Posted by: suzan | July 30, 2014

Prelude for a Lord – A BookLook Book Review

BOOKLOOK BLOGGER PRELUDE

My love for reading started at a fairly young age, most likely around the time I first learned how to read. I read everything from books to magazines to newspapers to comic books. There really was no limit to what I would read nor did I set a standard on what to read. As I’m trying to teach my son the joys and benefits of reading, I too have picked up several books to read at once. Although it’s probably not a very sensible practice as intertwining stories can happen, I’ve decided to dedicate my sole reading time to Prelude for a Lord as a book blogger for the BookLook Bloggers program.

One of my favorite genres is historical romance. I love learning about anything from a different era especially during the Regency period where everything seemed so elegant and extravagant. What a life it must have been to wear lavish gowns and attend glorious social events. Thus, when I chose Prelude for a Lord, I expected just that. Allow me to start off with saying that this book has a beautiful and elegant cover which was what drew my attention in the first place. I think a cover really draws the initial attraction and helps establish the essence of the actual story.

Aside from the charming cover, Prelude for a Lord, written by Camille Elliot is a tale of love, compassion, and triumph. I felt sad for the Heroine, Alethea at times because of the situations she was put in but she felt like a true hero, a bit naive even at 28 years old, and sometimes self-deprecating.

Although it read a bit differently than the other Regency romance books I’ve read in the past, the story still felt like you were thrust into the lavish and sometimes cruel world of Regency, England. The writing was engaging but felt a bit modern at times and I don’t know if that was the style of the author or not, but overall for those who have never read a Regency-period novel, you’ll still find the story delightful. There were many characters in the book so a lot of names to keep track of, but usually in these Regency romance books you’ll find many supporting characters – and some are great while others need not be in there.

I did like the Hero, Lord Bay Dommick as he was quite misunderstood and had a bit of an edge to him. He is a professional violinist and daunted by love. Although he wasn’t as romantic as I had hoped he would be, he was still sweet to Alethea at times. Reading their interactions together is like stepping back in time into their world.

Overall I did enjoy the story and although there was supposed to be bit of a mystery going on, it would have been nice if the author delved more into the workings of a violin and gave more explicit details about the instrument. I don’t know a lot about violins and whenever I read a story that focuses on a specific topic, it would help to have more detailed descriptions of it.

Prelude for a Lord is a gentle read and great for virgin Regency romance novels. Although it’s listed as a Christian romance, there weren’t really anything in the book to sway you otherwise. There were a few mentions of the Bible but not enough where those who are opposed to any kind of religion might find it offensive. Perhaps because it is also a “clean” book without a lot of explicit details on the romance, it is a good book for those who don’t want to read erotica or anything trashy.

Zondervan’s summary of the book, Prelude for a Lord:

An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart? Bath, England—1810 At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician. In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal. But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick. Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul. Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

 

 

Editor’s Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions made on this book are entirely my own and has not been influenced in any way. I have not received monetary compensation for reviewing this book other than receiving a copy of it.

I may reveal spoilers from time to time but I will always preface it so you can skip that part or read them for the sheer fun of it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

VEGETABLES - Copy

From time to time I exchange information and ideas with other bloggers. It’s always fun and gratifying to hear and read what others feel and think when it comes to parenting. Being a parent can be a daunting and unrewarding lifetime job, but when you do your best, you will eventually be rewarded with the results you wish to see.

I had the pleasure of having guest blogger, Deborah Shure (www.nannytax.ca), owner and founder of Nanny Tax write up a wonderful piece in helping your children eat and (hopefully) fall in love with vegetables. Read on to learn about great tips on how to get your kids to eat more produce.

4 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Produce

Some kids love fruits and vegetables, and will eat almost any healthy dish you put in front of them. If that sounds like your child, you are one lucky parent. A large majority of kids are on the opposite end of the spectrum; if it’s not a French fry, then they don’t want it.

