Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Caring Causes: Name Bubbles & Miracle Foundation Partner to Provide a Year of Education for Orphaned Children, the largest personalized name label manufacturer in the U.S. – specializing in waterproof press-and-stick labels to help busy families keep track of belongings – announces its second year of partnership with the Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering orphans to reach their full potential. This back-to-school season, Name Bubbles will donate $1 of every one of its School Labels Pack sold to the Miracle Foundation. Through this commitment, Name Bubbles and Miracle Foundation hope to raise $10,000 – enough to provide funding for a year of education for 50 orphans in India.
While some parents have started to prepare their families for another successful school year, some children are not nearly as fortunate. Books, school supplies, backpacks, a healthy lunch, and a good education (things we tend to take for granted) are not always a guarantee for children, particularly in the developing world. Indeed, there are over 132 million orphans in the world, many living in institutional orphanages with deplorable conditions where their most basic needs are not met. As part of Name Bubbles' core value, to promote a sense of giving, for the second year in a row the company will be spreading awareness and raising funds during the back-to-school season to support Miracle Foundation and their good work.
Now through September 22, 2017 one dollar of every school-related product sold on will be donated to Miracle Foundation to cover the cost of educators, afterschool tutors, school supplies, career counseling and any other item an orphanage may need to provide education for an entire school year.
"It has been such a joy to partner with Miracle Foundation over the last year; I am a true believer in the good work they do and the difference they’re making in the lives of the children they care for," says Founder and President of Name Bubbles, Michelle Brandriss. "Every child deserves to reach their full potential and to be loved.  This organization is truly making a difference, and I am so happy we are able to extend our partnership into a second year to help support their mission.”
Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings life-changing care to the world's orphans, uses the United Nations Rights of the Child as the foundation for the guidelines and standard of care they provide to orphans around the world. With a strong focus in India, Miracle Foundation has nurtured and educated thousands of orphans and funded more than 150 college scholarships in 2016 alone. With the help of Name Bubbles customers, we hope to ensure 50 vulnerable children have access to a quality education in the upcoming year.
We ask our customers to shop consciously this back-to-school season and help Name Bubbles and Miracle Foundation give the gift of education to those who need it most.

About Name Bubbles
Name Bubbles is a leading waterproof name label manufacturer and e-commerce website, located in upstate New York. Awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration Excellence in Small Business, the Parent Tested, Parent Approved seal of approval, and gold medal winner of the Mom's Choice Award, the company produces durable dishwasher and laundry safe press-and-stick name labels to help busy families keep track of belongings.
Custom name label packs are available online and can be purchased directly at

About Miracle Foundation
Miracle Foundation is a nonprofit organization that brings life-changing care to the world's orphans.
Our mission is simple. We stand for orphaned children and help them thrive in real time. We’ve created a measurable, repeatable and systematic method to ensure that orphans are educated, fed, loved and safe. At the same time, we explore every avenue to reunite them with their parents or relatives, when possible. Our method:
  • Ensures organizations meet the Rights of the Child and rise to international standards
  • Guides leaders to resettle children with a caring, responsible relative or family—and help them stay together
  • Transitions orphanages into Centers for Excellence where children thrive instead of reside
Our goal is for every child to live in a loving family; to become a healthy, happy, income-producing person—and experience a true sense of belonging.
Miracle Foundation has been honored with the highest possible rating of four stars by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the effectiveness and financial transparency of US charities:

