How Clean is Your Drinking Water? {Berkey giveaway}

Berkey Giveaway Banner from Positively Real Media

This post contains affiliate links.

My dear beloved readers, today I am super jealous of you. Why? Because you have the chance to enter today’s amazing giveaway and I’m not able to enter! I have teamed up with several bloggers from the Positively Real Media Network to give away a Berkey water filter.

I have been wanting a Berkey water filter for a couple of years now. They are super well known in the “natural living bloggers” community and seem to be the best free-standing water filter out there. I want one!

Since I don’t own a Berkey myself (yet!), I’m going to turn things over to Positively Real Media to explain the benefits of a Berkey and the details of the giveaway.

How Clean is Your Drinking Water?

My guess is that you are blessed with access to clean running water. We don’t really worry about getting parasites or other waterborne diseases when we turn on our tap.

But while we are blessed with clean water coming through indoor plumbing, are you aware of some of the environmental contaminants that are frequently found in that water? Traces of heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, pesticide residues, and volatile organic compounds can be found in our drinking water!

This is why the bloggers of Positively Real Media are so excited to be teaming up to bring to you a Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Stainless Steel Water Purifier giveaway sponsored by United Environmental Solutions!

About The Berkey Water Filter

Berkey water purifiers are truly unique water purifying systems. According to UES, they are able to remove red food coloring from water while still allowing beneficial minerals to remain!

As free-standing units that put the power of gravity to use, the Berkey systems don’t use any electricity. This makes them excellent systems to have on hand while camping or during power outages.

Positively Real Media is giving away a Royal Berkey

While whole house filtration systems can be fantastic solutions to the problem of residual water contamination, they are simply out of the budget for most families. However, a Berkey system is a fraction of the cost and can filter 4 gallons of water per hour, making it a great fit for families!

If you want to ensure that your family’s drinking and cooking water is as clean and pure as it can be, a Berkey may be just what you need!

Win A 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey!

The bloggers of Positively Real Media, a network of naturally-minded Christian bloggers, are thrilled to be able to offer one of our readers a 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey Stainless Steel Water Purifier, valued at $300! Many thanks to United Environmental Solutions for providing this fantastic prize to one blessed reader.

Just use the Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Details: This giveaway is open to the USA only. This exact same giveaway form is displayed on several other blogs in the Positively Real Media Network. If you follow any of these other blogs, you don’t need to enter the giveaway again on their blogs. In fact, you’ll only be able to enter once.

You will be rewarded with extra entries for liking my blog’s Facebook page. Liking my page, or any of the other blog’s pages, is not mandatory for the giveaway, but it will increase your odds of winning. Feel free to like the pages that resonate with you and skip the rest.

I hope a Simply Rebekah reader wins!!!

Disclosure: Giveaway is open to USA only and ends on October 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. The winner will be notified by email. This giveaway was organized by Positively Real Media and sponsored by United Environmental Solutions. I was not compensated for this post, but this post does contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Giveaways & Annoucements, Green Living | Leave a comment

An Awesome and Affordable Dinner Party Menu

For our daughter's birthday, we had a simple, delicious, and affordable dinner party menu. Your guests will be coming back for seconds and it won't cost an arm and a leg!

For Grace’s wedding birthday, I came up with a simple, delicious, and affordable dinner party menu. The meal was so well received that I wanted to share it with you.

crock pot cheesy pasta and beef casserole - an amazing dish for an affordable dinner party menu

The main course was crock pot cheesy pasta and beef casserole from Tammilee Tips. This recipe is so much better than regular spaghetti. The homemade sauce makes all the difference. All of my guests went back for seconds! In the picture above, I used mozzarella cheese. The recipe calls for cheddar and, I like it better with cheddar. However, you can use whatever you have on hand.

There were 10 adults and 6 children at the party. I doubled the pasta recipe, and we had a little leftover.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Salad Dressing Recipe - This takes any ordinary lettuce salad and turns it up a notch!

I served the pasta with a simple lettuce salad and my homemade sweet & sour salad dressing. The dressing can be made in advance. Just make sure you shake it well before serving.

garlic and herb bread - a great side for this affordable dinner party menu

To round out the meal, I served garlic and herb Italian bread. You can find this bread in the bakery section at Walmart. It is pre-sliced and tastes really, really good. The best part is that it only cost $1.00.

I lightly buttered one side of each slice of bread, loosely wrapped the buttered loaf in tinfoil, and warmed it in the oven.

This meal was easy to pull together, affordable, and kid-friendly. Give it a try for your next get together!

What is your favorite affordable dinner party menu?

Posted in Frugal, Recipes & Freezer Cooking | 3 Comments

My Blog’s Biggest Secret

My Blog's Biggest Secret

This post contains affiliate links.

I started this blog in December 2009. Only a few short months later I wrote a post that changed my blog in ways that I could have never imagined. Suddenly this blog became bigger than a place for me to share my thoughts on saving money and living a natural life. It became a lifeline to women desperately searching for answers to the devastating question “why does my breast milk taste bad?”.

