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5 Plants with Kid Appeal – Raising Good Apples

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Spring is here and that means new plants coming to life. My kids are used to getting seasonal fruits and veggies, because we have an orange tree, avocado tree and grapefruit tree in our backyard. By this time of year, though, their blooms are over, but the kids still like to get food straight from the backyard. So, they are excited when they get to choose what they get to grow in the backyard.

We have done lettuce, carrots and tomatoes in the past. So, this year with the sponsorship of Tree Top, we started discussing the plants that would be in this year’s garden. I asked them which new plants that they would like to grow and we checked out KidsGardening.org to jog their creativity.


If you do not know of this website, you should definitely check it out. It is full of ideas for plants, outdoor crafts and more to help you get you and your kids outside together. They are affiliated with Tree Top and for every purchase of Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches, Tree Top donates $1 to the website. I find it to be a worthy cause and until we get our own apple tree in the back yard, the Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches may be their best option, because they are made with pure fruit.
After perusing KidsGardening.org for some time and thinking over the plants that they have seen, here are the 5 plants they found most appealing:

  1. Allium Flowers: You may not know this plant by name, but you probably know of it. It is a flower with a very large stem (we have seen them 2-3 feet high) with a large, purple sphere of flowers sitting atop of it. They look fantastical, which makes kids love them. And it not often that plants in a family garden grow taller than the kids, so they will definitely appreciate these.
  2. Lavender: The kids wanted this for two reasons – 1.) They smell lovely and they want the backyard to smell nice all summer. 2.) They (or I should say their pollen) attracts butterflies. We do not get humming birds here as my parents do in Colorado, but we can get butterflies. If we do not, at least everything will smell lovely.
  3. Strawberries: They may be common, but kids love to run out to the garden every day and see if the sweet berries are ripe enough to eat yet. It never gets old.
  4. Pumpkins: They are really thinking ahead with this one. They want to grow the pumpkins that we carve, make into pie, bread, smoothies, pudding and more. It is not warm enough for these to be grown outside yet, but their seedlings can be started in planters inside where it is warmer.
  5. Beans: For some reason, kids are fascinated by beans. I personally think that it has to do with Jack and the Beanstalk, but regardless of why, I am happy that the kids are excited to plant plants.

The kids have already got a jump on this year’s planting with the bean plant. They are forgetful with the watering schedule, but they have improved. It is a bit of practice before we plant the actual garden. It is definitely going to be an eclectic, fragrant, tasty mix of plants. I am glad that gardening brings the kids together, excites them and holds their attention day after day as they reap the benefits of what they have sewn.

I just hope that this appreciation lasts.From the looks of it, this one will not tire of his beans or these pouches anytime soon. They do keep his hands mess-free while we water and add soil to the planter. And, they have a screw-on cap, so they are definitely a gardening-friendly snack. You can learn more about how Tree Top is helping kids through the Raising Good Apples campaign here.

RGA-LogoTo help our readers get a jumpstart on gardening, we are hosting a giveaway with Tree Top to give away a gardening set to one lucky reader! For a chance to win, enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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What are you planning to plant this year in your planters or in your garden? Do your kids love any plants in particular?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tree Top.



Champions of Home Make Home Ownership Simple

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Association of REALTORS® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

California became my home eight years ago. After high school, I moved to Los Angeles for the beaches, weather, restaurants and opportunities. Southern California is now my home and I have fondly grown accustomed the way of life here. After attending UCLA, this city offered so many industries and career opportunities. Throughout my time of growing up, I have always been able to enjoy the city. The various beaches, piers and beach towns have allowed a peaceful retreat within or nearby the city. I have been able to hike and rock climb in Malibu and look over the beach. The outdoorsy girl in me has been spoiled by getting the beach and the mountains right next to each other.

Best of all, there is always something new to do in Los Angeles. Exhibits are rotating at the Getty Museum and Getty Villa. Movie theaters and movie premieres are everywhere. My favorite thing, though, is being able to find new favorite restaurants of varying cuisines everyday. Only here can I regularly have Indian, Japenese, Vietnamese, Italian, Thai, Greek, Ethiopian, French and of course California food all within distance of walking or a short drive.

