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Showing posts from March, 2010

Tropical Traditions Aluminum Free Deodorant - Review & Giveaway

{Congratulations to #9} I've consciously been buying aluminum-free baking powder, baking mixes, and baked good for quite some time. I also purposely avoid drinks in aluminum cans and aluminum water bottles. So it only made since that the time would come when I'd eliminate the biggest source of aluminum in my life - Deodorant! I was scared to do it. You've heard it hear first - I am a very sweaty person. I sweat when it's hot. I sweat when it's cold. My body just sweats. It's gross. It's embarrassing. It's smelly. For the past few years, I've even been using the "clinical strength" deodorants.
I tried switching back for cost reasons, and I just couldn't do it. I was too sweaty. So it was with good intentions and a bit of fear, that I tried Tropical Traditions All Natural Aluminum -Free Organic deodorant.
I chose Lavender because I know how good it smells. I grow lavender in my yard. Since I grow it organically, I have a neighbor that sni…

Successfully Propogated Wild Black Raspberries!

Last summer, I found wild black raspberries in our forest. Since I want more of them, I tried an experiment. I tip layered the berry canes to see if they would create new growth.
I had meant to go out this winter and clip the tip from the parent cane, but we had way too much snow cover. Amazingly - the cane snapped itself and you can see by the second picture that the tip did indeed sprout roots and has begun to grow leaves. Where there was once 1 - now there are 2. Wahoo! The cane is the purplish J-shaped stick in the middle. It snapped right in the middle.
New growth on the tip layered cane!
I did tip layer one other black raspberry, but it was damaged by my neighbor's dog. :( Oh well, next year my 2 will be 4.

Bellybuds Review

If you've ever had a baby in your tummy, then you know how responsive they are to sounds and music. While pregnant with my son, I taught myself to play the cello and he danced and danced whenever I played. I also bought a few classical music CDs and played them often.

Technology has changed a lot since my babies were born and baby gear has changed right along with it. I was fortunate to be given the chance to review Belly Buds. I'm not expecting (ever again) so I gave them to someone that is expecting her 3rd. She agreed to try them out and share her experiences.
Here's an exerpt from her email to me:
Here's my take on the Bellybuds. I really enjoy music and like you, I had music playing a lot for my first child. But with my second and third pregnancies, I just feel like I haven't had the time to focus on the new baby. I know that sounds horrible. My biggest problem was getting them on without my other children touching them. The buds have to stay clean and can'…

Link & Win Mondays: Stop in to List and Win Tons of Giveaways!

Link up your giveaways in the Mr. Linky below. Be sure to check out all of the great giveaways for your chance to win!
My giveaways this week:
Baby bunch Egg Nests ($40 Value) Add more ~Ing to Your Life Protect-A-Bed Queen Mattress protector Linen Kids Giveaway Seventh Generation Cleaning Kit Aluminum Free Deodorant

Last Child in the Woods

I'm currently reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorderby Richard Louv. Halfway through the book, I started thinking "what in the world am I doing?"

It's a good book. A well written and interesting book. But it's everything I already know/feel. The book is filled with the science behind why playing outside and being involved in nature is important.
It's nice to know that research backs up what I already feel to be true, but a book like this isn't meant for someone like me. I would, however, recommend it to anyone trying to change a school curriculum or who may need some encouragement to get outdoors.
We spend most of our days in the forest. Here are a couple of shots of my kids enjoying a spring day in the forest behind our home.
"Fishing for Seaweed" Throwing sticks -they could do this for hours What bad mother lets her children climb on unsteady structures? Oops, that's me.
The most awesome fort ever! An…

Recession Proof your Wardrobe?

In an effort to save money (and reallocate my budget toward organic groceries) I stopped buying clothes and accessories for myself. It's been an interesting few months as I've bypassed sales racks and the jewelry section all together. But I've saved money.
Just when I was dreaming of running off to TJMaxx and going on a wild shopping spree, I got an email from them. I'm not kidding! They were offering me $50 to spend at TJMaxx and Marshalls to see if I could snag any great fashion deals. How did they know? I told you this world is a crazy place!
I gotta tell you, I would have went for free. ;) Just the mere suggestion would have sent me to get my car keys. But sending me with $50 to spend was so much better.
I happen to live just a few miles from both stores, so I headed out and filled up my shopping cart.
I went in the dressing room over and over again with the maximum number of items. I tried on jeans, tops, shoes, scarfs, dresses, and skirts. And even though I had ma…

Dance Class - with a side of guilt

Today was my daughter's last dance class for the season, but it wasn't the last class for the rest of her friends. We opted out of the recital and the last few weeks are spent entirely on recital readiness, so I decided to save us both the annoyance and end lessons early.
She had been asking for a break and the timing was perfect. Or so it seemed. Apparently, her teachers did not share my sentiment. As the only one that opted out of the recital, I'm sure they saw me as the ultimate cheapskate.
I'll be honest, we saved over $400 by not participating in the recital. Yes - I said $400. But that wasn't my only motivation. My daughter loves to dance, but she hated the "routines."
She said the structure of the class made her "exhausted." It took the fun out of dancing for her. That's why she was begging for a break. And the recitals are 4 hours long. For 4 hours, the girls wait behind the stage with their teachers. At some point (unknown to all but …

Will Completing Swagbucks Special Offers Get you more Bucks?