Healthy Habits: The latest news on concussions may help you recover faster

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD (Proactive Health Labs)   
Whether you are a concerned parent or family member of a football player, someone who has had a concussion or just someone who wants to be more informed, this blog will help you know more than most about concussions and how symptoms can be addressed.
You may have seen or heard about the movie Concussion, a biographical movie about a doctor who studied and raised awareness about football-related head trauma. While performing an autopsy on a retired pro football player, Dr. Bennet Omalu, played by Will Smith, discovered neurological deterioration similar to Alzheimer’s – red flag. He called the condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy and published a paper in a medical journal about it. But as he saw more football players receiving the diagnosis, he had to speak up.
Since the movie, concussions have been somewhat of a popular and controversial topic for sports fans. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, it’s certain that a better understanding of the issue will only help.
Know the basics about concussions
There are about 10 million head injuries per year in the United States, and about 20 percent are serious enough to cause brain damage, according to Harrison’s Internal Medicine, 2012. One type of head injury is a concussion – a form of minor traumatic brain injury. Concussion can be defined as any experience with forgetfulness or feeling stunned after trauma to the head. It sometimes causes a person to lose consciousness. Other times, the person is simply dazed and confused. 
What causes a concussion?
During the impact, your brain – which is surrounded by cushioning fluid and membranes – hits the inside of your skull, causing bruising of the brain.
What’s the damage like after a concussion?
Most single, uncomplicated concussions do not produce any residual symptoms, but nevertheless, there may be chemical and structural changes in the brain, and sometimes symptoms do persist. These may include poor concentration, memory issues, irritability, depression, anxiety, dizziness and sensitivity to light and sound.
PET imaging scans may be used to detect who will have more long-term, ongoing symptoms. Biomarkers in the blood are currently being studied to predict which concussion victims will develop persistent post-concussion symptoms persistently.
What is recovery like?
After a concussion, your doctor will likely recommend you take a break from all activities. This means no sports, no school and no work. Patients are typically advised to slowly return to activities with a few hours of reading, for example, and walking instead of running for sports. If tolerated, daily hourly increments of increased activity can be tried until full activity is reached.
However, there is some new research that may challenge the status quo. A recent study published in the journal JAMA compared concussion symptoms among 5 to 18-year-olds who either participated in physical activity within a week of the concussion or rested. They found that the active ones were less likely to have persistent postconcussive symptoms at 28 days -- in fact, just 28.7 percent had symptoms, compared to 40.1 percent of those who rested. Quite a difference! The researchers concluded that participating in physical activity within a week of the injury may be beneficial for recovery in children and teens, but noted that “a well-designed randomized clinical trial is needed” to confirm.
What are some ways to address the symptoms of concussion?
  • Rest up. It is important to rest and to follow your doctor’s instructions in order to recover.
  • Give your brain nutritional support:
    • Magnesium is known to help improve headaches and sleep, and is good for overall brain health.
    • SAMe may help with depression.
    • Vitamin B complex often helps with brain “fog.”
    • study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery by Dr. Barry Sears and Dr. Julian Bailes showed EPA/DHA fish oil may be a promising treatment for concussion recovery. “Animals receiving the daily fish oil supplement for 30 days post-concussion had a greater than 98 percent reduction in brain damage compared with the animals that did not receive the supplement,” Dr. Sears said.
    • Eating healthy with emphasis on brain-healthy foods like fish, walnuts, blueberries and broccoli can help, too.
  • Get a nutrition blood test. Make sure your body is getting the amount of nutrients needed for healing.
If you’re interested in learning more about how minerals may help, consider reading  Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient where an entire chapter is devoted to minerals and the brain.
Enjoy Your Healthy Life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (, a national non-profit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her most recent book is Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, available through Amazon, iTunes and bookstores.

Consumer Critique: DishFish

The kitchen sponge - that one that you scrub your dishes with - can be one of the germiest things in your house, unless you take steps to clean it properly. I recently had a chance to try a new type of scrubber from DishFish. It's made with PowerCell Technology that resists bacteria. It's designed to last twice as long as a typical sponge without falling apart. I love the shape - the curves helped it fit in my hand better than a rectangular sponge would. I also really love the "gills" that make it easy to wash utensils without folding the scrubber over.

There are two kinds, the classic scrubber and the dual that has scrubber and more spongey texture in one. The DishFish is scratch-free, and worked well on all of the dishes I tried without damaging them.

You can find Dish Fish at a variety of retailers, including Amazon, Piggly Wiggly, Country Market, and more.

Book Nook: Brave Beauty and Inspiring Words Holy Bible

As a Christian family, I really appreciate the chance to review faith-based books. I was happy to review two new books from Zondervan Publishing that were awesome for my girls.

The NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible is great for Christians of all ages who appreciate coloring. Often times when I get to review a Bible, I end up gifting it, even if I think it's a really good one (let's face it, how many Bibles does one family need) but this one will likely stay in my art-loving daughter's library for her to color and meditate on the verses. It's a regular Bible, but interspersed within the pages are about 50 verses on heavier paper suitable for coloring. It's a fun way to meditate on the words of God, and to create a Bible that is truly your own.

My daughters are very different, so it can be a challenge finding a family devotional book that really speaks to both of them. My older daughter is a more typical girl, a little more interested in how she dresses, and enjoying more "typical girl" pursuits like arts and music. My younger daughter is very much a tomboy, interested in ninjas and warriors. Brave Beauty managed to speak to both of them. It's written for tweens ages 8-12, so it's right in the age group of my girls, and it focuses on helping girls this age build confidence and courage to be who they are. Each chapter is brief, a little longer than some of the devotionals we have used in the past, so we break them up over a couple days. Readers can look up specific topics or read it straight through. The design by Faithgirlz is feminine without being too girly, and the tagline "find the fearless you" really got both of my girls interested in the book.

