Friday, March 29, 2013

Fancy Friday!


Whoo! Who's ready to get fancy!?  I'm doing a new linkup through MommySplurge, and I'm going to share three things I'm fancying today!

I fancy...


Dress (see more lacey dresses)

My Easter Dress!  (Image courtesy of Polyvore, sold at Kohl's).  I love it!  Over the past few years, I've done more mommy-friendly styles (long dress, tunic & leggings, etc) for Easter.  However, I think the kids are old enough that I can wear a dress like this - without fear of a wardrobe malfunction from having to chase a toddler!  I have a sparkly silver cardigan to wear over it (because I'm not going to kid myself that it's warm enough for spaghetti straps!), a cute headband, and I'm going to tempt fate and wear sandals.  Tell me all about your cute new Easter outfit in the comments!

I fancy...
Big boy underoos!  My big, bad three-year-old has done a great job during our Spring Break "Potty Training Boot Camp"!  We still have a long way to go, of course... We've yet to leave the house with him in underoos, and I know there will be accidents and tears (mostly mine!) down the road.  But I am so proud of him!  And I know his preschool teacher will be too!  

I fancy...
A Vacation!  As a kid, you look forward to Spring Break.  A whole week without school!  Awesome!  As a mom... Well, let's just say that I need a vacation from their vacation.  Bora Bora, anyone?

That's what I'm fancying this week... How about you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

It's that time again!  You know, Thursday.  It's time for Thursday Thoughts, brought to you by the fantabulous Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!  I'm writing this Thursday Thoughts with my kids cuddled up next to me, because it's Spring Break!  They've been total snuggle fiends this week, and I've been happy to oblige!  After all, they're only young for a little while, and I'm taking every hug I can get to tide me over through their teen years!  But, this means I am waaaay behind on writing box reviews.  I have a Fancy Box, Goodies, Starlooks.... and I'm sure at least one other that I can't remember right now (and I can't get up to check.  These kids have me on couch cuddle lockdown!)

- I did not realize how dirty my house was until I started doing some deep cleaning this week.  I do all of the normal stuff each week (dishes/laundry/bathrooms/etc), but there's something about cleaning out the oven and dusting off the ceiling fans that makes me feel like a total slacker.  

- I may have bitten off more than I can chew with Spring Cleaning AND "Potty Training Boot Camp" for Dragon.  There have been a few "accidents" when I get too involved in scrubbing down a bathroom and forget to ask my stubborn baby if he has to pee every 5 minutes.  Ah, the irony.  Therefore, I'm putting off some of the cleaning for next week when the kiddos are back at school.  See? I can prioritize!

- I'm definitely going to have to cut down on subs.  I have so much beauty/personal care stuff right now that entire drawers in my bathroom have been devoted to my sub items!  So far on the "keepers" list I have Ipsy, Birchbox, and Goodies.  Those are my more inexpensive subs, and they never fail to deliver.  Beauty Army and Glossybox are gone, and I probably won't renew Conscious Box after my 3 months are up.  I'm waiting to decide on Love Club until Poppy Parcels (the takeover company) sends the first box.  Starlooks.... I love it, but I really don't need more makeup!  We'll see.

- If I do add any subs, it will be through "sales" and special offers, like the 3 month Happy Trunk deal I found on Plum District.  I mean, I can't just pass up an amazing deal, right!?

- I'm totally annoyed by all of the "copycat" symbols for the Equality picture that's all over Facebook.  Look, we get that everyone has an important social issue to campaign for, but make your own darn symbol instead of altering someone else's!  (Although the bacon one is pretty funny)  I'm only posting the more humorous takes on the issue... but we've all seen the ones advancing other agendas.  Get your own graphic designer, guys.  After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... and I don't think that's what you're really going for, amiright?

The Original - Source HRC

Beerquality? Source - Budweiser

And... now I want some bacon - Source Reddit

-And of course, whatever your take on the issue of marriage equality, remember to keep the dialogue respectful.  If you feel yourself getting heated, put down the Haterade and walk away.  Your angry rants are a victory for the other side.