If you're like me, then you love swagbucks. I already search the internet (daily) and winning prizes while searching just makes it that much more fun. But searching isn't the only way to win on swagbucks. You can shop through their marketplace, turn in old cell phones/games, hunt for codes, and complete special offers.
Of all of these, searching is the best way to win. But with the 3.0 change, you can now win swagbucks from the special offers daily. I win between 2-4 swagbucks each time I scroll through the special offers page. In my opinion, that's not worth doing every day, but if you have time to kill, why not?
But I was wondering....what if I actually completed an offer...would I win more swagbucks? So I completed 2 separate offers. One was a coupon printing offer, and the other was a newsletter sign-up. Guess what happened?? I won the same 2 swagbucks I would have won if I didn't take the time to complete the offer. And so the offer skipping goes on.
Instead, I pri…

Pre-Order "Bringing Up Girls" by James Dobson

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've probably heard me mention Bringing up Boys by James Dobson. The book was a wealth of information for raising healthy boys, but a few years ago I heard a rumble about a book focused on girls and I have anxiously awaited it's release.
Well, that time is here! Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Womenis now available for Pre-order on Amazon. The book is available April 13th. Happy Reading!

Link & Win Mondays: Stop in to List and Win Tons of Giveaways!

Link up your giveaways in the Mr. Linky below. Be sure to check out all of the great giveaways for your chance to win!
My giveaways this week:
Baby bunch Egg Nests ($40 Value) Mirra Beauty products Exergen Temporal Scanner Thermometer Add more ~Ing to Your Life Protect-A-Bed Queen Mattress protector Duracell Battery 12-packs Linen Kids Giveaway

Baby Bunch Easter Review & Giveaway

{Congratulations to Kimberly #97, the Baby Bunch winner} Spring is all about new life, and this spring you can celebrate the new babies in your life with any of the many cute gifts from BabyBunch. I recently had the chance to review their baby egg nests. And all I can really say is cute, cute, cute. Each egg basket comes with 3 pairs of baby socks made from 100% organic cotton. They are the cutest little baby gift. They rival even the cutest baby outfit for itty-bittiness. My kids were all over these and thought they looked just like birds nests.
They mangled my nests and sadly they had to be given to my pregnant friends "used." I was embarassed but my friends still thought they were the ultimate in cute. I had to give mine away to friends with babies, since my baby days have come and gone.
BUT - if I were going to have another baby, I would use one of these to "tell the grandparents." What could be more awesome then giving your mom an "Easter basket" and …

War is Good!

I absolutely hate war, but WAR - the card game - has been tremendously helpful in teaching both of my children basic number skills. My 4year old is excellent at this game! Math for little kids has a little bit to do with numbers, and a lot to do with patterns, quantities, the concepts of less/more, and shapes.
WAR not only teaches number recognition but helps children quantify and compare the numbers (less/more.)
So do your kids a favor and play WAR with them. You'll be teaching them some pretty fun (and competitive) math. Who said math was boring? Definitely not me!

Raw Energy - Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.I love raw food! In fact, during the summer (coming soon - wahoo!) my diet is around 70% raw. I love everything about it - health, taste, and environmental impact. So when I was recently given the opportunity to review Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Bodyby Stephanie Tourles, I happily agreed.
The book is relatively short but filled with yummy raw recipes and unbelievably gorgeous whole food photos. The first few chapters are dedicated to all the reasons why raw food, real food, and snacks are healthy.
The information was complete and succinct, a great start for beginners. For me, it was preaching to the choir, but I found her information to be accurate and engaging. I knew I could see myself really liking the author when she referred to the "rawsome goodness" of raw food. Love it.
Even though I am already an enthusiastic raw food dabb…

What if you won the lottery?

What would you do if you won the lottery? Have you ever thought about it? I've thought about it quite a bit.
But I can honestly tell you that I will never win the lottery. You have to play to win, and I never play. lol
Just because you don't play the lottery, doesn't mean you shouldn't think about it.
Take a second and think of the Top 5 things you would do if you won the lottery. What you'd really do! Then start making those things a reality (unless of course your plans are revenge, then you need to start over and come up with 5 new things.) ;)
Here's what I would do:
1. Buy my 88 year old neighbors house and accompanying 5 acres. I'd let them live there and garden for the rest of their lives, but I'd take the other 4 acres and build an orchard and free-range chicken and honey bee farm. 2. Buy only organic produce, and only pastured humanely raised organic meats. I'd also spend my days lobbying for political change in our food industry. 3. My husband w…

