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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

IKEA Campaign: Brighter Lives For Refugees

Helping Refugees, IKEA Foundation and UNHCR Provide Sustainable                               Lighting and Access to Primary Education

(Atlanta, GA - January 28, 2015) The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign returns to make a difference and create a better everyday life for the many refugees living around the world. Starting February 1 and running till March 28, 2015, for every LED light bulb purchased in IKEA stores, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro ($1.16 *) to help UNHCR light refugee camps— making them a safer, more suitable place for the families who live there. In its first year (2014), the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, raised $10.6 million (€7.7 million**) globally, and the US alone raised over $570,000 through IKEA co-worker and customer support.

Today there are almost 13 million refugees *** under UNHCR’s care, half of whom are children. For those refugees living in camps, all livelihoods, social and educational activities usually stop after sundown, because refugee camps can be extremely dark places. Thanks to the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, many now have lighting and energy solutions.

Part of the funds from last year’s campaign have been used to help over 11,000 Syrian refugees living in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, by providing families with a solar-powered lantern, which can be used for mobile-phone charging and as a light source so families can carry on with their everyday activities. Solar lanterns allow girls and boys to study after dark, helping them with their education and progress in school. Lanterns and solar street lights mean that adults can continue working and communities can have social gatherings after sunset. 

IKEA continues to lead in sustainable business practices. In October 2012, IKEA US announced it would make a bold move to sell only LED lights in all its US stores by 2016, thereby enabling millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home and save on their energy bills. 

*one euro (€1) = $1.16 on January 20, 2015
** one euro (€1) = $1.38 on March 20, 2014
*** Facts based on UNHCR Report released January 7.2015.

About IKEA Group
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 27 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 40 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 14, IKEA Group had 716 million visitors to the stores and 1.5 billion visitors to  IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA,,

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.organd

About UNHCR – The UN refugee agency
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN refugee agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.

Learn more by visiting:

I need more Reese's Chocolate Spread in my life!!

We received a Reese's Spreads VoxBox from Influenster and had the opportunity to try this rich, creamy treat!  We thought about all the ways we could use it - including checking out pinterest - but finally decided to pair it with some classics!

This creamy and delicious spread is amazing on apple slices.  Then add a few pretzels dipped in it, and the saltiness pairs perfectly with the sweet apples!   The next day for breakfast, David spread his waffles with Reese's spread and topped that with apple slices.  Unfortunately Mama was too slow with the camera - he ate them before I could get a picture!

Reese's Spreads are a great addition to your after-school snack cabinet!  What's your favorite way to use this tasty spread?

I received a free jar of Reese's Spreads to try in order to share it with my readers.  No other compensation was received!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: Krav Maga In No Time

I've been trying out a fantastic Krav Maga course, Krav Maga in No Time,  these last few weeks.  What is Krav Maga, you ask?It's the self-defense and martial arts method currently in use by the CIA, FBI and Israeli Army, due to its ability to end a fight in the shortest amount of time.  I think this is a great way to learn, watching these videos in the privacy of your home!

There are 27 videos included, and they are divided into 3 sections.  Each short video is very easy to follow and learn the proper technique.  For example, the first video is how to stand so you are not easily knocked off balance, and how to make a fist.  The instructor explains things very thoroughly so that you understand why you are standing in each position, and how to do it. I've found it really easy to "get".  It's like taking a private class!  The instructions are to watch each video and practice, practice, practice so you will be ready if you ever need to defend yourself - it will be second nature after practicing each move over and over.

My 11 year old is learning right along with me.  As I mentioned before, the instructor does a great job teaching you how to stand, how to use your hands or kicks to defend yourself.   We both are learning so much.  This is a great way to get some exercise, but you are also learning a valuable skill - how to protect yourself!

