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Friday, 31 January 2014

Annie

So, I've posted about this on Facebook, but haven't had time on here. Almost two weeks ago, we added a new member of the family, Annie the Beagle:



Look at that cuteness! We got her off of Kijiji and she is the sweetest dog ever. Rarely barks, great with the kids, full of kisses. She's a bit timid and gets freaked out when the kids scream or yell (Aislinn is especially fond of giving a high-pitched scream when she's excited). She's 6 years old, and I think somewhere along the way she had a not-so-caring home.

She's very snuggly and has made herself at home on my bed, though she is kind of a suck and likes to have us pick her up onto the bed :/).


The cats are starting to warm up to her, but they are still not super comfortable with her yet, as demonstrated by Sage here:


We all love her, and are looking forward to taking her hiking and adventuring in the warmer weather. 


Annie, the Brave Geodog.




Monday, 20 January 2014

January Snackbox Has Arrived!

I found my January Snackbox in front of my door when I returned from dropping the kids off at school - finally. I was sent the tracking info when it shipped, but the tracking stopped somewhere in Richmond, BC (I'm in Ontario), so I wasn't sure where my box was (thanks Canada Post!).

This was my first Snackbox (http://www.getsnackbox.com). It is a subscription box of healthy snacks, and is priced at $39.95/mth + tax ($33 + $6.95 shipping) or less per month if you buy a 3 or 6 month subscription. I received mine for $15 less with a coupon code for new customers, and they sent one with my box for me to share with new customers as well: HEALTHYSTART967.

Let us open the box, shall we?



Not as pretty as my Little Life Box, but I WAS spoiled by that. On top there were coupon cards for Snackbox (as already shared) and Panty by Post (save $15 using coupon code GIFT15), as well as a mystery gift card to Trend Trunk (referral link) that could be worth up to $250 (mine, sadly was worth $5).

Now for what's inside:


Things are looking good! Let's line things up a little better so we can see everything:


Lots of tasty treats! This is what came in the box:

- HomeFree Mini Vanilla Cookies
- Larabar ALT Fruit and Nut Bar in Peanut Butter
- Annies's Homegrown Bunny Grahams in Chocolate
- Nature's Bakery Stone Ground Whole Wheat Raspberry Fig Bar
- Veggie-Go's Mountain Berry Spinach Fruit & Veggie Snack
- Brothers-All-Natural Apple Cinnamon Crisps
- Beanitos Original Black Bean Chips with Sea Salt
- RW Garcia 5 Seed Rosemary & Garlic Crackers
- Kiju Organic Juiceboxes in Mango Orange and Pomegranate Cherry
- Theobroma Organic 72% Dark Chocolate x2
- Nature's Path Organic Dark Chocolate Chip Chococonut Granola Bars (box of 5)
- Guayaki Brand Yerba Mate Drink in Revel Berry

I just want to say yay! Everything is milk protein-free! I can actually eat it all, even the chocolate!
There's a lot of great stuff there for the kids as well, which makes me happy. I'll be packing them the Kiju juice boxes in their lunches tomorrow. We've had them at Starbucks quite a few times and they love them. We are also a big fan of Annie's and Nature's Path, as well as HomeFree's cookies since they had them in the Little Life Box. I'm hoping the apple crisps are good, I'm usually a fan of apple crisps but I bought some terrible ones at Shopper's Drug Mart recently (the brand is ThreeWorks as a heads up), so I'm a little tentative. I'll have Mike try them first. :)

I have one complaint -  the yerba mate drink came dented.


I was not super impressed. Mike has me freaked out that dented cans have botulism, though I don't know if that's true or not. Wiki Answers had mixed responses on that. I will be firing off a complaint email to the company though.

Despite the can, I was really happy with the food selection in the box. One thing worth mentioning is that according to fellow blogger Canadian Subscription Box Addict (cdnboxaddict.blogspot.ca), this month's Snackbox was valued at less than the regular monthly subscription charge. I will probably hold off on ordering more boxes until I see if the next few boxes are higher valued. I don't really want to be losing money on what I order.

