TRAVEL HACKS

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

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

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

– Travel size Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus 3/box

– T-shirt

– Lands End beach bag

– Tervis Tumbler water bottle

– Travel toiletry bag

– Dreft stain stick Boogie Berry Blaster 10 count

– $50 Target Gift Card

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

Click on the link to enter:

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

Good Luck!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VANS

I’ve never really been crazy about granola until one day, a few years ago when someone taught me to make my own homemade granola. From then on I was hooked and although I still enjoy making my own granola now and then, time constraints have made it a bit difficult to take the time out to make it from scratch. I do enjoy granola more often now and I have found that certain store-bought ones are just as good if not better than homemade, mainly because of the assortment of flavors offered. But I’m also extra choosy on what goes inside store-bought granola as I’m very cautious of those made with too much added sugar.

When Van’s Foods (http://www.vansfoods.com/) introduced me to their newest granola, I was very intrigued. Their granola is a softer and chewier version than the typical crunchy granola you might be used to. Made with only whole grain oats, not only are Van’s Foods granola healthier, but they are also gluten-free so they’re perfect for those who are sensitive to gluten. And because they are made with whole grains, you get a more satisfying and wholesome snack that can be versatile and easy to digest. I personally enjoy granola with milk or over yogurt, but with this new chewy texture, they’re perfect straight out of the bag.

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Van’s Foods are known for their wholesome and natural pancakes and waffles but have expanded their line to include wholegrain cereal, multigrain chips, crackers, snack bars, and their newest gluten-free pasta and gluten-free chewy granola. And because Van’s Foods makes delicious and natural foods for the busy family, they have recently revamped their tagline to be simply, “Van’s Simply Delicious” which is most befitting of a company who uses basic ingredients producing excellent results. We have enjoyed Van’s Foods for many years and my favorite is their Chocolate Chip mini waffles which has delectable little chocolate chips and perfect with melted butter and some whipped cream – yes whipped cream!

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Van’s Foods had wanted me to try their new Gluten Free Blueberry Walnut Granola and Gluten Free Cherry Almond Granola. My favorite was the Cherry Almond Granola as it was very distinctive between the slight sour taste of the cherries with the natural sweetness of the mixed granola. I got a nice crunch from the pumpkin seeds but it was still soft and easy to chew. Both of them were unique in their own ways so whether you’re a cherry fan or a lover of blueberry, you’ll find that they are both different yet similar. I was also given their newest pasta dishes to try which included, Gluten Free Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta, Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce Pasta, and Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne. I really enjoyed the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and my son liked the Ultimate Cheddar Penne. They are all made with brown rice flour for the gluten-free part and I couldn’t really taste any difference from the gluten-free version and the regular wheat version. You just have to make sure not to overcook as it could get kind of sticky.

While in our household we don’t have a gluten sensitivity, I am trying to reduce the amount of it for the purpose of a healthier digestive system. With gluten-free products, I don’t feel as weighed down and I can enjoy my food without feeling as if I ate too much. But for those with a gluten sensitivity, avoiding it at all costs is important and it’s just as important to read your labels carefully before purchasing packaged food. With Van’s Foods and their gluten-free line, you can definitely enjoy the taste of regular snacks without the dangers of wheat gluten hidden somewhere in the ingredients.

Van’s Foods can be purchased at supermarkets that carry natural products as well as natural grocery stores. They come in a variety of frozen and dried food so it’s fairly easy to stock up on their products. For more information about Van’s Foods please visit their website: http://www.vansfoods.com as well as their social media sites which you can find links on their website.

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 | February 7, 2015

Surf Sweets/TruSweets – A Valentine Treat!

SURFSWEETS

Red hearts, cupid’s bow, and chocolates – what do they all spell? Valentine’s Day! For many, Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday where people go all out with the extravagance of buying sweets and gifts. And while chocolates seem to be the main choice in offering sweets, this year why not try something different. The idea behind Valentine’s Day really isn’t about giving the most expensive gift or dining at the poshest restaurant. It should be about celebrating the idea of love and friendship. With this holiday being advertised at almost every store since January, my son has already asked me what to give his classmates or if he should get them something. His question was, “do I have to buy everyone a valentine candy?” There are a few girls who’d probably be disappointed if my son didn’t so we decided we should include everyone on the Valetine’s list.

