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New programs from Rite Aid – TEXT4BABY and save money on OTC allergy relief

 

TEXT4BABY

Rite Aid has two new programs available for consumers that I think some of my readers might appreciate.

The first one if called TEXT4BABY.

TEXT4BABY sends pregnant women and new moms personalized health information that is sent straight to their phones. The information will help support you throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s first year with topics such as prenatal care, baby health, parenting and more.

Pregnancy and being a first time mom can be scary. It’s nice to know that there is plenty of support and information available to you.

The program was founded by Johnson & Johnson.

Each week you’ll receive up to three texts with informative topics such as baby’s development, breast feeding, safe sleeping, immunizations, nutrition and more.

There is a brief video on Rite Aid’s Facebook page. The service is FREE. It can even use the service to set up appointment reminders.

To join simply send a text to the information below (one is for English and the other is for Spanish).

TEXT4BABY

Another program that some readers might be interested in is a special program for people who suffer from allergies.

This time of year I am buying a lot of allergy medication for my whole family. Even one of our cats suffers from severe allergies!

As a family who lives on a budget it’s nice to know that I can earn some savings to purchase more of the products that our family needs. Rite Aid’s wellness+ allergy program gives you $20 in savings for every $75 you spend on eligible over the counter (OTC) allergy medications.

Allergy1Allergy2

You’ll need a wellness+ card to sign up for this program. The wellness+ cards are FREE and offer you a lot of benefits and perks including saving 20% on your purchases all year long. You can also redeem points for things like magazine subscriptions, two week gym membership, restaurant gift certificates and even a free vet exam and 50% off core vaccinations for your pet.

For more information visit www.RiteAid.com/wellness.

To find a Rite Aid near you visit www.RiteAid.com.

Rite Aid Logo

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.

 

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Movie Review: Too Sane for This World

 

Too Sane for This World

Autism is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world. I didn’t even hear the word “autism” until around 20 years ago, let along terminology like Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum. It scares me to learn that more and more children are being diagnosed with conditions that fall along the Autism Spectrum. Why so many? Why all of a sudden? Has it always been like this?

I first learned about Asperger’s about twelve years ago. Our son was around two years old at the time. He was displaying unusual characteristics. As a mom I had a gut feeling that something was “off”. He didn’t behave like our daughter did at his age. I know all children are different, but he was even “different” compared to other children his age.

I Googled his characteristics and “quirks” and found Asperger’s. After reading the description it seemed like our son displayed many of the characteristics. I didn’t want to believe it so I pushed it into the back of my mind and just looked at his quirks are a part of his personality and who his is and that was that.

After our son started school his “quirks” started to concern me a lot more. He had no friends. He had a hard time making friends. He never made eye contact. He was fixated on just one thing – snow. That was all he ever talked about. Snow, snow, snow. Its as if it was the only thing in his mind at any time.

The way he played didn’t seem right either. Instead of moving his cars and trucks around like they were driving he would line them up into different patterns. He never actually played with them. He just lined them up. He did that with a lot of other toys too like plush animals and the food/dishes from my kid’s toy kitchen.

He never liked to watch TV, read books or go to the movies. Loud noises bothered him. He didn’t like the way certain things felt. All of these were “signs” that something wasn’t right.

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We took him to a pediatric neurologist. He diagnosed our son with Asperger’s and anxiety, which I suspected all along. That is when everything got turned upside down.

You should NEVERY rely on just one doctor’s opinion. So we had our son checked out by the school, psychologists and others to see if we could get a second Asperger’s diagnoses. We never did. We were told by one that he had ADHD (our son has never been hyperactive). We were told he just had AD (attention deficit). We were also told he was perfectly fine and that he was just a shy kid who hated school.

Our son was born 9 weeks premature. We were even told that his quirks had something to do with that. He did get physical, occupational and speech therapies when he was an infant and toddler. These might just be “kinks” that never worked themselves out.

