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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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why we don't shop at Walmart

Photo by Peter Griffin
My husband has ongoing debates with people about shopping at Walmart. He won't set foot in one. Why? For several reasons, I suppose. And I have to agree with him.
  • Walmart is trying to create a monopoly. The only fun that can be had with a monopoly is when playing the actual board game, not while negotiating through the endless stream of soon-to-be-defunct stores as they advertise their "Going out of Business" sales. If we don't stop feeding the Giant and start shopping the independent retailers and small chains, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we no longer have choices.
  • Walmart buys cheap so they can sell cheap. That means a whole lotta stuff from China. I don't know about you, but I'm wary of anything made there. Does caring for your family really mean "junk" shopping?
  • Walmart has been exposed for many questionable business practices, including mistreatment of employees, etc. You can simply type in "Walmart mistreating employees" into a search engine and look out! The stories on this are seemingly endless.
Now, if you're trying to live a greener life, part of that means shopping with the environment in mind. Which means, avoiding Walmart at all costs! And do not buy into their "green" advertising.

Here's the thing -- if you buy cheap, plastic products that have zero durability, you may not be as green as you think. Does it cost more for quality? Of course. Is it worth it? Most definitely.

Cheap stuff that is basically disposable requires a lot of energy (again and again) and resources to manufacture it.  Plus, the toxins in so much of the so-called economical products may end up costing you down the road in medical bills for you or your kids.

Choosing where to spend your hard-earned money is one of the first steps in being a true steward of the resources around you.

Purchase items that will last. Of course, that is easier said than done, it seems. We've had 3 refrigerators in the 20 years we've lived in this house. That's ridiculous. But it was more expensive to fix than to replace.

Technology is undermining us on this one, with the push for newer and better coming at us from all sides. Why, exactly, do we need to replace our electronics every year or so? Do we really need new cell phones? Is that latest piece of technology all that necessary for you to have? Have you ever thought about all the waste? E-waste is a major problem and we better start dealing with it soon.

Are you concerned about ecologically destructive practices? Well then, avoid buying from companies that are endangering or depleting our natural resources. Look for sustainability from the businesses you deal with.

Observe the wastefulness, or conservation, of the stores where you shop.

For example, I get my prescriptions from Giant Eagle, a chain of stores in my area. And let me tell you, they are the most wasteful pharmacy. The draw for me is the free diabetes drugs, but I struggle each and every time I pick them up. The amount of paper I'm given with each prescription is ridiculous.Seriously. And I swear they are the kings and queens of stapling. They love to staple. Over and over again. And they will not take back the bottles, which is ridiculous as well. Every month, I get these absurdly large bottles for a tiny amount of pills. I took my bottles back once and asked them to put my refills in them, and the clerk looked so confused, and a bit disgusted. She told me they would have to relabel them. Yeah ... and? I couldn't see why that was such a big deal.

Okay, it's late and I'm rambling. I didn't mean to do that. My real purpose was to just encourage you to think before you shop. There is something to be said about green investing ... you're investing in the future of this earth for the sake of your children and your children's children's children. And that, my friends, is why we don't shop at Walmart.

Sharing a bit of my eco-philosophy,

Hana

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- I think I'll have a spot of tea

Like I said on Monday, I wasn't feeling too well this week. Not fun. But let me tell you what helped a bit.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Morning Wellness Tea. Really.

Here's the problem, I find, with some of the Earth Mama Angel Baby products. People think they're just for pregnant or nursing women or babies. But that is so untrue!

Let me tell you, if this grandma can experience some comfort from a cup of Morning Wellness Tea, well then, so can you. And if you're preggo and a bit nauseous from time to time, you need this tea in your cupboard. Really.

Here's what makes it so effective (and I'm quoting directly from the box here):

This settling brew blends Ginger Root with spearmint, a hint of peppermint, and stomach-soothing chamomile and lemon balm with just a twist of orange peel for flavor.

The result of this fusion? Sheer deliciousness! And a settled tummy. Really. All these wonderful ingredients are certified organic and are safe for the whole family, pregnant or not!

Yes, this is a rather short review. But there's not much more to say about this Organic Herbal Tea for Queasy Tummies (I stole that off the box, too!) It's simply a wonderfully delicious way to chase away the queasiness that threatens to take even the hardiest of us down on occasion.

You need this tea in your cupboard. Really. You do.

Reviewing it for you,

Hana

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some of my favorite Vinegar Fridays tips (from the upcoming book)

I shared some of these tips at the Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival this past weekend. These are from some of the chapters from Vinegar Fridays. The book will be released this fall.


Kitchen

Vinegar belongs in the kitchen! From cleaning to cooking, and lots of places in between, no kitchen is complete without at least a couple different kinds of vinegar, starting with DWV (distilled white vinegar). Use it to clean and disinfect your countertops and other surfaces (and pitch the bleach-infused cleansers!).

Get rid of pesticide residue and bacteria from your fruits and vegetables by washing them in a solution of 3 TBSP of DWV in a quart of water.

Fluff up your rice by adding a TBSP of vinegar to the water while cooking.

Get rid of fruit flies by placing a small bowl of vinegar (any kind will do) near the source.

Add organic balsamic vinegar to your recipes for an added boast of flavor and health benefits (from potassium and polyphenols).

Laundry

Running neck-in-neck with the kitchen for the spot of ‘favorite place to use vinegar.’ No laundry room should be without a gallon or two of DWV. Period!

Why? Well, for one thing, fabric softeners are loaded with toxins linked to, headaches, respiratory ailments, brain and nervous system disorders, and even pancreatic and other kinds of cancer. Absolutely no one should ever use fabric softeners, in my opinion. It’s just not worth it. Simply fill your fabric softener dispenser with DWV and let it do its magic.

Have you ever noticed how black clothing fades after a few washes? Stop the fade with vinegar! Really. Adding it to the wash will help maintain the color of your clothes, not to mention brightening them as well.

Bathrooms

From toilet bowls to sinks, DWV is the answer for disinfecting!

Disinfect your loofahs, sponges and germ-clinging little poufs by soaking them overnight in a bucket of DWV and water (3 parts to 1 part). You might want to add your bath pillow and tub stopper as well.

