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Unacceptable Levels

Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy, and law. Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who wants 15 more entries?

Photo by Vera Kratochvil

Do you ever have a day that, even with the best intentions, slips by too quicky? That's the kind of day I'm having. Too many things on my plate right now, including clients that need for me to fulfill my obligations to them.

Therefore, today's blog post is going to be quite simple.

This is the last day to enter to win the amazing prize package I'm offering, thanks to the generous contributions from
I can't tell you how grateful I am for all the awesome people who decided to sponsor this anniversary giveaway.

So, with only a handful of hours left to enter the contest, here's one more chance to win:
Share the contest on your FB page or on Twitter, and then post a comment letting me know you did. With less than 12 hours left, anyone who does this before 8 p.m. EST gets 15 extra entries into the giveaway! Go!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Sabbath Experience -- week 47 and another chance to win

If ever there was a day I embraced my Sabbath Experiment, it was yesterday! By the time I got home from church and lunch out with the family, I was exhausted. There were loads of chores awaiting me: a kitchen to clean up, beds to strip, guest towels to wash, a patio to clean up, vacuuming to be done, mounds of recycling to put out for pickup (I'll explain later), etc. So what did we do? We napped. And it was glorious.

After sleeping for 2 1/2 hours, we still faced the same mess. So what did we do? We played Banagrams. And watched an episode of Beauty and the Beast. And chatted with a neighbor whose wife and 4 kids headed to Bethany Beach that morning, leaving him home alone with the dog.

When I went to bed last night, I knew I had to wake up a seemingly endless To-Do list, but I went to sleep happy. Oh, and relaxed, as my husband tried out our new hot stone massage kit on me. Ahhh.

If someone stopped over this morning, I'd be slightly embarrassed by the condition of my house. But at least I'd be relaxed about it. The only thing we did work wise yesterday was gather the little bit of trash we had to put out, take stuff to the compost pile in the woods, and deal with the massive amount of recycling we had.

The birthday boy with my mom and me
You see, Saturday was our grandson's 1st birthday celebration, complete with 73 guests! Since the park my daughter rented for the party didn't have a recycling receptacle, we gathered it ourselves and brought it all home. And, let me tell you, there was a massive amount of it! Bill crushed all the cans and by the time he was done, we had our normal recycling bin filled, along with 2 bushel baskets and a huge box. I'd say we did our part for the environment on this particular trash day!!

The preparations for this party started out joyful enough. However, on Lincoln's actual birthday, his great-grandfather died. Uh oh. Suddenly, in addition to having out-of-town company coming and food to prepare and pick-up, we had to all make adjustments, as my son-in-law's family was focusing on viewings and a funeral, which was on the same day as the party. Not to mention the emotional impact of a death in the family. Oh, and my daughter ended up getting sick on Friday night and felt lousy all weekend. Not fun.

In the end, everyone seemed to enjoy a party that got off to a rocky start. I met my daughter's new group of friends from her mom's group, all of which were delightful young women with lovely families. I must admit, that was a perk of the day. Lincoln got to be the center of attention of friends, family and church family. And I was able to spend 3 days with my mom and cousin, Kelly, who traveled across the state to celebrate Linc's birthday. Kelly is the cousin I mentioned in my first post who encouraged me to start this Green Grandma blog. I will always be grateful to her for that.

By the time we got home from the party on Saturday, we were beat. Which is why the house is still a mess. Our guests went home yesterday afternoon, which is why there are beds to strip and towels to wash. But a need for Sabbath rest took precedence yesterday and I'm so glad I honored my commitment to it.

Now, the workweek has begun and I'm a bit overwhelmed with all I have to do. But it will get done, even if the laundry has to wait another day or two. In the end, none of this will matter. No one's keeping tabs on my housekeeping duties. Let's face it -- there are more important things in life than always having a clean house. But let me tell you, when it's time to get it done, I'll be counting on Norwex, Eco Nuts and vinegar to make it simpler and non-toxic. Oh ... the sun just came out. Maybe I'll throw the sheets in the wash afterall. It looks going to be a great day to hang out laundry.

Sharing my Sabbath Experience with you,

Hana

Oh wait, I promised another chance to win the awesome prize package that's being awarded on Wednesday, didn't I? Well, how about if you simply post a comment on your FB wall saying, "I want to win the Green Grandma giveaway!" That will earn you 5 extra entries! If you link to the GG FB page, you'll get 3 more! You have until midnight on Monday night (EST) to get the extra entries.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our purpose


A beautiful blue dragonfly I spotted while in Hancock, MD

The purpose of life is not to be happy --  
but to matter, to be productive, to be useful,
to have it make some difference
that you have lived at all.

~Leo Rosten




Friday, August 26, 2011

The final 3

What a fun week! Don't you agree?

If you haven't had the chance to check out all of the great prizes and the details of the giveaway yet, just click here.

So far, I've let you know about 9 of the great prizes being offered. Today, I'm going to tell you about the final 3. Remember, the winner of the giveaway wins all of the prizes from the 12 sponsors. If there is something in the package that you don't particularly want or need, I'll have a second chance drawing for that or those items.

I love using all natural, safe, toxin-free products. And that's one of the reasons why I love Leaf & Bud Naturals. The other reason is Allin and Cat, the wonderful couple who are Leaf & Bud.

Al and Cat were excited about taking part in the giveaway and offered a product that made me wish I could enter the contest: 100% Pure Acai Berry Eye Cream. This is something I actually need!

Acai berries are packed with antioxidant and this moisturizing eye cream is concentrated with 15% Vitamin C and 15% Vitamin E. Then there's the cooling cucumber, rose, calendula and nourishing white tea. What skin damage? That's what you just might be saying after a few weeks using this eye cream.

