Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My New Favorite Afternoon Tea Mug

I received this from my 'ohana (family) in Hawai'i. 
It's definitely a great way to keep warm during these chilly months.
Don't forget to enter the "Bag It!  Don't Leave Home Without It in2012"
Giveaway Event starting next week!

Review & Giveaway: TruKid All Natural Sunscreen and Silly Shampoo

Since my first child was born 5 years ago, we have always been consistent at purchasing Johnson & Johnson products.  I remember using the same products growing up, and their "No More Tears" formula was always a plus.  But lately, we have been more skeptical about what we feed to, use on, and share with our kids.  So when I got the opportunity to review all-natural products from TruKid, I was over the moon with excitement!  This is my first time to try something new that I wasn't at all worried about using on my children.
TruKid products are BPA and Phthalate free! We make safe products that families can feel good about; our certified organic and natural ingredients are always SLS, paraben, petroleum and Gluten-free!

One of the products I received was the SPORT TruKid Sunny Days All Natural Lotion in a 3.5 oz. tube.  Water-resistant, non-toxic, and unscented, this lotion has an SPF of 30+ and is sensitive enough to use on all members of the family.  I was even able to use it on 3-month-old Little Peanut without any worry.  I'm usually hesitant about using any kind of sunscreen for fear that they might hurt my children's eyes, but considering the ingredients in TruKid products are all natural, I knew the kiddos were in good company.

We live in North Texas where the summer heat can be unbearable and can dwindle on until the autumn months. This year we had to endure more than 60 days of constant 100-or-more-degree temperatures.  The kids stayed indoors most of the summer, and let me tell you, they got cabin fever fairly quickly and rather often.  When it finally went below 100 degrees, we jumped at the chance of using the TruKid lotion and having a little bit of fun.

After a few hours in the blistering heat, the kids' skins barely showed any signs of tan lines or sun burns.  We were pretty amazed to say the least.  The next day, my husband and I ended up using it ourselves and got the same results.  The winter months may be here, but the sun has not gone away.  No matter if you're going skiing in Colorado, swimming along the Hawaiian shores, or just playing football outdoors in your hometown, sunscreen is a must-have to protect young skins.  And although the price of $18.99 is a bit steep for a frugal-living family like mine, TruKid, in my opinion, is well worth the price!

In the same package, we also received the TruKid All Natural Silly Shampoo with a pump for easy usage.  The shampoo is gluten, SLS, Paraben, Phathalate, and BPA Free and has a nice light citrus smell.  The kids love using it just because of the name.  Silly kids!  My husband, on the other hand, has repeatedly boasted about how he thinks that our daughter's hair gets dryer faster with the Silly Shampoo.  Coincidence, or could it be that this shampoo doesn't have all the ingredients that other hair products leave behind?  The biodegradable formula found in this 8 oz. bottle is deserving of the price of $8.99, considering similar all-natural products cost more.  We are just about out of the shampoo, so I think we'll be placing an order for the refill real soon.

We are also excited about trying out the Bubbly Body Wash and Happy Face & Body Lotion.  My two sons have super dry skin, so I'm hoping that the lotion will work well to moisturize and relieve the dryness.  Check out the rest of their product line, including TruVillage Skincare for Grownups.

 BUY:  You can purchase the SPORT TruKid Sunny Days All Natural Lotion for $18.99 and the TruKid All Natural Silly Shampoo for $8.99.  I am telling you - they are worth every penny!

WIN:  TruKid is giving one (1) lucky The Green House fan both products to use or share for the holidays!  This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!  You must complete the mandatory task first, then complete the other tasks to get as many entries as you'd like.  Good luck!  **If the Rafflecopter form does not show up, please refresh your screen, or click on the post title!

The Green House Disclosure:  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.  The products(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Save Our Planet Saturday: Giving Upcycled Gifts For The Holidays

I am not an artist by nature.  My 5-year-old daughter can draw far more intricate pictures than I ever could.  But I do enjoy dabbling in a little bit of craft work here and there - the easier, the better.  And if it means using what I already have at home so that I don't have to spend more (or a lot of) money, and it minimizes the stuff I have already have, well then, that makes the idea of upcycling all the more worth while.  Wikipedia defines "upcycling" as the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.  I define it as using whatever you already have (that would otherwise wind up in a landfill waiting years to decompose) to create unique pieces of work that will continue to serve the purpose of decor, fashion, gardening, living, and anything else that will expand the life of the product.  This holiday season, as my family tries to make the most out of cooking, celebrating, decorating, and gift giving - without breaking the bank - we have decided to make upcycled handmade gifts that we hope will continue to help us live frugally and keep us on track to minimizing our home and life.  

