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Halloween Safety Tips

Posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Halloween Candy PumpkinTrick-or-treating on Halloween is a once a year event that many kids look forward to. It can be incredibly fun, especially when the whole family gets involved. Halloween also has some inherent dangers that are not found at other times of the year. Here are some Halloween safety tips to consider.

General Safety Tips
It is a good idea to find out what the rules are for trick-or-treating where you live. Some places will have an official time that it can start and a “curfew” that signals the end of trick-or-treating. Make sure your children adhere to those rules.

Take a moment to make it absolutely clear to your children that they should not run across streets while trick-or-treating. It can be difficult for drivers to see people who pop out onto the road from between parked cars. Encourage your kids to use the crosswalks.

For best results, go trick-or-treating with your children. Walk them from house to house. Wait for them on the lawn or sidewalk and keep your eyes on them at all times. Your presence will prevent your child from being harassed by a stranger (child or adult). It will also prevent older kids from being tempted to run off and get into mischief with their friends.

Costume Safety Tips
Glow sticks and reflective tape are a great way to make your child more visible after the sun goes down. This safety tip is used by people who ride bikes or run at night. The bright reflective tape (and/or glow sticks) help drivers to see that there is a person in front of them.

Masks can be fun to wear. Unfortunately, they can also limit a person’s ability to see well. If your child must wear a mask, make sure that the eye openings in the mask are wide. Kids who wear masks that they cannot see very well out of are at risk of preventable injuries. In other words, they might trip over something that they usually would have seen and gone around.

Not all Halloween makeup is hypoallergenic. Parents may want to do a “test” by putting a small amount of the makeup on the back of a child’s hand. Watch for allergic reactions. Makeup that was used last Halloween, and then stored away, may have expired (or be full of bacteria).

Candy Safety Tips
Parents should closely check over all the candy that your child receives before you allow him or her to eat any of it. If it isn’t sealed, throw it away. Parents of kids who have food allergies may want to toss out all the candy that lacks an ingredient list.

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Cash Back on any Organic Avocado Purchase!

Posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 9:13 am
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Get $.25 CASH BACK right now when you buy any Organic Avocado from any store!

Simply log in to your BerryCart app (or sign up for a free account) and upload your receipt. The cash back will be in your account within a few days!

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Save 20% on Fresh Pears

Posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 8:59 am
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savingstar pears

It’s Tuesday! Time to load this week’s Healthy Offer of the Week from Saving Star to your account! This week, Save 20% on any single purchase of Pears at participating retailers.  

See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer. Expires 10/27/2014.

*** NEW*** SavingStar can now be used at Vons, Safeway, Food 4 Less,  H-E-B, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, WinCo and MORE! Simply download their app for iPhone or Android and upload your receipt to get cash back when you shop at any of these stores!

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Halloween Treats That Aren’t Candy

Posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Fruit SnacksThe trick-or-treaters that come to your door on Halloween are expecting to receive candy. Does it bother you to be handing out treats that are far from healthy? There are plenty of other options that you can pass out to trick-or-treaters that won’t harm their health. Here are some healthy food options for treats as well as some non-food options.

Healthy Treats
Instead of candy, consider handing out individually sealed packages of these healthy treats:
* Boxes of raisins
* Small packages of fruit snacks
* Mini Lara Bars
* CLIF Kid ZBars
* Sugar free gum
* Snack packs of Goldfish crackers
* Snack packs of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
* Cheese sticks or string cheese

Non-Food Treats
Oriental Trading is a great place to order holiday items from. You can buy things in bulk. That helps keep the cost down. Right now, they are having a “Halloween Favorites $5.00 or Less” sale. Their products are sold in 72 pieces or 144 pieces.

* Glow in the dark Halloween tattoos
* Mini Jack-O’-Lantern Magic Springs (they look like orange slinkys)
* Monster tattoos
* Glitter Halloween Tattoos
* Scary Spiders (small, black, plastic spiders)
* Jumping Spiders (colorful plastic spiders that jump when you press down on their backs)
* Mini Iconic Halloween Spiral Notepads.
* Halloween decorated pencils (Kids can use them at school or for homework assignments.)

Another option would be to look for these kinds of treats at your local Dollar Store. Target also should have some Halloween items on sale in their $1.00 bins.

Did you know that November 1 is National Brush Your Teeth Day? The trick-or-treaters that come to your door might need a new toothbrush. is selling a bulk package of 144 toothbrushes that you can buy for less than $10.00. Some of the trick-or-treaters might be disappointed to get a toothbrush instead of candy – but their parents will be pleased!