Moms and dads with picky eaters can beg and plead with their kids, and still the veggie dish they made with love won’t get eaten. If this sounds like you, and getting your kids to eat healthy is an uphill battle, here are four tips that may actually work with your kids.

Take a trip to the farmers market or a pick your own fruit farm.

Going somewhere new as a family is exciting for kiddos and adults. Plan a trip to the local farmers market or a farm that lets you pick your own produce. Tell the kids they get to meet the farmers that grow the veggies and talk about all of the different fruits and vegetables they might see.

At your destination, encourage your children to learn about the growing process and the names of new produce they may not have seen at your regular grocery store. If your kiddos are like most, they will want to take some of the colorful fruits and vegetables home. A simple trip to one of these places can get your kids excited to eat what they picked by hand, or to try the foods they asked the farmers about.

Let them pick out fruits and veggies at the store.

Going to the grocery store without the kiddos can feel like a vacation for a busy mom. You can get in, get out, and not be nagged at the checkout for those impulse buy items they conveniently put in your face. If your kiddos will not eat produce, you might try making a special trip to the store with them just for fruit and veggies.

If you typically shop solo, buy everything else you need in your normal trip. Make a second trip back at your convenience with your picky eaters. Normally you pick the produce, prepare it, and serve it. If your kids eat their vegetables you are one lucky parent. If they don’t, give them a handheld basket or a kid sized cart and tell them they get to pick out the produce this week. Giving them the choice of what fruits and vegetables you serve may do the trick, and may have them looking forward to eating them.

Buy a kid safe knife and let them help.

If your kiddos help in the kitchen, they may be more willing to eat what you serve. Let them wash fruits and vegetables, and help prepare them for dinner. Many stores sell plastic kid friendly knives that are safer for budding pint-sized chefs. Watch your kids closely and show them how to prepare fruits and vegetables for a family meal. Not only is it a great way to get in some bonding time, but it also increases the odds that your kiddos will eat vegetables at dinner.

When all else fails, sneak it in.

If you’ve tried everything you can think of to get your kids eating more veggies and they still won’t eat them, try sneaking them in. There are lots of ways to hide vegetables in food, and several books filled with kid friendly recipes that will tell you in which dishes to hide which veggies. Head to your local library and pick up a copy of Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld or The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine.

About the Author:

Deborah Shure is the owner and founder of NannyTax, the premier nanny payroll service in Canada. With over 25 years of combined financial experience, Deborah and her team are the most trusted source of nanny payroll information. When she isn’t busy providing “nanny tax frustration relief,” Deborah is spending time with her 3 kids doing all the things that supermoms do!

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | July 25, 2014

Food Should Taste Good – Products Worth Reviewing

FOOD SHOULD TASTE GOOD

There are times when a crunchy snack calls to order and chips and popcorn just won’t do the trick. So what to do? Well for me and my pantry, I keep an assortment of healthy snacks for just those moments. We don’t always snack but when we do, you’ll usually find something savory in the snack pantry.

Food Should Taste Good (www.foodshouldtastegood.com), aptly named for their snacks make savory and sweet snacks that are packed with healthy ingredients and both subtle and robust flavors. With the belief that real food should also taste delicious, the founder developed Food Should Taste Good, a brand of crunchy and crispy chips and crackers filled with better for you ingredients. We’ve enjoyed Food Should Taste Good for many years now and was delighted when I was sent a box of their newest Brown Rice Crackers. I know, you’re probably thinking, crackers made with brown rice? How bland can that taste? Well surprisingly, their four varieties range from nutty to a sharp so there is a bit of something for everyone. The Peppercorn Blend has a bit of a bite to it although not as spicy as the name would imply. Their Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato & Basil were my two favorites as I loved the slightly tangy flavor that blended well with the vegetable taste. Their fourth flavor is Sea Salt which has a delicate salty taste and a whole lot of crunch.

