Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Simple Royal Dehydrator Sheets Review

I love using my dehydrator!  Not only is it a great way to make healthy treats but its a great way to preserve foods.  I make everything from homemade all natural fruit leather to kale chips as well as dried fruits and vegetables to store for use over extended periods of time.  One thing that's a little tricky however, is drying small pieces of food like shredded carrots or making fruit leather starting with fruit purees.  You need something to keep your food on the drying rack.  I usually use parchment paper but its not very durable and I can't reuse it of course.  Plus it doesn't lay nicely on my dehydrator racks.  I'll be using my dehydrator a lot more now that the weather is getting nicer and well be harvesting from our little backyard homestead, so when I was given the opportunity to review these Simple Royal Dehydrator Sheets that you can purchase on Amazon, I thought it was definitely worth trying!




I have really grown to love shopping on Amazon.  We share one car and my husband works in another town so I can't just pack up the kiddo and drive to the store whenever I need something.  Using Amazon Prime to get free shipping and ordering lots of necessities on Amazon is so easy and convenient.  These dehydrator sheets are only $15.99 for a pack of 9 and Amazon Prime gets you free 2 day shipping so its a great deal!   The sheets are sizable so you can cut them to the right size and shape that you need.  And not only can you use them in a dehydrator but you can also lay them flat on a cookie sheet and use them in the oven for a nonstick baking surface so they serve more than one purpose.  I thought they worked very well.  I didn't have any issues with them sticking to things and like that I can rinse and reuse them.  The reusable factor is big for me.  They are also BPA free.  They are teflon coated and I do usually avoid pots and pans that are teflon coated but the nice thing about these sheets is that when using them with a dehydrator, you won't have quite extreme heat coming in contact with it as you would if you accidentally overheated a teflon coated frying pan.  So the teflon coating on these doesn't bother me and I do like the lack of BPA.   They easily cleaned up after use and I just rolled them up with a rubber band and stored them in my utensil drawer.

These sheets are 14 inches by 14 inches and are made to fit several models of the Excalibur dehydrating system but I actually have a Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator which is round with the heating/drying element down the center of the machine.  I trimmed my sheets to fit perfectly so I think these sheets could fit a variety of machines.  I will definitely keep using these for my dehydrator since its so much easier than the parchment paper I've been using.

Disclosure:
I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Prolacta Bioscience - Advances In Human Milk Nutrition For Premature Babies

Its hard for me to think back on my daughter's birth and the first few weeks of her life without tearing up.  We were lucky.  Emma was a preemie but thankfully she was fairly healthy when she was born.  She got down to less than 5 1/2 pounds but still got to come home after a little extra time in the hospital.  She had jaundice and spent the first couple of weeks of her life on a biliruben light.  We had nurses coming to our home every morning to draw blood from the bottoms of her tiny feet.  I remember holding her in our rocking chair, cuddling her as she cried while the nurses squeezed drops of blood from her feet so they could test her bilirubin levels.  Its hard to think back to that time.  I was a terrified new mom.  My baby was tiny and making slow progress.  She was strapped to a light that was big, awkward and uncomfortable for her.  She was being poked at with needles and didn't understand what was happening to her.  I couldn't comfort her and hold her the way I wanted to or the way she needed me to.  But I realize how lucky we were.  Because there are mothers out there who have preemie babies even more tiny than mine was and with far worse health concerns than my baby.  We were lucky.  So very lucky!

When Emma was born, I remember how important it was for her to have that immediate skin ­to ­skin contact and how important it was for her to nurse and bond with me as soon as possible.  Since she was a preemie, she had trouble latching.  I tried desperately to get her to latch with no success.  But I knew how important it was for her to get that colostrum into her little body during those first days of her life.   I was determined because she was tiny, premature and her immune system needed all the help it could get.  So I hand expressed every drop of colostrum that I could into a tiny dropper and gave it to her as I cradled her in our hospital bed.  The rest of our breastfeeding journey was rough.  She wouldn't latch and my body barely made enough milk for her. Even though she wouldn't latch, we could still pump.  But the pump just couldn't trick my body.  She was fed breast milk for the first couple months of her life. Then my body just shut down and stopped making milk.  I was devastated but I reminded myself that she was able to get mommy's milk.  Not for as long as I wanted her to, but she got it during the first few months.  Those were the months that were vital in her development.

Some babies are not as lucky as my baby was.  Some are born dangerously premature and at extremely low birth weights.  A mom's milk has great nutrients with healing and growing benefits but, for preemies, that's often not enough.  When your baby is born so tiny with underdeveloped organs and a week immune system, they need more nutrients than what mom can provide.  I heard about a company that takes donated breast milk and makes a line of Neonatal Nutritional Products for use in the NICU that helps preemie babies with the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.  It’s a for­profit company called Prolacta Bioscience.

Thankfully, my baby was healthy enough to thrive on my milk alone but, for some babies, human milk fortifiers from Prolacta are a lifesaver. They are administered to critically ill preemies in the hospital NICU,under a doctor's supervision.

