Aug 21, 2011 - Canned and Packaged Goods    Comments Off on Top Four Healthy Drinks To Boost Your Day

Top Four Healthy Drinks To Boost Your Day

It’s often hard to get everything you need in terms of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis, which is why healthy drinks exist to fill in the void that your potentially lacking diet misses. Getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need each day is important to being able to live a healthy lifestyle without worrying about things like sickness.

Not So Healthy Eh?

Fruits and Vegetable Drinks

While drinks come in many different forms, by far the most popular types are those that include fruits and vegetables. Companies like V8 offer fruit and vegetable smoothie options that blend fruits and vegetables together into a healthy concoction that provides a few servings of your daily recommended vegetable intake in a glass or two.

V8 Vegetable Juice With Low Sodium:

The first great benefit of these particular vegetable drinks is that they’re low in sodium. With 70% lower sodium than regular juice, this version of V8’s juices are perfect for those looking to lower their sodium intake in their diet. Each can has 2 full servings of vegetables, making it easy to ensure you get all of your daily veggie recommendation with a can of juice in addition to your regular meals. Another added benefit of this juice is that it’s high in potassium. Studies show that diets high in potassium may help reduce the risk of things like heart disease and stroke.


Tea has been consumed by cultures for generations for its benefits. Tea is often high in things like antioxidants and can help promote weight loss by burning excess calories away.

Green Tea:

One of the best benefits of drinking something like green tea is that it contains zero calories, meaning you can enjoy it without worrying about how much sugar or calories you’re taking into your body. Green tea has been found in studies to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. While it’s not recommended that you drink multiple cups of tea daily, having a glass of tea in the morning to get your day started is a great way to start drinking healthy and eliminate the nasty sugars and artificial sweeteners that are often added to other breakfast beverages.

Kirkland Green Tea:

The minimal processing done to the tea found in this pack of Kirkland green tea ensures not only freshness of the leaves, but also ensures that the antioxidants in the leaves aren’t lost during the preparation process. The nylon tea bags that the tea is held in is perfect for letting hot water through and getting the most flavor out of every cup.

Drink More Water

One of the healthiest drinks you can have during a day is water. While it’s often difficult to get the recommended 8 glasses of water a day into your diet, drinking more water
instead of things like sodas and artificially made drinks can help you not only sleep better, but can also reduce your risk of things like diabetes. If you struggle to drink enough water every day, it may serve you well to buy a few bottles of water and leave them in your fridge at home so they’re chilled and ready to drink after you make it inside after a hot afternoon.

Another good way to ensure that you start getting more water in your diet is by buying a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles are better for the environment than traditional plastic water bottles and by carrying it around with you all day, you can always have water on hand when you get thirsty. By having water by your side all the
time, you can encourage yourself to drink water instead of something like a soda or sugary drink.

PMCI Stainless Steel Bottle:

There’s nothing too amazing about this particular bottle, but the stainless steel crafting of the bottle allows for easy cleaning and ensures that the bottle is BPA free and isn’t harmful to reuse. The sport cap on the bottle lets you hook it onto your keyring so that you can carry it around with you as you run or walk around.

Other Drinks

If you find that you’re unable to get all of the nutrition you need from some of the drinks listed above and still find that you’re low on energy and getting sick frequently, it may be time to try something else. While there are many “energy boosters” on the market, many of them are sold by companies only looking to make a profit and not keep your health in their best interest. Many energy boosting drinks are packed with caffeine and don’t do anything more than increase your heart rate so that you can make it through the afternoon.

Actual energy boosting drinks are packed with vitamins and can help you power through not only the rest of the day, but also boost your health for days and weeks at a time by building up vitamins in the body over the long term.

FRS Healthy Energy:

Different from other energy drinks by packing plenty of the necessary B vitamins into the drinks as well as minerals found naturally in berries. And while we bashed caffeine earlier for being the only ingredient in some energy drinks, the caffeine found in the FRS energy drink (about 1/3 a cup of coffee’s worth) is used to help the body metabolize the vitamins and minerals faster so that you’re feeling energized and alert without crashing and burning from caffeine like you do from a cup of coffee.

Aug 18, 2011 - Baby and Child Care    Comments Off on Homemade Baby Food Recipe Plus Other Ideas

Homemade Baby Food Recipe Plus Other Ideas

While you could head to your local grocery store or wholesale outlet and pick up a month’s supply of baby food, chances are you’ll pay far too much for it. Because baby food is an essential part of any baby’s diet, big companies know that they can get away with charging virtually whatever they’d like for the product. If you’d like to get out from underneath the stranglehold of expensive baby food, we have an easy solution for you. Make your own.

Homemade baby food isn’t terribly difficult to make and with a few simple ingredients that you can pick up either online or at your local grocery store, you can make a healthy and nutritious meal for your infant that’s probably better for your child and less damaging to your bank account than regular baby food. Below you will find an easy to follow recipe as well as some other pointers on how you can make your baby food even better.

