Citrus Lane Review- January 2014

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I managed to not get a main box photo of Citrus Lane for January, so this is their cute little logo. Citrus Lane is a box geared towards moms and kids, and is curated based on your child’s age and gender. For us, that means we get a box for a 21-22 month old boy this month. Citrus Lane is $25 per month and usually contains three or four items for your child, as well as a mommy item on occasion. Here are the goods:

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I was excited to peek inside, and everything looked really cool, including a new Skip Hop item. Here are the details:

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Skip Hop Lunchie in Zebra: ($14) We are already the proud owners of a penguin Lunchie from Skip Hop, and D uses it everyday. This will either make a nice spare or a great gift. We love Skip Hop around here. There was alos a 20% off coupon code for Skip Hop items. I think we might just use that for a backpack here pretty soon.

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Peter Rabbit Organics pouch in pear and apple: ($1.50) The only pouches I buy anymore are the veggie ones because it is the only way to get something green into my child. So, when we get the fruitier ones in boxes, he gets excited. This one is gone already.

Mommy’s Bliss Kid’s upset Tummy and Nausea Relief: ($9) Ok, where was this at the holidays when our kid was such a disaster?  This will be nice to have on hand, though I hope it is a long time before we need it. Mommy’s Bliss  all-herbal products contain all-natural ingredients and are gluten free, and vegan.

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Plan Toys Shape Sorter: ($15) So this thing is a pretty cool toy in that it is interactive, but still all one piece. It’s a perfect car seat toy because there are no little pieces to fall down. D played with this for a few minutes in his seat, then got frustrated until I showed him how to do it. Then he was happy to play with it for quite a while. I’m not sure how long he will be into it, but it is a cool item for now.

All told, the January Citrus Lane box had a value of around $39 for the $25 price tag. Not a crazy huge value, but I did like the items, and they will either get used or make nice gifts. You can always use the code BLOGSAVE to save 50% off of your first box. Citrus Lane is one of the first kids boxes I have tried, and it is fairly consistent in that I always like it, but it rarely knocks my socks off. This month’s box met that criteria.

Happy Mommy Box Review- January 2014

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Happy Mommy Box came yesterday in the mail, and I was so excited to get my second one, having really liked a lot of the stuff in the first one. This one had a lot of great items in it, including some super cuter jewelry. There were a couple issues, too, but I am chalking that up to them still being a new box company. Here are the goods:

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I was excited to see the containers and couldn’t wait to check out the indie jewelry. Happy Mommy Box is a fairly new monthly subscription box geared towards cool stuff to make moms happy. They always try to include a little item for the kids, too, like a snack or toy, but it is mostly about a little spoiling for mom, which I am all about. Happy Mommy Box is $29 per month, plus an initial sign-up fee of another $29. (making your first box $58 and then $29 thereafter) Here are the details:

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Happy Mommy Box always includes a little hanging-up worthy quote. I thought this one was sweet, and I am going to pass it on to a certain friend who would like this one very much.

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Pop-it airtight containers: ($15) As far as I’m concerned, it would take a lot of portable, lidded containers before we ever had enough. I have great sets of OXO stuff that I used to use when I made baby purees all the time, but those are actually getting kind of small for bigger kid portions. These are awesome. Airtight, microwave and dishwasher safe, great sizes and great for storing. They get awesome reviews on amazon, too.

Pirate’s Booty: ($0.75) Pirate’s Booty is basically a staple around here, so an extra never hurts. We don’t give our son this everyday, but it is his favorite, and it is simply organic puffed corn and cheese, not the most healthy thing in the world, but not candy and Chee-tos either. We definitely never take a day-trip or airplane ride without Pirate’s Booty.

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Chobani magnet and coupons- So, I did not assign a value to this because, while I was SO excited for free yogurt coupons, especially for something we love and buy, these coupons are EXPIRED. They have a date of 12/31/13, and guess what, it is 2014.  It’s weird how disappointed I felt about this. Obviously, it is not the end of the world, or even a big deal, but it is just an attention to detail thing that I found kind of lame. The magnet is cool, as it gives all the conversions to use when using Chobani to replace things like oil, sour cream, mayo, etc in recipes. It is on the fridge, and we will use it, but the expired coupons are annoying.