SURPRISE UPDATE!

I heard back from Snackbox regarding the can issue and they had this to say:

"I'm so sorry about that! We will send you a new Snackbox today."

What-the-what?! How awesome is that! They really went above and beyond as I was totally not expecting that, maybe a credit at the very most. It was way better than Ipsy's generic response to the face-burning towelettes:

"Thank you for your email. We're so sorry you didn't love the towelettes in your Glam Bag. We do appreciate your feedback and encourage you to review this product and all of the other products you received by visiting your "Glam Room" on ipsy.com. We will certainly take it into consideration as we continue to plan our Glam Bags for this year."

Snackbox even sent me a coupon code to share with you guys:


 This feels like a real blog now! My own coupon code :). Anyways, based on Snackbox's fabulous customer service response I will continue to subscribe and look forward to sharing future goods.

HomeFree: http://www.homefreetreats.com/
Larabar: http://www.larabar.com
Annie's Homegrown: http://www.annies.com/
Nature's Bakery: http://www.naturesbakery.com
Veggie-Go's: http://www.nakededgesnacks.com
Brothers-All-Natural: http://www.brothersallnatural.ca
Beanitos: http://www.beanitos.com
RW Garcia: http://www.rwgarcia.com
Kiju: http://www.kijuorganic.com
Theobroma: http://www.theobromachocolate.com/en/home
Nature's Path: http://www.naturespath.com
Guayaki: http://www.guayaki.com

Thursday, 16 January 2014

January Little Life Box Has Arrived!

Today I received my first Little Life Box. This is a subscription box available from http://www.littlelifebox.com that features eco-friendly products. There are different options for subscribing but one month is $19.99 +$3 shipping and it is available in for the Canadian provinces only. There is also the option when you order to receive a Female or Male box.

I just want to share how nicely wrapped it was when I opened the box:


There was a nice little thank you note on the back of the postcard as well. After I destroyed the tissue paper there was:


Goodies! It actually doesn't look like much until you take out the literature and line it up all nice as such:


Look at all that awesomeness! I love the variety of products that came in the box:

- HomeFree All Natural Gluten Free Mini Double Chocolate Cookies
- Ek Chok Organic Chocolate Spread with Vanilla
- EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
- Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass and Green Superfood Drink Powders
- Genuine Health Greens+ Whole Body Nutrition Nourishing Superfood Drink Powders in Natural and Natural Acai Mango
- Mighty Leaf Tea in Green Tea Tropical and Chamomile Citrus
- Aroma Crystal Gardener's Dream Cream
- Ener-C Effervescent Powdered Drink Mix in Raspberry, Lemon Lime, Tangerine Grapefruit, and Orange
- Epsom Gel Massage Lotion
- John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo for Dry Hair and Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner
- Montagne Jeunesse Dead Sea Mud Spa Face Mask
- Sow Good Men 3-in-1 Natural Shampoo, Shower & Shaving Gel (not sure why I got this in the Female box but Mike can enjoy it!)

Overall quite a bit of loot! I'll update as I try them out, but so far, I'm already a fan of Montagne Jeunesse's masks, I've bought them many times before and they are really nice. I try and do a face mask every 2 weeks or so, so I may have to plan a Spa Night for Aislinn and I sometime soon. 

I'm drinking the Green Tea Tropical Mighty Leaf Tea right now and it has a nice subtle flavour to it. I don't taste the harsh flavour that you cometimes get from green tea and the tropical flavour is not overwhelming, which is good or bad depending on your preference. I also currently have the Aroma Crystal Gardener's Dream Cream on my hands right now. It's a thick, luxe feeling lotion and my hands feel soft right away. The only thing is that my hands reek of eucalyptus right now, but that's actually a good thing as I have a nasty head cold right now and it's clearing me up. 