Homemade baby food isn’t terribly difficult to make and with a few simple ingredients that you can pick up either online or at your local grocery store, you can make a healthy and nutritious meal for your infant that’s probably better for your child and less damaging to your bank account than regular baby food. Below you will find an easy to follow recipe as well as some other pointers on how you can make your baby food even better.

Sweet Potato Puree

Purees are the easiest for small children to digest and they’re extremely easy to make. The following process can be done with almost
any vegetable imaginable, and part of the process can be simplified with the use of a blender for vegetables that you just can’t get mashed up with a fork.

  1. First of all, you’re going to need to get some sweet potatoes from your local grocer. Sweet potatoes are recommended as a meal because not only do they have a lot of nutrients in them, their sweet taste makes them palatable to young children who are prone to gag at the smell or thought of mushy vegetables.
  2. With your potato in hand, wash it thoroughly in the sink. Pesticides and bacteria can grow on the potato in the growing process, so scrubbing them off before you cook it is always a good and safe idea.
  3. Poke your potato with a fork a few times so that moisture has a place to escape from. Not poking the potato a few times with a fork could lead to a potato explosion, and that’s never good!
  4. With your sweet potato washed and poked, it’s time to put it in the oven. Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees and place the potato on a baking tray so that if any juice leaks out, it won’t spill onto the oven base.
  5. Bake the potato for 35-45 minutes.
  6. Once the potato is nice and soft, you can remove it from the oven and cut it in half with a sharp knife.
  7. With your halved potato, scoop all of the mushy sweet potato from the skin and voila, you have a ready-made mushy potato puree for your infant to eat. You can flavor the potato however you’d like (say seasonings) or just serve it plain to your child.

As said earlier, you can do the same general process with just about any vegetable or vegetable combination. After boiling or cooking the vegetables so that you’ve boiled away any bacteria, you can toss them into a blender and blend them into a puree that’s ready to eat. Things like broccoli don’t boil into a mush like potatoes and other starches, so by boiling them you’re only making sure they’re cooked and ready to blend.

More Ideas

It’s pretty difficult to keep your mind stocked with ideas for what you can feed your baby every day. Considering one sweet potato is
probably enough for three or four meals, chances are you want to diversify things a little bit so your child doesn’t get bored eating the same thing on a daily basis.

A book that we highly recommend is called Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby. It’s been highly rated by hundreds of Amazon customers and remains our favorite recommendation for what to give to new mothers looking to make homemade baby food themselves.

In addition to giving valuable advice on what different vegetables and fruits you can feed your child, there is also plenty of information on how you can make the transition from puree food into things like solid food. Also included are tips on how best to freeze any excess food that you make as well as reheat it. And lastly, there are tons of tips on how you can quickly prepare meals that are nutritious and won’t take up hours of your time trying to find the best combination of ingredients for the perfect meal.

Earth’s Best

While making homemade baby food is a lot cheaper than trying to buy all of the food you need for your child at the grocery store, sometimes you may be in a hurry and can’t manage to get a meal put together in time. It’s always a good idea to have some pre-made baby food on hand for those times that you just can’t get a meal put together. We highly recommend a brand called Earth’s Best and their vegetable variety baby food. It’s completely organic and doesn’t contain any added preservatives in the food. Each box comes with 12 cans, meaning that you can buy one or two packs of their food and have it last you quite a while if you’re supplementing only a few meals here and there.

Aug 17, 2011 - Canned and Packaged Goods    Comments Off on Grilled Vegetables: Saving Money by Buying Canned

Grilled Vegetables: Saving Money by Buying Canned

Vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diets and unfortunately, not everyone gets all of the veggies they need on a daily basis. One of the main reasons why people avoid buying vegetables is because of how expensive they can be in the store. Things like organic produce and imported produce can cost a lot more than meat or snacks that are on sale, leaving vegetables out of some people’s diets entirely.

If you find that you’re one of those people that isn’t eating enough vegetables in the day, buying grilled vegetables in a can can not only help you start getting more nutrition into your diet, it can also help you save money on your grocery bill. Let’s take a look at what you can purchase to save some cash.


It isn’t as big of an issue these days as it was a few years ago, but if you’re eating canned or packaged vegetables in your diet, it’s a good idea to ensure that what you’re eating is low in sodium. Since things like salt and sugar are added to virtually everything these days to enhance flavor and make the food last longer, it’s easy to go overboard with the amount of sodium you take in on a daily basis without even realizing it. If possible, keep track of your sodium intake or purchase cans of vegetables that are low in sodium content so that you don’t put yourself at higher risk for things like heart disease and diabetes.

Campbell’s Soups

If you haven’t heard of Campbell’s soup by now, there’s probably no point in even explaining who they are: only the biggest soup company to ever exist. From humble beginnings, Campbell’s now sells soups under a brand called “Campbell’s Chunky” that features hearty meats and grilled vegetables all in a can.