The science behind Prolacta fascinates me.  They take something that is already packed full of amazing nutrition, enhance it and create life­saving nutritional products, including HMFs (Human Milk Fortifiers) that can then be added to mother’s own milk. They are the first and only commercially available human milk fortifiers made from 100% human milk.   When added to mom’s or donor milk, they have shown in clinical demonstrations to reduce the odds of premature infants developing Necrotizing Enterocolitis by 77% in babies weighing between 500 – 1250g at birth, when compared to infants receiving human milk fortified with cow’s milk­based HMF or, when supply of mother’s own milk was insufficient, preterm infant formula (i).  If you're not familiar with Necrotizing Enterocolitis, it is one of the most common and most serious intestinal diseases among premature babies.  It occurs when underdeveloped intestinal tissue begins to die, causing inflammation and sometimes perforations in the intestines.  If this happens, waste and bacteria can pass through to the baby's bloodstream and abdominal cavity, which can be fatal (ii).  So reducing the chances of this by 77% is amazing!

I always wished I were one of those women who had an endless supply of breast milk.  If I had been, I would have loved to donate extra milk to be used for something like this.  Prolacta has invested millions in research to create these products and, in turn, save the lives of the most fragile babies.   And if you are interested in donating your extra milk, Prolacta offers moms many choices, and will cover all donor­screening costs. They will also cover all shipping costs and provide donor moms with breast milk collection bags, coolers and everything else they need to ship their milk donations to Prolacta, without ever leaving their home.  Donating moms don't have to worry about anything except making milk.  It’s an amazing thing when you think about it!

And another amazing thing about Prolacta products is that parents are typically not charged for them.  In most cases, medical insurance covers the cost of receiving Prolacta’s HMFs in the hospital and, if they are not covered, many hospitals absorb the cost, considering it to be a medical necessity.  Use of Prolacta products are clinically proven (iii,iv,v) to improve health outcomes, decrease morbidity (vi) and also reduce health care costs (vii) because preemie babies that receive these supplements often make faster progress and are able to go home sooner, shortening their stay in the NICU. 





Disclosure:
This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Prolacta Bioscience.  All opinions are my own.



(i)  Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567

(ii)  Ganapathy V, et al., “Costs of Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Cost Effectiveness of Exclusively Human Milk-Based Products in Feeding Extremely Premature Infants.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2012;7(1):29-37 

(iii)  Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567 

(iv)  Cristofalo E, et al., “Randomized Trial of Exclusive Human Milk versus Preterm Formula Diets in Extremely Premature Infants.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;163(6):1592-1595

(v)  Hair A, et al., “Randomized Trial of Human Milk Cream as a Supplement to Standard Fortification of an Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet in Infants 750-1250g Birth Weight.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2014;165(5):915-920 

(vi)   Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285 

(vii)  Ganapathy V, et al., “Long Term Healthcare Costs of Infants Who Survived Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study Among Infants Enrolled in Texas Medicaid.” BMC Pediatrics. 2013;13:127   



New Videos from DCKids & Warner Bros'.....Plus a GIVEAWAY!

I have something super exciting to share with all of you.  DCKids & Warner Bros' has added some great new videos to their Youtube Channels that I think you all are going to love!

Check out some of the amazing new videos from DCKids & Warner Bros' new Youtube channels - included are favorites such as Batman Unlimited, DC Super Friends and Scooby-Doo! There will be many more updates over the next year, so don't forget to subscribe to their channels!


   


DCKids & Warner Bros' are also offering an amazing giveaway!   You could WIN one of 5 amazing Mystery Toy Gift Baskets!  Each prize basket includes a minimum of $50 worth of awesome toys that will be hand picked by the DCKids & Warner Bros' staff!  Pretty cool huh?

So be sure to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below.
Don't forget to subscribe to the DCKids Youtube Channel and the Warner Bros's Youtube Channel as well!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!



Disclosure:
This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Warner Bros' and DCKids.  The Bee Hive Buzz does not run this Rafflecopter form and is not responsible for prize shipment.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Peak Fusion Yacon Syrup Review

We've pretty much stopped using white sugar in our house.  If we do need sweetener, we use raw sugar.  But I am always looking for natural sweetener alternatives.  I know we could cut out sweeteners all together but sometimes you just need it and some things just don't taste right without a hint of sweetness.   I've heard about people using Yacon Syrup as a natural sweetener so I was curious about trying it.  The folks at Peak Fusion sent us a bottle of their 100% Pure Organic Yacon Syrup to try out.


