Thursday, April 30, 2009

Growing Your Own Foods is More Than Just Healthy

Many people shudder at the thought of planting their own gardens, but more people are realizing the health benefits of it go well beyond avoiding the processed steps most of the store bought food today goes through. Not only are these people avoiding the harsh chemicals used to mass produce these foods, but they are also side stepping the nasty injected hormones and more that is placed on these foods to make them last longer while being shipped to and sold at our local grocery stores.

With all the talk about chemicals and other nasty things put in the foods we eat, growing your own foods is becoming more popular. Just like our ancestors, we’re slowly realizing the benefits of growing our own fruits, vegetables, etc. Not only is it easier on the wallet, but it’s easier on our bodies as well.

Growing your own garden can be rewarding in so many other ways as well. Here are just a few:

Great Exercise – From tilling the garden to planting and picking the fruits and vegetables you grow, gardening is a great way to get some fresh air and much needed exercise.

Quality Family Time – Getting your entire household involved in a family garden is an awesome way to spend time together. In today’s fast paced world, family time seems to be a rarity, but if you start and care for your own garden, you’re spending time together and yes, it can be fun, even if you’re teen doesn’t think so at first.

Learning Tool – Growing a garden is a great learning tool for young and old alike. Kids can learn responsibility, the life cycle of various plants, and more when they are put in charge of a certain task involving the garden. Yes, even weeding can be a learning experience.

Adults may learn things like which plants grow well in what types of soil and climates as well as how to preserve extras that can’t be eaten right away. Finding a use for all those fruits and veggies can be a learning experience as well as you search for a variety of ways to use them in recipes.

Appreciation – Working hard at growing and maintaining your own garden gives the caretaker an appreciation for their local farmers, ancestors and more. There is nothing quite like a hard day (or even just an hour or two) at work in the great outdoors to make you appreciate those who do it on a daily basis or who did it for survival in past generations.

Sense of Accomplishment – Watching your plants grow and nurturing them to maturity is a great way to instill a sense of accomplishment, especially in children. Do you have a family member who seems a bit down in the dumps or a teenager who feels they don’t belong? If so, starting a garden may just boost their spirits more than you thought possible. Give it a try.

Easier on the Purse Strings – Growing your own garden is also a great way to save money. In times when frugality is a necessity, you can easily save some cash with your own garden, not only because you can produce a whole lot more of your favorite foods and herbs for less, but also because you don’t run the risk of spending money on foods that will expire before you get a chance to eat them. If you have more food than you can possibly eat from your garden, preserve it for later. Better yet, take some to your neighbors. They’ll thank you for it.

Take a few minutes to seriously consider helping the environment and your family, by starting your own garden this year. You don’t have to own a farm to do it either. A small area in the backyard to grow a few of your favorite foods is plenty. You can even grow them in a small window garden or pots on your porch or balcony. Give it a shot and see how it can help improve your life in numerous ways.

To purchase my Healthy Family Eating book, please click on this link: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas For Your Family Ebook

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

Ok, let’s face it mom, if you’re child does not like vegetables, your home is probably not the happiest place when dinner time rolls around. Whether it’s because your child refuses to eat them or you are trying everything to think of to get him or her to, the veggie battle can no doubt be a harsh fought one.

The outcome, no matter which side of the fence you’re on is not a good one. If you win, your kid feels horrible because you just made them eat the nastiest thing ever. If the child wins, you feel awful because you know they are not getting the nutrients they need for optimal health. Not to mention, you know eating habits are set early so the odds that your child will ever really like vegetables probably isn’t all that great either way. They’ll have bad memories associated with these foods due to mom making them eat them or they’ll just avoid them altogether because they still taste gross when they grow up.

Seems like a never ending battle doesn’t it? Fear not, there is a way (quite a few actually) to get your kids to eat their veggies without begetting nightmares once they are adults or without making you feel like a rotten mom. Read on for tips to help you give your children the vegetables their growing bodies need – even if they don’t know it.

