Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pro-Tech-Skin Giveaway EXTENSION!

I just wanted to alert everyone to the fact that I've extended the contest for the Pro-Tech-Skin cream! It's a fabulous cream and I really want everyone to have a chance to win it. We love it--great for office hands, outdoor hands, and hard-working hands. In fact, I'm thinking this will make a great gift for the deployed troops I know and for anyone who washes their hands or is outdoors a lot...

The contest will stay open until 6/29 at 0730 hours, EST.

Get busy and enter! It's free! Click here to get started.

Rockin' Baby Sling Review and Giveaway

It's very important for me to be close to my baby whenever we're together. We are both more relaxed this way, and the simple touch from each other just makes the world of difference in feeling safe, warm, and loved. In keeping with this, Amara and I have tried three different slings and one front carrier since she's been born, one of which was sent to me recently by the Rockin' Baby Sling company (sound familiar? You may have seen Gwen Stefani, Carrie Anne Moss, or Brook Burke sporting one).

What they sent to me is actually considered a "pouch" as marked by the pocket that's formed when it's on you. In summary, we really like this pouch . In fact, this seems to be Amara's favorite thing to be carried in! It's the most fashionable sling/pouch that I have, being reversible and made with beautiful fabrics. One can adjust the length of the sling by either zipping or unzipping fabric together where the sling sits on your shoulder. The zippers are hidden by a removable strip of fabric (one pattern on each side) that can be wrapped around the sling where the zippers are and velcroed into place. People always ask me how I am able to adjust the pouch, since the zippers are covered so well! You can watch a very short You-Tube video about how to wear one of these and manage the zipper system by clicking here.

The back rim is padded, providing an extra layer of comfort for the baby being carried, and there's a big formed pocket for he or she to sit in. I think the pocket is why Amara likes this sling the best--it's shaped just right for her to either sit in or recline in. Like any sling that I've had, you do need to shift it on your shoulder/back occasionally to relieve the pain that builds up from the added weight. It does stay close to your body, freeing your hands and making it easy for you to move around without your child swinging in front of you.

I've had a few times when the zipper for adjusting came undone while I was carrying Amara, but it's never caused any sudden drop or safety issue. After mentioning this to the Rockin' Baby ladies, I found that this problem is caused by having the zippers on top of your shoulder instead of behind your shoulder like one is supposed to wear the pouch. Just be sure to wear the zippers on your back and check them before wearing the pouch to avoid any opening zippers. As the pouch is one continuous piece of fabric, there doesn't seem to be any problem for us or the way I carry my daughter even if the zipper does come undone, which is nice.

Some of my favorite things about this pouch are:

  • The many choices of beautiful fabric (including organic) for your pouch or sling (they make both!)

  • The ease of using it

  • That it offers me a different option from a traditional sling

  • That you can carry your baby in 5 different ways (including a back carry) using it

  • The good craftsmanship employed in their products

The company is very friendly and helpful and will even custom make a sling or pouch for you if you send them the fabric to do so! Some of my favorite things about them would be:

  • Their products are cut and sewn in Los Angeles by workers making a fair, livable wage

  • Slings and pouches both have been through rigorous safety testing (information can be found on their website)

  • The packaging of their products is minimal and made from recycled materials

  • They're just downright nice and personable people (and that's hard to come by these days)!

Really, the only downside to a pouch from these gals would be that some of them may be too expensive (regular pouches seem to be $82 while the organic ones are $112). The good news about this is that they offer sale ones for less ($62), and they have a promotional code that you can use at least through July 20th! Check out this deal:

On all non sale items, buy ane item and get the next item (of equal or lesser value) half off (Enter promo code: BOGO), or get a 25% discount (Enter promo code: June Discount)!

Certainly worth checking out, and especially if your little one would prefer a pouch as mine does. You can purchase a sling or pouch off of their website or in stores located around the US.

But wait, there's more...Rockin' Baby Slings has generously offered to provide one of my lucky readers with one of their fabulous Sugar Sugar pouches for free ($82.00 value)! You'll need to leave a comment on this post with your favorite item from their website (pouch/sling and fabric choices), and your favorite baby wearing tip or fact (don't have a baby yet? Do some research!). Be sure to include your email address in each comment or it won't count!

