FRESH BEAT BAND

The Fresh Beat Band has done it again! This time, the rambunctious group of friends have decided to animate themselves in an all-new television series on Nickelodeon Jr. called Fresh Beat Band of Spies (http://at.nick.com/FBBOS). After 60 episodes of their real life counterparts on TV, The Fresh Beat Band has reinvented themselves to appear as cartoon characters who solve crimes as they go about their day. As before, the four friends sing, dance, and have fun throughout the episode as they help solve crimes “Fresh Beat style” with their clever dialogue and ingenious characterization. I personally like the animated version of The Fresh Beat Band as animation brings forth unique elements that are hard to replicate in real life acting. The colors are vibrant and there seems to be more action involved. But of course, the real test came to my son and what he thought of the new animated Fresh Beat Band.

When I showed my son, who’s now 7 years old, the cartoon version of one of his favorite shows on TV, he was actually pretty excited to watch it. The premiere episode called, The Wow Factor, starts off immediately with singing and dancing from Shout as he leads the rest of the cast to be part of a TV show called The Wow Factor. Something strange and unusual happens at The Wow Factor and it’s up to Kiki, Marina, Twist, and Shout to find out what all the shenanigans are about. From the words of Thomas Hobson – aka Shout -, he described Fresh Beat Band of Spies as  Scooby Doo meets Charlie’s Angels, with all of the music, both old and new, that you’ve come to expect from the Fresh Beat Band. There will also be guest appearances and Tom Kenny (the beloved voice actor of SpongeBob Squarepants) is also joining the cast as their sidekick monkey, Bo.

Now I’ve heard a few naysayers comment that they prefer the live versions of The Fresh Beat Band, but hey, like with most TV shows, sometimes they have to be reinvented to keep things fresh for the newer audience. But while the animated version seems to be aimed for newer viewers, they still used the original actors’ voices and there are still the usual singing and dancing. The acting is still fun to watch and the four friends are still intelligent and wise. It’s just with any type of TV shows, something new must happen to keep the storylines fresh and lively.

In this premiere episode, you actually get quite a lot and their pet monkey, Bo, is adorable and funny. In The Wow Factor, the four friends dance and sing to help with the plot and the songs lead in nicely to what happens next. The only thing different was Marina’s hair color, as it’s more of a strawberry blonde rather than her reddish-blonde hair that we were so used to in their live action show. But hey, she looks great no matter what! And as with their previous show, everything gets wrapped up in the end of the episode so the friends can move on to another fun-filled and educational mystery. I’d say the animated show is geared towards kids 5 years old and up. But there’s nothing scary or indecent in this episode so watch it with your kids and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well!

The wonderful folks at Nickelodeon Jr. and Fresh Beat Band had kindly offered us a sneak peak at the premiere episode, The Wow Factor here: http://www.nickjr.com/fresh-beat-band-of-spies/videos/the-wow-factor-s1-ep101-full-episode/.

The show premieres on June 15th at 7 pm/6 central time on NickJr so be sure to tune in and watch this funny, intelligent, and thoughtful new animated series, Fresh Beat Band of Spies!

For more info, please visit these links:

Handles to Tag: @NickJr
Hashtags: #FBBofSpies
Here’s a link to the full episode now online!  http://at.nick.com/FBBoSPremiere

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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Posted by: suzan | May 30, 2015

Destined for Doon – A BookLook Book Review

DESTINED FOR DOON

One of the greatest things you can ever do as a writer is to write an engaging story. One of the greatest things as a reader and book lover is to find a book so captivating and enthralling that you just have to finish reading it even if it’s 3 AM in the morning. I love a good book that can take me to another place and time. Books can be a great escape and if they are well written you can easily be drawn into the writer’s world, whether you cheer for the heroine or scoff at the hero. In the case of Destined for Doon, written by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, I was easily transported into the world of Doon, a mythical world set somewhere in Scotland. In Doon, time shifts differently than the modern world and you feel as if you’re instantly part of this mystical and magical land where faeries exist, witches run rampant, and love is as complicated as the handsome and brooding hero.

