Friday, July 30, 2010

Eco-Friendly Lunch Boxes Review + Giveaway {CLOSED}

As a stay-at-home mom + wife I do my best to pack Ben's lunch each evening for him to take to work the next day. Sometimes it's a hassle to rummage through our tupperware drawers to find matching pieces that will fit what I am fixing him to eat. When I'm in a rush I'd often just grab a sandwich bag. 

Recently, Ben informed me about the state of the refridgerator at work....

This is where he puts his lunch bag every day. I wish that I could include a smell with this post, because that's the biggest problem. Just one day of being in that fridge and his lunch containers would smell TERRIBLY! Even after febreze + airing it out it still smelled like mildew + cigarette smoke. UGH! I felt so bad for him and immediately decided that a plastic bag would never be good enough to keep out the nasty smells.

I discovered Easy Lunch Boxes and had to give it a try. Their plastic containers are large enough for a meal or sandwich and 2 sides. What's different than other similar containers we've used is that the lid covers each section indiviudally instead of being just one smooth surface to cover the top. 

The lunchbox itself is much larger than other bags. It can fit 2 of the plastic containers at once! This is perfect for my hungry man who always has to have 2 sandwiches for lunch. Although, I do sometimes wish I could get 2 sandwiches in each container. They are almost tall enough, but not quite!

I always look online for information about new things we get or even items we've had for a while if I need to troubleshoot something and most often I'm pretty disappointed. When I went to find out more about EasyLunchboxes I found the website to be extremely helpful. It has helpful tips for using the EasyLunchbox system and yummy lunch ideas

The containers are dishwasher safe and fit easily in the top rack. In order to avoid the scary fridge Ben throws a small icepack into the bag with his lunch and it keeps cold all morning. It even stays cold enough for him to store any leftovers he may have for the rest of the day until he gets home. 

The prices are great, check out their website to order!

So, great new product right? Here's your chance to win one!


One entrant will win a lunchbox in the color of their choice with 4 containers! 

For your first + mandatory entry please check out EasyLunchboxes and comment here with your favorite lunch idea, tip, or tidbit of information about how the company got started.

For additional entries {leave 1 comment for each fulfilled}: 
  •  tweet the following: "check out @ShanLeAnn's @Easylunchboxes #giveaway! " {can be done once per day}
  • Become a public follower of my blog
  • Add my button to your blog and leave a link where I can find it. 

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Giveaway closes on Thursday August 5th at 9pm PDT. Winner will be announced on Friday August 6th, 2010.

Any comments that do not fulfill the requirements for entry will be deleted without notification. If you are not signed in to a google account with an email attached to your profile, please leave an email address in your comment and use the example "_____at gmail dot com" format to avoid spam!

Disclaimer: While I did receive products from EasyLunchboxes for the purpose of review I was not compensated for this or any review and the opinions stated are honest and my own. For additional details see disclosures

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need clarifications. Find me on twitter or click the email me button to the right. 

Good luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday: a little late

It's still technically Thursday, but only for 2 more hours. I had a busy day, a good day. It started a bit too early. Kai woke up at 4am and instead of having a lovely bottle of mama's milk and going back to sleep for daddy he decided to drink his bottle and then talk + fuss in our arms until 6am. Thankfully for me he went back down until 9am so I could catch up on the lost sleep. Sadly, daddy had to go to work already in zombie-mode {no video game reference intended, Ben}.

Once we got up and ready for the day Malakai + I headed to my parents' place for the day. We played with the "doggie" {which is another word in his growing vocabulary} and went swimming in the pool. By late afternoon we packed up and headed home to meet "daddy" {which he also says, but sounds very similar to doggie...} with Aunt Nanner + Uncle Coders with us. My siblings are here staying the night with us, and it's been a lot of fun. They used to stay over once in a while before Malakai was born. This is the first time since moving to our new place. We've been busy grilling in the back yard, and playing on the floor in the living room. Things are quieting down now so I have a few minutes to share this week's thankful list with you.

This week I'm thankful for...

221. a week off from working daycare. I LOVE my "job" but it has been nice to have extra time each day.

222. using my extra time to hang out with my girl friends. Monday I took a birthday girl to lunch, Tuesday had a playdate with a stay-at-home mama friend and her almost-two-year-old little guy at the park, yesterday we went to another SAHM friend's house and played in the sand + water with her 15-month-old-cutie

223. spending time with my siblings while they have it available before school starts again. 

