“Mommy, if a friend comes to my house and brings M&M’s and shares them with me, I’ll just say, ‘no, thanks. I can’t have those.’”
Being different is tough. I’ve been paying a lot more attention to differences now that Finn is in school and his food allergies come into play more often. While I’m often glad he’s not eating chocolate teddy bears or goldfish or drinking chocolate milk at 10a, I’m also sad he’s different. He doesn’t seem to mind or care that he eats something different from the other kids. In fact, he’s incredibly self-aware, telling me what the others kids ate and letting me know it “had dairy and would make me scratchy and sick.” Even still, as all parents know, you never want your child to be different, to be left out, to be the exception to the rule.
My mom sent me an email when Finn first started school of which I’m often reminded. She is a retired school teacher and saw many children with food allergies. She reassured me that the other kids would start to understand his allergies, stand up for him and perhaps even become a little mother hen over him.
There are a few little girls Finn talks frequently about. Sometimes I wonder if these are the girls who have been or who will be that little food fairy to Finn.
Maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s food allergy awareness, maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but I pay more attention to people’s differences now. Differences I once would have thought to be strange, things I sadly would have judged, are now what I think is the best part about a person.
I think about my friend growing up with the birth mark on her cheek, the guy in my high school who used a walker, an old friend who was color blind, a former colleague who stuttered when nervous. Those differences don’t phase me now, they simply remind me how great it is to be different, how boring it would be if we all looked and talked the same, if we all believed the same.
I hope we can all embrace our differences and the differences of others like kids with food allergies do so well. I know not every day will be easy for Finn. I know there will come a day when some insensitive little one will say something to Finn about food that will make my head explode, but I already know how Finn will react. His character is far better than mine.
Finn’s food allergies are one of the best parts about him. Not because of the actual allergy, but because he knows what it’s like to be different. As a result, I hope, he’ll never let the “different” child in his class or at his school feel different in his presence.
I’m thankful for my incredible son, the one who teaches me it’s okay to be different and 100% normal all at the same time. I’m thankful for the kindness of our friends and family who keep Finn in mind when planning activities and meals. I’m thankful for this generation of food allergy kids, because I believe they just might change the world in ways we never expected!
I used to always believe Finn and I had really sensitive skin… and we do, but I think it’s just sensitive to all the weird ingredients in many products. So, I’m reclaiming our skin as NORMAL Once I changed to cleaner products without all the crazy parabens and chemicals, my skin was this new wonderful being. The Honest Company and a few other products helped us reclaim Finn’s skin as “normal,” too!
I’d heard a lot of chatter about The Honest Company and decided to test their products. What I love about these products is the list of ingredients commonly found in conventional products that were simply non-existent. Why would I want to put these chemicals on my family in the first place? And (gulp) how long have I been putting God-knows-what on myself and my kids? It’s truly criminal what some companies claim of their products, especially ones marketed for children, that are simply not true. Many of those products contain the ingredients listed here:
While we have not tried every product from The Honest Company, we have tried a small handful. I want to share today what we loved, what we liked and what we were indifferent to:
Honest Hand Soap: If you could put the word LOVE into a smell, it would be this Lemongrass hand soap. I’m quite sure the Lavender and Mandarin are magnificent, but I didn’t try those so I can’t speak to them. What I can speak to is the fact that I would smell my son’s hands when he left the bathroom and smell my own hands after washing just to soak in the Lemongrass scent. It’s so pleasant and calming. That said, I’m not in love with the fact that there is no bulk refill available (I asked), but I am in love with the smell and the fact that neither the kids nor I had overly dry hands after using this soap, which is key in the winter.
Honest Shampoo & Body Wash: I started using this on Evie when she was pretty young and now associate this scent with her. So to me, it smells like yummy baby! The other night Finn got some in his eyes. He didn’t panic, he didn’t scream. We washed it right out and he was fine. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of soaps where the same story would be told.
Honest Face & Body Lotion: This is a great medium-weight lotion. It’s not greasy or runny, and it’s not too thick. We only use this on Evie as I think the scent is a little more girly. It glides on easily and quickly absorbs. I use the remainder on my arms and love the feel and smell.
Honest Healing Balm: When I first purchased this balm, we were past the baby “red rash buns” stage, so I never had this during a major diaper rash (which I used coconut oil and tea tree oil to heal). I do use this now after Evie’s gone poop. It can be used for diaper rash, irritated skin, minor cuts and eczema. I’ve read of people using this to help heal new tattoos and to help irritated skin after surgeries. Lots of different uses and a little goes a long way!