I received an ARC of Destined for Doon and although the book was the second installment of the Doon series, I didn’t feel as if I was left out in the cold – so to speak – wondering if missing the first book would leave me confused. Although references were made from the first book, they didn’t distract me so much that I felt the need to read the first of the series just to understand them. Destined for Doon had enough twists and surprises along the way that it kept me well interested and engaged. I’ve always been a sucker for romance stories where the hero and heroine go through leaps and bounds just to be together in the end. After all, if love stories were so easy to read, then they wouldn’t be so entertaining.

But Destined for Doon isn’t just a love story between the hero and his heroine. The heroine in this case, MacKenna Reid – or Kenna to her friends – put aside her own inhibitions to return to the land of Doon with her ex-love to help out her best and longtime friend, Vee. After having a long and arduous escapade in Doon with her friends, Kenna vowed to leave her old life behind and start a new one in Chicago as an aspiring singer and actress. However, life on stage hasn’t always been as she imagined and when her old flame, the prince of Doon returns unexpectedly to retrieve her, Kenna hesitantly went back with Prince Duncan to help out the Queen of Doon, who just happens to be her best friend, Veronica (Vee). Putting aside their differences and pushing the flame that still burned between them, Kenna and Duncan help each other find the danger that has threatened Doon and everyone living there.

Destined for Doon was an easy read where pacing was steady and there were enough intrigue and excitement till the very end. And let me just say that the ending left me with a “what the…” feeling. It was definitely unexpected since the evil had finally been defeated and you’re led to believe that the friends were going to live happily ever after. Well, there were some happiness but also an impending doom for other characters. Hopefully the third book of the series will come out soon because there’s no way I was happy with the ending in Destined for Doon.

I’d say Destined for Doon is a good read for ages 16 and up. Because it’s labeled as a “Christian” reading, there are no foul languages, no gratuitous sex, and hidden meanings are there to tell the readers that it’s better to be good than evil. But the ending though…makes you kind of wonder if evil had triumphed after all.

You can purchase Destined for Doon on Zondervan’s website: http://www.zondervan.com/destined-for-doon or on Amazon and is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle edition.

 

Zondervan’s summary of Destined for Doon:

In this sequel to Doon, Mackenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake – choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. To make everything worse, she’s received her Calling – proof she and Duncan are each other’s one true love – and it’s pure torment, especially when visions of the very alluring Scottish prince appear right before she goes on stage. So when Duncan tells her an ancient curse threatens to overtake Doon and the new queen needs her to return, Kenna doesn’t have to think twice. With darkness closing in on all sides, Kenna and Vee must battle a world of nightmares in order to protect the kingdom. But it will take the ultimate test of courage for Kenna to salvage her happily ever after.

 

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.

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.

 

Posted by: suzan | May 5, 2015

Stonyfield Organic – Products Worth Reviewing

STONYFIELD ORGANIC

Most people who know me can pretty much guess our love for Stonyfield by the abundant supply of their yogurts in my fridge. My son specifically asks for them and I don’t hesitate to buy them whenever we run out. So why do I love that brand so much? Well, mainly because of their assortment of delicious and wholesome yogurt and dairy products but the top reason is because they are made with only natural and organic ingredients. When it comes to yogurt, we do our best to buy only organic.

When we first discovered Stonyfield many years ago, there were only a few products available. Now, having a co-op of dairy farmers supplying them with wholesome and organic dairy, we are fortunate that Stonyfield has immensely expanded their dairy products. Today, they have everything from yogurt to protein smoothies to ice cream and all of them are made with organic fruits and dairy. We haven’t tried all of their products yet but we’re getting pretty close in doing so.  Our favorites are definitely the yogurt squeezers, Yokids smoothies, and regular yogurts, but after our recent visit to the Natural Products Expo West, I’d have to say we added Oh My Yog! which is a fruit blended yogurt and OP Organic Protein smoothie, which is fortified with complete protein.

