Friday, June 13, 2008

Why this blog exists

I enjoy trying out new things and new products, and then sharing my knowledge. So this site will be dedicated to items that have been helpful to me, and I hope will be helpful to you.

Mostly though, I want to relate to you practical ways of living naturally. I grew up in a conventional household where my mom had about 7 good recipes, and we lived quite the usual commercial '80s way. So most of the time, when my friends start describing a "natural" style of living, my eyes start to glaze over and I am wondering "how on earth do you do that?"

I learn by hands-on approaches, so if I haven't seen how to do it, I usually don't know what they are talking about. So this website is particularly dedicated to finding practical approaches to living naturally. Thankfully, there is a lot of really neat products and ways of doing things out there that have been simplified for people like me. If you have a product that meets this criteria, please contact me.

Please check out my other two sites - Research Links and Book Respectives for even more reviews and helpful tidbits.

So far I have written product reviews on:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Big Crumbs

Lots of people have been asking me about the Big Crumbs reward site. I think its fabulous. Its very simple and free to sign up, and you can find out more about the site through the How it Works page or the FAQs page. has been around for over 2 years and eBay members have earned cash back on millions of dollars in purchases, as well as other stores and sites.

Click Here to find out more about Big Crumbs.

I've done a little bit more research into the matter (of course!) and I find I am highly impressed with this site. Even if you only use it to get cash back on Ebay purchases, its worth it. This site is totally free to sign up. If you want to just be a Crumbsaver, you get more cash back. If you want to be a Crumbearner, you get a little money from those who you refer. They are just giving you the marketing commission that they get from merchants. Its all really neat - I've looked at several people's profiles as well as several people's blogs, and this is a great way to earn an extra 50 dollars or so a month without too much trouble. I plan to use my savings/earnings for gas money.

Here are all my favorite shopping sites where I get cash back from Big Crumbs. These are just some of my personal favorites - they have a whole lot more stores where you can save! As a Crumbsaver, you can save the following amounts:

Vitamin Shoppe -7.8% cash back
Botanic Choice - 16.2% - 9%
1-800 Contacts - 7.2%
Vision Direct -9%

Ebay: - 4.5%
Ebay -36% of seller's fees

Barnes and Noble 4.5%
Borders -5.4%
Discovery Channel store - 9%

DotPhoto -4.5%
Kodak 5.4%
Kodak Gallery 9% 6.3%

Babies R US 2.7%
Baby Center Store 5.4%
Back to Basics toys 8.1%
Childcraft 4.5%
Hearthsong 9%
KB Toys 4.5%
Leaps and Bounds 6.75%
Motherhood Maternity 8.1%
One Step Ahead 6.75%
Oriental Trading Company 4.5%
Preschoolians 18%
Shindigz Party 9%
Toys R Us 2.7%
Target -up to 9%
Walmart 3.6%

Travel: 4.5%
Hotwire 1.8%
Expedia 1.8%
Orbitz - up to $19 1.7% 13.5%
Travelocity up to 4.5%
Southwest Airlines - 4.5%

Clothes and Shoes: 10.8%
Chadwicks 4.5% 7.2%
Kohls 3.6%
Motherhood Maternity 8.1% 15.3% 15.75%
Preschoolians 18%

Office Supplies:
Office Depot up to 5.4%
Office Max 3.6%
Staples up to 6.3%
TigerDirect 1.8%
VistaPrint up to 18%

Miscellaneous: 31.5%
Lillian Vernon 5.4%
ITunes 4.5% - 12.15%
Personalization Mall - 13.5%
Tiger Direct - 1.8%

Click here to find out more about Big Crumbs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shopping Reward Sites

I don't know about you, but every time I shop online, I use a coupon code AND a reward site -preferably a cash-back reward site. The two I mainly use are BigCrumbs and ShopatHome.

BigCrumbs is especially good for Ebay purchases. Its really easy because I have a Quickcrumb bookmark tab in my toolbar window - I click on it - it opens the ebay page - and the bid/purchase is then automatically credited to my account.

BigCrumbs also has a great referral incentive, unlike the other shopping sites. So I highly recommend the BigCrumbs site. Click on the link below to find out more information.

Its wonderful to get a check in the mail from one of these sites. I just got a $25 check the other day - it feels like free money. ;)

Shop at Home is also a great site - and you earn a one-time payment anytime a friend joins. If you click on the link below and sign up, the first time you use the site, you get $5 for free. I use this site all the time to get 6% cash back from Vitamin Shopppe - definitely helps keep my vitamins more affordable.


