Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where would I be without my sponsors? Last day to enter the blogiversary giveaway

Today is the last day to enter The Big 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway with a prize package valued at over $500! If you haven't entered yet, what are you waiting for? 

I had some really great sponsors for this giveaway, and for that, I'm grateful. I've already given you some insight into some of the prizes and sponsors. I featured Funkins on Friday and interviews with Katie Vance of Wise Wife Soaps on Tuesday and Will Reynolds Young of SKINourishment on Thursday.

Tomorrow, I'll be reviewing some products by Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. We have a $25 gift certificate to Ava Anderson included in the prize package. There's also a $25 gift certificate to Happy Baby Company, which is local to Pittsburgh, but they have a great website as well, and will happily ship merchandise to the winner.

I also decided to throw in a $50 VISA gift card and a couple of copies of my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS (one for the winner, one for a friend). Other books in the giveaway include my friend, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino's PERCOLATE. I'm part way through the book right now and am loving it! Elizabeth is sending two books as well -- one for the winner and one for sharing. Elizabeth exudes generosity and does her best to make sure everyone around her is the best ever, too. Just visit her community, The Best Ever You, to see what I mean.

There are also two books for the kiddos in the prize package, as award winning children's author, 
Lynne Dempsey, is sending a copy of both of her books to the winner. Her first book, TAKE THE DOG OUT, just won the prestigious Readers' Favorite 2014 International Book Awards! Congratulations, Lynne. Also included is her second book, TAKE THE DOG OUT: NUMBERS.

In addition to the basket of goodies from Wise Wife Soaps, there are a few other collections in the prize package. SoapBox Soaps is sending a trio of products including a bar of soap, liquid hand soap, and a body wash. I reviewed their products a couple of months ago. Click here to find out what I think of their soaps and their company.

Natural Products Network has offered to send a mystery basket of natural beauty products valued at $50. How much fun is that? In addition to all the other goodies the winner will receive, they'll get one package in the mail that will be like a birthday present -- surprises inside!

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention a company whose mamas have been one of my biggest supporters throughout the past five years -- Earth Mama Angel Baby® . When I told them it was my blogiversary, they didn't hesitate to offer something for the prize package. The lucky winner will receive the Herbal First Aid Bundle from EMAB. 

The Herbal First Aid Bundle includes
  • Organic Milkmaid Tea (perfect for bouts of gas, bloating, heartburn, or indigestion whether you're pregnant, nursing, or neither)
  • Natural Nipple Butter (great for rashes anywhere on the body or even as a lip balm)
  • Angel Baby Bottom Balm (they even tout this as good for new tattoos, so creativity is the key if you want to use this on anything else but your baby's bottom)
  • New Mama Bottom Spray (spray away the sting of shaving, sunburn, whatever... while perfect for a new mama after delivery, it's perfect for a whole lot more)
  •  Happy Mama Spray (great at fending off nausea, but I keep it on my desk to spray throughout the day because, hey, it just makes me happy!)
  • Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler (four teas guaranteed to treat whatever ails you -- within reason, of course)
  • All packaged in a lovely organic cotton tote
This bundle alone makes entering a no brainer.

The fun doesn't stop here. The prize package also includes goodies from HankyBook, Holistic Parenting Magazine, Petbrosia, and Eat Cleaner

What a way to celebrate 5 years of sharing myself with you, the best of the best when it comes to blog communities. Good luck with the giveaway, everyone. I wish I could pull an Oprah and give everything to everybody, but, let's face it... I'm not Oprah. But for one of you, I just might resemble Santa Claus! Click here for your chance to win.

Ever thankful for my sponsors and all of you,


Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway -- Valued at over $665!

Welcome to the Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway hosted by The Parenting Patch with co-hosts Conservamom, Mommy by Nurture, Foster Ducklings, Thinking About Cloth Diapers, Healthy Baby Beans and Fields of Flavor, Mommy of Two, Mama in the Now, A Sensible Mama, Tales from a Southern Mom, Not Quite Crunchy Mommy, Karen's Got Mail, That's Mashed Up, Our Piece of Earth, Another Cent Saved, According to Carolyn, This West Coast Mommy, and Green Grandma

James and Heather, a husband and wife team, launched The Parenting Patch: Where Parents Grow on September 15, 2011. Even more excitingly, The Parenting Patch family is expecting baby number two in late October or early November. In honor of the third anniversary of the website and the impending arrival of a second baby, The Parenting Patch is hosting a huge baby shower giveaway.  

