When I was asked to join a virtual briefing with today's sponsor, ConAgra Foods via The Motherhood blogger group, I immediately said yes. While I do consider myself a savvy consumer, I know I have more to learn, especially when it comes to additives and preservatives in our food. While I will receive compensation for my time, all opinions in this post are based on information I learned during the briefing and are my own. 

fish, fillets, good food, Cajun,

Providing our family with good for us food has become a lot more complicated the last few years.  Gone are the days when you just went to the produce section and picked up a head of lettuce. Now you have choices, sometimes too many choices.

It gets even more confusing when you leave the produce section and start buying staples.  The store isles are usually full of label readers, just like me trying our best to pick the healthiest food we can afford.  I always look for the sugar, calorie, protein numbers, but one of the important factors I may be overlooking is Antioxidants

Getting to know Antioxidant facts:

Antioxidants are our helpers. We have many antioxidants naturally produced in our body every day. 

  • They prevent oxygen from damaging other molecules.  
  • They can slow the aging process. 
  • They boost your body’s natural defense /immune system, combat heart disease and other diseases.  
  • They also protect our cells and function in foods to protect oils from damage that can lead to rancidity. 

These are all very good things- we want Antioxidants to show up in our bodies every day and the best way to get them there is to eat them. 

Antioxidants in Food:


Certain foods contain natural antioxidants like Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopheral).  Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables like my spinach salad here. 

Spinach salad, green, leafy, veggies, good, food

Another natural antioxidant you’re sure to recognize if you are a food label reader like me is Ascorbic Acid, a.k.a. sodium ascorbate, a.k.a. Vitamin C.  Strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C

strawberries, natural, foods, Vitamin C

Sometimes those very clinical, almost chemical sounding names we find on our labels are really nothing to be worried about. 

Man Made:

Learning about man made Antioxidants was the highlight of the virtual briefing with ConAgra Foods. The more we learned and asked as a collective group of bloggers, the more I realized I wanted to know more! 

ConAgra Foods did a wonderful job explaining man made antioxidants are and why we may find them on our food labels and in our food.

You may have seen one these before on your labels:

BHT: A tasteless, colorless man made antioxidant is used to help maintain freshness in grain-based foods like crackers and cookies.

TBHQ: A tasteless, colorless man made antioxidant used commonly to keep vegetable oils and other packaged foods fresh.

I would love to share the whole Q & A section with you because I’m sure you have your own questions about man made antioxidants- but that would be a very large blog post to read so I’m going to share ConAgra Foods information below.

Natural v. Man Made Antioxidants and why they are used from ConAgra:

  • Man-made antioxidants, like BHT and TBHQ, are used because sometimes natural antioxidants throw off flavors of foods we know and love, or because a certain antioxidant might perform best with a certain food.
  •  One type is used over another based on performance – for example TBHQ is often used in fryer oils as it is more stable at higher temperatures than BHT, thus preserving these foods more effectively.
  • Natural and man-made antioxidants are sometimes used together in our favorite foods.
Food makers, like ConAgra Foods, choose certain preservative ingredients based on what they know will deliver the best flavor, while keeping your foods safe and fresh.

If you'd like to learn more about Food preservatives,check out 6 Facts about Preservatives video.

My Take Away:

My take away from the conversation was that whether natural or man-made, all antioxidants are safe for our food and our bodies when eating a balanced diet. Antioxidants help us enjoy the foods we love without having to compromise on taste or quality.

Please share in comments: Are you a label reader too? How much time do you allow yourself to spend reading labels when grocery shopping?

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only and I make no health claims in my opinions.

Color of the Month April 2015- Lilac

in , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Spring might have officially arrived on March 20th, but in my mind spring really arrives when the final threat of a freeze comes and goes. Here in middle Tennessee that's early April. I know it's really spring when my Lilacs bloom! So to honor spring and my dear departed Grandma who always allowed me to play and pick her Lilacs to my hearts content- I give you April's color of the month!

Here's a picture of one of my Lilac Bushes.

Lilacs, spring, blooms, gardening

And here's my Pinterest board for the month. I hope you like it and will remember to get out there and smell the beautiful spring blooms around you. Dig in the dirt a little. Laugh in the sun a little. Spring is the time to renew your soul!

