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I’m a little late to the party but Plastic Free July is here! Reducing the plastics that we use is a really, really big deal. We’re here to encourage reducing, while having a super fun event! Join us with our Challenge + Giveaway.

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Challenge Details:

  • Challenge will start July 1& end July 31, 2014. Form must be filled out & filled out HERE (it’s short)
  • Switch one thing either within your household or your place of business within the month of July that helps to reduce plastic use. Then post a picture to BALM Baby’s Facebook wall.
  • Make sure you ALSO enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter (SEE BELOW).  We added a giveaway to show our appreciation for the support of you taking the challenge.
  • Baby Steps Peeps! Don’t stress or get all “perfectionist” like I do! I know it can be intimidating sometimes, so just focus on your one little baby step.

Prizes include:

  • $100 Gift Card to be used at TaylorsPureAndNatural.com
  • Glass Dharma $25 Gift Card
  • Pura $50 Gift Pack
  • SmartBottoms AIO Cloth Diaper (One Size ORGANIC)
  • Irresistibly Green $25 Gift Card
  • Life Without Plastic Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold set
  • Best Bottoms Shell & Inserts
  • Planet Wise Snack Pack Set
  • Brinware Plate Set
  • Imagine One Size Pocket Diaper 2 Pack
  • Rescued Rumps BreastFeeding Tshirt
  • Kissed by the Moon Tea Collection item + BALM! Baby SUN!
  • Little Flock of Horrors “The Boss Bodysuit” (Merino Wool!) 
  • PLUS Stay tuned for MORE!

WHY Take the Challenge?

Most people are unaware that plastic is a huge issue, not just to our planet, but our health.
Our Planet: Plastic will NEVER break down. 2oz. of plastic will ALWAYS be 2oz. of plastic & can only be down-cycled / up-cycled so many times.

Our Health: When plastic is used for food or skin care containers, there are health concerns because plastic can leech, especially when warmed up,making even natural products become full of toxic chemicals, and therefore, no longer natural.

Get Informed! Be Part of the solution!

 Switch Ideas:

* Switch items with plastic material to more sustainable materials (glass, stainless steel, wood, clay, fabric, aluminum, etc.)
* Buy reusable stainless steel or glass water bottles instead of plastic ones.
* Buy reusable stainless steel or glass food containers.
* Buy in BULK, taking your re-usable containers in to fill up.

Feel free to switch as MANY things as you’d like (just don’t overwhelm yourselves!).

How I’ve Switched

In the last seven years I have made lots of changes in my life. At first they seemed different, sometimes even challenging (I cannot count how many times I forgot my reusable grocery bags those first couple of years!), but over time they became part of our daily routines. My favorites are probably my reusable shopping bags (I have an addiction), waste-free lunch gear, and our plastic-free kitchen (this one is so easy, and your health will thank you too!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Best Guacamole Recipe — Simple and delicious. This is hands-down my favorite!I love guacamole. It’s delicious and amazing and so good for you…. and because avocado!

Avocados are full of healthy fats, vitamins and other awesome things that our bodies love. I love cubing an avocado for a snack, but making a bowl of yummy guac is nearly as easy, and oh so tasty!

After a little trial and error, I have landed on a super simple recipe that leaves me feeling happy and satisfied… every time. I love the simple flavors in this recipe. I really think it is the best guacamole recipe, and I hope you enjoy it too. Even my kids eat it up, which sort of sucks, because I hate to share — oldest child problems.

Before we get started, you’ll want to get out a fork, potato masher (a fork works too, but a masher makes it so much easier!), a dish to mix in, and a one to serve it up in. I like to use a flat bowl or casserole dish for mixing because the flat bottom is perfect for mashing.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe Avocados*
  • Juice of 1/2 a Small Lime
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce

Making Guacmole

The first thing you want to do is finely chop your onion and cilantro. I use a good handful of cilantro, but you can do it to taste or leave it out if you aren’t a fan of cilantro – though I really think it adds a lot to the dish. Finely chopping is an important part, at least for my taste.

Next you’ll cut, pit and peel your avocados (You can see how I do that here.) Add salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1/4 tsp of each.)

Juice your lime! Rinse your lime and then cut an end off, grab a fork, poke around a little and squeeze over your dish. You’ll want just half of the lime for this recipe. It’s so easy and then you can toss the rest of the lime into a cube with the other half of the onion and it’s ready for tomorrow’s guac!

The Best Guacamole Recipe — Simple and delicious. This is hands-down my favorite!

It’s time to add the Tabasco! This doesn’t really make the guacamole spicy, but it does add good flavor. I give about eight “shakes” from the bottle. It looks like a lot, but really it’s not. You can always add more or less to suit your taste.

Next you’ll want to grab your masher and get to mashing. This part is quick, easy and fun. If you have a kiddo around, you can let them lick the masher when you’re done — or keep it for yourself.

The Best Guacamole Recipe — Simple and delicious. This is hands-down my favorite!

Grab a bowl, dish up the guacamole and serve with your favorite chips! (I really love tortilla chips from Garden of Eatin’.)

Choosing an Avocado

When choosing an avocado you want to pick one that is firm, but gives a little when gentle pressure is applied. I like to hold the avocado in both hands and gently rotate it, applying *very gentle* pressure with my thumbs. I’m looking for a little give, but no soft spots. Rock solid isn’t ripe and won’t taste good – too soft and you’ll have a mushy avocado that may be stringy with brown spots.

It takes a little practice, but once you figure out that sweet spot you’ll have perfect avocados every time! And if all you can find are hard ones, let them sit out on the counter for a day or two and give them a feel. Once they’re ripe, toss them in the fridge where they may last that way for up to a week (or get to making guac!)

