Friday, November 30, 2012

TRM News :: I Hosted The Chrysler Backseat Driver & Drive for the Kids Event in Mather, CA!


I've been keeping my lips sealed about my recent partnership with Chrysler, but now it's time to reveal all!! At the beginning of October I had the amazing opportunity to host the Chrysler Backseat Driver program as part of the Drive for the Kids event at Mather Heights Elementary School, just outside Sacramento, California. It was held in conjunction with the school's annual Fall Festival Fundraiser so it was an incredibly busy afternoon with lots of families enjoying food, games, booths, and fall activities. 

Parents had the opportunity to test-drive Chrysler vehicles which raised money for their school, and I had the opportunity to host trivia questions for kids as part of the Backseat Driver program. These kids were absolutely hilarious and I wish you could see all the outtakes! Check out Chrysler's blog about it and here's the video that just about wraps up the event. I'd love for you to check it out and tell me what you think!


Can you tell I was nervous? I had to pull myself together and just do it! I feel like I got the star treatment with a camera and film crew and an amazing team that directed me for the whole event!! I even had a script!!!!! As my first time taking part in a somewhat official media appearance, it was an unforgettable experience that I am so grateful I was able to take part in. I feel like it went very well, and it was all to benefit the kids' school!

 
Disclosure: I received compensation for participating in the Chrysler Backseat Drive and Drive For The Kids event. I wrote this in conjunction with my contract obligations. A HUGE thank you to Chrysler and their media team for such a great experience. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TRM's Christmas Gift Guide :: Family Games From Bananagrams {Giveaway Ends 12/6} US/CAN

Games are a great Christmas gift idea, especially when they can involve a variety of ages! This next company has a fun collection of portable games that will not disappoint!

BANANAGRAMS Inc. are the makers of award-winning anagram tile games that create an endless amount of fun for the whole family. Their collection started with Bananagrams, which was created in 2005 by this family-run company. You've probably seen them at your local Target like I have. Along with Bananagrams, you can now play Appletters, Zip-It, PAIRSinPEARS, and Fruitominoes too. Growth has expanded this innovative, award-winning collection of games and now you can find them in many areas around the world! I had the pleasure of checking out three of their games for my family!
With Appletters there are 110 tiles in a zippered apple-shaped pouch. This game works great for 1-4 players, ages 5 and up. Players take turns building 'word worms' using tiles, and pick a new tile from the "core" of extra tiles in the middle on their turn and also discard one of their own (or the new tile they just picked up). The goal is to be the first to use up all your letters by building words with each turn. It's really quite simple but incredibly fun! Buddy is a bit young for this one, but it's great for early readers looking to strengthen their skills. Appletters encourages turn-taking, develops spelling skills, enhances strategic thinking, encourages cooperation and improves concentration. I love the additional game variations and challenges included in the directions and also that you can play this game by yourself. 
PAIRSinPEARS includes 104 tiles, is appropriate for ages 3 and up and for 1-4 players, and all is contained in a zippered pear-shaped pouch. There are two different games for everyone and eight skill-building activities for younger kids. This one presents an interesting twist compared to Appletters since there are four tile patterns: solid, outlined, dots and striped. The games include PAIRSinPEARS where players race to make grids of two intersecting words, and PairPoints which is the scoring version. Depending on the age of the players, you can choose to make grids using the same patterned tiles or not. The eight activities for pre-readers and beginner readers including pattern grouping, letter hunting, word pairs and more! I love all the variations of PAIRSinPEARS for young kids. They help teach the alphabet, enhance spelling skills, foster problem solving, build early reading skills and improve critical thinking.
Fruitominoes is a twist on classic dot dominoes. Just connect the fruit! There are 28 pieces, can be played with 2-4 players, and is apparently great for ages 5 and up. Actually, I think it's perfect for my 3 (almost 4) year-old. Buddy is great at matching so Fruitominoes is great for him and he enjoys getting a bit competitive with mom and dad! Play starts out with the highest double domino drawn and players take turns connecting their matching domino unless they don't have one at which point they draw from the pile. The goal is to be the first to use all your dominoes up. 

With Buddy getting a little older, we're starting to build our family collection of games. I'm so excited to add these from Bananagrams! Fruitominoes is definitely best for his age right now as far as actually playing a game, and PAIRSinPEARS is a valuable tool and a fun challenge as he begins to read and spell words. All the creative ideas of how to use the PAIRSiinPEARS tiles in an educational way are all right there in the directions which takes the pressure off mom. What is great about these games too is that they're portable and easily packed in a purse, carry-on, or luggage without much extra weight. They're perfect for bringing on trips to grandma's house too.

