut free, no problem!  Currently, you can choose between a nibble box and a light box (lower calorie).  I chose the nibble box.

Nice box!

I was very excited to receive and try my first box!  Even better when I opened it  . . . .

How cute is this?

The box is beautifully done!  Even better, it comes with a card with nutrition facts and expiration dates.  They include a napkin (for people who get it sent to work).  Everything is environmentally friendly and recyclable.

My snacks:

Loved this!  Very moist granola bar.

A nice salty, sweet snack
A savory selection of snacks and nuts

A dried fruit medley
(Sorry for the sideways pic)
All-in-all a very cool idea!  I tried all of the snacks before posting and truly enjoyed them all.  They vary in calories from 127 - 240 per serving.  Everything was very fresh and provided a nice variety of options.

Now, you are suppose to receive a box weekly, but there has been a slight delay receiving my second box.  Graze sent an email outlining the delay and apologizing.  This was very nice from a customer service standpoint.

Interested in trying Graze?  Check them out at  You need an invitation code (here's mine):  Z1HRVQZD.  You get your first box for free by using this (I get $1 off my next box)!

After trying your snacks you then go back to their website to "rate" the items you got.  Hated something?  You don't have to ever get it again.  By the same token, you can specify those items you really liked and find others that are similar.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I Read - January

January was a great month for me on the reading front.  I read several great books.  I love when I get in a groove like that!

I'm a member of Goodreads and love connecting with my reading friends and finding great books to add to my to-be-read list.  Consider joining up!

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

I must confess that I read all of the Oprah recommended books.  Truly, as soon as she announces a book, I'm on Amazon ordering it.  Not sure why, but I just do!  I also must confess that I usually like the books that she picks, including this one.

Since we are confessing, I ordered this book before Christmas (the day it was announced).  When it arrived, I felt bad buying myself something so close to the holiday, so I gave it to Mark to give to me.  Especially since I really couldn't come up with any ideas for gifts for myself.  I threw the poor guy a bone.

This book chronicles the life of a woman and the profound effect she has on her children.  It was amazing how different of an effect she had on each of her children, primarily based on where she was in her life at the various impressionable stages of each child.  It was a very different insight into the importance of that mother figure in a child's life.

Even more than the story line itself though, I loved this book because of the writing.  It was written so beautifully and with such wonderful descriptions.  I do not appreciate poetry and do not enjoy reading it, but to me Ms. Mathis' writing felt poetic.

My Goodreads rating was 5 stars (out of 5).

City of Thieves by David Benioff

The next book on my pile was given to me by a good friend who simply said that I "just had to read it".  Boy, was she right!

This story is set in WWII Russia and involves a young man who is arrested for looting.  He will be pardoned for his crime if he procures a dozen eggs, with the help of a fellow jail mate, for the wedding cake of the Colonel's daughter.  Of course, the task sounds a lot easier than it is, given it is wartime Russia.

This was a humorously disturbing historical fiction.  I found it to be a very interesting story that highlights the integrity of the human experience in very inhumane times.

More importantly, it drove home to me how fortunate I am as an American, not to have experienced war on our soil during my lifetime.

My Goodreads rating was 5 stars.

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

The last book I read in January was a much lighter read.  It is the story of Alice, who becomes Wife 22 in a study of marriage in the 21st century.

Alice is a 40-something year old wife and mother of two who has reached that too comfortable point in her life and marriage.  She begins to question her relationship with her husband, and then she really begins to critically look at it, while responding to the study questions.  Naturally she begins to feel a camaraderie develop with the researcher assigned to her case.  Twenty years of marriage angst can easily make one look for virtual "viral" comfort.

This was a very easy and compelling read.  The book was presented in an unique format of texts, tweets and facebook posts, making it very modern and true to today's life.  I found it to be a very readable story.

My Goodreads rating was 4 stars.

I have some great books on the docket for next month, including two book club books.  I hope that this may have given you some good books to put on your night stand!

Any good book recommendations for me?  Have you read anything that you just can't put down?
Leave me a comment!  Want to be friends on Goodreads?  Check it out!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Rowan

I adore this banner from Target!

