Thursday, July 30, 2009

Healthy Family Updates

Operation Declutter continues..slowly but surely. We should be done by now, but we both HATE cleaning. I am not sue why. All of my friends ( all 8 of them..ha!) have immaculate homes. I am not kidding. You could probably eat off the floor without worrying. I thought that some of their cleaning powers would rub off on me, but I am still waiting...still waiting.

Anyway. We have until Saturday afternoon to get things in order around here. Which really means Matt has until then because it's my day to run ( 15 miles that morning). My sister in law ( Hi Lisa) and her boy toy will be coming to watch the kids while Matt and I are at a wedding and reception for the night. I am not sure why we need to clean though--she has seen the madness and chaos of our home before. I guess the point of doing all this( massive cleaning) is to try and keep it up. Our biggest downfall with "stuff" is that we simply don't have the room for our things. So we think we found a good corner for it, and then it just builds and build and builds from there. The on-going cycle. I wonder if there is counseling for this. I know there is..I have seen the episode on Oprah. I am breath a sigh of relief that we are not that bad- there is no hording here--just piling and stacking!

We got Amara's room done except for the dresser and closet last night. It was my idea to do her room first since it is already the least junky of the rooms! So one room down a few more to go.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zola Acai Superfruit Juice and Smoothie Review and Giveaway

Our philosophy is simple: To bring highly nutritious and delicious Brazilian Superfruits to consumers. Short and simple and to the point. Zola Açaí is a brand of Brazilian Superfruit juices and smoothies. The juice product line, Zola Açaí Superfruit Juices, are made from 100% unfiltered pulp of hand-harvested organic açaí berries and contain organic guaraná seed for a natural energy boost.
I was very lucky to be able to sample 5 flavors of this nutrition powerhouse!
Antioxidant Smoothie
Superfood Smoothie
Energy Smoothie
Açaí original juice
Immunity Smoothie

I can honestly say that I was very impressed with each and every one of these flavors! Not only are they at least 70% organic but they all were also at least 80% juice! I was also happy that I could read all the ingredient names. No fake stuff here. Now on to how they taste….DELICIOUS! You never really know what to expect with a lot of the so-called healthy juices out on the market today. I went in with an open mind, but half expecting to not enjoy every flavor. I did enjoy every flavor. I really did, even the ones that contained bananas, (my least favorite fruit). Usually, if banana is an ingredient it’s the only thing I taste. It was not overpowering at all. Whew! I thought they all tasted similar, but still had uniqueness about them that came through and set them apart from each other.
The Brazilian Superfruits are as follows: Açaí (pronounced Ah-sigh-EE), Acerola ( Ass-ah-ROH-lah), Caja Fruit (Kah-Jah), Cupuaçau ( Koo-poo-AH-sue), and Graviola . As strange as these fruits sound they all contain great things for your body! Some of their best qualities are providing natural energy, loads of vitamin C, calcium, beta carotene and iron.
I am very happy that I found this product. Sometimes it’s hard to eat as healthfully as we know we should. Most of us have good intentions, but fall short. I feel that Zola Brazilian Superfruits to be a great addition to any lifestyle. They taste great ( have won many awards to prove it!), are mostly organic, contain loads of antioxidant rich fruits, the bottle is recyclable, low in calories and offer much more! I could go on and on, but you need to experience this refreshing juice (or smoothie) for yourself.

The great people at Zola are offering to let you try a few (7!!) of these amazing beverages for yourself. This giveaway will include 4 smoothies, 3 juices and a Project Zola bracelet!! All you have to do is enter! Please follow the rules!

MAIN RULE (this must be followed or no other entries will count!) Log onto the ZOLA website and tell me what flavor SMOOTHIE and what flavor JUICE you would like to try.
1 extra entry-subscribe to my RSS feed (or let me know that you already have) in a separate comment.
1 extra entry- Write a post in your blog linking to my blog
1 extra entry- Write a post in your blog linking to the ZOLA site
1 extra entry-Follow me on Twitter. ( sidebar access)
1 extra entry-Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include the link in your comment so I can check!)*you have 6 chances to enter……. Please be sure to separate your entries in the comment box.*This giveaway will close on August 10th at 11:59pm of and the winner will be announced by the afternoon of August 11th. The winner will be chosen by using from all valid entries and will be contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before they forfeit their prize. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tips on Tuesday- Tricks to getting kids to eat!

