Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fennel Essential Oil for Asthma [review]

Essential oils are a big part of my life, especially during the flu season. I mainly use essential oils for healing and boosting immunity. I also use essential oil to deodorize my home and for use in homemade cleaning products. When our Pediatrician told us that our has Respiratory Affective Disorder ("pre-asthma"), I started researching how I could use essential oils. We were already eating clean and organic, using homemade and natural cleaning products and body products. There was really nothing but whatever allergens were outside that were causing his respiratory issues. After a lot of research, I found out that there were many essential oils that were targeted at respiratory issues and asthma. Simply Earth Fennel Essential Oil is a high quality, unfiltered, undiluted essential oil with many beneficial uses.

Simply Earth Fennel Essential Oil            
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Pure and undiluted
Not certified organic
Comes in dark amber glass bottle

Euro dropper cap

Bottled in the US

Simply Earth is a small  family company that strives to provide eco-friendly products. They offer a number of natural products for the home, including a line of unfiltered and undiluted essential oils.

Fennel Essential Oil (foeniculum vulgare var. dulce) has an anise-like, peppery aroma. It is pressed from seeds and has a medium strength odor. The country of origin is Spain. The oil is bottled in the US. The bottle is 15ml and is made from dark amber glass. Storing essential oils in dark glass bottles is the best way to keep the high quality and protect them from going rancid.

The benefits of fennel essential oil include being supportive and restorative. Fennel essential oil has expectorant properties, which helps with respiratory disorders. Fennel essential oil helps with excessive mucus in the lungs, chronic coughs and cold, and asthma.
Usage: The main ways I have been using fennel essential oil is diffusing it on the first floor open living space. I add about 5 drops in water to the essential oil diffuser. I also plan on using fennel essential oil (diluted) as a chest rub.

Essential oils are very concentrated and it is recommended that it be diluted for any topical uses. If applied directly to the skin, essential oils must be diluted in an appropriate oil (Jojoba Oil and Grapeseed Oil make the best carrier oils, but can also use Sweet Almond Oil or Olive Oil).

Results: I have really enjoyed diffusing fennel essential oil. I was a bit skeptical at first because I"m used to fennel as a culinary spice and did not quite know what I would think about my house smelling like fennel, but I have liked it! The odor is medium strength and it lasts for a very long time. With some essential oils, the scent tapers off after a while, but the fennel scent is present until the diffuse uses all the water up. I really like that the scent is long lasting!

I love the generous 15 oz bottle and the long lasting scent of the Fennel Essential Oil. Everyone in our family has had a cold or outdoor related allergy coughing over the past 2 weeks. I have been diffusing this oil every day and feel like it has helped us to heal quicker. With the high quality and affordable prices from Simply Earth, I would recommend this company!

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and are honest. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and I am not a medical professional. Please consult your physician regarding using essential oils for any medical condition.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Speekee - Spanish For Kids [Giveaway]

I believe that learning a second language is an important part of education for kids. Learning a language from a very young age gives the opportunity to retain the language for life. Speeke is an online Spanish program for kids aged 2+. That means a child can start learning Spanish even before they enter formal school. Enter below for a chance to win!

speekee giveaway


Video based Spanish for Kids

Serving parents, teachers and their children since 2006

Give your child the language advantage today!

1 Winner will receive a full year subscription

100 Winners will receive a 1 month subscription.

BONUS: On the entry form you have a second chance to win!

Sponsor: Speekee
Giveaway is 10/30 – 11/13
Open Worldwide
Co-hosted by:


Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Disclosure: This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from any of the sponsors in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid Worldwide must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 11/13/15. The winners email address will be turned into sponsor for code to be emailed. The sponsor is responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Welcome Fall with See Kai Run Boots [review]

In my mind, one of the most essential things for babies and toddlers are high quality shoes that provide structure, support and flexibility for developing feet. Babies feet grow very fast in the first 2 years and then slow down to about 1/2 size increase every 6 months. While you feel like you might be purchasing so many shoes in the first few years of your child's life, the investment is well worth it. See Kai Run recently released a new line of Fall and Winter boots to keep your child's feet warm and comfortable.