The Best Guacamole Recipe
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Ingredients
2 Ripe Avocados
Juice of 1/2 a Lime
1/2 Small Red Onion (finely chopped)
Cilantro (finely chopped)
Salt
Pepper
Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
Instructions
Finely chop your onion and cilantro. (A handful of cilantro is good, but you can do it to suit your taste.)
Cut, pit and peel your avocados.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (I use approx. 1/4 tsp of each.)
Juice your lime. (Rinse, cut an end off, grab a fork, poke around a little and squeeze over your dish. You’ll want just half of the lime for this recipe.)
Add eight “shakes” of Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce.
Mash & then dish it up!
Share if you're feeling generous.
The Eco-Friendly Family http://theecofriendlyfamily.com/
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GwennySo summer is in full swing here and I’m ready to lose my mind. I love LOVE my kids and having them home, but summer feels like a cruel joke. Yes, let’s give the kids a break when it’s too damn hot to really spend time outdoors — and if you do, you’ll have to load them up on sunscreen and/or bug spray – oh and monitor their play to keep them from overheating.

But there’s more… Gwen’s still home full time, but Ethan and Lily have been out of school for just two and half weeks. There have been fun times, not so fun times, but mostly there’s been a lot of eating. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’ve already eaten more food in the last 17 days than they did all school year… Which begs the question?

How in the hell did they survive the school year?

All year long I woke up, fed them a moderate breakfast (because no one in their right mind can eat a big meal at 7:00 in the morning — and frankly, no one should even be awake at that time, but I digress.) I packed fun, sensible lunches and a small snack, I kissed them and sent them off with well wishes. That’s all they needed to make it through the day, and many days Lily would bring home half of her lunch uneaten. Sure, some days they wanted a little something to eat when they got off the bus, but it was rarely a full blown case of Imstarvingosis.

Since school has been out, they eat ALL day! ALL mother loving’ day! You think I’m exaggerating, but I assure you I’m not.

Where did this hunger come from? Where was it all school year? Do they have ANY idea how much it costs to buy groceries? Especially organic groceries???

I’m left exhausted, financially ruined and confused.

I wake up every day with the smile of my youngest (yes, she’s almost five and still sleeps in our bed), white sheets and sunshine — I have high hopes for each and every day. I really do start with good intentions, I swear. I think to myself, “Today we’ll have SO much fun!” but then the eating begins.

Before I can even fill my reusable Keurig cup, my kids are begging me for food – sometimes literally crying for it. I feed them and half way through my cup of coffee at least one of them is asking for something else to eat…. you know because, “Mommy, I’m hungry.”

I’m pretty sure that some sort of delirium has set in. It’s been two weeks. It feels like it should have been years, but at the same time it feels like it just started.

It’s like Groundhog Day. Every day is the same, but also sort of not.

I think I was going somewhere with this, but my kids had lunch twenty minutes ago and they’re climbing on me because they need a snack.

This is everyone right?

No?

Just me?

Okay.

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Practical Gifts for Dad

by Amanda Hearn · 1 comment

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Eco-Friendly Gifts for DadI don’t know about the men in your life, but mine are terribly hard to buy for. Their needs and wants are simple, and for the most part they already own the things that could end up on a list.

These ideas are fun, a little traditional, and a whole lot useful!

I hope you enjoy these last-minute gift ideas for the men in your life.

Belly Armor Blanket

Seen right, the Belly Armor Blanket was originally designed to protect pregnant and nursing women from non-ionizing radiation, Belly Armor has found that 10% of their blanket sales are from men looking to protect themselves.

Belly Armor is a patented Radiashield technology that blocks 99.9% of everyday radiation caused by cell phones, laptops, iPads, etc. Belly Armor’s protective blankets provide a safety barrier between the body and the device. This is especially helpful for the Dad who works from home or simply enjoys catching up on news and sports from his laptop.

Misfit ShineMisfit Shine

The Misfit SHINE comes in several colors and the world’s most elegant fitness tracker. Pair it with their Pebbled Leather Band, and you have a perfect Father’s Day gift! (In addition to online, SHINE may be found at your local Target!)

The SHINE is a unique fitness tracker that is incredibly small (about the size of a quarter), stylish, and water resistant. Wear it while jogging, walking, working the elliptical, and more. It can even be worn while showering or swimming—giving it a real edge over the competition.

Chocolate

ChocoloveWho doesn’t love chocolate? I love picking out specialty dark chocolates for my husband. They’re a fun treat that we can share in the evenings, and it’s fun to try out new flavors. We are currently loving Chocolove’s Almond & Sea Salt variety.

Some other great varieties to try are Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups (SO good!) and Theo Chocolates.

Yuzen Box

I am not generally about subscription boxes because I’m not really into “stuff,” but the Yuzen Box is a little different. It is stuff, yes, but it’s stuff with purpose, and it’s pampering for him (or her!).

Yuzen Boxes contain items like sweet treats (healthier versions!), soaps, shampoos, lotions, candles, nail polish (for her), etc. Yuzen items are always non-toxic and all pampering. They are a nice way of making the man in your life feel special. Choose a one-time box or surprise him with a subscription (4 boxes, one per quarter).

Yuzen

Sprout Watch

WatchSpout has been around for a while, but I love their watches, and while it’s not a dress watch, it’s a great choice for a casual watch. They’re affordable, earth friendly and they look great too! Sprout watches are available online and at high end department stores.

Made from corn resin, Sprout watches are completely biodegradable and water resistant.

Dinner <3

Nothing says love like an act of love, and putting your heart into a meal is just that. Try one of these delicious recipes for your man’s special day.

 Stromboli One_Pot_Pasta Spinach_Lasagna  Potato_Salad Salmon_Dinner Banana_Bread2

Follow Amanda Hearn’s board Eat Yourself Healthy on Pinterest.

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