CRACKERS

All of Food Should Taste Good snacks are made without any genetically modified ingredients and are gluten-free and with a minimal amount of salt. They are high in protein and packed with important omega essential oils and some are certified vegan.

What I liked about their new savory Brown Rice Crackers is that they’re actually quite light in texture. I had expected something thicker and maybe harder but it was more of a delicately crunchy side. I don’t quite like my crackers to be too tough to eat anyway and my son and I really enjoyed the Tomato and Basil flavor. We ate them with hummus as well as with some homemade sandwiches.

 

ROASTED RED PEPPERS

Food Should Taste Good can be found at most natural grocery stores and major supermarkets that carry natural food. With so many varieties to choose from, you’d probably find something you’ll like. Whether it’s their Brown Rice Crackers or their Tortill chips, know that if you’re going to snack, at least snack on something that’s healthier.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Posted by: suzan | July 18, 2014

Be A Label Reader!

SAMPLE LABEL

Labels. We see it on practically everything in our lives. But how many of us actually read or spare even a glance at them? They are not secretive or mystifying, but for some, reading a label can be as daunting as learning the secrets of the Dalai Lama.

When it comes to buying food, label reading is as essential as washing your hands or drinking water. Because how can we rely on what’s inside that neat packaging on the shelf if we don’t know what we’re putting inside our bodies? Ingredients and nutritional labels were created for the main purpose of letting consumers know what they’re actually buying.  When the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act was enacted over 40 years ago, people became heavily reliant on what companies must lawfully indicate on their packaging. But many of us still wonder if ALL the ingredients are listed on there and whether they are true or not. Just as the USDA’s Organic labeling goes, I expect on good faith that companies out there are actually truthful about what they put in their products because if they were found to be fraudulent, they’d lose not only tons of money, but consumers as well.

I became diligent about reading product labels many years ago and especially when I was pregnant. I remember when shopping with my friends or family they’d sigh deeply as I stand there holding a package in my hands and examining like it’s a rare diamond. But I just as dutifully tell them the main reasons why I must read those labels and the truth is simple: to know what I’m buying. Knowledge is power and can help you make intelligent choices in life.

However, in order to truly know what you’re buying, you have to read the labels carefully. And it’s only after you’ve known the company for a long time would it be practical to gloss over their future products. In a recent article in Better Nutrition magazine, the article stresses that just reading labels and finding out what a product is made of isn’t enough. If you are truly thorough about what you are buying and eating, then you’d have to look at the “other” contents. And that’s the nutritional content listing in order: serving size, calories, daily value guide (fat, sodium, and cholesterol), sugar, vitamins and mineral, and the percentage of daily values. Oftentimes we may just look at the ingredients, but we forget about the nutritional content and it’s those factors that help us determine how much of the actual food product we should eat.

ORGANIC LABELS

Whether you’re reading product labels for health reasons or simply because you’re fed up with all the hidden meanings behind the packaging, the main purpose should be because you want to be in control of what you’re buying. When you’re feeding your family you shouldn’t have to worry what those five syllable ingredients mean on that can of sauce you just purchased. In fact, it makes me shudder just to think there are ingredients out there that are unpronounceable. Of course certain multi-syllable words are indeed nature made, but it can still be a bit frightening. That’s why the number one rule in buying any food product should be: the least amount of ingredients the better. Just as easily as we can make our own spaghetti sauce with some tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings, so should the list of ingredients be on that jar of pasta sauce we see in the stores.

But what does it mean when we see all those vitamins and minerals added into a product? Are they safe and necessary? Well, as more processed foods are predominant in the US, companies started adding vital minerals and vitamins into their products due to the stripping of certain nutrients during the manufacturing process. Sadly, Americans still don’t get enough proper nutrition on a daily basis and rely heavily on packaged goods. While most packaged foods are healthy enough for you, it’s imperative to know what is inside that package and if you should buy it.

