NatureBox Review

As a participant in the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, I was offered the opportunity to try and then review NatureBox.  I’d never heard of the company before, but I was certainly game to help out! NatureBox is a service that delivers healthy snacks to your doorstep on a monthly basis.  You don’t have to sign a contract or anything, just pick and choose which months you’d like to recieve and for $19.95 (plus free shipping!!!) you will find a sturdy box filled with 5 recyclable rice paper bags of healthy, yummy, wonderful snacks.

I was sent the June box which contained:

  • Harvest Fruit Granola
  • Sun-ripened White Peaches
  • Apple Rings
  • Citrus Kick Almonds
  • Organic Mighty Mix
Those almonds were to die for.  I did not share them.  Not even one.  The other snacks have been fantastic for post-run snacks, a surprise in my husband’s lunch box and I’ve topped our homemade yogurt with the granola to jazz it up a bit.
Jenny at The Crunchy Wife and Sarah at Mindfully Frugal Mom both wrote lovely reviews where they detailed all the perks of the program and thought to take photos of their boxes… If you want pretty photos, their blogs are the place to go (I don’t do reviews all that often… I’m still learning!).  As I sat here thinking about about the nutrition, simplicity and responsibility behind this program, it occurred to me that this is something that would be great for college students, care packages to family in another state, students on mission trips and our military (NatureBox offers shipping to FPO/APO addresses!!).  My brother is currently deployed, but will return home, Lord willing, in the next 2-3 weeks.  Next deployment, though!
Interested?  Visit the NatureBox site, or their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter.  Wanna try them out?  Use the code REFER25 for 25% off your first box!
Disclaimer: I was sent the June Box from NatureBox free of charge as part of the Go Green, Get Fit Challenge and for the purpose of this review. My opinion was in no way influenced by the excitement of receiving something in the mail for free.

Fitness Friday – 07.27.12

Badge 250

Have you joined the Go Green Get Fit Challenge yet?

A slow week here… the kids were sick and instead of playing Typhoid Mary and passing the plague on to the few untouched children in my town, we stayed home.  I did several workouts in the living room and did manage to get a short run in.  Planet Shoes is a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge and my Merrell Pace Gloves arrived courtesy of the sponsorship!  So far, I love them, but am waiting to actually write about them until I’ve gotten a good run and a class in.  Regardless of how they perform, I look pretty snazzy in them!

This week, I realized how much I really should get rolling on actually teaching Liam how to do some exercises.  He needs to work on his gross motor skills and our OT referred me to this neat blog: The OT Mom Learning Activities.  She’s got all kinds of fun exercises that actually have a purpose.  Liam needs to work on his core strength so we are doing lots of plank, mountain climbers and I’m working with him on the crab.

Of course, this post is late getting finished today because I was totally side tracked by the opening ceremonies of the Olympics!  Are you watching?  Liam watched a little bit of the beginning of the ceremonies and is really excited to watch the runners.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have a few activities set up for him this week!

Coming up this week on the blog: My review of Naturebox Snacks, a review of the very pretty (and comfy) Merrell Pace Glove Shoes, a few recipes and hopefully some fun activites we’ve been up to around here.  This week I need to check my weight and measurements for July and keep on running… I’m running the Blueberry Patch 5k 3 weeks from tomorrow!

The Go Green, Get Fit Challenge is made possible with the generosity and support of these partners:

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The Pug

Hi.  I’m Vito.  I answer to Vito, Snoob, Deedo, Snuggly Puggly and Baron Puglet Von Snugglet.  I was the dream dog of my Daddy and was born March 8th, 2006.  When my brothers and sisters and I were 6 weeks old, we were listed in the newspaper classified ads.  It was love at first sight because I’m crazy and happy and wiggly.  I got picked because I had an umbilical hernia and it reminded Daddy of Chandler (on Friends) and it was then named my magic nubbins.

My vet calls me “The Tank”… apparently, I eat too much “people” food.  Food is food, right? And that is how the blog came to be named after me.  I’m not the only dog in the house, but I’m far more interested in the food.  Nunzio waits to come into the kitchen until the meal is served and then being cleaned up.  I shadow my mama until something drops and then… I pounce.  Well… I do whatever you call a pug scrambling for food anyway.  Pretty much the only thing I won’t eat is lettuce.

I came to this family a month after my parents got married.  I sat with my head on Mama’s lap while she mourned the death of her mother.  I went on all kinds of fabulous trips and adventures the first few years I lived with Mama and Daddy.  When Mama was pregnant with Liam, I laid on the floor in the bathroom for months while she threw up.  The sound of someone throwing up still upsets me.  When Liam was born, I was right there.  I was there when Mama’s water broke when she was in labor with Sylvi.  It is I who sounds the alarm any time a stray leaf moves in the yard and threatens my family’s safety.  I am responsible for the after meal clean up of Sylvi now… no matter how much Mama protests my attempts to climb into her booster seat… I know she needs my help.