Want to win your own copy of Krav Maga in No Time? I usually do my giveaways here on the blog, but this one is a flash giveaway and I'm having people comment over on the FB page.  So click here to go leave a comment and you will be entered to win!  I'll pull one winner's name tomorrow night (1/28/15 after 6 pm) and then notify the winner via their FB page &/ or message  - I'll need to hear from the winner quickly as the sponsor needs my winner's information by Thursday! You'll either receive a DVD or a link to the online videos to watch.  Thanks for entering!

I received complimentary access to the online videos in order to review them.  Sponsor is responsible for sending out the prize to winner.  No other compensation was received.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to have an instant Snow Day in Atlanta! (Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park!)

If you are like me, you are hoping for one little snow day in Atlanta this winter, right? Not a repeat of last year, mind you, just enough snow for a day off from school and work, and to make a little snowman and some snow cream.  Well....the weather is just not cooperating. There's been no snow in Atlanta yet.   But don't despair! Make your own snow day ~ a quick drive to Stone Mountain Park is all you need to check out their amazing Snow Mountain!   Their famous Memorial Lawn, where you usually sit to watch the Laser Show in the summer, has been transformed into a true Winter Wonderland.  Spread across five football fields is REAL and glorious SNOW!

Snow Mountain is the best family-friendly attraction I know of in Atlanta this time of year. And it's easy to plan a day there: no long drive and no expensive snow gear to buy!  Just wear your winter coat, hat, and mittens and you are set! Easy to get to from all parts of the metro area, Stone Mountain Park is located at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.  Map and directions are here.

Once you arrive and get your tickets, there is tubing for the adventurous (which is NOT me!) but my kiddo and family LOVE it!  You get to choose from two options: The Tube Runner is for single riders.  Grab a tube and hop on the people mover, which takes you and your tube to the top of the 400 foot hill.  Riders must be 42" tall to ride on The Tube Runner.  Want to ride with the entire family? check out Avalanche Alley.  Here, riders must be 36" tall, and there is a maximum of five riders per tube.  My sister braved this with my nieces and my son and they loved it! Zooming down a huge hill in the snow is delightful in Atlanta!

I especially love how organized Stone Mountain has everything. Well marked signs, friendly and knowledgeable staff make for a wonderful experience here every year.  Your Snow Mountain ticket gives you a two-hour tubing session and all-day access to the wonderful SnowZone play area. So enjoy tubing together, then head down to the bottom of Memorial Lawn to play in the snow for a while.

The Snow Zone is fabulous for little ones.  They have SnoBoggans and a Bunny Slope for littles to get a taste of tubing on a hill just their size. Maximum height for this hill is 42".  Then check out the rest of SnowZone! It is acres of frosty snow that is perfect for making a snowman.  You can visit the Snow Closet to find all kinds of crazy-fun accessories for your new snowfriend.  Then try pitching snowballs over in the Snowball Shootin' Gallery (but don't throw them at each other!), or just make a snow angel! SO much fun.  Inside the Fort you'll find slides, tunnels and turrets to explore.  Visit Igloo City and make your own snow city, tunnel or fort!

When you're feeling chilly,  visit the SnoDeck for some hot chocolate! Or Snow Fire Point, where you can make delicious, toasty s'mores with your family.  Ready for a hot meal? The Campfire Grill or Base Camp BBQ, located in Crossroads, both offer delicious food to top off your visit to Stone Mountain Park.

It's not a bad idea to bring a change of clothes.  Stone Mountain offers locker rentals close to Snow Mountain.  And if you forget your winter gear, they even have a Hat and Glove Cart selling seasonal gear.

Snow Mountain runs selected dates through February 22nd.  If you can visit on Sunday, they are offering a special price of $6 off each ticket on 1/25, 2/1, 2/8 and 2/22.

Have you visited Snow Mountain? Leave a comment below and let me know what you like best about it.

