Summer Fun and Learning with Green Kid Crafts!

Yesterday I posted about all the fun toys from Dollar Tree, today we are turning to some fun educational toys.

My kids love doing science experiments, playing, and learning. We’ve got Green Kid Crafts boxes in the past and they are a huge hit.

Green Kid Crafts has recently restocked some of their best-selling kits. I’ll be picking up a few and stashing them in the hall closet to keep us entertained during the “I’M BORED!!!!” moments that will be coming up over the summer.

A broad range of box themes, all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) focused.  Explore Ecosystems like Rainforests, Oceans, and Desert Science. Learn about Endangered Animals, Volcanoes, and Rocket Science. And teach your kids to be environmentalists with Alternative Energy, Save the Oceans, and Climate Change! 

One of the things I like about Green Kid Crafts is that you can opt into a subscription where the boxes come each month, or you can purchase specific kits. Here are a few of the kits that I know my kids would LOVE.


Backyard Science Box

Backyard Science Kit

 

 

Color Science Box

 

 

 

Mad Science Box

 

 

 

Nocturnal Animals Activities Box

 

 

 

Down on the Farm Box

 

 

 

Reptiles Box

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Science Box

 

 

 

Endangered Animals Box

 

 

 

And if you have littler kids, there are options for them too! Ultimate STEAM 5-Pack Junior Ages 2-5

With a mission to raise the next generation of environmental leaders, Green Kid Crafts leads by example.

  • Through a partnership with One Tree Planted, Green Kid Crafts plants one tree for every order placed.
  • As a member of 1% for the Planet, we donate up to 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits.
  • Together with the Carbon Fund, we offset 100% of carbon dioxide emissions produced by our business.
  • Eco-friendly practices are used as much possible to produce Green Kid Crafts boxes.

At Home Color with Great Results from Madison Reed!

Madison ReedMost of you know I color my own hair at home, and I have FOR YEARS. With all that is going on, more and more people are joining me.

If you are new to coloring your hair at home, I suggest you check out Madison Reed. From start to finish, it’s easy and their website takes all the guesswork out of choosing a color.

Semi-permanent, permanent, conditioning gloss, whatever you want, Madison Reed has! I love that the coloring kits come with everything you need to give yourself a salon-quality color:

  • Customized Instructions: Their Color Crew is available by phone or chat if you have questions or need expert advice along the way.
  • Barrier Cream: Keeps your ears, forehead, and neck color-free.
  • Cleansing Wipe: An easy way to clean up any unwanted color.
  • Radiant Cream Color: Rich with nutrients like argan oil, keratin, and ginseng root extract to strengthen and protect hair while delivering radiant, multi-dimensional color. Free of ammonia, PPD, resorcinol, parabens, phthalates, gluten, SLS, and titanium dioxide.
  • Conditioning Color Activator: Formulated for longer-lasting color and easy application. The bottle comes with a screw-off cap and tip to make mixing and applying color simple and tidy.
  • Protective Cap: Keeps your color in place until you are ready to rinse.
  • Gloves: Thick gloves to apply color.
  • Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner: Rich with nutrients and free from sulfates, parabens, and gluten, our shampoo and conditioner locks in your color and creates long-lasting shine.

Madison Reed
Madison Reed has a great blog too! With all sorts of styling tips, information about caring for hair (no matter what type of hair you have).

All You Need to Know About Straight Hair
All You Need to Know About Wavy Hair
All You Need to Know About Curly Hair
All You Need to Know About Coily Hair

Meal Kit Round-Up (Reviews and Deals/Coupons)

In my 10+ years as a blogger, I have reviewed a fair number of meal kits on the market. With the seemingly never-ending quarantine and the new normal being social distancing, something different is now more appreciated than ever.

I love trying out meal kits, they are a great way to try new recipes with new ingredients that I may not already have on hand. Here are a few of the meal kits that I’ve tried, links to reviews, and any deals or coupon codes I could find.

Overall, my favorite meal kit company is Dinnerly.