Halloween Art
Older children can make little origami ghosts out of white paper. They are simple to make, fun to do, and will give parents and kids a craft project to work on together. Draw a silly face on the ghost after it has been folded. Hand out the little Halloween origami to trick-or-treaters. You can make several of these cute little ghosts out of one sheet of printer paper. Cut the printer paper into equally sized squares and you are ready to go!

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Natural & Organic Giveaway: 2 Free Months of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 8:00 am
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Hemp Hearts


If you love organic and more natural foods, don’t miss this great giveaway from BerryCart!

Get entered to win 2 Free Months Supply of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts!

Be sure to sign up for the cash-back app Berry Cart to help you save on all your favorite natural and organic brands at your favorite store!




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Gluten-Free Halloween Treats

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Candy CornHalloween is a holiday that involves lots of treats, sweets, and candies. This can be really difficult for people (especially children) who have food allergies. The desire to participate in the fun, and enjoy some Halloween treats, is dampened by the concern that the sweets contain gluten. Are there any Halloween candies that are gluten-free?

Candy Corn
The colorful candy corn that appears in stores in the fall is made by Brach’s. Here is a list of the ingredients that their candy corn contains:
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Salt, Honey, Dextrose, Artificial Flavor, Gelatin, Sesame Oil, Artificial Flavor, Honey, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3

The concern is what follows the list of ingredients on the Brach’s website:
“This product was manufactured in a facility where milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy are used in the production of other products.” It might be safer to make your own candy corn instead. Use your best judgement.

We tend to think of the Marshmallow Peeps made by the Just Born company as an Easter treat. However, they do have Peeps that are for Halloween. The Just Born website Says that the modified food starch they use in their candies is corn starch. They are currently in the process of updating their packaging to indicate which ones are gluten free.

It is advised that you read the ingredients on a package of Halloween Peeps very carefully. Just Born sells some of their products in bulk to companies that repackage it. There is potential that the Peeps from those companies were repackaged in a facility that is not gluten-free. The way to tell the difference between the Peeps that are safe and the ones that aren’t is to read the package.

Mellowcreme Pumpkins
Mellowcreme Pumpkins is the name for those little marshmallow-like pumpkins made by Brach’s. The ingredients are not listed on the Brach’s website, but ShopWell has them listed:
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioners Glaze, Salt, Gelatin, Dextrose, Honey, Artificial Flavor, Sesame Oil, Yellow 6, Red 3, Yellow 5, Blue 1

This list of ingredients is very similar to the Brach’s candy corn, and it has a similar warning:
“Packaged on equipment that also packages products containing traces of milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and/or soy protein.”

There is an alternative. Craftsy has a recipe that you can follow to make your own Mellowcreme Pumpkins. The website says that this recipe makes candies that are slightly sweeter than the original. It also notes that this is not an easy recipe to make and that it is important to follow the measurements and instructions carefully.

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Turn Real Fall Leaves into Seasonal Art

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Leaf Art iStockDo you have a lot of leaves gathering in your yard? It is possible to take some of those leaves and make them into art. Turn this activity into something your whole family participates in. The fall art you create can become inexpensive seasonal decorations.

Gather up some Leaves
The first step is to gather up some fall leaves. You will probably be able to find them in your yard. If not, then take a walk and collect up a few leaves as you go. Unlike spring flowers, no one will be upset that you took a few of their fall leaves with you! If anything, you saved them a little bit of work.

Ideally, you want to look for leaves that have not completely dried out. Choose the ones that have a little “give” to them. Leaves that are really brittle might not work out as well in an art project.

Crayon Leaf Rubbings
This form of fall art is so easy that even small children can do it. You will need some paper. The type of paper doesn’t really matter so long as it is thin. You can use construction paper, the paper the goes into your printer, or even yesterday’s newspaper. The print and ads in the newspaper will contrast with the leaf rubbings in an interesting way.

You will also need some crayons. The color doesn’t matter as all will work just as well. Pick fall colors like red, yellow, orange, and brown. Or, use some colors that happen to be your favorites.

Put a leaf on the table. Make sure the leaf is lying on its front. You want the back side, with the deeper “veins” to be facing up. Lay a piece of paper over the leaf. Hold the paper steady and use the side of a crayon to color over the leaf. This “rubbing” should pick up the texture and shape of the leaf. Move the paper around to make lots leaf rubbings.

“Stained Glass” Leaf Art
Creative Bug has instructions on how to take fall leaves and wax paper and make it into art. It won’t look like real stained glass, but it will look good when hung on a window with the sunlight shining through it.

You will need some fall leaves that are not completely dried out. Choose some that are in different colors, or pick several of the same shade. Put the leaves in between two sheets of wax paper. In short, you will be ironing the two pieces of wax paper so that they seal the leaves inside it. Children can place the leaves, but adults should be the one to use the iron.

