Posted by: suzan | April 22, 2016

Earth Day – April 22, 2016

earthday-promo

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

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

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

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

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

watersidecleanup-earthday

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

weedkiller-dlearthday

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

xeriscapeit-earthday

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

producebags-earthday

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

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Posted by: suzan | April 18, 2016

What If The World Went Vegetarian?

What if every single person on this planet became vegetarian? Would the world be a better place? That is one question I often wonder as I’ve noticed vegetarians and vegans tend to lean towards more compassion and acceptance, because if you break it all down it really means that you are showing compassion to all living beings.

For me, it all started with a dog catcher many years ago who was cruelly trying to capture an adorable stray dog near my parents house. I was around eight or nine years old and still a bit naive about how the world works. After saving the dog from imminent danger from which my mind had surely conjured up, something changed within me and from that day forward I decided I could no longer eat meat.

People used to ask me why I became a vegetarian at such a young age. They thought it was a phase I was going through; a young child’s mind trying out something new. But deep down, deep down I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, to eat an animal who had a life only to unwillingly give it up to be on someone’s plate.

As I was sifting through my emails recently I came across something that caught my eye. And in honor of Earth Month and Earth Day on April 22, I thought it would be nice to share this very interesting and informative video on being a vegetarian and what it takes to eat meat. Hope you enjoy watching it and learn something new as I surely did.

https://youtu.be/ANUoAdXfA60

 

 

Posted by: suzan | April 5, 2016

Dolphin Organics #DOBetterToday Campaign

 

DOBETTERIMAGE

Do you ever feel as if there’s hardly any time to enjoy the little things in life? These things could be something fun like taking a walk through the park or compassionately volunteering for an hour a week. The simplest things could be enjoyed if we take a moment to realize them and actually accomplish them.

This month, the gracious folks at Dolphin Organics challenges all of us to Do Better, to do something that makes us feel good or makes someone else benefit from our actions. Using the hashtag slogan, #DOBetterToday, this challenge encourages everyone to make a change and let others know what you did through social media, word of mouth, virtually any way possible. It’s a positive step in getting everyone to see that any small change, positive and optimistic can encourage others to make similar admirable choices. The staff at Dolphin Organics will be posting their own goals and accomplishments all over social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and they hope lots of people will join them.

To further encourage others to Do Better and share their do better actions, Dolphin Organics is also hosting a giveaway along with the campaign. All you have to do to start is register online: http://dolphinorganics.com/DOBetterToday_a/274.htm. Every time a challenger posts #DOBetterToday and tags Dolphin Organics it’s another entry into the random drawing for some great prizes. The prizes are:

One randomly selected participant will win a “treat yourself” gift basket worth over $250 (it will include a spa certificate, DO products, movie gift certificates and more) 
– One runner up will win a gift basket worth over $125 of Dolphin Organics and DO Naturals products. 
Everyone who provides a mailing address and posts at least 10 times will get a free sample in the mail.
So begin by registering at: http://dolphinorganics.com/DOBetterToday_a/274.htm and then head on over to Dolphin Organics on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and start sharing what Do Better action you did today.

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

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

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

Posted by: suzan | March 28, 2016

National Nutrition Month with Van’s Foods

VEGETABLES - Copy

March marks the month as National Nutrition Month where companies focus on food and activities that help us live a healthier life. But most importantly, living a healthy life starts at home and teaching our children at an early age how clean eating affects our health forever.

Thankfully, I grew up with health conscious parents who believed in growing organic fruits and vegetables and that eating them on a daily basis not only help fight off many illnesses and diseases, but cultivates a natural tendency to eat healthier too. In essence, what we put into our bodies are what our bodies will output. It’s not difficult at all to eat healthier and to choose healthier foods on a daily basis. You just have to realize why eating healthy is important and avoiding harmful food when possible.

Now, temptation in food will always be around us. But to truly enjoy your life as you get older, you have to realize that resisting foods that can evidently and eventually harm us starts with making the right food choices. In order to do so, let’s look at what’s inside our refrigerator and pantry right now and get rid of those foods that are filled with artificial ingredients, too much sugar, and high in saturated fats. Of course many other factors attribute to poor health, but starting off on the right track can lead to a healthier eating habit.

*Six Common Nutrition Pitfalls:

Skipping Breakfast – we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well research shows that skipping breakfast may wreak havoc on the body’s hunger and appetite cues, possibly resulting in eating even more calories later in the day. To make sure our bodies stay on the right track, breakfast should include whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Anything from whole fruit, no sugar added smoothies to whole grain toast and eggs would be great choices for breakfast.

Not Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables – unfortunately this is all too common in the US household and limiting fresh fruits and vegetables in our meals hinders our bodies from fighting off certain illnesses and diseases. We should strive to eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups (preferably whole) fruits daily. Easy ways of doing so would be to just bring along a sweet and delicious apple in your lunch bag or chop up some veggies such as cucumbers, radishes, and cherry tomatoes to make a healthy and fun crudites platter.

