A Vegan Rosh Hashanah Courtesy of Mariano’s

 

 

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Every day eating is hard for me, let alone Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah. Being vegan has its pluses and minuses. The vegan chopped liver my friend’s aunt makes every year is a joy and aside from missing out on the brisket and honey cake, I usually make do. This year I was asked by Mariano’s, (#MyMarianos) Roscoe Village’s most popular joint, to create and blog about a Rosh Hashanah dish that I could make using only the store’s ingredients.

I’m not the greatest cook, but I was up for the task. Because Mariano’s is in my ‘hood, and because I was making a vegan-friendly salad for my friend’s dinner this Thursday I wanted to try and practice a few sweet salad recipes I read about on Pinterest. Because Rosh Hashanah is all about sweet food.

I have shopped at Mariano’s before and I have always been impressed by their selection and service, even for a picky vegan eater like me. And as I set out to make a salad worthy of the holiday I was a little worried about finding all the specialized ingredients I would need:

  • Baby lettuce such as kale and arugula
  • Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate
  • Figs (2-3)
  • Pecans (about a cup)
  • Orange (1)
  • Red Onion (1)
  • Olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard for the dressing

I’ve shopped Mariano’s on price and convenience (I’m a rewards card member — it’s worth it), but not on specialty ingredients.

Good thing I was pleasantly surprised. I was welcomed by mountains of fresh produce and helpful staff members who even pointed out where to find ripened pomegranates. (Little did I know there is a big difference- the skin starts to crack at the top of ripe ones.)

And I found lots of other goodies including yellow figs. Who knew figs could be yellow…

 

fresh lettuce #shopMariano's produce #shopPomegranate #shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of Mariano’s produce is apparent!

Then I got started with the salad prep:

I caramelized the red onions:

onions #shop

I candied the pecans:

pecans #shop

And I figured out how to get pomegranate seeds out of a pomegranate. It’s not for the faint of heart, and do not wear a t-shirt you like. Just sayin’.

pomegranate seeds #shop

My salad required dressing, and I made some by squeezing half an orange into a bowl, adding 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 vinegar, tsp of dijon mustard and salt and pepper and whisking it with a fork until it got a little creamy. Yum…

dressing #shop

 

I cut the figs (had to read a tutorial on that), and spread the greens into a big bowl. Best part about the greens I got from Mariano’s is that they were pre-washed. Love that. I put the dressing on the salad and voila, my Rosh Hashanah Sweet Vegan Salad was done!

vegan rosh hashanah salad #shop

 

A big thank you to my local Chicago Mariano’s (#MyMarianos) and Collective Bias (#cbias) for this shoppertunity. I really enjoyed the process and found Mariano’s selection for my Rosh Hashanah dish to be superb. I encourage you all to Like Mariano’s on Facebook, Twitter or both!

And here’s a link to the recent Mariano’s Opera Flash Mob (did you know that Mariano’s has a piano player in the Roscoe Village store? Made waiting in the check out line a little more tolerable 🙂

Coming Clean

Ok. I have a huge confession to make. Remember when I gave up all chemicals in my skin care products and rued the day where I’d touch a paraben again?

Yeah, well it’s over. It’s called adult-onset acne and it put me over the natural/chemical-free edge.

Amidst the mix of rose tip cleanser and mango citrus moisturizer, I noticed something creeping beneath the surface of an otherwise smooth face. A zit. A big nasty zit.

The first one I didn’t mind so much. It’s stress I thought. (Those damn kids.) But when the second and third didn’t abate after my grapefruit exfoliating wash treatments, I started to worry.

Did I have acne again, I wondered?

A trip to the dermatologist confirmed my 13-year-old 34-year-old’s worst fears: I had acne. I hadn’t heard those words since I had braces, two rounds of Accutane and a few strange incidents with a UV-lamp in my parents’ basement. (Don’t ask.)

Acne was my worst enemy, and it was back with a vengeance.

“But I use all natural products!” I exclaimed to the doctor in shock of my recent diagnosis. When I told her I’d been using tea tree oil to cure the pimples I thought her non-wrinkled, supple jaw would drop to the floor.

It was time to ditch the natural stuff, she told me.

Bring on the chemicals.

A new regime was in order and it wasn’t pretty. Two different face washes one for morning and night, two different creams, one a Retin-A derivative, one acid-based that was impossible to say. My own, non-oily moisturizer was fine (Thank you Bare Escentuals) and some good, mostly-chemical-free acne-prone sunscreen.