Monday, June 9, 2008


So I've been thinking about eggs lately. They are one of those "brain power" power foods that are suppose to be super good for you. But not all eggs are alike. And some are super expensive. And some have way more in them than others (and what I mean by that is that the chemically eggs have way too much chemicals/antibiotics in them, and the good eggs have a different degree of Omega 3s and Lutein.) So here are some interesting varieties and facts on the eggs out there.

Recommended eggs:
Good Day! Naturals All Natural Eggs
Christopher Eggs
Pilgrim's Pride Eggs Plus
Eggland's Best

Some websites that tell more about eggs:

Some facts about free-range vs. conventional:
They found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial, "conventional" (i.e., from confined hens) eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene.

webblog in progress....check back later for more......

update: 5/09

I emailed a few months back the Christopher Egg company and asked where I could purchase their eggs, because I had been looking for them everywhere, and no grocery store carried them. They emailed me back saying that Krogers carried them. I went to 5 different Krogers in Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas, and emailed them back saying No, Krogers does NOT carry them. Then I emailed the Kroger company and asked them to carry these eggs. I guess the two companies talked to each other because........

Long story short - Krogers now carries them! Hurray! They carry them under their Private Selection brand name. They are around $2.50 a dozen, which is a lot cheaper than most organic-type or natural-type eggs.
Christopher's Eggs are Amazing, and I will probably never buy a different type of egg again. They contain 660mg of Omega 3s PER EGG! Most eggs only contain about 60-130mgs per egg.

Here's the info on Christopher Eggs:


I love stevia. I use it everyday in my tea. It is more natural and much healthier for you than most other sweeteners out there. Aspartame (equal) is extremely bad for you, as well as white sugar, saccharin, and sucralose. Stevia is by far the best choice, especially if you are a diabetic!
My favorite brand of Stevia is NuNaturals. It doesn't have any bitter aftertaste, and is much sweeter than most stevia brands. NuNaturals has a blend of stevia and erythritol that a lot of people prefer over the straight stevia. I personally use the NuNatural Stevia packets that I can buy from Amazon.
Ck out my research page for even more information on Stevia.

NuNaturals Stevia link
NuNaturals No Carbs blend link

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Omega 3s

I have come to realize that Omega 3's are an absolute must in any health regime. They help with depression, with fertility, and they especially help pregnancy. Anyone who is not taking an Omega 3 supplement and eating eggs like Christopher's Eggs, is not doing all they can do to be healthy.

First, here is a fantastic report put out in March 2008 that is getting a lot of buzz on all the newswires. Please read the entire report. I have found this report in its entirety online at:

If you want a copy of the report, you can find one on this site:

I personally take Carlson's Cod Liver Oil and Country Life's 1000mg Omega 3. I have found that it has greatly helped with my overall energy levels as well as my state of mind. I highly recommend taking an Omega 3 supplement and eating a diet with foods rich in Omega 3s. Grass-fed beef as well as grass-fed chicken and their eggs are high in Omega 3.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Reusable shopping bags

Out of all the reusable grocery store bags out there, I like Whole Foods bag the best, because its huge, and can carry more than 20 library books without breaking. :) It also has a rectangular bottom which allows you to organize things more easily in the bag, and place things in it without spilling. Its also made with water resistant material. And all for only $1. I use these bags for everything - laundry, mail storage, dvd storage, library book returns.......

Whole Foods Bag Info
Whole Foods Article

Better BagWe make it easy by offering a wide selection of reusable bags for sale at our stores — check out our “Better Bag” — only 99 cents and it’s made from recycled plastic bottles. Helping the environment in two ways!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Steel Cut Oatmeal

So I was inspired by the following article to make Steel Cut Oatmeal. This means actually putting something on the stove and letting it cook for 30 minutes. For you fellow microwave aficionados out there, you know what I'm talking about. I probably then put too much brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey (yes, I have a sweet tooth) on it to be that healthy, but at least it was all organic. And it was very tasty - and the texture really was different! Next time, I'll put fruit in it instead of all that organic sugar. ;)
All I can say is if I can do it, so can you. Oh, and I bought the O Organic brand (bought at Tom Thumb) of Steel Cut Oats, that brand is the best-tasting one so far. What's your favorite brand?

