Posted by: suzan | April 15, 2019

Celebrate Earth Month – The Future is Now.

There’s a young student at my work that told me she was going to save the planet in the future. I replied back to her, “why not start saving it now? YOU are the future of the planet”. She thought about what I said for a few moments, nodded sagely, and said she would do “just that”. I can’t begin to tell you how happy and proud I felt at that child’s declaration. Though she is young, she has the right idea and a bright future of hope, love, and kindness ahead of her.

If all it took were courageous promises from young children to make our world a better place, then we might yet have hope for the future. Children have no preconceptions of how something should be. They either do it or they don’t. And while an adult can make just as magnanimous a promise, we often hesitate based on past experiences or preconceived judgment from others. But everyone can have hope for a brighter and better planet. Everyone can do their part – whether small or gigantic – to help heal our planet and hopefully give our children, our children’s children, and their future children a promise for a healthier world.

This year, as we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, let’s make a promise to do one small act. One act of kindness for our planet, our environment, our world. Whether it’s eliminating single use plastics in your lives or saving paper by using less, any small step can eventually lead to bigger steps. Our actions are like waves in the ocean: one ripple can carry through the entire planet.

Earth Month, or Earth Day can be celebrated in many ways. Below are some popular ideas and tried and true suggestions, but feel free to come up with some of your own. Get your family and friends to perform these acts of kindness for our planet and the impact will be even greater and worthwhile. Get your children involved. Get other children involved. For they ARE our future.

10 Acts of Kindness for our planet on Earth Day:

  • Reduce your intake of meat. In a 2018 report, a typical home in America can produce 8.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually through their food and energy consumption. 83 percent of that CO2 is related to food production. If you give up meat (such as beef, pork, and lamb) for just one week, you can reduce your carbon footprint by between 2,541 and 783 pounds a year!  WHAT YOU CAN DO: Bring a salad to work for lunch or have salad for dinner at home. If you’re not the salad type, you can reduce meat consumption other ways such as skipping meat in the household one week per month or every other month. Try meat alternatives such as soy, Tempeh, and legumes. While every food still produces energy and carbon footprint, plant based food produces much less and has long term health benefits. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Being a vegetarian is not for everyone. Heck, it took me a few years off from being a vegetarian to realize how great it felt to not eat meat again. But that’s me though and I made changes to fit my own lifestyle throughout the years. But you CAN do it! Just start small – one day a week of no meat can already make a great impact. Or even replace one meal each day for a week. You can choose either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Do you really need that slice of bacon in the morning? Or those sliced chicken in your salad at lunch? Or even a heavy piece of grilled steak for dinner? There are lots of innovative and DELICIOUS vegetarian style fare around you. Try it out!

  • Grow your own garden. Having your own garden – whether it’s a small patch in your backyard or acres worth – helps you control what you grow and what you eat. It also drastically reduces carbon footprint because you aren’t contributing to transportation of market produce and having to drive to the market for fresh vegetables. Imagine stepping outside your yard and picking out some freshly grown snap peas or plucking out a juicy carrot. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Decide where you want to grow your vegetable garden. Find a sunny spot but with access to shade during the day. Decide if you want a raised garden bed, in ground, or in planters. Many fruits and vegetables thrive exceedingly well in planters so don’t let small spaces deter you. Then decide what you want to grow. Check with your local nursery to see what’s in season. Decide how much you want to save and spend on your vegetable garden. Plan your growing season accordingly so that you can always have fresh vegetables. The easiest to grow and manage vegetables are: carrots, radish, tomatoes, snap peas, lettuce, herbs, cucumbers, squash, and corn. Be wary of certain types of bugs that like to enjoy your harvest and use only natural pesticides if necessary. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Gardening is truly the easiest and best way to stay healthy. It’s great exercise and you get to enjoy your bounty. Start off with a couple of large planters, good potting soil, and either seeds or seedlings. Pick easy to grow plants such as carrots and cucumbers or flowers such as sunflowers and lavender. Then, once you get the hang of it, continue with the growth of your garden and soon you will see blooms of delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers!

  • Reduce or eliminate single use plastic. Single use plastic means plastic that are used only once and then thrown away. These include plastic cups, straws, and plastic grocery bags. Remember that recycling is the LAST resort. As our planet starts to deteriorate faster than it can heal itself, we must all do our part in preserving our precious environment. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Stock up on reusable shopping bags made from recycled materials. Keep a few in the trunk of your car so you don’t forget when you’re out shopping. Eliminate the use of unnecessary straws. While you may think that one or two straws while you’re out drinking a beverage is no big deal, imagine you doing that ten times over in a week, a month, or even a year! And imagine 10 other people doing the same thing! You can fill up an entire swimming pool of plastic straws in a very short amount of time. Now imagine that in the ocean you swim in and admire. And imagine those plastic straws inside the fish you eat or around the necks of precious turtles and birds. Not really a pretty sight after all. You can also bring your own lunch in reusable containers. Try not to wrap your sandwiches in aluminum foil or plastic. And try using cloth napkins instead of paper. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Actually, you CAN! It can be as simple as putting even 1 reusable bag in your purse or front seat of your car. We all forget to bring reusable bags from time to time, but if you keep it in sight then you’re likely to remember to use them. And when you’re out getting a beverage, skip the straw. Simply drink straight from your cup. Unless there are difficulties preventing you from sipping directly from the cup, then you don’t really need a straw. And when you’re out eating, try not to leave any leftovers where you feel forced to take them home. Yes, food waste is a major problem in the US, but if you can just order the proper amount you want to eat then you won’t have any leftovers. If you do want to take food home, you can always bring your own containers or ask the restaurant to pack as much food in one container as possible.

  • Plant a tree. Trees are nature’s most powerful resources. Without trees, we would not have cleaner air and the necessary eco system for animals and insects. Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen, thus helping to clean the air around it. Human bodies produce CO2 which is toxic to our environment due to the food we consume, sickness, and bad hygiene. Planting trees or having trees in your home can have many benefits beside providing clean air. Trees can reduce ozone levels and erosion. And trees can reduce heating and air conditioner costs. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make an initiative to plant more trees. Start a tree club or group and plant more trees where fires ruined the land or in areas where trees are desperately needed. It doesn’t have to cost much to plant trees. Pick trees such as Pine, Oak, and Cypress as they have less maintenance and can live for many, many years. Just be sure to plant ones that are suitable to the region. You can also grow trees in your own yard. Find a nice shady area and water accordingly. Once established, most trees do not require a lot of water so it also helps reduce water waste. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Planting trees might not be for everyone for whatever reasons, so start off small. Support a charity that plants trees in your honor. The Arbor Day Foundation is a great non-profit organization that plants trees for you (https://www.arborday.org/). Or if planting trees isn’t the thing for you, then you can always make monetary donations or volunteer at a tree planting organization or event.

