Random

  • A friend posted this quote on Facebook and I love it.

“In 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.”

  • Ruby is a champion eater. The other day I had tuna mixed with a little mayo for lunch. The boys tasted it and made ugly faces but Ruby tasted it and asked for more. She ended up sharing it all with me. It just tickles me when she tries and likes new foods.IMG_4828
  • It sucks to read nasty comments about your writing. I knew this would happen when I agreed to The Huffington Post and I promised myself that I wouldn’t comment back but one night I drank a little too much and the next thing I knew I was replying to one of them. It has been easy to blow off most of the comments because they’re just so crazy but one lady really got to me when she said that my entire post was just a typical military wife, complaining and looking for sympathy. It’s also not so nice to hear antimilitary people say that we just use the government to live a middle class life and we shouldn’t have kids. I’m trying just to focus on the 1,000+ people who have “liked” the post.
  • I’m pretty sure Ruby’s a lefty. I know they say you can’t tell this young but if she picks something up with her right hand, she will immediately switch it to her left. She throws with her left hand and colors with her left hand. Josh used to joke that he was going to tie our boys’ right hand behind their back so they’d learn to be southpaws so it’s pretty funny that his only daughter may be one.
  • Over 12 years ago I told Josh something that my grandma used to say to me and since then he has said it too. When I was little, and I’d start to tell her something but then forget, she’d say, “It must have been a lie.” which is what her mother had said to her when she was little. The other day I forgot what I was saying and without missing a beat Josh said, “It must have been a lie.” It made me smile to think of how a small bit of mammy’s mother, who died in 1966, was still being passed on. I wonder if someone said it to her when she was a child.IMG_4831
  • Parker and Theo tried bologna for the first time last week and they both hated it. Parker said that it was “offensive”. Ha!
  • My husband is hot. He’s trying out a new hair style (as much of a style as you can have in the CG) and I love it. He’s a little insecure about it still because it’s completely different than he’s ever had but I think it looks great.IMG_4957
  • All I want to do is go to the beach. Every day. I’m so pissed that I took the four years we lived next to the beach in Cape May for granted.
  • Parker and I used a public bathroom while we were at the beach last weekend and we both died laughing over a “poem” that was written on the wall. I’ll spare you the actual words because it was pretty vulgar but it reminded me of a cross stitch that used to hang in the bathroom of Josh’s childhood home –

“Goodness gracious what a caper,

here I sit without no paper.

My train is due, I must not linger.

One, two, three here goes my finger!”

hahaha! I’ve called dibs on that family heirloom! 🙂

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  • After several times of Sirius radio charging our bank card without our permission, Josh was fed up and called and cancelled. We’ve had Sirius for over two years so not having it is an adjustment. The first day we didn’t have it Theo asked us to turn on Radio Disney about 35 times before he finally understood that we no longer have Radio Disney, Parker complained that FM “doesn’t sound as good”, and I complained about all of the commercials. It’s only a matter of time before we’ve all worked Josh enough to call and resubscribe.
  • Speaking of the radio. I am obsessed with this song (though I haven’t heard it yet on FM radio).
  • This song too. 
  • Weddings make me bawl. I love weddings. I cried while watching Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding on tv. I cry when I look at Facebook friends’ wedding pictures. Most recently one of my favorite bloggers got married and I cried while scrolling through her wedding post. The funny thing is that I never had a wedding. I can honestly say that I never wanted one for myself but I would be devastated if any of my kids chose not to have a wedding.
  • I ordered my first Stitch Fix and I can’t wait for it to arrive. Stitch Fix is basically an online personal stylist. You pay $20, fill out an extensive questionnaire to help them determine your style and then they mail you a box filled with a few different clothing and accessory pieces. You can choose to ship it all back (they provide you with a postage paid envelope) or keep what you want, in which case the $20 that you already paid will go towards your purchase. I thought it was hysterical that one of the questions was “Are you a mom?” Super important when it comes to style! In case you want to try it out for yourself, here’s a link that would give me a sharing credit towards my next “fix”. 
  • Lastly, don’t forget the Woolzies giveaway ends tomorrow night! Just go tell me what your family does to be a little greener in the comment section of that post for a chance to win!

