Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saving Money or Wasting Money??

Not all vitamin supplements are created equal! Many manufacturer’s don’t have your best interests at heart. Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on vitamins and supplements, but many only get a small fraction of their money’s worth!!

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When choosing a multivitamin, you obviously want to make sure that you absorb as much as possible or else you are just wasting your money (by literally flushing it down the toilet). Multivitamins have to dissolve before they can be absorbed by the body.

One of the quickest ways to determine how well your multivitamin dissolves and is absorbed is the vinegar “acid test.” I decided to do a quick “acid test” to show how well Shaklee’s Vita-Lea (the multivitamin included in Vitalizer) dissolves.

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I poured 1 cup of white vinegar in each measuring cup and put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I then filled the 9x13 pan with hot water to maintain the warm temperature of the vinegar. The goal is to keep the temperature around 98 degrees (body temperature).

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I dropped one vitamin in each cup of vinegar…Shaklee on the left and the other brand on the right.

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In order to simulate the digestive process, I stirred the vinegar every five minutes…being very careful not to touch the vitamin as I stirred. This is what the Shaklee Vita-Lea looked like before I even stirred it for the first time…almost completely broken down into a pile of powder…after less than 5 minutes!

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This is what they looked like after about 15 minutes…

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Shaklee’s multivitamin was completely broken down at this point, but the other brand still had most of the tablet intact. I know you can’t see it so you will just have to take my word for it. I couldn’t get a good picture of the tablet since there was so much stuff floating on top of the vinegar (more than likely some filler…some manufacturers use sawdust or sand…blech!!).

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After 30 minutes, this is what the Shaklee Vita-Lea had become…an orange liquid on the bottom of the measuring cup!

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On the other hand, there was still a pretty good size chunk of the other brand’s multivitamin left to dissolve…

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Obviously, this simple kitchen test can’t compare to actual studies performed in a laboratory, but that is why Shaklee completed the Landmark Study!

The Landmark Study was a collaborative study between Shaklee and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Results showed that people who took Shaklee supplements had much better health than the other participants in the study!

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They used this study (a first of its kind) and 11 other published Shaklee clinical studies to develop Vitalizer.

Shaklee definitely has your best interests at heart when it comes to your health. As many as 83,000 laboratory tests for quality are performed on Shaklee nutritional products and each of their individual ingredients in a single year!! Shaklee products also undergo as many as 262 separate quality assurance tests throughout the manufacturing process.

Are you still not convinced? Give Shaklee’s Vitalizer a try! If you don’t feel better in 30 days, Shaklee will refund your money!

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Also, purchase Vitalizer and get a free lifetime membership…15% off of all Shaklee purchases for life. You will never have to pay to renew your membership and there are no minimums to maintain. As a member, you will also be able to earn product credits every time you refer a friend or family member to Shaklee and they make a $25 purchase. After 3 referrals, your Vitalizer will be free!! Wow!!

Shaklee will definitely help you save money (as opposed to wasting your money on supplements that aren’t truly improving your health). You may feel like you are saving money by shopping at the discount vitamin store, but do you really know what you are getting with your money??

Changing brands can change your life!!

Are you interested in not only saving money with Shaklee, but also in making money with Shaklee? E-mail me at healthy-solutions{at}hotmail{dot}com. I am looking for some motivated individuals who are interested in improving the health of others. I would love to talk with you to see if you would be a good fit for our team!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fun Before the Storm

As some of you may know, Hurricane Irene is heading straight for us here in Virginia Beach.

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After making the necessary preparations, we decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine before being stuck in the house all weekend.

Yesterday, we headed to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. They have had a special exhibit open all summer… “Get Lost! Be aMAZEd!”…which includes 10 themed mazes throughout the gardens.

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The first maze was the Community Maze.

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The girls enjoyed running through the maze and checking out the canvases that were created by many different local groups.

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This one was especially impressive…

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It was hard for me to capture how detailed it actually was, but someone hand-painted this design. The arrow in the bottom right corner was made of tiny dots of paint. They really did a great job!

The next maze was the Hay Bale Maze.

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My 3 year old just might have cheated a little…

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…to get to the center of the maze.

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There was the Musical Maze…

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…with a couple fun musical instruments…

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We also encountered this little guy gigantic scary (but harmless) banana spider in the Musical Maze. EEK!!

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The Bee Maze was next! They had this fantastic bee made out of used bicycle tires…

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They had a riddle at the beginning of each maze and you had to find the answer somewhere in the maze. Very fun!

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What gets wetter as it dries? A towel!

The Patriotic Maze was definitely the most challenging…especially for my 3 year old who clothes lined herself twice during her excitement to find the end of the maze!