Product Features
  • no artificial fragrances or parabens
  • no synthetic chemicals, petro-chemicals or any other toxins
  • Enriched with vitamins C & E
  • 100% Natural
  • 100% Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free

Want 5 extra chances to win this amazing eye cream, as well as all the other great prizes? Simply 'like' Leaf & Bud Naturals on FB and post a comment letting me know you did.

Another product I'm thrilled to be offering in the prize package is Green Salve by Motherlove Herbal Company. As a matter of fact, Julie offered 2 jars of Green Salve -- one for each year! This is one my husband would like to win! He loves Green Salve as you can read about in the review I posted back in November.

Here's how the Motherlove website describes it:

This all natural versatile salve quickly and effectively takes the itch out of insect bites, bee stings and poison ivy. It soothes and eases the discomforts of rashes, chapped and irritated skin. A must for every home! Motherlove’s green salve has a zero rating (zero toxins) on EWG’s skin deep database and is made with 100% certified organic ingredients.


Since Bill's discovery of the wonders of Green Salve, I've discovered my own. This is a product this mother loves!
Okay, you know the drill: 'Like' Motherlove Herbal Company on FB, let me know and 5 extra entries are yours!

The final prize in the package is a $15 gift certificate from Petite Paintbrush, an Etsy company conceived by the talented Jill Stango, an artist, high school art teacher and mother of 2-year-old, Stella, and 7-month-old, Jude. Many of you will remember Jude -- he was the preemie we prayed for long and hard after his birth in January, a full 12-weeks early. He was born weighing only 2 lbs. 8 oz. and I'm happy to report he is thriving and doing well.

This is the second year Jill has donated to the GG anniversary giveaway. Last year, Nicole Olcese, was the winner of the prize package, which included one of my favorite prints of Jill's:


Her adorable kid-friendly paintings and prints add whimsy to any decor. With a $15 gift certificate, the winner of the GG prize package can choose a product that best suits their fancy.

And, of course, I'd fancy it if you'd show Jill some love by 'liking' the Petite Paintbrush FB page. Do so and let me know and you'll paint for yourself 5 pretty extra entries.

Well, that's it for prizes. Pretty awesome, huh? Don't forget to tell your friends, post links, email the giveaway details, etc. And make sure you let the 12 fantastic companies/individuals know how much you appreciate their sponsorship of the contest.

Entries will be accepted through midnight (EST) on Tuesday, August 30th. Then make sure you check back on the blog on Wednesday, August 31st to find out if you won!

Wishing you a restful and fun weekend,

Hana


Thursday, August 25, 2011

And on to Day 4 -- with 3 more awesome prizes!

Every baby needs a Sophie!
I can't tell you how appreciative I am of the generous sponsors who are graciously taking part in the blog's 2nd anniversary celebration! I am humbled by it all. You are the best!!

Today, I want to highlight 3 more of the retailers who jumped in feet first when they heard of the upcoming anniversary, two of which were gracious enough to participate in other giveaways over the past 2 years.

Jessica Lewis, of the San Antonio-based Flip Flops and Combat Boots, emailed me and offered a custom-made makeup bag as part of the prize package. Jessica upcycles uniforms from all branches of the military and transforms them into practical items, like purses, bags, baby items, kids' stuff, etc. What a unique, and useful, endeavour.



The above picture is what the outside of the makeup bag looks like. The winner of the prize package can choose the fabric for the inside. And Jessica has plenty of fabrics available!

Now ... you knew this was coming ... earn 5 extra entries simply by 'liking' the Flip Flops and Combat Boots FB page. But make sure you post a comment letting me know you did! Earn 10 extra entries if you, or your spouse, served in the U.S. or Canadian military. Post a comment about it if you want the extra entries!

Green Baby Clothing Company has been a long time supporter of this blog. Jill Wirth is an amazing entrepreneur, photographer, and mommy. Recently, the family went through a rough 3 weeks or so. First, little Kaiya, Jill's toddler, fell and broke her arm, which required surgery, some lovely pins and a cast. Then Jill herself fell and broke her leg, which required surgery, some lovely pins and a cast. Seriously? Stuff like that just shouldn't happen. But in the midst of it all, Jill decided to sponsor the anniversary giveaway. You gotta love her for that!

Isn't this a great logo?!

I'm not exactly sure what the prize will include, but since it's from Green Baby Clothing Company, I know it will be awesome! All Jill told me is that it is a $40 prize pack -- boy or girl. Winner's choice. To make this giveaway even more special, the winner will be announced on August 31st -- Jill's husband's birthday.

'Liking' the GBCC FB page, and letting me know about it, will earn you 5 more entries into the giveaway.

Last, but certainly not least, we come to a local company (for me). Happy Baby Company started off a number of years ago as Pittsburgh Cloth Diaper. Adam and Lilli Cannon have little ones of their own, and devote much of their time to educating and helping other moms and dads navigate the waters of cloth diapering. Their help is invaluable to many!

Opening their brick and mortar store in the western suburbs of Pittsburgh, expanded their world from just cloth diapers to a nice variety of kid-safe, mom-trusted products. They have a small classroom in the store where they hold cloth diapering orientations, complete with tips on newborn care. Happy Baby Company also served as the Pittsburgh area location for the Great Cloth Diaper Change back in April.

While I didn't need help with cloth diapering, Adam did come to my rescue one hot, hot day last summer while I was at his store. Adam is a carseat safety advocate and he discovered my carseat for Laura was not safely installed. He climbed in the back of my very hot car and worked on it until it was. By the time he emerged from the backseat, he was drenched with sweat, but satisfied that my granddaughter would be safe. I will always be grateful for that.

But, back to the contest. Happy Baby Company is throwing the ever-popular, around for 50 years, Sophie the Giraffe into the package. No child should be without a Sophie! She is truly a staple in the nursery ... and the diaper bag!


And to sweeten the pot, Adam and Lilli are throwing in a $10 gift certificate to Happy Baby Company. How cool is that?!

