Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Product review: Diaper Dabbler

This post is sponsored by Diaper Dabbler. They gave me a package of their Mother Earth sampler to try in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own. 

How would you like to try diapers before you buy a whole pack to discover they aren't the greatest fit or leak. Well, you can.

Diaper Dabbler is genius and takes the guess work out of the equation for new, overwhelmed moms.  Their mission: to provide a one stop cost-effective way to sample a variety of disposable diapers.

Yes, this is a green blog, talking about disposable diapers. I see the irony in that.

Since I am a working mom with two kids, cloth diapers won't work for me but there are a lot of options of earth-friendly diapers that are biodegradable, made with plant based materials or produced with less chemicals.

Diaper Dabbler sent me the Mother Earth sampler to try which included the following brands:

Honest Company™: Jessica Alba's company specializing in non-toxic diapers, made from sustainable, plant-based, biodegradable materials.
Retail for $14 for 36 diapers (size three). $0.38 per diaper

Earth’s Best TenderCare™ : Chlorine free diapers with materials made from corn and wheat.
Retail for $13 for 35. $0.37 per diaper

Seventh Generation Free & Clear™: Free of whitening agents and chlorine free.
$12.50 for a pack of 20. $0.62 per diaper

Naty by Nature BabyCare™: Free of fragrance and totally chlorine free pulp, the leakage is barrier made of natural material and GM free based corn film.
Retail $36 for 54 diapers. $0.66 per diaper

Huggies Pure & Natural™:  Made with organic cotton outside, cushiony soft quilting and a flexible pad inside these are hypoallergenic, with a touch of Aloe and Vitamin E.
Retail $40 for 140 diapers. $0.29 per diaper

Attitude™: Made from renewable and compostable materials, they are also carbon neutral.
Retails for $11 for 30 diapers. $0.37 per diaper.

The verdict? They give you this nifty score card to keep track of what you did and didn't like:

The verdict, I loved Honest Company. I tried their diapers when they first came out and I fell in love with everything except the price. They are the best quality diaper you can buy if you're an earthy conscious momma like myself but they hit the pocket book hard.

EmmyLu models Honest Diapers


Earth's Best, Attitude and Seventh Generation came in at a tie. They had a scratchy feel (well, so did Honest Company but they got points for being cute) but they didn't leak like Natty and Huggies did when EmmyLu wore them.

If you would like to try a set of diapers, Diaper Dabbler is offering my readers 15% off ... just use code WMGG15.

What are your favorite diapers?  I'd love to hear!

This post is sponsored by Diaper Dabbler. They gave me a package of their Mother Earth sampler to try in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meatless Monday: Roasted veggie macaroni and cheese

Trust me, this tasted better than it looked. I'm not the best food photographer, apparently.

I love mac and cheese and this one was loaded with yummy veggies and easy to prepare in under 30 mins. How many mac and cheese recipes can say that?

The original recipe called for red pepper flakes and cayenne but since the kids were eating it, I left the spices out.

Roasted Veggie Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Comfort of Cooking



1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 yellow squash, quartered and diced
10 baby carrots, sliced thinly
2 cups whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz.) Cheddar Cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. panko breadcrumbs

Directions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a medium pot of salted water to boil. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and coating with a little olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.

Toss broccoli, red pepper, squash and carrots onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Remove from oven and set aside.

Once water is boiling, lower heat slightly and add pasta, cooking according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until well distributed and melted. Add salt and pepper. Add macaroni and vegetables.

Place mixture in a large casserole dish and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler in your oven (500 degrees) for 3-4 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Product review: Anjou Spa's Sweet Relief Spa Services


This post is sponsored by Anjou Spa. Anjou Spa provided the services at no charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions are my own.

I remember my mother telling me before she died how hard it was to spend time or money on yourself when you’re a mom.  There were always places to be, bills to play and kids to attend to.   I didn’t understand at the time what she meant but 17 years later, oh I understand. And I feel guilty when I’m away from my children.

I haven’t had a massage since Benjamin was 5 months old. He will be 5 next month.  I have spent the last 5 years turning into my mother. That’s not a bad thing but when I started my journey towards a healthier lifestyle, I told myself that I needed to also spend some time on being nice to myself. As I had coffee with a longtime friend, she said “when you’re nice to yourself, it benefits everyone.” So true.

