Category Archives: Services

PRODUCT REVIEW – GREEN KID CRAFTS

Penny Bauder, the CEO of Green Kid Crafts contacted me recently about doing a review of their service.  My children have always really enjoyed craft projects, so I jumped at the chance to try their service.

What a gift to be sent pre-organized crafts!  The kids were thrilled when the box arrived and even more thrilled to learn that one of the crafts was pirate themed….Arrrrrr Matey!

For those of you unfamiliar with Green Kid Crafts, here is the description of their service from their website:

With Green Kid Crafts, your child will receive at least 3 inspiring projects each month that will engage them with the world and with nature. Every month is a new surprise and all the crafts are projects kids and parents love! Included are all the materials needed to complete an earth-friendly craft with some parental supervision (some of the tasks will require more supervision than others), instructions, and material disclosure information. The only thing you will need to provide is glue and scissors. Projects are composed of non-toxic, natural, and sustainable supplies. Each project is designed and made by hand, giving 100% love and attention to each one. 

As described above, the kit we received contained three entirely different craft themes:

  1. Pirate Loot – the materials for a pirate hat, making coins, and an eye patch
  2. Wooden wind chimes
  3. All About Me Scrapbook

Of course my buccaneers zeroed in on the pirate craft first.  It was fun to watch the kids work cooperatively on the eye patch.  Once that was done I swooped-in to help my little one make the hat and coins.

In addition to the projects they prepare ahead of time for you, Green Kid Crafts also sends a book filled with more craft ideas to go with the themes.  My son decided to work on one of their suggestions…a pirate map.  He had a lot of fun trying to make it look distressed and my daughter loved the results.

When I first opened the box I thought we would blow through all of the crafts in an hour or so, but as it turns out, we didn’t.  We had so much fun rolling with the pirate theme and ended-up working on it for a few hours…long enough that I was able to put away the other crafts to use on the next two weekends.

I see the brilliance in this service.  There are so many of us out there that really enjoy doing crafts with our children, but don’t have the time or creativity to prepare them.  With Green Kid Crafts monthly service you get three separate crafts each month and don’t have to shop for supplies, etc.  While my first box was a gift from the company, I signed-up for the monthly service (costs $19.95/mo.).  I know my kids will enjoy spending time with me making crafts.

A fun little teaser they have is to include a card in the box cluing you in to the theme for the next month’s craft…

What do you think?  Is this a service you would be interested in???

Click HERE to see some of our GREEN KID CRAFTS!

Click HERE to join.

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ETHICAL OCEAN – For Last Minute Gifts

I recently made some purchases through Ethical Ocean and I am really happy with them…So happy that I thought I’d encourage any of you still needing to do some last minute shopping to cruise on over to the Ethical Ocean website.  Of course this is pretty last minute to buy product as a gift, but you can definitely buy your loved ones some gift certificates.

For those of you not familiar with Ethical Ocean

VISION

Our purchasing decisions affect our society and the planet.

It’s up to each of us to know what we are buying and why—and how each product we spend our dollars on impacts other people, animals, and the environment.

But that doesn’t mean we have to know everything. We can share our knowledge, and ideas, to help one another choose wisely. That’s what Ethical Ocean is all about.

HOW IT WORKS

Presented here is a collection of the most ethical products in North America. Every product on our website must qualify for at least one of our three designations: Good for People, Good for Animals or Good for the Environment. Sellers are thoroughly screened before being allowed to sell on our site.

Each of our product pages includes a story: explaining what the product does, where it comes from, and what the seller is doing to positively impact the globe. You’ll also see third-party certifications, if applicable.

If one of our designations—say, Good for Animals—matters more to you than the other two, you can search just for products that meet that designation. Otherwise, browse though our thousands of offerings and see what sparks your imagination.

While you’re at it, check out through our hundreds of articles and blog entries too. There you’ll find all the information and inspiration you need to live the fullest, funnest—and most ethical—life you can.

