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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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Promise Me

It was a lovely Sabbath weekend. Bill and I took the entire weekend off and headed to Manheim to visit my mom. We spent a lovely time playing Pinochle and Bananagrams, visiting with friends and relatives and simply relaxing.

We spent Friday night with our friends, Scott and Dawn, at a place called Chancey's in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, where we talked and laughed. A lot. I treasure that friendship more than words could ever convey.

On Saturday, we sat in my mom's house watching the snow accumulate. It was lovely. My mom's cousin, Kelly, who I always refer to as my cousin since she's only a year and a half older than me, came over and we ate dinner and sat around and talked. On Sunday, Bill, Mom, Kelly and I went out to lunch after church and Kelly gave me a new Sandra Boynton book, which thrilled me! I love Sandra Boynton and can't wait to read it to the grandkids!

Promise Me
After a couple more games of Pinochle, we headed home. Even the 480-mile round trip was relaxing and enjoyable. Why? Well, for one thing, because I was with my very best friend in the world, my husband, and for another, we spent the time listening to the audio book, Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans. I cannot tell you how much I love this book.

I first listened to it a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by the story. While Evans might not be the creative wordsmith Chris Cleave or Jodi Picoult is, he is quite the storyteller. And Promise Me is quite the story.

As we listened to the book, Bill kept pausing it to ask me questions or to give me his guess on who the character of Matthew really was. I just kept saying, "You're never going to guess this. Quit trying." I was right; he never guessed, and was as blown away as I was when the truth was revealed. What a story. I cannot recommend this book enough. Seriously. The unexpected twists keep you reading/listening.

In the case of the audio book, it is not just Evans' writing that keeps you spellbound, it's also the exquisite narration by native Pittsburgher, Michele Pawk. Oh my goodness. This is one of the best, if not the best, narrations I've ever had the privilege to listen to. Pawk is a Tony Award winner (for her performance in Hollywood Arms) and is simply a delight to listen to. A sheer delight.

And here's an interesting bit of trivia to connect the weekend events together, Michele Pawk shares a birthday with Dawn, the friend I was out with on Friday night. Not important, but cool, since Dawn is one of my very favorite people in the whole world, and Pawk is now one of my very favorite narrators. And she doesn't come by the title lightly.

For those of you who don't know what I do, when I'm not writing or focused on being Green Grandma ... I am a voice over talent. I narrate audio books, also. When I find a narrator who impresses me this much, it means something. So, I hope you won't take this recommendation lightly. Michele Pawk is someone worth listening to. Paired with a book like Promise Me, this is a 10 all the way around.

My Sabbath weekend was, as well.

Sharing it with you,

Hana

By the way, if you click on the link for Promise Me, ignore the YouTube trailer at the bottom of the page -- it is one of the worst I've ever seen. Bad male voice over and the images do not fit the book. Obviously, the producer did not read it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Repurposing your bras

It's another Friday, and today the R we're focusing on is Repurposing, with is just another way of saying "Reusing." I touched on this last month in my post, I see Paris, I see France, I see lots of underpants, but I'm happy to introduce a new guest blogger (at least to GG) who has some other cool ideas about what to do with bras you no longer want or need.

Lauren Bailey regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.

Scented Bra Sachet
click here for instructions



Repurposing Old Bras for Fuel and Other Oddities


The 1960s "burn the bras" American mantra finally made its way overseas, but it's used for a completely different reason other than encouraging feminism—Japanese underwear makers are in the midst of finding a way to burn bras in order to create renewable fuel for industrial use.

Triumph International and Wacoal—the two leading underwear manufactures in Japan—have collected used bras from their costumers since 2008 in order to convert old bra materials (with the exception of the metal under wiring) into refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF), an alternative fuel that according to sources is just as effective as coal when powering up generators and boilers, but releases less carbon dioxide and costs a fraction of the price. And of course, it doesn’t contribute to depleting the planet's limited resources.

Since the recycling-bra program's inception, the masterminds behind repurposing bras have collectively acquired more than 380,000 bras and generated more than 32 tons of fuel. Wacoal has now expanded its recycling bra-program to its customers in Taiwan in the hopes of allocating more material to make more RPF.

While Americans may not be able to convert bars into fuel just yet, there are some different ways you can recycle them so that you can continue to do your part to sustain the environment. To learn 5 neat ways to reuse your old bras, continue reading below.

1. Donate Them. The obvious choice is to donate your bras. Bras don't come cheap and there are plenty of women and young girls who could need an extra bra or two. So take your gently used and washed unwanted bras to your nearest donation center, homeless shelter, or Goodwill so that someone who needs a bra can make good use of it.

2. Create Lingerie Art. It may sound a little strange, but if you've outgrown some sexy bras or lingerie sets, you can actually place them in a nice frame and create "lingerie art." Why spend big bucks on a sexy poster to decorate your boudoir or bathroom when the materials are right at your disposal?

3. Make a Sachet. One of the easier and more practical ways to reuse your bra is to use the bra cups to make a floral-smelling holder filled with potpourri like the one found here. Put it anywhere that typically needs some freshing up like your sock drawer, closets, the kitchen or even directly in your shoes to create a long-lasting pleasant smell.

4. Bra Purse. With some creativity, sequins, beads and fabric glue you can convert your bra into a fully functional and original fashion-forward purse, like this one found here.

5. New Gardening Tool.  Lastly, no matter whether you choose to use your old bra as a full-fledged planting pot, some handy knee pads as you garden, or just some added support (no pun intended) when growing large vegetables like tomatoes, bras can come pretty handy in the garden.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A little innocent fun ... part two

This post is a continuation of Tuesday's post, with an intimate revelation into what happened to me as a child in the hands of a neighbor offering a harmless piece of candy:

Let me give you a scenario to think about.

On Halloween, you take your little girl around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. The neighbor man at the corner asks her what her name is. She looks up at you, questioning whether or not it is proper to answer him. You nod and say it is okay. She tells him her name and he throws some candy in her bucket.

The next day, your daughter is walking home from the bus stop. The kind neighbor sees her walking by and calls out to her.

"Suzy, I have some candy left from last night," he tells her. "Why don't you come in and I'll give you some."

"I can't," she says, hesitantly. "I'm not allowed to take candy from strangers."

"Strangers?!" the neighbor feigns hurt. "I'm not a stranger. Your mom let you take candy from me last night, remember?" He coaxes her further. "I saved some candy just for you! You're my favorite little neighbor."

"Well, okay," Suzy says. "I guess it's okay."

Bam. The neighborhood pedophile just lured in his prey. And you gave him the bait he needed.

Think it doesn't happen that way? Let me tell you that it does. Please, please, be very careful.

I didn't share this story in last year's post, but decided it was time to go public with it. In reference to the above scenario -- while parents want to think they are safe in their cozy little neighborhoods and trick or treating with neighbors is a safe thing to do, that wasn't the case for me as a child.