Earn some additional entries by sporting my buttons on your blog or website, blogging about this contest, signing up for Rockin' Baby Slings' newsletter (let me know which email address you used), following or subscribing to me, faving me on Technorati, or emailing some friends about this contest with a CC to lifemoresimply (at) Leave a separate entry for each thing that you do and make sure that you tell me why you deserve an extra entry! If you earned an extra entry on one of the earlier posts (about June winnings or this particular contest), just mention it (I will be checking, though!).

This contest will be open until Monday, July 20 at 0730 hours, EST.

Be blessed, my friends!

Photo of the Sugar Sugar pouch that Rockin' Baby is giving away

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Cloth

QOTD: How "green" are you willing to go?

The thought of not using toilet paper has never occurred to me except for when I'm in the woods and use a leaf instead. Avid outdoor-people will totally understand that and not think of me as weird while non-true-campers will probably scratch their heads trying to remember if they've ever shook my bare head. At home though? Never! I like toilet paper!

And then today, I randomly came across the topic of "Family Cloth" on a website. At first, I didn't know what it was, but I was quickly able to use my reasoning abilities to figure it out after the page referenced using it as a replacement for toilet paper. Oh, my! At first, my thoughts were displaced as I processed what this meant. What about hygiene? Would I want to be using something that I knew someone else already had? Or even that I had?

I continued to read, finding out more about this strange (to me) phenomenon that seems to be gaining popularity among the frugal population. Apparently, most people who use Family Cloth only use it after urination and keep toilet paper on hand for anything else. Even families who use cloth exclusively will keep a roll or two of toilet paper in their cupboard in case of visitors ("oh, just pick your favorite piece out of our pile and throw it in the basket when you're done! My personal favorite is the soft pink flannel with bunnies print!"). Probably a good thing. The used cloths are put into one of those trash cans with the foot-pedal lid, lined with a reusable bag (like the wet bag that we use for our diaper pail, I'm thinking), and then tossed into the diaper or towel laundry every few days. Okay, some people apparently put the used cloths into other things, but I like the idea of discrete and covered, so we're running with the can idea.

Hygienic? Well, I can't really see a problem with it if it's just urine, especially if you're using hemp or bamboo fabric (anti-microbial, etc.). I do use cloth diapers after all, and that is certainly not a hygiene problem. Frugal? Definitely in the long run. Softer than cheap toilet paper? I'm positive! I willing to take the plunge (okay, bad pun)?

I strive for simplicity, I care about the Earth, and I need to save money. I'm the only female in my house who would be using it, so maybe it wouldn't be so weird? Maybe it would be! I don't know if I'm ready to be so green as to have re-usable toilet paper yet, but it's worth a thought. Here's the deal, if someone will send me a bunch of Family Cloth to review, I will try it out. I will not give away the used cloths though, so don't even ask.

Have you ever heard of this before? What do you think---weird, or a good idea?
I found a good example of prices, fabrics, etc. for Family Cloth here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Scariest Mommy-Moment

not my daughter, but it's not a bad idea...

A very unhappy thing happened in our house last night: Amara crawled off the bed.

We'd been out visiting our Fathers and Grandfathers for a bit of the day, and were relieved to get home and put our very tired daughter to bed. She took all of 30-seconds to pass out, so we put a movie on the living room that's adjacent to our bedroom where she was sleeping. After a while, we heard her crying and so I went in to put a clean diaper on and nurse her. She again fell asleep shortly after this, so I went back out to the living room and was talking to Ron.

Moments later, we heard a thud that came from the bedroom. We, of course, bolted for the door but were met by cries before making it through the doorway. Unfortunately, one has to cross the room in order to turn on the light, so Ron headed for the lamp while I looked on my side of the bed to find the baby. Except that there was no baby! The pillows I carefully laid out to keep Amara from rolling off were still in their place on the bed, but left nothing but a void between them, and the floor was empty on both sides. Ron yelled over the cries "WHERE IS SHE?!" to which I couldn't answer.

We found her at the foot of our bed on the floor, facing the bed. Crying. Eyes closed. Not moving except for her screams. Horrified, I got to her first and was able to shoo Ron away from instinctively grabbing her up. Panicked, I held her head in alignment with her spine while I checked her extremities for movement and her spinal column for no deviations. Yeah, Paramedic-Mama at her best. She seemed okay, so we scooped her up and tried to comfort her while feeling her head for bumps.