Follow Linda A.'s board Color of the Month - April 2015 - Lilac on Pinterest.

Please share in comments: Do you have Lilac bushes in your yard?

My husband, kids and I were outside walking around our land and planning our spring and summer goals on a recent sunny day. We were down by our pond listening to the birds, while the kids were watching toads jump in the water. I was standing under the fronds of our Weeping Willow Tree and I thought how very lucky we were to own this land, this home place where nature and green abound.  

Weeping Willow, Tree, pond, land, earth day, green

It struck me as it often does in spring, how beautiful our land is. How fresh the air, how star studded our night skies are here in this little rural hamlet. How beautiful the green grass is that my kids get to run on whenever they want. In that moment, living a rural lifestyle seemed idyllic. All thoughts of  the extra work it takes were lost.

And while I was smiling at my good fortune, a whisper of sadness for all those who don’t enjoy these things pulled me back to the present. What can I do to help preserve this for our kids and their kids? What can I do to make the air sweeter and the grass greener for all families?

The answer to these questions was just a click away. I went to EarthDay.org and read about the progress made over the year and as I do every year, I chose our Take Action movement.

earth day, 2015, join, help, save, conserve

Last year, we chose to plant trees and recycle even more than we usually do. That’s saying a lot since we recycle everything and don’t even have trash pick- up service here. My husband handles all our trash and recyclables each week by taking them to our community Convenience Center. It’s a dirty, smelly job, but he knew that was part of the cost of owning land. He thought and still does think it's worth it.

This year we chose to Reduce our Energy Consumption.

Earth Day, green, sustainable, energy, reduce, turn off,

Since we don’t live in an urban area, our electricity is a bit higher in price per kilowatt because it takes more lines and power poles to get it to us. We have been warned for months that our electric bills will go up dramatically this summer, so our reasons for wanting to reduce our energy consumption is both economic and environmental. 

By going to the EarthDay.org’s Take Action Page I found we were not alone in our desire to save money and the environment. This was the 3rd listed movement! 

Here are some facts from EarthDay.org regarding using less energy:

The Issue
Did you know that nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US are generated from the energy we use to power our homes and cars? That adds up to a big environmental impact and a hefty toll on our wallets at the end of the year - close to half a trillion dollars!
What we can do:
The good news is that we can all take small actions to manage our collective energy appetite. This Earth Day, we have teamed up with WattzOn to provide their leading energy management tools to our community free of charge. Take action by creating an Earth Day Energy Center account and start saving energy and money - typical monthly savings are as high as 20% through simple habit changes and small projects!

It took me seconds to take the pledge and get started. 

Our first task will be as they suggested, cleaning our dryer vent. When the weather warms up, we will be putting up an outside clothes line! I’m excited about this because that’s how my Mom and Grand Mom dried their laundry and I can remember running through the fluttering sheets on a warm summer’s day. The feeling and the scent of those perfectly clean smelling sheets stays with me to this day!
Join Us April 22nd!
Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption, help restore the forests, or support environmental education there is one simple thing you can do today to help make our world a better, cleaner, greener more sustainable world for ourselves and for our kids-
Go to EarthDay.Org and read. 
That’s it. I feel confident that you will be inspired and the cause you feel most strongly about will find you.
And please remember no matter where you live, urban landscape or rural hills, take time to step outside and take in the beauty of the day. 
If you don’t like what you see- help be the change!

Please share in comments- What will you do to help on Earth Day this year? Do you support Earth Day every year?
When I read the email from MomsMeet.com asking their bloggers if we’d like to try some organic tea and nutrient –dense Moringa leaves, I happily said yes because my daughters and I love drinking tea and I wanted to try Moringa. Even though I got these products free for review purposes, I feel like I got so much more than freebies.  I got a glimpse into farming in countries far away and how just one small purchase helps an entire family. I can’t wait to share more about the Organic India Mission and some of their products with you today. All opinions are my own. 

organic, green tea, Moringa, superfood

I was expecting to receive a box of tea and some Moringa powder so I was happily surprised when I received a large box full of products to try.  My daughters and I tried the Tulsi (Holy Basil) teas first. 