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Stone 

The Lillebaby Complete All Seasons baby carrier from Lillebaby offers more carrying positions, lasts longer, and includes more features than any other baby carrier on the market. The All Seasons features an adjustable center panel. Zip up for warmth and zip down to reveal cool, breathable, 3D mesh. One lucky winner will receive one (1) Lillebaby Complete All Seasons baby carrier. (Actual product color may vary depending on availability.) (Retail value $135) 

Pretty Mommies Three-Step System 

The Pretty Mommies Three-Step System from Pretty Mommies includes four ounces of Let’s Be Clear Facial Cleanser, two ounces of Truth Be Told Skin Brightener, and two ounces of Protect & Reflect SPF 30. All Pretty Mommies products are free from formaldehyde, paraben, phthalate, dimethicone, petroleum, sulfate, phenoxyethanol, oxybenzone, artificial fragrance, and colorants. For more information, check out the Pretty Mommies Three-Step Maternity Skin Care System Review from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive one (1) Pretty Mommies Three-Step System. (Retail value $119) 

Buttons Diapers Trial Pack 

The Trial Pack from Buttons Diapers includes one (1) one-size diaper cover and three (3) daytime inserts. Buttons Diapers is an all-in-two diaper with two sizes of snap-in inserts. For more information, check out the Buttons Diapers Review from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive two (2) Buttons Diapers Trial Packs. (Retail value $42) 

Baby Butz Cream 

Baby Butz Cream from Baby Butz is the safest and most effective diaper rash cream available without a prescription. The only ingredients in the cream are zinc oxide, corn starch, lanolin, and petrolatum. For more information, check out the Baby Butz Cream Review from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive one (1) four-ounce jar of Baby Butz Cream. (Retail value $12.99) 

Pink Lemonade Shop 

Pink Lemonade Shop is offering one lucky winner one (1) $25 gift card to the PLS website. To learn about the cloth pads available from PLS, check out the Pink Lemonade Mama Cloth Review from The Parenting Patch. For more information or to make a purchase, visit the Pink Lemonade Shop website. You can also follow Pink Lemonade on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram


Sponsored by Kissed by the Moon, WubbaNub is a BPA-free pacifier made of medical grade silicone that includes a soft plush portion that provides comfort to the touch. The plush portion also allows for easier manipulation by little hands. One lucky winner will receive one (1) WubbaNub in choice of in-stock animal. (Retail value $12.99 or $13.49) 


Oko Creations Hooded Baby Bath Towel 

The hooded baby bath towel from Oko Creations is a beautiful towel with a delicately printed hood that gently wraps baby after each bath. Made with superior quality organic terry cotton, the hooded towel is soft, thick, and highly absorbent. One lucky winner will receive one (1) Oko Creations hooded baby bath towel in choice of color/print. (Retail value $43) 

BabyKicks BabyKicks is a family owned and operated business located on the beautiful eastern shore of Maryland. Since beginning in October 2000, the company has been dedicated to designing and making modern cloth diapers and baby accessories with the best natural and organic materials available. One lucky winner will receive one (1) BabyKicks Premium Pocket Diaper in choice of in stock color and closure and one (1) package of BabyKicks washies. (Retail value $37.45) 

Small Wahmies Wet Bag 
and Diaper Safari One-Size Blue Cover 

 Zephyr Hill Blog is providing one (1) small Wahmies wet bag and one (1) Diaper Safari one-size blue cover to one lucky winner. (Retail value $18.90) 

Spray Pal 

Frustrated with your cloth diaper sprayer because you are forced to wipe down the bathroom every time you spray a diaper? Save time and keep your bathroom clean with Spray Pal, the cloth diaper sprayer splatter shield. One lucky winner will receive one (1) Spray Pal. (Retail value $25) 

