Posted by: suzan | September 27, 2016

10 WAYS KIDS CAN ROCK IT HEALTHY – WEEK 2

herbs

For the second week of helping our kids become healthier individuals, I wanted to write about herb planting in the fall. Herbs are extremely easy and inexpensive to plant and take care of and most herbs are completely suitable for children of any age. Herbs come in Annual, Perennial, and Evergreen Perennial, so if you do some simple planning you’ll have fresh herbs year round that the kids can help you trim off when you’re ready to use them. And I can guarantee that there isn’t at least one herb that your child won’t like. Most herbs are already found grounded or snipped into soups, sauces, and sautes and if your child likes pasta just as much as mine does, there are already at least a couple of herbs in there (try basil and thyme).

Herbs are forever easy to grow and maintain. They contain super healthy health benefits. And they look pretty sitting in a clay pot or in their own secluded spot in the garden. Because of their ease in growing and usage, herbs are also a great beginner’s plant so it’s highly suitable for kids to learn how to start planting.

Below I’ve outlined some of the easiest and most common herbs to plant as well as some unusual herbs that you have to try just because they’re so unique. Teach your children the incredible health benefits of herbs as well as the start of loving the art of gardening.

Annual Herbs (herbs that live up to a year and may die off once the cold weather comes):

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – Basil thrives in warm weather so this annual herb may grow year round depending on your region. Basil is great in hearty dishes such as soups and stews. Medicinal purposes include aromatherapy, memory focus, bug repellent, antioxidant, and anti-fungal.

Cilantro/Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) – Cilantro has a slight bite to it so it’s great for kicking up a recipe that calls for similar type herbs. Medicinal purposes include aiding digestion, cleans breath, and anti-inflammatory.

Dill (Anethum graveolens)  Dill has a very strong fragrance and taste to it so it’s easily recognizable. It’s what you’ll find in many pickling techniques as it’s also great for preserving vegetables. Medicinal purposes include aiding digestion, insect repellent, and aromatherapy.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – Parsley can also be grown up to two years depending on the region. Parsley can be used in salads and soups and has a light and refreshing taste. Medicinal purposes include antibacterial, supports healthy blood flow, and enhances the immune system. Click here for an easy and great-tasting Pesto sauce using Parsley.*

Perennial Herbs (herbs that can live two or more years often growing and spreading each year):

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Chives are similar in taste to green onions and scallions and can be used in similar cooking methods. Medicinal purposes include detoxifying the body, aids in digestion, and improves vision health.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)  Fennel is mostly used for its seeds and has a similar spicy taste to anise seeds. Fennel is great in salads and soups and the fresh fennel stems can be eaten raw much like celery. Medicinal purposes include aiding digestion, preventing inflammation, and improving immune system.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)  Ginger is a flowering plant but is mostly used for its roots. Ginger has many uses for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It can be quite spicy depending on the amount you use and is great as drink tonics and is prominent in Asian food recipes. Medicinal purposes include digestive aid, nausea, and antibacterial properties.

Mint (Mentha) Mint is pretty well known to kids as an ingredient found in chewing gum and toothpaste. Because of this familiar taste, mint can also be used to flavor beverages and in soups. There are many variations of mint and each mint holds its own distinct flavor such as chocolate mint, spearmint, and peppermint. Medicinal purposes include digestive aid, aromatherapy, and bug repellent.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)  Oregano is popularly used as a dried herb and can be found in most stews and sauces. This herb is extremely hardy and easy to grow and has a pleasant fragrance. Medicinal purposes include antibacterial properties, antiseptic, and supports immune system.

Evergreen Perennial Herbs (hardy herbs that grow into shrubs and can stay green all winter long):

Bay (Laurus nobilis)  Bay leaves or bay laurel has a very distinct flavor and taste that can be found in most stews and sauces. It is mainly used for flavoring and not commonly known to eat the entire leaf. Medicinal purposes include antioxidant properties, stimulates appetite, and bug repellent.

Lavender (Lavandula) Lavender comes in many varieties and are most popularly known  for its fragrance rather than its culinary uses. Lavender can be used in soups and beverages as it has a very distinct flavor and taste. Medicinal purposes include aromatherapy, bug repellent, and soothes headaches.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)  Rosemary has a natural evergreen appeal and can be used as a decorative plant rather than for culinary uses. However, Rosemary is commonly used as a seasoning and flavor enhancer in soups and meat dishes. Medicinal purposes include antioxidant properties, bug repellent, and antibacterial properties.

Thyme (Thymus) Thyme plants thrive in hot, dry weather and once established can handle dry spells. The fragrant sprigs of thyme works well in soups and as seasoning for meat dishes. There are also many variations of Thyme so choose one or two that works well with your culinary purposes. Thyme is commonly used in all-natural alcohol free hand sanitizers and has been used for many centuries to prevent infections. Medicinal purposes include antibacterial purposes, detoxifying purposes, and bronchial illnesses.

As with all herbs and plants, please use cautionary concern when eating and cultivating herbs. Certain herbs have more beneficial properties than others and/or have more dangers as well. When choosing herbs to plant, find them at well-known nurseries and preferably organic to ensure seeds and seedlings were not treated with chemicals. Most herbs can be planted straight into the ground with fresh soil while others are wonderful as tabletop plants and grown indoors.

