Healthy Snacks: Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins

Disclaimer: I received samples from the Naturally Savvy blogger program. Learn more at: Naturally Savvy http://naturallysavvy.com/

Time for a healthy snack. Hmmm…nuts or crackers?
How about both!
I just tried Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins.
These just might be THE crunchiest crackers I have ever eaten. They would be great with soft spreads or creamy dips and would DEFINITELY not get soggy!
The Nut Thins do NOT melt in your mouth like buttery crackers.
If you want something super-crunchy they will satisfy your cravings.
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There are three options:
1. Sesame Seeds are paired with brown rice and almonds in this baked cracker. The gluten-free Sesame Seed Artisan Nut Thins provide three grams of fiber with every serving.

2. Multi-Seed Artisan Nut Thins are made from brown rice, almonds, and six kinds of seeds (quinoa, flax, millet, amaranth, sesame, and black sesame). They have 21 grams of whole-grains per serving.

3. Flax Seed Artisan Nut Thins combine brown rice and almonds baked into a cracker. You get 400 mg of ALA omega-3 per serving.
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Learn more on on the Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins page: http://www.bluediamond.com/index.cfm?navid=677

Each box has 4 servings (at 130 calories per serving), so you don’t have to worry about portion distortion (as in a huge bag of chips).
What is YOUR favorite topping for crackers?

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Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes

Making “S’mores” is a quintessential summer activity. We always bring graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars when we go camping so we can melt up some gooey treats around the campfire. The S’mores experience is hard to replicate, but the flavors can be captured in other goodies. I just tried S’mores Kandy Bar Kakes from the Tastykake® company.
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There is a graham-flavored cake and a marshmallow-flavored layer of frosting that is enrobed in a chocolate coating. It’s like S’mores-on-the go (no campsite required)!
This is what the inside looks like:
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The chocolate coating is super. I would have preferred a thicker marshmallow layer (frosting, after all, is my favorite food); however, overall, it was a delicious dessert.
I would recommend cutting the bar into 2 or 3 pieces to serve kids. I would also suggest freezing it and eating it right out of the freezer (sort of like an ice cream bar).
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Kandy Bar Kakes are available in S’mores, Peppermint, and Peanut Butter flavors.
Learn more at the Tastykake® website:
http://www.tastykake.com/
The Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes are sold at grocery and convenience stores across America, in boxes or individually.

Which flavor would you like to try?
What’s YOUR favorite summer treat?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample for testing and review purposes.
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Coincidentally (while on the subject of S’mores), Dairy Queen just announced that S’mores Blizzard® Treat is its Blizzard® of the Month and will be available all summer long at DQ®!

Playing Games for a Good Cause

There is a fun new site–GoodGames.org–that lets users earn donations for worthwhile causes simply by playing online games.
Users simply go to www.goodgames.org and choose from a list of 109,000 nonprofits and schools (or add their own); then earn donations for their favorite cause when they play top quality online games.
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Goodgames features a range of great online games, including Mahjongg Dimensions, Klondike Solitaire, Trizzle and more. Playing any of them will help earn donations.
With over 113 million Americans playing 50 million hours of casual online games a DAY, Goodgames could raise over $ 1 billion a year for charitable causes!
Goodsearch, the parent company of Goodgames, has already donated nearly $10 million to causes nationwide through their supporters’ simple daily actions–such as web searching, shopping online, dining out, and taking surveys.

So, let’s all play some games!!
Which causes will YOU choose?

Melissa & Doug Easter Shop and Giveaway

Melissa & Doug’s Easter Shop is Open!
You know all kids would love an Easter basket filled with bunny rabbits, lambs, classic toys, and other sweet surprises!
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Pick out your favorite Easter toys here:
http://www.melissaanddoug.com/top-easter-toys-for-kids?utm_source=Shopatron+Email+Marketing&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Top+Easter+Toys+-+Easter+Shop&utm_content=osullivanrobin22%40gmail.com&utm_campaign=030613+Blogger+Email+-+Easter+Shop+is+Open

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Even better?
Melissa & Doug is providing a lucky winner from their community with $200 to spend toward toys in the Easter Shop!
It’s easy to enter at this link:
http://ymlp.com/xgmmwqyqgmgqh

What’s YOUR favorite Easter basket surprise??

Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition Presented by Pureology

Every child deserves a learning environment that’s safe, healthy, and optimal for learning. Unfortunately, many schools across the country are subjecting children to unhealthy classrooms with poor lighting, inefficient energy usage, or harmful toxins. When a school goes green, children AND the environment benefit!

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Sustainability is important to Pureology. To improve student performance and reduce the carbon footprint of schools, Pureology is offering a Green School Makeover to one Grand Prize Winner. You could win this for your local school when you enter the contest.
You can nominate a school here:
http://www.pureology.com/GreenSchools

And learn more about Pureology at their website:
http://bit.ly/VzWAQh

I put in a submission for our local elementary school, because I want optimal health for our kids and our land. The funds could be used for water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficient upgrades, and more.
Do you have ideas for how your local school can go green?