  • Use separate bins to sort your Recycling. Most people in the US or even the world have a hard time figuring out how to recycle properly. You may think that all plastics can go in the plastic recycling bin or that not rinsing out food in containers actually hinders your recyclable containers from being recycled. All it takes are a few trash bins to sort out your waste properly. They don’t even have to be big bins or expensive ones. If you have room for them in the house, then a great visible place would be in the kitchen. Otherwise, the garage is a great place to keep them as well. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Typically, you’ll need at least 3 bins if you’re starting out: one for recyclable goods such as paper, certain plastics such as PETE #1 and #2, and glass food containers. One for beverage containers. Make sure the containers are made from recyclable materials such as aluminum, glass, and plastics made from PETE materials #1 and #2. Be sure to check with your local recycling facility to make sure they accept these materials. You can even earn money by properly recycling them. And the third bin would be for food waste. Food waste includes items that you can’t compost (a separate compost bin is another bin to add but only if you compost for your garden). Be sure to rinse out and dump out all the food scraps from your recyclable containers before putting them in the bin. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: As I mentioned above, you can start off with just 3 separate bins. Once you get into the cycle of recycling, you can add more bins such as a compost bin to be used in your yard, an electronics bin such as batteries and any broken and old cords and cables (just be sure to properly recycle these instead of throwing them away in the trash), and an “unrecyclable” bin. What goes inside an unrecyclable bin? Things that are hazardous waste materials such as paint and aerosol cans, motor oil, and anything that contains toxic chemicals. Check your local recycling centers to find out how to properly dispose them.

  • Reduce paper waste. You can reduce paper waste by printing on both sides of the paper. This should be a fairly easy thing to do. We all print out documents at one time or another. But we don’t always keep those documents either. Thus, tons of paper gets wasted if we don’t practice printing on both sides. Better yet, try not to print at all. If you can send something electronically, do so. It’s unnecessary to print something unless you need a physical copy. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are some suggestions for reducing paper waste – If you’re in school, ask your teacher if you can send homework electronically; proofread carefully before you print to avoid mistakes and needlessly reprinting; and Upycle paper by creating crafts, using them as scratch paper, putting them in pet pens, and using them as wrapping paper for small gifts. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Everyone is guilty of wasting paper now and then. I work at a school and I see tons of paper being wasted. So the best advice is to remind yourself whenever you feel inclined to print something. Do you really need to print it? Or can you save the document on your computer or email the document to someone instead of mailing it?

  • Grow plants for pollinators. Natural pollinators such as bees and butterflies are so important for our eco system and our food source. Bees help pollinate food such as fruits and vegetables, wheat, and certain nuts and seeds, and of course an abundance of flowers. Pollinators also help other plants grow in rural areas or areas that desperately need plant and food crops. WHAT YOU CAN DO: The best plants for pollinators are native plants. Native plants are plants that grow in your region or area. You can search this up easily online by typing in: native plant zones. Native plants help pollinators remain in their area to support local agriculture. It also ensures that these pollinators remain healthy. Just be sure to plant as much organic as possible. Avoid using toxic pesticides for they can greatly damage the health of pollinators. Next, find plants that are specific to bees and butterflies. Best plants for pollinators are: lavender, milkweed, sunflowers, coneflower, oregano, salvia, yarrow, and many others. The best types of flowers are ones that are open with flat petals so they make easy landing places for pollinators. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: It’s fairly easy to grow plants in your garden. If you live in an apartment or somewhere that prevents you from having a garden, then try container gardening. Even if it’s a few planters outside your front door or windowsill will help these important pollinators. Many plants thrive well in planters so don’t let space hinder you! And if you have a well, black thumb, then consider growing minimalist plants such as herbs and succulents. As long as these types of plants flower, then you’ll likely find bees and butterflies roaming around them.

  • Walk, ride bicycles, or carpool. We have become so dependent on our motor vehicles that we tend to forget they cause a majority of pollution on our planet. Reducing our carbon footprint is essential in helping our planet heal and replenish. Whenever we can walk or use non-engine types of vehicles such as bicycles and skateboards to get around, we are helping to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide as well as living a healthier lifestyle. WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you live close enough to your work, then consider riding your bicycle, walk, or even taking local transit. If you live too far, then try carpooling with a nearby co-worker and take turns driving. Try walking or bicycling to your nearest grocery store instead of driving. And try to buy all your groceries and personal necessities in one trip to avoid the unnecessary multiple trips to the store. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: It really does take determination to reduce your carbon footprint. Not everyone is able to walk, ride, or carpool around town but if you can eliminate even one day of not using your motor vehicle, you are lessening the impact of your carbon footprint.

  • Use non-toxic cleaners. Toxic cleaners are the ones that have ingredients you can barely pronounce and a list that goes a mile long. These man-made cleaning agents do more harm than good to the environment, your health, and your property. Harsh cleansing agents actually break down compounds making them weak and fragile. Whenever possible, use natural cleaners or make some of your own. Great cleaning agents that are non-toxic and have proven results are vinegar, lemon, and salt. Essential oils from plants are also great for cleaning and detoxifying germy areas. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Invest in some really good and high quality natural cleaners. My favorites (that are also cruelty-free) are: Earth Friendly Products or ECOS, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Ecover, to name a few. If you want to make your own, try using baking soda, vinegar, and add in essential oils of lavender, mint, or thyme. Many essential oils have wondrous healing and antibacterial properties plus they add a nice, natural scent to your homemade cleaners. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Non-toxic cleaners ARE a thing! Some people may be skeptic to the efficacy of all natural cleaners but lab and home testing results have proven how effective they are. In fact, due to their natural ingredients that work with nature, they can prevent breaking down of certain materials that can otherwise get damaged by harsher cleaning agents. Non-toxic cleaners are also important if you have allergies and are sensitive to certain ingredients and scents. If you’re stuck on using the typical conventional cleaners, try using just one natural cleaner to start with and see how they work out for you.

  • Use natural beauty products. This one should be fairly easy to take on. I’ve been using natural beauty products for over 20 years and I noticed a huge difference in how my skin and body feels and looks. It might take a few times of using the product to see a noticeable difference and that’s because natural products use ingredients that work with your body and build up a natural balance rather than just temporarily hiding it or masking the problems. In time, your body will be in tune with the natural ingredients and the products you use so that your skin and your body will actually reject the harsher, non-natural products. Sounds crazy right? Natural beauty products are also gentler on the planet because they do not leave toxic residue in landfills and oceans. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Check out EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) (https://www.ewg.org/) database on natural beauty products. They help range over 70,000 beauty products on the level of toxicity. After you’ve had a chance to check out the database, head on over to your local beauty supply store or search online. Typically, the natural beauty product brands do not cause any adverse reactions but always check the ingredients list and try a sample if possible. My current favorite beauty brands are SIBU, Pangea Organics, Andalou Naturals, and Aveda (certain ingredients in their products might cause allergic reactions to some users). BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: There’s no such thing as using something that’s not natural. Even washing your hands in just water is natural. We all want to live a healthier lifestyle right? Then using non-toxic ingredients on our face, our body, and in our hair should be simple enough. Natural beauty products aren’t necessarily expensive and you can even make your own products. Start off on something small as switching to a more natural shampoo or using an essential oil blend as a moisturizer. Since I’ve been using natural beauty products for so many years, I get an immediate adverse reaction if I happen to use something that isn’t natural. It’s due to my skin going back to it’s original state when we were younger and didn’t need or want beauty products on our skin. You can be as scientific as you want, but it all comes down to letting your skin and your body readjust to a gentler and safer beauty routine.

