4/10 Smoothies: Nutribullet is great but I still love pizza best

Pizza is our go-to meal option, like many other American families, I’d imagine. When time and convenience isn’t required, I opt for making my own pizzas at home. The whole wheat pizza dough is easy to find at your local bakery or grocery store and it’s so cheap! I’ve made it from scratch using yeast and whole wheat flour but WOWWWW that a process is too involved…

However, I discovered a whole new world of quick and healthy lunch options when I got a Nutribullet last year. The Nutribullet is a hybrid food processor/blender and it’s one of the best smoothie-makers that money can buy. Mine came with a book of recipes, and we got a few books besides that one.

Making quick meal replacements using frozen bananas, fresh fruits, spinach leaves, protein powder and sometimes frozen yogurt is easy. Add water and press the button- voila. It literally liquifies EVERYTHING within seconds.

Watch me demonstrate in this video from last summer.

As a result of the recipe reading, I bought several items from the grocery store that I’d never eaten before, such as Majool figs and ground flaxseed. Admittedly, I’d still take pizza over a smoothie when given the choice, but grabbing smoothies on the go is an awesome and healthy luxury- Especially in the summer, when I want a cold drink and I’m watching what I eat.

I even found a recipe for DIY Shamrock Shakes so last March we consumed several green smoothies made from spinach leaves, frozen yogurt, vanilla extract, mint extract, vanilla almond milk and ice cubes. Sooooooo yummy. Enough to keep me away from the McDonalds Drive-Thru INDEFINITELY.

Bottom line, green smoothies are not pizza, but they are delicious, healthy and quick to make. Win Win Win.

What’s in your favorite smoothie?

 Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/5 Easter, springtime, goals this season

Happy Easter guys. It’s starting to feel real, finally, after a long, cold winter. The sun and flowers and birds have got me feeling motivated to GET. STUFF. DONE.

What are your goals this spring? I’m working on decluttering my home in preparation for our big move. Also I’m newly committed to exercising for 30min a day, EVERY day, without exception, unless I’m deathly ill. No turning back.

Are you a parent having trouble finding time to exercise with kids in your care? Check out this handy chart that I made and get some realistic ideas!

Enjoy the new season and have a happy Easter.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/4 Bringing back the bartering system

Today is Day 4 of my V.E.D.A Challenge, where I’m posting a 2-3 minute video on the Turnoversbaby Youtube channel daily through the month of April.

The topic is BARTERING= trading and swapping products or services instead of using traditional currency. There are many benefits to bartering which can be a resourceful and eco-efficient practice. Upcycling clothing and household items, locally sourcing baked goods or art, growing your own products and trading with neighbors for other types of food- all of these are budget-friendly practices and can help to unify a community. The act of trading something or swapping services cuts out the middle man. Why pay cash or use a credit card when you can do an even exchange?

Bartering is fantastic at the business level, too, because it doesn’t hinder the cash flow. If there are products or services you have that another business needs, negotiate a deal so that both of you can benefit from a trade.

How can you incorporate this old-school style of commerce into your routine? Do you have a neighbor who sells eggs from her chicken farm ? Do you know someone who has a housecleaning service? What do YOU have to give or offer? Brainstorm and develop a few ways you can implement this approach.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

4/3 Clutter, Cash, and Charity

Today’s Topic: An Overabundance of THINGS and How to Streamline

Do you have a lot of material things in your home? You probably have far more than you THINK and 500% more than you NEED. I say that balance is the way to go, but minimalism can work too for those especially committed to freeing up space in their lives.

The key to determining whether something is a keeper vs. clutter is to answer yes to one of two questions. 1. Does this serve a functional purpose in my life? 2. Does this hold aesthetic beauty that I find valuable? If not- DITCH IT!

The best three ways I de-clutter my home are

  • yard sales (both online and physical)
  • charity/second-hand (if it’s worth giving to someone else)
  • trash/recycling can (last resort!)