Sometimes we get in a rut and forget to stop and have fun. With Bananagrams family games you can quickly get out a game while the family is still at the dinner table so we can enjoy that special family time with some healthy competition and lots of laughter. I also love that with Appletters you can enjoy solo play to take time out for yourself and challenge your mind. Sometimes being a mom at home all day requires a little reset of time set aside for myself, and Appletters is a great way to do that!

Bananagrams games are the perfect size for stocking stuffers or added to a gift basket this Christmas. Put the fun back in your family with some interactive, innovative games from this fantastic company. 

Buy It: Check out Bananagrams.com to find a store near you!
 
Win It!
One winner will receive two games - Appletters and PAIRSinPEARS!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

{Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop} Enter the GRAND PRIZE Giveaway!! 5 Winners! #GreenChristmas




Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop Grand Prize Giveaway If you’re looking for Green Christmas Gift Ideas, you’ve come to the right place! 50+ blogs have come together to offer green Christmas Gift themed giveaways, just in time for the holidays! There’s sure to be something for everyone on your list. We hope you’ll discover some great new brands to add to your Christmas list too!

Here on Happy Mothering, Going Green with the Grizls and The Reynolds Mom you’ll find the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop Grand Prize! We have put together 5 awesome prize packages valued at over $1,300 to help you green your Christmas! The more giveaways you enter, the more chances you have to win! You’ll find the list of participating bloggers below the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Prize Package #1: Babies & Toddlers ($259 Value)


For Your Bug-a-Boo $40 Gift Certificate

 
For Your Bug-a-Boo is a mom-owned and operated online store that features natural and organic necessities for baby, toddler and mom. With a goal of offering only the finest, high quality products without all the unnecessary ingredients, For Your Bug-a-Boo will steal your heart as you browse their beautiful selection. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Blue Manatee Boxes

 
Blue Manatee Boxes are an amazing gift option for young children and babies this holiday season. Inside each box is a selection of hand-picked, age-appropriate books that will inspire, delight, and encourage a love of reading from the very start. The winner will receive a 3-book Unplugged Box and an organic "I play with Boxes" onesie ($48 RV). Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Bulk Herb Store Making Babies Book & DVD Series

From herbal remedies to recipes and research surrounding conception, fertility, pregnancy, birth, nursing, and beyond, the Making Babies series from Bulk Herb Store is one you don’t want to pass up. With a wealth of knowledge and infectious, fun attitude, Shoshanna Easling (owner of BHS) helps and challenges you to take charge of your health and nutrition. The book includes 200+ recipes, beautiful photos and is packed with relevant information to coincide with the 3-volume DVD series that goes through Shoshanna’s pregnancy to birth and postpartum. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Snug Bug Diapers

Thoughtfully made in Canada by a super sweet wahm, these diapers really take the cake. They are easy to use, made of high quality materials and are the perfect addition to both your stash and your little one’s bum. At Snug Bug Diapers you can get your hands on some beautiful diapers in her stockings or you can even request a custom slot and choose your own fabrics. She even make fleece nighttime diapers! The winner will get 1 cloth diaper with the fabric of their choosing. Read Going Green with the Grizls’ review.

Nosefrida

NoseFrida is an amazing product that allows parents to more effectively help relieve congestion and stuffy noses in children. Using the power of suction you can easily help fussy babies without having to use one of those old bulb syringes that never seem to help anyway.

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Prize Package #2: Kids ($298 Value)


4 Wonder Forge Games

Wonder Forge is a game company that brings beloved literary classics and award-winning TV shows to life in a totally new way through dynamic, inventive game play. Wonder Forge produces 50 games that are appropriate for all ages, many of which are also award winning. The winner will get to choose 4 games of their choice (up to $100). Read Happy Mothering’s review.


Eco-Friendly My Pretty Playhouse


This fun playhouse is made in Canada from 100% recycled cardboard. It comes as a blank slate, which allows children to create the playhouse of their dreams by drawing whatever their little hearts desire. It has two doors, two windows, a skylight and a mailbox, making it more realistic and fun for your child. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Kelly Kits Annual Subscription

Kelly Kits offers an all-inclusive art play curriculum for kids from 2 to 102. All of their art play activities focus on simple art techniques like painting, sculpting, drawing, printmaking and collage. They also include enrichment ideas to help add an educational aspect to the art play, making it more engaging for older kids. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Kerrific Online

Kerrific Online is an adorable little shop that carries a variety of children’s items. You can find essentials such as bibs, burp cloths and hats as well as amazing handcrafted toys that will not only last a lifetime but provide hours of entertainment for little ones. They’re even recently begun carrying cloth diapers! One lucky winner will win $30 GC to Kerrific Online’s shop. Read Going Green with the Grizls review.

