citrus lane

Some time ago I found out about these monthly boxes that you can get with all kinds of new and exciting things in them. They are of the same flare as Birch Box, but there are now all different kinds. They were originally brought to my attention, like so many new things, by Derrick who had signed up for a monthly clothing service with Five Four. I immediately began some Google research to see what else was out there that I could participate in.

Of course, I didn’t find anything. I’m not really into beauty products, and I have a very conservative (Old-Lady-ish) style that I didn’t want to chance with some flirty fashion box. BUT I did find some cool kiddo boxes which I decided to test out.

I signed Aidan up for two different ones that looked great. Most of them come with some great discount for your first month, so I took advantage of that and signed up for the Stork Stack box and the Citrus Lane box to get in one month. Then, I figured, I could easily compare the two options and keep the one that was the best.

The first to arrive was the Stork Stack. Sadly, I was super disappointed with it. The more expensive option of the two, only sent a few things and none of them dazzled me. I didn’t feel that I got my money’s worth at all, so I immediately cancelled, hoping that the Citrus Lane stuff would prove better.

And boy did it ever! I really enjoyed the box that I got from Citrus lane. They sent me a toddler granola bar (which I ate part of to ensure nutritional and taste bud satisfaction), an ABC board book which Aidan absolutely loved, and a few other things that were a big hit. I decided to keep the membership, and this month I was even happier (and I actually took some pictures).

In this box he got a paper-back book along with a digital 3-month subscription that I could load onto my ipad for access to a library of books, the cutest bath toy that I may have ever seen (you catch the bath bugs in the net), some organic potato chips and a wooden noise maker to add to his percussion instruments. It was very exciting indeed!

I always look forward to this box, and am thankful that Derrick got me hooked on the process. It is affordable too and I tuck away a few of the things each month for stocking stuffers, and Christmas gifts (bath toys this month) so that it lightens the load for Christmas. Highly recommended if you are looking for a monthly subscription to try some new things! First month is $10 off too if you follow this link. Boom.



A Few Things to Avoid on a Roadtrip

One of the biggest challenges (and I’m sure that all fellow low-sodium-ers would agree) is travel. And the bummer is that we love to travel. But that doesn’t mean we don’t go, nor does it mean that we starve. It’s just a challenge that we are excited to overcome!

The first trip was disaster. We cooked a bunch of chicken and brought rice (that was pretty much our menu for the first couple of weeks), but the cooler didn’t keep the chicken cool enough so the chicken started to stink up the place. Also, rice is not very good by itself. All the “snack” food that we brought became entrees and, needless to say, we ran out of food fast.

The second time we resolved to buy most of our food there and use the hotel’s microwave/refrigerator to keep our food. The problem with this is that we also bought frozen food (we found a couple of microwave burritos that are low sodium) but they defrosted themselves and were useless within the first day.

Needless to say, we have become “experts” at this travel situation through many trials and errors. We have gotten much better over the years at eating out and also bringing a few of the “staples” with us. If you want to avoid eating out on a trip, or if you are going on a long road-trip, here are a few things to consider avoiding based on our experience. I will post more travel tips as our blogging adventures continue, but these are some of our biggest mistakes that I wanted to share!

Yes, he did spill that Jamba Juice EVERYWHERE.

A couple of things to avoid Taking on a Road Trip:

1) Cooler with ice – what a mess! I recommend ice packs unless you want to have all your goodies floating around in some funky colored water. Plus, where do you dump it? In the hotel’s parking lot? Leave it in the car while the valet service parks it for you? In a couple of days you will be regretting leaving it in the car because that weird water will soon become a weird smell. No thanks! The trick? Used dry ice – what a wonderful invention! Or ice packs… but we prefer dry ice!

2) Cooked Meat that is not properly packaged and/or that you plan to eat within 2 days – the beauty (and I’m just realizing this) of processed meat is that it is packed wonderfully and is able to withstand long trips without turning out bad and/or smelling. These facts are not true for meat that you pull right off the BBQ or out of the skillet and into the car. I know this is obvious now that I’m writing it out, but we’ve made that mistake once – and frankly, that was one time too many.

3) Purchasing everything while you are there – it’s difficult to find where the stores are that you need. Plus, prices are much different depending on where you are going. I would recommend taking some of the things that your “staples” and then supplement with others when you get there. Of course, this depends on if you are flying/driving and what you classify as your “staples”, but I think you get the point. (:

4) Frozen foods – Unless you are going to have a full scale kitchen at the hotel, frozen foods shouldn’t come along. They will defrost and turn out, at best, not so good.

Chicken can have 500% MORE sodium than we expect!

I didn’t realize this for a LONG time, but right before meats get packaged, a lot of companies pump them full of a solution (with sodium) to help make them more tender. I checked out some labels and found out that this is not only with chicken, but also with (gasp!) pork! We thought that pork was the lowest in sodium of all meats, but as I was reading the labels, most were labeled with 12% of the total weight in the solution.

The take away? SQUINT at the label’s fine print to see what it includes, as shown in this snapshot from the article that I read on it:

You should check out the full article here from The Hidden Sodium in Chicken