Chicken and Vegetables with Pasta: The chicken meat used to make this particular type of soup is lean, meaning it’s low in cholesterol and fat. All Campbell’s soups are trans fat free as well, making them a healthy choice for any meal of the day. Buying bulk online can save you not only a trip to the grocery store, but also quite a bit of money compared to what you’d pay for the same number of cans at a retail outlet. Although the worry about sodium mentioned earlier should be taken into account, the somewhat high sodium content of this chicken and vegetable can of Campbell’s soup isn’t too bad if this is the only high sodium meal you have in a day.

Why Grilled Vegetables?

Apart from vegetarians, many folks find vegetables to be flavorless and a little plain to eat with every meal. Grilling veggies can add flavor to them and can also cook off any dangerous bacteria or fungus that could have been growing as a result of poor farming or poor packaging at the supermarket. If you’re new to grilled vegetables and would like to try your hand at making some of your own from scratch instead of purchasing them in a can, you can check out this fantastic cookbook. We highly recommend this book because of not only the ideas inside, but also the inspiration it provides to new chefs looking to add more vegetables to their diets.

The New Vegetarian Grill: This 352 page book has 250 different recipes for you to try to add some flavor to your vegetables so that they’re easier for you to eat. With rave reviews from many different food critics, it really should be the only vegetable cookbook you turn to for ideas on how to make your vegetables tastier and more appetizing for when they make it to the table. Each recipe is very in depth, and if you’re willing to cut a few corners on nights that you don’t have a lot of time to cook vegetables for hours at a time for perfect flavor, you can still achieve the same effect with a lot less work.

Vegetables Every Day

The Center for Disease Control in the United States recommends that everyone consume at least 5 fruits and vegetables each day to maintain a healthy diet. If after considering some of the grilled vegetable soups we mentioned above you still can’t find the time to get all of the veggies you need each day, you may want to consider drinking healthy drinks or vegetable supplements that will still give you the nutrition you need each day. Drinks like V8 vegetable and fruit juice can give you a full serving of vegetables in every glass, and because they’re sweetened and flavored in addition to the fruits and veggies inside, they’re actually tasty to have every day!

Aug 12, 2011 - Breakfast Foods    Comments Off on Why You Should Opt For a Low Carb Diet + Recommendations

Why You Should Opt For a Low Carb Diet + Recommendations

It’s a common misconception that carbohydrates and breakfast cereals are the optimal breakfast for getting the day started right. On the contrary, quite the opposite is true. While carbohydrates are an essential part of any healthy diet, they’re not necessarily the best bet for your breakfast of choice. Most of the carbohydrates that come from breakfast foods are found in things like cereal. If you want to cut down on carbs, the first thing you’ll want to get rid of is of course cereal.

Why Cereal Isn’t Good for You

Cereal isn’t just bad for you because of the high carbohydrate content. What really get in the way of the healthy parts of cereal are the often processed grains and sugars that are added to the product for flavor.

Healthy Alternatives to Carbohydrates for Breakfast

Believe it or not, there are plenty of alternatives to having things like cereal or other forms of carbohydrates in the morning. Among the healthiest are things like protein and fiber, which can be found in things like low fat meat and vegetables. If you find that you’re strapped for time in the morning and can’t afford to have a healthy breakfast made from scratch, you may want to consider drinking something like a protein shake or breakfast shake to boost your body’s nutritional content early in the morning.

Vegetables: A popular rule to follow is that for every 2 units of meat or grain you have on your plate, you have 8 units of vegetables to match. That means that for ever 4 scoops of veggies you have, you should only have 1 piece of meat or starch. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to going through the day well, as well as in boosting your immune system.

Protein: If possible, try not to immediately think that you should have some sort of meat to count towards your required protein for the day. While meat is good to have for its protein content, it’s also often high in things like saturated fats which can clog your arteries and cause heart disease. A good alternate source of protein for your breakfast is beans. Beans contain both fiber and protein, making them an excellent choice for a low carb breakfast.

Shakes: Not everyone has the time to cook themselves a breakfast from scratch every morning. If you’re thinking of still skipping breakfast, all hope is not lost. Alternatives such as breakfast shakes can be had to help give your body the boost it needs to get through the day. While shakes shouldn’t be used as a meal supplement daily, they are still a viable source of things like protein and fats that your body needs to run smoothly.

Breakfast Shake Options

Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials:

Among the most popular breakfast drinks are those made by a company known as Carnation. Carnation Essentials have about twice the amount of protein you’d get in an egg and twice the amount of calcium you’d find in a regular cup of yogurt in every glass. Each packet comes with 3 canisters, each holding 14 servings of the drink. What makes Carnation better than most of the other brands on the market that sell breakfast drinks is that they lack a “synthetic” taste to them. Other products use chemicals and dyes to artificially flavor their drinks to make them seem more realistic. The flavors come in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry varieties, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy any of the flavors no matter your tastes.

