Archive | July, 2012

Homemade Popsicles

I’ve been really trying to introduce my kids to more homemade frozen and blended treats this summer – rather than store bought or drive-thru. The easiest way has been playing with smoothie recipes and then freezing into popsicles. Using the stainless steel molds is by far the best thing to reduce plastic mixing with your frozen treat. Here is my step-by-step recipe for making homemade, delicious popsicles for summer treats!

Vanilla Flavored Greek Yogurt

 

 

Add Frozen berry (no frozen ice needed when using frozen berries)

Frozen – sliced banana (slice before freezing)

Layer In Blender – Top with Milk

At this point it’s a delicious smoothie!  Pour some and enjoy. However the left over can go into the stainless steel Popsicle mold for homemade Popsicle. They are delicious!

Voila – a really healthy, non plastic popsicle. No wrappers and freezing liquids that you’re going to eat in stainless steel & glass is the safest way to freeze food.

 

What is your favorite thing to add to homemade popsicles or smoothies?

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Organic Hair Gel & Styling Tips

If I wanted to be honest with myself, I know one reason I haven’t encouraged my daughters to take dance/ballet classes is the behind-the-scenes glamor of dance. I would be handed a makeup and hair chart from a very nice instructor and I’d melt down. The ‘made-up’ faces of little dancers has always bothered me and dance moms have told me they aren’t allowed to stray from the requested make-up … even if they want to purchase a mineral based brand. I know the concerts where make-up is required are only a few times a year – I just don’t think I’d handle it well. My girls seem to excel at sports at the moment that don’t require make-up so everyone is happy. Hair maintenance however is getting a little trickier…

My daughters have become active with gymnastics and I noticed the girls wear high ponytails with the front ‘slicked back’. To achieve this look without using traditional hair products like styling gel, I used my coconut oil to style their hair (while dry) and slicked back into a ponytail. It worked! The coconut oil will not give hold to hair like gel, but it’s a very effective deep conditioner and gives hair that ‘day old’ look after washing. My own hair can be very frizzy and because I use organic hair-care it’s on the dry side. I condition with coconut oil through the ends of my hair after every time I wash it. I love how it tames my hair and I wear it down all the time now…I used to be the ponytail mom but love how my long hair looks with this de-tangler and frizz-er. Read more about using coconut oil as a deep conditioner here.

The topic of hair gel has come up in our household a few times. My boys look very handsome after a hair cut with some gel in their hair. They are getting to that age where they want some primping for special occasions. For those parents looking for a product with hold – not just the shine of coconut oil, the Miessence Team has you covered – organic hair styling products! Miessence is a trusted brand and USDA certified.

Related Articles:

Natural Lice Prevention

All Natural Hair DIY Deep Conditioner

No Poo Anyone?

 

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Superpowers In The Forest

Kids will listen and absorb information when it’s fun and cool!  We learned about the animal (invertebrates to be exact) with super powers many years ago on a nature walk. My oldest son has never forgotten it because relating nature with identifiable facts is what keeps learning interesting for kids!  Here is a picture of what reminded us of superpowers in the forest – the most beautiful banana slug I’ve ever seen. We watched it move for 10 minutes..I couldn’t get over it’s size and how it was moving along the forest floor using it’s tentacles. It’s included in this short video narrated by Francesco who is 10 years old. All these years later he remembers and shares why slugs have superpowers!

Video – discover a super power during your next nature walk!

 

Francesco makes reference to licking a slug. He did this years ago with a parks board guide because slugs can numb gums and tongues. The native culture used this for toothaches. I wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you are sure the species of slugs is safe because I do know certain slugs contain parasites (black slugs) and you wouldn’t want to be licking that!  Banana slugs are perfect for gently trying the super glue fun with a finger!  Rub gently twice, wave finger in the air to make it tacky, pick up an item from the forest floor.  Guaranteed your child will never forget who has superpowers!

Related Articles:

Scavenger Hunt In The Woods

 

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Gamewright for Summer Fun!