This year, as we celebrate Earth Day, consider making a positive change for the environment. We all want to live with cleaner air and healthier food and we want to ensure that our children’s children and their future generations will have a better future. For some great resources on helping the environment, check out the following websites:

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-do-i-recycle-common-recyclables

https://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides

https://earth911.com

https://kidsgardening.org

https://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/plants-pollination#plants-pollination_15

 

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 4, 2019

2019 Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen Report

If you’re still on the edge wondering if you should choose organic, now is the time to do it! As farming industries get more polluted and compromised it’s crucial that as a consumer, you take necessary steps to ensure our food stays clean and free of toxic pesticides. Before I became a parent, I didn’t work as hard in making sure that I buy as much organic food as possible. Organic products were quite expensive years ago, but as people start to realize the health and environmental benefits of organic products, prices have become more competitive and organic food is easier to find. Now, I read every label, every ingredients list, and buy as much organic and locally produced products as possible. That old saying of you are what you eat? Well, that pretty much holds true when it comes to our bodies and our health.

Each year, The Environmental Working Group (https://www.ewg.org/) analyzes and collects scientific data on the dirtiest produce in the US. Some of the produce listed are things that I buy regularly for my family. If you compare last year’s with this year’s, you’ll notice that not much has changed, and that’s a sad fact considering we are supposed to make our food industry better and healthier. But if we all do our part – whether big or small – we can help change the farming industry and how food is grown and treated. See below for the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen list by EWG (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/full-list.php)

EWG 2019 Dirty Dozen list (in order of most pesticide residue found):

1 – STRAWBERRIES

2- SPINACH

3- KALE

4- NECTARINE

5- APPLES

6- GRAPES

7- PEACHES

8- CHERRIES

9- PEARS

10- TOMATOES

11- CELERY

12- POTATOES

EWG 2019 Clean Fifteen (in order of least pesticide residue found):

1- AVOCADO

2- SWEET CORN

3- PINEAPPLE

4- SWEET PEAS FROZEN

5- ONION

6- PAPAYA

7- EGGPLANT

8- ASPARAGUS

9- KIWI

10- CABBAGE

11- CAULIFLOWER

12- CANTALOUPE

13- BROCCOLI

14- MUSHROOMS

15- HONEYDEW MELON

* For a printable guide, click on this PDF format:

EWG_FNGuide-2019_Print_C01

 

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 26, 2019

The Goodbye Cafe Blog Tour with Mariah Stewart

Strong women. Supportive men. And a bevy of mysteries and intrigue along the way. This is the story of love, redemption, and self worth, all wrapped up nicely in the third installment of Mariah Stewart’s, The Hudson Sisters trilogy.

The Goodbye Cafe is the third installment in The Hudson Sisters. The Hudson Sisters – Allie, Des, and Cara are three estranged sisters, thrown together by a strange will left by their endearing but elusive father. Each of the three books in the series are told by the various sisters, with The Goodbye Cafe written from the POV of Allie, the eldest sibling. Allie is perhaps my most favorite sister out of the three because she is so relatable and heartbreaking and so very interesting. Her character is one of strength and innocence but she doesn’t realize her self worth until the ending of the story. Allie’s story is one of struggle and redemption and finding out that a family’s love is the one true love she never thought she had.

In the Goodbye Cafe, the old town’s theater, The Sugarhouse Theater is finally fully renovated and ready to be opened. The sisters all agreed at the start of the project that they would do their parts, take the inheritance, and then go back to their old lives. As with each book in the series, each sister starts to realize that their stay in the Pocono Mountains and working on The Sugarhouse Theater brought them more joy and meaning than their previous lives ever did. And as with each sister’s POV in the different titles, Allie starts to realize that she too, can have a choice. A choice that makes her happy for once, and to not live through her daughter or her personal transgressions.

I really enjoyed reading The Goodbye Cafe because it wraps everything up nicely. I’m also bittersweet because I don’t want this wonderful series to end! I adored the characters, the setting, the supporting characters, and the little nuances that speaks to the readers along the way. As I noted before, Allie was my favorite character because she resonated so much to my heart.

If you’re ever stuck wondering what new book series to pick up, then don’t hesitate for one second in getting The Hudson Sisters Series. The entire series is filled with laughter, intrigue, mystery, and love that you never quite thought you needed or wanted.

I was honored to have been able to interview Ms. Mariah Stewart for The Goodbye Cafe. Please read on for her interview:

The Goodbye Cafe (A Hudson Sisters Series)

Q- The Hudson Sisters series is a wonderful installment of finding love and self-worth. What inspired you to write about these three lovely ladies?

A- The inspiration for the story came from my mother’s discovering she had half-siblings when she was in her forties or fifties. My grandfather had a family in MA when he changed his name and moved to PA where he met and married my grandmother. The idea was too good not to use! Once it wormed its way into that portion of my brain where stories grow, I had to write it. The sisters just sort of presented themselves the way you read them.

Q- Do you incorporate real life experiences into your novels?

A- Other than thinking about my grandfather’s checkered life and his numerous offspring, not so much! Though the setting was personal, since my mother’s brother (the legitimate one!) lived in Clarks Summit, and I lived visiting my cousins. They lived half-way up the West Mountain, and there was always something fun to do there. I guess those memories were really stuck in my brain, waiting for the right time to show themselves!

Q- When did you find out you had a passion for writing?

A- I was very ill when I was seven and had to spend the entire summer in my room, most of the time in my bed. My brother brought me library books several times every week, but after awhile, I’d read all the books our small-town library had. So I started writing my own. It was just something I always wanted to do.

Q- How long do you envision writing novels?

A- Until I keel over and pass on into the next dimension – and I’ll probably be at my computer!

Q- Any plans on making your novels into movies or TV series?

A- That’s not something I have control over. I wish! But that’s something someone else would decide. Though I could totally see any of my series as a TV series – especially Mercy Street, the Chesapeake Diaries, and the Hudson Sisters.

Q- I have to ask: Who is your favorite character in The Hudson Sisters stories?

A- Barney, for sure, and Nikki, definitely! I love all three sisters, but if I had to choose, I’d say Allie, because she was the most complex and the most sharp edges.

Q- The ending of The Goodbye Cafe seems to elude to a possible sequel? Or perhaps a spin-off series?