Whoooo, look at me getting all political!  Don't worry, I'm stopping now.  The kids are getting hungry... so I'm going to go hunt down some bacon!  YUMMY!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition Presented by Pureology

As moms, we're always looking for ways to keep our kids safe.  One of those ways is using eco-friendly products whenever possible.  Another way is ensuring that the environments in which they live and learn are also eco-friendly.  I entered this contest for my kids' school because I believe that eco-improvements could help - not just for my kids, but for all future students.  I already love my boys' elementary school, but adding improvements like a school garden or solar panels could help them lower costs and be even more amazing!

-Did you know that school test scores improve when children can learn in an eco-friendly environment?  Natural light, low-VOC paints, and non-toxic building materials are all ways schools can improve classrooms.

-When schools improve their energy efficiency by switching to low-energy bulbs and low-flow toilets, they can save a ton of money on energy and water costs.  They can use this money to get better books, materials, and technology for their students!  Amazing what a big difference little changes can make, right?

-Lastly, schools can make the world a better place for future students by having a smaller carbon footprint!

Unfortunately, many schools lack the funds to make this initial investment into becoming more eco-friendly.  That's why I'm encouraging you to enter the Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition, Presented by Pureology!  Just click this link:

Have fun entering your school!  If you already know what kind of improvements your school needs, you're good to go!  Just so you know, they ask for 3-5 pictures of the school showing the improvements that need to be made.  Other than that, just go for it!

Disclaimer:  I found out about this contest through Influenster, and I'm spreading the word!  I did not receive any monetary compensation for entering this contest or blogging about it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Potty Training Blues

In my last "Thursday Thoughts", I shared that I'm currently trying to potty-train Dragon.  He's in preschool (through our public school system), and is loving it, but I really want him to be trained.  I know he's capable, but he's a wee bit stubborn.  So, while the kids are on Spring Break this week, I'm holding a Potty Training Bootcamp.  The weather is cold and windy, so I may as well take advantage of being cooped up in the house with a captive audience!  If you don't have kids, or think that I'm sharing TMI, feel free to not read this post.  But you know what they say about "writing what you know", and right now... I know Potty Training!

First of all, unless you are one of those blessed individuals with self-training children,  potty training is HELL.  It's not magical. In fact, I don't think you can get any more earthy and mundane than asking your kid every 15 seconds if they have to pee.  Yes, changing diapers is a pain, and the end result (having a potty-trained child!) is totally worth it, but the actual process is just not fun!  Also, Dragon is so much harder to train than Knight was.  For one thing, Knight could talk.  Trust me, it makes a huge difference.  Also, Knight is the type of child that wants to make his parents happy.  Dragon... marches to the beat of his own drummer.  He will be potty trained when he wants to be, and Mommy will just have to deal with it.

We're currently at Phase Two.  Yes, in an effort to make this whole thing less awful, I've broken down the process into several slightly-more-tolerable phases.

Phase I:  Letting Dragon run around the house naked.  This works really well.  We've actually tried it before ( has been on and off for about 6 months now), and it works.  He knows where his little froggy potty is, he knows when he has to use it, and the constant breeze on his booty reminds him that he's not wearing a diaper.  He had no accidents yesterday, so I felt comfortable moving on to...

Phase II:  Running around in just underoos.  With dinosaurs on them, natch.  We've made it to this phase twice before - he did OK, but there were a few accidents.  So far so good today, but I am just waiting!

Phase III:  Fully clothed, but in easy-to-remove clothing.  Thank goodness it's warming up here!  Next week we're going to have temperatures in the 70s (Sorry to my snowbird friends.  But I love me some warm weather!)  Elastic-waist shorts are going to be my new best friends.  This will be the first phase where we can actually leave the house!  Short errands at first, then maybe a little grocery shopping, with a big bag of spare pants and underoos at my side.

Phase IV:  Jeans.  If I've managed to play my cards right with training him just as the warm weather hits, I may not have to deal with jeans for months!  Maybe even not til he turns 4!  And at the point where he can wear jeans without any accidents, I will consider him potty-trained.