NO ANIMAL TESTING

It may take me a bit longer when buying groceries and personal products than most people, but I rely on my label reading proficiency to determine whether I should buy a product or not. And I happily teach my son to do the same. Even my husband, who had never cared about reading labels before we met got in the habit of doing so when he went grocery shopping. I make it a habit to read ingredient labels as well as the product claims on the packaging. If they say less sugar, I’d want to know just how much less it is than the other leading brand. And if they say “natural”, which is a really loose term, I’d want to know how they define the description natural.

It’s up to us the consumers to educate not only ourselves, but the companies out there providing us with the products we need. If we stay true to what we want to provide for our kids, then we must decide if it’s worth it to buy that popsicle made with FD&C Blue or FD&C Red. Not to mention that there are ill side effects in digesting an abundance of artificial ingredients, but they have also been known to cause certain health risks. In the long run, it’s worth the extra five minutes it takes to read the labels and decide for yourself whether you really need that product or not.

So the next time you’re at the grocery store and you’re tempted by that pretty packaging, be sure to turn it around and read the actual nutritional label and ingredients list. Much like a pretty face, once you get to know the inside, that’s when you really decide if it’s worth it.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | July 7, 2014

The Vampire Suckers

OCEAN

As I walked through the cloudy mist my eyes fell upon him. His glowing red eyes, his dreary pallor, and those fangs…

Okay so we’re not really talking about vampires here or even the folklore behind them, but we are going to talk about things and people around us that suck out our life force. Much like vampires, whenever we’re too stressed or have low energy, our life force gets drained and we either get sick or we want to hide from the world. There are many factors in what drains us and it’s important to know how to avoid them and at best how to deal with them and treat them.

Once upon a time I had friends who I thought were true friends. But as time went by and I got to really step back to evaluate what friendship really meant, I realized that those certain so called friends weren’t really friends at all. They were as my college friends would call them, “drinking buddies”, meaning more or less they were only available for a good time. While there’s nothing entirely wrong with having friends just to party or hang out with, you have to really ask yourself would they be there for you when you’re not in the “having fun” mode. Or will they turn on you after they have drained you out of your fun factor.

There are many reasons and facets to why we get tired, or bored, or frustrated. Children particularly are susceptible to those energy draining moods since they’re like sponges – soaking up everything around them. They are unable to control their feelings and emotions and reveal their thoughts like an open book. As parents, we try to teach our kids to live a happy and healthy life and encourage them to have a positive outlook. But what happens when we’re too tired from work or taking care of the kids or dealing with other emotional distress? We must take care of our selves first before we can show our children the true meaning of living life well.

When you feel like parts of you are being drained away, there are several important steps you can take to regain control. In recent articles inside Natural Health and Delicious Living magazines, stress triggers point to mostly things we can not control and would like to control. It could be anything from wanting to be a better parent to losing weight to not having enough money to buy something new and grand. But if we take the first gigantic step back and look at it from an exterior view, we see that most of the things that cause our stress can indeed be controllable. All it takes is that first step whether it’s a baby step or a giant leap, we must acknowledge the change first. Here are examples of what we can do personally for ourselves before we become better parents and teach our children better ways of dealing with stress. Kids get stressed too, although their stress are fairly different from an adult. But stress for children can be detrimental to their health and well-being and if they don’t know how to control it or stop it, it could hurt them into adulthood.

 – Understand what is causing you stress.

- Write a physical list of the things causing your stress and determine if it’s possible to deal with it.

- Write resources on how you can absolve or reduce your stress and act on it. This could be anything from taking a class on the subject, joining a support group, or taking self-healing classes such as Taichi or yoga.

- Seek help from your loved ones; your spouse, your family, your closest friends, etc. Generally people you trust.

- Take a break if possible from the source of your stress. If it’s job related then take a vacation by all means.

- Stay away from negative energy and negative people. This refers to things/people that bring you down rather than lift you up.