My family and I received free admission to Snow Mountain, no other compensation was received. All opinions shared in this review are my own.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Simple Health Magnesium Citrate

When I was offered the opportunity to try Simple Health Magnesium Citrate, I did a little research and found that many of us are deficient in this mineral.  It's a vital mineral for your body so I wanted to give this product a try.  I tried it in water first, which is the recommended use.  It doesn't have any flavoring added, but it did have a bit of an off-taste so I added my favorite flavoring - a squeeze of lime. Then it was fine, I was able to drink it with no problem. I also tried it with a drop of peppermint extract and that was delicious, too!
However, my favorite way to incorporate this into my diet (and my son's) is to place a 1/2 teaspoon for each of us into the Vitamix when I'm mixing our smoothies! No taste, and no evidence it is even in there! I think it has helped our sleep and it is also helpful for improving our moods! This is a great way to get magnesium into your diet.  I love it and we'll be using it regularly.  The container is a great size - there are over 100 servings in this bottle! 

From the company's website:
– Aids metabolism and energy production
– Improves sleep by balancing melatonin and the stress hormone and aids body temperature regulation. It also balances serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system. Relieves stress, panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
– Relaxes muscles, relieving cramps and helps prevent heart disease, stroke, kidney stones, migraines and gallstones. Another pleasant side effect is increased flexibility.
– Female wellbeing, reduces PMS and menopause symptoms, as well as osteoporosis.
– Alkalizes the body, balances the body’s pH, reduces lactic acid after exercise, hydrates and helps relieve constipation and cleanse the body of toxins.
– Improves bone, teeth and muscle strength, helps the body utilize calcium properly.
– Aids with Diabetes by enhancing insulin secretion.
Personal Note : I chose a powder form because it is more easily absorbed by the body, even if you’re suffering from IBS or other digestive problems. The reason I chose flavorless powder is because it eliminates any sweeteners and flavors that could be harmful.
Simple Health Magnesium Citrate is a Vegetarian/Vegan Product.
Sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives. It will not cause diarrhea or dizziness if taken with or after food.
Simple Health Magnesium Citrate is easy to swallow and flavorless, so can be taken with a juice of your choice! This product is formulated for optimum absorption, so you will feel the effects as soon as 5 minutes after taking a serving of Simple Health magnesium citrate.
I received a bottle of this Magnesium Citrate in exchange for a review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions shared are my own. 

Review: Pure Body Naturals Peppermint Oil

I love essential oils.  I've used them for years around the house and to keep us healthy, and I'm still learning new things about them every day! So much you can do with essential oils.   I was offered the chance to review this 100% Pure Peppermint Oil, and I was happy to give it a try.

Peppermint oil is one of the most versatile of oils.  A simple google search will bring up hundreds of ways to use it.  Of course, you'll want to check with your doctor before trying any of them, but if it's okayed by him, try some of them out for yourself!  I like to put it on my temples for headache relief,  mixed with a carrier oil on the bottom of my feet at night for cold/sinus relief.  Another great use is to place a cotton ball scented with peppermint oil on your desk and sniff as needed when you feel sleepy or need a lift during the day.

I also put a few drops in my kitchen cleaner to make it smell sweet and energize me while I clean.  It is the perfect add-in to scent my soaps and candles, too.

This 4 oz bottle is HUGE! It's a great value compared to the usual 1 oz bottles you get of most essential oils.  I am very happy with the quality of this oil and I only have good things to say about it!

PREMIUM QUALITY PEPPERMINT OIL 100% Pure and Natural Steam-distilled. No Dilution or Filtering. No Additives or Fillers. The Highest in Quality and Purity. Therapeutic Grade. Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. NON-TOXIC. Highly Concentrated, Natural and Undiluted.

►SOOTHING AND ENERGIZING◀ Recommended by doctors as our Peppermint Oil is known to relieve headaches, help ease respiratory problems, work to ease symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, reduce dandruff and lice and help reduce joint and arthritis pain while soothing the mind and body with aromatherapy.