Now I want to know about your experience in potty training!  Come and share your tales of woe!  If you happen to be one of the blessed and consider commenting "My little darling just woke up one day and was fully potty-trained!", do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.  But if you have any stories/hints/tips on how to potty train a stubborn three-year-old with a speech delay, by all means, share!

And now if you'll excuse me... I have to go commit some chemical warfare on a recently formed biological hazard, if you get my drift.  I sincerely hope that your day is going better than mine!  Have a happy Tuesday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Influenster Sugar N Spice Voxbox

Ohmigosh!  My first VoxBox!  I'm so excited... and so getting ahead of myself!  Late last year, I started hearing about this thing called "Influenster".  It's a site that rewards you for being influential in social media. You tell them about your interests and hobbies, and they ask you to review products, tweet about products they're promoting, and... occasionally, they partner with companies and send out boxes of FULL-SIZE items for Influensters to try! For free!  And I was one of the lucky ducks that got the Sweet 'N' Spicy box!

A few days ago, I opened up my front door to find...

It was so pretty I gave it a gold star!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

You know what time it is!  Time for Thursday Thoughts, linking up with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!  Thankfully, it's been a good week.  I needed one!  

- I'm finally getting somewhere with potty-training Dragon!  It's been a rough road.  Knight was potty trained by now, but then again, Knight could talk.  And he was/is, in general, a much more cooperative child.  Knight loved sticker charts.  Loved getting Hot Wheels for every 10 stickers.  LOVED going to Chuck E. Cheese for his 100 sticker reward!  (We're a big believer in rewards around here.  In fact, I reward myself with Dark Chocolate M&M's every night just for making it through the day!)  Dragon, on the other hand... doesn't care about potty training.  Would happily wear diapers to his high school graduation.  So any progress is huge for me!

- We got a video camera!  We've taken little videos for years on our phones, but Knight has his first school play/musical tonight - "The Three Piggy Opera".  And because my poor hubby can't make it due to a work conflict, I wanted to get the whole thing on tape for him!  (Well, on memory card.)  I just don't think my iPhone would last through a 20 minute performance.  Of course, it will be quite a production as I attempt to simultaneously tape the performance and keep Dragon quiet.  I'm going to pack LOTS of snacks.

- Our trip home has been postponed.  Due to circumstances well beyond my control, we're going to be staying home for Spring Break.   It will suck to not see our family, but gonna have to say I'm not unhappy about missing out on the solo w/kids road trip.  Speaking of...

- One more day of school before Spring Break!  I have to admit, I've been missing the little rascals lately.  And, I'm totally looking forward to not waking up before dawn every day.  Elementary school starts at 7:30 AM here!  So next week will consist of lots of sleeping in, playing outside, and of course, Easter!  And maybe a trip to the zoo!

- I have GOT to start using up some of these samples!  I seriously have an entire drawer in my bathroom full of masks, cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup!  It's a beautiful sight... but yeah, I may need to cut down on some subs.  I just don't know how to choose from all my precious babies!

- NOTHING HAS BROKEN DOWN THIS WEEK.  Best week ever.  (Please, karma, I'm not bragging. Do not feel tempted to throw a repair bill my way.)

- So many boxes are coming in next week!  I have Starlooks, a Cravebox, a Fancy Box, my Goodies Box, and possibly a Happy Trunk for the kids all coming!  Oh, and a trade with a MakeupTalk lady!  I finally found someone who had the Mad Madame Juliette Has a Gun perfume!  Everyone who got it in their Birchbox has been raving about it and I really wanted to try it before I just broke down and bought a bottle. Hooray!

- And lastly, I'm so happy to have my Dancing With the Stars back!  I miss it so much when it's not on.  This is the second season I'm watching on Hulu Plus instead of cable.  So I can't vote, unless I just pick a favorite and cast all my votes without seeing the show, which is kind of cheating.  But I am loving Kellie Pickler, Ingo Rademacher, and Zendaya Coleman.  And can I just say how happy I am that Val Chmerkovskiy is not trying to melt the TV screen with his smoldering sexuality this season?  Yes, dear, we get that you're quite the hottie, and your chemistry with Kelly Monaco was amazing, but I'm seriously happy you have to dial it back now that your partner is total jailbait.  