Need an eco-friendly air freshener? Fill a spray bottle with 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. DWV and a cup of water. Spritz away odors in a flash!

Auto

You just bought a used car and there’s an old political bumper sticker on it. Quite frankly, you wouldn’t be caught dead driving around with that on your car. Simply drench a cloth with some DWV and cover the sticker with it for a couple of hours. It should peel right off.

Outdoors

Before you put away your fountain, or pond pump, soak the pump in undiluted DWV to rid it of any mineral deposits that may have accumulated over the summer. This will keep your pump working more efficiently when it’s time to welcome spring back to the area again.

When it’s time to bring your potted plants in, they may need some repotting. Get the stains and white mineral crusts out of your clay, glazed and plastic pots by soaking them for a couple of hours in a sink of water and DWV (50/50 solution).

Kids

Did you pick up any garage sale or flea market bargains this summer? Well, if you bought some toys for the little ones, you want to make sure they’re safely disinfected, in a non-toxic way. There’s an easy solution! Just spritz off plastic and wooden toys with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.

Crayon on the walls? Uh oh. Don’t fret. Simply apply undiluted DWV to the wax scribbling and then erase t
hem by scrubbing with an old toothbrush sprinkled with baking soda. Voila! Artwork gone, paint unmarred.

Hot Tubs

A breeding ground for nasty germs!! Dump a gallon of DWV in the water and turn on the jets. Let them run for a couple of hours. After draining, wipe down the tub with a sponge saturated with full strength vinegar. No need to rinse. Repeat every couple of weeks for ultimate germ-killing.

Skincare

This is one of my favorites! Soften your feet (and I mean really soften your feet) by soaking them in a footbath of warm water with 1 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar) added. After 5 minutes or so, you’ll be amazed at how soft your formerly rough heels are!

If you suffer from acne, chances are you don’t need to spend a fortune on those infomercial ‘miracles.’ Simply mix 2 tsp of ACV in a cup of water and apply twice a day after washing your face. Your skin will clear up in no time!

Pets

Flea problem? Add a few drops of DWV to the water dish, which will help to keep fleas at bay. Too late? Well, here’s what I do. After that soothing footbath (see above), I simply dump the water over my cats (or dog, if I had one). The result? Super soft fur and a bunch of dead fleas.

Furniture

Get rid of scratches on your wood furniture by applying a 50/50 blend of vinegar (DWV for light wood, ACV for dark) and iodine. A thin craft paintbrush is ideal for this.

Keeping it green with vinegar,

Hana

Monday, September 26, 2011

A fabulous Saturday and a touch of the flu

With my daughter, Jess, at the Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival

 Starting year 2 of the Sabbath Experiment/Experience. Let me tell you, there was no issue in resting on the Sabbath for me yesterday. Why? Because I was sick. Sick. Sick. Sick.

I started going downhill during the church service, but went out to lunch in hopes of feeling better. It didn't work. Bed offered a most welcome respite after I got home, and I ended up staying there for quite awhile!

This morning, I woke up with horrific back pain and now I can barely move. No amount of apple cider vinegar is going to relieve this, I'm afraid.

Anyway, I wanted to fill you in on the awesome Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival my daughters, grandchildren an I attended on Saturday. This was my first official venue as Green Grandma and I met a whole slew of enthusiastic, green-minded people. My daughters, Jess and Bethany, did an amazing job sharing their cloth-diapering expertise and experiences with many curious moms, dads and grandmas! Little boys were naturally drawn to the toy Recycling Truck on display. The truck is made out of recycled plastic milk jugs and was a real hit with the kids. We also talked a lot about no pooing, Eco Nuts, Norwex and, of course, vinegar! It was a long, but invigorating, day!

The little Lord Lincoln
Keeping an almost-3-year-old girl and a 13-month-old boy occupied was fairly easy with all the great kids' activities going on around us. A special thank you to Erin Fitterer who spent much of her day caring for the lovely little Lady Laura and little Lord Lincoln!

I was able to wander away from the booth a couple of times, leaving it in the oh-so-capable hands of Bethany and Jess. On one trip to the porta-potty with Laura, I stopped at a stand where Laura had the opportunity to spin a wheel, answer a question and get a prize. I must say I was quite impressed when she answered the question correctly.

Here's the question:

Which is a nighttime pollinator? A butterfly, a bee, or a bat? Without hesitation, my not-quite-3-year-old-granddaughter, Laura, answered, "A bat." I didn't even know bats were pollinators! Of course, I was even more pleased when I was referred to as Laura's mom instead of her grandma. It balways makes my day when that happens!

All-in-all, it was a good day and I was pleased to be able to share so many green tips with others. If you were one of the many people who stopped by the booth to chat, thank you! It was good meeting you and I hope you will become a regular follower of the blog and Facebook page.


Given how I feel right now, I think it's time to go lie down again.

Have a fantastic week, everyone.

Keeping it restful,

Hana

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ecological literacy



"Children the world over
have a right to a childhood filled with
beauty, joy, adventure, and companionship. They will grow toward ecological literacy
if the soil they are nurtured in is rich with experience, love, and good examples."


~Alan Dyer, “A Sense of Adventure”

Friday, September 23, 2011

I see Paris, I see France, I see lots of underpants

Bras for a Cause


Friday's 3Rs is a little different this week. It's all about underwear.
What?! You're not going to tell us we now have to reuse or repurpose our underwear, are you? Because we certainly can't recycle it!

Relax, what I'm about to tell you makes perfect sense. Really, it does. But let me ask you a question. What do you do with your underpants when they've seen their last days embracing your derriere? Or the miracle lifting power of your bra is in need of a supernatural intervention? Hmm?

You probably do exactly what I've been doing for over 50 years ... throwing them away. But that's not necessarily what I'll be doing from now on.

Okay, what are the options?