The Late Night Snack Attack – we’ve all fallen into this pitfall at one time or another and although sometimes it may be necessary depending on the reason, we should really dive into the many reasons why we snack after regular bedtime. Are you truly bored or just hungry? Read a good book or work on a hobby you’ve set aside for awhile. Eat regular meals throughout the day. Eat smaller meals if eating larger meals make you full during the day and lead to being hungrier late at night. Eat wholesome, whole grain meals that include healthy protein. If you must snack, choose healthier foods such as fruit (although acidic fruits can leave you with an upset stomach), cut up vegetables, or a gluten-free type of bread product for fiber.

Not Enough Sleep – research found that sleeping less compared to well-rested results in low energy and your body feeling like it needs to refuel with food. With less energy, we may be inclined to eat higher-caloric type of foods or order takeout instead of cooking something healthy and delicious at home. To help you sleep better every night, avoid watching television or reading on a personal electronic device close to your bedtime, which may activate your brain instead of help you wind down. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol in the evening, which may disrupt sleep. And stick to a schedule, sleeping and rising at the same times daily.

Not Planning Ahead – planning ahead of time is a great strategy and practice for all areas in our lives. When it comes to eating properly, try to make a meal plan that includes plenty of fruits and  vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Making it a weekly meal plan will help you shop better and be creative.

Old Habits Die Hard – we all succumb to convenience and routine in our lives. While some habits are good, eating poorly is one habit we want to eliminate and change. If you follow the steps above and realize why you’re stuck in the unhealthy eating route then you can find a path to become healthier and make healthier life choices forever.

VANS CRACKERS

During National Nutrition Month, Van’s Foods ( http://www.vansfoods.com/)had kindly given me free product coupons to help promote this very important awareness. Van’s Foods makes healthy and delicious breakfast products ranging from frozen waffles and pancakes to wholegrain cereals.But they also make delicious, gluten-free crackers which I picked up a few boxes to try just to see how gluten-free savory snacks would taste compared to their non-gluten-free versions.

VANS SAY CHEESE

The gluten-free crackers I tried were: Gluten-Free Crackers Fire Roasted Veggies and Gluten-Free Crackers Say Cheese! The Fire Roasted Veggies had a wonderful abundance of savory and tanginess while the Say Cheese! was filled with cheesy and buttery flavor. Both were quite different in flavor and taste yet had a good amount of crunch and substance. And although they are savory in flavor, they have very little amounts of sodium so they’re not too salty. Van’s Gluten-Free Crackers are made with their signature blend of whole grains which includes Brown Rice Flour, Oats, Millet, Quinoa, and Amaranth. The Say Cheese! is a great bite-sized variety and the Fire Roasted Veggies would be great for dips.

Although I’m more inclined to whole grain wheat crackers, my favorite out of the two was the Say Cheese! The Fire Roasted Veggies was a bit harder to the bite but pairing them with a dip really brought the crunch factor down. If you are trying to stay away from gluten products, Van’s Food also makes other gluten-free flavors such as Gluten-free Lots of Everything!, Gluten-free Multi Grain Crackers, and Perfect 10 with crackers that are a bit bigger in size than their other ones. Van’s Foods crackers and other products can be found in most natural grocery stores as well as traditional supermarkets.

So no matter how you decide to eat healthier this month, pick something that is easy to start with and go from there. It could be substituting a meal with a hearty vegetable soup and crackers or a bowl of fresh vegetables for a salad. Eating better and properly insures a healthier lifestyle as well as maintaining proper balance in our lives. It’s never too late to start on a healthier habit so change one meal a day and go from there.

 

*Some of these content are taken from the Whole Foods Market blog (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/).

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

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

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

HENAMEDMEMALALA POSTER

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

Have you ever felt so strongly for something, so profound that you ache with every fiber of your being to make a change? To make a difference in your life and the lives around you? That was the belief for Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Pakistan who was taught to believe in fairness, kindness, and equality for her people.

Malala, at a very young age was taught by her father to learn more than what her station in life will ever teach her. She saw and experienced injustice living under the tyrannical leadership of the Taliban. But even through constant fear of being captured and punished, Malala triumphed on, believing that girls should and must receive proper education just like their male counterparts. When she was 15 years old, Malala was singled out by the Taliban and shot for advocating education for girls. She survived and the incident only pushed her to work harder, to confirm her belief that what she was fighting for was worth the pain, the hardship, and the dangers.

