Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hyland's Giveaway Twitter Follows

Thanks for following our host pages' twitter pages! Please be sure to follow all before accepting the 10 point bonus on the main rafflecopter form!

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Hyland's Starter Kit Giveaway

Mama Making Changes is pleased to bring you another giveaway:

Welcome Mamas and Mamas-to-be to the  
Hyland's "Mommy Medicine Starter Kit" Giveaway!
Hosted by: The Nurse Mommy
Co-Hosted by: Brittleby's Corner

When I had my daughter, I wanted to stay as naturally based as I could in regards to medicine. We use mainstream medications when it's warranted, but I usually go for something natural and homeopathic first. Babies get sick. It is going to happen. The question is, are we prepared when it happens, or are we rushing out to the drugstore at 3am trying to find something that's safe to give our babies? I know I'm one mama that needs to be prepared in the event of an emergency. It just gives me peace of mind to know things are in place and in the event I need something, I have it on hand. Are you prepared? If not, Hyland's is here to help.

About Hyland's:
Hyland's develops homeopathic formulas with the highest quality natural ingredients following the strictest standards for preparation. With a century of commitment to homeopathy, Hyland's tradition of excellence consistently provides quality and integrity in every homeopathic product. The active ingredients in Hyland’s homeopathic medicines work by stimulating the most effective healing force known - the body's own natural defenses.

We're so excited to be sharing this giveaway with you! Hyland's is going to be giving one reader a "Mommy Medicine Starter Kit" with everything you'll need, from teething, to cough/colds, to diaper rash, they've got your babies covered! They're even throwing in their 4Kids line of products for the kiddos over two!

One lucky winner will receive a gift basket chock full of Hyland's All-Natural Homeopathic Remedies, perfect for stocking the medicine cabinet for your precious little one. The Hyland's Homeopathic "Mommy Medicine Starter Kit" includes the following items:
  • Infant Earache Drops
  • Infant Teething Gel
  • Infant Teething Tablets
  • Infant Cough Syrup
  • Infant Tiny Cold Tablets
  • Infant Vitamin C Tablets
  • Infant Diaper Rash Ointment
  • Complete Flu Care 4Kids
  • Sniffles 'n Sneezes 4Kids
  • Cold 'n Cough (Daytime) 4Kids
  • Cold 'n Cough Nighttime 4Kids
  • Calms Forte' 4Kids
  • Allergy Relief 4Kids

Check out Michelle's Hyland's Baby and 4Kids Review line of products over at The Nurse Mommy

About the Giveaway: One winner will receive a Mommy Medicine Starter Kit with an ARV $115. The giveaway runs from 5/1-5/21 at midnight and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner will have 48 hours to reply to email or another winner will be selected. ALL ENTRIES ARE VERIFIED.

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Disclosure: No compensation was received for this posting. The Nurse Mommy blog will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend products or services that we feel are of benefit to our readers.The Nurse Mommy, Mama Making Changes, and other participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media outlets. Links enclosed may contain affiliate links. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle from The Nurse Mommy at babagrlshell {at} gmail {dot} com

Times Change

Times change...

That's the message from Seventh Generation in this video clip...

How about that for a flashback? Car seats were not even required when I was little. And I seriously doubt my parents were thinking about what's in the laundry detergent!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tiffany Art DVD Giveaway

Mama Making Changes is pleased to bring you another giveaway opportunity:

                                                  Welcome to the Tiffany Art DVD Giveaway. 
                                                            Hosted by Southern Belle
                                                           Sponsored by See The Light
About the DVD :

Step by Step Lessons "Tiffany Window"

Step One: Planning Your Composition  
21 minutes long
Sketch flower, leaves and stems

Step Two: Rule of Thirds
24 minutes long
Complete Sketch

Step Three: Color Theory
29 minutes long
Marker techniques on flower, stem and background shapes

Step Four: Completed Masterpiece
28 minutes long
The Stained Glass Window Effect

Great learning experience
Fun and enjoyable
Teaches Art History - Louis Comfort Tiffany
Art Elements - Shape, line and color
Art Principles - Balance, composition and contrast
Bible lessons
Read full review HERE
Giveaway will run April 25th - May 5th

Giveaway is Open To U.S. Only. Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. No exceptions. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

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Disclaimer: This blog was not compensated for this post and is not responsible for prize.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for Xylitol