So this week or any other week, take your children to the local nursery and pick out a few herbs to start planting. Fall is a great time of year to plant herbs as the weather is still nice enough for these herbs to thrive and flourish.

*Recipe taken with permission from Delicious Living magazine/New Hope Network.

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 | September 19, 2016

10 WAYS KIDS CAN ROCK IT HEALTHY – EVERY DAY TIPS

GARDEN ALSO (2)

As adults we tend to forget that what matters to kids is really a big deal to them. That’s why it’s so important for parents to teach their children to do good things and to make better choices. Since I was a young child, my mom tried to instill in me important lessons of life and one of them was to do what I could to keep the environment healthy and clean. I don’t think I fully grasped what all of it meant back then but recycling and reusing what I could became more of a habit for me. Long ago when resources weren’t as vast and many people could only use what nature gave them, saving and reusing were part of daily life. Now, we may tend to take advantage of all the conveniences and necessities and we lose track of the good things our parents may have taught us when we were younger.

Ever since advocating for healthier alternatives to the products we buy and use, my friends often ask me about which products to buy for home and personal use. Some friends heed my suggestions and gradually include natural and organic products into their lives while others are still skeptic. But for those who are still skeptical I tell them to look at the current news and review past information and compare to what they heard before. The natural and organic industry has been surely but vastly sweeping the nation and our world and people are getting wiser about the products they purchase and use and the food they buy and eat. This however, goes triple for our kids. Children are easily accessible to all the toxins found in food and every day products they use and because of their growing bodies, these toxins hit them even harder than an average adult.

I’ve come up with 10 ways we can teach our kids the importance of living a healthier and less toxic life and that all starts with appreciating what Earth gives us. Nature is all around us and it’s up to us and our future generations to prolong the beauty of nature.

Every week I will introduce a new idea to teach your kids about the importance of protecting the environment and how it’s a constant cycle. If our kids understand the importance of taking care of the environment they will naturally learn to eat better and to make wiser choices in what they do.

Let’s start off this week with Back to School lunch and snacks. I admit I fall for the glamorous photos on Instagram and Pinterest where parents painstakingly cut out adorable shapes and sizes of sandwiches and fruit and turn their children’s lunches into virtual works of art. I honestly wish I had the time to do that and it’s not for lack of talent, I personally just don’t think my son would make a big deal about how jazzed up his lunchbox may look like. But lunchboxes are important just the same no matter how you decorate it or how creative you make it. Our children eat lunch at school every day and if you’re going to be packing their lunches, let’s make sure the food is both nutritious and enticing enough for them to finish all of it.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

– Let your kids pick out a few of their favorite snacks (healthy of course) so they feel some control of what goes into their lunchboxes. For a nutritious and sweet snack, try this No Bake Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar. *

– It’s okay if you don’t always include fruits or vegetables in their lunchbox. As long as you provide enough during breakfast and dinner, lunch doesn’t have to be a battle with your kids.

– If you do feel inclined to include vegetables and fruits, include easy to eat fruits such as grapes, clementines, and thinly sliced organic apples. Great vegetables would be sweet and juicy grape tomatoes, kale chips, and cubed cucumbers. These “finger” foods make it easier for kids to eat with their hands.

 – Make a picnic style lunch where you include healthy cold cuts, cheese, and crackers so your child can create his own meal.

 – When you take your children grocery shopping, show them the difference in ingredients label. Let them know what junk food is and what healthier versions are.

 – Always include water in your child’s lunch. Try to resist juice or soda! 

 – Always read food labels of what you buy. Especially for kids!

 – Buy organic whenever possible. It’s better for your health and for the environment.

Lunch and snacks don’t have to be constant battles with kids. As long as they know the difference between better-for-you food and food that are just bad for you then you’ll have a healthier eater and a less pickier complainer.

 

* Recipe taken with permission from New Hope Network/Delicious Living magazine.

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 | August 19, 2016

Get Ready for Fall the Healthy Way

 

BTS

As summer wanes slowly into fall and the warm sultry evenings drift into cooler temperature, I start to panic that suddenly school will start all too soon. Every year I try to prepare as early as possible but somehow I still feel as if I’m missing an item or two. There is just too much to plan for, too much to organize, and too much to buy ahead of time. I hate procrastinating but looking at the long list of school supplies and figuring out what is truly needed, back to school shopping has become more of a chore than joy. Luckily, as my son is entering third grade this year, I feel that I have some experience on what to get and plan for this new school year so that I can weed out the fluff items.

Being prepared for anything in life is a goal we should all strive for. If you have children sometimes that may seem impossible but in the long run it will save time and sanity. Some of my friends started getting ready for the school year as early as July but to me they’re more like “pro” parents, always a step ahead of anyone. And while I would love to say I can plan ahead like no other, truth is there will always be something getting in the way. But plan ahead for the fall season is a must and probably the best way to keep my head above waters.
In order to get us and our kids ready for the new school year, I’ve gathered some useful and healthy tips for the fall season:

In August:

  • Start planning on natural and organic school lunches and snacks. Many schools do not provide enough whole nutrition in their meals so if you’re packing lunch for your kids, be sure to plan ahead on what is healthy and delicious enough for them to actually finish their food. Good sites to try with creative and mouth-watering recipes are: Weelicious: http://weelicious.com, Delicious Living: http://deliciousliving.com, Taste for Life: http://www.tasteforlife.com, Whole Foods: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com, and Kiwi magazine: www.kiwimagonline.com. Packing your own lunch is also a great money saver and you have more control of what goes into your child’s stomach. And hopefully they actually eat their lunches instead of trading off with their friends. If you keep it delicious and healthy, your kids will most likely enjoy them to the very last bite.

