Monday, April 30, 2012

Green your Mom Giveaway Hop, $25 Gift Certificate

What better present to give your mom for Mother’s Day than a Green Gift? I’m teaming up with EcoCrazy Mom and Simple City Life to bring you the Green Your Mom Giveaway Hop, May 1-7, 2012.

Wildwood Soapworks has a wonderful assortment of Organic body care.  I absolutely fell in love with their Lavender Lemon soap bars, and you can read more of my review here. 

I am currently using a few additional items of Wildwoods and have been very pleased with my experience.  I think it has a lot to do with the quality of their ingredients.  For one the essential oils used are of the highest quality therapeutic oils.  The Lavender is a high altitude wild grown Bulgarian Lavender which makes it the best quality for therapeutic use.  All the plant and essentials oils are of the highest grade and scrutiny before use.

Since this is a Mother's Day Hop I wanted to share my second most treasured item of Wildwoods, the Golden Slumbers Sleep Balm.  I received this item to try and was a little skeptical.  I have been using Rescue Remedies Sleep for so long that I thought nothing could do as good a job.  My first night with the balm I tried it and was asleep in 15 minutes, and I was very surprised because I am a night owl.  I love to stay up after tucking the kids in bed and relaxing with a book.  Although, since I started the Slumbers Sleep Balm my reading time has been drastically reduced.  This is actually a wonderful thing.  I fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up very rested without an alarm clock.  The essential oils are specially designed to aid in a relaxing bed routine.  For those that have no trouble falling asleep only to wake a few hours later wide awake, this has shown to help as well.  Essential oils have long since been used in aiding in the healing arts. 

I have used the Slumber Sleep Balm on my children when they were too restless to fall asleep, when they have had an off night with nightmares, and for family members visiting.  I found that even when the balm helped me into a very relaxing sleep, I woke up completely awake and alert to my daughter having a nightmare.  The Sleep Balm is completely 100% organic. 

Wildwoods has products for Baby, Mommy, Pets, Teas and Bath scrubs, Balms, Soaps, Shampoos, Insect deterrents, bath accessories, and Lotions.  Slumber Sleep Balm is $6.95.  This is cheaper than the previous sleep and rest aid I used, completely organic, and works better.  

Now the GREAT news.  This Green Clean Company is going to give one happy reader a 
$25.00 Gift Certificate!!!  The event will begin at 12:01 AM EST May 1, 2012 and end at 11:59 PM EST on May 7, 2012 US ONLY EVENT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to stop by all the other blogs in this event and Good Luck!

I have not been paid for this review, it is mine and mine alone.  I received my bar for just being a new follower on their Facebook page.  I am not making any sales in this post either.  I just love the product and the mission of this company~~Natural, Organic, and Safe!  The Company is so friendly, be sure to stop by Facebook or twitter and tell Sally that Kelley's Passion sent you! 

 I just want her to know how much I appreciate her Passion for clean wonderful products! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Huge Tropical Traditions Giveaway Event ARV $275

I'm so excited to bring you another Super Event Giveaway! This week is all about Tropical Traditions and their amazing Coconut products! Hosted by Full Price? Never! with contributing bloggers CuzinLogic and MyCraftyLife.