Xylitol was discovered in the late 19th century, but lately the sweetener been touted loudly and often as a healthier alternative to sugar. Because it doesn't effect insulin levels the way sugar does, xylitol is considered safe for diabetics. In the 1970s, scientists discovered it also causes remineralization of tooth enamel before cavities can form. The natural sweetener also inhibits the bacteria that cause cavities because it cannot be used for energy, causing the bacteria to starve while the xylitol remineralizes the teeth. The bacteria in our mouths aren't the only ones inhibited by this substance. Xylitol inhibits pneumococcus, which is a leading cause of pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infections, meningitis, sepsis, cellulitis, brain abscess, and other infections. 
Be careful, however, not to overindulge. While it is considered safe by the FDA (that we all love and trust, right?), xylitol is not easily digestible and causes upset stomach if over-used. Symptoms can include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Our bodies can handle much less xylitol than sugar. 
Of concern are the studies that show animals as small as rats and as large as dogs have experienced life-threatening symptomes when consuming xylitol. In fact, large doses resulted in liver failure. 
It is also important to note that much of the xylitol manufactured today is produced from corn, which presents all of the same problems as high fructose corn syrup. Is the corn organic? Is it GMO? How much of our farmland is being destroyed by overgrowing of corn? How much farmland could have been used to grow real food for hungry people all over the world? 
What do you think? Would you eat xylitol mints or use xylitol as a sweetener in your food? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

W is for What I Wish I Knew Then

What I wish I knew then...

Like most people, I knew everything when I was 18. So I'm not sure I can explain how I've learned so many things since then. There is a long list of lessons learned that I wish I could go back and pound into that 18 year old brain of mine...

Like... life doesn't have to be a rat race. Slow down. Because before you know it you'll be old and looking back wondering where the time went.

Like... losing your temper doesn't make anything better and often makes things worse.

Like... even though your parents were sometimes wrong, they were usually right, and they always had the best intentions. Parenting is hard!

Like... keeping up with the Jones' ain't all it's cracked up to be. There will always be somebody who has more and you will just keep wanting more and more of the things in life that don't really matter. Better to focus on what is important to YOU.

Like... if you're gonna go to college, get a degree that will actually help you get a better job than you can get with only a high school diploma.

Like...going to church isn't just for old people; it's being in church twice a week that keeps my head on straight the rest of the week, and to heck with people who think you can't be a Christian and still be cool 'cause they don't know you!

Like... when people scoff at something in which you truly believe, it's okay to stand up for it anyway. In fact, you should stand up for it anyway.

And so on and so forth.

I polled some friends on Facebook about what they wish they had known at 18 and I got some great answers:

  • Credit cards are a bad idea.
  • Jealousy is not love. (My own comment on this: neither is lust.)
  • Start investing now for your retirement, and don't dip into it for anything.  
  • It's okay to learn from your parents' mistakes; you don't have to make them yourself to learn the lesson.
  • Serious relationships need not be a priority until you have time to figure out who you really are.
  • The directions on your birth control are there for a reason. 
  • Your parents were teaching, not preaching.
  • Student loans may not be as good as they seem. Proceed carefully or you may regret it later.
  • Marrying someone who wants to be a rockstar, doesn't mean you will ever be a rockstar's wife.
  • Smoking isn't as cool as you think it is. You stink. And you'll regret by the time you're old enough to drink legally.
  • 18 is really NOT that old.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 18? Leave a comment with your words of wisdom to your 18 year old self! Or tweet your advice with hashtag #knowitall. Looking forward to what you have to say!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Circle of Moms Top 25

Last year, thanks to your votes, I was honored to be voted one of the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs of 2012 at Circle of Moms.

I've been nominated for the same Top 25 this year!

Please take just a second to click the picture above or the one in the right sidebar. You will be redirected to the list of nominated blogs. Just scroll down till you see Mama Making Changes and click the heart to vote. 

Or go directly to my profile where you can just click the heart to vote.

It's that easy! And you can vote once every 24 hours.

Feel free to share this post on Facebook or Twitter to ask your friends to vote too.

Thanks so much for loving MMC and for your votes!

V is for Vegetables

I am a big fan of buying local whenever possible for so many reasons, not the least of which is supporting your local economy. There is also that you actually know where you food or product is coming from, no jet fuel or Mack trucks had to be used to get it to you,  and you put money in the pocket of your neighbor instead of a big corporation.  

Farmer's markets are a great way to buy vegetables from local farmers and I highly recommend them over supermarkets. However, be aware of what is seasonal and regional for your area. If you live in Maine and you find a local farmer has oranges in his booth at the farmer's market, they aren't likely to be locally grown. Likewise, if you find tomatoes on any table at any farmer's market in the dead of winter, they were most likely grown indoors or in another country so question the farmer about who grew them and where. 