It all started because my 5 month old daughter, Grace, refused to take a bottle when I was gone. I was frustrated. My husband was frustrated. Babysitters were frustrated and poor little Grace was very frustrated.

Oh a whim I decided to taste one of the bottles of breast milk that Grace had refused to drink. It tasted terrible. TERRIBLE!

After many hours of research and many more tears, I self diagnosed myself with excess lipase activity. Excess lipase activity is a rare problem in breastfeeding that causes expressed breast milk to develop a horrible taste. I shared the details of my journey on Simply Rebekah with the intention of updating the family and friends that were regular readers. At this point I had less than 25 subscribers to the blog.

Surprisingly to me, traffic started to trickle in to Simply Rebekah from mothers searching Google for answers to their own breastfeeding struggles with excess lipase activity in the same way that I had been searching just months earlier. As time passed, I became one of the best resources online for excess lipase activity education and encouragement.

Google Scree Shot

Currently Simply Rebekah ranks #2 on Google when you search for “excess lipase” and the #1 article contains a link to my blog. As of writing this, there are 418 comments between moms and me on my posts about this rare breastfeeding issue.

And all of this has been going on behind the scenes here at Simply Rebekah. I haven’t written a blog post dedicated to excess lipase activity since 2010, but that isn’t because of a lack of passion. If anything, my desire to educate and encourage women has only exploded over the last 4 years.

In December of 2010 I had the idea to turn my knowledge about excess lipase activity into an eBook. The idea started to become a reality in 2013 when I began the writing process. Writing proved to be a lot more difficult than I had expected, but I finally finished writing in the spring of this year.

Now after the editing has been finished and the design has been polished, it is with tears in my eyes that I am extremely eager to present to you my book.

Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? cover

It would make perfect sense for me to write an eBook about living a frugal lifestyle or how to begin an eco-friendly journey, but instead I decided to write a book that no one has written.

This is for the mamas crying over their keyboards searching for answers.

This for the babies who are frustrated at the bottle.

This is for the dad who is wondering how they’ll be able to afford formula if he and his wife can’t figure out this breastfeeding thing.

This is for the mom praying that she doesn’t have to throw away a freezer full of bad tasting milk.

This is for the mama with excess lipase activity who feels completely lost and alone.

So the secret is out. My blog is bigger than money saving tips, natural living advice, and cute pictures of my kids. This is the reason why my blog exists. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is how God is using me.*

I know that not every reader is suffering from excess lipase activity. I know you don’t all need this book, but I cherish your excitement and support. If you don’t need this book yourself, would you consider showing your support by…

  • Sharing my book on social media along with the important message that mothers should taste their breast milk.
  • The next time you hear a mother complain that her baby is refusing a bottle, point her towards my book as a possible solution.
  • If my blog has positively impacted your breastfeeding journey with excess lipase activity, leave a review on Amazon or send me a testimonial for my sales page.

ELA_336x280

I am selling the eBook on my site as a PDF file that you can download and read on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. The book is also being sold as a kindle file on Amazon. If you search for “excess lipase” on Amazon, my book pops up as the very top of the search results. The world needed this book!

Thank you for celebrating with me! Now go check out Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? – One Mom’s Journey to Overcoming Excess Lipase Activity.

* I can clearly see God using my blog beyond my mission of excess lipase activity. I don’t mean to diminish the positive impact that I can have on my readers through the other subjects that I blog about. However, writing about excess lipase activity is definitely a path that God has put me on.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Buy purchasing my eBook you are helping to support Simply Rebekah and my family. Thank you so very much!

Posted in Breastfeeding, Giveaways & Annoucements | 12 Comments

Our Little Girl’s Wedding Birthday Party

Our Little Girl's Wedding Birthday Party - What an adorable and unique birthday party idea for a little girl!

This post contains affiliate links.

Last year Grace went through a phase where she was obsessed with watching my wedding video. She would watch it multiple times a week. Nate and I have seen our wedding video so many times that I don’t think either of us will have the desire to watch it on our anniversary for a very, very long time.

Because of Grace’s love for weddings, my mom gave her a Melissa and Doug wedding dress for Christmas. That dressed sparked the idea in Grace’s mind to have a wedding birthday party. Surprisingly, she stuck with the idea and this past weekend we had the big event for her 5th birthday.

I sent out wedding themed email invitations to our family and asked everyone to dress nicely like they would for a wedding. I wore a black dress and Nate was in a suit and tie. Nate’s parents had white rose boutonnieres on in honor of being the grandparents of the bride! It was funny to see people so dressed up for a kid’s birthday party.

Grace in her Wedding Birthday Dress

Of course Grace wore her wedding dress, which came with a veil and flowers. She waiting upstairs for all of her guests to arrive and then she walked down our open staircase while wedding music played.

Wedding Birthday Party Table

Wedding Birthday Party Table and Cake

Wedding Birthday Party Flowers

Wedding Birthday Party

We had a simple (but delicious!) meal with all of the wedding guests. I used a white table cloth, pink burlap I found at Walmart, and white lace to decorate the table. I added mason jars with candles and some fresh flowers from our yard. To top it all off we had the wedding cake in the center next to the Willow Tree figurine that Nate and I had on top of our wedding cake 9 years ago.