We received a box of:

  • Green Tea
  • Cinnamon Rose
  • Moringa

All of these teas are certified organic and are reported to help relieve stress and protect the immune system.  

My Thoughts:

We really enjoyed the green tea and the cinnamon rose. I found no need to add sugar or any sweetener to either tea, making it a perfect to go tea. Since my Organic India box included a tall reusable to go cup, I found myself taking tea with the bag in more often than coffee!

 I also received 3 bottles of herbal supplements.

herbal, supplements, joy, organic,
We received a bottle of:

  • Joy! - To uplift moods.
  • Turmeric- for healthy inflammation response.
  • Moringa- Essential Nutrition.

My Thoughts:

While I did take one or two of all the supplements to see how I liked them for the purpose of this review, I enjoy the benefits of the Moringa the most as I can’t see or feel any difference when I take a Joy! or Turmeric supplement.

You may be thinking, what exactly is Moringa? And that is a very good question. I had never heard of it myself until very recently. 

organic, superfood, Moringa, leaf powder

According to Organic India- Moringa is considered one of the most complete, nutrient-dense plants on Earth! More information from Organic India's website:

superfood, Moringa, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, B-12

I wanted to share all this goodness with my daughters, so I added a teaspoon of Moringa powder to their banana-berry smoothie’s and it was delicious! 

Moringa, leaf powder, superfood
Moringa Leaf Powder

berry, banana, smoothie

There was no bad taste, no funny smell, just yummy goodness! The Moringa did make our smoothie a little thicker than usually, but we had no problem with that!

                                        Organic, India,

I really enjoyed experiencing all the great Organic India products I was sent and invite you to learn more about:

  • Their global sustainable mission
  • Moringa combats malnutrition
  • Their farmers
  • Their products

  by visiting their website and following them on Facebook and Twitter. You may decide to purchase a few of their organic products while you are there, which will make you a part of the global sustainable mission as well.

 Please share in comments: Do you drink tea or a regular basis and if so, what type do you enjoy?

With a busy family of four, we seem to run out of certain pantry staples often. Anybody with a teen or a tween in their home know that pantry staples include snacks! These kids are hungry often because of their fast metabolisms. Add a few friends over on weekend or after school and a pantry raid is inevitable.

disclosure, bloggers, storytellers

snacks, after school, kids, favorite

Thankfully, I have Publix to help me restock and save each week. And right now, Publix is having an awesome saving event called Snack-Share-Save where you can save $5.00 by using their digital coupons, so you can skip the clip and head straight to the checkout line with your savings on your loyalty card.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to SnackShareSave.com and choose a design to share on your social media account.
  2. Log In to your Publix Skip The Clip Account.
  3. Share the social media design via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
  4. Check your Skip the Clip Account for your $5 Coupon.

That’s it! 

granola, greek yogurt, Sierra Mist

You can save on favorites like:

  • Fiber One Chewy Bars
  • Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits
  • Chex Mix Snack Mix, Chex Mix Chips, Chex Muddy Buddies, Chex Popped (a huge snack favorite here)
  • Cascadian Farms Cereals and Granola, Chex Gluten Free Granola Cereal and Nature Valley Protein Granola
  • Yoplait Greek 100 and Greek 100 Whips
  • Pepsi products including Sierra Mist and Dr. Pepper and many more!

Ready to save on restocking your pantry so you'll have great snacks on hand? Then head over to Publix  SnackShareSave.com and see all the great deals available!

banana, Greek yogurt, Granola

Before you do though, how about a giveaway? Thanks to the generous folks at Publix, one lucky reader will receive a $15.00 PayPal transfer from me. 


Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter form below. No purchase necessary to enter. Must live in the United States and be 18+ years or older to enter. My WAHM Plan will email winner, whom must respond with valid PayPal email address or another winner will be selected. This contest is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social channel. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub in exchange for a product review and giveaway. However, all opinions expressed here are my own. 

My family and I believe in the importance of washing our hands as often as needed, but sometimes our hands become dry and chapped from all that washing.  Applying lotion can help, but if you want your hands to be really soft and smooth again, you have to exfoliate the dead skin off. 

Dial, conditioning soap, refreshing moisture, family soap

Dial must have had this in mind when they made their newest member of their Boutique collection of hand soaps; Sugar Cane Husk Scrub.