I bought the two T-shirts and a coin-purse (so cute!) pictured within this post.  If you are interested in purchasing these items, click the pictures and it will bring you to the specific product on the Ethical Ocean site.

Happy holidays to you all!

 

Images courtesy of Ethical Ocean

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Filed under Clothing, Product Reviews, Services, Vegan, Vegetarian

NEW WINNER – Conscious Box Giveaway

Danielle graciously turned down the Conscious Box when she learned that she would be receiving one to review on her blog.  As a result, we have a new winner…

mgonyeo AKA Melissa

Please forward your mailing address to me [ gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com ] and I will have Jameson place your Conscious Box in the mail.

Congrats!

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CHARITY SPOTLIGHT – Pajama Program

~ Delivering warm sleepwear and nurturing books to children in need ~

In the spirit of giving every year my daughter’s school hosts a Pajama Program pajama drive.  This time of year it is especially important to help those in need.  While toy drives are absolutely fantastic and I am sure such a comfort to parents who are not able to provide their children with gifts, sometimes we forget that there are MANY children who do not even have basic necessities such as pajamas and books.

I appreciate the fact that schools host charity drives since they provide us with an opportunity to talk to our children about helping those less fortunate than us.  While my parents did a wonderful job providing for my sister and I growing-up, they both worked in careers that provided services to the community (a police officer and teacher) and thus were not high paying, so money was tight.  Despite this, EVERY year my parents adopted a family and provided their Christmas gifts for them.  I will forever appreciate the fact that my parents instilled in us the knowledge that it is our duty as humans to help one another.

PAJAMA PROGRAM

Ten years ago, one New York woman noticed children in shelters and group homes sleeping in their clothes because they didn’t own even one pair of pajamas.  She filled a shopping bag with new sleepwear and books and began to hand them out to the youngsters, many of whom were abused, abandoned or neglected.  Her non-profit Pajama Program marks its first decade of service in 2011.  The celebration kicks off this fall with a series of events beginning October 1, 2010.

Since its inception, the organization has provided more than one million new pajamas and new books to children across the country, operating 79 chapters in 42 states throughout the U.S. The program serves children in need living in group homes and shelters.  Most have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a story.

Pajama Program’s mission becomes more urgent during the period it identifies as “Danger Seasonwhen the thermostat dips and the harsh winter months settle in.  Starting October 1, Pajama Program works hard to heighten the public’s awareness of the need to keep these at risk children in warm, clean nighttime clothing and with a bedtime book to allay their fears.

“For so many needy and abused children, winter means endless cold and scary nights,” explains Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro. “The winter season is a particularly critical time when these children are most vulnerable to serious colds and illnesses. Warm, clean pajamas help to protect them against night chills and harmful conditions. Emotionally pajamas are a hug for children who feel lost and alone.”

To donate or host a Pajama Program yourself, click HERE to find your local Pajama Program chapter.

image of Genevieve Piturro courtesy of zimbio.com

image of children courtesy of logancountyfcfc.com

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CONSCIOUS BOX GIVEAWAY

Jameson Morris of Conscious Box has graciously provided DECEMBER’S Conscious Box as a giveaway to one lucky Veggie Grettie reader.  I previewed the box and you will love the contents (picture below is November’s box).

The winner of the box will be chosen at random, and you will gain one entry for each of the following:

  • “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook by clicking HERE
  • Subscribe to Veggie Grettie’s posts via e-mail (Upper right-hand corner on this page)
  • Follow Veggie Grettie on Twitter HERE
  • Send an e-mail out to your friends stating how much you love Veggie Grettie [copy gretchen (at) veggiegrettie.com]…This will get you 2 BONUS ENTRIES!!!
  • “Like” Conscious Box on Facebook by clicking HERE
  • Follow Conscious Box on Twitter HERE

PLEASE REMEMBER TO COME BACK TO THIS POST AND COMMENT LETTING ME KNOW WHICH OF THE ABOVE YOU HAVE DONE.  

