Natural House Cleaners {giveaway closed}

 
I like to have a clean house.  Who doesn't?  But, I always wrestle with what cleaning products to use.  I want something safe for my kids, (and the husband and me, too!) but I also want something that actually cleans without having to use harsh chemicals.
 
Enter my new friends, Flushy, Trashy, and Sinky by Natural House:
 
                     
 
 
I was fortunate to get to try out Natural House's line of non-toxic, probiotic cleaning supplies.  These natural cleaning products use eco-friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable, plant-based ingredients that are tough on the yucky stuff in my house.  These cleaners contain good probiotics that continue to work until my next weekly clean!  This short video explains it a bit better than I can:
 
 
 
How did the products work for me?
 
First up, Flushy:
 
up close picture of a Flushy pack
 
drop it in the toilet and it begins to fizz!  Cool!
 
Probiotics…hard at work!
I followed the directions on the package, scrubbed the toilet like with any other cleaner, flushed, and went on my way.  Pretty simple, no squirting cleaner everywhere….and to know that it's continuing to work, even after I flush, is amazing!
 
Here's Sinky:
 
 
(pardon the well used drains!)
Sinky did a good job at fizzing up and cleaning!  And again, I knew the probiotics were (and still are) hard at work!
Last, but not least, I tried out Trashy on Baby D's empty diaper pail.  If you've ever used cloth diapers or have been in my laundry room, you know that diaper pail STUNK.  I let Captain Fussybuckets help me in cleaning the diaper pail:
 
 
Trashy smells like wintergreen and it made the diaper pail smell good, too!  And even though Trashy is non-toxic, it does have a lock on it to prevent spills, accidental ingestion, or whatever:
 
 
So what do I think about Natural House cleaners?  I really, really like them.  They're SUPER simple to use and I know that they're working hard to create a healthy, safe, clean environment for my family!
 
BUY Natural House cleaners directly from the website here or at Amazon:
 
          
 
WIN IT!  Natural House is offering a set of cleaners just like I received to try out!  Enter the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win!
 
Giveaway has ended and Sharon B. is the winner!
 

Down On The Farm

The first  half of this week, we got to take a mini family vacation to see my parents!  We did lots of fun stuff and even got to hang out with my grandmother, bro, sis-in-law, and sweet niece!  On Monday, Grammy & Grampy took us to May Farm to see lots of really awesome animals!  The kids loved it (and so did we!)
This was Captain Fussybuckets' favorite….the pony named Glory!

 

My niece feeding the goats!
petting the woolly sheep
 

 

 

 

 

Llama!!!

 

here, piggy piggy!

 

Look at this cool tortoise!

 

so cute!

 

She looooved the cats!

 

holding a guinea pig

 

cool hedgehog

 

petting the hedgehog

 

bunny!

 

 

ride 'em cowboy!

 

Glory
 

The Week In Pictures: September 18-24

On Sunday night, we had a devo for the youth group.  We all ate, sang songs, had a mini lesson, and then played some video games.  These are my children during the devo part:

getting into everything

Captain Fussybuckets had to go get his blanket and Bible!

Look at Fussybuckets’ face.  It is saying “NO!  It’s MINE!”

“Look!  I’m a TV!”

Wearing Daddy’s shoes, holding Daddy’s microphone, and watching Daddy’s favorite show:  “The Sing Off”

Baby D, wishing he could participate in craft time!

So….remember the double stroller (scroll to the very bottom of the page) I bought on Craig’s List?  Well, I went garage saling for the first time since BEFORE Fussybuckets’ was born and we found this little gem for $30.  It’s an upgrade of the older one, safer, more features, and cuter.  So, I bought it.  After we got home, I noticed that the front seat’s canopy was missing.  ARGH!  But, it’s alright, it was still a steal AND if it’s REALLY sunny, the canopy from the old double stroller fits perfectly into place.  We just look a little ghetto.  :o)

And finally, these pictures are brought to you by, you guessed it, Captain Fussybuckets:


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Not everyone likes the spices in this recipe, so play around to see what you and your family like the most!  Captain Fussybuckets liked it because it had chocolate in it.  :o)
 
recipe
Enjoy!
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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white sugar (or brown sugar, less would definitely work)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute all or some with applesauce)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or less)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  •  

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Fill pans 1/2 to 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.

 

Always Pay Attention to the Other Driver.

"Always pay attention to the other driver."  My parents always said that when I was venturing out on a trip, whether it be big or small.  This is awesome advice.  
 
I was taking the boys on our weekly grocery store trip last week and I was waiting in a [for lack of a better term] side exit rampy thing with no lane of my own to go into.  So, I was waiting for the stream of cars to dwindle down before heading out.  Well, this not-so-smart driver of a large SUV PASSES me….with no lane of his or her own to turn into, either.  I continued on my way, obeying the LAW and eventually (without trying) caught up to him.  Why, oh why do people think they're invincible when they're driving and do such stupid things to get somewhere a second faster???
 
