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Review: Homestead Creamery

I’m starting my rotations today! (At long last! Interactions with real human beings!!!) So while I’m at orientation learning my way around the hospital, I’m leaving you with a review. :O

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own!

Several months ago and in the span of 24 hours, I heard from two local friends about the awesomeness that is the Homestead Creamery milk offered at Kroger in the dairy section. I love Kroger’s for its coupons, manager’s specials and convenience. It’s pretty much where I get all my groceries, and although I regularly shop just the perimeter of the store, I rarely stop by the milk section because I may or may not be slightly lactose-intolerant, and as such, I’d never noticed this milk that they speak of.

It comes in a glass jar that you put a $2 deposit on that they return to you once you bring the jar back (this is awesome because I still have yet to find a place in the state that recycles glass). Homestead Creamery is located in Wirtz, Virginia, and since we are rather lucky souls/close-ish to the Virginia border, they actually supply the Kroger in our town. The milk at the creamery comes from two local farms and is free of all hormones and antibiotics. :] In addition, since they’re sold in the aforementioned recycled glass bottles, they stay fresh longer and are more environmentally friendly.

Did I mention that aside from just regular milk, they also have chocolate, orange cream (tastes like a creamsicle!), and strawberry?


I decided to try out all of them and made something different with each one! Click the pictures for the recipes! :]

Strawberry Chia Pudding

Orange Creamsicle Oatmeal

Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake

This is the first “real” milk I’ve had in probably over a decade (I switched over to soy/almond/coconut long long ago) and most likely the only one I would ever get from now on. At $2.49/quart, it’s likely pricier than the standard (I have no idea since milk and I divorced a couple eons ago), but it tastes so much better that there’s just really no going back.

To sum it up:

  • No hormones/antibiotics
  • Minimal processing from happy cows that are mostly grass/grain-fed by what they grow
  • Local-ish (well, for me) producer
  • Glass bottles = no container waste! (In their video/slide show from Whole Foods, it said that 1 glass bottle takes the place of ~40 plastic jugs that end up in landfills.)

Nutrition Facts (for 1 cup)taken from their facebook page!

  • 2%: 120 cal, 5g fat, 12g CHO, 8g protein
  • 2% Chocolate: 210 cal, 5g fat, 26g CHO, 8g protein, 1g fiber
  • Orange Cream: 220 cal, 8g fat, 29g CHO, 8g protein
  • Strawberry: 210 cal, 8g fat, 27g CHO, 7g protein

Review: Amy’s Rag Bag (reusable pads)

If you squirm at the word, “menstrual” or “blood” and/or do not possess 2 X chromosomes, you may want to consider not reading this post.

Consider that my warning. :O

If not, forge on ahead! Back when I was in undergrad, terms like “boundaries” and “personal space” were very foreign concepts to me/my roommate. We could literally be lying on top of each other and not feel the need for personal space. (This may be what happens when you’ve known each other for over half your life and share a room with each other all throughout college. Or maybe we’re just special.)

I was told about the DivaCup, and although intrigued by the concept of saving money/the environment, I failed at life at that sort of thing and was/still am uncomfortable with the idea of tampons. Honestly, they are a great concept, last about 10 years and would be great for if you wanted to go swimming and the like. (This is really just a problem with me because I really dislike reproductive organs. The repro unit was not a fun time for me and I am dreading OB/GYN rotations like no other since the birthing lab was already somewhat scarring to me, and let’s just not talk about how I almost passed out the first time I watched a c-section). But childbirth and birth canals are what I have issues with. I can take blood.

I decided to look into reusable pads instead, but the price tag at LunaPads sent me running for my life, so I scoured the internet for alternatives.

I will admit that initially, I was a little grossed out about having to get all up close and personal. Washing something soaked with blood instead of just throwing it out and not having to think about it? Urgh. I feel like that’s probably(?) the standard response/thought process for most, and I definitely get it, but…hear me out!