Those are my Thursday Thoughts!  What's on your mind this week?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Conscious Box March 2013

New box alert!  I found a deal a few weeks ago for half-off of Conscious Box, and I couldn't resist!  I'm a sucker for a deal, and getting this box for $10 a month instead of $19.99 just made me all giggly.  What is Conscious Box, you ask?  Well, according to their website, "Conscious Box helps you discover the purest, healthiest natural products in the world from the most ethical companies!"  Basically, if you're currently using a cleaner, a beauty product, or eating a snack, Conscious Box sends you the eco-alternative.  You receive about 8-10 samples in each box, about double what you'd find in an Ipsy bag or Birchbox, which explains why their normal price is double that of my beauty boxes.

Before I get into the products, I do have to say I ran into a bit of a snafu.  You see, I bought a 3-month sub using the half-off code.  Then I thought about it for a few days, and realized what I really wanted was a 6-month sub.  No prob, the code is still active, just go back and buy another 3 months, right?

WRONG.  Conscious Box is the only box (to my knowledge) that lets you run concurrent subs off of the same email address.  They say it's because they have different types of subs (vegan and gluten-free, in addition to their classic sub), and some customers want to have, say, a vegan and a classic box each month.  Well, still, no problem, just put one sub on hold for three months, then reactivate once the first one runs out.

Nope.  They have "no way" of delaying a sub or skipping months.  Thankfully, despite a completely crappy computer system, they do have excellent customer service.  They completely refunded one of my 3-month subs.  Also, since it was so close to shipping time, they allowed both boxes to go out, meaning I got two boxes for the price of (half of) one!  So, I'm completely in love with their customer service, and since I see deals all the time for 25-50% of their boxes, I will definitely try to keep this one going!  I ended up with two different variations, but a lot of duplicate items.  So, sorry for the super-long introduction, but I always want to be open and honest about my experiences with you, my lovely readers.  Let's get started!

So much fun!

Mondays are for Moms

Yup, that's me.  Mondays aren't the bane of my existence anymore, but I do still have a lot to get done today!  I had a really great weekend - it's warming up here (yay Spring!), so there was lots of playing outside and yardwork on Saturday, and I had lunch with a friend on Sunday.  We had alllll our kids with us, so that poor Olive Garden will never be the same, but I think I remember a few sentences of adult conversation!

But now that it's Monday, back into the fray!  I  have declared today an official Laundry Day, and the second load is in the dryer now.  I'm also folding all of the loads I did last week, but dumped unceremoniously into the guest room because I was busy with other stuff.  (You do that, right?  Where do you put your laundry til you fold it?)

We're going to be heading home this weekend, and staying til Easter.  Thank goodness for Spring Break, I know Dragon and Knight are ready for a week off from school, and they are definitely excited for the parade of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!  The Easter Bunny has decided to wait until we're back home to get all the stuff for baskets (kind of kills the magic when you have to try hiding two baskets' worth of stuff on a long road trip) but this is pretty much the first year that I'm totally OK about filling the baskets with candy.  Before this year, I tried to do mainly toys/games, but I'm going for a 50/50 split nowadays.  They can handle the sugar.  I'll just pack extra toothpaste!

I hope you're having a spectacular Monday, and whether you're working, working at home, or staying at home with your laundry like me, do something special for yourself today.  You deserve it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Night Nails

That's right, it's time for another exciting installment of Saturday Night Nails (Special Holiday Edition)!  I felt like doing something special for St. Patrick's Day, but I have absolutely zero talent for nail art.  So I'm doing the "accent nail" trend.  You know, the one where you paint your ring finger a different color than the rest of your nails.  Which, since I've heard of it, now means the trend is officially over!  I think it goes without saying that if you're stopping by here for the latest in fashion news, you're in the wrong place.  I'm more the "march to the beat of my own drummer" fashionista anyway!

