Friday, February 27, 2015

REVIEW: Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balms by Koru Naturals

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balms by Koru Naturals.



Koru Naturals offers a variety of all-natural health and beauty products. 

Their premium grade Emu Oil is pure and not refined as some similar products can be.  It has no additives or preservatives.  It has a milky white color and contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as omega 3 and 6.  Because of this, it is easily absorbed into the skin and is a wonderful and effective moisturizer.  It can also be used as a leave-in conditioner for your hair.  It is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic.  It comes in 2, 4, or 8 oz. bottles.  A single 2 oz. bottle is just $9.85.


Their Pure Lanolin Lip Balms contain pure pharmaceutical grade 100% anhydrous lanolin.  It does not contain any additives, preservatives, colorants, or fragrances.  It is resistant to wind, sun, and water.  Because it does not contain any petroleum, you don’t have to worry about it drying your lips and causing the need for constant re-application.  Pure Lanolin Lip Balms are available in tubes or pots.  The tubes come in a 4-pack for just $9.80.




While I was waiting to receive my package from Koru Naturals containing these 2 products for review, I decided to do a little research on the uses of Emu Oil, since I had never heard of it before.  In the process, I learned that there are all kinds of practical applications for this unique oil, largely because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties.  Through some internet searching, I learned a lot about its therapeutic benefits for a variety of health conditions ranging from arthritis to eczema.  Since my sister has rheumatoid arthritis, I told her about it right away so she could order some from Koru Naturals. 

I have a less common form of eczema called dyshidrotic eczema.  It causes me to experience pain and swelling in the joints of my fingers and even my toes, followed by a breakout of pinhead sized blisters along my fingers and toes.  I can use topical steroids for the treatment of the blisters once they break out, but the swelling and painful nodules in my finger joints that occur at the onset is something I have to live with prior to the appearance of the breakout.  So after reading about emu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, I decided to give it a try on my impending eczema attack.  My finger joints were already swollen, and one joint in particular was very painful.  I wanted to experiment with the Emu Oil by only using it on the worst joint so I could compare it with the others.  I’m happy to report that the very first day I rubbed a drop or two into that joint, there was a noticeable improvement in the swelling of my finger joint, and as a result, the pain significantly lessened by the end of that day.  I was so impressed!  I’ll definitely be continuing to use it for that purpose in the future.

Since Koru Naturals promotes Emu Oil as a moisturizer, I wanted to try that out, as well.  We’ve been experiencing a particularly intense blast of winter over the last few weeks here, and it seemed like a good time to test out its effectiveness as a moisturizer.  I used it on my hands, face, and typical drier hot spots like my elbows.  Wow!  I have to say I was not prepared for the intense softness this oil would produce on my skin!  Everywhere I put it, I experienced an amazing softness that I would liken to baby’s skin.  Now that’s what I call a real moisturizer!

I also tried it out as a conditioner for my hair and scalp.  I had watched some videos online about different ways that people had used it in their hair.  I first put a few drops in my palm with my regular conditioner and rubbed it through my hair before rinsing it out.  It felt so good that I added some more to the ends of my hair and my scalp.  I wash my hair every other day, and I suspect I may have used too much in my hair, because it did give me a feeling on the second day of really needing to wash my hair…like it was kind of oily and listless.  I guess I got carried away!  It definitely did moisturize my hair, though.  It’s easy to misjudge how effective this product is…a couple of drops really are enough to work through your hair.  Needing so little of it for any its many applications means that this 2 oz. bottle will last me for a long time. 

Overall, I’m very pleased with this product and will definitely continue to use it as both a skin moisturizer and as a treatment for the inflammation associated with my dyshidrotic eczema.

The Pure Lanolin Lip Balm was the product I was most excited to try.  I tend to suffer from chronically chapped lips, and I always have some kind of petroleum based lip treatment applied at all times.  After reading about the lanolin lip balm on the Koru Naturals website, I realized that what I’ve been using has probably caused my lips to need constant reapplication.  Instead of helping, I’ve just set up a cycle of needing to continue using more.  So I was really excited to test out that theory and see if the Pure Lanolin Lip Balm would do the trick for me.