LUNCHSKINS

  • Save money buy reusing your children’s school bags and lunch bags if they are still in good working condition. If not, be sure to buy ones that are BPA free and reusable with safer materials. Great lunch sacks are ones that can be easily washed by hand and with resealable packaging. Try shopping at natural grocery stores for adorable and durable reusable lunch containers and school items such as pencils, pencil cases, and backpacks or tote bags. If bags are not reusable but recyclable, check with your local recycling agencies to see if they’ll recycle them. Otherwise, if they are gently used, try donating them to local charities.
  • If your child’s school has a school supply list, reuse supplies that are left over from last year or if you bought extra ones. Many school lists are just a guideline and not really a requirement. If it’s not your child’s first year in school, weed out the list to include only the essentials such as pencils, erasers, binder, glue, scissors, coloring pencils or crayons (depending on age), ruled paper, and copy paper. Other non-essential items can be brought in throughout the year or ask the teacher what he/she needs the most. As soon as you get the list, start assessing what you need and what can wait and look for deals at your local stores and online.
  • Organize and set aside a shelf low enough for your kids to grab an after school snack on their own. For the refrigerator, keep healthy and fun snacks including grab-and-go yogurt, cheese sticks, and cut fruit and vegetables in small, nicely shaped sizes. Use cookie cutters for your fruits if possible so that young kids will enjoy eating them. For the pantry, keep items such as dried fruit, baked chips, and dried nuts but remember to store them in smaller sizes so kids won’t feel too full to eat dinner.
  • Prepare your kids for the new school year by talking to them about their new class and new schoolmates. If there are children entering school for the first time, be sure to prepare them ahead of time so they know what to expect. Take them to their new school a few times before the school year starts to familiarize them with the campus. Read books to them about starting school or find great articles online. Let them pick out some of their favorite items for school and home so they feel some control of their new school life and “growing up”. Establish bedtime routines, clear guidelines about homework, and getting to school on time every day. Reassure them that school is both fun and educational and will help them become better individuals.
  • About a week before school starts, ease your kids into a new school routine. Set earlier bedtimes and wake up earlier so students can be prepared for a more structured schedule. Gather your kids new school clothes and set them in their own area. Organize their school supplies into their own bins and containers at an easily accessible place at home. The more organized you are, the less stress for later.

COMPOST

In September:

  • Once school has officially started, kids will feel both excited and anxious. Depending on the age and location, there could be tons of homework or none at all. Set up a calendar to help you and your kids stay on track and from being overburdened with activities. Keep a dry-erase board or large desk calendar to enter dates as soon as you know them. Many schools has schedules ready for the entire school year so take advantage of inputting the information.
  • Afterschool activities are bound to come up for the school year. Whether they are hosted at your child’s school or a private location, remember to find balance between afterschool activities, studying, playtime, and getting enough sleep. Afterschool activities can also get quite costly, so try to find ones that are both beneficial to their mental and physical growth without taking up too much of your child’s time.
  • Organize a proper filing system for your child’s important papers. A file cabinet or binder will work well when you need to file and organize schoolwork or artwork and other important details like papers that need to be signed and filed away. At the front of the binder, I like to keep a copy of the class schedule, contacts, and class lists so I can easily find them. Every semester go through the papers and determine what should be kept (and store them in bins) or throw away. If there are too many memorabilia, take snapshots of ones you don’t really need to keep but hesitant to throw away so that you can at least have a digital file.
  • For your garden or the school’s garden, fall is the perfect time to start composting for the spring planting season. If you can compost at school somehow, not only will it help reduce food waste and keep the school cleaner, but it will help maintain the gardens in and around your school. Home Depot’s garden club offers great composting tips here: http://gardenclub.homedepot.com/tag/compost/. As well as Martha Stewart’s website: http://www.marthastewart.com/331845/composting-101. If you’re planning on composting at home, not only will it help reduce waste in your home, but will help your own gardens flourish throughout the season.
  • Once school has started for a few weeks, have another chat with your kids about their school. Ask them about their new teacher and classmates. If it’s a brand new school, make a habit of getting to know your child’s new teacher and principal. They are after all, some of the best resources in helping your child develop well in school and will help your children learn the importance of establishing relationships with school staff. If it’s necessary to meet with the teacher or principal, try to speak with the teacher first regarding your child’s progress. Most likely, if your child is having a problem at school, they will have already contacted you first.

Fall can be a wonderful season whether you have kids or not. It’s the beginning of cooler weather and preparing for the winter months ahead. If you’re like some people, planning ahead for the upcoming busy season will help not only yourself, but those around you. And if you do have children, remember that taking things easy once in awhile and just letting things go with the flow will help you decompress. Even if you’re not so perfect, remember the old saying, “through chaos there is clarity”.