224. my hardworking husband and his efforts to help our house become a home inside + out. 

225. our first time grilling for ourselves EVER!

226. the new patio set we bought in May and have been too intimidated to set up, only to find that the only assembly required was the table...which took MAYBE 15 minutes....whoopsie!

227. the snapset pool my parents got for Kai that Ben + I can also sit in to cool off. 

228. Malakai's growing love for the water + outdoors. It's so fun to watch him learn and become more comfortable.

229. my successful whole wheat applesauce cake + the yummy breakfast it makes, especially paired with fresh coffee.

230. Kai falling asleep on his own after putting him down "drowsy but awake" tonight for the second time EVER! Keep it up kiddo!

Thanks for catching up with us. What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


If you read here regularly you may have noticed a lack of lengthy or really meaningful posts lately. It's kind of been bumming me out. I guess I'm in a bit of a writing rut, and feeling a little uninspired. Little things to post pop into my head here and there but the day gets away from me and I forget what it was I wanted to share or decide it's not important enough for a whole post.

I could say I've been busy, and I have been, but I've also had plenty of time to sit down and write that I haven't taken advantage of. I've also had plenty of time to cook better meals, unpack, and do laundry...all of those things were getting neglected too until yesterday. Hopefully since I got my groove back around the house {baked a whole wheat applesauce cake from scratch last night, fixed homemade chicken + rice soup for dinner tonight, + made a significant dent in the laundry that has been backed up since camping} maybe the blog will follow.

I think I have also been challenged by keeping up with the list of great reviews + giveaways I have lined up and interspersing them with regular posts. I'll find my balance sooner or later, hopefully you stick around for that to happen.

Seventh Gen winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Seventh Generation Giveaway. Keep coming back for my semi-weekly reviews + giveaways.

The winner of the Seventh Generation Natural Baby Starter Kit is

Your kit will include:

Check your email and respond within 48 hours to claim your prize.


My 10 year High School reunion is coming up in less than 2 weeks. I thought it would be fun to post pictures but soon realized that the furthest back my digital photos go is a handful from my trip to the Philippines in 2001. It made me feel pretty darn old that there are NO digital pictures of my high school years. I must resort to scanning them...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Helloooooo toddler!

I've been hanging on to the idea of Malakai still being a baby once he hit 12 months. I was hoping to keep calling him a baby until at least 18 months. At the rate he's moving {walking farther independently each day} and talking {adding new words to his vocabulary each week} I don't think he fits into the definition of "baby" anymore!

It's strange because when I think about him as a newborn laying on the bed between us, learning how to control the movements of his arms + legs in the wee hours of the morning, it seems like a different life and he was a different child. Like I traded in my tiny baby for a slightly bigger, bolder one every couple months. It moves along so fast there's hardly any time to really get used to the stage we're in before we find ourselves starting a new one.

At this point he's moving and learning so quickly I'm constantly amazed with what he's able to do. I can barely take it all in. I'm bursting with pride but also a bit sad knowing that in just another 6 months I'm going to look back and have trouble remembering each little nuance that made up Malakai at this point. I just want to freeze him in time at each little new stage until I've absorbed it into my memory and am ready to move to the next thing.

 Thank goodness for pictures and video cameras!

{I originally posted this yesterday but had issues with the video that should be fixed. Stay tuned til the end for a sweet little treat}

walking + talking from Shandell on Vimeo.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Giveaway Scout

As I do more giveaways {I've got at least one a week lined up for a while!} I thought it would be great to get listed over at the new website Giveaway Scout to spread the word. I've listed my giveaways a few other places, but this site seems a bit more promising than the others.

Check them out if you love to enter giveaways! And be sure to enter my current giveaway, ending on Wednesday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

friday funday

Instead of actually blogging today I set up Malakai's pool and "swam" with him. Then daddy came home early. He grilled + put together our patio set and we had a lovely dinner date out in the backyard while Malakai slept. We are now going to attempt to finish Castaway {which Ben has never seen} after starting it last night.

Happy Weekend,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday: quick moments

This week has flown by super fast. I think my new work schedule is a big part of it. It's been difficult to time Malakai's naps just right  for being gone even for just 2 hours, because it's in the middle of the day. If only he'd nap away from home!

