Monday, September 30, 2013

TreeSmart Offers Recycled School Supplies [Review]

I try to recycle everything, after determining if it can be reused or composted first. I always wonder what the recycled paper and plastic becomes. Does the paper become recycled paper? Does the plastic become a recycled plastic toy for a child? Knowing what your hard recycling efforts become is a great motivator to continue recycling. TreeSmart specializes in recycled school and office supplies, including recycled rolled-up newspaper pencils, colored pencils, and rulers.

Tree Smart recycled products       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Made from recycled newspaper


I received a recycled rule, regular pencils, and colored pencils. All three are made from recycled newspaper. How neat is that! I love that TreeSmart takes recycled items and makes them into recycled school and office supplies. This is a great way to teach our kids about the importance of recycling and that the stuff we recycle does get put to good use. TreeSmart offers a school fundraising and service project called Newspapers for Pencils to educate children about the importance of recycling. Children learn first-hand about the benefits of recycling by collecting newspapers in exchange for pencils printed with the school's name.

I was a little skeptical when I first read that the pencils are made from recycled newspaper. My fears were gone once I took the regular and colored pencils out of the packaging. They were sturdy and hard just like you would expect wooden pencils to be. TreeSmart recycled pencils are made from recycled rolled-up newspapers and high-quality #2 HB graphite. The pencils were easy to sharper with my standard mechanical sharpener. I can even compost the shavings. The ruler was very sturdy. I plan on adding this ruler to my canning kit so I can measure head space (I needed a 6" ruler).

Between the fact that TreeSmart reuses recycled newspaper to make school supplies and the Newspapers for Pencils fundraising project, I would highly recommend this company. The durability of the products shows the high quality process that takes recycled newspaper, adds graphite, and makes pencils. When my son gets older, I hope to introduce his school to the fundraiser and classroom activities. If you are looking for a greener and more eco-friendly source of your school and office supplies, consider TreeSmart.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free to facilitate my review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cool Fall Lips with Elemental Herbs Tinted Balms [Review]

As the weather starts to become cooler and dryer, my lips always feel it. I am not one of those people who apply lip balm 24x7, but my lips do enjoy a little moisture pick-me-up once in a while. The variety of organic and all natural lip balms on the market is growing. There are even lip balms that are tinted with color. Elemental Herbs has released their new line of all natural tinted lip balms with SPF-18 zinc-based coverage and 80% organic ingredients.

Elemental Herbs All Good Lips Tinted         ($4.99 or 6 for $25)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
80% organic ingredients
May contain Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (rated 2-3 on EWG)
Non-nanoparticle Zinc Oxide
Smaller product size
Non-GMO Vitamin E

The first thing I do with any organic or natural product is check the ingredients. All Good Lips Tinted Lip EWG's Skin Deep database rates these ingredients as 2-3 (low/moderate hazard) and I am comfortable putting them on my body once in a while. All colors, except the Pacific Mist, contain Zinc Oxide for SPF-18 protection. I like that Zinc Oxide is non-nanoparticle so it stays on the skin instead of getting absorbed. I also love that Elemental Herbs uses 80% organic ingredients and non-GMO Vitamin E. Not only do we need to think about the foods that we consume, but also the products that we put on our body. All Good Lips Tinted balms contain 80% oganic ingredients, non-GMO Vitamin E, and minerals such as Mica, Titanium Dioxide, and Iron Oxides. Natural colorings of body products are usually based on these three minerals.

I really like the Apline Pink color. It is a very light pink that accents the natural color of my lips. I can see myself wearing this when we go out for dinner for date night or with our friends. I would like to see this product come in a slightly bigger size (width-wise). The thin tube might get easily lost in my purse. I plan on keeping All Good Lips Tinted Lip Balm in my cosmetic bag.

Elemental Herbs also offers other products, including USDA Organic lip balms. I would recommend this company for their focus on organic and natural ingredients. If you are looking to add some color to your Fall wardrobe, pick All Good Lips Tinted Lip Balms.

