>U Mom Knows Best: January 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

Does Light Therapy Help Seasonal Affective Disorder

A case of the winter blues may be S.A.D. or Seasonal affective disorder. This winter condition can affect your mood and ability to function. Keep reading to discover how light therapy can help along with other tips.


 I don't like winter for so many reasons. The days are shorter and the nights are longer. That means less sunshine Winter means it is cold outside which limits time outside. Being stuck in the house can affect your mood. Then there are way too many days that the sun is covered by clouds. The cold temperatures mean that we have to run the heat in the house and that can dry out my skin and cause my hands to have sore cracks around the fingertips. The cold weather keeps me inside and all I want to do is hibernate under a soft warm blanket. 

 Most days I have to force myself to get out of bed. It can be hard to wake up when the sun is not out. The change in seasons can also affect my energy level. Most days I just don't have the energy to get anything done. Then nighttime rolls around and have a hard time falling asleep! Some say that I have a bad case of the winter blues but it is so much more. What I suffer from is seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

 To recognize this depressive disorder, you need to understand it. So, let’s discuss its signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment options, among other things. 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

 Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.

  While it is common for most people to experience low moods because the days tend to get shorter and the nights get longer, those experiencing seasonal depression have more severe mood changes. These mood changes have a major effect on how they feel, think, and perform everyday activities. 

Could your mood swings be SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

 Seasonal affective disorder is a type of major depression that affects many people during the winter season. For most, it starts with fall daylight savings or even earlier if they wake up before 7 AM. That morning sunlight helps so many people wake up and when they have to wake up in the dark, it can affect their body in so many ways. 

 I guess you could call seasonal affective disorder, the lack of sunshine disease. Sad has the same signs and symptoms as major depression, along with a few specific symptoms that differentiate it from major depression. 

Some of the symptoms of  SAD Include:

~ Low mood for most of the day and almost every day 
~  Loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities 
~ Sudden changes in weight and appetite 
~ Change in sleeping habits including insomnia
~ Feelings of fatigue 
~ Low energy levels 
~ Poor concentration 
~ Overeating with a focus on carbohydrate-rich foods 
~ Withdrawing from social activities 
~ Weight gain 
~ Anxiety

 I have suffered from seasonal depression for many years and over the years I have learned how to manage my depression symptoms better. I have also learned about different treatments for seasonal affective disorder that have helped me with my mood and my sleep. The number one thing that has helped my seasonal depression was moving to a state that has a shorter winter along with more sunshine. New Mexico typically has a short winter season of 3 months and most days are filled with sunshine. It rarely snows here and when it does, the snow melts by noon. I grew up in the midwest so the long winters and the snow really affected me with my depression.

Treatment Options for SAD

Some of the treatment options for SAD include everything from light therapy to medications that can help with depression. I recommend trying some natural SAD treatments first, before having the doctor write a prescription for depression medication. 

Check out the SAD treatments that I use:

1.  Spend time in the sun ~ If the sun is out and the weather is not bitter cold, I will go for a walk outside. The sun has a powerful effect on the way you feel. Spending 30 minutes to an hour in the sun helps your body absorb vitamin D, which helps with everything from energy to mood and even immunity.

2. Sit by a window ~ The weather does not always cooperate for getting outside so when the sun is outside, I will sit by a window that faces the sun for a least an hour. While not as powerful as being outside, your body can still get some benefits from the sun. The sun can help lift your mood.

3. Vitamin D supplements ~ The lack of sunshine in the winter can affect the levels of Vitamin D in our body and low levels of Vitamin D can affect your mood, causing depression symptoms. Taking an extra-strength vitamin D supplement can boost your mood and support your energy.

4. Light Therapy ~ Winter depression can be caused by lack of sunshine exposure and light therapy can help. Bright light therapy works on different levels, producing a combined beneficial effect similar to sun exposure. A Sunlight Lamp can help raise your mood, improve your sleep, boost your low energy, and even improve concentration. using our mood light therapy light. 