The inspiration behind the mindset I currently have was a presentation I heard last year at my mom’s group meeting, by Becky Banks of Organizing Essentials- Residential Organizing for Women. Becky has a compelling story of her experience working at a mission, and she advocates for homeless women who need essentials like socks, bras, and sanitary products.  Becky has a knack for organizing and for creating order in chaos. I actually met her during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy (a destructively swept through our beach towns in 2012), where Becky was organizing hundreds of cans into an overflowing food pantry.

I hope you feel encouraged to purge your closets and find new homes for clothing, toys, CDs, DVDs, craft supplies and electronics that you don’t need any longer. The spring weather is FINALLY here and the windows are begging to be opened. Free up space in your home and fill it up with fresh air, so that you can sit back and enjoy the wellbeing that comes with clean space and organization.

Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

A Cleaner, Greener, Baby Shower + Earth Mama Giveaway!

(Read the full post here)

In a world where things are built to be broken and replaced, sustainability is a precious feature.

Buying and using items with longer life cycles is also a way to conserve our natural resources.

Be creative in your planning

If you’re planning or hosting a baby shower, here are some green ideas that were given to me by other creative mommas:

Use mason jars and glass straws for beverages— make fresh squeezed juice instead of bottled punch, and fresh fruit bouquets for centerpieces

Give guests a potted plant to take home as a thank you gift

Make centerpieces out of tall glass containers and fill with eco-green baby products and top with flowers in their own container

Wrap gifts with baby blankets & towels, or use containers/baskets she may have registered for

Have a wishing well for guests to fill with small, unwrapped, eco baby products

Throwing a greener, cleaner baby shower is easier and cheaper than you may think! It just takes some brain-storming and dedication on your part. For more tips on how to decorate and cater a sustainable event, and spend less money doing so, read my Resourceful Guide to a  Gender Reveal. Meanwhile, be sure to enter the giveaway and connect with Turnovers and Earth Mama Angel Baby!

(Organic Mama-To-Be-Tea Sampler by Earth Mama Angel Baby)
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GREEN: The color of the month

You’ve probably heard far too much of the color green, ever since Emerald was named the Pantone Color of the Year 2013. Well, I’m the Queen of Green, and I will never get tired of it. Number one, it brings out my eyes when I wear green makeup or clothing. Secondly, green stands for life and earth and sustainability… things that I love. Since March is a perfect opportunity to talk about green and Saint Patrick’s Day is on 3/17, I wanted to make a list of three-hundred-and-seventeen things I can find in shades of green.

Just kidding. I’m dedicating an acronym to things that we can do to LIVE GREENER, being more responsible with our resources, and focus on  making healthier choices.

Happy St. Patricks Day!  Be Greener than ever.

Image Solar Power

If you’re considering PV Panels or Solar Thermal Panels, have a look at this guide first to help you understand the different options that are available.

ImageTransportation Choices

When possible, opt for walking, biking, carpooling or public transportation. Check out these plans for a car-free environment in Hamburg, Germany.

ImagePrevent Pollution

Be a selective shopper and consider things like packaging. Also, choose digital thermometers over ones that contain mercury. Here is a guide for eco-minded consumers to follow.

ImageAir Out Your Home 

Opening windows for 5 minutes a day can make a big difference in your indoor air quality. Removing clutter and dusting can also improve the air you’re breathing inside. Also remember that plants give off oxygen. More tips on this here

ImageTree Planting

Planting trees in your yard is a great idea, not just for the environment but also for raising property value. Here are some things you should know before beginning your agricultural project.

ImageRepurposing & Recycling

Everyone knows how to recycle, and in some towns & cities, it’s a requirement. Repurposing is another way to give new life to something old or unwanted. Here are some ideas on how to repurpose household items.

ImageImplement Eco Habits in Your Home

Getting the whole family on board is important. Green your home by teaching your kids (and spouse!) to turn off lights, set sleep timers on TVs & computers, conserve water, limit the use of paper products, and create eco habits.

ImageClothing Choices

Natural fibers vs. synthetic fibers, organic vs. pesticide-treated, versatile vs. limited, classic vs. trendy – there are lots of things we can do to support healthy manufacturing processes and extend the lifecycle of your own clothing. We can even alter and update things we already own.

ImageKale & Spinach

I was not so sure about putting leafy greens into smoothies, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. Here’s a healthy home-made Shamrock Shake recipe to try!

