Archive for the ‘Shop-Til-You-Drop-Saturday’ Category

This is the DVD set I have. Each session is 35 minutes; there is one session per DVD. The DVDs come with two sound tracks: one with Michelle speaking/giving directions and the other one with just music. Once you are familiar with the routine, you can use the music only session and allow the music to minister to you as you workout. Personally, I like to hear what Michelle has to say!

Today’s product recommendation is the show that encouraged me to start on my whole foods journey.  It is a fitness workout show that airs on a couple Christian channels and it is AWESOME!  The host of Faithful Workouts, Michelle Spadafora, is encouraging, uplifting, and professional.  She worked for many years as a fitness trainer and has found a way to make her own show incorporating Christian music and Biblical encouragement.  Her show encompasses all four of A Helping of Hope’s “F’s” (Faith, Family, Food, and Fun) and that’s why it is getting the STYDS bump from me:

  • FAITH: there is a lot of upbeat spiritual encouragement in Faithful Workouts.  Michelle shares personal stories, devotional thoughts, and edifying truths…how she does it so simply and succinctly is amazing!  It transforms a physical workout into a spiritual massage for the inner person!
  • FAMILY: some workouts include children: in fact, this is a workout you can do with the whole family. You can cleverly reinforce Biblical concepts in your children while promoting a healthy self-image and helping them get a foundation in making healthy choices.
  • FOOD: Michelle gives a lot of encouragement and advice for making a transition to a healthy diet (she comes from a “low calorie” perspective, which I don’t, but her advice on sugars, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains is spot on).  Hearing these simple, positive reminders repeatedly helps to change mindsets; we really can change the way we eat!
  • FUN: Three people workout with Michelle regularly: two women and one man.  They each work out at different “levels”.  The neat thing is, they aren’t perfect!  Occasionally, they wobble and giggle; this doesn’t take away from the quality of the workout at all, instead it emphasizes how accessible healthy living is to normal people.  We don’t have to be perfect bodybuilders…but we do need to work hard and work smart.  Michelle’s workouts include exercises for balance as well as toning; it is a lot of fun seeing personal progress over time as the movements become easier to do well.

Faithful Workouts DVDs are available here.  I have the “Loving God’s Way” 3 DVD set.  It helps to have exercise bands (also available on the site), an exercise ball, and an exercise mat, but they aren’t necessary.  I did the workouts for a long time without them by doing the low-impact version of the exercises.  I got mine as a Christmas present from my parents: if you know of a loved one who has been looking for a whole-body workout program, why not give them the gift of health and encouragement this Christmas?

Helping of Hope. Right Choice: work out regularly to upbeat, uplifting shows like Faithful Workouts three times a week (see, a 3 DVD set is perfect!)  Bright Future: much improved physical, emotional, and spiritual health…and perhaps, a reclaimed figure after this Season’s festivities? 😉

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My parents bought “Consuela” for my 4 year old: she still loves her! Consuela came with a friendship bracelet, rings, an information booklet about a hardworking Mexican family trying to make ends meet in Mexico City. This is a wonderful gift to bless and educate your little girl!

***Don’t forget to enter my first ever giveaway, ending in a couple weeks: NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package Giveaway through a Helping of Hope ***

Want a wonderful way to give a beautiful doll to a special girl this Christmas and AT THE SAME TIME bless an underprivileged girl in poverty?  The Hearts for Hearts Girls Doll series by World Vision  (sold through Playmates Toys) helps to raise funds for at-risk children all over the world.  These Dolls are sold at Target, Toys R Us, and online through Amazon.com and the Playmates Toys website (accessible from the heartsforheartsgirls.com site).  Dolls cost approximately $27.99, with free shipping available from some sites.

Helping of HopeRight Choice: buy Christmas products from humanitarian organizations like World Vision to bless not only your loved ones but also unfortunate strangers in desperate need of your love.  Bright future: Guilt-free Christmas shopping, an opportunity to educate your special girl about how blessed she is, a sense of empowerment that we CAN make a positive difference AND enjoy meaningful traditions.