5. Exercise ~ The benefits of exercise to your body are many. From helping with energy levels all the way to your mood and even sleep. 30 minutes a day of exercise can help with seasonal depression. I find that morning exercise helps depression but if you only have time in the evening to workout, that is also good.

6. Sunrise Alarm Clock ~ Light can help you get out of bed in the morning and the lack of sun in the morning could be a major reason it is hard to get out of bed. Using a Sunrise Alarm Clock can make a huge difference in the way you feel, This type of alarm clock fills the room with light and helps your body wake up in a more natural way. This alarm clock also has preset sounds like birds singing.

7. Healthy diet ~ Diet has a huge factor in the way you feel and a healthy diet can help with depression symptoms. Try to eat more fruits and veggies which are loaded with vitamins and minerals that support the mood.

8. Sleep ~ A lack of sleep could affect your mood and energy levels. So force yourself to go to bed earlier and say no to mindless internet scrolling. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep. If you have insomnia, sleep can be difficult and you may need to try sleep supplements like magnesium to help your body fall asleep. 

9. Magnesium ~ Magnesium is known for supporting quality sleep and promoting healthy, natural sleep patterns and REM cycles. It has a calming effect on muscles and throughout the body which may help your body fall asleep. Taking a magnesium supplement 30 minutes before bedtime works best. If you find that magnesium does not help you sleep, try taking your magnesium supplement in the morning.  For some people, magnesium stimulates their body as I discovered. You can still get the sleep benefits of magnesium with a morning magnesium supplement.

Our bodies need sunshine

  Did you know that the lack of sunshine can affect things like your sleep, energy levels, mood, and even your health? I know that when I don't get my daily sunshine, I have trouble sleeping that night, and none of these 10 sleep tips for better sleep help. Too many nights of bad sleep can lead to health problems and even can cause you to get into a car accident. Studies show that more car accidents happen with daylight savings. So you may have SAD and a simple therapy light may make a difference.

 Treatment for SAD may include light therapy

 This winter has been cold and dreary with very few days of full sunshine. So my seasonal depression has really sapped my energy. I have tried to be proactive to make some changes in my day and have been following these tips to help with winter blues. The tips that have been helping my mood the most have been exercising first thing in the day and using a Sunlight Therapy Light for 30 minutes a day.

 I finally decided that I needed to try light therapy this year for my seasonal depression and I am glad that I did. The Mayo Clinic suggests using  light therapy for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This simple light has really helped me with my mood and my energy.

How bright light therapy works

 Scientists believe that bright light therapy works on different levels, producing a combined beneficial effect. When used at an appropriate morning hour (or in rare cases, evening hour), it corrects the misalignment of the internal body clock, known as the circadian rhythm, with external night and day.

 Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the winter season. Try the tips that I listed above to see if they help improve your depression.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fuel Your Body the Right Way: 4 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Taking care of you is a good thing! If you take care of your body, you will feel better and look better. Like I tell my kids, your body is like a car. You give it the food that it needs to run properly. A car can't run that well on bad gas and neither can your body run that well on unhealthy food that lacks nutrients. A car that sits in the garage for a long time has a hard time starting and your body has a hard time operating when it doesn't get regular movement. So take a look at these 4 tips and see how you can treat your body better.

  Are you struggling to lose the extra pounds? Did you enjoy the holidays a bit much? It's okay. Remember that well-balanced choices could mean a better lifestyle, happier and more fulfilling. If you want to shed some of that extra mass, go back to the basics, looking at diet, exercise, and sleep.

What Are Your Eating Habits?
 Weight is often equated to food. What you put in affects how you look? Therefore, evaluate several factors. Do you eat a variety of nutritious fare? Make sure you are getting protein, limiting carbs and increasing those leafy greens. Are you eating the right portions? Too much of even the best thing can be bad. Grab some measuring cups, and begin to really see how you fill your plate. Don't overload. Finally, select good late-night snacks. Avoid the chocolate. Focus on protein.