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After the mazes, we headed to the Butterfly House. It has never been open during the times that we have visited the gardens, so the girls and I were excited!

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There were lots of butterflies and also lots of caterpillars:

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They also had a special little “house” that they kept all of the cocoons in. It was interesting to see the different stages they were in!

This morning, we decided to head to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to check out the East Coast Surfing Championships! This was a group of people that was actually excited to have a hurricane headed our way. It definitely made for some bigger waves!

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We even saw this couple that was practicing their tandem surfing!! I would definitely love to watch a tandem surf competition!

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I’m not sure who they are, but I guess there are tandem surfers here for the championships from France, Hawaii, California, and Florida! I guess I will have to wait until next year!

We also decided to be touristy and rent a surry and spend some time riding up and down the boardwalk.

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The girls loved it!!

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So…that is what we did pre-hurricane! I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. just in case we lose power for a while! As I am typing this, the outer bands of the hurricane are just now reaching us.

How about you? What does your weekend forecast look like? Do any of you live in Hurricane Irene’s path? If so, I hope you are taking necessary precautions…stay safe!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eco 411 with Lynn at Funtastically Green

Lynn over at Funtastically Green invited me to play along with her in a little “getting to know you” game! Some of you may know me, but most of you probably don’t…so here is a chance to learn a little bit more about me! Here are the 8 questions that she posted:

1. Who are you? Give us the goods girls – we really want to  know all about those skeletons in the closet.

Not sure I have any skeletons in the closet, but here goes…

I’m Kristina (a.k.a. Kiki…actually, my husband is really the only one that calls me that now.)

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I am a registered nurse, but I am enjoying being able to stay at home with my 2 girls right now. My husband is in the Navy and we are currently stationed in Virginia Beach!

Let’s see…I am a “perfectionist-procrastinator”. Wait…you have never heard of that? Here is the brief summary…I stress out about even the smallest details of anything that I am doing. If I feel like I can’t do something perfectly, I wait until the very last minute to do it. Give me something that I am confident in doing and it will be done in no time! I currently have 85,846,938 projects started or on my to-do list!

Liz was the first one to post her answers to these questions and posted her personality type…great idea Liz! Here is mine: ISFJ …I actually think it is a pretty accurate description…except for the beautifully furnished house and great gift-giving skills. I’m still working on those, but I’m going to blame that on the perfectionist side of me. Ha!

I also love saving money. I use coupons and shop sales. I try to save money wherever I can!

I’ll be honest with you. I am very new to being “green”. I am making one small change at a time. I feel like every little step counts! Can’t wait to make my way around to all of the bloggers participating in this game!

2. If there was one thing on the planet that you could protect or change, what would it be?

For me, it would be what my children (and everyone’s children) are exposed to. In the last couple of years, I have become more aware of how serious of an issue this is. I have slowly started making changes in the products that we use in our home. I’m also very concerned about the food industry and the effects that it is having on our health!

This is right along the same lines as Lynn…glad we are on the same page!!

3. What’s your WORST green habit?

My worst green habit is probably how I deal with keeping bugs out of my house. I can’t stand bugs!! Someone help me out with some suggestions for natural pest control!

4. Which eco-guy is cuter? Leo Dicaprio, Woody Harrelson, Surf or Matt Damon

Not really into any of them…although Surf does look like a great dog. Will you consider Ryan Reynolds? I googled him just to make sure he can be considered an “eco-guy”…here’s my proof! Ha!

5. What’s your fav healthy food? Least fav?

My favorite healthy food is probably tomatoes…which is funny because I despised them when I was little. I have an awesome tomato soup recipe that I will be sharing on my blog this fall…love it! I also love me some good fresh salsa!! Someday I will grow my own tomatoes!

Lynn, I am right with you on the avocado being one of my least favorite healthy foods. I really do try though! I even have a shrimp taco recipe with corn salsa and avocado that I make pretty often…and I try the avocado on it almost every time.

6 If you could adopt an animal from WWF, what would it be? Why?

Honestly…I have no idea. I feel like my one dog is more than enough for me. Have you seen Mr. Popper’s Penguins yet? I might have to go with penguins after seeing that movie. Although…living right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean puts the sea turtles and whales and dolphins pretty high on my list too. On the other hand, after my visit to the zoo today with my 3 year old, I might have to go with the “Ros-ros-erous” (a.k.a. Rhinocerous)…it was her favorite animal of the day!

7. If you could have any house, anywhere – where would you live?

I’m pretty sure that I would choose Colorado. It has always been my favorite state! My aunt lived in Colorado Springs and I loved it! We had our family reunion this summer in Keystone and I was reminded again of how beautiful it is!!

