Review of Block Island Organics Mineral Sunscreen

Block Island Organics is a new mineral suncare for adults and children with the motto, “Play Smart. Play Safe. Non-Toxic Suncare.”  Block Island is 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and celebrates being outdoors.

After having babies, my concerns turned towards eating foods that are not processed and avoiding pesticides, and avoiding chemical products.  It has made me more aware of products for myself as I seek out products that are safe for my kids to use.

I was sent a sample to try of the SPF 15 for myself and Baby SPF 30 and the views expressed are my own. I was not compensated for this post.  The products are non-toxic mineral based, non-comedogenic, vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, artificial fragrance free, non-eye irritating, not tested on animals, made in the USA and highly rated by the Environmental Working Group.
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How did it work? The sunscreen has the same consistency as standard sunscreen, but you need much less of it to be effective.  You also just need one layer.  It rubs on thick and spreads out, and you will notice right away that it does not rub in anything like normal sunscreen. It does leave a white residue on the skin, which enables you to see where you’ve applied it, and it stays on all day.  The formula is non-greasy and fast driving, and if you rub it in immediately, it soaks in a little bit better. I have definitely noticed in the non-toxic products that they do not rub in as well, which is the trade off if you don’t want chemicals, so I’m fine with it.
Here’s that residue after a run:
Want to try it out?  Use the code “natalie” to get 20% your purchase! (through August 4th). Orders over $50 ship free!

You can follow Block Island Organics on Twitter and Facebook.




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And here’s what I love about summer…

So now you know why parents count the days until “back to school.” But,  there is always so much to be thankful for, even if it’s disguised in my little one wanting to be held all the time.

Here’s what I love about summer:

No schedule means no rushing out of the house.  This is my absolute favorite thing about summer. I can make fun breakfasts, and we can eat them on the deck. The kids can play in the driveway at 7:30 in the morning and enjoy the summer air. Walks and bike rides in the early mornings.

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Making ice cream and popsicles. We’ve had fun with exploring ice cream flavors this summer. My favorites were Caramel and Old Fashioned Chocolate!

An attempt at a veggie garden…

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waiting for some zucchini!


Those days where you can leave the windows open. Doesn’t your day just start off with everything right with beautiful weather?

Fun field trips. There are so many kid friendly places around here that we have visited this summer.

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And of course, the beach! We’ve had one long weekend there and we are hoping for one more! Sandy toes!

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Summer birthdays. Happy 4th birthday to my sweet Kara!

I found out Kara Goucher (who she is named after) has a birthday on 7/10, my Kara’s is 7/15,
and was born the same year as me which is so fun!

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What’s your favorite thing about summer?


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Wait…is it September yet?

Oh hey!!  Where you’ve been????  You ask.

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this sums it up…

I read this post yesterday over at Sisters to Sons and felt like I wrote it myself. I totally cracked up!  My favorite part was the part about going back to work, because I email my husband the same thing at least once a week and thought I was crazy and ridiculous until I read her post.

Anyway, this summer has been crazy! Somewhere along the way, the kids’ “sacred” nap time which I build my schedule around every day has turned into a sh*tshow around here ever since returning from California.  The 3rd child, 2 years old, is so full of energy, started this trend. Not napping.  She fights sleep so she is so sleep deprived that she falls asleep in the car anytime around noon, which means her nap time is in the car. There’s no nap after that for her.  Which means by 5 o’clock (wait who am I kidding, 3 o’clock) I’m going insane! It’s summer! so I have the kids all day everyday, and I’m starting to understand why all the students that I used to teach were sent to camp for weeks and weeks in the summer. I never understood it. I do now!

My days look like this: 

If I don’t get up and out to workout super early, I’m getting a tap by 6:45 by my oldest that it’s time to wake up and go downstairs. And it’s not just a tap but a whine that comes along with it. “I want to go downstairssssss. I have noooottthinnggg to do. Can I play a gammeee on the iPadddd?”  Or I walk in the door and need to shower and am greeted with the whining.  So even though when I’m going to bed I’m thinking “I’m going to be a better mom tomorrow and have more patience,” by 7am I already suck.  The second the youngest is up,  “I want my Babba” is what I hear over and over again.  And my now 4-year old who does not like to eat dinner is ravenous the second she wakes up.  The first thing they want to do is eat.

The players:

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On the left, Oldest Child. 5 years old. Has severe oldest child syndrome. Needs to win every game he plays,  go first at everything and is a HUGE instigator to both sisters.

In the middle, Middle Child.  I have spent the 4 years of her life (Happy 4th Birthday, Kara!) making sure she doesn’t have middle child syndrome because I don’t want her to move away when she is grown up.  Puts everyone else first, always shares…but if she is sleep deprived or hungry, she’s a monster (so am I!)