I'm reading this awesome book about the humanistic approach to life (will be reviewed in a blog when I get done!) called The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom written by Jen Hancock.  In it she states that the safest way to drive is to assume that every other driver doesn't know you exist, assumes you are well aware of them, and can read their mind as to what their next move will be.  This is FABULOUS advice to live by, and goes right along with what my parents always taught me.  It is important for all drivers to remember this, especially if you have precious little ones in your car who can't make any driving decisions.  Their lives are in your hands.  But guess what!  If you don't have anyone else in your car, it's a sure bet that the next car does.  It's a shame that we have to share the road with idiotic, egotistical drivers, but it is what it is.  Too bad we don't have an "Egotistical Driver Lane."  

Paper Coterie

 Paper Coterie is a place to turn your pictures into beautiful works of art and keep them organized.  They have many things that you can create with your personal pictures, like beautiful books, calendars, growth charts, memory boxes, and more!  
 
I was able to review their site and I chose to create two desktop calendars.  They turned out stunningly beautiful.  I was very impressed with the ease of creating these calendars, the uploading process, and the very short time it took from start to finish!  I received these products in record time!  
 
Here are a few pictures of my creations from Paper Coterie:
 
 
 
These pictures really don't do these calendars justice at all.  The look and even the feel of them is just amazing!
 
Buy it!  If you want to create and purchase your own calendars (or books, growth charts, memory boxes, and more!) go to Paper Coterie now!
 
disclosurereviewandgiveaway

Fun With GF /LG Food! cookbook by Debbie Johnson

I was able to review "Fun With GF/LG Food!" by Debbie Johnson.  She is the pro of GF/LG because she lives it herself.  She says in the first few pages of the book:  "Doctors are finally realizing that about 60% of the population has some degree of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance."  She also goes on to talk about the rising instances of Diabetes.  A Gluten Free/Low-Glycemic diet is essential if you have any degree of Celiac disease, are at risk of having or currently have Diabetes.  Debbie Johnson doesn't have Celiac disease or Diabetes, but has cut out a lot of things from her diet that left her feeling unwell.
 
Debbie Johnson also talks about how progressive doctors are treating and oftentimes healing conditions such as ADD, autism, and more with a GF/LG diet.  Obviously check with your doctor before trying to heal yourself or someone you know, but studies have shown that people on specific diets plus a few specific supplements have helped their conditions.
 
The recipes in this book remind me a lot of when the Hubby and I were on the South Beach Diet a few months ago….lots of veggies, good nuts and fats, etc, but it is more detailed that than.  The author has taken a lot of time researching and finding good alternatives to things with gluten and stuff that is just yummy.  The recipes have many choices within the recipe for meat lovers, vegans, people with dairy intolerances and other allergies, along with being GF/LG.
 
This diet takes lots of dedication, but it sounds like she feels so good on this diet and she doesn't even want to eat the "junk" that many Americans (including myself) eat on a daily basis.  She owned a restaurant called The Golden Chalice that served these delicious foods, too!
 
Buy it!  You can buy your own "Fun With GF/LG Food!" e-cookbook at http://glutenfreefun.com/ or Amazon.
 
Win!  Debbie Johnson has graciously offered three of her delicious GF/LG Holiday recipes to one of our readers!  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter widget below!
 
Giveaway has ended and Tosha P. is the lucky winner!
 
disclosurereviewandgiveaway

Try a leaner choice in beef! Longhorn!

Have you ever tried longhorn meat?  When I first heard of eating longhorn meat I was a bit surprised….but then I read up on it.  Did you know that it is leaner than other breeds?  It is also lower in saturated fat and has less cholesterol and fewer calories than chicken.*
 
Our family has tried Longhorn ground beef in various dishes…hamburgers, spaghetti, and more.  It's good and we feel better knowing it's better FOR us!  Captain Fussybuckets is a bit of a meat snob and even he eats it!
 
So, do you want to try some Longhorn meat?  If you live in the DFW, TX area, I have the perfect suggestion for you!  Oliver Longhorns is a family run business that raises pasture fed longhorns without growth hormones, steroids, or implants.  All of the meat is packaged at a USDA facility.  You can purchase ground beef at $4.25 a pound or you can purchase a 1/4, 1/2, or whole cow at less than $3.50 a pound!
 
Oliver Longhorns is located in Waxahachie, Texas, which is located right off of I-35E, just south of DFW!  If you have further questions,send them an email at leanbeef@oliverlonghorns.com or call 972-268-0031!  Also, visit their website:  oliverlonghorns.com!
 
*http://www.tlbaa.org/longhornbeef.html

We love B. toys!! Meowsic and Hugs :) Links review!