I was given a copy of the pre-released DVD, He Named Me Malala, from the Director of Waiting for “Superman” and Academy Award Winner An Inconvenient Truth for my honest review. The documentary told the story of Malala starting as a young child learning through the guidance of her father that education for everyone, not just women, is the way to a better life. Through clever animation and real life footage, we got to experience through Malala and her father’s eyes the fear that they faced, the cruelty of trying to live a normal life as a woman in Pakistan, and to teach other girls that they can be more than who they are. I was deeply touched from watching the movie, never truly understanding the hardships these women faced because of their gender and where they lived. It’s a beautiful and poignant movie and will touch people of any age and gender. Don’t be afraid of showing your children this movie as it might teach them about equality and the heavy price of believing something more than what your environment teaches you.

As you watch the documentary, listening to the hauntingly beautiful music, and the creative journalistic story, I hope we can all learn that courage comes through in the darkest nights, that light shines brighter than the sinister enemies that may prevent us from being better. As Malala stated in her UN speech, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

In 2014, Malala was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On Monday, February 29, He Named Me Malala will premiere on the National Geographic Channel at 8pm/ET/PT in the US and globally in 171 Countries and 45 languages. Please set your clock so that you and your family can watch this moving, heartwrenching, and inspiring movie and hopefully understand that young girls around the world need to go to school, to get proper education, and to be free of oppression.

As a side note, the Taliban did not believe in proper education for women. According to Malala, she believed that the Taliban was afraid that educating women would lead to change. And change for a tyrant leads to freedom of oppression.

Please visit the Malala Fund: https://www.malala.org/ for donations, purpose, and general information about how to help women of all ages around the world have proper education and the right to be educated.

For more info about Malala and this documentary please check out the following websites:

Movie  clip: https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ghiYve6k68

Website: http://www.henamedmemalalamovie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeNamedMeMalala

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media

(http://media.thereviewwire.com) for 20th Century Fox. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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

 

 

MARTHA STEWART

Kids are like little sponges soaking up everything they see, hear, and experience. I didn’t realize the reality of this until I was a preschool teacher right after college. As I remember the good old youthful days, I was one who just did my job at that time going through carefully prepared lesson plans and disciplining as best as possible. But occasionally there would be one or two children who’s behavior and character left an indelible impression on me and at times when I don’t have the patience or fortitude, I recall those wonderful kids that could never be forgotten.

This one child who was around 5 or 6 years old at that time was visiting with her older sister. Why they were temporarily placed in my classroom I can’t quite recall but it was during those several days they stayed in my care that really opened up my eyes to how cruel people can really be. This one little girl caught my attention immediately and it wasn’t because she was primped and pampered in the finest attire. No, this particular little girl wore a raggedy dress, had hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed in weeks, and beat up, dirty shoes. But it wasn’t her appearance that really struck my chord. No, it was her entire demeanor and the brilliant, million-watt smile that beamed brighter than the morning sun. I thought to myself at that time how an adorable little girl who had a heart full of gold be brought to school as if she had been living on the streets for weeks. I was intrigued and a bit perplexed as her older sister was impeccably dressed in a neatly pressed floral dress with bouncy blonde ringlets. Of course her sister was just as pretty but something seemed oddly off.

As it turned out, the little girl was a step-daughter to the mom who brought them both in. I hadn’t paid particular attention to when the mom dropped them off as dozens of kids were shuttled in, but as I started to pay extra attention to the little girl her enormous heart and generosity caused this twenty-something year old me to be even more curious. I remember the little girl instantly attached herself to me, bringing me books and toys to play with her. I remember thinking at the time and perhaps being a bit judgmental that surely someone who looked uncared for couldn’t possibly read more than at a 3-year old level. But I was wrong because this sweet little girl had such intelligence and kindness way beyond what any normal 5-year old could comprehend and it had saddened me greatly. Why was I sad? Because clearly this girl wasn’t as loved as her older step-sister. Although her outside appearance seemed bleak and unappreciated, it was her inner strength and light that threw off my skeptical mind. How could someone who obviously wasn’t cared deeply for hold so much intelligence and love? She played with all the other kids and doted on her older sister (who, unsurprisingly wasn’t as friendly or generous). The little girl held hands with the other kids, hugged me and my teacher’s aide, and cried after reading an emotionally-charged book. The intelligence shown in her dark eyes carried to her attitude to everyone around her. She was beyond intriguing and as I think about her now, it’s easy to compare her to the likes of Cinderella – the tattered girl with the heart of diamonds.

When her mom came to pick them up, I paid close attention to their interaction and sure as day, she doted on the older sister, cooing and preening her daughter. The little girl ran up to her step-mom joy dancing in her steps with a bright smile and laughter following her and held her arms up as if wanting to be picked up. I looked on in dismay as the step-mom ignored her, gave her a disdained look and led the older sister out by the hand. I noticed the immediate crestfallen expression, the sad little smile that came and went and I bent down to her and held her tightly in my arms, squeezed her so adoringly that I recall not wanting to let her go. But let her go I did for she had fresh tears in her eyes again, and although she didn’t verbally say it, her dark eyes held new light and a renewed hope that yes, she could be and should be loved just like any other child in the world.

