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.

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

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

 

amys_logo

At this year’s Natural Products Expo West, we visited the Amy’s Kitchen booth and as always was delighted at their presentation. When we stepped into their booth – which couldn’t really be called a booth given it’s huge size – we were greeted with smiling faces and food stations set up to tempt you to try their products. Since we already enjoy Amy’s Kitchen there were no pulling and tugging to get both me and my son to try their delicious food. In fact, we jumped with glee at all the variety of products they showcased – some new and some of the more popular dishes. At Amy’s Kitchen’s booth they were not shy about handing out samples to you and they encouraged you to try everything and as often as possible. It took some well orchestrated maneuvering to get through the crowd but as I was able to speak personally with the representatives of Amy’s Kitchen I was treated to an insider’s look on this wonderful company.

For those of you who have heard of Amy’s Kitchen (www.amys.com) and are big fans, you’ll be delighted to know that this family-owned and operated company has developed many new wonderful and scrumptious dishes – some already available in select stores, some still in the works. Ranging from snacks to desserts, they literally have become an all-encompassed vegetarian food company. Their products are designed for vegetarians and vegans, those who are gluten-sensitive, and dairy-sensitive individuals. And there’s no denying the fact that their frozen and ready-to-eat dishes are absolutely delicious! I’ve been a vegetarian for a very long time and sometimes not having the time to cook a complete and healthy meal for myself, I have come to rely a lot on Amy’s Kitchen to fortify my vegetarian taste buds and stomach. Although I prefer to do my own cooking, there are times when I’m just too tired or unmotivated and I’m glad Amy’s Kitchen offers a wide array of vegetarian fare for me to choose from. In fact, I am so impressed with the variety of dishes they create that I stockpile their products in my freezer.

My son absolutely loves Amy’s Kitchen. And I love the  fact that they truly use only organic and naturally-derived ingredients. They’ve been a family-owned and operated business for almost 30 years and grew their business from the ground up when Amy, the namesake and only daughter was born. They were one of the pioneers in the organic and natural food industry back when people weren’t too sure about the claims of organic food. But Amy’s Kitchen stuck to their grounded values and have been developing wholesome, natural, and delicious foods ever since.

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At Amy’s Kitchen the staff and family tries all of their newest developments personally to ensure that not only do their products meet the highest standards but that they are also desirable to eat. Vegetarian and vegan meals usually get a frown from those who are not accustomed to them but as a long time consumer of Amy’s Kitchen, I have almost always found their food to be delicious enough for non-vegetarians. My son eats them and so does my husband on occasion and he even comments on if I can buy more.

Currently, Amy’s Kitchen carries a hugely extensive lineup of products ranging from breakfast entrees, to burritos, to soups. They also carry family-sized meals which have really come in handy in the past! I absolutely love their gluten-free brownies and with one bite I was instantly hooked. One wouldn’t think gluten-free desserts would be delicious, but they actually are and Amy’s have them beat. I was pretty fortunate to be sent some of their newest products to try and shared them with my son who is my official “taste tester”. After all, who else can be blatantly honest about their thoughts than kids, right?

 

AMYS CANDY BAR

Amy’s Kitchen had sent me their Thai Red Curry which was a bit spicy and savory, their Gluten-free Garden Vegetable Lasagne that was extra gooey and delicious, their Meatless Veggie Meatballs which were so versatile and just the right amount of texture (I made meatball sandwiches on pretzel rolls and my husband and son devoured them like crazy!), their Gluten-free biscotti which were crunchy and not too sweet, and their yummy candy bar line which comes in crispy, chewy, creamy, and crunchy textures. The candy bars are made with organic ingredients and are not too big but just big enough to satisfy a sweets filling.

You really can’t go wrong with Amy’s Kitchen whether you’re a vegetarian or a major meat eater. Their foods are made without the use of genetically-modified ingredients and are dedicated to provide wholesome and delicious choices. If you’ve never tried Amy’s Kitchen now is the time to do so as they can be found virtually everywhere. And if you’d like a chance to win some great prizes from Amy’s Kitchen, they would like to offer 1 LUCKY reader of Happymomblogger the chance to win a fabulous prize. The winner will win an Amy’s Kitchen t-shirt and 3 FREE product coupons to pick up any Amy’s Kitchen products of your choice! So how do you win this wonderful prize? Read below to find out!

