Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The absurdity of Pull-ups

The Huggies Pull-ups commercial with the Pixar cars really irritates me. Have you seen it? The toddler pulls up to the bathroom in his toy car, runs in and comes back out as he finishes pulling up his glorified disposable diaper (that's all it is, you know). The commercial bothers me on a couple of levels.

Besides the idiocy of the product, I have an objection to sending a toddler off to go potty by himself period. Depending on the gender of the child and what he/she had to do on the potty, don't you wonder if he/she properly wiped himself/herself?? And then there is the hand washing issue. How well did those hands get washed anyway ... or did they at all? Off the kiddo zooms in his toy car ... germs and all. Yuck.

I mentioned Huggies Pull-Ups in one of my Facebook posts last week and got a mixed response. One community member asked, "What's the alternative?"

The question surprised me. For me, even considering using a disposable training pant like a Pull-Up is not an option. I personally think this was one of the stupidest products ever to hit the shelves. Why? For the following reasons:
  • The only difference between a disposable diaper and a Pull-Up is the child's ability to put the latter on (we all know kids can figure out how to take a disposable diaper off).
  • Don't kid yourself to think that you're one step closer to potty training by using Pull-Ups. The fact of the matter is, for most children, Pull-ups delay potty training. After all, if the moisture is sucked up by those lovely toxic chemicals infused in the pants, what's the big deal. Oh yeah, the Disney princesses may disappear when wet or the child may experience a "cooling sensation" after they pee, but guess what? That means even more chemicals are in the Pull-ups than are in disposable diapers!! Do you really want those toxins next to your little one's bottom? Seriously?? And they even come in sizes up to 4T -- really??
  • Aside from the chemicals wreaking havoc with your child's developing system, what about what they do to the environment as more and more and more disposable diapering products are tossed into the growing mountains of landfill? What are we doing, folks???
  • And I haven't even mentioned how bizarre it is to spend the exorbitant amount of money needed to keep your kids in disposable pants, when in most cases, they should be fully potty trained by now.
"But my kid's almost three and I can't get her to go on the potty."

Of course not. Not if she's in comfortable disposables cleverly decorated with her favorite Disney characters! Why would she be??

Now, I'm not going to go into the various tricks of the trade involved in successful potty training. There are a myriad of resources available for that. What I will say is if you want to encourage your toddler to graduate from being a baby, you have to give them incentive -- babies wear diapers and big boys and girls wear big boy or big girl pants...not a restructured, more convenient version of a diaper.

Will it take some work on your part? Yes. If you didn't expect that, perhaps you missed the part about parenting being work ... a lot of work actually.

Will there be accidents? Of course. So, you clean them up.

The fact of the matter is, cloth-diapered babies tend to be much easier to train than those who are wearing disposables. Cloth diapers don't have chemicals that suck up the moisture (don't you ever wonder what those chemicals are doing to your children??). Because the child feels the wetness, he/she doesn't want that diaper on for long. It's that simple. And guess what? You can actually find some really nifty underwear for 2-year-olds -- complete with all sorts of their favorite characters!

Maybe I've ranted long enough. It's just that I saw that Huggies Pull-Ups commercial again and it got my blood boiling. And that was shortly after I saw that obnoxious I Poo in Blue commercial ... don't even get me started again on that one!

It's time for parents to start thinking about the health of their children (and the health of the environment), and stop looking for convenient so-called short cuts. Care about your kids, folks. Read the warnings about these chemicals. Think about the future of this earth you'll be leaving for your kids and grandkids.

Keeping it green and healthy for the kiddos,

Hana

The winner of the HankyBook giveaway!


Congratulations to

Bethany Schad

winner of the 3-pack of HankyBooks!

Winner was selected via Random.org with the number 1.
Bethany was the first one to enter the giveaway, so that makes her the winner!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hero in Aisle Six

In honor of those who sacrificied in service to their country, and in observance of Memorial Day, I wanted to share a fictional story I wrote a few years back. Photo is of Sergeant Joseph John Bruno, the handsome father of community member, Lisa Marie Bruno.




Hero in Aisle Six

By Hana Haatainen Caye

Wandering through the aisles of overly processed foods and enticing goodies, I can't help noticing the seemingly broken figure of a man gathering his bits of nourishment for the day. Somewhat hunched, he appears to be the shadow of the man he once was and I imagine him with a full head of brown waves, broad shoulders, a proud stance. Certainly not this thin man with the extra holes punched in his belt to keep his trousers gathered around his waist. I want to touch him, but fear that his skin would bruise by simple contact. I want to take him home with me, like a stray kitten or a lost puppy, and feed him chicken soup and a grilled cheese. I want to take care of him.


How long has it been since someone wanted to take care of this lonely man? I glance in the red basket he clutches, like a lifeline. He has meat and cheese from the deli – 1/8 of a pound each, a small package of ground beef, an onion, a stick of butter, one quart of 2% milk. I want to say, "Here, let me carry that for you," but I keep my distance, trying to imagine what it must be like to be old and alone. I wonder where he lives and visualize a diminutive apartment, sparsely decorated, with the heat turned down to a chilling 58 degrees.


As he makes his journey toward the registers, I notice a slight limp, one that seems familiar to him, as if it's been a part of him since the war – the big one. Back in the imaginary apartment that I have created, I see the signs. Yellowed paper framed so many years ago with a headline that announces victory. Beside it, a wedding picture – a beautiful glowing bride standing beside her proud groom with curly brown hair and broad shoulders. Another frame catches my eye. A simple frame housing a purple heart. I start to cry.


Approaching this hero, I say, "Excuse me sir, I just wanted to thank you."


He tilts his head to turn his gaze from the floor and meets my eyes, still wet with tears. "Miss?" he replies.


"For the war. You fought to keep our country free, didn't you?”


"Why yes. It was my honor," he softly states. We both are silent for a moment. His eyes revealing that he's traveled to a distant land.


"May I?" I ask, offering to carry his basket.


Thanking me, he allows me to take it. I feel privileged as we slowly make our way to the front of the store in silence. I am carrying the basket of a giant. I don't offer to pay, or to buy him anything more than what his immediate need dictates. That would be cruel, for this is a man whose pride is intact, despite the brokenness of his body.


"Would you like to join me for lunch?" I ask, telling him that I would love to hear his stories.


"It's been many years since anyone wanted to know what I have to say."


"I want to know," I state emphatically as we head to our cars.


As I slide in behind the steering wheel, I feel humbled. In a few minutes, I will be sitting across the table from a man who knew the secrets of honor, of sacrifice and of courage. Following him out of the parking lot, I notice his license plate. There beside the numbers and letters is the distinguished Purple Heart. I am having lunch with a hero.







Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And don't forget to thank God for the heroes who sacrificed all.


Sharing my gratitude,


Hana

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday's 3 Rs -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


TGIF's 3 Rs! Did you reduce waste in your home this week?