This morning was better though. I have a feeling most of my days would be better if I got out of bed earlier. I need to kick my old habit of sleeping when the baby sleeps...even though he's still not sleeping all the way through the night. I think next week will be a good time to kick off our trial of The No-Cry Sleep Solution.

So I have a few moments now that Henry is asleep and Malakai would rather play on his own than with mama. He's "reading" a book to himself.

This week I'm thankful for:

211. sunny mornings with cute little boys in their funny little bucket hats

212. leftover birthday cake for breakfast {it's banana cake, so it's healthy!}

213. love letters from my husband

214. successful nap time {for the babies}

215. Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies...almost as good as maple donuts.

image cred.

216. the 5 steps Malakai took at his grandparents' house last night.

217. Ben's willingness to ride the bus when he needs to {we only have one car}

219. my in-laws for babysitting this weekend so we can finally get the rest of our boxes unpacked! {hopefully we get as much done as we want need to}

220. prayers over family dinner + reading chapters from James before bed. 

What are you thankful for this week?

PS don't forget to enter my Seventh Generation giveaway!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Birthday Weekend Part 3: Road Trip!

On Sunday of Malakai's Birthday weekend we had a wedding to go to for a friend of mine from college + work. We didn't have any more "birthday" activities, but I'm including this post in the series as it was all part of the busiest weekend of our lives so far.

 {Remember this post about her gorgeous Bridal Shower?}

It has actually been a lot of fun to have Malakai's birthday and her wedding fall on the same weekend. We've been counting down to "our big weekend" together since they set their wedding date.

That morning we got a slow start. Mostly because we thought that we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us, but according to google maps, we had a 2 and a half hour drive! So we bumped up our departure time by a half hour. We realized this at about 11:30am and needed to get out the door by 12:30pm! Needless to say, we didn't really get on the road til closer to 1pm. We even had to wake up Malakai from his nap. He was so sleepy I thought he'd just drift back to sleep. Instead, he just quietly sat there, looking a bit spacey for the most part. He was happy, and that's all I cared about!

Once we got to the church, it was 3:10pm, and the wedding was supposed to start at 3:30pm. I wanted to get Kai's diaper changed, dress shirt + shoes on before we went into the sanctuary. I headed to the women's restroom- NO CHANGING TABLE! I just about panicked. I went back to the front of the church, asked one of the lovely girls at the guestbook table if she knew where I could find one and she pointed me to the nursery. SAVED! It was also nice because the nursery had a tinted window into the sanctuary. Ben + I agreed that if Kai had a meltdown during the ceremony he'd take him in there so I could enjoy the wedding.

He babbled a few times and when he got really loud Ben took him out into the foyer, but no meltdowns! This was his 2nd wedding, but the first was when he was only 2 months old. He did such a good job! The ceremony was beautiful and I was so happy for Krista + Matt!

The reception was in the fellowship hall which was attached to the nursery, so nice + convenient. 

Malakai met another college friend of ours who lives in California now. Whitney was a bridesmaid in the wedding. There were two other times she was supposed to meet Kai but her trips got cancelled, she was so excited to finally get to see him in person!

Later Malakai couldn't decide which bridesmaid he wanted to hang out he chose both!

The reception was very casual. Just eating, visiting, toasts, + cake cutting.

{lovely centerpieces}

 Malakai cruised around a bit and we made sure he got some time outside as well.

One of my best friends, Carina, was really helpful to have around when we needed an extra set of hands. She's a very fun "auntie"! She also took this next photo for us. LOVE it!

This was the first time we stayed for the entire reception since Ben and I have been together. We are so glad we didn't miss the send-off. When Matt + Krista got through all the people and bubbles, there was no getaway car!

After a few very confusing minutes, someone drove it around front. Every wedding has to have a fun story like that!

It was after 6:30pm so we got Kai in his PJ's to make him more comfy for our long drive back. He passed out before we even made our first turn towards home and slept the whole way!

Ben + I enjoyed each other's company and the sunset all the way down I-5

We got home just after 9:30pm and settled down as our crazy weekend finally came to a close. 

Now this week we've been trying out a new schedule with watching Henry. It's been interesting as the last 3 days Malakai hasn't taken very good naps. He either wakes up to early or won't go to sleep before we leave, and always refuses to nap while we're there. Thankfully he's fallen asleep on the way home and stayed that way for me to transfer him from car seat to crib. Luckily, this schedule will only be going for the next few weeks!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Birthday Weekend Part 2: the parrrtaaay!