In the previous years we’ve always given his friends and classmates non-sweets as treats but this year when Surf Sweets offered for us to try their new TruSweets organic fruit lollipops as well as their gummy hearts, well, our hearts literally swelled. Surf Sweets makes such delicious and wholesome candies that we tore open the samples the minute they arrived and ate a few bags. Luckily the bags were small enough that we didn’t get a sugar high and of  course we had to save some for an event I was hosting.

Fruity Hearts Multipack (1)

Surf Sweets a division of Tru Sweets (http://www.surfsweets.com) makes only natural and organic candies. Using the finest ingredients available, Surf Sweets makes deliciously sweet and yummy gummy candy and jelly beans that are perfect for little kids. Kids will inevitably eat a sweet now and then so if you’re going to offer them candy, then why not give them something healthier? There are so many candy choices out there and if you peruse the aisles at any grocery store, you’ll find them catered to this holiday right at this moment. I’m not big on the regular candies for Valentine’s Day as I’m a true Chocoholic, but there’s something adorable about Surf Sweets gummy hearts and their entire line of “love” candy.

 

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Each one of the individually packed heart gummies and lollipops are the perfect portions for little kids. And while you’re probably thinking, “wait, didn’t they just have a ton of candy for Halloween?”, well, Valentine’s Day seems to be one of the most popular holidays for kids and teenagers alike. Sure, you’ll probably expect bags full of sweets from your kids when they come home from school, but if you’re the one who’s going to be handing out sweets, then give their classmates a better type of candy – ones that aren’t full of artificial ingredients. And guess what – they’ll probably end up loving Surf Sweets and TruSweets more than the conventional candies. They are shaped adorably like little hearts and the gummy bears are fun to eat and play with. As a parent, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that companies such as Surf Sweets/Tru Sweets are dedicated in providing healthier candies.

So this Valentine’s Day or really any day of the year, if you’re inclined to buy sweets for your kids and sweethearts, give them something a lot healthier than those with artificial ingredients. After all, your love isn’t artificial so why should your sweets be? Surf Sweets can be purchased at most natural grocery stores and online through their website: http://www.surfsweets.com/store-locator/buy-online/.

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

GOODBOYORGANICS

How do you reward your child for good behavior? It could be a new toy, a fancy book, or a trip to some place fun. But how about rewarding them with something fun and healthy to eat? Of course healthy food should be eaten every day, but once in awhile finding a really delicious snack that’s also made with high quality ingredients is just as important. Add organic ingredients to it and without any unnecessary junk and you’ve got a winner in the snack option.

We don’t snack that often but when we do, I try to find something that we all enjoy. So when we were introduced to Good Boy Organics I was intrigued and wanted to taste these delightful little dinosaur snacks. Yes! Dinosaur savory snacks. These adorable dinosaur shaped crunchy snacks are definitely delicious. They are slightly crunchy, not too salty, and pack a whole lot of flavor. I could easily finish off the whole bag on my own but restrained myself and I even had to keep it away from my son before he polished off the entire bag as well. They are incredibly delicious and I don’t say that often about snacks.

GOODBOYORGANICS

Good Boy Organics (http://www.goodboyorganics.com/) was founded through the love of delicious and healthy eating. With the company’s mission of producing high quality, organic ingredients that are designed for children, Good Boy Organics makes savory snacks that goes beyond normal snacking to a new kind of relationship in the organic snacking industry. With their signature “Organicasaurus” organic savory corn and their “BOPS” (Baked Organic Potato Snacks), the flavors and distinctive profiles makes it hard not to finish off the entire contents within the bag. I can honestly say I have never tasted anything so fun and unique. The dinosaur shaped corn snacks are so fun and adorable to look at that we can’t help play with them a bit before popping them into our mouths and I think that’s one of the main reasons behind these Organicasaurus- so that (for once) you’re allowed some fun with your food before you eat them.