Here’s how to enter the Amy’s Kitchen giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Amy’s Kitchen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmysGoOrganic 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 Amy’s Kitchen giveaway. Become a follower of Amy’s Kitchen:https://twitter.com/amyskitchen and “Tweet” that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me if you’re a vegetarian/vegan or have tried vegetarian food.

#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 – CONGRATULATIONS TO JANICE W. FOR WINNING THE PRIZE!

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

 

VANS LOGO

If your kids are always begging you for snacks and you cringe when you read the labels of certain conventional brands, it’s time to step away from those national brands and look for something better. I love grocery shopping with my son, but when we pass by aisles of brightly colored and insanely sweet foods, I know that temptation for kids can be a dangerous thing.

But fear not, for there are companies out there who are conscious of what they sell to the general public – specifically kids. They know that parents want what’s best for their kids and even if you can’t afford it all the time, in the long run, it’s still better for their health. Kids are more susceptible to things that they touch and food that they eat so we should be extra diligent in what we put in their tummies.

Sometimes it’s inevitable to avoid conventional foods, but if you had a choice in purchases, it’s better to go for the healthier versions. One brand, who has only improved throughout the years is Van’s Natural Foods. We’ve enjoyed Van’s Natural Foods for many years now and I’m amazed at the new products that they come out with every so often. In our household we always have at least one of Van’s Natural Foods products and it’s most likely their frozen waffles or chocolate chip pancakes since they are easy to heat up and taste great with some maple syrup over them.

VAN'S CHIPS

New from Van’s Natural Foods this year are their Multigrain Chips, PB&J Sandwich Bars, and Love Your Heart Waffles. The Multigrain Chips come in two super yummy flavors: Mighty Good BBQ and Nacho, Nacho Man and I have to say that I could not stop eating them. Their new multigrain chips are delicately crunchy, incredibly light and airy, and perfectly seasoned. And since they are baked, they’re generally a lot healthier than fried chips. Both multigrain chips are made with Van’s signature gluten free whole grain blend and are made with non-GMO sunflower oil as well as other delicious and wholesome natural ingredients. Van’s PB&J Sandwich Bars are delightfully light in flavor and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. So if you really like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you’ll really enjoy their new PB&J Sandwich Bars. Since they are smaller in size, you can pack them easily in your bag or lunch bag for a healthy and convenient snack. Van’s Love Your Heart Waffles are also made with their 8 whole grain mix which consists of Whole Wheat, Barley, Oat, Brown Rice, Dark Rye, Quinoa, Amaranth and Millet Flours. All of these new products are added to their already comprehensive lineup of healthy and delicious snacks and breakfast treats.

Van’s Natural Foods have been in the natural food business for over 40 years and have dedicated themselves in providing the best tasting and good-for-you food that you can find. From cereal to crackers to frozen pancakes, you’ll probably find a few products to keep around. I don’t always have time to make my own pancakes so I just pop in some Van’s frozen pancakes and we’ve got a convenient and wholesome breakfast. Van’s Natural Foods are suitable for those on a gluten free diet and they are Non-GMO Project Certified.

VANS WAFFLES

The good folks at Van’s Natural Foods had sent me their newest products to try and also wanted to give 1 LUCKY reader of Happymomblogger the opportunity to try their products as well. The winner of the prize will win 4 FREE product coupons  (2 for dry line and 2 for frozen products) and a branded shopping tote. I love their shopping tote as it’s a heavy duty bag and can go practically anywhere with you. So how do you win this wonderful prize? Read below to find out!

Here’s how to enter the Van’s Natural Foods giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Van’s Natural Foods on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vansfoods 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 Van’s Natural Foods giveaway. Become a follower of Van’s Natural Foods: https://twitter.com/vansfoods  and “Tweet” that you are entering the at Van’s Natural Foods giveaway at Happymomblogger.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me which Van’s Natural Foods you’d like to try most.

#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 prohibed by law.

Contest Start Date: June 6, 2014

Contest End Date: June 23, 2014 – CONGRATULATIONS TO MARYANN D. FOR WINNING THE PRIZE!

