31
Jan

January Conscious Box Review

by Tiffany in Tidbits

january box

It has been awhile since I got and reviewed a Conscious Box. Too long actually. I forgot how much fun it is to get it in the mail and be surprised by all the goodies. Goodies that are generally good for our health and the planet of course. January’s box had some especially good stuff too, perfect for starting the year out right.

Here is what I got:

Far and away my favorite offering was the bag of Hail Merry Choco Macaroons. Heavenly!!!! They are made with organic maple syrup, organic shredded coconut, fair trade dark cocoa, organic coconut oil, and pure Madagascar bourban vanilla. They are insanely delicious as well as paleo, gluten free, and vegan. No refined sugar. I highly recommend you try these…I know I will be a regular customer from here on out.

Nutiva Organic Hemp Seeds –  We like to put hemp seeds in smoothies, scrambled eggs, and sprinkle them on salads. You can also eat them right from the bag. They have lots of protein, omega 3s, and GLA (gamma linolenic acid).

Dale’s Raw Protein Bar – This was quite yummy albeit a bit dry. The raspberry hazelnut flavor really came through. I am not likely to buy again because it has rice powder in it but other than that it is pretty darn good.

Peeled Snacks in the Berry Crunch flavor – These taste very much like other dried fruit snacks we have tried and they are organic. The kids liked them.

Koopuwa – I had no clue what this was until I looked it up online. It is a single serving of a Cupuacu, Acai, and superfruit beverage. It has a very tart taste and reminded me of wine.

Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath – Very interesting stuff! It is basically a foot/body soak with mustard seed powder, eucalyptus, rosemary, wintergreen, and thyme. It has been used in England for 40 years and is said to help people eliminate acid waste and balance their pH. I love finding new products/alternative remedies like this!

Kidz Superfood Powder from Amazing Grass – We have used this many times before and we love all Amazing Grass products. Check out my previous review and video here.

Simply Straws glass straw in an amber color – Yay!!! I use my glass straws daily but lately they seem to be getting broken by my kids. Aargh! Anyway this amber straw was a welcome addition to to the home.

Happy Squeeze fruit and veggie sauce in Apple Mango Kale – I tried just a little slurp and it was pretty tasty. My 7 year old devoured it. We will surely use the BOGO coupon that came in the box with it.

A People’s Towel – This will be perfect as a napkin for lunch boxes/bags. I like it very much. ;)

Bodhichitta Wild & Free Lotion – Not really my thing but it smells wonderful.

january box 2

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

No Comments on January Conscious Box Review

30
Jan

Everyone Deserves Clean, Safe Water

by Tiffany in Social Good

clean water

I know I take water for granted quite often. How about you? I just turn on the tap and out comes a seemingly limitless supply. We use it for drinking, cooking, flushing, and bathing daily and while we might be concerned and a little upset by what is added to our water supply (fluoride, chlorine) we still have relatively safe and clean water at our disposal each and every day. Many people around the world are not so fortunate. My first world problems do not compare to what is going on globally.

In many places water is scarce or contaminated and unsafe for use. According to the Mom Bloggers for Social Good web site, 800 million people do not have access to it and 2.5 billion have nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet. Hundreds of children die each day from contaminants found in the water, others miss out on their education. Mothers are unable to work while they nurse seriously ill children back to some measure of health.  This is a travesty and something that we need to work to change as global citizens because as Americans we surely use more than our fair share of resources such as water. The LEAST we can do is help increase basic access for our bothers and sisters in other lands.

In January I encouraged you to donate to The World Food Programme and help with hunger. This month I ask you to consider donating to help with clean water access. In keeping with my New Year’s resolution #4 to do more for social good, I chose to donate this month to WaterAid (screen capture at the bottom of this post). WaterAid is a non-profit organization that is focused upon improving poor people’s access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. They work in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region and campaign globally to help realize their vision of a world where everyone has access to these basic human needs.

The organization works with partners local to the impacted zones and they provide them with the skills and support required to help communities set up and manage practical and sustainable projects. They also work internationally to change policy and believe that water and sanitation are basic human rights and that they are the building blocks to improving health, education and livelihoods in these areas.

There are several ways to help with their work and I like the the promotion they have going on right now to donate $25 in honor of your sweetie for Valentine’s Day. I love this idea because surely we don’t really need flowers, chocolates, or stuffed animals but others around the globe do need clean water. I would love for you to tweet the message below and help me spread the word:

Tweet This Banner

WaterAid also has an amazing option to donate a portion of eBay proceeds. If you sell there it is super easy to set it up so that anywhere from 10% to 100% of the proceeds from your auctions go to them. So perhaps you feel you cannot afford to donate cash but perhaps you can list a few books or household items on eBay and donate that way?

Take a look at the video below to learn more about the issue and the organization trying to affect change. Also be sure to sign up to receive their monthly e-bulletin to learn more and stay in touch with their activities and breaking news in some of the 27 developing countries where they work.