Have you heard of B. toys?  If you shop in the toy section at Target, I'm almost positive that you've seen them.     B. toys are eye-catching and different, in a GOOD way!
 
Captain Fussybuckets and Baby D were able to review two products from B. toys.  First up was the Meowsic.  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Captain Fussybuckets LOVES music.  I knew that the Meowsic would be a hit with him when I first saw it.  It's a keyboard (I called it a "piano" once and Fussybuckets immediately corrected me:  "No, it's not a piano, it's a keyboard, Mommy.")  
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
The Meowsic can do a lot of stuff!  It has five instrument sounds and five rhythm sounds, twenty familiar songs, seven "witty kitty" songs with lyrics, volume control, beat & tempo control, an auto-off feature, and our favorite:  the retractable sing-along microphone.  It can also record and play back what you have played!  
 
The one thing that we wish it did was record what you sing into the mic, but that's okay, it's probably less annoying that way.  ;o)  
 
The Meowsic has won a few awards including Top 10 Disney 2010 FamilyFun Toy of the Year, Parent Tested Parent Approved First Place Award and Seal of Approval, and Dr. Toy's "Best Pick."  And the Meowsic definitely has won the "Coolest Toy" award in our house.  Not only does Captain Fussybuckets think so, but Daddy has even told me more than once "this is an awesome machine."  :o)  Fussybuckets even had to take it to bed last night and it was the first thing he grabbed this morning.  So yeah, it's definitely a hit.  If you have a child that's 2-6 or so and don't know what to get them for Christmas or their birthday or whatever, I highly suggest the Meowsic! 
 
Okay, next up are the Hugs :) Links!  I saw these at Target and to be honest I thought to myself "those are cute, but they're probably just normal baby links."  They're so not your average baby links!  Each link has a little bead on it that makes them the perfect little rattles!  They're also wonderful teethers:
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
The links are made of smooth plastic and can be used for many other things.  Baby D likes to either chew/suck on them or shake them.  Captain Fussybuckets likes to "build" with them, link them, and pretend that they're his "keys."  :)  They're cute and multi-functional!!  The Hugs are recommended for ages 3 months through 3 years.  Sooo….if you have or know a little one that is too young for the Meowsic, the Hugs links would be a great gift choice!
 
Or….you could get them both:
 
Not the best picture, but check out Baby D teething on the Hugs links and jamming on out the Meowsic!!
Check out the other awesomely different toys from B. toys!
 
disclosurereviewandgiveaway

Fruit Leather recipe

I received an email from Homemade Simple the other day with this recipe for homemade Fruit Leather.  I immediately wanted to try it because Captain Fussybuckets LOVES Fruit Roll-Ups.  I love Fruit Roll-Ups because he's getting fruit, but with all of the additional corn syrup and sugar, I'm not sure it's worth it.  BUT I do believe it's better than just handing him some candy.  Right??
 
Well, I got some no sugar added applesauce and the other ingredients to make the Apple Spice Fruit Leather and went to work.  It was really easy making the stuff and sticking it in the oven.  The hard part was knowing when it was "done."  The first batch was definitely TOO done.  It was more like fruit jerky.  Captain Fussybuckets wanted to like it, but he just didn't.  Daddy and I liked it and ate it up, but every time I asked CF, he just said "no thanks!"
 
So, I tried again.  This time I had found some strawberry applesauce on clearance at Target and that worked much better.  Do you want to know WHY it worked much better?  Corn syrup.  Sigh.  I also made it a little thicker and didn't cook it as long.  But the corn syrup thing, I guess there's a reason that stuff is in there, but I'm still determined to make some without.  That's the whole point, right?  But the strawberry applesauce fruit leather was a bigger hit with CF, although it wasn't quite the love he has for Fruit Roll-Ups.
 
Here is the recipe:
 
1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees F.
2.  Line an 11"x17"jelly-roll pan or lipped cookie sheet with greased parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  (note:  I didn't grease the parchment paper and it came apart fine, but you might want to experiment.)
3.  Spread the puree until it's about 1/4" thick.  (this is very important.  My second batch came out way too thick and took too long to cook!)
4.  Bake in oven for 5-8 hours.  It's ready when it's smooth and non-tacky.
5.  Let it cool, then cut in strips with scissors or pizza cutter.  Stack or roll them and store in an airtight container or a zipper storage bag.
 
This was an interesting tip from Homemade Simple:  Store in a cool, dry place.  You can store fruit leather up to a year in the freezer, six months in the fridge, or a few weeks at room temp.
 
I think I'll try again with other fruits and possibly some veggies.  Hmm…  The pictures on the Homemade Simple website make it look so….simple…but yeah, I'm not Martha Stewart.  But I WILL try again!!!
 
Here are some pictures from my fruit leather experiment:
 

 

mine was a little too thick