Do You Drink Your Water?
 Your car doesn't run without fuel. Your body is the same. If it's left on empty, eventually it is going to break down, leaving you stranded and in need of help. Water keeps organs functioning and helps deliver the proper nutrients. Don't neglect it. Start the day with a glass of water before you down a cup of coffee. Then, fill up a very large bottle. Don't let it get out of eyesight. An added bonus, the tummy may not grumble as much because it's filled with fluid. That means less calories and more satisfaction.

How Much Do You Move Around?
 In today's world, much of weight gain is attributed to a lack of exercise. Sure, you may get up and do a few things, but is it sustained enough to work muscles and battle calories? Your goal, then, is to get 30 minutes of good cardio in a day. These don't need to be intensive, and they could fit in during several points of your schedule. Wake up a bit earlier, and enjoy a run, getting the job done before others wake up. Are you not a morning person? Consider eating lunch at your desk and using that break to take a little walk outside. If you really need to get yourself going, set up some time at a local gym. Paying for the expense could be enough to motivate you to go. Lastly, remember that this exertion doesn't mean you can eat more. You're training your body to get stronger and use fuel appropriately.

Are You Getting Sleep?
 Your body needs rest to regenerate from the day's events. Establish an evening routine. About an hour or so before you get to bed, start some quiet activities. Take a soothing shower, and eliminate the use of electronics. The glow from the screens can work against your efforts, stimulating brain activity. Play a board game, read a book or do some simple chores (like folding laundry). You want to focus on winding down. When you're feeling tired, go to your room, turn on some white noise such as a fan and turn out the lights. If you're still struggling, consider a lavender lotion. The scent is sometimes associated with relaxing. Hopefully, you'll drift off, obtaining that desired 6 to 8 hours of healthy slumber.

You are important. Take care of yourself, so you may feel your best to tackle upcoming challenges.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Plant Based Chinese Dumplings With Spicy Chile Sauce

Forget the take-out restaurant for dumplings. Learn how easy they are to make at home.

 One of my favorite places to eat is always some type of Oriental restaurant. I like these eating establishments as they have unique foods that are not that simple to make at home. Also, the meals come with plenty of vegetables. So I am glad that my husband also enjoys eating Chinese and Thai food so he always agrees with me when I select these restaurants. I enjoy the food so much that I always want to eat it again later that week. The problem is the leftovers go fast, my husband takes them in his lunch for work. So I have to always recreate the delicious Chinese meals at home.

 Last month I recreated the Pad Thai dish that I had on New Year's day at the local Thai restaurant. I made my recipe into a keto recipe so it was healthier. Check out my Keto Pad Thai recipe Here. Several years ago, I learned how to make vegetarian egg foo young and fried rice. I now make egg foo young several times a month as it is so easy to make. Yes, these dishes take longer to make than picking up Chinese food but it is so much cheaper to make Chinese meals at home.

So my latest Oriental craving started with seeing a plant-based recipe on Oprah's website for Chinese dumplings. Her recipe or should I say her chef's recipe for potstickers had ingredients in it that I could not serve to my family. The recipe had beets and eggplant in it. These are vegetables that I love but not my family. So I decided to modify Oprah's plant-based Chinese dumpling recipe with ingredients that I knew my family would enjoy. I omitted ingredients and added different vegetables. This was the first time that I had made and tasted potstickers. I have never tried the potstickers at my favorite Chinese place because they have meat in them and I do not eat meat. Potstickers just look so delicious to me and anything that comes with a dipping sauce has my vote or should I say taste buds.

Chinese Dumplings are easy to make

 Chinese dumplings are not that hard to make. Sure, it does take time to make the filling and fold all the little bundles of goodness. These dumplings remind me of tamales as both take some time to assemble but it is so worth it. Once you get the hang of folding the wonton wrappers, you will see that homemade potstickers are so worth the time. The plus side of making them at home is that you can make the potstickers vegan, try ordering plant-based Chinese dumplings at a Chinese restaurant.

