Categories Reviews


Reading Kingdom reading & writing program for children ages 4-10

With numerous homeschooling websites these days, it’s actually pretty difficult to weed through them all, focusing on the best of the  best.  In my crazy long search for educational resources for my eldest (4.5 years old) I happened to have the opportunity to try Reading Kingdom…and boy am I glad I did! 

Reading Kingdom

Reading Kingdom is is an award-winning online program that teaches children ages 4-10 to read and write to a 3rd grade level. Based on the work of Dr. Marion Blank (from Columbia University, one of the world’s top experts on reading and language development), it is a program you surely don’t want to miss out on.

reading kingdom

My 4.5 year old has a lot of fun using the program. And unlike many traditional (cookie cutter) educational-based learning programs, as a parent I am repeatedly reminded not to help him out. This is so the program can assess his own strengths and then his work will be customized to his specific needs. As a mom, I really love that! 

The program is quite engaging for my son, and he will often ask me to let him ‘play’ (complete more lessons) longer than he needs to. Obviously that is saying a lot! 😉

reading kingdom

One feature that I also love is that I receive progress emails from the program, letting me know how my son is doing. As a parent that information is essential in his learning, and I certainly appreciate it! 

While we have taken some time this past month to “un-school” him, I am looking forward to jumping back into the program in the fall.  In fact, I can’t wait! 

Their is a membership fee to use the program, but I promise you it is worth it if you are in search of an engaging, quality reading program for your child. At just $9.99/month, I am so excited about Reading Kingdom and know that you too will love it. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to their website and start your free 30 day trial. You and your child will be grateful you did. Don’t waste your time on cookie-cutter programs that aren’t customized to your child’s needs. Happy learning! 

Want to learn more about Reading Kingdom? Check out their website and connect with Reading Kingdom on Facebook and Twitter too!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Gumigem Teething Jewelry – For mom to wear and baby to enjoy! (REVIEW AND DISCOUNT CODE)

I love natural teething remedies, and when you couple natural with something that is also fashionable, well I’m sold. Lately my littlest dude (6 months old) has been teething like crazy! Between his excessive drooling and his constant chewing, I knew he needed something more than just my knuckle to gnaw on. That’s why I am so happy to tell you all about Gumigem – a chewable necklace that I can wear and he can go to town on!

GumiGem

Gumigem recently sent me one of their beautiful Bubba bead necklaces ($29.95) to review.  At first glance I knew we would be friends – not only is it super adorable, but Gumigem’s products are all BPA, PVC, Lead, Latex and Phthalate free. Clearly I was in love from the start…

Here are a few up close pictures that help show you how every bead is individually knotted and each necklace has a safe break-away clasp.

gumigem

Super cute, super safe! gumigem

Not only is my little man getting the relief he needs from chewing, but I know that he is also doing it safely.  The best part is that each bead is almost 3/4 of an inch, so there is a lot of surface area to gnaw on! Long gone are the days when a mom had to worry about their baby hurting themselves on her jewelry!

Here is another picture, showing how stylish this teething necklace is, and how it can go with any one of my outfits!  I sure love versatility :)

gumigem

So in a nutshell – my son loves chewing on it & I love wearing it – making it definitely ‘Organic Mama’ approved!

Save 10% on all orders placed before 8/9/13 using my exclusive discount code: happygumi10 :)

Would you like to know more about Gumigem? Check out their website and visit them on facebook and twitter!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


All Natural, Sunny Days Mineral Sunscreen by Ma Mi Skin Care – Review & Giveaway {$22 value} 39

Summer is here!! Can you believe it? Finally! time to pack up the kids, head to the park, the splash pad, the cottage, the lake, the pool…okay, okay, you get the point. It’s finally hot outside and that means we can enjoy the great outdoors like there’s no tomorrow! The only problem is that we need to be protected – from what you ask? Well, from the sun, of course!

ma mi skin care

With all the trillion sunscreens out there, how do we know what works? And more importantly, which ones are safe?! Well luckily there are very safe sunscreens on the market – the trick is just finding them :) Personally, I have had such amazing luck when it comes to finding awesome natural sunscreens. Most recently, I even had the opportunity to test out Sunny Days Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Ma Mi Skin Care. I would like to tell you my thoughts on the product – and even offer a GIVEAWAY! Keep on reading… 😉

ma mi sunscreen

Before I start, I just want to say that we know that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, making it even more important to slather on the sunscreen during those time periods. Of course, we have all heard by now that it is perfectly healthy to get about 15 minutes of sun exposure per day (sans sunscreen) but that’s about all. So make sure that you always have sunscreen on hand! I love that I can apply Ma Mi’s mineral sunscreen anytime, anywhere because the handy tube fits perfectly in my purse and diaper bag. I am a huge believer in wearing sunscreen (especially on our faces) so I don’t like being unprepared!   