See Kai Run Ian       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
High quality materials
Some styles run a little large/loose
Adorable style

All weather traction outsole

See Kai Run Ian boots are your classic high top boot. The brown leather boots feature rubberized toe and heel protection, elastic gores on the side, and an adjustable strap at the top. The outsole is made with all-weather traction, which is perfect for rainy weather or for walking on snow. The boots are lined with suede. The collar and the tongue are slightly padded. I really like that the shoe are made with leather on the outside and on the inside. This is important for breathability of the foot.

I have ordered shoes online for my toddler a few times now. Though I feel more confident than I did the first time, it still seems to be a bit of a guessing game. The best strategy is to use the sizing guide and/or to talk to customer service about their recommendation based on the shoe style. Since my son has been wearing See Kai Run sandals and closed toed shoes, I knew what size he was in now and could account for 1/2-1 size growth.

How do See Kai run shoes fit?
  • Leather closed toed shoes fit relatively true to size
  • Sneakers fit relatively true to size
  • Sandals tend to run large, order 1/2 size down
  • Skimmers run small, order 1/2 size up

: The length of size 8 fits pretty true to size. I would even say the length is a little longer, but my son is not tripping on his shoes, so I assume they fit well. Both straps cinch down very well, so I can get a good fit of the sandals around his skinny foot. The top strap is almost to the end. I love the large opening to easily put the shoes on and remove them.

Results: My son will be wearing the Ian boots in the coming months as the weather gets colder and winter arrives. I like that the shoes have high tops to keep his feet warm and dry. The rubber sole is more grippy than the standard See Kai Run sole. Since the exterior of the boot is made from leather, See Kai Run recommends spraying with a non-toxic water repellent for extra protection against rain ad snow. I usually do this with leather winter shoes.

UPDATE: My son has been wearing these boots since the Fall. I have loved how adorable and stylish these shoes look on his feet. The high top covers the ankles and that was important during the really cold days. The shoes have held up very well and look almost brand new. I did notice that when wearing pants/jeans that were slimmer on the bottom (tapered or slim fit), they wouldn't go over the high top of the boots and would bunch up. Just something to consider! Though, skinny jeans can always be tucked inside!

To clean the shoes, use a little mild detergent on a damp rag. Allow to air dry. I have also found that just using a damp rag to wipe dirt off has worked well.

I would highly recommend See Kai Run shoes for 3 reasons:
  1. High quality materials (leather top/insoles and rubber outsoles)
  2. Designs are made for growing feet
  3. Comfortable
I would purchase See Kai Run shoes in the future and have been recommending them to my mom friends. I really like the selection of shoes for every season, the high quality leather materials, and the comfortable, ergonomic design that is perfect for growing feet.

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Harry Connick Jr That Would Be Me Album [review]

I usually listen to music every day. I love listening to upbeat songs when I am running. I love listening to mellow, easy listening songs while cooking dinner or cleaning. One of the things that music does for me is put me in a specific mood. Harry Connick Jr. has always been one of my favorite singers for his easy listening style. Harry's new That Would Be Me album is a collection of a variety of songs for all moods.

Harry Connick Jr. That Would Be Me Tracklist:
1. Smile
2. Like We Do
3. Trying to Matter
4. Songwriter
5. Do You Really Need Her
6. You Don't Need a Man
7. You Have No Idea
8. Prisoners
9. Love U A Little Bit
10. Every Time I Fall In Love
11. Hurts

The album starts off on a positive note with Smile. I really like the faster beat of this song. I will be adding it to my running playlist. Trying to Matter and Songwriter are some other upbeat songs for easy listening. A few songs in, the album started to remind me of someone whose heart has been broken with the Do You Really Need Her song and You Don't Need a Man song.

I really like that this new album from Harry Connick Jr. has songs for just about every mood, from happy to sad. Harry has a soothing, raspy voice and this album would be great for any person.