So yeah… I’m pretty much awesome.  I don’t like long walks, they make me too huffy.  Sometimes, I dig in the sandbox, but it gets in my paws, so I try to remember not to do that too much.  I like to sniff around in the garden, but always get caught right before sampling the carrot tops.  I can’t sleep at night unless I’m snuggled up next to Mama.  I love to hang my snout over the edge of the bathroom trashcan and scope for goodies.  I have super soft ears and love having them scratched!  My favorite thing to do with the kids is to chase them and try to snatch their snacks from their hands… and we all have so much fun running like a bunch of crazies!

Wordless Wednesday – 3 year celebration

It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone from this tiny baby…

to this little boy who didn’t walk for another 3 months and was crazy about trucks…

to this little boy who had been a big brother for 3 months and loved the Cars movie…

to the little boy who loves Batman and drawing pictures and building with Legos.

I’m so excited to see what this year will bring and along the way, I’m just soaking up every available moment!

On contentment and fortitude

Growing up, all I wanted to do was be a wife and mommy.  I was under the impression that your life would be like Anne of Green Gables: meet that boy in high school, have a little bit of adventure and go to college and then settle down with your high school sweetheart for an idyllic life with your brood of 6 precious children on your self-sustaining farm in the Mohican Valley.  Ahem.  I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but I would like to point out to my 12 year-old self that it might have been beneficial to ask a few more questions before settling down on this idea of what life would be.

When my life’s path changed and I got to set aside a career and work closer to home, making significantly less money in the hopes of becoming more peaceful so that I could sustain a pregnancy, I jumped at it.  I thought it was my ticket to the life I had laid awake at night dreaming of.  Even though I was supposed to be at peace, I was incredibly discontent.  I hated that I was home more, but there was no baby.  Every announcement of pregnancy from my friends would send me into despair.  So much so that one friend who knew how frustrated I was about everyone else being pregnant didn’t tell me she was pregnant and when she started spotting, she couldn’t rely on my support.  I didn’t know until after she had made it through, the baby was safe… and I was myself pregnant.  I’ve never allowed discontentment to cause me to behave like that again over the desire for a baby.  Admitedly, I struggle.  I was pregnant when Liam was 1 and I’m not now that Sylvi is 1.  It’s not the season of my life for it and I’m working to accept that gracefully.

Once I had my baby and the birth I had dreamed of, I was blindsided by struggles with nursing, colic and depression.  No matter how many positives there were in my life, I couldn’t look past my disappointments and even try to be content.  I wasted the first 8 months of Liam’s life wishing and hoping for change, regretting things beyond my control and pinning for relationships that will never be.

Motherhood is hard.  I didn’t know that when I day dreamed of my children’s names.  When I planned for their births, I didn’t figure in mental battles.  I didn’t realize what sleep exhaustion does to rational people.  But I learned.  And I am still learning.  Because, you see, in addition to the challenges of motherhood, it is also ever-evolving.  I am a routine loving person, but with small ones, the routine isn’t always concrete even remotely predictable.

I want you to know that although I struggle within myself at times to remember that this is just a season of life, it’s getting so much easier.  Life itself isn’t always easier, but my attitude in the thick of things is easier.  Why?  Because I am really am content.  I am content to stay home with my kiddos and be the on-call parent in the middle of the night.  I am content to the be the one who settles temper tantrums and cleans up puke.  I am so grateful to even have these children who laugh, cry, dance, run, scream, hit, pretend and hug.  I am so grateful to be able to stay home with our children, even though it means we have to pinch pennies and make sacrifices.  I am grateful to have a husband who wants me to stay home and care for the house, the kids, and all the logistics involved, including picking of many, many stray socks.

I’ve heard mothers complain of being bored while being at home.  Don’t say that!  Perhaps you long for the days when you could just pick up your purse and jet across town at a moment’s notice, but those days are not part of a season of life that involves small children.  Parenting is a major sacrifice, one in which all your own weakness are amplified and underlined.  Life at home, if your circumstance allows for it, is what you make of it.  Don’t let it stop being a joy.  Don’t let the pressure to rush and be involved in every play date create discontent.  Don’t mistake “me time” for actual restorative moments that refresh you.

Don’t snort after reading that last paragraph and ask where I get off telling you to stop complaining about being bored.  Listen to me when I tell you that contentment is something you may have to work at, but it’s worth it.  Sarah at Clover Lane says it so well:

 “Fortitude is a word often used to describe something big…a battle fought, a peak scaled, a disaster survived.  But when it comes to motherhood, I think fortitude is simpler, quiet, more constant.  I think it is the perfect word to describe a trait essential when mothering many different ages, stages and personalities.”

 Finding the place within yourself where contentment and fortitude are in harmony is so freeing.  You need the fortitude to find the contentment and you need the contentment to manage the fortitude.  Our lives as parents, as mothers, are not here to just exist and change diapers.  We are here to love precious little lives with all our might.

