Spook-tacular! Scare away your child’s cavities this Halloween with CariFree Xyli-Tots Lollies! These cavity-fighting lollipops arrive just in time for trick-or-treating, and little goblins and ghouls won’t know the difference!

CariFree Xyli-Tots Lollies help to prevent the actual infection of dental caries, rather than treating the symptoms afterwards with drilling and filling. How? With xylitol, which is a naturally occurring sugar substitute that specficially targets cavity-causing bacteria and decreases acidity. The lollies are available in 5 kid-pleasing flavors, including cherry chuckles, citrus smile, grape giggles, lime laughs, and raspberry riddles. It is recommended to have one lollie after breakfast and one lollie after dinner to fight cavities. Now that’s something to smile about this Halloween!

For more information about CariFree Xyli-Tots Lollies, please visit www.carifree.com.

*Company provided images and information for this review.*

Just in time for some spooky fun this October, Kelly Wilson has written a timely article brimming with DIY Halloween Costume ideas that are made using recycled and repurposed materials found in the home!

DIY Halloween Costumes Made From Recycled Materials

By Kelly Wilson

When I was about seven years old, I was a ghost for Halloween. This required a white bedsheet – arranged and trimmed so I wouldn’t trip over it – with holes strategically cut for my eyes and nose.

This kind of Do-It-Yourself costume fits well with my family’s desire to produce less waste and save more money. Plus, creating your own costume emphasizes the fun of Halloween!

Brainstorm Ideas

It was no problem for my kids to understand that our costumes would be created. However, it was more difficult to come up with ideas while sitting around the dining room table.

Start instead by presenting the idea, then holding a scavenger hunt for your family members to find materials that inspire their own costume ideas. Have them choose three to five different materials to bring back to the table to discuss their possible costumes.

Go through the ideas and materials with your family members, and have each person choose his/her favorite to pursue.

Gather More Materials

When the deciding is done, consider collecting the following materials to complete your family’s costumes.

Fabric and Clothing – Start by hunting through the different closets in your home and gathering clothes and fabrics of different sizes and textures. An old striped shirt and round glasses could be the start of your “Where’s Waldo?” character, while a yard of discarded velvet could make a lush cape.

Cardboard – Hunt for different sizes of cardboard in your recycle bin. Break down the boxes and flip them over to use the non-printed sides for your costume – these can be easily painted or otherwise decorated. Include bigger boxes that fit around you.

Paper – Need bulky filler for your costume? What about simple decorations that are easy to attach? Head to the recycled paper bin in your garage. Decorate the blank sides of paper for your costume – don’t forget to recycle it again when you’re done.

PVC – My husband loves PVC pipe and has used it for projects, so we have a ton of it around the garage. This material can be used for a variety of costumes, and provides a strong support.

Classic Costume Ideas

These classic costume ideas are great if you’re looking for a simple costume.

Ghost – mentioned above, a ghost is an easy and non-threatening costume, plus it can be easily seen when trick-or-treating in the dark!

Witch – the basics include a pointy hat, some unusual make-up, a fake wart or two, and a broom.

Soldier – put this costume together with camouflage pants and shirt, a headband, and boots.

Hippie – tie-dye, a couple of peace signs, long hair and a funky pair of glasses completes this classic.

Pirate – create and decorate a cardboard sword, fashion a fabric sash and make a simple eye-patch.

Robot – this classic can be easily made from cardboard, paint and a metal colander as a headpiece.

Princess or Knight – Skip the tutu and have your little girl dress up as a princess, or provide a cape, a cardboard sword and a garbage can lid as a shield for your dashing knight.

Cowboy or Cowgirl – Jeans, boots, a cowboy shirt and a faux-lasso make this costume quick and easy.

More Unusual and Easy-to-Create Costumes

It didn’t occur to me to get too creative with Halloween costumes until a co-worker dressed as a Chick Magnet one year for Halloween. He wore a simple t-shirt decorated with baby chicks and u-shaped magnets made from paper – all of it was easily recyclable or reusable.

Cell Phone – grab a black sweatshirt and some duct tape. Cut the tape into number keys and other decorations to put on the sweatshirt to make the front of the sweatshirt resemble a cell phone. You can also create an iPhone costume out of cardboard worn in two panels like a sandwich board.