It wasn’t time for oral medication just yet, she assured me. Gee, thanks. I’d been spending the last year or so eradicating my house of parabens and fake dyes and proselytizing these changes across the internets and now I had to bring Blue dye #2004343 into my house, my life and my face.

But it worked.

It f’ing worked and now I’m not going back. Never. I may be a flexitarian-semi-vegan, but I’m dousing my face with chemicals galore and I’m loving it. My face didn’t even look oily after trekking through a soccer game, a bball game and incident with a lemonade stand in 85 degree heat yesterday.  I love my skin’s new texture, feel, and look. People comment on how good my skin looks. (Who, me?)

It even prompted me to get some new makeup. Of the non-organic kind. Hello, Benefit!

I didn’t say I was perfect. At least until I contract some rare disease that only people who have a mad obsession with anything “oil free” contract, I’m sticking with my natural diet and unnatural skin care regime.

Herewith are my favorite skincare products. Please contact your very own non-wrinkled, supple-jawed doctor first before trying any (or all) of these. Thank you. Comments and questions welcome.

Skin Prep:

Sumadan Sulfur Wash (morning)

Glytone Wash (night)

Finacea cream (morning)

Atralin (night)

Bare Escentuals moisturizer

Silk or Chemical peel every 3 months for a touch-up

Elta MD sunscreen for the face

Burn Out Clear Zinc for the body

Makeup:

Oxygen Wow! Foundation

Boing Concealer

Oo La La lightening cream

Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil

Hervana blush

Make Up forever eye pencil

They’re Real mascara

Alison Raffale all over dusting powder (the only natural one of the bunch)

And, voila! You will look as good as Tammy Faye Bakker now.

This post is dedicated to Betsy, Tracy, Aimee and all women who endure the annoyance of zits and wrinkles. 

Pride (In the Name of Love) (Or, Neuroses?)

I pride myself on being pretty relaxed when it comes to most parenting decisions. I’ve written in the past about those feisty “helicopter moms” and, while I’m not “hands-off” by any stretch, I like to think that I’m more of a sweet little sparrow rather than a massive Blackhawk.

These ideas I pride myself on, however, always get slapped with a dash of reality when I read a story like this one, that was passed around my social circle no less than 5 times. Written for The Atlantic, the title of the post alone is enough to make any parent, even those really relaxed ones, open their mouths in fear.

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy,” title notwithstanding, is actually one of the more balanced parenting articles I’ve read in a long time. It actually should be required reading for parents. Written by a therapist and mother, Lori Gottleib, it points out key things we, as parents, do to ensure our kids have happy childhoods, but may make them be unhappy adults. An example:

Paul Bohn, a psychiatrist at UCLA who came to speak at my clinic, says the answer may be yes. Based on what he sees in his practice, Bohn believes many parents will do anything to avoid having their kids experience even mild discomfort, anxiety, or disappointment—“anything less than pleasant,” as he puts it—with the result that when, as adults, they experience the normal frustrations of life, they think something must be terribly wrong.

Consider a toddler who’s running in the park and trips on a rock, Bohn says. Some parents swoop in immediately, pick up the toddler, and comfort her in that moment of shock, before she even starts crying. But, Bohn explains, this actually prevents her from feeling secure—not just on the playground, but in life. If you don’t let her experience that momentary confusion, give her the space to figure out what just happened (Oh, I tripped), and then briefly let her grapple with the frustration of having fallen and perhaps even try to pick herself up, she has no idea what discomfort feels like, and will have no framework for how to recover when she feels discomfort later in life. These toddlers become the college kids who text their parents with an SOS if the slightest thing goes wrong, instead of attempting to figure out how to deal with it themselves. If, on the other hand, the child trips on the rock, and the parents let her try to reorient for a second before going over to comfort her, the child learns: That was scary for a second, but I’m okay now. If something unpleasant happens, I can get through it. In many cases, Bohn says, the child recovers fine on her own—but parents never learn this, because they’re too busy protecting their kid when she doesn’t need protection.

This kind of example actually came up in my previous article – we want to protect our children to the extent of ensuring that we can avoid every scrape, nick, bump or bruise. It’s just not realistic.

After reading these types of articles, I always reflect on myself – what do I do that maybe won’t land my kid on the therapist’s couch, but that might undermine is independence?