Consumer Critique: Go Organically Fruit Snacks

I recently had a chance to sample Go Organically Fruit Snacks. My kids enjoy fruit snacks and fruit leather and fruit bits, and they were happy to help me try these out as well.

They are organic, which is great, and they are made with real fruit, with 100% recommended Vitamin C, as well as Vitamins A and E. They come in tropical and mixed berry, both of which my daughters enjoyed. Being fruit snacks, it's not like fruit leather where it's just dried fruit. However, it is a significantly better alternative to candy and other desserts, and it makes my kids just as happy when they have a sweet tooth.

You can enter the On-the-Go Sweepstakes, and find Go Organically online or at a retailer near you.

Book Nook: StarPassage Book Two - Heroes and Martyrs

I recently had a chance to review author Clark Burbidge's latest title, StarPassage: Book Two, Heroes and Martyrs (Deep River Books, July 2017). It's a sequel to his fantasy adventure StarPassage: The Relic and is written to encourage teens to always have hope. 

In the continuation of the award-winning StarPassage saga, the Carsons are connected to a new family in desperate need of help, after the brothers are involved in a tragic accident. The star continues to guide the Carsons, and now their newfound friends, through time, meeting heroes that inspire and strengthen their resolve. However, with the continued use of the star, the Trackers, shadowy figures that want to escape their eternal limbo, draw ever closer to their goal of taking over a person in the present time.

The author weaves together historical scenes from hundreds of years ago, to a contemporary person who is still living. Each of these passages gives them a new piece to the puzzle of how to move forward. The boys have the chance to alter some moments in history in small ways, and then are given the chance to affect the day of the accident itself. Through it all, they make decisions that help strengthen their faith and give them hope.

The book is definitely Christian, but the religious elements aren't really forced, nor are they so strong that a non-believer wouldn't be able to enjoy the story. Worst part of the book? The cliffhanger at the end. I don't remember the first book ending with quite such a strong unanswered question, but thank goodness that the author is planning this to be a trilogy so I can find out what happens!

About the Author:

Clark enjoys life in the foothills of the Rockies, near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife Leah and their blended family of ten children and five grandchildren. Clark has written seven titles and is the recipient of multiple awards, including four Mom's Choice Gold Medals for top Young Adult Fiction. Clark's StarPassag e series encourages teens to have hope, cope with family struggles and always perserve in the face of obstacles. "I wanted people, especially children who struggle to feel there is real hope that they can overcome family challenges and personal challenges. This book provides such hope and encouragement I believe."

More information on Clark at ark -burbidge

Mealtime Magic: 3-Ingredient Fudge Cups from Nocciolata Dairy Free (Dairy/Gluten Free; Vegan)

I recently had a chance to try out Nocciolata Dairy Freechocolate hazelnut spread. It's appropriate for people who are vegan, need to avoid dairy, or don't eat gluten. It's also organic and contains no palm oil, for those concerned about that ingredient. It was delicious! The consistency is a little different from some brands we've tried, but the same as other brands (we've experimented a lot with chocolate hazelnut butter). My girls, husband, and I all loved it spread on toast or tortillas. This recipe also makes an easy way to enjoy a rich, tasty treat.

3-Ingredient Nocciolata Fudge Cups (Dairy Free / Vegan / Gluten Free)
[Adapted from]
2 cups Nocciolata Dairy Free
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Sea salt, to top (optional)
Line a 12-count muffin tin with six-muffin liners.
In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, melt Nocciolata Dairy Free with coconut oil. Remove from heat and stir in pure maple syrup.
Divide mixture evenly among 6 lined muffin cups. Place in the freezer for 2 minutes to allow fudge to firm up.
Store fudge in the fridge.

You can enter to win a jar yourself, or you can find it at a store near you, including Coborn's,, Giant, Meijer, Lunds/Byerly's, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and more. (You can also find the original version, made with milk.)

Book Nook: DK Maker Lab

My kids both love science, so I was thrilled to review Maker Lab, the award-winning DK book that encourages kids to build, invent, create and discover through 28 DIY science experiments. Experiments include slime, crystal lollipops, volcanoes, and more.