About Tropical Traditions: Tropical Traditions has a long history of cultivating superior coconut oil. Founders Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA and Marianita Jader Shilhavy, BS, CND actually farmed it themselves in the Philippines which lead to their understanding of the health qualities of coconuts. Once back in the states they recognized a need to find quality coconut products and they filled it! Maybe their most famous product, Coconut Oil is the first thing that people think of when it comes to Coconut products, but Tropical Traditions offers so much more! From organic food to skin care items!
Learn More About Tropical Traditions: Website, Twitter #1, Twitter #2, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, newsletter.
Personal Review: Heather from Full Price? Never! had the pleasure of reviewing some TROPICAL TRADITIONS products. Here are her thoughts: "I've always loved coconut, but I'd only really ever experienced it in desserts {sad but true}. Who knew that there were so many products that could be made out of coconuts... and that they would be good, really good. We immediately made a bunny rabbit cake and used the coconut chips as the fur. How could we not? Then I sat down and watched Tropical Traditions YouTube channel to get some inspiration. Did you know they have video's of their popular coconut recipe's using their products {don't watch this hungry, they look so good}. Since I was still learning about how to use everything I watched the video that showed 100's of ways to use coconut oil {you can see a list here too}. I really was interested in the Organic Virgin Coconut Teeth Cleaners. I'm very sensitive to the taste of toothpaste... it's my least favorite thing to do so I was thrilled to use Tropical Traditions! The taste was very mild and left my teeth feeling clean and my breath feeling fresh! My next project will be to make brownies using the Organic Coconut Flour with the recipe on the package. Yum! Tropical Traditions get's two thumbs up from me!" Come Check out all the great products by clicking here.
The Giveaway- One lucky winner will get a prize collection of Tropical Traditions best sellers valued at $275 including:
Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Coconut Cream Concentrate - 32 oz.Coconut Chips - gallon pailCoconut Flour - 2.2 lb bagCoconut Water Vinegar - 32 oz.Moisturizing Lotion - 8 oz.Moisturizing Cream - 4 fl oz.Lip Moisturizers - 1 setHair Oil - 8 oz.Teeth Cleaners - 1 setNatural Deodorants - 1 set
This giveaway starts at 12:01am April 30th and ends at 11:59pm May 6th {est}! Must be aged 18 or older and live in the contiguous US to be eligible to win.
Enter on the Rafflecopter Form Below! GOOD LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
“If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nutrition in the school

Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to talk about nutrition in my sons classroom. We had a great time, and I enjoyed using a new visual aid called "".      
First Lady Obama has taken on Nutrition to be her theme of interest for this term. You can read more about this on Obama Foodorama.  She is making big changes in school lunch programs, you can see some of those changes at Bet  
I have long thought the food pyramid to be a bit confusing when explaining it to others, and love the new "choose my plate". I thought this was an easier way to explain and have kids visualize their food choices.

We took each section and talked about what food are in each group, servings, creative ways to eat healthy, snacks, what is moderation, and digestion.  I had the kids each take turns making there own plates using the Felt food choices. 

This was very successful and the kids all enjoyed asking questions and making their plates.  I think I will be using this aid for small children as well, since it is fun and visually easy to understand.

I made my own DIY felt board and purchased the felt cutouts at Felt Source.  This is a wonderful fun activity for kids of all ages.  If you want to explain healthy eating with your children, and have fun doing it, this is it.  Unfortunately, they enjoy it so much that we have it out all the time now.  I have my fingers crossed that we do not lose any of the felt foods.

I was touched by the wonderful thank you card the 4th grade class made me.  We had talked a little about heart health and beneficial foods.  Thank you Ms. Langdorf for allowing me the opportunity to share my passion.

I did stop by the school lunch room and briefly talk with the head of the lunch program.  She did mention that next year there are a few changes taking place.  Instead of a main and side of choice, kids will be given a main, a vegetable, and a fruit placed on every plate.  She was concerned with the amount of food that might be thrown away and wasted.  It is a real concern that I think about as well, because of this possible waste we pack our lunches.  I think that instead of possibly wasting food, we should be talking to kids about making good choices, like today.  It is their responsibly to learn to eat healthy giving them educational tools to help them learn this.  I was impressed with the "Raw Bar" and assortment of fruits and vegetables.  She said that the raw bar is always a huge hit with the kids, except the cauliflower.  I think a lot of kids have a little trouble with cauliflower :-) 

What are your thoughts on some of the changes you can expect for next year school lunch programs?

Remember to visit Nourishing Interactive.  They are a fun website with lots of free printable pages, games, and educational resources. You can print these out for at home educational use. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Earth Day Project

Wordless Wednesday
Are Earth day projects.  In class the kids talked about conservation and importance of carrying your own bags when shopping, so you stop using plastic bags.  She finished her earth bag.  

Celebrating Earth day!!!  You can pick up your own decorate bags at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Does your diet affect PMS?

Does your diet affect PMS?  For some it does.  Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome are not the same for everyone.  We have come a long way in the last 10 years to understand more about the emotions and changes woman undergo during this time frame, and yes diet is showing a contributing factor.