According to an article on the Earth 911 website, here they are:
  1. Compost them. Yep, that's what they tell you. This is a good option if your skivvies are made out of natural fabrics (I'm thinking cotton, hemp or wool). Wash them in an organic detergent (or soap nuts) and toss them in the pile with your banana peels!
  2. Stuff 'em in a kitchen drawer. What?! Well, if you cut the elastic band off your undies, you'll find it works perfectly at gripping jar lids for easy opening! Or cut up a pair of old pantyhose to use as strainers, loose tea bags, etc. Be creative ... and, of course, wash them first!
  3. Transform them. Into what? How about an evening bag? I know, it's a far-fetched idea, but check out this link to How to Reuse it Creatively. The craft she demonstrates here is with an old bikini top, but there's nothing stopping you from using your favorite, pre-pregnancy, way-too-small, sexy lace bra for a similar project. Just think of what a conversation-starter it could be!
  4. Donate them. We're talking bras again here. I'm just not a fan of donating used underpants. If you have any gently-used bras you can no longer wear or you found in a deceased relative's lingerie chest, send them to Bras for a Cause if you're in the US or Bra Appeal if you are in the UK. Both organizations use the bras to help women dealing with breast cancer.
So, there you go. Intimate little details on this week's Friday's 3Rs. Hope you found something helpful.

Keeping it out of the landfill,

Hana

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whatever happened to imagination?

Photo by Alan Toniolo de Carvalho

I'm concerned about something. Well, lots of things, actually. But one thing, in particular, is the pervading trend in our society to rob kids of their imaginations. Take kindergarten, for instance. I remember when kindergarten included a lot of creative play time. There were no standardized tests to concentrate on. Teachers were not under pressure to make sure their kids passed the exams. What the heck is happening here?

And it's not just the schools that are failing our kids in this way. I'm really worried about all the parents out there who are sitting their little ones (and I'm talking toddlers here) in front of computers and other electronic devices for a variety of reasons. Whether the iPhone entertains the children in waiting rooms at the pediatrician's office or the car's DVD player keeps them occupied on trips, whatever happened to talking and playing with the kids? I mean, seriously! It's during those times that imagination can be fostered.

The fact is, according to a study done by the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, kid's test scores in the area of creativity have been steadily declining over the past decade. This could have serious consequences.

When Einstein stated that "imagination is more important that knowledge," little did he know where we were headed as a society. Without imagination and creativity, people struggle to brainstorm or develop new ideas. Instead, they consistently focus on answering all the questions correctly. They need to learn that sometimes there is more than one answer, and it's likely they won't learn that on an iPhone app.

It's up to you to teach your kids to be creative problem solvers. It's up to you to draw out the writer or artist in your child. It's up to you to say 'no' to the trends that are assaulting this generation.

As you shop for the upcoming holidays, I urge you to bypass all the electronic gizmos and opt for toys that encourage creative play and imagination. And for the sake of being green, shop local, bypass batteries and support sustainable companies.

And if you're worried about your kids falling behind their peers who are already proficient on the iPad or a laptop by the time they're 3, don't be. Your little ones will have plenty of opportunity to catch up. And just think, without being exposed to all that radiation and dirty electricity, they'll probably be a whole lot healthier for it.

Caring for this generation of kids,

Hana

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- is that citrus I smell?

"Take a whiff of my arm pit ... go ahead. What do you smell?"

My husband hesitantly complied. "Fruit."

"Yep, it's citrus."

"What happened to the crystal you were using?"

Well, that question started a whole new conversation.

Awhile back, I reviewed Crystal deodorant, giving it a green thumbs up. As a matter of fact, it even made my Top 10 List back in June! And, as far as working as a deodorant, it still ranks up there. However, somewhere along the line of using it, I developed a yeast infection under my left arm, which then spread to my right arm pit, undoubtedly via the Crystal. Not fun. I had to resort to using Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm under my arms every day. But once it cleared up and I started using the Crystal again, the rash returned. So I had to find an alternative. 

That's when I discovered Weleda Citrus Deodorant in a glass spray bottle. I love this stuff! I bought it at the natural foods store in Berkeley Springs, WV back in August and have been using it daily ever since. And I've been a citrusly-happy and unstinky person ever since. Plus, the yeast infection is gone.

Since I can't explain it any better, here's what the Weleda website says about the Citrus Deodorant:


."Residual odor from naturally detoxified skin gets neutralized and freshened with this zesty deodorant. It’s an effective, non-aerosol spray that invigorates and refreshes as it eliminates the sources of unpleasant body odor.


Lemon peel oil has invigorating properties and also serves as a purifying disinfectant. With no risky antiperspirants such as aluminum salts, your body’s natural detoxification process is supported while bacteria that cause unpleasant odors are neutralized. You’re left smelling fresh and feeling the citrus-induced invigoration of Biodynamic® lemon peel oil. Spray whenever you need a purifying burst of full-body aromatherapy to freshen your entire being throughout the day."
Like I said, I love this stuff! I love the way it makes me feel, I love the invigorating scent, and I love that it comes in a glass bottle! Of course, I have to be extra careful to not drop it on the ceramic tile floor, but it's worth the risk not to have yet another product packaged in plastic!

If you're not a fan of citrus-scented products, you're in luck because Weleda's spray deodorants come in Sage and Wild Rose as well.

From browsing through the company's website, I have to admit, I like what I see. Weleda is celebrating 90 years of sustainability, which is something worthy of a shout out! Plus, they have a passionate commitment to fair trade.

Whether you opt for Crystal Deodorant, Weleda's deodorants, baking soda, vinegar or some other natural deodorant, the important thing is to avoid the commercial toxin-packed deodorants and antiperspirants on the market. Basically, I think you should skip antiperspirants altogether.

Why?

Because they block the body's natural process of sweating. Sweating is important because it rids the body of toxins. Do you really want to block toxins in an area of your body that is so prone to cancer? I sure don't.

Of course, not everything works for every body. So if BO's a problem for you, here are some suggestions, with links:
  1. Weleda's natural deodorants
  2. Crystal Deodorant
  3. Baking Soda (use a powder puff to make application easier)
  4. Vinegar
Give one or more of these a try and I'm sure you'll be sweet-smelling in no time.

If you have any more tips on warding off the body odor, please let me know. I'm always up for trying something new, although I have to admit, for now, I'm completely sold on Weleda's Citrus Deodorant!

Reviewing it for you,

Hana

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's easy being green at this kind of a festival!