I thought of this topic yesterday before I made dinner. I planned on making zucchini and lean turkey meatballs for dinner. Amara is not a fan of zucchini and the meatballs are hit or miss since I never make them the same way each week. I asked her to help me make dinner. She was very excited to help, especially with the meatballs. I don't really follow any type of recipe for these. I just got a bunch of seasonings on the counter, an egg and some wheat germ and let her go to town. She had a lot of fun sprinkling this and that in the raw turkey. She was not sure about mixing the meat, but once she got her little hands in there she was sure that she liked it; although she asked that we might pick up some " cooking gloves like they use on The Food Network." Of course. Her favorite part by far was shaping the meat into balls. The zucchini was fun for her too I think. She got to sprinkle seasoning on the slices and I also let her put them in the pan and move them around with the spoon. It might have taken a little longer than I usually take to prepare dinner, but that's just fine. She had a great time ( so did I), and she was very proud of herself. She ate every bite of dinner too. No prompting by mom or dad either!

I also used this opportunity to teach her some kitchen safety and kitchen hygiene . We washed our hands so many times I lost count. And she did not burn herself, even when she stuck her hand in the pan to turn the zucchini over (Ooops!--lesson learned!).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Organic Garden Update

Well here it is Monday already. I am happy to announce that we had buckets of rain over the weekend that made some beautiful stuff happen in the garden. Among the very tall weeds that also did well, I found a goof amount of green beans. I was not expecting to find anything ( love my positivity) at all, but I did. I found enough to pick. I am going to attempt to cook them this afternoon. It's not enough for everyone, so I figure at least I can get the first load. I'm kind of selfish that way. I might share with Amara.
Nobody told me that squash plants are prickly! I found out the hard way. I dove right in and got a nice surprise. I was moving the leaves around looking for any actual squash ( nope-none). Those things hurt. They do have large pretty orangish yellow flowers, and I bet the next step will be beautiful prize winning worthy vegetables!! One can dream......

Friday, July 24, 2009

News You can and swimming

A new study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ( what a mouthful) has found that when kids between 1 and 4 take formal swimming lessons, their risk of drowning decreases significantly. Keep in mind what "formal" means though; just showing your toddler how to paddle around will not protect them. When choosing a swimming program for your aspiring Michael Phelps ( bong not included) look for these things:

An instructor who's certified

A national program such as YMCA or the American red Cross gets high marks

A positive attitude toward parents

Parents are usually involved with the kids 3 and under and sit on the sidelines for the older kids

An ideal teacher-to-child ratio

parent child class=1:1o ration and kid only=1:4 ratio

An emphasis on water safety skills

how to climb out of the pool, no running, ask before jumping in etc.

Limited use of floatation devices

good for playing games, but not ideal for most of the session

Thanks to Parenting magazine!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthy Family Updates

So we took a break from Operation Declutter for a few weeks only to dive right into it yesterday afternoon. It helped that Matt's parents were an hour away ( a big motivator for us!). I tackled the kitchen ( again) and Matt tackled a corner in the living room. The corner was filled with magazines, exercise equipment, stacks of paper and who knows what else--dust bunnies too.

Well now there is a pile of things I need to go through. It's sitting right in the middle of our not-so big living room. So now that pile has spread. Miles likes to run right through the middle of it; slipping on magazines and falling on his face. He says "again" and repeats it a few times until I tell him to knock it off. Oh the life........ 1 corner down, 49 to go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Honey Bunnies cereal Review

This weeks review will be on a kids cereal. Honey Bunnies cereal. Amara (5) says " I like the cereal because it has honey in it. I like the shapes and it tastes yummy!" Miles (2) is too little to express his love for the cereal, but he does run to the cabinet and picks the box up trying his best to say " Honey Bunnies". That must count for something! Amara will eat hers with milk for breakfast or as a snack. I will throw some in a trail mix for her as well with some raisins and almonds and Miles will eat them dry any time of day.

It does taste pretty good. I buy it for the kids because it's low in sugar ( but sweet enough so they will eat it and like it.), is made from whole grains and has few ingredients when compared to most kids cereals these days.

*Annie's Honey Bunnies Toasted Corn & Oat Cereal - with Real Honey - bunnies and hearts made from toasted whole grain oats with just a honey glaze. Like all of our products, Honey Bunnies are as wholesome as they are delicious: 75% Organic and 100% All Natural9 grams Whole Grains (a Good Source of Fiber)Low Fat and No Cholesterol NO Icky Additives or Pesky Preservatives Grown and Processed without GMOs 0 grams Trans Fat & 0 grams Saturated FatVegetarian*

This cereal is mostly organic too. As you might already know, I don't buy all organic foods, but when it comes to my kids nutrition I try to get the most nutritious foods that I can afford. When I do buy processed foods, I look for them to be minimally processed, have few ingredients and have as natural ingredients as I can find. So this was a good choice. I recommend Honey Bunnies!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tips on Tuesday-What's so good about EVOO??

