It’s pretty much one of my favorite things – getting packages in the mail. I mean, who doesn’t love Christmas-time with lots of boxes being delivered? And all those mini-Christmases all throughout the year? My babies know how much I love the Big Brown Truck and that I beg the driver (from inside my home, don’t worry) to stop at our house next. Opening the door to find a package (who cares if it’s just wipes!) is so super fun.
So when I was asked to review Conscious Box I thought about it for all of two seconds.
Conscious Box is a wonderful way to try out the best natural and eco-friendly products on the market right now. With everything vying for our attention, sometimes it’s tough to know which products are right for our families without investing hundreds of dollars in each item. So Conscious Box saves us that work, time and money!
They hand pick items they know we’ll love and ship them out to us on a monthly basis:
Conscious Box has created an easy, fun way to discover new favorites! The Conscious Box subscription is a monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet—just like you! We selectively choose our products, only allowing the purest companies working toward the most ethical goals. Each month, you meet 10-20 of these companies right at your doorstep!
As you discover new favorites, Conscious Box makes it fun (and rewarding!) to leave reviews and ratings so businesses can improve their product, packaging, and business as a whole. We place YOU at the core of helping natural products go from good to great! Earning points along the way, you’re then able to apply savings to your favorite products. Simply choose how many points you’d like to spend and boom! You’re on your way to enjoying your favorite product at a fresh, low price.
The best part of all? They are offering a box to you for free! If you haven’t yet tried Conscious Box, you can use the code FIRSTBOXFREE to try it out (just pay $7.95 for shipping)!
Oh, what’s in the box? Well, check out what I got in this month’s delivery:
Yup. There’s pretty much a ton of stuff packed in here. I have been reeeeeally wanting to try Earth Paste – and, lo and behold, I got a full-size tube of it ($8 value!)! I’ve been wanting to try the Ecover dishwasher tabs – got two loads worth of samples. And there’s a full-size shake for the kids and a couple of all-natural sleep aids for the ‘rents! There’s a fun snack that I tossed in my diaper bag to try when I’m out and get the munchies. And they somehow packed lots more samples of supplements, teas, sunscreens, etc.! Plus, tons of coupons to try these same products.
What are you waiting for? Get your first box free (with just $7.95 for shipping)! Click the link below and use the code FIRSTBOXFREE. Don’t forget to come back and tell us what your fave item is!
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which basically means, for introducing you to them, I earn a small amount that goes right back into running this site.
One of the topics I receive questions about most frequently (besides “are they natural?” =) has to do with how I made baby food for the babies. Now, I’ve only been feeding the triplets for about a year, but during that year I have made a lot of baby food. A lot. And, if you know me, I’ve done more than a little research on this region of parenting – nutritional aspects, cost analyses, time efficiency, product reviews, etc. So, I am happy to finally be able to share my efforts and experiences with you!
Some of the most frequent questions I hear from you are:
When did you first give solids to the babies and what did you give them?
How did you decide what to give them?
How did you keep them from being picky eaters?
Did you do baby-led weaning or puréed baby foods?
You asked, I’ll answer. =) Additionally, over the next several weeks I’ll be tackling the following topics, as well. Topics like:
Organic vs. non-organic
Cereal – why it’s not so good for Baby
Baby against mommy – how to deal with a picky eater
To season or not to season – is salt really bad for babies?
Coconut oil – what’s the big deal?
The egg question
The only equipment you really need (skip the Baby Brezza!)
And of course I’ll share a meal plan, shopping list, baby-friendly recipes…and how to prepare two weeks’ worth of food in two hours. That’s right. Two weeks’ worth or 45 meals…in two hours.
So join us each Wednesday as we dive into the world of feeding Baby…real food.
Did I miss anything? What would you like to see discussed?
If you’ve been around here for long, it’s no secret that I l.o.v.e. doing things naturally. I love learning and researching how to eliminate chemicals and toxins from our home and keep them from going into our bodies. I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and it certainly hasn’t been easy (not in the least!). But it has been fun! I see each aspect of change as a challenge. I envision what it must have been like to do these tasks or create these foods 150 years ago over a hot, wood-burning stove in the middle of summer with 15 layers of clothes on…and it is amazing how much funner (yes, that’s a word…ok, it’s not but I pretend it is) these tasks become. No joke!