June 12 update: Practical uses: I usually make a big batch of oatmeal, usually when I am cooking dinner. Then I leave it in the pan and stick in the refrigerator so the next morning, I just have to put in a little more water and put it on the stove. When it is nice and hot, I ladle the amount I want into a bowl, and squirt wildflower honey, a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar, and then whatever fruit I have on hand. Then I put the pan right back into the refrigerator. This is makes a great breakfast or snack without too much work. I have yet to try the "soaking the oats" part, but I figure I'll eventually get around to trying it. I'm a bit trepidatious about that particular concept.

Breakfast for the Brain
By Evangeline Johnson
Primm Springs, TN

I've been thinking, its not the hand that rocks the cradle that rules that world, but it's the hand that rocks the mind that rules the world. So.....what did you feed your children's minds this morning?
What are you actually feeding their brains? No. I'm not talking about your little devotion. I am talking about your chocolate-covered, multi-dyed sugar-fortified, mineral-refined breakfast cereals. A poor breakfast!
Think of brains. Brains are more important than brawn. But even brawn doesn't do well on those cereals. And while I have the floor, don't skip breakfast. They say no breakfast is worse than a poor breakfast.
In order for the brain to function at its ultimate peak, it has to be nourished, comforted and energized. In this state, there is no telling what a brain can learn or accomplish. Brainpower can be increased! Intelligence released!
After years of breakfasts of yogurt and fruit, millet, rolled oats, smoothies or eggs, all of which are wonderful foods, we are presently settling our stomachs on a long forgotten meal - steel cut oats. No, not rolled oats, not oat groats, but steel-cut oats.
How do you prepare it?
Add three cups water to one cup steel oats and simmer for 30-45 minutes, adding more water as required to get the right consistency. Double the quantity if you have a large family. If you desire, add cultured butter for mineral assimilation and a tad of honey for taste. Serve with milk or cream (raw if possible). Oh yum. It is nutty. Flavorful. Chewy, yet soft. Not slimy like rolled oats. If you like, add two raw egg yolks (free-range, don't eat chemical eggs, thank you) at the end. This adds to mental development. Eggs are traditionally accepted as the ultimate brain power. It makes me want to have a chicken coop right now!
For the ultimate absorption of enzymes and minerals, soak the oats overnight with four tablespoons of whey, lemon juice or cider vinegar. This neutralizes phytic acid. Phytic acids coat grains and inhibit the absorption of minerals.
Steel-cut Oats is one of the highest protein grains. It turns on metabolism, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Oats contribute to strength, endurance, energy, beauty and mental alertness. It is rich in B Vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and is one of the lowest grains in gluten.
You can purchase steel cut oats from the supermarket or purchase by bulk (far cheaper) from a food co-op. Check the internet.
Once a week I drive to the Amish and I buy my raw milk and cream for the week. Raw is the best as it contains the enzymes to break down milk protein.
Supplement your breakfast with a good quality fish oil every couple of days and watch the difference.
Pass me another bowl please!
your friend, Vangi

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Heartland Bread Review

I just love this bread. I ate a slice at Candi's house, and then I had to eat another slice right away! (especially with butter and heated in the microwave for 10 seconds). So yummy! So I had to find out where she got this bread. Its at a cafe, right around the corner from her house. The bread company itself is based in Dallas. So I went to the Heartland Bread Cafe (on South Cooper at Sublett, in the same shopping village as Stein Mart and Dollar Tree) and ordered a sandwich (with cucumbers and avocado - yum!) and bought two loaves of bread (which I found out later is a whole dollar cheaper at the cafe than at Whole Foods market). Since I would never in my wildest dreams ever create homemade bread (wouldn't even know how to begin), this bread will just have to do. You should go by their store as soon as possible, and buy some of this incredible bread. (and no, they aren't paying me in any way, I just really love their bread! if you couldn't tell by this post!)

The Bread - I buy Honey Whole Wheat.

Home Page -

Menu -

Location -

5904 S. Cooper St. Suite #122 Arlington, TX 76017


817-465-8290 Fax

Mon-Fri 10:00-7:00

Sat. 10:30-3:30

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mazda 5 station wagon

I have always loved station wagons. I guess its going back to the 80s when I was a kid, and a friend of mine had a classic station wagon. Back then, seatbelts weren't as important, so kids would pile in the back and play board games and cards and just have a regular old slumber party. And I probably thought to myself, hey, I'd like to have a car like this one day. As an adult, to me, station wagons definitely symbolizes kids, picnics, and the fourth of July. Basically, I want one. I would like one day to get a classic "woody" station wagon, but that will have to wait until I clean out my garage to be able to put it in.
However, I decided to look around some and see if they still make station wagons, and make them with good gas mileage. After looking at a lot of different styles, I was really impressed with the Mazda5. I haven't test drove it or anything - this is just browsing around on the internet - but the info I found seems really interesting. Here are a bunch of websites on the Mazda5. Check it out for yourself!

