Thursday, July 21, 2011

Organically Grown

When Evelynn was born, the kind folks at Organically Grown sent us a baby gift of an organic onesie for her.

Here it is:

People, I am in love.

It's incredibly soft and fits like a dream. Is that set not absolutely adorable? I want one for every age as she grows out of them. *sigh*

The company itself is very inspiring, the kind of place that you want to support. (Here's their About Us page.) They have great items for everyone in your family - and yes, I am covering this in particular for Joe. It's also more affordable than most other organic clothiers I've seen.

If you've got a baby to buy for - or a kid - or a blogger - give them a holler.

Hidden Valley Ranch

Brian has a patch at our community garden for growing vegetables. He enjoys the work quite a lot and it's been a lot of fun for the tinies as well as a great learning experience. I quite like to make sure that the tinies are eating vegetables, especially after our Whole Food Challenge, so this was a great way to do it.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed but kids love to dip. So we always are making dips of some sort for the raw veggies like buzzing up hummus in the food processor. I was sent a large box of Ranch dressing from Hidden Valley Ranch and it was a BIG HIT here, especially with Joe. Joe adores "dipping" and now calls the Hidden Valley Ranch "the Vegetable Dip." We gave away a few of the bottles to friends and family and everyone was absolutely thrilled.

And then I found their website which has a ton of recipes available.

If you have lots of veggies around or are wanting to get your own tinies to try them, you could always give this a go. It works for our crew.

*No money was exchanged for this review. I was sent the products for review but all opinions are my own.

Treehouse: Natural, non-toxic and gentle bath time products

I was recently sent some samples for Nature Clean's new line of natural, non-toxic and gentle bath time products for children called Treehouse. And yes, they feature the characters from Treehouse like the Backyardigans and Franklin as well as Max and Ruby.

We've all been thrilled with them. Nature Clean is a Canadian company and this line is thankfully sulphate, paraben and phthalates-free.

We tried out the 2-in-1 Shampoo in Berry Blast. Annie in particular loved this one as she's learning how to wash her own hair and so it was a great experience for her.

Toothpaste for kids (100% natural) - this one was fluoride free and uses natural fruit flavouring. I like it because it does give the tinies something fun like Franklin on the outside while everything on the inside is natural.

Natural Wipes - These are alcohol and chlorine free. They are safe and gentle for Evelynn and Joseph - much better than any of the other ones I've tried to be honest. I'll be buying them from now on.

If you spot them at your local shops, give them a try!

*No money was exchanged for this review. I was sent the products for free but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY: "Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me" (Updated with winner!)

Giveaway now closed! 

Winner is 
Norse, Jesica, and Boden said...

Wow, how lame am I that I can't think of a memoir I've read. Maybe this book will be my first! Here's hoping.

Reviewing: Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me: A Memoir ... of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron.

Publishers Summary:
An entertaining, touching memoir of life with an alcoholic father who secretly works for the CIA, a dark pilgrimage through the valley of depression and addiction, and finding a faith to redeem, and a strength to forgive. At the age of sixteen, Ian Morgan Cron was told that his stockbroker father actually worked for the CIA. The story of this world-rocking discovery is the stepping-off point into a fascinating exploration of one mans alternately heartbreaking and humorous journey to faith and spiritual growth. Born into a family of privilege and power, Ians life is populated with colorful people and stories including the account of an alcoholic father who takes his family on a wild roller-coaster ride through wealth and poverty and back again. Includes tales of a nearly blind English nanny who teaches him what love means, a famous New York radio personality who saves his life, a simple carpenter who leads him to faith in Jesus, and his own personal journey from addiction to twenty-three years of sobriety. Believers and seekers alike will be moved by how Ian uncovers and honors what is sacred in his story, how he discovers God in the struggle to find redemption, and how the mysterious movement and presence of God is woven throughout the adventure of his life.

My Review:
Excellent, excellent book. I like to read memoirs quite a bit but this is one of my favourites so far. It's funny, sad and universal in its longings. The book is beautiful but last three or four chapters in particular tell such a gorgeous, God-breathed story of redemption that it takes it from being a good book to being a great book. I liked Ian and his voice is crisp and funny, self-deprecating and full of pathos without being sappy. He writes without a lot of sentimentality but with tremendous feeling - a hard line to walk. 

And the writing - the writing is fantastic. Even the most mundane things are infused with a different view: for instance, he describes feeling suffocated as "having a dry-cleaner bag over his mouth" and it just locks into your mind and you get it. He does that throughout the book. He's relatable and yet a fresh writer. And the story is beautiful and sad.

Highly recommend.

Read an excerpt here.

I have one copy to giveaway!

Open to Canadian and USA mailing addresses. Just leave a comment on this post telling me the last memoir you read (and liked). Thats it! If you want to Tweet it or Facebook the link for this giveaway out, that's great - just leave another comment telling me that you did so and you'll get another entry.

Contest closes July 20 at midnight. I'll draw a winner using

Good luck!