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Hello Convenience: A HelloFresh review.

Anyone who knows me knows that with three boys and everything else that goes on in my life, I am extremely busy. I also have some incredibly picky eaters. Which means that in addition to looking for ways to save time I am also struggling to find ways to make healthy tasty meals. Enter HelloFresh, a type of subscription box that delivers weekly recipes and fresh ingredients to your doorstep you can cook delicious, quick, and healthy meals at home. When I was offered to opportunity to try this product I obviously jumped at the chance.

I did, however, have my concerns about how exactly they kept their products at a safe temperature while being shipped. As soon as it arrived I tore open the box. I was pleased to find that due to the packaging made up of an insulated box, a separate section for the meat, and multiple still frozen ice packs, that the meat was definitely cold. I took everything out and packed it in my fridge and closed the box up again. The packs didn’t even begin to melt for another 24 hours so I’m confident that they would hold the ingredients at a safe temperature for much longer.

After flipping through the recipes and looking at the pictures I was excited to get started. I opted for the Garlic-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa and Mexican Street Corn to try the first night. I was surprised to find even the chicken was already chopped. All I had to do was the vegetables. The directions were simple and the recipe was easy to make. The avocado was a little under ripe, which probably would have been avoided if I had made it later in the week, and I used a touch too much lime juice but the flavours were perfect for each other. If I had to choose a favourite part of the meal it would be corn but the chicken is a close second.

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The second meal we tried was the Honey-Mustard Glazed Pork with Apple-Lentil Green Salad. I was most apprehensive about this meal because It is far from our usual meals. We tend to only have Ceaser salads and usually as a side instead of the largest portion of the meal. The only prep work I had to do with this recipe was chopping an apple. The recipe again was simple to follow and the flavours were powerful. I would even go so far as to say that this was my favourite meal I prepared from the box. The pork was of the highest quality and I would not hesitate to make this recipe again.

The next, and sadly the last, meal to cook was the Tandoori Meatball Curry with Saag Aloo. I’m a huge curry fan and I have never been able to make it at home and enjoy it as much as I have in restaurants so I was excited about this recipe. This had slightly more prep work involved, making the meat balls and chopping up a few things. Still negligible in the grand scene of things. It also was a little more work to prepare from start to finish. The end result was mostly worth it. We LOVED the curry meatballs and rice. The potatoes were good but the least favours item out of the whole box and all three meals.

The biggest thing I noticed about HelloFresh is the quality of the ingredients. From the meat to the herbs to the vegetables everything is of the highest of quality and therefore the highest of taste. That added to the fact that you are getting quick and healthy meals that the whole family will love makes this a no brainer for me. The HelloFresh box lets me take the thinking out of my meal planning allowing me to focus more getting my boys ready for the upcoming school year; and will be a blessing when the hockey season starts.

Try HelloFresh out for yourself with my discount code HELLOJEN8 and get 3 FREE MEALS!

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**Opinions expressed are simply mine and/or my families. This was a sponsored post with conjunction with a HelloFresh campaign, powered by brandbacker.**

Baby H: Month 10 & 11

I can’t really wrap my mind around the fact that I have an almost 1-year-old. I am already planning his first birthday party and trying to emotionally accept that my baby will be one. I’ll be fine.

Sleeping: He is going through a phase ( I hope it’s a phase anyway) where he goes to bed at 7 and then just talks to himself for an hour or so before falling asleep. This leads to only about 10 hours worth of sleep a night, and he has also dropped his afternoon nap. The nap is what I am most hoping to get back.

Feeding: Eating is a non-issue with him, he will eat pretty much anything I give to him. He is down to one bottle a day at bed time, and I can see the bottle free days quickly approaching. Hunter was off the bottle at 1 year, and I hope HD will follow suit.

Development:  Well, he is crawling, and sitting, and standing, and taking a few steps around furniture. Once he flattens his got out when he stands he will be on his way to a full run. However, he was so close to crawling for so long before he actually did it so only time will tell. He talks, a lot, and clearly says about 8 words and makes an effort with another half a dozen.

Hunter & Levi: HD thinks that Hunter is the funniest person in the world. Anything that Hunter does quickly invoke a fit of giggles from him. It is incredible to watch. He will copy, or try to, any noise that Levi makes.

Loves:

  • Food, it is his greatest motivator.
  • Water, of any sort, he will literally crawl into icy cold water and just sit there.
  • Walks, now that he can sit up and see everything.
  • Music, he loves to dance.