Anjou Spa in Bend, Oregon
Anjou Spa, Bend’s Green Spa, approached me wondering if I’d be interested in trying out a few of their “Sweet Relief” Spa Services and offer some feedback. A spa that uses organic oils and scrubs, non-toxic nail treatments and natural aloe-based hair products – WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

The “Sweet Reliefs” menu is perfect for busy, working mothers like me living or on vacation in Bend, Oregon.  The services are $44 and 30 minutes each with six spa selections ranging from massages, hydrotherapy and facials. I indulged and went for the Back Country and Fresh Face Peel.

I was happy to learn that Anjou has showers and a steam room because I came directly from crossfit to my appointment and needed to wind down before Lindsay, their spa director, gave me a quick tour and then started my spa treatments.

Fireside room available for
couple massages
From the outside, Anjou Spa doesn’t look like a big place but once inside, I was amazed by the soothing atmosphere, fireside couples massage room (booking that for our anniversary), relaxation room and Vichy shower room.

After talking with Lindsay about my muscles being sore from the Tabata Ta Dah WOD and Power Snatches, she added an essential oil targeting to help with sore muscles to the massage oil. This is a complimentary service that Anjou provides to all massage services.  Clients can pick from a variety of oils to help with sleep, mood and even to aid digestion.

I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical of a 30 minute massage. Could it really do the trick in a pinch? Let’s just say, I almost fell asleep. A great sign of a good massage.  BUT I wasn’t done. There was the facial.

Massage and facial room
Anjou’s Fresh Face Peel is described as a service that “brings forth newer, plumper cells and say goodbye to older, dead cells! Enzymes from a natural peel also penetrate the skin to clean pores and improve skin tone and texture. “ In 30 minutes, I was skeptical, in my relaxed stat.

Lindsay asked about my skin issues. I was lucky to never have suffered from acne problems but I do have rosacea and my skin is sensitive to anything I put on it. This has stopped me from getting facials in the past but since the products used at Anjou are green and friendly (Eminence Organics to be exact), how could I go wrong? A relaxing 30 minutes later, my sensitive face felt pretty amazing and I am happy to report nothing irritated my skin. She recommend I use Eminence Couperose-C Serum to help with my rosacea. I'm happy that I purchased it because it seems to be helping. 

Relaxation room
After regrouping, I was greeted in the hallway by Lindsay with a cup of water in a cute green Preserve cup. After services at Anjou, they offer a complimentary beverage which range from tea, lemon water, local microbrews, champagne and even kombuucha in their gorgeous relaxation room.  I stuck with tea but could imagine myself with a girlfriend unwinding with champagne.

Busy people in Bend, Oregon listen up … the Sweet Reliefs menu is for you. Stop feeling guilty and call Anjou Spa up to book something off their spa menu. And here’s a gift from me, mention “WorkingMom” and you’ll get 10% off your service.

Next time I visit Anjou Spa, I definitely need to spend more time relaxing in the steam room and have a girlfriend waiting with a glass of champagne after.

How do you pamper yourself?

This post is sponsored by Anjou Spa. Anjou Spa provided the services at no charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What motivates you!

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

When I started this weight loss journey, my goal was to lower my blood pressure so my doctor wouldn't worry about the strain on my kidneys and other organs. The doctor suspected that part of my problem was stress, being overweight and maybe being afraid of folks in white coats. I won't go to the doctor until middle of May but part of my motivation was to impress her. 

As of today, I'm down only 4 lbs since my end of March weigh in. A total of 13 lbs. Yes, I realize that using the provided Shaklee Products and hitting the Box (what a Crossfit calls their gym) are making an impact but I must admit, in month 2, I've cheated more on my meals than month 1. It's all me. I own this and have no other person than myself to blame.  But then I started to think of all the things that are motivating me and it's more than the doctor.

Here's my quick list:
1) My kids and husband are the #1 motivation. I need to be healthy for them. And it's also nice that my husband is cheering me on and noticing the weight loss. 

almost 13 rounds of a hero WOD
2) With the weight loss and making myself accountable to three day a week to crossfit and two days of week walking, I'm noticing an improved performance in my workouts of the day (WOD) at crossfit. This is motivation to keep me going and pushing myself.  I can lift more weight, my times are faster, I can squat deeper and I'm not afraid of 99% of the workouts -- unless they include burpees. I HATE BURPEES. 