In South Carolina, there are quite a few veggies in season at the moment...

  • asparagus
  • onions
  • cabbage
  • garlic
  • kale
  • spinach
  • collard, mustard, turnip greens
  • leeks
  • radishes
And it's not a vegetable, but...It's Strawberry Pickin' Time!!!!

Click here to find out where to buy local produce in your area. If you aren't sure what's in season in your area, try one of the links below to find out. And then head out to the farmer's market equipped with all you need to get fresh local produce this weekend!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for TheUselessWeb.com

As I was reading some of the A to Z Challenge Posts on other blogs, I came across a humorous post on The Odd Particle [Re]View. If you haven't seen her blog, you should. Her post on Twitter and other social networking sites had me laughing at myself! She mentioned a website in her post that I had never seen nor even heard of: 

Now if you are the type that will stare at a computer screen for hours, mindlessly clicking around, even if you have no real purpose other than killing time...this site may be for you! Of course, on the other hand, it may suck you in and never let you go... 

When you go to TheUselessWeb, you just click the "PLEASE" button and... voila!...you are redirected to a totally useless website! Bored with that website? Exit out of it and click the "PLEASE" button again. You guessed it! Another useless website! 

The first website to which I was directed by the lovely pink "PLEASE" button was eelslap.com. It truly is useless and left me shaking my head in wonder that an entire website was devoted to this lovely slow-mo video. 

Now, my dear readers, go forth into TheUselessWeb by clicking here. You have been equipped with all of the tools you will need to waste hours and hours of your valuable (or not so valuable) time. Enjoy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Easy Frittata Recipe

For the second evening of the 7 Day Real Food Challenge, my sister and I got into the kitchen together and we were having so much fun that we cooked way more than just dinner! 

Since I got home first, I washed the free range chicken that I got from a local farm and started chopping vegetables. When she got here, she seasoned and dressed the chicken while I worked on the sides. We had some broccoli and some tomatoes and okra in the freezer still from last summer, so we had those with quinoa. The roasted chicken came out beautifully and it was so tasty!  All of it was tasty!  

While I was chopping the onions, garlic, and celery for the chicken, I chopped some extra onions and garlic for a frittata. After skipping breakfast yesterday and eating only fruit today, I am ready for a hot breakfast tomorrow. I am not, however, a morning person. Making breakfast ahead of time is the best way to ensure we get breakfast! I baked the frittata in the oven with the chicken and now we can just reheat by the slice in the morning (we all four leave at different times). I proudly posted a photo of the finished product on Facebook and got several requests for the recipe, so here it is. This recipe is not an exact science and we make it differently each time depending on what we have in the kitchen, but this is what I made tonight:

  • Chop two small onions very thin, including the green tops. 
  • If using fresh garlic, slice the green tops of the garlic also. Seperate the cloves from a small bulb of garlic and set aside. 
  • Heat about 2 tbsp salted butter in a skillet and add the onions and the garlic greens. Using a garlic press, add several cloves of garlic quickly (I used four). 
  • As soon as the onions are done and the greens are wilted, add about 10 oz of fresh spinach and cover, turning heat to the lowest possible setting. Uncover occassionally to toss. Cook just until spinach wilts. 
  • While spinach cooks, beat a dozen eggs and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Rub butter onto a 13x9 pan and spread spinach mixture across the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour eggs over the top and bake in a 350 degree oven, approximately 30 minutes. 
Possibilities for this recipe are endless! Use whatever veggies you have and adjust the amount of veggies and eggs according to how many people are eating. This doesn't have to be a certain thickness, either. If you make less, it will not be very deep in the pan so you will not cook as long. 

If you make this recipe slightly smaller, with 6 or 8 eggs, you can  cook the veggies till tender in a cast iron skillet, pour the eggs in, and put the skillet straight into the oven! Less mess! 

Things I have put into a frittata: 
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • bacon
  • sausage
  • kale
  • collards
  • chives
  • bell pepper
You see?!

Let me just add...we didn't stop after making dinner and breakfast...

We made a pan of these amazing flax and nut bars topped with dark chocolate! These should take care of our sweet tooth for a few days and they will be a filling, healthy snack!