Again, we have extra entries up for grabs! 'Like' HBC on FB and let me know (it would be nice if you let them know I sent you!) -- 5 extra entries!

That is today's wrap-up. Tomorrow, I'll be presenting the final 3 prizes and giving you even more ways to win!

If this is your first time visiting the blog, please check out all the great items in the prize package, along with the rules of the giveaway on Monday's post.

Loving this week,

Hana





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 3 -- and 3 more awesome prizes!

I have to start out today's blog post by wishing my adorable little grandson, Lincoln, a very happy first birthday!! The year flew by, as years tend to do, and I can't believe he's one-year-old already! Happy birthday little Lord Lincoln! Grandma loves you!!




If you've never tried any products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, you don't know what you're missing! From pregnancy to infant care to plain ol' mama (and papa) care, the zero toxins promise is something you can count on! And the mamas who run this company are simply phenomenal! What a lovely group of caring ladies.

Back in March, when I was suffering through a case of the mumps, these lovely ladies sent me two boxes of EMAB teas to help me feel better. Just because. How sweet was that?!

When I emailed Mama Melinda and asked her if they'd like to participate in the anniversary giveaway, her response was not only an enthusiastic "yes," but it was also an offering of a generous prize!

The Baby Essentials Bundle includes:
"All bundled up in Earth Mama’s reusable, 100% Certified Organic cotton Mini Logo Tote, Mama’s Essentials Baby Bundle is a sweet and effective gift for a sweet little baby!"  Retail value -- $60.75!!

I simply love this prize. And I love EMAB for adding it to the prize package!! Want 5 extra entries into the giveaway drawing? Sign up for Mama's You Herb it Here Newsletter and post a comment here or on FB and let me know you did.

If you haven't read Monday's post yet, you'll need to do so to find out how to enter the contest and see what other great prizes are part of the package!

***

Many of you will recall my review of the fabulous fruit and vegetable cleaner by Eat Cleaner. What I love about Eat Cleaner is that their products help put your mind at ease when you're feeding your family fresh foods.

Another part of the prize package is a 40 count cannister of Eat Cleaner Biodegradable Wipes. These wipes are perfect for cleaning the surface of fresh fruit and veggies, as well as utensils, cutting boards, countertops ... even that pesky, always-on-the-floor pacifier -- just wipe it off and pop it back in your baby's mouth! And don't worry about your little one spitting it back out because it tastes bad, because Eat Cleaner is tasteless and odorless ... not to mention all-natural and lab-tested. And with the biodegradable wipes, there is no rinsing needed ... perfectly suited for a morning at the farmer's market when you simply can't wait to take a bit out of that apple or strawberry! Like I said ... convenient.

I know you want 5 more entries! Simply 'like' Eat Cleaner on Facebook. Let them know GG sent you and then let me know you 'liked' them. Fair enough?

***

And, finally, I want to tell you about another awesome product that is part of the giveaway. Liquid laundry detergent from Eco Nuts. I already let you know how much I love my soap nuts when I posted a review back in March. Soap nuts are literally the greenest laundry detergent on earth, as is stated on the Eco Nuts website. They are:

  • Biodegradable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Perfect for Sensitive Skin, Allergies, Eczema, Psoriasis
  • Nut Allergy Safe!
  • 100% Natural and Free From Manmade Chemicals
  • Beneficial For Septic and Gray Water Systems
  • Sustainable
  • Fragrance Free
  • Reusable
  • Vegan Friendly, Vegan Approved
  • Certified Organic By EcoCert and USDA at the Source
Pretty awesome stuff. So awesome, in fact, that I no longer use laundry detergent of any kind. All I use are Eco Nuts. I toss a small bag of soap nuts in the wash and let them do their magic ... naturally.

So, I've tried, and stuck with, the nuts. Now, the company has a liquid version (same soap nuts, just more "detergent-like" for those of you who are hesitant to trust a bunch of nuts to clean their clothes or cloth diapers). And that's what you can win! I love the fact that this is a "plastic-free" company, too. That means the 4 oz. bottle of Eco Nuts will not be in your standard laundry detergent plastic bottle. How cool is that?!

How about 5 additional entries? Okay. Just 'like' Eco Nuts on Facebook, tell them I sent you and let me know you did. Or, here's a twist, 'follow' them on Twitter and do the same. Tell them @TheGreenGrandma sent you and then let me know you did.

And, just 'cause I'm happy about what today is -- get yourself 2 more entries by wishing my grandbaby, little Lord Lincoln, a Happy Birthday on the GG Facebook page. How much fun is that?!

Missed the list of prizes and rules for the giveaway? Just check out Monday's post.

Giving you more ways to win,

Hana












.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What exactly are these prizes? The first 3

Pretty neat prize package, huh? Remember to get your entries in. You must post a comment here or on FB to be entered. Refer friends and get 5 extra entries!

This week, I'm going to break down the package ... bit by bit, starting with my friend and GG community member, Lisa Marie Bruno's fun upcycling Etsy site, ARTchaeology. Lisa Marie is an artist, costume designer and upcycler, extraordinaire! A couple of weeks ago, she posted a picture displaying a bunch of rings she's made out of buttons and button covers (remember that 80's craze?!). One, in particular, caught my eye, so I bought it. I can't tell you how many compliments I get on that ring!

When Lisa Marie heard about the anniversary giveaway, she sent me a FB message and offered an upcycled ring as part of the prize package. The fun part is ... the winner gets to choose the ring they want! Here is just a sampling of the rings Lisa Marie recently designed. I bought the red one with the silver center (2 up from the Scrabble tile). Love it!

Upcycled rings by ARTchaeology

Check out Lisa Marie's other designs at ARTchaeology.

***

Next on the alphabetical list of products in the prize package is the revolutionary Diva Cup! I am such a strong believer in this product that I am thrilled to be offering it as part of the giveaway. If you haven't given a Diva Cup a chance yet, what are you waiting for?!