Ok, now that I've stressed my complete ignorance of fashion, I bet you're just so excited to see my gorgeous work!  Here you go!


This is inside, without flash.  I have been loving my Color Club polish in Wild Cactus from my February Birchbox!  For some reason it always photographs as a blue-ish/teal color, but I assure you, it's a lovely emerald.  I used Mary Kay's Gold Foil for my accent nail to complete the St. Patrick's theme!  Here's another shot indoors with a flash:

I think the green shows a bit better in this one!

In these shots, I don't have a top coat on, but I'll let Sally Hansen's Double Duty Base & Top Coat do its very best to protect my polish.  I'm not expecting much, as my manicures rarely last longer than a day.  Chasing after little ones is just too much strain on my poor nails!  And just because I know you're dying to see more, here's one final shot.  No flash, but directly under lamplight.

And once again, it looks blue.
My camera and I are going to have a talk.

Just because it's bugging me that you all can't see the awesomeness of this emerald color, here is a pic of the color from Birchbox's website.  All credit goes to their lovely photographers, and someone please let me know if using their pic is not ok.   Definitely not wanting to infringe on any trademark, etc., but I think they'll sell more of these polishes if I can show an accurate representation of the color!

There! Emerald Green. Told ya.

I hope you have a wonderful evening!  Where are you and your beautiful nails going tomorrow?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for Thursday Thoughts again!  Here's what's going through my head today.  

- I am loving a meme I saw today that said "Yay, it's almost Friday!  Oh wait... I'm a mom." because it's so true!  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but I am also loving the free time I have since they started school! 

- I found a new "kids" sub in a Plum District deal last week.  I felt bad for cancelling Citrus Lane,  so I've been keeping an eye out for a box for the kiddos.  So, for the next 3 months, we will be getting The Happy Trunk!  This is more of a craft-based sub, and I'm hoping for some awesome science experiments or nature activities.

- I don't like it when my beauty subs pick guy-ish themes for the boxes.  March Madness?  Birchbox, I get you to help me forget about sports and hunting and manly stuff!  Just send me my beauty samples and leave the sports stuff to Birchbox Man! kthanxbai!

- I have discovered trading samples through MakeupTalk and I am loving it!  The risk you run with subscription boxes is not always getting stuff you like (I'm looking at YOU, February Glossybox).  However, one man's trash/treasure and all that.  I've done 3-4 trades lately and they have all seriously rocked my socks.  I got rid of the evil snail mask, and got the Evologie acne treatment.  I traded the Barbie blush (seriously, that's what they named it) from my February Starlooks box for this awesome mascara shield thingy, also from Starlooks.  I'm going to have to post a pic, cause it's hard to describe.  This wasn't a direct trade, but I got rid of the weird giraffe print Nail Rocks and got ahold of some black & gold Union Jack Nail Rocks!  They were the one pattern I really wanted!  So while yes, it does cost me a bit extra in postage to mail out trade items, it's totally worth it to have items I really want and will use.

- Oh yeah, and I got the Whip Hand Cosmetics Eye Pigment in Locked & Loaded in a trade, which means I have the complete "set" of the military inspired colors from the Whip Hand/Beauty Army collaboration!  And I will be doing a look soon using Locked & Loaded (brown), Green Beret (green, duh), Special Forces (peachy/neutral), and Medal of Honor (metallic gold).  Yay!

- I'm glad they elected a new pope.  Mainly because now the news sites won't be flooded with pope articles. Best of luck, Pope Francis.

- I'm taking the kids and visiting family the week before Easter (Spring Break! Hooray!).  And thanks to my new sub obsession, I now have so many trial sizes of shampoo/bodywash/shaving cream/hair stuff that my toiletry bag will be much lighter!  Which, of course, means more room for shoes.  I'm not looking forward to the 500+ mile drive, but it is getting easier now that the boys are older.  The first road trip I did with the kids and without my husband, when they were 1 and 3, is forever unpleasantly seared into my memory.  I'm hoping for an uneventful drive this time.  Oh, and yeah, I should probably start packing, like now.