There are a lot of types of olive oil out there. I don't mean brand names though. Extra Virgin, Virgin regular, Extra olive, Extra get the picture.

Scientists have found that the compounds in extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) may block a protein that encourages breast tumor growth. Sounds good to me! EVOO is usually the most expensive of the bunch, but the extra cash is probably worth the benefits. Rachael Ray swears by this stuff! As annoying as she can be; she has some killer recipes that are easy to make!
EVOO is also more flavorful then the rest because it is the least processed. It comes the very first pressing of the olives so it keeps a higher amount of the great antioxidants called lignans than the pure, light, or virgin varieties. To get the most out of your EVOO, seal the bottle tightly after use and store in a cool, dark place.
Super Simple EVOO Dressing Recipe:
Whisk EVOO + the vinegar (equal parts) +1 tbsp. Dijon mustard + some black pepper & fine sea salt (to taste) and, if desired, some minced garlic, red onion, scallion and/or shallot.
For added sweetness, a spoonful of concentrated OJ and honey is good too......
**How much you use of each ingredient depends on how much you want to make.** I am not known for my measuring!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Great workout, insane instructor and on the wagon once again....

Not so much to update on the garden. I know it's soo interesting. Same old story. Lots of weeds. Stuff is kind of growing. Wishing I had more time to weed and take care of it, but I don't.
I think that the crops might be further along if the weather would stay consistently warm/hot. We have had record lows for the past few days when this week should be record highs. I will totally blame Mother Nature and not my lack of a green thumb. Sounds good to me!

Friday, July 17, 2009

News you can use..The benefits of eating red foods

Today's topic is about the benefits of eating red foods ( you already know that though from the title).

Red foods have lots of magical powers (or something like that) due to their high content of antioxidants. This is very useful for fighting cancers and Alzheimer's disease. Red Peppers, beets (yuck), radishes, strawberries and cherries are many ( but not all) read foods that can help to keep you healthy from their many magical powers!

These red foods are high in lycopene which aid in the reduction of prostate cancer, lung, stomach and breast cancer. These foods are very powerful.

Try to buy organic and in season whenever possible. All of the foods listed above would taste great as a salad topping by adding a new flavor and texture that is sure to please.

If you have a red food recipe please share. I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seventh Generation Review

I will admit that I am not label loyal. I get what's on sale! A few weeks ago I bought Seventh Generation lavender floral and mint liquid dish washing soap. It was half price at only $1.50. Deal! The first thing you notice about this product when used is the smell. It's really nice and mild and quite nice! I don't like doing dishes so it's helpful to at least have the smell to look forward to. A lot of their products are scent free, but that ones that have scents are made with 100% whole essential oils and botanical extracts. They do not test on animals and they contribute 10% of profits to charitable organizations. The Seventh Generation website is filled with tons of product info as well as interesting environmental facts. Head on over and see what else they have to offer. I fully recommend this product!

Plant-derived Cleaning Agents
Cut tough grease to give you clean dishes
Builds viscosity to assure proper dispensing
Cornstarch-derived Water Softener
Removes water hardness and maintains pH balance
This product is formulated to be safe for your family and the environment. Our unique ingredient combination is a pH neutral, non-toxic, non-irritating, hypoallergenic, biodegradable alternative to conventional petroleum-based dish liquids.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garden update....

Monday brings you the much anticipated garden updates! I am sure you all love the garden stories ( ha).
I am pleased to announce that WE HAVE PEAS people! I was doing some damage control on the out of hand weeds the other day and came across many pea plants that actually produced some peas!! I have not tasted them yet, but they are probably edible....I hope so.
The zucchini squash is flowering as well as the green beans. I feel so productive now! I don't feel like such a green thumb failure anymore.
My dad was the master at taking care of the lawn and the garden. I was forced to pull weeds and stuff like that every single weekend. Our lawn won awards every year for being so beautiful. He probably has no idea why my lawn is in shambles. I think it's because I was burned out from all the lawn work I did as a kid. Maybe. I also know that when he comes and looks at my garden he just shakes his head and wonders where he went wrong! Well too bad dad...I know what I am doing! Take that!
Not really..I have no clue what is going on, but that's not his fault. Not entirely anyway.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Crispy Green Freeze Dried Snack Giveaway!

