What’s Been On My Plate? #HempHearts Review & Giveaway

Hi Friends!

Happy Weekend! Any big plans? Farmer Ben and I are spending our weekend at our district’s ministry retreat.

Today I want to talk about Hemp Hearts!

Have you had these tasty little seeds before? Farmer Ben and I love them! Confession: We put them in everything. And I mean EVERYTHING!

Hemp Hearts are actually the center of the hemp seed (basically, it’s what remains after the seed is de-shelled). They are also super good for you. In one 30 gram serving, Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas. They also have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax (AND don’t get stuck in your teeth!). Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts are also Non-GMO Project verified. This is something super important to Ben and me.

I love them because they have a nutty flavor that goes with anything. Seriously, Ben and I use them as a topping for yogurt and salads, a stir-in for smoothies or eggs, filling in meatballs (yes, I’m serious) and muffins. Sweet or savory, these will work! Click the link or the picture below for the muffin recipe. I made these a while back and actually just use all hemp seeds now.

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One of my favorite ways we’ve used the hemp hearts is in a veggie packed pasta sauce. We started with Farmer Ben’s homemade marinara sauce, added a splash of wine, threw in some vegan sausage, swiss chard, spinach and mushrooms and let those cook down, then right before we served it, we stirred in some hemp hearts for a little added crunch and flavor (then, to certify our hippie status, we topped it with nutritional yeast and served with whole wheat pasta)

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Another way that we love to eat hemp hearts is with plain yogurt and some fresh berries. As you probably know, siggi’s is my go to!

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So, long story short, we are huge fans. These little seeds are a staple in our house.

AND! Good News, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering one of you lucky readers the chance to win a package of Manitoba Hemp Hearts to try.

To enter pick any or all options below and leave a comment letting me know that you did it! (1 entry for each)

  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Twitter
  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Instagram
  • Tweet about the giveaway using @ManitobaHarvest #hemphearts @FitApproach #sweatpink
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Twitter
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Instagram
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to enjoy Hemp Hearts

The Fine Print: 

  • Open to US and Canada residents
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

****Giveaway ends Wednesday, November 11.

Ever had Hemp Hearts? What’s your favorite way to eat them? 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a free sample of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. *  Thank you Manitoba Harvest! 

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Real Talk: Grokker Review & *GIVEAWAY*

Hi Friends!

So I know that I am behind on my #GBN (Gross But Necessary) posts, but I am super excited to share this fun website with you!

Have you heard of Grokker? I know it has a funny name, but it is awesome!

Grokker is a total wellness website. 

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This site is not your typical streaming website. You can find workouts, yoga and cooking videos…I even watched a few videos on food and wine pairings! How cool is that?  It’s comforting to know that if I ever really want to impress Farmer Ben, I can bring a professional chef into my kitchen for a quick lesson without having to clean up/shower!

Also… Upstate NY in Late Fall/Winter… It’s COLD! And dark! Now, I love running, but winter running can be tough and, if I don’t make it out during the day, dangerous! Knowing that I can use Grokker as an alternative to an outside run AND as an option for cross-training is huge! On top of that, I don’t even have to leave my house, which means that if I am up crazy late doing homework and the mood strikes, I can totally do a dance workout in my pjs. Winning!

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Speaking of dance workouts… one of my favorite videos on Grokker is this one… this is super kind of embarrassing (because I can’t dance to save my life!) but I LOVE to dance, especially anything with a latin flavor… so this mambo dance workout was right up my alley!

In addition to their videos, Grokker allows you to track the videos that you’ve done and the amount of time spent being active. They also allow you to save videos for later, create collections based on your preferences and schedule workouts for a later date and time! In addition to that, you also have the ability to ask questions to a huge team of experts!

Have a I mentioned that I love this site?

Grokker currently has two plans.  Basic (the freebie!) and Premium (it’s unlimited videos!). Typically I’d say go for the free plan, but honestly, the Premium plan has a lot of perks (and a lot more videos) and is well worth the $10/ month if you pay for a year.

