Not Your Average Hand Soap

Not Your Average Hand Soap

You’ve seen one hand soap, you’ve seen them all. Well, not really. Not when you use CannedGood hand soap. I have never seen a hand soap like this before. I was gifted a can of CannedGood soap to try and I was very impressed with the lengths that two people with a passion took to make a fast moving consumer goods product with the most recyclable material on earth.

CannedGood soap comes in a unique soda-can style packaging, not because it aims to look cool–which it does–but because it uses a smarter alternative to plastic bottles and pumps. Based in Indianapolis, the husband and wife team who created CannedGood worked hard to create a hand soap that is not only good for you, but good for the planet.

Source: CannedGood website, http://www.cannedgoodsoap.com

From top to bottom and inside and out, this hand soap is environmentally friendly. The soap is all natural, uses organic essential oils for its scents, has shea butter to keep hands soft, and is completely biodegradable. The soap dispenser is highly creative–it uses a familiar aluminum soda can-style container so that it can be infinitely recycled.

A piece of aluminum, I learned, can be turned into a product and then melted down to become something else an unlimited number of times. Every can of soap sold is one more single-use plastic bottle that doesn’t have to hit our landfills and oceans. To make the can attractive, the packaging features artist designed labels in various designs and colors. The plastic pump and lid that attach to the can are reusable. You keep it and replace the can with a new one when you run out. The lid is made of biodegradable natural rubber.

CannedGood hand soap container and pump before they are put together

The can opens up like a soda can but in a much more smooth manner. The pump and lid come assembled. You place it over the can until it feels secure. Initially, I felt like it was not secure. I thought it was just sitting on top of the can. But it was actually sitting securely on the can. I have been using it for nearly two weeks and I have never felt like the pump and lid have wanted to slide off. So, it feels pretty secure.

I received the Garden scent, which I picked from the three scents that they offer on their website. The Garden scent is made with lavender, rosemary, peppermint and patchouli essential oils. I love the relaxing scent of lavender, so it was a win for me.

I also did not anticipate to learn so much about the aluminum recycling life along the way. If you want to learn more about this waste-reducing soap, check them out at www.cannedgoodsoap.com.

Mezcal Makes for Smoky Mango Margaritas

Mezcal Makes for Smoky Mango Margaritas
Smoky Mango Mezcal Margarita

We all know mango margaritas are delicious, but have you tried a smoky mango mezcal margarita? If you haven’t, you are missing out! Mezcal has a unique smoky taste to it that balances the sweetness of the mango. So, swap the tequila and give mezcal a try.

What is Mezcal? Mezcal is a Mexican distilled alcoholic spirit made from the agave plant. Tequila is made from a single type of agave plant – the agave tequilana (blue agave). Mezcal is also the national spirit of Mexico.

Of course, being a busy, working toddler mom, I always look for recipes that are easy to make and look very tasty. I never compromise taste! I also look for cocktails with ingredients that I already have at home.

We had recently bought some mangoes, which gave me the idea to make a mango cocktail. I have had plenty of very delicious mango margaritas, therefore, I wanted to try something different.

I searched the over 1,300 cocktails in my “It’s Cocktail Hour” Pinterest board and found the perfect one to try–the Smoky Mango Mezcal Margarita by Plays Well with Butter! It was so easy to make and pretty darn good!

The ingredients I used to make the Smoky Mango Mezcal Margarita: Sombra mezcal, Du Bouchett triple sec, mango, lime and Tajin

Below is the list of four ingredients and instructions taken directly from the Plays Well with Butter website.

I prepared it slightly different only because I did not have the mango juice. I peeled and blended one, which was enough for two drinks. That was a lot more work so I plan on buying some mango juice the next time. Also , I don’t have Hawaiian salt so I used my favorite beverage rimer, Tajin! I am obsessed with it and I’ve had mango margaritas rimmed with it so I knew it would be perfect for it.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz Mango
  • 2 oz Lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 oz Triple sec
  • 1 1/2 ounces mezcal

Instructions

Throw some mezcal, mango juice, freshly squeezed lime & triple sec into a cocktail shaker, shake it and your smoky mango mezcal margarita is ready to be enjoyed!

