Front & Center: Juice In The Box Review

Did you know that 132 Billion (yes, Billion) disposable juice boxes are thrown out every year? You probably also didn't know that it takes over 300 years for a single disposable juice box to decompose! ...(yep, Insert horrified emoji face here)...
We've become such a throw away and wasteful society, throwing things away instead of recycling, not thinking of the impact it has on the earth (the earth we are raising our children up on and leaving for them when we are gone), wasting when others on a different side of the world (and sadly even in our own country) don't have enough. But by choosing something reusable we can make a difference (even if a bit small difference) in the world and for our children... not only to make the world a better place for them but so they can make the world a better place... by teaching them good habits that they'll carry with them throughout life.
So this is where "Juice In The Box" comes into play!

I'm sure some of you might have heard of "Juice In The Box, maybe you own one (or two or three or four), or you might possibly be asking "what is Juice In The Box?", so I am here to fill you in on all the "juice"-y (see what I did there) details of Juice In The Box!
Juice In The Box is an earth friendly, reusable juice box available in 5 beautiful and vibrant colors (Green, Pink, Red, Blue and Orange), is made from translucent Tritan and is BPA and Phthalate free. Juice In The Box is also dishwasher safe (top rack), and if you lose the straw out of your Juice In the Box they sell a replacement kit that comes with 3 extra straws (and a few other replacement pieces) for a very reasonable price.
The Juice In The Box holds approximately 8 ounces of fluid and makes for much better drink choices. Since you can fill it with your liquid of choice, it helps with cutting back on or cutting out the sugary and unhealthy drinks that usually come in your average juice box.
Did you know that in the US over one third of all children are overweight or obese? And did you know that bad drinking choices have been linked to obesity and poor health in children in a recent study? Sugar sweets (including sweetened drinks) are a major contributor to tooth decay and obesity (as well as a lot of other health problems), not only in children but adults too! But by replacing sugared drinks with water, milk and sugar-less (yes juice can taste extremely good without any added sugar!) drinks we can have a very positive effect on slowing weight gain and it can actually help with behavioral issues in children as well!
Healthy choices now will translate into our children making healthy choices later in their life!
Plus you can ensure that there isn't mold growing in it... if you haven't heard of this, Google "juice box mold", trust me, its pretty gross and definitely not something we want our children to put in their bodies.
-Though admittedly we do love the Honest Kids Organic Juice packets... Its organic, gluten free, GMO free, kosher, the perfect size to pour in our Juice In The Box, comes in 5 amazing flavors and is extremely tasty with no added sugar (sweetened only with fruit juice)... and yes I do check for mold but thankfully have never found any.-
I also love that Juice In The Box isn't soft so it eliminates the problem of juice randomly spraying everywhere if a child holds the juice box too tightly, is 100% spill proof (unless you tip it over when the lid is open then some dribbling from the straw can be expected), the "square" shape is nice too, something different than the average Sippy cup and is designed to fit nicely in a lunch box.
So why do we love our Juice In the Box?
Well, Our daughter has never been real keen on regular Sippy cups but she does however love drinking from a straw so this is perfect for her! So far we've tried water and (organic) juice in our Juice In The Box. She LOVES drinking from it and gets very offended if you try to take it from her (lol). We will definitely be purchasing one or two in the near future to have some more on hand, plus who doesn't like to have a selection of bright and happy colors! :)
Juice In the Box retails for around $12 ($11.99 to be exact), and although it does seem a bit pricey for a child's cup, it is without a doubt worth every bit of the price tag!
The "Juice In The Box" reusable juice boxes can be purchased at www.juiceinthebox.com and also through www.amazon.com
Saves on trash, saves on messes, can be used over and over and over again and promotes earth friendly and healthy habits in general! What could be better?! Now what are you waiting for? Go get one! :)
Please note, I received a product free to review but all opinions are my own. :)


Keeping Your Children, Yourself & Your Marriage Safe On Social Media

Social media safety...
Unfortunately it weighs more and more on our minds each day as more and more of us share our daily lives (or at least bits and pieces of our lives) on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest and even Blogger and Word Press, among all the many other social media outlets that keep popping up that I don't even know of...

So I've compiled a list of a few suggestions (that I personally use) to keep in mind when online and using social media.
1. Don't geo-tag.
Especially when at home or somewhere often frequented. This is a big one since on instagram if you geo tag, everyone can see literally exactly where you are. And I know I definitely don't want just anyone and everyone in the world to know exactly where you live!
2. Don't take post photos of or tag schools.
This is just as bad as geo tagging photos from home. Here's a scenario (imagining my daughter as school age)... I take my child to school, snap a cute picture of her in front of the school, send her off to class and post the picture. I accidently get the name of her school in there, or on Facebook tag the school and Boom! Now everyone knows the exact location of my child while I'm away! So completely NOT safe! Not saying it wouldn't be okay to post a photo taken of her at school, I would just want to make sure that there weren't any school name or standout landmarks present in the photo.
3. Be wary of strangers.
No I'm not saying you necessarily need to have your Instagram profile set on private; My Instagram is public, but I also block a lot of people too. Look shady? Blocked. Looks like a fake account? Blocked. Have 0 posts, follow a lot of people and are set as private? Blocked. Have 0 posts, follow a million people who are only mothers or child models or child feature pages? Definitely blocked.