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Pumpkin Seeds are a Healthy Snack

Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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pumpkin seeds istockFall includes several different kinds of snack foods and many of them are pumpkin flavored. That doesn’t always mean that all holiday snacks are healthy (or that the truly do contain pumpkin). One really healthy fall snack option is pumpkin seeds. The are easy to get, can be eaten either raw or cooked, and are a nutritious alternative to the other “pumpkin” snacks that are out there.

Pumpkin seeds are nutritious.
According to LiveStrong, a one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds has about 8.5 grams of protein. That means that a handful of pumpkin seeds provides 15% of the daily protein requirement for men and 18% of the daily protein requirement for women.

That same handful of pumpkin seeds is low carb. It contains only 4 grams of carbs, and about half of those carbs come from fiber. This is important because fiber helps people to feel full and it also aids digestion.

Believe it or not, pumpkin seeds also contain some fat. But, they are “good fats”. Pumpkin seeds have mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats, which are good for your heart. One thing to watch out for with pumpkin seeds is the calories they contain. A one ounce serving contains 163 calories. Keep that in mind if you include pumpkin seeds in a trail mix.

Where to find pumpkin seeds
It is possible to buy packages of uncooked pumpkin seeds at the grocery store. Sometimes, the bags will say “pepitas”, which is Spanish for “pumpkin seeds”. Make sure you read the food label. It is the easiest way to check and see what ingredients have been added to the pumpkin seeds. Ideally, you want to find a product that contains only pumpkin seeds and maybe a little bit of salt.

The best way to find pumpkin seeds is inside the pumpkins that are sold at the grocery store. This works great for families that like to carve their pumpkins. Typically, carved pumpkins are a Halloween decoration, but some people carve pumpkins as fall decorations.

Those who are unfamiliar with how to carve a pumpkin should check out the step-by-step guide at Simply Recipes. There are photos for each step in the process. They suggest using a colander to help separate the pumpkin seeds from the “goop”.

How to roast pumpkin seeds
Allrecipes has a really simple recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. You need 1 and a half cups of raw whole pumpkin seeds. The recipe calls for 1 pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of butter. (You could opt-out of the salt if you prefer).

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl. Pour the melted butter (and salt) over them and shake them up. Next, place the seeds on a single layer baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes (or until they turn golden brown).

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Save 20% off Fresh Apples ~ This Week Only!

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:31 am
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saving star healthy offer

It’s Tuesday! Time to load this week’s Healthy Offer of the Week from Saving Star to your account! This week, Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Apples at participating retailers. 

See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer. Expires 9/29/2014.

*** NEW*** SavingStar can now be used at Walmart, Target, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and WinCo! Simply download their app for iPhone or Android and upload your receipt to get cash back when you shop at any of these stores!

See a list of ALL participating stores HERE.


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What is in Candy Corn?

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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Candy CornHave you seen the new packages of candy corn? This year, some are emphasizing that they contain honey. The implication is that the candy corn is an all-natural treat. The reality is that candy corn may contain some natural ingredients, but there are other things in it that you may want to consider.

Brach’s is the name of the company that makes the famous candy corn. There may be “knock offs” out there (whose ingredient lists may differ.) It is true that Brach’s candy corn is sweetened with honey. Here is the full list of ingredients:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Salt, Honey, Dextrose, Artificial Flavor, Gelatin, Titanium Dioxide Color, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3, Blue 1, Sesame Oil.

It is also worth knowing that the candy is packaged on equipment that also packages products that contain traces of milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and/or soy protein. This is something to consider if you, your child, or other family members have food allergies. Another potential danger for those with food allergies is the “natural flavors” that are in the candy. There is no way to know, for certain, exactly what foods those “natural flavors” came from!

If the candy corn seems safe for you and your family, go ahead and enjoy it. Many people feel that it is ok to eat a less-than-healthy treat if it is one that is seasonal. It isn’t something that you can eat all year long, so it cannot become a “go-to” snack.

What if you aren’t pleased with the ingredients in the candy corn? There are some alternatives. Several websites have posted recipes that people can use to make their very own candy corn. When you make something at home, you get a lot of control over the ingredients that go into it.

Instructables has a step-by-step guide, with photos, that will walk you through how to make your own candy corn at home. Their version is described as fresh, slightly softer than the store-bought candy corn, and lacking the wax coating that is typically on each piece of candy corn. It is said to taste the same, though.

Alton Brown, at Food Network, has a recipe for candy corn that makes 60 to 80 pieces. The recipe is at the “intermediate level”. This recipe does not use honey – it uses light corn syrup instead. If you feel that your kitchen and cooking skills are can be described as “intermediate”, go ahead and give this recipe a try. If not, it might be best to go with the Instructables recipe.

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