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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smelly Washer Review

Let me first say that I looooove my front loading washer and dryer, which is important since I do laundry on a daily basis for our humble family of 6! Unfortunately, no matter what I do, from time to time that yucky, mildew-esque, wet-dog kind of funk develops despite my best efforts to thoroughly dry it out at the end of the day.

Smelly Washer is an all natural product that is designed to clean your washer from the inside out. Formulated from citrus-based ingredients, Smelly Washer helps kill odor-causing bacteria and remove the residue that builds up on your washing machine over time (you know, the stuff responsible for that very unpleasant smell we discussed?). The best part is that it's super simple to use! Just add 1 cap of Smelly Washer into your detergent dispenser and turn the machine on for 2 minutes on the hot water setting. Then stop the washer and allow it to soak overnight. In the morning, complete your cycle and revel in the clean look and smell of your machine! After the initial treatment, you only need 1 tsp. of Smelly Washer in your machine each month to keep it squeaky clean, which means one bottle should last you a year or longer! Even better still, it works for both front and top loading machines.

I definitely noticed a difference in my washer after the first use. Not only was the stinky smell gone, but the little gunky build up around the rubber gasket in front vanished!

You can purchase your own Smelly Washer for only $16.99 HERE...not too shabby for over a year's worth of clean!

** Disclosure: I received a bottle of Smelly Washer for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. The views expressed in this post are solely my own and based on my own personal experience with this product.

Why Won't Our Boys Read?

Having trouble getting your boys to read? Check out this wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal titled "How to Raise Boys Who Read (Hint: Not with gross-out books and video game bribes)". Though not entirely surprising information, it's a good read and reinforces what most moms of boys already know deep down...the reading gender gap between boys and girls these days is due less to the content of reading material and more to the amount of time many of our kiddos spend "plugged in" to things like video games and the internet.

My philosophy? If you don't start them on the road to mindless electronic stimulation, they won't be sucked into the timeless vortex that seems to help many children fritter away the day. Enough of my soap box for today...I don't know how long this article will be available on the WSJ website, so be sure to check it out now. It really is great stuff!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Giveaway Time, Baby!

This giveaway is now closed.

And the timing couldn't be better! Now that fall is officially upon us, I know many of my fellow mamas out there have already turned their minds to Christmas and the ever looming Christmas list. I have my own rudimentary version tucked away neatly in my end table as we speak! Luckily for you, my friends over at CSN Stores have graciously offered a $45 gift certificate to one lucky Bullfrogs & Butterflies Baby reader to help you on your way!

For those of you who are new to Bullfrogs & Butterflies Baby (or have just been out of the webby loop for a while), CSN Stores is an amazing collection of over 200 stores with everything from Home Decor & Furniture to Baby & Kids to Pet Supplies! Check out some of my current crushes...

A sweet space for The Bean to create her masterpieces.I already have an adorable set of monogrammed aprons for Bean and her baby doll, but what about some sweet attire for the mama?

The perfect accessory for teaching my little sweetie the secrets behind Ellia C. Naturals amazing products!

I've given you a head start. Now it's time for you to head on over to CSN Stores and tell me what sweet little nugget you just can't do without

To Enter (mandatory):
Visit CSN stores and leave a comment on this post telling me an item that caught your eye. Please include your email or have it visible in your profile (mandatory entry).

For extra entries, do any or all of the following and leave a comment letting me know for each. Make sure to leave your email address if not visible in your profile so I can let you know if you win:

1. Follow my blog with google friend connect (2 extra entries)
2. Follow me on Twitter and leave me your twitter id
3. Tweet about this giveaway mentioning @ElliaCNaturals and leave the link (once per day)
4. Like Ellia C. Naturals on Facebook (our all-natural bath & body shop) and leave your FB id
4. Blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar (2 extra entries)
5. Grab my button and place it on your blog (2 extra entries)

Giveaway ends October 13th. Open to U.S. and Canada. Winner selected by Winner will have 72 hrs. to respond to email notification or alternate winner will be selected.

No compensation or test product was received in exchange for hosting this giveaway (just the opportunity to pass this great prize along to one of you!). Company information provided by CSNstores.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shazaam...A Superhero Bash!

Our sweet Micah Moo turned 3 on Saturday and celebrated with a Superhero sized bash. I had intended to have a separate table for all of our sweet little munchies, but alas, a home with an active 18 month old is not conducive to tables within arms reach...therefore, the kitchen island did admirably as a stand-in (just pretend the background of the kitchen isn't there and I promise it will look amazing in your head!). Here's a little peek into the fun!