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I love putting these little dinosaur-shaped snacks into my son’s lunchbox as a healthy snack alternative. With so many snacks out there to choose from, it’s our job as parents to find ones that are healthier for our children. Children, much like adults, love the opportunity to snack but there are so many hidden dangers in food nowadays, how do we know who to really trust? But you really can’t go wrong with something made from organic ingredients and products that are made without any artificial additives. With these yummy Organicasaurus and BOPS chips, I don’t have to worry about what I’m putting in my son’s body or my own. I always snack whatever I buy for my son because I want to snack healthy too!

The wonderful folks at Good Boy Organics had sent me their entire selection of Organicasaurus snacks and BOPS chips to try and review. We couldn’t resist trying every single flavor and variety and I was amazed at all the distinct flavor profiles. Usually with corn and potato snack chips they all end up tasting pretty much the same, but not with these gems. Good Boy Organics has very unique flavors such as Organicasaurus Cheddar, Tangy Tomato, and Sea Salt. And the BOPS comes in Sea Salt, Barbeque, Aged White Cheddar, and Sour Cream Onion. I love the fact that not only are they made with organic ingredients, but that they have very low sodium content per serving size and they are the perfect size to munch on.

Good Boy Organics can be found at most natural grocery stores and with the adorable packaging you can spot them on the shelves right away. I recommend picking up a few to try because you really won’t be disappointed. If you’re going to snack anyway, then try a better version of corn and potato snacks. Your kids will love them and so will you! For more info about Good Boy Organics, please visit their website: http://www.goodboyorganics.com/, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodBoyOrganics, Twitter: https://twitter.com/goodboyorganics, and Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/goodboyorganics/

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 | January 16, 2015

Thrive Market – Products Worth Reviewing

THRIVE MARKET

If you’re like me, you probably do all kinds of research on natural products whether online or in physical stores. I love walking down the aisles of natural food stores to see all the new and wonderful products that can help us live a healthier life. But I also love to shop online because I for one know that you can probably find a lot more unique brands that way.

If you like shopping at online boutiques that specializes in natural and organic products then you might want to check out the new online store called Thrive Market (https://thrivemarket.com/). Selling only naturally derived and organic products on their site, Thrive Market makes it easier for everyone to buy natural products at affordable prices. In fact, Thrive Market’s whole theory is that one shouldn’t need to compromise good health with low quality products. With Thrive Market, you can afford to buy natural and organic products at a much lower price than you’d find in retail stores. I do shop both online and brick-and-mortar stores and I did notice some differences in the prices. If you like the convenience of shopping online, then Thrive Market is the perfect destination for you.

I was approached to try out the new Thrive Market and give my opinion on their site. After comparing Thrive Market with a couple other online natural and organic stores, I do have to admit that Thrive Market has some pretty good pricing. While I can’t name the other companies, it wouldn’t hurt to try out Thrive Market and see for yourself all the different natural and organic products available on their site. Shipping is free with $49 and over purchase but you can easily pick up a few stuff in their online store that will still end up saving you money and time.

One of the main reasons why Thrive Market started their company was for the purpose of offering affordable products to people of all income and status. They also donate an annual membership to a low-income family for every membership purchased.

Thrive Market also partners with many philanthropic, socially, and environmentally responsible companies who have the same determination and goal. They believe that in giving back to the community and the planet, the reward itself is in helping others live healthier and better lives. It’s admirable when a company can give back to others when in fact it doesn’t really take much at all. Certain companies that Thrive Market works with are the Boys + Girls Club, LA Fund, and Common Threads. All are great charities and if you’re going to do some shopping online, why not help benefit others as well?

On Thrive Market, you’ll see many products from companies you’ve already heard of such as Garden of Life, Desert Essence, Clif Bars, Popchips, Earth Balance, Seventh Generation, and many more. Some of the prices are comparable to other online natural stores but mostly it is the convenience and the fact that you are also helping out others while you’re shopping. With each paid membership, Thrive Market will donate to another membership to those in need.

So check out Thrive Market (https://thrivemarket.com) and see for yourself how much you can save when shopping online. Right now Thrive Market is offering a 15% off discount for your first order. You can browse in their online store and if you decide to make a purchase, you’ll receive a 30-day membership trial. If you decide to stay with Thrive Market, you just pay a one time annual membership fee of $59.95 and Thrive Market will also donate a free membership to a low-income family.