Hates:

  • Not being able to see what is going on. 
  • Peaches, he still doesn’t like them at all.

Somehow, someway, my baby will be turning one in just under a month. He is growing and learning before our eyes. This will be the last monthly update, while we work towards yearly or milestones. Just another sign my baby is growing.

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Daily photo.

In April I decided to do a daily photo challenge on my Instagram. It was certainly a challenge to find things that suited each day’s themes, however, I powered through. Sometimes I used some “creative interpretation” of what the theme was, but nevertheless, I managed to complete all 30 days.

 

It was fun doing this, and it really was a challenge. However, it forced me to pay more attention to my surroundings in order to find the right picture. I think I will be doing more things like this in the future. You can follow me @madmommyblogger.

 

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Baby H: Month 8 & 9

 

 

9 months old. I missed his last update because I was sick so here is to hoping I can remember everything in this two-month recap.

Sleeping: 12 hours at night, and two 2 hour naps in the day. It is hard-working around his naps, and far top often I have to wake him up, or keep him awake, to get his brothers from school. But school is almost out for the summer and we will be able to plan more accordingly.

 

Feeding: Anything and everything will go into his mouth, not always the best choices, unfortunately. However, it is a huge help when it comes to eating. He will try pretty much anything. He still doesn’t like peaches, and new textures are a big thing for him but once he gets past them he doesn;t usually have an issue.

Development:  He is not technically crawling, but he is mobile. He is also able to pull himself to a stand and to sit himself up. However, he will only do them when nobody is going to see him.

Growth: His weight just over 20 lbs at 9 months old.  He is wearing 9M/6-9M clothing, although not for much longer.

Hunter & Levi: For some reason, he will only ever talk to Levi, real words anyways. He only says Hi to Levi and he will copy other sounds that Levi makes. He will allow Hunter anywhere though.

 

Loves:

  • Food, pretty much anything really.
  • His brothers, for different reasons.
  • Car rides.

Hates:

  • Getting his nose wiped
  • Being contained in any way.

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What the kids say.

I spent the last two weeks smothered with a cold. I’m a total baby when I am sick and I suffer from what most people refer to as a man-cold. I know I am not a man, but I assure you the symptoms are one and the same. With the man-cold came the blogging break and I wasn’t really sure how to get back into it. Until I found this.

I was on Facebook last night I came across a post. The post encouraged us to sit down with our child, ask questions without any prompting, and then to repost the questions and answers along with our child’s name and age. I’ve had a few friends do this and I have always been entertained by the answers so I decided that I would try it with Hunter and Levi. I sat down separately with my older two boys to find out their answers because Hunter tends to just repeat whatever Levi says and I wanted his own opinion.

Here’s how my Q & A went with my 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons

1. What is something I always say to you?
Levi: “Go play in your room.”

Hunter: “Don’t”

2. What makes me happy?
Levi: “When I listen.”

Hunter: “When we do what we’re supposed to do.”

3. What makes me sad?
Levi: “When I have to go somewhere else.”

Hunter: “Giving me trouble.”

4. How do I make you laugh?
Levi: “Tickle me.”

Hunter: “Tickle me.”

5. What was I like as a child?
Levi: “Really good.”

Hunter: “Everything.”

6. How old am I? (I am 27)
Levi: “17” Much better than the 50 he said when I asked him the other day.

Hunter: “7”

7. How tall am I? (I’m 5’ 7”)
Levi: “30 Feet”

Hunter: “50 Feet”

8. What is my favourite thing to do?
Levi: “Go fishing.”

Hunter: “Watch television.”

9. What do I do when you’re not around?
Levi: “Hang out with dad.”

Hunter: “I don’t know.”

10. What am I really good at?
Levi: “The Lego Batman game.”

Hunter: “Exercising.”

11. What is something I’m not good at?
Levi: “Zelda.”

Hunter: “Painting nails.”

12. What do I do for a job?
Levi: “Take care of me.”

Hunter: “Nothing.”

13. What is my favourite food?
Levi: “Ham.”

Hunter: “Everything.”

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Levi: “Having picnics.”

Hunter: “Going to get ice cream.”

While that was the end of the “official” list I decided to expand.

15. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Levi: “Like dad.” Awww.

Hunter: “Power Ranger.”

16.  If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Levi: “Flying.”

Hunter: “Power Rangers don’t have super powers.” Of course, they don’t,

17. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen?

Levi: “The chicken dance.”

Hunter: “All the dinosaurs together.”