Also, on my personal Facebook, I don't accept random strangers! Even though I usually don't post too much overly personal stuff on there, there's still more private information about me and my family on there than is usually on instagram. 
4. Don't post suggestive photos.
Really, 'nuff said.
I also try to steer clear of posting pictures of our daughter wearing only her diaper, etc. just to be on the safe side.
5. Don't have a board on Pinterest called "Hot Hunks" or "Smokin" Babes") or anything even closely related).
I see people in relationships/married do this quite often and not only the fact I "just don't get it" it makes me sad.
 I mean personally if I were single it probably wouldn't really matter, but since that's not the case and I am happily married, not only do I not want any kind of thing like that, it just wouldn't be smart for my marriage and as a married woman I have no business having anything like that!

6. Don't put everything on social media.
Some things are best kept private. I let people know what they need to know and don't always go into the fine details. Yes, when I have a bad day sometimes I will post something about it, not to get attention, but because sometimes I just need encouragement, the instagram community I have found is a wonderful group of ladies who constantly lift each other up when someone is down or something happens and I think that is a beautiful thing... But seriously, no one really cares that you ran out of hot water during your morning shower this am. Haha. ☺

That all being said, these are only suggestions that I go by myself while online and using social media (not in any way to taken as me telling you what to do).

What do you do to keep safe online and on social media? I'd love to hear any tips you might have if you'd like to leave a comment below. :)


Homemade Meat Sauce

What You'll Need:

1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic

1/2 lb. Ground Beef (or 3 precooked, prechopped Italian Sausages)

1 (29 oz.) can Crushed Tomatoes

1 (29 oz.) can Tomato Sauce

1 (6 oz.) can Tomato Paste

6 Beef Bouillon Cubes

3/4 cup grated Romano (or Parmesan) Cheese

1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon juice

1 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

3/4 teaspoon Oregano

3/4 teaspoon Basil

3/4 teaspoon Thyme

Pour olive oil into stock pot, add garlic and sautée garlic. When garlic starts to turn golden add your ground beef (or sausage) and brown.
Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, fill both empty cans with water and add to the pot and bring to a boil. Add in tomato paste and bouillon cubes.
Let it cook for 5 mins and add the grated cheese, sugar, lemon juice, pepper, salt, oregano, basil, and thyme.
Turn your stove down to a simmer and let cook for an hour or so.
Now cook yourself up some pasta and enjoy!
Makes enough for around 4 small meals for us, we have pasta the day I make it and then I freeze the rest in containers to enjoy at a later date.

I can also get 2 to 3 meals out of this recipe even if we have company. :)



Introducing... The Joyful Tribe!

So as you all might have noticed... Its been a little quiet around here lately... and yes, I did have something up my sleeve, something that has been in the works for the past couple months, a change that is both scary and exciting for me at the same time.

Whew... So here we go!
As of today...
*Drum roll please*
... The Happy Cupcake will be rebranding!
Yes, a completely new look and name!
I will still be blogging about the same things but after almost a year of blogging I decided the blog needed a freshening up... and here's why...
When I decided I wanted to blog I just chose any old name, really the first name I came up with and once I decided that blogging was something I really enjoyed and wanted to further pursue I realized I needed to have it exactly like I wanted, not just the first cute name I came up with, I needed something that was more "me", something that wasn't just happy, something that went deeper, something "joyful", something that wasn't just about me, but my entire "tribe"...
So there you have it... the cat is out of the bag...
As of today, The Happy Cupcake is now "The Joyful Tribe"!
My instagram name will also be changing from @lifeasahappycupcake to @thejoyfultribe.
I am so excited for this change and opportunity to rebrand and refresh!
Another venture (completely unrelated to my blog) that I am excited to announce is The Joyful Life Project; another instagram I recently started (can be found at @thejoyfullifeproject).
The Joyful Life Project came about one day as I was filling up the coffee jar, I ended up spilling some on the countertop and though I should have been annoyed at the extra work I had just made for myself, I wasn't... I in fact had the complete opposite reaction. I was overjoyed!
"What!" you say?
Yes, I had this overwhelming sense of joy come over me...
The fact that I had coffee grounds to spill, the fact that I have a {wonderful} husband that drinks coffee every morning, that I have coffee to help wake me up on days when I just can't seem to get it together, the fact that I have a countertop, that I have a kitchen, the fact that we have a place to live and my husband has a decent job.
So from spilled coffee grounds this idea was born, a place we can gather and encourage each other, using the hashtag #thejoyfullifeproject on your instagram photos we can share the little {and big} things that bring us joy, maybe it's something totally off the wall and something that's perhaps strange to be thankful for {like spilled coffee grounds} that you want to share? If it brings you joy then share it!

I hope you will all stick around and journey and into this land of joy with me and my joyful little tribe.