Nature’s Plus:

In contrast to the milky taste of the Carnation breakfast drink, Nature’s Plus packs a completely different punch. Made from the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and plants, this particular drink is crafted to give you the boost vegetables and fruits provide in the morning. Recently added to the drink is a shot of all soy protein powder to help give you a boost of protein in the morning as well. While not as much protein as the Carnation option listed above, it’s still enough to get your day started the right way and give you the energy you need to make it through work or school.

Carb Solutions Protein Shake:

Lastly, if you’re trying to replace carbs in your diet altogheter, replacing them with protein isn’t a bad idea. With only three net carbs per serving of the drink, each drink promotes healthy weight loss by being low in sugars and carbs to help your body digest the protein first and prevent you from losing weight. Plus, there are only 2 grams of fat in every serving, which is also nice if you’re trying to burn more energy during your day or during exercise.

Aug 11, 2011 - Baby and Child Care    Comments Off on How To Buy Baby and Child Care Items Without Breaking The Bank

How To Buy Baby and Child Care Items Without Breaking The Bank

Children are expensive to take care of. That’s an unavoidable fact. What’s worse is that many times grocery chains exploit that fact by increasing the prices of their baby and child care items because they know that they’re necessities and people can’t avoid buying them. You can go without cookies for a week, but diapers are something that always have to be in stock.

If you’re a new mother or father and want to save a little money by buying in bulk or from retailers outside of traditional grocery outlets, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Below we’ll dive into all of the different products that can be found cheaper online and how you can take advantage of sales and offers directly from distributors to best save money each month.


Obviously, diapers are one of the best ways to save money on your grocery bill each month if you buy them online in bulk instead of heading to the local store. Another benefit of buying line is saving on shipping costs. At last check, both Walmart and Target had
additional shipping costs when purchasing certain types of diapers.

If you’re a Huggies fan, Target often offers free shipping on online purchases of $50 or more worth of Huggies products, but if Huggies diapers aren’t your thing, then chances are that special is worthless to you. Walmart on the other hand has tried to compete with both and Target by charging a flat $.97 shipping fee. While tempting, their diapers are still a little overpriced compared to other retailers. The key to saving money on diapers is finding the right balance between shipping costs and the quantity you’re purchasing. Shopping around is the only way to ensure that you get the best price.

Our personal favorite at the blog by far is ordering Pampers Dry Diapers through Amazon. For right around $50 you can get right around 200 diapers sent directly to your door. And if you’re an Amazon plus member, you can get free 2 day shipping in case you’re in a hurry with a baby emergency!

Baby Formula

Another wildly expensive thing kids need is good baby formula. Who woulda known that they’d need to be fed all the time?! I joke.

It’s easy to get lost in the maze of baby formula bottles as they all look the same but have wildly different ingredients in them that parents become convinced their
children need. The best advice you can get would be from your child’s pediatrician who can tell you exactly what your child needs to stay healthy and well. If you’re not worried about discovering the perfect baby formula for your child and would instead like to go with a simple and well rounded meal instead, there are plenty of options available online. They may not be sold by big name brands such as Gerber, but many times these third party baby formulas are much more nutritious and come at a cheaper price than the big name brands.

It only takes a quick glance at the benefits and reviews of Similac Nutrition formula to see how well it’s been received by customers. The nicest thing about the jumbo pack linked above is simply how much formula you get for the money. Six 1 pound tubs of the formula should last you a few months with your child. This particular formula is designed for hypoallergenic children, so it may not be advisable to feed it to your child unless recommended by a doctor.

Tip: It may be worthwhile to note that if you have a recommendation from a doctor that your baby needs a particular type of baby formula or dietary supplement to stay healthy, you can often get coverage for the food from your employment company. Baby products are quite expensive, so if you can make a claim with your company for allowance for them to pay for most, if not all of your baby’s food, it could be well worth it.

Essential Baby Reading

While you could try and guess what it is your baby needs, there are always great resources available that can guide you along the way to parenthood. If you’re unsure of which type of diapers are best for your child, or which type of formula you should be considering for your newborn depending on how old they are or what stage of pregnancy you’re in, we recommend reading a book aptly titled, “The Baby Book.” It’s chock full of ideas and tips on how to keep your baby healthy for the first two years of their life. The book is written by a nationally recognized pediatrician, making it not only helpful but also factual.

Aug 10, 2011 - Beverages    Comments Off on Weight Loss Tea – How It Can Help You Shed Pounds

Weight Loss Tea – How It Can Help You Shed Pounds

With obesity becoming a real problem in some parts of the world, it’s no surprise that many people are finally taking the reins of their lifestyles and trying to proactively lose weight. While there are countless weight loss programs on the market, many of them don’t do anything more than convince you that you’re losing weight through placebo effects. In recent years, research has come out about the effects of tea and how it can help weight loss. If you’re interested in how you can have a few cups of tea each day to help you lose weight, keep on reading.