Symptoms of PMS (but not limit to)                                                 
  • bloating, cramping
  • food craving and aversions, over eating
  • emotional highs and lows
  • anxiety, tension, irritability, uptight
  • lack of motivation
  • Fatigue
  • fainting spells
  • Hyper-somnia or insomnia
  • breast tenderness
  • swelling
  • headaches
  • back pain, abdominal pain
  • joint or muscle pain
  • weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • feelings of anger, rejection, and more

Prevention is key.  Most woman experience a difference physically and emotionally during the week leading into their menses.  If you notice a great deal of the these symptoms and/ or they interfere with your daily activities then lets change a few things.
  • Nutritionally a whole foods diet with minimal processed foods is a nice place to start.  Reduce the intake of sugars, refined carbohydrates, salt, caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, and dairy products will help to balance the body and the changes it experiences. 
  • Also, increase your essential Fatty acids that you can find in seeds, nuts, and fish! 
  • Regular exercise is a huge benefit!  Exercise increases the oxygen levels in blood which helps with nutrient absorption.  Exercise also helps in releasing toxins from the body and balancing hormone levels.  
  • Stress management.  
  • Weight loss.  
Most of the woman who experience PMS have habits of a highly processed diet.  In a nutritional analysis published in 1983, Guy Abraham stated that "PMS patients consumed 62 % more refined carbohydrates than woman who did not have PMS.  Also, the study noticed 275 % more refines sugar, 79%  more dairy products, 77% less manganese, 78% more sodium, 53% less iron, and 52% less zinc.  The study also went on to suggest that specifically a diet higher amounts of dairy products will experience symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, and irritability."

What can you do?
1. Choose high quality carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grains, rye, oatmeal, barley, farro, and whole wheat.
2. Choose low fat or fat free dairy products and use moderation.
(These two steps shown to have great improvement on breast tenderness.)
3. Join a positive social group.  A study by Dr Anita Rapkins M.D. showed that woman who suffered from PMS had a decrease in serotonin levels after ovulation.  Studies have long shown that abnormal levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.  This is why the antidepressant Prozac is popular in elevating serotonin levels.  While taking Prozac can be a simple way of elevating serotonin, other studies shown that getting involved in social groups was just as successful in raising levels.  I personally feel this to be a more natural way to find an inner peace.  For one your can potentially balance yourself while finding support and friendship for times when needed.  This is how stress management can be effective.  Join a book club, tea group, fitness group, and ext to raise serotonin, decrease depression, and gain support! 
4.Step away from the normal American diet.  Increase fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and eat healthier.  A cleaner diet of whole foods has many health benefits but will aid in decreasing symptoms of PMS.  Following the Preventive recommendations will have you PMS free in no time.  

Specific Nutrients beneficial in decreasing PMS.  Focusing on a balanced healthy diet, unprocessed, will give you the needed nutrients listed below.
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Essential Fatty acids 
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Trytophan
 Additional reading 
New Study Shows Relief of Premenstrual Syndrome with Regular Isha Yoga Practice 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mixed up Monday Link up

Mixed Up Monday Link Up Blog Linky Promote
Welcome to Mixed Up Monday Link Up! The rules are SIMPLE and the promotion and readership you will gain is HUGE! Make new friends, find some new followers, and have fun while doing it all!
[1] Follow your host: MamaNYC is in the #1 s lot for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Plus. Make sure you are following MamaNYC before anything! 
[2] Follow this weeks Featured Follow [#2 slot on FB, Twitter, and G+!]
*Featured Follow: I am looking to feature YOUR blog for the Featured Follow! Every week I will select one blogger to feature in the #2 slot on every linky for Mixed Up Monday meme. Interested? Fill out THIS form and I will feature your blog in the coming week(s). Hurry up and fill the form up to ensure a spot as soon as possible! I will send you an email letting you know which week you will be featured. 
* The Featured Follow blogger must include a Mixed Up Monday Link Up post with the 3 linky codes for their scheduled week. I will provide a full HTML code for the page and linky tools to make things easier for you! This is a GREAT opportunity for promotion and gaining followers will be a cinche! 
[2] Add your links: Pay attention to the linky! Be sure to leave your correct links for each of the three linky tools. Here are some examples to get you going and understand the exact way to insert each of your links:
Mixed Up Monday Link Up Twitter Facebook Google+ Plus
[2] Follow at least [3] three other bloggers for each network [Facebook, Twitter, and Google+]
[3] Leave a comment to ensure you are recognized and hopefully followed back! This will let the other blogger know that you are following from Mixed Up Monday and thereafter they can follow you back.
[4] The more you follow, the more this will work: Although I have asked you to follow at least 3 other bloggers, I would recommend following ALL {or as many as you can!} of the participants. 
[5] Have LOTS of fun and come back next Monday to do it all over again!

