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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fage Total Greek Yogurt (Review)

Disclosure: I was given information and free product from Fage, in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed were my own. I am a BzzAgent.


  








Did you know that you can use yogurt in so many ways? Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) Total Greek yogurt is a perfect substitute for cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise in many dishes!
Here's some information from Fage:


FAGE is a family owned company and continues to use the same recipe for FAGE Total that they introduced with the opening of their original Athens dairy shop in 1926, that’s 87 years ago!  The #1 yogurt in Greece, FAGE is the only authentic Greek yogurt that is truly made with 100% natural ingredients, no evaporated cane juice (a fancy sounding ingredient that’s essentially sugar) or protein powders here.  FAGE believes in simple, delicious foods and FAGE Total includes only two or three ingredients: milk and live active cultures or milk, live active cultures and cream.  Approximately 4 pounds of raw milk are used to make one pound of thick, creamy yogurt.One of the more versatile ingredients you can add to your kitchen, FAGE Total works perfectly as a snack, a meal ingredient or the base of an indulgent dessert.  Rich in protein, low in calories and fat, you can enjoy FAGE Total as a healthy part of your diet. Available in 0% non-fat, 2% low-fat and Classic in sizes including 6oz, 7oz, 17oz and 35oz containers for cooking.  FAGE truly takes the time to develop their premium product. No shortcuts or rushing with this product and you’ll taste the difference.



The History about Fage:   Back in 1926, Athanassios Filippou opened a small dairy shop at 213 Patison Street in Athens, Greece. But this wasn’t the hustling, bustling Athens of today. The shop was located in the countryside with only a single train station nearby. As travelers would come and go, the reputation of the shop’s delicious, creamy, one-of-a-kind yogurt grew. As he nurtured the business with great care and passion, Athanassios brought his sons Ioannis and Kyriakos into the business and named it FAGE (pronounced “fa-yeh”). Shortly afterwards, Ioannis and his brother Kyriakos opened the company’s first yogurt production facility. During this time, retailers sold yogurt as a commodity, with the consumer having no idea who the manufacturer was. Upon moving the FAGE yogurt plant to the Metamorfossi area of Athens, FAGE became the first company to bring branded yogurt to the market. In fact, it was presented in packaging that is very similar to today’s design. Since then, FAGE has expanded throughout Greece, Europe and the world, including the United States in 1998. In 2008, FAGE opened a state-of-the-art production facility in Johnstown, New York. The $200 million facility uses the original family recipe, while also incorporating technological advances to achieve the highest standards of hygiene and safety. FAGE continues to grow and is currently in the process of expanding the facility by an additional $100 million.



I talked with some of my friends about Fage Total Greek yogurt, and I pretty much went over the information about the history of Fage with them. I informed them of the versatility of Fage Total Greek Yogurt and about the recipes (It's a pdf. with recipes on it:Fage ). I offered ideas of other ways that they could consume Fage, like drizzling honey over it, and maybe putting nuts or granola on top of it. Here in my household, I eat the Fage yogurt with honey on it. My husband and son prefer smoothies, so I make what I call "Chunky Monkey Smoothie" out of it. I added frozen cut up banana chunks, Fage Total Greek Yogurt, 1% milk, some peanut butter (what ever amount you like, to suit your taste) and 3 scoops of Ovaltine. That's what I make with it most of the time, if not Chunky Monkeys, then a fruit smoothie!
We really like the Fage Total Greek yogurt here in my household! I do recommend it!


The frozen banana chunks were added first.

Opened container of Fage Total Greek Yogurt!

Spooning some of Fage out of container.

Fage on top of banana chunks!

Another look at Fage! Trying to help you all to remember it!!

Milk, bananas, Fage, peanut butter, and Ovaltine!!


Blended!!


Smoothie done and in my glass!!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

7 Back-to-School Strategies to Help You Stress Less and Simplify Your Life ----Guest Post and Book Giveaway! ends 8/29/13


Disclosure: The guest post information was given to me via Renee Trudeau and her PR group, so that I could share it with my readers. I have previously reviewed one of Renee's books and posted an excerpt from her Nuturing the Soul of Your Family book. Any opinions posted by me are my own, and will be noted as such.