 Feeding Baby: A Cookbook  

Feeding Baby: A Cookbook offers simple approaches for raising a healthy baby creating a lifetime of adventurous eating. Feeding Baby is more than a cookbook, providing parents with a trusted parenting resource empowering parents to teach taste by adding herbs and mild spices to baby food; encourage self-feeding skills and self-regulation recognition. One lucky winner will win one (1) signed copy of Feeding Baby by Clancy Cash Harrison. (Retail value $19.99) 

Allen's Naturally 

 The liquid laundry detergent from Allen's Naturally cleans clothes thoroughly yet is gentle on fabrics leaving virtually no residue or perfume that can irritate sensitive skin. One lucky winner will receive one (1) gallon of Allen’s Naturally liquid laundry detergent and one (1) dispensing pump. (Retail value $47.45) 


Nicki's Diapers Gift Certificate  

Give It Love is providing one lucky winner with one (1) $25 gift certificate to Nicki's Diapers. (Retail value $25) 

Imagine One-Size Pocket Diaper 

The Parenting Patch is providing one (1) one-size Imagine pocket diaper in marigold (yellow) with two (2) one-size Imagine inserts to one lucky winner. (Retail value $12.95) 

Petunia Pickle Bottom Cross Town Clutch 

The Parenting Patch is also providing one (1) Petunia Pickle Bottom Cross Town Clutch in Brilliant Brussels to one lucky winner. (Retail value $90) 

Eddie Bauer Sling & Hip Carrier 

The Parenting Patch is also providing one (1) Eddie Bauer Sling & Hip Carrier to one lucky winner. (Retail value $29.95) 

Philips Avent Natural Bottle 

The Parenting Patch is also providing one (1) Philips Avent Natural Bottle to one lucky reader. (Retail value $7.25) 

One lucky reader of The Parenting Patch and the other participating blogs will win one (1) baby shower prize pack valued at $665+ that includes the following amazing prizes:
  • One (1) Lillebaby Complete All Seasons baby carrier (Retail value $135)
  • One (1) Pretty Mommies Three-Step System (Retail value $119)
  • Two (2) Buttons Diapers Trial Packs (Retail value $42)
  • One (1) four-ounce jar of Baby Butz Cream (Retail value $12.99)
  • One (1) $25 Pink Lemonade Shop gift card
  • One (1) WubbaNub in choice of in-stock animal (Retail value $12.99 or $13.49)
  • One (1) Oko Creations hooded baby bath towel in choice of color/print (Retail value $43)
  • One (1) BabyKicks Premium Pocket Diaper in choice of in stock color and closure and one (1) package of BabyKicks washies (Retail value $37.45)
  • One (1) small Wahmies wet bag and one (1) Diaper Safari one-size blue cover (Retail value $18.90)
  • One (1) Spray Pal (Retail value $25)
  • One (1) signed copy of Feeding Baby: A Cookbook by Clancy Cash Harrison. (Retail value $19.99)
  • One (1) gallon of Allen’s Naturally liquid laundry detergent and one (1) dispensing pump (Retail value $47.45)
  • One (1) $25 Nicki’s Diapers gift certificate
  • One (1) one-size Imagine pocket diaper in yellow with two (2) one-size Imagine inserts (Retail value $12.95)
  • One (1) Petunia Pickle Bottom Cross Town Clutch in Brilliant Brussels (Retail value $90)
  • One (1) Eddie Bauer Sling & Hip Carrier (Retail value $29.95)
  • One (1) Philips Avent Natural Bottle (Retail value $7.25)

To enter for your chance to win the Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway, simply use the following entry form. And please offer a huge thanks to the sponsors, co-hosts, and participating blogs of the Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway! Good luck!  

The Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States of America. The Fall Fluff Baby Shower Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on September 30, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be sent an email and will have forty-eight hours to respond. If no response is received within forty-eight hours, another winner will be chosen. The Parenting Patch and the other sponsors are responsible for prize fulfillment.

Aging at home... walk-in tubs and other options for you or your parents

Disclosure: The following is a sponsored post paid for by Premier Care Bathing.

I love to take baths, but without a walk-in tub, getting in and out of the tub isn't always easy.

When my husband died at the age of 34, I promised myself I'd never complain about getting old. Now that I'm in my mid-to-late 50s, that promise is challenged time and time again. The fact is, sometimes it's not a lot of fun getting old. For me, walking is an issue, due to chronic illnesses. I live in a two-story house with a laundry room in the basement. That's a lot of steps.