The memory of this girl stayed with me and I recall hoping to have a chance to talk with the mom to understand their situation. But they only stayed another day and I gave the little girl as much love and affection as I could at the time. I could never forget how someone who seemed so young and naive held so much wisdom and light in all of her 5 years. I had only hoped that she grew up living a happier life than when I had met her and she is loved and appreciated this day.

So to speak mildly, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how privileged or destitute you may be, it’s the inner light inside all of us that shines brighter than outer appearances. We may all at one point or another wear masks to hide from scrutiny, but when our hearts are pure and light, we can overcome our challenges and obstacles. We as parents or individuals must teach our children the important lesson that when we appreciate others with purity and kindness, we can bring out the purity and kindness in others. That little girl obviously wasn’t taught to be kind and generous from the likes of her step-mom and step-sister but somewhere deep inside of her, she found the courage to overcome the injustice in her young life. To put it frankly, how could a 5-year old instinctively know not to judge others but in turn open her heart to the cruelty she surely was facing?

It’s not too late to teach our children or even children we encounter on a regular basis that the act of kindness is not measured by dollar signs or expensive materials. In this growing world it’s our responsibility as parents to show our kids the proper way in treating others. I still wonder at times why this little girl was placed in my classroom for she and her older sister weren’t quite the right fit. Perhaps it was fate that intervened and showed me at my young age the power of tolerance and acceptance. Surely someone as young as I was at that time still had a lot to learn about life and people in general, and the little girl’s immense kindness and generosity helped me see that no matter where you are or who you are, there should be no judgments.

Here are some wonderful and easy ways of showing kindness to others. In essence, the theory that when we give back, we are actually receiving twice as much through our own selflessness and gratitude.

20 Acts of Kindness

  • Give something away for free and expect nothing in return

  • Greet someone with a smile always no matter how much turmoil you feel inside.

  • Talk to the new kid in school and show kindness.

  • Give your teacher a hug.

  • Say thank you no matter how small the gesture.

  • Return carts at big box stores.

  • Clean up not only your own dishes but those around you.

  • Clean your room without being asked.

  • Help your parent cook or clean up the kitchen.

  • Deliver a compliment a day and really mean it.

  • Leave a kind, funny, or inspiring note in the library book you read.

  • Clip coupons for mom. Help her find those items at the market.

  • Collect food and canned goods for a local food bank. Invite your friends to help you so you can double, triple, or quadruple the amount.

  • Collect toiletries for soldiers. Add a card that says, “Enjoy my favorite shampoo.”

  • Clear your own dishes. Then surprise your parents and clear theirs, too.

  • Be a study buddy—or help a younger kid with homework.

  • Leave a handwritten or drawn thank you note to your previous teacher.

  • Let a classmate go ahead of you in line.

  • Offer to do chores around the house that aren’t already part of your daily chores.

  • Tell a friend “Good Job!” when they get the right answer at school.

 

#PledgeToBeKind_badge_teal

So wherever you are and whatever station you are in life, remember that teaching our kids important life lessons such as kindness can impact them greatly into adulthood. After all, they will eventually grow up, move out of the house and live their own lives. If they learned kindness at an early age their compassion and empathy will carry them much farther than you can ever wish for them.

The week of 2/14-2/20 is Random Acts of Kindness Week ##RAKWeek. Since 2000, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation organizes a week-long celebration encouraging people around the world to engage in acts of kindness.

This year #RAKWeek will be asking individuals to sign a Kindness Pledge and spread the word via social media about their #Pledge2BeKind.  The organization would also like to collect as many personal stories as possible – via writing, photos or videos, about acts of kindness happening during RAK Week and beyond.  RAK has nearly 780,000 Facebook followers from over 80 countries who are gearing up to participate.

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Please consider joining. Here are some ideas for 2016 #RAKWeek 2/14-2/20:

 

NORDIC NATURALS

We all know how important a healthy heart is. It’s the single most important organ in our body that is essentially the command center. But not all of us take care of our hearts nor do we have the necessary information on maintaining this important organ healthy.

Based on research (http://www.nordicnaturals.com/), more than 610,000 people die each year in the US from heart disease. That is one in every four deaths, making it the leading cause of death in both men and women.  It is no surprise then that the American Heart Health Association recommends eating fish two times per week in an effort to support overall cardiovascular function and reduce the incidence of heart disease.  Why? Because thousands of clinical studies have shown that increased intake of EPA and DHA – the omega-3 essential fatty acids naturally found in fish and fish oil- have many cardiovascular benefits.

But simply including fish in your diet may not always be sufficient and there are also concerns over environmental contaminants. Supplementing the diet with a high-quality purified fish oil guarantees the recommended dosage of omega-3’s to support heart health, particularly for anyone with existing cardiovascular disease.