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Mug from CrystalFaye.com: ($18) Ok, so at first I thought this mug was a promo item since it has the website printed on it so prominently, but they do sell these on their site for $18. It is cute, but not totally my thing, plus, if I am going to pay $18 for a mug, I think that it should just have the cute saying on it and not be an advertisement. Am I missing something? Is CrystalFaye.com such a cool thing that it is cool to have it on the mug? I have been super unaware of cool stuff like that before, so benefit of the doubt and all. I will pass it on to my friend from Georgia, who will like the cute, peachy design.

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Love both of these cute jewelry items!

The Poppy Chain hammered brass stud earrings: ($7) These are so cute and versatile. I love little studs like this, especially for just running errands, you know, those times when you are probably going to wear yoga pants and tennies but still want to look a little girly and like you put some effort in.  Wait, am I the only one who does this?  I also love earrings like this for when I am wearing a big statement necklace. This shop has tons of cute stuff, too.  Yay for discovering new etsy artists, something Happy Mommy Box is really big on.

Jilly Bean Jewelry necklace: ($9.99) This is a cute printed necklace that says inspire on it from another indie jewelry maker. I love the gold, and the matted gold chain is cute, too, and is long enough that it can be worn over a collar as is the trend right now.

All told, the January Happy Mommy Box had a value of about $55 for the $29 price tag. I was pretty annoyed by getting expired coupons, but the cute jewelry makes me happy, and I love the containers. I am going to give this box another month, since I know they are still starting out and I like the concept. They do promise to send their monthly magazine in each box, and that was not here. Not sure if it was just forgotten or if there wasn’t one this month. Looking forward to seeing what these ladies can bring.

Mommy Mondays- Initiation

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Feeling a bit better.

Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there!

*In addition, this post contains mentions of toddler bodily functions and the related wrath.

In our lives as parents, my husband and I have been extremely lucky on so many fronts, and I do not take that for granted. We have a healthy, sweet boy who will be two in April. And while I would never trade his general healthiness for any amount of sleep, we were lucky on that front, too. He has been a great sleeper most of his life, sleeping through the night beginning around eight weeks old, and, besides the occasional week here and there where a cold or upset tummy would wake him up, he has generally logged 11 straight hours a night. I have watched friends who struggled with colicky kids or kids who just aren’t good sleepers, and I felt genuinely bad for them, while in the same breath feeling so thankful for my solid eight hours every single night.  What I didn’t realize is that I am now completely spoiled.

Enter the holiday hell of 2013. We left our home in Colorado to spend six days with my husband’s parents in the Bay area on Christmas afternoon. We got to their house after D’s bedtime on Christmas night, and he fell fast asleep in his travel crib right away, leaving us to sit upstairs having a glass of wine and settling in. We went to bed a couple of hours later.

We woke up around 1am California time to our son making unfamiliar noises. We both jumped up, and Mike scooped him out of his crib. Our baby had vomited. Not something he does often, but hey, we’d been on a plane and he’d had juice for the first time ever (a small, watered-down bribe on the flight). It was surely just a one-time thing.

Over the next few days, he would throw up about a gazillion times. Oh, and he would also poop his pants approximately a million times in various explosive manners. He would cover both of us in things we never expected to be covered in, including one incident that involved me getting in the shower partially clothed at midnight, a veritable double baptism that I consider to have fully initiated me into real parenthood. Throughout and because of all of these violent excretions, D woke up no less than five times a night. Every single night. We were away from our home, all three of us exhausted and sharing a bedroom that was now semi-rancid, sleeping on a futon, no diaper pail or changing table in sight. I do not remember being that tired when our son was a newborn; I couldn’t possibly have been. I shed many tears on that trip for various reasons, but mostly because I was broken by worry, running on absolute empty, and not even slightly in control.

Following a flight where we took turns holding our ticking time bomb of a toddler while he slept peacefully, we arrived home incident-free.  We entered our house, greeted our dogs, perused a few holiday cards, and then watched and listened as our sweet, blue-eyed son filled his diaper and the leg of his pajamas and then walked directly to his changing table to request some new clothing and possibly a once-over with a power washer. We laughed at his perfect timing and felt so much relief at avoiding an airplane horror, and then we suffered again all night as he woke up every single hour.