I really enjoyed this cocktail. I am definitely making it again with purchased mango juice. Below is what I loved about this cocktail.

  • The smoky taste of mezcal
  • My favorite fruit is mango, so this cocktail was already destined to win
  • It was easy to prepare

If you want a new take on the mango margarita, give this one a try!

Helpsters Help Your Kids Adjust to the New Normal

Helpsters Help Your Kids Adjust to the New Normal

We are nearing two months since the stay at home order began in Illinois. But just as we are beginning to adapt to being at home, we must now prepare to slowly get out there. Except we will be heading back wearing masks, armed with hand sanitizer, keeping a distance from others, and, if necessary, wearing gloves. For children, it can be scary to step into this new environment.

When I learned about the new series, Helpsters Help You, which is created by the makers of Sesame Street, I was thrilled because the concept is brilliant and it is FREE for all families! Helpsters Help You is an Apple TV+ series of shorts that focuses on helping children solve problems and make plans when facing a challenge. It provides timely messages and activities for kids to assist them in the process of adjusting to a new normal–a time when they can no longer hug people, play with kids or go to places they used to enjoy.

Helpsters Help You offers newly created content that is aimed at positively impacting your child’s life in this new environment, while entertaining your child with a friendly and familiar gang of Sesame Street-style puppets. The series is available on both Apple TV+ and Apple TV, the latter which is available FREE! You can also download the episodes to your device to watch offline. So, if you are looking for something new to do with your kids, help is on the way palsies! 

What is Helpsters Help You About?

Helpsters Help You stars a team of vibrant monsters, the Helpsters, who love to help anyone with a problem. Each week, Cody, a monster, brings positivity, ingenuity and creativity to all her friends who are at home. Cody and the Helpsters share creative ideas for what to do when life doesn’t go as expected.

The series comes with a fun, engaging, Helpsters Help You activity book that you can download to give your kids additional ways they can help at home. The activity book has 35 pages of creative and fun activities for kids of various ages. I downloaded the coloring sheets because my two-year old son loves to color.

Some of the coloring pages from the activity book that my son colored

What Are the Episodes About?

My two-year old son and I watched the four free short episodes available right now on Apple TV. The episodes range from one to three minutes each, making them easy to watch. For the younger kids, like my son, the short length–as well as the friendly and familiar Sesame Street-style puppets, helped to keep him interested the entire time.

My son watching an episode of Helpsters Help You

Below are the free episodes we watched and the messages I took from each. The last one is a new episode that was just made available!

  • When Plans Change – Cody shares that a change in plans can easily be addressed by making new plans. If you can’t see your favorite tree because the park is closed, you can see the tree by using your imagination and making it with paper!
  • How to Be a Helpster – Monsters like to help people who need help. This episode helps children learn that they can also be contributors by doing things such as putting away clothes, cheering someone up, playing by themselves when someone needs alone time, or just asking someone how they can help.
  • Scavenger Hunt – Just because you can’t physically see and play with your friends does not mean that you can’t still play with them. Cody shares that you can still play with your friends via video chat by playing a scavenger hunt with her friend.
  • New! Bright Smiles & Hand Waves – Cody shares how she loves to give high fives and handshakes, but you can’t anymore if you are close. She shares that there is a new way to do the same by instead giving bright smiles and hand waves.

Share the Fun

Try out the activities with your family and share a photo/video of the fun on social media using the hashtag #HelpstersHelpYou. Below are various ways of sharing your kids fun with Helpsters Help You.

Overview of Helpsters Fun

As a mom, I am delighted to be a Helpster myself by helping to spread the word about this timely and much-needed resource for kids during this pandemic.

Don’t Waste Time Googling Everything, Take The LadyBossBlogger Course Instead

Don’t Waste Time Googling Everything, Take The LadyBossBlogger Course Instead

I love to write. In fact, I have been doing it for a living for several years. From writing copy for marketing materials and newsletters, grant proposals, social media, to writing speeches—I love everything having to do with writing. This is what drew me to creating this blog, but it was after several years of thinking about it.