That Would Be Me album can be purchased on iTunes and on Amazon.

Disclosure: I participated in the That Would Be Me album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Organic Coconut Oil Softgels [review]

Coconut oil is one of my favorite all purpose oils. I use coconut oil for cooking, moisturizing, healing red and irritated skin, and as a supplement. When I purchase coconut oil, I look for organic, extra virgin coconut oil to ensure that I am getting the highest quality with the highest amount of vitamins and nutrients. Eukonic Organic Coconut Oil supplement, in fast dissolving softgel pills, support a healthy heart and provide extra energy.

Eukonic Organic Coconut Oil Supplement       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Organic Coconut Oil
Not USDA Organic Certified
Cold-pressed and unrefined
Did not experience significant changes
GMO free

Eukonic Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil softgels are created from unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil. Each bottle contains 120 fast dissolving softgels, which last 1-2 months depending on how many times they are taken per day. Recommended dosage is 1 softgel taken 1 to 2 times per day, preferably with a meal.

Eukonic Organic Coconut Oil Softgel Ingredients:
Coconut Oil (1000mg), Gelatin, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Vegetable Glycerin, Titanium Dioxide, Purified Water.

Eukonic proposes that the coconut oil supplements support a health heart, weight loss, and provide more energy. I feel like the coconut oil supplement is great for prevention. Although I have not noticed any weight loss (not currently trying to lose weight), I noticed a bit more energy during my recent race training. I felt like my body could push a little more during my runs. This only occurred when I was taking the softgels twice a day. Although I did not experience significant changes, I feel like taking an organic coconut oil supplement is a great approach to staying healthy.

The size of the softgels is a bit on the bigger size. My husband has difficulty taking "horse pills," so he turned his nose up at the size of these. However, I found that they are easy to swallow with a swig of water. Based on the size of the softgells and the additional ingredients, I would assume that 2 softgels provide about 1/2-3/4 of a teaspoon of coconut oil. I know this is quite under the recommended daily intake of coconut oil. However, if you are incorporating coconut oil in your diet in other ways, you would be ingesting much more.

If you are looking for an easy way to take coconut oil on a daily basis, try the fast dissolving coconut oil soft gels from Eukonic.

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and are honest. I am not a medical professional. Please consult a physician before beginning any exercise program or taking a supplement. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

100% Natural Toothpaste [review]

Oral health is very important to me. Taking care of my teeth prevents serious health problems and reduces expensive dental care spending. Over the past several years, I have tried many different brands of natural toothpaste. I have even made my own toothpaste with clay, baking soda, and essential oils. When a bottle of OraMD fluoride-free toothpaste arrived in my mailbox, I was in for a surprise. OraMD is 100% nature liquid toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath freshener all in one!

OraMD Toothpaste        
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
100% natural ingredients
Mint taste can be a bit overpowering
Long lasting minty taste

Dark amber glass bottle


OraMD Liquid Toothpaste is a revolutionary take on 100% natural, flu. The bottle is made from dark amber color, which protects the botanical oils. The top is a plastic and the bottle has a plastic dropper inside. The size of the bottle is compact enough to keep in a cosmetics bag or in my purse. The dropper has about a medium flow to it, but you do have to watch how many drops come out. The bottle contains 0.5 oz of liquid and lasts about 4 weeks (2 drops per use).

Let's talk about the ingredients. It is very important to me to have 100% natural ingredients. Ingredients that I can pronounce and I know what they are.

OraMD Toothpaste Ingredients:
100% pure botanical oils of Almond, Spearmint and Peppermint.

The almond oil is a carrier oil for the spearmint and peppermint oils. Essential oils should always be diluted, especially for topical application. Using undiluted spearmint and peppermint oils in your mouth can cause burns and sensitization.

Spearmint and Peppermint oils are intended to kill the 22 harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease and other health problems. Plus, they leave your mouth tasting fresh.