Our son is 14 years old now and we have yet to get a second Asperger’s diagnosis. He doesn’t show as many signs that he once did, but the social awkwardness, lack of eye contact and seemingly focused on just one thing (New York City) seems to lean towards Asperger’s.

Asperger’s is a higher functioning form of Autism. He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself and going to school. He has a harder time “grasping” the stuff he learns in class. He eventually gets it but it often takes a bit longer.

He has no friends. There are kids he’ll talk to, but he doesn’t have friends that he can hang out with after school and do things with. As soon as he comes home from school he eats, maybe does homework, then watches CNN and plays on his phone. What kind of a life is that? I want him to hang out with friends, go to the mall, movies, go for walks, toss a ball around… something. Anything.

Personally I still think he has Asperger’s and maybe one day another so-called specialist will finally agree with me. Until then we just take life one day at a time and hope and pray that things will change for the better so that he can go on to have a happy and successful life filled with his own family, a career and everything that comes with it.

If he does have Asperger’s I worry about what his adult life would be like. Will he be able to hold down a job? Will he make friends? Will he get married and start his own family? I lose sleep thinking about these things.

Photo Credit: Too Sane for This World Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Too Sane for This World Facebook page.

There is a new documentary that is released today (April 8, 2014) called Too Sane for This World. The documentary introduces viewers to several adults who fall along the Autism Spectrum. Most of them I believe have Asperger’s, but a couple of them have a wee bit more than that.

These adults discuss how they were diagnosed with their condition and at what age. Some were diagnosed as children. Others didn’t get an official diagnosis until they were adults. When they found out (as adults) it brought a sense of relief, but at the same time new challenges. At least it helped them to understand why they were the way they were.

Hearing their stories made me sad. One young woman talked about how she was bullied I school and how years after she moved away her father (who resided in the same town) would get things thrown at his car by the people who used to bully her.

There are A LOT of social discriminations that people on the Autism Spectrum face. Many people see them as “different” and less of a person. That is not the case at all. These people are able to hold jobs and get married, just like you and I. They just have a harder time with making friends and interacting with other people. Most of the time adults with Asperger’s hold jobs where they work by themselves and tend to live by themselves too.

It was an interesting look inside the lives of adults on the Austim Spectrum. For me, as a parent, it provided me with some relief but at the same time left me with more unanswered questions and concerns about my son.

Too Sane for This World is an eye opening look into the lives of adults with Autism related conditions. If you or anyone you know is on the Autism Spectrum you might want to consider renting or picking up a copy of this film. I see that it’s available on Amazon.

You can also check out the official website, www.TooSaneforThisWorldMovie.com and the film’s official Facebook page.

Here is a trailer for your enjoyment.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Celliant® Recovery Linens – The Most Unique Linens I’ve Ever Experienced

 

Sleep

My husband and I have had to sleep in the living room for almost thirteen years. When we originally moved into our shoebox sized condo it was just me, my husband and our soon to be daughter. We had hoped to move to a larger place someday soon. That never happened and our son was born a few years later. Suddenly our condo felt like the size of a shoebox, which has only been made worse over the years as our children grew up.

My husband and I ended up giving up the master bedroom to the kids when they were little and move ourselves into the living room. We started off on a sofa bed. That was way too uncomfortable so we switched to an air mattress.

After having to replace the very expensive air mattress twice we switched to a daybed/trundle bed. By day it was a daybed. At night my husband’s bed would slid out and pop up from under the daybed. Although it was more comfortable than a sofa bed or air mattress it was awkward to have people over because instead of sitting on a couch they were sitting on my bed. They daybed also didn’t make for a comfortable place to sit at night when trying to watch TV or read. My husband and I were also sleeping in different beds and we didn’t like that. We were a married couple – we wanted to sleep in the same bed, not next to each other in different beds.

We have come full circle. We’ve been sleeping on a sofa bed – again – for the past few years.