A Mother’s Design
What started as a hobby to create and provide new mothers with diaper bears and fun diaper cakes has since evolved into a work at home mom’s shop providing unique handmade gift items. You can fin items such as custom quilts, baby outfits and cloth training pants. They are even planning to release a line of cloth diapers, how exciting! One lucky winner will be winning 2 wet bags!

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Prize Package #3: Coffee & Tea Lovers ($172 Value)

Grounds for Change Cafe Femenino Gift Box

Grounds for Change offers certified organic, Fair Trade coffee grown in shaded conditions and roasted to order. The Cafe Femenino Gift Box features three coffees that support women in business and women’s rights to farming. They also offer a coffee of the month club. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Zulka Morena Unprocessed Sugar

Zulka Morena is unrefined, all natural and pressed straight from the sugar cane plant so the nutritional values of the cane plant are preserved.This process produces golden, sweet and unrefined sugar crystals that taste like fresh sugar cane. Great in coffee and tea. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Bulk Herb Store - Tea Sample Kit

Tea lover’s rejoice with this fabulous assortment of the 10 most popular teas and tea blends from Bulk Herb Store. An amazing gift for a tea newbie or tea pro, the Tea Sample Kit is a neat way to try some delicious blends including Creamy Pumpkin Pie tea and others that are immune-boosting, energy-increasing, or stress-relieving. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.


Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin's Nut Butter is home to an assortment of heavenly nut butters, peanut butter cups and candy bars. Using high quality natural and organic ingredients, Justin's is mindful of their environmental impact, as well as their business practices that produce the tastiest product possible. The unique texture and flavor of Justin's will keep you coming back for more. The winner will receive a Jar & Caddy Trio valued at $60. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Libre Tea

Libre tea glasses are the new and improved way to drink your tea whether at home or on the go. With a double layer container your tea is guaranteed to stay hot, not spill and the glass interior provides a fresh, pure tea taste. Sometimes you just need a moment to yourself and now you can do that anywhere. The winner will receive an original size (9 oz) libre tea glass of their own. Read Going Green with the Grizls review.

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Prize Package #4: Household ($249 Value)


Strawesome Mixed See-Thru Set of 4 Glass Straws


Strawesome is owned and operated by a family in Michigan. All of their straws are handmade in their own workshop so they can offer the best products and service possible. The Mixed See-Thru Set of 4 glass straws includes 2 smoothie straws, 2 standard straws and a cleaning brush. Read Happy Mothering’s review.


3 Vegetable Stuff Sacks & 5 Reusable Produce Bags from ReUseIt

Reuseit.com offers the "best of the best" reusables available in many categories, so you can eliminate disposables from every part of your life - from bags and bottles to lunch, household items and beyond. Green your kitchen with these vegetable stuff sacks, which will keep your onions, potatoes and garlic from sprouting, and a set of reusable produce bags. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Better Life

Better Life natural household cleaners offers you a safe alternative to the traditional cleaners you find everywhere. They’re plant-derived ingredients offer amazing performance and toxin-free safety for adults, kids, pets, and the earth. The winner will receive the Floor Care Kit, No Dirt Left Behind Kit (pictured), Natural Stain & Odor Eliminator, and three Microfiber Cloths ($148.44 RV). Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

GenerationMe
GenerationMe offers wonderful solutions to the everyday disposables in our home. You can find items such as burp clths, snack bags, cloth napkins and even unpaper towels. They also have an amazing laundry detergent that is even cloth diaper safe! Winner will receive a six-pack of napkins ($7), a twelve-pack of paperless towels ($12) and a small wet bag for the kitchen ($14).

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Prize Package #5: Pampered Mama ($335 Value)


Soybu Lotus Pants and Nirvana Hoodie

Denver, Colorado-based Soybu designs performance apparel that delivers superior quality with feminine styling and flattering fits for the active woman. They use eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo and recycled polyester when possible. Read Happy Mothering’s review.

