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Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Fun!

Living healthy natural lives is not always the easiest thing, which is why I started my blog - to inspire and help others live their best life healthfully and naturally. Friday Fun is my way of sharing a bit of my life with you, my readers and friends, and I hope you will be willing to share your thoughts and ideas with me too.

So, here we go!

In my life this week...
I have been making a more conscious effort to take time to hang out kid-free with my family and friends. I find it really helps me deal with stress well, which is a must if I want to beat these stress-induced migraines. This last week, I went to the movie, God's Not Dead with my mom and one of my sisters. It was a truly amazing movie! I have been thinking about it ever since...

Later in the week, one of my other sisters and I had a double date with our sons to see the movie, Bears, before it was even out in theaters. It was another fantastic one! I highly recommend it for families!

Besides lounging around at movie theaters, I have also been working a lot and preparing with my family for Easter. We open plastic Easter eggs (aka Resurrection Eggs) that have a Bible passage and a symbol of what that Bible passage is about leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection on Easter. The kids have loved taking turns opening them and seeing what treasure pops out - crown of thorns, rooster, cross, etc.

I am inspired by...
my youngest daughter's kisses. She gives these random kisses, and they are the BEST! So sweet and so loving!
 
My favorite thing this week was...
taking my son on a mommy/son date to The Bears. He was crying at some parts, laughing at others and holding head in his hands most of it. He has a very tender heart, and he was terribly afraid of the baby bears dying. Getting to spend time with him one on one really reminded me of how unique and precious he is!

What's working/not working for me...
Working - Naps are working for me. I don't know what I would do without my nap time to recharge and rest. They are just as important to me, if not more, than they are to my kids.

Not working - Snow in April doesn't work for me. :-) Not seeing my husband very much also isn't fun.

Questions/thoughts I have...
It is amazing how after a terrible, no-good, very bad day, a thoughtful favor from someone can make my whole day better!

I'm reading...
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford is a great book that I use daily to help keep me focused on what is really important in life, Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion, and I started reading through one chapter of the Bible a day, starting in Matthew.

I'm cooking...
Crockpot Meatballs, Applegate Farms grass-fed, organic hot dogs, Kimchee, homemade cauliflower crust pizza, and I started making my own Kombucha! I will let you know how it turns out!

I'm grateful for...
a Savior that loves me so much he suffered eternal punishment in hell for me! It still blows my mind to even try to comprehend Him doing that for EVERYONE! Knowing how much He loves me really makes me grateful all the time. I just need to remind myself of this constantly when I get distracted by other things in life that try to bring me down.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

My son ran up to me to show me his drawing - a picture of Jesus dying on the cross today, Good Friday, on his Etch-a-Sketch. Precious!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Norm's Farms Giveaway

Cara was provided products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are her own.

Elderberry has long been a favorite berry of mine. We have been using it in our family for years at the first sign of a cold. Instead of taking chemical cold medicines, we prefer to heal and strengthen our bodies with immune-boosting supplements that are pure and natural.  As far as elderberry is concerned, it is a must-have for cold and flu season. Studies indicate that the anthocyanins in elderberries, which give them their rich purple color, boost immune response. Scientists believe that it is these anthocyanins, in combination with flavonoids and a high profile in vitamin A, B6, and C, iron and potassium, that gives elderberry its ability to fight at least 10 different strains of the flu virus and play a role in the treatment and prevention of HIV, herpes, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other chronic diseases. How is that for a super berry?

The great people at Norm's Farms just introduced me to their awesome line of elderberry products. Their products are so delicious, it makes elderberry very easy to add to your wellness regime. I love how their small company is working hard to improve the supply of American elderberry products in the US. Their plants are grown naturally and sustainably by family farmers, and all Norm’s Farms' products are made with love.

My favorite is the Elderberry Wellness Syrup. This wellness syrup is formulated to bring natural and soothing relief for coughs, cold and and flu. It contains equal amounts of Elderberry Extract and soothing, cough relieving Honey, perfectly spiced with analgesic Cloves for your sore throat and Cinnamon, a time tested remedy for ailments related to colds and flu. This syrup tastes fantastic! In fact, my kids were downright begging for it the last time they had runny noses, which I had no problem obliging.

They also offer a jelly, two kinds of jam, and another health supplement: elderberry extract. Each one is fantastic in its own taste and health benefits. You can be assured there are no icky additives or chemicals in their products, just great flavors and short ingredient lists.

Where can you find Norm's Farms' products? Why online, of course! When you order at least $100 worth of products, you will also get free shipping!

You can also win them from us! 

Sampler Pack

For (1) lucky reader, we are giving away (1) Sample Pack, which includes everything  you see above.
Enter to win below.


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Have You Tried Martial Arts?

This is a sponsored post in which I have expressed my own opinions and thoughts.

Many modern gyms focus a lot on using machines in order to get in shape. However, my personal training philosophy is to work out as effectively as possible - which means using as many muscle groups as possible at the same time. The fact is that sitting or laying on a machine is just not going to use as many muscles at the same time or give you as effective of a workout as many standing or body weight exercises will.