A- I haven’t planned on doing that. I thought the ending worked either way, whether I did or didn’t write another book. But I admit it’s tough not to think about!

Q- How did you determine the various characteristics of the three sisters?

A- Because they are all quite different from each other, personality wise. Characters more or less announce themselves. They are who they are. My job is just to translate them into the story I’m telling. When I started thinking about writing this story, Cara, Des, and Allie were just there and I knew who they were and how they were going to interact with each other.

Q- Do you have any sisters of your own?

A- No, but I have two daughters, so I’m quite familiar with the interactions and the occasional drama, especially when they are younger.

Q- What are you working on right now?

A- Right now, I’m working on a book that’s very different from the ones I’ve done before, so I don’t want to say much about it! It’s a standalone – probably – so it’s not a new series. We’ll see how and where it goes!

THE GOODBYE CAFÉ
The Hudson Sisters series, Book 3
On sale March 26, 2019
Trade Paperback • Price: $16.00 • ISBN: 9781501145124
eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501145162

California girl Allie Hudson Monroe can’t wait for the day when the renovations on the Sugarhouse Theater are complete so she can finally collect the inheritance from her father and leave Pennsylvania.
After all, her life and her fourteen-year-old daughter are in Los Angeles.
But Allie’s divorce left her tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, so to keep up on payments for her house and her daughter’s private school tuition, Allie packed up and flew out east. But fate has a curve-ball or two to toss in Allie’s direction—she just doesn’t know it yet.
She hadn’t anticipated how her life would change after reuniting with her estranged sister, Des, or meeting her previously unknown half-sister, Cara. And she’d certainly never expected to find small-town living charming. But the biggest surprise was that her long-forgotten artistry would save the day when the theater’s renovation fund dried up.
With opening day upon the sisters, Allie’s free to go. But for the first time in her life, she feels like the woman she was always meant to be. Will she return to the West Coast and resume her previous life, or will the love of “this amazing, endearing family of women” (Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author) be enough to draw her back to the place where the Hudson roots grow so deep?

You can purchase The Goodbye Cafe and all of Mariah’s Stewart’s titles on Amazon: The Goodbye Cafe

***Thank you to Mariah and Simon & Schuster Gallery Books for the paperback preview and the book tour!

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.topmomm

Posted by: suzan | March 5, 2019

2019 New Goals, New You

As we enter the month of March (can you believe it, we’re already a quarter into the new year!), do you still have new years resolutions that you’re hedging on? Or do you make resolutions throughout the entire year? I fall in the latter category since I tried the other approach and all of my resolutions that I determinedly made in January, drifted away just as decisively. Whether you take the passive approach or you steamroll through your ambitions, starting off fresh in the new year is a great way to begin the year.

A new year brings new changes. Changes can bring fear for some but if you look at it in a positive way, then changes bring a chance to do better in any aspect of your life. Whether you are a child or a grownup, make this new year a chance to make positive changes.

As I look around me discovering new concepts and ideas, I found some very interesting tips along the way. I wanted to share with you the latest trends that can help make your life simpler and better. This year’s theme centers around minimalism. By now you’ve probably heard or read somewhere about the new book by Marie Kondo, and the simple act of tidying up. Simplicity and minimalism benefit various aspects of our lives, from our homes to our fashion to our work. And in the end, the accumulation of minimalism helps simplify our life by looking at what we truly need rather than what we want.

2019 Goals:

Mindfulness an ancient approach that originated in Buddhism. The act of mindfulness is to be wholly aware of the present moment. This approach applies to everything around you, such as the food you eat, your school work, and even your workload at your job. The idea is to be in the moment and to focus solely on what you are doing. Monks practice this approach when meditating so that their mind and body are as one. Mindfulness is a great practice for children as young as 5 years old. This helps train them to be more focused and to later transcend what they see and know into a higher learning.

Minimalism the act of minimalism is the necessity to reduce things and to live with less. If someone asks you, “what can you live with if you only had 10 things in your life?” would you be able to answer that honestly? Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. When we have less materialism then life tends to bend towards more freedom. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have materialistic things. But just ask yourself the sage old question, “if I leave this in the closet for 3 months, will I miss it? Will I even think about it?” If not, then chances are you don’t really need it to begin with. Children are seemingly the opposite of minimalism. What they see and hear are typically what they want in their lives. But if we as their parents, and adults, practice minimalism, then we can show our children the pitfalls of having too many things.

Self Care – when it comes to caring for ourselves, we often end up getting the shorter end of the stick. Especially if you’re a parent, your life gravitates around your children as they can be the center of everything in your life. But at a certain point in time, your own self can wither and wilt, leaving you tired and drained and not too happy. Take care of yourself on a daily basis. It might be effortless for some while others struggle to even get 10 minutes of peace and tranquility. Self care includes reading a really good and engaging book; taking a long, warm, and soothing bath; or taking a walk through nature and enjoying the silence and sights around you. Self care will invigorate you and bring you back to a better place.

Journaling- when you think of journaling, does it take you back to your middle school days when you write about all the things that happened in the week or day? Journaling is a therapeutic approach to release stress and worries because of the psychological effect of hand to paperIt’s a way of releasing all the feelings and thoughts in our heads and leaving them onto paper where no one else can see it if we choose for them not to. Writing down our thoughts is a secret way of saying something without hurting others or ourselves. The steps to journaling are: Find a routine. Focus on feelings. Take 15-20 minutes each day to write something  down. Try a prompt if stuck on what to write. Use a journal or computer. Keep your writings safe. Children can benefit from journaling when they are stuck with something they don’t know how to do and writing things down can help them process the steps to accomplishing their goals.

Sustainable – the act of sustainability stems from using what we have and not needing more until we’ve used it up. But to truly be sustainable is to find out what we really need, and not want we only want. Sustainable can be anything from using cotton napkins instead of paper ones, or using glass containers instead of plastic ones that can eventually warp and get thrown away, to growing our own vegetables and fruits for a fresher and safer consumption. Try simple practices of sustainability by removing the overuse of plastic in your life one step at a time. Or buying products that are self-renewable such as bamboo and using more solar powered products.

Reducing – Ah, reducing. That word seems to be on trend everywhere you go, every page you read, and from headlines splashed throughout the internet. When I teach my students about environmental issues, I try to challenge them to go beyond the basic act of recycling and actually try reducing. Reducing really could be a simple act to do as long as you evaluate what you truly need in life. Reducing certain areas in your life can help reduce stress and save you money. Simple acts of reducing ideas:

*Unsubscribing from email newsletters or not subscribing at all unless it’s a person or brand you really like.

*Opt-out from national mailing lists (https://dmachoice.thedma.org/register.php) so your mailbox and home aren’t cluttered with junk mail that wastes ink, paper, and space.

*Keep a few reusable shopping bags in the trunk of your car so that you remember to take them while shopping. This helps eliminate the unnecessary need for extra store bags.