Giant Lego – Legos are a favorite at my house, and it wouldn’t be too difficult to fashion one of my children into one this Halloween with some cardboard and paint!

Candy Bars – similar to the iPhone idea, decorate a panel of cardboard to look like your favorite candy bar. Don’t stop at candy – choose another favorite food and make a creative costume!

Poop and Toilet Paper – my husband was reluctant to join me in this costume idea, but finally agreed as long as he could be the toilet paper. With some PVC pipe, a sheet and a sewing machine, he fashioned a pretty convincing toilet paper costume. As poop, I simply dressed in all-brown and borrowed a friend’s foundation. It was fun, cheap and totally reusable.

There’s a really good chance that you already have much of what you need to create a fun and eco-friendly costume for every person in your family!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and editor for Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing families and classrooms with high-quality, low-cost Teacher Supplies.

Cook up a batch of these crispy treats this Hallo-GREEN! Made with organic brown rice crisp cereal, sweetened with agave nectar and coconut flakes, and graced with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate – this is one sweet treat!

Crispy Treats

Ingredients

1 cup almond butter

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup agave nectar

3 cups brown rice crisp cereal

1/4 cup coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation

In a pot, heat almond butter, chocolate chips, vanilla and agave nectar over low heat, until smooth. Take off stove, and mix in cereal, coconut, and cinnamon. Smooth into flat pan, and refrigerate for at least two hours. Cut into bars.

*Recipe courtesy of Cooking for Fertility. Image courtesy of Nature’s Path Organic.*

Kids love candy and Halloween is a great time to celebrate that love. However, what is a parent to do if they are worried about tooth decay from all this candy consumption? Candy usually contains sugar, which the bacteria that cause tooth decay dine on. So eating a food loaded with carbohydrate or sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Consequently, to avoid negative impacts from candy, two things need to be done: 1) Avoid excessive consumption of these sugary treats and 2) Lessen the amount of time the sugar is present in the mouth. As the owner of Mitchell Dental Spa, a dental spa facility in Chicago’s Water Tower Place, Dr. Margaret Mitchell offers the following tips for protecting your kids’ teeth at Halloween.

Tips on Halloween Candy and Avoiding Tooth Decay

By Dr. Margaret Mitchell

Examine your child’s candy to see if it meets your approval.

It is okay for your child to eat any candy that you approve of, but to help lessen the chance for tooth decay, have them brush as soon as possible (after eating the candy). If a child or adult brushes right after consumption, the impact of the candy on the teeth is minimal.

Avoid sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc. Sticky candy adheres to teeth and causes decay.

Kids can eat candy ANYTIME, there is not a good time of day/night to eat candy.

Prior to Halloween, visit your dentist to have sealants put into the child’s teeth grooves.

If brushing soon after eating is not possible, then try the following:

Consume the candy with a meal. The increased saliva production while eating will help wash the sweet off the teeth.

Rinse the mouth with water.

Chew a sugarless gum (especially those containing xylitol) after snacking on candy. The increased saliva from chewing will help wash the sugar off the teeth and xylitol gums help control the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is contact with the teeth. Avoid eating any candy slowly over an extended time or over multiple sittings. Recent studies have shown that length of time eating a sweet can be more harmful than the amount of sweet consumed. This means hard candies, breath mints, etc. (long residence time in the mouth) can actually be worse for your teeth than a chocolate candy bar (shorter residence time in the mouth).

Avoid sugary sodas. They are: 1) Loaded with sugar (often over 10 teaspoons per 12 ounce serving), 2) Are acidic enough to dissolve away tooth enamel, and 3) Are often sipped for long periods of time, resulting in teeth that are being bathed with sugar and acid almost continuously throughout the day.

*Image provided by Radius Source.*

Here’s a wonderful way to sneak some heart-healthy pumpkin into everyone’s diet this Fall – tucked into these tasty, chewy cookies!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whole Grain Cookies

Ingredients

1 15oz. can organic pumpkin puree

4 eggs

½ cup butter, melted

1 ½ cups Xagave

1 tsp. vanilla

3 ½ cups flour (your choice of whole grain flour)

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1-2 cups rolled oats (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, butter, Xagave and vanilla with electric blender until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and mix with pumpkin mixture. Add chocolate chips and oats.