Finding no injuries, we were able to calm our sweet baby down to where she was able to again flash her gigantic gummy smile at us. We wiped away the tears that were running down her neck, and she and I spent the next 15 minutes playing piano together. After checking her pupils, visual tracking, and behavior for the next half an hour, we finally decided that her spitting up was not vomit and we could go to bed instead of to the hospital. She was restless, though, and didn't fall asleep for another hour and a half.

I don't even care that I'm tired today after getting to sleep four hours later than normal and waking up all night long to verify my child's health. I'm kicking myself for not turning on the baby monitor like we always do when she's napping without us. I don't know why I didn't think that she could crawl off the bed trying to find us before we'd hear her and be in there! Yikes. Lesson learned, and thankfully with no bumps or bruises (or *cringe* worse) to remind us.

This has been my scariest mama-moment thus far, and I hope it's the worst one I ever have. The horror of hearing the "thud," and then the panic of not being able to find our baby! Not good, I tell you. I just keep thanking God that she's okay, because I have seen what can happen to babies from accidents and I never want to experience that. For the future? Duct Tape to hold my child in place.

What has been your scariest mama-moment, and how did you manage?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Call for all Ideas!

Help me, help me!

Okay, I have a question for all of you. In an attempt to entice you to actually interact with me, I will give you an extra entry into one of my contests that are active at the time that you leave your opinion here. Just leave a message on the contest of your choice telling me that you left your opinion here. You may only choose one contest to have an extra entry in!

Here is my question: what are you interested in learning more about, understanding better, or trying? In other words, what topics do you want me to write about, and what products do you want me to review? Why?

Things that are in the works now are:
  • Cloth Diaper Extravaganza for all of July, 2009. This theme will share tons of information about cloth diapering with you, as well as give you the opportunity to win some diapers and accessories!
  • Green Cleaning products, information, and ideas. Will be one week long in August, 2009 (with the opportunity to win a $300.00 Activeion!).
  • Remodeling your house the "green" way. I think we'll probably go room by room and will spread it out over time, starting in August, 2009.
  • Random other things, like flattering clothes for an after-pregnancy mama body, baby slings, baby shoes, summer time and the outdoors, etc..
Things that could be good for future topics: natural remedies for pregnancy related things, nutrition, food preparation for infants, educational ideas, household safety, teething products, recipes, organizational methods, etc.. Reviews of specific products? DIY things?

What topics do you want to see on Life More Simply, and why?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Birthing Affirmation - Birth Prayer by S. Fierr-Baig

One of the things that I did to prepare for my daughter's birth was to regularly read affirmations out loud in the months prior to her birthing. During the birth, I had my mother read scriptural affirmations to me. I had also brought non-scriptural ones with me, but didn't have time for them! I came across this paraphrase of a passage in Isaiah today and really wanted to share it with you. I'll make it a point to post more birthing affirmations in the future as they're a wonderful tool to prepare and get through the amazing event of a birth.

Birth Prayer
by Susana Fierro-Baig

Chid within me, the Lord has created you.
He has formed your body, and you are his.

When you pass through the waters, He will be with you and you will not be harmed. He is the Lord, thy God, thy Saviour. You are precious in His sight. He loves you.

Let us not fear, for our Redeemer is with us. He will bring you forth safely. He will protect us from harm if we take upon us His name, for he created us to glorify Him.

We will be blessed with health, strength, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. With his gentle, loving hands he will deliver you without interference from anyone.

I will not be afraid of your birth, for I know that the Lord created me to be a mother. My body knows what to do to assist the Lord as He delivers you out of my womb.

Together we will work to bring you into this world without pain. The water that now protects you will carry you out and I will open myself up to you.

The feelings of love, joy, and peace will escort you on your journey. When you are ready to join us in the world, we will welcome you.

Your father and I have been honored with stewardship over you. He has placed you in our care that we may love you and teach you His word.

Your father is eager to hold you in his arms. I am eager to bring you to my bosom and nurse you.

We look forward to your arrival, yet we will not grow impatient in waiting for your birth-day. We do not want you to be born before you are fully ready.

Your father and I will not be fearful. God has promised us that if we do not fear and are obedient to His commands, He will pour His spirit upon you and His blessings.

Our family will praise and honor Him for the blessing of your birth, and the miracle of your life, giving thanks with song.

