Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare, Colorado fires, Florida flooding and a mall collapse -- TGIVF!

TGIVF!

Thankful? Yep. I'm thankful for another Vinegar Friday. I'm thankful for another day.

Nationally, it's been a rough week. While some are celebrating the passing of Obamacare, others are saddened and frustrated by it. May I challenge you, that on whichever side of this issue you find yourself, that you will reach across the fence with kindness and grace toward those with opposing opinions. When did we become a society of people exhibiting such hatefulness toward each other? We don't all agree. Get over it. That is life, folks. And just because I may not agree with you, that doesn't mean I can't respect your opinion ... or that you can't respect mine. However will we start intelligent dialogues if we continue to attack and malign each other? Seriously.

Do you have a valid point to make? I can't make it out through all the bickering, but I'd like to hear it. I'd like to discuss our differing points of view. Maybe I'll learn something ... and maybe you will, too. Wouldn't that be nice?

The Supreme Court ruling isn't the only thing consuming the news right now. Record high temperatures across the country are descending upon us. But I'm pretty sure most of us can bear it. 

Then, there's Colorado. Dear Jesus ... there's Colorado. It was fire that launched me into widowhood in 1989. To me, fire is a frightening thing. Seeing the footage of the raging fires in Colorado is breathtaking ... in a bad kind of way. I am praying for the people, and animals, of Colorado.

On the flip side, let's talk rain. Lots of it. I am feeling the pain for those in Florida who are cleaning up from the terrible flooding there. 

And let's not forget the collapsing mall in Ontario. I saw the fiance of one of the victims sobbing on camera. My heart broke for him. 

Like I said, it's been a rough week. So, instead of focusing on vinegar today, I'd like you to focus on gratitude. Look around you and find something to be grateful for. It's there. And while you're concentrating on thankfulness, remember to pray for those who are suffering right now. There is always someone worse off than you.

Keeping it green with vinegar, and real with gratitude,


Hana
(and yes, I will be using vinegar today ... probably in a bunch of different ways)



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Now this is something to smile about!

If you could help ensure that kids around the world could begin and end each day with one of the privileges your own kids have, would you do it? Well, here's your opportunity to do so by simply buying a toothbrush or two. And these aren't just any old toothbrushes that you pick off the grocery store shelf, only to toss them in the landfill a few months down the line.



Here are the facts about the Smile Squared toothbrushes:
  • 100% Biodegradable Bamboo Handle
  • 100% Recyclable Box
  • 100% High Quality Bristles
And ... for every toothbrush you buy,  Smile Squared donates a second one to a child in need.



Your kids brush their teeth every day. Don't you think every child deserves that chance?

It is their goal to donate 1 million toothbrushes in 3 years. I'm going to join in the effort ... won't you?

Visit the website and place your order. For just $5.95 and a minimal shipping fee, you can order a child's or adult toothbrush and know that a child somewhere else in the world will be brushing his or her teeth everyday because you cared. It's a win-win situation, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The greening of money

It used to be, and still is in some circles, that when you mentioned the word “green,” people immediately thought about money. Now, when folks hear the word, they tend to think about the environmental movement in one way or another. Well, Neale Godfrey wants you to think about both when you hear the word, and what one has to do with the other.

I had the privilege of "meeting" Neale Godfrey, founder of Children's Financial Network, Inc., on one of the radio shows I was hosting. She was a delightful guest and I contacted her following the show to see if she would be interested in doing a guest post for me here on the blog. She graciously agreed. If her name sounds familiar, you may have seen her on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Today, CNBC, CNN or NickJr.com. Neale is the author of many financial books for adults and children and her groundbreaking book, Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees:  A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children gained a coveted spot as #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Neale’s commonsense wisdom is what drew me to her. When she asked me to review her book, ECO- Effect: The Greening of Money, co-written with Beth Polazzo, how could I say no? 



The first thing I loved about the book when I first received it was the two-sided cover. I remember having books like this when I was a kid. The covers are upside down from each other and, when opened, take you into two different, but similar books. On the one side is a picture of the earth being held up but a variety of hands of different hues. Flip the book around and you see animated kids (again of different hues) gathered around the open book with enthusiastic smiles on their faces. These are likeable kids. Endorsements from Oprah Winfrey adorn both covers.
So what’s the gimmick? There’s no gimmick really. It’s just that one half of the book is geared toward adults; flip it around, and you have a teen book. Brilliant.