Hard to believe that my baby turned 8 yesterday.

Eight still seems young, thankfully.  Young enough to crawl into my lap.  Young enough to need to inform me when he goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (And by, the way, what is up with that?  At what age do you feel you can go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without informing people?)  And (yes!) still young enough to crawl into bed with me when he's not feeling well.

Still young enough to get toys as gifts and not only clothes, money and gift cards!


But, it still seems hard to believe that the youngest member of the family is rapidly approaching double digits.

I still feel 21 in my head (those rose colored glasses help).  So having children get older by necessity ages me. Just stop already!

I say all of this neglecting to mention that the oldest has hit 18.  I did that mindfully though, because while I can convince myself I was 13 when I had Rowan, there is just no way I was 3 when I had Patrick.

And that brings me to the other cold, hard truth.  This is probably the last birthday Rowan will have where all seven of us will be there to celebrate it.  I am so excited for this next phase of Patrick's life, but also sad for the change it brings for the family (both good and bad).

It's hard to be sad when you see the excitement in this one's face though . . . .

Rowan at 8

Dinner (Rowan's choice):  chicken wings, tater tots, pickles (I had to throw in some celery and carrot sticks) and ice cream cake (no, no Barbie cake!).

Dairy Queen cakes are the best!

Love that sweet boy!

January Goodies Co.

If there was ever a subscription box for you to dip your toe in the water with, it would be this one!

Goodies Co. is a new subscription snack box that is still in beta testing.  I was so excited when I was able to "get in".  It is a division of Walmart Stores Inc., so I have a strong suspicion that it will be sticking around!  For $7 a month (shipping included) you get 5 - 8 new food items sent to your door.

Can't wait to see what's inside!

The packaging was super cute!  Even cuter when I opened the box!

Love the inside of the box!

Love the card!

Just beautiful!  The theme for this month's box was "New Year New You" and it was designed to help you fulfill those healthy lifestyle resolutions.

Packed box!

Now if they meant healthy treats . . . they certainly had you covered!  Inside:

Skeeter Snacks Cookie - Chocolate Chunk - This is a nut free, crisp but chewy chocolate chip cookie.  I can't wait to try!

Nature's Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bar - a whole wheat alternative to a Fig Newton.  I'll be interested to see if they can pull it off.


Go Nola - Maple Pecan Madness - I love granola and I love maple, so I can't wait to try this product also!

Stretch Island Fruit Chews - I love that these are made with fruit only and no added sugar.  The boys would love these.  How cute it it that there is a maze game on the front?!


Flamous Brands Falafel Chips - Spicy -  These sounded very interesting, appealed the most to Mark and were opened promptly.  Boy are they SPICY!  They have great texture and flavor, but have quite the zing to them.  These chips are organic and are very high in protein and fiber.  I would love to try their original flavor once my mouth recovers.


Cascal - A natural fermented drink in "fresh tropical".  This would be a good alternative to fruit juice, especially if you want something carbonated.  I liked the flavor and it only had 80 calories per can.

Wild Garden Traditional Hummus and Pita Chips - A great on-the-go pack of multigrain pita chips and seasoned hummus.  We love hummus and pita chips in this family.  This is perfect to pack in lunches or to take to work!  Sure beats that French onion dip!!

Snacks and a drink!

The box also came with a great card describing the products and their cost.  You can then go online to purchase these items.  I need to see if Walmart Stores plan to carry these products in their actual stores.  I have seen some of these products (Stretch Island) elsewhere.

Descriptive card

Goodies Co. also allows you to review their products.  In return you earn points which can go towards earning free boxes.  I couldn't find how many points you need to get that free box though!  You also earn points by ordering boxes and products.

All-in-all I am very happy with Goodies Co.  I hope that they stick around and make it through their beta phase!  I love finding new food products and you certainly can't beat this price point!

Interested?  Check out their website: and request an invite!

Do you have any food subscription boxes that you love?  Any that you recommend that I try?

Disclosure:  I paid for my Goodies Co. subscription myself.  I received no compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.