I was pleasantly surprised.  At first I had no idea what to expect.  It has a sort of molasses like flavor.  You can use it in baking and cooking and I even added it to my iced tea for a naturally sweet tea which I liked.  Its made from the root of the yacon plant and is sourced from Peru.  I did a little research into yacon root and found that this has some health benefits.  It can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and is also a great source of dietary fiber.  It also helps with immune system support and can help increase energy.  So there are some extra benefits to using this over other unnatural sweeteners.  I did like the flavor, especially in my iced tea.  I also love making this apple fruit dip that my mother used to make growing up.   Its just soft cream cheese, brown sugar and a bit of vanilla whipped together.  This syrup was a great substitute for the brown sugar.  I will definitely be keeping yacon syrup in our pantry from now on!

If you're interested in trying it, you can order it on Amazon!


Disclosure:
I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Made From Earth Organic Aloe + Jojoba Cream Body Lotion Review

I'm a lotion freak.  I use lotions multiple times a day.  I keep a bottle of lotion in almost every room of our house.  My skin is prone to dryness.  I used to coat my skin with unnatural junk.  So many products that I used to use that were just packed with synthetic ingredients that were in no way healthy for my skin.  The appeal was always in the extravagant scents.  But I've opened up to the world of natural products and care a lot more about the products my family is using now that I've learned.  So finding lotions packed with natural ingredients is always fun for me.

I recently tried Organic Aloe and Jojoba Cream Therapy Lotion from Made From Earth.   This is great stuff!  Its nice and thick so one application lasts quite a while.  It absorbs well but doesn't leave my skin greasy even though its thick.  It contains organic aloe vera and jojoba nut as well as roobios tea leaves.  The ingredients are concentrated so it moisturizes and conditioners the skin very well.  It also contains organic lavender, chamomile and calendula.  I love calendula!  And its also got coconut, macadamia nut, grapeseed oil, primrose oil and rosehip oil along with other great ingredients.  So many great ingredients that were made by the earth.  I'd much rather let mother earth nourish my body than a bunch of stuff created in a lab.



There are also no artificial fragrances added as well as no parabans, pthalates, petrochemicals so I know I'm not just covering my skin with chemicals.  Its also cruelty free and certified organic.  I loved this lotion and have been using it on my daughter as well.  Its definitely helping with my dry skin and its nice because I don't have to apply lotion as often when I'm using this.  Its been a great face cream too!   Since it doesn't have any added cosmetic fragrances, its just a natural earthy scent that's very refreshing.  You can definitely smell the natural aloe in it, which I love.  Its definitely worth trying if you're looking for a natural body cream.  You can check out the Made From Earth website to see more of their natural made from earth products!

Disclosure:
I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Very Healthy Spiral Slicer Review + Giveaway

We love fun kitchen gadgets.  Especially since my husband is a Chef.  We always like having things around the kitchen to toy with when were cooking.  I love making homemade slaws and this Very Healthy Spiral Slicer comes in handy!


Its really easy to use.  You simple insert your vegetable and give it a twist.  It cuts all sorts of veggies in spiral strings.  Its great for potato curls.  You just spiral slice potatoes and then fry the strings. They are super good on a burger!  Gives it a nice crunch.   I also love  broccoli slaw.  We love asian lettuce wraps.  We make a meat and veggie stir fry, top with fresh broccoli slaw on top of a lettuce slice.  Its like an asian taco but on lettuce.  They are great!  Well this slicer comes in handy so that I can make my own broccoli slaw instead of buying the pre-cut stuff in a bag.  Much fresher this way.  There are tons of ways to use this.   All you have to do is experiment.  It could also be a great way to get kids to eat fresh veggies if they are spiral sliced and fun to eat.  The Very Healthy Spiral Slicer can be purchased on Amazon.


You also have a chance to WIN one!
One lucky reader will win a Very Healthy Spiral Slicer!



Giveaway ends 5/20/2015.  Open to US only.  Must be 18+ to enter.
One winner will be randomly selected.  Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize.
If prize is not claimed, a new winner will be selected.
Good luck!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

Disclosure:
I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

EnvyDerm Mascara & Lip Plumper Review

I don't wear makeup every day but on the days that I do, I always wear mascara.  I have tried dozens of different brands over the years and I've only found a few that I've been truly in love with.  And my one true favorite ended up getting reformulated and just wasn't the same after that.  So I've been looking for new mascaras to try out.  I am also a big fan of lip glosses since I don't wear lip stick a lot.   Glosses are so much more versatile for me.



I recently tried two products from EnvyDerm.  I tried their mascara and their lip plumping gloss.   I really like both!  I do have to say that my favorite was the mascara.  I have long lashes but they are very light so without mascara, I sort of look like I don't have eyelashes.   So a good mascara can be my best friend.  I did like the tint of color in the plumping gloss.  I'm not sure how plump it made my lips but I do think they look fuller.   Not sure if that's the plumping action or just the color making my lips pop.  Either way, I liked it and thought it was a great color for me.


The nice thing about EnvyDerms cosmetics products is that they are free of parabens, synthetic fragrance, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOS, triclosan, mineral oils and animal products.  Check out the EnvyDerm website to learn more about their products.




Disclosure:
I was provided with samples free of charge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.