As an avid believer of living a healthy lifestyle, I have personally incorporated certain vitamins and minerals into my daily diet, including heart healthy supplements such as Omega-3. You don’t have to have a history of heart disease in your family to know how important it is to keep your heart healthy. But Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t only beneficial to the heart. This nutrient also helps with the entire cardiovascular system, the blood system, neurological system, and the lungs. Because it’s especially beneficial for children and seniors, Omega-3 fatty acids, which includes EPA and DHA should be eaten on a regular basis. For vegetarians and vegans, ALA Omega-3 comes in the forms of certain nuts and oils.

OMEGA 2X

For the month of February, Americans honor Heart Healthy Month and Nordic Naturals had sent me a “Heart Healthy Pack” which included a bottle of Ultimate Omega 2X, a bottle of Nordic CoQ10 Ubiquinol, and a copy of Dr. Michael Ozner’s book, The Complete Mediterranean Diet. I tried the Nordic CoQ10 Ubiquinol while my husband tried the Ultimate Omega 2X since it’s made with fish oil.

 

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I had never heard of the term Ubiquinol before and was fascinated to learn that Ubiquinol is the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, a fat-soluble molecule found in nearly every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, which helps transform food into energy. Nordic Natural’s Ubiquinol is ideal for promoting cardiovascular health, helps supports cellular energy production, and helps neutralize free radicals. For those interested in learning more about CoQ10, you can find info on Nordic Natural’s website.

I was even more intrigued about Dr. Ozner’s book, The Complete Mediterranean Diet. I think we’ve all heard bits of information about the Mediterranean Diet and how it improves one’s health with healthy and seasonal fresh foods. In The Complete Mediterranean Diet, the book details facts about the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet and how it can improve one’s overall health and vitality. The book also includes over 500 heart healthy recipes that are easy and delicious to make. Recipes include traditional Mediterranean dishes such as Couscous Parsley Salad, Greek Olive and Feta Cheese Pasta, and Sauteed Portobellos with Garlic and Parsley. There are pages and pages filled with dishes from smoothies to seafood to dessert. There is sure to be a recipe for someone, whether you’re a professional chef or a novice cook. The book even details what the daily meal intake should be based on healthy food choices. The recipes and meal plans are fairly easy to follow along if you plan on trying them out.

MEDITERRANEAN

For the month of February and for Heart Healthy Month, Nordic Naturals has generously offered 1 lucky reader of Happymomblogger the opportunity to win a Heart Healthy gift pack. The prize includes a bottle of the Ultimate Omega 2X, a bottle of CoQ10 Ubiquinol, Dr. Ozner’s book, The Complete Mediterranean Diet, and a Swag Bag (total value of prize pack $130). According to Nordic Naturals, the use of a Mediterranean Diet along with a fish oil supplementation can help support overall cardiovascular function. So winning this prize will be a winning combination for your health and well being.

So how do you win this fabulous prize? Read below to find out!:

Here’s how to enter the Nordic Natural’s Heart Healthy giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Nordic Naturals on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nordicnaturals and write on their wall that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger: http://www.happymomblogger.wordpress.com/. Please put Happymomblogger as the heading.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

#2 entry – Become a follower: https://twitter.com/happymomblogger and “Tweet” me @happymomblogger that you are entering the Nordic Naturals Heart Healthy giveaway. Become a follower of Nordic Naturals: https://twitter.com/nordicnaturals and “Tweet” that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me what your favorite “heart healthy” food is.

#5 entry – Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs using the link provided below.

You can enter by telling me the 5 entries in the LEAVE A COMMENT box. Please be sure to give me your name and email address so that I may contact you if you win. Contest is open to residents of US only. 18 years and older please. Please be sure to provide a physical address and not a P.O. Box. Only 1 contestant per household please. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prize. Any violation of the rules will deem your entry as disqualified. Happymomblogger is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged prizes but will do the best to ensure your prize gets there. In  the event the winner can not be contacted within 3 days of email sent then another winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

Contest Start Date: February 15, 2016

Contest End Date: March 3, 2016 – CONTEST CLOSED. WINNER WILL BE SELECTED.

Only 1 winner will be chosen at random and I will post the winner’s name on my blog.

Good Luck and thank you for participating!

For more information about the featured products, please visit these links:

Ultimate Omega 2X http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/514/?ProdID=1739

CoQ10 Ubiquinol  http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/514/?ProdID=1689

The book The Complete Mediterranean Diet by Dr Oznerhttp://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Mediterranean-Diet-Everything/dp/1939529956.

 

Disclaimer: All supplements and vitamins should be taken in careful consideration based on individual health needs. Please consult a health professional before starting any new supplements or vitamins. Happymomblogger does not make any claims on the health benefits of supplements and vitamins for others than herself.

