Free Your Mind Fridays: The Smoke Monster

The Smoke Monster

  1. We are finally, FINALLY!, down to the last few episodes of LOST. Yes, I realize that the final season ended months ago. Our DVR has been dutifully storing them all this time. Even after such a long hiatus, I am loving every minute of it. Especially Sawyer (you can say 'yum' - I know you can!) and the evil Locke Smoke Monster. 
  2. A literal Smoke Monster has invaded our lovely high mountain valley. Forest fires are burning in Montana and the Jet Stream and inversions and such push and trap the smoke in our valley so that it smells like a giant campfire and it looks like we live in downtown LA with all the smoggity smog and such. I cannot even make out the giant white M that is on the mountainside. We are not venturing out at all today, as the air quality is horrid. 
  3. Napping is a wonderful thing. Both girls are asleep right now, although Rowan is on the nursing pillow on my lap. I SHOULD be joining them, seeing as I only got about 4.5 hours in my own bed last night, but I'm on a roll with the blogging. How do I get Ophelia to sleep you ask? It's still hit or miss, but we are getting more naps than not these days since I started using Badger Balm Night Night for both naps and bed time. 
  4. Dishes are piling up in the sink threatening me to call off dinner tonight. I don't know about you, but I just can NOT cook a meal when the kitchen is all amok. Maybe Jim can do it. Hehe. 
  5. Laundry needs folding and I have no desire. But I am out of baskets and I need clean underpants, so that is next on the list once Rowan wakes up. 
  6. I would rather be sewing than folding or washing dishes. I've been making diapers and a few top secret items that have turned out pretty good. I will reveal them as soon as the recipients receive said items. And then offer a few up to anyone who feels they need one too and can't manage to make one for themselves. I followed Lexi's lead from a few weeks ago and scored myself a few 3 pound remnant bags, so I have some great fabrics (and surprisingly some that coordinate even!) to choose from. 
  7. Our garden is growing. I give it a B- this year. Some good stuff, but not fantastic like my dream garden. But considering the past two seasons have been a solid F, it gets the prize for most improved. If our tomatoes ever turn red, I will give it at least a solid B. 
  8. Poop. I haven't blogged about poop in ages and I'll keep this one short. Ophelia has still not done the deed on the potty yet. But she has gone from "NO! I don't WANT to poop on the potty! Just pees!" to "I'll do it next time, mom. Next time I will poop on the potty." One can only hope. 
  9. Segue to Diapers. I have sold or traded almost all of my old pocket diapers and have mostly fitted diapers and covers now. Keep an eye out on my craft blog in the next week or so for some updates on a few diapers I have made as well as wool covers and pants. The wool, which I had shied away from for so long, is my new obsession. Not only do I love the way it looks, but it works like a dream. It has even inspired me to bust out my knitting needles. ::shock and awe here::
  10. The peaches are finally really in season and they are divine. I am just over half way through a box of Organic White Peaches from COSTCO. I hope I can restrain myself from eating too many in one day. 
  11. I hear thunder. I hope it rains like the dickens and washes some of the smoke out of the air. 
  12. We are now locking our car doors again. I know, I know - in this day and age, who doesn't, right? Well, we haven't for about 2 years now because we live in a nice, mellow neighborhood with cool, chill neighbors. Until 2 nights ago when some asshat went though both my car and Jim's car. They stole my coffee money but left the gas card and all the CDs. We notified the neighbors and the Bozeman Police (who simply said "Lock your cars up." Um, OK!) and now we are all on high alert. 
  13. If you haven't noticed, I'm blogging again. Stay tuned for more blogging and more reviews and a few more giveaways. 
For more Free Minds, or to join us Friday Fraus, head on over to Lexi's blog:
Free Your Mind Fridays at The Well-Read Mom

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Eco-Friendly Lunch Box: Easy Lunch Box System Review and Giveaway

Green, Eco-Frienldly, Waste Free Lunch Box System
Review and Giveaway

As a busy mama of two, I often find myself looking for a way to pack a lunch and/or healthy snacks for a day out of the house with my girls. And it's always a hassle - with a bajillion little containers that I have to find the lids for and plastic baggies that inevitably come open, leak, spill, and ultimately create more waste. So I started looking for something to make this part of my life simpler. I really wanted to try a Bento Box system, but they were all so expensive! Then, back in May, I stumbled upon Easy Lunch Boxes and my search was over! I contacted Kelly Lester, the mom and CEO behind this brand new company, and she graciously supplied me with an Easy Lunch Box system to review. 

What is it? Easy Lunch Boxes has 2 products: A compartmentalized food container and a soft sided cooler bag. When you use them together, you have the Easy Lunch Box system. 

The Easy Lunch Box System from

The Lunch Box: The bento-style container has 3 compartments to keep your lunch components separate and a single lid. They come in a 4 pack with 4 bottoms and 4 vibrantly colored lids that are all interchangeable. Not only do they stack nicely, as shown above, but they also nest for easy and convenient storage when not in use. 

