Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox, part 2

Yesterday I did a HUGE review on a VoxBox received from Influenster.  You can see that here.

I had one item left to review and I just sampled it this morning.  This morning for breakfast I had the belVita Breakfast Biscuits in the Cinnamon Brown Sugar.

This morning I had to run to my son's sleep deprived EEG, so it was a perfect morning for a grab and go breakfast.  I had an iced coffee, some homemade yogurt, and the belVita biscuits.  You get 4 per baggie and I think it was a great addition.  It wouldn't be enough for a full breakfast, but paired with the yogurt it was wonderful.

The biscuits, aka cookies, were nice and crunchy.  Sweet but not too sweet.  They were tasty!  The carb count was a tad high, 35grams.  Not too horrible.  I accidentally threw away the wrapper.  I can't really see the calorie count on their site.  There is a banner across the top.  I *think* it is in the 230's.

Overall, pretty yummy.  A good grab and go.

Thank you Influenster and belVita for this opportunity!

Legal part here:  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My first INFLUENSTER VoxBox!!

I like free stuff.  Who doesn't?  There is a website called Influenster. When you sign up with Influenster you write reviews for stuff.  You give your own real world experience about products you have used in the past.  If you get SUPER deDUPER lucky you get a VoxBox.

I got SUPER deDUPER lucky.  I got the Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox. 

The VERY first thing I noticed was this box was insanely heavy...and it was bright orange.  I dug it.  So I opened it up and this is what was inside:

I have no idea why I was so impressed with how well it was packed.  It was like Tetris.  Everything fit wonderfully into the box.  I apparently am easily impressed. lol

 The first thing I tried was the Nectresse made by Splenda.  They say that this is 100% natural so that is good.  The carb count is only 2g per envelope, which was awesome.  Having had gestational diabetes with Veronica it is a habit to check that out.  This would be considered a "free" food.  (Anything under 5g doesn't count) so if you have diabetes you can have 2 packets!  Also there were no calories.  Also awesome. 

The thing they promote is it is made from monk fruit.   They say that monk fruit extract is 150x sweeter than sugar, that was why I used one packet.

It did it's job and sweetened well.  I made a latte and used one packet.  There was a slight after taste to it.  I tried it twice.  Maybe it is the "fruity" aspect of it and that is what is getting me.  I think maybe I will try it in something without milk.  Like regular coffee or tea.  It isn't bad and my husband enjoyed it!  I will definitely try it again and have it for my mom this weekend.

The next thing I tried was the Colgate Optic White system.  The toothpaste is DEFINITELY not for someone who likes the sweeter stuff.  I am not one of those.  I typically use Arm & Hammer, so I am use to the baking soda taste.  The peroxide in this was a bit strong tasting the first time I used it.  But like anything new, there is a getting use to period.  I really like it now.

The toothbrush that came with it is a bit odd.  I had the manual type.  There are these weird plastic parts in the brush that they say "soft rubber cups are designed to hold toothpaste to more effectively remove surface stains for a whiter smile. "  I found them a bit irritating.  I am use to a regular brush.  I did get use to it though and love the clean feeling my mouth has now.  It feels like it really got the gunk off.  My teeth feel slippery.  I like that.

The toothbrush also has a "tongue and cheek cleaner" pad on it.  I don't see the purpose of these.  When I brushed my teeth I had to keep my mouth slightly open so it wouldn't scrape my lips.  When I brush my tongue I normally just brush it.  I don't see how this suppose to do a better job.  I tried it though.  I guess it did it's job.

The mouthwash in the system was really foamy.  It was ok.  I normally don't use mouthwash.   It wasn't as minty as I expected.

Overall I enjoyed the complete system more after the first time.  I think my teeth feel nice and clean.  I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday, so I shall see how much they have to scrape!

 This time of the year I have insanely dry skin.  My skin normally is dry, but this is just silly how dry I have been.  The Vaseline Spray & Go lotion goes on nice and easily.  It sprays on and rubs in.  There is a nice smell to it.  It said it wasn't greasy and I didn't believe it until I used it.  It rubbed in quickly and was a light moisturizer.  This would be great to use getting out of the shower and having to get dressed quickly.  This would also be better in the summer for me.  I need a bit more moisturizer currently.  I WILL be using it later on.  My skin still had a light aroma at the end of the night.  It was nice.