If you have ever spent a lot of time sleeping on a sofa bed you know just how incredible uncomfortable they can be. Even with a so called “premium mattress” we still wake up feeling like we got ran over by a truck. Both my husband I toss and turn at night and wake up feeling sore and stiff, not to mention groggy because we didn’t get a quality night’s sleep.

We’ve tried to think of ways to make going to bed a more enjoyable experience, not a dreaded one. Super soft and comfy bedding helps. At least it makes going to sleep a bit more inviting. Too bad the end result is the same (waking up feeling unrested, sore, not getting a decent night’s sleep…).

Several weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to review bedding called Celliant® Recovery Linens. We already had high quality, super soft bedding that we loved. What intrigued me about the Celliant® Recovery Linens is what is found woven throughout the linens.

celliant-logo

Celliant®, the creators of the first responsive textile, has introduced a bedding line Celliant® Recovery Linens, which I
haven’t heard about until now. 

The Celliant technology, features active minerals ground into tiny particles 100x thinner than human hair, that are weaved into the sheets to convert body heat into infrared energy that reflects back into the body.  The technology actually recycles your body’s own energy and just as infrared saunas are proven to have positive effects on the body, so does the fabric.  It also increases circulation, tissue oxygen levels and helps with body temperature regulation.  It can even help with muscle stiffness, soreness and swelling and boost your actual energy.

Celliant is the most established and clinically tested infrared textile in the industry, with more than eight clinical studies, including completed and published research at the University of California, Texas A&M and Loyola University Chicago.

The Celliant® Recovery Linens have been scientifically proven to heighten circulation and elevate tissue oxygen levels by increasing Nitric Oxide levels in the body. As a result,  Celliant® Recovery Linens, have shown to not only increase energy and stamina, but work to alleviate pain and improve overall sleep quality.

Increase energy? Alleviate pain? Improve sleep quality? Sign me up!

I was sent to review a Celliant® Recovery Linens sheet set and mattress cover. The mattress cover is also dust mite and allergen proof.

When you look at the sheets and mattress cover they don’t look or feel out of the ordinary. They just look like regular sheets. How are these sheets going to improve the quality of my sleep in a scientific way?

My husband and I put them on our bed that night. We slipped into our bed like we normally do. We didn’t noticed anything different about them. The just seemed like regular sheets – although they did feel comfy.

I wasn’t expecting to spring out of bed the following morning feeling like a new woman. I knew I’d have to give the sheets time before I noticed anything different. I also wanted my husband to provide me with his feedback.

I didn’t wake up each morning and do a “mental checklist” – Do I sleep well? Do I feel more energized? Did I have a better quality of sleep? Nope. I didn’t do that. I just wanted to sleep in my bed like I normally do and take it from there.

Mattress Cover

I did miss a whole week sleeping on the sheet due to being out on the West coast.

Within a few days I did notice that I wasn’t tossing and turning as much. I don’t know if that was due to the sheets or something else. Sometimes I just can’t seem to get comfortable.

I also have a tendency to kick the sheets and comforter off because I get too hot, then put them back on because I am too cold and basically do that all night (it drives my husband nuts). I noticed that I wasn’t doing that as frequently as I used to. My toes still get cold (I think that is a thyroid issue) but the rest of my body is at a comfortable temperature.

The first thing I noticed that I can attribute to the sheets is that I seem to be sleeping better. I started to wake up feeling as if I really did get a good night’s sleep. Normally I wake up feeling completely UNrested. I would wake up as if I had no sleep at all. I never get 8 hours of sleep – or even close to it. I normally get 4-5 hours at best (except on the weekends when I can sleep in). I was waking up feeling like I had more hours of sleep even though I didn’t.

I do know that I have been able to accomplish more during the morning then I have in a long time. I think my multiple posts per day shows that. LOL! I feel like I have better mental stamina and clarity then I have in a long while. I am better able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. Dare I even say that I feel like I have more energy and “oomph” to do the things I dread doing, like cleaning? I used to put it off until late in the day but now I will stop and dust a room and/or vacuum it and get back to blogging. I have never done stuff like that before. It’s nice. I feel like I am accomplishing more during the day then I have in ages.