*Plan out your weekly meals to help you save money and time. If you have children, try to teach them to eat the same food as the adults so you’re not spending more buying food that only they want. A few good resources for meal planning here: http://www.eatingwell.com/category/4286/meal-plans/; https://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Meal-Plannerhttps://www.marthastewart.com/1127131/10-golden-rules-family-meal-planning

*Donate gently used clothing that you no longer wear or throw them out if damaged. Keep only a few circulating items in your closet that you can put together in ensembles. Keep classic staples such as high quality jeans, a couple pairs of good sneakers, good quality sweaters and rotate them throughout the year according to your personal style.

*If you read magazines and books, try buying them to read on a digital device. Granted, you might want to keep some hard copies for special momentos, but authors still get paid whether you buy their products digitally or on paper.

Make 2019 your year to live better, think healthier, and accomplish life changing goals. These simple acts of lifestyle changes will do you wonders for now and the future.

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

SongOfSacrificeTourBanner (1)

Love, Heartbreak, Redemption. These are all the facets possible in a human soul whether they are centuries old or a few years born. In Janell Rhiannon’s new novel, Song of Sacrifice, it is the sacrifices of women that tell tales of the ancient Gods and Goddesses of myth.

Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Paris, Achilles. Olympia Gods and Goddesses. Heroes and Villains. All the beauty, glory, and tragedy ever to be found in the myths of ancient Greek mythology. Every deity played a role and every mortal suffered from the whims of the Gods and Goddesses. And it is in author Janell Rhiannon’s book that we learn a deeper tale, and a much heartbreaking story of triumph and redemption. The stories you have read were mainly based on the Greek Gods, but what of the women who gave birth to the mortal heroes and heroines? What of the mothers, sisters, aunts, and lovers?

I’ve been a fan of Greek mythology ever since I first picked up a history book detailing the melodramatic lives of the ancient Greek Gods and how they ruled Olympia. From childhood to now, I absorbed as many books as I could on the history of Greek mythology and how their roles play heavily on modern day beliefs. Many things in our lives originated from the ancient Olympians. Titles such as Titans and Muses can be found in sports teams and contemporary language. Almost everything around us derives from some sort of legend or myth. And ancient Greek myth is as old as time and as grandiose as the finicky deities. So when I was offered to read and review Song of Sacrifice from Janell Rhiannon, how could I say no?

Paying homage to Greek author, Homer, the tale of Song of Sacrifice distinctly tells the stories of the women who loved enough to give birth to heroes and broken apart by deception and conceit. As glorious as the Greek Gods were, they were also petty and foolish, often playing on the whims of mere mortals. Through these whims and triumphs however, stories of great tragedy and profound love were born, thus this fabulously detailed story written by Janelle is a must-read for fans of Greek mythology and historical remakes.

In Song of Sacrifice, you’ll learn how Achilles was born and became a hero; how Agememnon foolishly led the war to what we know as the “Trojan War”; and how Paris was raised by a sheepherder and later became the kidnapper of the beautiful Helen of Troy. Interwoven in between these well-known heroes are the mothers and wives who suffered greatly at the hands of arranged marriages and sacrificed hearts. These women, who gave birth to the heroes and heroines are revered in Song of Sacrifice as they should be, for who but mothers of these heroes would sacrifice their lives to save their children? If I learned anything else in this story, it is that no matter the age and era, women will greatly suffer all for the name of love. It not mattered if the women were royalty or peasants – they bore the grief of their fallen children and rose only through tales of authors and poets – never in the forefront of stories like their male counterparts. I applaud Janell in bringing these women to light.

Song of Sacrifice is beautifully written, well researched, and detailed. I felt as if I was right there along with the characters; crying over lost dreams and hopes, and smiling through the small triumphs and glories. Even if you are not a fan of Greek mythology, you’ll be drawn into the details of the hearts of the women and the things they had to endure through their lives. Some women are well known, some are not. But all of these women were equally if not more important than the men they married and the children they raised.

Synopsis:

The heart of the Trojan War belongs to the women.
Mothers and daughters; wives and war prizes, whisper to us across time…
…remember our songs alongside the mighty men of myth.

As the Age of Heroes wanes, the gods gamble more fiercely with mortals’ lives than they ever have before. Women must rely on their inner strength and cunning to survive the wars men wage for gold and glory.

Clytemnestra of Mycenae struggles for control of her life after Agamemnon ruthlessly rips it apart. Leda of Sparta survives a brutal assault by Zeus, shouldering a terrible secret in silence. Penelope raises Ithaka’s sole heir alone, praying for Odysseus’ swift return. Thetis, the sea nymph, despairs of her son’s destiny and resorts to forbidden magic to save him. Hecuba of Troy mourns the loss of her second son to a dark prophesy. And Shavash of Pedasus prepares her daughter to marry the greatest warrior who ever lived.

In a world where love leads to war and duty leads to destruction, the iron hearts of heroines will conquer all.

Sing, Muse, sing their song of sacrifice…

Replaces Song of Princes as the first book in the Homeric Chronicles.

 

*** Xpresso Book Tours is also offering a tour-wide giveaway of a $25 Amazon Gift Card here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232880/

You can also purchase Song of Sacrifice at the following retailers:

And follow the Song of Sacrifice tour here with other bloggers and readers:
AUTHOR BIO:

In graduate school, Janell focused on the ancient history of Greece and Rome. Hooked by the “sword and sandal” world, she studied everything she could about mythology and Alexander the Great.

The Homeric Chronicles series is dedicated to merging dozens of Greek myths, including Homer’s epics, with plays, history, and archaeology. Her intent is to raise the heroines’ voices equally alongside the heroes, opening up a traditionally male focused genre to a female audience.

She lives in CA and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. She has a pack of two big dogs and two cats.

Author links:

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Janell Rhiannon for the opportunity to be on this book tour!

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 | December 3, 2018

Clever and Fun Gifts for Kids this Season

Every year it seems merchants around the country are trying new ways to vie the interests of their customers. With online shopping getting more and more easy, it’s no wonder that shoppers can choose anything from pomegranate scented candles to cashmere-lined pajamas with just a click of the mouse. But trying to find the right gift can be daunting as well as I usually go by the practice of buying gifts that the recipient wants rather than what I think they would like. I try to avoid buying gifts that the recipient will probably never use or goodness forbid, re-gift it!

But what about gifts for kids? Well, you can go the usual route of toys, but in the vein of trying to reduce waste around the world, why not give children something that’s good for the environment and good for them? Below I’ve listed gift ideas that are clever, fun, and reduces waste for this holiday season.

INSPIRING GIFTS:

Inspiring gifts are filled with wonder and imagination. Give children gifts that inspire them to be who they are and help them grow into better individuals.