Xmittens Gloves & Scarf Gift Set

Amber is the creator of Xmittens, home of unique handmade fingerless gloves and other fashion apparel for men and women. Using vegan, recycled polyester fleece, Xmittens gives new meaning to functionality and style with green materials, making for a gentler impact on the earth. The winner will receive their choice of one of the four Xmittens gloves & scarf sets shown in the photo. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps offers the best collection of natural body care products on the market today. Using organic, fair trade oils and other simple ingredients, Dr. Bronner’s will surely delight your senses and soothe your skin just as they have been for generations. Check out their pure castile soaps, lotions, lip balms, shave gels, hair rinses & cremes, Sal Suds cleaner and even their unscented skin care line for baby. The winner will receive an assortment of Dr. Bronner’s Body Care products & more worth $96. Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Bulk Herb Store Organic Eden Salve & Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Kit


Bulk Herb Store not only carries herbs, but also herbal remedies and fun kits to make some of your own. The Organic Eden Salve is a healing, soothing blend of herbs and other natural ingredients that is used to numb pain, fight bacteria, or for use as an astringent or antiseptic. It’s great for severely dry skin too. The Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Kit has everything you need to make your own natural whitening toothpaste that works for the whole family, without any harsh chemicals! Read The Reynolds Mom’s review.

Purely Gorgeous

Purely Gorgeous makes all natural bath and body scrubs. Tired of spending so much money on store bought bath and body items, this work at home mama decided to start making her own. After lots of experimentation she developed recipes that not only work well but are scrumptious smelling, good for you and all natural. The winner will receive a peppermint lip balm, peppermint lip scrub (4 oz) and an 8 oz peppermint mocha body scrub. Read Going Green with the Grizls review.

{Green Christmas Giveaway Hop} Grand Prize Twitter Follows

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Better Life :: Ecofriendly, Natural Cleaners {#GreenChristmas Sponsor Review}

 
At Better Life, your health takes a front seat with the formulation of their natural household cleaning products. Harsh nasty chemicals are no where to be found and yet they perform just as well, if not better than traditional cleaners! You simply can't tell me that those beautifully artificial scents aren't being absorbed by my body when I use traditional cleaners. Not to mention what happens to my skin if I touch those cleaners, or if they leave a harmful residue on my counters that I put food on. Personally, I'd rather feel confident in the cleaners that I use rather that worry and wonder. That's what I love about Better Life. I don't have to wonder! 

Better Life natural cleaners are gluten free, hypoallergenic, safe for waterways and marine life, and are not tested on animals. I love that Better Life fully discloses each of the ingredients on each product so you know what you're using and how safe they really are. The scents used by Better Life rock too! They're just essential oils so I feel safe breathing them. They're safe for kids, babies, adults, pets, and the planet too. I had the opportunity to try almost all the products Better Life offers, and I'd like to give you an overview of my thoughts on each one!

This 16-piece kit is a wonderful way to dive in to Better Live natural cleaners. Perfect for a housewarming gift or for that natural family you know. It includes most of the Better Life collection. Here's a more detailed look at what this kit includes:

WHATEVER All-Purpose Cleaner (Clary Sage & Citrus and Unscented) - This all-purpose cleaner is my go-to cleaners for everything. It's initially how I discovered my love for Better Life! From the bathroom counters, sinks, fixtures, toilet, and baseboards to my kitchen cabinets, table, and other furniture. If you only wanted one cleaner for your whole house, this is it. If you want more specialized cleaners for proper care of certain surfaces, Better Life has those too so keep reading!
SIMPLY FLOORED Natural Floor Cleaner - This it the best hard wood floor cleaner I have found to date. It gently cleans my floors and leaves them shiny without residue and streaks, or leaving them slippery.
I CAN SEE CLEARLY, WOW Window & Glass Cleaner - Streak-free and film-free, this unscented glass cleaner is stellar. It works just as good as the harsh stuff!
2am MIRACLE Nursery Cleaner - I used this to clean a few of Buddy's toys and blocks that are really quite dingy and that he's had since he was a baby. It's definitely better than traditional cleaners and I like knowing it's safe for him to be around. I used to just use regular baby wipes but this is actually much better!
EVEN THE KITCHEN SINK Cleansing Scrubber - I love this for the grimy stuff in my bathrooms and kitchen. It has no scent yet holds great cleaning power and shine for many surfaces, from toilets to tile and more.
EINSHINE Stainless Steel Cleaner - Great for polishing and shining up my stainless steel fridge. It will keep it looking nice and new!
OAK-Y-DOKEY Wood Polish - We only have a couple pieces of furniture that have a little solid wood on them but we've cleaned enough to notice how rich and vibrant their condition can be with this one. The cinnamon and lavender make this one smell delicious too!
TAKE IT FOR GRANITE Stone Surface Cleaner - We use this to wipe down our granite kitchen counters every night. We are new to having granite counter tops and we thought we would just have to deal with them always looking and feeling greasy. We were so wrong! The two cleaners I used prior to this were clearly not working, and not formulated well for granite. Our granite now gets a good clean and stays clean for longer, and without streaks.
DISH IT OUT Dish Liquid Soap (Clary Sage & Citrus and Unscented) - Suds nicely without sulfates and degreases pans well too. Since I hand wash a lot of our dishes, a good dish soap is very important! I approve of this one.
Automatic Magic Dishwasher Gel - I'm picky about my dishwasher cleaners too! So far I haven't noticed any films or residue on my dishes with this dishwasher cleaner. With others I sometimes notice that residue will accumlate and begin to show up later, but so far so good!
NO REGRETS Citrus Mint and GO FORTH & CONQUER Clary Sage & Citrus - These are Hand and Body Soaps in some very yummy scents. I love that these can be put in the shower in a pinch, or used at the sink for hands too! They're not drying at all, and don't even require a full pump to wash so I'm able to extend the life of each bottle. 
COOL CALM COLLECTED Citrus Mint and WORK IT, OWN IT Clary Sage & Citrus - These are hand and body lotions that perfectly compliment the hand and body soaps. A little goes a long way with these lotions! They feel thin yet moisturize very well without being greasy.