What are you doing on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011? Well, if you're in the Western PA area, I have a great suggestion for you. Why not bring the kiddos to the Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival at Hartwood Acres? So far, the weather people are predicting a picture-perfect day, complete with sunshine and temps in the high 60s. And there is plenty to see and do at this zero-waste event this year, including:
  • Earth-friendly food and product vendors
  • Crafters
  • Green living demonstrations
  • Kid's activities
  • and ME!
Although I enjoyed my time at the festival last year, this year I am excited to be making my first public appearance as Green Grandma. My daughters, grandchildren and I will have a booth where we will be happy to talk with you about common sense greener living. Have a question? I'll try to answer it. Want to chat about vinegar? I'd be thrilled! Maybe you'd just like to introduce yourself. I would love that!! And while you're there, why not drop off some #5 plastic caps for recycling? Just drop them in the big red bin.

There are other ways to green your day at the festival. Simply bring any of the following items to donate:
  • Non-perishable food items for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
  • Reusable tote bags to be used by the Food Bank to distribute food (collected by The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project)
  • Burnt-out CFLs (Grejda Electric)
  • New or gently used medical items, including crutches, canes, collapsible walkers, non-motorized wheelchairs, shower chairs and nebulizers (Global Link)
  • Unused, unexpired, unopened medical supplies -- bandages, gauze, gloves and diapers (Global Link)
Make it an educational and fun day for the kids by visiting the Children's Area where the Carnegie Science Center will be presenting "Science on the Road" from 11 - 2 with liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstrations and from 2-5 with liquid nitrogen flower demonstrations. Juggling and other entertainment will be presented by The Class Clown. Hear Me Project will be giving away stickers, folders and bookmarks, as well as offering kids the opportunity to tell their stories through their media and technology. The University of Pittsburgh is presenting a science outreach and exploration of biofuels and Reuse-a-palooza will give the kids a chance to make art with recycled items.

But that's not all there is for the kids! Here's what else is going on:
  • 11 am - 5 pm
    • Face painting
    • Hay rides
    • Magician Bill Eiler
    • Pumpkin painting
  • Noon - 4 pm
    • Petting zoo
    • Balloon artists by Kahuna Balloona
    • Inflatable rides by Windswept Entertainment
  • 1:30 - 2:30 pm
    • Kelsey Friday & the Rest of the Week -- interactive children's music
There will be plenty for the adults to do and see as well, with close to 50 booths with information ranging from raising backyard chickens to planning botanical gardens to energy audits. Plus the I Made It! Market will feature 20 vendors selling craft items made exclusively from recycled and sustainable products.

As excited as I am to be part of this amazing festival, I must admit I'm a bit envious of the rest of you who will be able to spend your day browsing through the grounds, playing with your kids and shopping for some really cool stuff!

Best of all, it's FREE! There is no charge for admission or parking.

If you decide to spend your Saturday at the best festival Allegheny County has to offer, please use the Middle Road entrance to Hartwood Acres. And please, stop by my booth and say 'hello.' I can't wait to meet you!

Keeping it green in Pittsburgh,

Hana

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment/Experience -- Week 52!

Well, look at that -- it's been one full year since I started the Sabbath Experiment! That simply amazes me. It just doesn't seem possible. How do these years fly by so fast?! Of course, my counting was off way back in November, when I listed two separate weeks as "Week 8" and neither of them were that! They were actually Weeks 9 and 10, which subsequently threw the entire numeric sequence off! But I looked back and discovered I started the Experiment on the last weekend of September, which means this past weekend was week 52.


So, what have I learned? More than I could ever imagine! The Sabbath Experiment changed my life in so many ways ... all for the better!


  • It made me mindful of purposeful rest. God gave it a purpose and I finally am benefiting from it.
  • It gave me permission to rest. I no longer feel guilty taking a day off.
  • It made the 6 other days of the week more productive. Seriously. My work picked up and I met more deadlines.
  • It opened up the door for playtime. My husband and I, along with friends and family from time to time, simply play more.
  • It made me more peaceful. The 'hurry' demons inside me are silenced on the Sabbath ... well, except for when I'm running late for church! At least the afternoons are more relaxed when I'm not trying to hurry through lunch so I can get home to work.
  • I learned to be more pliant. For the most part, my Sabbath days are open to whatever comes up.
  • It made me more partial. Sunday is now my favorite day!
Wow. I didn't intend on a 'P' list, but once I got started ...

The main benefit to evolve from The Sabbath Experiment was a greatly improved marriage. Seriously. Bill and I agree that it changed our marriage ... for the better. Having a day each week to focus on each other, which is what it often tends to be, simply transformed our relationship. And that would be my prescription for any marriage, especially if you're struggling. Set aside a Sabbath day each week that you can both agree upon. It doesn't have to be on a Sunday; we've chosen Saturdays for our Sabbath at least once every 7 or 8 weeks. God created us to need this day where we forsake work in lieu of rest and play. How much better are we as spouses, parents, workers, friends, etc., when we are refreshed?

I challenge you ... urge you ... to start a Sabbath Experiment of your own. Let it transform your life as well.

Wishing you some rest and play,

Hana

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The death of a society

Photo by Peter Griffin


Today, I'm grieving the death of a society
that cared about the earth.
A society that wasn't wasteful.
A society that didn't have so much
that barely anything was of value.


~ Hana Haatainen Caye

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- dirty little secrets

You fully intend to recycle every bit of glass, plastic and metal you can, right? But then comes the challenge -- that icky, sticky molasses container or the Corona bottle with the lime wedged in it. What to do? What to do?

It's a bit tempting to go ahead and bury the culprit in the middle of the trash can and hope no one in the family catches you 'cheating.' I understand. I've been there.

Here's the good news. A little bit of 'dirt' never hurt anyone, and it won't hurt the recycling process either. After all, organic materials will simply incinerate in the high heat during the process ... as long as we're talking small amounts. I mean, you wouldn't want to toss an entire jar of peanut butter in the recycling bin! Why would you do that anyway? Well, maybe you just found out about your son's nut allergy. Or maybe you bought a bargain brand and figured out with one spoonful, why it's a bargain brand! If that's the case, clean as much of the peanut butter out of the jar before recycling it.