So, what do we have in mind to make that may give you ideas for your own gift-giving?  Who doesn't have a t-shirt in their closet that either no longer fits, has minor stains, was given to you for free from an informational booth at a mall or an event, or just doesn't suit your style anymore or didn't in the first place?  Turn that shirt into a new scarf perfect for this wintery season or make great looking necklaces or bracelets - no sewing and can be done in minutes!  Do you have old sheets, curtains, formal wear, maternity tops or dresses, or old children's clothes that you can't seem to part with?  Keep a little bit of these items around while preserving the memories that you can later pass down by making fabric flowers.  Big or small, these new embellishments can be used to accessorize your hair, clothes, bags, or shoes, or to decorate frames, wreathes, bulletin boards, notebooks, etc.  The list is endless!  Look around your home for broken crayons and make new ones for stocking stuffers.  Another upcycling project you can try is using old frames you may already have but can't seem to pair with the perfect photo.  Don't have any lone frames?  You can find great ones at garage or estate sales for mere change.  Paint the frame with new color.  In place of a photo, use scrapbook paper, your favorite magazine ad page, comics from the newspaper, or gift wrapping paper, and you've got yourself a new dry-erase board for your kitchen that can be placed on any wall, table, or shelf in the house.  Dress it up with those upcycled fabric flowers or word art, include a pack of dry-erase markers, and you have the perfect holiday gift.

Looking to get rid of unwanted things in your home to create a clean slate in 2012?  What better way to live minimally and frugally than to reuse them for new and refreshing items for yourself or for others?  You don't need to be born an artist, but your work will make it seem like you were.  Happy crafting from The Green House!

The Green House Disclosure:  I wrote this post for The Little Seed blog. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks For The Simple Things In Life

Today in many homes across America, family and friends gather to celebrate this holiday that we call "Thanksgiving."  As we sit down to enjoy a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings, sip on wine or hot chocolate, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and maybe a little bit of football, and get started on decking the halls with decorations galore, I am humbled and grateful for the little things that have come to mean the world to me and my family.

I am thankful for our house that we call a home.  It's small, cozy, and has all the amenities that our family could ever need.  The rooms are warm, lived-in, and always has a stray toy left behind from the day's playtime, the walls are covered with photos of our children and their smiles, the furniture is used daily and has wear and tear as evidence, our treasured wall paintings are the kiddos' masterpieces, every corner and floor molding has bumps and scraped paint from my son's cars and trucks, the refrigerator is covered from top to bottom with my daughter's artwork, our bed always has a doll or two on it and is never Martha Stewart perfect, there are always crayons on the coffee table and/or dinner table, and books can always be found on the sofas or living room floor.  That's our home - untidy but filled with love!

I am thankful for my family's health.  Although my two boys were preemies and developed bronchiolitis, I am grateful that they are able to be comforted with breathing treatments.  My children are going through a picky-eating phase.  And though they don't eat much of their food during meals, I am thankful that they do have food to eat so that they can grow up to be big and strong.  I was born in a small village in the Philippines where my family was considered wealthy by the country's standards.  I remember children were always outside our house waiting to see if my grandparents would invite them in to eat our left overs.  If we didn't have any, the children would go hungry that evening.  I still get teary-eyed whenever I think about those same kids who are my children's ages.  My heart aches for them knowing that they would give anything for a small bite to eat.  I am very lucky to be able to provide my children with this simple comfort.

I am thankful that I am able to stay home with my kids, to play with them, to teach them, to be a part of their growth every minute of every day.  I love seeing how happy they are with what they have, how they see everyone they meet as their "new friend," and how they don't think that someone is this or that - they are people same as them.  Every day, they teach me the values of patience, understanding, and forgiveness.

I am thankful for my wonderful husband and best friend.  My children are so blessed to have a Daddy who plays with them, reads to them, feeds and bathes them, clean dirty cloth diapers, helps with the dishes and laundry and still finds the time to upkeep our home and cars.  And did I mention that he also puts up with my crazy, off-the-wall, silly, and moody self?

I am thankful to God for blessing me with these little but wonderful joys.  I am not worthy of all this awesomeness, but I am eternally grateful for having been given the chance to have a happy life.  May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with your own little greatness!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Upcycled Dry Erase Board

 Take the following:
- an old frame of any size
- paper scrap cut down to size (ex: comics, old calendar page, magazine ad)
- embellishments (ex:  wood art, fabric flowers, small toys)
- dry erase marker

And turn them into this:

Display on a counter, desk, dresser, or wall.  Easy to re-upcycle for every season.