18. Can you name one thing that scares you?

Levi: “Nothing.”

Hunter: “Ghosts.”

19. What do you do when you’re scared to make it less scary?

Levi: “Close my eyes.”

Hunter: “Tell people.”

20. Would you rather give up TV, chocolate or friends?

Levi: “Chocolate.”

Hunter: “My friends.”

 

21. What is the most disgusting thing you can think of?

Levi: “Brown beans”

Hunter: “Carrots and broccoli, and brussels sprouts, and salad.” As you can tell he’s not a fan of vegetables.

22. What is the first thing you can remember?

Levi: “When Sakira died.” Sakira is our dog that passed away 18 months ago, this was a huge moment in Levi’s life but it has more to do with other things that happened at the same time and this is what he is subconsciously holding on to. 

Hunter: “Going to the spray park.”

23. If you could change one rule, what would it be?

Levi: “not being able to watch a movie whenever I want.”

Hunter: “Having to clean up.”

24. What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard?

Levi: “There was a real bumblebee.”

Hunter: “Superman.” I feel like this was influenced by the fact the Supergirl was playing in the background.

 

At the end of this, I feel like I have a much better idea of what my kids think; not only of me but of myself. Have you ever done anything like this with your kids?

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Fat Mommy gets fit: Water

My first order of business in the journey was to quit drinking Coke! I have lived in this delusional world where I was able to convince myself that if I only drank one can a day that wasn’t so bad. Especially in comparison so other people in my household that drink 3-5. See, what did I tell you? Delusional. Just because I wasn’t drinking as much as others, doesn’t mean I was doing the right thing. You can find thousands of articles and blogs telling you why you shouldn’t drink it. It wrecks your teeth, it puts you ar risk for a number of serious diseases, the stuff literally can eat through metal. But, I was able to happily ignore all of that to live in my happy world.

So, I quit drinking it. Okay, I made that sound so much easier than it actually was. The only way I was able to do it was to stop buying it. Out of sight out of mind. As the same time, I also got a kidney infection and I was able to substitute it with cranberry juice until that passed. But, alas, despite only purchasing “so sugar added” juices, fruit juice is still loaded with a tonne of natural sugar and is just empty calories that nobody really needs.
Bring on the water! There are so many benefits to drinking water.

  • Prevent dehydration
  • Promote healthy organ function
  • Keep your muscles energised
  • To keep your skin looking good.
  • probably a million other reasons…

So really there is no reason to not drink it.

For years and years and years I have heard that a person needs to drink 8-8oz glasses of water or 2 Litres. So that’s what I did, I figured out how much my cup held and then I figured out how many of them I needed to drink to reach that goal. Easy Peasy! Until a few days in a friend told me that is totally out of date, and you actually need to drink much more than that in a day. Half your body weight (in pounds to oz) to be more accurate. So if you weigh 200 lbs you need drink 100 oz od water. Not the commonly heard 64 oz. – Apparently, this is all fields, not just water but when you’re trying to cut out the calories water is clearly (no pun intended) the best option. – I, weighing in much higher than I should need to drink about 115 oz, nearly double what I thought.

So that is my goal. Just over 3.5 Litres. Doable. I can probably manage this.


I can absolutely do this! By keeping a glass or water bottle full of water next to me always, I now drink an average of 4L of water a day. That and making the decision to actually drink the amount of water I need. It is harder when  I drink other things during the day but I still manage to get it done. I do seem to spend an absurd amount of time in the bathroom these days though.

What are some of your tips and tricks to drink more water?

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La Roche-Posay Micellar Water for Dry/Reactive Skin: A review.

If anyone is a regular reader you would know that I am the furthest thing from a beauty blogger. So when I first heard about this product I have to admit I had to google what it was even for! Apparently, it is water with tiny balls of oil suspended in it. The idea being that the dirt is attracted to the oil and will clean your skin without drying it out.  As someone with EXTREMELY dry skin, I often don’t bother to wash my face because of no matter the cleanser it always just seemed to get dryer and dryer. I’m sure this is not the best course of action, and one that I will probably regret later in life, but for now it seems to work.