The format of the book is very clear. There's a page that gives a preview of the experiment/activity, and then pages that provide detailed instructions, and easy-to-read list of materials needed, and ample photographs to help make sure things are set up right. The projects are all kid-friendly, with plenty of exciting results (and it's almost impossible not to get results with the projects). The mess is minimal - obviously slime and mild explosions will create mess, but none of the projects left behind things that were impossible to clean. The projects are suitable for older kids to do alone with minimal adult supervision, or for younger kids to do with adult help.

You can see some experiments from the author below.

Music Minute: Jess Penner - Imagination

My older daughter is becoming a tween, which means she doesn't want to listen to "little kid music" anymore. She has a talent for music and appreciates music that is a little more sophisticated and grown up. I still want her to be listening to music that is family-friendly, and she enjoys upbeat, optimistic music.

A new album I got to review fit the bill. Jess Penner recently released Imagination, an album filled with classic children's songs and some original tunes, all with a more sophisticated sound. The melodies are easily singable, but not simplistic. I loved her take on Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and my husband enjoyed listening to a song from his childhood, Mr. Sun. This is a great album for kids who are bridging between little kids' music and more grown-up desires, and it's an uplifting, optimistic album that can help boost self-image.

Penner grew up on a banana farm on Kauai. She met her husband Kevin as teenagers performing in a nationally touring Christian rock band. Over the past decade, they have forged a musical powerhouse, crafting sticky songs and recording other artists’ projects in a converted garage studio behind their Los Angeles home. Over the years, other projects have included the bands Chandelle, Kayjez and We Cry Diamonds. Penner’s three solo albums have gained critical acclaim and millions of streams on Spotify, including the song “Life Is Rosy,” written with former One Republic band member Tim Myers. 
With her Songcents blog, Penner shares her knowledge of the industry with aspiring indie artists. Her YouTube channel features a homespun “Slice & Song” reality TV style series, where she demonstrates a favorite pie recipe and performs a song in her home studio.
The release of Imagination simply continues Jess Penner’s journey as an artist, role model and parent. “I want kids to dream, savor life, and know that they have the power to do anything they put their minds to. The world can be a tough place; why don't we make sure that the messages kids receive on repeat lift them up and empower them?” says Penner.

Consumer Critique: Hartz Cat Products

I was recently sent a box of goodies from The Hartz Mountain Corporation to draw awareness to some new products. They're expanding the popular Delectables Lickable Treats, the first wet cat treat line, available in 1.4 ounce pouches as stews, bisques, or chowders. They have five new flavors including Bisque Kitten with Tuna, Bisque Kitten with Tuna & Chicken, Stew with Chicken & Veggies, Bisque with Tuna & Veggies and Chowder with Tuna & Veggies.

Ideal as an in-between meal treat or as a savory topper for dry food, Delectables Lickable Treats' convenient, single-serve pouches provide cats with tempting treats made with real chicken, seafood, and vegetables. Delectables Lickable Treats are available in multiple varieties including regular, life stage (for cats 10+ and 15+ years old and now for kittens up to 12 months old) and in 5 and 12-pack variety packs.

On Hartz's FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages, consumers are invited to share photos and videos of how crazy fast their cats lick up Delectables using hashtags #lickitloveit, #emptybowl, and #catsgocrazy4Delectables, and they will participate in weekly drawings for a chance to win Delectables Lickable Treats. 

Cats nationwide are going "pawtastic" over  Hartz Delectables SqueezeUp treats, the first interactive wet cat treats.  The Hartz Mountain Corporation announces their "Pawtastic!" campaign featuring videos of "celebricats" including Venus the Two Face CatCoby the CatWhite Coffee CatHello Luna RoseHobbicatsN2 Cat Crew and Roothekangaroo "going crazy" for SqueezeUps on the company's social media channels in July and August 2017.

Delectables SqueezeUp, available in Chicken and Tuna flavors,  is a rich, thick puree in a lickable tube that provides cats with a fun and delicious treat. "Delectables SqueezeUp treats allow cat parents to hand-feed their cats out of a tube for a fun experience for both cat and cat parent," says Lester Ding, Brand Manager. 

The Hartz Mountain Corporation is a leading manufacturer and marketer of pet care products in the United States and Canada. For 90 years, Hartz has provided pet owners with the highest quality products - innovative solutions developed with proven science and a love for companion animals. The company offers more than 1,200 products for dogs, cats, birds, small animals, reptiles and fish, each dedicated to the health and well-being of household pets. For more information, visit