Have a healthy and happy fall season!

 

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 | August 4, 2016

Inside the Bottle -Supplement Industry Mystery Solved

ITB_Promo_4_Pinterest

As a vegetarian, I know I don’t get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis. And I’m willing to bet that most people are the same whether they are vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores, or anything in between. The fact that it’s hard enough eating the right balance of vegetables and fruits, protein, and food that gives us energy throughout the day, it’s no wonder we get stressed out, run down, and develop chronic illnesses.

I’ve been enthralled with the natural vitamins and supplements industry for many years and rely a great deal on natural supplements and vitamins to fill in the gaps and fortify what I already normally eat. Because I’m constantly running around all day I feel my energy completely depleted by the end of the day and then I still have to keep going. Finding the right balance between food and supplements is very important to me and I’m usually eager to try supplements that will enhance my health and well-being. But do I go natural or conventional? For me, natural is always the first choice in any type of vitamins or supplements that go in my body. I don’t want to add additional strain to my body by polluting it with non-natural supplements.

Vitamins and supplements have been around for many years but because their authenticity has been questioned by consumers, media, and retailers, the natural supplement industry has taken extraordinary measures to validate their authenticity. Clinical evidence and intensive research as well as doctors of the medical community have realized that supplement use along with a healthy lifestyle can dramatically improve a person’s health. Studies and tests show that people who take supplements regularly also develop a healthier outlook to life. Because of the connections, natural supplements may work in conjunction to overall well being.

9 Nutrients You Are Not Getting Enough Of:

  1. CALCIUM (especially for young children and older adults)

  2. VITAMIN D

  3. FIBER

  4. POTASSIUM

  5. COENZYME Q10

  6. IRON (especially for women)

  7. MAGNESIUM

  8. OMEGA-3s

  9. VITAMIN K12

But why exactly do we need supplements you may ask? Well, the first apparent fact is that we don’t eat enough of the proper balance of food on a daily basis. As stated earlier, with every day stress added to not eating a well balanced nutrition, it’s even more important to add supplements into our lives. Second, because of conventional farming throughout the world, rich and vital nutrients found in plants have become watered down, or down graded so to speak. Add in toxic and conventional soil, fertilizers, and pesticides, our precious environment can eventually lose its original organic compounds found many many years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if current trends continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. Soils are the basis of life. Ninety-five percent of our food comes from the soil. Beyond producing food and fibers, soils play a key role in absorbing carbon and filtering water.

NEW HOPE

Today, farmers and companies are branching out to organic and regenerative  agriculture practices to improve soil health. Rich in trace minerals and other phytonutrients, healthy soil naturally boosts plants’ immunity, believed to contribute to higher nutrient levels in organic foods. A 2014 review of research published in the British Journal of Nutrition confirmed that organic foods contain higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown foods—and that conventional foods contain greater concentrations of pesticides and the toxic metal cadmium.

With our foods compromised and our health affected as the end result, companies and experts are stressing the importance of adding high quality supplements into our lives. But because there are so many supplement companies out there, people tend to be skeptical of them, criticizing that companies only want to make money out of consumers. While that may be true to some extent for certain companies, it is imperative to do our own research and learn as much as we can about the supplement and vitamin industry.

SUPPLEMENTS

So how can we trust the supplement industry? Supplements are regulated and certified through the FDA and third-party organizations. We can also ask health professionals in the natural health industry. And, we can see how transparent a supplement company is. There shouldn’t be anything to hide in the ingredients when they are completely natural. There are very few proprietary blends companies use and even then they should be wholly transparent in where they source their ingredients. Below are specific third-party organizations that uses additional quality testing on ingredients and products to make sure the claims are accurate. Be sure to look out for them on bottle labels.

SUPPLEMENT CERTIFICATIONS:

USP. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention verifies finished products and ingredients. Verification requirements: Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) audit, product and ingredient testing and manufacturing documentation review.

NPA GMP certification. Companies must remain members of the Natural Products Association; facilities are audited every two years.

NSF Dietary Supplement certification. Beyond GMP audits, these products have been independently tested and meet standards for label claim, toxicology and contaminants.

NSF Certified for Sport® certification. In addition to GMP audits and product tests, these products are also verified on a lot-by-lot basis to be free from 200-plus athletic-banned substances.

Certified Gluten-Free. The Gluten-Free Certification Organization certifies to less than 10 ppm, using two rigorous standardized testing methods.

UL Verified. A newer seal from 150-year-old Underwriter Laboratories, best known for verifying consumer products from electronics to data security. These products and ingredients have received facilities audits and have been tested for purity, potency and lack of contaminants.

ISURA seal guarantees products are non-GMO, safe, pure and potent. ISURA uses state-ofthe-art equipment to identify genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms. It also uses mass spectrometry to test for over 400 pesticides, solvents, heavy metals and other contaminants.

NSF GMP Registered. Indicates twice-yearly GMP audit of facilities by NSF International.

Understanding the complex framework of the supplement industry can be quite daunting as new information on top of original information gets added or changed. New Hope Network, a leader in the natural health industry, gathered extensive information to help consumers understand why Americans have become greatly dependent on medicine including natural supplements and vitamins, and how to make the right decisions when choosing natural supplements. There has been an influx of information from many directions whether positively reporting the supplement industry or not and it’s critical for consumers to get accurate and proper information.