 I literally just used the Dickinson's Oil Controlling Towelettes.  Like 5 minutes ago.  Time to get real here.  When you are pregnant witch hazel might just be your best friend.  There are certain areas that it is useful, if you get my drift.  So when I smell witch hazel I think of that.  I never really thought of it for any other use.   

I am glad I used it though!  My skin feels nice and smooth.  Not oily at all.  I think these will be AWESOME in the summer at the Farmer's Market and craft shows.  It gets so hot, I don't wear makeup most of the time.  These will be AMAZING to throw in your bag and refresh with during days outside.  I am going to keep these around!
The belVita breakfast biscuits are the last thing I need to review.  I have not had a chance to try them yet.  I shall tomorrow though!  I'll link up my review once it is done.  I hope they are as good as I hope!

Here is the continuation.

Legal part here:  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The sickness is GONE!

Holy sickness Batman.  This house was overrun with the plague.  March 11th Aidan was out of school due to "cheek pain".  We went to the dr.  Sinus infection.  He had a nasty head cold so I figured that was what it was.

Then he got me sick.  NOT fun.  I hate being sick.  So I had his cold.  I actually went to the dr as well.  I thought I had a sinus infection.  $50 and 2 hours later at the Urgent Care, I was just diagnosed with a horrid cold and given a prescription for cold meds and a prescription for an antibiotic to fill if I got worse.  Thank goodness I didn't.

So Friday night Eric is on call and gets called in Saturday morning at 5am.  Last Saturday was the first day I was going to be at the Farmers Market for the year setting up for my BumbleFly~N~ButterBees shop.  I called ahead and had my spot held, something they DON'T do.    Since I have been there for over two years, they did it for me.  

Anyway, since Eric got called in I had to pack the car and get the kids ready and out the door by 6:30am.  I was up from 5am, so about 5:25am or so I started loading the car.  I walk in the house at 5:40am and hear someone up and think "AWESOME.  I won't have to pull them from bed."  Then I hear a slosh.

Nate had gotten sick in bed and decided to clean off his pants, buy pouring water on them...while wearing them.  So there was water all over the floor.

It looked like he had a bloody nose, which he has often, so I figured the drainage made him sick.   Thought nothing of it.  Cleaned up everything and got kids ready and eating breakfast.  He jokingly would go to the bathroom and claim to be feeling bad, but smiled the entire time.

As I am packing up I realized that the garment rack would NOT fit in the van.  In the Xterra I take the bottom off and the whole thing flattens.  Since Aidan was in the back of the van I couldn't put the whole seat down and it would not fit.  So I had to take the ENTIRE THING APART.  Unscrewed and all.

Somehow I managed to get to the market at 7am when it opened.  I spent the next 45 minutes unloading the car and putting together the rack.  It took that long because I had three kids LITERALLY running the length of the building.  It wouldn't be so bad if A) I wasn't still kinda sick and B) it wasn't 7am and a building full of 70+ year old people.  There are now 3 of us in the under 70 category.  So I almost lost my voice while screaming at them.

Eric shows up with breakfast for me, takes the kids, and leaves.  I get fully set up and have an awesome first day.  Go home and crash.

The next morning.  V gets sick once.  That night, Aidan gets sick once.  Nate still is A-ok.  Then the next two days Aidan and V have a HORRIBLE stomach bug.  Complete with me going to the Dr's office and me crying in the lobby.  I was a nice wreck.  The WONDERFUL front desk ladies let me keep Nate in the waiting room so I wouldn't have to bring him in the room of death with the sickos.

The awesome Dr gave us some Zofran and that part was over.  Thank goodness.

No issues on Tuesday and Wednesday Aidan was back to school.  I don't understand it.  I have all three kids home ALL summer, but having Aidan home an extra 2 days almost killed me.  Maybe it is because we can't do anything and I am stuck cleaning up for two days nonstop.

Anyway,  I now have a super clean (for me) house and healthy kiddos.  Oh and only ONE kid home.  SCORE!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seriously, Sunday?

