Posted by: suzan | June 19, 2018

Summer Garden Ideas for Kids

As we gear towards summer and with the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to start your summer garden plans. As the kids are getting ready for whatever summer activities that you’ve planned, incorporate a summer garden for them as well. Gardening is therapeutic as well as tons of fun! It’s great for getting kids outside and for them to connect with nature. As long as you provide even a small area for them to work on then I guarantee your kids will develop a life long joy in gardening.

There are several different types of gardens but the easiest to start and maintain would be these: vegetable and fruit garden, cutting flower garden, and herb garden. Any one of these three gardens would be great for beginners as they can easily start with seeds or seedlings from a garden store. The benefits of these three types of gardens are that the bounty is usually enough for a full harvest and that they are beautiful to look at in your yard!

Let’s start with the basics:

Tools – small gardening shovel/spade, gardening gloves, small hand held rake.

Seeds – lettuce, radish, cucumbers, beans, sunflowers, marigold, herbs. Try to buy organic as you’ll be eating these plants.

Seedlings – tomato, broccoli, cilantro, wildflowers, corn, strawberries. Try to buy organic as you’ll be eating these plants.

Vegetable and fruit garden:

Vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and greens including lettuce, spinach, and kale, citrus fruits including lemons and oranges, beans, radishes, pumpkins, carrots, beets, and bell peppers are all very easy to grow and maintain. These types of fruits and vegetables have been cultivated for years to ensure a healthy growth and popularity. Plus, most of these species are recognized by children and have probably been eaten on a regular basis. Start with the basic and generic varieties and then experiment with heirloom ones. 

Cutting flower garden:

Cutting flowers are ones that usually grow in stalks and can easily be cut to put into vases. Great varieties include sunflowers, zinnias, lavender, daisies, dahlias, and salvia. Notice that there are annuals and perennials so plan according to how you want your garden to look during the year or years. Annuals are plants that have to planted every year so it’s natural that they die out after a couple of seasons. Perennials come back year after year if you remember to take care of them during the various seasons. 

Herb garden:

Herb gardens are probably one of the easiest garden to maintain. Herbs grow super fast and can spread widely if you’re not careful of spacing. Plus, herbs are delicious in meals, beverages, and even to keep away those pesky garden pests! Best herbs to grow are mint (spearmint or peppermint), parsley (try this yummy recipe that kids will enjoy: http://deliciousliving.com/herbquiches), basil, chives, sage, and cilantro. They are all quite fragrant and works well with most recipes. Try fresh mint in lemonades and juice and chopped fresh parsley over tomato soup. If your kids are hesitant about herbs, have them rub their fingers between the leaves and then smell the plant or fingers. The delicious aroma will encourage them to try gardening with herbs and they’re fun to harvest as well.

You can start your garden either directly in the ground or in planters. Planter gardening seems to have grown in popularity and it’s really easy to move the planters around for sunlight and shade. Plus, you can get really creative with your planters such as using soup cans, milk cartons, and tires. Or you can use the traditional planters such as terra cotta and ceramic as they will look just as beautiful and unique. Just remember that most planters attract a lot of heat so keep the plants well watered and fertilized. For in-ground planting, start off with a small patch of space such as a 5’x5′ area and make sure the soil is well amended. A good rule of thumb with any type of planting is making sure that the soil starts off right. If you want the proper type of soil, check out gardening stores and speak to experts on the type of soil in your region. Remember to also water your plants thoroughly and well. Some plants require daily watering while some can grow well with less watering. Take care of pests as well by using natural pesticides so that it’s safer for your children and for your garden. Wear gloves if you’re unsure of what type of soil you have and wear a hat to keep out the harsh sun rays.

So start planning your summer garden with your kids now. Take them to a garden center and let them browse the entire store. They’ll get inspired when they see all the beautiful and colorful plants and hopefully you can take home some plants and seeds that same day. Remember that the garden doesn’t have to be big. In fact, start off smaller so that it’s easier to maintain for yourself and your kids. Once you get the hang of gardening, experiment with rare plants or make your garden area even bigger.

Happy planting!

For some great gardening ideas, be sure to check out Martha Stewart’s gardening section: https://www.marthastewart.com/286309/vegetable-garden-101

And for easy and delicious recipes for the summer, check out Delicious Living Magazine: http://deliciousliving.com/recipes/6-hydrating-summer-recipes#slide-0-field_images-306921

*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

 

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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Posted by: suzan | June 15, 2018

Be Good to Your Guts

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Over the years as I’ve talked to people that I’ve met, friends, and family, there seems to be one major concern that is central on everyone’s mind and that is gut health – or digestive health. Our digestive system is made of a wonderful collection of organs, tissues, and glands with each part doing their own specific job. When one part breaks down or becomes weak, the other parts work on overdrive until either all those other parts recover or break down entirely.  Our digestive system keeps us healthy and alive and we wouldn’t live very comfortably if we don’t take care of it.