Kelley's Nutrition Featured Follow
This weeks Featured Follow is Kelley over at Kelley's Passion For Nutrition!
Be sure to follow and like Kelley on Facebook & Google+ Plus! Here is what Erica has to say about her blog:
"I have a great passion for food and the effects it has on the body, both inside and out. Everything you eat and do not eat has a profound effect in hair, colon, eyes, energy, and more.  I love the traditional dishes and like to mix history, wellness, fun, and fitness into a great little ball of living healthy."
Facebook Social Icon Coffee Cup

This isn't mandatory, but it will really help us spread the word! Use the button below to help share this Monday link up with your readers. Insert it onto your blog sidebar or a directory page that you keep to share all link up's! 

Facebook Mixed Up Monday Linky

Twitter Mixed Up Monday LinkyTWITTER LINKY!

Google Plus+ Mixed Up Monday LinkyGOOGLE+ PLUS LINKY!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giveaway for Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil!

I mentioned last week that I have been using coconut oil for years but changed to Tropical Traditions Gold Label Standard.  I personally think it's a cleaner oil and does great whether you are baking, sauteing, eating raw or cooked.  It has a wonderful taste and aroma that really brings out delicious healthy dishes.  When Tropical Traditions sent me their Gold Label Standard Oil, I feel in love with it right away.  I noticed it had a cleaner taste in the dishes then the oil I was previously using.

You might be wondering what the difference is between Refined, Virgin, or the Gold Label Standard of Coconut Oil.  It can be confusing at times but you can see more on that at Tropical Traditions "How is Coconut Oil Produced". 

I was impressed with Tropical Traditions as a company.  I enjoy hearing how a company starts because they wanted to make something better for their family.  They knew they wanted to keep it as little processed as possible and use natural resources to do that. I recommend watching their short educational video to know more about this company!

They offer different size containers to meet your families needs, 16 ounce, 32 ounces, 1 gallon, and 5 gallon.
They offer a variety of item in coconut flours, shredded coconut, creams, vinegars, hair products, body products, household products and more.  You can read more about these products on Tropical Traditions home page.

Just to visualize the many ways you can use this delicious Oil check out how to use coconut oil.  You will see frying, puddings, desserts, dressing, and more.  I just used it in making my homemade marinara sauce and it was great! 

I am very excited to tell you that Tropical Traditions is going to be giving one of my wonderful readers 1 quart of their Gold Label Standard Coconut Oil!

Addition reading
A guide to buying Coconut Oil online

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday/ Titanic 100 years later

Wordless Wednesday/ Titanic 100 years later April 14, 1912....... we still remember!

National Geographic Kids/ Titanic

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you heard of Wildwood SoapWorks?

I am so excited to tell you about this product!  I was directed to Wildwoods SoapWorks through a friend saying "you have to try these", since I love trying handcrafted soaps.  I specifically requested one of their goat's milk products, because they usually have a creaminess that leaves your skin feeling silky and smooth.  You might be wondering why I am talking about soap when my passion is nutrition.  Well, your skin is your largest organ and everything we put on it gets absorbed into the body.  When you add chemicals and toxins from your body care products you are taking those in through the skin and potentially adding harm to your systems.  Research has shown that toxins are contributing to many health problems.   It makes sense to use natural wholesome ingredients to clean your skin, rather than toxic products.

I loved my experience with the soap so much that I contacted the company to know more about it.  I had a wonderful phone conversation with Sally, the owner and designer of this amazing soap!  She was such a sweet passionate woman who started this business with wanting to make a great "Natural" soap.  The fact that it looks so sleek and appealing just shows how much passion and artistic flare she puts into every bar.  I found out that these handcrafted soaps are "cold processed" so that the blend of plant based ingredient (see below) are not compromised in the heating process.  The Oils are very sensitive and can be destroyed if heated at high temperatures.  These soaps are not just pretty and smell great, they each have their own function!  That being said, after the soaps are mixed they sit for 28 days curing.  My initial thought was, what attention to detail goes into making sure these soaps are truly beneficial for the skin.  Other companies' produce soaps within 24 hours to a weeks time, then shipped out to customers.  Not Wildwood SoapWorks, your bar of soap takes a month to become this work of functional art, now that is Passion!    