Giveaway ends SOON at As Real as It Seems! Get on over there and enter NOW!
Crispy Green Freeze Dried Snack

Friday, July 10, 2009

News you can use..bugspray or sunscreen?

Which one do you apply first?? I thought this was a great question proposed in Fitness Magazine (July/August 09). I am sure they won't mind that I borrowed their answer!

According to experts the answer is sunscreen! Because sunscreen sets a film on the skin, you want the bug spray to be on top. Make sure the sunscreen is completely dry before you top it off with the bug spray.

Choosing a repellent that does not contain ethanol alcohol will ensure that the sunscreen does not break down.

Here is a great "recipe" for bug spray!

I have not tried it yet, but plan to!

If you try it...please comment back. I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tips on Tuesday- How to order healthier foods when eating out (KIDS!)

Even though we do not dine out often, it's still helpful to know what the best options for our kids are when we do. I know that sometimes we treat the meal out as a junk meal anyway, but sometimes we have to eat out more than once and week and that's not an option. Amara's favorite things to get out are Mac and cheese, grilled cheese and fries. Those are one of the worst things on the list of things to stay away from. The fat content to to mention the saturated fat are sky high and I always feel guilty about it. Not only on the day she eats this meal but the day after ( what goes in, must come out). It really does a number on her young tummy! My kids are not used to eating greasy fare day in and day out. With today's child obesity rates on the rise making healthy choices are becoming a must.

Healthier breakfast choices when dining out are whole wheat or multi grain pancakes and toast, fruit, 100% juices, egg white omelette's with veggies, and Canadian bacon

Some good choices for lunch and dinner are grilled chicken, kid sized hamburger, plain steamed vegetables, salad with low fat dressing and pasta with marinara. We sometimes split a dessert between the 4 of us or have a healthier treat at home.

I know it might take some time to get the kids to eat better while in a fun restaurant, but I know that right now for Amara its more about the experience of going with the familythen the actual food she eats!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Garden update....

Oh my lovely garden. My lovely weed garden. Nothing new is sprouting up besides some new weeds. I will get in there this week for sure since the weather is not too crazy.
The strawberries are still my best grower--just as I was told they would be.
At this point I will take what I can get! That's all I have today, I must go get to weedin' now!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Healthy Family Updates

Operation Declutter continues! This past week Matt has made some progress ( I will give him the credit!). He took on the top of the fridge as well as our closet in our bedroom! Eeek! Lots of separating and sorting going on in there. We still have a ways to go, but we are slowly making strides to be clutter free ( or at least less cluttered).
We made a vow back in March to be clutter free by June....ooops!
I am gladly taking any tips you might have to help us stay cluttered free...I NEED to hear what you have to say!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Maverick Ranch Natural Meats Review

The more and more I read up on the latest research of organic and hormone free meats the more and more I am convinced that I need to make the switch! I was very glad to see Maverick Certified Organic Beef on sale a few weeks ago at my regular grocery store. It was still $4.19 for a 1 pound brick of meat, but that was at 40% off! I bought 2. I made a broccoli stir-fry for dinner tonight using the beef. It was really great tasting! Matt noticed a difference immediately. He actually thought it was ground venison ( I don't like ground venison that much and have never made it). He thought the texture was comparable to ground venison so he was a fan right away. Amara did not notice a difference and Miles could care less! I thought it was very good. I initially thought I would notice that big of a difference, but I can honestly say that this was some good beef. I am not a beef connoisseur by any means. I don't like more than a bite of well done steak. I will eat a real beef burger ( well done) on the 4th of July and a few other BBQ weekends, but I never full out crave beef. Well, let me take that back. When I was pregnant with Amara I had some weird fixation with Whoppers. I probably had at least one a week for a few months. At that point I probably had not eaten beef in 4 to 5 years, for no other reason than I never wanted it.

Back to the review. Maverick makes other products as well: Natural Buffalo, Free range Chicken, Natural lamb and lots more!

With all the concern of hormones, chemicals and other garbage given to the cows it is good to know that there are companies out there such as Maverick that raise their cattle pesticide, hormone and antibiotic free. I won't lie and say I will only buy this type of product all the time, but I will hunt for the sales and stock up when ever possible! I fully recommend Maverick Ranch Natural Meats!