Want to reduce cramps and other unpleasant symptoms that are part of your monthly cycle? Then get rid of your disposable, chemically-infused sanitary products and opt for something that will not add to the ever-growing landfill problem. If you have questions about the Diva Cup, chances are Wanda answered them with her intimate review back in January. If you didn't get the chance to read it back then, or last week when I reposted it, take a few minutes and read it now. It's well worth your time.


The Diva Cup is "an award-winning revolutionary alternative to tampons and pads!" Want an extra 5 chances to win one? 'Like' Diva Cup on Facebook and then post a comment letting me know you did ... oh, and let them know Green Grandma sent you!

***

Finally, today I want to introduce you to Earthly Remedies by Erin, committed to providing natural, chemical-free products. Erin grows the herbs she uses in her products. She has graciously offered an all-natural and safe stick deodorant. Made with organic coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, vitamin E oil, beeawax, and a blend of essential oils, there is no need to worry about toxins ... or body odor ... when you use this deodorant daily.





Want 5 additional entries in the giveaway? 'Like' Earthly Remedies by Erin on Facebook and let me know about it. How simple is that?!

Going green means a lot of things to a lot of different people. From upcycling to toxin-free product choices, we can all do our part to ensure we are leaving behind a planet our grandbabies will be proud to call home.


This is one fine prize package. Don't forget to enter!

Excited about the giveaway,

Hana

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Anniversary Celebration Continues!



Wasn't last week fun?! I loved sharing some of my favorite posts from the past two years with you.

To thank you for your continued faith in GG and all that the blog stands for, as well as to welcome new friends into the community, I am hosting a pretty awesome giveaway, thanks to some amazing supporters of this blog.

Are you ready to hear what's in this prize package? Here goes:

Didn't I tell you it was an amazing prize package?! Over the next week, I'll be posting more info about each of these fantastic companies and the prizes they're offering, as well as ways to win more entries into the giveaway (and you want to have a lot of chances to win this one, don't you?!).

One lucky winner (from U.S.A. or Canada only) will win all the prizes listed above! Many of these prizes would make great gifts, so if you don't have a baby in the house, just think what great gifts you'll have ready for the next baby shower you're invited to!
  1. To get the ball rolling, everyone who is a 'follower' of the blog and posts a comment here to remind me that you're following, gets 1 Entry.
  2. Everyone who 'likes' the Facebook page, and posts a comment there reminding me that you're a 'liker' gets 1 Entry. That means if you are a follower and a liker, and you post comments both places, you automatically get 2 Entries.
  3. Anyone who refers someone new to the community and the new person mentions them in a comment, will receive 5 Bonus Entries!! If you refer 5 new people who all post comments with your name (either on FB or here on the blog), you will have 25 more chances to win!!
Lots of opportunities to win here folks! And keep checking back, because every day, I'll post another way to add entries to the pot.

One winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced on August 31, 2011. Participating sponsors and family members of Green Grandma are not eligible.

Looking forward to making someone happy,

Hana



Saturday, August 20, 2011

GG's 2 years old today!


The reasons I care so much


‎"Few things are more delightful
than grandchildren fighting over your lap."


-- Doug Larson           


Friday, August 19, 2011

Vinegar Friday -- a thing of the past

For those of you who are new to the GG community, you may not be familiar with Vinegar Fridays -- the most popular feature on GG so far! Every Friday, I wrote about vinegar. After a year of Fridays, I decided to retire this feature, much to the chagrin of many faithful followers! However, I am going to be releasing Vinegar Fridays, the book, sometime this fall. It will be a compilation of all the great tips I found about vinegar throughout my year of VFs. Plus, some new tips I've discovered.

This particular VF, from 12/31/2010, has links to the original posts about the subjects mentioned. Feel free to go back and refresh your memory or visit the post for the first time.

This has been a fun week of revisiting topics from the past 2 amazing years. Thank you for coming along for the ride. Don't forget the anniversary giveaway is launching on Tuesday! Can't wait to reveal the awesome prizes!!




TGIVF!!

Well, here it is -- not only our last Vinegar Friday of the year, but the last day of the year as well. So, how did 2010 treat you? I know it was a hard year for a lot of you, but I hope there were some bright spots as well.

How will you spend your New Year's Eve? Do you take some time to reflect on the past year and make some plans, or resolutions, for the year ahead?

Today, I'm thinking about vinegar. It's only right, after all, since it is a Friday. I'm thinking about how much vinegar has changed my life this year and I am wondering if it has made a difference in your lives? So I am going to ask a favor of you. Would you mind letting me know, via the comment section here on the blog or by posting a comment on my Facebook wall, what vinegar tip or tips had an impact on you?

For me, there are several and here they are:
  • Hair -- I love what rinsing with apple cider vinegar does for my hair. No more need for toxic dandruff shampoo. No more itchy scalp. No more dull hair.
  • Skin -- my skin responds so well to ACV -- my face is softer than it has been in years and the foot baths and regular baths with two cups of ACV added are keeping my skin soft and itch-free!
  • Stomach ulcer -- I have been taking Nexium for years to treat an ulcer. I was even up to two a day, following the flare-up I experienced from drinking green tea (which should be avoided if you have any kind of stomach problems). Now I'm happy to say I haven't taken anything for my stomach for over 60 days! Why? Because I take one to two tablespoons of Bragg's Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar every day.
  • Cleaning and laundry -- it is so nice to be living in a home with fewer toxins than were here a year ago. 2010 was a transforming year as far as ridding my home of toxic substances like bleach, fabric softener, ammonia, and other caustic chemicals and replacing them all with distilled white vinegar.
  • Salads -- no more ranch dressing slathering my lettuce! Organic balsamic vinagrette has a permanent place on my table.
I will probably think of more things I love about vinegar as the day goes on, but this is a good start. Please take the time to let me know what your favorites are.

