Sunday, October 13, 2013

VoxBox Review

DISCLAIMER: I received these products for free from Influenster in exchange for honest feedback, no other compensation was received. All opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences trying the products.

I received the Mama VoxBox in mail. It contained a BelVita Soft Baked breakfast biscuit, Annie's Homegrown Mac & Cheese, Dr. Scholl's Comfort for Her inserts & Pond's Lumnos Finish BB+ cream. 

BelVita Soft Baked Breakfast Biscuit 
I was pretty excited to try this one. I love their regular breakfast biscuits. (Seriously, if you haven't tried them, get on that.) 

I have to say, I was disappointed. At first glance, it reminds me of the standard oatmeal cookie. It was pretty crumbly which is bad because it just ends up making a big mess. There was hardly any chocolate. Two morsels in the whole thing. Taste? Nope, not cutting it. Right back to the oatmeal cookie, but without the flavor. It was also a bit on the dry side (which would explain the crumbly).

Next up
Annie's Homegrown Mac & Cheese

I usually keep a few microwave mac & cheeses in the pantry of various brands. I'm a mom. I'm not Superwoman. I'm not particular about any brand, but lately I've been getting Kraft because they have a whole grain pasta option.

I followed the directions, which match every other microwave mac & cheese cup. After the 3 minutes of heating, I stirred it and it was like the powder and water had formed a sort of slime/paste type of thing covering the noodles. I'm not really ok with that. I went ahead and added the cheese powder and gave it it a try anyway. And it tastes pretty much the same as all the other microwave mac & cheeses, nothing fantastic.

Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ Creams
I've heard a ton of great things about BB creams so I was really hopeful on this one. I was sent both light and medium tones to try. I tried them at the same time, one on each side of my face. The light was a bit too light and the medium a bit dark. Of course, right?

Overall. I'm not getting the hype. It's nice coverage, but I wasn't impressed enough to justify the extra expense.

Dr. Scholl's Comfort for Her inserts

This one was harder to test, especially since I hardly even put on shoes these days. I dug into my closet and found a pair of basic shoes that I'd have worn to the office. I walked around for a few minutes to reacquaint my feet with the feel of them and then added the inserts. I walked around, then sat, then walked again. I'd say the result of this one are inconclusive. I'm not really willing to wear those shoes for 8 hours if I don't have to and I'm sure that's where the "comfort" comes in. At least, I hope so as I didn't notice any real difference in the few minutes I had them on.

This post was created and published using my iPhone and the photos edited using Phonto. 

Alphabet Tracing Pages

There's so many fun things to do on Pinterest. You could pick a pin a day and still never run out.

Unfortunately, many of those activities are more than we can manage right now. So I do my best to find ones we can. This one is really great. All you need is a printer, laminator, & a binder. Oh & a dry erase marker. 

I grabbed this font from Can I just say how much I love that site? Love. Like pink puffy heart love.

Anyway, I used Microsoft Word, typed out the alphabet, adjusted the size, and printed. I sized it to fit two letters on an 8.5 x 11 page. 

I laminated 2 pages together back to back, 3-hole punched, and put them in a thin binder. The next morning (because this was done after she was in bed), I gave Keira a dry erase marker and explained what to do. Yeah, no problems at all with that. 

Doesn't everyone have teacups under their tables?

At first, she was more coloring the lines than tracing the letters, but now she does better at actually following the lines and it's helping to improve her fine motor skills.

At the end of the alphabet, I added a couple photos with the person's names underneath it. I need to do more of those, though. She likes those.

Update: Be sure to check out my follow-up about this here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

DIY Engagement Gift

Recently, one of our family members got engaged. We couldn't be happier for them. They are both such great people and are just adorable together. So I wanted to make a little something to congratulate them.

Our nephew's fiancé is from Vietnam and I know very little about their traditions, so of course, I hopped onto Google. Several forums & articles later, I knew, among other things, that red was the color associated with weddings because it symbolizes good fortune, fertility, etc. (please don't ask me to cite any sources. They've all blended together).