Martial arts is just one example of a way to use your own body to get a great workout. They have been practiced by oriental cultures for thousands of years. These exercises are now integrated into special fitness sessions that are offered in gyms. Oriental exercises focus on developing physical abilities as well as mental capacity. The mind, body and soul concept is rooted deep into martial arts just as in Yoga. 

What can you expect when you start learning martial arts?

People that engage in martial arts exercises don't need to use any specialized equipment. In fact, such routines are often done in outdoor settings rather than indoor studios of gyms. The outdoor landscape can provide inspiration and motivation for people that want to lose weight and get in shape through traditional exercises. Sometimes, meditation is added to martial arts practice, because it is important to relax the body and mind when doing intensive physical exercises. Meditation techniques focus on breathing and proper management of respiratory rates, which itself can benefit your body in many ways.

Martial arts exercises involve high kicks and even aerial moves that are usually applied in real combat. However, the goal of such exercises is to build physical strength, agility and flexibility. Tai Chi is a popular form of oriental exercise that is gaining widespread acceptance by fitness trainers worldwide. In fact, Tai Chi classes are now offered as part of alternative programs in major gyms, wellness centers and fitness clubs. Fit4Zip is an example of a fitness club that offers Tai Chi classes and other forms of alternative exercise programs. While I don't personally teach Tai Chi, I do teach yoga and understand the many benefits of these types of exercises.

Martial arts masters usually have extensive experience in the far east such as China and Japan. However, American fitness experts have also mastered this ancient form of exercise and combat. Some martial arts routines may involve the use of traditional accessories or weapons such as sticks, staff and clubs. Some of the martial arts moves may imitate actual maneuvers that would involve attacks with dangerous weapons such as daggers and blades. In fact, imitation plastic weapons may be used to demonstrate some thrilling moves in oriental martial arts.

No matter how you look at, there are many physical and mental benefits of doing martial arts. If you are not a fan of traditional exercise machines, this may be something that you will enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Simply Soapberry

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

Do you know what is in your laundry soap? What is it made of?

How many of you think it is possible to get your laundry clean with dried shells from a berry? Huh? Is that ridiculous or what?

No, it is not ridiculous. In fact, I think it is downright awesome. I have always been a huge believer in using what God gave us in nature in, on, and around our bodies. I can't stand chemicals in my beauty, home care, or food products. Why go chemical when you can have natural?

 SoapBerryBottle2

Simply SoapBerry agrees. They are the first to combine the naturally powerful cleaning properties of ancient Himalayan soap berries into a mainstream recognizable laundry detergent in a convenient pump bottle. You don't even have to sacrifice convenience for pure, clean laundry!

Getting back to what is in your current laundry soap...

In the world today, synthetic surfactants (the ingredient in soaps that separates grime and oils from your clothes) and most of the “natural” surfactants used in laundry detergents are typically made from monoculture plants like corn, coconut, and palm. These plants are often grown using unsustainable farming methods such as: genetic modification, toxic pesticides, and petroleum-based fertilizers.

These crucial issues inspired the creators of Simply SoapBerry to seek out a solution for a powerful and natural line of household cleaning products. Simply SoapBerry’s Laundry Detergent uses saponins derived from organic soapberries that are harvested in the pristine foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. They turned the soap nuts into an ultra concentrated, liquid extraction of the soap nuts.

You'll love that one bottle of Simply SoapBerry can wash 128 loads of laundry in a HE washing machine - effective and efficient! I have been using soap berries to clean our laundry for years now, and I love how clean my clothes are without any chemical smells or residue left behind on them to irritate my family's skin. Using Simply SoapBerry may be one of the smartest natural changes you make as a mom this year!

Kinesiology Taping How To

*Cathy was offered this book to review without any obligations; her opinions are her own.

A year or so ago, we ended up at Physical Therapy for my sporty teen (just a little shoulder injury).  We learned a lot in that process, one thing being taping.  I had forgotten all about it until now.  I just received Kinesiology Taping, The Essential Step-by-Step Guide by John Langendoen and Karin Sertel.  

Are you looking for ways to deal with bruising, cramps, headaches, sore muscles, poor posture, swelling, and strains and sprains without taking a pill?  If so, taping might be your new go-to remedy in your medicine cabinet or sports bag. 

What is taping and how does it work? Taping is the use of elastic adhesive tape to relieve pain.  Applied in a specific manner, to a specific spot on the body, taping has a variety of benefits. This book shows you over 160 remedies to relieve pain by taping. When you are hurting or injured, chances are, your mobility is limited. Getting back to moving normally, and feeling normal is a primary goal. Taping works with physical therapy to improve outcome and progress. The best part is what it works without: taking a pill to relieve pain.  