I've had to make some adjustments to accommodate my aging legs. Since I often work late into the night, it made more sense for my office to be on the second floor in the room beside my bedroom. I have a water cooler in the hallway, along with a coffee maker and a wide assortment of teas, so I'm able to stay hydrated throughout the day and night without walking down the stairs. And, of course, my bathtub is just steps away. 

I am a huge fan of long, hot baths. Of course, my husband and I are a bit concerned that the day will come when I won't be able to step into or out of our current bathtub, so we're considering replacing it with a walk-in tub, like the ones shown here from Premier Care:



These types of walk-in tubs make it possible for people like me to continue to enjoy the luxury of baths if the time comes when it is impossible to step over the side of a tub into or out of a bath. 

Of course, there are also shower options for those who prefer showers.


I watched as my aging mother managed to stay in her home until her death last year. She was 86 and also had trouble walking, particularly when it came to stairs. When she was considering selling her home and moving to a one story home in a retirement community about 10 years ago, I suggested she put in a chair lift instead. The next week, I called home and she said she couldn't talk to me... the installers were there putting in a chair lift! 

You see, it's important for many people to be able to stay in their homes. That's why it's equally as important to look into options so they can do just that. By putting in a chair lift, or a walk-in tub or shower, you are able to maintain some independence in your later years. Of course, I'm barely in my later years, but there are many younger people like me, who have chronic pain issues or conditions that need some modifications to their homes. 

It's also possible that you are a young mom reading this (as most of you are in the GG community) and this whole concept seems far, far off into the future. But... you most likely have parents who are facing some of these issues. Why not talk to them about it? They just might be struggling with decisions they don't want to make and a simple suggestion like this might ease their minds. Open up the dialogue and find out what they're thinking. It will be your gift to them. Show them the pictures. Check out Premier Care's website

The Premier Care baths offer strength, security, and most of all, peace of mind. Not only will a Premier Care bath or shower give you or a loved one safe and easy access for bathing, but they do so stylishly as well. 

From what I can tell, Premier Care pays special attention to the unique needs of their customers.  These needs can be challenging, but Premier Care does all it can to exceed your expectations. Visit the website and fill out a form to receive a free brochure and learn about their payment plans (some as low as $150 per month).

That's just my suggestion. I know my independence is important to me, and it was important to my mom. I'm glad she was able to live her life as independent as possible. For that, I am most grateful.

Presenting some options for those who are aging,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The dicotomy of GMOs and healthy food

Image by Anna Langova

You cannot insert a gene 
you took from a bacteria 
into a seed 
and call it life. 
You haven't created life, 
instead you have only polluted it.

~Vandana Shiva

Friday, August 29, 2014

IOTUT: The value of packing a waste-free lunch

I swear these weeks go way too fast. Here we are at Friday already. This is the last installment of Instead of This, Use This for the month. It's hard to believe that next week will be the first Friday of September, which means it will be another Vinegar Friday!

In the meantime, I thought it would be good to highlight one of my sponsors for The Big 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway going on NOW. If you haven't entered yet, I assure you, you'll want to. The prize package, valued at over $500 is amazing, thanks to the 16 generous sponsors.

I'd never heard of Funkins until Lisa Baumgartner, Founder and CEO, contacted me from the company to let me know they'd like to offer a prize for my giveaway. I checked out the company and was really pleased with what I saw. With the start of the school year, packed lunches and wastefulness is on a lot of parents' minds. But how can you significantly cut down on disposables in your kiddo's lunch box? Cloth napkins are an obvious choice, but your 5th grader doesn't want to be made fun of because he's toting around one of Mom's fancy cloth napkins, right? Well, Funkins are the answer! 

 There are baseballs

and kitties.


and owls.

There are even Funkins that will make your little ones 
(and maybe even you)
break out in song.

Do you want to build a snowman?

What can I say? These are adorable and the perfect way to cut down on school lunchtime waste, don't you think? 

Here's a quick video about the reasons why it's important to pack a waste-free lunch.

So, see how easy it is and how much of difference it makes? Instead of disposable products, pack your kids lunches with reusables like Funkins. That's being kind to the environment... and to your wallet. 

Presenting earth-friendly alternatives,

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