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

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

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

Posted by: suzan | February 2, 2016

We Are Not Stressed! Tips to combat everyday stress.

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Ever feel like you’re being pulled in multiple directions all at once? Like the tumultuous cycle of every day life seem to be never ending? We all at one point or another (and for some an every day occurrence) get so burned out from the things in life that causes us stress we end up feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, life can be stressful and demanding but we also have the power to find ways to reduce that struggle and eliminate them if necessary.

Take for instance the busy mom or dad who struggles to put food on the table all the while caring for their children, maintaining a household, and still have just enough energy to start the next day with the same cycle. We don’t necessarily like doing those things, but we have to because of responsibilities. But one day we may realize that through all the daily strains of responsibilities, when we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t truly take care of our loved ones happily.

I’ve learned through many lessons in life that when we don’t eat properly or have a calm mindset we can’t function on a mindful level. We are in essence, going through the motions and what kind of living is that? I’ve tried many remedies in the past and come to understand that when we are in tune with our bodies, we are better acquainted to what our body needs. Listening to what our bodies are telling us is an important factor to helping relieve stress and maintaining a healthier outlook on how to reduce stress. We all feel stress but we don’t have to let it take over our lives.

Below are some of the tried and true methods in helping reduce stress. Try them out if you haven’t already and see if your path will become more enlightened.

Essential Oils: Certain essential oils (which are the extracted compounds of plants) help with certain ailments. Essential oils are the natural parts of plants that go through a rigorous process of drawing out the liquid and turning it into concentrated oils. These essential oils can be used concentrated or diluted depending on the usage and the dosage. For the most effective kinds of essential oils, look for plants that trigger certain therapeutic results such as relieving stress, calming the nerves, and soothing headaches. Certain essential oils can be applied topically and straight out of the bottle while others work well diluted with water or blended with other oils. Essential oils have been used for centuries in almost all countries and prove to be both effective and preventative. They can be found in natural grocery stores as well as some spas and salons.

Common essential oils include:

Lavender – helps with anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and stress. Use in baths, lotions, or inhale from the bottle.

Ylang-Ylang – helps to increase a sense of well-being. Use in bath or mixed with lotion. Do not overuse as it may cause nausea.

Bergamot – helps with reduction of stress and depression. Use in lotions or inhale from the bottle.

Peppermint Leaves – helps with eliminating pain if applied topically, relieves headaches, and increase blood flow in targeted areas. Use as a topical treatment when diluted with water or inhale from the bottle.

Eucalyptus Leaves – helps relieve headaches and muscle tension. Great for clearing up sinus as well. Use in diffuser or diluted with water.

Cedarwood – helps with calming one’s mind and senses. Clarifies the mind and brings peaceful sleep. Use in diffuser or apply directly to skin.

Meditation: Perhaps one of the oldest ways of relaxation and concentration. It can be practiced by anyone of any age and is best when practiced on a regular basis so your body and mind can become accustomed to instant relaxation.

Start off in a quiet setting. Turn off all phones and electronic devices that can be distracting. If possible, choose a darkened but well ventilated room. Sit either on the floor or on the couch. Your hands can be relaxed in your lap, palms facing up. Clear your mind of all thoughts but don’t strain to do so. Let the mind naturally relax and gravitate to a point of emptiness. This means that you have no particular thoughts but you’re not trying too hard to have a blank mind either. In time, your mind will naturally be empty of immediate thoughts and images. Sit in the position for at least 20 minutes every day. As you get accustomed to the sitting position and your mind and body are cleared and relaxed, you can add more time to your meditation. I can usually sit for up to 40 minutes at the most and I usually do this in the evening just to decompress.

Self-massage: Massage doesn’t require someone to do it for you. We don’t always have the time or resources to get a professional massage so practice self-massage. To do so, be in a quiet, darkly lit room. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Starting with your hands, start the massage from the elbow and gently massage in a circular motion to your fingers. Massage each finger carefully and tug gently to loosen the bones.  Massage the center of your palms until it gets hot. Then, move your fingers to massage your head. Moving slowly from the temple to the back of your head and down your neck. Next massage your ears in a circular motion and gently pull on the skin. Then move to massage your knees. There are pressure points in your knee area that are great for relieving tension and promote healthy sleep. Massage down your calves and work towards your feet. Massage the soles of your feet applying harder pressure. Then massage the entire foot remembering to put pressure at certain points.

In Eastern medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body consists of thousands of pressure points and meridians. These meridians and channels are what acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, and the likes use to help and heal certain illnesses and diseases. When you constantly practice self-massage, you can help open up these meridians in your body to help you heal faster and prevent certain illnesses.