How it Works

Unlike commercials and advertisements that briefly skip over how their miraculous weight loss programs work, we’re not going to do that.Through a process called thermogenesis, tea is able to help burn extra calories. Thermogenesis literally means the process of making heat in organisms. Caffeine in cups of tea help parts of the body burn off excess calories by heating them away. For each cup of green tea consumed in a day, you can expect to burn an extra 70-80 calories without any more work. Unfortunately, it can be a bit tough to try and consume enough cups of tea in a day to actually make a huge difference in your caloric intake.

Teas to Consider Drinking

While the calories you can burn during the day by drinking tea may not be many, if you’re trying to do everything you can to burn some extra pounds throughout the weak, a few cups of tea can help push you over the tipping point of losing an extra pound or two every week. Green teas are by far the best way to go when choosing a tea to start consuming. The reason for this is because not only are they the best at pushing the body into thermogenesis, they’re also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help other parts of your health as well. Green teas have been drank for thousands of years by many different cultures as part of a healthy diet.

Foojoy Wuyi Oolong Tea:

Just like green tea, this particular blend of herbal remedies helps increase metabolic rate so that you can burn more weight quickly. In addition to help increase your body’s energy output, it also has the ability to slow the absorption of fats in the body so that you put less weight on while you drink it. Each of the tea bags within the box are individually wrapped so you can bring some with you as you make your way through the day.

Yogi Green Tea Kombucha:

Yogi teas have become world renowned for their quality and adherence to organic ingredients in all of their products. Yogi green tea is no different and is even one of the most popular teas available on Amazon. Each box of tea comes with 96 bags, which is plenty even for an avid tea drinker. While there is significantly less caffeine than compared to a cup of coffee (just 30mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup instead of the 90mg usually found in an 8 ounce coffee), the other nutrients in the tea help with your digestive system and help you digest foods much easier, ultimately promoting weight loss. All Yogi tea packaging has been certified as frustration-free, meaning you won’t have to fight with the packaging just to get a cup of tea ready!

Other Tea Buying Tips

If you’re new to buying tea, chances are you’re probably lost trying to find the right tea for you. With so many different options to choose from, how do you decide what’s right for you?

Caffeine: If you’re trying to lose weight, having caffeine in your tea is the way to go. However, if you find that you end up too jittery from coffee, try to find teas with less caffeine content than a traditional cup of coffee. In general, tea usually has about a third of the caffeine that coffee does, so you can use that as a basic guideline for whether or not a tea you’re looking at has more or less than average amounts of caffeine.

Organic: Just like almost everything, organic products simply taste a bit better than ones flavored with chemicals and artificial flavorings. Organic tea is a bit pricier, but the health benefits far exceed that of artificial tea, so if you’re looking to drink tea for the health benefits, organic is the way to go.

Green or Not: Green tea is definitely an acquired taste and it’s definitely not for everyone. If you’re the type that really enjoys a strong cup of coffee, green tea may be a bit too mellow for you. Tea made from Chinese black leaves is much stronger than teas made from green tea leaves. If you’re unsure of what your “cup of tea” is, there are often variety packs that you can pick up that will allow you to pick and choose what types of tea you like and dislike to get an idea of what you want to buy in the future.

Weight Loss with Tea

If you hadn’t gathered earlier in the article, drinking tea isn’t a sure fire way to lose weight. If you’re planning on dropping a few jean sizes just by drinking more tea, you’re mistaken. Tea should be drunk in conjunction with a healthy diet as well as exercise. Changing what you drink can help you lose a few extra calories each day, but probably won’t have you going from couch potato to marathon runner overnight. Combine tea with a well-rounded diet plan and you’ll see the pounds fall right off.

Aug 9, 2011 - Baking Supplies    Comments Off on Cupcake Toppers: A Fun Way To Spice Up Any Event

Cupcake Toppers: A Fun Way To Spice Up Any Event

Everyone knows how fun and enjoyable cupcakes can be. But with an added touch of cupcake toppers, you can turn any set of cupcakes into a themed set for a birthday party or other specialized event. Cupcake toppers come in many different themes, such as superheroes or cartoon characters. Whatever the event, you or your children are sure to love the addition of cupcake toppers to their favorite flavored cupcakes.

Cupcake Topper Themes

Depending on the event, different types of toppers may be relevant. If you’re having a birthday for a child, you may want to consider using something like his or her favorite Disney character or movie as the general theme for the cupcake set. If it’s an adult birthday, you can get cupcake toppers of the age they’re turning or jokes to make light of the occasion.