Today's guest post is by Renee Trudeau, an author, speaker, and an internationally recognized life  balance coach. (Even though school's been in progress in most area of the USA for a bit, these strategies can still be applied from today on! ---Barb's Note)

7 Back-to-School Strategies to Help You Stress Less and Simplify Your Life
Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, the start of a new school year signified opportunity, a fresh start, and a chance to do things differently.
If you’re feeling some anxiety around the all the transitions, adjustments, juggling and driving that usually accompany a new school year, take a deep breath, pause and consider the following ideas for a simpler, less stressful school year. Adopting even one of these ideas could make a huge difference in how you experience this potentially hectic time. Begin with compassion and baby steps as you consider the following:
  1. Identify what’s #1 for your family this fall. What values or new ways of being are most important to you in the upcoming months?  Perhaps creating a calm morning routine, eating dinner together, having dedicated family time, developing a good homework routine or mapping out a game plan for regular communication? Consider creating a vision board together around your shared values.
  2. Set yourself up for success by enlisting a support team. What type of support do you and your family need to feel nourished and nurtured as you transition into the new season? Perhaps a tutor or parenting coach, a new carpool team, a source for ready-made healthy meals or a couple of back-up baby sitters for monthly dates with your partner? Line up help now and post your “support team” list in your kitchen where the whole family can see it.
  3. Schedule replenishing nature respites. Being in nature elicits a relaxation response; it helps us shed worries and restore and replenish our bodies and minds like nothing else. Pull out your calendar and schedule some family hikes, a father/son camping trip, a visit to a country cabin or lake house over a holiday break, or a potluck at a nearby park with your neighbors or friends.
  4. Do less to experience more. In our office, we love the mantra, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” A key cause of stress is ambition and trying to do too much. Researchers in the field of positive psychology say we’re happiest when we have fewer options and decisions to make.  What can you say “no” to so you can simplify your family’s life? Our quality of life is enhanced not by adding things, but by letting go of that which we don’t need.
  5. Be mindful of technology.  In a recent survey I did, families across the U.S. said overuse of media was the top culprit for derailing their family’s emotional well-being and sense of connectedness. Consider doing an informal family media use survey (include phones, computers, tablets, TV) and create some clear media guidelines for how and when your kids can be online, play video games or use other devices. Many families also are finding keeping (or getting) a landline helps with screening calls and preserving precious family time in the evenings and on the weekends.
  6. Decide how you’ll communicate as a family. Regular, open, heartfelt communication is key to people feeling heard, seen, safe and secure and knowing their ideas matter. Especially when schedules are full. Some families have weekly communication meetings (post an agenda on the fridge and have your children add items to the list that they want to cover), some parents have Sunday evening planning meetings after the kids go to bed and others adopt practices as simple as everyone sharing a “thumbs up and thumbs down” at dinner each night. Do what works for you.
  7. Designate weekends for rest and relaxation (as best you can!). While it’s easy to stack our weekends with errands, household cleaning, social activities, sports and more, weekend time is sacred. The primary purpose of this 48 hour break is to rejuvenate and restore your energy reserves so you can return to work and school Monday with a fresh, excited outlook—ready to learn and take on new projects. While spending the weekend in a hammock may be unrealistic, realize rest and relaxation are essential to problem solving, idea generation and creativity. At least a portion of your weekend—and maybe all day Sunday-- should be devoted to physical and emotional renewal.
Now is a great time to mindfully reflect on what has worked and not worked in the past for your family and to explore how you might implement some of these strategies now, so you enter the new school year feeling cool, calm and connected.
More ideas, exercises, monthly mediations and inspiration on how to reconnect, stress less and experience more balance and harmony in everyday life in Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life (New World Library 2013) by Renee Trudeau.
RenĂ©e Peterson Trudeau is an internationally-recognized life balance coach, speaker and author. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, US News and World Report, Good Housekeeping, AARP and more. On the faculty of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Wellness, she leads workshops and retreats for 500 companies, conferences and organizations worldwide. Trudeau is the author of the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. Thousands of women in ten countries around the globe are participating in self-renewal groups for women based on her first book. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband and son.  Stress less this fall by joining Renee Sept. 16-Oct. 25 for a brand new course just for moms: The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal Online Experience.  www.ReneeTrudeau.com     


And now for the giveaway...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grace, Under Pressure : A Girl with Asperger's & Her Marathon Mom authored by Sophie Walker (Book Review)

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Sophie Walker's book and information by New World Library in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed by me in the review are my own! Honesty is important!






