Friday, January 30, 2015

Take heart, weary mama

Can you believe the first month of 2015 is almost over?! How did that happen? I'm still trying to figure out where 2014 went!

When I was a young mom, sometimes it seemed as though the days, weeks, and months dragged by. I didn't understand when older folks would complain about how quickly time was passing. Really? I thought as I struggled to make it to the end of a tiring day with two little ones under foot. The piles of unfolded laundry, the sink full of dirty dishes, the stack of unpaid bills, the toys everywhere except where they belong... no, time was definitely not flying by. But I always wondered how it was that nothing ever seemed to get done.

Sound familiar? Take heart, weary mama. What you're feeling is normal and it will pass. Far too quickly, unfortunately. Before long, it won't be a crying baby or teething toddler keeping you up at night, it will be a teenager out on a date or a 16-year-old out with the car. Then there will be romances and marriages and adult kids with adult problems. There will be bite-your-tongue moments (lots of them) as you watch your kids make poor choices. There will be swallowed 'I-told-you-so's. 

And, of course, there will be moments of intense pride and feelings of wonder as you watch your kids excel at adulthood. And, if you're lucky, there will be grandbabies. Maybe lots of them. And suddenly (yes, it will seem like it happened overnight), there will be toys everywhere except where they belong, and it won't bother you. 

Ahhh, the cycle of life. When you think about it, isn't it amazing that your own parents went through all of this, too? It's this commonality that bonds us as sisters and brothers in this thing called life. Be kind to one another, and blessed, weary mama, be kind to yourself.

You're my heroes,


Thursday, January 29, 2015

TBT -- Forget the F-word. This T-word is nasty!

Today, on Throwback Thursday, we're only going back eight months to May 2014. Why? Because the topic keeps cropping up and it's worth repeating. 

So here we go...

 
Our society likes to make a fuss about swear words (fair enough), but how is it we don't cringe when we hear words like triclosan? Let me tell you -- it's much more harmful to our health than a F-bomb. Seriously.
Dr. Ben Kim, writing for the site BeyondPesticides.org, lists the health warnings as well as some pretty surprising places where triclosan is hiding out. 
First, let's look at why we should avoid triclosan according to Dr. Kim. It can cause
  • problems with the endocrine system -- especially troubling is its effect on the thyroid 
  • weakening of the immune system
  • birth defects
  • uncontrolled cell growth (I don't know what that means, but it sounds scary, don't you think?)
  • unhealthy weight loss -- we're talking about when the pounds start falling off and you haven't reduced your dining to a few celery stalks a day
And, according to Regina Bailey, writing for About.com, there is strong evidence of a link between triclosan and breast cancer.
 


So, where do you think you'd find triclosan? In all those antibacterial soaps, right? Well, of course. But did you know it's also in some toothpastes and mouthwashes? Spit that stuff out! Yuck. Not seeing it on the ingredients listed? Try looking for these instead: Microban® Additive B, Irgasan® (DP 300 or PG 60), Biofresh®, Lexol-300, Ster-Zac or Cloxifenolum. Triclosan in disguise.

Okay, let's switch to cosmetics. Here's a surprising one for you -- triclosan is an ingredient in the brand Jason Natural Cosmetics. Once again, it's evident we cannot trust the word "natural." Some of the other cosmetics listed (which is a partial list, I'm sure) are Supre® Cafe Bronzer™, TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit, Garden Botanika®Powder Foundation, Mavala Lip Base, Blemish Cover Stick, Movate®Skin Lightening Cream HQ, Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb, Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss, and Dazzle.

So let's move on to some other personal care products. Deodorant. I only use non-toxic deodorants, personally, but I was once again surprised by the name of one of them -- Queen Helene®Tea Tree Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant -- Tea Tree Oil?! Aloe?! Beware of those who will suck you in with their natural and "healthy" sounding names!

 Then there are shave gels, acne treatments, and even Diabet-x™ Cream. First aid products are another tricky category -- from antiseptics to medicated sprays to cervical collars with Microban. Look out. 

From medicine chest to kitchen cupboard, beware of Farberware®  Microban Steak Knife Set and Cutting Boards. Looks like that Microban is bad stuff, huh? You'll want to stay away from the Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer and the Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads, too. Oh brother.

You'll even want to steer clear of Microban in your office -- Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad may sound like a healthy option, but they're harboring the T-word. Stay away!