Have a blessed new year full of health, happiness, prosperity and, of course, vinegar!!

Hana

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In honor of our 20th anniversary

Today is my husband's and my 20th anniversary! So, to honor that, I have chosen to repost one of my posts from week 20 of The Sabbath Experiment, 02/21/2011.


Bill and Laura
Wow, twenty weeks into this. That's remarkable. Have any of you decided to give this a try? If so, are you reaping any benefits?

We started off the day at church, as usual. My husband taught the teens and I taught the adult Sunday School class where we finished up a very long series on I Peter. It was a good discussion.

Our church pew was glaringly empty as our daughters took the grandbabies to Manheim, PA to visit my mom for the weekend. We sure did miss them and our going-out-to-lunch-after-church-as-a-family tradition. We opted for lunch at home instead since my wonderful husband was treating me to dinner as a belated Valentine's Day present later that evening. I was so excited when I read his card last Monday with the promise of dinner at Cross Keys Inn in Fox Chapel, an old favorite restaurant of ours which we haven't been to in quite a few years (it's pricey and they no longer have the BOGO coupons).

So yesterday afternoon, Bill asked me to call and make a reservation. It's not something he likes to do. Since they only open at 5:30, I expected voicemail to pick up. What I didn't expect was this:

Our hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. Except this Sunday, February 20th, when we will be closed.

Are you kidding me? I can't tell you how disappointed I was. Of course, my husband suggested going another night, but it was the Sabbath and I wanted to enjoy spending time with him at a nice restaurant. Every other night lately, I've been working.

So we ended up going to a nice restaurant closer to home, which was a good choice, as it turns out, because our little interlude into spring ended abruptly, tossing us back into icy roads.

We had a lovely dinner at Blue. The food was exceptional, but the company was even better. You see, I love my husband and I love spending time with him. Let me share a little bit about our rocky road.

We met in 1989, just a couple months after my husband died. I was immediately smitten, much to the dismay of my family. My daughters took an instant liking to him as well, and, quite honestly, I think he fell in love with them long before he fell in love with me.

We married a couple of years later and embarked on the blended family journey with our four daughters. Let me tell you something I learned about blending families. While I knew that everyone had to be tossed into the blender, what I failed to realize was that you had to put the lid on before hitting the blend button! We had some messy times back then, mostly due to just one of the children who wasn't happy about this new family of hers. It is amazing how much havoc one child can create in a blended family. And, unfortunately, there is usually at least one.

Compiling all the other issues we were facing, was the fact that I was walking around with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Can anyone say 'crazy lady'?! Once diagnosed, I had to wade through the waters of finding the right combination of meds to stabilize me. Lithium made me a non-person. Prozac, added to the lithium, provided a good balance. Years later, I was able to wean myself off both, as I hated the side effects, and regulate my mood swings with St. John's Wort. I know this does not work for everyone. But I also know it works for me. And I have daughters, friends and a husband who can vouch for that.

Bill and Laura
We will be celebrating our twentieth anniversary in August and, despite those rough times when either one of us could have been 'justified' in walking away, I am beyond ecstatic neither of us did. There is no one who is a better match for me than Bill. And I strongly believe there is no one who could have loved my children more thoroughly. Those who know us can see it in the tenderness of his eyes. To top all of that off, Bill is the best grandpap anywhere! The best.

I adore my husband, and that makes the Sabbath even more special. Why? Because I cannot look at him and not thank God daily for the gift of him. Do I always feel that way? Of course not! We're only human, after all, and we both equally get on each other's nerves from time to time. But beneath all the daily aggravations and annoyances, this is the deepest love I have ever known.

This week, I want to challenge those of you who are in a relationship. Cherish the one you love. Express your thankfulness to God for your partner. Stop looking back into the dark woods of past mistakes. It is undoubtedly scary back there. Step out into the open field of sunshine and possibilities. Forgive. Move on. Love.


Keeping it loving on the Sabbath,
Hana

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- The Diva Cup with guest reviewer, Wanda

Originally posted on 01/19/2011, this is, by far, the most popular review I've ever posted, and it wasn't even written by me! Guest reviewer, Wanda, of Wanda Whoopie Cushion, shares her thoughts on The Diva Cup.




Green Grandma has asked me to review the Diva Cup, after learning that I've been using it and loving it for a little while now. About two years ago a friend asked a bunch of ladies if any of us had used the Diva Cup. Having no idea what it was, I searched online and discovered this intriguing “new” idea. (It's actually been around since the early 1900s, in an earlier form.) I purchased a redesigned silicone menstrual cup from our local cloth diaper shop, Peekaboo Bottoms in August 2009 and have been using it for about one and a half years. It took about three months to really get used to it and know how my body worked with it, but now that I've been using it for a while, I love it and would never go back to the waste of tampons.

In my opinion, using tampons is the equivalent of using paper plates. Why continue to spend money and waste resources on paper products when you can purchase one item that will last so much longer? I enjoy being “green,” but beyond that, I thrive on being thrifty. I would guess that the Diva Cup, which cost me about $45, has saved me over $60 in the last 18 months. And there's no end in site! The makers of the Diva Cup recommend that it is replaced after one year, but then they go on to say that if it is cleansed properly, appears to have no defects, and causes no irritation, the consumer can decide when to replace it. I've read of women using the same cup for years without a problem.

The website for the Diva Cup has a great FAQ section, telling you about which of the two sizes you should choose, how the cup is inserted, how and when you remove it, etc. Having read through all of that before I made my purchase, I can tell you that you really do need to just go for it and give it a try. You will learn along the way. You may need to wear a liner for the first couple cycles, just to make sure you don't leak while getting used to the way your body works with the Diva Cup. But once you figure it out, you'll be so glad you did!