In order to take care of our digestive system we first have to understand what it is (and here I’m going to have to go a bit graphic with the wording.) The digestive system begins at the mouth and works throughout the body and ends at the anus. Certain parts of the digestive system, which includes the esophagus to the liver to the intestines all work together to turn food and liquids into building blocks and energy that the body needs. Throughout this intricate system of digestive tract the body breaks down every little morsel of food and liquid to turn them into nutrients that our body absorbs and assimilates. When we eat foods that are highly nutritious and beneficial, our digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down. And if we maintain the health of our body, the nutrients that we get from the food we eat gives us the important amino acids, sugar, and fatty acids that help keep us going.

But what happens when people get digestive problems such as ulcers, Celiac disease, and IBS? While food is an important factor in improving digestive health, so are other components that can damage or alter your digestive system. For instance, overeating can cause your body to be unable to properly break down foods or take longer than usual. Stress is a precursor to many health issues especially with digestive health illnesses. And eating too quickly slows down the process of enzymes traveling through your body to give it the proper nutrients. So what can we do to help improve our gut health? Well, simply put – listen to your gut. Below I’ve listed ways you can improve your digestive health and can be used for both adults and children.

1- Don’t eat before bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach can push stomach contents back toward the esophagus, resulting in reflux.

2- . Downsize meals. Trick yourself by using a salad plate, and eat until you feel almost full.

3- Chew food well. You’ll activate enzymes in your mouth that help break down carbohydrates, giving stomach acids time to work and minimizing the burden on the rest of the GI track.

4- Decrease stress. Stress can spike inflammation, increase indigestion, and worsen existing digestive conditions. To reduce stress, make a point to exercise, eat a balanced diet, develop a spiritual practice, cultivate a support network, and get plenty of sleep. Try deep-belly breathing for general relaxation and to control anger and anxiety.

5-  Eat more fiber. **The average person gets about half as much fiber as she should.  Aim for 25 to 30 grams daily. It encourages more regular bowel movements, keeps blood sugar more even, and acts as fuel for probiotics.

6-  Adopt Mediterranean diet. Focus on anti-inflammatory, fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. (If raw vegetables give you trouble, cook them before eating.) Choose lean proteins and healthy fats, including cold-water fish, like salmon. Eat red meat infrequently, if at all.

7-  Eat mindfully.  Eating mindfully helps lower heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Notice the color, the aroma, and the texture of each bite before placing it in your mouth. Try this for one meal a day, until it becomes habitual.

8- Take probiotics. Probiotics are critical in maintaining healthy intestinal flora, which can strengthen immune response and alleviate many symptoms associated with a range of digestive conditions.

9-  Try an elimination diet. If you think you have a food sensitivity, keep a food diary for at least three days, recording everything you eat and any effects you notice. Symptoms may come on rapidly, or may not manifest for up to 12 hours. Once you’ve identified the likely food culprits, eliminate them for two to three weeks. If symptoms improve, gradually add the foods back in. Eat the test foods twice a day.

I’m a huge promoter of probiotics. I’ve been eating food rich in healthy probiotics since I was very young. Foods with probiotics are the easiest way to get children to eat better and have a healthier digestive system. Long term beneficial effects of regular probiotic food can improve children’s overall immunity and brain health. Probiotics are basically friendly bacteria that works throughout your body to increase immunity and decrease inflammation. Delicious probiotic foods include yogurt (low in sugar), greek yogurt, fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, cheese, sourdough bread, and miso. If your child is hesitant about trying foods that have the signature “sour” taste of fermentation, slowly add these type of probiotic foods to their meals. Try yogurt mixed in with fresh berries or the ever popular miso soup found in Japanese restaurants and markets. The more children are exposed to healthy probiotics, the better it is for them long term. But if they are disinclined to try any fermented foods, then supplements would help as well.

As we get older, our body works slower and harder to digest food properly and to assimilate the nutrients that we need. It’s important to help our digestive system by eating properly and practice proper exercising. For children, especially when they’re young, get them on the habit of eating low fat and low sugar yogurt to aid in their digestive health. Yogurt also contains dairy so it helps with their bones and muscles as well as other important vitamins.

For more info about digestive health, check out Delicious Living Magazine : http://deliciousliving.com/digestion-digest-manage-digestive-issues-naturally

*photos courtesy of KidsHealth.org and Delicious Living Magazine. ** Delicious Living Magazine

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | May 21, 2018

Clean Eating 101 – What you need to know

 

Once upon a time, people grew their own food with a backyard full of luscious fruits and vegetables. They knew that growing their own food enables them to know what they’re putting in their soil, how they treat their food, and if any chemicals are used. But as time grew and society purportedly progressed, so did our ability to find clean and healthy food in the markets.