MULTI-PURPOSE - Our Peppermint Oil is effective and ►repels rodents and insects such as fleas, tics, flies, rats, mosquitos, mice, midges, spiders, bed bugs, ants and roaches◀. Our oil is 100% NATURAL AND NON-TOXIC perfect for use around the home and garden as it is completely non-harming. Perfect non-toxic alternative to other chemical products with effective results.

►LARGEST BOTTLE 4 OUNCE◀ our bottle is not only the highest in quality buy also the highest in quantity in comparison to most other sellers with 4 OUNCES in each bottle! GET THE MOST FOR YOUR MONEY! GLASS DROPPER INCLUDED With each bottle a high quality glass dropper is included for convenience and to make our oil EASY TO USE when applying oil wherever required.

    Soothing and Energizing
    Peppermint oil is recommended by doctors as it is a soothing remedy for many conditions. It can help:

    • Help ease respiratory problems and congestion with aromatherapy.
        • Help Relieve headaches and migraines
        • Help Reduce and battle symptoms of bronchitis and asthma
        • Help Reduces dandruff and lice in hair.
        • Calm the body and help with pain in joints

    Relieves Headaches and Migraines.

    Peppermint Oil is known to help relax strained blood vessels therefore preventing or relieving headaches and migraines. Use in strained areas and pressure points by applying and rubbing in those areas.

    Relieves Stress.

    Reduce anxiety levels with the use of the peppermint oil with aromatherapy. The mint, sweet, menthol aroma will help relaxation in the body and mind.

    Steam Remedy.

    Open up your airways and relieve mucus from the nose and throat. Put Peppermint Oil into boiling water and breathe in the steam from the water.

    Peppermint Essential Oil.

    Our Peppermint Oil is Steam-distilled from leaves of the Menthapiperita (peppermint) plant. Completely Pure without additives or filler. Therapeutic Grade. Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. No animal testing was used in the making of this product.

    I received a bottle of peppermint oil to review in exchange for a blog review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions shared above are my own. 

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Beauty Product Reviews! Dead Sea Mask & Argan Oil Hair Mask

    This Dead Sea Mud Mask  fromInstaNatural is an all-natural detoxifier and purifier that comes from the renowned and sacred Dead Sea. More than a million visitors each year flock to this extraordinary body of water in the Mediterranean, which contains many minerals beneficial to the skin, such as magnesium, sodium, bromine, potassium and calcium. Once applied, this mud mask treatment starts working to absorb excess oil, dirt and toxins from the skin. It is great to expunge acne, pimples and blackheads. It also helps to restore an even skin tone for a smoother complexion.

    When used as a body treatment, the mud mask can soothe and relieve muscles aches and pains. Whether used on the face or the body, our Dead Sea Mud Mask is a superb in-home spa treatment that will reveal more vibrant, refined, healthier skin.

    My son and I have tried this out several times since receiving it, and we just love it! It dries fairly quickly on your skin and then you rinse it off, leaving your skin looking and feeling clean and healthy. I have enjoyed mud masks for years, but this one became a fast favorite. It's wonderful!

    I also tried their Argan Oil Hair Mask.  It didn't help my super-thin, very-baby-fine hair, it actually made it feel very static-y. I probably used too much. But the reviews I've read say it is wonderful for long, thick hair, so I can't wait to give this to my daughter next time I see her!  I know she will love it and it will work well for her hair.  It smells nice - like citrus -  and is SO moisturizing.  I could feel it moisturizing my skin when I applied it to my hair - my hands felt super-moisturized too!

    PREMIUM INGREDIENTS: Our Argan Oil Hair Mask contains a superior collection of high-quality natural and organic ingredients - such as Argan Oil, Amino Acid Complex, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin B5, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil and more - that work together to moisturize and nurture hair.

    REPAIRS DAMAGED HAIR: This deep conditioning treatment permeates the follicles to deliver ultimate nourishment and hydration. Limp and lifeless hair can be transformed in as little as 15 minutes.
    GET SOFT & SHINY STRANDS: Our complex formula is designed to restore health to damaged strands to enhance texture and shine. The result? Softer, shinier, more manageable hair.

