I’m all about making my life easier. It’s why I use Instacart for Aldi for my weekly grocery shipping, Honest Co. diaper + wipes subscription, Kids on 45th for girls’ clothing, Amazon Prime subscription for overnight pull-ups + Amazon Prime in general.
If it can’t be delivered to my door, I’m pretty convinced that I don’t want it or need it. I mean, dragging three small kids through any store is not my idea of a good time.
I love to cook (or at least I did prior to doing it while three kiddos hang from me, climb me + whine at me while I’m doing it) + we mostly eat at home.
We tried Sun Basket in the past so I thought that I would give Hello Fresh a shot. I received my first box + cooked my first meals.
Here is what I thought.
What I Loved
The menu choices are amazing. So amazing that I had a hard time choosing the two meals I wanted for the week!
(I ended up with a Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti + Cheesy Chicken Fajitas.)
We’re going away for Spring Break so I knew ahead of time that I would want to skip that week. I LOVE, LOVE. LOVE that Hello Fresh allows you to skip weeks ahead of time so you don’t have to wait to the week before to skip your box.
Ditto on choosing your menu. You can choose your menu options weeks ahead of time so that you don’t have to wait until the week before to decide. I’m a planner at heart so I like knowing far advance rather than choosing just a few days before my box ships.
(You always have the option of making changes, though.)
The food is delicious. Every single member (all 5 of us) ate it (with minimal complaining from the 3-year-old). The ingredients themselves were nice (the lemons, the fresh basil, etc.).
I thought the pricing was pretty good, too. I had a coupon so I ended up with $80 off of four weeks worth of meals (+ I opted for two meals per week). For two meals per week, the cost was about $40 dollars so cheaper than eating out even one time.
Without the coupon, the pricing would have been roughly $60 for the two meals so still cheaper than us eating out one time.
What I Didn’t Love
The delivery driver left the box in the middle of our driveway. I’m not sure if the drivers are contracted or actually work for Hello Fresh but I didn’t know the box had arrived until I walked out to get my oldest daughter from the bus + it was sitting in the middle of our driveway.
The chicken (4 packets) comes sealed in bags. The bags leaked all over the bottom shelf of the fridge, including all over the bottom of the paper bags that held all of the ingredients for the recipes.
Ewwwwww…so with a baby in one arm I had to clean up the ewwwwwy-gooey mess that chicken juice makes. The meat we received from Sun Basket was sealed in similar bags but never leaked so I wasn’t prepared for this.
I wasn’t in love with the packaging in general. The individual packaging of the Sun Basket ingredients was more recyclable than that of Hello Fresh. The outside packaging + cooler packs, however, were similar in being recyclable.
While I found the prep to be faster + easier than Sun Basket, I did not find the prep to be fast + easy. The prep time said something like 5 minutes + it took me a lot longer than 5 minutes to prep.
Finally, Hello Fresh offers family meals, which end up costing you more ($5.99 per person) so you have to be careful about choosing those price wise. While $5.99 for one person doesn’t equate to a lot of money, when it’s for a family of 5, it’s almost $30 extra for one meal!
Say yes to Hello Fresh! Overall, I give it an A. I think all of the positives of Hello Fresh definitely outweigh the negatives.
If you use my link to try out Hello Fresh, you save $40 + I get $20.
We have been using Imperfect Produce for a couple of months now. My husband thinks it is the “bees knees.” I’m going to tell you what I think of it but first let me give you an overview of what Imperfect Produce is, in case you’re not familiar with it.
What is Imperfect Produce
I think of Imperfect Produce as an advocate for the different, ugly + otherwise tossed away fruits + veggies of the world combined as a subscription box (+ I have to say that I LOVE subscriptions!).
You can choose the size + type of subscription box you want to receive. Once a week, you customize the box + each Friday the box lands on your doorstep.
Now that we have that out of the way, this is what I think about Imperfect Produce.
What I Love
I love that I am able to receive + use fruits + veggies that would normally become part of the landfill just because they are a little bog or a little small or not the right shape to make it into the produce section of a store.
