Product Spotlight: Little Passports

Help your little explorer learn fun facts about the United States and other countries with Little Passports’ Explorer Kits for Kids!

Choose from Early Explorers (for ages 3-5), World Edition (ages 6-10), and USA Edition kits (ages 7-12). The first month you will receive an introductory kit complete with everything your child needs to get started with the program (based on which one you choose). For the USA introductory kit, customers will receive a USA Field Guide, Scratch Book, a wall-sized USA map, a welcome letter, and a disposable camera.

Subsequent kits in the USA Edition include information about the two states featured each month. Enjoy a 32-page activity journal, stickers and postcards, pop-out models, and access to more information and activities online.

You can win The Discovery kit AND one State Adventure kit from the USA Edition on our Facebook page!

 

 

Lazy Summer Afternoons

We have to be honest— after an amazing weekend on the mountain, our minds and hearts are still in Floyd. Whether you are missing FloydFest like us or you just need a little relaxation and reprieve from Monday, here are a few great products to enjoy from the comfort of your hammock:

berry_cupRecharge your body with a nutritious smoothie as you relax. Daily Harvest’s ready-to-blend ingredient packs work with any blender. Add water or milk and enjoy the beauty of no prepping, no mess, and no leftovers! Also, because they are frozen, you won’t need to add any ice and can enjoy their blends whenever you want. These ingredient packs are also free from sweeteners or preservatives— so you can be sure you are putting only the best nutrients into your body. Visit their website, www.daily-harvest.com, to choose a few blends and start a subscription today.

Protect your skin with Vi Derm SPF 50+ Sun Protection. It provides broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection with 10% Zinc Oxide and 7.5% Octioxate, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Pueraria Lobata Root extract and Chamomille to soothe your skin. The included Green Tea extract protects from UV damage and inflammation. This lightweight formula dries weightless on the skin. For more information, go to www.vipeel.com.

51mlX8WegtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Take a trip back in time with Behind Every Great Man: The Forgotten Women Behind the World’s Famous and Infamous by Marlene Wagman-Geller. This book tells the remarkable stories of forty captivating females who stood behind their legendary partners, often at the cost of their own careers, reputations, and happiness. The untold stories include spouses of Alfred Hitchcock, Salvador Dali, Nelson Mandela, Ian Fleming, Bernie Madoff and more. Through fame and its attendant ills— alcoholism, infidelity, mental illness, divorce, and even attempted murder— these powerful women quietly propelled their men to the top and changed the course of history.

And, if you’d rather spend your afternoon listening to music while reading— check out some of our favorite bands from the weekend:
Annabelle’s Curse
First Aid Kit
Skribe
Chamomile and Whiskey

So relax and enjoy your summer afternoon– we won’t judge you if you pretend you are on the mountain too!

It’s OK to Be Bitter

Summer and cocktails go hand in hand. Whether you are relaxing at home or enjoying an evening on the town with your friends, you are doing yourself a great disservice if you are drinking classic cocktails like the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned without bitters.
We are still experimenting to determine our favorite brand, but we do have a couple that we prefer so far:

The first is Bittermilk. Founded by husband and wife team Joe and MariElena Raya, it is a line of cocktail mixers made for cocktail enthusiasts by bartenders with real ingredients. Our personal favorite is Bittermilk No. 2, Tom Collins with Elderflowers & Hops. The bright and refreshing taste feels perfect for a relaxing by the pool on a Saturday afternoon. They are crafted and bottled by human hands in Charleston, South Carolina. You can purchase them online at www.bittermilk.com.
cgjuly1
We also love Crude Bitters. Don’t be fooled by the name— it is a reference to the rudimentary origins of bitters that included exotic roots, herbs, and spices aged in various liquids with beneficial (and unverified) claims attached to them.