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I would love to live in a house with a large front porch and a view of the snow-capped mountains…but still close to the city for shopping and restaurant purposes. He he!!

8. Is bigger better? (A house that is girls! Shame on you *snickering*) Would you rather have a small house or a big house? Why?

I would be OK with a smaller house as long as certain areas of the house were the right size. For example, I could definitely live with small bedrooms as long as the kitchen was a decent size. I would also love for it to have a bonus room…basement, loft, etc…

Thanks for letting me play along Lynn!! For those of you who don’t know Lynn, go check out her fairly new website, Funtastically Green. She is by no means new to “green blogging”, but just has a new website that she has put together. Lynn is also on my Shaklee team. I’m so excited to have such an enthusiastic woman on my team!!

If you are interested in taking a step to create a healthier home for your family, let me know! I promise that you will not regret switching to the Shaklee products. They are cost-effective and work great!! If you are not satisfied with the results, Shaklee will refund your money!

How would you like to earn an extra $500-$5000 a month just for helping people create healthier homes?? If you are interested in joining my Shaklee team…helping people create safer homes and healthy families…e-mail me at healthy-solutions{at}hotmail{dot}com. I would love to help you decide how Shaklee, the #1 natural nutrition company with the BEST compensation plan, can help you!

Changing brands can change your life!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rainbow Birthday Party

My daughter just turned 3 and I decided to have a rainbow themed party for her birthday. She loves rainbows! 9 times out of 10, she will choose to draw a rainbow if you give her a paper and crayons.

I’m sure that most of you have seen all of the rainbow cakes on various blogs over the past couple of years. I have always wanted to make one! I make my girls’ birthday cakes every year and I love it…even if I stress out about it a little bit at the last minute! Ha! You can see some of the other cakes that I have made in this post.

I spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest, my favorite time-consuming resource for finding inspiration for anything!!

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I had streamers left over from our St. Patrick’s Day crafts so I used them to make rainbows!

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I used some of our favorite fruits to make a rainbow fruit platter:

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I also tried to have a rainbow variety of veggies:

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I had to include some rainbow candy too:

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I originally had bigger, more creative plans for the goody bags, but I started running out of time to get things done so I just found some cute party bags at Target.

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Now for my favorite part….THE CAKE!!

The cake recipe that I use makes a little more than your average box mix. I just doubled that recipe and then divided the batter into 6 bowls. I added some Wilton icing colors for each color of the rainbow….red,orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

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It was so fun pulling these bright colorful cakes out of the oven!

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Ugh! Looks like it is time to clean my oven again. I guess you can watch for a post on that soon. Ha!

I leveled each cake and then I wrapped each cake separately and put them in the freezer until it was time to frost them. This makes them easier to frost…less crumbs to deal with!

I pulled them out the night before the party and started on the crumb layer.

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I had read that it was important to put some “supports” in the center of the cake so that it wouldn’t tip over. It didn’t really seem like it would tip over, but I decided to play it safe. Some suggested dowel rods, but others said straws would work just fine too. Since I already had straws, I decided to just go with them.

Problem: My cakes were frozen, remember?

Solution: Thread a straw onto a kabob skewer and then remove the skewer after the straws have been inserted! I could have just used the skewers for the supports, but I didn’t want to have to mess with trimming them off.

Result: A very secure cake! Yay!

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Just trim off the part of the straw that sticks out above the cake.

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Then, I put it in the fridge for an hour to let the crumb layer harden a little. This will make it easier to frost the final layer!

Even late at night, I had another brilliant idea! I have always thought that it would be handy to have a rotating cake decorating stand, but I could never justify actually getting one. I had already pulled out our veggie tray for the next day and a light bulb went off when I remember that it was a lazy susan style veggie tray! My cake tray fit perfectly on the lazy susan base! Fabulous!!

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I guess that I need to thank my mother-in-law for the “rotating cake decorating stand!”

My brilliant ideas didn’t stop there though. I have always had a hard time finding ways to wrap up my finished cakes in the fridge until the party starts. This cake was particularly tall too! Then I remembered that I had been saving pieces of thin cardboard for another project (watch for that in a future post!). The cardboard fit perfectly between the cake plate and the edge of the veggie tray. I added a little tape and plastic wrap on the top (not pictured) and…voila!

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The next day, I added some simple cake toppers…rainbow pinwheels that I had made from felt:

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Here is the best part…

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Ta da!!!

This was such a fun cake to make! I’m so glad that I finally had an excuse to make it!

Do you make your kids’ birthday cakes?

Inspiration Sources:

Rainbow Streamers

Rainbow Fruit Platter

Rainbow Veggies