His stomach bug ran its course, and he had one healthy morning and afternoon explosion-free. But that night he again woke up several times, this time with a steadier digestive system, but plagued with high fevers. The next day, the pediatrician told us to wait it out. That was five days ago, and our first night of more than five hours’ sleep was last night. He slept well, woke up at five ready to play, and seemed totally fine.

Then today, before I even knew what was happening, he was running a temperature of 103. I called the doctor, and she said to keep waiting it out.

I guess I’m not sure why I’m revealing all of this. Maybe it is to explain why I have been a little MIA for the past two weeks. Maybe it is to seek a little sympathy from the other moms out there (because seriously, holy hell). Maybe it is just to get it out of my system and try to sort out what to be insanely worried about versus what’s totally normal for a toddler with a virus. All I know is that there have been times throughout the last two years, including during my late pregnancy, when I have become acutely aware of why so many people (used to?) have children in their 20s instead of their late 30s, and this is one of those times. I’m tired and worried. I’m completely worn out, annoyed with the doctors who don’t seem to realize that my particular child is the most important center of the universe, and sore from constantly lugging around the sickly 26-pounder who normally insists on walking. But mostly, I am something I didn’t realize I was and apparently have been this entire time, and that is a real mom. Shit got real, (literally) but, even unemployed,  slightly chubbier than my fighting weight, and covered in baby vomit shrapnel, I’m still the luckiest person in the world. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slam this glass of wi–Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Bluum Box Review December 2013

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Bluum box arrived yesterday just as I was taking inventory of everything D is getting for Christmas. This box saved me a last minute trip to the store for the last couple stocking stuffers, plus provided a couple other gifts and snacks, too. It was a great box!  Here are the goods:

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Bluum Box is a monthly box for kids and moms that is curated based on your child’s age and gender. We have a 21 month old son, and this box was right up his alley this month. Bluum box is $24.95 per month if you opt for the month-to-month option and less if you do multiple months at a time. You can get 50% off of your first month by using this link. Our first Bluum Box last month had some items that felt like they were for a baby a little younger than D, but this month, it was right on target.  Here are the details:

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Baby Einstein Look, Listen and Discover book and song player: ($14) D will love this. He is super into music and books right now and has just started sitting down with books and “reading” on his own. He is going to have a great time with both parts.

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Plantlife Ramie Frog bath cloth/toy: ($4.50) This is so perfect for our bath-loving guy, and for some reason, it has never occurred to me to get anything like this. I can’t wait until we get to use this for the first tub after our Christmas trip. D is going to have a blast with it.

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Green Eats Feeding Spoons 8-Pack: ($5.58) These are along the lines of take-and-toss sippy cups. You can wash them, but you can also just toss them away (or lose them, as we are more prone to around here) without too much sadness. We will be taking a few of these with us when we fly out of town on Wednesday. Perfect timing on this one, and no worries about losing our good toddler spoons.

 

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Peter Rabbit Organics Squeezies: ($3 for both) Our child will not eat a vegetable unless it comes in pouch form. I have tried everything, and this is the only way to get anything green in his tummy. So we buy pouches of spinach and broccoli on a fairly regular basis. These are great pouches, everything is organic, and D liked the bunny. These two are already gone, but I grabbed a few more when we were at REI this weekend. I like that this one is kale. Hard to get kale in anything else baby-related, and I like giving my guy some super foods besides blueberries (which he would eat a pound of if I let him)

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar: ($1) This was one of the mom items in the box, but it will probably go to the child anyway. I like stuff like this, but so does D, and I like snacks that I can grab for him and throw in my purse.

Bonne Maman Preserves mini: ($0.69) This will probably come out of the drawer at some point during the summer for a picnic. We already use this brand and have the big jar in the fridge, although it is more a baby item, too, because it is one of the ingredients of PB &J.

All told, the December Bluum Box had a value of around $29 for the $25 price tag. I usually expect a bigger value than that for the kid boxes, but I did discover some new brands I like, and there were things in there that D is just going to love. I also love the email they send outlining everything in your box. They send it right after it is delivered so you are still surprised. The “mom items” this month are not really what I would call mom items; I think most moms I know would give both of these things to their kids just like I will, and to me, that is not a real mom item. Come on, spoil me a little; give me some lipgloss or something I will not immediately pass on to the toddler at my feet who is saying, “mine? this mine?” over and over again.  That being said, I do like Bluum Box and am excited to see what is next!