Clean up time included the kids. We had some chicken left over and my daughter picked all of it from the bones. We'll make something with it tomorrow night. Maybe the Easy Chicken Curry in the challenge guide? The chicken carcass and the veggies we used to season it are in the crock pot overnight to make chicken stock for another day. 

Have you joined the 7 Day Real Food Challenge? What real foods did you prepare today?

Blogger Opp: Sony Cybershot Giveaway

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V 18.2 MP 30 x High Zoom GPS Digital Camera - BLACK

Blogger Opportunity

Giveaway from June 17 to  July 12

Come and be part of this awesome giveaway

We are giving away:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V 18.2 MP 30 x High Zoom GPS Digital Camera - BLACK. Value $479

  • 18.2 megapixel resolution
    Sony DSC-HX200V Cyber-Shot black digital camera delivers excellent picture quality
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 29-870mm zoom lens
    Offers f/2.8 to f/5.6 aperture and features a 30x optical zoom
  • 3.0" TFT LCD display
    Enjoy easy focus selection and photo viewing
  • AVC-HD movie file format
    Record movies in 1080p Full HD format on this compact camera
  • 33 scene modes
    Provide creative options for taking eye-catching photos with accurate color
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
    Reduce image blur
  • GPS and compass
    Record shot location and direction

We will have a max. of 200 bloggers for sign up, it will be a big giveaway.

The RC is not long because each co-host has there own RC with their links.

Here are the details to sign up:

-Free Link (Twitter or Pinterest)  
The first 50 bloggers to sign up will get a link free with announcement. 
Announcement is required or you have to pay a waiver fee of $5.00
(Please read the sign up form on the top to know if we still have free space available)

-Link/ or extra links $3.00 each (if the free spots are gone, to be part of this giveaway you will need to pay $3.00 for each link you want on the giveaway)
Announcement is required or you have to pay a waiver fee of $5.00.

-Co-Host $15.00
The co-host get 2 host page.  
10 links on the RC.
No announcement required.

Please send payment to melisurveys1978@gmail.com as a gift.

Any question please email me at nysavingspecials@gmail.com

S is for Sugar

Recently, I was buying ingredients to make a batch of sugar scrub when I wondered...is brown sugar better than white sugar? Is the processing more eco-friendly? When eating sugar, is the brown healthier? These questions stayed on my mind for days until I finally sat at the computer and asked Google. I scrolled through a list of links and finally settled on one that took me to a blog called My Healthy Green Family, written by Free Range Mama. It turns out she had the same question about a year ago. Lucky for me, she had already done all of the work to find the answer! With her permission, I am sharing part of her article with you... 

For years I have heard that less refined sugar is better for you but I didn’t really know why. Sugar is sugar, and less refined sugar does not contain enough extra nutrients compared to refined sugar to make that matter. I had to spend some time finding out WHY there is some truth to it being less healthy.
Refined sugar has had a number of things done to it during the refining process. White sugar is bleached with sulphuric acid, is spun through a centrifuge to remove the outer coating, and has phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide added to it which is absorbed and traps impurities. It is then put through a carbon filter to remove impurities, then crystallised by vacuum and dried.
Raw sugar is pressed, and the juice is mixed with lime to remove impurities. It is then evaporated and put through a centrifuge to separate the crystals. It is then dried.
See the difference? Much less has been done to it or added to it.
From a green perspective, the production of raw sugar uses much less energy, creates much less waste, and uses fewer chemicals.

So yesterday I went to the sugar section in the supermarket and started reading package labels. In the entire section, I found one row of real Demerara sugar, which is real raw sugar. It's made by Florida Crystals and grown in America and I enjoyed reading the back of the package that explains the process they use for making this sugar, including the tidbit that they use the waste product for fuel and have created enough energy from it to power the plant as well as neighboring homes. It is what I purchased and what I will use to make my sugar scrub. There was one drawback: this sugar is not organic, nor was there an organic option. 

Did you know the difference between raw sugar and brown and white sugar? Do you know of another Demerara sugar that is widely available, perhaps one that is organic? 

Free Range Mama is a stay-at-home-mom of three children. Her blog, My Healthy Green Family, follows her family as they move more and more into a sustainable lifestyle. Read the full post quoted above by clicking here.

This post has been shared on Natural Living Monday at Homemade for Life. To see the other blog posts on this week's Natural Living Monday, click the button in the right sidebar or click here.

Earth Day 2013

Happy Earth Day! What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day today? What do you do every day to be friendlier to the Earth? I'd love to know! Tomorrow I will be sharing some of your answers! Comment below with your Earth Day activities and send your friends to share theirs.