Round wonton wrappers are better

 I prefer using round wonton wrappers for my dumplings but square wonton wrappers work just fine. You can find wonton wrappers in the produce section at your grocery store. My store only had the square wonton wrappers so my Chinese dumplings may look different from what you find at the Oriental restaurant. I need to make a shopping trip to the international store to stock up on my favorite Chinese ingredients like bean sprouts, seaweed, ramen, and specialty sauces. Do you have an Oriental store near you? If so what are your favorite ingredients to buy?

If your wonton wrapper is round, fold the wrapper over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.

How to fold square wonton wrappers

  If you can only find the square wonton wrappers, don't fret as folding them for the dumplings is not that hard. You just have to fold them in a different way. The best way to make the dumplings with square wonton wrappers is to lay the wonton so it looks like a diamond shape. Then add a tablespoon of filling to the center of the wonton. After moistening the edges of the wonton wrapper, fold it over to look like a triangle, make sure to press on the edges so they stick to each other. Then grab the corners of the wonton and fold them over to look like a purse. Then press the edges together. The first couple of wonton wrappers may seem hard to fold but you will get the hang of it. Don't worry too much about how your dumplings look as they will still taste so delicious.

Freeze the dumplings for later

These Chinese dumplings freeze so well and can be cooked at a later time. So you can make a double batch of the potstickers and freeze some of them for later. Just place the uncooked dumplings in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Then place the dumplings in a ziplock baggie, where they can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Steaming the wonton dumplings

You have several options when it comes to cooking the Chinese dumplings. You can pan-fry, steam, or boil them. I like the pan-fry and steam method the best and it gives the dumplings a nice brown bottom. My recipe has this method but if you want to just steam the dumplings, just place them in a steamer basket in a simmering pot of water for eight minutes. To boil the dumplings just toss them into your favorite broth-based soup for wonton soup.

Potstickers need dipping sauces

The best part of eating Chinese potstickers is dipping them into sweet chili sauce or soy sauce. I included an easy-to-make recipe for the sweet chili sauce in my below recipe. For the chili part of the recipe, I used crushed red pepper flakes. The best crushed red pepper flakes come from the pizza place. So next time you order a takeout pizza, make sure to ask for the red pepper. They always give you way too many packages of red pepper so stick the extra packages in your fridge for later. The extra-sweet chili sauce can be used on ramen noodles or cooked vegetables.

 So now that you have learned how to make potstickers, you need to make these with other Oriental dishes for a complete homemade Chinese takeout meal. You could just serve these delicious Chinese potsticker dumplings with a bowl of rice or you can serve them with a homemade vegetarian egg foo young and Keto Pad Thai. I included the links for these delicious recipes below.

Make my homemade vegetarian egg foo young!


Make my Keto Pad Thai


Make sure to Pin this recipe so you can make it later!

Plant Based Chinese Dumplings With Spicy Chile Sauce

Plant Based Chinese Dumplings With Spicy Chile Sauce

Yield: 36
prep time: cook time: total time:
Skip the take-out order, Chinese Dumplings (also commonly known as potstickers), are easy to make and taste much better when you make them homemade!


dumpling filling
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces plant-based ground meat, I like Lightlife
  • 1 cup green cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onions, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • small bowl water for assembling the dumplings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking the dumplings
sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  •  2 tablespoons water