To make it a bit easier to understand the vast natural supplements industry, I’ve broken down key points to hopefully help you make informed decisions. Below is a chart on selecting high-quality multivitamins to help you get the optimum results.

SUPPLEMENTS GUIDE

And tips on choosing high-quality supplements:

TIPS FOR SUPPLEMENTS

Along with deciding what our bodies need and finding the right supplements to support our bodies, there are also many other factors to consider. The type of supplement is one important factor we must include. Supplements can range anything from single ingredient to more complex blends of vitamins and minerals. Choosing the form is also important if you prefer liquid, capsules, or gummy form. And additionally, who we’re buying the supplements from can play a crucial role in how effective they are and whether we’re supporting big pharmacies or small companies with more discerning standards.

Many companies including MegaFood, NeoCell, and Rainbow Light are determined to bring more transparency into the natural supplements world and educating the public on the importance of incorporating natural supplements into our daily routine. Higher standards are being met or exceeded as not only are companies hoping to gain more customers but working with their own suppliers have boosted their business practices.

To get a complete understanding of the supplement and vitamin industry, download this informative eGuide here: http://deliciousliving.com/eguide-inside-bottle-understanding-supplements-today

Editor’s note: Parts of this post were taken with permission from New Hope Network/Delicious Living Magazine. Sources are directly from New Hope Network.

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 2, 2016

Chick-fil-A Moms Panel Upcycle Challenge

CHICKFILAMOMS

As a Chick-fil-A mom, I’m honored to have been chosen to be a part of this very unique and fun moms panel this year. Being a Chick-fil-A mom panelist has its rewards but what is even more rewarding is spreading the goodness of Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is known for their generosity, their high quality food, and for their stewardship to the environment.

I was challenged, among my other fellow panelists to come up with an upcycling project using Chick-fil-A’s salad tray. Although the tray is not entirely biodegradable it can be upcycled to be used many, many times over. Upcycling means making something new out of an old product. In essence, you don’t need to throw away something that can be upcycled.

20160601_172007

I racked my brains trying to come up with some clever ideas and the other mom panelists came up with some awesome ones. Finally my son who loves his Lego said, “Mom, why don’t we make something that has to do with Lego.” And instead of going to the store to buy more materials because we are trying to be more environmentally friendly with this challenge, I looked around the house and his play area for some ideas. I remembered that we still had some Wikki Stix and recalling a project that my son did with a plastic cup before, we decided to Wikki Stix the salad carton into a Lego carton. Let me just say that my son has A LOT of Lego pieces everywhere and it’s always a headache trying to round them up or put them away.

20160601_180107

So, if you’re looking for ideas on what do with those plastic trays that end up in the landfill, look around your house for some ideas and upcycle them!

And just today, Chick-fil-A came out with a new App called Chick-fil-A ONE where you can order directly from the App and the App will remember and track your orders and you can rack up free treats too! Here are the details: https://one.chick-fil-a.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

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | May 23, 2016

Organic Gardening For Life

ORGANIC GARDENING

My dad grew up on a farm and learned the trade as a means of necessity. What they grew on their farm was mostly what they ate. He’s always had a green thumb where everything he planted grew and flourished. My siblings and I were pretty lucky growing up in my parents house and our backyard was always abundant with fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables. As I grew older I got to appreciate the scrumptious bounty and I told myself that once I have my own house, I would indeed need to grow my own garden.

Now, as a volunteer at my son’s school I was given the opportunity to run a garden club at his school. With only a handful of experience based on what I learned from my parents, I built an organic garden for the students at his school.  And what a delight it has been learning and teaching at the same time, watching the kids run excitedly to the garden center during the meetings and enjoying the harvest at peak picking times. Just as much as the kids love to pluck off a sweet fresh strawberry, I too love tending to these plants, nurturing them and helping them flourish into something delicious and rewarding.

Gardening doesn’t have to be intimidating or time-consuming. In fact, it can be one of the most relaxing ways of spending time with yourself or with your kids. Teaching your children the wonderful benefits of gardening can help them flourish and learn to appreciate nature and a healthy lifestyle. With the idea of Farm to Table, we can teach our kids that what we grow is what we eat. Similar theory applies to grocery shopping in stores but when you grow your own produce, it is much healthier and the flavor indeed better than the store bought versions!

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Start with an organic garden where it’s healthier for you and for the environment. Organic means not using any type of toxic pesticides or herbicides in your plants and ensuring that the soil is organic as well.

Here are some easy and basic tips to help you start your own organic garden:

Step One:

Decide where you are going to have your organic garden. If you’re a novice, start small whether it’s in a raised garden bed or a few larger-sized planters. Use only organic soil and have proper drainage such as hole on the bottom of the planters and soil that’s a good blend of nutrients. Go to your local nursery and pick up a few bags of organic soil and mix them in the planters thoroughly. If you’re planting directly into the ground, be sure to test your soil as original soil may not have enough nutrients or the proper amount. Amend the soil if necessary.

