Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

My Week(336) in iPhone Photos

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

I can’t believe I am still doing this, even after falling behind, even on weeks that are super boring, even though when I started I had ONE KID and was pregnant with Caroline. The blogger friend who inspired it hasn’t blogged in years. And yet I refuse to give it up – it’s like the longest baby book in the world.

Sunday:

Feeding baby goats is fun even if you’re a cool 8-year-old

Baby snuggles, front and back

We are SO GLAD it’s spring

Monday:

This is a good look

Selling some of my favorite baby wraps

Unicorn helmet is life

Tuesday:

This is why I usually wear him

So far, the Caffeine eye cream and the Niacinamide are fantastic

I’m being attacked by balloons

Wednesday:

Eight today!

Sup, frog?

Linc has to ALWAYS be touching someone

Thursday:

Rainy day walking

Super excited to be at the doctor, I guess

I don’t know what’s happening here

Friday:

Skillz

Everyone loves Bumpa

Oreo cake was requested, Oreo cake was purchased

Saturday:

Still 8, and I still can’t believe he’s so old

They made hand puppets out of the silverware sleeves

Bubble bath + tub jets = LOTS OF SUDS

We turned off the heat in the house, which means I’m putting away the winter coats but also wearing a sweater all day because it’s actually still pretty cold. But the trees and flowers and blooming and that means winter is OVER. I had forgotten how dirty children get when they’re out in the garden. I should buy stock in a bubble bath company.

Related posts:

My baby is now doomed to a life of faux-hawks
Girl Names: The final list
Baby FOUR Details And Stuff

A Noise With Dirt On It

Friday, April 14th, 2017

While my parents were visiting, they helped get our yard and garden under control. In the corner by the porch steps, Mom cut back a rhododendron which left a big section of dirt exposed. Then I dug up the side flower bed that’s been overrun with grass for the past few years. So there is currently a lot of dirt in the yard for Linc to play with. He is pretty excited about it.

Dirty AND a runny nose. He’s two.

Related posts:

Testing...testing
Pati-OMG
My Week(244) in iPhone Photos

Meal Delivery Showdown: HelloFresh vs Blue Apron

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, my love for meal delivery services is well documented. Although there are a lot to choose from and several I’m tempted to try, HelloFresh vs Blue Apron seems to be the most common comparison and most popular choices. I’m currently subscribed to both services, and have been using them for several months so I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good sample size to make recommendations.

hellofresh vs blue apron

First, I’ll do a quick overview of how it works and what it costs. Both services ship food to your house in big cardboard boxes lined with insulation with fresh ingredients on top and meats in the bottom under ice packs. The system works well. My meat has always arrived sufficiently cold with the ice packs still fully frozen. If something leaks, it’s contained in the insulated bag/liner and doesn’t get on the cardboard box. None of my boxes have ever been damaged. HelloFresh boxes each meal’s non-meat ingredients in their own smaller box, while Blue Apron has all the ingredients together. At first I really preferred the separate boxes system, but it means you need to either refrigerate the whole box or take out things like sour cream that need to go in the fridge. There is quite a bit of packaging involved in sending food this way, but both companies encourage recycling and send things like sauces and oils in plastic or glass bottles or jars that make it easy.

Cost Breakdown

I’m currently subscribed to the following:

HelloFresh: Classic meal plan for 4, 3 meals a week, $119.88 (breakdown: $9,99/meal)
If you do the same number of meals in the family plan vs the classic plan, it’s $8.74/meal

The ACTUAL charge that shows on my credit card is $129/week, because of taxes I guess (it’s in their small print, but not easy to find).

Blue Apron: Family plan for 4 people, 2 meals a week, $69.92 (breakdown: $8.74/meal)
Family plan is also available with 3 meals a week, but the cost breakdown is the same

The ACTUAL charge that shows on my credit card is $69.92, so Blue Apron wins for transparency.

I know that breakdown makes it sound like I’m paying $200/week for meals, but because of our schedule and their menus, I skip more weeks than I receive. They both make that VERY easy to do, since you can read the menus and make changes from their phone apps as well as the computer. This was one of my big concerns before I signed up; there are weeks where E is gone and it doesn’t make sense to cook nice meals for just me and the kids when they prefer cereal and also because E can be pretty picky. Skipping is why I am still signed up for both. My HelloFresh comes on Mondays and my BlueApron comes Fridays (but those are flexible, you can choose most days).

A few more things: HelloFresh’s recipes seem to have less prep in general (less chopping and peeling and cutting) even though they have about the same average number of ingredients. Blue Apron seems to be slightly fancier, even though I have the “family” plan.

I haven’t had any problems with my Blue Apron boxes or deliveries, which means I haven’t had to deal with their customer service yet. I have had to both call and email HelloFresh (a box got lost, a box was late, ingredients were missing, once a cucumber was squishy) and their customer service is GREAT. They offered me either partial credit or a whole free box immediately to resolve issues. After my late box showed up I emailed them to tell them I got it and they told me I could keep the full credit as an apology.

HelloFresh assumes you already have more things (like butter) in your kitchen, which Blue Apron sends almost everything. Both offer vegetarian plans. Blue Apron has an option to exclude specific proteins from your plan (lamb, fish, beef, etc) but you can avoid specific ingredients easily by customizing your menus each week, either from the app or online. My plans show 5-6 different options, and HelloFresh just started including one breakfast option, which is cool either for breakfast or as breakfast-for-dinner. Both have “farm-fresh” ingredients but Blue Apron seems to make a bigger deal about sustainability, local-ness, and working with small family farmers.