How to cook Plant Based Chinese Dumplings With Spicy Chile Sauce

To make the dumplings
  1. Heat the olive oil and sesame in a pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a minute.
  3. Then add the remaining ingredients, except the wonton wrappers, small bowl of water, and additional olive oil. Stir and cook the ingredients for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the plant-based ground meat is slightly cooked.
  4. To assemble to wontons: Clear a large space and gather wonton wrappers, prepared filling, and the small bowl of water.
  5. Begin by filling the middle of a wonton wrapper with about a tablespoons worth of pork filling. Wet your finger, and run along the edges of the wonton wrapper. .
  6. If your wrapper is round, fold the wrapper over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal. If your wrapper is square, then fold the edges into a triangle. Then fold once more, see the step by step images of how I fold my dumplings in the above photos.
  7. Repeat the process until all wonton wrappers are filled. Once you have filled the dumplings you can freeze them or cook them.
  8. Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and place dumplings in an even layer. Fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden.
  9. Add 1/3 cup of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to medium and let the dumplings steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with soy sauce and sweet chili sauce.
To make the sweet chili sauce
  1. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic cloves, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes to a non-stick pan.
  2. Heat over medium heat while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Let it cook for a few minutes until it’s slightly thickened (3 minutes)
  4. Mix the cornstarch and water together and add this to the sauce as well.
  5. While stirring frequently (to prevent the sauce from burning at the bottom), simmer the sauce for a further 3 minutes or until it reaches the desired thickness.  If it thickens too much, add a little extra water to thin it out. 
  6. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Discover The Power Of CBD With Irwin Naturals Free Bottle Offer

This post is sponsored by Savings.com

   Many people have heard about CBD and are curious if this supplement is right for them. I discovered CBD a couple of years ago and I too wanted to know more about it. Sure I had all the pamphlets and websites to visit to find out more about how CBD oil could help me. That information was good but it took personal experience for me to know that using CBD as a supplement was a good thing. 

 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  

  So before I tell you about my CBD use, I need to let you know that what I tell you is from my personal experience with CBD oil supplements. A couple of years ago, I discovered CBD at a bloggers conference and I received some samples of a CBD balm. That CBD sample sat in my cabinet for a couple of months as I felt that I had no need for CBD, that is until I suffered an injury on my thumb.

My experience with CBD oil  

One morning I woke up with a stiff painful thumb. I remember the day as it was Thanksgiving. My thumb hurt when I moved it so I thought that maybe I had broken or sprained my thumb. Since it was Thanksgiving, I decided to self-treat my thumb at home with an unused thumb splint that I found in the kitchen junk drawer. You are probably wondering why I have a thumb splint. Well, it came with a finger splint that I had purchased a couple months ago when my youngest son sprained his finger.  I decided to use the finger splint as I wanted to avoid the urgent care center and from past experience with my son, I knew that the treatment for broken or sprained fingers just required a splint. So I placed the splint on my thumb and tried to enjoy my Thanksgiving day at a friend's house.

When I got home later that evening, my thumb still hurt so I decided to take some pain medicine and that is when I saw my CBD ointment sample. I remembered from the conference that CBD is good for pain relief and I decided to try it on my thumb instead of the pain pill. I rubbed the CBD balm into my thumb and within a couple of minutes, I noticed that my thumb did not hurt as much. The next day my thumb felt better and was not stiff. I was able to bend my thumb with no pain. So, of course, I had to do some research online about my thumb injury and about CBD cream. Through my research, I learned that my thumb injury was probably related to trigger thumb from using my computer mouse at a weird angle. My research also led me to discover that CBD is great for pain relief and so many other things like making my thumb feel better. 

 I learned that supplementing with CBD, a plant-based cannabinoid, may have a beneficial impact on the endocannabinoid system in our body. The endocannabinoid system regulates pain, mood, memory, stress-response, immune function, sleep, appetite and a host of other things. Cannabinoids are naturally produced in our bodies and they act on the endocannabinoid system.

Are you curious about CBD?                                  

