Saturday, November 30, 2013

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Is The Ancient Secret to Health [Review]

Some might believe that a stay-at-home-mom sits around watching soap operas and eating bonbons, but those of us who take care of children on a daily basis know that it is far from that. TV? I haven't watched TV in months. Even though my baby is not yet on the move, there is still so much to do to take care of a baby (and the house). Some days, coffee does not have an effect in boosting in my energy level. When I need all day energy with increased focus, I turn to KissMe Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder    
    ($25.00, 4oz)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Certified organic
Grassy flavor
Easy to mix

Good energy boost

What is Matcha? Matcha is fine ground, powdered, high quality green tea. Matcha is NOT the same as tea powder or green tea powder. Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves. Preparation takes time, up to 20 days, and includes the covering of the tea bushes to prevent sunlight from reaching the leaves. This process slow grows and causes the leaves to become a darker shade of green, which produces amino acids. Amino acids control the flavor. The highest grades of matcha have sweeter and most intense flavors.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder benefits:
  1. All day energy with increased focus
  2. Metabolism boost
  3. Improved skin health
  4. 137x the antioxidants of brewed green tea
KissMe Organics sells Certified Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder of culinary grade. This means that you can use the Matcha Green Tea Powder in just about anything. Mix the powder with warm water, add the powder to a smoothie, or bake muffins. This trait is very unique to Matcha Green Tea Powder because you can get your energy boost through various sources. My favorite recipe in the 70 page Organic Matcha Recipe Guide (included in purchase) is the recipe for Nutty Green Brownies. I also love the Basic Matcha Frosting recipe to make organic and natural green frosting! Perfect for the upcoming Holiday season. (Pair it with beet powder to make red icing.)

After reviewing the 70 page Organic Matcha Recipe Guide, I decided to use a few of the recipes as inspiration to make my own warm drink. I have been feeling under the weather, so lots of honey and warm milk. I warmed up 1 cup of local Snowville Creamery grass-fed milk, mixed in 1/2 tsp of Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, and added 1/2 tbsp of local raw honey. I did not prefer the flavor of the milk and Matcha Green Tea Powder alone because it tasted a bit too grassy for my liking. The addition of honey made the drink delicious and warming. The green color was beautiful!

Did I receive a lasting energy boost? Yes! I did feel the caffeine kick in (not overpowering) after a couple of sips. I went for a run a few hours after consuming Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder and had one of my fastest times during the past couple of years.

If you are looking for an alternative to coffee or caffeinated teas, try KissMe Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder. I love that this powder can be used in drinks, smoothie, and baking and offers a long lasting mild energy boost that keeps me going for hours.

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. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ergobaby 20% Off Promotion Starts Thursday, November 28


ERGObaby 20% off all purchases!

*CORRECTION: This blog post has been updated per update from ERGObaby after being published. ERGObaby is offering a 20% off discount

Just in time for Black Friday shopping, ERGObaby is offering a 20% off promotion on all purchases made through current affiliate links. Discount will be automatically applied at the check out screen.

Promotion starts Thursday, November 28 through Sunday, December 1.

FREE shipping on purchases of $50 or more.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to where I usually shop. Your purchases support this blog at no additional cost to you. Regardless, I feature and recommend only brands and products that I myself currently use or would use.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Preparing For The Winter Months

I have been posting a lot of review and giveaway posts lately, so I thought I would share a personal post. I am grateful to try new-to-me eco-friendly and natural products. Maybe they will inspire gift ideas for the Holidays. In our neck of the woods, the temperatures have fallen and the clouds cover the sun most of the days. The trees have lost all of their leaves. Anyone who goes outside is bundled up tightly. I am glad to see that the neighbors continue to go outside for walks and runs, even with their babies. Aside from spending my days caring for and playing with a baby, keeping the house in order, and trying to get out of the house often, we are busy with the following activities.