Proper Nutrition: We all fall victim to eating “junk food” now and then because they are created to trigger certain moods and emotions in our body. Sugar and sodium for example are triggers that elicit certain emotions in our brains causing us to think we are happier and more relaxed. But sugar and sodium are also the most habit forming ingredients that can cause major damage to our bodies if we overuse them. Proper nutrition including a balanced diet of organic and non-toxic fruits and vegetables give our bodies the necessary vitamins and minerals to be healthy. Protein such as very lean meats are necessary for some people but protein can also be found in nuts, soy, and legumes such as beans and lentils. Eating a healthy diet consisting of more plants can help you live longer and better. Because we don’t always know what animals eat, we are in essence eating whatever is produced by their bodies. Certain plants can promote a healthier well being and create better moods due to a balance in one’s body.

Exercise: Exercise comes in many forms but the most stress-relieving types are ones that balance the whole body. These include but are not limited to yoga and taichi where the mind works in alignment with the body. These types of therapeutic exercises also help with breathing and focus. Breathing is very important in most exercises as we are channeling the proper amounts of oxygen into our brains. In the instances of yoga and taichi, breathing works with different movements for more concentrated results.

Breathing Exercise: You wouldn’t think that breathing requires technique but in essence it really does. Proper breathing helps relax the mind and turn chaotic thoughts into peacefulness. This technique can work virtually anywhere; it just requires some concentration in the beginning. Start by closing your eyes. Inhale slowly and imagine a thread pulling you from the center of your body through the top of your head. Exhale slowly and release that thread. Repeat these steps several times until you physically feel your body relax and your mind rested. Deep breathing exercises can be used when you’re sitting in traffic, in the office, or even at home when you need a calming moment.

All of the methods above have proved to be effective ways of relieving stress and tension. While we may not be able to perform everything mentioned, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try at least a couple of them. Find out what works for you and practice them often.

 

Disclaimer: Please remember that the methods mentioned do not constitute medical advice. Seek appropriate medical care when necessary. When using essential oils, it’s recommended to use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety guidelines from the manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | January 29, 2016

Boulder Organic Foods: Organic Soups of Love GIVEAWAY

BOULDER ORGANIC SOUPS

Ever heard of that saying, “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I do know that the way to a healthier heart is with healthier food choices. The best way to start living a healthier lifestyle is to choose to eat healthier and consciously choose to purchase products that are good for our body.

For the month of February, I have chosen to feature a giveaway on healthy food choices and what better time than during Valentine’s Day? Whether you celebrate this day or not, it is a rather good excuse to give your loved ones something extra special and delicious. We all want to eat delicious foods so why not make them healthy as well?

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Now when it comes to convenience and cooking, it’s always nice to find something that tastes like it’s made from scratch and yet easy enough to just heat up on a moment’s whim. This giveaway features Boulder Organic Foods (http://boulderorganicfoods.com/) and the company has kindly offered 3 lucky readers of Happymomblogger the opportunity to win 3 FREE product coupons to try their premium organic soup. Those who have not tried Boulder Organic Soups are missing out because when we first tasted the various soups, we were all pretty amazed at how delicious they were. I usually prefer to make soup from scratch but I have no doubt that Boulder Organic Soups have become my new favorite heat-and-eat soups.

Boulder Organic Foods (http://boulderorganicfoods.com/) makes organic soup that are as fresh as if you made them yourself. They are easily found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store and natural grocery stores. These soups are quite unique in flavor with amazing varieties such as Golden Quinoa and Kale, Red Lentil Dahl Soup, Tuscan White Bean Soup, Cuban Black Bean Soup, Chicken Vegetable Chili, and Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. My favorites are the Golden Quinoa and Kale Soup and Red Lentil Dahl Soup. The Golden Quinoa and Kale Soup had an abundance of delectable quinoa and thinly sliced kale. The Red Lentil Dahl Soup had just a tiny bit of spice to it and a smooth sweetened stew-like base. Both were very distinct and flavorful in tastes. Boulder Organic Soups come in convenient 16oz. or 24oz. containers so they would be great for a light lunch or dinner or more filling with bread and a salad. The 24oz. of course would be perfect for that Valentine’s Day meal you’re planning next month.

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All of Boulder Organic Foods soups are made with natural and organically grown ingredients and vegetables picked at the peak of freshness. They are made in small batches in their own facility’s kitchens and are certified organic, certified gluten-free and non-GMO verified. Their containers are BPA-free and easily recyclable and reusable. I don’t recommend heating soup in plastic containers regardless of the materials used because frankly, soup just taste better heated in a pot or in a bowl. No preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients are ever used so you know that you’re getting the real stuff here.

So for this Valentine’s Day, or even just because you want your loved ones to enjoy some incredibly delicious gourmet soups, enter the Boulder Organic Foods giveaway and you’ll probably end up loving their soup just as much as I do.

So how do you win these free product coupons? Read below to find out! The prize is 3 FREE product coupons for 3 winners each.