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

When Your Baby Wakes You Up Early can accomplish a lot between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM (with the help of your spouse, of course):
  1. Feed baby
  2. Clean clutter
  3. Do one load of laundry
  4. Start packing for visit to babushka and dedushka's (grandparents)
  5. Compose a product review post
  6. Read email
  7. Enter a few giveaways
  8. Take out compost
  9. Put away dishes
  10. Stuff and organize cloth diapers
  11. Organize plastic recycling to take to Whole Foods
  12. Run (because it feels awesome outside and the coffee did not help this morning)
  13. Shower

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Earn an Online Masters in Health Administration

 photo All Natural Katie

People who choose to work in the health care industry have a well of compassion for others. They want to make life better for patients and their families. Unfortunately, the practical demands of the modern health care system continually challenge those compassionate, caring qualities. 

For those who want to impact health care in a positive way, a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree may be the perfect solution. This rigorous degree program prepares health care professionals for a leadership role in the health care business. It allows students to apply newly-learned concepts to real-world situations in various health care environments. 

The MHA coursework involves a series of interactive learning activities. Some require collaboration with instructors and other health care professionals, while others are independent studies. Business, finance, leadership, health care law, research, marketing and human resources are among the topics of study.

At prominent schools like Ohio University, business and health care professionals can earn a masters in health administration online. The comprehensive curriculum is designed to develop leaders in the health care system. With their leadership skills and business acumen, these professionals are ready to innovate, adapt and lead in the evolving health care industry.

Online degrees are designed for professionals in mid-career. The Master of Health Administration degree builds on existing professional backgrounds to develop knowledge and skill sets. Health care professionals can apply these skills immediately. 

Many schools offer world-class MHA programs that attract a diversity of students. People of different professions and geographic backgrounds collaborate to solve the nation's most pressing health care problems. Online program coordinators assist with registration, tuition and financial aid to help students navigate the non-academic aspects of graduate school. The classes themselves are led by business and health care professionals. 

Communication, technology, leadership and creative thinking are the main objectives of an MHA program. Unlike general degrees, a master's degree in health administration prepares the health care leader of the future. The skills learned through online education help health care administrators understand and solve current and future problems in the health care system.

Most students complete the MHA program within two years, and most programs are completely online. This flexibility allows students to balance their work, family and personal obligations. As they learn new concepts, they exchange expertise with health care professionals from across the United States. Together, they solve some of the most significant health care problems facing the nation.

Wordless Wednesday - Leftover Chicken Soup

As part of the "Cleaning Out the Freezer" effort, I present Leftover Chicken Soup.
All ingredients are from the farmer's market and/or CSA.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

To Fan or Not To Fan [#CTWW]

My goal is to get back to participating in the Change the World Wednesday challenges. This week's challenge:

This week we are joining my friends at Fanimation in celebrating the the first ever National Ceiling Fan Day (NCFD). Did you know that the average central cooling unit draws anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 watts of energy? Compare that to the 6-30 watts used by a ceiling fan and we quickly see why ceiling fans are energy efficient. So, for at least one full day this week, power off your air conditioners and rely on ceiling fans and/or portable fans to keep cool.

Ahh, air conditioning! How I love thee; let me count the ways! Don't get me wrong, I don't like for the temperature in the house to be freezing, but I am not a fan of humid air. It's sticky! 

As I read this week's challenge, I wanted to do an inventory of ceiling fans and potential for installing more ceiling fans. Currently, we have the following: one fan on the furnace unit (used sometimes during the summer), two small personal fans (used only during minor flooding in the basement), ceiling fan in the breezeway (using during the summer). Our house has zero ceiling fans. We have thought about installing ceiling fans upstairs because it gets a little toasty in the summer, but have not found suitable fans for the shorter ceilings (cape cod house). The bedroom is an option for a ceiling fan. My husband would love to have a ceiling fan on while he sleeps during the night, but I hate something blowing on me while I sleep. We have not pulled the trigger on this installation.

Back to the challenge. I realized I have been doing this week's challenge without even knowing it. The air conditioner has not been turned on for longer than one week (I can't even remember the last time). I have been keeping the windows open during the day and at night when possible. I ran the fan unit one afternoon when the air was a little humid. Since the summer is coming to an end, my goal is not to turn the air conditioner on anymore. Now, I need to decide when to turn on the heat. Eek!

>> Do you have ceiling fans? Do you use them instead of using the air conditioner??