So what exactly does clean eating mean? Is it as simple as washing your vegetables and fruit in clean water? Does it mean making sure your food doesn’t fall onto the ground thus making it clean? There seems to be much confusion to the true meaning of it. So simply put – clean food means food that is unprocessed, preservatives-free, and made with as few ingredients as possible. But many foods are processed and can be hard to avoid. The key is to avoid or limit overly processed foods as they are not considered clean due to the tremendous damage they can do to our health. And as always, choose organic whenever possible.

What’s the best way to start eating clean? Here are five easy steps to remember:

1- Buy fresh produce – organic and locally grown when possible. Fresh produce is the number one rule to eating clean and simple.

2- Buy whole grains and lean protein. Whole grains are still intact with all of their nutrients ensuring you’ll get all of the health benefits. Lean protein with little to no fat are not as taxing on your body when digesting and processing through your system.

3- Make meals and snacks from scratch at home. When you start with ingredients that you are in control of, you know what you’re putting in your food.

4- Use as few ingredients as possible. The risk of eating out or buying cooked food in stores is because of all the ingredients in there that companies need for flavor and preserving. When you make your own food, use just the basics – lean protein, vegetables, salt, pepper, light olive oil, etc.

5- Limit sugar or cut it out entirely. While cutting out sugar entirely might be hard to do, try eating more fruits and using fruit-based sweeteners to sweeten your food.

How can you teach children to eat clean? Try these tips:

1- Take your child to the grocery store with you. Let them start by learning about all the fresh produce that are available. If the stores have samples of the produce, encourage your child to try it out if it’s a fruit or vegetable that they typically don’t eat.

2- Depending on the age, have your child help you prepare the meals at home. Teach them and let them help you cut up from the fresh produce you just brought at the store. When children are involved in making meals from scratch, they feel a connection to the food they eat.

3- Serve up fresh fruits and cut them up in cute shapes if necessary. Mix it up once in awhile by including honey (for children over age 2) or plain yogurt for kids to dip their fruit in. Continue with this style of snacking so kids can learn to grab fresh fruits instead of an overly processed sugary snack.

4- Teach your kids to be mindful of what they eat. Don’t be distracted by the TV, tablet, or phone while you’re eating. Being mindful is an ancient practice to be more aware of what you are eating and how food should taste. It also helps with proper digestion of food.

5- Use simple recipes when it comes to teaching kids to eat clean. The less ingredients used, the more their taste buds can distinguish between processed food and food made with less ingredients. This delicious and healthy noodle dish is fun and healthy for both kids and adults: http://deliciousliving.com/recipes/soy-soba-buddha-bowls?cid=nhbc

6- Teach your kids to read labels. If your child likes a certain store bought food, let them read the ingredient label as well as the labels on the packaging. If it’s a snack that isn’t all too healthy, let them see how many unpronounceable words there are in the ingredients list. You’d be surprised at their reactions to all the ingredients that they don’t recognize.

So what happens when you’re eating out and not at home? Short of driving your server and the chefs crazy, here are some tips to make it smoother for everyone:

1- If you can choose the restaurant, then choose one you regularly frequent. This way you already know what’s on the menu and how the restaurant and staff works.

2- If you know the name of the restaurant you’re attending (but you didn’t choose it), look at the menu online so you can get an idea of what’s available.

3- Get to know your server. The servers at restaurants are usually very accommodating. Peruse the menu first and ask the server ahead of time if they allow changes or alterations to the menu items. If they do, then know ahead of time what you’d like to order. If they don’t then just stick with the basics, such as a fresh salad, dressing on the side, and a fruit plate if it’s available. Then if the server brought out your dish accurately, be sure to tip well as they usually have to be specific with the chefs and food preps.

Whether you’re just starting to eat more clean or you’re a seasoned pro, remember to have a plan on how you want to eat clean. Make grocery lists, search online for ideas and tips such as mine, and have self control over what you eat.

Here’s to clean eating! 🙂

*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living and Delicious Living magazine.

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | May 11, 2018

Cascading Petals Book Tour and Review

Life as a teenager isn’t always what you see in the movies. Designer clothes, luxury cars, and European vacations are all depicted in movies as something every teenager seem to have. But there are also dark sides to every teenager. When pressure from family and friends get in the way of growing into healthy and happy adults, the facade that most teens wear falls away to reveal troubles that they tried so hard to hide.

In Cascading Petals, we are immediately taken into the life of the young heroine, Jewel Hart. Eighteen-year-old Jewel is beautiful, smart, and talented, with a heart of gold and a smile that lights up the world. But overshadowing this brilliant girl is a lifetime of bullying and being ignored by her classmates and school administrative. Written in the voice of Jewel along with other central characters, we glimpse into the not so fabulous life as a teen. With the rise of bullying and threats all around her, will Jewel overcome her pain and doubts as she tries to survive her last year in high school?