Here’s how to enter the Boulder Organic Foods giveaway:

ENTRIES:

#1 entry – “Like” Boulder Organic Foods on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/boulderorganic/ and write on their wall that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger: http://www.happymomblogger.wordpress.com/. Please put Happymomblogger as the heading.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

#2 entry – Become a follower: https://twitter.com/happymomblogger  and “Tweet” me @happymomblogger that you are entering the Boulder Organic Foods giveaway. Become a follower of Boulder Organic Foods: https://twitter.com/BoulderOrganic and “Tweet” that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger.

#3 entry – Subscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Tell me which soup you’d most like to try : http://boulderorganicfoods.com/

#5 entry – Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs using the link provided below.

You can enter by telling me the 5 entries in the LEAVE A COMMENT box. Please be sure to give me your name and email address so that I may contact you if you win. Contest is open to residents of US only. 18 years and older please. Please be sure to provide a physical address and not a P.O. Box. Only 1 contestant per household please. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prize. Any violation of the rules will deem your entry as disqualified. Happymomblogger is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged prizes but will do the best to ensure your prize gets there. In  the event the winner can not be contacted within 3 days of email sent then another winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

Contest Start Date: January 28, 2016

Contest End Date: February 5, 2016

3 winners will be chosen at random and I will post the winners names on my blog.

Good Luck and thank you for participating!

 

 

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

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

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

Posted by: suzan | January 25, 2016

AquaBall Sugar Awareness Campaign Week

AQUABALL

Have you ever walked down the aisles of a supermarket and tried to avert your eyes (and your children’s eyes) to all the sugary, artificial beverages lined throughout the shelves? Those enticing, colorful, and oftentimes deceitful little drinks know how to attract tired moms and screaming kids into buying their products. You may find a few that are actually not as harmful, but to truly give your children a beverage that is delicious and healthy, you’d have to do a bit of research.

When my son isn’t drinking water, I occasionally give him juice that is more water than juice. Not that juice is all that bad, but they still have a great amount of sugar even if it’s in natural form. When you’re looking to cut down on the overall sugar intake in your child’s life, then limiting sweet beverages is a great way to start.

I was approached by True Drinks to try AquaBall, a natural, no sugar, no artificial colors or flavors beverage designed for thirsty kids in mind. It’s slightly sweetened with Stevia, so depending on your preferences in taste, Stevia could be something you love or that you’d have to get used to. My son loves the taste of Stevia and I like the fact that it has only a tiny sweetened taste without the sugar or calorie contents. AquaBalls are simply water enhanced with added vitamins, slightly sweetened with Stevia, and flavored with natural fruit essence. All of the four flavors have zero calories, very low sodium content, and contains a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Because growing children don’t always get enough necessary vitamins and minerals, AquaBall includes them in their proprietary beverages.

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AquaBall comes in a cool round packaging made from recyclable plastic so you can easily recycle the bottles as you do your water. And with four very distinct designs, your kids can choose between Berry Frost featuring the adorable Frozen characters; Fruit Punch, featuring Disney’s iconic princesses; Grape, featuring the powerful and popular Avengers superheroes; and Orange, featuring classic Mickey Mouse and friends. So far we have tried the Grape and Orange flavors and my son seems to enjoy the Grape flavor more.

The week of January 18 – 22 was known as National Sugar Awareness Week where Americans were urged to reduce their overall sugar intake to less than 10% of their calorie consumption. I know how hard it can be for many people, but all it takes is a few simple steps. I would suggest taking a look inside your fridge and your food pantries. Do you see a lot of sugary beverages? If so, remove all of them or if your self-control is on hiatus, keep only a couple around. Then, put notes everywhere and especially on your fridge door to DRINK WATER. Now, for the kids, definitely try to reduce their sugary beverage intake. If your kids only drink water, then that’s perfect. But if they’re getting too used to sweetened beverages including milk, then switch those beverages out with something that doesn’t contain a lot of sugar. AquaBall has challenged me along with a few other bloggers to switch out the sweet beverages in my house. Luckily we don’t have much to start with so it was pretty easy to stock some AquaBall water in our fridge. We were also tasked to make recipes using AquaBall and this is what I came up with:

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Pomegranate Orange Bubbly:

Try this with the kids. They’ll absolutely love the orange flavored beverage with some crunchy pomegranate seeds at the bottom of the cup! And it gives them an extra dose of Vitamin C.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup AquaBall Orange Water

!/2 cup 100% Orange Juice

1 teaspoon Pomegranate seeds

Mix AquaBall and orange juice until well blended. Add Pomegranate seeds and ice.

Sugar awareness should be an ongoing thing with for our kids.  Let’s all try to eliminate as much sugar in our lives as possible, especially for children so that they can learn the importance of eating healthy.

 

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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