Winterizing the Yard

I am always a little sad when it is time to winterize the yard because it means that the colder months are here. The garden has been cleaned up. I am letting the plants dry up and will till them under the soil instead of composting. This method will put nutrients back into the soil. I put away the garden hose and watering can into the garage. The rain barrel has also been put up. Bushes have been pruned back. I left some of the leaves that gathered around the front garden bed plants to act as natural mulch for the winter.

Preparing for the Holidays

 photo ReusedGiftWrapping_2_zps0cc5f3a2.jpgGift lists are traditionally exchanged among our family at Thanksgiving. Therefore, we have been busy creating a gift list for ourselves and the baby. Check out my Green Baby Holiday Gift Guide for eco-friendly and green gift ideas for a baby. This year, we decided to do holiday gift shopping online to save time, money, and be environmentally conscious. Buying online reduces our carbon footprint because we are not driving to the store. Yes, the item is still being transported, but it is only transported once instead of twice (shipped to the store and then we drive to buy it).

Working Out Indoors

I cancelled my gym membership a few months ago. Gasp! After having the baby, I preferred to spend time with the baby instead of going to the gym and putting him in the gym's day care. We recently bought a jogging stroller, so I am able to run during the day. My husband found our old Jillian Michael's workout DVDs. I will continue to run outside as long as it is safe with the jogging stroller and transition to the workout DVDs.

Decluttering the House

November and December have become our months for cleaning out clutter and donating old and unused items to Goodwill. We also save items for my parents' neighborhood garage sale in May. Even though we have done a mass decluttering of the house every December for the past 3 years, we always find something that we can donate or pass on to someone else. There is nothing better than getting rid of old and unused stuff that someone can find a use for. Goodwill and Freecycle are the best ways to find a new home for an old or unused item.

I cannot believe this year is almost over. We began the year with me being pregnant and preparing for the arrival of our first baby. We have experienced lots of joys, and some challenges, with this new chapter and we look forward to ending this year on a positive note by spending time with our families.

>> How do you end the year? How are you preparing for the Holiday season??

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thirsties AIO Cloth Diaper With New Hook & Loop [Review]

I have almost 8 months of cloth diapering experience under my belt. Although some of you have many more years experience, I feel like I can begin to contribute my feedback to the cloth diaper community. Prior to becoming pregnant, I read a lot of reviews and spent a lot of time researching cloth diapers. Thirsties cloth diapers always came out on top. They are one of the favorite brands of cloth diapering mamas. Combine the fact that they are made in the US, offer the adorable prints, and last through more than one child makes Thirsties cloth diapers an essential part of anyone's cloth diaper stash.

Thirsties Duo All In One Cloth Diaper        ($16.50)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Closest to disposable diapers (one piece)
Velcro can be hard to peel
Trim fit
Needs doubling for long naps/night time
Tunnel design helps with washing/drying

Gentle elastic for great fit

One of the features that makes Thirsties unique is the availability of two sizes to last a child from birth to potty. Yes, you do invest in one more diaper (as opposed to one size cloth diaper), but you get a much better fit and a fit that will work for most newborn babies. Although there are recommended weight ranges for each size, I have found that Size 1 has lasted well beyond 18 lbs and Size 2 fit my baby before he weighed 18 lbs.


SizeWeight Range
Age Range
one6-18 lbs (3-8 kg)
0-9 months
two18-40 lbs (8-18 kg)
9-36 months

My cloth stash includes almost every type of cloth diaper that can be purchased. From flats with covers to AIO. The more I use cloth diapers, the more I realize that I prefer AIO cloth diapers. There are a few absorbent and trim AIO diapers on the market, including Thirsties. Thirsties DUO All In One cloth diaper features a tunnel design that helps with washing and drying and allows room to boost absorbency with additional inserts. I would not fill my whole stash with AIO diapers, but I could see having about half of the cloth diapers be AIO. They are the closest to disposables and work well for those who are new and reluctant to try cloth diapers. AIOs provide a great one piece diaper that does not require stuffing.

Thirsties Duo All In One cloth diaper fit my skinny and long baby very well. The diaper was so trim underneath clothes that I could hardly believe it was an AIO diaper. Some of my pocket diapers are bulkier than this AIO. Although the diaper is trim, I found that I needed more absorbency when using this diaper for long naps, long trips, or nighttime. The tunnel design allows for stuffing of additional inserts.