They have a nice mix of kid-friendly dishes and stuff that is decidedly more “grown-up food”. I wrote a review here. In addition to having a nice mix of dishes to choose from, the other thing I like is that Dinnerly is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving. My big qualm with meal kits is that the meals can sometimes be upwards of $8-$10/per serving. At that point, you might as well go out for dinner!

Freshly is the next up on our highly received Meal companies. I reviewed Freshly in 2016, and it’s a little different that most of the other meal companies in that all of the food comes already cooked. All you do is heat and eat.

The portions are big, so if you wanted to stretch them, all you would need is an additional side, like a green salad.

Right now when you use Promo Code: LAUNCH15 you will save $60.00 on your first 4 orders($15 per order).

Here is one that I did not get a really great impression of…Home Chef. Maybe it’s because I picked recipes that had a lot of delicate ingredients (read my review here) that don’t transport well, but that was a few years ago, and they may have different recipes and perfected their shipping packaging by now.

If you want to give it a shot I found a deal for you: Right now when you order Home Chef and receive $60 OFF. That’s $10 OFF your first six orders.

I will say the thing that has changed and that I like is that you choose from up to 38 chef-inspired, customizable recipes each week — including oven-ready meals, quick-prep options, and grill packs.

Here is one that I personally haven’t tried, but I’ve seen pictures all over Instagram and a few of my blogger friends rave about- Martha & Marley Spoon.

It seems pretty simple: Each week, 10 days before your delivery day, you’ll receive an email with meal choices. If you’d like to swap recipes, you can do so under “My Account”.

Everything is shipped to arrive fresher than you might see at the supermarket. They guarantee you’ll be able to use the ingredients for at least 4 days after you receive them, with the exception of fish which should be cooked within 48 hours.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about Meal Kits that you have tried and which ones have worked for you and your family!

Good, Clean (House) Fun with Oh Goodness!

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 9.09.01 PM.pngDoes anyone really like to clean? I like when my house is clean, but I do not look forward to actually cleaning my house.

I don’t enjoy spraying who knows what surfactants, artificial fragrances (or worse, “natural” flavoring or scents like castoreum..eww), or harsh chemicals (the thought of bleach makes my eyes water). And yet, I’m not one who wants to spend hours mixing up my own house cleaning products.

IMG_0242.jpgSo when Annie from Oh Goodness contacted me to tell me about her awesome products, I was down to try their awesome DIY cleaning kits.

She sent me their Glowing Collection, which contains the reusable glass containers, ingredients and directions to make:

You Shine Dishwashing Powder (35-40 loads)

You Sparkle All Purpose Spray (16 ounces)

You’re Brilliant Scrub (8 ounces)

The one thing I like is that I know all of these ingredients. I use them all in other ways around the house. It’s all non-toxic (but that doesn’t mean you should eat it- DON’T EAT IT), it’s easy to make, and it actually cleans! I’m sure you’ve read online and seen all over Pinterest how you can clean your kitchen with peroxide, baking soda, vinegar, etc. Those are all great, but I’ve never had results with those ingredients like I have with my Oh Goodness kit.

IMG_0235
mix, mix, mix, mix and here are my finished products!

15 minutes after opening the box, reading the directions, (stopping to make a snack for the kids) and mixing, I was in business. I cook 90% of our meals, so my kitchen is always in need of some kind of cleaning.

I started with the kitchen sink. I have no before picture, but let’s just say it was.. icky.

A liberal scoop of You’re Brilliant Soft Scrub, and a quick scrub of the sink with a sponge and ta da:IMG_0236Can you hear the Angels singing? I can! I even scrubbed the black flange into the garbage disposal that keeps the whirling chunks of food from flying out of the garbage disposal.

The You Sparkle All Purpose Spray got my counters clean like whoah, and the entire house fills with the bright scent of lemons every time I run the dishwasher (which is seriously two times a day)..

I love that the containers are recyclable and reusable. The littler bottles the coconut soap and essential oil came in got a good scrubbing and the kids use them in their toy kitchen.

