Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Started With Family Biking at Natural Parents Network

I have a post today at Natural Parents Network about Getting Started With Family Biking.

Finding time to work out with small children can be a challenge. One way to manage is to find an activity you can do with your kids, and one option to consider is biking.

For my children and budget, we settled on a trailer for the two little ones, and a trail-behind bike for the older one who was not yet capable of riding in a straight line. My 5-year-old loves being part of the pedaling action, and the 1- and 3-year-olds nap, watch out the window, play with little toys, or "read" books as we go.

Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

From Hobbiton to Rivendell: A Family Cycling Tale

We are on an adventure. It started as a combined effort to save gas and exercise more. It became more. It made us rethink how we plan our grocery lists, schedules, time with our children, wardrobes, homeschooling, and diet. To motivate ourselves, we set a goal.

Our family is going to bike the distance of Hobbiton to Rivendell.

Our progress as of  May 29th, 2013.
We aren't going on a grand long distance, touring adventure. Mainly just in our hometown. Which just happens to be the perfect size for dominating by bike. Our set up includes 2 adult bikes, one pulling a double trailer and the other a trail-behind tandem attachment. We go to the library, park, grocery shopping, fishing, produce stand... if it is in our town, we almost feel ridiculous packing everyone into the car to go.  Then we just add it all up, working towards reaching 458 miles by my birthday on October 15th. We started March 19th, so we needed to ride about 20 miles a week. So far we are doing well, and have cut our need to ride average to less than 15 miles a week. If the weather cooperates, we may even make our goal by L1's birthday, a month early!

A Week in the Life: Wordless Wednesday

 This is a typical week in our home. Plus plenty of screen time (just being honest), but who takes a picture of that? It was pretty rainy, so we were inside a lot. We

Making letter shapes with a straw.

They are very interested in clouds right now.

I am going to hit the pie tin sideways off the jar. What do you think will happen?
Hypothesis from L1: The egg will wobble, fall, crack, then we'll be cooking the eggs to eat.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Giveaway: Beauty Without Cruelty $50 ARV {6.1; US}

This is a joint giveaway with True Confessions of a Real Mommy and Natural Parents Network.
You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

Reviewer received a free sample for review purposes, and consideration was given to NPN
for hosting the review/giveaway. Links may be affiliate links.

Beauty Without Cruelty is offering our readers a giveaway of $50 worth of
their products.

For over 40 years BWC has been a company with a mission of ethical, cruelty-free
products that are made with natural, safe ingredients. All BWC color cosmetics are
suitable for vegetarians and vegans and are fragrance-free. Their nail colors are free of
toluene, formaldehyde, and pthalates.

If you win, you'll have yours for the choosing, $50 to spend at

From our reviewer, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy:

I don't use a lot of beauty products. I am generally a no 'poo, no makeup, just go with
the bright hair kinda gal. But a friend sent me just a sample of Beauty Without Cruelty,
and I wanted to know more. Luckily, the opportunity arose to really check out the
products and company when they sent me items for review.

In 1963, Beauty Without Cruelty was founded in England by the trustees of BWC Charitable
Trust, an animal welfare organization. Its goal was to manufacture and distribute
natural, color cosmetics that were NOT tested on animals and did NOT contain any animal

I chose to try Beauty Without Cruelty Aromatherapy Hair Care Moisture Plus Shampoo, BWC
Aromatherapy Hair Care Moisture Plus Conditioner, BWC Aromatherapy Skin CareƂ Herbal
Cream Facial Cleanser, and BWC Attitude Nail Colors in Summer Sky.

BWC Aromatherapy Hair Care

To start, I love how well the shampoo and conditioner deal with my poorly (over)treated
hair. I have a penchant for abusing it with bleach and bright dyes that look fun but
really fry my hair. BWC Aromatherapy Hair Care Moisture Plus Shampoo and
Conditioner were excellent in putting moisture back in, leaving it so soft, with less
frizz and fuzz. I even think it may help keep the color bright. The only downside to the
product is I wasn't big on the scent. It reminded me of that old baby lotion. Just not my
thing. But, I do know their Lavender Highland and Rosemary Mint Tea Tree versions smell
wonderful. With S.L.S.-, paraben-, animal-product-free ingredients, as well as no
synthetic fragrances, it seems like a better alternative to typical products when I do
choose to wash my hair.

BWC Aromatherapy Skin Care

I was a little wary of trying a facial cleanser. I have NEVER been good at regular face
washing, and I have always had a problem with reacting when I tried a new one, but
everyone keeps saying it is crucial to keeping a young-looking face. So, I gave it a
shot. It was smooth, creamy, smelled nice, was gluten-free, and my face felt amazing
after using it. I followed the instructions to apply with my fingertips with some
concern: it seemed too creamy to wash without some exfoliant. No need to worry, my face
felt fresh and clean. No oily residue. I can't say it has helped my recurring blemishes
any, but no major breakouts.

BWC Attitude Nail Colors

The Attitude Nail Colors in Summer Sky was just a bit of fun for me, and my children. I don't often take the time to do the mani/pedi thing. (Really, I still have remnants from last summer's pedi. Shhh!) But I thought it would be nice to make some time. That didn't happen, of course.

My 3-year-old loves getting his nails painted. Have you painted a 3-year-old's nails? They can't sit still! And then my 15-month-old wanted in on it (just her toes), and I thought we were in trouble. Not to worry! The Attitude Nail Colors in Summer Sky went on
easily, dried FAST, and one coat was enough (though I did a second coat on some of mine). The paint did chip after a day or two, even though they call it "Chip Proof," but I have never had any nail polish last longer than that. Because it was toluene-,
phthalate-, formaldehyde-, and GLUTEN-free, I was less worried about using it on them than traditional polishes.

The short of it: great stuff. Responsible practices, reputable company, and some great
scents and colors. I would (and do) purchase from Beauty Without Cruelty.


You can purchase your own vegan beauty supplies
Beauty Without Cruelty.

And just for Natural Parents Network and True Confessions of a Real
Mommy readers, Beauty Without Cruelty is giving a
20% discount on all orders from now through June 15, 2013.
Enter code CMBNCXRB during the ordering


For your own chance to win a $50 credit from Beauty
Without Cruelty
, enter by using our Rafflecopter system

The winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate to use at Beauty Without Cruelty.
Contest is open to the US only.

Simply enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you
win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same
valid email address in any bonus comments so we can verify entries.

This is a joint giveaway with True Confessions of a Real
 and Natural Parents Network. You
may enter at one site only
, and we'll be recording IP
addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and
enjoy both sites!

See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning
after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into
Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Friday, May 3, 2013

They are One and the Same

So, I managed a couple more poems from Hobo Mama's poetry challenge. I really have enjoyed (sweet, I tied in this week's theme!) a chance to stretch my fried brain in a different way lately.

Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop


Noise, Sound, Vibe
Hear it, Feel it, Live it
Music, Ambiance, Voice
Machine, Nature, Enviroment
Pulsing, Flowing, Absorbing
Need it, Want it, Love it
Blaring, Slamming, Obtrusive
Hate it, Fear it, Fight it
Noise, Sound, Vibe
Hear it, Feel it, Live it


Everyday is new
Your smiling face reminds us reexamine our world
Every moment seems to be the first
We forget the old, and see them fresh
Everything we know
We learn again through your eyes
How time can change
This world we live in
How you can change
The lives we know
How we strive for
A better life for you
How Every deed is for you