Make sense? Good.

That's all I have for you this week.

Keeping it out of the landfill,

Hana

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Something's fishy

Are you a fish eater? Generally, I'm not. I tend to only like shellfish and an occasional cod, but overall, I don't eat a lot of things that spend their lives under water.

But for those of you who do eat fish, I encourage you to look for the Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC label. The Marine Stewardship Council is asking consumers to pledge to buying seafood that is certified as being sustainable and to urge stores and restaurants to carry certified seafood.

Why? Because billions of marine animals, including fish and turtles, are dying every year due to the poor management and destructive practices of many fisheries worldwide. The wastefulness is appalling.

But money talks. And where do they get their money? From consumers, like you and me. If we stop buying non-sustainable seafood, we can make a difference. Shooting off an email or sending a letter to local markets and restaurants to let them know you will only buy MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood can make an even bigger one!

Remember this label when you shop! If it's not on the packaging, DON'T BUY IT! And then, take the time to let the store manager know why you'll be shopping elsewhere for your fish. Period.

And don't forget to sign the pledge!

Caring for all of God's creation,

Hana

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Pooing -- it's a family affair

This is probably the least expensive product I've ever written about for Review It Wednesday. As a matter of fact, it's pretty darn cheap. So if you're looking to save some bucks, read on.

It's also one of the most environmentally-friendly things I do. So if you're looking for to green up your life a bit more, read on.

Of course, it's possible the title of this post intrigued you. So if that's the case, I invite you to read on ... with an open mind.

My husband, my daughters and I are at various stages in our No Pooing journey. I started it about 3 or 4 months ago, followed by my husband, then Bethany, then Jess.  What does it mean? It means we are shampoo-free and loving it!

This morning ... after no pooing yesterday

I, literally, have not shampooed my hair in months. And my hair has never looked or felt better! My daughter's hair is looking rather lovely, too.



Bethany could do an ad for hair products, but she's not using any!
Photo by Kristie Miller

Look how lovely Jess's hair looks!
Photo by Kristie Miller

So ... if we're not shampooing, what exactly are we doing? We're No Pooing, a process that has been around for quite a few years now, although I couldn't pin down a starting point, or the person to attribute the 'No Pooing' phrase to. I did find info dating back to 2004 about the method.

Why the personal boycott on shampoo? For some of the same reasons I no longer use laundry detergent, fabric softener or traditional cleaning products -- it's healthier, both for me and for the environment. Not to mention the economic factor. Let's face it -- good shampoos and conditioners are expensive.

Commercial hair products are loaded with chemicals that have been linked to a whole slew of health issues, including cancer. Granted, there are organic products out there that are safe to use. While they may not hurt you, they certainly do hurt the wallet!

How do you keep your hair clean, if you're not using shampoo?

Excellent question! It's simple. I mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water and then apply the solution to my hair (after mixing well with my finger). You can do this in a small squirt bottle, which gives you the ability to target different sections of your scalp, or you can do it my way. I just pour a little bit at a time along my scalp and rub it in.

But there are no suds!

Nope, no suds. Which is a good thing, actually. Sudsing agents added to shampoos are totally unnecessary and just add to the excess gunk in shampoo. You don't need it.

After you rinse your hair, you'll immediately notice how soft it is. And squeaky clean.

You might have to adjust the amount of baking soda you use based on how fine or coarse, short or long your hair is. My husband cut back to 1/2 tablespoon for his fine hair.

The second part of my No Pooing success is in the rinse. I add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water and pour it over my hair. Then I rinse it out and I'm all done. Every week or two, I mix 1/2 cup of ACV in 2 cups of water and pour it over my head without rinsing it out. I've actually been doing that for a long time now ... way before I had even heard of no pooing.

Some people opt to skip the vinegar rinse and others only apply the vinegar solution to the ends of their hair, avoiding the crown of their head completely.

Here are a couple of warnings:
  • Avoid getting the ACV in your eyes! Let me tell you ... it burns!
  • Do not use the vinegar while washing with goat's milk soap. If you do, you'll experience what I did one morning ... a shower stall that smelled like someone had just thrown up all over me. Not pleasant!
The results from No Pooing will vary. My daughter, Bethany, has coarser hair than me and the ACV smell lingers on her hair. With my hair, there is no residual odor. She switched to distilled white vinegar as a result, which is certainly an option (and a cheaper one, at that!). Now she's back to ACV, but just uses less (she was using 2 - 3 tablespoons per cup of water).

If you have frizzy hair, you'll notice the frizzies are gone. No need for extra product to tame them! As a matter of fact, I no longer use any products in my hair whatsoever. And it's full of body and healthier than it's ever been. Oh wait, there is one chemical product I admit to still using ... hair dye. I'm not quite ready to give up on that yet. Just because I'm a grandma, doesn't mean I have to look like one, does it?

One more benefit of No Pooing is that it eliminates dandruff and scalp flaking. I'm thrilled about that! The idea that I don't have to use anti-dandruff chemically-loaded shampoo anymore, is worth celebrating!

Another thing you need to know is that it takes awhile for your hair and scalp to adjust to this new method of cleansing. Sometimes, it may be up to 3 - 4 weeks before you start reaping the benefits, at least appearance-wise. You'll find your hair is greasier than usual. That is normal! Eventually, that will go away.

Why does your scalp need to adjust?

When you shampoo, you strip your hair of natural oils. Your scalp senses this, so it starts to overproduce more oil. So you shampoo again and the cycle continues ... for years and years and years. When you stop shampooing, your scalp needs an adjustment period. That's what's happening in those first few weeks. Adjustment.

But once you navigate through those weeks, you'll discover less and less oil in your hair and you'll end up washing your hair less as well. I wash mine every 3 to 4 days. Seriously.

That's about it. I could go on and on about the harmful ingredients in most shampoos and conditioners, but you probably know all of that already. If you want to read more about No Pooing and someone else's experience, head over to the Uniquely Normal Mom blog where I first learned about this amazing hair washing system. She's been doing this for over 2 years and has the answers for questions you might have.

Wishing you clean and squeaky hair,

Hana

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FDA threatening our choice to use supplements!