Along the way, Jewel meets the new boy in town, Kaiden, who is handsome, intelligent, and self assured. He immediately takes a liking to Jewel, seeing the true “jewel” that she is although she tries to hide it from him. The blossoming of their friendship and eventual love is beautiful to read and was very well written by the author. I felt their strengths for each other as well as their pain in trying to fit into a world where you could easily be treated as a nobody. But Jewel and Kaiden’s support for each other as well as from their families made this story really shine.

Cascading Petals is a story that hits you straight to the heart. My own heart broke towards the end of this story, feeling the pain that these main characters felt and hoping they will eventually triumph through. Cascading Petals isn’t just a book about teenagers going through a hard time in high school or in life. It’s a story that tells of hardship and sadness beginning at a very young age for both Jewel, Kaiden, Amy, and Lexi. While Jewel, Kaiden, and Amy had the love and support of their families, no one can truly know another’s pain, of the fear and angst that lives in those who have been bullied or harmed in any way their entire lives.

There is a lot of be said and learned from reading a book such as Cascading Petals. It’s a good reminder to treat others with respect and to stand up for yourself. Life is usually not fair and we have all been dealt some misgivings here and there. But it’s how we pick ourselves up after the fall and shine brighter than others that help us overcome the bad dealings in life. Teenagers and even pre-teens get a sense that they can do anything in their world, that they can say whatever they want and act however they want. But little do they know that the big world out there can be so much crueler if they don’t open their eyes to their own actions and behavior. Every choice we make has a consequence – be it good or bad. And with young adults, it can be excruciatingly hard for them to know what’s truly right and wrong. Heck, even most adults have trouble with that sometimes.

Each and every one of us have been teased, bullied, or made fun of one way or another. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being human. It’s important to remember that we all have shortcomings and pitfalls. No one is perfect nor should we even try to be perfect. And in the end, does it really matter that you aren’t the prettiest girl in school or the jockiest jock? Does it matter if you have a better car or have designer clothes while the person next to you barely lives within their means? It doesn’t make us better or worse. It should just make us feel compassion and help others understand that life has more meaning than what’s on the surface. I truly hope you read Cascading Petals as it can be a good “wake up call” for all of us.

Synopsis:

Despite the years of bullying in school, Jewel Hart has remained sweet and kind. She has it all—a great life, a great family, and beauty—but she has never been able to obtain the one thing she wants—to belong.

When Jewel meets Kaiden Carter, a good-looking, charming new student at York Mills High, things start to look up. On the surface, he is perfect, but Jewel can’t shake the feeling that everything is not as it seems.

When the devastation of the rising suicides in her school hits too close to home and drives Jewel into a deep despair, she clings to Kaiden’s strength to find her way back. Through the pain and fear surrounding her, she finds hope and the will to go on. But just as she picks herself up, tragedy strikes again, threatening to steal her last glimmer of hope. How will she go on? Can she ever find her place in the world?

Xpresso Book Tours and the author is giving everyone a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 32g and a signed copy of Cascading Petals here:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232436/.

You can also purchase Cascading Petals at these retailers:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CascadingPetals-Jane-C-Brady-ebook/dp/B077YMMLPN

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cascadingpetals-jane-c-brady/1127226558?ean=9781775067634

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cascadingpetals/id1296049260?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cascadingpetals

And for more info about Cascading Petals Book Tour: http://xpressobooktours.com/2018/02/15/tour-sign-up-cascading-petals-by-jane-c-brady/

Author’s Bio – Jane C. Brady:

AUTHOR BIO:

Jane lives life to the full because she doesn’t want to wake up twenty years from now regretting all the things she didn’t do. She’s an avid traveler who also loves throwing elaborate dinner parties where she wows her guests with gourmet meals. Jane has a passion for writing, interior design, history, movies, board games, and fitness. In her quest  for an exciting life, however, she now draws the line at zip-lining, which she experienced in Costa Rica. Never again!

Jane comes from a family of six sisters and lived in a Tennessee plantation house for several years while growing up. She now lives in Western Canada but dreams of owning a vacation home in South Carolina. She lives with her husband (her high school sweetheart), two teenagers, and two dogs. When she grows up, she’d like to be her brilliant sixteen-year-old daughter (minus the mood swings).

Author links:

https://authorjanecbrady.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17233695.Jane_C_Brady

https://www.facebook.com/authorjanecbrady/

https://twitter.com/authorjanecbrad

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Jane Brady for the ARC!

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | May 8, 2018

ISAN Book Tour and Review and Giveaway

In a Dystopian future, the world is no longer as we know. If you’re not the elite, you have to fight to stay alive.

Can it happen to us? Will it happen to us? Find out in Mary Ting’s newest young adult Sci Fi thriller, ISAN.