The teen’s side starts off with a “Why Me?” page, which includes this explanation:

Now, instead of just talking about budgeting money, I want to talk about something just as big, if not bigger – the budgeting of our earth’s resources.

What?! A financial book that includes caring for the earth? Again, I say, brilliant. She continues:

How are they related? Well, no matter how much money you or your family earns, you’ve got to divide it up in order to spend o save for things that you need or want, right? In the same way, when it comes to the earth, we also need to save resources and “spend” them wisely.

She goes on in the book to explain how ECOnomy and ECOlogy are related; thus the ECO Effect. For example:
When you’re in a store, look at the packaging – more is not better. It’s simple – fewer layers of plastic and paper create less garbage. That means less has to be hauled away to landfills in trucks that use fossil fuels, such as gasoline. It sure helps save the environment, and it may even save you and your family money.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? And the cool thing is, it will make sense to your teenagers as well.

I really liked the ECO-IQ quizzes in the book, and readily shared them with my kids (who are adults) and my husband. The quizzes are full of info we didn’t know. Like this: 

20. The first recycling plant was built in New York City in:

a. 1798
b. 1898
c. 1998

Do you know? I didn’t, and was shocked to find out the answer was 1898!

I also liked the F.Y.I. and Did You Know? boxes scattered throughout the pages:

If half of the polyester fabric made in the U.S. each year were produced with recycled materials, it would be enough to cover the entire state of N.Y.

Then there are the Top 10 Reasons to Recycle  and the Top 10 Things to Recycle lists.

2. Creates Jobs – Recycling in the United States is a $236 billion a year industry. More than 56,000 recycling enterprises employ 1.1 million workers nationwide.

Did you know that? I’m telling you, this book is packed full of really interesting stuff. But it’s not just interesting. It’s motivating as well, and the fact that it speaks to teens in an informative and non-condescending way is … again, I have to say it … brilliant.

Did I like this book? What do you think? How many more times do I have to use the word ‘brilliant’ to get my point across? And Neale and Beth even mention vinegar in the Clean up Naturally section … imagine that!

Do I think every home, with or without kids, should have a copy of this book? Absolutely! Seriously, this is one of the best environmental books I’ve read. Plus, it has the added bonus of being a common sense financial guide as well. What could be better?

ECHO to your kids and “start spreading the word!”

I’m not doing a giveaway, so there’s no reason to delay ordering this book right now. It will save you money many times over the cost of the book. And the earth just might thank you for it if you listen hard enough.

Check out the website (and let your kids spend some time there) for more great info and features like ECO-Effect Tip of the Week and ECO-Effect Fun Facts.





Disclaimer: I received the book ECO-Effect: The Greening of Money at no cost to me. I was under no obligation to review it and it did not influence my opinion in any way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why stay-at-home dads are not real men (or women)

Hana asked me to write a guest post about being a stay at home dad and I wondered what words of mirth and wisdom I could pass on. The truth is that while being a househusband is not much of a big deal to some people, to others it’s incomprehensible. I am the main carer for a four and a three year old and when I first started appearing at my son’s nursery the other mums gave lots of support. However, as I became part of the scenery, I was naturally excluded from their conversations as I was, well, different. I have never referred to the washing as ‘my’ washing, I can’t get excited about the new range of cute clothes in the local supermarket and I just don’t do the ‘she said and then I said’ type of conversations. 

There is also the sex issue that always floats around in the background, especially when the children are still at the age when they need a parent to accompany them on a play date. One of my son’s friends spontaneously invited him round to play one morning and his mum’s facial expression registered sheer panic at the thought of inviting me to her house. When we moved house, I had to start the socialising all over again, especially as my son started school and I was thrown into the school gate socialising experience. I have found a few mums to exchange some banter with, but it is not done to talk to the same mums all the time. 