- Eat better and nutritionally. Studies have shown that eating the right balance of foods will improve your mood tremendously as well as give your body and brain the powers they need. Include whole foods such as whole grain, organic vegetables and fruits, and reduce the amount of sugar intake.

- Exercise on a regular basis. This should include exercise that isn’t causing more stress on your mind and body. 

- After you write that list of things that are energy draining, start crossing off the things you have tackled already and smile!

- Repeat this mantra, “I am in control of my life”.

- And if it’s absolutely impossible to reduce that one particular stress factor, then you may need to think deeply on whether to end the source of it. If it’s a friend that has been causing you stress and you’ve tried all the possible ways to deal with it, then a break might be in order. Or if it’s a job that has been nothing but painful and upsetting with no positive end results, then you might need to find another job or take a different position. 

However you see it, all the things that have been sucking away your life force can reflect badly on your family life as well. If you have young children, they can particularly pick up on your moods and actions. After all, we alone are in control of our destiny and the paths we choose to take. As parents, it’s important for us to be good role models and to practice all the good things that make this world a better place. So if that life sucker is draining you away, then walk into the Sun and let its purity brighten your day.

 

Editors Note: If you are having serious life-altering stress, it’s best to consult a professional for help.

Originally posted on Happymomblogger's Blog:

good2grow-product-shot

For some parents, grocery shopping with their kids can be a fearful experience. We’ve all been there, when we’re walking down the aisles with our children and the colorful and cartoon packaging instantly draws our kids like moths to a flame. We inevitably break down through all the pleading and negotiating and end up buying something we didn’t plan to. Sometimes we give in and buy what they want but when we get home, we look at the ingredients and then…cringe. Did I really have to buy that?

But as parents, it’s our purpose to provide healthy and nutritional food for our growing children. Hopefully when we teach them good eating habits, they’ll take those good skills and apply it to adulthood. That’s why it’s important to know what we’re buying and why we’re buying it. Take for instance kids juices. Perhaps that is one of the largest…

View original 695 more words

good2grow-product-shot

For some parents, grocery shopping with their kids can be a fearful experience. We’ve all been there, when we’re walking down the aisles with our children and the colorful and cartoon packaging instantly draws our kids like moths to a flame. We inevitably break down through all the pleading and negotiating and end up buying something we didn’t plan to. Sometimes we give in and buy what they want but when we get home, we look at the ingredients and then…cringe. Did I really have to buy that?

But as parents, it’s our purpose to provide healthy and nutritional food for our growing children. Hopefully when we teach them good eating habits, they’ll take those good skills and apply it to adulthood. That’s why it’s important to know what we’re buying and why we’re buying it. Take for instance kids juices. Perhaps that is one of the largest food product in the industry because well, besides water and milk, juice would be the most popular choice for most children. Why? Because it’s sweet, tangy, and fun to drink. Even adults like drinking them and while there’s nothing wrong with a glass of juice now and then, let’s be diligent about what type of juice we’re actually buying and serving our children.

As a mom and health advocate, I’m constantly reading labels, doing research, and when I can’t make it from scratch, I do have to rely on packaged goods. As a blogger for MomsMeet, I was given an opportunity to try good2grow (good2grow.com) and provide my own thoughts about this healthier and nutritious juice and vegetable beverage. I don’t give my son juice every day, but on days when I do, I prefer juice that do not contain added sugar and any other unnecessary additives. After all, juice should come straight from the source – whether it’s fruits or vegetables.

20140703_113802

Good2grow is a family owned and operated business which began 13 years ago. With the realization that there aren’t enough healthier beverages out there for children, good2grow put their knowledge and expertise to good use. And while there are many juices out there for children, none of them by far has provided not only a healthier option but a funner option as well. Good2grow juices are made up of only fruits and vegetables with no added sugar. There are 3 main options: 100% juice, Fruit &Veggie Blends, and Organic. All of them are made from BPA-packaging, grown without the use of genetically modified organisms, and the best of all – they are spill proof!