We sleep on a sofa bed. It’s impossible to avoid the pain of sleeping on top of that dreaded bar, however I feel like the other minor aches and stiffness that comes from age and/or lack of exercise have diminished a bit. I’ll NEVER spring out of bed (unless there was an emergency). Normally in the morning I swing my legs off the side of the bed and sit there for a few minutes to wake up and get ready for my day. Then I stand up and stretch out all the kinks in my legs and back before I get ready to start the day. I normally feel stiff but I haven’t been feeling that way much lately. Is that due to the sheets?

Sheet Set - My packaging looked a little different.

Sheet Set – My packaging looked a little different.

My husband tells me that he feels more rested and more alert in the morning too. He has the same pain in his shoulder that I have from the bar in the bed. When I asked him if he feels any kind of discomfort or stiffness when he gets us he tells me “no”. He feels like he is getting a better nights sleep, which he said is no easy task sleeping on a sofa bed. He also says that he feels like he can fall asleep quicker and he tends not to wake up in the middle of the night (some night’s I’ll wake up to find him watching TV because he woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep).

He doesn’t like when I am away from home. He says he misses having me sleeping next to him. When I was gone he said he fell asleep pretty quickly which he liked because he didn’t have to lie there missing me.

I am not a scientist and I have no way of testing the sheets to see if they do what they are suppose to do. I have however researched Celliant® and found that the technology and material is being applied to not only bedding but also clothing, veterinary care products and orthopedic products. It’s being used by big name brands like Puma, Sealy, New Balance and Reebok. There has to be something behind this amazing material.

Overall I am very pleased with the sheets. Knowing that I am getting a better night’s sleep and feeling more alert and awake in the morning makes these sheets worth their weight in gold. I feel rested and I’m able to accomplish more throughout the day without feeling run down or groggy.

If you would like to learn more about these linens and other Celliant® products visit www.Cellianttx.com. To learn more about Celliant® it’s self visit Celliant.com. There is A LOT of information about the material on the site. It’s very interesting.

Have you experienced anything made from Celliant®? If so, what did you think about the product? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Sleeping

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and my husband’s.

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Root Down Botanicals – Smell Good and Feel Good, Naturally (giveaway ends 4/12/14)

 

Essential Oil Lavender

I enjoy scents. I am a firm believer that scents can lift your spirits, invoke memories and give you a burst of energy.

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for thousands of years. Essential oils from plants have been used throughout history, as well as today, to help a person’s cognitive functions, mood and even their health. Some common uses include lavender to help relax you and reduce anxiety and eucalyptus to help with your sinuses.

Essential oils have a lot of amazing health benefits. You just have to make sure to use them properly.

Essential oils can benefit us in two different ways – through our sense of smell (our olfactory receptors are directly connected with our brains) and through our blood stream from topical use.

Root Down Botanicals is a company that makes special essential oils blends to help wake you up in the morning, keep you calm and centered in the afternoon and help you to relax and unwind in the evening. Their oil blends are even called Morning, Afternoon and Evening. This makes it easier for you to identify which blend would be ideal during certain times of the day. I’m always feeling tired and groggy – I could use the Morning blend all day long. LOL!

What makes Root Down Botanicals different than other essential oils found on the market? Root Down Botanicals are made out of 100% natural ingredients, using synergistic blends of essential oils to not only smell good, but to elicit specific moods that help us get through our day.  Many fragrances on the market are made out of synthetic scents that were re-created in a lab using various natural and synthetic chemicals. Chemists try to mimic the aroma of an essential oil, or create an entirely new scent.  However, these synthetic versions do not have the chemical complexity that natural essential oils have.  Essential oils are volatile, aromatic molecules that are composed of 100-200 chemical constituents.  This complex chemistry gives essential oils their therapeutic effects.