Floor Care Kit - $29.99 
The Floor Care Kit is exactly what I've been looking for to clean my hardwood floors. Since wood is what's covering most of my house and we still don't have a lot of furniture to cover a majority of it, I have to clean my floors a lot. The universal extension pole extends as far or short as you'd like, and applying a reusable microfiber mop pads is so easy. The mop pads stick to the mop head with a hook and loop material. They're actually quite universal with other floor cleaning systems. Not only do they pick up dust great, but when wet they are fabulous. Just squirt some of the SIMPLY FLOORED cleaner on the floor and mop it up!

I've been looking for a natural stain remover/pre-treater that actually works and the Natural Stain & Odor Eliminator is great! Buddy doesn't stain his clothes as often anymore, but inevitably he will get messy at meal time on occasion. This has taken out avocado, tomato sauce and chocolate so far. I also received the Scrubbing Microfiber Cloth, Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cloth, and General Purpose Microfiber Cloth too. Usually I just use whatever towel is lying around to clean with, but I've learned through trying out these cleaners that certain materials clean different for different surfaces. The Glass & Polishing cloth for instance makes cleaning fingerprints on the windows so much faster than normal! Better Life also has a new cleaner out called GREEN SCREEN for your computer monitors and television screens. 

I've never liked cleaning my house so much until now. Better Life has made is so much more enjoyable!! I have the proper "tools" (cleaners) to clean my house so it makes the daily maintenance easier, more enjoyable, and safe for my family. Thanks Better Life!

Connect with Better Life
Shop - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest
 
Buy It: Shop online at CleanHappens.com or find a store location near you!

Win It: During the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop (Nov. 28 - Dec. 7), a lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a the same products & kits I received: the Floor Care Kit, No Dirt Left Behind Kit, Natural Stain & Odor Eliminator, and three Microfiber Cloths! ($148.44 RV)

 
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review for free. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Live Naturally with Bulk Herb Store {#GreenChristmas Grand Prize Sponsor Review}

Learning about herbs and how they work can be challenging, but Bulk Herb Store can help! This amazing family business sells a wonderful selection of high quality herbs, teas and tea blends, kits, herbal remedies, books, videos, accessories and more to get to help you learn and live well. I'm finding out that working with herbs isn't as hard as it seems thanks to Bulk Herb Store.

In conjunction with the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop posting tomorrow, I had to lovely opportunity to receive four products from Bulk Herb Store, and you'll have a chance to win too! Let me share more about them!
 Making Babies Book & DVD Series

Making Babies Book, written by BHS owner Shoshanna Easling, is a must-have pregnancy book from conception preparation, all the way through birth and postpartum. It also features 200+ recipes (many that are gluten-free!), herbal concoctions and remedies, a pregnancy/baby diary, and a ton of information and tips that will help you live as healthfully and natural as possible during such a precious time in life. I am loving this book, and really soaking in a lot of new information and natural ideals I've never come across before. The recipes are simple and easy to follow, and are truly healthy, whole foods. The photographs throughout are stellar, and add to the warmth and joy that comes across from Shoshanna and her family. It's a natural pregnancy book, herb book, and recipe book all in one!

The DVD series consists of 3 volumes and a total of over 7 hours of run time. Shoshanna is so enthusiastic and passionate about herbs and what she does that you just can't help but love watching her! She takes you through her pregnancy and beyond with recipes, remedies, herbal concoctions, exercises, birth prep, birth, nursing, postpartum and more. This is how we're supposed to take care of ourselves for such a momentous occasion as pregnancy!
I am SO making this gluten-free bread this week!
Together the Making Babies Book and DVD series is truly a beautiful wealth of knowledge and has really solidified my desire for a natural conception through birth and beyond with my next child. I love how the DVD's recipes are actually written in the book so it's even easier to learn to prepare them. Cooking and making herbal remedies is not my best skill! I'm actually so thrilled and feel so empowered to continue on this journey I'm on now. It's been about 2 years now since we began trying to have our second and I've been feeling awfully discouraged lately. This series is just what I needed to feel inspired to take charge of my health and nutrition going forward. I've been whipping up a few of Shoshanna's recipes over the last couple weeks and this book is definitely staying out on the kitchen counter from here on out!