But I think what I like the most besides the ingredients inside the bottles is the actual bottles itself. They come in fun and adorable cartoon characters that your child would most likely recognize. Characters include Cinderella, Thomas the Train, Hello Kitty, Sponge Bob, Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Dora the Explorer, and many many more. I’m sure you will find something your kids will love and the tops can be easily swapped with refillable containers. All you have to do is unscrew the character top and replace it on a new bottle. Very simple and efficient. And since the bottles are all recyclable, you don’t have to worry about using up too much plastic. The interchangeable tops are also dishwasher safe or easily washed by hand. And they come in 4, 6, and 8 ounce sizes so it’s easy to pick a smaller or larger size depending on the age of your children.

SPONGE BOB

My son and I had a lot of fun picking out his favorite tops from the stores. Good2grow can be found at most major supermarkets in the juice aisle and the pricing is decent enough to pick up a few bottles and refill packs. Currently, as an offer for my readers, good2grow and MomsMeet are offering a special contest. You can enter to win a themed birthday party by going to: win.good2grow.com/mmblogger. Each person that enters will receive a free refill pack with purchase of a single serve beverage. 

So if you are going to give your kids all-natural juices, why not give them a fun way of drinking them as well? You no longer have to refill your own store-bought juice bottles because good2grow already offers their own unique refillable bottles.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | July 3, 2014

Healthy Beverage Expo/World Tea Expo

What would the world be like if there were no beverages to drink. Not even water. Well, we’d all be pretty thirsty and probably not in the right mind. Beverages, even something as uncomplicated as water is the essence to life. We live for it literally as it not only quenches our thirst, but it can also provide vital nutrients that our bodies desperately need. So of course in order to honor the beauty of beverages, the World Tea Expo and Healthy Beverage Expo honors us with beverages around the world, giving us insights to living a healthier life.

This year in May at the Long Beach Convention Center marks the second year for the Health Beverage Expo where companies come together to showcase healthy beverages for the general public. As a business to business venue, people from all over the world attend the event to learn about healthier beverages choices. Companies from the United States to across the sea bring their beverages to the event hoping to provide the beverage industry more insight on the benefits of healthier drinking. The event may not change the world’s view on beverages, but it can help enlighten us a bit on why we don’t need artificial food coloring or preservatives in our beverages.

WORLD TEA EXPO

This was the first year for me attending the show and a bit similar to the Natural Products Expo, the Healthy Beverage Expo joins with the World Tea Expo giving us what we desire to learn more of – that healthier beverages really can enable a healthier lifestyle. Ranging from exotic teas to more common beverages that we may find in our supermarkets, I was able to go from booth to booth to sample and experience what these companies bring to the general consumer. Whether it’s an organic blend of fruit and vegetable juice or rare oolong teas, almost every company taught me something new and different about the beverage industry.

It was a pretty fun and exciting event and I brought my son along with me to be my true taste tester. Who could be more honest about their opinions than a child? While he didn’t enjoy the mineral infused black water from TRACE, he did like the all-natural raw fruit and vegetable juices from Raaw and the natural juice blends  from good2grow juices with the unique interchangeable tops.  There were so many companies showcasing their beverages ranging from fresh pressed juices to herb infused vodka to rare and exotic concoctions that it became a dizzying effect of what to try next.

ARTY WATER

Companies such as Arty which is an artichoke infused juice was very different and unique. And other companies including Silk Road Soda, Zen Tea Traders, and Marquis were distinctive infusions of tea and gourmet sodas. Many of the companies attending were generous with their samples and taste testing and some even offered an exclusive sitting area where you can get a massage while sipping their aristocratic beverages.