Today, we're talking caps ... bottle caps, to be precise. Did you know most bottle caps are made from #5 plastic and most curbside recyclers do not accept them? So, what happens when you throw your soda or water bottle lids in with your plastic recycling? Unfortunately, in many cases, they get sent to the landfill ... exactly where you don't want them!

Fortunately, there is another answer, which I wrote about last June, but thought worthy of repeating. Aveda recycles #5 plastic lids and caps, transforming them into brand new recycled packaging for their salon products. How cool is that?!

Here's what they take:
  • Twist tops or caps with threaded necks (water/soda, juice, milk, shampoo)
  • Flip top caps (ketchup, mayo, dressing)
  • Lids on plastic jars (peanut butter) and bottles (laundry detergent)
You want to look for lids, tops and caps with threading that are too rigid to bend or break with your hands. Make sense?

That obviously eliminates the kid of flimsy plastic lids on margarine tubs, yogurt containers, etc. Just remember -- the lids must screw on. The exception here would be pump or spray tops, which they do not take.

You can find out if there is an Aveda location near you by visiting their website.

Jumping on the bandwagon, in a good way, is Whole Foods, which is also now accepting #5 plastic to be recycled.

So, let's face it. Recycling bottle caps is a bit inconvenient. After all, you have to take them to either Aveda or Whole Foods to be recycled. Here's what my husband and I do to make it a bit easier. We have a large coffee canister on our counter right beside our large kitchen recycling can. When we have #5 lids/caps, we simply toss them into the canister. Then, when I have a reason to head over to the mall (usually to buy something at Aveda), I just dump them in a bag and take them with me. It's really no big deal.

At next year's Recycle Rama, I want to set up a bottle caps and corks recycling station, giving the amazing folks who attend the event two more options for recycling.

Of course, if you can find ways to reuse your caps and lids, that's fantastic. I like to save the plastic lids from mayo and peanut butter jars because they make excellent 'saucers' for 4" potted plants. That's my Reuse Tip for today. Please add your own in the comments section. I always appreciate your creative input!

Keeping it green with the 3 Rs,

Hana

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Norwex -- What does Wanda think?


The Cleaner Sweep
designed by Allin Faragalli
of Leaf & Bud Naturals



Many of you will remember Wanda's intimate review of The Diva Cup. Well, Wanda is back again today with her take on Norwex cleaning products. Follow Wanda on her The Cleaner Sweep Facebook page.

I added links to the products Wanda mentions. The links take you to Sherri Dmyterko's website which was mentioned in my review of Norwex cloths.





I've always loved the idea of being domestic... Cooking, washing, folding. But when it comes down to it, I've never loved cleaning. Cleaning has always been a necessity. Add to it all the toxic chemicals that we get to deal with and cleaning has just never been fun for me.

I didn't realize, until a few years ago, that those same chemicals that made cleaning so stinkin' unhealthy also made it harder for me to clean. They have the appearance of cleaning a surface, but they leave so much unhealthy residue behind that the dirt clings to it even more next time around. So when a friend of mine introduced me to cleaning cloths that work with just water, no fancy spray or toxic chemicals, I was at first skeptical and then elated.

I love cleaning now! I love it so much that I started my own cleaning company using these products. And I want to tell you about them. But if I do, it may start to sound like I'm trying to sell it to you. I promise I'm not. I just love these products so much that I get a little excited about them.

Let me break down the basics for you. The company is called Norwex. It was started in Norway when hospitals there were battling “super-bugs.” A group of scientists came up with this mirco-fiber cloth which, in hospital tests, proved to reduce harmful bacteria better than conventional cleaning products. These cloths are used all over Norway now, in hospitals, schools, businesses and homes. They are different from your typical micro-fiber cloth though. The typical micro-fiber is the size of a hair split six times. These Norwex cloths are the size of a hair split 100 times. They have much more surface capacity for grabbing those nasty germs. Once the cloth is saturated in water and rinsed, the fibers are flooded and release the germs. But beyond that, many of their cloths (including the all-purpose cleaning cloth, called the Enviro Cloth) also have silver in them. Cells cannot survive when in contact with silver, so your silver-lined cleaning cloth kills any germs that don't get washed away as you rinse your cloths.

Are you still with me? That's the very basics of how all this got started. Don't worry, there won't be a test at the end of this blog.

I have found Norwex to have a comparable (if not better) cleaner for nearly every job in my house. (I'll tell you the one thing I cannot clean with Norwex at the end.) Here are my favourites that I use weekly with the Enviro Cloth:

The dusting mitt is amazing. I always hated dusting. I would dust and then the next day all the dust that I just dusted would re-settle in the exact same spot. This micro-fiber mitt has a static charge to it that grabs the dust and honest-to-goodness holds onto it until I'm done. Sometimes, I'll have to bang it against the gate outside my door if I haven't cleaned in quite a while, but that just bangs all the dust off and I can go at it again until my whole house is dust-free.

The window cloth may very well have saved my marriage. Okay, that's a tad dramatic since I love my cleanliness-loving husband and our marriage has never been in trouble. But when it comes time to clean the windows I have always dragged my feet. Windex stinks and I have to use about 4 paper towels to get one window clean. I would always put off windows as long as possible. With Norwex I can wipe down the window with the Enviro Cloth and then shine it up with the window cloth. It gets rids of streaks so easily. But if you realize that you missed a spot, you just wipe it off. No need to spray more Windex. The window cloth is also great for shining faucets and mirrors after they've been cleaned.

Those are the three must-haves if you ask me: the Enviro Cloth, dusting mitt and window cloth. There is a whole range of products that you can purchase and I could tell you about them, but you would be sitting here reading till next Tuesday if I told you about everything. I know they can't all be favourites, but the Oven and Grill Cleaner, the Carpet Stain Buster and the Cleaning Paste are also high on my list.

I'll be around Green Grandma's Faceboook page, so if you have any questions about Norwex products or about purchasing, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

Oh, and the one thing Norwex can't clean so far? The black mold in the grout of my shower tiles. If you have something other than bleach that can get rid of that, please let me know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review It Wednesday Let's get cleaning!

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Sherri Dmyterko asking me if I would like to try out the Norwex cleaning cloths. Sherri is an independent Norwex consultant in Ontario and she ended up sending me The Basic Antibac Package, which included the blue Enviro Cloth and the purple Norwex Window Polishing Cloth. I looked at them and put them aside ... waiting for a non-rainy day so I could get to work on my oh-so-dirty windows.

The test


The day arrived, and oh my ... I never enjoyed washing windows so much in my entire life!! Forget the vinegar (yes, I just said that!), forget the newspaper. All one needs to get perfectly sparkling, streak-free windows is some water and an Enviro Cloth and Norwex Window Polishing Cloth. Seriously. What usually takes hours to do, took me a little over thirty minutes. I simply wet the blue cloth and wrung it out, wiped the windows and dried them with the purple cloth. That's it. Amazing. It looks like I got new windows.