Tea Sample Kit
This kit features Bulk Herb Store's ten most popular teas and tea blends in 2 ounce packages. Each one will make 6-10 cups of tea, depending on the strength you desire. As a somewhat tea newbie, this is a wonderful way for me to try new flavor profiles and learn about what herbs go nicely together. There are some delicious teas in this kit, including Creamy Pumpkin Pie tea which is perfect for fall, and the delicious Mama's Red Raspberry Brew that is far better than the fertility tea blend I've been making myself! Since I seem to still be sick after 3 weeks of whatever this is, I've been drinking the Double-E Immune Booster too (I need to order more!).

If you have a tea lover on your list this Christmas, definitely consider ordering the Tea Sample Kit. It's a wonderful gift along with a teapot or other tea accessories. I love discovering new flavors and herbs in this kit! 
I have been searching and searching for a natural toothpaste for what seems like forever. I have finally given up and resorted to making my own! I know the ingredients, and making it myself is a pretty neat accomplishment. There are so many harsh ingredients in traditional toothpastes that are eating away at our enamel instead of protecting it. Bentonite clay also naturally draws out toxins in your mouth replacing them with minerals. Combine that with the cinnamon and cloves and you're refreshing your breath naturally. The Celtic Sea Salt is also naturally antibacterial so you're really getting a natural clean. Honestly I had a hard time getting used brushing with this toothpaste at first, but I've stuck with it and I'm totally hooked. I'm hoping that over time my teeth will get a bit whiter, but for now I'll settle with the wonderful just-got-back-from-the-dentist feel I get after brushing with this toothpaste!

With the Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Kit from Bulk Herb Store I can easily make my own and all the ingredients are already ready for me to get going. You just have to make sure you have baking soda, and you're good to go! It's also great that I have a bunch of ingredients left over to make a second batch and more (just need more Bentonite Clay!) I had SO much fun making this with my son, and he's actually starting to get used to the idea of a new toothpaste too. I love that it's safe for my 3 year old!

Eden Salve
 This salve is a wonderful herbal remedy to numb pain, soothe and heal skin, and fight bacteria. Using a blend of herbs and other natural ingredients formulated by Shoshanna, the Eden Salve is a multipurpose salve that is so safe it can even be used on infants. It can be used as an astringent in case of an infection or poisonous bite, or as an antiseptic too. Use for wounds, rashes, insect bits, severe dry skin, or any other time your skin needs an extra boost to heal naturally and effectively. It has a greasy, oily consistency, similar to a balm but does blend into the skin eventually. My husband and I think it smells exactly like our favorite sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil! I like to use the Eden Salve on the ares of my shoulders when they do get sore or potentially injured due to my calcific tendonitis. It's that extra boost and healing, soothing feeling from the balm that helps me to relax and ward off the pain. 

In September I had the opportunity to attend the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California, and actually meet a couple ladies from Bulk Herb Store at their booth. Unfortunately I missed the chance to meet Shoshanna, but her contagious zest for life was evident in the BHS ladies working the booth! Behind Bulk Herb Store is a wonderfully authentic family and employees that are dedicated to what they do and love to share what they know. I highly recommend Bulk Herb Store for all your herbal needs and for fabulously natural gifts this Christmas.

Connect with Bulk Herb Store
 
Price: Making Babies Book & DVD Series - $110, Tea Sample Kit - $24.95, Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Kit - $26.95, Eden Salve - 4 oz can - $22.95 
 
Buy It: Check out BulkHerbStore.com to shop today!

Win It: Come back during the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop (Nov. 28 - Dec. 7), and enter win one of these product! All four will be given away!

 
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review for free. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Justin's Nut Butter {#GreenChristmas Grand Prize Sponsor Review}


Justin's Nut Butter makes the most amazing organic and natural nut butters, peanut butter cups and candy bars. Deliciously irresistible and completely junk-free, I hope you stumble upon Justin's in the near future! This company is committed to using only the highest quality natural and organic ingredients possible and that are sustainably harvested and as local as possible. With the planet in mind, Justin's makes sure their business practices are top notch, just like their final products.
With eight different flavors of peanut, almond and hazelnut butters, there's something for everyone! I received two jars of nuts butters, and three 10-pack squeeze packs in three flavors -- Honey Peanut Butter, Maple Almond Butter and Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.