In truth, they are very careful to make sure their methods are not crude and that their ingredients are all natural. Their selection, preparation, maceration, bottling and labeling is done by hand in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our personal favorite selection from Crude Bitters is “Sycophant” Bitters. This flavor starts as a sweet, citrus taste and finishes with earth tones and vanilla bean. It pairs well with gin or bourbon. For more information on purchasing Crude Bitters and trying them out for yourself, visit www.crudebitters.com.

Pick up our July issue (while you still can!) for more information on the history and uses of bitters. Visit our Facebook page to win samples of a variety of bitters from the above mentioned companies! Good luck!

Product Spotlight: D’s Naturals Protein Bars

Daniel Katz of Blue Ash, Ohio is creating quite a stir in the organic food industry. At just 18 years old, Katz has created a company called D’s Naturals that, in his words, “redefines the word natural.” They use only healthy ingredients so customers can believe in what they eat and feel good about the choices they make.

His unique version of the standard protein bar, the “No Cow Bar,” contains natural, plant-based foods and leaves out harmful ingredients. Choose from three flavors: Blueberry Cobbler, Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie.

2032092_setHe has also created a delicious treat called Fluffbutter. This comes in two flavors including Chocolate Fudge Cake Batter and Vanilla Maple.
There are many ways to enjoy Fluffbutter– including melting it into fondue.

These items are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and vegan-friendly. Visit Katz’ website to celebrate his accomplishments and try his products!

 

Written by Lani Maddox

7th Annual Touch-A-Truck!

Is your little one obsessed with the idea of driving a tractor trailer, operating a bucket truck, or riding in a race car? If so, you don’t want to miss the seventh annual Touch-a-Truck event on Saturday, July 25!

UnknownFrom 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., come out to see these vehicles and more at Roanoke County’s Green Hill Park. Kids of all ages can climb, touch, and explore many unique vehicles that are not always accessible to the public. This FREE event is open for kids and adults to sit in, touch, and learn about vehicles they usually don’t have the opportunity to be up close and personal with.

Touch-a-Truck has popular vehicles from the previous six events, accompanied by new participants. Interstate Battery will showcase their battery route truck and race car. VDOT, who has attended Touch-a-Truck in the past, will have their snow fighter for the first time.

super duty

The DMV 2 Go van is also a new addition to Touch-a-Truck. DMV staff will help citizens renew their ID card, purchase hunting and fishing licenses, apply for or renew their driver’s license and more! Additionally, the Blue Ridge Soaring Society will be in attendance with their sailplane glider.

Vehicle drivers and operators will be on hand to educate the public and answer any questions about their vehicles. Favorite activities from past events will return this year, including Firemen’s Foam, petting zoo, food vendors, and a magician along with other special attractions! This year’s event will also include not one, but two hay rides! Parental supervision and participation is essential and cameras are highly recommended.

Vehicles vary from small bobcats to large monster trucks. As well as airplanes, helicopters and boats for the public to explore.

Enjoy a day filled with adventures, new opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime. For more information visit www.RoanokeCountyParks.com.

Product Spotlight: Eos Chocolates

Catherine von Ruden, the creator of Eos Chocolates, integrates her passion for all things sweet into her chocolate creations. She grew up in Switzerland and developed an interest in Greek Mythology. This interest inspired Catherine to name her company Eos, after the Goddess of Dawn, which is fitting because the product is meant to satisfy chocolate lovers bite-by-bite. She describes her brand as “guiltless pleasure,” which sets her apart from the rest, since dark chocolate is typically the only type of chocolate consumers consider to be healthy.

IMG_1011_B_CROP_largeEos Chocolates represent four different lines of indulgence, including Chocolate Spreads ($11.5), Energy Bars ($2.5), Nibbles ($8), and their signature piece Eos Chocolate Man ($7-10). Each is fair-trade, organic or contains sustainably farmed ingredients.

Nibbles and spreads are made of 70% cocoa to ensure the perfect amount of sweetness while leaving out the unneeded sugar, which leaves you UN-satisfied post indulgence. Energy bars are sweetened with honey and coconut sugar, and also contain organic rolled oats, 100% cocoa nibs, and hemp seeds, which is not only good, but also good for you! As far as the Chocolate Man goes, he comes in dark, milk, and white; and also, he can be enjoyed solid, filled with fruit or creamy ganache. Yum!