Clothing is even an issue. Dickies, Fruit of the Loom, and Biofresh® socks are just some of the items you don't want touching your skin. Even Merrell Shoes and Sabatier Chef's Aprons are unsafe.

Of course, as parents and grandparents, we're especially concerned about the kiddos. So, here's a list of toys from Playskool® that contain triclosan:
  • Stack 'n Scoop Whale
  • Rockin' Radio
  • Hourglass
  • Sounds Around Driver
  • Roll 'n' Rattle Ball
  • Animal Sounds Phone
  • Busy Beads Pal
  • Pop 'n' Spin Top
  • Lights 'n' Surprise Laptop
Makes you wonder what other nasty toxins are in their toys, doesn't it?

According to BeyondPesticides.org, here is a list of miscellaneous items you want to avoid if you don't want to be affected by triclosan:  Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier; Deciguard AB® Antimicrobial Ear Plugs; Bauer® Re-Akt hockey helmet and 7500 hockey helment; Miller Paint Acro Pure Interior Paint; Holmes Foot Buddy™ HMH120U Antimicrobial Foot Buddy Foot Warmer, Blue Mountain Wall Coverings, California Paints®, Davis Paint® Perfection, Hirschfield’s Paint®,O’Leary Paint®, EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails, Dupont™ Air Filters, Winix Dehumidifiers, J Cloth® towels, select Quickie cleaning products, Kimberly Clark® WYPALL X80 Towels, Canopy® kitchen towels, ALUF Plastics®, BioEars earplugs, Petmate® LeBistro feeders and waterers, Infantino cart covers and baby carriers, Oreck XL®, Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum™, NuTone® Central Vacuum systems, Rival® Seal-A-Meal® Vacuum Food Sealer, CleenFreek SportsHygiene Yoga Mat, Resilite Sports Products, Rubbermaid® Coolers, Stufitts sports gear, Venture Products® fitness mats, Custom Building Products, DAP®Kwik Seal Plus®, Laticrete, Niasa Biquichamp® mortar grout and sealant, ProAdvanced Products. 

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There is triclosan lurking all around us. You have to be proactive in keeping your family safe as best you can. Keep in mind, too, that many companies are quietly removing toxins month by month. The above products did, at one time and most likely still, contain triclosan. Read labels, be informed, and sign the pledge to ban triclosans from your home.  Also, if you want to do more, follow BeyondPesticides.org on their FB page or Twitter account and click here to take a survey about antibacterial soap.

Taking action and keeping you informed,


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A swiggydiggydoo review and a giveaway, too!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post, which includes my honest opinions and thoughts.

A local woman won a copy of my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS, in a giveaway by Holistic Parenting Magazine last month. She and I corresponded via email and I discovered she has a subscription box service for children ages 0-3. She asked me if I'd like to do a review and a giveaway and, of course, I jumped at the chance. After all, I have a 22-month-old granddaughter and another one due in a few weeks.

Lauren sent me the January box from her company, swiggydiggydoo and I was quite pleased. (Click here to see a picture of what was included in December's box.)



The first thing I noticed was the eco-friendly packaging. Lauren uses a local box supplier that sells recycled or previously used (and inspected) boxes and she chooses box sizes based on the products that will be shipped. This way, she can avoid using fillers. Her shipping labels, box tape, and paper for the insert are all green products, with many made from recycled materials.



My box included:
 
 
  • Poor Lil Baby Balm by Libras Botanicals -- this balm is safe for babies older than 2 months and works to ease congestion and coughing by rubbing it into the soles of their feet. Libras Botanicals is a Green America Certified business and uses recyclable containers for its natural and organic products.



  • A Little Lemon Treasures natural maple necklace that is perfect for nursing moms. The ring is safe tugging and chewing by baby, but should only be worn by mom!

  • A 3-d wooden giraffe puzzle by topozoo. I actually gave this as a gift to a little girl who turned 2 this past weekend. I was happy to give her something that was safe and eco-friendly. The company uses all recycled materials to make their toys. 


  • A darling crocheted "crown" for babies ages 3 - 6 months from TheCrochetClosetTN I can't wait to see it on my new granddaughter a few months from now!


  • A custom designed limited edition swiggydiggydoo t-shirt.

Fun stuff! For the most part, I was happy with the selection. My favorite item was the giraffe puzzle.  