Beyond being thrifty and green, it's much easier to be out when you have your period and never worry about running out of “supplies.” It also has a larger capacity than tampons and can safely stay in place for 12 hours, so it is much more convenient. (There are tips in the FAQ section that go into more detail about using the Diva Cup while out and about.)

The rest of my review gets kind of messy. So if you're really not feeling like the Diva Cup is for you, you should probably stop reading now.

Or if you don't want to read about a woman's body or menstruation, well, make the first available U-Turn and get out of here!

If you don't even like the word “tampon”... Please stop now.

This is your last warning. It gets personal after this. And messy.

The Diva Cup does affect your other body functions. The cup sits against the urethra and often slows down the flow when I need to urinate. It also sits against the rectum, and occasionally I will feel the need to have a bowel movement immediately after inserting the Diva Cup.

To make sure the cup is properly in place and to remove the cup, you will get your hands messy. If you are not comfortable putting your fingers on or in your vagina then you will not feel comfortable using the Diva Cup. I went from using o.b. Tampons (less waste than the typical tampon) to the Diva Cup, so I was a great candidate to use it!

When it is properly in place, I cannot feel the cup. If I can feel it, it means that it isn't secure and I'll probably end up leaking. So I go back and fix it. The best way to test it is to put it in and then push as hard as you can, as if you were having a bowel movement. It should be fully ballooned out and stay inside you. If it is not, you'll need to try again. My technique is to fold it into a U-shape, as described on the FAQ page, partially insert it and then let it open and fill with air. I push it the rest of the way in and push on the side of the cup to let a little air out. This way I know that it has properly ballooned out. When pushed by your vaginal muscles, it should stay resting against the lip of your vagina. If it doesn't, just push it in a little further and give it a twirl around. It should settle into its spot nicely.

Now when I see women buying tampons in stores and I feel kind of sorry for them. I can't really just walk up to them and start telling them about the Diva Cup. But I'm so glad to be able to tell you!



Sharing what Wanda has to say about greening your period,

Hana
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What is this blog about anyway?



From 6/22/2010

Someone emailed me tonight, and in a bit of a rant, questioned my decision to post yesterday's story about crib death. "Did I assume wrong that Green Grandma wants to promote a clean environment?" she asked. "I thought that was its focus."

Based on her question, I thought that perhaps this would be a good time to reiterate to you, my readers, what the purpose of the blog is.

Let's look at the name of the blog: Green Grandma. Green because I really do want to educate and spur on the GG community to living greener lives. "Promote a clean environment?" Perhaps, but my main goal is to encourage each of you to make more environmentally-friendly choices in your everyday lives. It's not to raise up tree-hugging activists. There are enough other sites to do that. For those of you who have been reading long enough, you know I often focus on trash and recycling issues. And, of course, I give cloth diapers a plug from time to time.

The second half of the name is Grandma. That's where the heart of the blog lies. I'm the grandma of one amazing 20-month-old granddaughter, with a grandson on the way. I care about the world that awaits them. I care about the chemicals and toxins in the products they will use. I care about the chemicals and toxins in the landfills...and in the water...and in the diapers. I care about the emotional environment they'll be raised in. I care about the schools and the television shows and the music they'll be exposed to. I care about the food they eat, the medicines they take, the health conditions they may have. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a healthy environment.

Since this is my blog, I feel I have the right to share whatever I want to on it. Sometimes that means I share my heart with you. I share my pain and my hopes. Why? Because you've become a family to me and I want you to get to know me. Why I'm being questioned on what I choose to post baffles me.

But I hope I've cleared some things up for you. You, who I offer vinegar tips to on Fridays. You, who I warn about toxins and unsafe products. You, who I trust with sensitive issues....like crib death.

Thank you for receiving Patty Gunnett's story yesterday with such warmth. She wrote it in hopes of touching someone's life out there who may be struggling with the aftermath of their own child's death. Her email address follows her story. If you feel a need or desire to correspond with Patty, she would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, please know that every post I write or share, is done with you in mind.

Keeping it real,

Hana

Monday, August 15, 2011

A tree-hugger I'm not -- reposting my very first post from Aug. 20, 2009

Diapers on the line!

This week, I'm celebrating 2 years as Green Grandma! In honor of this anniversary, I will be featuring 5 reposts of popular posts from the past 2 years, concluding with, of course, Vinegar Friday! And on Tuesday, August 23rd, watch for news of an awesome giveaway where one lucky GG community member will receive some great products donated from some of my favorite companies! Enjoy the week!


A while back, my cousin suggested I start blogging on environmental issues and call my site, Green Grandma. It took a few months of contemplating my purpose in this.

First of all, don't let the name fool you...I'm by no means a liberal tree-hugger. Politically, I lean more toward a moderate to conservative point of view. However, I get quite frustrated with the whole concept of one party over the other caring about the environment. I, for one, do care. As a matter of fact, I seem to care much more than many of the people I know who lean a different way.

That said, let me expound on why I'm starting this blog and why my cousin, Kelly, suggested the name "Green Grandma" for me.

In October of 2008, my precious first grandbaby was born to my youngest daughter. The lovely little Lady Laura has motivated me to be even more environmentally conscious than I'd been in the past. After all, this is the world we're leaving behind for her. I have to care.

Fortunately, my concern for the environment has spilled over to my daughters as well. As a result, Laura wears only cloth diapers. We will never add a disposable diaper to a landfill because it goes against everything in us.

Ewww. Many of you are cringing right now. Why?

Because a parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle/babysitter might get their hands a little dirty? Oh please. Rinsing out a cloth diaper in the toilet is not all that difficult. Messy? Sometimes. But doable. And well worth it. Every time I hang diapers on the line to dry, I remind myself that I am investing in Laura's future. Maybe I don't have much money to put aside for her. But I can invest in this planet she'll inherit.

There are a lot of naysayers when it comes to using cloth diapers. People will protest and even try to use environmental excuses.