When I was done with the windows, I rinsed out the blue cloth and started to work on the kitchen. Again, amazing. Cleaning was so easy and the appliances, sink and counters were shining in no time. You should see the copper hood above my stove! Grease just literally wiped right off.

But what's even better than the simplicity of it all, is the fact that the Norwex cloths are antibacterial as well. Not antibacterial as in a bunch of harmful chemicals, however. The way the cloths are processed is what makes them superior in the germ-killing business.

The reason why

First of all, the Norwex microfiber blend of polyester and polyamide is made of fibers that are 1/100th the size of a strand of human hair. This is many times finer than regular microfiber cloths. And you feel the difference when you touch them. I hate the way most microfiber cloths feel -- especially if my hands are dry. They seem to 'catch' on any tiny cracks in my skin, almost like Velcro. Yuck. The Norwex Enviro Cloth does not do this. You could rub it across the bottom of rough feet and it wouldn't 'grab.'

What happens when this very fine microfiber is wiped across a surface? Well, the dirt, germs and bacteria cling to the cloth and then are rinsed away. Any remaining bacteria is killed off by the antibacterial silver-bases agent embedded inside the microfiber. Studies have proven (and I've read many of them in the past few days) that this silver agent is effective against pathogenic bacteria, yeast and viruses, including:
  • E. Coli
  • klebsiella pneumoniae
  • proteus vulgaris
  • salmonella typhi
  • staphylococcus aureus
  • streptococcus faecalis
  • streptococcus pyogenes
  • candida albicans
  • MRSA
  • SARS coronavirus
In fact, research shows that in a controlled environment, 99.9% of germs and bacteria were removed from washable surfaces and within 24 hours they were completely inactivated. with the silver antibacterial fiber's purification properties, the cloths reduce the possibility of cross-contamination.

Interestingly enough, when I heard about the silver, I knew there was something to this. My husband and I started taking colloidal silver years ago to address a variety of health issues, including my asthma. Let me tell you ... silver is an amazing mineral. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, silver was used to treat all sorts of infections effectively. Of course, it's costly, and I take less of it than I used to ... and I've paid the price with various illnesses, including my recent bout with the mumps. But back to Norwex.

As in love with these cloths as I immediately was, I still had questions for Sherri.

How long do they last? How often do you wash them? When does the anti-bacterial effectiveness wear out?

The cloths are warranted for 2 years or 500 washings. Sherri said she washes her blue cloth weekly and the purple cloth every other week. And she mentioned she knows some people who are still using their cloths after 10 years! The silver is infused in the manufacturing process, so it does not wash out. However, you should never use fabric softener when you wash or dry these cloths. But you know how I feel about fabric softener -- you should never use it period!!

So, here's the scoop. Are the cloths a bit pricey? Yes. However, when you realize how long they last and how they eliminate the need for cleaning products (even vinegar), this initial investment more than pays for itself. Plus, if time is money, you simply can't affort not to buy them!

Sherri is offering free shipping on her website. The Basic Antibac Package she sent to me costs $33.99 in Canadian dollars, which converts to $34.76 in U.S. currency. There are also other products on her site that offer you a life with less chemicals. If you're in the Cambridge area, you can even book a Norwex party with Sherri.

I'm sold. Oh, am I sold. This very well might be my favorite product ever!

Keeping it green while cleaning,

Hana

For another opinion of cleaning with Norwex, check out what Wanda has to say.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A earthly sigh of relief

Who knew that a big pile of electronic junk would bring such a big smile to my face? Well, that's what it did. What? Take a look --




But wait, that's just a little bit of it. Pan out ...






Further ...




How about another view?





Oh, and yes, that is my adorable granddaughter, the lovely little Lady Laura, standing in front of this massive collection of computers, monitors, televisions, curling irons, printers, telephones, etc., etc., etc. This is her hippie look, which I found most appropriate for our visit to Recycle Rama on Saturday.

The amount of electronics alone took my breath away. Thanks to the good people at JVS Environmental of Rockwood who hauled it all away for free.

Look at the pictures again. This is just a small sampling of the electronic junk so many of us have in our homes. Electronic junk that often ends up in the landfill, leeching toxins into the ground and water. Yuck. 

While I was happy to see so many environmentally-conscious people in the community, I was also saddened by how disposable our society has become. We no longer fix things, we just toss them. Wow.



I was happy, I was sad and I was inspired. So much so, that my daugher, Jess, (that's her in the photo) and I decided we wouldn't just go to Recycle Rama next spring ... we'd be part of it. I can't wait!



And we're talking about organizing our own event for late summer ... a much smaller version, of course.

While we were there, we dropped off some things of our own: phone books, batteries, a car battery, telephones, a hair dryer and curling iron, and eyeglasses. It was well worth the trip.

I applaud Danelle Jameson, the event coordinator, and all of the hard-working volunteers. This was an amazing event and if you listened really hard, you could hear the earth let out a sigh of relief.

Keeping it green,

Hana

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- week 33



It was my birthday yesterday. Someone on FB pointed out how nice it was to be able to celebrate my birthday and the Sabbath on the same day. I agree. I wish it fell on the Sabbath every year!

It was a nice day with nothing out of the ordinary for our Sundays -- Sunday School, church and out to lunch with the kids and grandkids. They did treat me to a nice buffet at the Middle Road Inn and topped it off with a delicious almond birthday cake, which was a slight alteration from the norm. But then we all went our separate ways, which left Bill and me on our own to enjoy the rest of the day.

I guess by many standards, it was a boring birthday. But not for me. I spent it with my favorite people. Bill and I bought and planted some geraniums and foxglove and then we made a firepit in our backyard (something we've been talking about for over a year) where we enjoyed a simple, late dinner.

Overshadowing it all, however, was the death of a remarkable lady. Lois Allshouse was a wife, mother of three daughters, sister, daughter, aunt, faithful servant of the Lord and friend to many. And she was a fighter. A couple of years ago, she fought her way back from H1N1 -- which put her in the ICU for quite some time. Shortly after her recovery, Lois was diagnosed with bone cancer. Treatments had just begun when she was struck down by a devastating brain aneurysm, requiring emergency surgery. That was seven months ago. And her last words were spoken on that day.

Oh, how we prayed for Lois to open her eyes (she did), to respond in some way (there were signs of that), to breath on her own (she was going longer and longer without the respirator) and to recover ... completely.

For seven long months, her husband, Bill, sat by her side, with barely a break. I am inspired by this man's love and devotion. A man like Bill Allshouse is hard to find.

But Bill wasn't the only one by her side. Her daughters were there. Her sister was there. Her ministers were there. And many in her church family were there. Seven long months.