Cookbook Queen Ideas

If you’ve ever frequented the blog, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, chances are you’ve seen a few of her homemade cupcake creations. If you haven’t had a chance to see her blog yet, we definitely recommend checking it out. While her quirky designs are often homemade, you can achieve the same effect with some store bought creations that will take a lot of the time out of having to make custom toppers for your event and can give you more time to focus on making the actual cupcakes themselves.

Popular Sets

It only takes a quick browsing on Amazon to find some of the best and most highly rated cupcake toppers around. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites below to not only give you ideas for your next party, but also aid you in your quest to throw the best birthday party your child has ever seen! (Well, maybe not the best, but we hope it’s fun anyway!)

Star Wars:

If you’re anything like us, chances are you’ve taken your miniature swords out of mixed drinks at bars before and pretend fought with them. These Star Wars themed cupcake toppers come in the shape of light sabers and are an extremely quirky way to get things going at your next Star Wars themed party. While they may not give you anything resembling the Force, you’ll at least feel pretty cool eating Star Wars themed cupcakes with all of your friends.


One of the cutest cupcake toppers we found which can also double as a cake topper is this particular “Promise” cake topper. It’s definitely great for any sort of romantic get together that you’re having with your significant other or at a wedding to top off the cake. It comes in a very simple design, which is what makes it so fantastic. Unlike other toppers that try to go overboard with designs, this particular cupcake topper is perfect for almost any romantic occasion. You can also get some colored food pens to add different writing to the cupcakes to make the ornament unique every time you use it.

Different Types of Cupcakes

If you’ve watched TV at all in the past few months you’ve probably seen the new set of shows centered around cupcake competitions. While we’re not suggesting you try anything as elaborate as the creations that are found on those shows, there are a few resources you can utilize online to help make your cupcakes more fun and decorative.

CupcakeBlog: Simply named CupcakeBlog, this particular blog is full of simple, yet interesting, cupcake ideas. You won’t have to head to the store for super-specific ingredients every time you want to bake a new set of cupcakes, which makes it one of our favorite places to check out when we’re low on ideas.

CupcakeProject: Another very popular cupcake blog is called CupcakeProject. Daily postings to the blog will help all areas of your
baking and you’re sure to find some fun and interesting ways to spice up your kitchen life.

Hello, Cupcake: Our last suggestion for where to get some cool cupcake ideas is from a very popular book called “Hello, Cupcake.” It features all sorts of cupcakes, from beginner to advanced level baking techniques that can help anyone get started in the world of cupcake baking. It’s a small investment, but well worth it if you’re unsure of all of the different ways you can incorporate different ingredients into your baking.

Aug 9, 2011 - Baking Supplies    Comments Off on How To Buy The Right Silicone Bakeware Online and Why

How To Buy The Right Silicone Bakeware Online and Why

If you’re the type that likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, chances are you’ve come across the overly expensive bakeware sets sold in most retail stores. While they’re advertised as “top quality” to try and sell more units, in actuality most of the time the same quality products can be found online for much less.

Manufacturers often over produce the amount of products they need and sell them to wholesalers and third party distributors if they have any extra supply. If you’re not keen on buying the latest and greatest bakeware as it comes out (we don’t know anyone that is), you can save some coin by buying your bakeware online instead of in stores like Williams-Sonoma.

Your Options

Depending on your baking needs, as in serious baker or just something to get you by for the few times you bake during the year, there are different sets that you can consider.

Beginner Baker:

For those that don’t yet own any bakeware sets in their home, this starter set is a great way to get your baking career going. It comes with everything you need to bake all of the essentials such as cupcakes and cookies, as well as a bread pan to make your very own homemade bread. What makes this set so great is how easy it is to lean. If this is your first silicone bakeware set, you’ll notice that it’s not only easy to throw in the dishwasher, it’s also extremely easy to handwash if your dishwasher is full. You can easily expand the set with other blue colored silicone baking pans, or you can mix it up a bit and buy other colors as well.

10 Piece Set:

For the more serious baker of the family, a 10 piece set may be more appropriate. This particular 10 piece set has more than you’ll probably ever need as a budding baker. Complete with two 10” cake pans, a baking sheet, bread pan, a spatula, a square cake pan, and a muffin tray, you’ll be set for months as you bake to your heart’s content with all of the options you have to choose from. Just as stated below, all of the silicone pans in this set are completely dishwasher safe, meaning you can bake your delicious cookies and serve them to your hungry kids and throw the pan in the dishwasher without worrying about it melting or warping while it gets run through the wash. Best of all in this set is the lifetime warranty you get to ensure that if anything ever goes wrong with your set, you can get it replaced and taken care of in no time at all.

The Benefits of Silicone

Bakeware is made from many different materials, but by far the most popular and easy to use is silicone. Silicone has become more popular in recent years for a number of reasons. Not only is it heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for use in high heat ovens or for faster baking, it’s also able to be frozen safely without any nasty chemicals seeping into the food while in the freezer.