Did you know that the perfume industry has over 3,000 stock chemical ingredients at their disposal? Who knows if there are any potential side effects from exposing yourself to this plethora of laboratory/petrochemical derived ingredients. Personally I try and use products that are as natural as possible. I understand that is not always possible, but whenever I can use an all natural product I will use it.

Another interesting fact is that perfume companies are protected by the FDA’s trade secret clause which prevents competitors from copying their formula. That is understandable but at the same time you won’t truly know what you are exposing yourself to.

Root Down Botanicals

Root Down Botanicals disclose all of their ingredients. You know exactly what is in their blends.

Take for example Root Down Botanical’s Evening blend. It’s made from 100% natural Ylang Ylang, Bergamot and Clary Sage. That’s it. There are no added ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, let alone understand what they are.

Root Down Botanical’s founder, Chanté Floreani, came up with the idea of creating her special blends after she read a study conducted by a Japanese research doctor. He conducted an experiment to measure performance in an office environment after releasing different essential oil aromatics at different times of the day.  He found that certain essential oils were effective in increasing alertness, efficiency and reducing stress.

Chanté has always had a passion of organic and eco-friendly products. She also loves plants and their inspiring qualities. She was intrigued by what she learned from the study and as a result the Morning, Afternoon and Evening blends were created, without the use of hidden ingredients, chemical preservatives, secret formulas or synthetic fragrances. The blends are vegan and the ingredients are all natural. The oils are tested for purity and sourced from responsible and sustainable producers.

Root Down Botanical blends are made by hand in small batches. Even the packaging is eco-friendly composed of post-consumer recycled content.

Even a percentage of sales are donated to charity. Root Down Botanicals donates to Trees for the Future. For every single purchase of their pulse point essential oil blends, two trees will be planted. I think that is awesome.

The oils are meant to be applied to your pulse points for maximum benefit. Pulse points are located on the wrist, neck, behind the knee and inside the elbow. My mom always applied perfume to her wrists and neck, but I never knew why until now. I’ve always applied perfume in the same places. I just assumed that is what you were supposed to do. I didn’t realize it had to do with your pulse and the places where arteries are pressed against bones. That’s interesting.

Root Down Botanical Blends

Root Down Botanicals are available in the three blends – Morning, Afternoon and Evening. You can buy each one separately or as a packed set of all three.

Morning – Awaken and Energize.

  • Refreshing citrus notes are infused with cool and invigorating mint. Rosemary provides grounding green notes.

Afternoon – Calm and Center.

  • Soft floral notes of Lavender are composed with the green zest of Lemongrass. White Thyme gives depth and infuses fresh herbal notes.

Evening – Relax and Unwind.

  • Sweet floral notes of Ylang Ylang are balanced by Bergamot’s rustic citrus scent. Clary Sage adds fresh herbaceous notes.

I received all three scents to review. They came packaged together with each oil blend in it’s own box.

The bottles are a generous size. I have purchased essential oils in the past that have come in tiny bottles, even vials. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the Root Down Botanical bottles.

The bottles come with “rollers” – small balls that allow you to run the scent along your pulse points without making a mess. I am extremely happy that they are packaged this way. I have other oils that I use that are in regular bottles and I can’t tell you how many times I have applied too much or spilled them. There is no way you can spill the Root Down Botanical oils.

I used the oil every day. I roll the oil on one wrist and then rub both wrists together. I also roll some on my neck. I have tried on the inside of my elbow too.

My husband, who is very sensitive to scents. Some scents trigger migraines. I have to be careful with what I use around him. So far he has not had any issues with any of these blends. In fact he likes the Morning blend.

You can reapply the oils throughout the day if you feel you need to. The bottles are portable and you can easily slip one into your pocket or purse. Sometimes I roll some on the back of my hand and just take a few whiffs.

Sadly, when you are stuffy it’s hard to get maximum benefit from the oil blends. After all, if you can’t smell them how are they supposed to work. I wake up stuffy often in the morning so I usually wait until the stuffiness disappears before applying the oil. Usually that is about an hour or two after I wake up.