Usage: Shake the bottle and apply 2-5 drops on a wet toothbrush. Brush as usual. May also be used as a mouth rinse and breath freshener. Swish with water and spit out.

Safe and effective for ages 3 and up (peppermint oils are not recommended for small children). Safe for any type of dental work including braces, veneers, bonds, crowns, fillings, and dentures. OraMD Breath is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding because mint is contraindicated.

Results: I started off with 5 drops of the liquid toothpaste and quickly realized that it was too strong for me. My mouth was feeling very minty and fresh, but the mint was almost burning. I decreased to 2-3 drops going forward and liked that much better. Every person is going to have a different threshold, so I recommend starting off with 2 drops and increasing if you feel you need more. I love spearmint and peppermint flavors, so I have really enjoyed the fresh feeling and the taste after using this toothpaste.

OraMD recommends brushing with baking soda or similar natural tooth polish every so often if you feel you need a stain fighter. I have been using OraMD for 3 days, then my homemade clay/baking soda/essential oil toothpaste for 2 days, and then back to OraMD. I feel like OraMD liquid toothpaste has been working well. I drink dark coffee and red wine on a daily basis, so I have been supplementing with my homemade toothpaste.

OraMD Liquid Toothpaste is an easy and effective way to keep your mouth healthy and clean!

Disclosure: I received a sample of the product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Tea Tree & Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner [Review]

I am always on the hunt for all natural and organic skin care products. I love finding companies that focus on natural ingredients, infused with natural oils and essential oils. Luseta Tea Tree and Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner is a sulfate-free combination of natural ingredients to clean your hair and keep it healthy.
Luseta Tea Tree and Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner     
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Contains mostly ingredients
Contains some toxic ingredients
Pleasant smell
Conditioner weighs down fine hair
Effective for slightly oily hair

Several years ago, I stopped using conventional shampoos and conditioners. First, I used the no-poo method of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Initially, my hair looked great, but after a while, I felt like my hair was getting a bit damaged and not really getting cleaned. I switched to natural shampoo soap and my hair improved. Once in a while, I like to use natural shampoos to give my hair a thorough clean. I have oily hair and run on a regular basis, so dirt and sebum deposit on my hair and after a while, I have to use shampoo to help give rid of the buildup.

Luseta's natural shampoo and conditioner offer natural ingredients, including Tea Tree and Argan Oil. Tea Tree oil contains anti-bacterial properties and is great for dandruff and other hair conditions. Argan Oil is a great natural oil to moisture the scalp and the hair. The essential oils used have a great smell, but are not overpowering. I do wish that Parfum was not used as an ingredient and it was only natural essential oils.

Luseta Shampoo Ingredients:
Water, Sodium Cocoylisethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA, Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Parfum, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Carbomer, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, CI 19140, CI 42090

Luseta Conditioner Ingredients:
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Steartrimonium Chloride, Paraffinum Liquidum, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Parfum, Amodimethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Citric Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, CI 19140, CI 42090

The ingredients list is not my favorite, though I do appreciate some natural ingredients. There are a number of ingredients that could be toxic to my body, including Parfum as one of the highest toxicities (as rated by EWG Skin Deep Database). I like that there are essential and natural oils in the list. I hope the company moves to reducing synthetic and toxic ingredients to create a more natural ingredient list. I know this is a challenge to do with shampoos and conditioners though.

Results: I was a little hesitant of trying a shampoo and conditioner with Argan Oil because I cannot use oils directly on my hair. My scalp is on the oily side and any other oils placed on it or my hair make my hair look really greasy. I was pleasantly surprised that the Luseta shampoo by itself did not make my hair look greasy. I felt like the shampoo gave my hair a good cleaning without completely stripping all the oils off. My hair felt very soft. I tried the conditioner one time (I don't usually use conditioner) and I felt like it weighed down my fine hair and make it look greasy. A closer look at the ingredients list revealed why my hair looked greasy and flat - paraffin is an ingredient. It coated my hair and left it looked lifeless. I will not be using the conditioner again.