Woolzies: My first review and giveaway!

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A little over a month ago I was contacted by Soft by Nature and asked to review one of their products – Woolzies. Woolzies are 100% natural wool dryer balls meant to replace the chemical laden, scented dryer sheets that most people use. After I researched them a little bit, I thought it was a perfect product for our family to review since I’m always trying to find products and ways to help keep chemicals out of our house (like I detailed in this post). It’s also perfect because Josh happens to be a static freak and throws temper tantrums when his favorite polyester Adidas pants cling to his legs. We’ve been using them for a month now so,

Do they get rid of static cling?

Yes, for the most part. They worked 100% for about 2 weeks and then Josh I noticed a little static creeping back so I did what the instructions told me to do in case this happened. I put each ball inside of a sock and washed them with a load of laundry. This seemed to do the trick and we’re back to no static.

Do they really cut back on drying time?

I think so. I’m not positive because I’ve never paid attention to how long loads take to dry without Woolzies. For instance, I set my dryer timer at a certain time every time but I don’t know if they’re actually dry before the timer goes off. I did notice once when I needed to get some baseball gear out early that the entire load was dry about 20 minutes before the timer was set to go off. All 6 dryer balls were in with this load so it’s possible that it was caused by the Woolzies.

Are they loud, bouncing around in the dryer?

Not loud but you can notice that there’s something different going on in the dryer. It’s nothing I’d complain about though.

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What do they smell like?

I was a little nervous about the smell since I know what scent elicits from scrubbing my wool rug but Woolzies don’t smell like anything at all. Actually, you can add drops of essential oils to add a fragrance to your loads of laundry.

Any complaints?

The only complaint that I have about Woolzies is that they get lost throughout your laundry. My laundry room is so small that I have to take the clothes out of the dryer at an angle (rather than while standing in front of the dryer) so it’s a bit of a pain in the ass when a rogue dryer ball flies out from inside of a shirt and rolls across the floor. Also, on a minor note, my dog gets them confused with tennis balls 🙂

Whether or not we purchase another pack once this one wears out depends on how long they actually last. If they meet up to the claims then yes, I’ll be a Woolzies customer for life.

Woolzies are extremely cost effective. Purchasing directly from the website, they cost $34.95 with free shipping. At first glance this price looks outrageous for a laundry product but they’re guaranteed to last for 1,000 loads. That’s an average cost of about 4 cents per load. You can also buy them for a buck cheaper on Amazon or a 3 pack for $18. For all of the details on how and why these wool balls work, or if you want to purchase a pack visit woolzies.com or check out their facebook page.

In the meantime, Soft by Nature has also been kind enough to give one of my readers their very own complimentary 6 pack of Woolzies shipped directly to your house. To enter, leave a comment, along with your email address, explaining what your family does to be a little “greener” (your email will not be used for anything besides contacting you when you win!). For a bonus entry, follow This Organic Life by clicking the follow button on the top right and signing up via WordPress or email. You must enter by Wednesday, July 17 at 6pm. Good luck!

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received no monetary compensation for writing this review, however the product was given to me complimentary. All opinions expressed are my own. 

What’s in (and not in) my grocery cart: part 2

Okay so what is in my grocery cart? Enough for a family of 5, plus a guest, to eat for a week.

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The menu for this week includes,

Rice and bean bowls

Meatball sliders with a side salad

Shrimp tacos with cuban black beans

Hot dogs (kids’ pick), corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and salad

Spinach and cheese quinoa casserole

One day with leftovers

One day out to dinner

And I couldn’t get away without buying some pretty $3.99 flowers!

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What’s in (and not in) my grocery cart: Part 1

I love when food blogs do posts like these so I thought writing one myself would be fun since I haven’t written about food or grocery shopping in a while. Eating healthy is still very important to me but it’s not something I obsess over like a few years ago. I still buy mostly organic and try to keep as much processed junk out of our house as possible, but we do eat out a lot and obviously most restaurant meals aren’t the healthiest. The joke in our house is that I cook 4 nights in a row and then we go out 2 nights in a row and though it’s just something the boys tease me about, it’s usually how our weeks go.