While I can still be a bloke in many ways, showing male multi-tasking skills like watching sport and drinking a beer while ironing, I have found I am now partially excluded from blokedom too. A stay-at-home dad has very little status amongst other men when drinking down the pub. There will probably be a few wisecracks about the yummy mummies on the school run mixed with a few ‘good for you’ comments that usually end in ‘I could never do that.' Mostly they are mystified as to why I would choose to do it. A few of them see me a mild threat. What if their missus heard about it and wanted to try it? What if I was seeing their wife twice a day at school? The yummy mummies comments don’t seem quite so funny now do they? Of course, I can be a real man whenever I want to by drinking beer, pretending to know about football and trying to look down the barmaid’s top with the best of them. I don’t mind what people say as I think being a bit different is good and I get to spend more time with my kids and my wife. Plus I get time to indulge my passion of writing novels, something that creates many rewards but doesn’t usually impress bank managers. 

For all the ups and downs it certainly beats a twice daily commute and a 9-5 existence. 

Russ King is a freelance writer and social media catalyst. You can find his blog at www.russwrites.co.uk and his latest romantic comedy novel, Working from Home: Mixing business with pleasure? is available on Kindle at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo or Smashwords.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do it for Ky

When I get in a "complaining about my life" mode, I don't have to look very far to see people who are facing things I can't even comprehend. It's like a slap in the face to me. Knock it off, Hana

On Mondays, I usually write about my Sabbath experience. However, today, I'd rather write about someone else.

Ky


Recently, you may have noticed a little widget at the top of the blog that reads, "Ky's Service Dog." Ky is the 2 1/2 year old daughter of a friend of my daughter, Bethany. Ky has Autism, Seizure disorder and Marcus Gunn jaw-winking syndrome (Trigemino-oculomotor Synkineses). An autism service/therapy dog would help Ky in the following ways:
  • Behavioral issues -- Since Ky tends to act out in ways which can cause her bodily harm, a dog would be right there to distract/disrupt these behaviors. These dogs are trained to recognize and interrupt them. The dog will also alert Ky's parents when necessary. Since Ky has seizures, this is especially important.
  • Speech -- Ky has a very limited vocabulary (which includes the word 'puppy'). Through communicating with the dog with verbal and physical commands, the hope is that Ky's communication skills will expand and improve.
  • Social skills -- Ky is often afraid. With a dog to serve as a barrier between her and other people, she will be able to relax into social situations more easily. Bonding with her dog will prove to be invaluable for this precious child.
  • Sleeping -- You know what it's like when your child goes through a bout of not sleeping through the night? How would you feel (or function) if your child was like Ky and did not sleep ... period. Her parents give her natural supplements, but they're not much help. A weighted blanket (can you imagine in this heat?) and a weighted teddy bear help calm her, but she prefers having someone in bed with her each night. If Ky gets a service dog, the hope is that the dog will provide enough comfort for her to be able to sleep without any meds or supplements.
  • Safety -- We teach our children boundaries as soon as they start to walk. But Ky doesn't understand boundaries. When she's scared or upset, she tends to bolt. A dog could serve as a barrier and keep her from running out of the house or into the street. And, as I mentioned, the dog would be there to alert someone if Ky has a seizure.
  • Every day skills -- Walking the dog will eventually give her a sense of responsibility and independence and remove some of the frightening aspects of things like going to unfamiliar places.
Convinced that this little girl and her family would benefit immensely from having an autism service/therapy dog? I am. That's why I gave and I'm sharing this story in hopes that you will give, too. The cost of the dog, along with the training required over the course of a year, is $4,900. The family is hoping to raise $6,000 to cover the additional start up costs (vet bills, spaying/neutering, food, gas to get to training classes and any additional supplies they may need in the first year). Won't you help by donating even a little bit? If all of you gave $10, they'd have their money in no time! 

We are all so blessed by our health, our families, our homes and our stuff. Give a little back. Do it for Ky

God bless you for caring.

Hana









Saturday, June 23, 2012

The value of farmers

Photo by Neal Floyd


"Cultivators of the earth 
are the most valuable citizens. 
They are the most vigorous, 
the most independent, 
the most virtuous, 
and they are tied to their country 
and wedded to its liberty and interests 
by the most lasting bands."

                                                                  
- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrating green cleaning on Vinegar Friday

Photo by Shari Weinsheimer


TGIVF! 

It's late in the day for me to be writing a post, but somehow the day slipped by and I just didn't have the opportunity. So, how has your Vinegar Friday been? 

Today, as I worked in my office, I was so happy to be free of any chemical smells as my daughter, Jess, cleaned my bathroom. She is still at it right now, washing the floor. 