After feedback from customers, Thirsties released their new Hook and Loop closure (Aplix velcro) that is stronger and more durable. The new velcro is harder to peel off, which would work well for kids who love to take their Hook and Loop diapers off. However, it was very hard for me to peel the velcro when putting the diaper on or taking the diaper off. After a few diaper changes, I learned to peel the velcro before attempting to put it on the baby. I do appreciate the biggest size of the velcro bullets, which helps me get a good grip to peel it off. The bigger laundry tabs are also a plus.

I washed and dried the Duo All in One cloth diaper once before use. New hemp/cotton products need to be washed at least 3 times separate from other diapering products. Read Thirsties' laundering tips for more information.

Thirsties has become one of my favorite brands of cloth diapers. I love the variety cloth diaper types that will meet anyone's preferences. I would highly recommend that Thirsties cloth diapers and accessories become a part of your cloth diaper stash. The durability and ease of use will keep you reaching for your Thirsties diaper.

Like Thirsties on Facebook to find out about giveaways and learn from other cloth diapering parents.

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

Alexa Studded Calfskin Leather Bag [Giveaway]

One of my guilty non-eco-friendly pleasures is a high quality leather bag. Here is an opportunity to win an Alexa Studded Calfskin Leather Bag, worth $159! This giveaway is hosted by Happy Mothering and sponsored by The Alexa bag is a matte black duffel bag with gorgeous metal studs in rows on the bottom. You can feel confident about placing this bag on the floor without the leather getting scuffed. The Alexa bag is one of the most coveted bags of the year. Business on top and part on the bottom! Perfect for running errands or taking to the office.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amazing Program To Teach Kids To Read [Review]

Our little one is only 8 months old. Nonetheless, I am already thinking of my strategy for teaching him to read. My husband and I read to him every day, even if just a little bit, to ensure that he will have a strong foundation of language. Language and reading are extremely important building blocks for a successful future. Children Learning Reading is a simple and effective step-by-step program to aid parents teaching their children how to read.

Children Learning Reading        ($49.99, Standard Package)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Proven results

Teaches in a short amount of time

This step-by-step program was developed after a family was frustrated with results from other programs promising to teach children to read. Children Learning Reading is a simple and effective program because you teach your child to read by learning phonics and building phonemic awareness skills. Once a child learns phonemes or sounds, he or she can learn to read just about anything. Research has shown a direct correlation between phonemic awareness and a child's ability to read as they get older.

The investment of only 10-15 minutes a day, through short 3-5 minutes lessons, is the basis of this reading program. I love that the investment is only a short period of time each day, or a few days a week if you are a working parent. The lessons are short enough that I can do them throughout the day when I am at home. A few minutes here and a few minutes there to achieve reading success early on.

The Children Learning Reading website lists countless testimonials from parents who have achieved amazing results with teaching their children to read and wish that they would have started sooner. Since I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my son, I will start this program as soon as he is ready. The founding family starting teaching shortly after their children turned 2 years old. I also love that the company offers a 60 days money back guarantee. The founding family is confident that your children will be reading in no time if you take time aside to consistently follow this program.

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, November 20, 2013

Girly Goats Handcrafted Goat's Milk Soap [Review]

After starting down the all natural path, I revamped everything, food, drinks, body products, cleaning products, etc. One of my favorite all natural products to try are soaps. Even though stores like Bath and Body Works sell soaps in a gazillion different scents, I have come to realize that handcrafted, natural soaps offer superior quality and leave your skin feeling clean, soft, and moisturized. I love trying new soaps in unique combinations with ingredients like oatmeal, coffee ground, lavender, or even beer! Girly Goats goat's milk soaps combine house farmed goats milk, honey from the local beekeeper, and the best ingredients available.