Adapted from Isaiah 43&44

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wrap-N-Mat Review and Giveaway

I have a new favorite handy-dandy traveling-food item to tell you about: the Wrap-N-Mat. It's quick and easy to tell you about this product as it's simply a more eco-friendly replacement for the traditional sandwhich bag and plastic wrap. Made with fabric on one side and FDA approved low density polyethylene (LDPE), each Wrap-N-Mat opens up to be a placemat and then is closed by folding the sides up and securing with the velcro tab enclosures attached to the fabric side. By using LDPE, Wrap-N-Mat's products are:
  • Phtalate free
  • Lead free
  • BPA free

While the traditional plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill, the Wrap-N-Mat can generally be re-used for six months straight before needing to be replaced, according to the company's website (hand wash and dry between uses). Did you know that 20,000,000 plastic baggies are discarded into landfills each day? I'm liking the idea of no BPA or non-degrading plastic baggies involved in my food storage...

I found the size of their products to be great for even a big bagel sandwhich at 12.6” x 12.6” for the original sized wraps. They sent me both that and a pouch that's more rectangular in shape which I have used for cheese and dried snacks like pretzles. Both are working wonderfully. I haven't experienced any stale bread, escaping crumbs, or spontaneous opening of the velcro. I'm so glad to not have to wash out plastic ziplock bags any more! Wiping off my Wrap-N-Mat is a lot easier than bags, and they're much easier to dry, too. My husband refuses to rewash plastic bags because of the time and effort involved, but he's had no problem wiping of the Wrap-N-Mat. Finally! Something that works, saves us money, time, and that we'll both use!

Please take the time to check out Wrap-N-Mat's website. I love the idea of this product, and the quality meets my standards. Their company has generously offered to provide two of my reader's each with an original wrap and a pouch! All you have to do is head over to their website and tell me what print you'd like if you win (both for the wrap and pouch). Earn extra entries (after you pick a print) by:

  • Following or subscribing to me (1 each)
  • Sporting my button on your blog or site (2 entries per button)
  • Entering the Pro-Tech-Skin contest or Blubandoo contest (still leave me a message telling me that you did!) (1 each)
  • Emailing 4 friends about this contest or my blog (CC lifemoresimply(at)
  • Blogging about this contest or my blog with a link (1 entry)
  • If you already earned an entry from this post
Leave your email address in each post, and leave 1 post per entry, please! This contest will end on Monday, June 29th at 0700 hours EST. Be blessed!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rocking to Sleep...or not?

Before LoveBug was born, Ron and I discussed if we were going to rock our babies to sleep or train them to fall asleep on their own without us. We went back and forth, weighing the pros and cons from parents we knew who practiced one or the other. Undecided, we had our daughter and just left the decision up in the air.

As new parents, you want to do what's right by your child. Is it better to teach them to fall asleep without you, or is it better to cuddle them and give them the security of being held while they fall asleep? I've read the literature on both ends, and have heard the criticism of both. In reality, we most often balance between the two in my household. My husband will put LoveBug down on the bed and lay next to her, giving her the prompts of "head down" and "shhhh" while lightly rubbing her back while she cries in protest. After she's asleep, he leaves and she's just fine.

It wasn't until I was trying Ron's method of inducing sleep upon our suspecting child last night that it hit me: I am a Rocking Mommy. And I like it. I was trying to get LoveBug to give in and lay on her belly when, through her pitiful sobs that screamed "just let me play with you, mama!", she managed to elude me long enough to roll on her side and scootch up to me so that I was spooning her. I decided to let her snuggle for a moment, and next thing I know, she's calm and asleep with her little hand still grasping my arm in an effort to keep us together. I realized then that I am a woman who believes in rocking her babies to sleep.

There isn't enough time for cuddling, kissing, and loving. Soon enough, my daughter will want to jump off of my lap instead of being held. I am determined to not take a single minute for granted, especially not when I already spend over 9 hours a day away from this precious little girl already. She won't be little forever, even if I want her to be. So until my beautiful LoveBug decides that she wants to be a big girl sleeping in her own bed by herself and with only a kiss goodnight from me, I will not worry about the undone dishes or the things I could be doing while she's falling asleep. Instead, I will embrace each second I have of being a Rocking Mommy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blubandoo Cooling Headwear Review and Giveaway

How would you or the Dad in your life like something that's both handy indoors and out, works, and is affordable? Something from Blubandoo is all of this as well as unique. I first found out about Blubandoo while researching green gift ideas for Dad for Father's Day. The idea behind their products seemed too good to be true, so I knew I had to check it out. The company sent me a NeckBandoo to review, and is offering an even bigger package for free to one of my blessed readers!