***Please note that this contest is only open to those in the US including Alaska and Hawaii***

The winner will be announced Friday 12/9

Image of Jameson Morris courtesy of ideamensch.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW – Conscious Box

I recently received a Conscious Box in the mail to preview and when the kids and I opened it we felt like we were so excited.  Conscious Box is a new subscription service that in their words, “[I]s a monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet.”

I was impressed by the efficient packaging of the Conscious Box.  So often when I receive something in the mail I am dumbfounded by all of the extra packaging that accompanies the product.  In speaking with Jameson Morris,  the Conscious Executive Officer at Conscious Box (and Founder of Organic Soul), I was impressed to learn that they focused a great deal of time on the packaging for the actual box.

“We had been developing the box for over 4 months and spent a long time trying to find a ‘conscious’ manufacturer. The boxes  are made from 100% recycled material and manufactured, wind powered facility, and printed using sustainable vegetable inks!”

I have reviewed other monthly subscription services before (click here for my review of blissmobox), however Conscious box differs from other monthly subscription services in that the actual box is smaller than other similar programs. According to Jameson, Conscious Box purposefully made a smaller box because they didn’t want to ship out a ton of full size products every month.  The theory behind their decision to create a smaller box stems from the fact that they truly are trying to be as conscious as possible.  Since their customers will be “sampling” the products, there is always a chance that they may not like a certain product and if they had mailed out a full sized product to that customer the product would go unused and would be wasted.

The purpose behind the Consious Box is for the customer to discover new products that they like and will in turn purchase for themselves.

We definitely enjoyed sampling products in the Conscious Box and definitely found some that we will purchase.  It was fun to receive a box that had food samples as well as body care samples.

To sign-up for the Conscious Box click here.

For more information about the Conscious Box click here to be directed to the FAQs page.

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A VERY VEGAN (and Gluten-Free) DISNEY CRUISE

The picture of my son above should have a caption reading, “Dreams really do come true” OR “I succeeded…hinting and mentioning something for 2 years straight eventually wears-down the parents!!!”

My family and I just returned from an amazing vacation to Florida and the Bahamas.  So, brace yourselves…the slide show follows…

I never imaged that I would go on a Disney Cruise, or any cruise for that matter, but after two years of begging by my son who knew every bit of trivia about the Disney Dream (his knowledge base is actually quite impressive…he would absolutely ACE the entire Jeopardy category if there was one), we caved and boy am I glad that we did.  My kids are now 10 and almost 6, which made this vacation so memorable since my son is still young enough the enjoy Disney and my daughter is now old enough to remember and appreciate the vacation.  Disney also does a fantastic job planning activities for all ages.  My daughter really liked the pirate theme one of the days (she is currently OBSESSED with Jake and the Neverland Pirates).  Do you like her pirate face?

One concern I had about being on a cruise ship was food.  Would they be able to cater to my daughter’s food allergies (dairy, egg, and gluten)?  Would I have anything to eat?  I knew there was a salad bar, so I was prepared to eat salad the entire time if need be.  Let me tell ya…I need not have spent a minute worrying about it.  Disney was abso-fricken-lutely amazing when it came to our food limitations!!!  Everyone in the dining room was so knowledgeable about food allergies and since our waiters followed us every night to each restaurant, there was no need to re-tell our story every meal.  My daughter was given anything and everything she could have wanted.  They prepared her special dairy, egg, and gluten-free pancakes whenever she wanted them, served her rice milk ice cream at dessert, and even had gluten-free bread rolls at the ready.  All of this despite the fact that I NEVER gave them a heads-up about her issues prior to the cruise.  They were crazy accommodating.  I’d say the biggest disapointment was the fact that the self-serve ice cream bar on the top deck did not have a dairy-free option.  I had to consciously steer her away from it because she REALLY wanted some.  It would have been nice for them to have some sorbet in the line-up.