Mary Ting has quite a talent for writing in the voice of teenagers or young adults. Not many adults (and authors) can put themselves in the eyes and mindset of a younger age without sounding fake or contrived. But with Mary, her young adults books make you feel like you’re right there with her characters, right in their minds and their activities.

ISAN starts off right away with action and you’re immediately wondering what the heck is going on here? Super soldiers? Telepathy? Outer space? It all seems so technical with science fiction and military-like action mixed in. But ISAN is so much more than those things. It’s a genre that is filled with tons of action, typical teenage angst, mystery, dystopian, and romance all mixed into a thrill ride from the first pages to the very last page.

ISAN or aka, International Sensory Assassin Network is a mysterious group that is not quite government sanctioned and not quite military. What they are, are a group of young women fighters who are taken from the streets or the orphanage at a young age to train as silent and deadly assassins. I may be so bold as to say that ISAN reminds me of the Black Widow program where young girls are trained at a very young age to be the best in everything they do. No time for having fun or hanging out like regular teenagers might do. It’s strict training both physically and psychologically.

The heroine, Ava is an orphan and having lived a very harsh young life, gets sort of a “second chance” at life when she is inducted into ISAN by her coach and friend, Russ, who works for ISAN. As we read further into the story, we get tidbits of Ava’s past life when she lived with her mother until her mother’s mysterious death and then put into an orphanage. We learn later on that everything in her life was carefully orchestrated to lead up to her being part of ISAN. Throughout the story, you realize that there is a much bigger picture than what you are initially led to think.
As Ava goes on missions with her team, she gets kidnapped by a handsome and enigmatic young man who claims to be a part of her past. Having no memory of him or his teammates, Ava wonders if she could trust them. But something about Rhett makes her believe in him and she begins to have doubts about ISAN and her role in the organization.

Without giving any spoilers away, know that ISAN is a very fast paced read with action, intrigue, and handsome, smartass guys who could easily be the book boyfriend that everyone always talks about. There is no doubt another book in the series and I am eagerly waiting to find out what’s next with Ava and her friends.

Mary Ting and Xpresso Book Tours is also giving away a signed book of ISAN and some incredible swag.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/48cd2c9a135/

 

Synopsis:

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.

SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into our quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her “better.” To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

ISAN is published by Vesuvian Books and can be purchased through these links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ISAN-International-Sensory-Assassin-Network/dp/1944109560/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/isan-international-sensory-assassin-network-mary-ting/1126846302?ean=2940154723616

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isan-international-sensory-assassin-network/id1263326436?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/isan-international-sensory-assassin-network

A bit about the author, Mary Ting:

AUTHOR BIO:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Author links:

https://twitter.com/maryting

http://marytingbooks.blogspot.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4388953.Mary_Ting

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

 

 

If there is ever a day you need to celebrate it is Mother’s Day. Not only should you celebrate it with your mom, but shout it out, party it up, and make it the biggest day she’s ever experienced. Of course Mother’s Day really isn’t limited to just one day, and if you’re going to do one thing special for your mom, Mother’s Day is THE day to do it.

But Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be just for moms. Grandmas, aunts, sisters, friends, and anyone who has been a mother figure in your life can be made to feel special on Mother’s Day. So this year, why not involve your kids to do something extra special for that wonderful mom in their life? Of course if you’re a mom and you’re reading this – just act surprised when your child hands you his homemade special gift!

Here are Top Ten DIY Earth-Friendly gifts for mom:

– Wooden Birdhouse: You can buy unfinished wood birdhouses at craft stores such as Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics for about a $1.00 Have your kids color the birdhouses and/or decorate with stickers. Be sure to use outdoor paint if the birdhouse will be hanging outside. Whether or not birds actually visit the birdhouse, it’s still a fun, educational, and economical gift that’s from the heart.

– Flower Pot: Flowers speak volumes when it comes to gifts. Have your child plant flowers in a pretty pot or a DIY ceramic or terra cotta pot. Best flowers for Mother’s Day are Sweet Peas, Sunflowers, Pansies, and anything that has a beautiful fragrance and are easy to maintain.

– Mother’s Day Coupon Book: Moms are notoriously busy so this year have your child create a coupon book of things you’d like for them to do for you. Coupons can include a “free breakfast day”, “free dishwashing for the week”, or “shoulder massage week” (I’m going to hint to my son that that’s what I’m hoping for!:) ).

– Tea Cup Cozy: If moms love drinking tea (or even coffee), make DIY cozies. Cozies can be made with leather, cardstock, or sewn together with really pretty and colorful fabric.

– Garden Sign: For moms who love to garden or even as a decorative plant stick for indoor plants, make your own garden signs by using rocks, popsicle sticks, bottle caps, wood, and anything else you can find around the house.