Basic
  • 2 Free Grokker Premium Videos/week
  • Full Access to Non-Premium videos
  • Always free
Premium
  • UNLIMITED Grokker Premium videos
  • Full access to non-premium videos
  • Enjoy Group Classes online
  • Watch on mobile, tablet, web, and TV
  • Ask Grokker Experts questions
  • $9.99/month for an annual plan, $14.99/month of a monthly plan

And now…for the fun part! The Giveaway! 

Grokker is allowing me to give one of you a 3-month premium membership ($60 value)!

Rules:

*Must be 18 years of age or older
*Enter below through Rafflecopter.
*Giveaway begins today, 10/29/15 and ends 11/6/15.
*I will email the winner randomly chosen through Rafflecopter.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

Click here to enter.

But wait! In case you don’t win the giveaway, Grokker is giving all Noelle’s Notebook Readers a sweet deal! Enter 99CENTS for 99 cents for first month of premium membership on Grokker! You can’t beat that!

Thanks to Fit Approach and Grokker for this awesome opportunity! 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a three month premium membership to Grokker in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. * 


Real Talk: Every Body Matters Book Review

If you’ve seen my last few posts, you already know that I’ve been working through this Gary Thomas book. I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

I typically read very fast–I am totally guilty of rushing through a book to finish it and not taking enough time to think critically and reflect on it. I couldn’t do that with this book. It’s not incredibly long, but it is FULL. I have about 2/3 of the pages dog-eared with information/quotes that I want to go back and read.

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The basic premise of this book (at least from my point of view) comes from 2 Timothy 2:20-21:

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

As Christians we are called to be:

  • Instruments for special purposes
  • Made holy
  • Useful to the Master
  • Prepared to do any good work. 

That’s a lot of responsibility.

As Gary puts it:

 “Desiring a silver soul means that we stop treating our bodies like ornaments-with all the misguided motivations often displayed by those who build their bodies out of pride and ambition-and start treating our bodies like instruments, vessels set apart to serve the God who fashioned them. Whether we have strong or weak bodies, healthy or sick, overnourished or undernourished, how do we begin moving from where we are now to more purposefully building bodies that function like instruments?” 

Um… treating our bodies as ornaments? Guilty. This means that we must put our vanity aside. That we stop beating ourselves up or worshiping our looks and start treating our bodies as something that God has given us…and use them accordingly!

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This is heavy stuff. And that was only the first chapter!

I mentioned before that this really hit home. I’ve been a bit lax about taking care of my physical health the last few months. Not that I’ve taken up binge drinking, smoking and eating bacon cheeseburgers for dinner every night (How fun would that be?)… I just haven’t made a concerted effort to get out and move. And I was starting to feel it.

With my new-ish job, being healthy and physically fit is important. I have to be on the move at any given time…I never really know what I’m going to end up doing during the week (Seriously).

And then there is the other aspect of my job; As much as I don’t like to admit or think about it, people are watching what I do and say. Especially younger people. And their parents.  What I do directly impacts my accountability. How is that for scary responsibility/reality? Wow.

There is a chapter called The Three-Hundred Pound Pastor that hit the nail on the head in this regard. Let’s just say that my Gross But Necessary posts came back right around the time I read that chapter.

To quote the book:

“Let’s be honest: There were times when I was discredited because of the way I looked. When I talked to the kids about self-control in other areas, they could look at me and understandably ask why I wasn’t addressing my issues with food…” 

The chapter goes on to talk about how the church can actually enable people who struggle with food/physical fitness. Farmer Ben and I have definitely noticed this before-someone always brings cake/cookies to a group function, there are donuts and coffee on Sunday mornings, and so on.

As the books states;

“Please don’t misunderstand. Making delicious meals is a wonderful way to serve and love others. There’s nothing wrong with communal meals and tasty snacks. There is something wrong, however, about enabling someone who is trapped in an unhealthy pattern of living…

…Let’s create room in our churches for conversations rooted in love as we show concern not just for a person’s emotional well-being but for the physical well-being of that person too. Let’s be more concerned about someone walking in right relationship with God than with whether that person thinks we are loving accepting, and tolerant.” 

Now, I realize that I may have a slightly different view because of my employment and my personal areas of struggle…but I think this is definitely something that needs to be talked about.

And the author is not saying to go around and criticize someone’s eating choices/physical appearance. Not at all. But he is saying, that maybe we shouldn’t be so accepting, so nice about letting someone continue an unhealthy lifestyle. There’s a balance.