Blubandoo is a company that makes "cooling headwear"...that is, headwear like hats, bandannas, doorags, and scarves that, well, stay cool! Their products are made in California and are packaged by people with developmental disabilities so you'll be supporting both of these things when you purchase from Blubandoo. The headwear actually takes on a cool temperature and stays that way thanks to the "magic cooling crystals" that are sewn into each item. All you have to do is submerge the headwear into cool water for 5 minutes. During those five minutes, you'll see a part of the headwear expand as the crystals absorb the water and turn into a soft gel. Blubandoo claims that their products will stay cold for hours. After preparing the neckbandoo they sent to me though, mine stayed cold for one week. I'm not exaggerating! We couldn't believe it.

It took a few more days to fully dry out the Bandoo. Once dry, it goes back to being flat and the crystals feel more like big granules of sand. You can continuously reuse your Bandoo, hand washing it in between wears if it's dirty. I asked Blubandoo what the crystals are made out of, and they couldn't tell me as it's a bit secret. Even though I'm a little disappointed about that (what a great science lesson!), the company assures the public that the crystals are non-toxic.

Here's what they have to say about the many uses of their products:
  • Enjoy our mesh caps and cool wraps (cool ties)for outdoor sports like golf, tennis, cycling,running, and hiking.

  • Our floppy hats and visors are great for gardening, fishing, boating, the beach and other summer events.

  • Neckbands and headbands are popular for heat stress safety and heat stroke protection, construction work, and as medical treatment for headaches and muscle aches,and menopausal hot flashes.
  • Our cooling bandoorags are worn as bandannas, cooling scarfs and as biker (motorcycle) doorags.

I'd like to add to that list: pregnancy. This would be an excellent item for the expecting mom--I keep thinking that I had something like this to have kept me cool at night while I'm trying to sleep! I really think that this is a great product, well made, and that everyone could use.

Blubandoo is offering both a neckband and floppy hat (that's reversible and with SPF 50+ protection!) to one of my readers-- a $30.90 value if bought separately. You can choose between white and khaki for the color. To gain your initial entry (you must do this before gaining any other entries), you need to go to their website and tell me what product you're most interested in and in what color. Unfortunately, we're missing the charger cord for our camera's batteries, so I can't post any photos of this item. It looks better in real life than what they've got on their website, but there is a great video on their website that allows you to see and understand the cooling aspect of their headwear better. Check it out! This contest will end Monday, June 29 at 0730 hours EST.

Earn additional entries by...

- Entering the Pro-Tech-Skin cream contest (let me know here)
- Sporting my button on your blog (one entry per button)
- Subscribing to me
- Following me on Blogger
- Blogging about this contest
- Emailing 5 friends with lifemoresimply(at) CC'd in

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Splaff Flopps Review

Question: what does a tire, a bike tube, and a shoe knife all have in common? Answer: flip flops. Yes, that's what I said. Flip flops and end tables, mirrors, sandals, belts, wallets, and bags, to be exact. Splaff Flopps is a company based in Baja, California that's been around since 1997. They were birthed out of the desire to own a pair of flip flops that were durable, comfortable, good for wet feet, and made from recycled materials.

According to the guys at Splaff, their sandal "soles are made with recycled car tires, the straps are made with used bicycle inner tubes, the footbed covering and strap linings are made with hemp fabric, and the mid sole is made with regupol (a cushioned material made from used tires which have been chipped and pressed into mats). Splaff Flopps are produced in a 100% waste free process in which all left over materials are either re-used or recycled." Can it get any better than that?! Not only is the process ultra cool, but the Splaff artist-creators garuntee their sandals for six months and swear that they're super comfy and especially great for feet that often get wet. One of the things I like the best about their footwear, though, is that the soles are orderless, slip-restistant, and waterproof. These would be awesome for my husband (and myself) to run around in during the summer...and they wouldn't leave behind an odor like our Chaco's do!

I didn't get to test any of their products, so this is a review entirely based on their website. Should I ever be a person of a pleasant income, though, I would love to adorn my feet and my husbands feet with these sandals. Aside from the footwear, my favorite product is the messenger bag they make. I love messenger bags.