ImageSwap Products/Services

Cash money is green, but it can be even more rewarding to swap items rather than selling them. Instead of a yard sale, think about exchanging goods and services locally with friends and neighbors in your community, like the author of this article did.

ImageDe-clutter & Donate

Streamlining your closets and living space is a healthy practice that can simplify your routine and refresh your home environment. If you have things you don’t use or like anymore, pass them on to others who will make use of them. Here is a guide to getting rid of things, according to category and geography.

Image Avoid Wasting Food

The Dept. of Agriculture estimates that an average American family wastes over a quarter of their food at home. Ways to reverse this pattern include meal planning, rotating items in the fridge, freezing, dehydrating, and composting. Read this article for more info.

Image Yoga, Aerobics, HIIT*

Try some of these exercises at home, to give you natural energy and get your body into healthy shape. Electricity-free exercise will save you money on your utility bill. You can also get some ideas from a chart that I made, especially if you have kids in your care.

*High Intensity Interval Training

Cleaner toothpaste, straight out of my kitchen

Growing up, my mother was a heavy tea drinker. She was a late-nighter, early-riser, daycare-runner, get-the-girls-ready-for-school-enforcer, breakfast-maker, work-at-home-mommer and she LOATHED the taste of coffee. So, she drank tea. As a result, her pearly whites needed a bit of help maintaining their sparkle, and I remember watching her scoop baking soda onto her toothbrush after she was through using her toothpaste. She scrubbed off the stains effortlessly. (She also had about 600 other uses for baking soda, but we’ll save that for another post.)

te-y-cafe-cerebro-

I tried the same tooth-whitening technique when I became a coffee addict. By the age of 18 I was making iced coffees in the kitchen of my apartment, stopping by the coffee shop on my way to work, then again on my trip from work to college, then from college to the sewing lab on Market Street. I worked full-time hours, overloaded my classes, tutored students in my ‘free time’ and loved every minute of my hectic, over-achieving lifestyle in Center City, Philadelphia. It became clear that I was in dangerous territory when the entire Dunkin Donuts staff learned my name, my coffee order and often had it ready for my predictable visits. I also realized that I couldn’t relax when I tried, and I felt my heart rate escalate from time to time, so I have cut down dramatically on my coffee consumption. Back to teeth-

When I tried using baking soda and water on my toothbrush, it felt very abrasive. My teeth are naturally on the soft side and I grind my teeth in my sleep (Maybe too much information here?) so I absolutely can’t take any more harshness that may damage my tooth enamel.

ImageI started using a popular brand of whitening toothpaste, but after a few weeks of use I noticed that my teeth were EXTREMELY sensitive. If you’ve never experienced tooth sensitivity, imagine a throbbing sensation in the root of your tooth that makes your entire mouth feel like it’s in shock. It’s no party. My dentist told me with certainty that the whitening toothpaste was the culprit. I switched to a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. While that seemed to make a difference as far as the discomfort, I happened to glance over the label one day and I was bothered by the long list of “active” and “inactive” ingredients. I like simple. Natural. Pure. Especially when it comes to something I’m putting in my mouth or on my skin. (Don’t even get me started about food!) Image

The next step for me was to find a natural alternative to my chemically composed toothpaste.Image

I found a recipe online for a homemade toothpaste made from coconut oil and baking soda. Naturally, I made a few modifications and made it my very own. I didn’t want to use the stevia (sugar+teeth=cavities) and I didn’t have any vegetable glycerin on hand (chances are, neither do you).Image

I combined 3 tablepoons of Coconut Oil (Organic, Unrefined, by Better Body Foods. Found it at Sam’s Club.)

with 3 tablepoons of baking soda (it wasn’t nearly as abrasive when mixed with coconut oil)

and 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt, then added pure peppermint extract.

Just stirred it up with a plastic baby fork and it became a paste-like consistency.