  1. Money
    Assuming you use 2 tampons/pads per day for 5 days, that’s 10 per cycle, 120 per year, and almost 5000 tampons/pads in your lifetime. Under the generalization that the average lifetime menstruation span is about 41 years, if you buy the super-cheap non-brand-name type, you might be able to keep it to ~$25/year, or about $1k in your lifetime, which may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but I can think about a billion other things I’d rather spend my money on. $1000 covers my grocery budget for an entire year, just sayin’.
  2. Comfort
    They are super comfortable, and are also really cute and/or pretty. None of these words are adjectives I’d normally use to describe that time of the month, and this is coming from someone who’s been relatively blessed in that realm (no cramps, no PMS, no crazy hemorrhaging–I just like eating a little more than usual, but that’s somewhat of an everyday thing). I rinse/soak them in cold water before tossing them into the washing machine. If stains bother you, choose dark or busy fabrics. They have all sorts of different varieties (size, cloth type, thickness, absorbency, etc.) to choose from, depending on what you need.
  3. More Eco-Friendly
    If we go back to #1 and realize that each female uses a ballpark range of 5,000 pads/tampons (give or take a couple thousand) in their lifetime, that is a crap ton of waste that’s being dumped out there. DivaCup estimates that the average woman uses almost 10,000 pads/tampons in their lifetime. Landfills galore. :[ As a former science camp counselor and an individual with go-green tendencies (I walked/biked/public-transportation-ed everywhere for the first 24 years of my life), it made me really sad to think about this.

Truth be told, there are patterns online and I know how to sew, but let’s face it, thanks to my addiction to taking classes for the rest of my life, I had/still have no time to do such things. So back in July of 2011, I placed an order at Amy’s Rag Bag, and I have not looked back since.

~$26 (included shipping) got me 1 standard variety sampler set [2 regular pads + 2 liners, 1 large pad + 1 large liner, 1 tri-fold liner] + 1 mini laundry bag.

Not gonna lie, it was an amazing deal that I don’t think she offers anymore, as that was a good 3 years ago, but her products are very well-made and still worth it.

According to the internets, she recently moved and is getting settled back in. I’m not sure if she’s still making/selling them, but that sampler set has lasted me til now and it’s still going strong. Save for 1-2 instances where I got “surprised,” I have not used a disposable pad since then. She has a unique way of sewing a tab in so that there are no snaps or velcro, which means that she can use completely re-purposed fabric and nothing else (well, that and thread). You can “stack” them depending on your needs. Possibly TMI, but I was wearing one while I was a demo girl for Platinum Stages/Twirly Girls at the SJ Fitness Expo a couple years ago, and no one noticed.

Since I can only speak for Amy’s Rag Bag, I’ll leave you with a couple links:

  • Reviews
    This is the most extensive list of cloth pad reviews I’ve found.
  • Where to Find Them
    Etsy has a ton of em’ for sale. (Google would probably also be helpful.)
  • Tutorial
    Patterns & instructions on how to make your own.

I’m interested in getting some new ones, not because I really need them, but because I’ve seen some prints that are super cute/I definitely wouldn’t mind owning. >_> That’s all I’ve got for today! Hope I haven’t forever scared you away!

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own!

Review: Dole’s Endless Summer Kit

I’ve never purchased a salad kit in my life, mainly because they’re usually a hell of a lot more expensive than just buying the ingredients separately and making it yourself (tis the price you pay for convenience). However, my neighbor does sometimes, and a couple weeks ago, I was over at his place (so what else is new) and tried some of this one. It is effing amazing. Holy crud. So much so that I actually went and bought some the other day! :D (It was on manager’s special. I love manager’s specials at Kroger. <3 ) This isn’t really a recipe so much as it is a breakdown of the stuff in this awesomeness of a salad kit.

I don’t know what it is about this particular salad kit, because I’ve since tried others and they just don’t seem to compare. To be fair, the others generally include an ingredient I don’t particularly enjoy, or can’t have (e.g. blue cheese, bacon), so it’s probably more of a preference issue on my part. I usually just get around that by omitting whatever the ingredient is and throwing more of my own fixings in.

Dole’s Endless Summer Kit

This is before I mixed it all up. :O

-sunflower seeds
-mix of guyere + swiss cheese, shredded
-romaine lettuce, shredded
-red cabbage, shredded
-carrots, shredded
-hard boiled egg, chopped/diced (since I was being lazy, I just mashed it up with the fork I was going to use to eat the salad)
-artisan-style croutons
-pepper & herb seasoning
-Dole’s summer vinaigrette dressing (has white balsamic vinegar in it, but that’s unfortunately all I know)

1) Mix everything together and consume! :O

(Honestly, my only alteration to this was to add a mashed up hard-boiled egg in. Yay for more protein! Also, the salad dressing from a single salad kit tends to last for 4 different salads for me, so that’s another plus. If anyone knows how to recreate this dressing, I’ll love you forever.)