3) This summer, my brother and family are going to be visit. My brother isn't on Facebook so I'm hoping he and his family will be shocked by the results. I want them to be proud. 

photo courtesy of American Songwriter
4) I want to wear a maxi tank dress to AmericanaramA's stop in California. This is the only summer trip my husband and I have planned.  I don't know why but I'm thinking I'd look pretty cool wearing one to see three of my favorite artists. I pretty sure Jeff Tweedy would approve. 

5) I may go to my 20th high school reunion and who doesn't want to look good for that?  I haven't decided if we're going or not but my reunion is in September in Omaha, Nebraska. At the same time I'm there, I would also see a lot of my extended family.

What motivates you to hit goals? I would love to hear. The official reveal of month 2 results will take place on May 2 in a video blog post so stay tuned!

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meatless Monday: Mushroom and olive pizza

I have really missed pizza on this journey to a healthy lifestyle. I didn't know what I would miss most but pizza seems to be up there (also with artisan gelato).

After doing some calculations, I figured if I left off meat, threw in a whole wheat crust, lowered the cheese fat and kept to my favorite toppings, olives and mushrooms, one slice would be around 210 calories. Not bad, right? Especially paired with a nice salad too!

It was a genius idea and awesome for meatless Monday! Enjoy!


Mushroom and Olive Pizza

1 pre-packaged Whole Wheat Crust
1/2 cup of pizza sauce
1 cup of sliced black olives (I used jarred -- less BPA)
1 cup mushrooms (I used jarred -- less BPA)
1/2 cup light mozzarella

Prepare crust per package directions. Heat oven pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Top crust with pizza sauce, mushrooms, olives and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things not green: my plastic retainer

For the past week, I have had to wear this awful thing:


It’s a temporary retainer until the replacement for my permanent retainer comes in and they can apply it to the back of my teeth. If I didn't have a permanent retainer on my first four teeth, this is what I’d look like:


Pretty cute for a 9 year old right? My mom spent a lot of money on me having the perfect smile so from 11-13 years old, I wore braces and then a retainer. When it was time to stop wearing the retainer, my front four teeth spread apart and my mother made the orthodontist put braces on me when I was 17 years old for 6 months to close the gap again. I was told I would always have a permanent retainer on my top four teeth FOREVER.

20 years later, my permanent retainer was showing signs of wear and tear and my dentist ordered me to get it removed and have another one put on by an orthodontist. It takes three ortho appointments to put on another permanent retainer and OH, I have to wear a temporary plastic one in my mouth, 24/7 for the next week. Not amused but I guess it could be worse.

It’s gross and I can’t help by wonder what is leaching into my mouth as I wear it. I’ll be happy when I can throw it away. I am pretty sure it's not recyclable either. YUCK.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Washing your hair without shampoo, an update

It's been one year since I took the plunge and went shampooless and started using baking soda. I originally started this attempt in October 2010 but I couldn't stand my hair being greasy so I waited until I was on maternity leave last year to give it a try again.

When I first started using baking soda on my hair, I was putting one tablespoon of baking soda in 3 cups of water. I later learned the best way was to make a paste -- a little water and 1 tablespoon of water. That did the trick and for one whole year, I've gone without shampoo and have used baking soda only.

The thing I learned was that is that it takes time. Not worrying about how my hair looked for a month really helped. I figured, I was covered in spit up already, who would notice my hair?

Today, my baby fine hair feels a little thicker and easier to work with. It does has it's greasy moments but I mostly use the baking soda solution every other day.

Using baking soda to cleanse your hair takes time and figuring out the right amount of soda to water ratio. I suggested this to a co-worker and right off the bat, the ratio worked for her.

The best guide I have found comes from my mommy blogging hero, Simple Mom. She gets all the credit for the successes I have had with this process.

Maybe next I will attempt to use the oil method to cleanse my face?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Meatless Monday: Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan

We ended having meatless Monday on Tuesday because on Monday I did a horrible job of planning
and we ended up having turkey sandwiches for dinner on Monday so on Tuesday, I vowed to find something tasty and quick for my family to enjoy.
Enter this dish. It took a total of about 20 mins and my whole family was satisfied. I didn't add any extra salt because I suspected it would be salty enough with the parmesan. In the end, I'm glad I didn't add the salt. It was a tad saltier than we like so next time, I will only add 1 teaspoon of veggie base. 

Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan
adapted from Life Tastes Good

4 tablespoons butter, divided 2 tablespoons for the orzo and then 2 for the spinach
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
14.5 ounces of water
1 teaspoons veggie base
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 (10 oz) bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add either but you may feel you need too)

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the orzo. Stir until lightly browned.

Stir in water and chicken base and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

While the orzo is simmering it is a good time to prepare the spinach. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the whole bag of spinach saute until wilted. Set aside until orzo is done.

When orzo is done add the spinach and the Parmesan and mix well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Upcycled backpack from Sara Bella

My son is starting kindergarten in the Fall. The day I went to pick up his paperwork from the school, I was a mess. Just imagine how I will be the first day of school? Three times the mess, maybe?

My son has been in need of a backpack for months and he told me he really wanted one with fish on it. Over and over, I showed him images of ones on Etsy and he turned each one down until one day, he was spying over my shoulder and told me to stop at this photo:

photo courtesy of Sara Bella
Ben: Mommy, see that blue backpack ... I WANT THAT ONE.

Off to Sara Bella Upcycled I went with my dad and his wife, to show them this funky store and get a backpack made for Ben. My dad happened to be visiting that week and was intrigued by the store. 

Sara Bella Upcycled is one cute store with the motto "We create beautiful, wearable art out of rescued plastic bags." They take plastic bags and they create many reusable items ... lunch totes, aprons, purses, skirts. I could go on an on.

The order process was quick and painless. I just showed her the blue backpack from the photo and two weeks later, it was ready. 

Today is kindergarten round-up so last night, I gave Ben his backpack. Look at the smile on his face:

  

Sara told me as I was leaving that anyone who gets one of these backpacks from her, she'll donate 15% back to Deschutes Land Trust. Saving plastic bags from the landfill AND donating to charity ... seems like a win-win to me!

Here is the video we took of giving Ben the backpack to send to my dad, who lives out of state. My dad was excited to get Ben the backpack as an early 5th birthday gift.


I think I'm going to have Sara Bella make EmmyLu a pink backpack with butterflies next.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Healthy snack discovery: Almond milk lattes

I have a confession -- I like non-fat lattes. A 16 oz non-fat latte is around 130 calories so they became a "snack" on days I worked out as a treat. Then I discovered almond milk lattes at my favorite coffee shop, Lone Pine Coffee Roasters.  They make their own almond milk which makes it extra extra special!

A 16 oz almond milk latte is around 40 calories. Yes, I still treat them as a "snack" but it has pretty much stopped me from the Starbucks drive thru because they don't have almond milk lattes.

Kudos to Lone Pine Coffee Roasters! Your almond milk lattes rock.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shaklee update: Month 1

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Watch my first post about the Shaklee 180™ Program and my one month results!!! I recorded this on Monday April 1!




I'm happy to say that I'm now at 209 lbs! Great motivation to keep going!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Products I love: NurturMe Baby Food

With my son, I failed miserable at making baby food so while I was pregnant with EmmyLu,  I searched for great organic baby food products. Plum District had a great offer on buy one package of NurturMe,  get one free, plus I was intrigued by it being in packets that needed to be rehydrated with water.

You read that right, you rehydrate it with warm water, formula or breast milk to the consistency your baby needs. If you're first starting out, you'll need more water but as the baby gets used to eating, the less water you'll need.

NurturMe comes in six flavors ... apple, banana, peas, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot ... the basic first fruits and vegetables for babies! At first, this concept was strange but I quickly got used to mixing the powdery substance. Our daycare lady loved the stuff as it was easy for her to prepare.

Starting out with carrots, EmmyLu loved them and moved onto peas, which gave her horrible gas (NOT NurturMe's fault) so we moved on to the other fruits and veggies and eventually came back to the peas.

When we started to venture into blends, I would blend the banana with carrots or apples with carrots to change things up! I also made my own beet puree and mixed it with their apple packet.

The other fun thing about NurturMe is that it's just not for babies! You can fool your kids and hid the veggies in their food by mixing it with their mac and cheese. And along with being organic, they were recently verified as non-GMO!

Check out the NurturMe to find out where to purchase products near you!

What is your favorite organic baby food products?

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