On the right, the Baby of the Family. 2 years old. Determined. Strong willed. Wants what she wants and will only do everything on her watch.

Back to our morning…

“What are my options?” asks my 4-year old?  So I rattle off the usual – cereal, waffles, yogurt. “I don’t wannnnttt thatttt!!”

So I have to pull the  “Some children have nothing. Be happy that you have food to eat!”
I’m already getting irritated.  Back in the late winter or spring, I created days of the week. Each child has 2 days where they get to sit in the middle, make choices and do things first. Could this have created even more chaos?? “It’s Myyyyyyy DAYYYYY!!”  And then the touching each other’s chair, which turns into hitting each other and fighting. It’s not even 8am yet, is it?

The other day I had to take them all to a doctor’s appointment for my son. I was appalled. They were taking off their shoes, ripping the paper on the exam table, and when the doctor was trying to go over things with me, they were fighting to the point where I couldn’t hear or focus anything he was saying.

Which resulted in this text to my husband.  (Have you found the gun emoticon? My friend showed me where it was in the Emoji keyboard this past weekend. Life changing.  It makes me laugh and smile just sending it.)


Oh and then the male doctor of course went through the, “Aren’t kids GREAT? It’s so good to have kids. If you don’t have kids, who will take care of you when you’re older?”  and as I’m walking out “Take lots of pictures. It goes so fast.”  I was running out of there scolding my kids for their behavior. So that was 9:30am and I was thinking that I could take care of myself when I’m old.

Off to do errands with the kids. Which is always a good time, complaining about walking, fighting over who gets to sit, wanting to touch everything and buy everything in the store.  “Can we get THIS?  you NEVER let us get ANYTHING!”

Nap-time/quiet time (2-3pm) comes and no one is tired, and there’s no way the 2-year old is napping. She doesn’t stay in her room at nap time or bed time anymore. Keep your kids in their cribs until they are 5. Really. It will save you a lot of time and headaches.  For quiet time, praise the Lord! They stay upstairs but are in and out of each other’s rooms.  The 2-year old is still like a one-year old who finds everything you don’t want her to get into – I have to keep an eye on her at all times. She is also teamed up on by the other 2 and constantly crying and screaming NOOOO!! and wanting me to hold her. Good times!

That day, and every other day this week so far ….no one naps, and by dinner time, nothing is right with the world for the girls. And don’t you love when you get the text from your husband that he’s JUST LEAVING when you were hoping he’d be home in about 15 minutes? YEAHHHH…as I’m trying to feed them dinner that they don’t want to eat….again.

So my “quiet” time has been taken. I think that the third child switched my life upside down! By letting her do things that I wouldn’t normally let the others do that were not harmful but still not good things to do, she became a monster!  Oh, did you want to take out every piece of tupperware and dump it onto the floor? How about the bag of cereal? You want to walk around with it and eat out of it?  You want to see if you can open the vitamin jar? Sure. If that gives me 5 minutes, you’ve got it.   And now we have a monster.  Is it crazy that I’m even thinking about having one more?  Life is already chaos anyway. #crazymom #lostmymind

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Thanks for the craft for the 4-year old mom. I could totally handle that one. #worstbirthdaypresentever.  Background – breakfast that’s been sitting there for 10 hours, a coffee pod with a straw in it (Lindsay), beers that my husband drinks to get through the night, all the craft mess and a ton of clean dishes that will sit there for a few more days.

And you would think with no nap, it would be 7:30 and we’d have a quiet house. Nope! The sun is still out, so at bedtime, even after napping, they come out of their room 100 times.  Did you realize that more than one child makes everything exponential? Your food bills, buying things for them (not one beach bucket, but 3!), shoes, and coming out of their room at night. Times 3.

And while I’ve been soaking them up and love them dearly, I’ve also been calling them profanities in my head. :)
And that’s where I’ve been. So how’s your summer?















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Wahoo TICKR RUN Heartrate monitor review

The Wahoo TICKR Run heart rate monitor is an elastic belt with heart rate tracker that buttons just below your bust line.  It connects with your iPhone or Android through the app Wahoo Fitness to display your heart rate among other things.  When you put it on the red and blue lights on either side  (shown below, the little circles)  flash, showing that it is connected (blue) and tracking your heart rate (red).


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Using an on-board accelerometer, the monitor analyzes your running form by providing you with your stride rate right beside your heart rate, and your running smoothness, a number that is said to provide insight into how to improve your efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. From Wahoo Fitness,

The built-in accelerometer measures the rate of change in acceleration, or the “jerk” of your body, for three dimensions – front to back, side to side, and up and down. Combined with the Wahoo Fitness App, you can see your Running Smoothness Index, a rating from 50 to 150. The higher the number, the more smooth or efficient of a runner you are!”