Image

The tupperware container now sits in my medicine cabinet where the other tube used to be. I’ve been using it for three days, and I can’t say my teeth are whiter yet but they will be eventually. Baking soda always worked for my mom, and I can definitely get on board with it this way. My teeth feel smoother than they did after brushing with store-bought toothpaste, and I LOVVVVVE that there are only 4 ingredients which were freshly mixed up just days ago, by moi.Image

Take 5 minutes and make some of your own and see what you think. Once my kids run out of their expensive, strawberry flavored, natural + fluoride toothpaste, I will see how they do with the homemade alternative. I ❤ home remedies, and this one is an obvious winner. I haven’t done the math, but I will assume that it will save some money and time wasted searching through the dental hygiene aisles.

Resourceful Guide to a Gender Reveal

GENDER REVEAL is a new trend that has been gaining popularity over the last few years. Before sonogram technology was created, the gender was always a surprise, announced at the time of the birth! When sonograms were invented, parents were given an opportunity to find out sooner. The latest craze is a compromise of those two options. Hosting a gender reveal party means that you won’t need to wait until your baby is born, yet you can still share the surprise in the company of your friends and family.

Depending on how you look at it, you could see benefits or disadvantages to choosing not to find out your baby’s sex before delivery.
Keeping Baby’s Gender a Surprise

Let’s face it! There are pros and cons to each of the two extremes.

You might go the route of finding out ASAP because you can’t take the suspense, feel that you’re pre-planning is limited, or the pressure from family and friends makes you cave.

You might insist on waiting for the birth because you love surprises, found that it simplified the planning process, or because you take the most natural possible approach to things.

  I was inspired to provide some helpful options (See them below) for moms-to-be who want to host an easy to plan, budget-friendly event. There are so many themes and favors and games available through online search, but the common approach isn’t always the best one. I created a list of the typical vs. the resourceful, and included some costs for your comparison. Shipping costs and transportation expenses were not included in the totals. The costs are based on a party of 18 people.

Also note that for Option #2 Resourceful Approach, everything is reusable and there is nothing to throw away after the event is finished. The best part about following this guide: You could save over $300, plus save time and energy on the simplified style, and you will not have bags of garbage to take out with you.

Tips and Ideas for your Gender Reveal
Tips and Ideas for your Gender Reveal Typical

Typical Approach – Grand total $453

Cake

  • Bakery-made gender reveal cake, $75

Surprise Factor

  • Box of helium-filled Balloons, with no lasting value, $24

Snacks

  • Catered Hors D’oeuvres, minimum $180

Tableware  (prices from Party City)

  • Plates in pink & blue, $16
  • Napkins in pink & blue, $8
  • Plastic dining wear, $8
  • Plastic drinking goblets, $20

Store-bought Decorations

  • Paper Decorations, $28
  • Paper table cover, $6

Voting Symbols

24pc Lips/Moustache Awls $26

Invitations

  • Custom Invitations, $54
  • Postage, $8

Resourceful Approach – Grand Total $118

Cake

  • Friend or Relative bakes cupcakes, No direct cost

Surprise Factor

Snacks

  • Potluck-style appetizers, No direct cost

Tableware

  • Reusable Plates, Silverware & Glasses, No added cost
  • Cloth Napkins, No added cost (If you don’t own any, buy 20 for $11)

Homemade Decorations

  • Baby Photos of Mom & Dad, Ultrasound Scans Banner, Flowers from the garden, No cost
  • Tablecloth alternative: 5pk Baby Receiving Blankets, $13

Voting Symbols

Pink & Blue Wooden Clothespins, $4

Invitations

  • Online Invitations, No Charge

Postage, No Charge

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Remember, the object is to intentionally spend money on things that you need/ will use again, and eliminate the unnecessary extras that take up time and add to your never-ending list of things to do. Chances are, you will want to spend more time on prepping the nursery, creating gift registries and getting extra sleep before your bundle of joy arrives. Clean up will be a breeze, too! Just throw the receiving blanket “tablecloth” and the napkins into the washer, and use the dishwasher for the cutlery. You won’t have trash bags full of paper products. Follow our tips and you will enjoy your special day, and feel especially green while you do! (In spite of the pink and blue)

I hope this is useful for you! Please comment with your own helpful tips or questions. I will check back regularly and will do my very best to assist.