Thursday, August 28, 2014

Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent Will Give YOUR Family a Healthier Wash!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge, from Booksparks , for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

back to school button

The bane of Back to school, isn't it? 

All those extra uniforms, underwear and sportswear?
stack of laundry
Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sigh. But how often do we stop and THINK about what is in our detergent?

Like most of us, you probably haven't had to, until you, or a family member, had an unknown allergy reaction, and then you had to check, right?

laundry detergent being poured
Many consumer branded laundry detergents contain toxic ingredients.  Whether it’s Diethanolamine, Quaternium-15, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or some other chemical, it’s a good idea to understand the harmful potential that ingredients such as these can pose to you and your family.

But what about potentially harmful ingredients NOT shown on the label?  Particularly Dioxane (1,4-dioxane). The Organic Consumers Association says: 1,4-Dioxane is a by-product of the process called ethoxylation, a cheap shortcut process many companies use to provide mildness (to reduce skin irritation) to harsh cleaning ingredients. This process requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product.”Many top laundry detergent brands contain this synthetic petrochemical which the Environmental Protection Agency considers a probable carcinogen..  This is a by-product contaminant of the manufacturing process and is therefore not required to be listed on product labels.

I know, I was SHOCKED about that too!
There are safer alternatives in the market place that work just as well as major consumer brands, without even a trace of 1,4 Dioxane! 

I recently got to try out Green Virgin’s Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Detergent, which is one of those products!.  

 “Soap Nuts Liquid is made with our USDA Certified Organic Sapindus Mukorossi Soap Nuts (a berry that grows on the Chinese Soap Berry Tree and has the highest saponin (surfactant) content of any plant). Gren Virgin extracts the saponin using only water. Then they remove all the solids and tannins, and deodorize it. All of that is done using high tech filters and using only water. This is an important step and one that most of our competitors are not capable of.”
green virgin soap nuts: border=

Because this is the extract of a fruit, it has a short shelf life of about two weeks, so Green Virgin had to find a SAFE preservative. They eventually found a pair of non-toxic preservatives 
 (caprylyl glycol and phenethyl alcohol), that when combined, make a non-toxic and extremely effective preservative. They are rated a 0 and a 1 on the Skin Deep Data Base--which is about as non-toxic as you can get!  So now the liquid has at least a two year shelf life,  and costs well below the leading brands in terms of cost per laundry load because you get 120-240 loads per bottle. Yes I said that much! You only need a aquirt from the small container to do a LARGE load of clothes!

I was really surprised at how WELL the soap worked! I started with towels and worked by way up to delicates. With every load, the clothes were CLEAN and SOFT. Yup- you don't need any fabric softener or dryer sheets when you use this detergent! Which is great for towels, because both of those take away your towel's ability to absorb water by blocking fibers! I'm still stunned how well it works! But it is a great reminder that our ancestors didn't have modern detergents, yet got their clothes clean by using what nature offered them! And if you use this detergent,  you’ll be doing the earth a favor,as it actually has a negative carbon footprint! How many products can say that?

green virgin logo

About Green Virgin Products 
Green Virgin Products is a family-owned business created in 2009 to fulfill a specific need in the marketplace. Ken Marion, founder, lost his brother to cancer, and is a cancer survivor himself.  These experiences were the foundation of the Marion family’s vision—to provide high quality, non-toxic, eco-friendly products that actually work, and can save money compared to the toxic polluting products.Based in Tampa, FL, Green Virgin Products are currently available online.  For more information and special offers, go to  www.greenvirginproducts.com to order them.

YA Book Review: The Silver Rings By Samuel Valentino

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from the Greenleaf Book Group, via Netgalley , for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

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Well our History Corner book had 'dragon' in it's title,
so only appropriate we have a book with a 'dragon' on it's cover too!
The Silver Rings cover
Meet twin sisters, Celia and Alice, whose bid for freedom from their evil stepmother leads them on a hilarious journey through a world of fantasy and imagination. Join the sisters as they encounter a sarcastic fairy godmother, giants, charming princes, an overly dramatic fox, and more! Readers will recognize familiar themes from their favorite tales and read new ones taken from cultures around the world. Author and illustrator Samuel Valentino has cleverly woven together a delightful fairy tale that teaches us resilience and creative thinking pay off in the end.

