Subscribe Here To Get Updates on Giveaways and New Posts!

Subscribe

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Organic African Shea Butter



Colder air = drier skin. Those harsh fall/winter winds and temperatures can really take a toll on the outer protection of our bodies. I am already seeing a little evidence of that in my children’s sensitive skin.

The thing is, most people reach for the nicest smelling lotion that promises to be gentle, but in actuality, it really is not gentle and those smells are actually not great for your body. I choose to only apply products to our skin that are so safe I could eat them if I wanted.

One of the products I love is shea butter, and the product we have been using lately is Key West Organic Raw Unrefined African Shea Butter. Why do I love their product? Here are a few reasons...
  • Most companies label their raw shea butter organic but are not certified organic, which means there is no guarantee that it does not contain harmful chemicals. The only way to ensure it is chemical free is by proper certification and Key West is definitely certified organic.
  • Their shea butter is sourced responsibly by local women’s co-ops in Africa to ensure fair wages and ethical treatment of the local African women that harvest it. Some companies will take advantage of these women by offering unfair compensation when sourcing, but you can rest easy with Key West.
  • I love their high quality! Their shea butter is processed by hand using water extraction and screened for impurities, resulting in the highest quality grade A shea butter.
Plus, it is packaged in a BPA free and FDA compliant container to ensure that no harmful chemicals are leeched into the shea butter from the plastic container.

Raw Unrefined USDA Organic African Shea Butter
Remember, shea butter is in more of a solid-like state, so you just grab a little dab, warm it up in your hand and rub it all over. It absolutely makes your skin feel like silk. I love it! If you are looking for a fantastic moisturizer that you know is pure, this is a great choice that I highly recommend.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Holiday Handmade Gift Ideas and Vanilla Body Scrub Recipe

I received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

When it comes to holiday gifting, it truly is the thought that counts. My most precious gifts are ones that came with a lot of thought and love. What could be more thoughtful than a handmade gift? Not only are they meaningful, but they often cost less money than store-bought gifts. Win, win, right?

Whether you are trying to simplify your holiday gift giving, find a gift for that hard-to-shop-for person, let a teacher know how much she is appreciated, or surprise a coworker, DIY gifts are the perfect way to show how much you care.

I want to share some ideas on ways to make your DIY gifts even more extra-special:

• Package homemade biscotti, cookies, or even body products in vintage tins or jars. A beautiful container is an additional gift that the recipient can keep long after the handmade gift is gone.
• Instead of using traditional wrapping paper or gift bags, wrap boxes in craft paper and decorate with pens and markers. Wrap jars and bottles in fabric, burlap, or a pretty kitchen towel and secure it with colorful striped baker’s twine.
• Attach a Christmas ornament to the outside of the package in lieu of a traditional gift tag. Ornaments can be treasured for years to come.
• Include a hand-written note or card with the recipe for your gift – it is the gift that keeps on giving!

I also want to share a great recipe for Vanilla Body Scrub from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, which is the perfect gift for friends, sisters, daughters, or anyone who deserves a bit of pampering this holiday season. Fragrant Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar gently exfoliates while olive oil moisturizes, leaving skin feeling soft, smooth and rejuvenated.



Vanilla Body Scrub
  • 1 cup Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar   
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 or 2 drops of an essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, etc.

Decorative, waterproof container
Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
Spoon into a decorative, waterproof container.
Wrap in decorative paper.

Instructions for use: Apply a small amount to damp skin while in shower or bath. Gently scrub skin with a soft washcloth. Rinse thoroughly.



To help you with all your holiday baking, we are giving away (1)
Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to (1) lucky winner! Enter to win below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Department of Sweet Diversions

Cara received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

I love how Fall is a time of harvest. So much hard work has gone into planting, taking care, and now the picking of gardens and fields. We finally get to reap the benefits of our hard work. If you do not have your own garden or fields, there are always local farmers markets and companies that share their locally sourced goods.