They are made of durable, food-safe, non-toxic polypropylene (#5) and they are BPA and Phthalate free. They are safe to use in your freezer, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. 

The Cooler: The soft sided 6-pack sized cooler is the perfect accompaniment to the Easy Lunch Box.

It's the perfect size: you can fit 3 lunch boxes in a single cooler. Or 2 lunch boxes, an ice pack, and a snack bag. Or a single lunch box, a thermos, an ice pack, and a water bottle. 

It comes in a variety of colors: Black, Dark Red, Olive, Purple, and Aqua

It's safe and durable: The outside is a durable and safe 300D polyester. The lining is FDA approved PEVA. It is vinyl-free, PVC-free, and lead-free. It has a sturdy zipper and it's machine washable. Or you can easily wipe it clean with a damp cloth - inside OR out. 

Why? The primary reason I love this lunch box system is because it's EASY! My Easy Lunch Box makes packing food to go really easy. It's one container with one lid. I don't need a bag for sandwiches, a bin for fruit, and another bag/bin for nuts or crackers or whatever. It can all go in one container. 

It's Frugal: Everyone is looking for a way to save a buck here and there these days. Using a reusable lunch system is one way to do that. Now that it's easy to do, we pack our lunch way more often - so we aren't eating take out (which we all know is a huge suck on your wallet) nearly as much. And no more baggies. YAY!

It's Healthy: Because it's so easy to pack, it's easier to bring a healthy lunch along - once again bypassing that drive through. I find myself packing good things to eat in healthy portion sizes. Being limited by the size of the container helps me keep from super sizing our lunches. 

It's Green: Take a look at the waste bin at the park, in your kids school cafeteria, in the break room at work. It's probably overflowing with wrappers, baggies, cups, and other food waste generated by disposable lunches. This lunch box system allows you to pack a waste free lunch! And we all know, the less you can put in the landfill every day, the better.

We've been using our Easy Lunch Box System for 3 months now and I have to say that I really love this product. If you are looking for a lunch container to send your kids to school with that is affordable, eco-friendly, and durable, I highly recommend it. They are easy to pack and easy for kids to use. I love how the lids fit snugly, but are simple enough for my 3 year old to remove herself. They are also perfect for adults to take lunches to work. I can easily pack a healthy lunch with healthy proportions for myself or my husband. They also make taking the leftovers super easy. Just put them in an Easy Lunch Box when you are clearing off dinner, and your lunch for the next day is ready to go! 

A lunch I packed for Ophelia and I to share. Apples, mangos, roast beef, cheese, crackers.

The remains of a snack box I packed for the girls for a trip to the playground. Freeze dried bananas and strawberries, raisins, bunny crackers (cheesy and chocolate varieties). 

When we traveled to New York earlier this summer, I took these on the plane with us, loaded up with snacks for both girls. They came on our road trip to Wyoming a few weeks ago and were indispensable both on the car ride and while visiting with grandma and grandpa. I can even toss one in my purse if I need to - which is just what I do when we go out to eat with the girls to ensure that we have some healthy, kid friendly fare on hand in case the menu doesn't have what the girls want to eat. I just wrap a rubber band around it to make sure the lid doesn't pop off in my bag! 

Our usual routine is to pack the cooler with 2 boxes of lunch items like hummus and vege chips, fruit, sandwiches, lunch meat and crackers, nuts, or veges, an ice pack and a few organic fruit pouches. 

The most UNusual way I have used my Easy Lunch Boxes was to sort all of the (billions of) screws and hardware for assembling the playhouse grandma bought for the girls for their birthday this summer! Worked like a dream! 

Where can you get some? You can click HERE or on any of the links in this review or on the affiliate link at the top of my right sidebar and you will be taken to the Easy Lunch Boxes web page where you can purchase both the Food Containers and the Lunch Bags. As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make from these links. 

Or, you could try your luck at winning one! One of my lucky readers is going to win an Easy Lunch Box System just like the one I was fortunate to review, courtesy of 


TO ENTER: Visit the Easy Lunch Boxes web page and then come back here and leave a comment telling me something neat that you found there. AND tell me which color cooler you will pick if you win: Black, Dark Red, Olive, Purple, or Aqua. 

Please leave your email address in this first comment so I can easily contact you if you win. If I cannot contact you, I will have to pick another winner.

EXTRA ENTRIES: Leave a separate comment for each entry. 
EVEN MORE ENTRIES: Again, leave a separate comment for each entry.
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Win an Eco Friendly Lunch Box system at The Maxwell's Madness! @EasyLunchboxes @globalMTgirl #giveaway

This giveaway is open to all US and Canadian residents 18 and over, except where prohibited by law. 
Giveaway ends at 12pm MST on Sunday, 9/12/2010.
Winners may not substitute another product or seek credit towards another Easy Lunch Boxes product. 

Disclaimer: This review and giveaway is sponsored by Easy Lunch Boxes, who provided me with the item above in order to write this review. The review is my honest opinion based on my experience using the product and has not been reviewed or edited by Easy Lunch Boxes.


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