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 | January 12, 2015

The Art of Letting Go – Have a Healthier New Year

HEALTHY LIVING

When Queen Elsa sang, “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, she was finally learning a hard lesson in life that many of us non-cartoon people have a hard time doing in real life. Like the song title, letting go can be both a blessing and a curse. But it’s how we approach it that makes us become better people and live a healthier life. Think of the alternative to holding onto things that we really shouldn’t hold on to. We end up feeling drained both physically and mentally and our entire being is literally exhausted.

Most people commit to a new year’s resolution each year, whether it be to save more money or exercise more. But on the top of almost every list is the resolution to be healthier. Being healthy isn’t limited to eating right and exercising regularly. While that may be part of the whole process for our body, we really need to start with our mind first. Our minds connect us to everything within our bodies and it’s important to remember that a healthy thought process brings forth a healthier body and soul.

I’ve put together a list of things we can do now to have less stress and (hopefully) change our mindset on things. Letting go isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just learning how to let go of things that suck us of our energy and make us feel ill mentally, emotionally, and physically.

- Let go of small transgressions: From the man who cut you off on the freeway to the parent at your school who can’t tell their own kids to behave, there are always those little things that irk us. But in order to let it go, we can’t take things so personally all of the time. Life is too short to hold onto the small offenses of others. Sometimes other people really don’t know better and if we don’t let it bother us, then we can move past it quicker.

- Let go of past hurt: This one can be tough because being “hurt” means differently for everyone. Whether you hold on to grudges or resentment or it’s a past relationship, holding onto things that hurt your heart and your soul can significantly damage your health. This type of not letting go bears tremendous pressure on your stress level which in turn puts pressure on your organs. Sometimes our mind won’t let us go of past hurt and that’s when we have to remind ourselves that the past truly should stay in the past. 

- Let go of what you can’t control: In a perfect world that would probably be pretty easy to do, right? Well, since we live in reality, we have to tell ourselves that sometimes things happen because they happen. Perhaps we could have prevented the harmful outcome and perhaps not. But the best thing to do after that is to learn from it and move on. It’s okay to be cautious and to try and prevent negative outcomes, but when there are times that something disappoints us or we have a hard time moving forward, remind yourself of that old saying, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”.

- Meditation: I am a true believer of meditation. I’ve been meditating for over 20 years now and although I don’t have enough time to meditate every day like I used to, I still try to include it into my daily routine as much as possible. Meditation releases the body of toxins, helps to clear your mind of negative thoughts, and improve sleep and attention. To truly learn the art of meditation, make sure your mind is completely clear before and during meditation. If any thoughts sneak in, remember this mantra: I will succeed…I will succeed.

- Find something that can change our perspective: Perhaps we feel anger at always running late to work or we’re always doing tons of laundry during the week, try to find a new perspective on how to resolve these time and energy zappers. It could be as simple as laying out our clothes the night before or finding a new route to get to work. And instead of having to separate colors in the wash, invest in laundry detergent that can wash whites, dark, and colors all in one load.

- Find ways to unload our stress: Writing is one of the best ways of letting our frustrations out. As most writers will tell you, writing is a form of catharsis where we direct our anger, sadness, and hurt onto paper or a computer screen in most cases. Next time you feel like you just want to punch something, take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just write it out. It doesn’t matter if you’re grammatically incorrect, just write out whatever is on your mind or feeling. And then, delete the whole thing. Keeping it around just reminds us of the anger if we are prone to reading it later.

- Let go of inconsequential relationships: This may sound harsh, but sometimes there are people out there who negatively affect our well-being. We don’t want to be around those people, so do your best to stay away from them. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you meet that one person who just makes you feel completely drained after just a few minutes of being in their presence. There’s nothing wrong to untie that insignificant bond because  we are after all, learning to let go of negative things and that includes non-committed relationships.

- Find the reason why you can’t let go: Sometimes we just can’t let go, no matter what. But that’s the wrong approach to actually letting go. Thinking that we can’t let it go is already negatively planting the idea in your head. Start by writing down what it is that’s truly causing you stress and mental pain. Then write down solutions on how to stop it or change it. Make changes for the better and see yourself positively. Finding out the reason why you’re stuck in that mindset can help set us free eventually.