I adore that I can customize it for the week. It allows me to pick + choose what I can use + what my family is likely to eat. It helps me to plan my menu for the week.
It also makes me happy that it arrives on my doorstep + I don’t have to step foot in a store. (Although, to be totally transparent, I don’t step foot in a grocery store for my weekly groceries, either. I use Instacart for Aldi.)
The taste of the fruits + veggies is so much better than what we buy in the store. I am not sure what it is but it’s true.
We are also able to get our hot little hands on stuff that I don’t always see in the grocery store, like purple potatoes (yum-my).
Finally, the pricing is pretty good. We mostly choose organic for our box, which can be pretty expensive in the stores. I find that the pricing with
Imperfect Produce is comparable or less expensive than most grocery stores.
What I Don’t Love
My kids + I had expectations of funny shaped fruits + veggies. Heart shapes. Veggies twisted like pretzels. You get the idea. To our dismay, we have not received one funny shaped fruit or veggie yet.
This may change as the seasons change but I also wish the fruit variety choices were a bit more, at least for the fruits we eat. We’ve been able to get blueberries but no strawberries or raspberries or blackberries. The veggie choices seem to be abundant but I don’t feel like the fruit choices are.
I give Imperfect Produce an A-. The positives definitely outweigh the things we don’t love about Imperfect Produce so we will definitely continue to use it as a way to conveniently receive delicious tasting fruits + veggies. If you give it a try with my link you save $10.
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A trip to Disney World is a rite of passage for many families. The scope of a Disney vacation necessitates some advanced planning + preparation. To fully grasp the magic of Disney, here are 4 tips to keep you from going insane (in the membrane)
#1 Prepare Your Kids in Case They Get Lost
Disney is the happiest place on Earth + it’s all fun + games until someone ends up missing. A trip to Disney World can be overwhelming for young kids. The throngs of people increase the risk that your child may get lost.
It is a good idea to talk to your kids before the trip to equip them with the knowledge + tools that will help them stay safe if they become separated from you. Instruct them to find a Disney cast member if they get lost.
If your kids are older, you can find a landmark in each park to meet in the event that members of your party become separated.
#2 Choose Rides and Attractions Before Getting There
Disney World has four theme parks + two water parks. It’s a very large place + extremely easy to get overwhelmed. There are guides on the Internet to specific parks to check out that can help you devise a plan of attack.
Disney even has FastPass selections for rides + attractions ahead of time so you can skip ahead of the lines for your top ride selections.
#3 Make Advance Dining Reservations
Disney boasts a myriad of fun + unique dining experiences that you might not want to miss. From character dining to a host of ethnic foods, there is something for every taste + palette.
Many of the most popular restaurants book far in advance, which means you’re going to need to make your reservations ahead of your trip.
#4 Take Breaks
Taking afternoon breaks is an ideal way to beat the crowds + the heat. To get the most out of your park experience, head to the gates early in the morning when they open so that you can avoid the crowds that form later in the day.
Heading back to your hotel for an afternoon swim or nap can leave you feeling refreshed + ready to tackle an evening back at the parks.
With a little research + planning, you make the most out of your Disney adventure. A magical time awaits you if you follow these four pointers (but still leave room for spontaneity in your days)!
Don’t forget to visit the Girl Mom Chaos shop before heading out on your vacation so that you can have stylish + fun t-shirts for your trip!
You are a role model for your daughter. You are their first teacher. Your role is to provide them with the tools they need to deal with various situations at different ages + stages in their life.
You want to help them come up with appropriate responses to situations so that it leads to positive outcomes. Your role model status becomes even more important when you have a defiant daughter. Modeling appropriate behavior can make things easier on you + your child.
What Makes Defiant Daughters Different
A truly defiant daughter may suffer from a condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). This is more complex than just being stubborn.
A daughter that suffers from ODD is disagreeable in the extreme + defiance is on a daily (or almost daily) basis rather than the occasional defiance some children exhibit. Defiant daughters tend to break the rules, talk disrespectfully + repeat annoying behaviors on a regular basis.
Traditional types of discipline often fuel the anger + irritability of a defiant daughter. Parents often find themselves on a perpetual search for new ways of handling the situation.