Oh Goodness wants to share their cleaning glory with two of my readers! Entering is easy.  Click here, or use the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll choose two winners on 11/20/17- Remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter!

Review: Home Chef Meal Service

I love to cook. When US Family Guide and Home Chef offered me two free meals for two, I jumped at the chance. Home Chef delivers ready to cook meal kits. The shopping and most of the prep work is done! You get just enough of each ingredient, and you add minimal ingredients that are already in your pantry (salt, pepper, oil, water).

Each Dish comes with a recipe page that its into a 3-ring binder (which is included in your first order FREE).  Directions are step by step with photos, and all ingredients are listed on the card in case you want to make it yourself from scratch again.

So, I got my first kit in the mail last month, but right away something was off. Some of IMG_4166IMG_4170the veggies were not in good shape. IMG_4171I called customer service in the hopes they could just resend me the spoiled ingredients, but instead they gave me credit for two more meals, which wouldn’t have been a problem, but that meant it was another week before I could do my review.

I improvised with the steak salad. I had a bag of Romaine salad on hand, and some grape tomatoes to substitute for the ingredients that were not edible in the kit.  The steak was great. Overall it was easy to prepare.

Last week, the replacement kit arrived. Again, similar issues with some of the more delicate produce (cucumber, grape tomatoes, Roma tomato), but this time I didn’t bother calling. I just tossed the inedible produce, and subbed in what I had in the fridge. I made the Goat Cheese and Bacon Naan flatbread pizzas first- They were so easy and tasty.

I made a few tweaks (I didn’t use the honey to caramelize the onions- That’s totally cheating!). I made this the same day the box arrived and I will definitely be making it again!

img_4569.jpgThe other recipe that I received was the Shawarma Chicken Bowl.

The poor tomato and cucumber were both inedible. The cuke was frozen upon arrival (Due to it’s location in the box directly on top of a blue ice block), and the tomato looked like it had been knocked around a bit.

I improvised the dish a bit and it turned out ok. What I didn’t care for was that the seasoning on the meat and rice is the same. I did like how the chicken came out. It had a great level of seasoning and flavor. I grilled it on our outdoor BBQ.

OVERALL: Home Chef is a great way to try out new recipes if you are not an experienced cook.  It was nice to open a box and have all of the ingredients all ready to prep and cook. It is expensive for a family- starting at $9.95 per serving. That is still WAY cheaper than going out to eat, and in my opinion, these dishes could be restaurant quality with a little work on the consumers end (using proper knife skills, reading and following directions completely).  They worked great for us when we wanted to have a stay in date night and watch a Redbox.

I would be careful when choosing entrees not to pick ones with more delicate veggies, just because they tend not to travel well in the box with the blue ice type frozen blocks.

That’s the nice thing about Home Chef, you can choose your entrees out of a list of many. And the menu changes frequently, so you won’t get the same dishes again and again.

If you want to try Home Chef for yourself, Check out my post here with details on how you can save $30 off your first purchase!

Disclosure: I received this offer for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation, and all opinions are my own. Sometimes I utilize affiliate links. To learn more about my use of affiliate links, please visit my disclosure page.

Recipe: Oatmeal Mix

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We love Oatmeal, but most instant oatmeal is full of sugar and isn’t really good for you (no fiber, lots of sugar, mystery ingredients).

Determined to save money and get us to eat better, I set out to concoct a batch of oatmeal mix.  After months of trial and error, here is the final result:

Oatmeal Mix

Makes 40 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 15 cups old fashioned oats (that’s 1 large canister)
  • 3 2/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup flax seeds, milled
  • 1 cup Hemp Seeds (I like these)

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Store in a large air tight container for up to 6 months.

Directions for cooking the mix:

1/2 cup mix to 1 cup water, cook on the stove together until the oats are cooked (2-3 minutes). Or mix together and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes and let stand for a few minutes.

 

Add dried fruit, powdered sweetener, spices/herbs, what have you to make it your own!