Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Treats: Watermelon

Summer is full of great, cool treats.  As our family moves more toward a healthy, real food lifestyle, the subject of summer treats is a tough one.  How do you treat yourself, but still stay healthy?

One of my favorite healthy summer treats has always been the fresh, chilled watermelon.  Yes, nothing brings back childhood memories more than that refreshing, sweet, taste.  We had one last weekend, in fact.  And as I sat there, introducing my youngest son to this tasty treat for the first time, I wondered about the health benefits of the watermelon.  Research to the rescue!

Did you know that watermelons can help regulate the body's pH factor?  They also help reduce high blood pressure and can help reduce heart disease.  They are also very high in water content, nearly 92% of their weight is water, so for those of us who don't love to drink water, eating some watermelon is a good way to hydrate.  They are high in vitamins A and C as well.  And if calorie counting is your game, no worries here!  Watermelons are very low calorie, making them a great snack when you have a craving for something sweet but don't have a lot of calories left for the day!

While clearly very good for you, do practice moderation with watermelon, as with anything else.

Some fun facts that I didn't know about watermelon:
- Dogs CAN eat watermelon, though you would not want to give them the seeds
- While humans can eat the seeds, most don't because they can cause digestion issues
- Watermelons are considered both a fruit and a vegetable.  Fruits are grown from seeds, have sweet flavors, and are refreshing.  Vegetables are harvested and cleared from a field.  Watermelons share all of these qualities, and are considered a member of the same family as cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins.  Thus, they are considered a fruit AND a vegetable.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Healthy Built Homes

My homeowner friends - are you always trying to find ways to make your home more energy efficient?  I know we are, and this site is going to make things easier for us!  Healthy Built Homes is a quote site for every type of home improvement you can imagine with the goal of making your home healthier, more energy efficient, and safer.  When I first took a look, I was blown away by how many categories there were on the site.  You can get a quote for everything from water purification systems to solar panels. 

The best part is, the quotes are local!  The site lists the process as: 1. Tell builders and contractors what you need.  2. Approved local contractors contact you.  3. You choose the best contractor with the best quote.  The site is free to use and you are under no obligation to hire anyone from the site.

What a great way to cut through all the noise and find good people to do the job!

A New Shopping Obsession

I was asked to review a pretty cool website.  The website is, and the prices are insane!  This taobao agent offers a very simple way to buy from China.  The process seems straightforward enough.

As the website describes:
Step 1: You add URL and pay items fee
Step 2: Yoybuy buys for you within 24 hours
Step 3: You submit delivery and pay international shipping fee
Step 4: Yoybuy ships out to you within 24 hours
Step 5: You confirm receipt

I haven't tried it yet, but after a brief look at the site, I can see several categories that would be useful for me.  There is a great kid's clothes section, the jewelry section is full of beautiful pieces, they offer fashion and accessories, as well as electronics, fitness equipment, and of course, the ever important cosplay section, which will be perfect for Halloween costumes!

This seems like a good place to find cheap online products, and the site is very easy to navigate.

Have any of you ever used one of these services to buy from China?  Who did you use?  How was your experience?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theory Makeup

 As a busy boymom, I hardly ever have time to do all the "girly" things I used to love doing.  Getting all made up is one example of this.  Now, my makeup routine consists of doing each step in the car while stopped at red lights.  But even getting the time to get out and buy good makeup is pretty tough.  That's why I often turn to online shopping for the solution to my "lack of time" issue.

Someone sent me this website to check out and I'm actually really excited about it!  Theory Makeup states that it is natural and good for the skin, which is something we all want.  I also really liked the "makeup diary" concept, where you can customize your own makeup kit to your needs.  The shades are gorgeous, and the diary makes it super convenient to carry your favorites with you everywhere.

So if you are busy like me, but still like to get made up and want to make sure you are using something that is natural and good for your skin, you may want to try out Theory Makeup.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

"Driving Grandpa" is a delight

Every once in awhile, a story will come along that warms your heart, makes you laugh, and really touches you because the characters are so REAL.  Driving Grandpa is one of those books.  It is a simple story of a man who takes on the job of driving his Grandpa around after he is no longer able to drive himself.  One would assume Grandpa is the one getting the benefits from this arrangement, but the narrator (and the readers) are the ones who truly benefit from Grandpa's entertaining stories and perspective.  Grandpa is a WWII Vet who has lots of stories to share.  And while his grandson takes him along while he drives for work, Grandpa shares those stories and so much more. 

I can't help thinking about my own grandfathers, both of whom passed away before I was an adult.  I wonder what their stories would be like if they were alive today, and I find myself envying the narrator for the time he has with his grandfather, knowing how quickly that time passes.

This book is family-friendly and a lot of fun!

Potty Training = Nightmare

Have you ever taken on a huge project, done the research, did all the tasks assigned to you, spent hours working through every step - only to have the project returned to you as if you had never even started, when you thought you were finished?

That's what potty training has been like for us.  Over and over and over.  I read the three day potty training method.  I bought charts and stickers.  I bought potty treats and an Elmo book about going to the potty.  I read books to him every night about going to the potty, encouraged him, and even established a "potty cheer" for when he would successfully go potty.  We were even able to take him out INTO THE WORLD without a diaper a few times. 

We were set.  Successful.  And nothing could stop us now. 

Until... regression.  I hate regression.  It's a cruel trick - a joke of Mother Nature.  It happens with every big, exciting child milestone.  Sleep, eating, potty training, even talking sometimes.  (we went through a period of time when Nathan started talking like a baby because of the baby, which is totally normal, but pretty irritating when your toddler usually talks in complete paragraphs!) 

But the potty training regression is pretty much the worst.  He's going on the floor again.  On the walls.  On the doors.  Everywhere but the potty. 

Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.  This mommy is at the end of her rope!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Funky Candles!

As I explore online, I often find fun things to share.  Unique gifts, awesome items I want to buy for myself, and very neat ways to help amazing causes.  This post is about one of those neat ways to support a cause and get a unique gift for someone at the same time.  I'm thinking seriously about using this site for the next gag gift I need to buy! 

We all love scented candles, but have you ever heard of comedy candles?  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: funky candles

Isn't this funny?  I love it!  Funky Candles was created by Max, a geologist, who traveled all over the world and says he unfortunately witnessed a lot of cruelty toward animals.  He wanted to do something to help.  To that end, a purchase of these "stinky candles" is donated to one of three animal charities in the UK:  Blue Cross, RSPCA, and Wood Green, as well as one international charity: Four Paws. 

The candle scents include "fresh wet dog," "meerkat poop," "big bunny fart," "squirrels nuts," "ferret breath," "panda wee wee," and "frog spawn". 

These scents sound truly horrible, and the website guarantees that they do, in fact, stink!  But... if you can endure the stench for the first hour of burning, the rest of the candle is a nice, "normal" scent.  I'd wager not many people get past the first hour. 

Got a "Dirty Santa" party coming this Christmas?  Or another type of gag gift occasion?  Funky Candles are a great gift option!  And if you are buying one for me, I'd like to try Fresh Wet Dog - since during the summer rainy season my house pretty much smells like that anyway!