When I was 9-years-old, I was raped by a "friendly old neighbor man who just loved kids but didn't have any of his own." The lure of candy and someone who would spend time with me after school while my mother was working, was too much for me to resist. Keep in mind, back in the 60s in small-town America, it was not at all uncommon for kids my age to be out running around the neighborhood until suppertime. I don't have a lot of memories about what happened to me, but I do remember burying my bloody underwear (white with yellow stitching) underneath all the food scraps in the olive green garbage can in the corner of the garage. It's odd which memories stick and which ones are just too brutal to recall. The sexual abuse was not a one-time occurrence, and it didn't just happen to me.

Why didn't I tell my parents? Quite simply because the perpetrator told me that if I ever told anyone, I wouldn't go to heaven. Thus, my struggle with conditional grace began. As a 9-year-old, that thought terrified me. So I kept my mouth shut and endured the abuse until the man died. I remember my parents being concerned about how upset I would be about his death. Little did they know that all I felt was relief.

The memories were buried deep inside of me, under my own personal garbage, until I was 31. Gradually they started to surface, but to my horror and liberation. Liberation? Yes, I felt liberated from baggage I carried for years, yet could never identify. The revelation changed my life and freed me from the burden, although I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see a wrapped Mary Jane candy, or I drive by the house on my visits to my mother. The wounds have healed, but the scars will always be there.

Do not assume that your child will tell you if they are being abused. Sometimes secrets are carefully guarded ... even by young children.

And now, I'll return you to my previous post:


So, looks like my kids missed out on all of the fun 'cause Momma's a Halloween party pooper, huh? I wish you could ask them yourselves how they felt about it. They would answer and tell you that some of their favorite childhood memories were from our time together on October 31st each year, because it was a really special day.

I often took them out of school early on Halloween, so they didn't have to be exposed to the evil costumes some parents think it are okay for their children to don. I also did not want them participating in the seemingly innocent occult activities that were often planned for the day.

Late in the day, we would head out to Chuck E. Cheese where other like-minded parents would gather to have a fun time with their kids while the neighborhood streets filled up with the little ghosts, goblins, and a Freddy Kreugger or two. We had a ball. Occasionally, one of their friends would tag along, asking their parents if they could skip trick-or-treating and join us instead. As the years passed, my daughters wanted to continue our tradition, so we did...all the way until the youngest was 19, I believe. Eventually, we added a movie to the night.

[this paragraph has been updated from the original post]There was a lull in years between our last trip to Chuck E. Cheese on Halloween and the dawning of a new era. Two years ago, our tradition resumed with one-year-old Laura's first visit. This weekend, she will spend her third Halloween with Chuck E. and her fourteen-month-old cousin, Lincoln. The tradition continues. I love Halloween.

Sticking to common sense,

Hana


Click here to read Part One of this series

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- The All Nighter

Did any of you decide to try no pooing? Are you hesitant to go through that initial transition period? Well, I have good news!! I found a product that can carry you through your worst hair days and will eliminate the need for daily shampooing, even if you're not no pooing! Really.

I have long been a fan of powdering my hair in between shampoos. The only thing is, I hate how white powder leaves my hair looking dull. Why don't they make tinted powder to use as dry shampoo, I wondered. So I Googled it and guess what? I found it ... and ordered a bottle.



It's called The All Nighter Styling Powder and it comes in 6 shades:
  • Platinum/neutral
  • Dark brown/black
  • Honey blonde
  • Brown/brunette
  • Golden blonde
  • Redheads
I have reddish brown hair, but decided the redhead formula might be a bit too bright on my hair, so I opted for the brown/brunette tint. The bottle was pricey ($18), but I thought it would be worth it. I placed the order and couldn't wait to receive my package.

When it arrived, I was shocked by the size of the box. This can't be it, I thought. There's no way it could be in this box.

But it was. All 1 ounce of it! That's the downside. This is an itsy bitsy bottle of powder for $18!

However, I really love this product! Let me tell you why.

First of all, it's made in the U.S. of all natural ingredients, including:
  • Pure rice and tapioca starches
  • Cruelty free silk powder
  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • Essence of tangerine (which freshens and stimulates the scalp)
  • Natural Mineral pigments (fresh from the earth -- the minerals contain no dyes, preservatives or chemicals)
Plus, this product is paraben-free, aluminum-free, talc-free and silica-free.

With the cooler weather settling in upon us, I tend to take a fair share of hot baths. The bad thing about that is that my hair ends up wet from sweat. Since I only wash it every 3 - 4 days (with the baking soda and cider vinegar), I need something to carry me through those off days, especially with all the sweating I'm doing in the tub. The All Nighter Styling Powder is the perfect solution. And it gives my hair amazing volume! I really do love what this does for my hair.

For those of you who are traditional shampooers, you'll love the way this product cuts down on the amount of shampoos you need each week. If you dye your hair, you'll also benefit from not having to dye it as often (less shampoos mean an extended life to your hair color!).

It's green and it works. What more could I want. Well, maybe a lower price tag. Oh, and I'd appreciate it if it didn't stain my clothes or hands the way it does. It takes awhile to wash the color off the palms of my hands after I'm done applying it. But it's worth it to not have dull, white-powdered hair. And as far as clothing is concerned, it is advisable to use the product before you are dressed, or with a towel draped over your shoulders.

The All Nighter gets an overall green thumbs up from me, even if my pocketbook cringes a little on that one! No pooing is incredibly inexpensive, but for those of you who shampoo the traditional way, you'll actually be saving money by using this product in place of shampooing every day. A little goes a long way ... believe me.

Now, before I end up being up all night, I'm going to wrap this up. Looking forward to revving up my 'do in the morning.

Reviewing it for you,

Hana

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little innocent fun ... part one

Photo by Shari Weinsheimer


Revisiting last year's post on why our family does not participate, much less celebrate Halloween. I originally wrote about this is 2009 and expanded on it with this post from 2010. I am adding a bit of very personal info to this original post as well, in part two on Thursday.

Here is what I had to say last October:

As we were singing our closing song at church on Sunday, a certain line jumped out at me and has been haunting me ever since. The song was "Now Thank We All Our God" and then particular line I am referring to is "...and guide us when perplexed..."

You see, I am perplexed. I just do not get this whole Halloween thing. For me, celebrating this so-called "holiday" involves a total lack of common sense.

Okay, I know I have just lost a whole lot of fans right now, but please bear with me and at least hear me out. Let me explain the reasons why we never celebrated Halloween as my kids were growing up.