• Eat Your Own – With kids, especially young ones it really is “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” If your children see you eating and enjoying (or at least pretending to enjoy) your vegetables, they will be more open to doing the same.

• Make The Child a Part of It All – Let your kids help you cook meals. Even little ones can help out in the kitchen in one way or another. If you get them involved in your meal preparation, they will come to love the kitchen and the time they have with you. Seeing how something is made also helps some kids realize peas are nothing more than any other bean.

• Let ‘Em Play – Let’s face it, if it’s boring to look at kids probably won’t like it. Have a little fun and play. Create cute faces with your vegetables on a paper plate and let your kids “play” with their food by switching the veggies around to come up with some funny faces of their own.

• Crunchy vs Soft – Many times, it’s not the vegetable the child doesn’t like, but instead the consistency. Some kids don’t like the crunchiness of raw veggies and others can’t stand the feel of mushy peas and carrots. If you’ve been offering your child a cooked version of vegetables, try serving them raw and vice versa. That could be all it takes.

• Dippers – There’s just something about dipping our food that seems to make them taste better. Kids especially love it. Think French fries and ketchup. They just taste better with a little topping of some sort. Offer your child raw veggies with a ranch or other dipping sauce.

• Bottoms Up – Some children, who normally refuse to eat their veggies, don’t have a problem drinking them, especially in the form of smoothies. Try blending up a variety of fruits and veggies in a daily basis to give your little munchkins.

• Hide & Seek – Some parents don’t like this idea, but if you’ve got a child who simply refuses to eat their vegetables all of the time, trying hiding them in things like muffins, sauces and more. They’ll never know it’s in there!

• No Separate Meals – It’s easy to resort to feeding your little ones the foods they will eat just to make sure they are eating something. This gives them the idea they don’t have to eat what the rest of the family eats because mom or dad will give them what they want instead. Make the same meal for everyone. The only exceptions should be if your child is on a special diet due to allergies or other health related issues.

• Don’t Force It – If you’ve heard the term “Choose your battles wisely,” you’ll soon realize it very well could have been thought up by a parent. Don’t force your child to eat their vegetables. Using some of the tips above will help to avoid the battles.

The last tip is one we all parents know very well. Consistency is needed by children in every part of their life and healthy eating is no exception, so keep trying. Sometimes a battle with kids and vegetable eating can be tiring and stressful, making it easy to give up. Yes, kids can be stubborn, but eventually they will come around and in the long run they might even thank you for sticking to your guns on this issue. Even if they don’t utter those two little words, their body and health will.

To purchase my Healthy Family Eating book, please click on this link: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas For Your Family Ebook

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

chocolate and you blog carnival - April 13, 2009

Welcome to the April 13, 2009 edition of chocolate and you blog carnival.

Nancy Miller presents
>Protecting Your Liver When You Have Diabetes posted at
>Physical Therapy Assistant Schools.

David Miller presents How to host a WordPress blog for free | Windows Mac and Mobile posted at >Windows Mac and Mobile, saying, "WordPress is the best blogging platform out there in my opinion and I was delighted when they introduced free hosting on However, there is one big disadvantage of this - you can"

Dark Chocolate

marjorie presents >Mmmminty Dark Chocolate posted at >Laurel on Health Food, saying, "Try Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint chocolate bar from Endangered Species. It has a 72% cocoa content and the perfect amount of mint that just makes it refreshing instead of overbearing. In addition, it’s kosher, vegan, and gluten-free. I really recommend it when you need a treat. Read on to learn some other cool facts about this Dark Chocolate candy bar."

Weight Loss

healthsecrets presents Burn Belly Fat Fast ? Amazing Tips posted at Health Secrets, saying, "If you want to get rid of belly fat and lose weight, then you will have to commit yourself to a diet plan. First you need to get used to the idea of changing your lifestyle. This is the only way to lose weight quickly and get rid of your belly fat. Start with your eating habits. The way you are eating and the kind of foods you eat is what has caused you to look the way you do today."

