Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BarkThins Review

Some days blogging is hard work.  And some days you get to eat free chocolate and then brag about it on the internet.  Today is one of those days, my friends - it's like winning the blogging lottery. 

I had never heard of BarkThins until they showed up on my doorstep in my Scout Box for Savvy Sassy Moms.  I immediately had to hide them from my husband and toddler for fear that they would get eaten before I even had a chance to "review" them.  Anything with chocolate seems to be fair game around our house and I was not taking any chances. 

BarkThins sent us one bag of their dark chocolate and almond bark and one bag of dark chocolate and pretzel.  Both with sea salt.  Be still my beating heart.  I noticed on their website that they also have seasonal flavors like pumpkin seed and peppermint and healthy flavors like blueberry quinoa and toasted coconut.  Yes please. 
According to their website, BarkThins are made from the finest fair-trade dark chocolate and packed with non-GMO ingredients like pretzels, almonds and peppermint.  They're thin and crispy and have just the right balance of sweet and salty.   
I gave Mac one piece of each flavor to try, as dessert after dinner and he was thrilled to get to try some of "mommy's special chocolate."  Mac loved them both, but I preferred the pretzel flavor, which I was not expecting.  The almond ones were good, but the pretzels made them super crispy and had a bit more salt, which I love.  I may have already ordered another bag (or three).
This kid inherited my sweet tooth, as well as my inability to keep my face clean while eating.  He's a mess and I love it.  I should note that the chocolate is thin and melts in your hand easily, so be prepared for a little bit of a mess.  And make sure to store them in a cool dry place so they stay crispy and crunchy.
Unfortunately for Mac, he only got one piece of each and then I hid the bags for myself and finished them both off over the next few nights as I edited photos.  No judging!  Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and nuts are heart healthy, so it's basically like working out.  Right?  He was slightly disappointed when he asked for another piece and I had to lie and tell him the cat ate it all.  That darn cat. 

So, needless to say, we're both big fans of the BarkThins.  What's not to love?  
(Seriously, this was the easiest review ever because they were so good.  Sometimes I can't believe I get to do things like eat chocolate and blog about it.  I love blogging.)  
Have you ever tried BarkThins? 
What's your favorite flavor?

*I received these products for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Baby Bjorn Feeding Set

As I mentioned last week, I received an awesome box filled with goodies to review as part of my Product Scout duties for Savvy Sassy Moms.  Half of the products were kid/baby related (which are fun to test out on the littles) and the other half were treats for mommy (which were GREATLY appreciated).  I love trying out new products and discovering fun brands and items that make life easier/better for moms.  And of course, as a blogger, I love sharing these finds and reviews with you, in the hopes that you'll love them as much as I do.  I am so excited and honored to be a part of the SSM family and I've had the best time getting to know the other mamas in the group and sharing ideas. 

One of the first products we tested out were these bibs and bowls from Baby Bjorn.  I'm a huge fan of our Baby Bjorn carriers, so I was excited about trying some of their other products.  We received a package of 2 plastic bibs and 2 plate/spoon combo sets, both in turquoise and orange.  I immediately loved the color and pulled them out to show the kids.
Mac doesn't wear a bib to eat anymore (his choice, not ours) and he refuses to eat off anything that's not a "grown up" plate (toddlers are SO opinionated), so these fun items are reserved exclusively for  the little lady in the house who is just getting started in solid foods.  Of course that didn't stop him from trying on the bib to show Mim how to wear it ("Like this, Mim") and immediately asked if he could put some worms in it.   Umm...no.  
Unfortunately, Mim can't use a spoon yet and just repeatedly throws/swipes the plate off her high chair tray and onto the floor, so I'm going to wait a few more months before trying these awesome plates and spoons out with her.  Her hand-eye coordination is pretty impressive already though, so it shouldn't be too long before she's feeding herself with utensils.  Anyway, on to the bib. To be honest, I've seen these Baby Bjorn bibs online and purposely didn't buy them because I thought they looked hard and uncomfortable.  To me, they looked rigid and like they'd get in the way of the baby's arms.  However, I'm SO incredibly glad Baby Bjorn sent these to us to try because they are AMAZING and I'm now adding them to my list of all-time favorite baby products...for real, they're that great.
We do Baby Led Weaning with Mim and it's wonderful, but it's also really messy.  We have a dozen of those cheap soft laminated bibs with the pocket that can be thrown in the wash machine.  They've served their purpose relatively well, but they're not ideal.  First of all, you can rinse them off in the sink, but they don't really clean unless you machine wash them. Which means, if you don't have tons of them, all your bibs end up sitting in the dirty laundry basket and you're left using a dish rag tucked into baby's neck as a bib.  No bueno.  And if you just rinse them off, they take forever to dry and they sit around your kitchen wet and taking up space.  Secondly, the velcro tabs don't work very well after being repeatedly washed and they're really easy for babies to pull off.  Third, the pocket on the front is flimsy and rarely catches food - Mim always ends up with tons of food getting squashed into her clothes and the front buckle of the high chair.  Messy.
We have NONE of those issues with this bib.  Yes, it is somewhat rigid, but the plastic is much softer and more flexible/comfortable than I thought it would be.  It has an adjustable neck strap, so you can make it larger as your child grows.  It snaps in place and holds tight, even with pulling (see above, Mac couldn't get it off when he put it on) and doesn't have the issue with the velcro losing it's strength after multiple washings.  
The bib is wide enough to cover the baby's entire chest, but curved to allow for arm movement.  Mim does not seem to be bothered by it at all and it certainly doesn't slow her down while eating. The front catch-all pocket is huge and doesn't fold shut, so it catches everything she drops before it falls down into the seat and gets ground into her clothes and high chair straps.  It's also big enough that she can see what's in there and fetch it back out if she still wants to eat it. 
But the best part about this bib is that you can just rinse it off in the sink and it's good to go.  No machine washing needed, no long drying time required.  Just one of these bibs replaced a dozen of our cheaper laminated ones.  I'm kicking myself for not having tried this sooner.  
My only complaint (and it's very minimal) is that since the bib is made of sturdy plastic, it's not the easiest to fold/roll up and stuff in a diaper bag when we go out to eat.  But really, who am I kidding with that line?  We have a mess baby and the most hyperactive toddler on the planet...we NEVER go out to eat.  I can't even remember the last time I took either kid to a restaurant, so while that point may fly with some folks, it doesn't really affect us.  