  So I started supplementing with CBD more often. I tried a CBD soda when I was super stressed and it helped me to calm down. One night when I was having problems sleeping, I discovered that a CBD gummy could help me relax to get sleepy. When my kids had mouth pain after an orthodontist appointment, I gave them a CBD capsule and that took the edge off the pain. I loved that I discovered that CBD could help with my running. I want my knee joints to stay healthy so I can keep running at the age of 54. So I use natural supplements to keep my joints healthy. I was already using a joint supplement that had joint-optimizing ingredients like glucosamine and turmeric in it. So learning about a supplement from Irwin Naturals with CBD in it made me curious. Could this CBD+Joint Health supplement help with my fitness routine? Could this CBD+Joint formula optimize my joint maintenance routine?

  Irwin Naturals is a family-owned company that has been producing quality supplements for 25 years so that makes me feel good when choosing where to buy my supplements from. Irwin Naturals offers a wide variety of outstanding, quality products at affordable prices, including supplements with CBD in them. I was happy to learn that Irwin Naturals gets their CBD from full-spectrum hemp plants and every batch is 3rd party tested. 

Are you curious about CBD? Visit Irwin Natural's CBD FAQ page here.

More info about CBD+Joint Health

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

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Greg Landry Homeschool Science Resources

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science.

 So many of my friends are homeschooling their kids and I admire them. The homeschool community is growing and I am amazed at all the resources that are available to parents. Greg Landry a veteran in the homeschooling community and this below article is a must-read for parents and educators.

 Greg Landry is a homeschool science pioneer and offers online classes (for science leaning students and “non-science” students, science labs, ACT prep, a podcast for homeschool moms, and homeschool student-produced print publications.

 Greg says he is first and foremost grateful. "The Lord has made me very aware of my need for a grateful heart. I'm grateful for a God who knows me and loves me (with all of my faults), for my family, for the thousands of homeschooling families I've had the privilege of  working with over the past 20 years, for the magnificence of His Creation, and for the trials in my life (James 1:2-4 ) that shape and mold me, humble me, produce perseverance, and mature me in my faith."
Greg is a husband to his bride of 30+ years, a homeschool dad, and a former college professor. He and his wife homeschooled their two daughters. Both of them have graduated from college, and Greg says, "most importantly, both of them love Jesus. For that, we are very grateful."  He grew up in French / Acadian South Louisiana (three of his grandparents were French speakers) and he loves the South Louisiana culture. At age 18 was invited to tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization. He played baseball and football in college and holds a master of science degree from LSU (Louisiana State University).

 He has a heart for students and a passion for science... but more specifically a passion for teaching students to see God's hand in every aspect of His creation that surrounds us. His goal is to help them see that God's creation didn't just happen by chance - it wasn't an accident, a fluke of nature.
Greg has spent the past 20+ years teaching science. He taught at a university, taught thousands of homeschooled students, has mentored students planning to pursue science / pre-med degrees, has designed and directed a university anatomy and physiology/biology cadaver lab, has published and presented scientific research, has academically counseled hundreds of college pre-professional (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, etc.) sophomores and juniors, has designed science labs for homeschooled students and has written science lab manuals.

 Ten years ago he originated the "pre" classes (Pre-Biology, Pre-Anatomy & Physiology, Pre-Chemistry, and Pre-Physics) as a means of minimizing the intimidation of high school level science and preparing middle school age students for specific high school level classes. As one homeschool mom described it, "Greg has a unique ability to pull out the most important information and present it in a way that's interesting and easy to understand."

 The thrust of Greg Landry homeschool science is to give homeschooled students access to Christian Worldview science that is focused on scientific inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning, data collection, and the graphical and written representation of research. Greg says, "we want to prepare competent, confident students for their remaining high school years, their college years, and life.

Greg and his wife live near Nashville, TN. His desire is to follow the Lord's leading in teaching students to illuminate the incredible creation the Lord has put all around us. It reveals His glory!
​Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, Homeschool ACT Prep Bootcamp, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and student-produced homeschool print publications.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Unique Valentines Day Gifts That Is Not A Box Of Chocolate + Giveaway

Posts may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Read the whole post to discover how you can win a $75 Teleflora gift voucher

  Don’t wait until the last minute to buy a Valentine Day gift for the ones that you love. If you wait until the last minute, you might be faced with a long check out line at the store or worse yet, the best gifts may be sold out. When many think of Valentine's Day, they think a box of chocolate or flowers. While these are great gifts, they may not be the best gift for some.