– Herb Infused Olive Oil: When it comes to cooking, moms always appreciate high quality cooking oils. So pick up some top notch olive oil and have your kids turn them into gourmet-style infused oils. Simply add organic fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil to create a personalized olive oil. Put the olive oil in a pretty decanter glass bottle for best flavor.

– Embellished Mittens/Gloves: Take plain mittens or gloves and decorate them with stitching. Sew on flowers, lace, and beads to make the mittens and gloves extra unique.

– Homemade Sweets: Remember when your mom made you freshly baked cookies and cupcakes? This Mother’s Day treat your mom to fresh cookies and/or cupcakes made from scratch.

– Fragrance Bath Salts: Bath salts make great therapeutic gifts which you can personalize with your mom’s favorite scent. Try bath salts infused with lavender, rose, or any fragrant scent. For a DIY recipe, check out Botanical Alchemy & Apothecary’s Bath Salts idea: https://botanicalalchemyandapothecary.com/diy-bath-salts-mothers-day-gift/

– Special Mom’s Book: Write a book or journal about your mom. Write things about her that makes her unique and all the reasons why you love her. Add photos and drawings to make it extra special.

Remember that showing your mom your love doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It could be as simple as a heart-warming hug or a thoughtfully drawn card. However you plan on celebrating your mom and the mother figures in your life, give it that extra “oomph” by putting your own personal touch to it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a Mother

Being a mother means that your heart

Is no longer yours; it wanders

Wherever your children do.

 

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

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

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Posted by: suzan | April 30, 2018

2018 – The Dirty Dozen

 

Each year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) conducts research on the cleanest produce to the ones that contain the most pesticide residue. Aptly named, “Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen”, EWG tests these produce using independent test groups to determine the toxicity on these main types of vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and mushroom were all strictly tested to ensure their validity and safety.

This year on the top of the “dirtiest” fruit list is strawberry and it’s no surprise considering that these delicious fruits are grown closest to the soil and are extremely delicate. The EWG found 22 different pesticide residue during their testing with one-third of all conventional strawberry samples containing 10 or more pesticides. Consider that these are a favorite fruit for children, think about the toxins that end up in their precious bodies. That’s why whenever possible, grow your own food and buy organic.

While some may argue that it’s not always feasible to buy organic food or grow your own, take a look at this list before you go shopping. Some fruits and vegetables contain so much toxic pesticides that it’s just not worth it to buy conventional. In the long run, eating organic ensures a healthier mind and body as well as helping the environment. If you buy a particular fruit or vegetable that are on the top Dirty Dozen list then consider switching to organic and buying conventional for the cleaner produce.

 

Below is a breakdown of the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen but you can also access the complete list on EWG’s website: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

Dirty Dozen (in order of most contaminated):

STRAWBERRIES

SPINACH

NECTARINES

APPLES

GRAPES

PEACHES

CHERRIES

PEARS

TOMATOES

CELERY

POTATOES

SWEET BELL PEPPERS

Clean Fifteen:

AVOCADOS

SWEET CORN

PINEAPPLE

CABBAGE

ONIONS

SWEET PEAS

PAPAYA

ASPARAGUS

MANGO

EGGPLANT

HONEYDEW

KIWIS

CANTALOUPE

CAULIFLOWER

BROCCOLI

 

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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Why are some people inherently happier than others? Does it start at childhood where children first learned at home with their parents? More importantly, why does it seem that children are happier than most adults? If you could recall a happy time in your childhood, you’d probably think of many occasions. But as we get older and responsibility starts to set in, we push happiness to the background and let other things get in the way.

Famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle once said, “Happiness depends on ourselves,”. He asserted that happiness is a long-term goal—achieved throughout the course of a lifetime—rather than something that promises instant gratification. While this may hold more accurately for adults – based on experiences – we can also teach our children to apply this ethic to their lives; teaching them that happiness can be long term and comes from within. There’s something to be said about choosing one’s own happiness, for being happy truly is a choice. It’s not always about status or money or getting the best things. Happiness stems from the innate desire to let things go, to not dwell on things or circumstances that can drag us down.

In a 2012 article for Harvard Business Review titled “The History of Happiness”, history professor Peter N. Stearns  of George Mason University stated that while happiness seemed to have improved over the years due to incline of social and cultural status as well as improved health systems, it is a perceived form of happiness that stems from possessions of things rather than something else. And that something else is “that happiness depends on ourselves and not on our circumstances.” But throughout the recent years happiness has also seen a gradual decline and that seems to stem from “poor social support, both governmental and associational.”

Happiness is difficult to measure and can range from person to person, and even day to day. Modern studies expand on Aristotle’s work by focusing less on what happiness is and more on how happiness can be increased and sustained in our lives. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a psychology professor at University of California–Riverside, conducts most of her research in a relatively new field called “positive psychology”. She estimates that only 10 percent of our happiness is attributable to external circumstances like socioeconomic status, marital status, ethnicity, religious beliefs and age. This seems counterintuitive; people tend to assume circumstances play a much larger role in our happiness. But Lyubomirsky asserts there’s a wealth of evidence to support her conclusion, including a study showing that “Americans who earn more than $10 million per year are only slightly happier than nonwealthy office or blue-collar workers.”