Sophie has a daughter named Grace. Grace did not like doing her homework for school, "with more than your average nine-year-old's passion." She'd understand it, and would do it in less than 5 minutes, but would argue with her mother Sophie about it for more time than it would take her to do it! Grace had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome the previous year, after 5 years of waiting lists,  inconclusive assessments,  and repeated questioning. (Barb's note: I can't even begin to imagine what she went through, other than what I read in this book. I could only empathize with Sophie.) The stress seems ed to be taking a toll on her, making her feel like she wasn't being a good parent and a good employee.

Sophie went to her doctor, and he wanted to put her on antidepressants. She didn't want to take them, so she went to a therapist, who specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy. She ended up going back to her doctor and took the prescription for the antidepressants. Sophie began to cry less, and she realized that she hadn't exercised in months. She had had Grace's sister Betty, and now Betty was two years old.
She began to start running, and even though she was discouraged by how fear she'd run, she pressed on.  (Barb's note: we are told in the following chapter about how Grace was when she was born, and how she wasn't the most responsive child as she grew older, as Sophie compared Betty to her.)

As time goes on,  Sophie and her husband get divorced, and she marries another man with sons. In between all of this, Grace has issues in school with other children in her classes, fighting with them and getting in trouble trying to defend herself. Sophie is constantly involved with the school, trying to get Grace what she needs, help with her classes, due to the Asperger's. She was trying to be her daughter's advocate!!As this is going on, you feel Sophie's frustration with "the system", and want to step in! Sophie continues to run, and she's running for Grace, all the while Sophie's talking about running races, like half marathons. Sophie's also talking with other parents throughout the book talking with other parents with Asperger's syndrome and autism online and on the phone and e-mail, getting advise on who to contact and what to do with the school district to get help for Grace. It sometimes conflicts with her work schedule, and she'd work around meetings and whatever she needed to do with her daughter. (Barb's note: we also are told about the dynamics of the family though the book, including how she was with her step-siblings, her step-dad, her little sister Betty, and her Dad's new family--after he remarried.)

The running continued, even with Sophie getting injured with her running and of needing to see a chiropractor, and of her coming down what I think was the flu at one point. She presses on, of course, and preserves, running for Grace, as she continues to fight for what her daughter needs within the school system. Grace was always at the half-marathons and at the London Marathon, cheering her mother on with the family! Sophie was raising money for Asperger's when she ran, if I forgot to mention it! Sophie did what she had to do, and she found the strength to battle for Grace, for her education, happiness and for her future!

I really enjoyed the book!! Though I don't have a child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, I did learn alot about it, and I'm definitely beginning to understand it better. I do recommend this book to parents, whether they have a child with Asperger's Syndrome or not. I feel like I've been blessed to be given the opportunity to read and review this book!




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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Search for the Eggland's Best Chief Egg Office Continues...with 12 Semi-Finalists!! (Sponsored Post)

Disclosure:   The Eggland’s Best Chief Egg Officer information was provided by Eggland’s Best!

This past May, Eggland's Best launched a contest to find their first-ever "CEO" (Chief Egg Officer) and today they are revealing their top 12 Semi-Finalists!

You and your readers can learn more about the 12 Semi-Finalists and vote for your favorite candidate on the Eggland's Best website until September 30th.

Your vote is important, as these 12 egg-ceptional talents are vying for the honorary title of "Chief Egg Officer," a $5,000 Grand Prize and a year's supply of Eggland's Best eggs, which are nutritionally superior to ordinary eggs.
The 12 Semi-Finalists include:
  1. Melanie P. of New Jersey
  2. Cheryl S. of Maryland
  3. Jackie B. of North Carolina
  4. Theresa A. of Indiana
  5. Jean F. of North Carolina
  6. Karen P. of Alabama
  7. Carey Anne D. of Ohio
  8. Melinda G. of Utah
  9. Warren R. of Maryland
  10. Debra H. of New Hampshire
  11. Jessica R. of Florida
  12. Monica S. of Illinois

Visit the Eggland's Best website on October 28th when Eggland's Best will reveal the top three Finalists for a final round of voting, which will come to a close on November 17th.

