Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tasterie Nut-Free Snack Box

I've heard great things about services like Graze and Crave, but have been very jealous that I can't sign up due to my nut allergy.  I did some searching and came across Tasterie, which caters to customers with food allergies.  I've received two boxes, and I'm still rather indifferent on the service as a whole.  Here's my April box:

  • Namaste Foods gluten free cookie mix ($7.49)
  • Don't Go Nuts gorilla power bar ($1.79)
  • Super Seedz tomato italiano pumpkin seeds ($4.99)
  • Mother's Pure Preserves seedless raspberry jam ($6.50)
  • Enjoy Life plentils dill and sour cream lentil chips ($1.50)
  • ThinkFruit pineapple tidbits ($1.69)
  • Indie Candy bunni gummi watermelon candy ($1.99)
The total retail price is $25.95.  The box costs $25.00 plus $4.00 for shipping.  I've enjoyed the snacks, but I'm not sure it's worth the cost to continue this.

This month, I also had a problem with the shipment. The jam arrived and had opened in the shipment.  It was wrapped up in bubble wrap, but the jar lid was loose and unsealed by the time it reached me.  I'm interested to see how they handle customer service who I just contacted today.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Making Progress to Improve Myself

In December, I joined a moms' fitness class called Body Back.  It's a program designed by Fit4Mom designed to improve moms' fitness and strength.  I've definitely gotten stronger and am making improvements in fitness and my nutrition.  More than that, I've found an amazing group of women.  I was so nervous the day when I went to my first class, but they were so supportive and encouraging.  Now, in my third session, I'm happy to call them friends.

My second session, and first 8-week session, wrapped up at the beginning of March.  Over the course of 8 weeks, I:
  • lost 6.2% of my total body weight
  • lost 2.5% of my chest measurement
  • lost 6.5% of my waist measurement
  • lost 3.4% of my hip measurement
  • lost 3.6% of my thigh measurement
  • lost 5.4% of my arm measurement
Those are the exciting body changes - and believe me, I'm excited about them - but it also comes with an increase in fitness:
  • 43.9% increase in plank time
  • 42.9% increase in situps
  • 30.0% increase in pushups
  • 19.4% increase in side plank
It's pretty amazing!!!  Our instructor definitely pushes us often past the point where I think I should stop.   Some workouts are just as much mental as physical. With results like this, you can see why that's important.

Citrus Lane March 2014 for 2-year old (gender neutral)

We received our second Citrus Lane box this month!  It was a huge hit with E.  I'm happy that I went with gender neutral as this selection tends to be the colors and animal types she likes the most.  We'll see if this trend continues.

This month's box:

1. eco-kids eco-dough ($19.99/5, ~$8/2) - natural play dough made with plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts. It's supposed to stay soft much longer than PlayDoh and says that you can add a few drops of vegetable oil if it gets too dried out.
2. Petit Collage Safari Babies Beginner Puzzle ($14.00) - this set makes 4 different puzzles with a mommy and baby animal.  Each puzzle has between 3 and 6 pieces.  It's definitely more challenging than the wooden puzzles we've been doing so far, but E really enjoys it.
3. Me4Kidz Medi Buddy ($5.25) - cute portable first aid kid.  I've been meaning to pick one up for our diaper bag anyway, so it was a good addition.  I only wish that the animal wasn't printed on the plastic. It's just going to be a purple case as soon as we open it.
4. Clean Well Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes ($10.99/2, ~$5.50/1) - I'm not typically a fan of anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer because of the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria, so I'm kind of indifferent to these.  They are supposed to be orange vanilla scented, but I find the scent rather strong at first and almost like pine.  I'm using them mostly because they are convenient to wipe up after dinner. 

Total value of this box is about $32.75.  I really like the two toys in this box and appreciate the utility of the medical kit, but would prefer something not anti-bacterial.  The dough and puzzle were a big hit! 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nut-Free Pad Thai

One of the dishes I miss most since I developed a peanut allergy is Pad Thai.  These days, I generally can't eat at Thai restaurants at all due to the cross contamination.  I was really excited to discover that WildTree makes a nut-free Pad Thai sauce.  I tried my hand at making my own.  It's probably closer to a stir fry with Pad Thai sauce than an authentic recipe, but it was still really tasty.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound broccoli
2 eggs
8 oz. rice noodles
1/2 cup WildTree Pad Thai sauce

Directions

1. In a large skillet, sauté chicken in a small amount of olive oil.  Once it is mostly cooked, add in broccoli.  I used frozen, but you could use fresh if you want.

2. Prepare rice noodles and drain.  Set aside.
3. Once chicken and broccoli are cooked through, remove from pan.  Scramble 2 eggs in skillet.

4. Add noodles to skillet.  Mix in sauce and then toss in chicken and broccoli.

Serves 4


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Citrus Lane February 2014 for 2-year old neutral

This month is our first time getting a shipment from Citrus Lane.  I got a discount on a 3-month subscription, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I wasn't sure whether to get a girl box or a gender neutral box, but opted to go with gender neutral since my daughter (E) doesn't always like very girly toys and loves green and blue.