The book includes illustrations from author and illustrator Sam Valentino that will delight readers

If your child loved the Harry Potter series, they will adore this book! It is a little young for Miss Grace yet, But I know about age 9, it will be perfect for her! The additional age, will allow her to grasp all the different influences in the story line, and enjoy the many adventures the characters get into during the book. I loved the strength of the characters- always a plus for young girls! It is also wonderful to read out loud as a family reading adventure as well!

It is a good length at 223 pages, and enough to keep most 7-11 yr olds very happy! Add some fun accessories ( silver ring, a 'suit' outfit, mirror, walnuts, a stuffed fox, Mozarella sticks?) from the storyline and this would be a fun birthday or Christmas gift for your favorite young reader!

About the Author:

Samuel Valentino has a love for telling children's tales. For over 10 years, he has been creating his own unique books as personalized gifts to each of his children. These books have been his inspiration to create this full-length children's fair tale that he also beautifully illustrates.

Sam has been writing and illustrating for as long as he can remember. From his early crayon beginning, Sam has moved on to almost all media. From sketching storyboards and animated commercials to painting murals in childcare centers, Sam has tried it all. A lifelong writer and reader, book illustration remains one of his most enjoyable art endeavors.Sam is also the illustrator of the award-winning title The Last Akaway
Sam lives in the Greater Boston area with his wife, who is a wonderful graphic designer and just plain wonderful in general. They have three children, all of who like drawing. Unlike their father, however, they are also musically talented! 

History Corner: Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from the author, for review purposes on social media, and this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Daughters of the Dragon cover


During  World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. This is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept. In 1943, the Japanese tear young Ja-hee and her sister from their peaceful family farm to be comfort women for the Imperial Army. Before they leave home, their mother gives them a magnificent antique comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon, saying it will protect them. The sisters suffer terribly at the hands of the Japanese, and by the end of the war, Ja-hee must flee while her sister lies dying. Ja-hee keeps her time as a comfort woman a secret while she struggles to rebuild her life. She meets a man in North Korea who shows her what true love is. But the communists take him away in the middle of the night, and she escapes to the South. There, she finally finds success as the country rebuilds after the Korean War. However when her terrible secret is revealed, she’s thrown into poverty. In the depths of despair, she’s tempted to sell the comb with the two-headed dragon that she believes has no magic for her. Then one day she discovers its true meaning and her surprising heredity. And now she must find the only person who can carry on the legacy of the two-headed dragon… someone she abandoned years ago. 

Set within the tumultuous backdrop of 20th century Korea, Daughters of the Dragon by award-winning author William Andrews will make you cry and cheer for Ja-hee. And in the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the Land of the Morning Calm. Daughters of the Dragon is inspired by The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, Memiors of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, the books of Amy Tan and Lisa See.


This book very much reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha- it had the same pull you in from page one, and not let you go aspect, as well shaking up what you THOUGHT you knew about history! I found myself saying I would read 2/3 chapters, and reading 9 instead! Once I started, I couldn't wait to get back into the book and see what would happen next, hoping it would be nothing but goof for Ja-nee. The first part of the book deals with the Japanese occupation and is an eye opener as far as the 'lost history' of the comfort women. The second part tells the story of Communism in Korea- how it started and the after affects from it. Both sections are history that the Western world doesn't hear much of, so the entire book is an excellent history lesson of the East. But it is also a character driven tale, and you will find yourself cheering for Ja-nee and her descendants and the end will come as no surprise! This is a tale that will stay with you for a long time, and I highly recommend it as needed reading! 