So how do we become happier, you might ask? Is it from becoming wealthier and a rise in social status? Or is it living humbly with less possessions to worry over? In a research conducted by Professor Lyubomirsky, she found that truly happy individuals construe life events and daily situations in ways that seem to maintain their happiness, while unhappy individuals construe experiences in ways that seem to reinforce unhappiness.

If you look at the pie chart above, happiness can be mostly controlled by our own actions rather than our circumstances. And while we can’t really do much with our genetic disposition, we can do things in our daily lives to live happier. Things such as doing acts of kindness, nurturing your social relationships and learning to forgive those who have hurt you all help in the long run. These are wonderful lessons to learn for adults, but what about with children? Very young children are still learning that their actions cause consequences which may affect their lives and those around them. That is why it’s crucial for children to learn at a young age that the things they do or say can hold great impact. Children learn best by hands on experiences and every thing they experience and see is a learning lesson.

Below are some ideas you can do to be happier. While you can not always seek happiness, practice these exercises daily to help you get a better and healthier life:

  • Practice mindfulness. It is a state of being aware of the moment and who you are. Take your time to enjoy the simple things in life such as delicious food, beautiful artwork, or a great book.

  • Be in nature. Being out in nature such as mountains, parks, and oceans, help connect us to what is innate. We are all a part of nature and if we listen closely, we can hear the trees rustling, feel the gentle breeze that caresses a flower, and see the waves move symbiotically with the wind.

  • Be kind. The easiest and yet the hardest thing to do is be kind when you are facing adversity. It’s easy to be kind when things are going well but it’s even more important to remain kind when things are not. Be kind to yourself and be kind to especially those who need it.

  • Reduce screen time. In this new age where practically everyone has some kind of electronic equipment on them, learn to reduce the limit of such distractions so that you don’t become dependent on them. Keep your phone with you but don’t make it a bad habit of checking it every 3 seconds. Don’t spend all of your downtime watching videos on your tablet or laptop. And set timers for your children to limit their usage as well.

  • Be proactive. Make plans ahead of time by writing them down so you can have access to your list. When you have an idea of what you are going to do today or a week from now, you won’t feel as stressed when that time comes.

  • Eat healthy foods. Nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruits are full of important vitamins and minerals to keep your mind and body healthy. When you’re sick, your natural mental and physical states could cause more distress and stress.

  • Limit alcohol or cut out alcohol. Alcohol is a temporary fix and can only give you a temporary idea of happiness. Plus, it will drastically ruin your health and livelihood if you become dependent on it.

  • Get plenty of health-inducing exercise. Taking relaxing walks, gentle running, and any kind of health building exercises such as Taiji and Yoga will help you long term. Try to limit excessive weight lifting and anything that can tax your body.

  • Think positively! There can always be something that can get in the way of your inner happiness and peace. Remember that you are in control of your own actions and no one should dictate whether you should be happy or not.

If you have children, whether young, old, or in between, remind them of some of these practices. Children are like sponges – they soak up everything around them so show them and teach them that happiness begins within themselves and they’ll grow to appreciate the little things in life when they’re older.

*Sources: :Delicious Living Magazine/New Hope Network

 

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

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

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Posted by: suzan | April 17, 2018

Earth Day Celebration – April 22, 2018

EARTHDAY

Each year on or around April 22, the entire planet celebrates and honors Earth Day. As a movement that started by one single person over 40 years ago, Earth Day is still a very important day across the world with even more emphasis on saving our planet in the recent years. If you look around you – and we’re not even thinking about what we see in the media – you already notice the trash that is laying on the ground when you walk to your nearest Starbucks or in the grainy sand at your local beach. Whether or not you believe in reducing waste around the world, our planet is in dire need of some help and care.

There are hundreds of ways of helping our planet and it can start with just one single act. Encourage your children to learn about being stewards for our planet so that they can help our Earth for their children, their children’s children, and all future generations. The single act of kindness towards Earth can be as simple as reducing your purchases. Or bring reusable bags when you go to the stores. Or turning off all electronics for an entire day. These single solitary acts can lead to even bigger rewards as the years go by. Imagine how much waste you can cut at home and in our landfills! And imagine the electricity bill you’ll save and the single plastic bags will eventually be diminished around the world. In California, there is a law that removed single use plastics at commercial stores so it’s up to you to help reduce waste where you live!

