Harvest Time!

Homegrown Table Grapes

Homegrown Table Grapes

We have always enjoyed fresh local produce, whether from a CSA, farmers market or, for the past few years, generous friends and family.  It’s hard to motivate myself to plant when we already have consumed more than our share of zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers!

Each year, there seems to be a standout among the fresh produce.  At least for me, personally.  Last year I couldn’t get enough of the tomatoes!  Although they are just as tasty this year, and I’ve eaten just as many, I have a different obsession: grapes.

A few years ago my parents planted a grape vine they ordered online from Rolling River Nursery, which is a great source for organic starts.  I can’t believe grapes even grow in the high desert, USDA Hardiness Zone 7a (0F to 5F). It has flourished, and this year there have been almost too many to eat.  I don’t mind the many clusters that have made it to our house, and our girls love them too!

Schwinn The Biking Game Review and Giveaway!

scwhinngameIt was a rainy, cold afternoon in May (a sad reality of life in the upper Midwest) when I found myself in the unfortunate situation of refereeing a screeching match between two five-year-olds and a six-year-old. Then I remembered…May is National Bicycle Month and we recently received a copy of Schwinn The Biking Board Game! I stumbled to the game closet, barely getting the box down before an entire room of my home was destroyed by maniacal, possibly cannibalistic, little girls.

“Hey guys, do you want to play a new game?”

I held my breath as they regarded me with suspicion.

“It’s about bikes”.

That did it. They were hooked.

Product Review and Giveaway: I See Me personalized children’s book

The personalized I See Me book my five-year-old, Katie, received recently entitled ‘Katie Can Change The World’ might be one of the most delightful things I’ve ever seen. Katie has asked to read this book every other day since she received it two months ago. She loves searching for her name throughout the book and pointing out her favorite details on each page. Maybe it’s the beautiful and endearing illustrations or maybe it’s the message (spread loving kindness as far as you can), but somehow I haven’t grown tired of this book yet either.  i-can-change-the-world-personalized-book-4

I was amazed at the large assortment of personalized items available for purchase on the I See Me website. Besides books of all types (for babies, toddlers, big sisters and brothers, etc.,) I See Me offers personalized placemats, growth charts, stickers, even lunch boxes. You can choose an item based on a theme (fairies, dinosaurs, farm, etc.,), holiday, age or gender. Or just do what I did and spend way too much time ogling each and every beautiful item and planning out gifts for nieces, nephews and my friend’s kids for the next 5 years.

Product Review: Bitty Foods Cricket Flour

Bitty Foods Cricket Flour and Cookies


1lb bag of baking flour blend

Ever since the United Nations published a report in 2013 touting the massive benefits of edible insect consumption and urging Western Nations to get on board, interest in the subject has surged. You are probably thinking “Has it?  I hadn’t noticed”.  As a former biologist and insect lover (aka:nerd) I have definitely noticed this particular trend and apparently so has Bitty Foods.

Bitty Food’s mission, according to their website, is simple. “We make delicious foods with cricket flour”. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of their products. The idea of eating insects as a source of protein is something I have been interested in and excited about for some time now and I was delighted to receive a bag of baking flour blend and a package of cookies from Bitty Foods. At $20 per pound for the flour blend and $10 for a bag of cookies, it’s not cheap. I was curious to find out if their products were worth the money.

Product Review: JAWS Cleaners

JAWS Just Add Water System

Just Add Water System

Just Add Water System

We recently received a JAWS – Just Add Water System Complete Home Cleaning Kit to review. JAWS uses reusable spray bottles and little cartridges of highly concentrated cleaning ingredients. You just fill the spray bottles with water and all you need to buy after investing in your first set is the cartridges of cleaning solution.

We tried all four — Shower, Hardwood, Kitchen and Glass. In terms of efficacy, these products are good. My favorite was the glass cleaner. I looked online at other reviews and I am not alone. The stuff really works. It’s way better and more effective than Windex or its generic equivalents. My mirrors are all streak-free and I hardly used any of the cleaner.

Fun With Babywearing


Eco-Friendly Kickstarter Campaigns

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Little Lotus Kickstarter campaign, and then it occurred to me that there are probably dozens of sustainable and Eco-friendly campaigns going on right now.  I decided to do a little looking around to find other Kickstarter campaigns going on right now that are worth your consideration.

Aquasana Filter Bottle

Aquasana Filter Bottle

Aquasana Filter Bottle

We reviewed Aquasana’s glass water bottle last year and it is still my favorite glass water bottle. When I heard they were starting a Kickstarter Campaign to design and manufacture a filter bottle, I was excited to check out their idea and support their campaign.

May Unshopping Challenge

Garage Sale Toys

Sorry, Franci!

About once a month, around the time the bills come trickling in, my husband and I have the same conversation. It goes a little something like this:

“I have everything I need right now. There is seriously nothing else I need to buy.”
“Me too! I just bought a pair of shoes and now I really don’t need anything else at all.”

Yet somehow, the next day we find ourselves having an opposite conversation:

“I think our living room could use another side table.”
“Amazon is having a sale on dog toys right now and our dog has almost chewed through the current one.”

Fun With Friends

Fun With Bigfoot

Why Choose Cacao Over Cocoa?

"The Nourishing Food That Aids Digestion"

“The Nourishing Food That Aids Digestion”

They come from the same plant and look the same when powdered, but are Cacao and Cocoa the same thing?  Both are derived from the dried and fermented seed that comes from the Theobroma cacao tree, from which we also get cocoa butter. Are there any other differences?

Cacao beans naturally contain fiber, sulfur, essential fatty acids and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc.  They also contain  phenylethylamine and anandamide, which keep you alert and make you feel happy.

Cacao and cocoa powder rate high on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, often being scored in the top 10, which means it is a good source of antioxidants.  Like most “nutrient powerhouses”, the more processing done to the cacao beans, the less benefits they retain.