Over the years I’ve tried several different grocery trip techniques. Years ago, we used to make one big monthly shopping trip with small trips for things like produce and dairy here and there. Then as the boys began to eat more, I started doing biweekly trips and now I go once a week. I’m able to get most of our food at Trader Joe’s but usually stop at Target every so often for personal hygiene/cleaning products. I’ve mentioned before that we use Shaklee products for most of our home cleaners which means that we haven’t bought window cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, any sort of cleaning wipe, degreaser, etc. for over two years. If you’re not familiar with Shaklee, I highly recommend checking them out. The concentrate makes nearly every cleaner you could imagine and the cherry pit scrub is THE BOMB. Plus I haven’t bought household cleaner since April 2011. Did you hear that part? I also use a Shark steam cleaner for our floors so I don’t have to ever buy any sort of floor cleaner or mopping agent and I don’t have to use any kind of chemicals on the floor Ruby crawls and plays on. I used to be obsessed with my Swiffer but our house in Texas had marble floors so we weren’t allowed to use chemicals on it. That’s when I switched to the Shark and now I love it. Sometimes, if I want that clean smell, I spray a little tea tree oil on the floors before I steam them. Not only does it smell a little like Pine Sol (if you like that smell) but tea tree oil is also antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal and antiseptic. Buying products like Shaklee and the Shark are an initial investment but you save so much money over the course of the use you get out of them. The same goes for our cloth diapers. Some other products I never buy anymore are facial scrub and diaper rash cream. Instead I use coconut oil. Coconut oil is seriously a miracle product. You can eat it, use it in place of sunscreen, put it on your baby’s bum, use it instead of lotion or add some sugar to it and exfoliate while moisturizing your skin. And it smells so freaking good, I have a hard time resisting the urge to lick my fingers when I’m done (well maybe not so much after rubbing Ruby’s butt).

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Our grocery budget changes depending on where we live but has also been steadily increasing due to the kids getting older. I’m seriously terrified of what the bill will be in 10 years. Currently, I budget for $200 a week. $800 a month is our biggest expense by double of anything else (since we live in Coast Guard housing we don’t pay a mortgage or rent). Some weeks I stay under budget but some weeks I go over so $800 a month on average is pretty accurate. To stay within this budget, I make meal plans. Every week before I head to the store I plan out what we’ll be eating for dinner all week and make a list based on the ingredients I’ll need. I’ve been doing this for about four years now and I couldn’t even begin to think of how to grocery shop without it. I also save by freezing leftovers. Josh isn’t a big leftovers eater (I could eat the same meal everyday all week long if it meant only spending 20 bucks) but rather than throw them away, I’ve found that freezing them and eating them two weeks later works. It’s just the repetition of eating the same thing two days in a row that he doesn’t like. Not buying much processed foods also helps stay within our budget. For the most part, we don’t waste money on things like chips, soda, frozen meals or pre made foods. I don’t buy bottled water or juice boxes either. Instead everyone in our house has their own reusable water bottle that we fill from our Brita filter. Reusable products are seriously the way to go. Not only are they less wasteful, but they’re huge money savers over time. We have cloth napkins so I never buy paper napkins or towels, we have lunchskins which are reusable sandwich bags, as well as Parker’s Goodbyn bento lunchbox, so I only buy plastic baggies like once a year and paper bags never, and we also have reusable snack pouches to fill with applesauce or yogurt so I never have to buy the more expensive individual packages. Something else I’ve been doing for the past few years in an attempt to be a little healthier and save money, is making as much as possible myself. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought chicken or veggie stock, canned beans, or pancake mix. These are examples of things that are just worth making on your own. Josh makes fun of me for a lot of this stuff but he also cringes every time he sneaks a peak at our grocery receipt so I know he appreciates the benefits.

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Within the next few weeks, I’m going to have my first product review and giveaway. A company has asked me to try out their reusable, all natural dryer balls which replace the scented, chemical filled sheets that most people use and I can’t wait. Let’s do some laundry!