And then, on Friday night, God answered our fervent prayers for healing. He just chose a different route. Divine healing sets the soul free from illnesses that imprison. Did we want to see Lois stand up and walk out of the hospital healed and whole? Of course, we did. Instead, as her ravaged body lie still on the hospital bed with the sound of monitors silenced, she danced into the arms of Jesus, where I have no doubt she heard the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Well done, indeed.

Sharing my Sabbath experience,

Hana

"Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD."             Haggai 1:13

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Photo by Bobby Mikul

We ourselves feel that what we are doing
is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less
because of that missing drop.

-- Mother Teresa              

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's 3 Rs -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



Welcome to the first in a series of Fridays focused on the 3 R's! I'm hoping to answer your recycling questions, as well as my own, as we venture down this road together. I'm especially excited to be introducing this series the day before our local Recycle Rama.

First of all, any time you have a question on where to recycle something, go to this link and type in your zip code. That's the first piece of advice I have for you.

Secondly, if you're not recycling ... well, I don't even know what to say to you. Seriously. But it's never too late to start. Let's start with the simplest of all: Plastic. There is NO reason to toss most plastics in the trash. Even when you are out and about and grab a bottle of water at the mall or the zoo or wherever and you discover there isn't a recycling bin at the location. Pop the bottle into your purse, diaper bag, stroller, whatever, and take it home to recycle. Inconvenient? Perhaps. But responsible.



Can all plastic be recycled? No, so it is a good idea to check with your local curbside recycling program to find out what they will and will not take. You're probably familiar with the little recycling triangle embossed on the bottom of plastic containers. The number inside (between 1 - 7) is the key.

#1. Polyethylene Terephtalate (PETE or PET) -- This is the number you'll find on clear disposable water and soda bottles (most of the time), as well as peanut butter jars and similar containers.

#2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) -- Opaque plastic that is actually one of the safer plastics as far as leaching goes. Margarine tubs, milk bottles, laundry detergent, shampoo bottles, etc.

#3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) -- This is a familiar term because plumbing pipes are made from PVC. But did you know food wrap and cooking oil bottles are made from it as well? The problem with PVC is that it contains phthalates, which have been known to be hormone disrupters. So, skip using plastic wrap with you food and do not microwave with it!! Ever. Sorry, that was just a side note. Back to recycling. PVC generally is not accepted by your curbside recyclers. That doesn't mean, however, that it is not recyclable. You just have to find a place that will take it.

#4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) -- Plastic bags. Endless amounts of plastic bags (use your reusable bags, folks!!). These are generally not picked up either. But many retailers collect clean plastic bags for recycling. Bread bags, squeezable bottles and an occasional food wrap is made with #4 Plastic.

#5. Polypropylene -- Beverage bottles that are not clear, but have a cloudy appearance, fit this category, as do yogurt containers, straws, and bottles for ketchup, mustard, syrup, etc. Most recycling programs accept #5 Plastic, so if your kids use straws, teach them to toss them in the recycling can, not in the trash!

#6. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) -- This plastic should be avoided as much as possible because it is tough to recycle and research is pretty clear that it leaches toxic chemicals into the environment. Plus, if it is heated, it's even worse. My advice for those of you who like to eat out and take "doggy bags" home, try to avoid the styrofoam containers!! Get in the habit of taking your own containers to the restaurant. Not only is this an eco-friendly thing to do, it's a better-for-your-health thing to do. Styrofoam is a nasty, nasty plastic. Avoid it whenever possible.

#7. Hodge-podge -- What?? Well, if your plastic is marked with a 7, it means it doesn't fit in any of the other 6 categories. Like? Well, how's this for a hodge-podge:
  • computer cases
  • toothbrushes
  • baby bottles
  • miscellaneous food containers
  • Legos and many other plastic toys
  • protective head gear
  • automotive parts like tail lights
There are a couple of problems here. One is that most recycling programs do not accept plastic that falls into this category. The second is that polycarbonate is included under the mysterious #7 labeling. Polycarbonate = BPA and we all know we have to avoid that!


So, that's my overview of plastics. When possible, avoid #3, #6 and #7, not just because of the recycling difficulties, but for health and environmental reasons as well.

This is our home. Treat it responsibly. Start by filling up those recycling containers!

Focusing on the 3 Rs,

Hana

Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 reasons I hate being a mom

This is just too good not to share. Thank you, Lisa Bartelt, for letting me do just that. You can follow more of Lisa's wit and wisdom on her blog, The Home Front.



10 reasons I hate being a mom


And just to be clear, these two cuties aren’t on the list.




But here’s what is:

1. It exposes my weaknesses.

Like keeping a clean house, or a schedule for my kids. Like people-pleasing, being a pushover because I don’t want to fight, and the occasional (OK, more often than I like) bouts of laziness.

2. Ditto for my selfishness.

I never realized how self-centered my world was until I had kids and couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do them. I still find myself fighting myself. I don’t like to share, but my kids always want my food, my time and my space.

3. It forces me to ask for help.

I’m a college graduate. With honors, even. But a bachelor’s degree in no way qualifies you for parenting. I don’t like having to ask for help or go to other people for advice or ask stupid questions. Parenthood has revealed I’m a dunce when it comes to consistency, potty training, patience, balancing love and discipline, child development and doctor’s visits.

4. And do things that, for me, are uncomfortable.

Like talking to strangers at the grocery store, standing out in a crowd, and making decisions.

5. It requires sacrifice.

Back to that sharing thing. How many dates, vacations, getaways and concerts could my husband and I have gone on/to? How much more comfortably could we have lived without the expenses of raising children? How much farther along would I be on my writing journey? Maybe my husband would be finished with seminary by now.

6. And slowing down.

Dishes. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Leaving the house. Whether it’s getting multiple people dressed, changing diapers the minute before I was ready to walk out the door, visiting the public restroom 3 times per grocery trip or chasing children from the back yard to the front yard and back while trying to hang up laundry, everything seems to take longer. Have you ever tried to hurry a toddler or a preschooler? Let me know your secrets to success in that department. Even a walk around the block isn’t quick as we stop to examine every stick, rock and flower petal along the way.

7. There are no days off.

I was sick this week, and I couldn’t call in help or send the kids away or call off work. I wanted to curl up on the couch with a book, but I still had to deal with children’s needs to the best of my ability. I’m “on call” 24/7. Some people go to sleep thinking about work. Some nights I go to sleep with my work.

8. And I’m always being watched.

“Why are you doing that?” “What are you doing?” And listened to. “Why did you say that?” When my natural instinct is to curse, insult, mock or demean, I have to think about who’s listening. When I want to kick, scream, or throw something in anger, I have to consider: do I want my kids to do the same?