Moving on, the book has many stories of people who were spiritually strengthened as a result of becoming physically stronger and as I mentioned before, there were many inspiring quotes.

There was also some tough reading.

Gary Thomas doesn’t mince words. He’s very honest about what he feels is the role of the church and its members And he doesn’t excuse a total focus on spiritual health:

“All this talk about fitness, facing the pain of getting in shape, actively combating indulgence and laziness, is in many ways an appeal for the church to get tougher. We are soft. We often cave in at the slightest challenge. Men are lost to superficial sins; women are lost to superficial cares, and the work of the kingdom is neglected. If we don’t get tougher, the work will never get done.”

He has a point. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Heck, being human isn’t easy! If we can’t suffer through an hour of strength training, how will we suffer through persecution?  A crisis of faith? Or worse?

It’s pretty clear that I loved this book.There is so much more that I could go write about but we’d be here for another week! That being said, it was not an easy read. Did I take everything in this book as an absolute? Of course not. But it gave me a lot to think about.

There were many pages that made me say, “Amen! Yes…Absolutely!,” There were slightly more that gave me pause… that caused me to ask if I am really living up to the standard to which God calls us.

It’s definitely a process.

Because I loved this book so much, I’m going to give one away!*** Update: Giveaway closed! 

To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what gets you motivated to improve your physical health!

(US or Canada Only)***

For additional entries (1 entry for each item): 

  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow me on twitter and comment telling me that you did. (@noellesnotebook)
  • Follow my blog and tell me how you follow (email, WordPress, BlogLovin, etc.).
  • Follow me on Instagram and let me know in the comments! (@noellesnotebook)

I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, August 29! Good luck!

*I purchased this book (and the giveaway copy) with my own money. No affiliation, I just really loved this book and want to share with y’all!  


Siggi’s Culture Club & a giveaway{closed}!

Update: because I am late, I chose two winners! Inspired Spoons and Jennie J, you each are getting some siggi’s certificates! Email me at NoellesNotebook @gmail.com and let me know where to send!

You may or may not know this about me…but I am kind of a weirdo when it comes to yogurt. Plain yogurt is my jam. 

I do NOT like flavored yogurt. I can eat plain with fruit mixed into it, but I can’t eat the fruit-flavored stuff. It doesn’t make any sense.

Flavored yogurt makes me gag.

My stomach just doesn’t do well with pre-flavored yogurt. For my taste, there is usually WAY too much sugar/sweetener in it and I usually end up with an upset stomach and a headache.

But one day, this changed for me…on a whim, I tried siggi’s vanilla skyr (Icelandic-style, strained yogurt) . And then siggi’s orange ginger…and it didn’t make me gag! I actually liked it…And the ingredients were REAL and all things I could pronounce/possibly have in my kitchen (like real vanilla bean!)!

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The flavor that rocked my world

To be honest, I didn’t really know how to react to this earth-shattering revelation. I had identified myself as a flavored-yogurt hater for so long, I was having a crisis of epic proportions! What was I supposed to do now?! What would Farmer Ben think?!

Obviously, after this yogurt turned my world upside down, I had to find out more about the company behind the goodness. And I was very pleased with what I found.

siggi’s is a truly great brand! Their motto is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.” If you check out the nutrition/ingredient label, you can see that they stick to this motto.

 I also love that the company was started by one man in his own kitchen, and has expanded. Talk about motivation!

They  are a NY company and use NY dairy. Their yogurt is made with dairy from cows that are grass-fed, and hormone-free and there are no artificial ingredients!

I realized that this was a company I could get behind.  So I did what any former flavored-yogurt hater would do… I applied to be a part of their Culture Club! I did it on a whim and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d be accepted or not (I actually told them I wasn’t big on flavored yogurt… over share!)…but 4-5 weeks later I received a magical email.

I was in the club!

A couple weeks later I received my culture club welcome kit.

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siggi's hookup

I’ve been using the bag every day.

As a long overdue way to celebrate my initiation into the culture club, I’m going to give away 5 coupons for free siggi’s yogurt to one lucky reader in the US!

The only requirement: leave a comment telling me what your favorite flavor of yogurt is.  