Scoop about 6 cookies per cookie sheet, leaving 2 – 3 inches between cookies. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Delicious Meets Nutritious.*

MeeGenius!, a new reading, bookstore and publishing application for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Web users, has just introduced two spooky and sweet titles, The Hiccup Mummy” and “Halloween 1-2-3.” These two titles are now available for download – just in time for Halloween!

“The Hiccup Mummy,” written by C.L. Vaughn and illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner, is a charming tale of a mummy with a bad case of the hiccups. Eating peanut butter, hanging upside down and eating hot sauce are just a few of the hilarious things that a brother and sister try when they find a mummy with a bad case of the hiccups on Halloween. Will they find the cure for the hiccups and continue on their Trick-or-Treating route? Or will the hiccups prove to be scarier than their new mummy friend? Read the story and find out…if you dare!

“Halloween 1-2-3” is written by Iza Wojciechowska and Illustrated by Gus Kim. Lots of costumes and lots of fun, trick-or-treating for everyone! Join the little trick-or-treater in a fun counting game of all the Halloween costumes, from spooky ghosts, to pirates and princesses! How many costumes will you see?

These new books for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are too cute! Each story can be personalized with your child’s name, as well as friends and family members names, and you can record your own voice telling the story! “Mom” loves that these books are easily accessed in times when a quiet activity is needed, such as at the doctor’s office or in the car.

MeeGenius! is available now at www.MeeGenius.com or via the Apple app store at itunes.apple.com/meegenius. For a limited time, the $1.99 app will be available for purchase for the discounted price of just $0.99.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The new Shake & Go Smoothie by Vega (health food giant Sequel Naturals’ wildly successful line of plant-based nutrition bars and drinks) is quickly becoming one of “Mom’s” favorite supplements to start the day! The Shake & Go Smoothie is brimming with 11 grams of essential protein, probiotics, 2500 mg of Omega 3’s, vitamins and nutrients – all in a tasty, convenient 65% raw organic powder that is perfect for busy moms’ who want to stay healthy and at the top of their game throughout the day. In addition, the Shake & Go Smoothie is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, wheat-free and yeast-free. For those who want to reap the benefits of eating their greens daily, but may not always have the time to prepare a leafy green salad or sauté a mixture of kale & spinach in some olive oil, Vega makes it possible to add two servings of vegetables to your diet in a flash! Just like the name implies – simply Shake & Go!

This plant-based beverage is available in 4 distinct, tasty flavors, including Bodacious Berry, Choc-A-Lot, Tropical Tango, and Vanilla Almondilla. The Shake & GoSmoothies taste creamy and delicious mixed with water, or they can be added to Almond Milk or Rice Milk, as well. Each 300g pouch contains 12 servings, and costs a reasonable $23.95. Visit www.myvega.com.

Vega products have been developed by best-selling author Brendan Brazier, an internationally renowned speaker and award-winning competitive triathlete. The most recent version of his best-selling diet and fitness bible, Thrive, contains a foreword written by Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman, Vega’s newest enthusiast.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The tart bite of the lime and the sweetness of the cherry lavender jelly really work well with the delicate taste of salmon. It’s one of Chef Kate’s favorite recipes to make for dinner parties. The colors are beautiful and it great the next day if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers! Don’t let the length of the recipe scare you. It comes together quickly once you have everything prepped and is worth the effort.

Sweet and Sour Salmon

Ingredients

4 (4 to 6 ounce) wild caught salmon filets (skin removed)

2 Tablespoons olive oil (or 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter)

2 teaspoon* lavender salt and freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon *Herbs de Provence

½ teaspoon *culinary lavender

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 Cup cherry lavender jelly sauce (recipe follows)

2 Tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos

4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

¾ Cup Champagne or white wine

¼ Cup green onions (thinly sliced on the diagonal)

1 Cup purple cabbage (thinly sliced/shredded)

3 Tablespoon fresh mint (finely chopped)

Fresh cherries, (if in season) mint, and a sprig of lavender (for garnish)

Cherry Lavender Jelly Sauce

Prepare the cherry lavender jelly before you start the salmon recipe. You can make it a few days ahead and it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. You will only need 1 cup for the salmon recipe. Keep the rest on hand to use on pancakes, desserts, and your favorite toasted bread.