I was not disappointed!  Since beginning to use this product regularly, I have not had to apply anything so often.  When I put the lanolin on my lips, I felt an immediate sense of relief.  I was really pleased to notice that when drinking my morning hot tea, it did not rub off on my cup, either, so I didn’t have to reapply it every time I had something to eat or drink.  It stayed on for hours, and I only had to reapply it by the afternoon.  It gave my lips a feeling of intense moisturizing, and even in the blustery snow we’ve had, my lips did not become chapped when I found myself having to walk in subzero wind chills.  Now that’s impressive!  The 4-pack of this product allowed me to keep one in my vehicle, one in my purse, one by my favorite chair in the living room, and one to give my husband.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I will continue to use this product in the future.  I’ll make sure I’m never without it!

Check out what other Crew members had to say about these and other products from Koru Naturals by clicking the banner below.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – February 8th-14th

Happy Hearts Day!


On Tuesday, we got to have the pleasure of visiting with my dear nephew, George, whom I affectionately call Georgie!  He is in the Air Force stationed in Portugal, but he came home on leave for 2 weeks, and I had him over for dinner one night.  I wish our schedule hadn’t been so busy so we could have visited more, but it was great getting together.

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My kids have a LOT of cousins, but George is nearly the only one they know well enough to look forward to seeing him.  Don’t you just love that smile?  He’s a booger, but I love him anyway.


On Thursday, I hosted another Cookie Exchange, this time for Valentine’s.  Any excuse to bake and eat cookies, right?!? By the time it was over, we decided we would have another cookie exchange for St. Patrick’s Day!  Why not?


Everybody had a great time, and we drank lots of hot chocolate.  My friends Valentyna, Micka, and Melissa came over.  Gina was supposed to come, but her daughter wasn’t feeling well.  This time, everybody hung out for the whole afternoon, and I dashed out to pick Hayden up from school so he could visit with Micka’s son, Xevier.  They’ve grown up together, but Hayden doesn’t get to see him as often now that he’s in public school and Xevier is still homeschooled.  They always enjoy visiting!


Early on Saturday morning, Hayden left on a school field trip for the annual Leadership Conference in Williamsburg.  He didn’t come back until Sunday.  He was delighted to be selected to go again this year.  I, however, was a bit melancholy about not having him around to celebrate Valentine’s.  I saved him lots of goodies, though, and got him a big box of his favorite Cella Chocolate Covered Cherries with the liquid centers. 

I made goodie bags for each of the kids, filled with all of their favorites treats and snacks.  Haylee and Holden had a good time going through their bags to see what they got.  They had decorated the bags themselves as an art project for school the previous week, so I just stuck their treats inside.


I made everyone a nice Valentine’s brunch.  Too bad Hayden had to miss out on this part of the celebration!

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Who wouldn’t love a ham and cheese omelet, Belgian waffle topped with syrup, strawberries, and whipped cream, a freshly baked Cinnabon cinnamon roll, and bacon with a glass of pineapple orange juice?  Yum!


It was a pretty great week, all in all.  I just missed my baby, that’s all.  But he’ll have Monday off from school for President’s Day, so at least I’ll still get to spend some time catching up with him about his weekend before he goes back to school again.

See ya next week!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – February 1st-7th

I continue to adore my Power Pressure Cooker XL.  It’s been a real dream for quick dinners and easy preparation.  It really helps me out when life is so busy!


At church on Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised when old friends who transferred with the Navy last summer showed up unexpectedly for a visit!  I was so happy, I had tears of joy!  We miss the Motilal family greatly.  And the kids have grown so much!  The last time I saw the youngest boy, he had just been born, and I gave him a bottle! 


Tabitha and the kids were up here visiting her family for a few d ays.  It was so nice to see them.  We’re all counting the months until they transfer back after a 2-year stint in Jacksonville.  Until then, Godspeed!


After church, I headed off with my friend, Val, to see the Virginia Symphony play a Classics series concert at Sandler Center. 


They included the Virginia Symphony Chorus and played Ode to Joy.  Beautiful!


When I got home, it was time to start cooking.  After all, it was Super Bowl Sunday!  Now you should know that I have absolutely zero interest in sports of any kind, with the exception of hockey.  But hey…I’m all about the food!  LOL.  So here’s the spread I made.  I literally cooked for hours on end.