• Putting the origins of the day aside, what is modern-day Halloween centered on? Death. Evil. Monsters. Blood. Gore. Slasher movies. Okay, sure, it is very cute to see a toddler dressed up like a bunny, or a kindergartener prancing around in her princess garb. There is nothing wrong with dressing up and make-believe. May I suggest reserving it for another time, such as a birthday party, when the atmosphere is not surrounded by evil? I personally hate driving around seeing coffins, bodies hanging from trees, skeletons, tombstones, bloody corpses, etc. To think that people actually spend money to make their homes look so darned ugly is beyond me. Let me tell you something. Anyone who has experienced the traumatic death of a loved one most likely finds these images disturbing at the very least. I should know. October is such a magnificently beautiful time of year, but it is marred by the images of death (not to mention the political litter everywhere!).

• Trick or treat is such a bizarre practice. Again, where is the common sense here? All year long, your kids hear the message, "Don't take candy from strangers!" Then on October 31st, that message is thrown out the window when parents send their little ones door-to-door collecting treats...treats that then have to be x-rayed at the local fire station to make sure there are no razors or pins inserted in them. What?!? Are you kidding me?!? And the explanation that the kids are only going trick-or-treating in their neighborhood holds no water with me. How many of you really know all of your neighbors? I know I don't. My parents trusted all of our neighbors...and let me tell you -- they shouldn't have.

• Mischief is encouraged on Halloween. Toilet papering someone's yard seems harmless enough, but it creates a lot of clean up work for the victim. What other time of year is this even remotely okay? Then there is the egging of cars and homes. But aren't kids given the message somehow that mischievous activity is acceptable on Halloween? After all, the phrase they're taught from the time they first knock on a door is "Trick or treat." The implication here is, "Give me a treat or I am going to do something nasty." Nice. This was illustrated so perfectly last night on the show, GLEE, when one of the characters said to a teacher, "Give me chocolate or I'm going to cut you." Enough said.

• Candy. Lots and lots of candy. Who lets their kids eat that much crap?! Seriously?

• Occult activity. If you think it doesn't happen, get your head out of the sand! There is no other time of the year when occult activity is so prevalent. None. Every year, police stations across the country receive calls about discoveries of the remains of animals that have been sacrified. Most times these burnt remains are that of beloved family pets.

Will the occult activity cease if you don't let your kids dress up and go door-to-door collecting candy? Of course not. But in the case of my family, I could never see the sense of participating in an activity that goes against so much of what I stand for.

Check back on Thursday to read the rest of my thoughts on Halloween and why my family does not participate in it. Also, on Thursday, I share a very personal, and hard to write, story of something that happened to me way back when.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Catherine could say it. Why can't I?

Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman
Beauty and the Beast
©CBS
My husband and I are enjoying watching the old Beauty and the Beast television series from the late 1980's. Our friend, Lisa Marie, found out how much Bill liked the series and lent us the first season DVD set. I didn't watch the series when it aired, but 5 DVDs into it, I'm wishing I had. What a wonderful love story. I can see why Bill lists it as one of his all-time favorite TV shows.

Over the weekend, we sat and watched one of the shows called, Down to a Sunless Sea. The episode focuses on a former fiance of Catherine's and his dangerous obsession with her five years after their breakup. In a flashback scene, they are romping in a park and she says dreamily, "I'm so happy." The statement made me slightly uncomfortable and a bit sad. I looked at Bill and thought, "We've never said that to each other." Thinking back, I don't think I've ever said it to anyone.

You know how some people are uncomfortable with the words, "I love you?" Others can't say, "I'm sorry," or tell you when they're hurting. Well, the phrase that trips me up is "I'm so happy." It got me wondering why.

I thought about it for the rest of the night on Saturday, and again, on Sunday I found myself pondering this. Why can't I say I'm happy? I'm guessing there is something so deeply imbedded in me that has programmed me to not accept happiness at its worth. And I'm pretty sure my husband received the same programming somewhere along the way. We seem to have to add, "for the most part," when expressing our happiness. After all, there are problems in life. Always. It seems a bit trite to say, "I'm so happy," when we have a couple of daughters who rarely bother with us, when we have friends suffering loss and poor health, when we have bills piling up or too many commitments or too many things to fix in the house. Do you know what I'm saying?

What about you? Are there phrases you struggle to say out loud?

[Clarification ... based on a comment I just received (see below): It's not that I'm not happy ... it's just that I can't say the words. Just like someone who loves deeply, but can't manage to verbalize it. Does that make sense?]


Yesterday, while it was a perfectly lovely Sabbath all the way around, I found I was exhausted by the end of the day. While I've spent the past few weeks resting on the Sabbath, this week was spent doing. Not working, mind you, but certainly doing. We left the house at 9:45 and didn't get home until 7:30. It was a fun, but long day. After church, we did our usual out-to-lunch thing, then Jess, Laura, Bill and I went to a pretty awesome garage sale, as we had to kill time before going to a family party that didn't start 'til 3. Bethany was home with a sick kiddo, so she couldn't join us this week.

It was wonderful spending time with Bill's three brothers and their families and it was especially nice seeing our niece, Judy, and her daughter, Sara, who were in from Montana. Like I said, it was a perfectly lovely day. But I was beat by the time we got home ... and I was haunted by my dilemma. Why can't I say, "I'm so happy"??

So, as the new week is underway, and I focus on work, I'm also going to continue to explore this dilemma. And I'm going to commit to being able to say the words, confidently, to Bill by next Sunday. It may not seem like a lofty goal to some. But for me, it will be a real breakthrough. After all, Catherine could say it. Why can't I?

Sharing my Sabbath and miscellaneous thoughts with you,

Hana

Saturday, October 22, 2011

America, America, man sheds his waste on thee

Photo by Petr Kratochvil


Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,

For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.

America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,

And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.




~George Carlin

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Paint the town and then ...

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

Coating your walls with a fresh new color is so exciting! No matter what tones you choose, whether warm, cool, vibrant, exotic, whatever ... when all is said and done and the paintbrushes are washed and put away, we're all faced with the same dilemma, aren't we? What do we do with the leftover paint?

Of course, it's always wise to hang on to some of it for touch ups. But having a garage full of mostly empty gallon paint cans is not an option many of us care for.

Solution? First, pour some of the paint into a smaller container to store it. Brush a bit of paint on the outside, so it is easily identifiable. Stack the containers neatly in a cabinet and close the door. One problem solved ... and a whole lot of room salvaged.

But it's about the gallon cans sitting in the middle of the floor. I mean, how long are they going to stay there?

Admit it. You're tempted to bury them in your trash can in hopes the garbage men don't catch you. Nah. Not an option. Or is it? Well, the good news is, it can be an option, if done correctly.

Latex paint can be thrown away if, and only if, it is solid. That means you have to leave the lid off the paint can for a few days until the paint dries up. Then scrape it out of the can and pitch it.

California is the only state in the US that considers latex paint hazardous waste. So if you're a Californian, check with your local officials for exact instructions on what you should do with your unwanted paint.

Of course, in every state there is the option to donate all your leftover, usable paint to local theater companies, schools or colleges for set design.