BOOKS – instead of just giving books, make it a fun sensory experience by including items that go well with the title or genre of the books. For instance, if you’re giving a child a book about cars, add a toy car or a bookmark with their favorite cars on it and include them in a box with the books. For teens, include themed bookmarks and some candy while they snuggle up on the couch to read their new books. I’m old fashioned when it comes to books. While I do love reading on my tablet, there’s just something tangible about holding a paper book in your hands while flipping through the pages and smelling the fresh press through each page. Children benefit much more when they can hold the book in their hands and connect with the natural feel of nature with paper.

Some great books for kids are:

Ages 0-3 – Picture books are great little treasures for children in this age group. They are filled with colorful drawings and larger text with clever stories. Books by Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, and Eric Carle always makes delightful books for young children and teach important skills for young minds.

Ages 5-8 – In this age group, children are starting school and learning new words and sentence structure. Why not give them books that help them learn as well as make it fun? This is the best age for kids to start getting interested in reading as grasping new words make their young minds excited! Try books about science that includes fun and easy experiments, art books with inspirational drawings, and books about friendship.

Ages 9-12 – At this age, children are developing a bigger vocabulary and their interests can shift dramatically. Give them books that include a sense of wonder and imagination as well as fact-filled fiction and humorous books. Even books with pictures in them are still captivating in this age group because you still want kids to enjoy reading and not feel as a chore for school or homework.

Preteen to Teen – When kids are entering the teenage years, they have either developed a love for reading or hate it terribly. Keep the ones interested with exciting stories in specific genres. About this age, kids tend to like a favorite genre or two which can include fantasy, sci-fi, realistic fiction, and so forth. Box sets are also great for young teens because they could start a new set or fill up their existing collection. For latest titles, check out bookstores as they tend to put new titles towards the front of the store.

LEGO – This old fashioned toy is truly a wonder. Great for all ages, Lego sets come in a variety of interests including airplanes, movie-themes, holiday crafts, and so forth. Whether the child you’re buying for is trying Lego for the first time or is an expert builder, Lego is a gift that can last for many years and inspire many wonderful minds.

DIY – Do-It-Yourself gifts are great for kids that like hands-on crafting or to do with friends. DIY gifts can include anything from bath bombs to food crafts. You can create your own DIY kit for the recipient by including items that make a complete gift. For example, if you’re making a bath bomb, check out this easy Lavender bath bomb here:  Proven Winners Lavender Bath Bombs. Just be sure to include a kit that they can either make on their own or  with friends and family. Your DIY kit should be able to make either one gift or several so that kids can give them away as presents for others.

BEAUTY AND WELLNESS GIFTS:

Virtually everyone likes to be pampered now and then. From young children to older teenagers, feeling calm and relaxed is beneficial for their minds and bodies.

BATH AND BODY – Children as young as infants can benefit from naturally made bath and body products. Give them soothing and healing products that include lavender, calendula, and almond oil that nourishes and calms them. Great bath and body gifts include body lotion, body wash, organic cotton bathrobes and towels, and bubble bath. A couple of my favorite natural and organic brands are Weleda (https://www.weleda.com/) and Dolphin Organics (https://dolphinorganics.com/).

AROMATHERAPY – Aromatherapy isn’t just for adults. This ancient and wellness form or therapy is great for any age. Children can benefit from specific scents that can relax and calm them to preventing illnesses to giving them a clear mind. Some popular and beneficial scents include: lavender, peppermint, rosemary, ylang ylang, and geranium. Just be sure to use 100% essential oils instead of artificial fragrances which can be harmful to children. Use aromatherapy in baths, in lotions, and my favorite – essential oil diffusers. You can find diffusers at any natural grocery stores and online stores.

STUFFED ANIMALS – A good old-fashioned stuffed animal is always a well received gift. Find stuffed animals that match the child’s favorite animal or help an environmental cause by supporting a charity such as the World Wildlife Fund (https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/Default.aspx) and the Sierra Club (https://www.sierraclub.org/ways-to-give).

UNCOMMON GIFTS: Kids can be fun and quirky so this holiday season give them unique and unusual gifts that help kids express themselves.

SKILL TOYS – Ever heard of toys that can actually help kids develop an untapped skill? Well, there are actually many products out there that were invented to do just that. These type of toys help with motor and cognitive skills and can be enjoyed over and over again. Skill toys include building blocks, build your own robot kits, and design your own comic books. Check out one of my most favorite sites: Uncommon Goods.

GARDENING – Gardening is both fun and therapeutic for kids. Give them a sense of nature by letting kids learn all about how plants grow and thrive. Planting indoors or outdoors teaches children about the life cycle of plants and that caring for nature is important for their future. Try growing easy and edible plants such as snow peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Grow seasonal plants so kids can enjoy their fresh harvest. A great idea is a gardening kit that includes some clay pots, seasonal seeds, a kid sized rake and shovel, and a decorative stake.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS – Ever heard of the saying, “music soothes the savage beast”? It stemmed from the fact that music (especially those that are instrumental) help calm children and can help them expand their creativity. Musical instruments should be appropriate for the age and because they can get quite expensive, start off with some toy sized instruments that are easy to hold and can actually create sounds.

So this holiday season, whether you’ve barely started shopping or are just finishing up, give children of all ages gifts that can take their creativity to new heights while teaching them that they don’t have to be wasteful with their presents. The ideas listed above can be enjoyed for many years and can even be passed down or donated to another child.

Happy Holidays and may you all have a wonderful New Year!

 

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 | November 28, 2018

Self Care Tips for Winter

We all know that as the weather changes from warmer climate to breezy chills, our health can take a drastic change as well. Now is the best time to start with a self care regime to get ready for the holiday season. With the bustle of getting our homes ready for the holidays, planning and shopping, and finding things for the kids to do while they’re out of school, it’s important to take some moments for ourselves and not be drained of energy.

Here are some TLC tips to help you transition from fall to winter:

Rest and Sleep –

Proper sleep is an important step in taking care of ourselves. In the busy world of high stimulation – demanding job, technology, and juggling family life – we often stay up late at night to finish whatever we couldn’t finish during daytime. But not having enough sleep, or the proper amount of sleep, can drastically alter our health. Good, quality sleep is essential in preventing illnesses as the body goes through a cycle during the typical 8-hour sleep. Quality sleep helps reduce stress, and can rebuild damaged cells when you’re resting. Here are steps in helping you get better quality sleep in your life and is crucial as the day grows shorter and your circadian rhythm is thrown off.

  • Start by turning off distracting electronics at least 45 minutes before bedtime. This helps prepare the brain and body to relax. Read a fun and light book (paper, not electronic) or try meditating by closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and let your mind drift to “nothingness”.

  • Get comfortable sleepwear and bedding. When you wear soft pajamas, the aesthetics of something soft against your skin is very therapeutic. Soft and high quality bedding (preferably organic) reduces allergens that could be making you uncomfortable. Cotton is a great material for keeping the body temperature cool and even.