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I made all of the dips myself.  That was a lot of food for just my family!  I didn’t have much myself…I think I got full just standing over it all while it was cooking!  I think my favorite, though, was the Vegetarian Chili Cheese Dip with the Organic Corn Scoops from Trader Joe’s.  I mixed their chili with a little 2% Velveeta with shredded cheese on top, and it was soooo good!


I’ve been making all kinds of things in my pressure cooker, and this time, I decided to make nearly 7 pounds of boneless country-style ribs.  I set it for cooking meat and selected a 40-minute timer.  I realized later that I may not have had the steam valve closed.  At the end of the time, they weren’t yet tender, so I set it for another 40 minutes and saved them for dinner the following night.  But here’s how lovely they looked when I took off the lid!


Yum!  I just added onions and a large bottle of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce before I turned it on.  Perfection!


At the end of the week, I decided to re-do my school room.  I’ve been needing a much bigger chalkboard for our homeschool for a long, long time.  For years, I’ve been using a Little Tikes easel!  So after pricing a large wall-mounted chalkboard and realizing it was way out of my budget, I went down to Home Depot and purchased two blackboard project panels.  Each was 2’x4’ and only cost $10 a piece, so I stacked them above each other and mounted them on the wall with sticky foam.  I’ll guess we’ll see how it holds! 

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I also posted on freecycle to see if I could get a real chalkboard that was at least 3’x4’.  The next day, someone actually gave me one!  It’s a green one with a chalk tray and everything.  So I figured if this one that I made won’t stay mounted on the wall and doesn’t work out well, then I can mount these in each of the kids’ rooms on the backs of their bedroom doors, and then I can mount the real chalkboard in my school room instead.  But I really like how this looks!  I removed some excess furniture from this room and cleaned out a bunch of stuff, too.  I can’t wait to teach school on Monday!  We’re all very excited. 


On Saturday morning, I took Haylee and Holden to a cooking class at Young Chef’s Academy.  They’d run a b1g1f special deal just before Christmas, so I signed them up for a couple of classes in February.  They had a great time!  I snapped a picture through the window when I went to pick them up.


They got to make spicy buffalo chicken rolls with dipping sauces and some kind of apple pastry dessert that they said was really good.  The kids like to cook for me on Mother’s Day using the recipes they’ve collected from Young Chef’s Academy, so I told Haylee to be sure to make the apple dessert for me this year…I love anything that resembles apple pie!


While they were in cooking class, I went over to Trader Joe’s for my weekly shopping trip.  They were sampling a panini made from their wonderful uncured corned beef, English cheddar with caramelized onions, dijon mustard, and their sliced sourdough boule bread.  Yum!  I bought all of the stuff and then came home and made the same sandwiches for lunch, along with some leftover homemade cheddar broccoli soup I’d made in my pressure cooker for dinner the night before.  And I put some cara cara navel oranges on the side, also from Trader Joe’s.  Yummy lunch!


Holden ate just as much as we did, minus the soup, which he’d gobbled up for dinner the night before.  Everybody loved it!  We had a light dinner that night, and then my neighbor friend, Valentyna, and I headed off to Chrysler Hall to see the Virginia Symphony play the POPS performance of “A Night with John Williams.”  They did movie themes from Star Wars, Jaws, and the like.  Fun!


Yet another busy week for us.  I also made plans for us to vacation during Hayden’s spring break at our favorite cabin in the mountains.  We’re so excited!  We’ve missed spending a week there for the last two Octobers in a row, ever since Hayden started public school.  It’s been too long! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – January 25th-31st

Snow!  We finally got our first snow of the winter season.  It wasn’t much, but it was something.  That made it the highlight of the week.


On Sunday, we had our monthly potluck after church.  It’s always nice to share a meal with friends.  :)

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That night, now that no one is sick, we decided to finally break out the Oreo ice cream cake for Steve’s birthday, since he was sick then and we never got to sing happy birthday to him.  You can see the confused look on his face when we brought it to him!  LOL


We’ve had a strange round of belated birthday celebrations this month, for sure.


On Monday, we headed off for our weekly gym class at My Gym.


SNOW!  Haylee’s here showing off a broken branch from outside covered in ice. 


Here’s the landscape on our way out to take Hayden to the dentist.  He was off school for a staff day.  Too bad to waste the one and only snow day on a staff day!  LOL


After our trip to the dentist, we headed off to the Virginia Air & Space Center for some fun and exploration.  Here are the boys doing a little flight simulation.