Superhero inspired sweets

Delicious cuppies with superhero fondant toppers by KidsCakes and lollie style cupcake toppers by Moi

Thanks to Party Box Design for the inspiration behind this yummy london broil. I topped it with caramelized onions, fresh flat leaf parsley, and crumbled gorgonzola...mmmmm. It was served along side some crusty ciabatta rolls and other cold delights as part of our "Superhero Sammies" station.

Our Power Punch consisted of pink lemonade laced with star shaped ice cubes in superhero blue (blueberry pomegranate Gatorade) and red (apple raspberry fruit juice).

All of the kiddos received party favors consisting of X-Ray Vision Goggles (swim goggles on clearance at an end of summer sale), Marvel Comics stickers & temporary tattoos, Spiderman fruit snacks, and a levitation lollie and candy kryptonite of their own :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Food For Thought

The way a parent
lives her life
is an instruction manual
for her children.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Sweet Little Gift Set

Introducing our Slice-O-Suds Gift Set: 1-5 oz. bar of artisan cold processed soap and a natural, hand carved soap deck to let it fully drain between uses. Perfect for a hostess gift, special thank you, or starter set for the new bar soap convert!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Soapy Sweets for Fall & Winter

Be sure to stop by and check out our limited edition of Fall & Winter cold processed soaps. They're super yummy for your nose and decadent for your skin! Many of these blends are also available in our body wash, creamy milk bath, and body meringue.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Food For Thought

The best inheritance
parents can give to their children
is a few minutes of their time
each day.

~ M. Grundler

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Princess Bible {Review}

Although my Little Bean is still a bit young, I am looking forward to sharing the My Princess Bible by Andy Holmes with her in the next few years. More of an introductory storybook than an actual Bible, My Princess Bible introduces young girls to 19 influential, real-life women from the Bible.

Each woman is depicted as a princess, not because of earthly royal lineage, but because she is a daughter of the Heavenly King. Stories are told through rhythmic rhymes and give an overview of the significance of each princess in the Bible. I like that the illustrations show a multicultural depiction of modern day children as princesses, though the illustrations of the actual Biblical women are not as diverse. The author does a good job of imparting to the little girl reader that she is special and seen as a princess because she was created by God, as well as some basic information about some very influential women of the Bible. The last story in the book is taken from Psalm 139, a key passage on how God created us and how special we are to Him.

My Princess Bible can be purchased from the Tyndale publishing house for $12.99. What a wonderful way to remind a special little girl in your life about how treasured she is this upcoming Holiday season!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fun With "Blocks"

Improvisation at its finest! Playing with "Blocks :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Skin Essentials

People often think of their skin as a utilitarian covering that holds all of the important stuff inside the body. In reality, the skin itself is the largest organ of the body and functions as quite a work horse. Because of daily exposure to the elements and the repercussions of some of things people put into and do to their bodies, skin requires a little TLC from time to time.

While it's not necessary to spend an inordinate amount of time on your skin care routine, it's important to take care of your skin, just as you would any other part of your body. Here are some great tips for keeping your skin healthy and happy.

1. Cleanse - No big shock here. In order to keep anything looking great, you need to keep it clean (unless, of course, you're going for a nice patina, but I'm guessing that's not the goal you had in mind for your skin!). The biggest thing to consider here is what you use to cleanse. Soaps and cleansers with harsh chemicals and loads of synthetic additives (including fragrances and dyes) can not only irritate the skin, they can also strip it of its natural (healthy) oils and cause damage. I'm a huge proponent of products that contain ingredients that I can both pronounce and find naturally occurring in our environment (vs. being formulated or produced in a lab). That being said, you need to be careful even with "all natural" cleansers. Essential oils and herbs are not all created equal and are not automatically safe for everyone. Be sure to consult a professional if you are pregnant, nursing, using the product on children, are allergic to certain ingredients, or have underlying health conditions.

2. Take a break - The entire body is capable of showing signs of stress, including your skin. When the body doesn't get enough rest, it shows. Not just in your facial expressions or tone of voice, but in the texture and color of your skin. Remember to take some "me time" every day and your skin will thank you for it!

3. Get Your Groove On - Exercise is not only key for weight loss and energy release, it's also crucial for keeping that healthy glow. When we exercise, our bodies work to flush our pores, fight acne, and increase collagen production. For those questioning the acne piece, stress increases the level of certain hormones in our bodies which can be linked to problems with acne. The endorphines released with exercise help to decrease stress, which leads to a decrease in the release of these acne influencing hormones.