  • Keep the lights in the bedroom low and non-evasive. Keep your phone face down so you’re not distracted by the screen’s light and any alerts that pop up on your phone. When meditating, keep the lights off or use a low light in the hallway if complete darkness bothers you.

  • Keep your bedroom clean and clutter free. A cluttered room creates a stressful mind which interrupts your attempt to relax instead of trying to clean everything up.

Eat Well –

Colder weather tends to bring out the need to eat more as we feel the chill in our bones and want food to feel comfortable. But as colder weather settles in, it’s also harder to exercise because our bodies are in natural hibernation mode. With less exercise or moving about our bodies become sluggish, and the effect of eating because we’re bored will put a toll on our health. Stay on track of eating healthy during the winter season especially with holidays coming up.

  • Stay away or reduce sugar intake, alcohol, caffeine, and inflammatory foods. As colder weather causes us to move less, our bodies don’t move enough to expend all the extra food, calories, and fat absorbed. Therefore food that causes inflammation will create illnesses and diseases that will be harder to eliminate as it accumulates.

  • Eat what’s in season. Seasonal foods are fresher and provide the necessary nutrients during colder months. Fall/Winter foods include pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli, and squash. Try roasting them for a less fattening version and a tastier flavor.

  • Eat simple. Use less ingredients when cooking to cut down sugar, salt, and fat intake. Try making soups, roasting, or a simple stir fry.

  • Eat warm meals as it will bring more comfort and less need to binge on unhealthy fast food.

  • Eat in moderation. During the holiday parties and celebrations, enjoy a holiday treat but keep it in moderation and pick and choose the healthier options when possible.

Healthy Skin – 

As climate drops, so does the bite of cold wind cut into our skin. We tend to lose moisture during the colder climate so it’s important to keep skin well moisturized and healthy.

  • Drink plenty of warm water during the day. Warm water is easier for our body to process especially when it’s cold so be sure to drink at least 6 cups of water every day. If water isn’t a favorite, then try other health inducing beverages such as hot tea, hot lemon and honey, and warm milk (dairy or plant-based).

  • Keep skin moisturized by using moisturizers that contain natural ingredients. The upper layer of your skin is more delicate in colder weather so you don’t want to damage it by using harmful ingredients. Try using moisturizers that contain essential oils and herbs such as lavender, calendula, and rosemary to naturally soothe and protect your delicate skin.

  • Eat plenty of fruits to keep your skin healthy. Fruits that contain Vitamin C contains cell regenerating qualities that helps fight off germs and keep your skin healthy.

Go Outside –

So your’re wondering why opt outside when it’s freezing out there? Well, depending on where you live, opting to play outside helps keep your circulation going and prevent sedentary bodies and brains. Fresh air is also important to keeping your brain cells chugging along when all we want to do is settle in on the couch and cozy up. But it’s so easy to just stay on the couch all day and forget that we need to get up and move around. Just be sure to dress warmly and appropriately for the weather when you’re outside.

  • Take a short walk every day to keep up your circulation.

  • Open windows when the weather isn’t too cold to circulate the air in your house.

  • Get grounded by walking through a forest, touching a tree, and breathe in the fresh and untainted mountain air.

Remember that in order to thrive during the winter months, we must take care of ourselves in as natural a way as possible. Drink healthier beverages. Walk or play outdoors. And don’t let stress overwhelm you.

 

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 | November 1, 2018

A Parent’s Guide to Being Green

Do you ever wonder what the phrase, “going green” really means? This movement, if you want to call it – began over a decade ago when people started to really open up their eyes and notice that our environment is alarmingly in danger. While our planet slowly deteriorating is certainly not new news, the harmful effects of long-term damage has increased drastically over the years.

As a parent and an educator, I want to teach my son and other students the importance of preserving our precious planet. A small impact of good can slowly grow to something bigger and better: one child can make a difference and one adult can help them achieve their goals. And while you’re reading this, let’s break it down to the importance of teaching our children to being “green” and allow them to make a better world for the future.

So how do you “Go Green”? With climate changes negatively affecting the world, greenhouse gases are increasing around the world, making it almost near impossible to reverse the damages. But global markets in major consumer industries are finally starting to recognize the dangers of our depleting environment and are moving towards natural resource energy makers such as wind, solar, and water. We, as individuals may think we can’t do much to improve our environment, but all it takes is one person to care, to make a change for the better.

So how do we teach our children to protect the future of their planet? We must start by realizing that children have the potential to make positive changes in the world. “We must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.” – Mary McLeod Bethune. Children have the drive, intelligence, and ability to make positive impacts in improving our planet and being great leaders of society. Children around the world are taking winning steps in reducing waste while not only helping the environment, but other people as well. Their leadership and compassion are things we want to emulate and encourage so that we can all eventually open our eyes to the climate changes around us.

What can kids do? Here are some great (and easy) examples of environmentally-friendly acts and projects for kids of any age:

– Follow the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.

Reduce your purchases, wants, and needs. The less we buy, the less carbon footprint we contribute to.

Reuse what you already have. If we can reuse even just 3 times, we will already have made a dramatic change.

Repurpose what you can still reuse. Repurposing is truly a great trend that should go on forever. For example, you can take a pair of torn jeans and make it into a unique grocery tote* or zippered pencil cases.

Recycling is typically the last resort as not everything can be recycled. Most plastics, glass, aluminum are readily recyclable but it still takes up carbon footprint when machines are used to break down these materials. Still, it’s better than throwing them in the trash where they’ll most likely end up in the landfill. To find recycling centers in your area, check it out here: https://americarecyclesday.org/find-recycling/

– Sort trash properly.

One of the biggest problems with overflowing landfills is trash that aren’t sorted properly. You can probably find at least 30% of your trash that can be recycled, reused, or repurposed. And if you can recycle any kind of beverage bottles, your kids can make money from doing that too. When recyclable products are mixed in with trash, it takes tremendous time, money, and effort for facilities to sort them. Oftentimes, the recyclable items will end up with the rest of the trash, thus leading to the growing problem of overfilled landfills in our country.

– Use reusable containers whenever possible.

Kids can bring their school lunches in resuable lunch containers, water bottles, and utensils. To make it even more fun, give them colorful and fun reusable napkins. Great ones can be found at: http://www.ukonserve.com/ and https://ecolunchboxes.com/.

– Pick up trash.

Pick up trash around your neighborhood as you’re taking walks along the roads. This helps keep waste from going into storm drains and ending up in unlikely places where they might just get disposed of improperly. Plus, it helps the neighborhood look nice and clean too. Just remember to have kids wear gloves if they’re doing a “clean up the neighborhood day”. Then, be sure to sort and dispose the trash properly.

– Eat local, co-op, and organically grown food.