Why did it take me so long? I always thought that it would be a lot of work and I would have to learn so many new things. I was right. It is a whole different world with a different language. Once I started, I realized that I needed to learn the basics, such as setting up a website and learning how to blog in it. What I did not realize is that the other half is developing strategies to gain followers and traffic. I did not know where to start to do that. So, I was (gasp!) winging it.

What is LadyBossBlogger?

Navigating the blogging world has been daunting. Add to that, trying to build it so that you can monetize it, and it becomes even more complex. So when I learned about LadyBossBlogger’s “Start a Money Making Blog” course, I knew right away that I wanted, and needed, to take it!

I am halfway through the course and I am already blown away by all the information that I had been trying to figure out throughout my blogging journey. The course is jam-packed—it is filled with the basics to get a blog started to strategies to get more followers, monthly blog views, and position yourself to attract brands for potential partnerships.

Who wrote the course?

The course is very detailed and offers a step-by-step blogging guide by blogging guru Elaine Rau. Elaine is an experienced and highly successful blogger. She started a successful blog for female entrepreneurs, acquiring over 200,000 followers in under three years! 

She then decided to use her skills to create this and other courses to help teach people how to make money online as influencers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. So I am learning from a pro!

What I really like about the course is that it is structured as if Elaine is with you every step of the way. It is as if she knows what you are thinking when you reach a certain topic. The course begins with an overview of blogging—finding your audience and niche. 

Elaine shares the various ways and the apps you can use to balance your day job and blogging if you plan to do both. She also talks about setting up your WordPress website, setting up an email strategy, and using social media platforms to draw traffic to your website.

What I Have Learned

  • It is important to find a niche so that your blog content is not all over the place. Being unfocused can drive away readers, who may not return.
  • Make sure you own your domain. If you don’t, someone can claim it and you will not be able to use it after that. This nightmare can be further compounded if you have social media handles with that same name.
  • Having an email list is the only way to control what your followers see from you. You don’t have to rely on social media to determine when they should hear from you.
  • Get your social media handles set up correctly so that they can drive traffic back to your blog.
  • Pinterest is not a social media platform; it is a social engine! It is a phenomenal way to drive traffic to your blog.
  • The ABCs of blogging. Elaine covers the terms you will need to know in the blogging world. It is like learning a new language and you need to know it to succeed as a blogger. For example, blogosphere, click-through rate, gravatar, permalink, pingback, plugin, just to name a few.
  • Setting up the backend of your WordPress account is a lot more than picking a theme and colors. You need to set it up so that your site is optimized correctly.
  • There are five legal pages your blog needs. For example, if you plan on doing affiliate marketing, you need to disclose it.
  • There are 10 WordPress plugins you need. There are so many out there to pick from. Again, Elaine Rau narrows it down for you.

I am looking forward to implementing what I have learned so far so that I can start focusing on blogging. I am also excited to continue through the second half of the course. Stay tuned for my post in two weeks where I will share what else I learned and what I have implemented.

Don’t waste time googling everything. Don’t wing it either. Take the course and start blogging the right way today!

Promo Code

If you are interested, use my promo code NANCYGRAH to get 40% off the “Start a Money Making Blog” course or any course of your choice!

Giveaway

This course has greatly helped me as a blogger, and I want my readers to have the opportunity to take this course. I have partnered with LadyBossBlogger to win a course of YOUR choice. Go to my Instagram and follow the rules to enter:

The giveaway ends Monday, May 31st.

More LadyBossBlogger Resources:

Working from Home with a Toddler: A Battle for Attention

Working from Home with a Toddler: A Battle for Attention
My son scribbles on my notepad while I am on a work conference call.

If there is one positive thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it’s more time with family. With the shelter in place order, everyone has to stay home–forcing more family time and home activities. For those who can work from home, like me, they are able to do so while caring for any kids they have. It is an unusual time when you can work from home while caring for your child.