ma mi sunny days

Ma Mi’s Sunny Days Mineral Sunscreen is awesome! With all natural ingredients and no fillers, this is a high-quality and trusted sunscreen that I absolutely recommend for faces! And it lasts such a long time because just a tiny dab goes a very long way, which is awesome because I’m outside with the three little munchkins A LOT and always wear sunscreen on my face! :)

ma mi mineral sunscreen

Okay, let’s talk more about the specifics now. Having a light, airy scent, it goes on a pale pink colour and rubs in completely clear, which I’m thrilled about! There’s nothing less attractive than huge white sunscreen streaks all over our faces! :p I am also a huge fan of the fact that it blocks BOTH UV-A and UV-B rays and does not contain Benzophenone, making it safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Check your current sunscreens because they are definitely not all created equal – Ma Mi is one step ahead, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Check it out…

Benefits of Ma Mi’s Sunny Days Mineral Sunscreen:

  • Anti-UV-A, UV-B and Infrared
  • Anti-MMP (sun-induced collagen damage)
  • Paraben-free, Fragrance-free, PABA-free, Non-comedogenic
  • Potent antioxidant, anti-pollution and strong anti-inflammatory
  • For all skin types, including sensitive or Rosacea-prone skin

I love feeling good about what I put on my face, especially knowing that harmful chemicals can easily leech into our bodies through our skin! I trust Ma Mi SKIN CARE and am happy to announce that one lucky Organic Mama winner will be receiving a tube of their very own Sunny Days Mineral Sunscreen {$22 value} to use and love this summer! All you need to do is enter below! Good luck – and keep those beautiful faces protected this summer! :)

Want to know more? Find Ma Mi Skin Care on Facebook and visit their website!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


NEW All Access Organizers from Rubbermaid {Review & Giveaway – $70 Value} 117

As most of you know, I have a huge love for homeschooling. Making the choice to send our 4 year old to half day kindergarten this past year was a tricky (okay, heartbreaking) decision for the hubster and I, but we did it based on the social/emotional development that school was able to expose him to. Truthfully, if I hadn’t been pregnant with our 3rd baby, I probably wouldn’t have even enrolled him … but nonetheless it made the most sense at the time.

 All Access Organizers

Since my high-risk pregnancy was also coupled with moving into our new home, all of my homeschool resources were thrown placed gently into moving bins – and for the most part, everything has stayed that way…until now. For anyone keeping notes, it’s been 1 year since we moved, yikes! However, with summer break here, homeschooling is back on again. The only problem is that our homeschool room has now been turned into a beautiful nursery. So the kitchen will just have to do – although the Hubster doesn’t want everything thrown on the counter. So I needed a better storage solution. Luckily I found exactly what I need – RubbermaidÂŽ All Access™ Organizers!

All Access Organizers

We all know that traditional bins are great for storing unused/seasonal items, but I need something better for my homeschool items. I need to be able to see into them quickly and actually access what I’m searching for in a second. For those reasons alone, the Rubbermaid All Access organizers are perfect for my family, because they have a clear, drop down door which allows us to retrieve exactly what we want, when we want it – without needing to dig down below to find what I’m looking for! Finally, I can grab what I need – anytime I need it, even when they are stacked on top one another! Now that’s pretty awesome, right?! I sure think so! No more procrastinating to get the things I need just because I don’t want to throw out my back unstacking heavy containers!

All Access Organizers

I’m sure you can imagine all the wonderful uses for these containers, other than homeschooling items. For instance – they would make an excellent storage area in the garage for balls, skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk and toys. Or even better – set them up under a desk for a convenient organizer of all your papers, CDs and even stationary needs! The possibilities really are endless, but I have to say the most unique idea I recently came across was to use it as a gecko home, with a little bit of modification of course! 😉

All Access Organizers

While I am using 2 medium organizers for my day-to-day homeschool supplies, I am also using 2 more for my craft supplies! I just need to print off some pretty pages to place in the front windows of each bin. I’m definitely thinking some scrapbook paper and my label maker are going to be put to use 😉 Don’t you just love getting more organized?! I am SO excited about these!!

The Nitty-Gritty!

  • The Rubbermaid 12-Gallon (56-Quart) All Access Organizers are Great for organizing garages, closets, children’s toys, craft rooms, offices, dorm rooms and more
  • Accessible storage
  • Ability to retrieve contents without unstacking
  • Modular system for organizing frequently used items

Available in 3 sizes –

  • Small –  19.5″ x 17.5″ x 11.6″  {$14.99}
  • Medium – 19.5″ x 17.5″ x 15.1″ {$16.99}
  • Large – 22″ x 17.5″ x 15.1″ {$19.99}

Available at Walmart and The Home Depot, the All Access Organizers are a fantastic storage solution for the things you want access to in a flash. If I had the opportunity to add or change any features, I would love to see handles on the side because I would like to be able to easily carry the containers from room to room. I would also love to see them offered in more neutral colours, so they can blend into any room’s decor. Overall, I give the All Access Organizers 2 thumbs up!

Win It!