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**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway here (easy with Facebook, or Twitter accounts): NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package Giveaway**

Want to know everything from all-natural skin care, paleo recipes, homesteading, and healthy pregnancy advice (which you can pass along to friends and relatives even if you don’t plan on being pregnant any time soon)?  TODAY is the last day to get 34, awesome eBooks for only $29 total, plus a load of other freebies!  This is what you will get if you order today by 8AM EST:

Healthy Living eBook Bundle (34 books total):

  • Real Food Meals for the Whole Family
    • Have Your Fruits… and Veggies, Too! by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.95)
    • Real {Fast} Food by Trina Holden @ Trina Holden ($6)
    • 20 Minute Meals by Leigh Ann Dutton @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99)
    • Real Food… Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
  • Baking, Snacks and Desserts
    • Smart Sweets by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship ($8.95)
    • Healthy Snacks To Go by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship ($8.95)
    • Sourdough A to Z by Wardee Harmon @ GNOWFGLINS ($20)
  • Homemade “Everything” (Condiments, Pantry Basics, etc.)
    • Restocking the Pantry by Kresha Faber @ Nourishing Joy ($7.99)
    • Easy. Homemade. by Mandi Ehman @ Life Your Way ($3.99)
  • Grain Free and Paleo/Primal Eating
    • Grain Free Meal Plan Cookbook by Cara Faus @ Health, Home & Happiness ($18)
    • Toadally Primal Smoothies by Todd @ Primal Toad ($9.95)
    • Simple Food {for spring} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days ($10)
    • Simple Food {for winter} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days ($10)
    • Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan @ The Clothes Make The Girl ($14.95)
  • Saving Money on Real Food
    • Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($18.99)
    • Plan It, Don’t Panic by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($4.99)
    • Don’t Compost It, Cook It by April Patel @ An Apple a Day Wisdom ($2.99)
  • Skincare and Beauty
    • My Buttered Life (Baby edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)
    • My Buttered Life (Gift edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)
    • My Buttered Life (Summer edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)
    • Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home ($3.99)
    • Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin by Leslie @ Crunchy Betty ($7.99)
    • Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skincare by Roxanne King @ The Holistic Mama ($19)
  • Homesteading, Gardening and Preserving
    • Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger @ The Prairie Homestead ($4.99)
    • Guide to Gardening and Preserving by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers ($7.95)
    • Apartment Gardening by Jami Leigh @ Young Wife’s Guide ($2.99)
  • Healthy Lifestyle
    • Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99)
    • Herbal Nurturing by Michele Augur @ Frugal Granola ($8.95)
    • Simple Natural Health by Nina Nelson @ Shalom Mama ($17)
    • Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95)
    • Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Resound School of Music ($6.99)
  • Pregnancy and Babies
    • Breast to Bib by Kate Tietje @ Modern Alternative Pregnancy ($8.95)
    • Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods by Kate Tietje @ Modern Alternative Pregnancy ($8.95)
    • Unbound Birth by Jenny Yarborough @ The Southern Institute ($4.99)


  • REDMOND TRADING (Free $21 Bundle, standard shipping rates apply.  I recommend the Earthpaste deal…in fact, if you add two tubes of Earthpaste you’ll get free shipping ;-))
  • CULTURES FOR HEALTH (Free $13.95 Buttermilk or Sourdough Starter, standard shipping rates apply, U.S. only)
  • PLAN TO EAT (Free 3-Month Subscription – $14.85 Value)

You will be automatically been entered to win one of the following 3 awesome prizes. The winners will be notified by email.

  • 9-Tray Excalibur Dehydrator with Timer ($349.95 Value)
  • Omega Vert VRT350 Masticating Juicer ($379.99 Value)
  • Royal Berkey Water Filtration System from LPC Survival ($289.00 Value)

PLUS, you can get coupons for the following items:

  • Get 10% off any Online Excalibur Order + Free Shipping on Dehydrators (Continental US Only).
  • Get 20% off any Online Omega Order+ Free Shipping on Juicers and Blenders.

Make sure you buy this today: even if you don’t typically use these kinds of resources , you can give them as a gift for someone who would really appreciate it (although please respect the copyright of these books by not creating multiple copies and distributing them; the best thing to do is put down the email of the person you are buying this for in the ordering form so the links to download the eBooks are sent to that address…and make sure to inform them of what you did so they don’t delete the email by accident!).