Also, have you added your photo to The Face of Climate Change? Earthday.org is using the photos to build a mosaic of faces, showing our country's leaders how many people support and take action to slow climate change and that this is a priority! My daughter is getting extra credit in science if she completes uploads a photo and story today. See the constantly evolving mosaic here.

Lastly, use Earth Day as a chance to speak up about topics your friends, co-workers, and family may not usually hear you talk about. Ask what they are doing? Tell people what you are doing and what concerns you. Make your facebook status about something green you've done lately or tweet about your Earth Day plans!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day One of the Real Food Challenge

Today was the first day of the 7 Day Real Food Challenge and we got off to a great start! Unfortunately, we were a little slow to get moving this morning so breakfast just didn't happen at all. By the time we finished church, we were all famished! We enjoyed a lunch of raw fruits and veggies with natural organic peanut butter. 

For dinner, I decided to use some of the ingredients we already had so that nothing would go bad and be wasted, which meant coming up with my own recipe instead of using a recipe from the challenge guide. I had some beautiful asparagus from the local Ovis Hill Farm. I put it in the steamer, topped it with a few pats of butter and some sea salt, and left it to cook. I also have a ton of onions and garlic from another local farm, Dickson's Organics. I chopped the greens and bulbs from two small onions, as well as the greens from a garlic. After pan frying some natural pork chops with butter, I sauteed the greens, onions, and 3 crushed garlic cloves in the pan juices and used this to top the pork chops. The end result was absolutely delicious! 

How did your first day on the challenge go? If you're just hearing about it, you aren't too late. Your Day One doesn't necessarily have to be today! Find out more about the 7 Day Real Food Challenge and giveaways by clicking here or on the tab at the top of the page. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Roasts and Rivers

Spring has sprung! The weather is beautiful! Flowers are blooming! It's time to get outdoors! 

We got invited to an oyster roast tonight! Funny thing is I don't even eat oysters. The friends and the family-friendly atmosphere are enough to draw me in, though. Put a big group of friendly people together and I will never turn down an invitation to join!

Planning a camping trip for a few weeks from now, too! Canoeing and fishing in the river, hiking in the woods, cooking over a fire, and lots of friends. All the makings of a great weekend! 

What do you like to do outdoors in the spring? 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quiet

If you're thinking "Quiet? What's that?", then this is for you! 

I used to run all day at near the speed of light and then drop into bed after everyone else was sleeping. I'd lie in bed with a zillion thoughts running through my mind till I fell asleep, then get up the next day and do it again. 

It was actually my pastor that made me realize that this was unhealthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was stressed and tired and I never took time for myself. I thought giving selflessly was part of being a good wife and mom but in reality I wasn't much fun to be around. 

I bought some headphones. I moved my laptop to the bedroom. The dishes will wait if they haven't been done yet. Completely alone, after I put my daughter to bed, I  sit and listen to music while I relax. I may blog, chat online with a friend, read my Bible, write in my journal, whatever...but it's my quiet time, my peaceful time. 

When I get sleepy, which happens much more easily when I'm relaxed, I switch the music to my bedtime playlist at a low volume and I close my eyes. 

Do you get your quiet time every day? If so, how do you like to spend it? If not, I challenge you to make it happen for one week and see the difference it makes!

Click here for a full list of my posts and a list of participating blogs in the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for People Changing the World

Not long ago, I posted several messages on MMC's Facebook page encouraging everyone to vote for the Time 100. If you aren't familiar with this list, Time publishes an entire issue each year dedicated to spotlighting the top 100 most influential people in the world. 

Note: I did not say the most famous. I did not say the wealthiest. I said the most influential. And not necessarily an influence for good...

These are people that are changing the world around them through their example and/or actions. The world around you. These are important people, especially in the eyes of us who want to see some big changes happen, some specific changes even. The Time 100 is a list of people that we all should know about and keep an eye on. 

Time chooses the final 100. However, they use our votes as a guideline so we definitely influence their decisions. 

Time released the final 100 today, April 18, at www.time.com so head over and check it out. 

Is anyone missing that you think should definitely have been on the list? Are there others that you would remove? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dove Campaigns for Confidence in Women

Have you seen Dove's Real Beauty Sketches? Did you know that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful? Watch this. Share it. Remember that you are beautiful, more beautiful than you realize. Remind someone else today, too. 

