Trader Joe’s Beauty Products; Better for Your Health?

      A couple of years ago I came to realize that most soaps, lotions, and other beauty products sold in stores today contain a lot of worrisome ingredients. Seeing lists of common ingredients and what the chemicals in them can do to your health made me want to look for safer alternatives. Since Trader Joe’s sells a lot of affordable, natural products, I wanted to take a closer look at the ingredients in their soaps and lotions. In this post I will review some of these products, list their ingredients, and highlight those that might be of concern. There may also be other harmful ingredients that are not familiar to me, but at least I will show you some of the big ones.  There are few regulations regarding what can be added to personal care products, so I have learned to check ingredient lists, even on “all natural” or organic products, which can sometimes be far from natural or safe! Pure Haven Essentials (former Ava Anderson Non Toxic) has a convenient list of chemicals to avoid that I also have seen listed on multiple other reputable websites.  I used to have a link to their list, but after they changed their website I can no longer find it. However, here’s the same list written down by another blogger, for you check out.   Need more information? Some links to helpful articles and websites: This article from Huffington Post explains the concern really well and includes several excellent links to more information, studies etc. And here’s another great article […] Read more »

Cedar Point Amusement Park, Roller Coaster Reviews

    Reviews, Cedar Point In this post I will review some of the roller coasters and other rides I’ve been on at the amusement park Cedar Point, Ohio. The first time I visited Cedar Point was in 1991. Magnum was the huge, thrilling new ride that attracted people from afar, mainly because of its huge first drop. Well, a lot has changed since then. Magnum is still a big attraction at Cedar Point, but a lot more rides have been added since then. I have never been a frequent visitor, mostly because I’ve been too busy being a mom. But now that my kids are teenagers, I have been able to go again a couple of times in the last few years. When reading my comments on each ride, just keep in mind that I like huge coasters and it takes a bit to give me a thrill. So if your family is rather reluctant of big rides, know where I’m coming from; if I say it’s not scary, it may be scary for someone else! I mainly go on the big rides, as I find the smaller ones mostly annoying. So I won’t comment on those. Rides and Roller Coasters Gate Keeper: This is a newer roller coaster located at the very entrance of the park. Made from steel, an extremely smooth ride, no jerking. Very comfortable. Some find this a scary and thrilling ride, while I really […] Read more »

Juicers: Comparing Breville to Hamilton Beach

    Juicing is an excellent way to help add more nutrition to our diets. A while back my husband and I decided to purchase a juicer using a centrifugal system, extracting juice from produce while separating the pulp, to make a thin juice full of vitamins and minerals. We tried two different extractor juicers: Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor 67650, $49 at Amazon, and Breville Juice Fountain Plus JE98XL, $145.38 at Amazon. These are the best prices we have found of the two machines. In this post I will compare these two juicers to each other, and conclude whether we thought it was worth the extra money to get the Breville rather than Hamilton Beach. Breville versus Hamilton Beach juicers: Which one is better? Cost: Cost wise, the Breville machine is more expensive by about $100, so we were expecting much better results as well. The results of testing both machines side by side, however, had us surprised! We found the best prices of either machine at Amazon. Sometimes items can be found cheaper on e-Bay, but my experience is that their new items often go for full price, especially if you add shipping. It can be worth looking into, though. Design: The Breville machine is beautiful, with a sleek and expensive look to it. It comes in an attractive box, even! It is taller and wider than Hamilton Beach, requiring a bit more storage space. At the […] Read more »

Which is Better; Blendtec or Vitamix? Why We Chose Blendtec

  Recently I blogged about using a powerful blender to make whole juices (“Making Whole Juice: Vegetables, Fruits, Berries. Recipes“), and comparing blenders like Blendtec, to the extractor juicers Hamilton Beach and Breville (“Juicing: Comparing Blenders to Extractors.”) In my post “Juicers: Comparing Breville to Hamilton Beach,” I  do a comparison of these two extractor juicers. But first I’d like to point out, regarding our decision to purchase a new blender, why Blendtec was the winner for our household. Our old blender could not keep up with crushing ice or other hard items, so we knew we needed something far more powerful. Blendtec and Vitamix seem very similar to me, though Blendtec has a couple of additional features that we love, and has proven itself more than capable of meeting our needs. Both machines are great options for making whole juices, smoothies, and other foods such as hot soup or ice cream (OK, I don’t know for a fact that you can use a Vitamix to make ice cream, but it seems like you could. You can in the Blendtec.) My husband actually purchased our Blendtec as a surprise, and I couldn’t be happier with his choice!! (And no, this is NOT meant to be an advertisement, and I don’t get as much as a penny for writing this blog entry. I simply love my blender, that’s all.) The best price I have found of the model we own of […] Read more »

Juicing: Comparing Blenders to Extractors

  After watching the online documentary movie “Hungry For Change“, we decided to start juicing. We figured juicing would be an easy and convenient way to add more nutrition to our family’s diet. Originally we started juicing by using an extractor juicer. Later we went over to a high performance Blendtec blender instead of the extractor juicer, and have found this to be a much better fit for our family. In my previous post, Making Whole Juice: Vegetables, Fruits, Berries, Recipes, I showed how to use a powerful blender to make whole juices or smoothies from fruits, veggies, berries, and more, and how you can easily come up with your own recipes, or make the drinks different every time by using whatever you have on hand. We tried two different models of juicers: Breville and Hamilton Beach. In my post Juicers: Comparing Breville to Hamilton Beach , I write about our experience with these two juicers. And in my post Which is Better; Blendtec or Vitamix? Why We Chose Blendtec ,” I compare the two popular and powerful blenders Blendtec, and Vitamix. In this post, I will compare our experiences with extractor juicers to our blender, and explain why we prefer our Blendtec blender over extractors. On the bottom of this post, you will also find the results of an experiment I did to compare the machines side by side, making juice of carrots and apples. Here’s my Blendtec, an […] Read more »

Front Loading Washing Machines, Pros & Cons

    Growing up in Norway, front loading washing machines were extremely common. In fact, to my knowledge, they were the only machines available in our area at the time, and I believe them to be the norm in several other European countries even today. These front loaders would usually take an hour or more to complete a cycle, and the water was heated by electricity. You could heat the water as high as 90 degrees C (194 F), which is 10 degrees C away from boiling (212 F). When I moved to the United States, I was surprised to find that not only could the water not be heated as high, but the cycles were typically done in a half hour. For me, that just doesn’t cut it for certain loads, like bedding or underwear. When my husband and I moved to a new house and had to purchase a new washer, we decided to get a front loader. The reasons behind this decision was past experience, and information we found through research. The pros we found with front loaders, were: Front loaders often have the option of much longer cycles than top loaders, which can help significantly in getting a load clean. They clean better as a result of the position and design of the drum. The drum sits in a vertical position rather than horizontal, so clothing spins and drops down into the water as they reach […] Read more »