Visit www.eoschocolates.com for more information on Catherine and her delightful creations!

Written by Lani Maddox

Calling All Makeup Gurus!

Hi Bella girls! As you know, makeup is quite pricy but you’ve got to have it. When I find that I’m running low, I just hope that I don’t run out of more than one product at a time.

That’s where ColourPop comes to the rescue. A unique cosmetic line, the company was born and raised in LA, the City of Angels where fashion is everything! They specialize in fancy, yet affordable makeup that provides a quality formula that looks great without breaking the bank.
jamie-greenburg-kit

After checking out what their entire site had to offer, I chose the In Bloom box that runs for about $39. If you know makeup then you know Jamie Greenburg, and the box she has put together is awesome! Inside it includes three shades of Super Shock Cheek (blush!) that comes in Double Dip, Hysterical, and Tongue Tied. She provides tips and tricks on how to achieve the best look, including mixing and application. Also enclosed are three Lippie Stix that come in creamy colors like Frenemie, Freshman, and Sweet Thing, which range from a matte finish to a hyper glossy finish.

The founders at ColourPop are really interested in feedback from their customers, and they welcome ideas for shades! They stay on top of the game, skimming YouTube and even the booming fashion industry, to provide the best looks to people like you and me.
Be sure to check out their website if you are interested in the box that I selected! Also, if you are looking for tips and tricks to perfect your look, I recommend checking out Jamie’s Facebook page. Have fun!

Written by Lani Maddox

Be Water Smart This Summer!

US Swim School Association Helps Parents Detect If Their Kids Are Water Smart

Guidelines to evaluate if kids know basic water safety skills to stay safe at the pool, in open water.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to research by the United States Swim School Association, between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2014 there were at least 511 media reported drowning incidents involving a child under the age of 18 in the United States. Of these incidents, a little more than half occurred in a swimming pool and about 45 percent involved children ages 5 and under. The tragedy of these statistics is nearly all drowning deaths are preventable.

Parents need to be aware of their children¹s swimming capabilities as well as their knowledge of how to be safe around water before summer beach and pool season arrives. Water wings and other floatation devices are no substitute and should not be relied on to keep kids who don¹t know how to swim safe.

Kids at Pool WallTo help parents determine if their children are knowledgeable of basic water safety skills, USSSA has created a basic safety guideline parents can use to evaluate their children’s water safety skills. USSSA also reminds parents that enrolling their children in year-round swimming lessons is one of the first defenses in drowning prevention. Even if children can complete the following tasks, year-round lessons can help children maintain their swimming skills and build strength.

  • Flip and Float. Any time a child enters a body of water unexpectedly, he or she should know to first reach the surface then flip onto his or her back and float until help arrives.
  • Find the Side. If your child accidentally falls into a pool he or she should know how to swim to the side, and either pull themselves out of the water or move along the wall to the stairs where they can safely exit.
  • Do a Clothes Test. Children might be successful swimmers in their goggles and swimsuit but if you have a backyard pool there could be a situation where your child falls into the pool fully clothed. To help your children know how to react and judge their skill level in a situation like this effectively, under your supervision, have them jump into the pool with clothes on and swim to the side.
  • Throw, Don’t Go. When asked what they would do if a friend or sibling is struggling in the water, children should know to not enter the water. Instead, they should look for a device that can reach into the water such as a pool noodle, a foam ring or even a large stick the struggling person can grab and hold onto while being pulled to safety.
  • Take a lap. If you have a backyard pool it is a good idea to test your child at the end of the summer to make sure your child can swim a full lap of the pool. This will inform you if your child can swim far enough to reach the side or a step to exit the pool no matter where he or she falls in. Baby in Pool

For more information on USSSA, details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization, or to find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, visit: http://www.usswimschools.org

About US Swim School Association

US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org