Photo of Fish Oil capsules by Petr Kratochvil
This is an article from the Mercola website, reposted with permission. Please visit their website for more information about what you can do!


Dr. Mercola Dr. Mercola
Dr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, Mercola.com. You can learn the hazardous side effects of OTC Remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

The FDA has issued a proposed mandate that represents the greatest threat to dietary supplements since 1994. Back in the early 1990s, consumers were so alarmed by FDA bullying that they staged a massive revolt. The result was that Congress passed a law prohibiting the FDA from banning popular nutrients (as the agency had threatened to do).

There was, however, a loophole in the 1994 law. The FDA was given authority to regulate ingredients introduced after October 15, 1994.

It has been 17 years, but the FDA just issued draconian proposals as to how it intends to regulate what it now calls "new dietary ingredients". You can find the FDA Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI's) here. If implemented, some of the most effective nutrients you are taking will be removed from the market. This includes many fish oil formulas and natural plant extracts. A detailed analysis of the FDA Draft Guidance is available here.

These oppressive rules are exactly what the 1994 law (DSHEA) sought to prevent. The FDA is using its authority in direct violation of Congressional intent.

In order for these ingredients you are using today to return to the market, the FDA will require manufacturers to conduct outrageously expensive studies using absurdly high doses, in some situations multiplied by a "safety factor" up to 2,000-times the recommended dosage on a per product basis.

The FDA defines dietary supplements as being "new" if they were introduced after October 15, 1994. That means that even certain nutrients that have been safely used over the course of three decades will be subject to the FDA's oppressive policies that mandate costly animal testing.

The FDA Views Supplements in Same Light as Synthetic Food Preservatives

According to the new guidelines, the FDA believes that "new dietary supplements" must be regulated similarly to synthetic food preservatives. The FDA guidelines have modeled the outrageous safety thresholds after those in place for food additives. This appears to be in direct violation of DSHEA, the law enacted in 1994 to protect consumer access to dietary supplements, which classifies dietary supplements as foods, not food additives.

The FDA proposes that new dietary supplement ingredients should adhere to aggressive safety margins, which are typically reserved for chemical compounds known to be dangerous in all but the most miniscule concentrations.

Since food additives or preservatives such as aspartame, monosodium glutamate, and sodium nitrate are known to cause cancer or other severe health problems, the FDA has implemented safety guidelines which limit allowable concentrations of these food additives to levels that are supposed to be physiologically inert.

The fact that the FDA is trying to impose the same limits upon dietary supplements seems to be arbitrary and completely unfounded. In fact, when someone takes a dietary supplement, their intent is to positively affect the structure or function of their bodies in some way – limiting dosages of dietary supplements to physiologically inert levels defeats the entire purpose of supplementation with health-sustaining nutrients.

The FDA's new guidelines are so flawed that even nutrients shown to be completely safe in hundreds of human clinical studies would fail to accommodate the unreasonable safety margins.

To give you an example, each manufacturer of certain fish oils would have to conduct a one year study where animals would have to consume the human equivalent of 240,000 milligrams each day of fish oil.

Another option under the FDA's proposed mandates is to conduct a 90-day, 1,000 – fold safety margin study in which two species of animals, one being non-rodent – likely young beagle dogs, will theoretically consume the equivalent of 2.4 million milligrams of fish oil daily. We know of virtually no species can tolerate this high dose, so by default, FDA guidelines will make it impossible for certain omega-3 supplements to be sold. (Note typical dose of EPA/DHA people take each day is around 2,400 mg—100 times less than what the FDA proposes must be tested.)

Since these are not patented drugs, no supplement maker will be able to afford these "safety" studies, which means that many of the nutrients you now purchase at low prices will convert into high-priced drugs.

Pharmaceutical Industry Profit Threatened By Low Cost Supplements


It appears that the FDA is claiming that dietary supplements are unsafe, and in order to "protect consumers" the agency must place a stranglehold on the dietary supplement industry by requesting exorbitant safety testing. These ludicrous safety thresholds are in excess of those required by pharmaceutical drugs despite studies showing supplements are far safer than drugs.

According to the 2001 report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), of the substances implicated in fatal poisonings in 2001, 84.6 percent were pharmaceutical drugs, with analgesics being implicated as the primary cause of death in 32 percent of fatalities or 341 deaths. This compares with 0.8 percent for all dietary supplements combined, even including substances such as dinitrophenol, a dangerous (and illegal) substance banned in 1938, as well as the central nervous system stimulant Ma Huang (Ephedra). Interestingly, the anti-asthma drug theophylline alone was responsible for 15 deaths, 66 percent more than all the available dietary supplements combined.

There is, however, a massive economic benefit for the drug industry if the proposed guidelines are enforced by the FDA. Health conscious Americans who properly supplement slash their risk of degenerative disease. The FDA's new rules, if enacted, will force the price of many supplements to surge upwards, while removing many effective ones altogether. That means that more aging people will have to rely on side effect laden prescription drugs to treat the degenerative diseases they will contract because they will be denied access to health-promoting nutrients.

Click here to find out what you can do to stop this impending carnage! Just scroll down the article to the links.


Dr. Mercola Dr. Mercola
Dr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, Mercola.com. You can learn the hazardous side effects of OTC Remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

And the winner of the $10 gift certificate to Sweet Knee is ...




Sharee Cloud!

Congratulations, Sharee!




Email me with your contact information.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Sabbath Experience -- Four days of rest -- our anniversary getaway

It's been a busy month. With the blogiversary giveaway and Labor Day, I never did get around to blogging about Bill and my 20th anniversary getaway last month ... a wonderful four days of rest and renewal. And a little bit of falling in love all over again.

Toad, the elephant, at Bathkeeper's Cottage

We headed to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia on Aug. 18th, where we spent four glorious days at a quaint little place called the Bathkeeper's Cottage.

When I say little, I mean little. When we first arrived, I have to say, we were a bit disappointed. The place was small. We're used to staying in cottages that give us a little bit more breathing room, but by the end of the four days, we were so sad we were leaving. The place enchanted us.

Was it what I expected? Not at all. Which made the enchantment all the more wonderful.

Before I go on, I should explain Toad, the elephant to you.