Here’s Holden learning to signal…well, sort of! 


And here’s Haylee dressed up as an astronaut.  Reporting for duty!


Even the renovated public restrooms were fascinating.  Check out the flat-screen tv mounted on the wall in the lady’s room and the innovative Dyson hand dryers attached to the faucets!  Crazy stuff.

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And here are the boys on our way out.


We closed the place down at 5 PM, so we called Steve to see if he wanted to meet up somewhere for dinner instead of fighting traffic, so that’s what we did.  It was a nice change from the usual routine!  Days like this are when I really miss having the whole family together at home.


On Wednesday, I went to see the Virginia Opera’s student night performance of Salome at the Harrison Opera House.


That was a crazy story!  Part bible story, part crazy lady who kisses a decapitated head.  Ack!  Remind me to skip this one next time…


I found a recipe for a Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad.  Here is everything that’s in it.


And here’s how it turned out.


Yum!  It made so much that it fed us all dinner plus lunch the next day.


At the end of the week, I ran across this great recipe on Facebook for homemade “green” grout cleaner.  I decided to make some and see how well it would work on the grout on my porcelain tiled kitchen floor.  It was amazing!


You can see the difference here…before on the left side and after on the right side.  It really brightened up my kitchen!  Now I just need to get some grout sealer so it won’t become darkened again so quickly.  But it took no time at all to do my entire floor…I just sprayed it on a large section, let it sit for 3 minutes, and brushed it with a nylon dish brush.  Then I wiped it dry with a towel.  Beautiful!


That wraps up January!  Next month is looking pretty busy by the looks of the calendar.  Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it!  What plans do you have for your loved ones?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up – January 18th-24th

We were really busy this week.  I have a love/hate relationship with busy…it’s nice to have a variety of things to do, but it’s also a little stressful to not have much downtime.  Here’s how it played out for us this week.


While Hayden was off school for MLK day, I made plans for us to do fun stuff with friends.  The kids’ gym class was canceled because of the holiday, so it was a perfect day for an adventure.  We met up with a couple of Hayden’s friends from school and my good friend, Gina Nall, and her two kids at Lunar Mini Golf in Chesapeake Square Mall. 


We all bought Groupon deals for a great price, and we were pleasantly surprised that the facility lets you golf all 18 holes 3 times through before playing the final prize hole!  That was a lot of fun. 

Our strategy ranged from serious to playful by the time we took our third pass through the course.  The kids posed for a silly photo as we left the mall.


Then we did some shopping, bought a lot of munchies for the ride home, and grabbed Frosties from Wendy’s before calling it a day.


Hayden and I had our second Planning Council meeting of the year at his charter school. 


We discussed the final details of putting together movie nights on a regular basis at the school to attract more parents to school events and get them more involved.  Students could get some service hours by providing childcare in the library during a kids’ movie showing, and participants could help out with current charity drives by bringing canned goods, clothing, or whatever is needed for the current service project.  And the school could use the opportunity to engage with more parents and distribute information on other school events, like open house and student exhibition nights.  It was a productive meeting, and it was nice to see them put into effect an idea we had collectively brainstormed at the previous meeting.


On Thursday night, my friend, Gina, and I went to a cooking lecture at the Culinary Institute of Virginia in Norfolk.  We purchased a Pilot Online daily deal that got us the class for half price. 

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We learned all about the Japanese concept of “umami,” or pure deliciousness, that is described as a 5th sense of taste beyond the basics of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter.  It was a fascinating presentation, and we did some tasting that helped us get a sense for what the umami sensation is like on the palate.  That was fun!


On Friday, we had to have school since we’d taken Monday off to spend it with Hayden.  So on Saturday, Haylee went with me to run my errands and do the grocery shopping that I normally do on Friday.  That night, I had a special assignment to try out a new bacon cheeseburger pizza and a double chocolate chip brownie from a local pizza place, and that was interesting!  The brownie, of course, was especially amazing!


Who wouldn’t love that?!?


That’s it for now!  I hope you all have a great week.  We’ll be super busy…church potluck, gym class, dental appointment, opera, and pediatric checkup, just to name a handful of events we have coming up during our so-called week off from school!  LOL.  Isn’t that always the way?