Today we received our first box.  We got:

1. Oogaa divided silicone plate ($10.99) - this is a really sturdy plate and the wells are fairly deep.  The packaging says they hold 4 oz. each.  E wanted it out of the package right away and made daddy put blueberries on it.  It is microwave and dishwasher safe!


2. Green Toys Stock Pot and Utensils (about $12, full set is $20) - E has the full chef set, but she adores the pot and utensils so it's great to have another one.  Green Toys is a great company, and we are big fans of their toys.

3. Barefoot Books Starlight Sailor ($14.99) - this is our first Barefoot Book, but it is very cute.  The pictures are really colorful, and the book seems to be of high quality.

4. Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream ($12) - this is a treat for mom.  As someone who has very dry hands from frequent washing at work, I am excited to try this!  It smells  nice - a light fresh scent without being overpowering - and isn't too greasy.

This box was a hit!  E couldn't wait to use the Oogaa plate and the Green Toys pot.

The overall value of this box is about $45 - $50 (depending on the cost of the pot, which is not available individually).  A single box is $29 although it is cheaper if you pay for several months in advance.

If you are interested, you can use this link to get 50% off your first box!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Even more of a yarn problem

I last totaled up my yarn stash at the end of 2012. I had 47,932 yards at that time and was going to try to reduce it...


Comic from Wool and Chocolate

Yeah, it went about that well. I now have 50,876 yards (28.91 miles). Insanity. I *really* need to make this total go down, so I am trying very hard to reduce the amount of yarn I have.

I'm working on knitting from my stash, including *only* knitting from stash for the first term (January - March) of the HPKCHC.

Hopefully this time goes better...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Increased sugar consumption linked to increase in diabetes rates

Interesting article in PLOS One (full article available free).  From the abstract:

Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, we found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% (p <0 .001) after testing for potential selection biases and controlling for other food types (including fibers, meats, fruits, oils, cereals), total calories, overweight and obesity, period-effects, and several socioeconomic variables such as aging, urbanization and income. No other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders.

Editorial in the NY Times likens it to tobacco studies.

Will this make you think twice about your sugar consumption?  I know I am.  I know that I consume too much sugar and try to cut back. Sometimes having a kick in the pants like this can really help.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So, You're a Scientist?

People ask me about what it is I really do.  I don't think it's an insult as much as it is a misunderstanding of exactly how scientists work and what getting a Ph.D. is really all about.  It can be quite a challenge to explain, especially to grandma at Christmas.  To that end, I'd like to present some resources to hopefully help you in your quest for simple explanations.

1. The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. by Matt Might
(reproduced here under Creative Commons License)

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:
A master's degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you're at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don't forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.

2. What you know vs. How much you know about it
Created by Jorge Cham of "Piled Higher and Deeper" Ph.D. Comics


3. Scientists drink a lot of coffee!!


But that's ok! There are lots of papers (102 at time of publication) listing the benefits of drinking coffee.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Race Report: Love Rox 10k

Date: February 16, 2013
Distance: 10k (6.21 miles)
Time: 1:24:20
Pace: 13:35 min/mile
Overall Place: 251/331

Before starting with the race report, I should say that this was a first-time race.  Not so well organized or well run.

Let me start off by saying that this course is MISERABLE! I know the race director has no control over the weather, which really made it worse, but even in the best of conditions it would not have been fun. The canal area is pretty narrow and there were way too many people coming through. Some bottle necks around the stairs.

I did pretty well for the first two miles. It started raining as I was heading back in and out to the Mayo Bridge. I kind of lost motivation there. My stomach started cramping, I was getting cold, and it's just not a nice place to run. Really struggled through the whole Manchester area. The porta potty at mile 4 was such a HUGE relief!! Of course, after that, I went up the hill to the Lee Bridge. Turned on to that bridge and got a face full of wind and icy snow. Absolutely miserable. My muscles felt like they were seizing and it was so hard to run. But, running was better than walking because of how cold I got while running. There was a little over a mile left after the bridge, but my hips and legs were so sore that it was tough to keep going. Walked up the hill on Byrd and tried to run down. Running down was tough because of how slippery the bricks were. Was so glad to get to the end!

After the race, I walked around, hung out with J's husband while waiting for her to finish. Once she did, we headed into the tent. Got Irish Coffee and stew to try to stay warm. Stood in front of the one heater to warm up. Once K finished, we walked to Cap Ale.

To sum up, everything about this race was the perfect storm of suck.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hello. My name is Jen, and I have a yarn problem.

It started off innocently enough.  I'd buy yarn for a specific pattern, but wouldn't be able to get to it as quickly as I expected.  Then, it progressed to buying a skein just because it was pretty.  Next thing I knew, I was signing up for yarn clubs and setting up reminders on my phone for independent dyers' online updates.

All of this has resulted in a yarn stash that is out of control.  I currently have 47,932 yards of yarn or about 27.3 miles worth of yarn.  That's a bit insane.  My goal for 2013 is to knit from my stash and stop buying yarn.  We'll see how I do!