I was caught in that moment this week.

It started earlier this week when I discovered something unsettling happening at my son’s camp: they were using spray sunscreen on him. If you know me, you know the lengths I’ve gone to to eradicate the bad bad sunscreen there is out there on the market. I’ve researched and procured perhaps not the easiest-to-apply products, but what I think are the safest and best choices for our family. So that’s what, of course, I pack in my son’s bag for him to take to camp.

When the lotion I packed kept its contents steady and as my son got darker and darker from the sun, I wondered… was the sunscreen even getting on him? The answer was mixed.

“We don’t use my sunscreen, mom,” I was told earlier this week. “The counselors say it’s too hard to apply so they spray us every day with spray sunscreen which I know you don’t like.”

I love my kid.

I went into a semi-panic. Here I am, BPA, paraben, nano-particle free while my son is inhaling oxybenzone every morning in the swim locker room.

“They didn’t put it on my face,” he said proudly. But it wasn’t that much of a relief. I don’t give a lick if he eats Popsicle and chips almost every day while at camp. I can’t worry about packing him his own snacks – that’s crazy, right?

But, the chemicals in the sunscreen are ones I’ve vowed to avoid. So I did what any mother trying to protect her son from the evils of the world would do. I called the camp and complained. (It was the first time this whole summer.) And I was promptly told that the sunscreen sticks are impossible to apply, the spray is easier and if I want my son to have his own private sunscreen application I need to send lotion, not a sunscreen stick, and that she’d have to tell the UNIT HEAD of the camp that we have special rules for him.

OMG.

“You must think I’m totally crazy,” I told the camp director. “You must think I’m insane, but I hate spray sunscreen.”

OMG.

After there wasn’t much more that I could do or say. I found an old tube of California Baby and threw it in the bag. But there was more to that. What kind of ramifications would my neuroses about sunscreen chemicals have on my child, who, in wanting to protect what I think might be harmful for his health, may put him in a position of ridiculousness at camp? It’s only 8 weeks of his life, right?

At the end of the day what did I reflect on about this? That I acted bat-sh** crazy about zinc. Freaking goopy icky white zinc sunscreen.

Here’s to hoping the only couch he ends up on is the one in my basement.

My food bubble

Hello, my name is Sara and I live in a food bubble.

I have access to and can afford pretty much any kind of food my family or I need. And if for some odd reason I cannot find what I need at the myriad of Whole Foods, Costcos, Jewels, Dominicks, Paulina Meat Market, Speedways, Specialty Grocers that surround me, I can typically pick up the phone and just order it.

The only food desert I have to worry about is when my corner Starbucks runs out of cinnamon scones.

I live in a food bubble.

The reason I’m talking about my food bubble is that recently, I was asked by The Center for Food Integrity to sit on a panel of mom bloggers and speak to an audience of agriculture and food manufacturers. Alongside me were my friends Vanessa, Emily and Michelle. We spoke and answered questions about how, as moms, we use technology, how we choose our food and how we track food issues. For a great wrap-up of the event and questions asked/ discussed, please refer to Vanessa and Emily’s respective posts.

Of all the many opportunities I’ve had as a blogger, this experience rates as one of the most interesting. It’s not often that I’m asked as a blogger to talk about my use of technology or what I think current trends are AND about how I feel about food. Because even though I don’t cook often, I do pay attention to what we eat or don’t eat. Swedish fish aside. We all have our vices.

But see, that’s the point. My vice is Swedish Fish. That’s a luxury to pretty much half the world who starve every day. Even in our own country. Did you know that the hunger level in the United States is at its highest in 15 years?

Swedish fish vs. Starving. Food bubble vs. Food desert.

I sort of wanted to crawl in a hole when one of the audience members, a really nice Midwestern farmer had a question just for me. It must have been sometime after I made the point that the Whole Foods “fishmonger” is my go-to resource for what fish is safe to purchase. Oy. (I was told that Seafood Watch, my what-seafood-is-ok-to-eat Bible is “fringe.” More on safe seafood in another post.)

In any case, he asked me point blank what I would think about his lifestyle of food choices. How where he lives only two cars pass by his house a day and one of them is his wife and one is the mailman. I’m not kidding.

I don’t judge others. I know I’m lucky. I live in a food bubble.