A few years ago, before we knew any better, I would have to leave the house when she cleaned because the smell of Scrubbing Bubbles would literally make me sick. I don't know how she survived inhaling that stuff for so long. Now, we both better. If she's not using a steamer or a Norwex cloth (both with plain water), she's reaching for the jug of distilled white vinegar. When she's done, the bathroom is sparkling and germ-free. And I no longer have to leave the house.

I'm grateful for my green-cleaning daughter, who exchanges favors with me for cleaning. I watch Laura, she cleans. She borrows the car, she cleans. It's a good deal ... at least for me. Especially now that she does it without the use of toxic chemicals that trigger a) my asthma, b) a migraine and/or c) my Epstein-Barr, which is particularly sensitive to chemicals. 

Vinegar has literally changed my life. You see, I used to use products containing ammonia, bleach, glycols, naphthalene, lye, petroleum distillates and formaldehyde. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. 

When's the last time you took a look at the ingredients in your cleaning products? If you haven't made the switch over to vinegar, maybe it's time to do so... especially if you have small children in your home. The American Association of Poison Control Centers' annual report released figures for 2007 stating that over 14,000 children were poisoned by chlorine bleach. That's a startling figure, don't you think?

The list of issues I have with the above mentioned chemicals goes on and on. If you want to find out more about the dangers and the alternatives, I suggest picking up a copy of Vinegar Fridays on Lulu.com (where through midnight today you can get 70% ground shipping) or Amazon.com.

In the meantime, you can peruse this site for the uses for vinegar ... after all, the Vinegar Fridays feature has been around for a pretty long time now.

Enjoy what's left of this beautiful Vinegar Friday and have a fabulous weekend.

Keeping it green with vinegar,

Hana

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Celebration Giveaway Hop

Green Your Mom




Happy Mothering, Eco-Crazy Mom and Organic Mama are excited to bring you the Summer Celebration Giveaway Hop, which will run from June 21, 2012 12:01 AM EST to June 29, 2012 11:59 PM EST. I am excited to be a part of this blog hop, where you, my wonderful community members, can will super prizes.


I am giving away some books to help you on your way to greener and healthier living, including:   


For those of you who are new to the blog, here is a brief overview of my book, Vinegar Fridays, which is part of the giveaway package:


"Green Grandma focused on common sense greener and healthier living in her daily blog. For one year, Fridays were all about vinegar. In this book, Hana Haatainen Caye takes the tips and information compiled throughout the year and presents them in an organized, yet personable manner.


Want to whittle your waist? Vinegar!
Want to tame the frizzies? Vinegar!
Want to spice up your soup? Vinegar!
Want baby soft feet? Vinegar!
Want to disinfect without bleach? Vinegar!
Want to keep rabbits out of your garden? Vinegar!
Want to learn how?
Vinegar Fridays!





Here is what reviewers have to say:

"Vinegar Fridays is a compilation of Green Grandma's blog posts, organized into chapters of related items: cleaning in the kitchen, cleaning for other areas of the house, pest control, car care, kids, pets, health, beauty, and more. In the introduction, the author explains that her tips are 'intended to change the way you traditionally do things -- and get you out of the habit of using chemicals and toxins in your everyday life.' There is literally something for everyone in this book."


"The book Vinegar Fridays is such an easy read, many thanks to Hana's personality jumping off the pages. Let me tell you, this book is not your Grandma's book about vinegar. Ummm, well, actually it is, but this Grandma's book is way better!"

-- Toni Keltner, The Chic Momma

"The book itself is a very quick read. Hana condenses a lifetime's worth of tips into 72 pages. Each of the 19 chapters is just a few pages long, so it's quite easy to breeze through them. Hana's personality comes through as well, making me giggle at times. I've never met her in real life, but I feel like I know her from reading her blog, and her book feels just the same. She introduces us to her family in this book and tells how these tips have helped her whole family, right on down to her grandkids."

-- Wanda Bolhous, Scratch That

"If your new year's resolution is to clean up your act, whether it is to be more eco friendly, healthier, happier, more energetic or to lose weight, then Vinegar Fridays should definitely be on your read list. The green grandma takes you through every room in the house even giving your beauty supply an overhaul in an often funny, easy to read style. Although I thought of Vinegar Fridays as more of a reference book I promise those 'dedicated' will find it hard to put down."