I was just recently introduced to a great company just like this. Department of Sweet Diversions, a boutique jam company, features seasonal ingredients locally sourced from Farmer’s Markets within a 12-mile radius of their commercial kitchen. Jam-maker Virginie Strub’s cooking process is classic, while her flavors have a delectably modern twist. She makes a small-batch-made apple butter that is sweetened with agave instead of sugar, combined with a special blend of spices, and topped with a dash of Brandy for good measure. Yum! Apple butter...
 
 
I love their huge variety of homemade jams. I tried out their Rule of Plum, which is made with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, ginger, cloves, and of course, plums! It is deliciously flavorful, as you can imagine. It is the perfect jam for fall, with its comforting spices and flavor combinations.


 Check out all their jams and enjoy the harvests of fall!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Emmy's Organics Macaroons

Who loves a good macaroon? I know I do.

Melt in your mouth. Rich. Creamy. Flavorful. Those are just some of the words I would use to describe the macaroons I have been enjoying from Emmy’s Organics. 

Emmy’s Organics is a 100% vegan and gluten-free food company that prides itself on the quality, creativity & sustainability of the products it offers. The company uses only the finest non-GMO ingredients in everything produced. All packaging is made from biodegradable and earth-friendly materials. Everything you purchase from Emmy’s is made in a vegan & gluten-free kitchen.
Chai Spice Macaroons
I have really enjoyed their Chai Spice Macaroons, which is a flavor I haven’t found in other brands. They taste fabulous, and I really attribute that to the high quality, delicious ingredients: organic shredded coconut, organic raw agave nectar, non-gmo almond flour, organic raw coconut oil, Fair Trade Vanilla Flavor, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic nutmeg, organic cardamom, organic clove, and himalayan crystal salt. They are the perfect fall treat!

I also enjoyed their Dark Cacao and Coconut Vanilla macaroons. They are full of flavor, and they just melt in your mouth. Make to sure to check out their other delicious products, like the chocolate dipped macaroons. I would love to try those!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do You Love Your Kids More Than Your Husband?

I have been struggling with this question for the last couple months.

At first thought, my answer was no. Of course, I love my husband. We were "one" even before we had children. I understand how important it is for my kids to see that my husband and I are a stable couple. So, my priority (after God) is my husband, right?

But, despite my confidence in this, the question keeps bugging me. Do I really love my husband MORE than my kids? Or is it the other way around?

Panic starts to set in as I realize...
I spend more time with my kids than I do with my husband. The time I actually do spend with my husband is most often zoning out in front of the TV or a good book after a long day.

I read parenting book after parenting book to try to get this mothering thing just right. But, am I working that hard to figure out how to be a better wife?

I study my children and wrack my brain all day long trying to figure out how to best communicate with them and love them? Have I quit studying my husband?

I spend every ounce of patience I have each day on my children. When my husband comes home, do I have any left for him?

I am more than happy to talk about all the cute or loving things my kids have done lately. But when was the last time I got excited to talk about how great my husband is?

I rush to give my kids hugs and kisses when I have not seen them in a little while. Why don’t I rush to give my husband hugs and kisses after his long workday?

From all outward signs, I actually love my kids more than my husband.

This realization hit me right in the heart. No wonder we have so many misunderstandings. No wonder we don’t have the passion or romance we used to have in our relationship. No wonder I feel like my husband is more of a roommate/partner than my lover and friend.

Many people might not think there is anything wrong with loving their kids more than their husband. From surveys I have seen, most women do, in fact, love their children more and are happy to admit it. Some of you might be outraged that I am even trying to fix this "problem" in my life. Our children are the only thing we leave behind when we die, right? We better put all the effort and love that we have into them, right?

Well, as I have spent time thinking about this, my personal thought is a great, big "NO!" One of the greatest lessons you can teach your children is that they are loved by you and your husband as a couple, allowing them to feel stable and confident in their family.

My struggle is this... What kind of love can compare to that of a mother’s love the first time she sees her baby? How can a husband compete with the bond of mother and child? When you spend almost all day every day with your children bonding and making memories, how can the hour or two at the end of a day with your husband compete with that?