This year’s focus around the world is: End Plastic Pollution. That could be anywhere from your home, to businesses, to the ocean. As it is, our oceans across the world is vastly filling up with trash. The oceans connect all of us – humans and sealife and if we don’t do something soon, our ocean will become one giant waste dump. Consider this –“Plastics now pollute all dimensions of our oceans from the sea surface to the seafloor, on remote beaches and in Arctic sea ice. The impact ocean plastics have on marine species is well documented, but increasingly scientists are concerned about the potential threat of plastics to species at the top of the marine food chain: humans.”  

According to Earth Day Network – *Plastic items can make their way to the ocean in a vast number of ways. Some plastic items are simply thrown away in open spaces or streets and carried through storm drains and waterways into the ocean. Other items may fall out of garbage trucks or may be dumped into improperly managed landfills, some of which spill directly into the ocean. Hundreds of small cities and towns do not have any waste management infrastructure, and people are forced to dump their waste in open spaces. You may ask what’s wrong with a small piece of plastic ending up in the giant ocean. Well, the direct result of this poor management is the accumulation of millions and millions of tons of plastic floating around the world’s oceans. If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish (by weight). This plastic has very damaging effects on the fish and other organisms that call the ocean home. That six-pack ring you threw away can go on to harm sea creatures in several different ways.

So you ask yourself, “why” should I be concerned with all this waste around the world? Well, if us humans continue to consume and waste more than what we singularly need, consider the millions of people that live on this planet and what that impact will be in the future. Landfills have already been filling up and new ones are opening up to contain all the waste that can’t be depleted. What if a landfill opens up in your neighborhood? That probably wouldn’t be so great with all the bad smells and garbage laying around the area. But you never know – that could happen.

So this year, and every year after, do one kind thing for our planet and go from there. Below are some tips on being Earth-Friendly:

  • Before buying anything new, ask yourself if you can use something else you already have instead.

  • Select products without plastic packaging.

  • Avoid fabrics with plastic microfibers, such as nylon and polyester.

  • When at a restaurant, ask that no straw be brought out with your drink. If dining out, say no to disposable silverware.

  • Put your produce in reusable mesh bags.

  • Make a plan for how you’ll reduce, refuse, reuse and recycle all the plastic in your life.

We are all living on this planet and we are all stewards of Earth. Whether you are 5 years old or 80 years old, you can do your part in helping the environment. Remember that it takes one single kind act to help make this planet more beautiful and more habitable – for all of us.

For more resources, please check out these earth promoting sites: http://deliciousliving.com/green-living/have-eco-week#slide-0-field_images-306031https://earth911.comhttps://blog.veestro.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-earth-day/

Happy Earth Day!

Sources: *Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy. *Earth Day Network

 

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

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

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Crown of Ruin

What do you get when you cross a very angry and ancient vampire with a young lady of royal blood soon to be crowned the Queen of all vampires and witches? You get a woman who has lived thousands of lives to be reborn as the Vampire Queen of the Realm. But who said life as the queen of the most ruthless of vampires was all fun and games? Certainly not for Logan Pierce who has encountered countless dangers, enemies, and betrayals along the way. Enter the world of The Blood Descendants Universe and follow Logan, Cyrus, and their friends and families through love, life, hatred, and deception and allow author Keary Taylor to transport you into the world of vampires and the supernatural.

SYNOPSIS:

Logan has returned to Roter Himmel.  Once a peaceful haven for the Royals, it is now a kingdom of chaos and distrust.  The people may love their queen, but she has never ruled them on her own.

Sevan has seen Cyrus work miracles long ago, and learned his methods herself.  His curse has sustained stronger than death before but the visage of Cyrus’ demise is undeniable.  Still, Logan refuses to believe this is the end.  Cyrus keeps appearing to her in strange dreams, rambling that she must prepare—that the day is coming when night will rule the day.  

While the entire world of vampires watches, Logan will take on the weight of the crown, the certainty of impending change, and the threat of war. 

They all should have known better than to test her.  She’s had multiple lifetimes to prepare for this…

All hail the Queen!

If you’ve ever read any of Keary Taylor’s books you’ll know that her characters jump right out at you and pull you into their stories. You will be instantly transported into that place and time and live through the same emotions and feelings as her characters. And if you want to start on a brand new vampire series, be sure to pick up Keary Taylor’s entire line of the Blood Descendants Universe novels.

Keary Taylor is giving you a chance to win signed paperback books of both Crown of Death and Crown of Blood (Book 1 and 2). Signed copies! Keary is an USA Today’s Bestselling Author so be sure to check out her books and enter the giveaway!

Enter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9d3f3b61/

LINKS:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2GeoUJh

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2G1yVWR

iBooks: https://apple.co/2GgYGWU

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2G57Q5s

Google Play: https://goo.gl/nPSAhP

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2pwhLKT

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/kearytaylor/

Blood Descendants Universe Page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/BloodDescendantsUniverse/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/kearytaylor

Bookbub Author Follow Page: www.bookbub.com/authors/keary-taylor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorkearytaylor/

 

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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