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Give yourself a kick-start to a new all-natural cleaning regimen!
(Shampoo Bar not shown, but included)

As an affiliate of NaturOli, I’m thrilled to announce that my first giveaway is a personal care and cleaning product package sure to give you a HUGE helping of hope as you see how easy it is to switch from expensive and dangerous products to all-natural, frugal ones.

The Giveaway includes one (1) NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package, normally sold for $32.50.  You can click on the link for more information, but the package includes the following items that have reviews here on A Helping of Hope:

  • 1-oz Mini-Size of Extreme 18X Soap Nut Liquid Concentrate (Detergent and Cleaner) AND A Soap Nuts Laundry Soap Pre-Treat Stick, both reviewed here.
  • 2-oz Mini-Size of Extreme Hair Soap Nut Shampoo AND a Soap Nut Shampoo Bar, both reviewed here.
  • 4-oz NaturOli Select Soap Nuts, USDA certified organic, reviewed here.
  • A luxurious handmade Soap Nut Cleansing Bar.  This is an amazing and invigorating body cleanser.  It is not as drying as most soaps (even Dr. Bronner’s) and does an excellent job of cleaning dirty skin.  It is definitely **husband approved**; while it smells great, it is definitely not “girly”.

If you want to enter the giveaway (and who wouldn’t since it is free and only takes a couple minutes of your time?!), there are four ways to rack up the points (and your chance of success):

  1. (+10): like my A Helping of Hope page on Facebook
  2. (+5): like NaturOli’s page on Facebook
  3. (+5): follow @ahelpingofhope on Twitter
  4. (+5/day): tweet about the giveaway!

You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget/link below OR through my Facebook page under the Giveaways “tab” (picture menu)!  However, with FREE SHIPPING from NaturOli on orders $55+ ending tomorrow, don’t wait to win this amazing starter package.  Make sure to check out the NaturOli store and stock up on all-natural goodies today!  You’ll be glad you did!

Click here to enter the NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter package Giveaway from A Helping of Hope

If you enjoyed this SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAY posts, please share it with all your friends using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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This week’s shopping tip is based on the 18X Extreme Soap Nuts Liquid and the Soap Nuts Laundry Pre-Treat Stick from NaturOli (which I found a pretty unconventional use for)!

This amazingly concentrated cleaner is all natural and effective!

A few of you may already know that I love to use Soap Nut “berries” to replace laundry detergent and softener and I also make a liquid from them that I use in my dishwasher, but perhaps you didn’t know that NaturOli makes its own super-concentrated liquid that can compete with those toxic “tough-guys” out there?

I tried the liquid for three applications: dishes, dishwasher, and laundry. The best thing about the 18X liquid is how little you need: I think I used 1/2 tsp (just over 2 ml) of liquid for each use (mixed with a little baking soda for the dishwasher dispenser, mixed with water for the washing machine dispenser) and it did the trick. Dirt and food came off the dishes, dirt, and laundry. It is a very effective cleaner. (I have one caveat below, so keep reading).

The laundry pre-treating stick did an OK job of removing tomato juice stains on a cotton shirt: it didn’t remove

This little stick is killer on carpet stains!

them completely, but when I hung the shirt up to dry in the laundry room, the sunlight did the rest! I think the stick works better than not pre-treating…also, if I remember back to my “Shout days”, I don’t think the unnaturally-blue gel would have worked any better.  I have used this stick for a while now and it is better at removing some stains than others: the biggest factor is how soon you can get to the stain (before it sets in) and how long the saponin in the stick is allowed to act on the stain.

The biggest benefit of the pre-treating stick might surprise you, however…it works amazingly on CARPET. A little goes a really long way, too! I used it to remove stains that had accumulated under our couch (I had no idea: I only expected dust bunnies) from of all things, milk, RUST, and urine. Gross. I went over the bright yellow and orange stains with my spot steam-cleaner, which didn’t seem to remove anything but it did get the area wet. I rubbed the SoapNuts pre-treating stick on it (be careful or the coarse carpet will remove too much…wipe over stain lightly) and went back and forth over the stains several times with the steam cleaner (plain water). Completely clean with no residue. Amazing! No surprise we took our couches outside and hosed them down…

BEFORE.  This is what the original rust stain looked like: the photo turned out pale, so I “saturated” it to bring out the colors. This is obviously not indigenous to the carpet…

AFTER: same area of carpet (please excuse the green tint in the middle: my camera phone does that sometimes…I’m not sure why…) Notice that the yicky rust stain is completely gone. Amazing!