HelloFresh assumes you already have more things (like butter) in your kitchen, which Blue Apron sends almost everything. Both offer vegetarian plans. Blue Apron has an option to exclude specific proteins from your plan (lamb, fish, beef, etc) but you can avoid specific ingredients easily by customizing your menus each week, either from the app or online. My plans show 5-6 different options, and HelloFresh just started including one breakfast option, which is cool either for breakfast or as breakfast-for-dinner. Both have “farm-fresh” ingredients but Blue Apron seems to make a bigger deal about sustainability, local-ness, and working with small family farmers.

Recipe Comparison

HelloFresh: Sizzling Beef Stir-fry with Bok Choy over Jasmine Rice

hellofresh vs blue apron

Prepped:

hellofresh vs blue apron

What the kids got on their plates:

We are technically a family of 6, but Finn doesn’t really eat human food yet and my children don’t eat a grown-up sized portion of anything yet, so the 4 person boxes have always been plenty of food. The only time it becomes a problem is if we get something like burgers or sandwiches which only have 4 rolls/buns to feed 5 people.

hellofresh vs blue apron

This was really good, although the rice was a little boring because there wasn’t much of a sauce. It was very gingery, which we like.

Blue Apron: Crispy Catfish & Creamy Lemon-Caper Sauce with Broccoli & Farro Salad

hellofresh vs blue apron

Prepped:

hellofresh vs blue apron

hellofresh vs blue apron

What the kids got on their plates:

hellofresh vs blue apron

Caroline ate it. Evan and Linc tried it.

hellofresh vs blue apron

I really love capers and lemon, so I thought it was delicious.  I did get one bone in my fish, but that’s not super unusual in catfish.

My Recommendation

I like them both. If I had to pick just one forever, I would go with HelloFresh just because the recipes seem to be slightly less work and I end up with fewer pots/pans/dishes. They offer pasta more often (in my experience) than Blue Apron and my family really loves pasta.  I also think their portions are slightly bigger. But those are small, picky things, not make-or-break problems. If you don’t have any picky eaters in your family and enjoy time spent cooking as a joint activity with your partner, you might like the Blue Apron experience a little more.  I plan to continue paying real dollars for both services until our living situation changes and the Navy steals my husband for an extended period of time. I’m looking forward to more summer seasonal ingredients in the next few months and will report back with an update about who offers me a balsamic salad with strawberries first.

If you sign up for Hello Fresh using my link, you get $40 off your first box and I earn a credit. Blue Apron does their affiliate marketing through a program I’m too lazy to sign up for, but you can get cashback if you use Ebates when you sign up and they’re always offering $30-$40 off your first box or even first box free if you Google for a code.

Non-disclosure disclosure: I don’t have a relationship with either brand, although I think when my brother-in-law finishes school he’s going to go work for the wine division at Blue Apron. I definitely would accept some free wine for review.

Related posts:

I have been helped, thanks
Fat Baby in a Little Hat
My Week(40) in iPhone Photos

Cirkopolis at Foxwoods: GO SEE IT!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

You guys, Cirkopolis at Foxwoods was SO GOOD. We’ve seen Cirque Eloize several times now and this one was definitely the coolest. They did all my favorite stunts (the teeter board and the hoop) plus this super amazing hand-to-hand ballet where a girl did an entire dance without ever touching the floor. It was so beautiful. But I think my new favorite was the diablo, which the internet tells me might also be called a Chinese yo-yo. It was like watching a magic trick except nothing was hidden, the guy was just a gravity defying wizard.

We got into the theater to see the cast warm up with the lights on and the chance to get right up close and take some photos (and video, which is over on my Instagram!)

That thing above is a lousy picture of the diablo, but maybe now you know what I was talking about.

The show was packed and the audience was so into it, which made it more fun for everyone. Finnegan was a good baby and actually slept through the first 45 minutes. Lincoln was WORN OUT from a super busy weekend so he also took a little nap. But the big kids were both the very loudest laughers and applauders, and E and I kept looking at each other going “How is that even possible!?”

Cirque Eloize: Cirkopolis runs through April 15th at Foxwoods so get your tickets now and go see it!

After the show we promised the kids we could go to The Sugar Factory. The line for the actual restaurant looked pretty long and we had managed a zero breakdown family fun day up until that point, so we opted for some gelato from the candy store side. It was delicious.

 

 

There’s a bunch of other fun stuff going on the rest of this week and the beginning of next for Kids Week at Foxwoods, so we’ll be back for more fun (and more Sugar Factory).

Foxwoods provided me and my family tickets both to the pre-show event and the performance at no cost, but all photos and opinions are my own. And we paid for our own gelato. 

Related posts:

Links and Extras
Good to Go
No Deal

It’s Baby Goat Season!

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I love baby goat season.

I think the only thing I love more than baby goat season is Linc feeding baby goats.

The place is Beltane Farm in Lebanon, they let you visit, tour, and taste cheese from 11-3 every Sunday in April and May.

Related posts:

My one and only post on the subject ever
Wordless Wednesday: What A View
My Week(305) in iPhone Photos
Clickin' Moms
Wayfair Homemakers
Get Adobe Flash player