O is for Opera

Have you seen Phantom of the Opera? Did you see the musical? Last year the musical played on Broadway for the 10,000th time! Did you read the book? Try the movie! The 2004 movie is actually quite good! And definitely don't miss the soundtrack by musical genius Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is the same music that is in the musical and it tells the story as an opera would tell a story. My late great husband introduced me to all things Andrew Lloyd Webber and I was immediately a fan. Listen to all or part of the soundtrack below and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Joel Salatin on Farm.TV

I am a huge fan of Joel Salatin. He is just a regular guy, a farmer, with a big voice. I've read almost all of his books and dream of having a farm like his. This is a great introduction if you aren't familiar with Joel.

Click here to watch this short interview.

N is for Novel

I've always wanted to be a writer, or at least for as long as I can remember. I have been published by a few small literary magazines, but than was back in college. What I really want is to write a great novel. Not just any novel, but a really great novel that people would remember. I started once. I was very happy with how it was coming. About a hundred or so pages into it, my computer crashed. I had no backup. It was gone. All gone. I tried several times to start over but it was too frustrating. So I gave up completely. Lately, however, I've been thinking about starting again with a new story and leaving that one. Maybe I just need to start fresh. Maybe one day I will finish a novel, just not that novel. And maybe one day I will get back to that one after all.

M is for Music

I love music. It's my therapy. When I'm down there are certain songs I know will cheer me and when I'm in a real funk and don't want to feel better I have songs for that too. When I'm sleepy and I want to wake up or if I'm energetic and need something to match my mood, well that's a whole different playlist. Then I also have my bedtime music, not too loud, very melodic and soothing. The ladies at work sometimes laugh at me because they never know what will be playing when they walk into my office! They may hear FGL in the morning, then come back later and hear Karmin or Pitbull, and then again they may find me listening to Ben Harper....you never do know! 

We saw FGL in concert recently... does this song make you smile and move those shoulders? 

I enjoy using Spotify on my computer and my phone because I can actually organize the music into different playlists and click the one that matches my mood when I sign on. I can add one song to several different lists if I want, or just to one. At the same time, it keeps a list of all the songs I "starred" so that I have one master list available at all times. I can follow my friends to see what they are listening to and sometimes discover something new that way. Spotify also allows you to follow artists so I know when my favorites add something new. A small sampling of my Spotify music is on Mama's Marvelous Musical Playlist in the right sidebar here on MMC! You can play it while you read whenever you visit and I keep changing it up a bit so you can listen to something different next time you stop by.

When I'm in the car, I like to turn up the music loud, totally ignoring those warnings my parents used to give about going deaf! I never outgrew that habit and I may pay with hearing loss one day, but there is nothing like a warm sunny day with the windows cracked just enough to feel the breeze and some good music blaring on the radio while I grin and sing along, wearing my sun shades and dancing in my seat. Here's a good one for that: 

What are some of the things I might hear if I walked in unannounced while you were playing your music? 
Do you usually stick with a specific genre? Just country music or just  metal or just seventies? Or like me do you tend to play to the mood or event? Black Eyed Peas on the way to work or Ray LaMontagne at bedtime? 
Do you use Spotify, Sound Cloud, or some other app? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

L is for Light

Like most people, I love  the light. The "light" can mean so many things, all positive. There is sunlight, moonlight, lamplight, candle light. Your face lights up when you see certain people. A great smile or a great personality can light up a room. And then there is the proverbial light at then end of the tunnel. 

Here are some great quotes about light:

"14You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16

"When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty." - Christopher Alexander

"A light exists in spring 
Not present on the year
At any other period." - Emily Dickinson

"People press toward the light not in order to see better but in order to shine better.--We are happy to regard the one before whom we shine as light." - Friedrich  Nietzsche

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that; hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"The book should be a ball of light in one's hand." - Ezra Pound

"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out." - J.R.R. Tolkien, from The Fellowship of the Ring

"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world." - William Shakespeare

"I'm sorry, Gemma. But we can't live in the light all of the time.You have to take whatever light you can hold into the dark with you." - Libba Bray, from A Great and Terrible Beauty

"Love is not consolation. It is light." - Simone Weil

"Stars and shadows ain't good to see by." - Mark Twain

Do you have a quote you like about the light? What does light mean to you? 

Click here for a full list of my posts and a list of participating blogs in the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

K is for Kansas

I was so disappointed to find this article. As I sit here shaking my head, I am not even sure what to say. This proposed bill in Kansas would ban spending on anything that has anything to do with sustainability. Why would you do that? 