This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 a group of mom bloggers banding together to work for social good.

wateraid donation

29
Jan

Have You Ever Wanted to Do a Mud Run?

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

A Woman with Muddy Shoes at a Mud Run

Last year I really, really wanted to do mud run. I run quite often in CrossFit class and do lots of jumping, hanging on bars, and climbing ropes as well. A mud run just seemed like such a fun way to spend the day while enjoying a physical challenge. The seemingly perfect run for me to participate in was very near to my location even and yet I was paralyzed by fear. I have never done one before…what if it turned out to be uber competitive and I couldn’t hack it? What if I couldn’t run the whole 5K and had to…WALK. I couldn’t seem to focus on the joy the run would bring me and instead focused on some imaginary outcome.

I ended up talking myself out of going, even as I visited the registration page numerous times leading up to the run. When the event day came and passed I reluctantly decided that “someday” would be my day. Well, someday is coming this year, this Fall to be exact. I am going to participate in the Pretty Muddy Women’s 5K Mud Run. Currently there are Pretty Muddy runs scheduled for seven different states including my state of Ohio and there are several reasons why I think this particular race is perfect for women.

Well, the first is obviously because it is a women’s only race. I do enjoy getting my WOD (CrossFit speak for workout) on with the guys just as much as the girls but when I am not in my comfort zone I prefer to get my feet wet with women. In fact when I first started going to the gym regularly a couple years years ago, I joined an all women’s gym. The fact that it is women’s only also makes it perfect for gals who want to team up with girlfriends and do the run together. In fact 80% of the runners do it in groups. How fun would that be??

A few weeks back I also spoke with the President of Pretty Muddy and he shared that 60% of the run participants walk the course and that it is not timed so as to be competitive. Participants are also free to bypass obstacles that they are uncomfortable with. You don’t even HAVE to get muddy if you don’t want to. This just shows me how inclusive that the run is and how women from varying athletic backgrounds can join in and feel accepted. If you can walk for 3 miles easily enough (5K) then you can probably participate in this event. You put into it what you can and you will have an amazing feeling of accomplishment at the end.

Another big bonus for this race is the fact that they make sure there are no rocks in the mud. It would really suck to have to worry about getting all cut up during the run, especially for me since I am missing most of my lower lymph nodes (cancer) and injuries to my legs heal very slowly and usually scar if there is a cut involved.

After the race you don’t have to worry about looking like something stuck to the bottom of a shoe either. You can of course pose for pictures in all your muddy glory so that you can post them all over the Internet, letting everyone know what a total BAMF you are. After that though you can get cleaned up, change your clothes and shoes, etc. Pretty Muddy takes care of all that.

It’s all about fun and physical activity. You get to do something new and perhaps stretch yourself. You can even wear a costume to “up” the fun factor. Wear a tutu or a super hero cap maybe?? At the end of the day you you can look back fondly on time that you spent valuing YOU…your needs, your enjoyment, your health. I know I mainly want to do this run for me and my personal enjoyment and health but it is also for my daughter so she can see one of her female role models get out there and roll around in the mud and pursue athletics. I want her to see that it isn’t just the boys who do these mud races and obstacle courses, the girls can do them too, any girl who wants to.

I am in the 10am wave on Sept 14th in Columbus, Ohio if you are local and want to run with me. :)

If you are interested in doing a Pretty Muddy Women’s 5K Mud Run there is a discount code available through Thursday. Use the code GIRLTIME for $20 off registration. This is the best deal they will be offering so take advantage while you can! Also check out the video below to see what the run is all about. Girl Power!

This post was written as part of the Pretty Muddy blog team. My run registration has been covered in return for my sharing my experience here. Enjoy!

29
Jan

Are You ‘Greener Than Thou’?

by Tiffany in Tidbits

green housewives

A new ad video from Clorox Green Works (see it below) sparked some great conversations on Facebook recently. Some green moms are feeling attacked by the video because they feel it makes our concern for environmental issues seem more than a little nutty. Others commented that it simply highlights yet another high standard that moms must live up to or they will be made to feel that they are not good enough. I think all points were valid and there is no denying that the video is a bit condescending and ripe with implications that women are using sustainability and green parenting to further their elitist views of themselves.

Yet for me personally, when watching this ad I couldn’t help but smile and laugh. I DO believe that you don’t have to go to extremes or ‘be ridiculous’ to take one of their terms, to be green. The message is valid. I also think that we greenies can go into territory seen by others, and even ourselves, as a little nutty. Sometimes I think it becomes a game and we want to see just how far we can take it. There is nothing wrong with that I just hope that we are not also trying to make others feel guilty when they can’t or won’t do as we do. It is totally okay to care about these issues but perhaps not so good overall if I come off like these women do.