But, what does “naturally” mean? Well, my definition would be this:
naturally – nat*u*ral*ly, seeking to live life with as few artificial contributions as possible. Put simply, do it myself.
“Ok, you’re crazy,” you say. Possibly. But I’ll tell you why “naturally.” For me, it is a conviction. As a follower of Christ, I have a responsibility to care for this body He has given me (as well as those in my family). Many believers teach about the sins of promiscuity and the need for moral integrity, etc. (which is good!). But how about the sins of gluttony or laziness? Did you know that your everyday lotions and beauty products contain ingredients that are very, very harmful? This is true for most of the products we use, whether ingested, injected or used topically. So is using these things helpful or harmful to my body? I believe it is honoring to God for us to be aware of what we are taking in; we wouldn’t want our children ingesting second-hand smoke on an on-going basis or watching pornography. Many of the commercial products we use are just as harmful to our bodies, yet we continue to down them and drink them.
Now, a lot of amazing things have come from labs, factories and plants in the past 150 years or so. But a lot of bad things have come out of them, as well. Particularly, the demand for ease and deserving attitude that is so prevalent in our culture. Think about it…we microwave leftovers instead of pulling out a pot three minutes sooner. We don’t want to take a few extra steps (or in many cases, including mine, don’t know how) to make chicken broth so we buy it packaged in the store. We buy the latest gadget/cleaning product/fitness routine/meal-plan/diet/immunization-suggestions that promise immortality, to shave time off that task, or get the results we want while “eating our cake, too.” But there’s a cost. A very high cost, at that.
The Cost of Convenience
For instance, buying just about any food bought in a conventional grocery store has the potential to save you money….short term. Heck, it even has the potential to make you money if you shop right. (I used to get those deals and they were exhilarating!) Unfortunately, those products in bright boxes and cool bags contain unnatural ingredients.
Yeah, but they’re FDA approved, so what’s the big deal?
The problem is that many of them, while FDA-approved, wreak havoc in our bodies in very, very serious ways. The chemicals in food products, cleaning products, toiletries, immunizations, etc have been proven to be harmful to our bodies – they are making us sick as a nation. They are lowering fertility, creating higher infant mortality, causing cancer/celiac disease/asthma/ADHD/allergies, etc, etc, etc. (If you haven’t watched this documentary, I would highly encourage you to do so. Genetic Roulette will be life-changing! …in a good way!)
What To Do?!
Fortunately, the art of making things ourselves is one that is pretty easily learned and, like I said earlier, fun. Does it take more time to make these items like cleaning products, home remedies, and foods than it does to buy them in the store and pick up a prescription. Most times, yes. But the payoff is amazing. My food is fresher. My family is healthier. I spend less money on chemicals (cleaning products, ingredients in packaged foods and medicines) and more on…food. Seems like a good trade-off, right?
However, it can be vaaaastly overwhelming and nearly impossible to know where to start. Of course, there are many “12 Step Programs” for the conventional American to take. I’ll simply (pun intended) give you my suggestions:
1. Pick one area, then one item.
Is it the food that you buy/make/eat that bothers you? Is it the cleaning products? What about your toiletries? Or your health and hundreds in Rx costs? Pick one area and then hone in on one aspect of that area. If it’s your health, what natural remedies are there for your condition? If it’s cleaning products, which do you use most often? If it’s food, which item concerns you? And then…
Search the internet. Read articles. Ask questions. Find someone who is “a step ahead” and become their apprentice. Make no changes until you feel confident in your decisions to make changes. Unfortunately, the marketers are doing a great job in selling “natural” and “organic” products that sometimes are no better than their counterparts. You’ll discover which ones are clever marketing as you dig deeper. Now this can take a while or a few minutes, depending on the item you’re researching. But I can attest that it is well worth turning off that show and spending a few minutes reading blog posts to learn how I can better care for my family (though I do still watch TV, almost every night!….a subject for another time, though =).