-- Jodee Reid, Multi Healing Balm

"The Green Grandma's tip are amazingly effective and useful for everyday things. I had quite a few ah-ha moments when I can't believe I didn't think to use vinegar before. The 72-page book is an easy read with tons of useful information that will save you a lot of money on nasty chemical products. Hana is funny throughout the book (love her ants poem!) and it's so much more than how to use vinegar!" 

-- Michelle Lloyd, mkokopelli


Enter here for a chance to win the book prize package and make sure you check out all the other great prizes being offered by the blogs listed below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RIW -- Backyard birds and fascinated children


While at the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster last month, I met Suzanne Walls, who wrote a lovely little book called, Backyard Birds of the Piedmont. I mentioned my blog to her and she graciously gave me a copy of her book to review.

Backyard Birds of the Piedmont contains beautiful photographs by wildlife photographer, D.W. Maiden. These creative and stunning pictures of various birds are the perfect accents to the one-page descriptions supplied by Suzanne. She complements the photos in a kid-friendly way without talking down to the kids.

After I returned from the conference, I went out for breakfast with my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter. While we we waiting for our food, I read the book to Laura, who was truly fascinated by the bird facts and pictures. The book held her interest, and mine! I actually learned quite a bit about some common, and not-so-common birds.

As we pulled up to the house, Laura pointed to an orange-breasted bird in the yard and said, "Look Grandma, there's a American Robin." I smiled as it flew away.

The bird descriptions range from their appearance to their songs/calls to their behavioral characteristics. Each page is interesting and well written. This is a book I can read again and again, and plan to as we add to our family of grandbabies. I plan to spend some time with each one of them immersed in the pages of Suzanne L. Walls' wonderful book!

Suzanne was awarded the prestigious Seal of Approval by the Young Voices Foundation for her Exploring Wildlife Series.

On her website, she says this about Backyard Birds of the Piedmont:

Explore the wonderful world of Backyard Birds of the Piedmont through the eyes of a child. In this beginning-reader, each bird speaks directly to the reader in an engaging voice, presenting simple facts that encourage further investigation into the world of nature.


If your kiddo is more into creepy crawlers instead of feathered creatures, you might want to check out Suzanne's A Child's Book of Insects.

Visit A Child's Book for more information about Suzanne and her delightful children's books and to order a book or two for your little ones. Opening their eyes to the wonders of nature is one of the first steps toward teaching them to appreciate and care for this marvelous creation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Butt what??

Photo by Petr Kratochvil


Did you know that cigarette filters are not biodegradable? So what happens to the hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts that are thoughtlessly tossed out of car windows or stomped onto the sidewalks in front of stores? Hmmm. Have you ever even thought about it?

The issue became more real to me as my daughter, Jessica, and I were taking part in the clean up of Brighton Heights here in Pittsburgh back in April. We walked along the neighborhood in the rain, picking up each and every cigarette butt (and other piece of litter) along the edge of the sidewalks. It was a back-aching task. I couldn't help thinking that there sure are a lot of human pigs around. I just don't get it. Why do people litter? Why do smokers think it is someone else's duty to clean up after them? Why? Like I said, I just don't get it.

Anyway, back to cigarette filters. As it turns out, they are made out of plastic, which of course, can leach miserable chemicals into the water supply (as the rain washes them down the sewage drains) and into the ground. Lovely. It's a real problem.

Enter our friends at TerraCycle. Apparently, an anonymous tobacco company decided to tackle this problem and joined forces with TerraCycle to provide postage paid shipping labels so people all across the country could start sending in their butts. Seriously. TerraCycle will turn those disgusting little cigarette butts into industrial pallets. And that's not all.

According to Wendy Koch, with USA Today, "Today, Eco-Tech Displays is starting a company, Cigarette Butt Litter Dream Recycling, to transform butts into products such as jewelry, vases and guitar picks. It collects the butts from hundreds of ashtrays that it has placed outside bars and restaurants in New York City, New Jersey and Chicago." How cool is that?!

Ohio resident, Blake Burich, of InnovaGreen Systems, recently patented a method for recycling cigarette butts and plans to go nationwide with his program. And he's not alone in his one-person effort to solve this mounting problem. The fact is that 38% of roadside litter is made up solely of, you guessed it, discarded cigarette waste. That's approximately 4.5 trillion butts. Now that is a disgusting fact. 