 

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Citrus Lane Review December 2013

Citrus Lane is another one that came yesterday. I will be all caught up on reviews by tomorrow with all the ones that came, but figured I could squeeze Citrus Lane in real quick. Citrus Lane is a monthly box for kids that is curated basd on age and gender. Our box is for a 20-month old boy. As I was trying to photograph this box, D went a little nuts over the contents, so I managed to miss a photo of the entire box. So, I am skipping my “here are the goods” photo and moving right on to here are the details:

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Pearhead Handprint Art set: ($10?) The only ones like this I can find online are for sets of four of these for $24, so I am calling this one $10. (speaking of which, websites without a search function drive me nuts)  This comes with the canvas, paint and tray for dipping hands in. I already know who we are gifting this, to. My mother-in-law will probably really enjoy making this with D over the holidays to hang on her wall. She likes crafty stuff and she likes him, so I think it will be a hit for the little gift exchange we are doing while we are in California.

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I Took The Moon for a Walk: ($7.19) This is a great little book, and while D is currently into about four books that are the only ones he will even think about reading, he always changes his selections eventually. I think this will work its way in there soon. I always like getting books in kid boxes.

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Melissa and Doug Stacker: ($7.99) This was the item that D pried out of my hands whilst I was trying to get a photo, and so here is the photo I could get of it. Already missing a couple pieces and stacked on our hardwood floors (which are just old, not dirty…well, they are probably dirty, too, but mostly just very lived on in our 100 year old house) I got this same stacker in our Bluum box last month (you can find a better photo in that review), and so that one, which I managed to hide unopened will go to D’s school so all the kids can use it. He loves this, and Melissa and Doug is a favorite brand around here.

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Snuggly Lotion from Episencial: ($9.00) The link is for the 8 oz, but the size that was in the box was the 3.4 oz. We love this brand, too, and extra lotion is always handy for everyone in Colorado. We slather the kid nightly with it, so it is always nice to have more good quality lotion to spare.

Um, that is it. This was not my favorite Citrus Lane box. There was no mommy item this month, and most of the items were things I had seen before in Citrus Lane boxes. I like the brands, but part of why I like boxes is to be introduced to new things that other moms might not know about yet. Last month’s box was a much better mix. All told, I calculate the value to be around $34. Not terrible, not amazing. What did you think of your Citrus Lane this month?

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Bluum to the Rescue

Ok, so I am expecting about eight boxes this week, and I have now gone two full days of getting nada from the post office. Well, I did get the jeans and sweaters I ordered with all of my Gap Cash and Gap Card points, but no boxes. I am starting to think they are all going to arrive in one giant pile tomorrow and it is going to take ma a week to catch up on reviews.

That being said, I did come home today to a Bluum box on my front porch, and it was my Momma Cup. I got my first Bluum box last week, and it was missing this item. It was listed on my dashboard, but not in my box. So, I sent them an email, to which someone responded personally within 24 hours, and then, poof, a week later, here is my cup.

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The Momma Spill-Proof Cup with straw: ($9.99) This is totally up D’s alley. He takes two sippie cups to school everyday, and since there are so few kinds out there, all the kids in his class have about the same ten cups. This one is totally different, and I think he will think the fact that it rocks back and forth is super cool. It says spill-proof, but so do a lot of them. I’ll have to report back after it is washed and used because that kid can manage to spill anything.

So thank you to Bluum for the great customer service! Getting all the items in so many boxes cannot be an easy task, so it is nice when they follow up quickly and fix it! By the way, Bluum is a monthly box geared toward moms and kids and it curated based on your child’s age and gender. For my first review, I mentioned that a couple of the items seemed a bit young for D, who is 20 months old, but it was still nice stuff, and I am looking forward to the December box.

More soon when I get inundated with December boxes. I am expecting two more from PopSugar, Bespoke Post, ipsy Glam Bag, Sparaj (so excited for this one!!), and a bunch of others that I already forgot about. Going to a super fun couple of weeks!