Since these are sandals designed for the outdoors, head over to the Splaff website and then leave a comment on my post here. If you do, you can have an extra entry into my Pro-Tech-Skin giveaway since that's great for anyone involved in outdoor things too! Just leave a message on that post telling me that you commented on the Splaff review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Schooling While Working + Giveaway

~ Learning the hands-on way~

It is my husband's and my dream to home school our children. Our other favorite educational method would be a Montessori school, but that's just a bit out of our financial realm right now (okay, a lot a bit out of our realm!). With me working more than full time, my husband working an unpredictable number of hours a week, and Amara spending around four days a week with her Grandmas, the thought of home schooling just doesn't seem so realistic! I pray for our situation to change, of course, and have decided that I could take an overnight job and home school during the day, but...let's be honest here, I need sleep.

Today, I came across an idea that I hadn't thought of before: have a curriculum that can be used regardless of where Amara is or who's taking care of her. The idea came after reading about a review and giveaway of the Itty Bitty Bookworm curriculum for preschoolers. No, this isn't my own giveaway, but it's a great one for us working Mom's and I wanted to share it with you! A fellow mom-blogger is hosting the giveaway, and you'll need to enter right now since it's ending tomorrow. You can check out her site at . It's an interesting blog about her adventures with six sons. Homeschooling's a big part of her writings, so it'd be a good resource for anyone else interested in alternative education methods.

Do any of you use a method for education that's different from public schooling? Have you ever heard of anyone working full time while still home schooling? What curriculums do you use, or do you write your own? Leave lots of comments, mamas! I need to learn more about what's out there and how other people are doing it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pro-Tech-Skin Review and Giveaway

My husband, Ron, works with his hands a lot. He's either doing carpentry or artwork (you can check out a sample of the artwork at, so he's constantly dirty-ing, scraping, and drying out his hands. When Atsko sent me a jar of their Pro-Tech-Skin to review, he was thrilled! The product is made entirely from inert waxes that work to provide a natural barrier so that your skins own oils and moisture will be protected, resulting in healthier, faster healing skin. A great alternative to lotion, a little goes a long way and stays on your hands for a long time.

Since there are no additives, this is a great product for people prone to allergies and skin irritations. Eczema, lupus, and UV-sensitive sufferers will especially appreciate this product since it is free of chemicals, water, clay, and other fillers. With no added scents (though you may smell the faint memory of honey from the beeswax), it's also great for people who are sensitive to scents or who work in environments where scents aren't appropriate.

One really only needs a little bit to be rubbed into the hands after washing and drying. At first, it made my hands feel slightly greasy, but nothing rubbed off anywhere and the feeling soon dissipated. Working as a paramedic on the weekend and in human services during the week, I am constantly washing my hands and using hand sanitizer. Not that Pro-Tech-Skin protects you from germs, per say, but with that extra protective barrier, your skin is stronger and thus more resistant to small lesions that are common to people who wash their hands a lot (what do you think dry skin is?). This is especially nice for anyone having to endure harsh elements outside, deal with chemicals or drying agents, and also just as a general protection and nourisher for skin everywhere!

This product is very affordable at only $7.30 per jar and should provide about 73.5 applications to the average pair of hands. I'd say that's pretty good even for a tightwad like myself! The guys over at Atsko also recommended it to me for use on baby bottoms to protect from rashes. I haven't used it for that yet, but I imagine that it would be very compatible with cloth diapers since it doesn't contain any of the ingredients that commonly stain and stick to fleece. I am fond enough of this product that I'm actually sitting at work right now wishing I had the jar with me, because as I write, I realize how thirsty my hands are for it!

If you care about your hands or anyone else's, get a jar of Pro-Tech-Skin. Really, it's an investment worth more than the money. Want to try before you buy? Call Atsko at 800-845-2728 and ask for a free sample (be sure to tell them that you came from Life More Simply's blog!). Not only is Atsko generously giving out samples, though, they're also giving a full sized jar to one of my readers! Visit their website at and let me know about another product they have that you'd be interested in trying. Be sure to leave me your email address in the comment! Contest ends Sunday, June 21 at 11:59 EST and is only open to US mailing addresses.