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pour le Monde Offers 100% Natural Fragrance [Review]

Even those of us who strive to live a natural and green lifestyle still need to don a little perfume once in a while, maybe for a special occasion or a night out on the town. Perfumes are one of those products that can cause a lot of sensitivities and allergies in people, even if they are used to applying scented items to their body on a daily basis. Perfumes containing natural ingredients are hard to find, requiring a lot of research about the ingredients and the companies. I would like to introduce you to a fragrance crafted with 100% natural eau de parfums, free of harmful chemicals and vegan and gluten-free. Pour le Monde is one of only two companies that are certified by the Natural Products Association.

Pour le Monde eau de parfum spray        (1.7 oz, $95)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Naturally derived ingredients/essential oils
Contains denatured alcohol (rated 4 by EWG)
Free of harmful chemicals

Certified by Natural Products Association

FSC certified packaging

Pour le Monde 100% natural eau de parfums are free of harmful chemicals (phthalates, parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, chemical sunscreens and petrochemicals). They are infused with grain alcohol and tocopherol/Vitamin E oil to preserve the natural oils. Although grain alcohol (alcohol denat) is rated as a 4 on EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, this product is probably the most natural you can get with perfumes. The fragrances used in Pour le Monde eau de parfum are naturally derived essential oils, extracted through a steam or low temperature distillation process. The Natural Products Association defines fragrances as 100% natural fragrances when this extraction method is used.

I love that Pour le Monde is only of two companies that is certified to offer a natural product. I stopped using fragrances when I learned about the harmful and toxic chemicals in them. Now I have an option for a date night with my husband. The scents are very pleasing and would appeal to a variety of consumers. My favorite scent is Pour le Monde Empower for the sweet and citrus notes. I found that the scent lasted for a good amount of time. If you like to wear a fragrance all day long, you would need to refresh once or twice as the scent wears off. I also liked that the scent was not overpowering and did not transfer to other people or items in close proximity.

If you are looking for a natural fragrance, whether you are pregnant, nursing, or conscious of the products you put on your body, Pour le Monde eau de parfum offers an eco-friendly, 100% natural option. This chemical-free perfume is perfect for people with sensitives to chemical and synthetic fragrances.

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Free Blogger Opp: Grub Hub Camp Kitchen

Make Our Own Network
GrubHubUSA Camp Kitchen
Spatula Set
ARV $387
Hosted by:
Sign-ups close 9/12
**The blogger with the most referrals will receive the additional links at no cost
Click HERE to sign up and for more html info.
Make Our Own Network
M.O.O.N. has now added several perks/discounts for frequent participation in our events but you must be a member of our Facebook group to be eligible.  Please visit the M.O.O.N. group if you are a blogger and would like more information regarding these perks and other group events.

**If you are a company and would like to see your brand advertised in a M.O.O.N. event similar to this or a Blogger interested in working with M.O.O.N. please contact

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homemade Graeter's Peach Berry Sundae

One of my husband's favorite desserts is Graeter's Peach Berry Sundae. Although we have not seen this sundae advertised as a summer special, you can still order the sundae with the toppings. 

I set out to make Graeter's Peach Berry Sundae at home.


  • Graeter's Peach Ice Cream (pretty good on all natural ingredients)
  • Organic strawberry preserves
  • Homemade blueberry sauce (local blueberries)
  • Homemade organic whipped cream
  • Organic walnuts

The only thing missing is the cherry on top.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Apple Sauce vs. Apple Butter

I have always been a huge fan of apple butter. This summer, my dad gathered apples from their organic
apple tree for me. I decided to make apple butter and can it. After a little research, I noted that I needed to add a little acidity and to thin the apple butter a little to reduce the air bubbles in the jars. As I was filling the canning jars with the apple butter, I was faintly reminded of apple sauce. I was curious: what is the difference between apple sauce and apple butter?

Here are the main differences:

  • Apple sauce is prepared quickly, while apple butter cooks for a long time (up to 10 hours)
  • Apple sauce has a lighter color (shorter cooking time), while apple butter has a darker color (longer cooking time)
  • Apple sauce has water added, while apple butter has spices added
  • Apple butter is thicker and more caramelized due to the longer cooking time
  • Apple sauce is typically pureed or mashed, while apple butter is spreadable and has a smooth, thick consistency
  • Apple sauce is used as a side dish, while apple butter is used as a spread/condiment because of its rich flavor

>> Do you prefer apple sauce or apple butter??

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