It is no mystery why myself and my siblings have made southern California home. During our time here, our family has grown as we have grown up. That meant moving from apartments in busy areas to homes in family areas. The downside of living in Los Angeles is the difficulty of finding the right place to live on a budget. That is why it has been necessary for us to use REALTORS® in order to navigate the housing market. Once my sister used a REALTORS® and enjoyed the experience, we knew that it was the best way to go for all of us. They have made the transition the as renters to home owners as easy as possible  by eliminating the stress of scouring the housing market negotiating with owners, doing paperwork and more.

California offers an extensive housing market for REALTORS® and prospective home buyers. If you know someone interested in becoming a REALTOR®, are interested in moving to California or finally want to buy or sell your home in California, check out the Champions of Home to make the process as simple as possible with the expertise of REALTORS®.

Join the conversation online! Hashtag us with #ChampionsOfHome on Twitter!

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How I Treat PCOS Naturally with Juicing

natural pcos cure

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) a few years ago. I have been struggling with it and all of the problems associated with it before I was diagnosed. When you have PCOS, you are resistant to insulin and this causes problems in the functions of a woman’s body, which leads to elevated levels of estrogen and testosterone. Women with PCOS experience higher body weights, difficulty losing weight, Hirsutism, painless acne brittle hair, mood swings, fatigue, heavy periods, irregular periods among other things. If left untreated, women with PCOS also run the risk of infertility and they also have a higher risk of getting diabetes (which already runs in my family). There is no cure for PCOS and the effectiveness of prescribed treatments is debatable.

I have experienced all of the aforementioned symptoms. Fortunately, my case of PCOS is not severe enough to make weight loss impossible or to warrant a hysterectomy. I am fortunate in that regard, but there are women (some who are younger than I am), who are not so fortunate. Nonetheless, I have experienced the almost inability to grow my hair due brittleness. My hair sheds as though it has no nutrients whatsoever. I have also had great difficulty losing weight. There have been many times when I ate 1300 calories per day and exercised regularly and only lost 1/5 lb per week. Then, the second I ate sugar, I would gain that weight back plus another 1/2 lb. I get acne when my hormone levels are particularly out of whack, and because the acne is due to hormone levels, it is very painful and usually centers around my mouth. Periods are also very painful and irregular.

My doctor prescribed Metformin to treat my PCOS. I was very thankful for this after reading the stories of so many women whose doctors prescribed birth control instead of or in addition to Metformin in order to help balance out their hormones. They all mentioned additional weight gain on top of the excess weight due to PCOS and the absolute inability to lose it. Most women also said that the treatment was almost completely ineffective and that they would rather not take it at all. My experience with Metformin has been mostly neutral, but I only take one pill per day. Nonetheless, I still experience side effects from the drug. Muscle weakness and soreness along with fatigue definitely hinder my workouts, which make it even more difficult to lose weight. Overall, Metformin decreased my symptoms, but not by much, and it definitely was not enough to treat my PCOS. So, I turned to the internet to see how other women fared with PCOS and if there were any treatments that could help me.

After reading many forums and reading many stories of natural PCOS remissions or cures, I learned a few things

  1. I needed to eat foods low in the glycemic index
  2. I needed to eat a lot of vegetables
  3. I needed to exercise a lot more
  4. I did not need more medicine in order to treat my condition

So, I began making big changes. Most naturally-treated women recommended juicing. Many recommended only juicing, at least the beginning of the diet change. I was still in college, though, and I could neither afford a juicer nor get enough energy to go to class, pull all-nighters and workout from consuming only juice. I started small….

Many women on the PCOS forums advocated for leafy greens. My body was being denied vital nutrients that it needed in order to function properly. To fix this, I made green smoothies using spinach, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, celery and apple juice. I eventually starting adding carrots, bell peppers and sometimes ginger. I chose apple juice, because it is low in the glycemic index. I avoided other fruits in order to avoid adding sugar. I avoided bananas most of all, which are tempting to throw into smoothies, but are high on the glycemic index. The smoothies worked wonders for me. My symptoms decreased greatly, my energy increased significantly and over the course of about three months of regular exercise, I was able to lose approximately 20 lbs. I also could not believe how quickly my hormones were regulated with just vegetables. When I began drinking green smoothies, I had not had my period in three months. It began less than two hours after I drank my first green smoothie. My period then began occurring regularly thereafter. Again, my case of PCOS is not horribly severe, but it was bad enough to cause a lot of problems and a great deal of worry.