Disney has their own island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay (see pictures above).  The night before we docked there our head waiter, Simone (from Italy) , asked us if we would like to have them send some food to the island for her lunch.  We told them that pasta would be fine, but when I went to the restaurant and asked Simone for her meal, he presented me with three separate meals for her and said, “We want to make sure she is happy with her meal and has a choice.  Oftentimes children change their minds.”  She had pasta with tomato sauce, a hamburger on a gluten-free bun (she does eat meat on occasion), and a tray of sides.  They also sent the most gorgeous fruit platter for me since they knew I eat a plant-based diet.  It was HUGE and had watermelon, honeydew, cherries, grapes, pineapple, and raspberries.  I was blown away with their service.  I wish I had pictures of the dishes for you, but we had some camera trouble that day.

I had wonderful vegan options to choose from at every meal whether it was a buffet, in a dining hall, or at their swankier restaurants.  This is a picture of the appetizer I had on the first night (straight off the menu).

The second or third night (It is already a blur) my husband and I made reservations to go to Palo for dinner.  As I looked over the menu they had a fancy baked casserole with beans and veggies that I thought I would have.  When I asked the server to prepare it without dairy she took my order and I thought that was what I would be having.  A few minutes later the Maître d’ came out and told me that the chef would like to prepare me a vegan meal from appetizer through dessert and asked me if I that would be agreeable with me.  I was so excited that the chef would go to the trouble of doing that and of course gave my blessing.  If I had only known how wonderful it would be, I would have bolted to the cabin to grab my camera.  It is a crime that I am not able to show you what the chef created for me.  It was honestly the best vegan meal I have ever had.  We started with a huge antipasto platter and I was then given an appetizer with three separate vegan terrines that were so tasty…how the chef prepared this all so quickly I have no idea!  My entree was braised mushrooms with greens and a vegan mushroom cream sauce and my dessert was lime sorbet and strawberry basil sorbet with berries on the side.  Ah-may-zing!  I am still so impressed as I sit here and write about it over a week after I had the meal.

We were also able to spend a day in Nassau at the Atlantis Resort (pictures above).  And yet again, I was able to find a vegan option in the form of a wrap (not gluten-free).  That was a very fun day of water-parking it.  And to prove the fact that we do live in a very small world, as I was walking back up to the place we ordered our lunch (to get ketchup for my son), I ran into a family from my son’s school!  They are such great people and huge supporters of our community through their two local businesses, Swirlz (self-serve froyo ALWAYS with a sorbet option…yay!), and Juice-It-Up (where I can always go for a quick carrot juice).  And…oh my goodness it can rain in the Bahamas!  We got DRENCHED walking back to the ship.  A rain gutter in the terminal building even came crashing down as we were walking back because the rain was coming down so hard.  Somehow I don’t think my mother-in-law’s trash bag helped her much!  Note to self…white dresses become REALLY see-through when wet!

I so highly recommend this cruise.  We all had such a great time and made memories that will last a lifetime.

After the cruise we opted to stay in Orlando for 5 more days and hit the theme parks.  We started with Disney’s Blizzard Beach (where they made me an off-menu veggie burger!), then went to Epcot (where I had a wonderful grilled veggie pita), and we ended on a high note by going to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where my daughter thought she’d died and gone to heaven in Dr. Suess Land …

…and my son and I completely geeked-out in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter… UNBELIEVABLE!!!  I am still giddy when I think about walking through Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, drinking Butterbeer (dairy and gluten-free…bonus!), eating at the Three Broomsticks (not as vegan friendly, but corn and fruit did the trick on a hot day), buying my son a wand at Olivander’s Wand Shop, walking through Zonkos, and my son buying a chocolate frog at Honeydukes.  JK Rowling really and truly brought her books to life.  Phenomenal!

There was so much to do in Orlando that we barely touched upon everything.  In our down time (what down time?), we also did miniature golf, went go karting, and my mother-in-law did some expert shopping at the outlets.

I guess that means we will need to make another trip…although next time I say we do it during a different season…holy humidity Batman!

For more tips on gluten-free cruising, please go to http://www.celiac.com/blogs/54/The-First-Day-of-Your-Gluten-Free-Cruise.html (NOTE – this link is to a gluten-free article and is not a vegan article)

 

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BLISSMOBOX WINNER!!!