Let's just say I've found a new favorite line of nut butters. I'm totally hooked!! The Honey Peanut Butter is reminiscent of the sweet conventional nut butters my husband still loves (yuck...), so he actually like this one too. It's not overly sweet but just enough to bring out the rich peanut flavor and perfect to each alone. The Maple Almond Butter is quite rich like most almond butters, but the maple is the perfect addition to tone it down just a little. The Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is my absolute favorite. I'm SO sad it wasn't available in the jar size when my review package shipped. Must. Find. More. You know that chocolate hazelnut spread that everyone likes? It's crap. It's not really as natural as you thought. This, however, is similar in taste, if not better, and better for you too! Definitely loving each flavor and each one tasted fresh and simply delicious!

Justin's nut butters are gluten-free, dairy-free, certified kosher, GMO-free, and some are also vegan. Apparently Justin's uses a proprietary grinding process to create their nut butters, as well as making them in small batches. The texture is quite unique so that totally makes sense. They aren't silky smooth but they also aren't considered to be chunky. I'd call them "slightly gritty" with really gives them a natural nut butter taste and consistency.

Justin's doesn't use hydrogenated oils like in most conventional nut butters. Instead, they use organic palm fruit oil which reduces oil separation, is trans fat free and is sustainably harvested from an organic farm in Brazil. It's nice to be able to open a jar of Justin's without having to stir and stir before diving in to enjoy.
The squeeze packs...oh the squeeze packs!! I love being able to take Justin's with me on the go in such a convenient little 1.15 ounce package. Each caddy contains 10 of these little babies and boy do they go fast in my house. They're great for portion control, especially with the delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Butter that I can eat by the spoonful, and also packed in lunches, on hikes or car trips, or any time I need a pick me up while out of the house. I know you want some! You can thank me later.

Connect with Justin's Nut Butter
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Buy It: You can find Justin's Nut Butter at many retail locations including Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Sprouts, SuperTarget, REI and many more!

 Win It: During the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop (Nov. 28 - Dec. 7), a lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a Jar & Caddy Trio as shown below!

 
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review for free. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps {#GreenChristmas Grand Prize Sponsor Review}


Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps is well known for their simple, castile-based soaps and body care products made from natural, organic, and fair-trade ingredients. It turns out that the Bronner family's soap-making traditions can be traced back over 150 years ago in southern Germany. With delicious organic coconut, olive, peppermint, hemp and palm oils sourced using fair trade practices and incredible transparency and integrity, Dr. Bronner's continues to be an iconic leader in natural soap-making in North America today.

Many of Dr. Bronner's body care products have now been relabeled to include the USDA Certified Organic seal and classic Dr. Bronner's "look". All Dr. Bronner's products are certified fair trade, meaning fair labor practices are used for sourcing and production, and most products are fully USDA Certified Organic also. Dr. Bronner's in a family-run business, with many Bronner's family members running the business to this day. As a result, the small family feel of this company continues to make a huge impact in the natural world with their amazing collection of safe body care products. 

Dr. Bronner's is also a firm supporter of labeling GMO's and helped fight for a Yes on Prop 37 in California earlier this month. Although we didn't succeed (this time), I love supporting a company that stands up for what they believe in, and practices what they preach. It's companies like Dr. Bronner's that deserve all the praise they receive because they really do have wonderful products.
 I've had the pleasure of trying a few products from Dr. Bronner's over the years, but having the opportunity to try so much from their line at once has been a blast! I'm absolutely blown away by the pure, fair trade, organic ingredients in their products, and also the effectiveness. Dr. Bronner's doesn't include any junk, parabens, artificial ingredients or colors, or GMO's. Just real, safe ingredients.

I've been wanting a new hair cleaning routine since I can't seem to find an actual shampoo and conditioner combo that is free of all the nasty chemicals, artificial fragrances and junk. I can't quite go with no-poo since I have eczema on the back of my neck and I'm just a bit scared to go that far. The Pure Castile Liquid Soap in baby unscented, the Organic Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse in citrus and the Organic Hair Creme in lavender coconut is what I would call the perfect 3-step system for truly clean hair and a great compromise to no-pooing or harmful, chemical-filled shampoos and conditioners. The castile liquid soap literally makes your hair squeaky clean but a bit unmanageable. So, the hair rinse (highly concentrated so you mix with water) is the answer to tangles and leaves my hair feeling great and brush-able. I only use the hair creme occasionally and just a tiny, tiny bit when I do. It definitely takes a bit of practice to learn to not overdo and grease your hair up. Not even a full pump is needed so this will last me at least a year! The scents are scrumptious too. The citrus hair rinse and lavender coconut together is subtle after done drying the hair, but it's lovely and a great combination actually. These three products replaced my shampoo and conditioner!