Convenience: From a convenience standpoint, silicone is always nonstick and makes it easy to get your food out of the pan. In addition to being non-stick, silicone distributes heat evenly throughout the food within it, giving an all around even cooking temperature so you don’t have to worry about the bottom burning or the top rising too quickly Everything cooks at just the right temperature all the way through until it’s done.

Clean: Silicone is easy to clean and can be thrown in the dishwasher without worry of it melting or falling apart. Most silicone pans are also odor free, making them the perfect candidate to bake smelly things with as they won’t retain any of the odor of the food you’ve baked in them.

Silicone Baking Sets

A quick side note that’s probably important to make is that if you purchase a silicone baking set, you’ll probably get a spatula in the set as well. Spatulas that come with wooden handles are not dishwasher safe. Although the silicone portion of the spatula can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher, hot water left on wood for long periods of time can cause it to crack and warp, ultimately destroying your spatula. And chances are, the warranty you get with your set won’t cover damage to the spatula because you ran it through the dishwasher.

Baking Ideas

If you’re new to the world of baking or are just looking to get more value out of your new silicone baking set, this particular book is a great way to get ideas and get your baking career started right. There are plenty of ideas with everything from cookies to breads to keep your sweet tooth satisfied.

An unmentioned benefit to the book is that it’s ring bound, making it easy to flip to a page you want to read the recipe for and have it stay on the page without closing or flipping pages. Plus, the durable rings will take a beating as you move it around the kitchen as you bake.

Aug 8, 2011 - Baby and Child Care    Comments Off on Why Your Child Needs Protein Rich Food + Recommendations

Why Your Child Needs Protein Rich Food + Recommendations

Finding the perfect nutrition for your little one can often be a challenge. With so many vitamins and minerals to keep track of, if you don’t have a plan in place things can get out of hand. When it comes to protein for your baby, there are plenty of things you should know before you start them on a protein rich diet.

In the following paragraphs you’ll find a bit of information of how protein helps your little one grow up to be big and strong as well as some food ideas you can try to help introduce more protein into their diet.

What is Protein?

The first topic we should tackle is what protein is exactly. Many people thing of body builders when they think of protein. While it does aid in helping people bulk up, it also serves a multitude of other functions that often go overlooked.

Firstly, protein is a set of amino acids that have been linked together. Out of the 22 amino acids the body uses every day to function properly, it can only naturally produce 13 of them. The rest need to be taken in through food. Protein in the diet helps introduce those other amino acids into diet so that your baby can grow up big and strong.

How Much Protein is Enough?

It’s often unsaid, but getting too little protein in the diet is an extremely uncommon problem. In the western world, most people receive enough, if not too much protein in their diets on a daily basis. In your baby’s first few months in the world, his or her main source of protein will come from breast milk or milk formula. Both provide more than enough protein for your baby to build strong bones and a healthy diet.

From breast milk, it’s a good idea to start introducing solid foods that will provide protein as well. Vegetables and things like cereal will provide the protein needed to continue living healthy.

The only time that it’s a good idea to introduce protein rich foods into your baby’s diet is if you’ve been instructed to do so by a doctor. Since protein cannot be stored in the body, every time it is consumed it must be broken down into by products. If the protein needs have already been filled, the excess protein byproducts are flushed out in your baby’s urine.

Since your baby’s kidneys will be the ones handling any excess protein you throw their way, if your child is still growing, the extra strain on the kidneys is never good. Pushing the kidneys too hard can result in kidney failure, which would be terrible!

My Doctor Said My Child Needs More Protein

If you’ve talked to your child’s pediatrician and they’d made a recommendation that you should start introducing more protein into their diet, there are a few things you can include in their diet to make it better rounded and higher in protein content.

Dairy Based Formula:

If you’re not breastfeeding your child, chances are they aren’t getting enough protein. Buying a dairy based formula such as this one from Baby’s Only, you can give your child the extra protein they need without flooding their body with protein rich foods like beef or chicken which could put unnecessary pressure on their kidneys or body. All Baby’s Only products are organic and are produced free of pesticides, making them completely safe for your baby to consume. In addition to protein, they also come with quite a few other essential vitamins and minerals to help your baby grow to their fullest potential.

Whey Protein:

This next item is not for baby’s that have already popped out into the world, but instead are still in the womb. It’s not uncommon for mothers to be short on their protein intake when they’re nursing, which is why it’s sometimes a good idea to take a protein supplement so that the child they’re nursing receives enough protein as well. One of the most highly regarded whey protein brands is Optimum Nutrition. They’ve been in the business for years and have built a reputation for themselves as being the best whey protein powder on the market. Their chocolate whey protein is easy to digest and doesn’t taste gritty or bitter like other supplements. As directed by a doctor, it’s a good idea to have one or two scoops of protein daily to ensure that not only you, but also your child, receives all the protein they need while you’re nursing.

Why Would Babies Have a Protein Deficiency?