I was excited to have more time with my son, as he was going to daycare before the COVID pandemic. But to say that working from home and caring for my son during the stay-at-home order has been a challenge for me is a huge understatement. I adore my son to pieces, and, actually, wanted to be a stay at home mom when he was born so that I could enjoy every part of his life. But since we need both incomes, working was the best option—even if we need to pay a hefty amount for daycare.

It is often the perception that working from home with your kids is the ideal scenario. It kind of is, but it depends how old the child is and how needy the child is as well. So how does someone manage to work a full day when there is a toddler doing everything in his power to get your attention, which impedes you from doing any work?

One of the many activities that I engage my son in during my work time.

In my case, I spend most of my workday having to play with my son, because he is not the type of child who plays on his own. My son is very social–at daycare and everywhere we goes. I also have to prepare his food and feed him a few times throughout the day, spend time trying to convince him that I need to change his diaper, and time to put him down for his nap. Sometimes he sleeps right away, sometimes it takes an hour.

I also have to watch him like a hawk to make sure that he does not hurt himself, eat Play Doh, put a paint brush in his mouth, and the list goes on. When I have conference calls, it is usually chaotic. Sometimes the person I am talking to has no idea—other times I just can’t hide it. I get multiple interruptions–taking my pen, pulling my earplugs, asking for more food, more milk, my attention, requesting to play with me…the list goes on. You don’t fight it because you won’t win.

I end my “work day” mentally and sometimes physically exhausted from trying to juggle working and being a parent. I have to wait until my husband gets home from work so that I can get to work–pulling in a lot of late nights and waking up with very little sleep. It is a vicious cycle. I start the week looking forward to Friday so that I can get a break.

I don’t blame my son. He is just being a kid. It is just an inconvenient situation that we have to get through so that we can help flatten the curve. Truly, we are blessed to have such a happy and outgoing little boy and to be able to be home safely with him.

I am without a doubt treasuring our time together. It is just a time with very little sleep.

Honeydews Make For Refreshing Margaritas

Honeydews Make For Refreshing Margaritas
Honeydew Margarita

When life hands you honeydew melons, you make honeydew margaritas.

For several years I have pinned over 1,000 pins in my “It’s Cocktail Hour” Pinterest board. Every time I pin a delicious cocktail, I wish I could make it because they all look so tasty! Therefore, I have decided to start making some of those delicious cocktails and see if they are just as tasty as they look.

The first cocktail I decided to try is the Fresh Honeydew Margarita cocktail that I pinned from Cookie and Kate. The ingredients needed for this cocktail are: honeydew melon, limes, agave nectar, and agave silver or blanco tequila. Kosher salt and hot sauce were also on the list if you wanted to rim your glass. I chose to use lime juice and Tajin to rim my glass because, well, I love Tajin!

Ingredients for the Honeydew Melon Margarita.

Follow my “It’s Cocktail Hour” board on Pinterest to get inspiration for your next cocktail!

The result was a very delicious and refreshing margarita. It was also easy to make since the honeydew blended easily. Because my husband can’t drink cocktails that are too acidic, I made his margarita with half the lime juice. That version was also very tasty! More sweet than sour.
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Below is the recipe copied from the Cookie and Kate website.

INGREDIENTS

Honeydew juice

  • 1 honeydew melon

Salted rims

  • 3 parts kosher salt
  • 1 part ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
  • Lime wedges

Ingredients per margarita

  • 2 ounces fresh honeydew juice
  • 1 ½ ounces tequila, preferably 100% agave silver or blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Entirely optional: ½ teaspoon agave nectar or simple syrup, more to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the honeydew juice: Use a chef’s knife to slice the melon in half. Use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds, then discard them. Use the spoon to scoop pieces of melon into the blender. Put on the lid of your blender and blend until there are no remaining bits of melon. Do not overfill your blender! Work in batches if necessary.
  2. Prepare your margarita glasses: On a small, rimmed plate, mix together the salt and chili powder. Run a wedge of lime around the top of each glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt blend at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes to your glass and set it aside.
  3. To make margaritas (feel free to make multiple margaritas at once): Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the honeydew juice, tequila and lime juice.
  4. Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds. Taste and add sweetener if desired (mine didn’t need any). Strain the liquid into your prepared glass(es).