Some paint stores will take back unused paint. Call the retailer where you bought the paint and ask them if they have a recycling program. And check around before you buy paint for your next project and only buy from a store that will take back the paint when you're done. And let the stores know that's what you're looking for. And, for goodness sake, try to estimate how much you'll actually need for your project. Overbuying is one of the problems.

There are collection sites in municipalities across the country where they take paint and hazardous household waste. You just have to find them. Click here and enter your zipcode to find a paint recycling center near you.

If you have any other ideas about what can be done with leftover paint, please let me know. I love hearing about what you do!

Keeping it out of the landfill, whenever possible,

Hana

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's time to quiet that cough ... naturally

Computers! Can't live with them. Can't live without them. I missed posting my Review It Wednesday this week, because for most of the last 2 days, I could not log on to my blog. How frustrating. For those of you who were concerned about me because I simply don't skip days, thank you. I appreciate your concern, calls, texts and emails : )

This is a new day and we'll just move on as if nothing happened. Okay?

As I continue to work on getting my book in print, I hired someone to design the cover for me and yesterday she emailed the proof to me. I love it! I'm too excited to wait until the book is done to share it with you. So here it is:


Book cover design by Heather Desuta

In light of this, I thought it would be a good day to write about vinegar! Yesterday on the GG FB page, a mom asked about a vinegar remedy for her 2-year-old's cold. Here's the advice I gave Jenn and I'm passing on to any of you who have a little one with a cough or cold:

Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part honey and 2 parts water. Give a tablespoon (or a couple teaspoons for small mouths) every two hours or so. Before putting your child to bed for a nap or at night, sprinkle a little bit of ACV on the pillow or sheet. No, it doesn't smell particularly wonderful, but hey, if it quiets the cough and opens up the nasal passages naturally, it's worth it. Especially if your little one doesn't seem to mind.

I just came across that last bit of advice and am thinking about trying it myself the next time I'm at bit stuffed up. Bill should love that!

Last I heard, little Joannie was feeling better after just a couple of doses.

Warning! Do not give this formula to babies under 1-year-old!! Honey should never be given to infants due to the possibility of botulism.

Here is a link to another post I did 2 years ago about helping your kids through cough and cold season.

Wishing you all a wonderful day with hopes of a quiet night's sleep,

Hana

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? That depends.

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

My now-3-year-old granddaughter, Laura, and I were singing silly songs and saying silly things on Sunday morning on the way to church. And some not-so-silly things. For instance, I said, "Let's spend some time thanking Jesus for things. You start. Thank you, Jesus, for ..." And without hesitation, Laura said, "Work." That one threw me, but I had to agree with her. Yes, I was thankful for work. She followed that with "our meals" and then "cantaloupe." That started a fruit roll. When we got to apples, I said, "Did you know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" To which she replied, "That's silly." Maybe, but maybe not. It all depends on how well you wash that apple!

Here is a post (used with permission) I came across on the Eat Cleaner website blog, written by Mareya Ibrahim, and wanted to share with you in the midst of apple season! While this may seem like a plug for Eat Cleaner, it is more than that. I'm including this on the blog because I believe it is important for you to know. But I also do believe in the product, as I indicated in my review back in June. And you know how I am about products I believe in! The following was posted on September 26, 2011:

New scientific study reveals that rinsing apples – the most contaminated produce item on the market – is ineffective in removing pesticide residue.

LOS ANGELES, CA, – Grow Green Industries, Inc. (GGI) and Ultimate Labs in San Diego, California, initiated a pesticide reduction test last week that concluded that red, green and yellow apples found at your local grocery stores may be harmful to your health if only washed and dried with water.

However all is not lost, as the study suggests that when the apples were treated with EAT CLEANER All Natural Fruit + Vegetable Wash and Wipes, they proved a 99.8% reduction of the Atrazine pesticide and 99.7% reduction of the Simizine pesticide – both of which are commonly used in U.S. agriculture but are banned elsewhere due to their toxicity. EAT CLEANER was more than 99 times effective than water, the control.

Mareya Ibrahim, the founder and president of GGI says, “We believe, and have now proved, that using the EAT CLEANER Wash and Wipes can play a significant role in safely in effectively reducing and almost eliminating dangerous pesticide residue from apples both at home and on the go with our Fruit + Vegetable Wash and Concentrate and our biodegradable Wipes.”

“Many harmful pesticides are not water soluble and since the majority of produce is waxed, they can get trapped under the surface. Pesticides such as the ones we tested are not only dangerous, they’re banned in the EU (European Union) and have been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption. Families and food service companies can safely and effectively use EAT CLEANER to remove wax and pesticides from fresh produce” added Dr. Shawki Ibrahim, Chief Scientific Officer, GGI.

According to a yearly survey by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), 98% of apples have pesticide residues, ranking them as the most contaminated product in America, jumping from third to first place, in front of celery and strawberries.


Mareya Ibrahim, Founder and President of Grow Green Industries, Inc. and the EAT CLEANER® brand is an award winning 18-year veteran of the food industry and a food safety expert. Mareya, a mother of two, is strongly committed to community outreach, especially as it relates to the health and well- being of children.


Keeping it green and healthy,

Hana

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Lovely Little Lady Laura!


First birthday





Second birthday




One week before her third birthday ... which is today!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

This ecard and others like it can be found at Healing Hearts

"When a baby is lost through a miscarriage, most mothers -- and fathers -- need to be given 'permission to grieve.' Too often, well-meaning individuals minimize the loss -- as if, somehow, the fact that the child was never carried to term makes him or her unimportant (or, at least, far less important). Yet the grief and sense of loss can be just as strong and prolonged as with the death of an older child or other relative." -- Permission to Grieve  Focus on the Family

Sending love and prayers to all of you who have been touched by the pain of losing a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.

Comfort can be found at Healing Hearts.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- When your yoga mat has seen better days

All natural rubber yoga mat from Jade Yoga

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those used yoga and exercise mats when they've worn out their welcome? Many exercise enthusiasts buy all the right equipment and then retire it before it's ever felt a drop of sweat. Seasoned physical fitness folks replace their mats for a variety of reasons -- the mat gets worn or a new color catches their eye. But what happens to all those used mats? Certainly, there has to be a better answer than simply hauling them off to the landfill, right?

Well, that's what Stephanie Stano, founder of Recycle Your Mat thought. So, in 2008, she started a program with these 3 goals in mind:
  1. Keep yoga mats out of the landfill
  2. Create a system for yoga mat recycling
  3. Recycle and upcycle mats in an ecologically conscious way
Visit her website for more information on how to get your used mats to her for recycling/upcycling.

Stano wasn't the only one with a concern for keeping the mats out of the landfill. Jade's 3Rs is a program run by Jade Yoga with a focus on providing lightly used mats to prisons, shelters and other locations where yoga teachers volunteer to teach classes to people who could otherwise not afford to take them or to buy the equipment. Mats that are not usuable for classes are upcycled in a variety of other ways. Visit the Jade Yoga website for a list of drop-off locations across the U.S. (along with one in Berlin, Germany).