Honest Kid’s Toothpaste: There is only one other natural toothpaste Finn will use. We’ve tried a variety of products and every time he scoffed, wrinkled his nose and turned his head. This is the only toothpaste Evie has used. She hands me the toothbrush back gesturing, “more sweet strawberry taste, please!” The fact that Finn didn’t even blink when I gave this to him instead of his usual paste is incredible.
Honest Bug Spray: I had good intentions last summer of making my own bug spray, but – low and behold – it just never happened. This is the first and only natural bug spray I’ve tried. I was looking for a spray that didn’t include DEET and formaldehyde, so this seemed like a win. We’ve only used it twice, but it worked like a charm both times AND Finn didn’t run from me when I started spraying. That’s big. If I ever get around to making my own, I won’t buy more, but let’s get real… once this spray is gone I will likely be purchasing more!
Honest Laundry Detergent: The scent is so subtle, but it’s there… and I love that! Since Finn was born I’ve been using a Free & Clear detergent for everyone in the family. That said, I really miss the smell of fresh laundry. When we get hand-me-downs, I usually want to bathe in the clothes and ingest that fresh laundered smell. The scent of this detergent isn’t overpowering, it’s quite light and lovely. However, it is more expensive than other brands I buy, so unless there’s a super sale (which I’ve been in on once), this isn’t something I’d re-order. (Note: If you’re purchasing a bundle, which I’ll mention later, this is worth including in the order.)
Honest Laundry Pods: I can’t decide what I think about these. I love them and I’m indifferent at the same time – is that even possible? I really liked that on a busy morning I was able to throw the pod into the washer basin and not worry about measuring liquid; however the water doesn’t get very sudsy. I know suds doesn’t mean it will clean well, but my brain still equates the two. If these could magically fold my laundry, I’d be in 100%!
Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner: I like this! It works. It doesn’t make my nose burn when using and it cleans nicely. I’ve made my own cleaner in the past and it works just as well. If you make your own and like it, keep making it. If you are looking for a ‘clean’ surface cleaner for purchase, this is a great option. There are an assortment of other cleaning products to choose from, as well.
One way to try the products and get a feel for what you like best is through the Honest Family Essentials Bundle. You can choose which 5 products to order (at a discount) and get a 25% discount on 3 additional items. These options also make great gift ideas. The shipment normally resends every 4-6 weeks, but after my last one arrived I realized we were just at capacity! I called and they happily moved it back almost 3 months for me without any hassle. So helpful!
You do need to register before you make a purchase. <<<< —– Use this link to register and receive $10 off your first order. (The $10 coupon can be used toward a $25 minimum purchase and can’t be used on the trial memberships.)
Have you tried any products from The Honest Company? What have you liked or loved? If you do purchase anything, please let me know what and your thoughts!
After a good night sleep following Day 1 & Day 2, Justin and I continued on our Denver getaway Friday morning. Ben, Kristin and Lincoln had just arrived in town so we joined them and my in-laws for breakfast at Snooze. I know there are cute babies in the world, and I put my 2 at the top of the list, but Lincoln… that child is just so darn precious! He’s a heartbreaker, for sure!
I’d been told Snooze has off-the-chart pancakes, so I went straight for a side of fruit, chai tea and a peanut butter cup pancake.
Can I just tell you… I’ve forgotten how freaking amazingly delicious peanuts are! Since Finn was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, we avoid peanuts like the plague. We don’t buy peanuts, peanut butter or anything that contains peanuts. It’s been years since I’ve had a peanut. This pancake was as big as my head and drizzled with a peanut/chocolate mixture that was as sweet and delicious as you can image. And let’s be honest, this was more like dessert than breakfast! I must return to you, Snooze, I simply must! I savored 5 mout-watering bites (which was actually the perfect amount of sweet) before I had to take off early. After all, I had a workout to attend to
Denver is home to a barre3 studio, nestled in the quaint, cozy Cherry Creek district. I’ve heard so much about barre3 and done many of their online workouts, but to be in a city with a studio, I simply couldn’t leave without attending.
Julie, the barre3 Denver owner, was gracious enough to join my newbie self at the 9:45a Friday class taught by Candice. Candice is an incredible instructor. Full of wit, great moves and a fun personality that made 60 minutes fly. Plus, she’s so tiny and cute you just want to put her in your pocket! The class left me wanting to move to Denver stat and enroll. It’s amazing that no matter how much you workout, when you switch it up, your muscles shake and quiver, begging for mercy. No doubt, this is what barre3 did to my legs!
Not only is a barre3 workout stellar, but there is an onsite child nook for moms which leaves no excuse not to sweat. In our class, 4 pregnant women joined in the burn. That speaks volumes to me! Moves were easily modified for pregnant women and mommas-to-be can usually attend classes up until their due date. Some of these women were counting down the days. Many fitness routines don’t allow for that type of softness on the body which sets barre3 apart.