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on December 9th and although the two runners-up won't receive the honorary title of "Chief Egg Officer", each will receive a six-month supply of Eggland's Best eggs and a $500 cash prize.
Share this news with your blog readers and on your social media channels using #ChiefEggOfficer.

Learn more about Eggland's Best and the Eggland's Best "Chief Egg Officer Search" Contest with the resources below:
Eggland's Best Website: www.egglandsbest.com 
Eggland's Best on Facebook: www.facebook.com/egglandsbesteggs 
Eggland's Best on Twitter: www.twitter.com/egglandsbest 
Eggland's Best Chief Egg Officer Contest: www.egglandsbest.com/chiefeggofficer 
Eggland's Best Chief Egg Officer Official Contest Rules:www.egglandsbest.com/chiefeggofficer/rules   

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kellogg's Special K Nourish Cereal and Nutritional Bars Review

Disclosure: I'm a Bzz Agent, and I was given free products  and information order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed were my own.

Kellogg's has come out with a new multigrain hot cereal, with a blend of quinoa, oats, barley, and wheat. They come with mix-ins, in the top part of the lid, like cranberry almond, maple brown sugar crunch, and cinnamon raisin pecan. Each delicious flavor is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E. The cereal comes in at 190 calories!




Their new nutritional bars are great, too, and they come in cranberry almond, lemon twist, and dark chocolate nut. I was given the opportunity to try cranberry almond, and I really liked it. I tend to take a bar of some kind in to snack on at work at night with my coffee or tea, and the bar was enough nourishment for me.

I told 6 people at work about the cereal and bars, and at least one of them is aiming to try the hot cereal. I told them what I've informed you all about above, and of my opinion about the cereal and the bars.

My take on the hot cereal: My favorite was the maple brown sugar crunch, but then again, anything with maple and brown sugar in it becomes a favorite of mine! It had just the right amount of mix-ins in the lid for me! It was relatively easy to make, and I liked it. The cranberry almond was yummy, but not my favorite! The textures of the cranberry and the almonds  were decent! The cinnamon raisin pecan was a surprise to me, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, and I did! It reminded me of raisin bread, but in a hot cereal!  I do recommend that you try the bars and the hot cereals from Special K Nourish!


To follow Special K on Facebook and on twitter.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

People Towels Review, and I'm an Ambassador!

Disclosure: I was given information by People Towels and a free sample in order to post a review on my blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.



 

The People Towels are the way to go when you want to cut out using paper towels! They are reusable personal hand towels which you can pack in a purse, a tote, the car, or a gym bag. Here's some information about them from their site: They are an on-the-go alternative to paper towels, and they make going green as easy as drying your hands!! They are made of 100% organic Fair Trade cotton!
By using them, you are saving trees, reducing landfill waste, and cut CO2 emissions and conserve water! Woohoo! Using them saves paper towels in public facilities, and in doing so, you are working on decreasing your carbon footprint.

 I came up with a few uses for them:
1) You could bring them with you on a family vacation in the car, and each parent and child would have their own separate one to use (you could purchase difference ones, so that the kids would fight over whose was whose!). Rather than wiping their hands on their clothes, they could use their People Towel!
2) Take them with you on picnics or to the beach, and keep hands clean and dry!
 3) pack a few  in your gym bag and take them with you to the gym or to PE at school.
4) Last but not least, take them with you to theme parks to clean and dry their hands and to wipe sweat off of their faces!
They are machine washable and will last for years! They have a cloth loop on one end and you could use a carbiner to attach them to a tote bag or gym bag or even a purse.

For more information... you can stop by People Towels Shop
On Twitter
And on Facebook

I like the two that I have, one is a People Towel pictured above, and the other has to do with breast cancer! I had originally found out about People Towels through Stonyfield Farms Yogurt, the People Towels were one of the things that you could use your points from your labels to purchase!
Obviously I do recommend them!