While most of the items meet my standards for eco-friendly and safe products, I was disappointed the t-shirt was not made from organic cotton. Since cotton is the crop that is hit with the most pesticides, this can be a big deal to a lot of concerned parents. But if you're already buying clothes made from non-organic cotton, then I'm sure you're going to love this adorable shirt!

All-in-all, I was really happy with the January box. While each box is different, I believe Lauren does her best to find the right selections for eco-conscious parents who appreciate products that are eco-friendly and made in the USA. I like the fact that Lauren chooses products from small etsy businesses, often run by moms like herself.

As I mentioned above, this is a subscription box service, but you can just buy one box for $39.95, which makes a lovely gift for a new mom or for a birthday. You can also choose a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month plan, with discounts up to $36/year.

The boxes are gender-specific and the age ranges to choose from (for shirt sizes) are 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, 2, and 4.

Here's the best part: YOU just might win March's box! Just enter below on the Rafflecopter. Must be 18 or older to enter and be living in the U.S. Entries will be verified. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my email before an alternate winner is chosen.

As you'll see, visiting swiggydiggydoo's and Green Grandma's Facebook pages will earn you 3 entries each. But do me a favor... 'like' both pages. Visiting is fine, but liking is kind.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why I'm taking a stand against fracking

"You just don't care about the economy." It's something I often hear when people learn I am opposed to fracking. Of course, there's no truth to that. However, when a process such as hydraulic fracturing is clearly causing so much environmental chaos, my priorities change.

"What about all the jobs that would be lost if fracking is outlawed?" 

My question would be, "What about all the jobs that would be lost if Monsanto goes bankrupt?" I guess it would be a problem for many, but the reverse, in both cases, is that fracking (and Monsanto's assault on our food supply) is far more problematic for far more people. So, I'm not anti-people. I just really believe fracking is dangerous and hazardous to both the health of the earth and the health of its people.

I like the way Miranda Carter, National Online Campaign Manager for Food & Water Watch, puts it in a recent email:

Fracking is a real wolf in sheep's clothing. Politicians, from state governors all the way up to the White House, say that drilling for natural gas is the answer to our energy woes.

But at what cost??

Fracking has been proven to pollute our air and water and poison entire communities. There is much speculation that fracking is the cause of countless earthquakes across the country. And why wouldn't it? Think about it. This process of extracting oil and gas by fracturing layers and layers of rocks deep within the ground using a high-pressure blast of toxic chemicals, outrageous amounts of water, and sand surely must affect the stability of the earth in one way or another.

According to Carter, the dangers are proven:
  • Fracking pollutes -- a lot! Aside from using millions of gallons of water (even in areas where there is a serious water shortage), fracking releases toxic fumes and leaves behind pools of radioactive wastewater that can't be transported or disposed of safely. You'd think I could stop right here. Isn't this bad enough?
  • Fracking hurts communities.  The stories are pouring in. Families are getting sick. Water is undrinkable/unusable. I personally know people who have been adversely affected by these fumes. I know adults who developed asthma after fracking began close to their homes. I know people who struggle with infertility in areas where they're surrounded by fracking. Coincidence? Not according to a lot of the research.
  • Fracking affects everyone, no matter how far away you are from the sites. As you know, water isn't stagnate. It travels and this contaminated water and fracking waste are posing a serious threat to our increasingly limited supply of fresh water on earth. Air pollution affects us all as well.
 Let's face it. The people who "benefit" from hydraulic fracturing are the big oil and gas companies that are doing whatever it takes to procure and expand their right to frack. And they're doing it without regard to the damage they are causing in the process. Damage to the earth, damage to communities, and damage to the health of those they are sending out to work at the wells. Yes, they're providing paychecks to these people, but again I ask, at what cost? 

https://secure3.convio.net/fww/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=C17A1311FDD4FB5D2DACB506E79D2C53.app331b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=769&autologin=true


So what can we do? Let's start off by letting our voices be heard. Our elected officials have to start paying attention as more and more of us demand a ban on fracking. I'm asking you to join me in letting congress know that you stand behind this ban. Click here to sign a letter to your members of congress. 

As a grandmother, I don't want to look my grandchildren in the eyes someday and answer the question, "Why didn't you do something, Grandma?" Do you?

Let's take action today!





 


 



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