"Washing diapers uses too much water."

Well, I hate to burst that bubble, but in actuality, it takes far more water to manufacture disposables than it does to wash cloth diapers throughout the two years or so a child wears them. Plus, according to the law, it is illegal to put human waste in the landfills. Guess what that means, folks? That means disposables should technically be washed out before being thrown away! You may as well just use cloth...especially if you consider yourself a law-abiding citizen.

Let me say that I'm proud of my daughter, Jessica. She could take the easy way out. Despite her desire to be a fulltime SAHM (Stay at Home Mom), her need for benefits makes that impossible for her right now. So every morning, she's up early nursing and caring for her baby and getting herself ready for work. Some mornings she drives Laura to my home so I can watch her and other mornings she hands over the parenting duties to her husband. Work is stressful and the days are long. Jess spends lunch hours standing in the Ladies' Room pumping bottles. Evenings are spent doing normal mommy things, plus washing, drying and folding diapers. It would be much more convenient to pop open some formula and slap on some disposable diapers. But who ever said life as a parent was supposed to be convenient? Like I said, I'm proud of my daughter, Jessica. In today's world of celebrities, bigger-than-life politicians and super heroes, she is my hero.

Yeah, you can call me Green Grandma....it's a title I'm honored to wear.

Keeping it green,

Hana

Since this first posting, I became the proud grandma of yet another precious grandchild -- my grandson, Lincoln, who will be celebrating his first birthday next week. He, too, is the blessed child of a cloth-diapering, environmentally-conscious, breastfeeding mama -- my daughter, Bethany, who deserves hero status as well.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Exploitation



Photo by Peter Griffin
The earth we abuse
and the living things we kill will,
in the end,
take their revenge;
for in exploiting their presence
we are diminishing our future.


~Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958








Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Keeping the FOGG out of the drain

Photo by Shari Weinsheimer


I often write about toxins in the landfills, but there are some common household products that may not be labeled as HHW (Hazardous Household Waste), but are definitely a threat to the drain and sewer systems.

When FOGG (Fat, Oil, Grease, Grit) ends up going down the drain, the potential for problems, for both you and the wastewater treatment system, are pretty significant.

Oil coats pipes, making it easier for grit to fill in the nooks and crannies, eventually leading to clogs that can result in raw sewage backing up into your home, onto to streets, or into streams and lakes. Yuck.

Flushing 'unflushables' creates a whole other set of problems.

So, this Friday's 3Rs is really not focused on reducing, recycling, or reusing ... but it is about proper disposal, which is vitally important. As I researched this subject, I discovered how much I didn't know and discovered many environmenal 'sins' I've committed.

"Forgive me, father, I have sinned ..."

Here is a list of things you need to keep out of the wastewater stream, according to the website PainintheDrain.com:

FATS -- throw in the trash



  • Raw meats and poultry
  • butter
  • cheese
  • peanut butter
  • pan drippings from cooked meat
OILS
  • Salad oil
  • used cooking oil
  • motor oil
Put these back in their original containers and drop them off at a waste recycling center or auto shop (for motor oil). If you can't find a drop off location for the salad oil or cooking oil, just throw the container in the trash.
GREASE -- put in sealed cans/containers and throw it away
  • Bacon grease
  • melted fat from meat and poultry
  • mayonnaise
  • gravy
  • salad dressing GRIT
    • Egg shells
    • coffee grounds
    • sand (rinsed from shoes or towels)
    • kitty litter
    • disposable diapers
    • cotton swabs
    • tissue
    • dental floss
    Grit can damage seals in the water treatment plants. This is just one reason to keep grit out of the sewers by tossing these things in the trash. Better yet, switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers (problem solved), use hankies or HankyBooks instead of Kleenex and spread your coffee grounds around your flowering bushes or mix them into your compost. I personally cannot imagine flushing any of the above, but I have rinsed off my kids' and my own sandy feet in the shower. It's best to do that with an outside hose onto the grass.

    Bottom line, sometimes you just have to throw things out, even if it goes against everything in you. Clogged drains, sewage backups and damaged water treatment plants are a hefty, and unsanitary, price to pay for ignoring this advice!

    Caring for the environment,

    Hana


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scare-mail tactics and the dangers of benzene

I am not particularly fond of extremists. As a matter of fact, I strongly dislike them. That's why I get upset with those forwarded emails that contain half-truths. Extremists like to create panic it seems. Or, at least they like to color the truth a bit in an attempt to make a stronger point. All they do, however, is weaken their stand, because, in the end, there is no stability in lies.

My husband got an email a couple of days ago about the dangers of benzene. Fair enough. It is dangerous. Benzene is a known carcinogen which also causes anemia, can reduce white blood cells, poison bones, cause miscarriage, and with prolonged exposure, can cause leukemia. Scary stuff.

I have no problem with letting people know of the dangers of toxic substances. That's not my point. My point is the hysteria of the email and the twisted truths.

Supposedly, if you get in your car on a hot day and turn on the air conditioning without opening the windows first, you are going to be exposed to massive amounts of benzene, and, unless you're lucky, you are going to die from it. Well, the email doesn't actually say that, but the subtle indications are there.

Here's the truth of the matter: If you inhale excessive amounts of benzene, the toxins in it will likely affect your kidneys and liver, as well as cause the above disorders. Notice that I said excessive.

If you park your car in the sun on a warm to hot day, the benzene level is said to go up to 2000 - 4000 mg -- 40 times the acceptable level. However, the Benzene is not being emitted from your AC ... the plastics and vinyls in your car off-gas trace amounts of benzene. According to studies, the levels are higher in older cars, and surprisingly enough, and not mentioned in the scare-mail, are significantly higher in winter months.

What does this all mean? It means use your common sense. If a toxic gas is building up in your closed up car, whether it's hot or cold, let it escape before you start driving. Open up the windows a bit before you turn on your AC or heat, especially if you are pregnant or have small children in the car!!