I used the green smoothie treatment everyday  for over a year. Over time, though, it became difficult for me to drink. The taste was not amazing and the sheer volume of pulpy smoothie produced became too difficult for me to choke down everyday. I eventually came to hate it, so I slowed down my intake to once every other day and then to twice a week, then once a week. Once I graduated from college and got caught up in work, I drank maybe one smoothie per week and had constant guilt in the back of my mind. Surely enough, my symptoms came back in full force. I had painful acne on my nose and around my mouth and I could not lose weight regardless of  how few calories I ate or how many times I worked out each week. Fortunately, my periods stayed relatively regular mostly due to the fact that I was not gaining weight.However, I knew something had to change.

Around that time, my sister had gotten a centrifugal juicer. I was so excited to try it – I could finally get all the veggies I need without the heavy, pulpy sludge that comes with a smoothie made in a blender. I would visit her often on the weekends and make a juice at least once per day. It helped mitigate the symptoms of my PCOS, but for some reason, it was not relieving my symptoms nearly as much as the green smoothie had done in the past. I had no idea what the problem was and I needed to find an alternative to the smoothie ASAP. So, I went to do research on the internet yet again.

I found that there two main types of juicers and that there were huge differences between the two. The first type, the centrifugal juicer, extracts juice by grinding the fruit or vegetable against a sharp surface and spins the juice away from the pulp through fast motion. This process is effective for large vegetables and fruits. The second type, the masticating juicer, basically chews the the food put in it and juice is squished out of it. This is effective for leafy plants. Wouldn’t you guess it – my sister had a centrifugal juicer, so I was not getting much of anything out of the leafy plants that I put into it, which was what I needed the most. That is why the green smoothie was a far more effective way to treat PCOS naturally, but it was not something my palate could stomach any longer.

Now that I was out of college and working, I could finally afford a juicer. After reading a few website, such as this one, I was fortunate enough to know exactly what my body needed. Juicing was highly recommended in the forums by women who had wanted to treat PCOS naturally for good reason. Due to the fact that the fiber is removed from the vegetables (it is in the heavy pulp), your body has less to process and therefore the nutrients go straight into your bloodstream for the greatest and most instant effect. So, I made an investment in a top-notch slow masticating juicer. I chose this one, because it prevented oxidation of the veggies and maintained their enzymes, so I could get the full nutritional benefits of the greens that I body sorely needed.

When I first bought the juicer, I kicked off the diet change, as recommended, by using a juicing diet. The results were phenomenal. My Hirsutism resided, my hair became stronger for the first time in years, I dropped weight without exercising and lost weight easily when I did exercise, my energy was at its highest in years and I was able to cut down my Metformin intake to only a few times per week, so I was able to lose the muscle weakness and soreness that was due to it.

My juicing recipe is:

  1. 1 or 2 celery stalks
  2. 1/2 or 1 red bell pepper (any bell pepper works)
  3. 1 large carrot
  4. 1/4 or 1/2 cucumber
  5. a handful of spinach
  6. a handful of kale
  7. a handful of lettuce (I like Romaine, Swiss Chard, Red Leaf or Green Oak Leaf. More ideas here)
  8. a 1 inch cube of ginger
  9. 1/4 lemon  (including peel)
  10. 1 apple

Once I felt that my body’s nutrition was stable again (after approximately two weeks), I started eating solid foods that were high in nutrients. I still juiced for at least one meal per day. Since I love the taste of the juice, though, it was easy for me to do. I still follow this diet and the benefits of it have not waned over time. Even if you do not have PCOS, this is a tasty way to get the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs with as little toll on your taste buds and digestion as possible.