Step Two:

Choose your plants by deciding first what you want to grow and the purpose of growing them. Do you want an abundant garden of fresh vegetables? Or fresh herbs? Or a mixture of herbs and vegetables? Do you want to grow easy fruits such as strawberries and citrus? Write down what you think you would like to eat on a regular basis and visit the local nursery for seasonal ideas. Make sure that what you grow is actually right for your region. If you’re buying seedling plants from the store, they are most likely ready for your region. If growing from seeds, read the packet to determine if the plants are appropriate for your region and the season. Oftentimes stores will have year-round seeds as it’s most cost effective for them, but can be a headache for the consumer who doesn’t understand the exact growing season. And when buying seedlings or seeds, make sure they are organic.

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Step Three:

Proper fertilization is necessary for a healthy bounty of fresh plants. You can either buy the necessary compost at your local nursery or make your own. For homemade compost, check out this article: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home. Organic compost, the most popular type of fertilizer, enriches the soil, retains moisture and suppresses pests and diseases.

Step Four:

Pest control is probably the most time-consuming process of growing and maintaining a healthy garden. At first when we grew lettuce and cabbage at my son’s garden center, we saw aphids and ants practically taking over the plants. I was so frustrated as I didn’t devote enough time during growing season to properly prevent and get rid of these pesky plant eaters. Later I learned that not only do natural pest controllers such as ladybugs can benefit the garden, but that planting certain types of “companion planting” and “ally planting” can help prevent or reduce pests. Companion planting is planting certain vegetables next to each other. The plants enhance each other’s flavor and growth, and healthy plants are less susceptible to pests. Conversely, there are certain plants that should never be grouped together. For instance if you’re growing beans,  good companions are cucumber, celery, carrot and radish, but never plant beans near garlic or onion or you’ll stunt the beans’ growth.

Ally planting is planting specific herbs or flowers near vegetables to repel or confuse insects. Plant summer savory near your beans to discourage bean beetles. Chives deter aphids on peas, and basil repels flies and mosquitoes on tomatoes, while also improving growth and flavor. Marigolds deter beetles on cucumbers, and mint and sage deter cabbage moth.

Step Five:

Controlling weeds are a necessity in maintaining a good garden. Weeds are a hassle for any type of gardening but you don’t have to let them run your life or your garden’s life. To stop weeds before they start, you can cover the garden’s surface with an organic mulch; not only will it reduce weed-seed germination and suppress weeds trying to emerge, the right mulch can also retain moisture and act as an insulator, keeping the soil cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather. Popular organic mulches include hardwood and softwood barks, crushed corncobs, spent hops from local breweries, peat moss and pine needles. You can also pull weeds with your hands but make sure you pull out the entire root.

Step Six:

Now it’s time to enjoy your harvest! Pick your plants at the peak of their ripeness so that you’re getting the freshest, sweetest, and juiciest plants. Once the plants are past their peak, plants can be tougher and drier on the inside. You can still eat them but they won’t taste as fresh. If you’ve grown too much to eat, try giving them to your neighbors or freezing them, canning, or fermenting.

For more info and helpful tips on growing your own organic garden, please visit the Delicious Living website: http://deliciousliving.com/green-living/how-start-your-own-organic-vegetable-garden?cid=nhbc.

Organic Consumers Association: https://www.organicconsumers.org/, Organic Trade Association: https://www.ota.com/

HAPPY GARDENING!

Editor’s note: Parts of this post were taken with permission from Delicious Living magazine. Sources are directly from Delicious Living magazine.

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 22, 2016

Hero Nutritionals Slice of Life B12 Energy

 

HERO NUTRITIONAL LOGO

Are there times when you feel like you’re running around like a mad person doing a million things all at once, and yet wonder what you really accomplished at the end of the day? There are times when I think it would be nice to go back to the good old days when things weren’t too complicated or over emphasized just to make life even more complicated. Then again, I humbly look at my smartphone and all the wonderful things it does for me and realize that no, I can’t really live without the advanced technology either. It is indeed a vicious cycle we live in.

When I’m literally being pulled in all directions my energy gets depleted and I feel like a walking zombie. Maybe it’s getting older and this energy train we’re all riding on needs a few more stops here and there. I know that eating properly and getting enough rest is essential but sometimes I need a little extra help from the vitamins and supplement world.

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I firmly believe in taking necessary vitamins and supplements to fill in the gaps that your body needs on a daily basis. One simply can not eat the proper balance of vitamins and minerals that a healthy body requires. In essence, we can function on the right amount of a proper balance of vitamins and minerals found in food, but even the healthiest person in the world will require some help now and then.

When I spoke with my rep at Hero Nutritionals (http://heronutritionals.com) in regards to finding a good supplement to put the energy back into my life, she suggested that I try their Energy + B12 vitamin which comes in a gummy form. Hero Nutritionals sent me an adorable package consisting of their mascot girl bear, Slice of Life Complete Multi gummy, Slice of Life Energy + B12 gummy, and Slice of Life Omega-3 gummy. Having tried various types of vitamins and supplements I have to say that gummy vitamins are the easiest and most palatable way of eating vitamins. I know my son prefer his vitamins this way and I don’t blame him for it’s kind of like eating gummy candy.