I love the Ecotools Tapered Blush Brush. I've needed a good blush brush for a long time and this one is fabulous. It is so soft and it's the perfect shape for blush application. Plus it's only $6.99 on the website which is really decent for a brush like that! The John Masters shampoo and conditioner were great, the shampoo had a nice lather and my hair felt really nice after, I just found the samples didn't have enough for my thick hair. Mike didn't like the Sow Good 3-in-1. He said it left a weird coating on his hair and scalp and did not want to use it again.

I loved all of the drink mixes. The best tasting one was Genuine Health Greens+ in Natural Acai Mango. It tasted really tropical and fruity. The ones I will definitely buy again though are the Ener-C mixes. They gave me a nice boost of energy and tasted like flavoured Perrier water. The kids loved the HomeFree chocolate chip cookies and I loved the Ek Chok spread. It made me really really happy that there was no dairy in it, being milk protein intolerant, and it had a nice rich taste to it. My only complaint was that there wasn't enough of it :(.

I'm really, really happy with this box. Everything in it is something that I would use, or someone in the family would. I'm especially pleased there are so many drink mixes as I like taking those to work with me. I will definitely be ordering a box again next month.

Amazing Grass: http://amazinggrass.com/
Mighty Leaf Tea: http://www.mightyleaf.com/
John Masters Organics: http://www.johnmasters.ca/





Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Adventures in Geocaching

Mike and I had to go to Niagara Falls today to pick up a perfume kit for Aislinn that a Frugal Mommy generously offered on Facebook, and we decided to get our 'cache on while we were there. We ended up hunting 5 caches while in town:

In "Ghosts of 1812 - The Battle of Lundy's Lane" (GC3P22C) we came across our first Travel Bug! (and second trackable):


It's from California and trying to get to Germany. Unfortunately we aren't travelling any time soon so I'll have to drop it in a local cache for someone else.

Next we found "Auntie Lei and the Nephews3" (GC2ENMZ) and "Hurry Hard!" (GC2GZ8X), both quick park and grabs. Our fourth find, "How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck CHUCK?" (GC3PC19) was a quick park and grab as well but was the 2nd smallest nano I have ever seen (the smallest being GC1T28G):


The last cache "A Stroll in the Park" (GC4N3PF) we had no luck finding so we called it a day. Decent for winter caching though :) And Aislinn was super happy to receive her perfume kit, we'll probably do a review once we've tried it out.




Monday, 13 January 2014

January Ipsy Glam Bag Has Arrived!

The January Glam Bag from Ipsy is here! Hurrah! It was (thrown) at my door this afternoon and it's a pretty good one too.


I received (from left):
- Beauty Blender and Cleanser (redeemed ipsyPoints for this, not part of regular mailing)
- Nourish Organic Face Lotion in Argan + Rosewater
- Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow eye pencil in Penny
- Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in #5 Natural
- Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner
- Willa Naturals On the Go Gentle Clensing Lavender Face Towelettes

The bag was nothing special, just blue with beauty product outlines. I'll probably donate it. My least favourite item was the Willa towelettes. Despite being labelled as hypoallergenic, they made my face burn when I used them. I much prefer the La Fresh wipes I received in the October 2013 glam bag. My favourite would be the Mica lip balm. I love the colour, it's nude with just a hint of mauve in it. I would not call it a lip balm though, it's more of a lip tint as it goes on matte and feels kind of drying. I would throw a gloss overtop of it. 

As for the other products, I was very excited to see the Nourish Organic face lotion in the bag. I loved the coconut & argan oil body lotion that I received in the October 2013 (again - it was a good bag!) glam bag. This one smelled great, and was a nice light moisturizer. The Elizabeth Mott eye pencil was actually a lot nicer than I expected! It looked like it was just going to be a boring brown pencil on the package but it's actually super sparkly and looks really pretty on. It also goes on really smooth. Elizabeth Mott has a really nice mascara that I received in the September 2013 glam bag. I'm definitely a fan of the brand now!