There's really nothing you can do about the benzene being there. So just let the gas escape before closing the windows up tight to cool or heat your car. It's just common sense.

Keeping it healthy,

Hana

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- Keeping it out of the landfill!



I came across this really cool website a few weeks ago. TerraCycle, with a tagline of Outsmart Waste, transforms candy wrappers and snack bags into a variety of products, like the speakers on the left.

I contacted Samantha at TerraCycle and asked her if she would be interested in sending me a product to review. She gladly complied and I received these nifty little speakers a few days later. They arrived in a flat box and were easy to assemble -- fold, tuck, and voila! a set of speakers ready to plug into my laptop. Yippee!




So here's what I think.
  • Innovative -- 5 Stars -- I mean, let's face it, this is a really cool idea. Transforming trash into a set of speakers. Ingenious.
  • Trendy -- 5 Stars -- While I wouldn't actually keep a set of M&Ms-style speakers on my desk, as an adult professional, I think they'd really appeal to kids and teenagers.
  • Eco-friendly -- 5 Stars -- Made out of 85% recycled materials, the speakers clearly advertise to friends and family that you care about the environment! And, they don't need batteries. How green is that?!
  • Functional -- 3 Stars -- Extraordinarily lightweight, these speakers are small enough to fit almost anywear. The 3.5 mm universal plug fits into iPods, iPhones, mp3 players, laptops and computers. Why the 3 Star rating? Volume. I was extremely disappointed with the low volume coming out of the speakers when I plugged them into my laptop. My laptop is not at all loud, which is why I wanted to plug in a set of speakers. However, the level was even lower coming out of the speakers. And there is no volume control.
But speakers are just one of the many, many products offered by TerraCycle. There are bags, home and office products, school supplies, gardening supplies, toys and more! TerraCycle partners with a variety of companies to upcycle and recycle traditionally non-recyclable waste into a plethora of consumer products.

If you want to be part of this amazing process, either by sending in your packaging or by purchasing their products, check out their website. Here are just some of the companies they've partnered with and the packaging being used:
    Capri Sun and Honest Kids -- drink pouches

Nabisco and Keebler -- cookie wrappers

Colgate -- toothpaste tubes

    Frito-Lay and Mission -- snack bags
    Yak Pak -- discarded billboard material
    Target -- used shopping bags
    Mars, Wrigley and Cadbury -- candy wrappers
    Kashi -- boxes, wrappers
    Clif Bar -- energy bar wrappers
    Kraft -- packaging
    Scott -- packaging
TerraCycle also upcycles 35mm film, wine corks, computer parts, vinyl records, pull tabs from soda and beer cans, and more!

Is this not one of the coolest companies you've heard about? With a mission to 'Eliminate the Idea of Waste,' how can they go wrong?

Reviewing it for you,

Hana


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How about a Vinegar Tuesday?

Theo Van Gogh

People are always telling me they miss Vinegar Fridays, so I thought I'd slip in a Vinegar Tuesday today. For those of you who really enjoyed VFs, I will be releasing a book in the fall with all the vinegar tips organized in a semi-logical order! I hope you'll buy it.

Did you ever start unloading your dishwasher only to find a bunch of miscellaneous gunk accumulated in one or more of your glasses? How does that happen?! Unfortunately, I find it happens more often when I'm using 'green' dish washing products, which makes my husband emphatically state, over and over again, that we need to go back to Cascade.

Anyway, I was emptying the dishwasher yesterday and pulled out two glasses that were simply not going to be put away. They're tall narrow glasses that are difficult to hand wash. So I put a little water in them with a teaspoon of baking soda. Then, I added the magic ingredient -- distilled white vinegar. Just a splash of it was enough to cause the effervescent reaction I was hoping for. All those tiny little natural scrubbing bubbles attacked that dishwasher gunk in no time. Voila! A couple of shiny glasses! I can't tell you how excited I am about this new discovery!

Today is truly a vinegar Tuesday for me. I started out in the shower rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar. I alternate how I do this. Some days, I pour 1/2 cup in a jar and add 2 cups of water. At the end of my shower, I simply pour this on my hair as a final rinse. Other days, I put a tablespoon or so in the jar with a cup of water and use it like conditioner after I'm done washing my hair, thoroughly rinsing it out. This is the best detangler around ... and it's completely natural. If you have light-colored hair, you might prefer using distilled white vinegar instead.

Next, as I was making my coffee, I grabbed the Dr. Bragg's Organic Unfiltered Raw Apple Cider Vinegar from the cupboard and took a tablespoon, followed by 8 oz. of water and then a thorough rinsing of my mouth (it will erode tooth enamel if it just sits in there!).

After breakfast, I took a couple of vases into the kitchen and took the dead sunflowers out of them (to be put in the compost pile). The vases had that dead-flower-slime in them, so guess what I did? Yep. Baking soda, water and vinegar. The foaming is actually cool to watch -- your kiddos will love it!

So that was it with the vinegar ... so far. On the agenda for later today or this evening -- a apple cider vinegar foot bath. A 5 minute soak in one cup of ACV in a basin with warm water creates the softest feet I've had since I was a toddler. Seriously. It's amazing how soft my heels get. If you have rough feet, you have to try this.

After the foot soak, I'm going to repurpose the ACV-infused water and give my cat a bath. Theo is not aware of this yet, and he won't be too thrilled when it actually happens. But the results will be well worth it. You see, Theo is allergic to bug bites. So every summer, he ends up covered in scabs. Poor thing. Then his fur gets a bit oily and yucky feeling. The vinegar bath will sooth the itch and make his coat amazingly soft. I might endure a few scratches in the process, but like I said, it will be worth it.

That's my Vinegar Tuesday. Let me know if you have a Vinegar Tuesday of your own!

Keeping it green, healthy and soft with vinegar,

Hana

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