After more rousing discussion and myriad offers for Emily and I to visit pork farms (gotta love the visual of the Jewish girls and hogs), many of the audience members came up to us panelists to thank us for our time and opinions. I now have the contact information for a Fish Ph.d. from Greg at the Indiana Farm Bureau who I can ask all my questions about why I can’t eat tuna every damn day. I met a lovely dairy farmer Shelly, who wants to do an kid exchange – she WANTS her kids to see city food life. I think my son would just about pass out at the opportunity to get on a real tractor. I also met Leah Beyer. Just about the coolest woman married to a farmer that I’ve ever met. Ok, I have no one else to compare her too, but I wish we could have snuck away after the panel to walk the broad paths of the McDonald’s Campus where the panel was held and chit chat about working mom B.S. This woman rocks!

I now have a new appreciation for the food manufacturers who are using technology to make food manufacturing more efficient with technology. Food and tech always have a negative connotation, but not when you think about the fact that this technology helps to FEED THE WORLD.

And suddenly, I was out of my food bubble and into reality. Yes, I’m still going to watch what we eat. But I’m not going to be as cynical about it. I may never purchase a box of chicken nuggets again, but I’m also not going to cry if we don’t drink organic milk all the time. I’m just going to be thankful that we have that choice.

While I’m talking about choices, please use your ability to choose the Make Miracles Grow Foundation project the winner of the Edy’s Communities Take Root program. My friend Emily is in charge of the project on the south side to help eradicate just one of the many Chicagoland food deserts. So help her out.

It feels good to get out of that bubble.

What I’m worrying about lately – nail cancer and Chromium-6 water contamination

It’s no news that I’m neurotic. So I tend to read a lot of those headlines that say “THIS IS BAD FOR YOU” and then proceed to throw out all cups and bottles in my house and buy new makeup. I know you all are neurotic too (although you hide behind the spike in pageviews), and so I must divulge my two latest worries – getting nail cancer from the no-chip manicures and the high levels of Chromium-6 (a.k.a. the Erin Brockovich chemical) in Chicago’s drinking water.

I went through a brief love affair with the no-chip manicure (I tried OPI Axxium) recently as you might remember from my Facebook Q&A session. I really enjoyed the manicure. It lasted over two weeks, I walked out of the salon with dry nails and I didn’t have to worry about ruining my nails on dishes, etc. But, when I went back to the salon a couple of weeks ago to get another no-chip I was warned by a friend I saw at the salon who advised me that those manicures increase your risk for nail cancer. Lots of Googling ensued.

While the results of my internet search (links to articles in Houston Chronicle and New York Times) was mixed, the fact that putting your hands to dry under the UV light is like going in a tanning bed was enough to make me run back (sadly) to my chip-prone regular manicure. I would never go tanning, so why would I stick my hands under repeated, intense UV light? It’s not a safe practice to overexpose yourself to the sun, and to me, not worth the benefit of having beautiful nails for an extended period of time. *Sigh* (I must also mention that the OPI Axxium nail gel I tried completely left my nails peeling and shredding for weeks and I never had that problem before.)

My second worry is a little more grounded in real evidence.

I’m freaking out over contaminants in Chicago’s city water. I’ve always been a big tap water drinker. I drink it at restaurants, public places, and most especially my own home. There’s been questions about the purity of bottled water, plus, it’s expensive to buy and the bottles are not good for the environment. I tried Ice Mountain’s water delivery service until I figured out the 3 gallon water bottles provided by Ice Mountain contained BPA. (When I talked to the company representative about it, she could not deny that there are traces of BPA in the bottles. I returned the system the next day.)

We went back to good ‘ol Chicago tap and I’ve been happy ever since. Until I saw this report from the Environmental Working Group about how Chromium-6, the Erin Brockovich stomach-cancer-causing-chemical-from-hell is widespread in U.S. tap water, and how Chicago’s water supply has levels of Chromium-6 that exceed safe limits proposed by California officials. (Madison and Milwaukee you didn’t do much better.)

The authorities that be in Chicago say that our water meets or exceeds EPA standards, and that they’re going to meet with the head of the EPA about the report, but I don’t want to wait around for bureaucracy to rule firmly on the issue and make a change. Therefore, I’ve investigated EWG’s recommendation for water filters and found that I need a reverse osmosis water filtration system to get the Chromium-6 out. For $170, I’d rather buy a new pair of Tory Burch flats I saw, but I guess preventing our stomachs from corroding is more important. In the meantime I bought a Brita pitcher, because I have yet to convince my better half that we need a complicated water system living under our sink. I know Brita isn’t going to cut it, but it is making me feel a little better.