Each ingredient in their soaps is "certified" organicI was again impressed with this standard.  So many times I have seen a product labeled organic and then read the back to see one or a couple items being *organic.  The ingredients are simply the cold pressed form of the plant material.  No chemically engineered ingredients with (  ) stating what the ingredient is suppose to be, but in its simple natural state.  There is sadly a lot of marketing untruths in the bath and body lines.  You have to really look at labeling carefully.  I am going to be talking more in depth in the future but basically you can mix fragrance oils and essential oils together and it still be called essential.  Fragrance oils are genetically engineered which are SYNTHETIC chemicals formulated to smell like the real thing.  Wildwood has No additives, dyes, fragrances, or surprises, you know just what you are putting on your skin.  What you feel and smell is the true form made into a specially designed bar for you to nourish and pamper yourself.                    

I received a bar of the "Goats Milk Lavender Lemon".
Description: " So smooth and silky, this organic creation is scented with High Altitude Bulgarian Lavender and Haitian Lemongrass essential oils. Sweet and subtle tones will relax and melt away the cares of the day while the natural replenishing properties of the full cream goat's milk will leave your skin feeling amazing!"

Ingredients: "Saponified organic oils of: extra virgin olive*, coconut*, palm fruit*, high oleic sunflower*, cocoa butter*, castor bean*, and jojoba* ; full cream goat's milk, blue malva flowers, and rosemary oleoresin extract and a proprietary blend of therapeutic grade essential oils.  *certified organic"
When I saw the packaging I was immediately drawn to the appealing designs of these soaps.  The bars have a unique cut on the top, some have dried flowers or a marbling of great color combinations.These colors come from the trues essential oils, no colors or dyes are added in these soaps. 

All Wildwood SoapWorks are
  • Handcrafted
  • Certified Organic
  • Plant-Based
  • Pure Essential Oils
  • Skin moisturizing
  • just pure and simple
 Let's look at Wildwood Soap Bars in true light:
  • "Dollar for dollar they are a better value and better for you!"  I have to say I have bought other soaps and did not compare to the quality of these soaps, hands down!
  • "They are enormous!  A full 5 oz. which is much larger and longer lasting than most of our competitors." I have been using my bar nightly and on my children and it looks like we have barely used it!  Most soaps disintegrate right on the counter after getting wet, and this bar looks like to just pulled it out of the sleeve. 
  • "Not only are the oils certified organic, they use more varieties, and they are of the highest quality available!"
  • "We use only therapeutic grade essential oils for the ultimate aromatherapy experience!"
  • "No petroleum products or animal fats"
  • "We never use sulfates, mineral oxides, micas, dyes, or anything artificial...if it's not good for your skin, it's not in here!"  I love this, because I know these toxins seep into your skin and contribute to health problems.  These are clean and green!
  • "So, come inside... look around... compare our products... and experience skincare as nature intended, water will never be the same!"  I have been using wildwood soapworks for 3 weeks now and I love my new nighttime routine.  I wanted to see how the soap holds up and it has.  It looks brand knew after 3 weeks of daily use.  I wanted to see if it left my skin smooth, it has!  I have been very pleasantly surprised.  It has a creaminess, clean fragrance of essential oils, and my skin feels silky smooth as I go to bed.  I love when my husband says how wonderful I smell, like a clean meadow (Goats Milk Lavender Lemon).  
The designer look of these soaps is something I have never seen before.  I have seen cute marbling and molds, but these are so different!  Check out these bars!

I have truly enjoyed my experience with this new product.  When you find something that cleans, nourishes, and revives your stick with it!

A company that gives you a clean, smooth soap with designer look and quality! 

Remember to think of "Mom" when you are reading this review.
I'm sure she would love a little pampering with these amazing products.
 Wildwood SoapWorks also carries......
Lotions and Potions
Balms and Butters
Protects for baby
Teas and Scrubs
Pet Products  and Bath accessories

I want to explain a little more about the benefits of using the essentials oils in your skin care products but that is a post in itself!  Be sure to read more about this in upcoming weeks.  I have not just reviewed a single soap and company.  I truly believe I was brought to Wildwood SoapWorks for a cleaner product for my families skin.  You will be seeing more of this great company! 
That in mind, if you are wanting to experience the quality of the soaps for yourself,  Mom (mother's day), Dad (Father's day), mother to be, or just a great friend, Wildwood SoapWorks is offering a special 20% off your entire order TODAY!  What a great value and way to see these soaps yourself.  When making your order use code wildwood20.
Wildwood SoapWorks will be releasing new products soon as well as great saving that you will only see on their facebook and twitter .  Be sure to Like and Follow, so that you don't miss any upcoming promotions and sales!  Not that you won't want the soaps as priced.  I have spent more on soaps that did not have the quality and benefits, but if you like to save a little extra you will want to use the coupon code wildwood20 good for 4/17 only.  You never know when, you never know why....but they like to thank a lucky follower with an occasional free bar of soap.