Click here to read the article, then tell me your thoughts on this... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-09/kansas-s-self-destruct-button-a-bill-to-outlaw-sustainability.html 

Click here for a full list of my posts and a list of participating blogs in the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Java

Mmmmm...I love a good cup of joe. Joe, java, coffee, whatever you want to call it. I love the stuff! I do buy organic fair trade coffee and I prefer a bold flavor but I'm not picky otherwise. I previously was anti-k-cup but I've taken that back now that I discovered reusable k-cups.

I'm so lucky to have a great coffee shop just down the street, too. Get this - it's a non-profit coffee shop. They donate 100% of their profits! So I actually don't feel bad when I occasionally get a $6 cup of mocha with 4 shots of espresso!

Are you a java lover? What kind do you like? Do you have a favorite spot to grab a cup on the go?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

7 Day Real Food Challenge

Do you think you can eat only real food for 7 days straight?

To some of you this might sound nearly impossible and some of you may be thinking – I already do. This challenge is designed to help those of you who really want to live the real food lifestyle but might need a little guidance to get started. This challenge is also for all of you who have already figured it out, but you have fallen off the bandwagon. Sometimes life gets hectic and our diets seem to suffer. It's never too late to get back into the healthy food routine!

So, What is the 7 Day Real Food Challenge?

There is a big group of us following this challenge. Everyone who joins this challenge is making a pact to eat only real food for 7 days – specifically on April 21st - 27th. Already there are 28 bloggers who have committed to this challenge and are here as a support team for everyone who joins us. Here is your support team:

Todd Dosenberry from Primal Toad
Amanda from Natural Living Mama
Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker
Janey McKeever from Consistantly Sporadic
Jaime Reid from Jaime Reids Kitchen
Anne Simpson from Authentic Simplicity
Laura Broach from Mama Making Changes
Mike Lamitola from MikeLamitola.com
Alix from Blessed in Homemaking
Stacy Karen from A Delightful Home
Nina Nelson from Shalom Mama
Melissa Joulwan from Well Fed
Kimball Young from Heavy on Wholesome
Laura Prevost from Head over heels in Health
Victoria Moore from Yogi Mami
Carol Lovett from Ditch the Wheat
Katie Stanley from Nourishing Simplicity
Jami Leigh from Young Wifes Guide
Andrea from Homemade for Elle
Sara Warren from Unorthadox Momma
Amanda Anderson from Chef Amanda Anderson.com
Sara Roylance from Sara Roylance.com
Sara Shay from Your Thriving family
Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama
Marillyn Beard from Just Making Noise
Nichi from My Healthy Beginning
Michelle Elnycky from The Crooked House Blog

So... for those of you who think this might be way too hard to do – you have all these experts here to back you up and help you meet the challenge. It’s not only these bloggers that will be doing the challenge but many of our readers will be following along. We will have a special Facebook group for discussions about the challenge and a place to reach out to everyone for help and support. There are two ways you can participate in the challenge:

Option # 1 (Free)

Join us and make the commitment to eat only real food for 7 days starting on April 21 – April 27, 2013. You will receive:
  • An e-guidebook on “What is Real Food?”
  • A chance to win one of our fabulous real food prizes

Option # 2 ($29)

If you want to get really serious about this challenge and take full advantage of the support you can get from this group – this is for you. Making a big lifestyle change can be difficult on your own but with a huge group of people doing it along with you it is a lot easier – and a lot more fun! As a member of this challenge you will receive:
  • An e-guidebook on “What is Real Food?”
  • A full real food Paleo meal plan for 7 days – three meals a day and snacks
  • Recipes for all of the items in the meal plan (37 Delicious recipes!!)
  • A shopping list to help you prepare for the challenge
  • Tips on how to prepare your kitchen for this event
  • Membership to our private Facebook group which is a place to reach out for help and ask questions
  • A chance to win one of our fabulous real food prizes - worth over $600+

PLUS these fabulous Bonuses (worth over $40+) for everyone who buys this package...

The meal plan for this challenge is a Paleo menu! This means that all the recipes are grain-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. If you have ever thought about trying the Paleo / Primal diet and thought it was too hard this is the perfect chance to try it out. All of these done for you planning items and the built in support are designed to make this challenge much less of a challenge to complete. What do you think – are you ready to take the 7 Day Real Food Challenge?

The plan and recipes require basic kitchen tools. A good set of knives is the best thing you can splurge on in my opinion - even better you may win some in the giveaways that go along with this challenge! Speaking of giveaways...Don’t forget about all of the fabulous prizes from our amazing sponsors!! We are giving away $600 worth of products! The Giveaways (over $600+ value)...