There were several photo blocks on Pinterest, but as it turned out, our local craft store didn't stock those size blocks. Instead, I just sort of made my own using several ideas put together. The first step was painting the edges and bottom.

While the paint dried, I picked out some great pics of the two of them together and narrowed it down to four. I squared them off and added the white letters, the printed them as a draft copy to be sure that I got everything sized right.

Didn't I say they were adorable?

Because Mod Podge doesn't like inkjet printers, I printed my photos and brought them to Staples to have laser color copies made. I couldn't decide whether to do their names in black or red so I printed both and figured I'd decide later.

The next step was to cut them out and Mod Podge them onto the block. I used a piece of wax paper to keep it from sticking to the counter.

For the top, I put their names over the lyrics of Nat King Cole's "L.O.V.E."

A couple coats of Mod Podge for sealing.

Allow to dry for several hours.

Wrapped and ready for giving! (and yes, they loved it.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Baby Connect

When my friend, J, told me I needed to download this app, I took her word for it.

After all, she has matching kids. Well, close enough. Her twin boys are about 5 months older than mine. Which is why I went ahead and spent the whopping $5 for this app. It's worth every penny and more.

There it is, down in the lower right corner of my home page. Baby Connect.

This is what it looks like when I open it. As of right now, the boys are still in the eat, sleep, poop phase so I don't need too many options. It shows which child you're entering info on as well as how old they are. It  gives you the option to customize the background color. It also lists the recent entries. (More on the buttons at the bottom later.)

The boys are formula fed so I use the Bottle option, but I'll show you the nursing & pumping screens as well.

I find the whole app to be really user-friendly. Simply select the date/time to adjust it, enter the number on ounces and hit save. (It has the option to change formula to milk as well.) That's it. Diapers, same thing. And you don't need to fill out every little detail for it to save the entry. I only ever note wet/poop/etc. I never bother with quantity or color. I also never put an end time for bottles, just the start.

Another thing I like is how easy it is to customize it. From setting up your account to changing preferences or the way your homepage is set up, it's super simple. Just select the option you want. You can also set alarms and notifications.

As I said, there are far more options than what we're using right now so I keep the home page basic. I've only just added sleep and milestones to it as we've just stopped waking them to feed during the night. They also started smiling.

To add an option to your homepage, just turn it on. Don't want it, turn it off. Want them in a certain order? Just drag the item up or down the list to where you want it. As you can see, the makers have thought of almost everything. (There are ever more items that I didn't bother to screen capture because I figured 2 shots was enough.)

This is what it would look like with 3 rows and more items.

Here are a few screen captures of some of the other items.

Each child has an information page and you can put in a photo and notes as well.

And if you don't like the phrasing on something, you can change that, too. Prefer the term bowel movement over poop? A couple taps and done. You can also add choices that you may need but aren't there.

Another one of my fave features are the charts. The Timeline shows when each item occurred. As you can see, we are very much on a schedule. I change the boys' diapers right before each feeding which is the reason you only see a lot of diapers, they're overlapping. 

The graphs help to see how they've been doing for each singular item over time and you can slide left and it goes further back, viewable by day, week or month. Don't get excited for me. Those aren't 6 straight hours. I don't count the fusses in between where we wake up. I start when they fall asleep after their last feeding and I stop it when they wake to be fed. At 3/4 am, if I get them back to sleep, I don't note it. They also aren't napping on a schedule during the day so I'm not bothering to track that yet either, though I plan to soon.

There is also the List viewing option. The List view shows the trail for each item chronologically. It's been almost a month since the boys were weighed. It should be interesting to see what they're up to at their next check-up.

There's also the Summary pages. There's the Daily Summary as well as an Overall.

I started entering the information when they came home from the hospital, which is why Lucian's count numbers are slightly higher than Remy's. But yeah. Those numbers are crazy. When you think that between them, they've had over 1,130 diaper changes, in less than 3 months, it's kinda of horrifying. Over 1,060 bottles and about 30 gallons of formula drank. Yikes.