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Currently, Stonyfield’s lineup of products include Yokids and YoBaby yogurts, Greek yogurt, Smooth & Creamy, Oh My Yog! Yogurt squeezers, Ice Cream, Petite Creme, OP, and Smoothies. All of them are made with only natural and organic ingredients and sourced responsibly and with the environment in mind. Their farmers use people and Earth-friendly pest control so their ingredients are safe for us and for the planet.

Stonyfield (http://www.stonyfield.com/) can be found at most natural grocery stores as well as most major supermarkets. Their ice cream are a bit limited in stores as I’ve found them in only natural grocery stores, but if you do happen upon them, don’t bypass them because they are so rich and creamy and not too sweet. And because Stonyfield is dedicated to their farmers and consumers, you can now find out where they source their ingredients in a fun interactive way on their website: http://www.stonyfield.com/sourcemap/. Below you’ll see a photo of my favorite person at Stonyfield showing off the new Oh My Yog! yogurt and standing next to the source map. Be sure to check out Stonyfield’s website for lots of healthy info!

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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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NOFOODWASTED

Ever wonder what happens to all the food we don’t finish that gets dumped in the trash? Well, they end up in the trash of course, but what many people are not aware of is the tremendous impact food waste has on our environment. While it’s inevitable to end up with leftover food now and then, we could all learn a thing or two on how to reduce that and to shop and eat wiser.

During Earth Week, NBC Universal’s newest campaign “No Food Wasted” highlights and details the necessity of cutting down on food waste in the US. Statistically, an average person wastes approximately 244 pounds of food a year and a family of four could spend $2275 on groceries that never get eaten. Given how there are so many starving people in the world, those are astronomical numbers to hear.

The goal of the No Food Wasted campaign is to help people understand this dilemma that the US is facing. If by helping people become aware of this growing trend of being more mindful in what we buy and eat, then perhaps there will be less food wasted. But food waste is only part of the bigger picture. The food that ends up in our landfill, our ocean, on the streets, and even in our own homes eventually lead to an unhealthy planet. Our environment already has a lot to handle with climate changes, pollution, chemical engineering, it’s incredible that we as humans, do not have the control to reduce our intake. And if you look at in a different way, think of all the money wasted on food we buy that we end up throwing away.

justeatit

Most of us do our best in not wasting food by saving leftovers. But what good are leftovers if you forget to eat them or just don’t have the desire for them the next day? Food leftover for a longer period of time starts to lose their nutritional benefits and they could be harmful to our body. So in essence, if we are trying to save our leftovers because we don’t want to be wasteful, that practice only works if we eat our leftovers right away. So the best solution would be to just cook enough for that particular meal. Plan ahead so you know if you intentionally want leftovers but remember to finish them off within a day.

Green is Universal (http://www.greenisuniversal.com/) is NBCUniversal’s ongoing sustainability initiative dedicated to raising environmental awareness and helping to nurture a healthy planet. Through their continuous efforts whether in person or through the world wide web, Green is Universal’s main ambition is to create more awareness across the globe so that we can all live in a healthier world for now and for the future. All it takes is one single person to take that first step and to make the commitment to reduce food waste. Below I’ve listed ideas that I’ve learned throughout the years that I hope will give you insights on reducing food waste.

Reduce Food Waste:

– Make a grocery list each and every time you go grocery shopping. This has truly saved me time and money overall so I don’t get tempted to buy something that wasn’t on my list. Just be sure to stick to the list to make it really count.

– Find useful and delicious recipes that helps you reduce food waste. Check out http://www.greenisuniversal.com/ for some great recipes.

– Teach our children and our family about wasting food. Feed your children only what they can eat instead of the stigma that they need to eat more to help them grow. Sure food is essential, but not as important as feeding them the proper type of food. When kids learn to eat what their bodies allow them to eat, then they too can learn to eat healthier and to not waste food. A good standby is to feed them their hand’s size amount of food. If it fits in their fists, then that’s the recommended amount.