Earn additional entries (after you've done the above) by:

- Calling Atsko for a free sample and telling them you found them through my blog (2 additional entries)
- Sporting my button on your blog (4 additional entries...leave four comments!)
- Blogging about this contest with a link (2 additional entries)
- Sending an email about this contest or my blog to 3 friends, CC'd to LifeMoreSimply(@)
- If you already earned an extra entry from this post, let me know!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Amabella Chocolats Review and Giveaway

One of my husband's first loves is chocolate. I don't know who came up with the idea that chocolate is only a comforting, craved after thing for women, because he would probably spend all day eating it if he could--and he's definitely a manly man. When I told him that Amabella Chocolats was sending me some sample truffles, he was elated! Chocolate is always first on my list of gift items, and this Father's Day is no different.

Amabella Chocolats sent me three hand dipped chocolate truffles to try. The outer coating of each one was a sweet and delicate dark chocolate, and the inside was a creamy, smooth, cream filling flavored with certified organic flavor oils. You can choose between milk or dark chocolate for the truffle's shell, and between eight different flavors for the creamy filling. They also offer vegan chocolate squares that come in any of the flavors and are decorated by hand painting.

We (my husband and I, since he would have a fit if he wasn't in on the testing of this!) found all of the flavors to be quite delicious. Amabella Chocolats sent their signature vanilla, rose, and chai truffles to be tasted. The vanilla is a delicate flavor and would be great for the person who wants things to be not too sweet or overpowering. A stronger flavor, the chai one really stood out as one that you'll only need one truffle to be satisfied by. I'm a big chai fan and it did pass my taste buds. I think a combination vanilla-chai would be just wonderful, and Amabella Chocolats will do custom orders! The rose truffle surprised me by being light and quite pleasant. I was expecting it to taste a little bit like potpouri, but it was actually very soothing and relaxing. It would be a great match with tea or lemonade (does anyone feel a belated Mother's Day gift coming on?).

The packaging for the truffles is very pretty and would work just as well for a man as a woman. Tied with a sage green ribbon, I had to admire it before opening the box! I am a little bit jealous of the person who perfected bow tying for these packages--mine never come out this great. Shipped by USPS, the truffles did arrive later than Amabella Chocolats anticipated. Days late, in fact. Unfortunately, this did affect the product a little bit. The truffle's outer shells seemed to have been affected by the temperature changes in transition and had gotten a little chalky, as well as breaking in a few spots on two of the three truffles. The inside was unaffected, though, and still tasted great with a smooth consistancy. Amabella Chocolats is currently switching the shipping and packing options, though, so I'm told this shouldn't be a problem ever again!

Order a package of truffles or choclate soon. They are all handmade, so you'll want to make sure your order will be perfected and shipped in time for Father's Day. They're priced reasonably at $10.00 a box (five pieces truffles, squares, or a combination). Remember, you aren't going to need a lot of these to be satisfied!

Amabella Chocolats has offered to give one of my reader's a 1/4 lb. box of truffles (five truffles) in the flavor of his or her choosing! To gain an entry, you need to visit their website at and tell me what flavor(s) you like the most. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment!

Gain extra entries by doing the following:

* Grab my button (2 additional entries)
* Blog about this contest with a link
* Email 3 friends about this contest
* Fav me on Technorati
* If you already did something from this post
* Place an order with Ambella Chocolats (3 additional entries)

Come back and tell me what you did (a separate entry for each thing) with your email address!
This contest will be ending on Father's Day, June 21 at 11:59 PM, EST.

Father's Day Event

Let's face it: Mommies aren't created without a Daddy being created, too. Both of our existences are dependent upon each other, for better or for worse. I love being a mama. It is the most joyous, exhilarating, and interesting thing that's ever come upon me. Thankfully, my baby-daddy is in the picture and loves ever minute of it, too. This coming Father's day will be the first one when Ron can actually hold his beautiful 7-month-old daughter in his arms (as she attempts to pinch, poke, pull, and climb off of him). In honor of this event, and for daddies everywhere, we will be highlighting cool products for dad as well as hosting giveaways! Some of the things to look forward to between now and Father's Day:

-Outdoor gear


-Office supplies


-and more!

Check back often (maybe even later today, hint, hint) to get some great ideas on Father's Day gifts, learn about new things, and enter to win some pretty neat prizes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silken Tofu Alfredo Sauce Recipe and Review

In New York if you fall below a particular income level, your family may qualify to receive WIC (Women, Children and Infants). It's a supplemental food program that gives you coupons to redeem at the grocery store or farmer's market every month. If you're a breastfeeding mom, you make out like a bandit. The interesting thing about WIC, though, is the number of food items in a category that they choose to give to you. We're talking 22 gallons of milk a month, but only $10.00 worth of fruits or vegetables. One can trade a percentage of the milk in for cheese and tofu as well as dried or canned milk, so I do all of that to make the milk allotment more manageable. I still end up with a large stock of canned tuna, peanut butter, and beans...and end up giving away the 32 cans of meat baby food since we're raising our daughter as a vegetarian right now, but at least we don't have gallons of milk going bad every month now!