And if you can do barre3 and be as fit and great as Julie, you’ll want to climb on board! She is a peach of a lady! Thank you, Julie, for hosting. You have an incredible studio with such a warm, welcoming environment. Think I can somehow “workout-commute” everyday?
If you live in Denver or are visiting, this is a must-try workout. If I lived in Denver, this would without a doubt be my jam! Thankfully, as you’ll see later in today’s giveaway, there no need to let distance prevent you from experiencing all that is barre3! More on that below…
From barre3, we made a quick stop to change before heading to the History Colorado Center for the wedding rehearsal. You might notice a familiar face doing the ceremony
I was starving after this! It was 2p and I’d had some fruit, some water and chai, and 5 pancake bites. Thanks to yelp, we found an incredible local, organic juice shop and cafe to grab a bite, Parsley. The turkey fig sandwich is all sorts of awesome. Try it if you’re in the mood for something sweet. I balanced it out with a super vegetabley juice, Kate’s Kiss.
Next we were off to a treat everyone on a vacation should enjoy: a couple’s massage! Justin had never had a massage and loved every minute. It is amazing what massage therapists can tell us about our bodies. It goes hand-in-hand with chiropractic care. If you’re in the Denver area, check out Elixir.
That evening was the rehearsal dinner which offered another great opportunity to catch up with Justin’s family. Justin and his cousin’s played mad rounds of shuffleboard while Ellen, his cousin’s wife and I, gabbed up the night. This girl is a Southern treat, always wished we lived closer!
The next morning the crew reconvened for more of the same – food! We hit up Sam’s No. 3 where Justin ate his weight in some breakfast burrito concoction that literally left him hurting. That thing had to be at least 3 pounds! Maybe it was just what we ordered, but we weren’t overly impressed with Sam’s. It likely wouldn’t appear on our “to return to” list.
It’s wild what the body will do when you’re not used to eating so much. Justin needed to move, so we attempted to walk off the pain at the 16th Street Mall and topped off breakfast at ink coffee.
I was having a juice craving and after attempting to visit 2 other juice spots – both closed – we decided to head back to Parsley, a must-visit for anyone in Denver. I dove mouth first into a juice (Kim’s Legacy) and salad before watching some college football at a local watering hole.
That evening was the wedding, which was so beautiful. Elyse, the bride, is Justin’s cousin and wildly creative. The flowers were all handmade from old books, which was the theme of the entire Storybook Wedding. The bride and groom met at a bookstore, so it only seemed fitting.
The food was hands down some of the best wedding food I’ve ever had and the company was next to none.
We joined Justin’s parents for some fun shots in the photo corner. Why wasn’t this around at our wedding?!?! Genius!
Sadly, one of the sweet flower girls, Sweet Shya, just couldn’t handle all the excitement and crashed in her mom’s arms (picture above). The other flower girl, Rose, took it all in! They both are Justin’s cousin’s daughters and let me tell you – Rose and Evie are one in the same! Although they haven’t met, Evie somehow found Rosie’s playing cards and is a mini of that little doll – looks and personality! It was such a treat to see both little girls. They are so fantastic, and of course made us miss our little Finn and Evie so much.
Sunday morning we took in our last Colorado breakfast at Jelly before quickly saying good-bye. Jelly is your standard breakfast joint. I’d say the best part about it was the fun throwback cereal boxes that lined the walls. The food wasn’t anything to write home about.
It was time to go see our littles!
Thanks, Colorado! Such a treat to getaway to your amazing weather, incredible atmosphere and over-the-top food. I absolutely love how Colorado is so focused on local artists, food and culture. It’s also refreshing to see so many healthy food options, from vegan and vegetarian, to allergy-friendly, to local, to organic, to fresh pressed juices. I could live in this city, no question. Until next time, Colorado!
***** ***** ***** GIVEAWAY
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to live near a barre3 studio, you now have the option to take barre3 with you wherever you go!
barre3 recently released an app for your mobile device allowing you access to their incredible workouts at any time, in any location.
The barre3 app allows you to select from various on-the-go workouts, practice barre3 from your phone to your own music (always fun!) and browse some incredible recipes.
barre3 is offering one lucky reader a code to download the new app at no cost.
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me where the closest barre3 studio is. Maybe it’s down the street, maybe it’s 3 states away. Doesn’t matter – all are eligible for the free app.
Entries/comments must be posted by noon (CST) Friday, November 15. I will post the winner Monday morning, November 18.
The world encourages a certain way of life for our kids. Lazy bodies, chemically laden nutrition, and poor manners. I'm a mom on a mission to teach my kids more. This is my journey in raising happy, healthy, organically-grown kids. Read more...