When I got my free product in the mail I tried it out right away. The first thing I noticed was that it felt and looked like water. I applied it to a cotton pad and wiped my face, for something that felt like water it certainly didn’t clean like water;  it got an absurd amount of dirt off my face, probably because I don’t normally wash it. It did leave a sort of residue on my skin, which I am sure is due to the oil molecules. But it was hardly noticeable and nothing that bothered me. It definitely wasn’t oily like one would expect from an “oil”, and  for once did not need to use a heavy moisturizer on my face after washing it so it didn’t dry me out like a “water.”
I continued to use this every morning and night for the week. Each day I noticed that my skin appeared much less dry than it was before. I no longer had flaky skin on my forehead. This used to be the worst area, it was like dandruff on my forehead. I also tried it as a makeup remover and it removed everything with little to no effort. No racoon eyes, Yay!

Then I made a terrible mistake, I quit using it! I don’t know why but for some reason I dropped it from my routine. Sure enough, my skin started to get dry again. Clearly, I need to rededicate a part of my morning and evening routine to include this.  After reincorporating it I am happy to report that, again, I am seeing the results I loved before and I will not be dropping it again. Plus even after a month of using it nearly every day I have barely made a dent in the bottle. A little bit goes a long way. When I actually run out of this bottle I will without a doubt be purchasing it again.

**Please note that I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are mine.**

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Baby H: Month seven.

Six months old and he is growing before my eyes. I watch him with amazement as he is very much my miracle baby.

Sleeping: This boy of mine sleeps like a champ, bedtime at 7 and not a peep from him until 7 am. Then a nap in the morning where he s more than happy to just lay in bed and babble to himself.He tends to wake up from his afternoon nap crabby, but I believe that has more to do with his loud older brothers waking him up while they play.

Feeding: Three meals a day, and 3 bottles – which hardly seems like enough, but his doctor isn’t worried. – I am doing a combination of Baby Led Weaning and traditional feeding methods. He gets to feed himself his lunch, usually toast, or something similar; while I feed him breakfast and dinner. He is learning, but he still isn’t getting enough into him when he feeds himself so we are actively working towards that.


Development:  He is holding his own bottle, almost always and is getting close to crawling. Not quite there yet but close. He is getting quite good at picking up things and getting them into his mouth.

Growth: Oh he is growing, but to me, he is still so small. I wonder if he will always feel that way to me. He is still in 3-6/6M clothes for not a whole lot longer. He has been wearing them for over 3 months so win for getting my use out of them.

Hunter & Levi: They love to try to teach him how to crawl. HD has no in what they are doing but they certainly try.

Loves:

  • His jumper is still by far his favourite thing.
  • When his brothers crawl around the floor.
  • When daddy comes home from work.
  • Yogurt, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.

Hates:

  • Tummy time, he is getting over it, but he still isn’t a big fan. 
  • Rice cereal, since he discovered new and better foods he really doesn’t want this.

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Fat mommy gets fit: the beginning.

My whole life I have been overweight. Not morbidly obese or anything, but overweight. When Blayne and I got together I was in the best shape of my life, and at 190 lbs that was still in no way a healthy weight. When I got pregnant with HD weighed as much as I did 9 months pregnant with Hunter. 220 lbs. Of course, when I was pregnant I did put on weight, only 10 lbs but still it capped me at the heaviest I have been in my life. 6 months later I was still carrying all of that weight. I decided that it was time for a change, a life change.

In the past, I have tried to lose weight and by making a bunch of changes all at once and giving up. When I was actually making progress and keeping it off it was I was serving full-time and was eating salads at work do to my, then, wheat allergy. I now am doing neither of those things. After Hunter and Pre-wedding I was going to the gym twice a week and I managed to lose 2 sizes, but the number on the scale never moved. This was largely due tot the fact that I wasn’t making the necessary dietary changes to lose the weight.

This time things are going to be different. The old me would get out of bed, drink coffee and have a nap, before drinking more coffee. I would rarely eat breakfast, and almost never lunch. I would not get off the chair where I was watching TV. No food or drinks until dinner time where it would almost certainly be coke, which is what I would drink until bed. I would then drink about 8 oz of water (certain that made up for all the water I didn’t drink during the day and then I would have a fitful sleep before getting up and doing it all over again. Hello, healthy… not.

It took me 27 years and 2 babies to put on this weight. It is going to take a while to get it off, and a lifetime to keep it off. I am not doing a yo-yo diet. I am making a lifestyle change, slowly as to not overwhelm myself. Past experience tells me that is a sure-fire way to fail. I am tired of failing, but mostly I am tired of not being the mom I want to be. I no longer want to hide from the camera so there are no pictures of me and my kids.

I am writing this so that I have something (someone) to hold myself accountable to. I have a long road ahead of me, but I am going to follow it through. I guess my first step would be putting down the cookies I am eating while writing this.

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