Don't forget to enter this week's giveaway: 
Lovable Labels Gift Seals & Address Labels Pack!
Also, read up on the upcoming "Bag It!  Don't Leave Home Without It In 2012"
Giveaway Event in December!

Review & Giveaway: Lovable Labels Gift Seals & Address Labels

From buying and wrapping gifts to writing and mailing out greeting cards, from putting up decorations to cooking food, the holidays can be a bit overwhelming and tiring for everyone. Wouldn't it be great if there was something that could help lessen the load with at least one of the things you have on your to-do list?!

This holiday season, give yourself a break from writing your address on cards and your name on gift tags with personalized gift seals and address labels. Canadian-based Lovable Labels generously sent me their Gift Seals and Address Label Pack to review. Enclosed in a glossy red envelope, each pack includes 60 gift seals and 90 address labels, plenty enough for this year's mailings and presents. With 6 different designs to choose from, my kids picked out the Starry Night set. I love how the labels turned out, and I think they will look great on everything we are giving to everyone this year. My daughter has already claimed some of them for her friends. These labels will definitely keep me from getting writer's cramp and save me some time for the more important things like reading holiday books and roasting marshmallows with my children.

Lovable Labels is your one-stop online shop that offers personalized labels, iron-on tagsstickerssafety productsstationery, and much more. Created by a mom who wanted an easier way to label all of her children's belongings without having to write each and every one out every time, Lovable Labels are tough, durable, and so darn cute! All the labels are waterproof and safe to be placed in the dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer. They can withstand UV rays from the sun and the use of bleach and sunscreen. Stick these adorable, colorful labels on your kid's clothes, shoes, lunch bags and backpacks, sports equipment, toys, school supplies, and everything in between. Perfect for organizing your home, you can label your books, office files, pantry supplies, craft boxes, recycling bins, and much more.  I couldn't resist putting the "I Love Blogging" sticker on the computer.  My husband wasn't as tickled about it though.

Check out the site for great gift ideas for everyone on your list.  Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can do your shopping anytime from any place in the world.  They also offer a fundraising program perfect for your school, sports team, club or organization.  Are you looking for a part-time job working from home?  Lovable Labels has an Agent Program perfectly suited for you.

Ready to get started on your holiday cards and gift wrapping?

BUY:  You can purchase your own set of Gift Seals & Address Labels for $21.95 CDN.  While you're there, browse through all of their awesome products!

WIN:  Lovable Labels wants to give one (1) lucky The Green House reader a pack of Gift Seals & Address Labels. This giveaway is open to residents, age 18 and over, of the US and Canada only.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!  You must complete the mandatory task first, then complete the other tasks to get as many entries as you'd like.  Good luck!  **If the Rafflecopter form does not show up, please refresh your screen, or click on the post title!

The Green House Disclosure:  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.  The products(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

"Bag It! Don't Leave Home Without It In 2012!" Giveaway Event

You've been telling yourself for awhile now that you want to live a little greener, that you want to do your part in giving Mother Nature a helping hand, no matter how small the deed may be.  Well, The Green House is going to help you do just that in 2012.  From Tuesday, December 6 until Friday, December 16, you will have a chance to enter the "Bag It!  Don't Leave Home Without It In 2012" Giveaway Event, giving you an incredible opportunity to win items that will help you in lessening the plastic and paper bags you bring home from the store and eventually end up in the landfills.

All of the participating sponsors' shops can be found on one of my favorite sites,  And the best part is that their items are handmade and/or upcycled from previously loved materials.  How's that for being green?!

The giveaway will include reviews of the items that I received from the sponsors to give you an idea of what you can get your hands on.  In the meantime, you can check out their etsy shops so you can begin to drool over their work:

It's Our Earth, Inc.
Clee's Handmade Quilted Essentials
Farmtown Totes

There will be 1 (one) winner for the giveaway and 1 (one) entry form (Rafflecopter), so it will be super easy to enter to win all the items!  Feel free to copy and paste the event button on your blog or site to encourage everyone you know to become more Earth-conscious in the new year.  See you back here in December!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Minimalist Monday: Simple Holiday Decorations

This past weekend, we brought out all of our Christmas bins from the attic and started to decorate our home.  Yes, it may be a bit early, and my husband gave it a second thought after turning on the lights outside and neighbors slowed down to stare, but the kids were happy, and so were we.  Before the holidays, I tackled on the goal of getting rid of some of our holiday "stuff."  I succeeded with getting rid of at least two bins full.  After Halloween and this past weekend, I added another bin of items to our garage sale stack.  I'm hoping that by the time I'm done going through the Christmas boxes that I will have been able to part with more things.  The point of all this decluttering?  To have a more simple holiday season this year and for years to come.