– Composting is one of the best ways to make use of all your leftover foods. Table scraps, skins of fruits and vegetables, cores, tops, you name it – whatever you intend to throw away, save it for the compost pile. Learn how to properly compost on Green is Universal’s website.

– Try and freeze what you can and remember to mark the date you freeze them so you’ll know if they’re still safe enough to consume.

– Grow your own edible organic garden. I started one a few years ago and we’re quite proud of our carrots, strawberries, cucumbers, radishes, corn, and lettuce that I’ve grown throughout the years. Although the beautiful California weather supports the ability to grow an abundance of healthy fruits and vegetables, research what grows in your area and climate and it will be easier for you.

– Shop at farmers markets. There, you can buy in bulk or in pieces so you’ll tend to buy only what you need. You’ll save money and the environment in doing so.

– Donate extra cans of food that have not expired to the local food shelter. If you think you bought too much or you know you won’t be using them, by all means donate them.

– Practice Mindful Eating. This is where you’re conscious of the food that’s in front of you, instead of quickly snarfing down a plate and not know what you just ate. Enjoy the food that you’re chewing, chew slowly, and take your time. Not only will this help you appreciate more of what you’re eating, but you’ll get fuller faster as your body is properly digesting and assimilating the nutrients in your system.

Earth Week 2015 Infographic-mini

So today, join me, NBC Green is Universal, and many other eco-bloggers on our Twitter party. You can follow us here: https://twitter.com/GreenIsUni as we talk about less food waste, useful tips, and the importance of keeping our planet healthy and green.

Be sure to also check out Green is Universal’s Motion Graphic Video on youtube to watch a very informational video on how food waste affects our entire world (https://youtu.be/cDnDPjbLYDY). I was amazed at all the consumption in the US as well as what we waste. Remember – we only have one planet to live on; take care of 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.

 

 

VERI SODA NEW

Have you ever picked up a can of soda and then set it quickly back down wondering what exactly is inside that aluminum can? While sodas can attract us with their clever packaging and addictive sugar, it is exactly those two things that make the soda industry one of the highest grossing in the food industry. But not all sodas are created equal and while many of us know only the most famous brands (which I won’t name here, but you know who you are…) there are a few companies out in the market who take beverage drinking a bit more seriously. One brand who has dedicated years of research and love to their soda is Veri Organic Soda. Not only is Veri Organic Soda made with organic ingredients, but they are low in sugar content and contains only a few basic all-natural ingredients.

Veri Organic  Soda (http://verisoda.com), is truly unlike any other low calorie soda out there today. You may think low calorie equals “diet” soda, yet there are no artificial sweeteners inside to cut down on the sugar content. What makes Veri soda low calorie is the Stevia plant, which is a naturally derived sugar that has virtually no calories and very light in sweetness. Veri Organic Soda uses only a very small amount of organic sugar to balance out the flavor and sweetness, and the owner of the company even admitted to me that it took them many years to perfect their unique and delicious taste. Veri soda has a delicate sweetness to it without it being too bland or bitter as you might find with other low calorie beverages. And when served chilled over ice, the taste is absolutely refreshing and invigorating.

VERI ORGANIC SODA

Currently Veri Organic Soda comes in only four different flavor profiles: Orange, Lemon Lime, Cola, and Ginger Ale. All of the different flavors are unique in their own way and with them not being too sweet, the signature flavors really stand out. And the funny thing is that my family and I all enjoy separate flavors. My son likes the Orange flavor while my husband likes the Ginger Ale and I like the Lemon Lime.

I also love how the design of the can has a retro look to it, although the CEO of Veri Soda shared the fact that the cans will have a new redesigned look to go along with some new flavors coming out soon. I haven’t seen the new look yet, but I’m assuming it’s going to be just as pleasing to the eye. But don’t let the gorgeous packaging fool you – because the taste of the soda is just as delightful. With only 60 calories and a very low sugar content, this is one soda that parents won’t have to feel too guilty feeding to their kids. Of course we only let our son have some now and then but if you do give your kids sodas or any other sweet beverages, you might want to give Veri Soda a try. Veri Organic Soda uses only organic ingredients with absolutely no artificial anything and no high fructose corn syrup. If you pour out the sodas in a glass, you’ll see that the colors are very natural – non of that brightly colored orange or the deep black/brown you’d find in other sodas.