Both items–the liquid and pre-treating stick–work wonderfully at getting rid of dirt. There is one caveat, however: neither item can dissolve grease or oil (see pictures below). This is actually a good thing, I think, because it means these cleaners won’t dry out your skin, remove wax from furniture or your car, or ruin the natural oils in leather or cloth diapers; this would also explain why softener and conditioner aren’t needed when using SoapNuts laundry or shampoo products, respectively. I don’t know of any other cleaner that can boast that without ADDING (harmful) chemicals to compensate for harsh drying effects.

BEFORE. I think this was coconut oil from our “Pina Colada” oatmeal…

AFTER: Two washes later (I even tried rubbing in some Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap after the first pre-treat attempt failed), the oil is still there, although much less visible. I think the Pre-treat stick helped, as did the castile soap, but nothing I have tried so far seems to be able to completely remove oil stains like these.

BEFORE: This is the dirty dish water after adding 1/2 tsp to a sink of hot water to hand wash a small load of dishes. The dirtiness is a good thing: that shows you how much came OFF the dishes (the 18X liquid is a very good cleaner). However, you may notice the oily film on the top of the water. This is not so good, because it coats the clean dishes as they come out of the water (the dishwasher does NOT have this problem). If you are going to hand wash dishes using 18X liquid, try to avoid adding anything oily or greasy until the very end; if possible, use a degreasing soap on oily dishes instead of relying on the Soap Nuts Liquid alone.

AFTER: this is what happened to the surface of the water within a second or two of adding some of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. The Castile soap cuts through oil and grease almost instantly: however, Castile soap is more drying than Soap Nuts Liquid and it is not any better at removing dirt (in my experience). Now the surface is clear, you can really see how dirty the dish water is! The 18X liquid is an effective cleaner, but not a degreaser. I recommend using Soap Nuts Liquid in the dish water and keeping a foaming pump-bottle of diluted Dr. Bronner’s handy to dispense small amounts of degreasing soap for stubborn dishes, when needed.

With all this in mind, I highly recommend these products for cleaning: I still use my homemade Soap Nuts Liquid (I just have to use a lot more of it since it is weaker; if you don’t make your own, you should give the 18X a try!) and the Pre-Treat S.  I’m still on the lookout for an all-natural solution for removing coconut oil and stock fat from clothing, but for all other stains (including the carpet) I trust the stick.

If you want to check out the 18X Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Soap, it is $19.95 for 8oz (over 90 loads of HE laundry).  The Soap Nuts Laundry Pre-Treat Stick is only $5.00 for 0.5 oz (tiny, but it packs a punch!).  Both of these items would make for great gifts for health- and earth-conscious family members and friends.  Make sure you treat yourself to them also!

Helping of Hope. Right Choice: choose non-toxic, effective cleaners like NaturOli Soap Nuts liquid and laundry pre-treat stick and supplement, when necessary, with all-natural degreasers; avoid harsh cleaners that strip natural protectors, damage materials through over-drying, and add toxic chemicals to compensate.  Bright future: softer skin and hair, reduced toxic load, material possessions last longer and look cleaner!

If you enjoyed this Saturday’s SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAY post, please share with a friend using the options below.  Thanks!

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As I wrote earlier this week, regular hair care products can be extremely hazardous to your health.  I provided an all-natural shampoo and conditioning alternative that works great and is probably cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.  However, it takes Mama guts to transition from store-bought care products to homemade.  There is an easy solution that is no compromise: a liquid shampoo or shampoo bar from NaturOli!  (I am an affiliate of their store and was given some samples to try: I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so and I’ll tell you why…)

NaturOli Soap Nut Shampoo EXTREME Hair

This stuff works great! No conditioner needed 🙂

I love my baking soda cleanser…but I had forgotten how good shampoo feels and how fast it is to use!  This trial-size bottle has lasted me for over two weeks.  My stepdaughter tried it and loved it.  One of the first things we noticed was how well it lathers; a little goes a long way!