Here are three ways you can model appropriate behavior for your defiant daughter.
#1 Practice what you preach
To help the help the defiant daughter + her family, behavioral disorder professionals can offer effective methods to help parents problem-solve, decrease negativity, manage anger + increase social skills. There are also family sessions to discuss how the issues affect each household member.
In addition, parents can make things better by modeling the behaviors they want their daughter to emulate. Defiant daughters have a problem dealing with their emotions. Looking at their parents examples can assist them in making the best choices.
#2 Practice handling adult conflicts
You have many opportunities to practice conflict resolution with the adults around you as a way to model this behavior for your daughter. If your daughter hears you yelling at the customer service person when you have an issue, your daughter won’t think twice about yelling at you + others when an issue arises.
Instead of becoming loud or aggressive, learn to communicate with others calmly + quietly.
#3 Wait patiently + quietly
Have you waited in line for a long time because of a slow checkout person? Don’t mutter about them under your breath + then smile at them when you get to the head of the line. Resist giving people dirty looks as well. Waiting is a part of life.
Practice waiting patiently + quietly. You feel better in the end + you set the standard for your child when you model the behavior you expect to see in them.
The earlier your child learns + masters this skill, the better off she is going to be.
Pet owners have an obligation to control their pets so that they do not bite anyone. However, pet owners are sometimes negligent + accidents do happen. Here are some things that you can do if a dog bites your child.
Seek Medical Treatment
CureJoy suggests that while you may think that a dog bite can heal on its own, it is better to get help as soon as possible. In a worst-case scenario, your child may need rabies treatments.
While that is unlikely, it is better to know upfront what you are facing. Many bites can fester before becoming infected if they are not treated appropriately. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The worst that happens is that you are out the time + possibly some money. However, either your insurance or the dog’s owner may cover the cost of the medical treatment .
Call the Police
You can then use this documentation as the basis to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. You may have no other way of knowing whether a dog has bitten before or even whether it has been vaccinated except if you file a police report.
Additionally, if the owner knows that law enforcement is involved, it just might be the motivating factor to take the highest possible safety measures to make sure that the dog does not bite anyone else in the future.
Consider Legal Action
Ahlander Injury Law recommends that you might be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages + pain + suffering. The liability for a dog bite depends on the state in which the bite occurred.
In some jurisdictions, the dog’s owner will be liable for a dog bite no matter what. Other states assume that a dog is not dangerous until it bites a person once.
After that, the owner would be liable for any damages from pet bites. You should immediately consult a personal injury attorney to find out whether you would be entitled to compensation for the harm caused to your child.
While your child may be the victim of an aggressive dog, you can still take proactive steps to both protect your legal rights and ensure the safety of others in the future.
Safety first. Check out these articles about ways to keep your kiddos safe.
With three girls, I am sure you can imagine the quantity of clothing + shoes that we have in our house. Sure, the oldest had the most clothing + shoes + those items have trickled down to her two younger sisters (for the most part).
The challenge is that all of my girls were born in different seasons, which makes hand-me-downs sometimes difficult depending on sizing.
So what is a girl mom to do?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Kids on 45th
I adore Kids on 45th. It’s similar to a Stitch Fix for Kids, except the clothes are second-hand instead of brand new. Although, the boxes we have received often contain clothing + accessories that still have the tags on them. The clothing is so affordable. Most items range from $1 and some change to $3 and some change.
I can buy an entire box of clothes for all three girls + only spend about $100.
You can totally control your shipments so you can set up an account for each child. You can choose how many pants, shirts, jackets, etc. that you receive for each child + all of the kids clothes are shipped in the same box.
The only drawback is that if you receive something that doesn’t fit or your kids don’t like, you cannot return it. Honestly, though, the clothes are so cheap that it doesn’t really matter. I simply sold the items at a consignment sale or donated any items that my girls wouldn’t wear + it doesn’t hurt anywhere near as much when you drop bucu bucks (like the Crew Cuts jeans I bought brand new that they swore they’d wear, wore a grand total of one time + then refused to wear them again).