Oh, how I could use a little Vitamin D from the deadly sun to cheer me up.

The project that “grew” on me. Growing the modern organic family.

It all started over the summer at the Not BlogHer event when Caitlin and I were discussing our current projects. Just so happened we had some crossover in meeting Deree Kobets, the owner of grow modern boutique in Wicker Park. The conversation was casual but purposeful, “wouldn’t you love to do something with her?” “Yeah.”

See what I mean?

After a nice meeting in early Fall, we proposed an online campaign plus an in-store event to try to increase grow’s awareness online with our blogger friends, but also within our social and community network. Our campaign, a culmination of tips from Deree and four amazing giveaway packages last week were a huge hit and the event on November 4 was a beautiful showcase of the power of community (thank you Wicker Park!) and good mommy fun.

But I can only write so much about how nice the evening was. I’ll let the photos tell the rest…

My messy closet floor is evidence I was in a huge rush to get to the event in time.

Did I mention it was really rainy hailing hurting snow pellets that night? Really hard to get somewhere in time in rain/ hail/ wind/ oh my!

So mad props to the moms who braved the Chicago weather to join us. (Cyn and Alma not pictured, because my camera deleted that one. But they deserve a shout-out.)

But I did get there. Ok, meet Deree (right). Isn’t she cute? I still can’t believe she grew up on a farm. She’s standing with Sarah from Olive.You.Nanny. Gosh, they just accentuate my brunette-ness.

Thank g-d wine from The Noble Grape, cupcakes from Tipsy Cake (pictured) tea from Honest Tea, pizza from Crust and appetizers from Real Naked Food (not pictured) were there waiting for me. Because of course I had no time to eat before.

Once Little Miss Ann started rockin’ we all forgot about the downpour and cold outside. She just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy!

I also think the kick-ass goodie bags and giveaways sponsored by Square One Organics, Little Miss Ann, Time Out Chicago Kids, Little Twig,  and Eco-Minders helped.

By the end of the night, I was one pooped lady, but one pooped lady with a whole lot of love after a fun night out and a great week of learning about how to live more organic, smart, and modern. It was worth the wait!

Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids: Final Day!

It’s the last day of our Four Days of Grow giveaways, and today’s giveaway gets to the heart of why we are all here in the first place: our kids. (Right? I mean, the products are pretty, but at the core…)

Our kids mean the most to us and, for me at least, the moment I became a mom I wanted to do only the best for my kids. It’s so cliche, right? But it goes beyond just the knowledge that you’d lay across a bed of hot coals for your lovelies. You’d also like to create the best environment for them to live. As Deree Kobets, owner of Grow Modern boutique and mom of two says,

I look at mine everyday with love and amazement.  By growing up in a non-toxic environment with modern, purposeful products that were produced locally with a sense of style, I know that I’ve done all that I can as a parent.

I don’t think I realized how important the products I put in my house were when I had my first son over four years ago. BPA wasn’t a “thing” and I was really into the noise and visual appeal and apparently I had a fascination with blue fish creatures as evidenced by the outgrown baby-seat graveyard in the basement.

But products with that sense of style that are non-toxic and “purposeful,” as Deree says, like the sparrow twin bed by Oeuf and mini-library by Oeuf make buying products for our kids more than just fun to play with at that moment. Products like these go the distance.

Which is why I’m so excited to offer a giveaway for some kiddie toys that go beyond flashing lights and annoying music. The Grow Modern “Kids” Day Gift Package includes:

Remember – you can enter four ways!

(1) Leave a comment on this post.

(2) Become a Follower of the Grow blog by clicking here and adding yourself as a follower. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this).

(3) Become a fan of Grow’s Facebook Page. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this.)

(4) If you use Twitter, retweet this giveaway for another entry. (Leave a separate comment to let me know you’ve done this).

And don’t forget to follow along tonight to hear some more great tips from Deree during our live tweeting of the “Grow an Organic Family” Event tonight. The hashtag is #growmodern.

Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids: Day Three

Hey!! We’re on our third day of great giveaways from Grow Modern! Check out Caitlin’s blog today for today’s “organically” themed giveaway – you won’t be sorry!

Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids: Day Two

As much as I can, I try not one to sacrifice the way I look and the fashion and style I love for the demands of motherhood. (Why are you not surprised?) Four years ago, when I had my first son, I bought products that fit the modern look of my home and the fashionable sense of myself.  Grow Modern owner Deree Kobets takes it one step further. She says,

“while we love crisp, clean lines, modern style at grow means more than that.  The modern child reaps the benefits from products that are multi-functional and well-designed as well as nice to look at.”

I guess I’ve been a little too shallow that way. I like the way modern elements look, but sometimes will breeze over their functionality. Like the Svan wood high chair I plunked down a fair amount of change for because the wood matched the floors in my kitchen only to sell it on Craigslist 4 years later because I couldn’t get the kiddie food goo off the beautifully-colored wood tray. (I guess take that idiom “fashion before comfort” a little too seriously…)

But Deree gets that both, and that’s why she wants you all to look at this Bloom baby fresco high chair (I’m partial to the lime green color, personally). Not only is it visually appealing, but it can service your child’s eating habits from age 3 months to 76 lbs! (That’s at least five years old, right?). You can get a lot more mileage out of this than the cheap-y Fisher Price seat. And, the Orbit G2 stroller system she sells lets your child ride in style WITH a super shock suspension system and 360-degree rotation. It makes my old McClaren Quest look like a doll stroller.

Too bad I’m stuck with the cheap and the dolly (for now, at least). However, I can never stop shopping for moi, so let’s get back to that, shall we?

What’s the number one conundrum of today’s modern mom? If you said getting your baby to sleep more than 3 hours at a time, you are wrong! No! It’s what darn diaper bag to lug around all day, every day with your little one. I’ve been through many, (expensive ones too!), as you know. That’s why I was so psyched when Deree said she was giving away this amazing Skip Hop “Versa” diaper bag to one lucky mommy today. Not only does the Versa not look like your every day diaper bag, it comes with an amazing price tag and made of the best and appealing material – all BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free. I totally want one for myself. You want one too?  … here’s how you can enter to win the Skip Hop “Versa” Bag:

(1) Leave a comment on this post. Tell me why your current diaper bag needs to go — or don’t, and just leave your email address. You don’t have to confess!

(2) Become a Follower of the Grow blog by clicking here and adding yourself as a follower. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this).

(3) Become a fan of Grow’s Facebook Page. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this.)

(4) If you use Twitter, retweet this giveaway for another entry. (Leave a separate comment to let me know you’ve done this). You could even say something like:

  • RT@selfmademom Check out The Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids:http://bit.ly/ankc55 #growmodern

Good luck and happy entering!

I was compensated to write this post and the awareness campaign by grow modern boutique. I can never be compensated enough, however, to buy all the things I write about. 😉

Sponsored Link: TreeFrogs creates playsets for every budget and yard size.

Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids: Day One

In preparation for this Thursday’s “Growing a Modern Organic Family” event this Thursday night at Grow (a fabulous local boutique for modern organic kids), my friend Caitlin and I are going to be discussing all the fundamental elements of the Grow boutique (grow, modern, organic and kids) on our blogs this week, with tips and thoughts by Grow owner, Deree Kobets.

Because so many of our readers live out of state (did you know Grow has an online store as well?), and cannot join us in person on Thursday, we are hosting an awareness campaign starting today to help you understand the woman and the philosophy behind the products she hand-picks for her store. We want you to follow along not only to learn, but to also win some great baby and toddler (and one for moms tomorrow, here!! hint hint) gear!

Today, in keeping with the “grow” theme, Caitlin is giving away, to one lucky reader, this amazing baby bundle package from Grow on her blog:

Here’s how you can enter to win this awesome collection of baby items:

(1) Leave a comment on Caitlin’s post. You can tell her about an item that you’ve purchased for your kids that has really “grown” with them. Or you can just leave her your email address. It’s up to you.

(2) Become a Follower of the Grow blog by clicking here and adding yourself as a follower. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this).

(3) Become a fan of Grow’s Facebook Page. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this.)

(4) If you use Twitter, retweet this giveaway for another entry. (Leave a separate comment to let me know you’ve done this). You could even say something like:

  • RT@weewindycity Check out The Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids http://snurl.com/1e88cy #growmodern.

Each person can enter up to 4 separate times. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Thursday, November 4, 2010. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. I will notify the winner on Friday, November 5, 2010. Be sure to leave your email address so we can find you if you are the lucky winner!

I was compensated by Grow to host this awareness campaign and giveaways. Just so happens I agree with her.