- The temperature here is supposed to go up 20 degrees over the next two days.  Which can only mean good things for our electric bill.  

- Oh, and the "me day" I mentioned in my post yesterday has been postponed til tomorrow.  Mainly because I got a 20% off Kohl's coupon in my email, and it starts tomorrow.  More stuff for the same amount of money?  Don't mind if I do.

And that's what's in my noggin right now.  What are your Thursday Thoughts?  Join the link-up!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So What Wednesday!

So What Wednesday

Today, I'm linking up to So What Wednesdays from Life after I "Dew".  Actually, I'm linking up because I always love reading the ones that Ramblings of a Suburban Mom posts, and I thought the hilarity and shenanigans should be shared.  So here's what I'm saying "So What" to this week!

So What If...

- I hold up the entire line of cars picking up/dropping off the kids at the elementary school.  Sorry, guys, I don't have 3rd and 5th graders that can just hop in/out of the car under their own power.  I have a 3-year-old (preschooler) and 5-year-old (kindergartener) that need help getting unbuckled, pulled out of the car, reminded to get their backpacks, and gently herded in the general direction of the school.  I'm eternally grateful for the teachers and aides that are out there every morning, and I'm sure they've saved my kids at least once from wandering back into traffic.

- Our bird feeders are not refilled the second I notice they're empty.  We have some seriously voracious birds (or squirrels, who knows) and they suck the feeders dry in about two days.  I've been trying to fill it twice a week, but the greedy little punks need to look elsewhere when it's empty!

- I complain about Hulu freezing up on me constantly.  I know, first world problems.  And I know, it's $8 a month, and I get what I pay for, blah blah blah.  Well, Netflix seems to handle it just fine!  So get it together, Hulu!

- A "me" day is happening tomorrow.  Over the past few weeks, I've had sick kids, car problems, issues with the washing machine/water heater/HVAC unit, and not enough sleep to deal with it all!

- I'm disappointed every time I open my mailbox and there *isn't* a subscription box delivery in there.  I definitely don't get 30 boxes a month (although I can dream, right!?), but it's still a bummer when I'm in between boxes.

- Dragon and Knight have joined in some kind of conspiracy to drive me bonkers this week.  They are either at each other's throats or begging me for something.  Knight needs a snack.  Then Dragon needs a sippy cup refill.  Then Knight says he's cold.  Then Dragon tries to stash his socks in one of the heating vents.  And they think I'm joking when I look at them and say "You know, some animal mothers eat their young, and today, I know why."

- I'm so happy my car is fixed!  You have no idea.  And yes, I am happy that the issue itself is resolved, but mainly I'm just overjoyed that the annoying sound has stopped.

- I'm in love with all of my blog readers!  Seriously, you guys rock.  I never expected to be successful, whatever that means.  I just started this to give our out-of-town family a way to learn more about the kids without me posting hilariously long Facebook statuses.  However, I'm now averaging about 100 hits a day (generally on subscription box review posts), and I was recently contacted by a company asking me to try out a box!  (Details to follow once everything is confirmed!).

And all that... is what I'm saying So What to this week!

Love, Leigh

New Giveaway! Cravebox "Me Time" Box!

Can you feel the excitement! I can feel it!  I'm linking up with fellow blogger Antonia from Motor Mouth Speaks for a new Giveaway! You know you're just not taking enough time just for you, right?  This box will help you solve that pesky little problem.  It includes a Harlequin Romance novel, as well as some tasty treats from CocoaVia and SunRype.  For even more details, check out the original giveaway post here!  I'm also posting the Rafflecopter link below.  So show some support to the wonderful lady bloggers like Antonia and me, and you just might win some awesome goodies!

You know you want it.

And because this giveaway includes food, I feel like it's appropriate to add... "May the odds be ever in your favor."

(Because when isn't it appropriate to quote Hunger Games?  If I were a gym teacher, I'd quote that before every game of dodgeball!)