There are evidently positive efforts being made to eliminate this problem, as mentioned above. There are also some negative deterrents to depositing your butts on the ground. In Portland, Maine, there is a $100 fine if you're caught doing so. In Australia, the fine is $200 for tossing a cigarette out of a car and $60 for stomping it out on the ground. Now that would be an expensive smoke!

On the site Litterbutt.com,  I was intrigued when I read the following (which pertains to any kind of littering, including cigarette butts): 
REPORTING LITTERERS

Let people know you caught them littering! If the person resides in one of the participating States (PA, TX and NC), the person reported will receive a letter from the State notifying them they were caught littering and fines for littering, though no fine levied.

Interesting. 
Anyway, I'm glad to see there are folks, and even a tobacco company, that are starting to take this problem seriously. Cigarette butts are not only unsightly, they are also a danger to our health (not to mention our forests, etc.). If you are a smoker, think before you toss!!! This is your world, too. And it's your responsibly, as well as mine, to take care of it.

Keeping it green with less litter,

Hana



Monday, June 18, 2012

The Sabbath Experience continues

My front yard ... one of the places I find rest

I woke up at 5:00 this morning and decided to get a jump start on the day. Now, two hours later, I'm already starting to drag. Not good.

How was your weekend? Were you able to stop doing for awhile and simply be? That's tough, especially for parents with young children. When I talk about my Sabbath Experience, admittedly, it is easier for me to claim a day of nothingness and rest because I don't have a brood at home to care for.  That's why everyone must tailor their own Sabbath experiences to their unique situations. For me, I decided 21 months ago to forsake work one day a week. That means no email for me, because inevitably, if I open up my email, I'll see something from a client and I'll be off and running in no time trying to fill client requests. At least, that's how it was in the beginning. Now, I do check email sometimes because I may be looking for a personal response to an email I sent out. The difference is that I can now ignore business emails and leave them for the next day. The way I see it, if I lose a client over that, the client wasn't worth having.

If you do laundry 7 days a week, maybe your Sabbath rest will simply be not doing laundry one day a week. The important thing is to set aside one day per week where you consciously rest from your labors ... or at least some of them. I really believe it is essential for our health. As I mentioned in a previous post, the rise in stress-related illnesses has risen dramatically since the Blue Laws were eliminated. Too young to know what the Blue Laws were? Well, it used to be, in the old days, that stores were not allowed to be open on Sundays. There were no Little League games. Parents didn't have to spend Sundays taxiing their kids around. It was a day for worship and for family. People spent time together playing games, eating special Sunday meals, visiting grandparents. It was a special time. It was a slower time. It was a healthier time.

Life has changed ... and I don't believe it's for the better. That's why, after many years of my "having" to work 7 days a week, I decided to stop. What started out as a Sabbath Experiment became a Sabbath Experience and it's one I'm not likely to give up. It's better for me. It's better for my marriage. And, I believe, it would be better for you. Try it. I think you'll like it.

Sharing my Sabbath Experience with you,

Hana

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

My son-in-law, Tom, and grandson, Lincoln
 

"Be kind to thy father, 
for when thou wert young, 
Who loved thee so fondly as he? 
He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, 
And joined in thy innocent glee." 

                                                                                                                   -- Margaret Courtney

Friday, June 15, 2012

Win an Onya Baby Carrier and Earth Mama Angel Baby Gift Set {#WearCareBaby #Giveaway}

 


I know you want the best for your babies. And for many of you, that means wearing them close your hearts and caring for their delicate skin with truly natural baby care products. So I’m pleased to be working with a group of fabulous bloggers to bring you the Wear and Care Baby Giveaway Event, hosted by Happy Mothering and the Green Moms Network, and sponsored by Onya Baby and, a personal favorite of mine, Earth Mama Angel Baby! As part of this event, we’re giving away two amazing prizes to help one of our readers safely wear and care for your baby or toddler!

Onya Baby Carrier of your choice 

($149 value)!