Ten years ago, my daughter, Bethany graduated from high school. What did she want as a graduation trip? A vacation with just me. How wonderful is that? I can not tell you how much that has meant to me throughout the years.

We headed to Savannah, Georgia for a week. While we were there, a rather large toad 'adopted' us. So we brought him in to our hotel room where he happily stayed in our bathtub for a few days. We named him Friend, because that's what he was.

On one of our last days in Savannah, we were browsing in a small shop and I came across the most adorable little stuffed elephant. His eyes begged me to share secrets with him. His incredibly soft fur invited caresses. I simply had to have him. This little elephant traveled with me everywhere from that day on. He listened to me cry when bad thing happened and he danced along when I was singing. Bill and I even took him with us on vacations and enjoyed taking pictures of him in various places. I know, we're a little bit nuts ... maybe that's why we're a good match. Anyway, because the elephant became such a good friend, I named him Toad, after the 'friend' Bethany and I made in Savannah.

Bill and I took Toad along to Berkeley Springs. Thus, the pictures you're about to see.

The area is largely focused on natural healing. After all, it is the location of the mineral springs known for their healing properties. Bill and I experienced that firsthand. On Friday, we decided to do the Roman baths, something I thoroughly enjoyed. Bill ... not so much. However, he benefitted from in a strange way.

The private bath was about 18 feet long, I think, and it was filled with the mineral spring water heated to a temperature of 102 degrees (which is what Bill did not enjoy). Soaking in the waters is said to draw impurities out of your body. For Bill, that is exactly what it did. Ten days prior to our vacation, a bee stung him on one of the knuckles on his right hand. It swelled and continued to hurt, with the pain intensifying in the middle of the night following the Roman bath. He woke up and went into the bathroom to discover the bee's stinger sticking out from his knuckle! It has been festering in there all that time! The mineral water drew it out.

In addition to the Roman bath, our cottage was spring-fed, which means we bathed, showered and drank it the whole time we were there. The result? We felt fantastic. My fibromyalgia pain was gone, and we both felt really healthy (something I don't feel often). It was enough to make me want to move to Berkeley Springs ... well, almost.

A little park was just two blocks from our cottage. The springs ran through it and on any day, we could find children playing in them. How refreshing that there were no 'laws' or 'rules' against it!


The springs leading to the Roman bath house

 The town is full of new age kind of shops with crystals and other 'healing' components. I did enjoy the natural and organic food store, but stayed away from many of the other shops that tended to lean toward the occult. My spirit sensed it the moment we set foot in some of them.

I was excited to learn there were two antique malls in the town, but my excitement dwindled when I discovered one was out of business and the other was so ridiculously overpriced. Even the local Goodwill had prices that were 30% higher than the ones here in Pittsburgh!

However, Toad seemed to enjoy some of the novelties in the overpriced antique mall ... particularly in the taxidermy area!



What a brave soul he is! Speaking of brave, Berkeley Springs brought out the daredevil in Toad, much to Bill's dismay, who truly worried about what would happen if Toad fell:

On the bridge over the canal in Hancock, MD

On the footbridge from our cottage to the street
  
Ahhh. Safely across!

Yes, Berkeley Springs brought out the frivolity in me. What can I say?


Getting ready for dinner at the cottage

Breakfast at the Fairfax Coffee Shop
While we did eat most of our meals at the cottage, one thing we really did enjoy in Berkeley Springs was the restaurants. On our anniversary, we headed to Lot 12, a restaurant that served amazing food from local farms, albeit at a rather steep price. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend you eat dinner there.

Grilled Filet Mignon~gorgonzola, potato croquette, port wine demi-glace, herb butter $32

During a rainstorm, we ducked into the Ambraehouse and enjoyed drinks and appetizers at the bar. Awesome. And for a quick lunch, one day, we stopped at Temptations where I thoroughly enjoyed a stuffed scallop appetizer and a delicious crock of French Onion Soup. Highly recommended!

One place I definitey do not recommend is The Troubadour Lounge. Let me tell you, you haven't experienced karaoke until you've experience it in West Virginia. That's all I have to say about that.


The path to the right of the cottage

The thing we enjoyed most about being in Berkeley Springs was the peacefulness. Everyone needs to get away from time to time to relax. I don't understand people's need to go on vacations that are so packed with activities, that when they return, they say, "I need to recuperate from my vacation!" That makes no sense to me. As I've stated over and over in my Sabbath Experiment/Experience posts, God created us to not only to work, but to rest as well. And that, we did.

The path to the footbridge to the left of the cottage

I find it much easier to relax when surrounded by beauty, and that, we were.





My handsome husband crossing the footbridge
We spent Saturday in nearby Hancock, Maryland, where we walked along the canal, enjoyed the views along the Potomac and let Toad 'play!'


Playing hide 'n seek
Toad made a friend at the bike shop in Hancock

I can't tell you how difficult it was to pack up to head home. Our 'fairytale getaway' was over and we had to come back to reality. As we drove back on Route 30, we stopped near Somerset, Pennsylvania to watch the wind turbines. Toad even enjoyed that.



See the affection on his face! Toad is a huge fan!

 No, I didn't lose my mind in West Virginia. Just a little bit of my heart.

Longing to go back to a place where make-believe was simply a whole lot of fun!

Hana

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Country, 'tis of Thee



My country,' tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
thy woods and templed hills;
my heart with rapture thrills, like that above. 

Let music swell the breeze,
and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song;
let mortal tongues awake;
let all that breathe partake;
let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong. 

Our fathers' God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.


~ Samuel Francis Smith



Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Recycling memories

Jim and I on our honeymoon 6/8/81

Wow. Here it is -- September 9th again. Twenty-two years ago, my husband, Jim, lay in a hospital bed with third degree burns over 98% of his body. I sat by his side, holding the boney gloved remains of his hand, whispering "I love you"s and softly singing to my husband of eight years. He lasted 23 hours in that condition before finally surrendering to Eternity's call at 1:00 a.m. on September 10th.

A year does not slip by without my reliving those couple of days back in 1989, recycling memories. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) plagued me for over a decade. Nightmares and panic attacks were quite common during this time of the year. Now, 22 years later, I still experience a twinge of it from time to time. A memory will slay me and my insides will start to quiver. I've learned to roll with it, experience it, and then go on with my day. It just seems to be a better solution than to just suppress the feelings.