The Company Wildwood Soapworks

"Seven years ago I wandered into an open air green market in southern Florida.  A woman was selling beautifully crafted soap that incorporated natural essential oils.  I remember looking at each one in great detail.   Seduced with the likes of real rosemary, lavender, and orange, I purchased three, packed them away and headed for home. These three little bars changed my path.  From then on, I sought out every book and article written about the art of natural soap making and essential oils.  Creating, testing, seeking the finest ingredients available, and the desire to continuously improve are my mantras. I tucked the idea of creating a true all natural bath and body care business away into my dreams.  Well, my dreams have become reality.  Today Wildwood Soapworks is an environmentally conscious, small company located in lovely Kennett Square, Pennsylvania with an obsession to use only the finest ingredients on the planet, no matter what the cost!      Experience skincare as nature intended...Water will never be the same!     ...Sally K. Cates"

I have not been paid for this review, it is mine and mine alone.  I received my bar for just being a new follower on their Facebook page.  I am not making any sales in this post either.  I just love the product and the mission of this company~~Natural, Organic, and Safe!  The Company is so friendly, be sure to stop by Facebook or twitter and tell Sally that Kelley's Passion sent you! 
 I just want her to know how much I appreciate her Passion for clean wonderful products! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Aims testing snacks, ideal for your kids.

Today, students all over the State of Arizona started their first day of AIMS Testing.  Grades 3rd through 8th take this standardize test every year to measure students progress in different subjects.  Testing can be stressful for some students as they will be focusing on remembering things they have been learning all year.  We want to give them every support possible.  
What can you as parents do to support them?  You can start their day off right with a nutritious and filling breakfast.  Kids can't focus if they are thinking about food, or distracted with a rumbling tummy.  
Ideas for breakfast are whole grain cereals, yogurt, granola, fruit, eggs, toast, and juice.  Change it up during the week.  Make sure to schedule and plan so that you have a healthy breakfast with time to eat.  I know how rushed a morning can be, I am a mom of four ages 10 and younger.  I like having a plan to look and prepare from, it saves me time and takes the guess work out.

Aims Testing takes up a majority of the day.  The kids have small breaks and you can talk to your teacher about snacks.  As the room mom, I asked parents to volunteer to pick an item and a day that they would like to donate to the class.  It is important to keep the snacks wholesome and simple.  Whole grains have more fiber which helps balance the carbohydrates, sugar.  You don't want the kids getting a sugar rush with no way to burn the energy.

Ideas for a tasty Aims snack schedule                                                                    
Monday- apples sliced, carrots, and whole grain crackers
Tuesday- grapes, celery, and pretzels
Wednesday- cucumbers, oranges, crackers with flax seed and grains.
Thursday- bananas, pretzels, carrots/ cherry tomatoes.

This was the schedule we put together for the class and I had a wonderful return of supportive parents signing up to take and item or two.  Sometimes there are snacks left over at the end of the week to have a celebration party.  

Try to stay away from fruit snacks, chips, snacks with high fructose corn syrups, white flours, and pastry items. 

Our teacher had a wonderful idea to have the parents write an encouraging note for the kids to open at one of the breaks today.    I am going to be writing encouraging notes for their backpacks and lunches throughout the week.  You can see my Pinterest board for great lunch note ideas!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Earth Day Giveaway! Enter To Win A Prize Collection From Jessica Alba’s “The Honest Co.” $110 arv

I’m so excited to bring you another “Super Events” Giveaway! This giveaway is hosted by Full Price? Never! with contributing blogger CuzinLogic.
Just in time for EARTH DAY! This week we are happy to introduce you to The Honest Co.!
Meet The Honest Co: Launched in January 2012, The Honest Company offers an eco-friendly line of family essentials (diapers and wipes, bath and body care, and household cleaners) through a monthly subscription service at

Friday, April 13, 2012

Coconut Ball Recipe

Fun with Food Friday: Coconut Balls                                     

I joined up this week for Fun with Food Friday! Check out my recipe below, and then go see what recipes Mama Chocolate is sharing!  This week is Grilled Mozzarella Tomato Sandwiches! 