The second thing we noticed is that it does a great job of cleaning and softening hair, so that we didn’t need to use conditioner.  I noticed a little static, but that was remedied quickly with my ACV conditioning spray.  My hair was very soft and easy to brush.

This shampoo is one of the safest ones to buy, rated at a risk factor of “1” by the Environmental Work Group (the chief concerns being the use of Guar Gum, Citric Acid, and Aloe Vera Gel…pretty tame, wouldn’t you agree?).

This trial size (2 oz.) is perfect for camping and travel: it costs $5.60.  Or, you can buy the regular size shampoo bottle (16oz) for $19.95.  That sounds expensive, but it does last a long time AND you really don’t need to buy any conditioner ($AVING$).

Next time I get soap nuts for my laundry, I’ll think I’ll get some shampoo, especially if we travel to see family at Christmastime (I have yet to try lugging around my baking soda cleanser bottle…I think this shampoo will work a lot better for us, don’t you agree? 😉 )  This would make a VERY thoughtful and unique gift if you’re trying to impress a health- or earth-conscious loved one in the upcoming festive Season!

NaturOli Soap Nuts Shampoo Bar – Saponin Secret

This little bar will work wonders for your entire family…including your dog!

This is the most surprising product of all, I think.  Not only is it very economical (you produce as much lather as is needed to wash your hair from the bar) and compact (no bottles; this should pose no problem through security check points!), but it works just as well as liquid shampoo.  The crazy thing?  It worked wonders not only on our hair, but on our dog’s coat too!

Our dog Zeus gets a terrible allergic reaction to Ragweed in Michigan each September.  It is especially bad after a heavy rain.  All his skin turns bright red, gets swollen, and he has usually licked himself raw by October.  Gross.  However, we used the shampoo bar on him and he instantly felt, looked and smelled MUCH better.  He was obviously relieved.  Whether you use this on yourself, your kids (they can have fun making the lather too!) or your DOG, you will be doing your skin, budget, and environment a huge favor!

The Shampoo Bar costs $5.75, and there is a citrus version I haven’t tried but has a low-risk rating by the EWG (there is no rating available for the regular shampoo bar, but I imagine it is fairly close).  This would make a great stocking stuffer and conversation starter!  Make sure you pick some up for your loved ones (bipedal and quadrupedal) today!

Helping of Hope: you don’t have to put cancer-causing materials on your precious skin just to look and smell good!  Buying all-natural personal care products like these can help save your immune system without breaking your piggy bank!

If you enjoyed today’s SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAYS post, why not share it with a friend using one of the may options below?  Thanks!

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This nifty tub of skin-saving ointment is a must-have if you want to avoid conventional, MRSA-creating antibiotic ointments!

Today’s product recommendation is an all-natural Amish remedy for burns and wounds.  I recommend it highly as a replacement for antibiotic ointments like Neosporin, which contribute to cases of MRSA infections.

While I wouldn’t recommend it as a cure for moderate or serious burns (putting anything on a burn could trap thermal energy, prolonging tissue damage), I have used it for minor burns from hot oil that splashed on my skin while cooking.  I held the burn under cold water, dried my skin, put on some B & W ointment and bandaids, and put an ice-pack on top of the bandaids to draw out the heat (thermodynamics: heat travels from hot to cold).

The result?  The B & W ointment provided noticeable comfort while I waited for the tenderness to go away (took 24 hours).  The best part about the ointment: no scarring, little evidence of blistering, and smooth skin.  The main ingredients, honey and lanolin (from sheep), do a wonderful job of keeping the skin moisturized while staving off inflammation and infection.  I agree that it sped up the healing: normally it would take 2-3 days to see my skin doing this well and even then I would usually have some evidence of scarring.

There’s another plus!  As you may have read in a previous STYDS post, I have a child with very sensitive skin.  We have been battling an eczema-like rash since summer, brought on by going swimming in a highly-chlorinated public pool once a week.  We have tried coconut oil and diluted tea tree oil to no avail.  I put this B & W ointment on a rash that covered half my child’s body; within two days she was better, with only a little scabbing left from scratches in her formerly itchy skin.  This stuff is amazing!

You can buy the ointment at several outlets online (I got mine from a friend).  Here are a few:

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