Girly Goats Goat's Milk Soap        ($4.50 per bar)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Locally sourced ingredients
Contains synthetic fragrance
Biodegradable/compostable packaging

Hand poured and hand cut

The first thing I noticed about the packaging (a GreenKraft clamshell) is that it is completely compostable, or recyclable if you prefer. This is the most eco-friendly packaging I have seen for soap bars. The packaging had words on it to remind us to reuse and recycle. I am keeping the packaging to use during travel. The second thing I did was smell the soap. Oatmeal Honey! The scent was strong enough that you can smell it while in the shower, but not overpowering that you smell it on yourself all day long. I prefer my soaps to rinse cleanly. Girly Goats soap met the mark. The lather was very rich, the soap was cleansing, and the suds rinsed clean. The soap bar did not feel slimy when wet and dried quickly in the hanging soap dish. My favorite part was the little bits of oatmeal. I felt like they were little scrubbers to take away dirt and dead skin cells. My skin felt clean, soft, and moisturized afterwards.

Girly Goats uses both essential oils and synthetic (manufactured) scents to scent their soaps. The Oatmeal Honey soap bar contains a synthetic fragrance. I try to avoid synthetic fragrances in my body products, so I would like to see Girly Goats move towards all natural scents in their soaps.

I love the variety of unique soaps that Girly Goats sells. These soaps would make great stocking stuffers. Girly Goats also sells other body products that contain milk from their our herd of Nubian Dairy goats. When you combine local goat's milk, local honey, and high quality ingredients, you get a truly natural and sustainable soap made with traditional soap making methods.

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. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Smoothest Coffee from 100% Organic Coffee Co. [Review]

Coffee! How I love thee! Let me count the ways. Oh wait, there are too many to count. Having coffee is one of the highlights of my mornings. My husband and I are addicted to coffee. We roast organic green coffee beans and we grind our own coffee. Although we would love to have all of the time in the world to brew the perfect cup of coffee, life with a baby does not allow that most of the time. The baby needs to be fed and changed, parents come to visit and we do not have roasted/ground coffee, or we need coffee ASAP. This is when we reach for ground coffee ready for brewing. My newest discovery, Organic Coffee Co. offers organic, high quality, flavorful, and smooth coffee to meet all of your coffee needs.

Organic Coffee Co.       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Certified organic

Offered trial sizes, flavored, or one cup single serve

Smooth and flavorful

I hope that the introduction to this post made it evident that my family really enjoys drinking coffee. Honestly, we are coffee snobs. A cup of coffee has to taste delicious, smooth, and flavorful. On the weekend, my husband brews coffee in the auto drip coffee maker. During the week, I brew 1-2 cups in the French press coffee maker.

I received six Organic Coffee Company 100% organic coffees to review:
  1. French Roast
  2. Breakfast Blend
  3. Gorilla Decaf
  4. Hurricane Espresso
  5. Java Love
  6. Zen Blend
The smallest reviewer (the baby) in this house helped me select Java Love as coffee to brew. I put the kettle on the stove, opened the package of 100% organic Java Love, and smelled the wonderful aroma. Java Love is an exotic and syrupy (think thick and yummy) blend of Indonesian and Latin American coffees. After the coffee "brewed" for 10 minutes in the French press, it was time to taste. I took a sip of the black coffee. My immediate reaction was, "Wow! This is really good and smooth coffee!"

I tend to prefer coffee made in the auto drip coffee maker because I feel the French press results in less filtered coffee and thus not as smooth. However, the Organic Coffee Co. Java Blend was surprisingly smooth. I added grass-fed half and half and sat down to enjoy my morning coffee while the baby played next to me.

After trying several of the other blends, I am very impressed with the flavor profile and smoothness of Organic Coffee Co. coffees. I will be purchasing this coffee to add to the pantry and will make it part of our coffee repertoire. If you are searching for 100% organic, flavorful, and smooth coffee, look to Organic Coffee Co. The Organic Coffee Co. is part of the Rogers Family Company, which is one of the nation's few remaining family owned, gourmet coffee roasters.

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. 