In lieu of sending your used mats off to be reused, recycled or upcycled, here are some of the countless ideas for putting your mats to good use:

Pets
  • Place a piece of the mat under water and food dishes to keep them from sliding around and to keep the floor clean
  • Contain out-of-the-box kitty litter by placing the mat in front of the litter box
  • Make your pup's crate a bit more comfy by lining it with the mat
  • Keep your car seats clean and free from fur and scratches by covering your backseat with a mat or two before transporting your pet
  • Line your pet's carrying crate for a softer trip to the vet
  • Donate your old mat to a local pet shelter
Kids
  • Put a mat down to protect the table from paint and clay during craft time
  • Cut the mats and put them on the floor of your car to protect the carpet from muddy and wet feet
  • Cut out letters, numbers and shapes for your pre-schooler to play with
  • Cover the sharp corners of furnitures to protect toddlers from nasty boo-boos
  • Place at the bottom of the sliding board to cushion rough landings
  • Roll up in sleeping bags so your kids can have them handy for a softer night's sleep during sleepovers
  • Make bases for backyard baseball games
  • Cushion hard bleachers during sports activities (you'll be the envy of all the other soccer moms!)
  • Line a tub for baby's bathtime
House and Garden
  • Protect car doors from banging into the concrete walls by hanging some matting in the garage
  • Cut matching rectangles and glue together for a cushy kneeling pad
  • Place under entry throw rugs to keep them from slipping
  • Give your mat a good cleaning (may I suggest using vinegar for disinfecting?) and cut it up to use as shelf and drawer liners
  • Cut circles to protect floors and furniture from houseplants
  • Make slippery steps safer by making stair pads
Other eco-friendly ideas
  • Wrap breakables before shipping (sure beats styrofoam peanuts!)
  • Stop drafts from under air conditioner units or in cracks in doors and window frames by slicing up the mat and fitting the pieces tightly in crevices
These are just some of the many ideas. I would love it if you would add some of your own in the comments.

Finding ways to reuse and recycle whole bunches of stuff simply takes a little bit of creativity and a little bit of effort. But when you think about it, aren't our kids and grandkids worth it?

Keeping it out of the landfill,

Hana

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A little bit of motivation




A few years ago, I was hired to edit a book called You Will Overcome by Minesh Baxi. It is a book of stories of people who overcame obstacles in their life and followed their dreams. My own story is on page 176, just a few short pages from Oprah Winfrey's story. It was written during my humble beginnings with this blog, so my life as Green Grandma is not mentioned. But it is a story intended to motivate and inspire and I thought you might enjoy reading it.



The Up Side of Upside Down

by Hana Haatainen Caye



The ringing phone roused me from my sleep. It was 2:45 a.m.

“Jim’s been hurt and is being taken to West Penn Hospital,” a familiar voice said.

“Why? What happened?” I asked, sitting up in bed and turning on the light.

“There was a fire and he got burned.”

“Where?” By now my heart was waking up and starting to race.

Doug, his co-worker and best friend, tried to avoid my question.

WHERE was he burned?” I demanded.

“Well…it’s nothing more than bad sunburn,” he lied. “Life Flight’s taking off now. I’ll see you at the hospital.”

“Wait,” I panicked. “Life Flight? They’re flying him to West Penn. Oh god, Doug, how bad is this? You have to tell me. Where was he burned?”

He hesitated before answering. “Pretty much all over his body.”

Before I left the house after making arrangements for my five-year-old and seven-year-old daughters, the phone rang again. This time it was a nurse calling from the Burn Unit.

“Your husband wants to talk to you,” she said softly.

“Then he can’t be hurt that bad.” Hope started rising in my chest.

“I’ll let him talk to you.”

“Hana?” Jim’s voice was strained. “I love you. I’ll see you in Heaven.”

“No,” I screamed. “Don’t you leave me!”

“I’ll try to hang on…for you and the girls.”

Those were his last words to me. My 34-year-old husband suffered third degree burns over 98% of his body and lived in that condition for 23 long, but way too short, hours.

As I left the hospital, I felt numb. Nothing would ever be the same for me again. I went from being a stay-at-home mom, who loved her husband and the life they’d made together, to a 32-year-old widow. What was I going to do?

The years passed. I married another wonderful man who embraced my girls as if they were his own. We bought a beautiful house and lived comfortably on his income coupled with the Social Security I received for my daughters.

Even though graduation was looming for both of them, I kept ignoring the ramifications of losing the S.S.I. once they were done with school. It always seemed ‘so far away.’

When graduation day one and two finally arrived and I no longer was bringing in an income, I knew I had to do something. Working part-time as a floral designer, I realized I’d have to find a more substantial way of making a living. Scanning the Internet, I discovered the world of mystery shopping, merchandising and auditing. As an independent contractor, I was able to set my own hours and thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility of my new ‘career.’

In January 2005, after a rather dismal year financially, I decided to pursue a full-time writing and voice-over business. Gas prices were rising, the wear and tear on my car was starting to take its toll and the mystery shopping industry was becoming saturated with shoppers. One cold winter night, I decided to join a couple of websites featuring freelance opportunities. I named my company Speechless, developed a tag line – I put words in your mouth! – and started bidding on projects. The next morning I woke to discover I’d been awarded four of them; one being a voice-over project. The problem was I didn’t even own a microphone!

“I need to buy the best microphone you have,” I told the salesperson at a local electronics store. He led me down the aisle and handed me a $34.99 mic that plugged directly into my laptop. It worked well enough for me to complete that project and many more in the next six months or so. It wasn’t until a client asked me what kind of mic I was using that I realized it was time to upgrade. Eight hundred dollars later, I felt like a pro.

Immersed in a business I love, I am able to use my talents, and my college education, in a way I’ve never been able to do before. My voice-over work ranges from simple voicemail and on hold messages to audio books and eLearning modules. Sometimes I need to sound like a business professional; other times like a little girl. I’ve voiced animations, book trailers, television and radio commercials, and nearly everything in between…all without ever having to leave my home.

The writing part of my business has led to my leading a local writer’s group and teaching workshops at writer’s conferences and other venues. One of my workshops is titled, Inspiring Others: How to turn your true stories into cash and as a result, I’ve been thrilled to see some participants in my classes have their work accepted for publication.

In 2007, Bill Hyman contracted me to work as an editor/ghostwriter for Chicken Soup for the Network Marketer’s Soul. I was privileged to interview or rework stories from some fascinating and resilient people.

Every day for me is different, which can be challenging at times. But having created the opportunity to pursue work I love makes everything worthwhile.