Ralph Jean-Paul presents Building Self-Discipline posted at Potential 2 Success, saying, "Having trouble sticking to your diet or exercise program? Take charge of your health by adding more discipline to your life. Learn some steps needed for you to build discipline in every aspect of your life."

Tristan presents How To Lose Weight Eating Chocolate posted at href="">Body And Fitness Blog, saying, "A guide to losing weight while still enjoying your favourite chocolates, ideal!"

femininespirit presents Easy Ways to Fuel Your Metabolism posted at FeminineSpirit, saying, "Ask anyone who is above the age of 40, and he or she will tell you that burning calories is a top priority. Metabolism is something, which a lot of people inherit. If you desire to lose weight quickly eating only the food you love, but can’t seem to come to grips with dieting, the Skinny Switch Secret might be just what you are looking for. Check it out now at here."

diettips presents What Everybody Ought To Know About Herbal Supplements posted at DietTips, saying, "Many people have turned to herbal supplements for the main purpose of improving their health. There are various diseases that have infected mankind leading to this trend of people opting for herbal supplements."

PK Shukla presents >Latest Beauty Tips posted at Fenny Lopez>, saying, "We at Latest Beauty Tips look forward to provide you the best. is a platform to discuss about beauty tips, fashion, health care, weight loss, cosmetic surgery, makeup trick and lot of similar issues. Please feel free to post all feedback, concerns, comments & suggestions here."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
chocolate and you blog carnival
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Etsy Twitter Shop of the week - Rhodes Annals Designs

This week’s shop has extermely lovely handmade items. Claire Elizabeth Annals (her maiden name was Rhodes), of, sells bags, hats, crochet purses, knitted scarves and cowls. She also sells some of her sister’s jewelry and vintage patterns.

“Each item is 'lovingly' handmade, by that I mean that I enjoy making them and like to imagine how they will be used by their new owner. When I made the wisp scarf, I couldn't shake the feeling that it should be used as a light shawl at a wedding. I am always on the look out for new ideas, and if I wouldn't use an item, it doesn't go into my shop. I use the best materials I can source, and I am always on the look out for unusual yarn and fabric patterns.”

Her family inspires her to create. “There have been many things over the past where one or another member of my family has said 'you could sell that'. The hats came from my mum giving me a metre of fleece fabric one day as my son had outgrown his hat and she, rightly, reckoned I could make one myself. The 'hug a hottie' came from a special request from my sister for a knitted hot water bottle cover. The flower hair clips came from a childhood memory of hair grips and bun covers that my mum used to crochet for me when I was a little girl, and the pouches came from a necessity to be able to find things in my voluminous handbag (which I made because I couldn't find anything big enough in the shops).”

Rhodes Annals Designs is located in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK, and ships internationally. She is more than happy to make custom items just for you.

About her Twitter habits: “I like to engage in conversation with others over Twitter - I do a fair amount of link posting but hope that I balance that out with friendly banter and sometimes even advice. I know personally that I am more likely to purchase from someone that I felt I had 'bonded' with on Twitter or in the Etsy forums - and I have purchased many, many items that way. I love the immediacy of Twitter - you can post a link to your latest item and then sit and watch the view count mount up. I think that there are lots of very courteous people on Twitter who click on every link and I am thankful to them.”

You can read about her projects on her blog at Claire's Stitching Adventures. Find her on Twitter @RhodesAnnals. Become a fan of her Facebook page.

Special for the Week: Put “Twitter Rocks” into the “Messages for the Seller” box and await a revised invoice with a 10% discount off the item price.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Shop Opening - The Magickal Ewe

these ACEO prints will soon be avaailable on The Magickal Ewe - my new store at Fuzzy Blue Slippers. Come and have a look at my new shop - The Magickal Ewe

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everybody can be great

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't haveto have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subjectand verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love.

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blog Carnival - Chocolate and You

New edition of the Chocolate and You Blog Carnival - visit it here:Chocolate and You Blog Carnival