Remember that we are our own advocate. No one can dictate how we should feel or how we should act. As adults, it’s up to us to make things better and healthier for ourselves. When we learn to take care of ourselves first, then we can help others see the positive as well.

Have a happy and healthy new year!

*photo courtesy of Delicious Living magazine

 

 

Posted by: suzan | December 6, 2014

NBC Green is Universal #ShareATree Campaign

GREEN IS UNIVERSAL SHARE A TREE

Beauty is seen through the eyes of the willing. Young children find beauty in almost anything but as adults our hardships throughout the years have taught us to be more judgmental. This year, let’s open our eyes to the brilliance of nature around us and appreciate one of the best things in life – trees. Trees are magical, whimsical, and even comical. But most importantly, they breathe precious life into our atmosphere, helping us live better and more at peace. When I stand in front of a tall and majestic tree, I breathe in her invigorating fragrance and it enlivens me and makes me realize that there are more important things to life than what we already know of.

Every year marks the important event for trees around the world and that event is the Share A Tree campaign. Hosted by Green Is Universal (http://www.greenisuniversal.com/) and Arbor Day Foundation (http://www.arborday.org/), the Share A Tree campaign will help the Arbor Day Foundation plant trees all across the United States in our national forests, state forests, and state parks. Two places in which trees will be planted is in Michigan’s Mackinaw and Ausable State Forests. For every digital tree shared before the end of December, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant a real tree and for every 25,000 shared, Green is Universal will donate $5,000.

What is Share A Tree? It is a virtual forest where people can visit the site, decorate a tree and easily share it on social media. Included in the forest are about 40 trees that were drawn by celebrities like Al Roker, Dolvett Quince and Meredith Vieira among many others. You can create your own virtual tree or share a celebrity’s tree – the choice is yours and you can do this as many times as you want!

acorn

The Arbor Day Foundation efforts are to plant Jack pine trees to improve the habitat of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. This neotropical migratory songbird’s breeding habitat is almost exclusively confined to young, dense Jack pine stands in the area. Today, Kirtland’s warblers are found in only ten counties on Michigan’s northern lower peninsula and four counties in the upper peninsula. Efforts by the Arbor Day Foundation’s replanting partners have increased the number of singing males from less than 200 to more than 1,900, bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.

Click here to decorate and Share a Tree!

LAUREN KOSLOW

One of my favorite celebrity trees is the one made by Lauren Koslow from Days of Our Lives. Now that’s what a tree should look like! So full and abundant and colorful. On  the Share A Tree site (http://www.greenisuniversal.com/) you can find many wonderful decorated trees created by celebrities. Some are simplistic and modest while others are extravagant and intense. You’ll have a lot of fun just checking out all the different trees created by these well-known celebrities.

As we are asked, “where would we be without trees?”, that is like asking how can we breathe better and cleaner air? Trees are inherently one of the most important aspects of nature and without them, we wouldn’t have a strong ecosystem. Not only are trees immensely beneficial to our environment, but they are also a valuable part of living on Earth. They create wonder and beauty in our minds and hearts. They give children the room for imagination. They give bibliophiles a comfortable place to read. But most importantly, trees can live thousands of years and thrive for many future generations. They tell stories and they give hope to many.

The goal for Share A Tree is to reach 100,000 trees by December 31st and for every 25,000 trees shared, Green is Universal will donate $5,000 to the Arbor Day Foundation. So be sure to check out the Share A Tree website to decorate your own tree, share it, and then go back and do it 100 times over until Arbor Day Foundation reaches their goal. It’s simple, fun to do, and you’re helping the environment with a worthy cause just by sitting in front of your computer and doing a much needed good deed. Sometimes we may ask ourselves what we can do to help others. Well, the Share A Tree campaign is probably one of the easiest ways to help and it doesn’t cost anything.

For more information about the Share A Tree campaign, please visit Green Is Universal: http://www.greenisuniversal.com

Disclaimer: In sharing this campaign, Happymomblogger received a gift from Green is Universal and the Arbor Day Foundation.