  Ergo Chef Knife Company, makers of ergonomically-designed professional chef knives, is giving one participant of our challenge their Pro-Series 7” Santoku knife, Come Apart Kitchen Shears and a 9” & 12” Duo Tongs (Retail value $132) Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

  Taza Chocolate company, makers of traditional stone ground Mexican Chocolate, is giving one of our participants a package of their salted almond discs, their chipotle chili discs, a jar of chocolate covered hazelnuts and their 87% chocolate bar. Taza chocolate has a direct trade cacao program that cultivates face-to-face relationships with farmers. (Retail value $ 30.47) Follow them on Facebook and Twitter

  Kaya Foods, superfoods for delicious living, is giving one participant 5 bags of their delicious Kale and Veggie Chips, great for healthy snacking and a few $1.00 coupons (Retail value $ 10) Follow them on Facebook

   Yogi Tea, products inspired by Ayurveda is giving one participant of our challenge 4 boxes of a variety of our top selling teas and a Yogi tea mug. (Retail value $40)Yogi tea is committed to providing healthy, natural teas that are accessible to as many people as possible. Follow them on Facebook.

   Applegate, Organic & Natural Meats, is giving away a gift pack of products. (Retail value $ 25) Applegate meats are free of anti-biotics, growth hormones, nitrates, artificial ingredients and fillers which makes them far surpass the quality of conventional sliced sandwich meats. When buying Applegate products you can be confident you are eating a high quality product. Follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

  Trilight Health, makers of fast-acting, great tasting liquid herbal supplements, is giving one participant a $50 gift certificate to order products on their website! For over 20 years now, TriLight Health have supplied their customers nationwide with their high quality line of liquid herbal products. They specialize in great tasting, alcohol and sugar free, liquid herbal formulas for pregnancy, children, and the family. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter

  Eco Lunch Gear, eco friendly reusable lunch gear, is giving one participant a a reusable sandwich wrap (Retail value $10.50). Eco Lunch Gear was started by a Mom who saw a need for an alternative to plastic and aluminum foil, her products can be washed and reused over and over to save money and our environment. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  

Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker and creator of Real Food, Real Easy the eBook is giving one participant a copy of her eBook to help you continue with your Real Food journey (Retail value $$9.95) Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Health Coach, Mike Lamitola, is giving one participant free entry to his Tele-seminar on Cravings. Do you have a sugar habit you've been trying to beat? In this tele-seminar, Mike will explain how. (Retail value $25.00) Follow Mike on Facebook and Twitter    

Alix from Blessed In Homemaking offers organic and all natural body care products, gentle baby care products, herbal products, crocheted items, and more, for your healthy lifestyle in her Etsy Shop. She is giving two participants a one ounce bag of loose chamomile tea (Retail value $8.00) Follow her on Facebook

Stacy Karen from A Delightful Home is giving one participant of this challenge a copy of her eBook, Simple Scrubs to Make and Give. Start making your own scrubs at home for yourself and others (Retail value $3.99) Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Nina Nelson of Shalom Mama, is giving one participant of the challenge a healing balm and lavender mint lip balm from her etsy shop (Retail value $19.50) Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Melissa Joulwan from The Clothes Make the Girl, is giving one participant a copy of her Paleo eBook called Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Like to Eat (Retail value $14.95). This is a great resource for anyone interested in Paleo diet, whether you are just getting started or you are just looking for some new recipes to try. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Health Coach, Laura Prevost is giving 10 lucky participants one of her Dynamite Coaching sessions. If you are looking for some support around breaking a bad habit, or getting yourself motivated, Laura will work through it with you in this session (Retail value $20.00/session) Follow Laura on Facebook or Twitter

Jami from Young Wife's Guide, is giving one participant a copy of her eBook, Apartment Gardening, which is a great resource for getting started growing food in small spaces (Retail value $2.99) Follow Jami on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama has also offered to give away two copies of her eBook, Cooking with Coconut Oil (Retail value $19.95). The 68 recipes in this eBook are all simple to make and the ingredients in the recipes are all readily available. This eBook is a great way to start getting more coconut oil in your diet to get all the amazing health benefits. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

You will have the chance to win all of these prizes by joining is the challenge with either Option # 1 or Option # 2 detailed above!

Do you have questions about this event? Please feel free to comment on this post with any questions or concerns.