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As a Moms Meet Ambassador I was able to try and review Veri Organic Soda, but having met the founder of Veri Soda personally, he wanted me to do a giveaway of their organic sodas as well. This is an exciting opportunity for you to try their organic soda and taste the difference for yourself. So how do you win this delicious prize? Read below to find out!

The winner will receive 2 FREE product coupons to pick up their own flavors to try. Veri Soda can be found at most natural grocery stores or you can use their store locator: http://verisoda.com/locator.html

Here’s how to enter the Veri Organic Soda giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Veri Organic Soda on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VeriSoda 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 Veri Organic Soda giveaway. Become a follower of Veri Organic Soda: https://twitter.com/Verisoda and “Tweet” that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me what new flavor you’d like Veri to make.

#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: April 16, 2015

Contest End Date:  April 30, 2015 – CONTEST CLOSED, WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED

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

Posted by: suzan | April 8, 2015

It’s Not Me – It’s Us

PHOTO OF MOM AND KIDS

Helicopter moms, tiger moms, co-dependent moms, panda moms…okay the last part isn’t really true, but what is going on with all the stigmas of parenting nowadays? What is so wrong with a parent who always shows up at her child’s school event, make the costumes for the school play, and volunteer in her child’s classroom on a regular basis? Does that mean we love our kids too much or not enough because there will always be someone who comments that we need to do more, more, more! Kids will be kids for only a short while and once they reach their pre-teens, we’re lucky if they even say hi to us in the mornings. But fear not – a more conscious approach to parenting is on the rise and for those who ride the guilt wagon for their parenting skills will be glad to hear about this “new” movement.

In a recent article in Kiwi magazine (the magazine dedicated to parenting and good health), the article introduced readers to a style of parenting called, mindful parenting. Mindful parenting focuses on slowing down and becoming more attuned and sensitive to your child. It is essentially the idea of staying calm, centered, and focused on one task at a time in the midst of distraction and stress for parents who feel pressured to be perfect in every aspect of their lives  from work to family. Mindful parenting is being consciously in the moment instead of branching out to all the million things we have to do to be ahead of the game. Parents can be quite competitive in the social and school settings and oftentimes parents feel the need to do everything every single moment of the time. And that, can be quite tiring.

The purpose of mindful parenting is to help strengthen the parent-child bond in a way that’s more productive and emotionally balanced for both sides. I, for one am always trying to find that balance and there are days when it’s either one way or the other. No one said being a parent is easy, but there are ways to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as possible.  Mindful parenting derived from the foundation of Buddhism and is in fact, the essence of being mindful. It should be something we should practice in every possible aspect of our lives, whether it be parenting, doing our job, or socializing with people around us. With mindful parenting, the purpose is to create more harmony and reduce stress in the household.

Mindful experts outlined the main focus of mindful parenting. And they are:

FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING – Spend 5 to 15 minutes a day practicing mindful breathing. Pay attention only to your breath and train yourself to focus on one thing that’s occurring in the present. Practice this with your children and teach them the importance of using breathing to manage strong emotions.

OBSERVE YOUR CHILD – Take one time in your day to be fully present with your child. Be mindful of the moment you are there with your child such as listening to your tone of voice and seeing your child’s reaction. Being even slightly more mindful in such a moment—and less caught up in what you have to do next—can make a profound difference. This practice gives us a chance to get to know ourselves and our kids better. Expert Kabat-Zinn notes, “We’re waking up in ways that bring a richness to our experiences that sometimes gets lost.”

TAKE A BREAK – If you feel an upset coming on, take a moment to step back from the situation for both you and your child’s sake. Teach your child that if he/she is getting agitated to take 10 minutes to calm down and regroup after everyone is relaxed and more open to a productive conversation.