 I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 6.

Full disclaimer: As a siggi’s brand ambassador, I received coupons (and may get product on occasion) in exchange for spreading their message of “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” however all opinions are my own.

Happy Friday!


Real Talk: Sworkit Review And {Giveaway-CLOSED}!

UPDATE: The winners of the giveaway are Liz, Vanessa, Jessica and Chelsea. Congratulations!  please contact me to claim your prize!!!

Hi Friends!

Hope you’re having a great week so far!

I’m super excited because I discovered a new fitness app.

If you’re anything like me, once the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, getting outside to workout is really difficult. Why? Because motivation disappears. I’d rather be reading a book, curled up under the blankets and wearing my giant XL sweats than venturing outside in a pair of running tights and a moisture-wicking base layer… and let’s be honest, I don’t have the cash for a gym membership right now.

For example, on Saturday, I planned on running. I really did… but it was my first REAL day off in I don’t even know how long and, well… I didn’t feel like doing a damn thing. I managed to venture out to drive the hubby to work, but then I went directly home, popped in a movie and got sucked into being a bum. I know I’m not the only one this happens to.

Anyway, it got to be 4:13 pm and I realized that my plan to get out and run was not going to happen as daylight was quickly fading (and can we talk about how windy it was?!). So, instead of putting on my reflective gear and head lamp, I searched for an alternative.

I found Sworkit.

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I downloaded the free version and opted for the 20 minute “anything goes” workout. Before I knew it, I was doing burpees, shoulder clap push-ups (excuse me?!), side planks, tricep dips and a variety of other exercises I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing on my own in that short of time. And I was so glad that I did them.

After m first Sworkit

After my first Sworkit

The great thing about this app is that it does the thinking for you. Each exercise is 30 seconds. If you need it, there is a short how-to video (I needed this for a couple of the exercises). 30 seconds of rest is also incorporated every few minutes. And if it a two-sided exercise (like a side plank), it will tell you when to switch sides. So, basically, you start the workout and let Sworkit do the thinking–and the counting–for you.

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It’s also easy to mix it up. You choose the workout length (anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes) what type of circuit you’d like to do (strength, cardio, yoga) and what areas you’d like to work (arms, legs, core, anything goes, boot camp, full body stretch, etc.). You can also customize workouts.

Here is an explanation directly from the Sworkit Website:

What is it?
Sworkit builds randomized circuit training workouts that you can do anywhere. You just choose which part of your body you want to work on and how long you have to work out, and Sworkit takes care of the rest. By providing an actual workout and taking you through the motions, you don’t have to do any other planning or have any extra equipment.
Why Sworkit?
We all have the desire to take care of ourselves and we know that we need fitness to stay healthy. But it’s easy to come up with excuses: “I don’t have the time”. “I don’t like gyms”. “I don’t want to buy new equipment”. “I get bored too easily”. “I travel for work”. “I don’t know where to start”. Sworkit is here to make sure that none of these excuses apply and we can all get a simple workout in whenever we want.
What’s with the randomization?
Workouts can be boring or they can be fun. The reason Sworkit employs randomization is to give the user a new experience every time they workout. This allows for more motivated sessions and provides excitement, and sometimes even pain. Pain is good.
Why circuit training?
Circuit training has been proven to provide highly efficient workouts at a fast pace. Sworkit allows you to choose the total amount of time you want to work out and provides you with the proper exercise timing, rest, and transitions.

Another plus? It syncs with myfitnesspal. I love love love this!

The Pro version has a few more options to choose from, saves your customized workouts and saves your stats (weight, daily/weekly goals, etc.).

iPhone-Pro-Settings

I downloaded the app on Saturday and have done a variety of workouts ranging from a few five minute workouts, to a 20 minute workout. I tried to mix it up to get a complete picture of what the app has to offer. And I was not disappointed. Each sworkit left me feeling accomplished. If I wasn’t sure how to do something, the how-to videos were short and sweet.

On Sunday I did three of the five-minute workouts. Last night, I did two of the ten-minute workouts. The possibilities are endless!

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

The most exciting part about finding this app? I can share it with you!

After my first sworkit, I tweeted about my experience and was very surprised to receive an email from the creator, Ryan. He informed me that there is even more customization coming out in December-I can’t wait to see what’s next!