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 | December 6, 2014

Monk Fruit in The Raw – Products Worth Reviewing

 

MONK FRUIT IN THE RAW

We all know that sugar is probably one of the worst foods we can put in our body. But it’s also one of the hardest thing to avoid because it’s in practically everything we eat and buy. However not all sugar are necessarily bad for you. It’s mostly the processed versions and the ones that do more harm than good, like regular cane sugar. I try to stay away from sweets whenever possible but with a young kid in the house, it’s nearly impossible to do so. Sugary food is advertised on TV, in stores, and even in schools (parents and teachers just can’t resist bringing in sweet snacks to share). So what’s a mom to do when we are attacked with sugar-laden foods? Well, we look elsewhere for more healthier alternatives that also contain useful benefits.

As a Moms Meet blogger and ambassador, I was given the opportunity to try a certain type of fruit called “Monk fruit” which is also known as “luo han guo”. Originally harvested in the 13th century, Monk fruit is getting readily more popular as a natural sugar alternative with zero calories and absolutely natural. Because all fruits contain some amounts of sugar, natural sugar from fruits is different than sugar that is processed from sugar cane. And unless your chomping on a pure sugar cane, your most likely getting sugar that has been dyed and heavily processed. With natural sugar such as Monk fruit, you get a much healthier alternative.

MONK FRUIT PACKAGE

Monk Fruit, made from In The Raw (http://www.intheraw.com/products/monk-fruit-in-the-raw) can be used like regular sugar in all your baking and cooking needs. It has a slightly grainier texture and is less sweet than regular cane sugar. I used Monk Fruit primarily when cooking fruit compote and my husband tried it in his coffee. Of course he is used to the traditional sugars but when I swapped it without him knowing, I don’t think he really noticed at all. For me, Monk Fruit or Luo Han Guo has a really gentle flavor to it and because it isn’t overly sweet, it’s really nice sprinkled over food that you normally use sugar for.

MONK FRUIT PACKETS

I was given Monk Fruit In The Raw Bakers Bag which can be used for your regular baking and cooking needs. And also Monk Fruit In The Raw Packets which are little sugar packets that you’d find in restaurants but made from the natural sweetness of Monk Fruit of course. Although with my oven broken I didn’t have a chance to bake with the Monk Fruit yet, I did use it for my special fruit compote that I spread over almost anything and just in regular cooking usage. With Asian cooking, it’s always best to add a sprinkle of sugar in your stir fried dishes to balance out the salt or soy sauce.

Monk Fruit in The Raw can be found in most natural grocery stores and stores that carry natural and organic food. I’m prone to eating less sweets as is but I’m glad I tried a new type of sweetener that can substitute regular cane sugar.

Disclaimer:

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

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 | December 3, 2014

Have a Green Holiday This Season!

GREEN CHRISTMAS TREE

Each year thousands of dollars are spent during the holiday season. But to top off that, millions of waste are also accumulated during the busy holiday months. With advertising for sales starting as early as October, it’s no wonder that we get pressured to BUY, BUY, BUY. As I get older, I try to remind myself that it’s okay if I can’t appease everyone on my Christmas shopping list. Saving money by spending wisely is in essence one of the most peaceful ways of celebrating the holidays. We become less stressed next January when our credit card bills aren’t breaking our savings account and we can actually spend our money on more meaningful things in life. With saving money for the holidays it inevitably leads to being more green for the holidays. We end up buying less and producing less waste. So, in the long run, it is a win-win situation for everyone (and for the planet).

Being “green” this holiday season isn’t an impossible feat. If you plan ahead and decide that it is the right thing to do, then you’ll come up with some pretty good ideas. Below I’ve listed ways you can save both monetarily and environmentally for this holiday season.

Decorations

– You don’t really need to buy new decorations every year. Sure they are pretty to look at and they seem to be on sale everywhere, but your old ones that you’ve had for years work just fine. If you feel the need to buy some new decorations, replace ones that are broken or torn or add a few pieces to mix in with your holiday theme. DYI decorations are one of the best ways to save money and to be creative.

– Repurpose old unusable colored bulbs by using them as table decorations.

-Have your children draw their favorite things along with holiday themes on colored paper and use them as decorations for the tree.

-Take old plastic wreaths and break them down to make several different wreaths to disperse throughout the house.