Local foods are usually produced by companies within your county or city’s range. This is a rather tricky range as there is currently no guidelines to how far or close a product is produced in order to qualify as local. Read labels on products and check out the local companies you buy from to get a clearer picture. Co-op farms help the farmers and the consumers. Co-op is governed by its members so there is more control of what is produced, how it’s produced, and where it’s sold. Organically grown food must follow strict guidelines that companies must follow in order to be certified. Organic products simply means any product made without certain fertilizers and pesticides and without any synthetic ingredients used in producing the products. This applies to both food and non-food items. Take your kids to local farmers markets and grocery stores where they can see and feel the difference between organic produce and conventional produce. When you make the change yourself, your kids can greatly benefit from it.

– Reduce use of electronics and water.

In a perfect world, we’d have less electronics to use and we could all produce our own water usage and recycle it. But in this day and age of fast growing technology, it seems that the future will only continue with this trend. While technology is important, using too much of it can also drain our natural resources as well as enable harmful aftereffects of radiation and coal. Remind your children to turn off lights when not in use, reduce their screen time by playing outside or reading a book, and turn off the water when brushing their teeth.

We can all strive to make a better impact on our environment if we remind ourselves that our children, their children, and all future generations should have the ability to live on a clean and healthy planet. It can take small and simple steps but each step can lead to bigger steps that can make a dramatic improvement for our world.

For some fun and helpful tips for parents and kids, check out PBS Kids Green project book: http://meetthegreens.pbskids.org/features/pdf/Greens_Activities.pdf

*photo source: www.denimdoover.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 | October 31, 2018

Broken Arrow Book Tour and Giveaway

BrokenArrowTourBanner

Set in ancient times when magic first ruled, our young hero, Ealdred discovers powers within him that can never be brought to light. With a powerful adversary and an unlikely ally, Ealdred embarks on a treacherous journey to find the truth even if it will end up getting him killed.

Broken Arrow is quite the typical fantasy read with an unwilling hero versus a revengeful villain. The story is written from the view of Ealdred which makes him quite endearing. He is gentle and brave yet has a naivete that draws him into danger at every turn. If you like fantasy novels with adventure, magical creatures, and powerful magic, then you’ll enjoy this coming of age story by author, Azaria M.J. Durant.

Synopsis:

An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!

Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.

Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.

Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?

***Xpresso Book Tours is also hosting a giveaway for 2 ebooks of Broken Arrow: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232689/

You can also purchase Broken Arrow at the following retailers:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2nmkGV2  

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brokenarrow-azaria-mj-durant/1129486535?ean=2940161650844

AUTHOR BIO:

Azaria M. J. Durant is a young, passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with action, adventure, unexpected plot twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.

Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a bag of mint chocolates.

Author links:

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Azaria M.J. Durant for the book tour!

 

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 | October 29, 2018

To Catch a Rogue Blog Tour and Giveaway

ToCatchARogueTourBanner

A beautiful cover with an exciting story, To Catch A Rogue is a steampunk version similar to a rousing Regency romance story. Set in the darkest hearts of London, England and traveling to the foreign land of Russia, spies, thieves, and nobility race to save one of their own while solving an even bigger mystery within their clan. Written with wit and flair, To Catch A Rogue is a breath of fresh air with a delightful twist to an ancient Russian tale.

There are quite a lot of characters in To Catch A Rogue, with Lark and Charlie as the central main characters. The story reminds me of A League of Gentlemen where every character has their own skill and talent and each of them a very unique personality. My favorite character is perhaps Charlie, who is the longtime friend of Lark, until a fateful incident drifted their friendship apart. Years later, Lark is called to help Charlie out to save the leader of The Company of Rogues, and perhaps deal with their enemies along the way. Lark is hesitant at first, unsure if she could trust Charlie again but neither could she resist her old friend’s charms and good looks.

There is a much deeper secret within the pages of the story and as it slowly unfolds, we get clear and defining hints of who Lark really is. She has been hiding this dangerous secret of hers for years and only one other person knows. As Lark starts to unravel the mysteries that has held her in fear and hiding since she was a child, she also starts to trust Charlie again and the Company of Rogues who shows her that friendship and trust are not only earned but can be freely given.

What I liked about To Catch A Rogue was the clever bantering between the characters and the easy style that the story was written. I got swept up in the story from the first pages and was intrigued with how steampunk became a popular literary sensation when technology and fantasy meshed into one. To Catch A Rogue has elements of the supernatural with vampires, werewolves, and such; an old world Victorian darkness feel; and the technological wonder of the steam engines and mechs. You’ll find that the mystery behind Lark is very tell-tale but the author puts a very interesting spin on it as well. Is Lark the long-lost Princess of the last Russian Tsar that presumably died in the fire that killed the entire royal family? And why has she been hidden all these years? You’ll have to read To Catch A Rogue to find out!

Synopsis:

An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?

The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.

It’s a job for a master thief, and there’s nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who’s ever been able to outfox him.

He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life…

Lark’s spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can’t ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.

It’s Charlie’s last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark’s keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all…

Ocean’s 11 meets Dracula, in this sexy paranormal heist by USA Today Bestselling Author, Bec McMaster. If you like sexy paranormal romances, steampunk shenanigans, and plenty of action-adventure (vampires, dirigible flights, and steamy rooftop chases), then dive into this thrilling heist with Charlie and Lark.

*Xpresso Book Tours is currently offering a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card so that you can purchase your own copy of To Catch A Rogue: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232690/.

You can also purchase the title from the following vendors:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CatchRogue-London-Steampunk-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B07G3W2DQ3/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-catch-a-rogue-bec-mcmaster/1129072381?ean=2940155754008

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/to-catch-a-rogue/id1411192004?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/to-catch-a-rogue-2

AUTHOR BIO:

BEC MCMASTER grew up on a steady diet of 80’s fantasy movies like Ladyhawke, Labyrinth and The Princess Bride, and loves creating epic, fantasy-based worlds with heroes and heroines who must defeat all the odds to have their HEA. If you like sexy, dark, paranormal romance, try her Dark Arts series; for some kick-bustle ladies-saving-the-day steampunk romance then check out London Steampunk; and for rocket-fuelled post-apocalyptic romance with a twist on the werewolf theme, then see her Burned Lands series.

Bec has been nominated for RT Reviews Best Steampunk Romance for Heart of Iron (2013), won RT Reviews Best Steampunk Romance with Of Silk And Steam (2015), and Forged By Desire was nominated for an RWA RITA award in 2015. The series has received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal, with Heart of Iron named one of their Best Romances of 2013.

Escape the Ordinary at www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on Twitter @BecMcMaster, or www.facebook.com/BecMcMaster

Join Bec’s newsletter for all the latest news on releases, exclusive excerpts and cover reveals, and get your copy of ‘Tarnished Knight’, a novella in her award-winning London Steampunk series. Copy and paste this link into your browser: http://eepurl.com/F_LkD.

Author links:

http://www.becmcmaster.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763301.Bec_McMaster

https://www.facebook.com/BecMcMaster/

https://twitter.com/BecMcMaster

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Bec McMaster for the opportunity to be on the book tour!

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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