Ever summer I like to find something new to keep down-time fun with four kids at home. So far this summer has been great for my kids understanding when their allotted screen time is over – it’s time to go read, play a game or head into the yard. I immediately thought of Gamewright because the last 3 card games we purchased were fantastic and that’s saying a lot since I was slightly addicted to Uno a few years back. <smile> Have you ever heard of the Gamewright games: Sleeping Queens, Rat-A-Cat-Tat, or Too Many Monkeys? They are awesome for ages 5 and up (we have a 16 year old cousin that loves them too) which is great in my house with different aged children. The only thing about these specific 3 games is they work better for 1-1 play. In our house we hold mini tournaments and kids just play the winner each time, but my clan is an impatient lot. Well Gamewright sent us their new card game called Zip Zap and it’s been super effective for keeping my kids busy for hours, again perfect for kids of different ages, plus all 5 of us can play together. It’s the only card game I’ve played that is actually more fun the more kids you have.

The basic jist of the game is you deal cards of different color sets and numbers up to 10. It’s a game of speed and each person is trying to get rid of the 9 or 12 cards dealt to them so they can ‘win’ the game and be first out. But you want to get rid of cards that are worth higher points because you play a full round and keep score for each game – tallying up points for the number of cards left in your hand. The person with the total lowest number wins. Great for strategic development, colors, numbers and quick thinking. It took many video attempts because the excitement level gets high but I’ve embedded my first video below for a product review!  It’s really cool because my older sons are always helping my daughters play even though they’ve developed excellent strategies for winning..my boys are almost unbeatable at this point so the game is challenging and fun for me to play too!  Here’s a quick video of a full game with three of my kids playing (ages 6, 6, and 10).

Thank you for sending me this card game to review Gamewright!  My kids and I love your card games and I’m glad to share our fun. For those that don’t know – Gamewright actively includes children in the development of these games. It must be why they are so entertaining and unique. For younger children, I would recommend the card game Too Many Monkey (ages 4 and up), Zip Zap (ages 5 and up), Rat-A-Tat-Cat (ages 6 and up), and Sleeping Queens (ages 6 and up). Can’t say enough about how much my kids love Sleeping Queens and Zip Zap. Go online to the Gamewright site to find out where these games are sold or ‘like’ their fanpage to hear about new games!

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Bubble & Bee Organics for Eczema Care

Sometimes it feels like I’m doing more research than writing. This happened a few months back and I was struggling to find the answers for why my daughter’s eczema had flared up when coconut oil had kept it moisturized for so long. I was completely at a loss and needed to turn to an expert. I was also a little shaken because a company I trusted for eczema care and knowledge had recently re-formulated, not told their customers, and children were reacting to the products that had been manufactured for ‘sensitive skin’ – which my Isabella definitely has!  I started reading the blog of Bubble & Bee Organics and realized I had a new person to trust. Anyone that can explain their products in such depth so that an average mom can understand is a true expert. One of my favorite blog articles by Stephanie is called The Importance of USDA Organic Certification – you will learn a lot from reading it! And if you visit the Bubble & Bee Facebook page- the gratitude and love from customers is amazing.  So I took some time drafting an email to Stephanie, the founder explaining that Isabella wasn’t responding to the traditional coconut oil and one side of her face looked burned from the reaction she was having. Actually, thinking back the coconut oil looked like it was making it worse. She wrote back right away explaining that this can sometimes happen with impurities being drawn from the skin. She also wrote back with advice on looking internally and I’ve heard from many others that eczema can occur from the gut w/ immune response, etc. But that is for another article.

A good example of how Stephanie is able to explain synthetic, natural, organic ingredients is in this blog post called What Is Natural? Check out her explanation – easy to read and understand!

Trusting a brand is important. There are very few that have stuck to their original purpose of using simple, organic ingredients. I have spent 2 months testing two of the Bubble & Bee products that Stephanie sent me: Body Butter and Unscented Lotion Stick. Both have been amazing, especially the lotion stick for Isabella’s eczema rash on her face and inner arm. She gets the stick on her own now because she trusts there is no burning or stinging using these products. They are USDA Organic and a trusted arsenal for sensitive skin!

Stephanie also sent the Bubble & Bee Organic Insect Repellent for review because ever year I get asked by readers for a bug repellent that is safe for children. Our rainy West Coast experienced a ‘Junuary’ like no other with tons of rain and I wasn’t able to test the repellent quickly enough for summer. So when a reader emailed me a said she was getting eaten alive back East, I send the repellent to her for feedback. I would recommend it from the ingredient list as a safe alternative but will post the MF reader’s feedback on our Facebook page. My thanks to Stephanie for her obvious dedication with educating people on chemicals and how to distinguish the harmful from beneficial. Follow her ‘Chemical Of The Day Q&A‘ and release your inner chemist! Follow her tips via Facebook or the company blog and feel safe about trusting this great brand.

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