Made with gentle micro-scrubbers, Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub takes care of dry skin and leaves you with soft and lightly sweet scented hands. You’ll find yourself marveling at just how soft and smooth your hands feel after using this soap just once. Because it has moisturizers and skin conditioners, you can skip applying lotion after every hand wash too!

kids, wash hands, gentle family soap, moisturing
My daughter loves using this soap!

If you’ve got kids at home that may not wash their hands as long- or as often as you’d like; try switching your regular soap with Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub hand soap! They will like how easy it is to get their hands clean with Dials conditioning soap. 

liquid hand soap, conditioning, sweet, family

Add a personal touch of style to your home by trying one of Dial’s new Boutique Collection hand soaps. You can learn more about this collection and other Dial products by visiting their website here.

Win it!

Dial hand soap coupons

Thanks to the generosity of Dial, one lucky reader will receive 3 coupons for Free Dial products with a maximum retail value of $4.00 each! Entering is easy using the Raffle copter form below.

Good luck!

No purchase necessary to win. Open to U.S. residents 18+ years. My WAHM Plan will mail coupons to winner. This contest is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social channel. 

Additional Entry Terms:

If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am really happy to work with our sponsor, Role Mommy Writers Network, today to share this information with you! I was sent an advanced copy of The Dovekeepers DVD and book and will receive compensation for my time. All opinions are my own. 

book, dvd, dovekeepers, CBS, series,

As a busy wife and Mom, happily living with every convenience I need in the 21st century; it was a challenge to think in terms of being a Jewish woman in ancient Israel.  Harder still, to think about being forced out of your homes and banished

CBS TV event, Shirah,  strong, woman,character

I started reading Alice Hoffman’s book, The Dovekeepers first; and within minutes I was drawn into the story-line! I could feel the heat of the summer sun beating down in the arid desert in 70 A.D.  I could feel the Assassin’s Daughter’s dry, sunburned skin, I could almost feel her thirst and hunger for a real home as she and her now nomadic family walked on. 

Once I started watching The Dovekeepers advanced DVD copy I was sent, I was equally drawn into the story and the characters came to life in rich detail.  There’s love and betrayal, hope and war and perseverance all intermixed in an exciting and moving story. You’ll not want to miss this must watch TV event

questioning, characters, doves,

About The Dovekeepers – Limited event series:

Based on Alice Hoffman’s Bestselling Historical Novel about a Group of Extraordinary Women Whose Lives Intersect in a Fight for Survival at the Siege of Masada in 70 C.E.

"Set in ancient Israel, The Dovekeepers is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique back-stories, but a common bond for survival. Additionally, these women, who work together daily as Dovekeepers, are all concealing substantial secrets."

When to watch:
CBS logo, TV, series,
CBS presents:  The Dovekeepers, a four-hour limited event series from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, will be broadcast Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1, 2015 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT). 

The Dovekeepers back story:

The Dovekeepers will be brought to television from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett (SURVIVOR, “The Voice”), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” which scored big ratings for the History Channel in March 2013, and the feature “Son of God.”

Frank Siracusa, John Weber and Yves Simoneau also serve as executive producers, with Simoneau directing. Ann Peacock adapted the novel for the screen.

The Dovekeepers is the first project from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios’ Limited Series and Event Programming unit. It is a co-production between CBS Television Studios and LightWorkers Media, a division of United Artists Media Group.


The Dove Keepers cast, TV series,

The Dovekeepers stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title Dovekeepers roles, Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus, and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada. 

Sneak Peak! 

Check out this video to see the cast in action. 

About The Dovekeepers Book by Alice Hoffman:

Hoffman’s novel was published in 2011 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, earning the New York Times’ bestseller status and widespread critical acclaim, including being hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as “a major contribution to 21st century literature.”

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed not only reading Alice Hoffman’s beautifully written story, The Dovekeepers; I equally enjoyed watching her story be brought to life in the two night DVD series!


I invite you to learn more about the writer, the story, the set and the cast of this amazing event by following along on social media.  FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram

Please share in comments: Do you enjoy made for TV series? Do you watch them live or DVR for later viewing?