I found this book to be thorough, informative, and easy to follow.  The explanations of  the history of taping, where to get tape, what type of tape to use, and how to apply tape were all explained. There was also a great section on when not to tape. Take a look at this sample from the book:


In a home full of active teens, I love the idea of helping with soreness and injury before using a shot or pill.   Kinesiology Taping is my new go-to guide for pain management through good, safe, and healthy practice. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hot Deals For Spring!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

You know there’s a change in season when new, exciting products come in awesome prices and deals. At Beauty Encounter, you’ll never miss a chance to get firsthand details on new products as well as huge discounts at the Hot Deals collection. We know you’re just super excited to find out what’s new and what’s hot so check these out!

 find your beauty obsession

 1. Lucy B Stung Organic Lip Balm. I know how your lips have suffered through this long, dry winter. Now is the time to pamper them with this refreshing lip balm. It contains Australian flower essences to make your lips feel and smell divine. Get it for 18% off the retail price now!

 2. Aromafloria Organics Geranium & Cedarwood Bath Salts. Ahhhh...take a break from Spring cleaning to soak in a tub full of these soothing bath salts. They are completely free of chemicals and artificial ingredients, containing only the finest organic essential oils and botanicals. The oils of Geranium and Cedarwood help to improve and maintain skin health, while the natural minerals relax those tired muscles. Get this for 15% off the retail price now!

 3. Aromafloria Organics Sweet Calming Bath Oil. This calming bath and body oil is heavenly with its sweet scent of essential oils of orange vetiver. You can put some in your bath water or apply it to your skin after a bath or shower to make your skin feel silky smooth. Free of all chemicals, this is a must-have to pamper your skin. Get this for 16% off the retail price now!

Don’t miss these amazing deals and many more worth 40 to 80% off when you pay a visit to BE’s website. If you think these are major markdowns, wait until you activate beSavvy Instant Savings Pass. You’ll be surprised to get 20% more savings for these beloved items right at your fingertips.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

35 Awesome Ways to Use Coconut Oil

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

Oh, how I love coconut oil (preferably extra virgin organic coconut oil)! Let me count the ways...here are 35 of my favorite ways to use it!

Cooking and Eating
·         On Toast Instead of Butter - Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.
·         Smoothies - Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's MCTs.
·         Fry Eggs - Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface and delicious eggs.
·         Popcorn Topping - Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn.
·         Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes to about 1/8” thick.  Place slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown.  Add salt to taste, and serve with salsa or dip. (Or just eat them plain – either way they’re delicious!)
·         Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking - Next time you make your favorite brownie recipe, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Your friends will be begging you for the recipe.
·         Grilled Cheese with Coconut Oil - No need for butter the next time you are making a grilled cheese sandwich. 
·         Coconut Oil Coffee - Adding a spoonful to your coffee is a delicious way to start your day with a huge energy boost!
·         Homemade Granola 
·         A Spoonful in Tea - Allow some coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of tea.
 -    Oil Pulling - I also use it every day for oil pulling. Check out what that is and how to do it yourself here!


Coconut Oil Skin Care

·         Shaving Lotion - Close shave and a moisturizer at the same time.
·         Body Scrub - Combine coconut oil and sugar.
·         Makeup Remover - Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!
·         Diaper Rash Cream - Apply regularly to the baby's bottom to improve skin health.
·         Sexual Lubricant 
·         Stretch Mark Preventer During Pregnancy - This safe, healthy oil can be applied multiple times each day to help moisturize your stretching skin.
·         Nipple Cream During Breastfeeding - Coconut oil is a popular choice for nursing mothers because it is a natural safe product.
·         Massage Oil - Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Not too greasy and with a relaxing scent.
·         Body Moisturizer - Apply directly after showering. 
·         Sunburn Care - A great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.
·         Mix in Bath Water - Melt about 1/4 cup in the microwave and add it to your bath water and soak.
·         Dry Feet Treatment - Mix with salt to form a foot scrub.
·         Elbow Rub - Helps manage the dry skin on your elbows.

Coconut Oil Hair Care

·         Leave-in Overnight Conditioner - Looking for a deep conditioning hair treatment? Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed, and wash out in the morning.
·         Hair Flyaway Tamer - Use very sparingly on ends or areas with flyaways.
·         Defrizzer of Split Ends - Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.
·         Static Reducer - Rub your hands together with a little bit of coconut oil on them and run them through your static-y hair.

Other Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil
·         Wound Care - Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.
·         Metabolism Booster - 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.
·         Thyroid Supporter - Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.
·         Energizer - 1 teaspoon can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.
·         Oil Pulling - Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes before brushing.

Coconut Oil for Animals
·         Feed it to your Dog or Cat - Coconut oil isn't just healthy for humans. Here is some good info on the benefits for dogs and cats.
·         Put It On Your Cat's Paw - Put half a teaspoon on your kitty's paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hairballs.


 You can find coconut oil at almost any grocery or natural foods store. But my absolute favorite is from Carrington Farms. Why? Well, because they have the most wonderful extra virgin organic coconut oil in a handy dandy tub. Most coconut oil comes in jars, and it can be hard to get every amazing morsel out. With Carrington Farms tub, you can easily scoop it all out without getting it all over your hands.

Check out Carrington Farms Facebook page for more good information and find all the “All Good April” Carrington Farms deals in a store near you! For those of you in the Twin Cities, there are several Byerly's and Lund's that carry them.