HINT: If you decide to give it a try, use my link. You get $10 off your order + I do too. Ten dollars is at least 3 pieces if clothing (if not more) depending on what you add to your box! That’s to say that $10 goes a long way.
Stitch Fix for Kids
I use Stitch Fix for myself so it’s natural that I give it a whirl for my girls. My husband tried it but wasn’t impressed. I’ve been fortunate enough to like everything in all of my boxes (with the exception of my recent box, where I still bought two of the five or six items).
Stitch Fix allows you to set up an account for each of your kids. Like the world of online dating for adults, you can answer some style questions about each of your kids to give the stylist an idea of which clothing items to put in your child’s box.
When you receive the box, you can go through it with your child to try the clothes + shoes on to decide which items you want to keep + which items you want to exchange for another size or return. You have three days to make a decision.
Stitch Fix provides you with a paid return postage envelope bag to return items.
These clothes are pricier than items like Kids on 45th because these clothes + shoes are brand new. If you buy the entire box, you receive a 25% discount + if you buy at least one item, the styling fee is waived so it makes it economical + convenient (because you don’t have to drag one or more kids through a store, dressing room + checkout).
HINT: If you decide to use my link, we both get $25!
Where I live in Virginia (+ I’m sure all over the country) consignment season happens twice a year (around March + around September). Some of the consignment sales (which are all for kids clothing, shoes, toys, accessories + baby gear) are HUGE (+ i do mean HUGE).
I tend to go through the pre-sale (offered to consignors), which are items at full price. You can definitely pick up name-brand items at greatly reduced prices. Sometimes I also breeze through the half-off sale, which is typically the last one to hours of the sale.
It is well worth the effort it takes to go through racks, decide what you want to buy + stand in line to pay. I’ve picked up some great buys, such as a brand-new-with-tags London Fog winter jacket for my first born, Crew Cuts pants, sweaters + shirts in the area of $5 each, Hanna Andersson tops for a couple bucks + the list just goes on + on.
One of the huge producers of kids consignment sales in states around the country is Just Between Friends. Check it out to see if they host sales in your area.
The Likeness is a novel by the same author as Into the Woods (which I read eons ago), Tana French. I had this book sitting in my night table drawer for I don’t know how long.
I was in between books for book club so I pulled it out one night + started reading it.
It pulled me right in!
The story is about an undercover detective that has taken on a desk job until she is drawn back into the undercover world after a college girl using her old undercover alias’s name is found dead in a dilapidated cottage in the country.
Not only is the college girl using the detective’s old undercover name but the dead girl is a dead ringer for the detective. Hence, the name The Likeness.
The detective ends up going undercover as the dead girl (because the police do not announce she is dead but instead say she was attacked + injured) to try to figure out who is responsible for the murder.
What I Loved
The story involves the same lead character as Into the Woods but it is two separate cases/story lines so I didn’t have to remember what actually happened in Into the Woods to read (+ thoroughly enjoy) this book.
I also love that the main character is a woman detective. This is not the only author that has strong woman detective characters that I enjoy. Sue Grafton has a PI main character, Kinsey Milhone, that I also love.
This book also has a BIG twist ending. I love a good twist ending.
What I Didn’t Love
The book is pretty long. It has over 500 pages. While it was a page turner + I enjoyed reading it, I think it could have been just as good with less than 500 pages.
It creeped me out at the beginning so I could only read it at night when my husband was home. I had to start putting my contact case + solution on my nightside table so I didn’t have to get up to take them out before going to sleep.
It became less creepy as the story went on but about the first half of the book put me on high alert.
I give this book an A + I highly recommend it. If you are a fan of Into the Woods or true crime type novels, then this book should be on your bookshelf (or at least your reading list).
I even convinced my Moms’ Book Club to read it so it’s our book club book for May.
My cousin’s daughter recently had her 7th Birthday Party at the Shenandoah Discovery Museum. We live about an hour and a half from there but we usually go out for birthday parties for the kids + to visit.