Here are the main characteristics I think you need in order to turn things around in your life:

• Resiliency – the ability to bounce back when life doesn’t go as planned.
• Tenacity – the drive to keep going and not give up.
• Creativity – the power to re-create yourself and your career.
• Flexibility – the willingness to alter your plan when it is not working.
• Curiosity – the need to discover and learn new things.

It’s been 20 years since the phone call that turned my life upside down. As painful as it was, I’ve come to realize that upside down isn’t always a bad thing…not when we’re given the tools to build around whatever it is that life has handed us.

©2009

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review it Wednesday -- is that a happy baby I see?



Today's RIW is a bit different, because instead of reviewing a product, I'm reviewing a store. While this store is located in the Pittsburgh area, it started out as an awesome online business (Pittsburgh Cloth Diaper) and continues as such, in addition to being the best brick and mortar cloth diapering store ... possibly anywhere!

What makes Happy Baby Company so special? Adam and Lilli Cannon, that's what ... or who. The fabulous Cannon family puts their heart and soul into promoting the health and well-being of babies and toddlers everywhere ... starting with the health of those precious baby bottoms.

If you've been following the blog for long, you know I believe wholeheartedly that cloth diapering is the absolute best thing you can do for your baby's behind. There are soooo many health reasons for this. Way beyond the environmental impact, disposable diapers are bad for your kids. Period.

But cloth diapers are so ... yucky.

Let's face facts, folks -- if you don't like yucky, don't become a parent. Babies, toddlers and teenagers tend to be yucky from time to time. Deal with it. It is our job as parents to do the best thing we can do for our kids ... yucky or not.

Happy Baby Company wants to make the cloth diapering part of your experience the best it can be. The Cannons offer cloth diapering orientations at the store on a frequent  basis, so if you're just stuck on an issue or two, attend a class and let them help you through it.

I have a friend who really struggled with the whole cloth diapering thing. She credits Adam and Lilli for getting her through it ... lovingly and patiently. But that's no surprise, because that's just the kind of folks they are.

One day, about 15 months ago or so, I stopped by the store and somehow Adam and I got into a conversation about carseat safety. He came out to my car and told me straight out that Laura was not safe in the carseat the way I had installed it. In the midst of 90+ degree heat, he crawled in the back of my car and struggled with that seat until it was immovable! That's just the kind of folk he is.

When it was time to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most cloth diapers being changed around the world at the same time, the Cannons offered the store as the local site.

This past Saturday, they again opened Happy Baby Company for a celebration of The Milk Truck -- a mobile breast feeding unit in Pittsburgh.

With Adam and Lilli, it's not just about making a living selling cloth diapers and other natural and organic products. It's about support.

Their newest project is something I'm really excited about! A Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental Program. How cool is that? If you're on the fence about cloth diapering, this is your chance to give it a try. Rather than rewording everything, I'm just going to copy and paste the email I got from HBC this week. It explains it all:

On the fence about using cloth diapers?
Overwhelmed with all of the options?
Is one parent REALLY not sure if they want to do this?
Simply want to save as much money as possible during the newborn stage?

Then the NEW HBC Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental Program is perfect for you!

We know that taking the leap into cloth diapering can be scary. We also know that no one wants to waste money, especially when you aren't 100% sure about it in the first place. If you know you want to use cloth and/or plan on using these diaper for years to come, then buying them is probably your best option. If you are unsure, overwhelmed with all of the options, or don't want the commitment that comes with purchasing them, the HBC Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental is perfect for you. For $1-2 a day, you can try cloth, get yourself through the tiny newborn stage, and save yourself a ton of money.

Our Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental takes all of the guesswork out of diapering your new baby. We provide all of the diapers and covers you'll need, plus we even give you the detergent! You'll also receive a discount voucher to use when you come back to buy more diapers (we're confident you'll be back because cloth diapering is awesome).

Did you read that -- $1 - $2 a day! That's it! Plus, they even provide the cloth diapering detergent!! C'mon. What is holding you back. Ickiness. Really?

I can't tell you how excited I am about this program. The fact that I know that love is behind it ... not commercial greed ... makes this so much better. Does Pampers really care about your baby? How about Huggies? If they did, they would not be loading up their diapers with toxins that quite possibly will have an adverse effect on your child's health for the rest of his life.

The Cannons care. And that's why Happy Baby Company gets two green thumbs up on this special Review It Wednesday. Visit the website. If you can, visit the store. You'll be glad you did.

Reviewing it for you,

Hana

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clearing the air



As autumn descends upon us, winter is following closely on its heels. With the cooler temps comes the dreaded closed-up-house syndrome. Windows and doors are shut and, in an effort to preserve energy, weatherstripping, thermal drapes, etc. are put into use to further keep the warm inside air from escaping. Wonderful, right?

Not so much. While saving energy is always a noble effort, the results are sometimes less than desirable. The fact is -- indoor air is likely to be much more polluted than the air outside! Trapping the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) indoors with your family can have some pretty nasty results.

Pollution? Inside?! Yep. VOCs come from carpeting adhesives, paint, wood varnishes and more. Then there are the toxic cleaning, laundry and personal care products that may be used (although, if you've been reading the blog long enough, you know I consistently provide suggestions for alternatives to toxic products). And let's not forget the dirty electricity emitting from your electronic equipment and those energy-saving culprits, CFLs.

Yuck. Just thinking about it makes me happy we're having an Indian summer day and I can have the windows and doors open. But that's not going to be the case later in the week.

Before you trap the pollution inside with your little ones, stock up on some healthy plants and let them work their magic around your home. Hang an asparagus fern in the nursery. Put a purple heart plant or a variegated wax plant in the home office. These, along with the purple waffle plant and English ivy, have been listed as the top five "super ornamentals" identified by a team of researchers at the University of Georgia as having the highest content of contaminant remover (phytoremediation).

According to an article at insciences.org by Helen Fosgate, "... harmful indoor air pollutants can cause a host of serious illnesses, including asthma, cancer, reproductive and neurological disorders -- and more than 1.6 million deaths a year, according to a 2002 World Health Organization report. The VOCs emanate from furnishings, carpets, plastics, cleaning products, building materials like drywall, paint, solvents and adhesives. Even tap water can be a source of VOCs. The air inside homes and offices is often a concentrated source of these pollutants, in some cases up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, according to research."

We all need to take this very seriously. Knowing that something natural, like a plant, can improve the indoor air that we breathe shouldn't be surprising. It's just another bit of common sense.

Stanley Kays, UGA horticulture researcher and one of the study’s authors, indicates that simply introducing common ornamentals into indoor spaces has the potential to significantly improve the quality of indoor air.

While the above are listed as the five most effective plants for eliminating indoor pollutants, there are others that are useful as well. I wrote about this back in September 2009. If you want to learn more, check out the post, which includes a list of other plants known for reducing toxins inside the home.