Are you looking to minimize your holiday decor as well?  I roamed the web for ideas to give you some leads on how you can keep your Christmas this year more simple.

Christmas Tree Alternatives

Gift Wrapping

Displaying Christmas Cards

Decorations in a Jar
The source of the photo is unknown, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

If you don't have a lot of the supplies you see on the photos already, you'd be amazed at what you can find at the dollar store or garage sales.  Have fun going through all of your existing decorations, and see if you can create new things from them while bidding adieu to ones you don't really care for anymore.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Upcycling Old Clothes

From maternity blouse used during 3 pregnancies... upcycled flower accessories that my daughter and I can now use on our hairs and/or clothes.
Took only about 5 minutes each!
Check out my etsy shop for similar items! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Save Our Planet Saturday Promo: Feeling A Little Nostalgic This Holiday Season #SeventhGenerationScents

It isn't like me to have posts on this blog that are dramatic or emotional.  With the exception of my weekly Wordless Wednesday fun posts, most of my work on The Green House are informative.  I usually leave the gushy stuff for my other blogs.  And when the opportunity to post about the new line of natural dish liquids from Seventh Generation came up, I certainly didn't think that  household products would in any way grip at my heart strings - not until I gave it a little more thought.  All of a sudden, I start to get flashbacks of the yesteryears.

Seventh Generation has created a line of dish liquids featuring natural scents from real lemons, clementines and lavender. Seventh Generation’s Natural Dish Liquid scents come from fields not factories, and honor the careful hands that cultivated them.
If there is one product of nature that I love, it would have to be the lemon.  There is something about the strong scent that always seem to remind me of my Mom and growing up in a home that had the smell of food cooking on the stove or baking in the oven.  Living in a Filipino home, it's common to always have a banquet of food for every meal, even during merienda, or snack time.  One of my favorite meals is pancit (noodles), lumpia (egg rolls), and Jasmine rice.  But it just wouldn't be complete without having lemon squeezed on top or added to a sauce for dipping.  Another favorite dish in my household, then and now, is chicken adobo.  Marinated for hours or even overnight in a simple mixture of soy sauce, lemon, and garlic, that is one meal that I don't think any of our guests have ever regretted trying.  Lemons may not originally be from the Philippines, but they mind as well have been.  I remember my Mom using any left over parts of the lemon for potpourri or to grind down the sink.  The house always smelled so clean and heavenly.  I love how the same scents fill my own home now.

After being a breast cancer survivor for over 16 years and finally falling ill to another kind of cancer in 2009, my Mom past away last Thanksgiving.  The holidays last year were difficult to bear, to say the least.  And as we begin to feel the chill nip at our noses or smell the aromas of home-cooked meals or hot apple cider, I am once again feeling nostalgic as I start to reminisce my childhood holidays with my Mom.  But as I find new ways to cook with lemon or to use it in cleaning my home, I am reminded of how much I learned from my Mom, all the good times we had together,  and everything that I can some day share and pass on to my children.

It's amazing how something as small as a lemon can play such significance in life.  You can be anywhere anytime and the wondrous aroma of your favorite things will transport you back to a special time and place.  To help kick off your holiday season, you can enter to win a trip for two to one of the regions where lemons, clementines and lavender grow, including  France and Italy.  Enter the Seventh Generation Nature Makes Perfect Scents sweepstakes today, and you can be on your way to a destination where your favorite scents will come alive.  
Seventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment.  We believe our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within the home—and for the community and environment outside of it. 
In the meantime, enjoy the holidays knowing Seventh Generation can provide your family and your home with products that not only smell awesome but are also safe and eco-friendly.

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50.  For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Frugal Living Friday Promo: Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

If you are already in the holiday spirit and have your shopping list made, this week's Frugal Living Friday promo will definitely help you stay within your budget.

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Words

The right words can make someone's day and change his life forever.

Today is the last day to enter this week's giveaway:  My Memories Digital Scrapboking Software.
Open to all residents WORLDWIDE!  It's perfect for all these photos we share weekly.

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post to share?  Link up!
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