Blueberry Apple Crisp

Whenever I hit a big apple sale, I either make apple rings, sauce apple crisps. Below is a recipe for my favorite apple crisp - Blueberry apple crisp. I make my apple crisps with less crisp than most people (half to be exact.) So if you like a lot of the crispy topping, feel free to double the crisp portion of the recipe. You can adapt this recipe by swapping out almost any fruit. I like to make peach crisps, and all sorts of apple/berry combinations.
Blueberry Apple Crisp (with half the crisp - double all but the fruit if you light a lot of topping) 3-5 Apples 1 cup of blueberries (frozen is fine) 3/4 cup flour (I use half whole wheat, half all purpose) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp cinnamon 3/4 cup oatmeal 1/2 cup melted butter
Peel and cut enough apples to fill the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with blueberries. Mix the remaining ingredients. It should be crumbly. Press the mixture onto the apples. I usually just dump it on, but my husband stamps it down tight. Bake at 375 for 3…

Take a Fun Family Vacation in Florida

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Kissimmee Tourism. All opinions are 100% mine.For some people, vacations are all about relaxation. Not me. My ideal vacations are all about adventure. I've been lucky to travel all over the world and my favorite vacations are the ones packed with activities. In my opinion, it's important to see and do all the things that make your destination unique. To do the things you can't do at home.
I've been asked to write this post about visiting Kissimmee, Florida. It's only a few miles away from Orlando, and though I've been to Orlando twice, Kissimmee had never crossed my mind. And that is an absolute shame.
Both of my trips to Orlando were fun, but not quite the way I like to vacation. For example, two years ago we spent a week at Disney. The whole week, minus a few amazing hours at the Discovery Cove. Otherwise, it was all Disney, all the time. That's just too boring for me.
We'll go back to Disney one more …

When your kids are sick...Feed them OREOs

We all want our kids to make healthy food choices, but it seems that kids naturally gravitate toward junk food. Maybe it's the marketing or the way we feed them. But either way, I have a potential (yet completely controversial) idea on how to stop a few of the most entrenched cravings.

It's simple. Feed them the most unhealthy foods when they are sick. Most notably, when they are likely to vomit. And according to anecdotal evidence, this may create a lifelong (or at least decades long) aversion to the vomited food.
Here's my evidence. When I was 13, I was hospitalized for severe asthma. The nurses gave me apple juice. I quickly vomited. I did not drink apple juice again for 14 years. I hesitantly tried it when my son was a little over a year old. I had a hard time with it, and it's still my least favorite juice. Because it reminds me of vomit.
My neighbor will not eat bananas since she vomited them as a child. My sister-in-law will not eat mushrooms because she vomited …

Boys Adrift - A book recommendation for mothers of boys

While discussing parenting with a mom of 6 boys, she mentioned the bookBoys Adriftand recommended I read it. I immediately put it on hold at our library. To be honest, boys are so much different than girls and sometimes I can't believe we're even related.
I am still so unbelievably grateful for the many times I have readBringing up Boysby James Dobson. I read it when I first learned I was carrying a boy and have read it twice since.It opened my eyes to a whole new side of boys I never knew existed and helped me understand why I didn't understand them.It's proven invaluable to me as I've taught my son to read and have been helping him to find his place in this world.
It helps me to know what's normal and how his needs differ from my daughter's and mine. But Boys Adriftbrought up a whole new world of concerns.
The book focuses on the (5) five major factors leading to our culture of unmotivated and underachieving men. I've noticed it in many of the men I kn…

A Cheap and Easy way to Teach the story of Easter

Every Easter, we hide eggs for our children to find. I put together this set of "resurrection eggs" for my children so they could learn and have fun. After they find all the eggs, they get the opportunity to tell me what each piece in their basket means. If they get it right, they get a chocolate coin. My kids love chocolate and coins, so it's a win-win.

You can easily make your own resurrection egg set from every day household objects or printouts from the internet.

Here are the contents of our eggs:
Nail
Cross (I made ours by tying twigs together with a ribbon)
Sponge (our is a section of cut kitchen sponge)
Spear (cut toothpick)
Stone
Empty
Palm Leaf (a piece of a fake plant)
Cup (cut out picture)
Praying hands (cut out picture)
Coins (dimes inside a small satchel)
Crown of thorns (made courtesy of of our raspberry canes)
Leather
We also use a velcro set to tell the story. It's a fun, interactive way to make the story more kid-friendly.

Karma is a funny, funny thing

A picture of a field vole - the ones that are causing neighborhood strife.
Last summer, there was an assault in my neighborhood. The voles had destroyed many lawns over the winter (my own included) and my neighbors were understandably angry.
So they took it upon themselves to hire a pest control firm to rid the neighborhood of voles, chipmunks, boxelder bugs, wasps, lady bugs (yes, lady bugs!) and many other insects. There was a huge push to get every household involved. I refused.
Fourteen of my closest neighbors encouraged me to join in the battle. I still refused. I quarreled with my husband and he defaulted to me (wahoo!) He was sure that every insect and rodent would use our yard as a safe haven and we'd be inundated with vermin and damage.
Knowing my husband's opinion on my over zealously organic ways, I was a bit worried. But I needn't be! The snow has finally melted and we spent the day outside.
And that's when we saw it. Vole damage. Lots of it! It happened in e…