He also thanked me for tweeting, AND gave me some codes to share for a free upgrade to the pro version!

How nice is that?!

So, after checking with Ryan,  I decided to share the free upgrade to Sworkit Pro with a few of you lucky readers. I have 4 Pro upgrades to give away!

Here’s How to Enter 

  • Check out the Sworkit Exercise List and leave me a comment, telling me which exercise listed is your favorite OR if there is one you’d like to be added.
  • In the same comment answer the following question: What is your biggest excuse for not exercising?

All comments must be received by Thursday, November 8 at 11:30 pm. Winners will be picked at random.

I will announce all 4 winners on Friday, November 9, 2013.

Sworkit is available for iphone and Android. Download via the App Store or Google Play.

  • As with any new workout, please consult a physician before starting a fitness regimen and be smart.
  • Disclaimer: I received a free upgrade to Sworkit Pro, HOWEVER I was not compensated to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

To Read: Born to Run

So… I know I am like 2432545 years too late, but I just borrowed Born To Run by Christopher McDougall from the library and I am super excited to start reading it!

Here is a synopsis taken from the author’s website.

“Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run (source).” 

My inner running nerd is screaming in excitement. I can’t wait to dig into this book. I’ve been hearing about it for so long…I figured it was about time.

In all honesty, my passion for running has been low as of late, and I am looking for inspiration. I blame the weather… that’s why I feel like it was perfect timing for me to stumble upon this book at the library (have I mentioned how much I love going to the library?!).

In recent years, I haven’t read a lot of books on running, but I feel like this will be a good place to pick up where I left off. I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts.

In other news, Strides for James will be hosting a contest. Check the Strides for James Facebook page or my twitter account (@noellesnotebook) for details later on today!

Happy Running Reading!

What about you?! Any books you have read that really lit a fire in you?! Any must-reads on your list?! 


May Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!

Holy Cow! How is it already May 31?!  This month has flown by and I have been aching to tell you about my foodie penpal experience and the day is finally here! Ah!
 
Before we start, a quick reminder that the Cheechako Taco giveaway ends today, please comment on the post in order to enter the drawing. I’ll announce the winner tonight! Click here to read/sign up.
 
Thank you to Nicole over at the Revved Runner for her awesome package! You totally nailed it: Pickles. Pretzels. Nuts. Chocolate. AMAZING!
 
I sent a package to Lauri P. out in Texas and am happy to report she was a fan of all of her Upstate NY/VT goodies!
 

I could barely contain my excitement.

First, Nicole sent this awesome card. The best part? You can use it again! I love perforated lines and postcards, especially in combination with recycling! Genius.

This doubles as a postcard!

 
When I opened the box, I couldn’t figure out why one side felt so much heavier. There was a large item wrapped in a plastic bag (I love that she did this, because that is totally how I package things, too!). When I removed the plastic, I got a huge grin on my face. It was a large jar of German pickles. I’m usually a dill girl, but these had the right kind of sweetness and still had a little bit of crunch. Major props, Nicole!
 
The box also contained a bag of Annie’s Organic Pretzel Bunnies. I love fun shaped foods…almost as much as I love pretzels.
 
Next, a Texas Staple-Cinnamon Honey Spread. Yum! I haven’t had a chance to crack this open yet, but I am thinking it will be divine on some homemade biscuits or popovers. I can’t wait! I love trying regional foods, so I am psyched about this spread.
 
The next few items were new to me. Sweet lord, what have I been missing?
 
Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food: These beauties come in bite form. Two bites are the perfect amount if you are looking for a little sweet…or a quick refuel after a workout. There was a whole lot of chocolatey-oaty goodness in this container.
 
Gone Nuts: This little package didn’t stand a chance in our house. It was a raw cashew almond blend with white and regular chocolate. Holy cow they were delicious! The package was instantly devoured and now I am obsessed…and trying to track down some more! If you haven’t had these, try them. Immediately!
 

So much flavor in one little box!

 Another HUGE Thank you to Nicole! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through email and your blog…and you did an amazing job choosing all of my foodie goodies!
 
In case you’re interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal, here are some details. To sign up, visit this page!
 
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

***If you’re in Europe, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!