4. Water, Water, Water - While good nutrition is obviously recommended, being well hydrated is essential for maintaining a soft, supple complexion. It also helps to plump the skin, which naturally helps to decrease the appearance of fine lines!

5. Nutrition - Hand in hand with adequate hydration is the importance of good nutrition. Your body is a function of the fuel you give it, including your skin. Good fuel in equals optimal performance!

6. Quality Sleep - Our bodies do most of their recovery at night as we sleep. The importance of adequate quantities of quality sleep cannot be understated!

7. Sunblock - Nowadays, it goes without saying that sun exposure is damaging to the skin. According to researchers, it takes a minimum of SPF15 to really benefit the skin. While using sunscreen is advisable, using a quality sunblock is even better. Sunblock provides broad spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB rays, sunscreen does not.

8. Exfoliate - We lose startling numbers of dead skin cells daily. If not whisked away, they can clog pores and make a mess of our skin. Gentle exfoliation, either with a product designed for such a task or by gently buffing the skin with a face cloth will help to clear the surface of your skin and keep pores clean.

* There are many ways to ensure good skin and a clear complexion. This list is not intended to be exclusive, nor is it intended as advice for the prevention, treatment, cure, or diagnosis of any skin or other medical conditions. As always, follow with a qualified health professional if you have any unusual issues related to your overall health.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Food For Thought

Children are our
most valuable natural resource.

~ Herbert Hoover

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Super Sale!

Image by KR Beauty Therapy

Get in now on a sweet treat for your feet! We've reformulated the essential oil blend for our popular Pedi On The Go solid foot butter bar and need to make room in the studio. This is a limited quantity sale of our previous formulation. Once they're gone, they're gone!

Stop by today to get yours for only $6 per bar. That's 25% off the regular price!

Bento, Baby!

Image by Japan It Up

Let me be the first to say that I do not have our household completely "green" by any stretch of the imagination. I still buy some of our snack foods packaged individually. I still keep non-organic cleaners with chemicals I would rather avoid locked away for those really tough jobs that my organic or homemade cleaners just don't seem to get. I still use throw away napkins when I'm certain my reusable ones won't make it back home (school lunch, field trips, family outings that last all day). That being said, I try to be conscientious of our environment and the waste we create in many, many ways.

Recently, I've been enamoured with the whole Japanese-inspired Bento style of packing lunches. In a very simplified nutshell, the idea is to pack food in such a way that it is pleasing to the eye, appetizing, and incredibly waste-reducing. Through some of my super sweet buddies on Twitter, I was introduced to another lunch, my new favorite go-to spot for great lunch ideas for my littles. Melissa has such creative ideas for making lunch and snack times yummy, fun, and eco-friendly!

I'm a firm believer in good nutrition throughout the day and feel better about the lunches and snacks my kiddos eat if I know exactly what ingredients are in them. Needless to say, we pack rather than buy when eating at school (and, truth be told, my kids prefer it that way). In an effort to cut down on waste (AKA: plastic baggies, etc..), I decided to pack today's lunch "Bento-style" (just for clarification, while Bento is a name brand for a certain style of meal packing box, it is also used generically to refer to the style of packing meals).

After I packed the basic box (which was a Lock-n-Lock box vs. a brand name Bento Box or Laptop Lunch Box), I put a folded napkin over the food and layered the yogurt tube and wheat crackers (in their reusable snack bag!) on top...double decker delights! I also tucked in a little chocolate square for dessert :) If this were a fully "green" lunch, the yogurt and applesauce would have been bought in bulk (vs. individually wrapped) and spooned into their own cup/container. However, my first grader's new lunch box from California Innovations (which I love!) stands upright rather than laying flat (not good for semi-liquid goodies).

I popped on the lid with its rubber gasket, added a sweet note, and got a big "awesome!" from my little guy :) I have my eye on some super cute mini alphabet steel cookie cutters that I'm planning to use to up the fun factor in lunches to come!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How Do You Live?

* Video compliments of You Tube

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Food For Thought

Money often costs too much.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gifts to Grow Galore!

As you can tell, I'm all about the Gifts to Grow codes. Having had one wee one or another in Pampers for the past 6 years, I've earned a number of nice freebies just for logging codes that come with the diapers I already purchase out of necessity. Here are a couple of big-uns for you fellow collectors :)

Enter the following codes in your Gifts to Grow account:

Sepfacebook2010 - 10 points
HangOn2Summer20 - 20 points
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