HERO NUTRITIONAL

Hero Nutritional Slice of Life is their “adult” brand in comparison to their children’s Yummi Bears gummy vitamins. After extensive research and experience they believe that supplement in gummy form is more accepting in both adults and children. The Energy + B12 formula includes a complete blend of Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, and Folic Acid to naturally help transform food into energy. It has a slightly sweet flavor comprised of black cherry and cran-rasberry. All of Hero Nutritional vitamins and supplements are free of gluten, yeast, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, artificial flavors, artificial colors and artificial preservatives.

I’ve learned and experienced that not everyone needs a daily multi vitamin because every body is different. While some people may need a complete balanced formulation of a multi vitamin, I find that it’s easier on my body when  I take singular vitamins. Most human bodies don’t require a daily multi vitamin as the body will naturally keep what is needed and eliminate the excess, so singular vitamins and supplements help target areas that you may need help with. Because everyone’s body is different and it all depends on how active you are and what you eat, finding the right vitamin and supplement is like finding the right house to buy. You need to do a bit of research and understand exactly what your body needs. Some of us are fine without any vitamins and supplements, but depending on your age and health we all may need a bit of help now and then.

My son and I have been using Hero Nutritional for many years and because they have such a great variety of vitamins and supplements I’ve had the opportunity to try most of their vitamins. If you don’t like taking anything in pill form, the gummies might be a good choice for you and if you’re looking for vitamins for your kids, the gummies are definitely easier for them to take.

Hero Nutritionals produces a wonderful assortment of vitamins and supplements for almost every need. They have an extensive line of children’s vitamins including their Yummi Bears Complete Multi Vitamin, Immunity Health, Vitamin C, Wholefood and Antioxidants, Vitamin D3, Omega 3, and many others. Their adult vitamins are the Slice of Life Complete Multi, Energy + B12, Omega 3 with Chia Seed, Vitamin D3, and many others. Hero Nutritionals can be found in natural grocery stores and most supermarkets in the U.S. If you’re interested in learning more about Hero Nutritional and the vitamin and supplements they offer, please visit their website: http://heronutritionals.com/.

 

Disclaimer: Taking any form of vitamins is a personal decision based on individual health and needs. If you have any questions, please contact the product companies directly and/or consult a health professional. Happymomblogger does not make any health claims other than for herself.

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 16, 2016

Van’s Ultimate Giveaway

VANS IMAGE

A lot of cool things happen in the month of May but it’s also Celiac Awareness Month. For those who have sensitivity to gluten or gluten related products, Celiac disease can be extremely hard to deal with when it comes to food.

Van’s Foods has an entire line of certified gluten-free products for those who are gluten-intolerant, gluten sensitive, or just want to limit the amount of gluten products in their lives. Their gluten-free products include yummy breakfast items such as cereal snack bars, waffles, cereal, crackers, pasta, and their newest gluten-free granola. Their gluten-free granola are chewy and not too sweet so they’re great in milk, over yogurt, or just as they are. Delicious flavors include Banana Nut, Double Chocolate, Blueberry Walnut, and Cranberry Almond. For their entire lineup of gluten-free food, please visit their website: http://www.vansfoods.com/our-products-all-gluten-free.

And for some inspiration on how to jazz up Van’s Foods gluten-free products take a look at some of the recipes below:

Chocolate Rasberry Frozen Yogurt Bites:

http://www.vansfoods.com/Blog_Detail/id/462/Chocolate_Raspberry_Frozen_Yogurt_Bites

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Cherry Spinach Tart Smoothie Bowl:

http://www.vansfoods.com/Blog_Detail/id/461/Cherry_Spinach_Tart_Smoothie_Bowl

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Van’s Foods is hosting a very spectacular giveaway in May where the grand prize will be:

$100 Visa gift card, Van’s tote, Van’s water bottle, two cute, reusable snack sacks and coupons for free Van’s Foods. The winner will also receive an extra set of swag to give to a friend! 

Van’s Foods giveaway runs on all Van’s social media sites but you can enter directly through my blog. Be sure to enter by clicking on Happymomblogger to be counted as an contest entry. The Van’s giveaway runs from May 13, 2016 to May 29, 2016.

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/45e72bd419/?

 

Best of Luck!

 

Disclaimer: The Van’s Foods giveaway is not hosted by Happymomblogger. Clicking on the giveaway link provided will take you to Van’s Foods giveaway site. For rules and regulations please contact Van’s Foods.

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 29, 2016

Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) Grand Opening Ceremony

NEW EFP LOGO

It was a beautiful and sunny day on Thursday, April 21 when I drove up to the new corporate facility for Earth Friendly Products. The grand opening of their new facility timed perfectly with Earth Day as dignitaries, business associates, and the media all converged on this auspicious occasion. With the grand opening of its flagship manufacturing facility in Southern California, Earth Friendly Products is known amongst all sustainable business companies for their highest caliber of natural and safe home cleaning products sold throughout the U.S. Because of their all-natural, non-toxic ingredients, EFP has quickly become a favorite in households across the U.S.