Ingredients

2 Cups fresh or frozen cherries (pitted and cut in half)

1/8 Cup spring or filtered water

3/4 Cup lavender jelly

2 Tablespoons * lavender honey or agave syrup

A pinch of salt

Preparation

In a medium non aluminum sauce pan bring all the ingredients to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 10 minutes more stirring occasionally until the cherries are tender and release some of their color and juice. Remove from heat and cool before refrigerating. You can use the sauce before cooling for the salmon recipe.

For the salmon: Mix the lavender salt, pepper, culinary lavender, Herbs de Provence, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay the salmon filets on a plate and sprinkle both sides with the spice mixture.

In a small mixing bowl mix 1 cup lavender cherry jelly, Braggs, lime juice, and lime zest together and set aside. Measure the Champagne and set aside. Have your green onions, cabbage and mint leaves cut and set aside to add to the salmon. Prepare your garnishes (mint leaves and whole cherries) to add when serving.

Heat a large non stick frying pan on medium high heat and add the olive oil or butter and olive oil. Test the pan to see if it is hot enough by dropping in a tiny piece of the salmon in the pan. It should sizzle! Gently lay all the salmon filets in the pan and cook for 2 minutes on one side. Gently turn the salmon over and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and spoon the lavender cherry jelly mixture over each piece of salmon. Sprinkle each piece with the green onions, cabbage, and mint. Pour the Champagne into the pan and cover with a lid for 1 to 2 minutes. (Cooking time depends on the thickness of the salmon filets.) Be careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and garnish with mint, cherries and a sprig of fresh or dried lavender.

Remember to always use organic ingredients when possible.

*Culinary lavender products available at www.keyscreeklavenderfarm.com.

*Image provided by Lauren Lemons (www.laurenlemonsphotography.com) and recipe courtesy of Chef Kate McAloon.*

When you’ve lived in the same place for years it can be great to occasionally give your home a bit of a refresh. Decorating can be hard work and expensive, so a good way to keep your home interesting without spending lots of money is to make your own decorations. Sourcing your decorations from your own garden is a really eco-friendly way to update your home as you dramatically cut down on the emissions that come from manufacturing plants and transportation. Here is a guide to how you can use items from your garden to decorate your home.

Using Items From Your Garden to Decorate Your Home

By Vanessa Barlow

Fall

During fall you can easily find lots of beautiful red, brown and orange leaves. These leaves make excellent decorations for your home and will give it a really cozy feel. You can create a garland by stringing together lots of different leaves. Large leaves such as maple or oak work particularly well for this as it is easy to thread them together without the leaves falling apart. These garlands can then be hung around a fireplace or staircase.

Rather than creating a flower arrangement you can instead use branches from your garden. Find a number of small branches with interesting shapes and display them in a big vase. To add a bit of colour you could spray the branches; red, gold and silver work particularly well for this type of display.

Winter

In winter nothing really beats holly. Collect holly from your garden and use green wire to attach the holly to your stairs, fireplace, or shelves. Holly is very prickly so only attempt this if you’re wearing a good pair of gardening gloves. You can also use holly to create beautiful centrepieces. Put a large candle (preferably red or green) in the centre of a plate and then use the wire to wrap the holly around the candle and attach it to the plate. For fire safety, make sure no holly leaves or berries are too close to the candle flame.

Vanessa Barlow works for Artscape Garden Design in Surrey and likes to bring a touch of the garden indoors whenever possible.

Mom” at Tiny Green Mom is loving these link picks!

The Truth About Agave on the Xagave blog.

Meet Ani Phyo, Raw Vegan Chef on Planet Green.

Check out some more of Chef Kate’s fabulously flavorful recipes on her website, Chef Kate… Alive and Cooking.

Why Do Leaves Change Color in Fall on the The Daily Green.

*Image courtesy of Delicious Meets Nutritious.*