Choose Soy Candles for Longer Burn [Review]

My experience with candles has not been the best one. Either they smell too strong (even unlit), or they collapse on one side because of uneven burn, or they produce soot that ends up on something else. I resorted to using candles for decoration only. The big burgundy candle that used to decorate the middle of the dining room table quickly got moved to the butler's pantry because I could not stand the strong smell. The candle is gorgeous, but the scent is overpowering. When I needed candles for the master bathroom, I bought unscented candles. Needless to say, what I really needed was naturally scented candles. Mountain Laurel Naturals makes candles from high quality soy and essential oils to provide clean and even burn, longer burn rate, and pleasing scent.

Mountain Laurel Naturals Soy Candle        ($15.00)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
No dyes or artificial ingredients

Long lasting burn

Clean and even burn

Soy candles have a longer burn rate than candles made from wax/parafin. Although soy candles will cost a little bit more, you can be confident that they will last longer than traditional candles. Soy candles also burn cleaner, so you do not have to worry about getting soot on anything around the candle. I mainly use candles when I am cooking something that will be smelly/stinky or frying something. The candle usually sits on the kitchen counter after I am done cooking. Inevitably, the bottom of the nearest cabinet gets soot on it. No one likes the black smoke coming off candles! I really like that Mountain Laurel Naturals soy candle can be placed anywhere without worrying that something will get soot on it.

I received the soy candle in the Spiced Eggnog scent. My husband and I both agreed that it smelled more like sugar cookies. Nothing better than the scent of the holidays! The smell of unburned candle was pretty strong, but when I lit the candle and let it burn for a few minutes, the smell was not overpowering. I prefer candles with milder scents that slowly fill the house. Mountain Laurel Naturals uses essential oils to scent the candles, which are healthier for your and your family. Perfumes and synthetic fragrances are potentially carcinogenic. Therefore, burning candles scented with essential oils results in cleaner indoor air.

I love the compact size of the candle. I will be keeping this candle on the kitchen cabinet to combat any cooking smells for the upcoming holiday season. I might even light it to get into the holiday mood as I am cooking or baking up goodies. I would recommend Mountain Laurel Naturals soy candles as a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for any family member or friend. The soy candles are also available in the following scents: Bayberry & Peppermint and Lavender & Vanilla. I hope Mountain Laurel Naturals offers these candles in bigger sizes in the future!

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. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Heart Keenwah Superfood Snacks [Review]

I am sure that most people have heard of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). This superfood goes back to ancient times where it was prized for being the mother of all grains. Quinoa is important for vegetarians and vegan because it is the only grain that is a complete source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. If you do not eat meat or fish, quinoa should be an important staple in your diet. Quinoa provides a source of nutrition that is gluten-free, high in fiber, and has a high protein content. Knowing all of these great benefits, I Heart Keenwah created a perfect snack containing quinoa and a variety of other superfoods like nuts and dried fruits.

I Heart Keenwah Quinoa Clusters        ($4.99 per bag)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
All natural ingredients
Not certified organic
Filling and satisfying

I received two flavors of I Heart Keenwah snacks: Almond and Chocolate Sea Salt. The Almond package contained quinoa clusters with big chunks of almonds. I like being able to identify the ingredients in my snacks, so I appreciated that the almonds were in big chunks. The Chocolate Sea Salt quinoa clusters also had big chucks of almonds and the tops were covered with a few drizzles of chocolate. Between the two flavors, I liked Almond better. This flavor had the perfect amount of sweetness and saltiness. I was a bit disappointed in the Chocolate Sea Salt clusters because the chocolate flavor did not come through very well. The quinoa clusters are 1 inch squares. Perfect for a snack that you can pop in your mouth.

My husband and I both enjoyed I Heart Keenwah all natural quinoa clusters. I am not big on packaged snack foods, but I can see myself buying these at my local Whole Foods. I Heart Keenwah snacks are sold in retail stores and online at Abe's Market. For your nearest retailer, search here. If you are looking for a new snack unlike anything you have ever tasted, but tasting even better, pick up a package of I Heart Keenwah quinoa clusters at your local retailer.

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. 

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