It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile is easy, is it? It takes serious commitment from both you and your husband - hence the "till death do us part" promises you made. Whatever it takes, I am willing to work harder to love my husband at least as much as I love my children. Not that I will love my children less, but I will work to increase my efforts and make him more of a priority in my life. It is the least I can do for my stud-muffin husband. :-)

Here are a few ideas on how to get back on track with loving your husband just as much as you love your children:
  •  Try not to have many expectations. They kill relationships. Dont expect him to be romantic. Dont expect him to comfort you when you are upset. Dont expect him to love you all the time. Let God do all that. Let God comfort you, love you perfectly, make you feel like a million bucks every minute of every day. Your husband cannot be perfect. God is perfect.
  • Live gratefully. Constantly think of all the reasons you love your husband and are grateful for him. For me, it always comes back to thinking about "What would I do if he died at work today? Where would I be without him?" Try it. See? Instantly grateful. 
  •  Make the most of every moment you have together (and I am preaching to myself the most right here). I know at the end of the day the last thing you might want to do is try to come up with stimulating conversation with your husband. It might be easy to only talk/argue about money, to-dos, children, etc., but try to use this time to reconnect and keep learning about each other. I love asking my husband questions or having mini-dates in. Here are some other great ideas for connecting that I have on my Pinterest page.
  •  Continue to grow as a person and grow in your faith. When you can bring the best of yourself to your marriage, it is a lot easier to connect. If you are super stressed, super needy, always tired, grouchy, or whatever it is, it will be much harder to have a healthy relationship with someone else. 
Those are just a few ideas. I know you have more. Please share with us your thoughts on this article and your ideas for how to make your spouse more of a priority!

Remember, your kids will grow up and move out. But your husband is your partner for the rest of your days. Love him! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

HUGE Baby/Kids Giveaway




Imagine not being around friends and family during your pregnancy or not being able to have a baby shower to celebrate with all those you love. This is often the case with military moms who are stationed oversees or away from home somewhere.  To salute their service and sacrifice, we wanted to bring joy and a little piece of home to two military moms stationed on a US Base in Germany.  We teamed up with 39 other brands and 24 other mommy bloggers. These two pregnant moms received a HUGE SURPRISE!  They each received a gift from all the brands - nearly 40 presents of all the best baby/kids must haves. Now, YOU CAN WIN 36 of these amazing gifts by helping us support military moms. ENTER HERE: http://socialmedia22.com/blog/operation-baby-shower-surprise-2014/ #militarymoms


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 3, 2014

Surpise Ride Monthly Box Review and Giveaway

As a stay at home mom of four children, I know the joys in the little things - things like getting a surprise box in the mail that makes you and your children excited to do a new, fun project together!

That is exactly what I found when I received my Surprise Ride monthly box. 

Surprise Ride is a subscription service that sends kids ages 6-11 fun and educational hands-on activities that foster creativity and imagination! The company was started by two sisters Donna and Rosy, and they have been working hard to create a lasting impact on the lives of children, beyond the latest toys or technologies.

The Surprise Ride box we received was full of all kinds of ways to explore and learn about Stars! They included everything we needed to play a fun We Spy Telescope Game, plus a compass, a funny flying alien, space activity book, and even freeze-dried pineapples to help us feel like real astronauts in outer space. Besides all of that, we also got all the equipment to design and build a clock!

The best part about Surprise Ride is all the learning that is going on while you are having fun with your child(ren). I believe there is no better way to learn than by hands-on activities, and that is exactly what Surprise Ride offers.

The best part is...every month you get to learn about something new! This would be make a fantastic gift for your child. To give your child a year of Surprise Ride would give you both something to look forward to throughout the entire year. Plus, it offers you a way to connect in an educational way, have fun together, and make lots of great memories!

Great news! We are offering (1) of our lucky readers a chance to win their own Surprise Ride box! Enter below for your chance.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.