Pixie Yerba Mate

A helpful tip I'm passing along to all my friends: I've been able to stop drinking so much soda (i was very addicted to Dr. Pepper) because of Pixie Mate tea. It gives you energy, 800% more antioxidants than tea, helps with metabolism, and all kinds of good stuff. I like the pixie mate brand because it is a lot milder than the others, and therefore, I like the taste better. There are a lot of other brands, but go ahead and Check Pixie Mate out at:

So far I've found it at Whole Foods market ($5) and online.

My favorite flavors are Green Tea Mate and Limon Mate

Here are some store links:

Link to Amazon

Link to Herbtrader

Pass this site on to those you know are addicted to caffeine.... God Bless!

Sippy cups

As a nanny to my niece last year, I was always looking for a good sippy cup, and quickly became quite disgusted with most of them out there (how do you wash the inside of the spouts - impossible). And the other type always leaked. Well, my friend, Candi, the awesome mom that she is, found that the Tupperware Stow and Go Bottles make great sippy cups. I also like using them during the day, because I'm one of those wanderers in my house who is always taking my remote, cup, etc with me and leaving it in some random place. This way, I don't have to worry about it spilling.
Well, they have now been discontinued from Tupperware, and Tupperware is only offering the type of sports bottle that has a stick-up spout. Sigh. So if you want one of these great Tupperware Stow and Go bottles, you will have to get one on ebay or some of the sites below. I just bought 3 - one will be for my 95 year old grandfather that he can keep by his chair and not worry about spilling. Good luck!

I also am worried about the bpa in sippy cups and bottles. The whole concept makes me sick. Check it out for yourself at the following sites.
Dallas Morning News Article

There is another type of sippy cup that I do like that is stainless steel - which is a perfect vessel for milk (think milk pail). And no toxicity leakage worries. :)

Klean Kanteen 12 oz stainless steel sippy cup

Here's another stainless steel sippy cup: The Safe Sippy

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Request a Review/Advertise

Book and Product Reviews - I ask that the author or company send me the item for my personal use. This way I can give an honest review. I will write the review in exchange for the item. The item will be mine to keep after the review is written. A link to the item reviewed as well as a link to the homepage of the site is provided within the review. I do request the permission to use a photo of the item from the company's website if possible.

In addition to the Product review, I afford the company the option to offer a like item for a giveaway. I will conduct the giveaway for you, taking care of the details myself. I request that the company send out the prize to the winner.

I reserve the right to decline any book or product that is not family appropriate as well as reserve the right to decline any image that is not family appropriate.

Once you have emailed me your product idea for a review, I will check out any online material you provide for the item and then reply if it something we would be interested in reviewing. Once the item has arrived please allow 2-4 weeks for each item to be tested and reviewed. I will contact you as soon as your review is live and/or if I need any more information. Products that do not meet our standards will not be reviewed.

Website/blog reviews are $20. (payable via paypal). Your website or blog will be reviewed personally by me. The written review will be a minimum of 200 words. You are afforded the opportunity to ask for specific keywords you would like for me to include along with any specific links you wish linked to those keywords and any image. The review will be posted live on my blog within 48 hours of your request. You will be provided with a direct link to the review post on my blog. Payment for the review is expected within 7 days of the date the review is posted. I reserve the right to decline any website or blog review that is not family appropriate as well as reserve the right to decline any image that is not family appropriate.

Advertise Here

Link Exchange: My Blog to Your Blog vice versa is most welcome and I try to accommodate as much as possible. If text links or buttons are to be exchanged, your button will be placed on my blog roll post.

The following is for business owners or others who do not wish to do a link exchange.

My advertising rates are as follows:

Text Link: $5 per month


  • 88x30 micro bar $5 per month

  • 120x60 button $10 per month

  • 120x90 button $10 per month

  • 125x125 square button $15 per month

All prices are on a month to month basis. At anytime an advertiser fails to pay for the next month's advertising on or before the due date (30 days from time of placement), that advertiser's link or button will be pulled from my blog.

Prices are subject to change. I reserve the right to deny any sites and/or banners at my discretion.

Payments are accepted via paypal and are expected before the text link or button is put onto my blog.