Joy's Coconut Ball Recipe                                                   
1/2 cup Organic Raw Cacao powder
1 1/2 cups Unsweetened shredded Coconut
1 1/2 cups Organic rolled Oats
3/4 cup Coconut Oil (do not melt)                                                                 
1/2 cup Raw honey or maple syrup ( I used Raw Unfiltered Honey, organic)

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add coconut oil and honey, and stir to combine. Mold into small balls by using a spoon, ice cream scoop or your hands. Place in a dish of your choice and freeze for minimum 30 minutes and enjoy. These are best when frozen or refrigerated.
Added a couple drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (5 drops for a full batch). Mmmm, delicious. Joy likes to substituting the oats for chopped almonds to make the coconut almond balls that were at the party. For the fudge, I leave out the shredded coconut and the oats and I add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds.

This recipe made about 40 medium size balls.  I think this is a really rich treat and would like to find a smaller scoop than the small pamper Chef scooper I used.  Absolutely delicious and kids kept asking for more.  My kids loved this treat!  Next time I will try to substitute half the oats for almonds and meal both together in a processor.  Also, the honey made these a little too sweet.  We will try to use a 1/4 cup of honey instead of the full 1/2 cup.  Joy, it was an absolutely delicious treat and will love sharing this with friends and family!

The kids gave these the thumbs up and asked for more.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

$200 Rainy day facebook frenzy

It's that time!!  Rainy Day Facebook Frenzy Giveaway! Enter to win $200 via Paypal! Ends 5/4 - Open Worldwide 

 You have literally HUNDREDS of chances to win $200 Paypal cash

We have two great sponsor for this event, and The Ultimate Baby Shower have generously sponsored this wonderful event, you will want to stop by and shower them back with a little love. is a hot new website that offers you a new way to save. We are always looking to save and stretch that dollar and coupon trade knows how!  You can combine coupon savings with discounted gift cards for the same stores. You can also sell your unused gift cards and redeem what's yours. They let you do everything in one place to help make things easy on you!  

 and The Ultimate Baby Shower offers monthly diaper, and formula giveaways, and they even, have a wonderful seasonal NURSERY Giveaway to watch out for. That’s right- you can win the entire nursery, furniture, bedding, and all the baby gear you could need!  If you are looking for baby gear you will want to stop by!  

Entry is so simple, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Disclosure: I received nothing in exchange for this post, except for a spot on the Rafflecopter linky. Giveaway prize is being provided via the sponsor. This giveaway will come to an end on May 4th, 2012.

Tropical Traditional Review

I was very excited to review Tropical Traditions.  I have heard wonderful things about this company from friends and family that have been using their Coconut Oil.  I pretty much thought that all Coconut Oils were the same and was surprised at the difference in their Gold Label Standard.  I have been using different coconut oil for 4 years now and loved the quality of this Gold Label.   The taste was amazing and I enjoyed the difference it made in my dishes.  I noticed a difference in taste, texture, and fragrance which has me thinking I wont be using anything other than Tropical Traditions for now on. 

I have used the oil for everything all week.  I made some amazing Coconut Balls, used it in my rice, as a substitute for non stick spray, in my pancakes, cooking tacos, and more.  For ideas you can see the hundreds of ways to use Coconut Oil.  You can see I have been having a blast.  My kids could not put their finger on what is was that was different in this weeks meals, but they asked what I changed.  They loved the taste and keep asking for more (Coconut Balls will be in Fridays post- Yummy).  Coconut and Olive Oil have been my only two oils in the house.  I usually only use Olive Oil on my breads and raw dishes.  Olive Oil is not ideal for frying or in high temp dishes.  Coconut oil can be used in cooking, baking, frying, and raw.