Fight Flu Symptoms with Oscillococcinum

Fatigue? Headaches? Body aches? Chills and fever? Not fun. There is a homeopathic medicine that can help: Oscillococcinum. When taken at the first sign of flu-like symptoms, it has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the duration and severity of these symptoms.
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It is safe for everybody two years of age and older.
I like that the sweet, melting pellets do not require chewing or swallowing…and there are no side effects (no drowsiness)!

You can follow @OscilloUSA on Twitter
Learn more and download a coupon at http://www.oscillo.com/
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary 6-dose box of Oscillococcinum for review purposes from Naturally Savvy: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/

Keep it Together with the LunchBlox™ Kit!

The kind people at Rubbermaid sent me a new LunchBlox™ Sandwich Kit.
It’s a set of BPA-free containers that snap together, so you can efficiently use the space in your lunch box or bag.
There is a Blue Ice™ pack to keep everything chilled.
It’s convenient and much more organized than tossing everything in my bag (as I used to do).

Some of my favorite healthy foods to pack in the LunchBlox™ Kit are
–Jicama, carrot, and celery sticks
–Spinach/hummus wraps
–Fresh blueberries
–Whole grain crackers
–Greek yogurt dip with basil

I would love to get one for each of my family members!
You can find all the details at
http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP092020

Happy lunching!

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

My grandma always made oatmeal cookies when we went to visit her in Connecticut.
The kitchen would smell heavenly when we stormed in to give her big hugs.
I’ve never been able to replicate the deliciousness of her warm cookies—and now, as a mom but not yet a grandmom, I don’t seem to have time to bake my own cookies as often as I would like.
I was excited to try Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies!


I won’t try to convince you that they are as fantastic as my grandma’s cookies.
You can tell they are store-bought, not homemade…but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. As far as packaged cookies go, they passed my tests.
I loved the texture; the kids loved the taste.
I appreciated fact that they are made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats; they are low in fat (6 g per serving); and they are a good source of fiber.
The kids liked the “plumpy” raisins.

I had no trouble devouring an entire cookie, but a single package is actually rather large for a child.
So, you might want to split one between two children.
Aside from that, I was pleased with the product and look forward to trying the other flavors—Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Almond, Cranberry & Yogurt, and Banana Nut.

You can find Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of 6 cookies.

When I’m a grandma myself maybe I’ll have more time to bake big soft cookies, but for now I’ll lean on Quaker for a bit of assistance!

(disclosure: a complimentary Quaker cookie sample was provided to me by Influenster for testing and review purposes for the Mom VoxBox).

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!

Ecover Zero Natural Laundry Powder Review

I have been looking for a laundry powder without fragrances or phosphates, so I was pleased to receive a complimentary box of Ecover Zero natural laundry powder from Naturally Savvy
http://www.naturallysavvy.com/


Ecover Laundry Powder ZERO has plant-based and mineral ingredients so it’s safe for my family but strong enough to clean our piles of laundry—and we do have big piles! The powder is biodegradable and not tested on animals. Sounds good to me!
I have tried it on two loads of clothing so far—one white, one colored—and everything came out sparkling clean.
Best of all, I don’t have to fret about harming our health or the environment!
My only warning is that it’s * Not suitable for wool and silk. *
The 48 oz box I have right now should be good for 20 loads on a top-load machine (or 26 on a HE machine).

Ecover gives some eco-washing tips on their site: “Choose the lowest possible washing temperature to reduce your CO2 footprint. Correct dosing reduces the impact of washing on the environment.”

To learn more about the company and what they do, and to see the complete ingredient list of products, you can visit Ecover’s site:
http://www.ecover.com/us/en/

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!

Unjunk Your Junk Food

In my family, we think of ourselves as avid label-readers. When shopping for new foods, we scan the ingredients to see if there are any trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or other scary items on the list. If so, the box/can/package goes back on the shelf. This is the same approach taken by Andrea Donsky, Randy Boyer, and Lisa Tsakos, the authors of
Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks
(Gallery Books, 2011).
Donsky is the co-founder of NATURALLYSAVVY.COM, and I received a complimentary copy of the book from those kind folks.

Link to book: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/book/unjunk-your-junk-food
The NaturallySavvy.com team wants you to Join the edible (R)evolution!
You can read the manifesto at: http://bit.ly/wXJWMF
“You don’t have to give up the foods you love, just give up the toxic ingredients.
Take the junk out of your junk food.”
The goal of this edible (R)evolution is NOT to force yourself to eat bland food just because it’s healthy. Rather, we can all learn the fine art of substitution and make Good Choices instead of Bad Choices. Avoiding harmful ingredients can be very beneficial for your overall well-being.
The book includes a tear-out Worst Ingredients Chart that you can bring along to the grocery store. Simple!
I used the Worst Ingredients Chart and looked through my pantry—several items had indeed made it past my initial screening, because I found plenty of items with artificial flavors and artificial colors and preservatives in our cupboard. Oops!

Thanks to this book, I will be more vigilant on our shopping trips.
It helped me decipher some of the more ambiguous ingredients. It’s very easy to read and is visually appealing in presenting good-vs-bad options.
I look forward to keeping our family healthy and happy and well-fed!