EAT TOGETHER – Practice mindful eating by discussing where the food comes from or eating slowly enough to notice the color, smell, and texture of your meal. Taking the time to appreciate your food leads to a healthier, more gratifying experience that brings the family together. It is also a way of slowing down and connecting as a family by taking the time to speak and truly listen to each other.

GIVE THANKS – When eating together, ask family members what they are thankful for. This brings focus to parents and their children on what is meaningful in their lives and what they appreciate in this world.

FORGIVE YOURSELF – Parents aren’t perfect. We will at times get angry or impatient with our kids. But we can learn to be more mindful in the future of how we react to our children and those around us. When we can learn from that, then we can be more conscious of our choices as parents.

So the next time you feel like a windup doll circling around the lives of everyone around you but yourself, remember that parenting is an ongoing lesson. Through experience and conscious efforts of how we raise our children, we can all breathe a bit easier when the teacher asks us to help make 30 costumes and we can actually just say…no, because we want to be there for our children, not for our parenting report cards.

Posted by: suzan | April 3, 2015

Earth Day – Celebrating our Planet

EARTH DAY PIC

Each year on April 22 marks a very important event for our planet. It’s officially called “Earth Day” and it’s the one day where lights are turned off to conserve energy, people walk or bicycle to work instead of driving, and many other activities we can do to show our appreciation for our precious planet. Of course Earth Day shouldn’t be limited to just one day in the year, but it does highlight the significance behind its meaning: that we should all cherish the planet we live in and become stewards of good will for her.

Around this time of year I come up with ideas for people around me who are also heavily involved with protecting the environment. This year since I’m involved with a special ecological program at my son’s school, I have decided to dedicate my posts revolving around the Garden Club which I started at his school. For me, I truly believe that being stewards of the planet starts with children. They are already like sponges soaking up everything around them – the good and the bad – so as parents, it’s up to us to teach them the importance of keeping our environment safe. In essence, a clean planet equals a healthy life and we all want to achieve that one way or another.

Earth Day 2015 logo

Protecting the planet doesn’t have to be a laborious  task. It could be as simple as being less wasteful by minding what you purchase and use. It could be as dedicated as walking or cycling to your destinations as often as possible. And it could be as complex as starting a neighborhood community garden where only organic plants are grown and using only ecological components. However you choose to celebrate our planet, remember it takes dedication and determination. Know why you are doing this and understand the rewards in doing so.There is an old saying that goes, “we leave our planet for our children and their children.” That is why it’s essential to start teaching our children the benefits of being environmentally friendly by doing so in our own homes. Imagine a future where we are short on natural resources because we’re significantly using them up currently. What will happen to the livelihood of our children and their children?

Some might say well, it’s too hard to be environmentally conscious. But that’s not necessarily true. Being environmentally friendly could be as simple as taking those recyclable bottles and cans to a recycling center. If you teach your kids to do that, then they could even keep the refund money for something that they want to buy or better yet – donate the money to a good charity. However, if you want to look at a grander scale of recycling, it is often better to use lead-free, BPA-free reusable glass and plastic beverage bottles. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about contributing to the endless cycle of plastics that are forever piling up in our landfills.

recycle-paper - Copy

For ideas on how to help the planet this April, visit Earth Day Networks website for some very useful information:

http://www.earthday.org/

And to find out about your own carbon footprint, check out this link: http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator

Perhaps one of the most significant ways of reducing your carbon footprint is to follow the three “Rs”, and those are: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Reuse what you have if possible. Reduce what you buy and consume. And recycle everything that you can. This way, we are not using up precious natural resources and producing more pollution and waste for our future.

So start planning now on what you can do for this year’s Earth Day. I am also partnering up with the Earth Day Network this year and will show highlights of what people are doing around the world. And as the event comes closer, I will update all of you on our Garden Club and what the students are doing to make the planet a healthier place.