This is the fun part. All your new findings come together and you excitedly pull some new recipe out of the oven and…it’s a mess. Or you brew your herbs and…your kiddo still has a snotty nose for three more days! Or you wipe down that tub and…your arm breaks off from scrubbing so hard. Yes, it’s possible. Just as it’s possible that that new Rx from the doctor didn’t work so they had to up the dosage. Just as it’s possible that that Hamburger Helper was quite as disastrous. Just as it’s possible that that Soft Scrub caused your arm to grow some serious muscle even though the commercial shows a woman with her hair done up, in her neat little outfit and bent happily over the tub. But I’m telling you, there’s a high – an excitement – that comes from the victory of trial and error and pushing through the “error” part to victory! And knowing that you can do this again and again, which spurs you on to…
4. Pick the next item.
I dare you to stop at number 3. You won’t be able to. It’s just sososo rewarding to know you can do something yourself, save money and give your family something better/fresher/natural.
5. Watch for guilt.
This little booger sneaks up on us like a mosquito, but leaves much worse consequences than an itchy bite. There will always be someone who is further along in this process than me. I can get frustrated that I’m not doing enough or that I don’t have the money to overhaul this particular area of our lives. At the end of the day, did I love on my family? Were they fed and clothed? Did I honor God with my priority-placement? Those are the biggest biggies, right? Everything else will eventually fall into place! So remember to take it slow and find those who are “behind” you who could benefit from your new-found knowledge and experience! Become a teacher!
Over the past few years, these are a few of the changes I’ve been able to make (this is a sloooooow process):
Cloth diapers and line drying
Switched all processed oils to coconut oil, homemade tallow and a little bit of olive oil
Organic produce (EWG is a great resource for what is good to buy organic and what is personal choice and check out the awesome new company Local Organic Moms!!!)
Make household cleaners (vinegar and water, baby!)
Soap nuts for laundry detergent
Grassfed beef and pastured chickens
Eliminated processed and pasteurized foods from my pantry and fridge
Make kombucha (a probiotic drink suuuuuuper beneficial to the health of your gut!)
Soak beans and nuts
Some of you are probably laughing at how small this list is…leave a comment so I can find you and learn from you!!! =) For those of you who are tempted to be overwhelmed or intimidated by it, please remember…this list is an accumulation of years of “switching.” I didn’t make these changes overnight!
The next areas I hope to tackle are household items and toiletries. I want to find alternatives for things like deodorant, shampoo and paper towels/napkins. I’ve been gathering my information and am about ready to take the plunge in a couple of them! =)
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked where I get the girls’ cute tutus and all their pretty hair bows! The answer? The HairBow Company. I am a sucker for having my girls match but finding and buying two outfits that do is often incredibly difficult. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get cute hair bows and headbands, too! The HairBow Company sells many of their items in bulk and offers a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge variety of items (leg warmers, flower clips, hats, marabou, rompers, ribbons, etc.). When I came across their website, I realized they were selling those adorable crochet headbands for about $0.33 apiece! So I may have bought a couple…dozen. And when I saw the tutus, I came up with the “grow with me” picture idea that I did for their first year. If you haven’t seen those pics yet, you can check them out here: Say “Cheese!”, part 2. Oh, and their first birthday shoot is full of tutus and lace, as well: A Frog Prince and Two Princesses.
Well, fast-forward a year and they came across my blog. They asked if I would do a review of their products. I had to think about it for all of 3 seconds!!! They also have provided a discount code for you to go shopping with and save 10%!!! Just enter the code “triplets” at check-out to save even more money…but hurry, the deal ends April 5, 2013!!!
So, now, where are these pictures you say? I’m so glad you asked! My dear friend Sheree Phillips at Sheree Rae Photography captured these shots. I was incredibly impressed. If you have ever had an almost-18-month-old, you’ll know how challenging it is to get one good picture. Imagine trying to corral three almost-18-month-olds and it’s next to impossible. Seriously. I was sweating. And needed a good drink. And was beyond exhausted dancing and waving and baby-talking and running outfit changes and carrying babies through our tall, unmowed grass, etc. And yet…she got so many great ones I had the hardest time figuring out which ones to post!!! You’ll just have to look at lots and lots, I guess…you tell me which ones you’d pick!