I get comments all the time about how nasty it is to use a DivaCup or cloth instead of toilet paper. I just have to remember that once upon a time I probably would have felt the same way. Maybe someday the naysayers will join me and maybe they won’t but my judgement will only push them further in the opposite direction. I have to believe that when they know better they will do better and everyone is entitled to the journey. Some folks will leap into a greener lifestyle and others will need to take baby steps. The product being touted in this ad is also appropriate for baby steps. It wouldn’t be my choice but I would rather someone buy Green Works before they buy some of other products out there.

You don’t have to be obnoxious to be green but if you must then I feel you should at least be able to laugh at yourself.

What do YOU think about this ad??

Also be sure to check out this article written by another green mom about this video ad: Is “Being Green” The New Battle In The “Mommy Wars”?

28
Jan

Green Energy 101

by Tiffany in Environment

Energy is always a hot discussion in politics. Alternative sources and solutions for our energy needs are often discussed and encouraged but we have been using certain forms of energy for so long that some may be confused about how we can utilize greener energy. Recent events (Hurricane Sandy) and discussions about climate change should tell us we need to bite the bullet as a nation and as a planet and invest in alternative energy NOW.

Wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy are probably terms you have heard before. You have likely read about them on various blogs and Internet news sites. You have likely seen arguments break out about the long term viability (or lack thereof) of each. Yet you may not know much about them such as the pros and cons, the costs to our environment and our economy, and the potential for individual savings if we were to convert. Here are basic facts about these forms of alternative energy.

1. Solar Energy

solar power
 

Let’s start with the big daddy. Most people probably think about solar energy first when the subject of alternative energy comes up. This energy method allows us to harness the power of the sun via solar panels that are attached to the roof of homes and corporate buildings. Solar farms exist to collect sunpower on a larger scale even. Solar can be used to meet the energy demands of entire households or entire communities and it is easy to find solar accessories for homes so that you can harness solar power.

Cons:

  • Solar energy can only be aquired when the sun is shining
  • Solar panels can be cost prohibitive and often require special training to install and maintain
  • Sometimes the materials used in making solar panels and cells are not very planet friendly

Pros:

  • Solar energy is clean, renewable, and sustainable
  • Extra power not immediately used can be stored in batteries for later use
  • New companies and technologies are always emerging that will make solar more affordable and accessible.

2. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal

Geothermal energy makes use of the earth’s cooler (in summer) and warmer (in winter) temperatures. Just think about how basements works to understand better. They are often nice and cool during the heat of the summer months and relatively warm in the winter even though they probably aren’t all that well insulated. The temperature of the earth around and underneath them affects the temperature. In a personal residence geothermal heat pumps circulate liquid under the surface to be cooled or warmed depending on the season. This is done on a much grander when geothermal energy is harnessed via the earth’s crust.

Cons:

  • Lots of digging and construction required for geothermal installations
  • The best locations are often far from populated areas (think geysers and volcanoes)
  • High cost
  • Sulfur dioxide and silica emissions
  • Lots of water usage (another resource we must protect)

Pros:

  • Renewable source of energy that is clean with almost zero emissions
  • Almost limitess supply of energy which is constant and not fluctuous like wind/solar
  • Can be built underground and not be seen as an eyesore

3. Wind Energy

wind energy

The wind provides us with another renewable energy source. Even though it comes and goes and has a mind of it’s own it can’t be depleted by human greed. This makes it a very attractive means by which entire communities can be supplied with power. The wind’s energy is harnessed by rotating blades of various shapes and sizes called wind turbines. Wind farms now operate all over the country/world to collect this energy on a grand scale.

Cons:

  • The wind is inconsisent and unpredictable
  • Cost prohibitive
  • Often the best locations are the most picturesque and bring up “eyesore” complaints
  • Turbines can be noisy and also dangerous for flying creatures

Pros:

  • Wind is a renewable, clean energy source
  • The power is basically free after the infrastructure is paid for
  • Abundant power that will not be depleted

4. Hydro Power

hydro energy

Harnessing the power of water for our use is one of the oldest forms of energy and we all know how powerful water can be…just look at the Grand Canyon. In modern times hydro is used mostly by damning rivers and then redistributing the water at high pressure to turn a water turbine and thus create energy.

Cons:
* Damming a river and building a plant is expensive
* Drought can impact production
* Damming a river can be destructive to communities and eco systems with flooding and/or removal of a local water source

Pros:
* Clean and green energy
* Renewable under ideal circumstances as rainfall replenishes the rivers
* Hydro power plants last for a very long time and require less maintanace than other plant types

It is easy to get passionate about converting to greener energy sources and we absolutely must. It is a moral imperative. Yet we must also acknowledge that all of these have certain pros and cons associated with them. We must find the right balance and we must divert more funding to advancing the technology in each of these areas so that the cons list shrinks. These four energy sources represent the major players in green energy and the more we educate ourselves about them and pursue their advancement, the easier it will be to realize the dream of getting rid of dirty energy sources that have deadly impacts on our climate, planet, and our health.

Monday, January 28th, 2013

1 Comment on Green Energy 101