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What started as a humble idea to bring non-toxic cleaning products to homes in the U.S. back in 1967, Earth Friendly Products eventually grew to be an international household sensation with manufacturing facilities stretching from coast to coast. From the love of the original founder Van Vlahakis, Earth Friendly Products was created to bring safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly household products to a generation where non-toxic products are vastly rising in the U.S. All of their raw materials are sourced from sustainable plants and locally when possible. Their manufacturing facilities boasts zero waste policies that won them the acclaimed Zero Waste Platinum certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Council (USZWBC). To be certified Zero Waste, a company must divert all end-use material from the landfill or incinerator, while achieving a minimum of 90% diversion. At Earth Friendly Products, they achieved over 95% of this goal which won them the esteemed Platinum award.

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks family executive team and mayor Mariellen Yarc at Ribbon Cutting

I was extremely appreciative for being invited to Earth Friendly Product’s grand opening at Cypress, California. Not only was the weather beautiful, but the air was clean and fresh, the people attending friendly and excited, and most of all, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, the President and CEO of EFP and daughter of the original founder, was naturally graceful and kind as always. I had the sincere pleasure of meeting her several years ago and then again this year at the Natural Products Expo.

 

ECOS environmentally friendly cleaning products

At the grand opening ceremony, we were able to tour the entire facility starting from the front lobby to the product development department, to the manufacturing warehouse, and finally to the upstairs corporate offices. We even had the opportunity to see one of the scientists test their raw materials – just like in high school science lab! From the research and development area we had a private tour of how the manufacturing process worked. Inside the zero waste facility employees were busy filling up bottles, labeling packages, and ensuring that all of Earth Friendly Products meet their highest product standards. After all, Kelly frequently tours the entire building to ensure her products are safe and efficient.

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After the grand tour, we were treated to a delicious and healthy gourmet Farm to Table lunch that featured locally grown ingredients. I had the super yummy Chickpea and Carrot Stew with Golden Raisin and Cilantro paired with a Quinoa and Fresh Greens salad. The dining area was outdoors and I was surprised when we walked out to the grounds and saw solar panels flanking their center garden. The solar panels help run the facility and work alongside the company’s ethical belief in sustainability and reducing waste. At the garden, several socially and environmentally responsible businesses set up booths to showcase their products and hand out samples as well. I had a lot of fun picking out a very unique Baby Toes succulent plant to take home to my son.

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks Speaking Outside Cypress Facility1

The grand opening wrapped up nicely with Kelly and her staff thanking everyone for joining them on their very special day. Guests were given seed papers to plant at home as well as any samples provided by the vendors. Kelly, beautiful and elegant, wanted to stress the importance of sustainability and being socially responsible at a time when people and companies alike must realize that our planet needs our help. She strongly suggests that consumers buy responsibly and encourage businesses to look towards a cleaner and safer future with their products.

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Earth Friendly Products launched their new logo this year with the ECOS logo and all of their products are 100% transparent, safe, and sustainable. Their products are absolutely safe to use around people and pets and if you took a look at their labels and ingredients, you’d find regular household ingredients such as lavender, parsley, vinegar, and potatoes as part of their family of naturally sourced ingredients. All of their products are free from artificial dyes and fragrances, SLS-free, never tested on animals, and plant based with as much locally sourced materials as possible. Their products range from household cleaners to baby care, to pet care and can be found at natural products stores throughout the county as well as most supermarkets. For more information about Earth Friendly Products please visit their website: www.ecos.com, and their social media sites: https://www.facebook.com/ECOSLaundry/, https://twitter.com/efpclean,

https://www.instagram.com/ecoslaundry/, https://www.pinterest.com/ecoslaundryhttps://www.youtube.com/user/EarthFriendlyProduct

Thank you to Kelly and her team at Earth Friendly Products!

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 | April 22, 2016

Earth Day – April 22, 2016

earthday-promo

I’d like to think that every day should be Earth Day. After all, we live in a world where we have mast resources of practically anything we can get our hands on. Yet, as humans living on this planet, we are also destructing our own world and endangering our precious environment.

Earth Day was officially coined in April 1970 by a US Senator as the day to support environmental protection and awareness. Now celebrated across the world, Earth Day can be celebrated with even the smallest of acts. No gesture is too small for every step in helping the environment get healthy and abundant is the right step.

Following are some simple steps taken from New Hope Network (http://deliciousliving.com/green-living/4-ways-pay-it-forward-earth-day?cid=nhbc#slide) on how you can help this Earth Day:

You always recycle. You buy organic. But in honor of Earth Day (April 22), why not up the eco-friendly ante? Here are four fun ways you can show Mother Earth a little love.

  1. Live near a beach or a river? Organize a waterside cleanup day in your community. Offer prizes for the people who collect the most junk.

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  1. Instead of spraying weeds with herbicides, pour boiling water over weeds (just don’t splash the plants you actually want to keep).

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  1. If you’re up for a bigger project, transfer your water-sucking green lawn into a xeriscape, which uses attractive, native dry-loving plants to boost curb appeal.

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  1. Bring along small cotton bags to use in the grocery bulk and produce sections, instead of flimsy plastic bags. (Pictured: Flip & Tumble Produce Bags)

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So this Earth Day, pick up trash around your neighborhood, plant some trees or flowers, recycle responsibly, reuse what you can, turn off electricity when not in use, reduce your water usage, use recyclable water bottles, and pretty much anything you can put your mind to as long as you commit to helping the world become a cleaner and healthier place.

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

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