I am far from perfect.  There are days when I want to wallow in my mood and not gently show Liam how to put his unders on correctly for the 47th time.  Sometimes, I get frustrated that Sylvi just wails constantly while she’s teething and there is little I can do to ease her pain.  And sometimes, the sight of a stray sock just about sends me over the edge.  However, I must always remind myself that today may be the last time Liam needs help with the direction of his clothing.  Sylvi will one day have all her teeth and I won’t get to write the new tooth dates in her baby book.  (I have nothing to say about the socks, though… they really are a thorn in my side!)  I learned my lesson with Liam to not wish away time or complain about the hardships… I hated how hard nursing was for me, I hated how I felt, I hated everything about it… and then one day, without getting to make the choice myself, it was gone.  It may seem dramatic, but that was a turning point.  I learned that I had to foster contentment and develop the fortitude if I was going to get to be that mother I dreamed of being.  Every time I start to slip, I remind myself that today is all I have to work with and it can either be beautiful , or it can be a wasted square on my calendar.

How about you?  How do you cultivate contentment in your life?

Fitness Friday – The Color Run Recap

Today was the first goal on my list: The Color Run.  3.1 miles of sheer joy, happiness and paint.  I have no idea how long it took me to finish, and I do not care.  I was so wound up in the starting line up, I forgot to start my timer. Regardless, the most fun I’ve had in a very long time.  I did not run the entire way, it was not possible. (And also, I did not stretch before we were packed in like sardines… foolishness in that decision.)  I was not aware of the sheer volume of people that would attend.  They released us to run in waves of 1,000 and when it came to the color zones, people slowed down enough that they were not only walking, but stopping to roll in the colored powder.  So yeah… I took my sweet time and enjoyed every moment!

I’m glad I did.  I’m even more glad that I did it with my friends from Mommy and Me Fitness.  They are such a great support to me and I’m thrilled that although I didn’t make it a continuous run, I DID it.  Six months ago, I couldn’t even make it through 30 seconds of running.  And today, I completed an entire 5K as a runner.

Fitness Friday – 07.13.12

Alternate title: The Sunday Afternoon Walk of Shame

This week just slipped by me and exercise did not happen.  I felt as though I was in a fog all week.  I was tired and completely unmotivated.  Thursday morning, I had a meeting that I was amping myself up for all week and when it did not go as I had hoped, I let it get to me.

I did find myself spending time on the EcoMom page, reading the posts in the discussions and haunting the Facebook page.  And even a little bit of time on Pinterest.  I’m loving all the support that women can provide for one another and it’s been really neat to read everyone else’s stories… all different levels of fitness have joined the challenge and it’s just so exciting to watch the growth in their stories.

This week’s goal are simply to get 3-4 days of running in, keep my diet as clean as possible (there are an ungodly number of cupcakes in my fridge) and make sure I stay hydrated.  I feel confident about finishing the run Saturday morning and am looking forward to conquering something physical for the first time in ages!!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Giveaway

Remember the post I wrote last week to review some products from Earth Mama Angel Baby? I had no idea how this bundle would be so great to have on hand for herbal help on the go or at home and I’ve really loved having it at the ready.  Mama’s Herbal First Aid Bundle includes every little herbal thing you need to care for life’s little mishaps, safely, naturally and effectively.

Mama’s Herbal First Aid Bundle comes all packed up in a handy Organic Cotton Tote and includes:

If you prefer to DIY, make sure to read Earth Mama’s Herbal First Aid Kit article, with suggestions for herbal essentials to make your own:

Since doing my review, I’ve continued to use the EMAB products on the inevitable boo-boos that arise in a home with small children.  Liam got his first sunburn this week and I was quick to pull out the Bottom Spray.  I love being able to treat my kids with something that is not only natural, but reputable.  Don’t we all?

So to end this post, I have news!  Earth Mama Angel Baby® is so kindly giving away one Mama’s Herbal First Aid Bundle ($50 value) to one lucky Pug in the Kitchen reader!!! Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Memory creation

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

We cook and bake and eat in the kitchen together.

We garden, build sandcastles, dig in the dirt and play in the water outside.

We make racetracks and have tea parties in the living room.

We draw, paint, cut, stamp and glue our artwork.

For our family, life in and of itself is the creation.  We want to create a life that is peaceful and yet wildly fun for our children.  So instead of all our creations being edible or art, my husband and I have set about to create memories with Liam and Sylvi.    We want to grow strong children who respect themselves and others.  We want to challenge their minds and help them grow into well-rounded, compassionate individuals.  Along the way, it’s my dream to create memories for them to look back on and draw from.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children or all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don’t always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking… Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen‘s family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she’s sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things … And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children’s Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children’s artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father’s Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It’s a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with… well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura’s Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.