If you are looking for a more natural shampoo that is also effective, Luseta could be a good combination. The combination of Tea Tree Oil and Argan Oil is great for keeping hair healthy and clean. For my personal preferences, I will pass on this shampoo and conditioner to my mom because there is a number of synthetic ingredients that I want to avoid putting on my body and my hair.

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall in Love with Giveaways: Pamper and Relax [Giveaway]

Welcome to the Fall in Love with Giveaways Hop. Enter below for a chance to win a Pamper and Relax prize package and then hop around to the other blogs to enter more giveaways.


Welcome to the "Fall In Love with Giveaways" Giveaway Hop hosted by Heather from Mommy's Favorite Things and Michelle from Mama's Baby Cupcakes. This hop has an open theme, which means anything family friendly is up for grabs! Each blog has a minimum prize package of $25 per winner and after visiting my giveaway, make sure you use the linky below to take a look at the other blogs to see what they have to offer for you!

All Natural Katie is offering the Pamper and Relax Giveaway that includes three prizes valued at $50. 
  1. Two cosmetic bags
  2. Jeff Gold Music Escapes CD
  3. Friendship charm bracelet

Please use the Giveaway Tools entry form. Open to US only. All entries will be verified. Duplicate, incomplete and invalid entries will be deleted. 

Pamper and Relax Package ($50 value)

Disclosure: Mama's Baby Cupcakes, Mommy's Favorite Things and the "Fall In Love with Giveaways" participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Healthy Nut-Free Snack [Review]

Healthy and filling snack foods always catch my eye. When I came across Tiger Nuts, I was curious what these "nuts" were all about. Nuts are a big part of my family's snacks because they are nutritious, healthy, and delicious! Tiger Nuts are actually tubers (a root or something that grounds underground). When they dry, they resemble chickpeas in size and look. Tiger Nuts are a low-calorie, healthy, nut-free snack food that can help with weight loss.

Tiger Nuts                  
Tiger Nuts Flour       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Healthy snack food


High in fiber, keeps you full

Let's talk about what Tiger Nuts actually are. They are tubers, not nuts. If you are looking for a nut-free snack or a nut-free gluten-free flour, then this is the perfect product for you. Tiger Nuts are raw and dried. They are high in fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer and helps aid in moving food through the digestive tract. Tiger Nuts also act a prebiotic to stimulate the growth of good bacteria.

One ounce of tiger nuts (~50 pieces) contain 120 calories, 10g of fiber, and 7g of fat. Compared to other nuts, Tiger Nuts are a great low calorie, low fat, and high fiber snack.

I received a package of peeled Tiger Nuts and a package of Tiger Nuts gluten-free flour. Tiger Nuts are a great on-the-go snack and the package is portable. They are raw nuts (tubers) that have been dried and look like chickpeas. They are slightly chewy, in a satisfying kind of way. Tiger Nuts have a sweet and nutty flavor. My toddler and I have enjoyed snacking on these. The size is just right for him to be able to grab and chew on, though the package does caution not to give to young children. We eat a lot of nuts and I have really liked the change up.

Tiger Nuts Organic Gluten-Free flour was intriguing. We have done some gluten elimination diets and I have some gluten-sensitive friends, so I like to keep a variety of gluten-free flours on hand. Additionally, I like to cook and bake with gluten-free flours to change things up a bit.

Tiger Nuts flour was a new flour for me. The flour is made from ground up tiger nuts, so it has the same great nutritional benefits. The flour is milled finely. I read some reviews that mentioned the flour being gritty. I did not find this to be case when I baked Buckwheat Bites (recipe coming soon!) with tiger nut flour. I would not equate the tiger nut flour to a powdery flour like coconut flour or millet flour, but it is more fine that stone ground whole wheat flour. I really like the sweetness and heartiness that it added to my Buckwheat Bites.

If you are looking for a new nut-free snack or are diving into the gluten-free world, give Tiger Nuts a try. They are delicious and can be used in a variety of ways.

Disclosure: I received a sample of the product to facilitate this review. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.

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