The substitution of milk for tofu is something that just began within the last few months. At first, I wondered about not taking advantage of it, but then figured why not? I was a little weirded out at the thought of tofu in the beginning (stories of rubbery chunks in a frying pan danced in my head) but am very glad I went this route now. There are two main types of tofu that I've found, each sold in 16oz containers: silken (creamy, custard like texture), and firm (the chunking variety). The package says to use within three days of opening, and I've found it to be true. Very true. It will look and smell fine, but taste terrible. Don't risk it.
These are the things that I love about tofu:
  1. excellent source of protein..and without the extra fat!

  2. the health benefits

  3. the EASE of working with it

Think I'm joking? Try this recipe for a delicious rendition of a garlic alfredo sauce and be amazed at how much faster and easier it is to make this way as opposed to standing over a stove and stirring milk forever. Even my husband who is a die-hard "I'm-not-a-vegetarian-so-I-can't-eat-soy" guy admits that this tastes good. Being a working mom, I can't afford any extra time in the kitchen. Tofu is a life saver of time.

Silken Tofu Garlic Alfredo Sauce
Mince 3 garlic cloves and saute with a hint of olive oil or 2T butter until tender.

Mix the garlic/oil and everything else in a blender or food processor until smooth (hint: always put the most liquid ingredients on the bottom of the blender, working up to the firmest):

1/2 cup milk (I use evaporated)
16 oz silken tofu
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pepper and salt to taste

Heat to your desired temperature (be sure to stir occasionally) and it's ready to serve! Garnish with more cheese and fresh parsley for a nice touch. I often serve it with a colorful salad, providing aesthetic pleasure as well as more nutrition and yumminess.

What recipe do you have that's a time saver? Please share with me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

About Me

Why I Started Life More Simply:

About Me:
I have a few Importants in life: God, my Family, and Life. I married my amazing husband, Ron, in 2006. He's a pretty phenomenal artist and you can see his work at Since being married, we've visited 13 states, moved six times, graduated from college, and had a lot of other adventures together. Our daughter, LoveBug, was born naturally (no drugs or monitoring) in a birthing tub in October of 2008. She is our complete delight and we are thrilled that God chose our family to give a perfect child to. We're looking forward to the addition of a second perfect child (*crossing our fingers*) that will be joining us in early July, 2010. We breastfeed, co-sleep, cloth diaper, and love every moment of it.

If I had spare time, I would spend it fighting fires, cutting people out of cars, camping, rappelling, playing piano, drums, or guitar, making pottery, cooking, crafting, or just enjoying and exploring the outdoors. As a family, we enjoy art, music, the outdoors, and the discovery of new things.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an Indian and a Firefighter. I managed the firefighter part but am still pale as a potato. I currently work as a Coordinator of Program Activities for a day habilitation program for adults with developmental disabilities. I also work part time as a paramedic. And then again do some more part timing with teaching private music lessons. My husband and I do wedding photography when the opportunity arises and have flirted with the idea of making it into a real business, but alas, it remains more of a hobby. When I grow up, I now want to have my own business and stay at home with my family while home schooling my amazing offspring. I hope to grow up any day now, because I really want to be home with my daughter.

I have a bachelor of science degree in psychology and therapeutic recreation. I'm also skilled in a variety of other areas including music, drama, art, medicine/health, communication, design, and sleeping. My husband and I often wonder if college was worth the loans. The debate is still out.

Our big dreams include traveling the world and opening a Christian Center for the Fine Arts including an art gallery, auditorium, and cafe. If you'd like to provide lodging and food for our travels or to fund our art center operation, please let me know. Seriously.

My goal for this blog is simply to share the knowledge I have about natural living and parenting with other people, especially other working moms. The working world (outside the home) seems to have the idea that it's impossible to practice natural living while being a working mom. This blog is set forth with the hope that some people will reconsider or at least become aware of the possibilities out there, and to encourage those already striving to live life more simply.