 I used to love it when my husband bought me the best box of chocolates in town. He would buy me a pound or two of the most delicious chocolates and I loved it. Sadly, now I can't enjoy those delicious milk chocolates anymore. Two years ago my milk allergy got worse and even a small amount of dairy can trigger an asthma attack. So that now means no more Valentine's Day boxes of chocolate for me. So now my husband has to be more creative with my gift on Valentine's Day and he may need some help in the form of hints from me.

 So I decided to come up with a list of items that are not a heart-shaped box of chocolate. I decided to add gifts that are also great ideas for kids and men. That way parents and grandparents have some idea for gifts for kids that are not loaded with sugar.

   A gift basket of color-themed splurge items

 A fun gift idea for a girl or guy is a basket of some fun splurge items. Think of items that make that person smile. This gift basket can be centered around a theme of beauty items, coffee, or favorite snack items. To show the person that you love them, the items can have a theme of the loved one's favorite color. My favorite color is purple and to receive a gift from my husband that had everything in purple would be awesome. Ideas would be purple flowers, a purple package of coffee, purple socks, a purple travel coffee mug, etc. Even their favorite energy drink in a purple can. You get the idea.  I think it would be fun to find a bunch of snack items for my husband in his favorite color, black. I included some ideas below for purple gifts. So think of their favorite color and get shopping.

 Toss in a tube of organic lip balm and the gift is complete. Everyone has lips and they need extra care in the winter. Four makes the best-tasting blend of lip balm with 100% organic ingredients that are safe for you to lick. This lip balm has 4 ingredients: Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Peppermint Oil and comes in a 3-pack so you have plenty to share. The peppermint taste is so delicious so lick away and have moisturized lips. This lip balm would be perfect for my husband's black-themed gift basket.

Gifts for the gym buff

 I am huge into fitness and I would love for my husband to treat me to my favorite fitness drinks and snacks. If he wanted to go all out a Smart Muscle Stimulator would be the perfect "I love you gift." I love working out at the gym so having gym-related gifts would be a huge turn-on for me and would this gift would score major points in the bedroom for my husband.

 Lately, my favorite fitness drink is Béla Harmony Wellness Drinks. This delicious drink has turmeric and other fitness herbs in it so it keeps me hydrated and helps my sore muscles. So I would love a case of this tropical drink and a box of my favorite chocolate multi-collagen bar. These fitness items would make any sports enthusiastic happy.

Jewelry is always a gift that says "I love you"

 If you want to give the gift of jewelry, then consider one that will be great to wear daily. I am loving this fashion charm bracelet set. It is a unique thoughtful gift that can be worn daily. The 3 meditation bracelets can be worn separately or together. The beads come in so many pretty colors and can be worn by both guys and ladies. It makes the perfect couples gift. He can wear one beaded bracelet while she wears the other 2 bracelets. I have the pink beads and they bring me joy when I wear them.

Gifts for the kids

  I remember my father buying my mom a big box of chocolate and us kid's smaller chocolate boxes. As a kid, that meant so much to me to be included in this special day of love. Valentine's Day is just not for couples but for also for parents to show their kids that they love them. Get your kids some fun gifts like a craft kit or a puzzle book. These will come in handy if you are not able to find a sitter for Valentine's Day. That way the kids can hopefully be entertained long enough for you and your husband to enjoy a special dinner. Some ideas for puzzle books and craft kits include the following.

Longest Hidden Pictures Puzzle Ever

 This giant Hidden Pictures® puzzle is the ultimate search-and-find challenge. With sturdy pages that fold out to 16-feet in length, this puzzle showcases an entire city relay race as runners work their way over giant bridges, through busy parks, inside subway tunnels and more - all in a race to the finish line! Buy here!