And my favorite:
So…what cute stuff did ya get at The HairBow Company with the coupon code “triplets?” I wanna see, I wanna see!!!
I confess. I have one. At least, it is a slight addiction…. “Hi, my name is Jennifer and I’m addicted to strollers.” I have five. To be fair, though, each one serves their purpose. No, no they really do! And actually, many moms of multiples (MoMs) have far more than this…so there! And honestly, we’ve been blessed with so many of them we have only had to purchase two!
First walk in the stroller(s)!!!
I have a single stroller. Yep. With three babies. Originally, I wanted a single and double so we could snap the infant carriers into them and each push a stroller. I hoped that would minimize the attention that so many of the triple strollers get. Now I use it if I take one out at a time…or I will.
I have a double stroller. This was especially nice in the first 9 months because I could wear one and David could push this one. People often ignored us…score! This one was amazing but has the least functionality for us now that I don’t wear one, so I will be selling it in the upcoming Boutique for a Week sale (see you there!!!).
First walk in the Triple Jogger!!! They are thrilled, can you tell?
I have a triple jogger. I.love.this.stroller. I do. My absolute only complaint is that it won’t fit through doorways. Betcha never thought about that challenge before! Have to take the kids outside to load them in….follow that thinking. This means I have to leave Baby 1 and then Baby 2 in the stroller to go back inside and get the others. Yup. But I still love this stroller. They sit side by side and there’s a HUGE storage compartment below, a massive sun shade and it’s very easy to maneuver…for a triple stroller. Now, jogging? Yeah, I’m not there yet. Since I hate running, I probably never will be. But it’s our dedicated neighborhood-stroll-er, for sure.
Blowing kisses at you from the Valco with Joey seat!!!
I have a Valco. Valcos retail for over $1000. We got ours used-used (third hand…are you seeing a pattern here?) for $250. We added the Joey seat for another $100, still saving us about $700!!! And I love this beast. This is probably my only complaint with this one. It’s massive. It’s heavy. It’s all I can do to lift it in and out of the van. If David is with me (who am I kidding, I don’t take them out without him!) we will evaluate whether the Joey is needed or not. If it is, it takes about 30 minutes to set it up. Ok, not quite…but it is a process. Back to why I love it, though: it is narrow and so it does fit through doorways. It has a big compartment below and TONS of storage. Seriously, there are pockets I haven’t even found on this thing! And similarly, this stroller gives us the option of going a bit more incognito if we separate and carry one – it becomes “just” a double stroller. This one stays in the van.
Finally, I just purchased (with a gift card!!!) a Radio Flyer Triple Play Wagon Deluxe. (Why does everything for triplets sound so complicated?!) I am beyond excited about this. From what I’ve heard this baby replaces the “Choo-choo” I’ve been wanting in coolness and efficiency. It has great storage. It turns easily. It gets less attention and stares. All of these were great incentives for me. Plus, it’s narrow and I can bring it into the house, load the babies and walk around the neighborhood. I can unload it from the van for quick trips somewhere (like to our chiropractor). The possibilities are endless. I’m looking forward to more freedom with this bad boy, as described in Monday’s post: Doing “Normal.” I can’t wait for it to arrive!
I’ll post pictures soon of the babies enjoying their new wheels. =) In the meantime, which one do you like best?
***Update: Ahhhhh! I was alerted that the RF Wagon is now $30 off. So, normally $199, I paid $109 and got free shipping and used a gift card!!!***
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Jennifer Fountain and I'm married to David - the most wonderful man in the world. We were married February of 2010. One year later we found out we were expecting triplets! Makenna, Noah and Emma were born on October 1, 2011. Together we are seeking God for how to raise this family He's given us. Check out our the pages above for more info. We're glad you're here!