Keeping it green and healthy,

Hana

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time spent in bed on an Indian summer afternoon

The Sabbath Experience -- week 55





I love Sundays. They give me permission to rest. What I don't like is still feeling lousy. 

After church yesterday, my husband, two daughters and the grandbabies all went out to lunch. Afterwards, the girls took the the kids to a farm for pumpkins. It was an absolutely beautiful Indian summer kind of day. Originally, they planned to go to a place in Wexford, PA that has lots of fun kids' activities going on. But, not surprisingly, the place was packed. They ended up down the road a bit instead, which suited the children just fine.






When I looked at the pictures, I regretted my sorry state of health even more. What did I do instead of having fun with the grandkids? I slept. For 3 1/2 hours! Granted, I obviously needed the sleep, but I was mad at myself the rest of the evening. It seemed like such a waste of time.

Do you ever feel like that? Like resting is a waste of time?

I can't help thinking God is trying to slow me down a bit. After all, last week was really busy. Being sick didn't keep me from hosting a Norwex party on Tuesday night, hosting a radio show on Wednesday night, or hosting our Home Group Bible Study at my home on Thursday night. By Friday, I was beat. And I had to watch Laura on Friday starting at 8:30 a.m. Of course, I was tired.

Today is my last day on the Cipro. This kidney infection really knocked me for a loop, yet I didn't allow myself the time to slow down much. Thus, the long nap on Sunday afternoon.

We enjoyed a late dinner on the patio last night, watching a bit of TV and playing a couple games of Bananagrams. That's the part I love about Sundays. Spending the evenings away from my office just enjoying the company of my best friend. The Sabbath Experiment granted us that luxury over a year ago and we're still enjoying it and benefitting from it.

When was the last time you took a day just to rest and recreate? The Sabbath. What a blessing. What a gift.

Keeping it restful (sometimes out of necessity),

Hana

Saturday, October 8, 2011

This, to me, is a crime




"Approximately 72 percent of the waste
currently being landfilled or incinerated
consists of materials
that could be put to higher and better use
through recycling or composting.
Most of this material is office paper,
cardboard, non-recyclable paper, and food waste."


-Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's 3Rs ... Recycling Children

Steve Jobs   Photo by Acaben
In light of the death of Steve Jobs, who was given up for adoption as an infant, I thought I'd repost this article from September 2009. You'll notice some of the "news" is outdated, but the concept of adoption is not.

Thank God, Steve's mom chose life and bravely gave her son to someone else who raised a young man of character, integrity and vision. Where would the world be if Steve Jobs had just been an abortion statistic? How many other Steve Jobs's out there are becoming just that as I write, or you read, this post? The world has lost so many heros before they even were allowed to breathe their first breaths.

Mourning the death of Steve Jobs, and the millions of unborn treasures we never got to know.


Recycling Children: Adoption as an Option

Reality TV news this week is all about the Duggers, who are expecting their 19th child. That’s right, folks, 19th! At least this announcement gives the Gosslins a break…and all the rest of us who are tired of hearing of the trials and tribulations of Jon and Kate (God bless their eight!).

So, is anyone else out there disturbed by this news? What are they thinking? While I would completely oppose aborting this child, I would not oppose doing something to stop this recurring condition. Perhaps, if nothing else works, they should take a break from each other. Maybe spring for twin beds, unattractive flannel pajamas and garlic pills ... lots of garlic pills. I can’t help thinking that 18 children would put a damper on bedroom recreation and private time, but where there’s a will it’s apparent there’s a way!

Now for all of you tired moms of babies and toddlers out there, can you imagine??
I have a suggestion for the Duggers family. Since it’s obvious they have a love of children and are willing to open their home to more…and more…and more, perhaps they should consider recycling. Recycling children.

There are countless children worldwide waiting for a loving home. They’re waiting to be “recycled.” For whatever reason, their birthparents are not raising them. Some are in foster care. Some in orphanages. Some are still in the womb. While there are not nearly as many newborns available in the U.S. as there were half a century ago, there are many, many children available; children who are praying for someone to love them. Wouldn’t this be a better option, perhaps, for the Duggers and families like theirs?

Maybe it’s an option for you. If, for some reason you’re unable to have a baby in the conventional way, you can still have a child “of your own.” Adoption doesn’t negate that … it validates it. Ask any adoptive parent out there. Is there less love for an adopted child than there is for a birth child? Not a chance. Our hearts grow with each child whether they grew in our own wombs (or wife’s wombs) or not. Does Octomom love her little ones more than Brad and Angie love their first children?

Recycling, folks. That’s what it’s all about. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having things or children that are brand-spanking-new. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying things or people that are just new-to-you either.

And a side note to anyone out there who is adopted … your momma loved you. A whole lot. Take my word for it.

Adoption is just an option and this is, as always, just my opinion.

Keeping it green,

Hana

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Child safety -- sometimes it's a matter of life or death ... part 2

On Tuesday, I posted part 1 of this Child Safety topic. Today, I want to focus on some other important issues facing parents and caregivers -- burns, poisoning, bleeding and head injuries.

Burns

My mother was babysitting my 3-year-old nephew one evening over 30 years ago. My sister had a Hot Shot (a device used for boiling a cup of water to make instant coffee or tea) located low enough for Peter to reach. Mom poured the water in, hit the 'heat' button and then went to answer the phone.

Peter, being the sweet, helpful child he was, decided to fill Grandma's cup when the light went out, indicating it was done. He reached up and pulled down on the 'pour' button ... a bit too hard. The Hot Shot tipped and dumped a cup of boiling water down Peter's bare chest and stomach.

Can you imagine the horror of this ... especially for a grandmother?!

I don't know what my mom did initially, but I do know Peter was taken to the ER and, amazingly enough, did not have any scarring.

Burns are one of the most painful injuries a child can experience. As a parent, your first inclination is to do whatever it takes to ease the pain. You may reach for butter or aloe or vitamin E ... or any number of other home remedies you've heard are good for burns. STOP! While I may be a huge fan of home remedies, this is one time you want to ignore all the well-meaning advice you've heard about this! Do not apply ointment of any kind to the burn!

Instead, rinse the burned area with cool, not cold, water and then wrap the burn with dry gauze or a clean towel or sheet. Then get your child to the hospital!

One exception to this is in the case of an electrical burn (you know, when Timmy plugs something wet into a socket!). Do not apply water to an electrical burn! Simply wrap it and head to the hospital.

Do not pop any blisters that may result from burns!

Poisoning

Mr. Yuk is around for a reason!

One day, back in 1986 or so, my husband was watching the kids (who were 4 and 2), as he often did. I came home and asked how they were.

"They're fine," he answered, then casually added, "Jessica drank a bottle of Murine, but she's fine."


She what?! After learning that he didn't even bother to call the Poison Control Center, I picked up the phone.

"Get her to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible," the nurse told me. "We've had infants die from just a few drops of that stuff."