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

STONYFIELD ORGANIC NEW LOGO

Growing up, my parents have always taught me to eat healthy and to choose wisely. It wasn’t always easy for a young girl to go to school with a lunchbox full of sliced vegetables and fruits rather than the sugar-laden Twinkies and sodas many of my classmates brought. Although at that time I really didn’t have a choice as to what I wanted to bring for school lunches, I am glad today that the lessons of wholesome nutrition stayed as a guideline to how I view food.

Now, I teach my son the same, if not similar lessons about eating healthy and making healthy food choices. While times have changed quite a bit thirty years ago and the food industry has expanded more than what we imagined, we as individuals can still decide what we eat and why we should eat them. With the threat of toxic pesticides and “Frankenstein” foods on the horizon, it’s even more imperative that we support not only our own bodies but the companies who strive to make healthier and better products.

Stonyfield Organic (http://www.stonyfield.com/), a well known organic and natural food company has always believed that what we put in our bodies directly influences what we put into our earth. With eating and buying organically grown foods, we are not only helping to protect our precious bodies, but also the planet that supports the land which produces them. Organic food choices shouldn’t be a guessing game or even an issue. It’s simply a wiser choice for people of any age or gender. But more importantly, for children who are constantly growing and looking to us parents as guides to their future.

YOBABY SQUEEZABLE YOGURT

I’ve been supporting, buying, and eating organic foods for many years now and while they can get pretty expensive, I leverage what is worth buying organic all the time and what can be skipped now and then. Even before I was pregnant, I made sure to always eat as many organically-grown foods as possible and fed my son solely organic meals when he was a baby. While this may be hard for some people, it’s important to plan ahead if you’re on an organically inclined budget. Organic isn’t impossible and can be easily achieved whether you grow your own edible garden or purchase products from your local store. In the future I hope organic food will be the mainstream in all markets and eradicate all illnesses caused by toxic food. That being said, many of you may already know of the company, Stonyfield Organic and their sole purpose in providing healthier food choices to children and adults alike. While no company or product is perfect, Stonyfield Farm takes making their organic and natural food products very seriously.

Stonyfield started over 30 years ago as a grassroots initiative to educate and provide people with healthier food choices. Once they knew how to make their own yogurt using their own farm cows, the need for more of their organic products grew and 30 years later, Stonyfield became a popular household food staple. I know that in my home, Stonyfield Organic became the prevalent yogurt choice as my son practically grew up eating them since he was just a baby. We always have some kind of Stonyfield yogurt in our fridge as not only are they affordable, but there are quite an assortment of products to choose from. Their newest products are their organic whole milk yogurt pouches and it comes in three different varieties – yobaby, yotoddler, and yokids. We’ve tried all of them and they all contain similar ingredients except for the slight differences in nutritional percentage.

YOBABY MANGO POUCH

As an ongoing Stonyfield reviewer, I was given the opportunity to try their newest yobaby squeezable yogurt pouches. What I find really neat about the squeezable pouches is that the cap is resealable so if your little kiddo can’t finish the yogurt in one sitting, you can just twist the cap back on, stick it in the fridge, and save it for later. And rest assured, all of Stonyfield pouches and containers are made without the use of BPA so there are no fear of the toxic plastic leaking into your yogurts. My son thoroughly enjoys squeezing the yogurt pouches into his mouth andI have to admit, it’s a fun experience for me as well.

Stonyfield would also like to give 1 LUCKY reader of Happymomblogger the opportunity to try their new yobaby organic whole milk yogurt pouches on their own. The winner will receive 10 FREE product coupons to pick up the new Yobaby yogurt pouches at their local store for any flavor.  Currently they only have blueberry, mango, sweet potato, and vanilla flavors but each of them have such different flavor profiles your kids will easily enjoy them all. So how do you win this yummy prize? Read below to find out!

 

Here’s how to enter the Stonyfield Yobaby Organic giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Stonyfield Organic on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stonyfield 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 Stonyfield Yobaby yogurt giveaway. Become a follower of Stonyfield: https://twitter.com/Stonyfield and “Tweet” me that you are entering the Happymomblogger giveaway.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry - Tell me which Stonyfield Organic product you like or would like to try.

#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 – CONGRATULATIONS TO NICOLE B. FOR WINNING THE PRIZE!

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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