9. It brings out the worst in me.

I don’t consider myself an impatient person, until Isabelle refuses to put her pajamas on for bed. I don’t tend toward anger, until the kids are fighting, screaming and throwing toys and food all over the house that I might have just cleaned. I don’t think of myself as immature until Isabelle says something like, “But I don’t feel like going potty,” and I reply with, “Well, I don’t FEEL like reading you stories.”

10. And reminds me that I’m not in control.

I can’t MAKE my kids do anything. I can’t force them to obey. I can’t wave a wand and have Isabelle magically potty-trained and accident-free. I can’t physically move their little legs faster so that we can finish our walk before dinner time. Some days, that makes me want to throw in the towel altogether, but I know I never could do that.

Yes, there are some things I hate about being a mom, but just because I hate these things doesn’t mean they’re not good for me. And when I look back on this list, I see it applies to my relationship with God, too.

Just as the goal of marriage isn’t to make me happy but holy (See Gary Thomas’ “Sacred Marriage” for more on that subject), so motherhood is not meant to fulfill all my natural longings but to show me my deep, utter need for grace and the love of Christ.


Lisa Bartelt, a former journalist who is now a stay-at-home mom of two, writes about faith, life, motherhood, running, and books, among other things, at The Home Front.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A snot rag by any other name ... Review It Wednesday

Allergy season is in full force in Western Pennsylvania. I see endless piles of tissues casually tossed in the trash from the countless allergy sufferers across the area. What about you? Are you a tissue user or have you back pedaled to an earlier era where wastefulness was not the norm and colorful 'kerchiefs were carefully tucked in apron pockets or up sleeves of plump sweet grandmas? I am part of the latter group. I love my hankies and especially enjoy sorting through pretty embroidered ones at estate sales and resale shops. It is rare that I don't have a hanky close by to wipe at my runny nose or watery eyes ... particularly during these pollen-packed spring months. The problem is ... while I don't have to look for a trash can when I'm done blowing my nose, I do have the issue of shoving a snot-filled hanky back in my pocket or purse. Yuck.

Well, imagine my delight when I discovered an alternative to both the wastefulness of tissues and the yuckiness of hankies! HankyBooks are the answer. HankyBooks? Yes, HankyBooks -- evolution of the handkerchief!

A HankyBook is exactly what the name says it is -- a book of hankies. But these are not your typical hankies. The pages of the 'book' are made from 100% organic cotton, and let me tell you, I've never wiped my nose with a hanky as soft as this ... ever.


The folks at HankyBook.com sent me a sample so I could review this innovative new product. Happily, I can report that I love it! Really, I do.

Aside from the incredible softness (no more red nose!), the convenience is wonderful. Yeah, I said convenience. Usually, those of us involved in a green movement of any kind shy away from the word convenient. Not this time. I mean, how convenient is it to toss this cushy little book (about the size of a pocket pack of Kleenex) into your purse, bring it out when it is needed and then throw it back in after you're done wiping your nose? Need to use it again? Pull it out, open to a different page and blow your nose. Repeat the process numerous times and then simply toss the HankyBook in the wash with your regular laundry.

Before I wrote the review, I wanted to see how my HankyBook would hold up in the wash. Let me tell you -- it's possibly even softer than before! I washed it with my Eco Nuts and machine-dried it (we're having quite a rainy spell here in Western PA) with my wool dryer balls. It emerged from the dryer looking just like new.

How do you use a HankyBook?

When you need it, you just open the book, holding the cover with both hands and blow your nose into the center. Turn the page and blow again. Simple and sanitary. Once the book is closed, only the clean cover surface touches the other items in your purse or pocket. It's easy -- Pinch off, Blow, Fold & Tuck.

HankyBooks are reusable, washer and dryer safe, purse and pocket friendly, and made from super absorbent 100% organic cotton.

Why should we care about a product offering all these features, plus sustainability?

Well, ask yourself this question: How many disposables pass from your hands to the landfill everyday? Every year? In your lifetime? Did you know that, according to the Scottish EPA, one year's worth of tissues throughout the world require the cutting down of 6,000,000 trees? 6,000,000 trees!! Unfathomable.

The folks at Seventh Generation surmise that if every household in the United States replaced just one box of 85-sheet virgin-fiber facial tissue with 100% recycled tissue, 280,000 trees would be saved. The same goes for replacing that box with reusable products, like handkerchiefs or their 21st century upgrade -- HankyBooks. The HankyBook mission is "to steer people happily towards a non-disposable culture ... aka a culture that values resources, produces little waste and causes minimal environmental stress."



But HankyBooks aren't just for blowing noses! They're also great for cleaning up after messy toddlers or drooling infants! They even come in cute little baby designs and, if you have a particular theme, pattern or fabric in mind, can be custom-ordered to suit your tastes!




And here comes the fun part! The kind folks at HankyBook are giving away sets of 3 HankyBooks to 2 lucky members of the GG community!

Here's what I want you to do for this Review It Wednesday Giveaway:

Like HankyBook on Facebook and post a comment there letting them know that Green Grandma sent you.

Two winners will be selected via Random.org from the comments on their wall that mention GG. Simple enough?

Entries will be accepted until midnight EST on Memorial Day (5/30/11) and the winners will be announced on Tuesday on the blog and on the Green Grandma Facebook page.

Spread the word. Share this. Tweet this. Let's all work toward that non-disposable culture HankyBook is trying to promote.

And make sure you check out the HankyBook video posted below. Imaginative, informative and just plain fun!

Reviewing eco-friendly products for you,

Hana

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recycle Rama -- Bigger and better than ever!



While I'm aware that this posting will have no particular relevance to a vast majority of you, I wanted to post this for a couple of reasons. One, for those of you in the Pittsburgh (particulary the North Hills sections) area, this is an awesome event. There is no better time to rid your home of unnecessary and/or unusable stuff!!And two, if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, why not organize a Recycle Rama in your own hometown? This is such a valuable and responsible event that keeps getting bigger and better every year. I first learned about it last year and am excited to shared the info with you again.


Hampton Township School District presents:


The Fourth Annual Recycle Rama

Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 10:00 – 1:00
in the Hampton High School parking lot and cafeteria

Some information may change. Stay informed by checking the Recycle Rama link under Community Links on the HTSD website.

ELECTRONICSALL ITEMS WILL BE COLLECTED FOR FREE – NO CHARGE (Thanks to a grant received by JVS Environmental of Rockwood)
• CELL PHONES

• PRINTER CARTRIDGES

• RECHARGEABLE AND ALKALINE BATTERIES, INCLUDING CAR BATTERIES

• CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS – collected by Construction Junction, materials MUST be in useable condition and suitable for use in a home project. Construction Junction has the right to refuse any materials they deem unfit for use.