I was out the door so fast, with strict instructions to my clueless husband not to follow me! I was scared and furious.

How often had I told him not to leave his eye drops within reach of the children?!

As it turns out, after drinking a carton of activated charcoal-flavored chocolate milk, Jessica was fine. But it doesn't always turn out that way.

If you know, or even if you simply suspect, your child has ingested anything other than food, call the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222). Don't wait to see if he'll be alright. Time is of the essence here ... it could make the difference between life and death! It's always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Do not try to induce vomiting or give your child activated charcoal (or syrup of ipecac) to avoid a trip to the ER!! You don't know which method is necessary for the type of poisoning that may have occurred!!

Bleeding

Yeah, I have a story about this as well. It has to do with my husband, once again. My husband, our two daughters and a swingset.

Jim took the kids to the park and I had some much-needed alone time at home. Heavenly. And then it happened. He walked through the door and told me we had to get to the hospital. My back was to him and my heart skipped for a second. As I turned, it nearly stopped. His yellow t-shirt was covered in blood ... 2-year-old Jessica's blood.

Have you ever had a moment like that?

Apparently, Bethany and Jessica were on the swings. Jim took Jess out of the infant swing and put her on the ground, where she immediately walked right into the path of her sister's swing as it sailed backwards. Bam! Right in the face. Jess still bears the scar from the stitches she had to get that day.

If your child has been injured and is bleeding, it is important to clean the wound, using only soap and water. Then apply firm pressure with something clean (a towel or some gauze). If the bleeding seeps through the cloth, do not remove it! Just add something on top of it and continue applying direct pressure until help arrives. If there is any way to elevate the wounded area, carefully do so.

Do not apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding!

Do not try to remove anything embedded in the wound (glass, stones, nails, etc.)

Head injury

No stories for this one ... thank God! If your little one has fallen and hit her head, or has been in a car or bicycle accident, and she's not quite alert, do not move her! Try to stabilize her head, neck and spine as best you can without moving her, and make an attempt at staying calm while waiting for the ambulance.

Do not transport your child to the hospital yourself! Wait for an ambulance to arrive.


I'm truly hoping you never have to face any of the above issues. But there are some of us who are on first-name basis with our local ER. Before you join those ranks, it's best to know what to do when if.

Caring for your kids ... and you,

Hana

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- another Norwex moment

Last evening, I had a Norwex party in my home. I've not been at all shy about my love for Norwex! I love, love, love Norwex. If I was a sales-type person, I would be a Norwex consultant. No question about it. Those of you who know me well, have undoubtedly heard me talk about Norwex products. I've posted a few reviews here on the blog, as well.

Before the party began, I learned I had been doing something incorrectly for the past several months. Oops. It has to do with the Body Cloths, which I use and reviewed a few months ago. The problem is, I use a Body Cloth to wash my face every day ... you're only supposed to use them twice a week. No wonder my face has dried out a bit.


Fortunately, there is a Norwex alternative!! Early into using the Body Cloth, I noticed an increased sensitivity to the area around my eyes. So I bought the Norwex Makeup Remover Cloths and have been luxuriating in the amazingly soft feel of them! So, it looks like I already have a solution to my problem. While I have simply been washing my eye makeup off with the suede antibac cloths and then washing the rest of my face with the exfoliating Body Cloth, I can simply wash my entire face with the Makeup Remover Cloths and leave the exfoliating to just two times a week. Problem solved.

And I'm still head-over-heels in love with Norwex.

The 8" x 8" Makeup Remover Cloths are infused with silver (with its amazing antibacterial properties), just like the Body Cloths. They are super soft and remove even the toughest waterproof mascara! So, if you've been using the disposable makeup removing pads, here is an alternative that is not only better for the environment (for obvious reasons, and some not-so-obvious ones), but is much better for your skin, as well. Plus, in the long run, it will save you money. The cloths come in a pack of three and sell for $19.99. If you order online from Sherri, the Cleaning Queen, there are no shipping charges!

As a reminder to you, I am not a consultant for Norwex. Nor do I receive anything from them, or from Sherri, for posting this. Sherri is the one who introduced me to the Norwex Enviro Cloth and Window Polishing Cloth, when she sent them to me to review back in May. Since then, I have purchased every other Norwex product I have, including the Body Cloths and the Makeup Removing Cloths! So when I write what may sound like a sales pitch, it's simply because I love the products that much!

However, if you are in the Pittsburgh area and want to have a party, or are interested in any of the products, I am closing out my party order on the 11th, so you can contact me and I can take care of it for you.

Wishing you a fabulous day filled with love, joy, and as few toxins as possible,

Hana

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Child safety ... sometimes it is a matter of life or death

Child abuse cases often make the headlines or evening news. Especially when they're extreme. But kids can get hurt and be in life-threatening circumstances while doing the simplest of things ... like eating. And there's no abuse involved. But if a parent or caretaker doesn't know what to do, the results can be just as devastating.

So I thought I'd go over some basics with you. These are things every parent and grandparent should know.

Heimlich Maneuver

Kids choke sometimes. That's just the way it is. Whether they're eating things that are high on the choking hazard list (like hot dogs, grapes, goldfish-shaped crackers, peanuts, hard candy, etc.) or simply popping things into their mouths they shouldn't be (like marbles, coins, beads, etc.), the fact is, they can choke. That's why you need to know what to do. It's also why you shouldn't feed your child in the car or any other place where you cannot watch him the entire time he is eating!

Here are the steps for babies under 1 who are conscious:
  • Immediately place him facedown on your forearm. Support his neck and chin with your fingers and make sure his head is lower than his chest.
  • Lightly, but firmly, give him 5 quick blows to his back between his shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.
  • If nothing comes out of the baby's mouth, turn him over and lay him faceup on a hard surface (table or floor).
  • Using 2 fingers, give him 5 quick thrusts in the middle of his breastbone, just below nipple level.
  • Repeat both processes until the object comes out, or breathing resumes.
If the baby loses consciousness, begin CPR immediately. Here is a link to an online video demonstration on how to perform CPR on infants.

For children over 1, the Heimlich is a bit different. After all, it would be tough to lay your 6-year-old along your forearm, wouldn't it?
  • Depending on your child's height, stand or kneel behing her and wrap your arms around her.
  • Place your fist right above her belly button.
  • With your free hand, grab your fist give quick upward thrusts.
  • Continue thrusting until the object is dislodged.
Again, if your child is not conscious, start CPR right away, looking for the object lodged in her mouth between rescue breaths. As CPR is somewhat different for children over 1, here is a link to a video for CPR for children.

According to Nicholas Tsarouhas, M.D., associate medical director of the emergency department at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "Always have your child evaluated after any near-choking incident."

On Thursday, I'll post some of the other potential hazards you need to be on top of, from poisoning to burns.

Caring for your children ... and  you,

Hana

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