Do the oils work? I’m sure each person is different but for me I find that they do help me. If you subscribe to my blog you’ll noticed that I have been cranking out a lot of blog posts the past few weeks. I attribute that to being able to focus and having more clarity. There is nothing worse for a blogger than writers block.

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I find that the Morning blend perks me up in the morning. Not physically, per say, but more so mentally. I feel more awake and less groggy. Personally, for me, it’s helped me to get a lot of my writing done early in the day.

The Afternoon blend is very relaxing and soothing. It’s a lot like the Evening blend. You could probably use the Afternoon blend in the evening and vice versa (use the Evening in the afternoon).

I don’t always use the Afternoon blend (not on a daily basis). I tend to use the Morning blend in the afternoon as well as in the morning. I feel that it helps me to get through my day. Once the kids are home from school and I am gearing up to start dinner and our evening routine then I don’t mind being more relaxed and centered.

The Evening blend is relaxing and soothing just like the Afternoon blend. It makes me want to chill out with a cup of chamomile tea and watch tea or read a book . It doesn’t make me sleepy. I don’t attribute this to helping me sleep (I still have sleeping issues) but the blend is relaxing and calming. I wish I could rub it all over our dog who is very high strung and filled with anxiety. He needs to unwind. LOL!

I am enjoying these scents and I have notice positive benefits to using them.

The oil blends might be a bit pricy but if you have ever priced 100% natural essential oils you know that they are not cheap to begin with. The funny thing is that synthetic, made up scents like designer perfumes cost triple the price of these 100% natural oils and people are happy to plop down the money to buy them. Go figure.

Each blend is available for purchase, or you can buy the set which contains all three scents.

If you would like to “try before you buy” you can purchase a sample set of all three oil blends in small vials. These do not have rollers so you have to be careful not to spill them.

For more information please visit RootDownBotanicals.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Root Down Botanicals Trio

Root Down Botanicals would like to give a lucky reader the three scent package – Morning, Afternoon and Evening blends ($79 value). Thank you Root Down Botanicals.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on April 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me which blend (Morning, Afternoon or Evening) you are most excited to try AND why?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement (I do check) or the initial entry requirements won’t qualify. Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Gluten Free and GMO Free Products from Canyon Bakehouse

 

Canyon Bakehouse PB&J

The more I read about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and the negative effects that Gluten has on many people, the more I’m afraid to eat. This is good for you, this is bad for you, you need to eat this not that… it makes my head spin!

As a mom and wife I want what is best for my family. I try and read (and understand) that labels on most of the foods we eat. I try to make better food choices whenever and where ever possible.

Gluten problems seem to be on the rise. I know a lot of people who have found out that they have Gluten sensitivity. I often wonder about our son. I think he might benefit from a Gluten free diet.

GMO’s are also in the news ALL THE TIME. If you are not aware of what they are they are basically genetically altered foods that were created in a lab, not by nature. A lot of seeds used to grow the foods that we eat every day come from seeds that were created in a lab. The problem is no one truly knows what the side effects are down the road from consuming these un-natural products.

I picture some crazy scientist tossing mystery ingredients in a dish, a puff of smoke then a glowing neon-green light and then having his creation turned into our dinner. Ewwww!!! No way!

The problem with trying to find foods that are free of Gluten and even those that are GMO free are often not that easy to come by. The ones you do find are either super expensive or they taste like you are eating the bottom of an old shoe (gross tasting). If/When you find a great tasting, better for you food stick with it. Slowly I am building a list of foods that I try and get for my family because I know they are better for them and they enjoy eating them.

Not too long ago I received some products to review from Canyon Bakehouse. They are a bakery that is family owned in Loveland, Co. that makes baked goods that are certified Gluten Free, made in a dedicated gluten free bakery and GMO free.  Because some people have other allergies or health issues their products are also dairy, nut and soy free too. Canyon Bakehouse breads are made with 100% whole grains and only clean ingredients.

canyonbakehouse

Canyon Bakehouse offers;

  • 7-Grain Bread
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bread
  • Mountain White Bread
  • Deli Rye Style Bread
  • Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • Cranberry Crunch Muffins

I was sent a few products to review with my family.