 

 

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 | March 30, 2015

Natural Products Expo West 2015

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This year in March, the Natural Products Expo West comes back to Anaheim, California for their prestigious natural and organics products event. Showcasing over thousands of natural and organic brands as well as B2B marketing, the Natural Products Expo West along with New Hope Media and Engredea, welcomes companies from across the world to present and educate the public with their newest products.

I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the show again this year and while I noticed a few dramatic changes, the expo was still an exciting and impressive event. This year the security was definitely tighter as anticipated, as I’m sure there are those unregistered to attend will inevitably sneak into the show. There were more information booths which really helped and signage was clearer than last year’s. But what really impressed me this year was the extra events at both the Marriott Hotel and Hilton Hotel. This year a new section called “Hot Products” showcased brand new companies who introduced their newest products, some not yet out in stores. It was nice to see new companies who brought innovative and useful products to the natural products industry, such as design your own reusable glass water bottles and chocolate hot sauce.

Of course I had to bring my son to the show and it seems that each year companies are involving kids more with their interactive booths and games tailored only to kids. There were companies who also gave out unique toys and trinkets to kids that visited their booths. With so many companies to visit and sample their products, I still had to stop by my usual contacts which included Stonyfield Organic (www.stonyfield.com) who my rep had kindly demonstrated their newest interactive organic sourcing map which was pretty cool. Stonyfield also came out with a couple of new types of yogurt last year and early this year including, Stonyfield Organic Protein, Oh My Yogi!, Greek & Chia, and a few new flavors of their traditional varieties. I will be writing a review of their newest products in a later post. I also visited Amy’s which is coming out with some new Asian-inspired dishes and pasta dishes. They were so delicious it took a bit of willpower to leave their booth instead of staying there all night sampling their new dishes.
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Other companies including Nordic Naturals were celebrating their 25 years in the business and they had some fun interactive games for kids and adults. Yummy Bears had new products as well and I had a nice greet and meet with the founders of Veri Organic Soda, which I will have a giveaway very soon.

There were so many companies this year and so much walking as well! But the good thing was that every few steps there was something you can sample or interact with and so we were able to take a breather now and then. And as offered every year, there were seminars upon seminars educating everyone on the world of organic and natural products and food. This year’s show broke last year’s attendance record by about 7%. Here are some highlights of the show:

New Hope’s team of editors and analysts identified the five macro trends influencing the marketplace. They include:

  • Transparency advancements: Consumers are increasingly demanding to know what is in their food, and brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.
  • Ancient Wisdom Gets Wiser: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimally processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.
  • Paleo 2.0: Paleo-positioned products were even more prevalent. The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.
  • Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.
  • Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers’ insatiable hunger for protein,natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.

 

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Thursday before the start of the show, there was the Fresh Ideas Marketplace where companies showcased some of their newest and most innovative products yet to be out in the market. This year Organic Valley did something really fun by bringing their Save the Bro campaign with their Organic Fuel milkshake to the event. The milkshake is really delicious and has high amounts of protein so it’s great as a post workout drink or a mid day healthy snack. Pictured above you see several muscle men wearing the Save the Bro t-shirts and challenging anyone to show off their strength with the carnival-like test your strength game. The “bros” were cute and funny and definitely drew in a lot of crowds as they flexed their muscles and handed out prizes to the winners.

Overall, this year’s Natural Products Expo West had a lot more going on than last year. With the additional hotel sites hosting new products and special events and the evening parties on the promenade, there were more to see than anyone could take in a 4-day event. For more info about the Natural Products Expo please visit their website: www.expowest.com.

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

TRAVEL HACKS

As a blogger for Fresh Families Brands, I have the unique opportunity to present my readers with a very special giveaway that’s only available on Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account it’s fairly easy to open one and you’ll want to do it soon so you can win this fabulous prize!