The grief over my loss has absolutely nothing to do with the happiness I feel with my "new" life. One does not trump the other. I loved/love both of my husbands deeply, and there is nothing wrong with that. While some may have questioned my devotion to Jim when I moved on so quickly with Bill, my heart knows the answers and that is all that matters. After all, it was my heart that was ripped to shreds on September 10, 1989.

So today, I recycle my memories. They are recycled by necessity, as there can be no new ones to create. Jim and I were given less than a decade to form a family and gather a collection of memories. Wouldn't it be a disservice to what we had not to revisit it from time to time?

As it would be a disservice to the thousands who lost their lives ten years ago on September 11th, when evil tried to destroy good ... and lost. Perhaps to the many who endured loss that day, pain overshadows the 'victory.' But the reality is that the sinewy talons that reached into our complacency and tried to inject the poison of evil into our collective soul, failed at their mission. Evil did not prevail. It simply did not.

As we recall that day of unspeakable horror 10 years ago, let us remember it with truth, recycling our memories, not repurposing them. It is important we do not let political correctness, tolerance or outright lies taint the memories we have of that bright sunny morning when evil flew across the sky and laughed in the face of God. September 11th does not belong to the vicious men who perpetrated this attack. It belongs to the heroes, both sung and unsung; it belongs to the widows and orphans; it belongs to those who died, and those who endured.

We grieve. We shudder. And ... we remember.

May God continue to bless America, and may we never forget,

Hana

To learn more about my husband's death, please read Tears in a Bottle.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review it Wednesday ... and another giveaway!

Welcome back to a new Review it Wednesday! Today, I'm happy to share my daughters' experiences with 2 products Mama Sweet sent to me from Sweet Knee.

Sweet Knee is a mom and pop company founded by Kristy Platt after her son developed a severe skin rash that did not respond to traditional diaper creams. After much reading, research and experimentation, Bun Glaze was born. And my daughter, Bethany, for one, is glad about that!

My grandbaby, Lincoln, just turned one a couple of weeks ago. And, after a year of a pretty clear, smooth bottom, suddenly, his bum erupted in a rather nasty rash. Perhaps it can be blamed on the teething. Or an allergy to a new food. What we know for certain, is that you can't blame the diapers. He's spent his life, so far, in cloth diapers washed in either Rockin' Green or Eco Nuts ... and, of course, no fabric softener. It's not the diapers.


While trying to find the cause was certainly on her mind, finding something to soothe the rash was the priority. And then she remembered the Bun Glaze I'd given her to review. Presto!

Here's what Bethany had to say:

Sweet Knee Bun Glaze is an alternative to diaper ointment and medicated ointments. I love that it has certified organic ingredients and is cloth diaper safe. I love that it does not contain petroleum, zinc or titanium-based ingredients that act as "barriers" and keep skin from breathing and healing quickly. Bun Glaze absorbs easily into the skin and contains natural vitamins A, D and E and the unique "skin" herbs and flowers of calendula, German chamomile, marshmallow and plantain. I love that there are no tubs, jars or tubes so there is no messy, germy double dipping! I also love that it's made in the USA!! I love that a little bit goes a long way, and if I do use too much I can rub it in on his feet or anywhere else! With this recent flare-up, I reached for the Bun Glaze and within a few days, the rash was gone! 

Healing comes naturally! And, as you can tell, Bethany loves Sweet Knees Bun Glaze. This is yet another product sent to us with a request for a review, that gets a green thumbs up!

The second product I received from Kristy was the Oatmeal Cookie Bath, which I gave to my daughter, Jessica, to try with her nearly 3-year-old daughter, Laura.



Cute packaging, but is seriously lacking something -- instructions! Laura had a rash on her belly and back so Jess decided it was the perfect opportunity to try out the Oatmeal Cookie Bath. She opened the box and pulled out two cloth sacks, filled with oatmeal and the other ingredients. Then she called me.

"What do I do with this?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" I countered.
"Do I open the sacks and dump the oatmeal in the water?"
"Aren't there instructions?"
"It just says 'add to bath.'"

Confusing. Of course, I told her to just submerge the whole bag. But then there was the issue of what to do with the bag when the bath was through. Is it reusable? She didn't know. So, she threw it away. Quite honestly, I'm not sure if that was the right thing to do or not. I would have just composted it, I guess. After hearing from Kristy, I found out the bags can be washed and repurposed (we should have thought of that!).

The bath was soothing for Laura, as the oatmeal made the water smooth and comforting.

Quite honestly, I have mixed feelings about this product, although some of my negative feelings could be changed with the addition of instructions for those of us not familiar with this type of product. And let's face it -- a lot of new mamas already feel overwhelmed with the need to learn more and more every day. Let's make it simpler for them!

Here's what I like about the Sweet Knees Oatmeal Cookie Bath. It is certified gluten free with organic oats. It's safe for both babies and mamas. It is soothing for a variety of skin conditions, including sunburns, minor burns, scrapes and cuts, eczema, chicken pox, poison ivy/oak and just the plain ol' itchies.

And, of course, it's toxin-free! It contains 4 simple ingredients: oats, calendula flower, German chamomile and marshmallow leaf. It's safe and it's effective at easing the itch.

As sweet as she is, Kristy is offering a 20% discount to everyone in the GG community through 9/30/11. Simply go to the website, shop around and when you go to check out, enter the phrase 'SweetGrandma'.

Oh, and I mentioned 'giveaway' in the title, didn't I? Well, that's icing on the 20% discount cake! Mama Sweet is offering a $10 gift certificate to one lucky reader and she's not asking anything in return. But I am, just to be fair.

Go to the Sweet Knee website, browse through her products, and post a comment here or on Facebook, letting me know what you like best. And, make sure you check out the Sweet Knee Facebook page as well. You just might 'like' it : )  Tell her I sent you, if you do.

That's it. Contest ends at midnight EST on Monday, 9/12/11. I'll draw a winner via Random.org on Tuesday, 9/13.

Keep it sweet and clean,

Hana

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