Photo Puzzlemania

 Puzzle fans of all ages will be wowed by this stylish, exquisitely crafted and truly unique offering of brand-new puzzles from the experts at Highlights.  Every puzzle is created from beautiful, intricate, full-color photographs that have been manipulated to produce a challenging and exciting experience for both kids and adults.  The book includes the all-time favorite Hidden Pictures® puzzles in addition to Matching, Check and Double Check and Hidden in Plain Sight puzzles.  This is a book you’ll want out on your coffee table and a perfect gift for all ages. Buy here!

Secret Hidden Pictures Puzzles

 A brand new and magical approach to Hidden Pictures®:  color-reveal technology!  This red-on-blue puzzle collection comes with a seek-and-find wand, made of curdy cardstock with a plastic lens and shaped like a magnifying glass, that kids will use to discover amazing scenes and reveal over 1,000 hidden objects.  Every puzzle is a mystery until the lens uncovers the curiosities underneath; children will become Hidden Pictures puzzle detectives by using clues to help locate the hidden objects, while the easy-to-use and simple-to-store wand (that is housed in an envelope inside-the-front-cover of the book) adds more play value to Highlights’ signature puzzle. Buy here!

Rainbow Gummy Candy Lab

 Unicorns, clouds, and rainbows … oh my! Make your own delicious, fun gummy shapes using a gelatin mixture: Pour it into the included mold and concoct a spectrum of flavors and colors to personalize your unicorn, cloud, and rainbow-shaped gummy creations. You can even add citric acid to make sour gummies. Bonus: Learn about the scientific properties of natural polymers as you cook up these delicious treats! This kit includes all the food ingredients needed for a rainbow-gummy good time. Buy here!

Ooze Labs: Soap & Bath Bomb Lab

 In this pretend STEM scenario, you are a chemist for a bath and body products company and it’s your job to make and test different cosmetic products. Use the tools in your laboratory to employ different scientific techniques and essential chemistry principles to make soaps and bath bombs. Try out different additives to affect the color, smell, and other qualities of the products you make. As you mold different glycerin soap shapes, you learn about the chemical properties of soap that help it pick up and wash away dirt. All materials and chemicals are non-toxic. Buy Here!


 Flowers do make a great gift for Valentine's day. Just don't make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to buy them. The selection of flowers in the store on Valentine's Day may not be of the best quality or a long line may leave you late for your special date. So get the best quality of flowers and have them delivered. A flower delivery of a fresh flower arrangement is always a heart winner for me. When I see the delivery guy with a big bouquet of pretty flowers, this means that my husband cares to send the best. Teleflora is the worlds leading floral delivery service and they have the best collection of romantic and cheerful floral arrangements for Valentine's Day. The vases that the flowers come in are my favorite. I always find another purpose for the beautiful vases.

 My favorite floral arrangement is the Teleflora's Pretty In Quartz Bouquet. The flowers are displayed in a hand-blown art glass vase with soft pink gradient tones and filled with red roses, pink Asiatic lilies, red carnations, pink Limonium and green accents. There are many other pretty flowers available to fit almost any budget. So say I love you with flowers. If you love flowers then you will love my giveaway for a free flower bouquet!

Make sure to enter to win a $75 Teleflora gift voucher.
Enter HERE 

Handmade sugar-free and dairy-free chocolates

 If your loved one insists on chocolate then a gift of homemade chocolate is the best, especially when it is keto-friendly. These Homemade Vegan Sugar-Free Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a perfect way to win the heart of someone who is on a special diet or has food allergies like me. They are easy to make and taste so good. If there is no need for a sugar-free or dairy-free chocolate, then you can make this recipe with milk chocolate chips and omit the sweetener. These chocolates are loaded with creamy peanut butter and have a sprinkle of salt on them to bring out the amazing taste of chocolate.

 Get the delicious chocolate recipe here! 

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