Hosted by My Life and Kids (http://mylifeandkids.com/five-travel-hacks-youll-love/)blog, this giveaway runs from March 9 to March 20, 2015 and all you have to do is enter your name, email, and twitter handle. Then select @Happymomblogger as your Bonus Entry options and you’re entered to win! And while you’re there, check out Anna’s post about travelling with kids and informative tips on how to travel well and efficiently. If you have kids, you already know packing can be quite an adventure. Heck, even travelling without kids can be a puzzle as you’ll inevitably want to pack everything but still end up forgetting something once you get to your destination.

So be sure to enter this fun and easy giveaway. One winner will be chosen and the prize consists of:

– Travel size Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus 3/box

– T-shirt

– Lands End beach bag

– Tervis Tumbler water bottle

– Travel toiletry bag

– Dreft stain stick Boogie Berry Blaster 10 count

– $50 Target Gift Card

Prize is valued at $150. Please see the contest page for rules and further details.

Click on the link to enter:

https://promosimple.com/ps/6ceb

Good Luck!

 

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

DISNEYSIDEHOSTIf you’re like most people living on Earth, you’ve probably heard of Disney and the entire Disney franchise. From their Disneyland theme parks to their movies, Disney has truly become a household name. Each year Disney Parks and MomSelect chooses hundreds of people across the country to help host the ultimate Show Your Disney Side party. For me, it is a great honor as doing anything creative epitomizes the true essence of Disney. After all, Disney is the name of imagination and creativity and the fun never stops.

This year, the theme I chose for our party was “Idea Mouse in the House” and it was all about creativity, imagination, and fun. It was hard at first to come up with a theme since Disney has literally taken over the world with their adorable animal characters and their fearsome villains. You can’t go anywhere without seeing something Disney related. And with their franchise recently acquiring the Star Wars/Lucasfilm enterprise and Marvel Entertainment, their entire repertoire of assets has grown exponentially and will probably continue to grow as I’m typing this. But through many discussions with my son, we did finally come up with a theme and it was a lot of fun to plan it and host it!

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The DisneySide (#DisneySide) Celebrations began from a love for Disney and the meaning behind the parties is to show love and appreciation of what Walt Disney brought to the world many years ago. I remember going to Disneyland as a young girl and after the first time, I was hooked. Now, many years later, I am honored to have been chosen as a hostess for this one-of-a-kind Disney celebration. Disney Parks and MomsSelect were incredibly generous in selecting the best goodies from Disney and making sure the hosts and their party guests had the opportunity to have the best time. Although an assortment of prizes were given to me including Mickey Mouse and Disney Princesses, it was really up to us, the hostesses to decided on how we want to best represent Disney.

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My son and I invited some of his school friends and everyone had a blast. The park we had the party at was gorgeous and spacious and the weather was absolutely delightful. I had wanted to really give the kids an opportunity to “show their Disney side” so I had set up three stations for creative fun. The first table had Disney-themed food such as Mickey Mouse ears cupcakes, a “create your own trail mix bar”, and “brain juice”, which to the dismay of the Disney villains, weren’t really made from brains but was there to fuel the kiddos brains. On the second table we had a crafts table which included cut out Mickey ears and foam stickers, Disney coloring pages, and Disney bubbles.  And the third table was the goodie bag table in which I included all the extra prizes that were given to me including some extra sponsors for my party such as Good Boy Organics, the Disney store in Brea, and TruSweet.

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My son and I truly love hosting our very own “Show Your Disney Side” celebration and I am ever grateful for the wonderful folks at Disney and Moms Select/BSM Media for choosing me again this year. Everyone including me dressed in something Disney and we were happily showing our Disney side. I would also like to thank HP for the printer photo paper, ALL detergent, Wisk detergent, Snuggle Fabric Softener, Beyond Meat, and of course Disney. I didn’t expect so many goodies to come in my party pack but we had so much fun trying them out and using them.

If you’re interested in hosting your own non-sponsored Disney Side celebration, you can visit: www.DisneySide.com for ideas on how to have one. There are no rules in how to throw your own DisneySide party. It could be as simple as a child’s birthday party or as extravagant as a full on costume ball. However you want to show your Disney side is up to you – just remember to have fun and enjoy the moments!

Disclaimer: I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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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