Rubbermaid wants to help you get organized, too! They are offering one lucky Organic Mama reader the chance of winning their very own set of All Access organizers – a $70 Value! To enter, simply fill out the easy rafflecopter form below.  Open to Canadian residents. Good luck!

Psst – check out the Rubbermaid All Access Contest on their Facebook page for lots of great prizes, too! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Parker Urban Pen: The Perfect Gift for This Father’s Day 32

Just prior to Mother’s Day I showed you my newest pen obsession – the Parker IM Premium rollerball pen in Metallic Pink. It really is a beauty! But what I hadn’t told you at that time was that I would be featuring another amazing Parker pen GIVEAWAY for this Father’s Day – the Parker Urban Premium Chiselled rollerball pen in Metallic Black! And boy, is it ever stylish! 

parker im pen

I have to say that I think this pen is very attractive and definitely means business! Featuring metallic highlights and enhanced with an asymmetric chiselled pattern, it looks pretty impressive. But looks aren’t everything, are they? Luckily its bold shape provides optimum comfort for extended writing, too. And it  has the perfect weight – not too light, not to heavy. Just right. Truly a crowd pleaser! In fact, I happen to know that the hubster would absolutely love this for Father’s Day! 

You can find the Parker Urban pen at a specialty store near you as well as at Staples. Parker pens range in price from $32 to $80.

Parker is generously offering one lucky Organic Mama reader a Parker Urban Premium Chiselled rollerball pen in Metallic Black – a $50 value! Bundled in the signature Parker gift box, all you need is a ribbon and you’re all set for this Father’s Day :) Enter below using the simple Rafflecopter form to be entered! Good luck! :)   

Looking to know more? Visit the Parker Pens website,  connect with them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Xyla Xylitol Baking Trial {review}

Xyla Xylitol

Okay, we all know by now that sugar isn’t exactly great for our bodies. Whether it’s giving you a few extra cavities or a few extra pounds, sugar also has some other quite nasty side-effects on our health. For me personally, I’m a reactive hypoglycemic and that means that when I eat something too sugary my blood sugar spikes and then my body produces too much insulin, leaving me in a dangerous state of low blood sugar. Having dealt with hypoglycemia since I was barely a teen, I have always been interested in sugar substitutes – but I hate artificial sweeteners! Luckily I have recently had an opportunity to try Xyla’s Xylitol – a natural and healthy alternative to sugar!

Xyla Xylitol  In case you haven’t heard about XylaÂŽ xylitol yet, it is a true, natural sugar alternative that promotes good oral health and stabilizes insulin and hormone levels without any of the nasty side effects of sugar. XylaÂŽ and sugar taste alike, so you can rest assured it’s a great alternative to sugar when you need it. Plus XylaÂŽ is naturally antimicrobial which means it won’t promote and feed dangerous bacteria in your body. Wondering how it’s made? Well Xylitol comes from fibrous fruits and vegetables as well as hardwood trees like birch. From there it is purified into tiny crystals which look just like sugar, only a tad bit bigger. While it tastes a lot like sugar, I also thought it had a minty-ness to it.

Before I tell you my personal experience with Xyla, here are some neat facts:

– Xyla has 40% less calories than sugar;
– Xyla has 75% less carbs than sugar;
– Xyla replaces sugar 1:1 (which means it is SO simple to bake with!)

In addition to loving the Xyla crystals in my coffees and teas, I also tried their mints and candies and OH MY WORD these things are delicious!! The flavour is totally out of this world, and I literally had to stop myself from eating more than just a few at a time because apparently it can cause diarrhea in large amounts, lol. But even with that said, I completely recommend them to anyone looking for an alternative to the usual, sugary candies people buy. Check out how it stacks up against the others –

Glycemic Index of Sweeteners:

• Xylitol 7
• Agave Nectar 15
• Barley Malt Syrup 42
• Maple Syrup 54
• Blackstrap Molasses 55
• Honey 62
• White Sugar 68
• High Fructose Corn Syrup 100
• Glucose 100

Xylitol is pretty amazing, right?! We sure think so!

I also heard that Xyla is really great for baking and cooking, so I had to give that a try, too. I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and they turned out moist & tasty! And most importantly, I didn’t feel my sugar levels spike and crash afterwards! That’s really important to me since I always hate myself after having any kind of sweets when I’m feeling like my body hates me and wants to pass out (low blood sugar isn’t a friend of mine). Plus I was super impressed that it didn’t leave any strange (read: disgusting) aftertastes, like the other substitutes I have tried. I’m sure you all know exactly what I’m talking about! 😉 Take a peek:

Baking with Xyla Xylitol

Bottom line – if you are interested in a natural sugar substitute that won’t spike your blood sugar levels, I highly recommend you try xylitol. But be sure to look for the Xyla™ brand because it is made from 100% North American Hardwood and prides itself on having the highest quality xylitol with the highest manufacturing standards under the watchful eye of the FDA (U.S.A) and the CFIA (Canada). Sadly most other xylitol brands in North America are imported from China and other countries where their standards are much different than our own.

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