    STRENGTHENS & PROTECTS HAIR: This nourishing blend of ingredients creates stronger hair that protects it from excessive heat and styling. Obtain healthy, youthful hair, even with blow drying, straightening and curling.

    Both products are available via Amazon, at the links included in the review (not affiliate links, they were provided by the company!)

    InstaNatural offers fantastic customer service, and really nice products! I enjoyed the opportunity to try them and share them with y'all.  I did receive one of each product to try in order to facilitate this review.  No other compensation was received. 


    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Sprouts Johns Creek store opens!

    This post is so overdue!  I've been stretched in a hundred directions the last few months, so finally getting my to-do's checked off my list feels good.  Here is another great giveaway, and some info about one of my new favorite stores in metro-Atlanta!

    Sprouts Farmers Market is a chain of specialty grocery stores with over 190 stores in 10 states. Sprouts stores are smaller than a typical supermarket, focusing on fresh foods, produce, healthy foods and vitamins/supplements.

    There are three Sprouts stores that are within driving distance from me - I've been to both the Snellville location and the Johns Creek store.  The newest Sprouts store is in Cumming -  it opened yesterday! I can't wait to check it out as well.

    HUGE bulk food department at Sprouts!

    Amazing fresh produce department at Sprouts

    There are many unique frozen products and lots of  dairy options too. 

    So many natural remedies! These were cough and cold remedies.

    Check out a small portion of the great variety of supplements at Sprouts!

    These pics are from the Grand Opening of the Sprouts in Johns Creek, Georgia back in September. We had a great time checking everything out!  I love the variety of products Sprouts offers. My favorite things to pick up at Sprouts include pulled turkey (great for quesadillas or tacos!), delicious breads, bulk dried fruits and nuts, incredibly good bacon, organic produce including Rainbow carrots, and natural remedies, supplements and soaps!

    The stores are just the right size to run in and get what I need, without the usual superstore trek from department to department that takes an hour or more for me.  I love that I can get in and out of Sprouts in 15 minutes or less with everything on my list!

    The stores are well-organized and very clean. The staff is friendly and helpful. I was very pleasantly surprised at how affordable the prices are, too!  Sprouts is a wonderful addition to any community! I'm glad we have several of them in our area.  I try to get to Sprouts at least once a month.  Once you shop at Sprouts, you'll definitely be back - they are that good!

    Sprouts gave me a $25 gift card to give away to one lucky reader.  It's easy to enter through the rafflecopter widget below.

    Please only enter if you live close enough to shop at a Sprouts location! Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

    Review: Furry Paws Supply Pet Urine Odor and Stain Remover

    I've been trying out Furry Paws Supply Pet Urine Odor and Stain Remover for the past few weeks. The previous owners of our home left some lovely pet stains and odors behind, and I've had a time getting them to go away! This has definitely helped with both. It's got a very pleasant,clean scent, and it's helped several old stains and smells to disappear! I just followed the easy directions and it's been a great addition to my cleaning supplies.  The funny thing is that it also keeps our new kitten away from those spots after I treat them.  She checked one place out, but stayed away from the others.  The company said it would keep pets from revisiting spots, and that seems to be true!  We've been very pleased with this spray remover.

    More info from the company:

    Our Commercial grade Pet Urine Odor and Stain Remover formula removes all types of pet stains, not just urine stains

    Not only will our Pet Urine Odor and Stain Remover remove pet stains and odors but stops your pet revisiting the same spot

    Our enzyme based commercial strength cleaner has a fresh clean fragrance so no harsh chemical smell.

    Unlike many other stain and odor removers, we use a commercial grade Enzyme based formula, not harsher chemical based formulas.  Harsher chemical-based formulas can damage your carpet and other floor surfaces,  and often end up replacing one bad smell with another.

    Advanced formula product is formulated and manufactured in the USA and has earned the seal of approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute as being safe to use on your carpets.