So Saturday was the big party day. I had my 3rd night of terrible/no sleep. Remember that commercial for Disneyland {or world?} where the kids + the dad are tossing and turning and they both say "I'm too excited to sleep!" that was me. My body was exhausted but my mind wouldn't turn off! I'd wake from a light sleep at 3am and text myself an email of things I needed to do. I was driving myself insane! Unfortunately this led to a terrible tension headache that lasted the entire day of his party, but I was able to ignore it and enjoy the day anyway!

We had planned on getting out of bed at 6:30am-ish, when Malakai usually wakes us up. We didn't set an alarm and Malakai slept in. At 8am I startled awake and woke up Ben. We were supposed to pick up the cupcakes at or just after 8am! The cupcakes were Malakai's gift from a college friend who has her own company {I've mentioned her and her Sassy cupcakes before}. They had a family reunion so they couldn't come to the party. Thankfully Ben was able to roll out of bed and jump in the car to go get them. She made 70 perfect little cupcakes for us!

It then took us FOREVER to pack up all the decorations, food, and Malakai's stuff to be gone for the whole day. It pretty much takes the same ridiculous amount of stuff to be gone for a week as it does just one day...oh babies!

We got to my parents' house, where the party was held, at just before 11am {when we meant to be there by 8am- whoopsie!}. Ben + I got straight to work unloading, cleaning, decorating. My sister tried to get Malakai down for a nap, I tried to get Malakai down for a nap, then Ben SUCCEEDED at getting Malakai down for his nap by 11:30am. Thankfully little mister slept til just after 1pm and the party was slated to start at 1pm... seriously so perfect, thank the LORD!

I didn't get a chance to photograph all the decor + details but here is the monthly photo poster I made...

We displayed the cupcakes in a posterboard treasure chest Ben already had!

and I put the grab bags for the little kids all around it. They each had a pirate hat like Malakai's, a whistle with a pirate ship on it, an eye patch, and some other little goodies.

Immediate family arrived first and then extended family + friends started to trickle in. Malakai was passed around for photo ops and the like in his adorable pirate outfit.

{details on where his onesie is from will come next week- you won't want to miss it!}

Malakai's present from Ben + I was this giant Pirate Ship Hideout pool. It came with a million little accessories! Plus two cannons spray water and two shoot plastic balls!

{cheeesy family pose}

Ben has a full on Jack Sparrow-esque pirate costume from working out at camp back in the '06, but sadly after a couple hours of searching we couldn't find it anywhere! We both wore our Pirates of the Caribbean shirts that his parents got us in Disneyland back in 2007.

Oh, did I mention we had the party at my parents' place because of the FABULOUS pool?

{Unfortunately some of the big kids {aka my cousin + brother} got to the inflatables and they didn't last much longer after this occurred...}

After a million pictures in front of the thing we finally got in the water to play. I just love his little pose in this photo...Captain Malakai!

He was seriously the happiest kid ever the entire time! My mom kept telling me that it's a given that the birthday-boy has a melt-down during the 1st Birthday party, but not my boy!

Next we opened presents. We seriously have the most generous family + friends! Malakai got a ton of great presents. I can honestly say that we didn't get one thing that needs to be returned, even for duplicate or wrong size reasons!!!

{the chair he's sitting in is from a set I got when I was little}

After presents was smash cake time! I made him his very own banana cake and topped it with cool-whip for him to dig into. 

{confused by the singing + the flames}

Everyone ooh'd + aww'd while he attempted to eat his cake. Every time he started to really get into it the crowd would cheer which would startle him and he'd stop and look to see what all the fuss was about. It was pretty hilarious.

He wasn't really getting that there was a cake underneath all the creamy whipped-goodness so I helped him out a bit. 

 {this pic cracks me up, looks like he ate the whole thing and is just full to the max!}

Later some more friends arrived and Malakai got to play with Henry in the ball pit!

{this boat is also from my childhood, but was mostly for my younger siblings. It was a pool or a sandbox back then. Such a cool toy!}

It was such a fun {and EXHAUSTING} day. We were so wiped out that Ben actually fell asleep on the floor that evening before we went home! 

and this wasn't even the end to our busy weekend...

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