APPLIANCESonly those without freon. Call 1-888-GO-FREON for curbside pickup of your freon appliances

• SCRAP METAL

• PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS – for each bag of plastic bags, you will receive a reusable grocery tote (as long as supplies last)

MOBILE SHREDDING SITE - NEW THIS YEAR! $3 per box or bag, limit 5

• PAPER , CARDBOARD, PHONE BOOKS

CLOTHING, SHOES, SMALL HOUSEHOLD ITEMS – Taken by the Salvation Army

TOWELS AND BLANKETS – These will be donated to local animal shelters

EYEGLASSES AND SUNGLASSES– Collected and refit for people in needy countries

USED BOOKS – no text books, magazines, ex-library books, or encyclopedias

HAMPTON ATHLETIC UNIFORMS, SPIRIT WEAR, AND SPORTS and DANCE EQUIPMENT – Must be clean and in useable condition. Will be collected at all Hampton elementary schools, Hampton Middle School, Hampton High School and the Community Center before Recycle Rama and at the High School on the day of Recycle Rama. COLLECTION DATES AT SITES – MAY 2 – MAY 13

BOY’S DRESS CLOTHES AND SHOES – Bring an item on Recyle Rama day and take an item home with you. NEW THIS YEAR!

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S BUSINESS ATTIRE AND SHOES

PROM AND BRIDESMAID DRESSES PLUS ACCESSORIES (PURSES, SHOES, JEWELRY)

• MEDICAL EQUIPMENT – CRUTCHES, WHEELCHAIRS, CANES, NEBULIZERS, WALKERS -- NEW THIS YEAR! For a complete list, go to globallinks.org and click on DONATE



They will also have the following:

• Information on recycling opportunities in Allegheny County

• Tables from various businesses and Scout organizations in Hampton

• Refreshments

**They have the right to refuse items that are not acceptable for recycling. For questions, call Danelle Jameson at (412) 487 – 0752.

For a list of places where you can recycle many of these items year round, click here.

Think green, recycle and reuse!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- week 32

I was sick throughout the night. Really, really sick. But, although it was some kind of stomach thing, it wasn't your typical run-to-the-bathroom type of fare. This was just incredible pain in the center of my abdomen. My gallbladder's gone, so it wasn't that. I do have an ulcer, and I know what that kind of pain is like, and it wasn't that. I can't even describe it. Just the doubled over, take-your-breath-away kind of pain. The closest thing I've ever experienced was the time I was given morphine in the hospital and ended up rolled up in a ball on the floor wishing I would die. All the while having my daughter, Bethany, watch helplessly from the corner of the room ... on her 21st birthday.

The same thing happens when I take Robitussin, but, again, not quite to that severity. Tried that twice and never again ...

This was both painful and weird at the same time. I spent about an hour in the tub around four a.m., but that really didn't provide much comfort. My husband wanted to take me to the ER, but I refused. Why go to the hospital and be doubly miserable, get jabbed and poked, and end up trying to figure out how to pay the deductible when all is said and done? Besides, WebMD didn't give me any reason to believe it was life-threatening. I guess if you don't hear from me after this, I may have had a lapse in judgment!

After being up all night, I finally drifted off to sleep on the couch around 8:30 this morning. I woke up around 11:30, still in pain, but it is manageable. At least for now. I'm not seeing a productive day ahead of me, however.


The Sabbath started off the same as most. We had some guest speakers from Light of Life ministry in our adult Sunday School class, providing information and encouragement for their adult mentoring program. Excellent program serving the needs of recovering addicts. As one of the participants spoke of her wonderful experience with her mentor, Debbie (one of our church members), my selfishness surfaced, and rather than wanting to mentor, I wanted to be mentored ... by Debbie! What a gift she is!! Have you ever benefitted from a mentor?

Our pew seemed anemic this week, as one of our daughters and her family were in Manheim, PA visiting my mom. The other daughter who worships with us was serving in the nursery and her husband was at work. So it was just Bill and I with our granddaughter, the lovely little Lady Laura.

After church, we did our usual trek out to lunch at one of favorite local restaurants. Then it was back to the house to show Laura her new sliding board; a hand-me-down gift from a neighbor. Then it was naptime, and I must confess, some time on the computer dealing with a couple of work-related issues. Yes, I know I've committed to not doing that on the Sabbath, but this was an exception.

You see, this past Tuesday, I got a message from a client I was in the middle of a large project with telling me to halt all production on the recordings. "We've decided to go in a different direction," he explained. Well, that may be a good choice for them, but it left me temporarily out of work. I still had another 85-90 hours worth of work to do on this project, and because of that, I hadn't been pursuing other projects. Not good for the budget, let me tell you. So, I had to check my email because I was waiting to hear from a client in Singapore who was interested in hiring me to edit his book. With the time zone change, I wanted to be quick to respond to any questions he may have. So that's what I did and it looks like it's going to pay off. He even agreed to pay me 50% up front, which I had to insist on.

I also listed a couple of things on Craig's List. I mean, after all, I just lost a pretty large chunk of income. So far, no bites on the the for sale stuff though. I probably overpriced it. Oh well.

The evening included what seemed to be a delicious dinner (that may have been the culprit of my subsequent misery) and a couple of rounds of Bananagrams with my husband. So, for the most part, it was a Christ-centered and restful day, which is my goal, after all. What about you? How did you spend your weekend? Was it packed full of work from dawn 'til dusk? Did you take any guilt-free time to simply be?

Sharing my Sabbath experience,

Hana

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let them work it out!

Photo by Maisner Mark

Parents who facilitate their children to solve their own problems realize a triple benefit:
resolution of the immediate problem
between the children,
more effective problem-solving skills in the future,
and mutual respect within all family relationships.

-- excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday's words are few

Because there was a glitch with Blogger, I wasn't able to post anything today. So, my new feature focused on recycling, will kick off next Friday instead.


In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this picture of a little mouse I rescued from two of my cats, which were playing with it. What a cutie! He reminded me of Twiggle Wiggle, a little animated mouse from a story by TinyGrads.com. I enjoyed narrating the story for the video. If you have small children, they might enjoy watching it. I know my granddaughter does.

Enjoy your weekend.

Hana

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How Wasteful the Older Generation Was ... or were they?

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

I received this email from someone in my writing group and I wanted to share it with you. Unfortunately, even though I tried, I was unsuccessful in finding out who to attribute this to. So, if you happen to know, please post a comment or email me with the name so I can give proper credit. This is just too good not to share.

Bag by VistaPrint

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment." He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a hankerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

Keeping it green,

Hana


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- Skecher Shape-ups for girls

Still from Skecher's Shape-ups for Girls commercial
If you've been following the blog for long, you know that I usually love the products I review. So this week is a bit of a change ... more of a rant than than a review, actually.


Have you seen the commercials for Skechers Shape-up shoes for girls? If you watch the Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, you're sure to have seen these annoying ads geared to young girls -- with a not-so-subtle anti-boy message, as boys, dressed as hot dogs, ice cream cones and cupcakes, follow behind the girls. Of course, they can't catch up to the girls because the girls are wearing Skechers Shape-ups, toning their tushes as they lead the way. Better view for the boys, I guess.