The Sexy Hair leave-in conditioner smelled great and felt great in my hair. I'm a big Sexy Hair fan, I've used their shampoo and conditioner and I use the blow dry gel that came with the October 2013 (again) glam bag almost every day. I do already have a lot of leave-in conditioners though so I'm keeping it with the kids' swim stuff to use on their hair after swimming lessons (it's the perfect size!).

The Beauty Blender is a really nice makeup sponge. You wet it before use and it applies liquid foundation really smoothly. I'm glad I redeemed my ipsyPoints for it. Overall, it was a really nice bag, a lot of brands that I've tried before and enjoyed. I did write to Ipsy to let them know about the Willa towelettes as I usually don't have a problem with skin reactions, but I definitely don't have a desire to use any more of their products.

Here is my look after using all of the products (it's very natural looking):


To subscribe to Ipsy go here (referral link): http://www.ipsy.com/r/109u

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Product Review: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure

Yesterday I received my Sally Hansen Total Knock Out Voxbox from Influenster (www.influenster.com). It contained 3 Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polishes in shades Pat on the Black (deep purple), Red My Lips (red obv), and Jaded (a light blue-green).


According to literature included, each polish contains in addition to straight up nail colour the base coat, top coat, growth treatment, and strengthener. I personally like that because I have weak nails (due to nail biting :/) and it's nice to not have to use 3 different bottles of nail polish for base, top, and colour when doing nails. That said, I found I actually had to use a lot of coats to get the colour I wanted. Even after 3 coats the colour was still not quite opaque, where as with most nail polishes I can achieve my desired effect in 2-3 coats. The polish was also really slow to dry, probably due to everything in the polish (and I've probably been spoiled by those quick dry polishes). The colours were nice, I already have nail polishes similar in colour to the plum and blue-green, but the red was gorgeous. my daughter tried Red My Lips and Jaded and I tried Pat on the Black.

Me: 

Aislinn:

Overall, love the idea of an all in one nail polish, love the colours, dislike how time-consuming it is to apply.

Bonus: Here is Aislinn's video review of the nail polishes:


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Product Review: Euro Cuisine Yogourt Maker


As part of my Boxing Day shopping spree (not to be confused with my Cyber Monday shopping spree, post-Thanksgiving shopping spree, or Yay! It's (insert day of the week)! shopping spree), I picked up a Euro Cuisine Yogourt Maker from Well.ca (http://well.ca/products/euro-cuisine-yogurt-maker_62419.html?gclid=CIi72ZyI8LsCFeYWMgodwnkAJw) for around $30. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to stop eating the dairy that I love so much but makes me so sick (I'm milk protein intolerant). So yesterday I finally got the supplies I needed to make yogourt I can actually eat without getting sick (yay!) and actually tastes good (double yay! - soy yogourt is terrible). To make yogourt I needed milk (I used lactose-free) and yogourt or cultures (I know, I know, yogourt to make yogourt?) - I used plain coconut milk yogourt that contained active cultures. For flavour I added that lingonberry jam you can get at Ikea (essentially Swedish cranberries). You actually do most of the cooking on the stove and once the ingredients are cooked pour the mixture into the jars that come with the cooker (like larger babyfood jars). It takes a long time for the yogourt to sit in the cooker and do it's thing (8-12 hours depending on the type of milk used), but the yogourt I made was actually really good! It was a bit chunky but I probably didn't mix it enough when cooking on the stove.

The machine was quite compact and overall I'm quite happy with it. It was yummy and the kids even liked it! I've never made yogourt before so I don't have much to compare my experience to, but I will definitely be making more. Now I just need to work on getting a cheese maker. :)

Welcome!

So, welcome to my new blog if you happened to have stumbled upon it. I can't say for certain what I will discuss - good books, free stuff, adventures in couponing, school stuffs. Could be entertaining. Let's see what happens.