Hopefully these beverage companies will appear in your local markets and restaurants soon so we can all get a taste of something rare and extraordinary. For more information about the Healthy Beverage Expo and World Tea Expo, please visit their website: http://healthybeverageexpo.com/. And keep an eye out on my blog for reviews and giveaway opportunities.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Posted by: suzan | June 9, 2014

EWG’s 2014 Shopping Guide

VEGGIE GARDEN

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with a detailed report on pesticide residue on the most popular produce items. It’s pretty sad to know that what we eat and buy most in the grocery stores – and what we feed our kids the most – is laden with heavily toxic pesticides. Ever since I read about the EWG’s goal to educate the public on the dangers of eating and buying non-organic foods, I’ve become extra diligent in buying fruits and vegetables for my family. Based on the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration data of most commonly grown produce in America, the EWG analyzes each of the produce below to give consumers a chance to make intelligent choices when buying produce. Not everyone has the resources to buy organic all the time ,but when it comes to the most popular produce you buy in your household, it’s best to stick with the organic versions. For those who are still a bit iffy about organic foods, know that in order to be labeled “organic” the USDA puts in strict guidelines for companies to follow. Tests are done on a scheduled and random basis for farmers and plants to ensure that the consumers in the US are actually getting an organically grown item. The term organic simply means, any organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

When shopping for these produce items, look for the USDA Organic seal and at best, shop at natural grocery stores who are dedicated in providing all if not most organic produce. But also be aware of farmers markets. Not all farmers markets sell organic produce. Some may sell produce that have not been sprayed with toxic pesticides but that doesn’t mean their soil and irrigation systems aren’t treated with toxic chemicals. Always ask the vendors at the farmers market whether their produce are organic and if not, how are their produce grown and treated.

Below is the newest list from the EWG and to download a guide to print out, click on the link: https://donate.ewg.org/images/2014_Shopper_Guide_to_Pesticides_in_Produce.pdf

All produce listed below are from most pesticide to least pesticide. So if your family tends to eat one fruit more than the other, be sure to take a look at the list first before deciding on which to buy. The general rule is if you eat more of it, then buying organically grown produce is worth it in the long run.

 

 


1 Apples

2 STRAWBERRIES

3 GRAPES

4 CELERY

5 PEACHES

6 SPINACH

7 SWEET BELL PEPPERS

8 NECTARINES – IMPORTED

9 CUCUMBERS

10 CHERRY TOMATOES

11 SNAP PEAS – IMPORTED

12 POTATOES

13 HOT PEPPERS

14 BLUEBERRIES – DOMESTIC

15 LETTUCE

16 KALE / COLLARD GREENS

17 PLUMS

18 CHERRIES

19 NECTARINES – DOMESTIC

20 PEARS

21 TANGERINES

22 CARROTS

23 BLUEBERRIES – IMPORTED

24 GREEN BEANS

25 WINTER SQUASH

26 SUMMER SQUASH

27 RASPBERRIES

28 BROCCOLI

29 SNAP PEAS – DOMESTIC

30 GREEN ONIONS

31 ORANGES

32 BANANAS

33 TOMATOES

34 WATERMELON

35 HONEYDEW MELONS

36 MUSHROOMS

37 SWEET POTATOES

38 CAULIFLOWER

39 CANTALOUPE

40 GRAPEFRUIT

41 EGGPLANT

42 KIWI

43 PAPAYAS

44 MANGOES

45 ASPARAGUS

46 ONIONS

47 SWEET PEAS – FROZEN

48 CABBAGE

49 PINEAPPLES

50 SWEET CORN

51 AVOCADOS

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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HEROES OF THE CITY

As children we’ve all dreamed about becoming a hero who can save the day or even the world. Some of us actually do grow up to be everyday heroes such as firefighters, police officers, or doctors realizing that a childhood dream could eventually happen. In the popular children’s TV show, Heroes of the City which originated in Europe, the story follows two brave car heroes, “Pauli Police Car” and “Fiona Fire Engine” and their oft-misunderstood friend, Calamity Crow. The heroes along with the citizens of their city find every day adventures where a little danger and excitement can happen to anyone at anytime. Whether it’s helping put out a fire in a building or guiding a whale across the ocean, the heroes and friends all help each other in one way or the other.