Wedding Birthday Party Streamers

I used white lace and pink curling ribbon to make streamers for the living room. I used scotch tape to attach the lace and ribbon to yarn. I wasn’t sure if the tape would stick well enough onto the lace, but I didn’t have any problems.

Wedding Birthday Party Gift Table

I also used lace, pink ribbon, and white christmas lights on the staircase and gift table.

Aside from the cake and food, the most expensive part of the party was the burlap and lace, which totaled less than $20. I was able to get most of the lace from a thrift shop, which made it so affordable.

We have a tradition in our house that I do all the decorating for the party while the kids are having nap/quiet time. When Grace came downstairs and saw everything she was delighted. She kept saying, “Oh! I wanted that!” Then she would point to something else and say it again, “I wanted that!” Apparently, it was just what she had hoped for. :)

Grace was absolutely adorable throughout the whole thing. You can guarantee that these pictures will be showing up at her real wedding someday!

To see how I’ve decorated other birthday parties for my kids, you can read:

Have you ever been to a wedding birthday party? I would love to hear about it! 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Life | 7 Comments

10 Safer Bath and Body Products for You and Your Kids

Unfortunately, we can't trust that every item on the store shelves is safe to use, but here are 10 safer bath and body products for you and your kids. This list covers hand soap, toothpaste, diaper rash cream, shampoo, and more.  Trying out these suggestions would be a great first step towards more natural living.

Grace has fallen into the trap of kid marketing. She has started asking me to buy her junk at the grocery store that is decorated with her favorite cartoon characters. I don’t deprive my kids of treats, but there are some things I don’t want to buy.

“Grace, I’m not going to buy that because it really isn’t good for you.”

“If it isn’t good for kids, why is it here?”

“Some people still buy it and eat it even though it isn’t good.”

I’m starting to lay down the foundation with Grace that not every item in the store is an item that is good for her. This is a concept all of us know and understand. I don’t think many of us are fooled into thinking that candy bars are a health food.

However, I would place bets that most of us are fooled into thinking that the products lining the shelves in the bath and beauty aisle are safe for us and our kids. Unfortunately, that simply is not true.

In 2013 Johnson & Johnson admitted that their baby products contained ingredients that are known to cause cancer. You may be tempted to rid your bathroom of all Johnson & Johnson products, but your purge won’t be effective until you take a good look at all of your bath and body products.

Dangerous chemicals like phthalates and parabens are used regularly in bath and body products. Unless your products clearly state “phthalate & paraben free” on the label, you are likely using a potentially harmful product.

So if you don’t want to use the popular Johnson & Johnson brand on your little ones, what should you use?

10 Safer Bath and Body Products for You and Your Kids

I don’t claim that any of these safer bath and body products are 100% safe or perfect, but they are items that I have bought and used in my own home. Some of the links below are affiliate links.

body wash

1. Babyganics Foaming Body Wash & Shampoo – I’ve tried a couple different soap options for my kids and so far this one is my favorite.

2. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm – I have only used conventional diaper rash cream on my babies a handful of times. It has such a strong medicine smell (even through the diaper!) and it makes me nervous. This diaper rash cream from Earth Mama Angel Baby has a very soft, natural scent. It has been effective for my babies.

3. JASON Hand Soap – If you are trying to avoid toxins in your soap, make sure you stay away from antibacterial soaps. My favorite JASON hand soap scent is cranberry. I love it!

tooth paste

4. Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste for Kids – This comes in a fluoride or fluoride free option.

5. Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion – I like the way this lotion smells. I’ve used it on my babies and myself.

6. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – This super concentrated soap can be used on your body or in homemade cleaning products. It comes in a variety of scents. Make sure you don’t use the peppermint scent on sensitive body parts (like a baby’s bottom) because it can tingle. You shouldn’t experience that with the other scents.

coconut oil

7. Organic Coconut Oil – You can use coconut oil in the kitchen or the bathroom. I use it on a regular basis as a moisturizer, lip balm, or to keep frizz under control. It can also be used as a diaper rash cream.

8. Tom’s of Maine Bar Soap – This is available in my regular grocery store and I use it on a regular basis.

shampoo and conditioner

9. Garnier Fructis Pure & Clean Shampoo and Conditioner – This is not a perfect product, but I have been using it for months. I like it because: it isn’t pricey, it is available at my grocery store, and it is paraben & dye free. I’ve tried more natural shampoo options, but I haven’t found one I love.

10. Everyday Shea Bubble Bath – When I buy bubble bath for my children, this is the brand that I always get.

When it comes to making changes to your beauty routine and striving to live a more  natural life, start with the baby steps. You don’t need to throw out all of your conventional products at once and start from scratch. As you use up one of your products, try to replace it with a more natural option. Look to see if any of these safer bath and body products above are available at your grocery store or big box store or add one of them to your next Amazon order.

What are your favorite natural bath and body products?  Have you tried any these safer options?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Like I said earlier in the post, I don’t claim to have found the most perfect and natural products out there. This is simply a good starting point.

Posted in Green Living | 8 Comments