I'm definitely liking the lavender scented products from Dr. Bronner's, even though I'm usually not a big lavender fan! The Organic Shaving Gel is fabulous for shaving my legs and really allows for a smooth, close shave without razor burn (which I'm so prone to). It comes out of the tube as a gel and really moisturizes well. The Pure Castile Bar Soap also came in lavender. I'm not usually a bar soap person either, but I said "what the heck!" and use it sometimes in the shower. It's still not my favorite way to soap up, but it serves the purpose of cleaning in an effective, squeaky clean manner. If you are a bar soap person, you'll really love these but I prefer my liquid soaps. I also received the Organic Fair Trade Hand Sanitizing Spray in lavender, which is a great handy size for my purse.
The Organic Hand & Body Shikakai Pump Soap in baby unscented is awesome because it can be used for hands or as a body wash in the shower. Depends on what you're out of first I guess! :) As with all Dr. Bronner's products, this is gentle enough for babies and especially since there is no scent (even though all scents are completely natural anyway). The Organic Baby Balm in baby-mild is practically unscented and is intended for use on dry baby skin. With a similar oily texture to a lip balm, this is actually a great option to use with a soothing baby massage. It's great as a lip balm for me too! It's small compact size is also great for the diaper bag or purse, just be careful of hot weather in the summer. 

I also received the Organic Body Balm in patchouli lime, which is essentially the same as the Organic Baby Balm, just scented and marketed for adults. I found that I liked the unscented better since the patchouli lime scent comes out very strong to me. It's a little floral, and a bit citrus, but with a big, vibrant punch. The same goes for the For Hands & Body Organic Lotion in patchouli lime I received that I also think is a bit strong. However, the texture of the lotion is great, and it goes on silky smooth. A little went a long way, and the greasy feeling went away in less than a minute. I'd love this body lotion in another scent!

 I also received a bunch of samples of the Organic Hand & Body Shikakai Liquid Soap in spearmint peppermint, and Pure Castile Liquid Soap in peppermint. Okay, I'm diggin' the peppermint! It's refreshing and has a cooling effect on the skin. Of course it smells amazing too. 

The last body product I received in the Organic Lip Balm in lemon lime. I love lip balms and I seem to have a billion around the house. This one definitely takes the cake with it's silky smooth finish, lovely scent, and lasting effect. My lips feel moisturized but without all the yucky chemicals so they won't dry out later or get addicted to needing lip balm (oh yes, it's happened to me before!). 
    I'd also like to share about this video, "Dr. Bronner's Fair Trade Palm Oil: Animated". In short, Dr. Bronner's has put together a crowdfunding campaign to fight Malaria in Eastern Ghana where their fair trade and organic palm oil is sourced. The video highlights how the palm oil is sourced in socially and environmentally responsible ways, and also how this current project will provide bed nets for families through donations and  a new limited edition commemorative bar of soap. {You can donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/drbronners} Buying fair trade is incredibly important to me because I feel that it's important to treat others as I would like to be treated. I can't even begin to fathom how unfair most production practices are that take place around the world. Fair trade gives communities a chance to thrive, improve, and live better. We need to break the cycle and implement fair trade practices everywhere for the sake of our future.

    Dr. Bronner's is now on my "safe" list when I need to stock up on body care products. They're definitely a brand I can trust for healthy, pure ingredients and also for fair trade, responsible business practices. I also love that each product's surface is covered in thorough product and ingredient information for complete transparency. Full disclosure means they have nothing to hide, and that they're proud of their products, just like they should be. This Christmas, give organic, give fair trade, give Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

    Connect with Dr. Bronner's
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    Win It: During the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway Hop (Nov. 28 - Dec. 7), a lucky Grand Prize winner will receive the following Dr. Bronner's body care prize package valued at $96!
    • (1) Castile Liquid Soap 32oz  MSRP $16.99
    • (1) Castile Bar Soap MSRP $4.49
    • (1) Organic Shikakai Hand & Body Pump Soap 12oz MSRP $9.99
    • (1) Citrus Hair Conditioning Rinse MSRP $9.99
    • (1) Hair Conditioning Creme MSRP $7.99
    • (1) Lotion MSRP $9.99
    • (1) Shave Gel MSRP $8.99
    • (2) Body Balm MSRP $4.99
    • (1) Lip Balm MSRP $2.99
    • (1) Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox Documentary DVD MSRP $18.99
     
    Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review for free. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.