I love skin care products that use Coconut Oil and the nourishing feel it leaves on my skin.  Occasionally I would take a little bit on the Gold Label Standard on my finger and just rub right on my lips as a moisturizer!  This one oil can substitute so many things in the house.  As people are becoming more aware of the toxins and additives in products they are reaching for cleaner items.  Coconut oil is being used more around the world in laundry detergents, spa products, baking, and the list goes on.    
I was impressed with Tropical Traditions as a company.  I love hearing how a company starts because they wanted to make something better for their family.  They knew they wanted to keep it as little processed as possible and use natural resources to do that.  Tropical Traditions is the first company to bring Coconut Oil to the States from the Philippians and they continue to be the #1 providers for virgin coconut oil in the states. They harvest their coconuts by hand, choosing only the best and all coconuts are considered USDA Organic.  The coconuts are selected right from the trees and pressed within 24 hours.  I highly recommend watching the video I have listed below because I found it to be very educational.  You will see their selection process, how they hand press, and the finial making of the oil.  I was impressed by their standard and natural process of their product. 

They offer different size containers to meet your families needs, 16 ounce, 32 ounces, 1 gallon, and 5 gallon.
They offer a variety of item in coconut flours, shredded coconut, creams, vinegars, hair products, body products, household products and more.  You can read more about these products on Tropical Traditions home page.

Disclaimer:  Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, makeovers

When a four year old decides to give herself a makeover.


She is upset.  This is the new hair style after trying to make it all even.  She is a cute still. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Seasonal Eating to clean and Detox the body

Ever thought to increase your health by eating appropriate seasonal foods.  In the winter we gravitate to richer heartier meals for warmth and energy.  This is why we have plenty of warming soups, breads, fats, and root vegetables. Now that we are in Spring we need to help the body naturally detox the heavier foods that provided nutriments and warmth through the Winter months.  All foods have a natural  property to be cooling, heating, drying, or hydrating after consumption. 
Do you suffer from Allergy or congestion once spring comes around.  Some think it is a reaction in the body.  The heavier mucus the body accumulates during the Winter starts to melt within and we need to release this mucus.  You can do this by increasing spring foods which happen to be light and easily digestible foods.  Green vegetables happen to be among the first items to pop up in the garden for a reason.  They help us to cut the mucus and detox.

List of Spring time foods
Light and easily digestible grains:  barley, millet, amaranth oats, corn (polenta), brown rice, farro, and quinoa
Simulating herbs and spices:  pepper, ginger,cardamon, cilantro, cinnamon, dandelion, strawberry leaf, mustard, and fenugreek
Lighter meats:  goat, lamb, eggs, ocean fish, turkey, poultry, and rabbit
Vegetablesasparagus, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprout, endive, carrots, leafy greens, Swiss Chard, dandelion, collard greens, kale, lettuce, bitter greens, watercress, mustard greens, parsley, peas, spinach turnips, radishes, wheat grass, celery, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, corn , tomato, green beans, hot peppers, dried chilies, garlic, onion.
Dairy: try to substitute for rice and soy.  Dairy tends to increase mucus in the body.
Fruits: blueberries, apples, pears, strawberries, other berries, grapes, and dried fruit like raisins, prunes, and mulberries

 Farro Salad
 4 cups of water
2 cups farro
1 large tomato chopped
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine water and Farro in a medium sauce pan.  Add salt, and bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer over medium low for 15-20 minutes, Covered.  Drain if any moisture is remaining.  (I have made a few times and never had any remaining water.)  Transfer to a large glass bowl.  Allow to cool.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix.  My husband and I love it fresh at room temperature but it taste great cold too. 

After boiling the grain it has a puff look and it tender and chewy.  Taste great by it self and as a simple grain side dish with out all the extra ingredients. 

Farro is one of the oldest grains cultivated by humans.  It was originally found in the Middle East and is grown now mostly in Italy.  The grain is very similar to quinoa.  Pearled means the outer husk layer has been removed from the grain, allowing it to have this puffy and softer texture.  This tasty grain is a great source of carbohydrate, fiber, iron, and protein.  This is a wonderful meal by itself, side, and even used for a satisfying breakfast.  I sometimes eat this salad as snack for the energy for my runs and workouts.  Everything you need for a schools practice without being too heavy.
I picked up this product up at Costco for 6.99.  What a great price for an organic grain that you can easily make many meals with.  I am looking forward to using Farro in an Albondigas soup this week, for the meatballs. 
You can see more of this product at Earth Choice.  They have suggested recipes for you to try and enjoy as well.  Recipes for breakfast, dinner, soups, sides and salads.  They also give you great recipes for quinoa, mushrooms, rices, among other products featured, so please check it out and try a new twist to a favorite in the house.