Be sure to check out the author's website for more information on the history of the comfort women, and the controversy surrounding the 'apologies' and demands for restitution. It helps to lead context to the story!

About the Author

Bill Andrews has a personal connection to Korea - his only child who arrived from the Land of the Morning Calm as a cheerful, smart four-month-old. Since then, Bill has been fascinated by Korea. 

For over 30 years, Bill was a copywriter and a marketing/brand executive with several Fortune 500 companies. For fifteen of the more painful years, he ran his own advertising agency. At night and on weekends and sometimes during the workday, Bill wrote fiction. Bill's first novel titled THE ESSENTIAL TRUTH (coming out later in 2014) won first place in the Mayhaven Contest for unpublished fiction. Check out his website for more info.

Today, Bill is retired and focuses on his writing. He lives in Minneapolis with his lovely wife, an inner-city public school teacher for 32 years. And Bill proudly reports that the cheerful, smart four-month old is now an orthopedic surgeon.

Children's Book Review: Dino Supersaurus Build and Play Box Set!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from Parragon Book Buddies , for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

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We get some of the most INTERESTING books from Parragon!

 Dino Supersaurus Build and Play Box Set cover

This new 'book' contains 6 cardboard dinosaurs for your child to build, along with an activity book, in this 'book' set.

 Dino Supersaurus Build and Play Box Set sample pages

As you can see, the character pieces are punched out from their pages, and then heads, arms and legs, and wings slotted into place. They are really adorable, but I would have some double stick tape handy, if you don't plan on taking them back apart, as no one wants to be rampaging on a major city, only to have one's arm fall off! But putting them together is simple enough, so they could be taken apart and stores back in the box for another play date, if you wanted to!

The activity book has 21 activities for your child to so, like drawing a scene, completing a maze or matching up dinosaurs.  You can then use your dinosaurs for pretend play with the activities in the book, or solo time, on your own scene!

This is an adorable set and kids, boys and girls,  ages 4-8 would get a kick out of it. It would be wonderful as a birthday or Christmas gift, for any child that adores dinosaurs!

And lucky YOU, I have a book set to give away to one lucky BTHM reader!
(don't we LOVE Parragon?)
Thanks for reading this review and entering the giveaway!

Book Review; The Curse of Van Gough By Paul Hoppe

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge, from Booksparks , for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

booksparks summer tour

Welcome to our last entry for the Booksparks Summer Reading Program!

The Curse of Van Gough cover


Tyler slides into a simple life of bartending in New York City, living his life day to day. And then at
the hottest art opening of the season he meets Kommate Imasu, a Japanese billionaire and famed
art collector, who seems to know more about Tyler than his own mother does. With serious threats
against his family and friends, Tyler has to decide how much risk he’ll take to protect them. He
quickly learns that gambling against a billionaire is never a good idea. Tyler plunges headfirst into a
world of art forgers, hit-men, Yakuza, a femme fatal named Chanel No. 5, and the legendary curse
of Van Gogh, in order to pull off the greatest art heist in history.


Can an art thief, be as everyday as you and me?

Hoppe answers that question with this new book! Tyler is a character that feel an immediate connection to, and that you want to see what happens to! Because you know like the infamous cartoon character, he has a bit of that grey cloud over his head, and trouble will always be his bane. You may find it VERY hard to put down this book- I know I did, reading long after I was supposed to be asleep! I found myself wanting it to be made into a movie, and putting actors in as the characters in my head as I was reading- always a sign of a great book. You'll love the mystery, intrigue and romance, and fun! Definitely pick this one up for your last Summer read, or for Fall!

About the author

Paul Hoppe worked as a lobbyist in Washington DC, a stockbroker on Wall Street, and a
screenwriter in Hollywood before writing his first novel. He has lived on four different continents
and currently splits his time between the High Sierras and the beaches of Australia. Check out his Facebook page (on.fb.me/1r1MpWH0, Twitter (@authorpaulhoppe) and website ( http://abdaddy.com).

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