I hardly come across a food that I don’t like. I’m also always willing to try most things. My family – no so much. They are very picky, especially my daughter and my husband. My son will eat mostly anything.

I didn’t tell them that the breads were “better for you”. For all they knew they were regular breads. They don’t bother to read labels either. My husband on the other hand read the packaging and was a bit “iffy” about trying the breads, but he did.

Canyon Bakehouse Muffins

My kids gobbled down the Cinnamon Raisin Bread. That was the first loaf to disappear. They enjoyed it for breakfast as well as an after school snack (t0asted and/or with butter or peanut butter). Never once did they complain about the bread tasting anything other than delicious.

No one in my family wanted to try the Focaccia bread so I enjoyed that. To be honest the bread didn’t taste any differently then other Focaccia bread, including the kind you get at restaurants. It was very flavorful. It didn’t taste like “cardboard” or have a funky, unnatural taste to it. You would never suspect this was Gluten free.

We even enjoyed the buns one night for dinner and not once did anyone complain that they tasted any differently than the buns we would normally buy.

To be honest I would have never guessed that these products were missing anything. They were all delicious. And I’m impressed that no one in my family noticed a difference either.

I was even surprised to find that the products are sold locally to me here in New York. They are carried by both health food stores and even our local Target stores carry Canyon Bakehouse products.

If you are on a Gluten free diet (or have a family member who is) it’s worth checking out Canyon Bakehouse products. Even if Gluten is not an issue it’s still tasty bread.

For more information visit www.CanyonGlutenFree.com.

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Kimberly

*I received free products in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Time to “Spring Clean” … Your Diet? (giveaway ends 3/31/14)

 

Spring Cleaning

Spring is FINALLY here. After the winter we had I could not wait for spring to finally get here. The weather is still a bit on the brisk side, but at least the likelihood of more snow in the forecast is slim to none. I am so over winter!

I am looking forward to sunny skies and weather that is decent enough for me to open up all the windows and let some clean, fresh air inside our home. Now if only I could get into the mood to get some spring cleaning done.

I was away all last week so I didn’t have a chance to clean. I came home to a pile or dust and carpeting in dire need of vacuuming. I’ve been trying to catch up on things all week so I haven’t tackled giving our home a deep cleaning – yet. My “game plan” is to tackle it this weekend.

Now that spring is here it’s time to consider spring cleaning. Do you give your home a good cleaning from top to bottom when spring rolls around?

I’m not a fan of cleaning to begin with but when the urge hits and I’m ready to get some spring cleaning done I’m pretty fanatical about it. I go all out and scrub marks and finger prints off the walls, clean in and on top of the cabinets in the kitchen, purge the closets and pantries of stuff we haven’t used all winter or no longer have a need for (I try and donate as much as possible and we always recycle). My husband thinks I’m a crazy person when I spring clean because he’ll come home from work and find piles of “stuff” lined up in the hallway marked “garbage”, “recycle”, “donate” and so forth.

When I spring clean I REALLY clean. :-)

Here is one area that most people don’t consider giving a good ol’ spring cleaning to – their diets. During the winter months a lot of us tend to eat out of boredom and don’t exercise much (unless you consider shoveling snow exercise). It’s easy to gain weight and get into a habit of reaching for all the wrong foods. I am guilty of doing that myself.

During the warm weather months I eat A LOT of fresh fruits and veggies since I stop by the farmer’s market weekly. During the winter months with the market is closed for the season I replace fresh fruits and veggies with chips, cookies and other not-too-healthy-for-you snacks.