– Swap decorations with your friends each year and decide beforehand if you want to keep your decorations or donate them to your friends.

– Buy LED holiday string lights. They use 70% less energy than non-LED lights. Be sure to check with your local recycling center if they take unusable string lights.

Gifts

– Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of the holiday season is to feel obligated to buy gifts. While it’s tradition to exchange gifts during the holidays, it isn’t truly necessary. Sure, kids may still prefer the time-honored tradition and that’s okay, but stay with a short list this season and buy only what they truly deserve. Yes, that may seem hard to do, but it’s also a great time to teach children the benefits of receiving only a couple of gifts instead of a truckload of toys that they’ll probably never play with or get bored with a few weeks later. This also applies to buying gifts for others. Find out what the recipients really need and decide on either a big ticket gift or a few small ones that they will use throughout the year. This will save you money and save them the energy of not being able to use the gifts they receive.

– Holidays bring forth the goodwill of donations. In the real world donating year round is ideal, but we don’t all have the money or resources to do that. So during the holiday season, don’t forget to make donations to charities. If you are on a tight budget, you can always bring homemade presents or re-gift something that was never opened but you just couldn’t bear to give away. Remember that if you don’t use it, it’s just sitting there in your closet or garage collecting dust while someone else may find it as a treasure.

– Homemade gifts to those you don’t know what to buy. Have your children help you bake a plethora of cookies and sweets, package them in pretty boxes and give them as gifts. If you are crafty, make something for the recipient that he/she will be able to use. To save money and the environment, buy materials that are locally sourced or fair trade certified. Usually fair trade materials and products cost less to produce and locally sourced materials produce less carbon footprints in the production and transportation.

– Holiday cards. We all enjoying seeing our nieces and nephews on those adorable holiday cards. I used to keep the photo cards for many years until they started piling up and creating more stress in keeping them. These kids will grow up and look different every year, so if you feel the need to keep the photo cards, hold onto them for 2 years only, or take photos of the cards and keep them on a flash drive or SD card. Sending e-cards is probably the most cost efficient and environmental way to go. However, not everyone reads their emails and even then they can get lost in cyberspace. If you can, dedicate e-cards to those who are tech savvy and send paper cards to those who still like to open their mail. Better yet, if you are sending those photo cards, send them as regular snapshots in either wallet size or traditional 4×6 so that your recipients can just keep the photos instead of the entire card.

Gift Wrap

– Tons of paper are wasted each year on gift wrapping alone. I have to admit that when I see something prettily packaged, it makes me more excited because I expect the gift inside to be something wonderful. Ah, but there’s the trick, because a pretty package doesn’t necessarily mean a great gift is inside it. So, if you do buy something spectacular for your recipients, wrap them in simple yet adorable, un-dyed craft paper you can find in craft stores. They are the ones that are a caramel color where you can use any colored ribbons to jazz up with. If you did save those old holiday cards from previous years, use them as gift tags for the presents.

– An old trick is to use newspapers as wrapping paper. Find ones that match the gifts or the interests of your recipients. Use the comics page for a funny gift or a comical recipient. Use the car sales section for someone who loves cars. Use the arts section for someone who’s very artsy and crafty. You get the general idea.

– Measure carefully when wrapping presents so that you don’t end up wasting wrapping paper. We all inevitably have left over scraps that just aren’t big enough to wrap the next present. Always allow at least 3 inches top and bottom on the sides of the wrapping paper so that you don’t end up with more scraps. If you do have scraps, save them as gift tags so that they both match. Cut and trim the extra scraps into holiday themed shapes to make the gift tags extra unique.

In the end, when we truly think about the holiday season, it isn’t just about who gets the latest gadgets or the trendiest clothes. It’s about thinking of that particular reason you are celebrating the season. Someone may have come from a harder background and will need more than others or the richest person in the world could be the saddest one of all. If we retain the mantra that valuing what truly is important to us, then the holiday season won’t seem like such a stressful thing or a blur that whizzed past us in a blink of an eye. And when we give back to our precious Earth, she too will teach us and honor us with lifelong joys in life.

Have a safe and happy Holiday season and a very peaceful New Year!

 

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