Welcome back to an other exciting episode of Seriously, Sunday?  This is another excited post.    First, let me ask you this:  Have you ever felted?  Like REALLY felted?  Knitting with wool and then agitating in hot water until it shrinks?  If not, you should. 

First you knit up whatever it is and it looks huge and holey.  For me this week, it has been bowls.  So I knitted up these bowls and they looked rather sad.  Like weird misshapen holey hats.  

I used this pattern to make some bowls for a Pay It Forward gift.  They don't look like much when you knit them, but once you get your hands in there and get them felting it is AMAZING.  I also only use 100% wool for my felting projects.  I have heard you can go 85% wool and it will still felt well, but if I am going through the trouble of knitting things, I want to know it will felt.

If you are going to felt, I suggest knitting up a bunch of items and THEN doing it.  The felting process takes a while and I find it more satisfying to do it in batches.  After knitting I put them in the washing machine on HOT with a couple of towels.  After one cycle, they are pretty well on their way.  They still need a good 10 minutes of hand felting.  To do this, go to your sink and really saturate the piece in HOT water.  SQUEEZE out as much as you can and then really rub the bowl together on itself.  The bowls will still shrink up a good amount and the holes will disappear.  

I love the fuzzy aspect of felt.  I guess you could trim it down after, but I think it takes away some of the charm.   I am pretty much a wool fiber junkie.

I have a few bowls I use for shaping.  For the smallest bowl I have some plastic Gerber bowls that I press them into.  The next size up is a soup bowl.  Just the traditional size that comes with place settings.  The largest bowl, I just form it to fit the others.  You need to make sure you block (form the pieces in the shape you want) when wet.  Once they dry they retain that shape. 
So...without further ado...my first Pay It Forward craft project of the year and my felted bowls.

 I LOVE how these turned out.  For the largest bowl, which is the medium on the link, I knitted 8 rounds of blue, switched to the cream for 8 rounds, then did 9 rounds of blue.  At this point I switched to cream for the decreasing rounds of the bottom.

Here is a good visual of the striping.  I pretty much am in love with these bowls.  I think I need to go raid my stash and make me some more!

I thought this was a pretty cool picture.  You can still see some of the stitches in the bowls.   It gives it a nice homemade feel.

Three little bowls all nestled together.

Seriously, Sunday.  Felting is AWESOME.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pinterest addiction and guacamole

I love Pinterest and I love guacamole.  We tried to have Taco Tuesday and that didn't work this week.  So we had it on a different day.  I was playing around on Pinterest and I found a recipe for Grilled Avocado Guacamole.  I don't know if you have ever grilled an avocado, but they turn so creamy and yummy it is insane.

This was my first time grilling an avocado. To grill it you slice it in half, remove the seed, and place on grill for about 5 minutes.  BAM. Done.  I put salsa and sour cream in the hole.  SO GOOD.  This was last summer I think.

So when I found this recipe I was EXCITED.  It is from the site Treehugger.com 

which is a rather interesting site.  You should go check it out.

Anyway, I had to change things up a bit because:
1)  I didn't have garlic cloves, just that bottled minced stuff.  We got through LOTS of garlic here and that it quick and easy. 
2)  Since I wasn't going to roast the garlic I decided to put some olive oil on the grill when I grilled the avocado halves.  That way the olive oil taste would still be incorporated.  I dig EVOO.

So go to the site to get the recipe and watch a cool video.  Here are some lovely pictures I took as I worked to get you inspired.  Enjoy! 

Avocados halved.  I love these things.  

To pit them cut them in half, then CAREFULLY take a knife and smack it into the pit.  Then twist the knife and the pit will pop out.  Just make sure to be careful.  To get the pit off the knife I use a towel to grab the pit.  Can't be too careful!

 Here is the freshly grilled halves.  Nom nom nom

I am not sure WHY I find the fact that avocados scoop so easily out of their shells awesome, but I do.  It is cool.

Shells, pits, and tomato balls.  I don't enjoy tomatoes AT ALL, but the tomatoes in this recipe were bearable.  I didn't even notice them really.  I cut three tomatoes, but probably only used half of those.  Also, I find the tomatoes here pretty.

 Oh...and I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  We ate it too fast.