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Things crunchy and green tend to take a backseat when someone is going through a major life crisis. (I don’t want to even think about the carbon and waste generated by my night in the hospital. All that gauze! All those tubes, needles, and chucks!) I’m feeling more like myself these days, so much so that I am actually saying things like, “I love this [insert item] so much!” or “You have to try [insert other item]!” I thought I’d pass a few of them on to you.

Kettle Cuisine soups. I love soup. Love it. It’s quick, filling, and usually chock-full of vitamins and healthy stuff. Except for one thing: It usually comes in a can. Cans usually have BPA, which in my book negates all the good stuff, which is why soup, in recent years, has become something I avoid. Yes, it’s true homemade soup is BPA-free, but I can’t always make my own. (Although I  did make my own lentil soup during the throws of my severe anemia. I didn’t freeze it as my mother told me I should, so I threw a bunch of it out. But I digress…) A few weeks ago, a press contact at Kettle Cuisine reached out, sending me a few coupons to try the stuff for free. I decided to give it a try since the company uses real food ingredients — no hydrogenated this or high fructose that. The soups come frozen in BPA-free plastic containers; It’s #1 PETE, but I still took the soup out of the container and put it into a glass bowl to heat it in the microwave. After a few minutes it was ready. Oh. My. Goodness. I had Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables (110 calories) on Wednesday and Angus Beef Steak Chili with Beans (250 calories) last night. Both tasted like my mom made them — lots of vegetables, meat, and broth. A success. Can’t wait to try the other varieties.

Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident for Wii. I spent a lot of time lying on my back over the past few months. My poor kids had to sort of hover close by so I could watch them. We played Wii a lot and this game — a type of I Spy — was one of their favorites, and something I could actually play with them. The best part of this game is that the entire family could participate. Big Girl did the navigation while Little Girl and I (and sometimes my husband) searched for the hidden items on the screen. It’s a lot of fun, and it doesn’t get old.

MindWare Q-bitz. Another fun game for the entire family. Each person gets their own square frame along with 16 multi-patterned dice. The goal: Try and duplicate the pattern on a card before someone else does. We gave Little Girl a head start so even she could play!

The iPad 2. I was never an Apple fan. I prefer PCs, actually, but I cannot explain HOW much I love my iPad. I love the Optimum Online iPad app that lets me pull up live television from every room in my house. I love Fruit Ninja, which is a super-fun game that everyone can play alone and against each other. I love having an always-on Web browser sitting next to me while I watch TV. I just love it. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for creating a device that anticipates and provides for everything I need and want to do.

Clif Kid Z-Bars (in either chocolate brownie or chocolate chip flavors). What do you do when your hemoglobin drops below ten? Eat stuff that is iron-rich. While I love Cream of Wheat, I can’t eat it more than once a day. Enter Z-Bars, which are 95 percent organic, low in calories and fat, and taste like candy. I ate one every day both for the taste and for the hefty dose of vitamins and minerals.

Citrus Lane gift boxes. I’m finally able to talk about baby stuff without crying, so I figured I’d pass along this great idea. This company lets people buy monthly giftbox subscriptions for new parents, filling the boxes with healthy and natural items that are age-appropriate for Baby. For example, Month One’s box contains an Aden + Anais Burpy bib, a bottle of Mommy’s Bliss Gripe water, a Sage Creek Organics washcloth, a package of Weleda Calendula Diaper Care, and a Cotton People Organic baby doll. Very cool, very fun. A nice way to give all throughout the year, especially since you can start the subscription any time between month one and month 18.

That’s it for now. Big weekend coming up. Big Girl turns eight. My MiL goes home to Florida. The kids have an extended weekend. Hope everyone has a good one.

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