Seriously, though.  Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love, Leigh

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ipsy AND Birchbox Review! March 2013

Well, you know what happens when I get two boxes on the same day!  I throw 'em in the ring for a BEAUTY BOX BEATDOWN!!!  I really hope you read that using the same voice you hear in commercials for wrestling or monster truck rallies.  I used the same general logic used to select wrestling match partners to divide the 5 items received from each subscription into arbitrary categories, and pitted the individual items against each other.  Heck, even I don't know who wins yet.  I didn't actually plan this out in advance.  Here are the contenders:

So much pink!
And yes, I'm working on not putting my own shadow in the pic. Sorry.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

I'm doing my first link-up - Yayz!  Before I launched my blog, I started reading a bunch of them to try and figure out how to do this thing right.  Ramblings of a Suburban Mom is one of my favorites.  She's a stay-at-home-mom (like me!), she has two little boys (like me!), and she's addicted to subscription boxes (like me!  Twinsies!).  She is, however, way advanced from where I am.  So if you want to see what a dedicated, successful blogger looks like, go check her out!  Because as you all know, I am an amateur.  A beautiful amateur with impeccable spelling and grammar, but still.  That only gets you so far.

Thursday Thoughts is a random compilation of my musings for the day.  And I have plenty.

- We FINALLY have a diagnosis for what's wrong with my car (the sensible, family, car-seat-equipped car).  For quite awhile it's been making a wub-wub-wub noise while I drive, which seemed to emanate from right under my feet.  And when I accelerate, it increases to a WUBBITY-WUBBITY-WUBBITY that makes it impossible to hear either 1) the radio or 2) the kids.  The verdict?  It's a wheel bearing.  And apparently, I have done the exact wrong thing in waiting to get it fixed.  Sorry, Mr. Mechanic, but I kinda had to wait until our tax refund arrived to fund major car repairs.  Thankfully, it's not as major as it could be. But I am under strict instructions to not drive the car any more than absolutely necessary.  And the part won't be in until Monday, so guess who has two thumbs and no weekend plans now?  THIS GIRL (picture me pointing at my chest with both thumbs).

- I love that the boys' school is still very involved with extracurricular activities like art and music.  In fact, for the next few weeks until Spring Break, the art and music teachers have been given the run of the school and have come up with an amazing array of activities.  One day, the kids have been asked to dress like rock stars.  Another day, parents are invited to come join their kids for either Art or Music class.  My personal favorite is the day they're encouraged to wear different patterns and dress as wildly as possible.  I'm already planning the outfits!  Oh, and they're doing a fundraiser that seems to be getting popular recently - a Soup Kitchen.  However, instead of feeding the homeless, they're inviting families to school one night, and serving us all soup in handmade bowls from local potteries for $10 a person.  We get to keep the bowls as a reminder to serve others, and the proceeds go to a local food pantry.  I LOVE THIS.  And yes, we'll be attending.

-  Dragon needs an attitude adjustment.  When he and Knight watch TV, I have them take turns picking what to watch.  Netflix is actually really awesome for this, because our "Recently Watched" column is just one big blob of kids' shows.  Even Dragon can point to the show he wants, even if he can't pronounce it.  And if it's his turn, he's fine.  But if he doesn't approve of Knight's selection, he throws a royal fit.  He just figured out where the Power button is on the TV and will try to turn it off rather than watch Mythbusters or Dora the Explorer.  Needless to say, he's been spending a lot of time in the corner.

- Of course, if I talk about Dragon, you know I'm going to talk about Knight.  And I am SO PROUD of him lately!  The poor kid seems to have inherited my ADD.  He has trouble paying attention in class, staying focused on tasks, and knowing when to be quiet and listen.  He recently had a pretty bad week, and as much as I hate having to be the Evil Queen, he lost all privileges for TV, games, and the iPad all weekend, and spent much of it in his room.  It seems to have worked, because for the past two weeks, he has come home with smiley faces in his agenda every day! (FYI, a smiley face is good.  A note is BAD)  So, good job, baby!  Thank you for making Mommy NOT dread the next parent-teacher conference!