The winner of our blissmobox giveaway is Elyce Hackley.  Congratulations Elyce!!!

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GIVEAWAY – Blissmobox

Yeah…Another amazing giveaway from blissmo!!!  blissmo just started a new monthly program called blissmobox.  In their words, the blissmobox is:

exceptional organic & eco-friendly products delivered right to your door, once-a-month. Think of it as a CSA or Wine Club subscription, except instead of veggies or Pinot Noirs you are discovering well-loved products better and safer for you & your family than conventional alternatives.

what brands and products are in the box?You’ll have to subscribe to find out, but previous boxes have included exceptional products from well-loved brands including method Laundry, Sambazon, Numi Tea, CLIF Bar, and YesToCarrots.

Each box has on average $30 of product value (sometimes much more – our June skin & beauty box valued at $51) — and you’ll get to discover curated products safer & better for you, your family & your planet. More questions? Read our blissmobox FAQ or email us at box (at) blissmo (dot) com.

This particular blissmobox is a foodbox and I can’t wait for you to win!  The winner will be announced on Monday.

ENTRY DETAILS

To enter simply sign-up for the blissmobox newsletter by clicking here.

Come back to this post and leave a comment telling me that you have signed-up for the newsletter.  The winner will be selected at random from the comments on this post and announced Monday, July 18th.

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PRODUCT REVIEW – Vegin’ Out

I recently went a week without cooking a meal (other than breakfast).  I absolutely love to cook, but I must admit it was nice to have a bit more time on my hands for a whole week.  I learned about the vegan meal delivery company called Vegin’ Out through a daily deal e-mail service I subscribe to and after checking out their website I decided it was time for me to give it a try.

To give you a little background, “Vegin’ Out is the brainchild of nutritional chef Tim Boissy. Tim has been deeply involved in the health food industry since becoming a vegan in 1986. As he watched the industry grow, he saw that there were many vegans, as well as other health concious people who didn’t have the time to prepare great tasting healthy meals at home. He decided to take matters in his own hands and started Vegin’ Out.”

When I went to the website I saw what the menu for the week would be.  If there was a dish on the menu that did not appeal to me, I would have been able to make a substitution by doubling-up on one of the other dishes.  They all looked great to me, so I left the menu as it was.

ENTREES

Pasta Primavera

Chinese Broccoli and Tofu (I contacted Dan Boissy and he assured me they use Certified USDA Organic Tofu)

Acapulco Black Bean Tamale Pie

 SIDE DISHES

Barley and Wild Rice Salad

Spring Succotash

Chickpeas Kale and Rice

Sour Cream and Chives Mashed Potatoes

SOUP

Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

COOKIES

Blueberry Muffin Cookies

~

I placed my order on a Friday and big box of food was delivered to me the following Monday before 5pm.  I was really impressed with how well they packed the food.

When I opened the box there was a beautiful menu waiting for me.

The kids and I had a great time unpacking all of the food and deciding what we would eat for dinner.

Here are close-ups of some of the dishes.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.  I was afraid that the food would be high in sodium and leave me bloated (like restaurant food does), but that wasn’t the case at all.  I read some reviews that said the food was bland, but that wasn’t my experience either.  I loved the freshness of the ingredients and really enjoyed the flavor.  The sauces complimented the food well and did not overpower it allowing the true taste of the food to come through.  I also wondered if there would truly be enough food for a whole week and there ended-up being more than enough food seeing as I only ordered delivery for one person and my son ate some of the food too…he loved the Blueberry Muffin Cookies.  I tend to avoid the white flour desserts so he was stoked to have some in the house (at least they were organic).

I contacted Dan Boissy who is a co-owner of the company.  Dan was very responsive and helpful with my questions about their company and the ingredients that they use.

I will definitely be ordering this service again and recommend that you give them a try.

To learn more about Vegin’ Out click here.

To go to their FAQs page click here.

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