The smoothness number was something that I went back to look at post-workout and compare to other workouts.   It was neat running on the treadmill and seeing my heart rate go up as my stride rate went up.  Most elite distance runners are said to have a stride rate around 180 strides per minute.

Let’s start from the beginning. I received the heart rate monitor, and the first step was to sync with the app.  No directions came with the monitor – everything is in the app.  I had a little trouble syncing and put it aside for a bit, but once I figured that out, I moved on to using the app with the monitor.  The first thing that I did was the field test on the treadmill to get my burn and burst rates, which I found to be interesting! I loved doing the field test!  I found the monitor to be comfortable, and it didn’t interfere with my workout.

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From here, you can click “View Online Training Plans” and get some free training plans – 3 different levels.

For outside running, I tried it initially and my first attempt was using it for a 5-mile outside run.  It stopped working after 20 seconds, but since I wasn’t paying attention to it, I didn’t know until after I was done.  My second attempt was using it along with Map My Run for a race, and again, it stopped tracking after 18 seconds.  With the advice to moisten the straps before starting, it has worked well since.
One thing I am used to from other apps is your lap pace (mile split) – this would be a great thing to have so that I don’t have to have another app going at the same time to track my mile paces. I love seeing them at the end of my run and it would be cool to see my heart rate through each mile!

I just recently figured out that it has treadmill mode and spinning mode along with running and cycling modes.  Here is a screen shot of running on the treadmill before I figured out it had treadmill mode.  I like having it open on the treadmill to track my stride rate and heart rate while I’m running and see how they change.

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Overall, this heart rate monitor plus the app give me extra motivation to want to run on the treadmill since I can watch my progress!  I feel like it could really enhance my running if I look over my history and see how I can improve.  I have never used a heart rate monitor and I love using one!  I still like paper over reading things on the computer, so I would prefer a little booklet with all the capabilities of using the monitor with the app. It would save time and many questions!

The WAHOO TICKR RUN heart rate monitor sells for $79.99 and the app is free! It works with iPhones and Androids.

I would give it 4.5 stars  – the only improvements being the mile splits and more direction up front.

Do you use a heart rate monitor while running or exercising? What else do you want to know?






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Time is Money! Camelback Relay (giveaway)

Who doesn’t want to save time in everyday activities? I dread wasting time!

Well, the last few days have been super hot and humid here, and so important to hydrate!  Water water water!

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You might recall my review of the Camelback Relay pitcher. We are loving this thing!  It is used daily in our house and helps us all to drink more water. I use it to fill up the coffee machine, and to fill up my pitcher of my water allotment for the day.  It saves me the time of filling up the pitcher that I use from the refrigerator (which doesn’t compare in taste) and going back and forth for a fill for the coffee machine!  Time is money, right? And the speed of the fill is awesome.


Want to win one? Camelback has graciously offered one reader their own Camelback Relay pitcher.

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway!
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Friday faves



YUM! Great treat for the afternoon slump? Or after dinner. Loving these!

Recipe adapted from Elena’s Pantry
2 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c agave nectar
chocolate chips (or, I added in m & m’s for the kids’ excitement)

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, roll into balls and bake at 350 until slightly browned, around 8 minutes!

While we have been up and out by 8:30 for the past 2 weeks, it has been nice to have a pretty open schedule and plan things everyday. Mid winter, I wouldn’t say the same thing, but with so many resources (pool, gym with daycare, zoo, aquarium, air conditioned library), I feel like there is always something to do!



3- SUNRISE. It is SO easy to get up right now.
Back onto my old routine of getting up at 5am, I’m loving it! I get to see the sunrise most mornings.
I love being a morning person!


For the last 2 weeks, the older two kids have had swim lessons at 9am every day. Here’s my buddy!



Little swimmer # 1-ready for swim team



Little swimmer #2 – now pool safe!






what’s on your list this week?




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Avocado Brownies, round 2

A few years ago I made avocado brownies and they were pretty good. I had a ripe avocado sitting around and wanted to make something sweet but somewhat healthy and thought of them.   They turned out great! Soft and chewy without falling apart (too much).  A nice chocolate summer treat.


Avocado Brownies
8 oz chocolate chips, melted
1.5 T coconut oil, melted
1 avocado, mashed
1 egg
1/4 c applesauce
3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c cocoa
handful chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil, and mash avocado. With a whisk, whisk avocado in with melted chips and oil. Whisk in egg and applesauce.  In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and cocoa, and fold into wet ingredients until just mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until set. Let cool 20 minutes, then cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.




Stay tuned for more summer treats to share!


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