I have a lot of issues with these shoes and the marketing campaign.

First of all, Skecher Shape-ups are designed to tone the muscles in the calves, thighs and buttocks. Really? They are offering these amazing shoe-sculpting attributes to girls as young as 6 or 7.

Now, I acknowledge the fact that childhood obesity is a major issue these days. But no one is foolish enough to believe that buying their overweight daughter a pair of shoes will resolve the issue, are they? Hmm.

However, the shoes aren't even being marketed to plus-size girls. The animated girls in the commercial are slim and toned ... oh wait, that's because they wear Shape-ups, I forgot.

My question is this -- why would any parent want their young daughter to tone up her still developing muscles? To make them more attractive to little boys? Shouldn't little girls look like little girls? Underdeveloped calves are perfectly fine for the elementary school clan, don't you think? And girls being fed a diet of ads that directly, or indirectly, indicate that being thin and attractive is the key to happiness is dangerous.

Here are the lyrics to the song on one of the commercials:

Nah nah nah nah nah nah (are they supposed to sound like brats??)
Heidi's got new Shape-ups
Nah nah nah nah nah nah
Got everything a girl wants (really?)
Nah Nah Nah from Skechers
She's got the height (did I mention the heel wedge?)
She's got the bounce
She's looking good and having fun
'cause Heidi's got new Shape-ups.

Okay, then. Too bad I didn't have Skecher's Shape-ups when I was young. Maybe then someone would have wanted me on their kickball team!

So, I've already dissed the concept, the sexism and the marketing target. But what about the shoes themselves? Are they safe for children? While I admittedly am not a medical professional, I am a mother and grandmother who prides herself in a fair amount of common sense. The bottom line here is that children are developing and when we mess with nature, we can expect problems somewhere down the road. I feel the same way about the foolishness of allowing little girls to wear heels. They don't need to look grown-up, they don't need to wear heels, and it's not healthy for them to do so. Period. For God's sake, give them a chance to be little girls!!! (I guess you can tell I feel passionately about this issue)

What do the experts have to say about this? Well, even though Skecher's denies these claims, the American Council on Exercise state simply that Shape-ups don't do anything special for adults wearing them. The way they work, apparently, is they throw you off balance so you have to use your core to walk correctly. Okay, I can buy that ... for adults.

Podiatric surgeon, Suzanne Levine, advises parents not to buy these shoes for their daughters, explaining that the 'rocking bottom' of these shoes can actually cause injuries to the ankles and toenails, especially if the girls are running around in them. There is a normal gait pattern in children, she explains, that can be disrupted by this footwear, and the Shape-ups completely interrupt the stability of young feet.

Make sense?

Oh, and did I mention Skecher's Shape-ups are for walking only? Yeah ... make sure you put a pair of shoes on your kids that keep them running and actually getting any real exercise. That should work well at shaping up your children!


Shape-ups aren't the only Skecher shoes I have an issue with -- they also offer little girls Stackers, a sneaker with a 1 1/2" heel. No comment.



If you are as appalled as I am about Skecher's total disregard for the safety and healthy self-image of girls everywhere, Change.org has a petition you can sign and send to the company.

It's all about common sense,

Hana





Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diet soda -- a better alternative to sugary drinks?

A few years ago, right before my daughter's wedding, I received a phone call from my doctor.

"I have bad news," she said. "You have type 2 diabetes."

I was stunned. After all, diabetes does not run in my family, and while I am overweight, I am certainly not obese.

"You need to come in so we can talk about what we can do to get this under control," she continued. "In the meantime, cut out the sugar, no sodas, watch your carbs, and stop running around barefoot." She knew me well.

"But I just opened a can of Pepsi," I protested.

"Dump it out. Now."

Wow. After more than three decades living with a Pepsi addiction, the news that I could no longer feed that addiction sent me into a mild panic. Not that I drank excessive amounts of that sugary, syrupy stuff, but I did have to have one can a day.

Well, on the positive side of things, I thought, at least I should be able to drop 20 pounds by this time next year since I won't be having my daily dose of calorie-packed Pepsi anymore.

So, hesitantly, I made the switch and started drinking diet sodas. It took some getting used to, but before long I was downing at least twelve ounces a day. And guess what? My weight started increasing.

Now, my expanding waistline may have been due to some of the meds I was taking. It certainly can't be my diet, I reassured myself. After all, I was hitting Curves a few times a week and my arms and legs were gently sculpting into something I was willing to bare by summer. It was just that darned stomach area! I even lost a few inches in my hips. What was going on?

After awhile, I developed a really weird kind of sore throat. A constant ache that was different than anything I'd experienced before. And my joints started hurting. Walking became a struggle as my fibromyalgia flared. One morning, while lying in bed, the thought occurred to me that maybe my symptoms had to do with aspartame... that seemingly wonderful alternative to sugar.

So I got up and Googled it. And oh, the horror that was revealed! Yes, my sore throat and achy joints were related ... to aspartame poisoning. Diabetes was no longer the greatest risk to my health.

Of course, there are varying professional opinions about this. Snopes.com backs up the big money manufacturers of aspartame-related products and states that the claims linking aspartame to the increased cases of systemic lupus and multiple sclerosis are false.

Personally, I'm leery of so-called "research" when there is a lot of money to be lost. The researchers I trust on this, are the ones who have absolutely nothing to gain. Researchers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, American Stroke Association, University of Rochester Medical Center, and countless others continually conduct studies with the same results: aspartame is dangerous. Period.

But let's back to the reason why most people drink diet soda: weight loss. But guess what? Studies have proven that diet soda not only does not help you lose weight, but the opposite is actually true. It promotes weight gain, particularly around the mid-section. According to Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Medicine Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, people do not lose weight while drinking diet soda. Why?

Well, there are various reasons for this. One is that diet drinks have been linked to increased triglycerides, which leads to higher numbers on the scale and tighter fitting clothing.

Another reason, according to an article on LiveStrong.com, is that your body is tricked into thinking you're consuming calories, even when you're not, based on the sweetness of the drink. That kicks in your metabolism, but the signals between the brain, stomach and hormones get confused since there actually aren't any calories. The result -- a metabolism that's riding on the brakes. When your metabolism slows, your weight gain speeds up. It's as simple as that.

There's another thing about drinking diet soda. Somehow, it makes you crave carbs. So, while you're watching your diet by skipping the sugary soda, the aspartame is sabotaging your diet. Yippee.

But it's not just about weight that makes diet soda so dangerous. According to the American Stroke Association, folks who drank diet soda daily had a 61% increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Let me repeat that -- a 61% increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack. That's some serious stuff!