As you are cleaning your home and purging things that you don’t want/need consider tossing out all the unhealthy snacks that you have been collecting all winter. Replace them with good for you fresh foods and better for you snacks like Balance Bars. Balance Bar would like you to celebrate the change in season by setting the refresh button and “cleaning up” some of your bad eating habits and introducing some healthier habits – including healthy snacking.

Balance Bars come in a variety of flavors. I personally LOVE the dark chocolate varieties. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate (but I love milk chocolate too).

Have you had the opportunity to try the yummy Balance Bar flavors like Dark Chocolate Peanut, Dark Chocolate Crunch and Dark Chocolate Coconut? They are YUMMY!

Balance Bar Dark Chocolate

Balance Bar’s spokesperson, registered dietician Sharon Richter, has some great tips for Spring Cleaning your diet.

Empty everything from your food pantry. I make sure to do this every other month. Sometimes things get pushed off into the back of the pantries or freezer that we forget about.

Throw away anything that has expired or that has been opened for a few weeks. As much as I make sure to weed through my pantries, cabinets and fridge there are still the occasional items that have expired. Often these dates are just guidelines but my family is neurotic about expiration dates and won’t touch anything that has expired. If we have food items that are still good but about to expire in a month or so and I know we won’t use them by then I’ll donate them to the local food pantry.

My kids are notorious for opening up cereal and not closing it properly so I end up with a lot of stale cereal that I need to get rid of too.

Check the labels.  Make sure you don’t have foods that are high in fats, calories, sugar and the “bad stuff” (artificial colors, hydrogenated oils, MSG…).

Organize items by categories. I try and keep all our food stuff organized. Cereal and non-perishable breakfast foods (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat…) are in one pantry. Pastas, sauces and non-perishable side dishes (rice, instant potatoes…) are in another. I keep all soups together as well as canned fruits and canned veggies. It makes it a lot easier when you keep items in specific places so they are easy to find when you need them and it’s easy to create shopping lists because you’ll be able to see what you need.

Keep plenty of healthy snacks readily available. I always make sure the first thing you see when you open my fridge is fresh fruits, veggies and yogurt. I tend to hit the other snacks in the pantry so they are not the first thing the kids see when they get home from school.

Stocking up on snack foods like Balance Bars is also a good idea. They are packed with protein and fiber. Plus they taste awesome. It’s hard to believe that they are better for you than a candy bar because they are so sweet and delicious. Paired with a glass of milk and they are very filling too. They make the ideal after school (or work) snack to hold you over until dinner time.

JR WatkinsAlong with some dark chocolate Balance Bars to try out with my family I also received some great products from J.R. Watkins. I was sent their liquid hand soap and a bottle of all purpose cleaner. I love J.R. Watkins products. My friend used to sell them and I used to stock up on my favorites. I LOVE their Cinna-Cream Sprinkles!

J.R. Watkins products are made the old fashioned way. The all purpose cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable. After all, if you are going to rid your home of “bad stuff” it makes sense not to clean with bad stuff. I always try to clean my home with products that are not harmful to my family or our pets.

Up until now I have only used J.R. Watkins food items. Since using their liquid hand soap and all purpose cleaner I am going to make it a point to try more of their non-food items as well as other scents. I received the White Tea & Bamboo scent which is clean and crisp. I would love to try the lavender scent too.

For more information about Balance Bar visit BalanceBar.com. You can also find the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

In addition you can check out J.R. Watkins at www.JRWatkins.com. They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too.

You can get more Spring Cleaning tips at the Balance Bar / Watkins Twitter party. Here are the details.

Twitter party

I also have a giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a Spring Cleaning giveaway featuring;

  • A variety Of Balance Bars in the following flavors: Dark Chocolate Peanut, Dark Chocolate Crunch and Dark Chocolate Coconut
  • J.R. Watkins White Tea & Bamboo All Purpose Cleaner
  • J.R. Watkins White Tea & Bamboo Hand Soap

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on March 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me if you are planning on doing some spring cleaning? Do you ever spring clean your diet? How do you make sure to enjoy healthy snacks year round?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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