This is Thursday, and these are my Thoughts.  What's on your mind?

Love, Leigh

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It's official.  I'm no longer allowed to say I'm one of those people that "never wins stuff."  In the past, I have been that person.  In fact, I was that person for almost three decades.  If there was luck involved in a contest, I had no chance.  (However, I did win several talent-based contests.  High School Poetry Contest Grand Prize Winner, thankyouverymuch).

So I was pretty happy when I married a guy that, on occasion, wins a contest or two!  The second we got anything resembling raffle tickets, I'd hand them straight over.  "You don't want to put your name on it, honey?" he'd say.

"No, darling, I'd prefer to think we'd have a chance," I'd reply.  (Yes, we're that charming and debonair)  We never won anything big.  The flat-screen TV's and 3-day cruises passed us by.  But the $25 Olive Garden gift cards and neon orange Super Soakers?  All ours, baby.  I had my low-level lucky charm by my side, and life was grand.

However, my luck started to change last Christmas.  No, not this past one. The one before.  Yes, 2011.  We went to our apartment complex's Christmas party, and I somehow ended up with the raffle tickets.  It was complete oversight on my part, my husband had to run after a (then two-year-old) Dragon, and I completely forgot to stuff the ticket in his pants pocket on his way by.  So imagine my surprise when, while I held the ticket, we won $25 off our next month's rent!  Small potatoes, sure, but it was $25 that stayed in our bank account!

I was even more surprised when the very next night, at our church's Ladies' Holiday Dinner, I won a door prize! It was an adorable serving platter.  I used it this year to hold candy  (The "Hand-Painted" sticker on the back made me a bit leery of putting anything on it that didn't come pre-wrapped).  And that was it for a whole year.  No prizes, no raffle wins, nada.  I had almost forgot those two beautiful, shining days when I... was a winner.

So imagine my surprise when, just a few weeks after launching my blog, I won the Cravebox Blog Review Challenge!  On my VERY FIRST blog review, no less!  I did use one of the Craveboxes I won as my first blog giveaway (you all remember that, right?  I'd be a bit concerned if you didn't... it was only a few weeks ago) but the thrill was BACK!

(EDIT:  I just found out that the awesome chica that won the Cravebox Giveaway did posted about it on her blog, Only Average Mom!  Check out the review here!  Also, she won another contest from Beauty Army yesterday!  Hooray, winning is contagious!)

Next, I found out that I won a Starlooks box through a contest on  "What?" I said.  "But I never win stuff!"  I got the February box, and I will absolutely be reviewing it soon for you, my lovely readers.  *Spoiler Alert* It's amazing!

And a few days after that?  I got an email from the online education course I took last year.  They sent me a survey at the end of the course, and I let them know exactly how I felt.  For example, I was happy to enlighten them that there were spelling and grammar errors during the "Grammar" section of the course.  I was shocked when I learned that I won a $100 AmEx gift card for taking the survey!  I guess they appreciated my honesty!

And finally, just last night, I got an email that I will be receiving the Sweet 'n' Spicy Voxbox from Influenster! Ok, so this isn't actually a contest.  Influenster is a social networking program that will occasionally send out products to review.  But hey, it's my first Voxbox, and anytime I get a box of free stuff in the mail, I'm gonna say that I won SOMETHING!

So, has my luck changed?  Can I expect more of these wins? (oh, I hope so!)  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But in the meantime...

Hi, I'm Leigh.  Wife, mom, blogger... and WINNER! Yay!

Love, Leigh

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

I realized recently that I do a lot of reviews right when I get my subscription boxes, but don't update you all with whether I even like the items or not!  A lot of times my first impressions are totally different than when I have the chance to use an item for awhile.  Today, I'm going to give you the top 5 items I've received in my sub boxes.  Next week, I'll do a post on which items I gave a fair chance to, but still ended up disliking.

This is not a comprehensive list, and I'll definitely do more of them in the future.  Discovering new things is always fun, and discovering new things that make me feel beautiful and pampered?  It's pretty much my most favorite thing EVER.

Here's my current top 5:

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