Here's another thing that happens when women drink diet sodas: you excrete more calcium and phosporous than non-soda drinkers. What does that mean? Well, that can lead to lower bone mineral density. If you're consuming diet soda on a daily basis, you must face the fact that you are 3 - 4 times more likely to suffer from a stress fracture. Plus, your teeth will suffer as well, whether it's eroding tooth enamel or some other dental problem, you are bound to be paying more visits to your dentist if you're diet includes a fair amount of sugar-free sodas.

And what about if you're pregnant? Do we even need to go there at this point? Just in case, let's look at your increased risk of miscarriage. A 50% increase, at that! This is based more on caffeine intake, so it has to do with any kind of caffeinated drink, not just diet soda. If you consume more than 200 mg. of caffeine a day (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate), you double your risk of losing your baby because the caffeine can affect cell development and/or prohibit blood flow. Is it worth it?

I know this has been a long post, but I hope you're still with me, especially if you have children. This warning is for you!

In my opinion, which is based on a ton of studies done by medical professionals, children should never (notice, I said never) be permitted to drink diet anything...that includes Sugar-free KoolAid, etc. Even if the research is wrong, do you really want to take a chance introducing poisons, like methanol and formaldehyde, into your child's developing system?

It's something to think about.

On a side note -- do I ever drink diet soda anymore. Occasionally. I also drink small amounts of regular Pepsi from time to time. What I'm mostly referring to in this post is a daily consumption of diet soda.

Keeping you informed,

Hana

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- a different perspective

Today, you're in for a treat! Rather than reading about my Sabbath, guest blogger, Lisa Bartelt, is sharing her own perspective. Lisa, a former journalist who is now a stay-at-home mom of two, writes about faith, life, motherhood, running, and books, among other things, at The Home Front.


It all started with ants. God has a history of making a point with insects (think, locusts) and my Sabbath experience is one of them.

Every spring, it seems, our house is visited by ants, and nothing annoys me more than when they start creeping all over the kitchen counters.

Confession: I'm not the best of housekeepers; I don't own a dishwasher; and I hate washing dishes. Thus, the kitchen sink is often full of dishes in need of washing.

Enter the ants.

I know that having a clean sink would go a long way in curbing the ant problem, but with a 3-year-old and a 17-month-old running around the house, dishes are often the last thing on my to-do list anyway. So, when my husband suggested one evening recently that I wash while he dried, I took him up on his offer. That night, we got through most of the dishes, and I committed to working harder to clean up daily, leaving the sink empty, or nearly empty, each night.

I can't tell you it's worked perfectly -- hey, life isn't perfect! -- but I can tell you that one Saturday night, when I usually would have been planted on the couch in front of the TV, I worked diligently to finish the dishes so that I'd have less to do the next day, Sunday, my supposed day of rest.

After ants, the next most annoying thing for me is having to do housework on Sunday.

My husband is in seminary, called to be a pastor, so I have no illusions that Sundays will actually be a day of no work for us. Heck, with young children in the house, I'm not sure I can truly have a no-work day. But I need to take a break from housework, especially dishes, so this particular Saturday, that was my goal.

I walked out of the kitchen, not long after I started, victoriously proclaiming to my husband, "It is Saturday night and there are no dirty dishes in our sink!"

The following day, I still had to feed children, cook dinner and do a load of laundry, but seeing the emptiness of the sink (and counter and stove, if I'm honest), lifted my spirits. I didn't feel guilty reading a book while the kids napped. I actually wanted to make dinner because I didn't have to work around the previous night's supper dishes.

In a sense, I felt free.

And I think maybe that's what Jesus intended when he said this about the Sabbath:

"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." -- Mark 2:27, NIV

Hard work on Saturday (and the rest of the week) is worth the freeing rest of Sunday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!






The violet,

though crushed between tiny fingers,

was my most treasured gift.

Chosen,

for me,

by a heart that only understands

simple gestures --

gestures of love.



Wishing you delightful gifts of simple gestures,

Hana


Poem by Hana Haatainen Caye
©2011


Friday, May 6, 2011

An Adventure in Motherhood

My mother, Gene Vilma Strickler Haatainen Wagner
When it comes to motherhood, my experience runs the gamut. I gave my firstborn up for adoption in 1980. After I married my first husband (who died in 1989), I gave birth to two more girls. Following a couple of years of single parenting and widowhood, I remarried and became the stepmother to my second husband’s two daughters, one of which likes me and one who … well … doesn’t. Altogether, that totals five daughters. What I don’t know much about is mothering boys, which is perfectly alright with me. Quite honestly, I never wanted a boy. I simply did not think I would be a good mother to a boy, and apparently God agreed.


So with Mother’s Day upon us, I thought I would share my feelings about being a mom.

Motherhood is about so much more than giving birth. Any of you adoptive moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s funny how being a mother just naturally produces an exorbitant amount of love, whether you are raising the child you gave birth to or the child someone else graciously entrusted into your care. But it is not just the raising of a child that produces the love. The birthing does as well. As a birth mother who cared for her daughter for a few days after her birth and then handed her over to a nurse and walked out of the hospital with empty arms, I know the intense pain that accompanies a mother’s love when there is no recipient of it. Empty arms. Too many of us have known the pain of them, whether by choice or by death. Perhaps there is no pain greater than a mother’s love that must be kept inside.

Three of the five
Thanksgiving 2009
I didn’t want to be a single mom. Again, it was something I didn’t think I would be any good at. However, this time God apparently didn’t agree, and I was thrust into that role with two small children. And guess what? I did okay. Really.

And then came my next challenge – being a stepmom. Hmm. I thought I could master this one, but let me tell you, it’s a tough one. I understood that everyone would have to be tossed into the blender. What I failed to realize, however, was that you had to put the lid on before hitting the ‘blend’ button. Splat!! To say it didn’t go so well, would be, most definitely, an understatement. How my husband and I survived those early years is beyond me … no, actually, it’s not. It is only by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that we made it past our first five years or so. Now, I’m happy to say we will be celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary in August. I adore him and I love the home we have made. We survived, and we’re both better people for it! He is, without a doubt, the best father my girls could possibly hope for, and he loves them with everything in him.

I’ve walked through the waters of marriage, single parenting, and blended families. They are all hard work! So, my advice to you, if you are married and considering looking for greener pastures – think long and hard about your choice before making it. Like I said, marriage is hard work. Single parenting is hard work. And blending families is the hardest work of all! There’s no way around the hard work aspect, so, if at all possible, why not exert the effort in your current marriage?

But back to motherhood. Nothing in my life has been more fulfilling than being a mother. My girls bless me on a daily basis. I sometimes miss the days of being a stay-at-home mom with little ones, but I love having adult children. And I love being a grandma.

Four of our five daughters at Bethany's wedding in 2006
So, as you prepare to spend Sunday with your own children or, if you’re blessed enough to still have her with you, with your mother, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. Luxuriate in the miracle of family, one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

Saluting all you moms out there and the incredible job you’re doing,

Hana

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