Helpful hints for women with PCOS:

  1. Avoid sugar and starchy carbohydrates, because they will cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which will in turn raise your hormone levels.
  2. Use Stevia to sweeten things. It is ranked as a zero on the glycemic index.
  3. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels. It can lower blood sugar spikes, which is greatly helpful for women with PCOS. Cinnamon regulate blood sugar by helping muscle absorb glucose.
  4. Avoid caffeine completely if possible. It stimulates hair growth, which only exacerbates Hirsutism.
  5. Avoid processed foods as much as possible and eat raw foods as often as possible. Although it is not fun (I miss quick, cheap dinners and snacks), your PCOS will lessen, which will make your happier. Plus, your body will just be healthier.
  6. If you get a masticating juicer, you can make cool things like natural ice cream, butters and salsas and customize them to fit with a diet that is friendly toward PCOS patients. Just some strawberries and a dab of Stevia makes a delicious ice cream that is low in calories, beneficial to your health and it does not hurt your PCOS.
  7. Losing excess weight (especially in the paunch of your belly) will help your body regulate its blood sugar levels a lot better and this will in turn regulate your hormone more efficiently. Exercise regularly and include plenty of cardio.
  8. Drink plenty of water. It keeps you from drinking bad things and it helps your body carry out digestion.

The greatest lesson that I have learned is – if you have a sickness or bodily issue, first ensure that your body is receiving all of the vitamins and nutrients that it needs and nothing that it does not need. If a proper diet does not fix your issue, then consider medicine and/or a visit to the doctor.

If you have any suggestions on how to treat PCOS naturally or if you have your own story of you treated your PCOS, tell me in the comment section below. I always love to hear tips and hear stories from other women!



Wedding Photo Musts: The Bride and Groom Getting Ready


The wedding day is filled with excitement from the start to the finish. After all, this is the only day in their entire lives that the bride and groom will wake up knowing that they are getting married that day. It is the only day that their closest friends and family will be there to help them get ready and enjoy the day before the vows. Before they meet at the altar, the bride and groom usually enjoy their day with their bridesmaids and groomsmen as well as family members. There is so much for the couple and their close ones to enjoy during their time together – breakfast, champagne, the ambiance their the wedding location and their time together.


This is the day that at least the bride has been dreaming about and planning for quite some time. It is the only day that she will wear a wedding dress, which probably took several months to find. That alone, is a big deal for the bride in getting ready for her wedding.


Of course, there is a lot to do in order to get ready for the wedding. There is hair and makeup to be done, talks to be had, suits and dresses to be put on and much more. Photos are essential to remembering these last moments preparing for marriage.


Photos are needed to capture the bride putting on her veil, the groom putting on his cuff links, the bridesmaids helping the bride lace up her wedding dress and much, much more. These moments are teeming with nervousness, anticipation and love. Do not miss any of these moments, because you will not get them back.


For more wedding photo musts, check out:

the groom’s first look

the father of the bride’s first look

the blindfolded kiss before the ceremony

the bride’s something blue

the bride and groom holding hands before the ceremony

the first kiss as husband and wife

wedding photos with grandparents

the wedding ceremony recessional

the bridesmaids

the ring bearer and flower girl

the first dance


Photos @ Style Me Pretty ~ The Wedding Chicks ~ Green Wedding Shoes ~ Bridal Guide ~ Ruffled ~ Pinterest



Announce Your Wedding Beautifully with BasicInvites.com

Have you heard about the new and improved website, BasicInvites.com? It is truly a unique website that can help you send out announcements for all of the events in your life, including weddings. For the bride and groom planning their wedding, Basic Invites offers matching sets of announcements from the save the dates to the thank you cards. Basically, any component that is printed on paper, Basic Invites can make as apart of a matching set. The wedding invitations? No problem. The wedding program? Easy peasy. The dinner menu at the wedding reception? Done!

Basic Invite 1

This removes the stress of designing each printed paper element of he wedding off of the shoulders of the couple and allows them to focus on other areas. It also allows the bride and groom the ability to have a central theme conveyed to their wedding guests throughout the entire process of their wedding from beginning to end. This helps make your wedding theme and therefore your wedding more memorable for your guests.

Basic Invite 15

Design is not sacrificed at all in the process, either. There are many beautiful designs and formats to choose from for each announcement. And, each element of the announcement comes in over 150 colors to choose from. All a bride and groom must do is design their first announcement once and then carry over that design for each succeeding announcement and printed paper element of their wedding.

Basic Invite 6

If you are planning a wedding {or if you are simply browsing in anticipation of the future}, head over to BasicInvites.com and have some fun planning the design of the coordinated announcements of your weddings.


This post is sponsored by BasicInvites.com. The opinions expressed are voluntary and belong to the creators of InspiringPretty.com.


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