What I Loved
My first impression of the museum from the outside was, “What a neat place!” It looks like it’s an old fire station that was converted into a museum. It is the end unit of a building with more than one business now but there is a large window garage door that makes up almost the entire front lobby of the museum.
On the side of the building is a painted mural. It gives off a fun, vibrant + artsy vibe.
It’s location, in the middle of downtown Winchester, is a special treat. There is plenty to do in the historic area. Pubs, restaurants, museums, historic homes + more are within walking distance to the museum. Bonus points because you can walk the area easily.
The inside of the museum is a kid wonderland. It is three floors of activities. The second floor also has two or three party rooms dispersed throughout the activities.
My girls (5, 3, and 1) really seemed to enjoy the activities. They had indoor climbing structures, an ambulance, a hut that you can crawl through + sit inside of + arts + crafts + so much more!
They also had a small soft-play area for younger kids.
In the lobby is a huge maze-like structure. There is likely a better name for this but it’s not coming to me at the moment. It’s not a maze that you can walk through but it has different moving parts that my girls really enjoyed watching on the way out.
What I Didn’t Love
I wish there was more activities for the 1-year-old. She enjoyed the soft-play area for some time but it did not entertain her for the entire time we were there. She’s also not walking yet so she wanted to crawl around on the floor, which made her a target for kids + adults that were walking/running around to the various activities.
The climbing structure/maze on the first floor was hard for my tall 3-year-old (almost 4-year-old) to climb up into. Even with her older sister + two other girls who were climbing trying to help her, she could not get past the first climb-through hole.
I noticed that many children were having a hard time climbing it so it wasn’t just one of my kids.
Parking was also a HUGE challenge. Street parking is free on the weekends so we eventually found street parking at a meter that was approximately one block from the museum. There is a parking lot adjacent to the museum but it was small + full.
We used the stroller to get two of the kids from the street parking to the museum but the museum is not really set up for strollers so my husband ended up returning the stroller to the car while we were there. We carried the baby back to the truck when we left + the two older girls walked.
Of course, there is a small shop right when you are entering + exiting the museum so my girls wanted to go through it + buy everything when we we arrived + when were leaving. It took some effort to keep them out of it because we don’t need any more trinkets (aka crap) at our house.
I give the museum an A. It’s definitely a unique place in a great location. Kids of all ages enjoy it + you can grab a nice lunch or enjoy other activities within walking distance from the museum.
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This is another book that I read for my Moms’ Book Club. Where the Crawdads Sing has high ratings + fab book reviews all over the Internet + is part of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club.
It is so wildly popular that I was like # one million (total exaggeration) on the wait list for it at the library. I put out a call to borrow a copy on our neighborhood FB page but no luck there either so I ended up buying it on Kindle.
I say all of this to point out just how popular the book is right now.
The book is about a young girl, Kya, who lives in a marsh in North Carolina. Her family is extremely poor + one by one both of her parents + all of her brothers + sisters abandon her.
The book is all about her daily life of survival. She finds ways of finding food, making money to buy her necessities + learning about the flower, fauna, animals + more that live in the marsh.
Kya ends up fending for herself over the years until she becomes a young woman. In the end, she is accused of murdering her former lover + stands trial for it.
What I Loved
The book has a TOTAL twist ending, which I loved. While it is possible that I should have seen some of the ending coming, I did NOT. I really enjoyed the twist.
What I Didn’t Love
I did not enjoy the beginning chapters of the book. In fact, after reading the first two or three chapters I was starting to wonder how in the world this book is so popular.
If you decide to read it, push through the first few chapters. It DOES get better.
I also had a hard time believing, at times, that a girl that was so young could actually fend for herself. She literally lived alone in a marsh from about the age of 5 or 6 until she was a woman (+ even continued to live there as an adult).
On one hand, I can see a “survival” mentality that would have had to kick in so that she could forage for food, live in a marsh + raise herself from a very young age. On the other hand, I have a five year old girl + cannot really imagine her actually raising herself, feeding herself, living by herself–having to completely fend for herself.
Overall, I give the book an A. From a few chapters in, this book ended up pulling me in. It ended up being a page turner because I wanted to see what happened next.