Heroes of the City (http://www.rutaett.com/en/hotc) is produced by the entertainment company, Ruta Ett and can be seen on their website which also offers lots of other visual goodies for kids between the ages of 3-7 years old. There are Apps(http://www.hotc.nu/apper) which can be found in the Apple Store or Google Play, Videos, Games, Stories, Coloring Pages, and Fun Facts. Currently showing on their website is Season One and that’s where you meet all of the citizens and heroes of this delightful town where mysteries are solved and friendships are cemented. There are adorable characters such as police cars, fire trucks, tug boats, tow trucks, delivery trucks, bull dozers, and many more who interact with one another and teach us about life’s little lessons.

hotc kit image (1)

I was given the opporutnity to receive a Heroes of the City DVD, Book, and two cute little car figures to try and review. My son and I enjoyed watching the DVD as well as read the book and play along with Pauli and Fiona. The book is a nice decent size and the pictures are colorful and the words easy to read along. I personally had never heard of Heroes of the City prior to this review but am very glad that these little heroes indeed offer something meaningful to those who watch the program and learn about what they do every day. Children especially take on role models around them and what they see on TV greatly affects how they view life in general. With so many inappropriate programs out there for kids, it’s always nice to find something new that are age appropriate and help teach kids life lessons that enable them to grow up healthy and smart.

HEROES OF THE CITY VIEW

With Heroes of the City, kids learn about helping one another and making smart decisions. What I particularly liked about Heroes of the City is that they use mobile figures such as cars, trucks, and planes and animate them to be like human beings. They have similar problems as people do and they learn to resolve them in a constructive way. They talk in nice, cute voices and the animation is fun to look at – anytime of the day.

Currently you can purchase the Heroes of the City DVD on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dmovies-tv&field-keywords=heroes%20of%20the%20city&sprefix=Heroes+of+the+City%2Ctoys-and-games%2C122 but on their website they offer free Apps, shows, and fun activities: http://www.hotc.nu/apper. As readers of Happymomblogger however, Ruta Ett has decided to offer 1 LUCKY reader of Happymomblogger the opportunity to win their own Heroes of the City DVD, Color Book and 2 Action Figures. The DVD, book, and action figures are all part of the animated series and can be enjoyed by children between the ages of 2-7. This would be a great prize for those I-don’t-know-what-to-do Summer days. So how do you win this fun prize? Read below to find out!

Here’s how to enter the Heroes of the City giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Heroes of the City on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HeroesOfTheCity and write on their wall that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger: http://www.happymomblogger.wordpress.com/. Please put Happymomblogger as the heading.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

#2 entry – Become a follower: http://twitter.com/#!/happymomblogger and “Tweet” me @happymomblogger that you are entering the Heroes of the City giveaway. Become a follower of Heroes of the City: https://twitter.com/HeroesOfTheCity and “Tweet” that you are entering the Happymomblogger giveaway.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me what you and your kids like to do for fun.

#5 entry – Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs using the link provided below.

You can enter by telling me the 5 entries in the LEAVE A COMMENT box. Please be sure to give me your name and email address so that I may contact you if you win. Contest is open to residents of US only. 18 years and older please. Please be sure to provide a physical address and not a P.O. Box. Only 1 contestant per household please. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prize. Any violation of the rules will deem your entry as disqualified. Happymomblogger is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged prizes but will do the best to ensure your prize gets there. In  the event the winner can not be contacted within 3 days of email sent then another winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

Contest Start Date: June 6, 2014

Contest End Date: June 23, 2014

Only 1 winner will be chosen at random and I will post the winner’s name on my blog.

Good Luck and thank you for participating!

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

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