Protein deficiencies come from many different places, but most commonly arise because of an illness or infection. When the body gets sick, it uses all of its energy to fight the disease and get it out of the body. To compensate for all of the energy expended and to repair the tissues and cells that have been damaged because of the infection, extra calories and protein need to be taken.

Since children are the most susceptible to illnesses, it’s easy to see why in some cases children aren’t getting everything they need to fight off future infections. If your baby is ill, talk to your doctor about what could be the cause of the disease and how you should change your child’s diet to compensate for the lack of nutrients currently in their system. Adding protein and calories can help a baby recover faster and fend off diseases more easily in the future.

Aug 8, 2011 - Baby and Child Care    Comments Off on Buying Wholesale Diapers – How To Save a Lot of Green

Buying Wholesale Diapers – How To Save a Lot of Green

Diapers are by far one of the most expensive parts of having a child. Many retail stores realize that mothers don’t have a choice when it comes to baby items, so they purposely increase the price of things like diapers and baby food on their shelves to maximize profit. Luckily, if you’re smart about where you buy your diapers, you can get huge discounts.

Below is a list of tips you can implements, as well as a few places you can look to buy diapers online so that your little one’s needs don’t break your bank every time you head to the store.

Change of Brand

One of the easiest things you can do to cut back on price is change the brand of diaper that your child uses. Some pediatricians will recommend specific diapers to use, but in most cases the big name brand diapers are the same, and sometimes worse than the third party competitor. You can snag great deals if you’re willing to go for cheaper and less fancy diapers and diaper packaging.

One such example of switching brands would be moving from a popular brand made by Gerber to your local grocery store’s brand. While there’s still a significant amount of markup in the diapers, they won’t be nearly as expensive as the brand name equivalent.


It goes without saying that buying bulk of anything usually ends up with each individual item being cheaper. Diapers are no different. If you have the money to spend in advance (and the space to keep all of the diapers you buy), many companies offer diapers in packs of 200 or more. Buying in bulk makes it easier to save cash and ensure that you get much closer to the actual wholesale price of an individual diaper than if you were to buy them all separately or in packs of 20 or so.

Bulk items can easily be found in the stores like Sam’s Club, BJs, or Costco. If you don’t have a membership to any of these clubs though, and you’d like to save a little bit more money than normal, by far the best place to buy wholesale diapers is online. Sites like Amazon have plenty of competitors and retailers looking to sell diapers cheaply and in bulk, meaning you’re guaranteed to snag a deal if you spend some time looking around for exactly what you want.

Products to Consider

If you’re not one to try and hunt through Amazon for a few hours looking for the best deal you can, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done some research and have found the best deals we could on diapers through Amazon. Each pack has its pros and cons, and depending on what type of diapers you need for your child, not every option may be appropriate. Children need different diaper sizes at different stages, so stocking up too much on one particular size may be detrimental in the long run!

Pampers Baby Dry Diapers:

One of the most basic options we’ve found are these Pampers diapers. Although we said earlier on that avoiding name brands was a good way to save money, in some cases wholesalers will sell name brand diapers for the same price as third party brands. These diapers have a snug fit and come with 3 layers of protection to keep your little ones clean until it’s time to change them. One of the nicest (if not advertised) features of these diapers is definitely the packaging. It can be frustrating to try and pry open diaper packaging when you’re out and out. To eliminate the frustration, these diapers come in “frustration free” packaging, making them extremely easy to pull out of the package when you’re busy.

Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers:

For those that are environmentally conscious, these Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers are a comfortable alternative to traditional diaper packs. They’re made from organic cotton on the outside and are coated with a very small amount of vitamin E aloe to keep your baby’s bottom nice and soft as they waddle around for the day. These particular diapers are designed for babies that weigh a bit more than newborns (12 to 18 pounds). Other organic diapers are available in different sizes as well if you’d need them.

Pampers Swaddlers:

Possibly the cheapest option of all three, these diapers are the true definition of wholesale. If you’re a member of Amazon, you’ll be able to save even more money on shipping, making the price of these diapers much cheaper than if you were to go into the store to purchase them. While they’re only 2 ply in thickness, many moms find that if they’re frequent enough with their changing, 2 ply is enough to keep leaks from happening during the day.

Things to Keep in Mind

If you’re still unsure, it’s a good idea to talk to a pediatrician about any allergies your baby might have to a certain diaper brand. Because they’re made from many different materials, it’s easy to end up with a diaper that could affect your baby’s health. While rashes and allergic reactions may not be too severe, they’re definitely uncomfortable and unwanted. If you’re not sure what your baby may or may not be allergic to just yet, you can talk to your doctor and find out.

Also, in some cases you can buy baby food and certain types of diapers with the help of your insurance company. Depending on your plan, you may be eligible to purchase diapers at little or no cost if your insurance company will pick up the tab. Be sure to talk to them before you start buying the most expensive diapers around though!