Anyway, we love this bib.  I'm really impressed with the quality and the design.  It comes in all kinds of colors and is available just about everywhere.  Two thumbs up.
Have you tried the Baby Bjorn bib?
What do you do to keep the baby feeding mess to a minimum?

*I received these products for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 on Friday - Volume 13

1. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was at the Arizona Biltmore last weekend on my first trip away from the kiddos.  Ryan had to go to Phoenix for work, so I selfishly invited myself and tagged along to have my own private mini-vacay, while he was busy with lawyer stuff.  I saw him for a grand total of about 25 minutes collectively from the time we got to the hotel on Thursday afternoon until we left on Sunday morning, so I can't really say that I was vacationing "with" my husband, but I was vacationing "close to" my husband (and that's good enough for me!).  Although it was not much of a vacation for him (womp, womp).  I, however, had a marvelous time lounging by the pool with a prickly pear margarita, dining on room service every night, watching movies in bed in my jammies, sleeping in, taking long naps and going to bed early every night (do you sense a theme here?).  It was really one of the most relaxing trips I've ever taken, as I had no where to go, nothing to do and no one to hang out with.  I even read a whole book! I really should vacation by myself more often.
2. Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  Happy birthday, Ryan!  He's old (and I'm even older).  I made him some cupcakes (which he didn't eat) (from a box) and got a baby-sitter so we could go out to a nice dinner (not from a box) and drink heavily. And then Mac cried and begged us not to leave him and we felt like really shitty asshole parents for going out.  We spent the whole night talking about the kids and then rushed home to see them, but they were already asleep so we just went to sleep too.  We are such losers.  For his birthday, I also got him a camper to go on the back of his pickup truck because we were getting a little too yuppy and needed a bit more redneck in our lives...ugh.

(Actually, I didn't even get him a camper...I wrote him a check and told him to go get his own damn redneck camper if that's what he really wanted.  I'm super romantic like that.)
3.  A few weeks ago I got this AMAZING box of fun products to try out as part of my role as a Product Scout for Savvy Sassy Moms.  Each product I received was awesome and deserves its own post, so next week I'll be posting all 5 reviews on the blog.  Consider yourself warned...Review Week will make you want to immediately go out and buy all this stuff.  

4. I finally caved and jumped on the essential oils bandwagon.  I am seriously such a sucker for peer pressure.  No, I will not be using them to treat illnesses or replace actual medicines (because...science), but I have two dirty germy kids and a high medical deductible, so I figure it can't hurt.  While I have no clue how smelly oils are supposed to help with allergies or headaches or anything, I'm willing to give it a shot.  However, I still kinda believe this is all a bunch of hippie voodoo magic that you have to actually believe works for it to actually work and thus my skepticism will prevent the oils from working their hippie voodoo magic completely, making this a self-fulfilling prophecy that they won't work for us.  Things that make you go...hmmmm.  Anyway, I got a starter kit and a diffuser and have been filling my house with the smell of lavender, lemon and peppermint. They smell lovely, although I can barely stand the aromas without wanting peppermint ice cream or lemon cream pie or lavender sugar cookies or vodka lemonades.  I will probably be the only person in the history of essential oils to flunk out because they made me too hungry.  
5. Yesterday Mac told me that he loved slugs, grasshoppers and rocks all the time and sometimes he loved me, just a little bit on Saturdays.  So there's that.  At least tomorrow is Saturday.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mim's 8 Month Sitting Up Milestone Photo Session

A few weeks ago, my awesome lawyer-turned-scientist-turned-mama-turned-photographer friend Jessica of Emma Constance Photography took these amazing photos of Mim for her milestone "sitting up" mini session.  Mim is a total ham for the camera and cheesed it up, rocking her bubble dress and fancy gold kicks.  I couldn't be happier with how adorable they turned out - they capture her sweet and fun personality so well!  Jess even convinced me (and bribed Mac) to get in a few, which completely melt my heart.  I'm so crazy madly in love with them.  
Photos by Jessica of Emma Constance Photography.

How am I ever going to choose a favorite?