 

 

Onya Baby carriers have plenty of useful features, like two zippered pockets, a tuck-away sleep hood, toy loops, a d-ring for your key clip and a high body for support and backwards/sideways lean-control for an older baby. One of the most unique features of Onya Baby carriers is the integrated chair harness, which enables you to convert pretty much any adult chair into a seat for your baby. Onya Baby carriers are designed for babies who are 15 pounds and 3 months or older up to a maximum weight of 45 pounds.

Onya Baby Carriers are available in 2 styles:

  • The Cruiser is made from 100% cotton
  • The Outback has a nylon exterior and air-mesh lining
Read more about the Onya Baby Outback Carrier on Happy Mothering.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Full Size Birth and Baby Kit

 ($89.95 value)

 

Earth Mama Special 



The Earth Mama Angel Baby Full Size Birth and Baby Kit provides everything you need to naturally and safely care for baby and for you.

This gift set comes in a sturdy Cotton Tote Bag that includes:

For Baby:

  • Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash (5.3 oz)
  • Angel Baby Oil (4 oz)
  • Angel Baby Lotion (4 oz)
  • Angel Baby Bottom Balm (2 oz)

For Mama:

  • New Mama Bottom Spray (4 oz)
  • Mama Bottom Balm (2 oz)
  • Organic Monthly Comfort Tea (1 box)
  • Natural Nipple Butter (2 oz)
  • Postpartum Bath Herbs (1 box)
Read more about this Earth Mama Angel Baby Gift Set on Happy Mothering.

Enter to Win

One of our fabulous readers will win both prizes – 
a combined value of $240! 

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The sponsors provided Happy Mothering with free samples of these products to review, and we were under no obligation to review them if we so chose. Nor were we under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. Facebook is in no way affiliated with this contest, the Wear and Care Baby Giveaway Event, its hosts, its sponsors or its participating bloggers. Please note that Happy Mothering, Wear and Care Baby Event and the participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. Happy Mothering will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. Happy Mothering will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify Happy Mothering within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday's Truths and Tidbits

Photo by Jiri Hodan


Truth: I like wine. 

Truth: I like beer, too. But not as much as my husband.

That is why today's tidbit has to do with wine and beer bottles and a wonderfully creative reuse idea.

I saw this on Earth911.com and ran all the way down to the basement to tell Bill about it. That's how excited I was about this project. All we need for it is a whole lot of wine and/or beer bottles. Too bad we didn't know about this sooner. Now we have to start collecting them from friends and family ... and maybe a bar or restaurant or two. 

We live in a state that does not take back bottles. When I was growing up, I loved scouring the neighborhood with my cousin, Kelly, looking for bottles to turn in for a deposit. We were saving up for a horse. We had a purpose! Now, few states motivate kids to similar tasks as we see bottles tossed along the roadside, in the woods, scattered along riverbanks, etc. It's sad.

I love when I find an alternative to simply tossing my bottles into the recycling bin. And this one beats all! A wine/beer bottle garden border! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Apparently, it's an old school idea that is being resurrected in our age of creative reuse. Yippee! And Bill and I are so going to do this!

Since I don't have the rights to the photos on Earth911.com, I encourage you to head over there to see the awesome picture. There are links to a step-by-step tutorial and to the following video, which you can just view here. This is from the Gardener's Notebook. If you want to know how to do it, here you go! 

Let me know if you decide to try this, and please, post a picture on the Green Grandma Facebook page. I'd love to see your handiwork!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review It Wednesday -- Wildwood SoapWorks







A couple of months ago, I won a bar of soap. As I sent my address to the company, I added a note about how I review things on Wednesdays on my blog. Would they like to add anything for a review, I asked. They apparently liked the idea and a few days later, I received a package with the soap I chose for a prize (Ice Storm), along with four other items. Surprises like that always make me smile!

So here is my take on the products I received, at no charge to me, from Wildwood SoapWorks.

First, is the soap I won. I was able to choose, so I requested the Ice Storm, which contains the following ingredients: saponified organic oils of: extra virgin olive, coconut, palm fruit, high oleic sunflower, shea butter, castor bean, and jojoba; distilled water, peppermint and spearmint essential oils, blue poppy seeds, and rosemary oleoresin extract.


Yummy. The scent of this soap is invigorating and simply lovely. I've been using it for over a month now, and am pleased to say the scent is as potent as it was when I first received it. Oftentimes, a soap will have a marvelous scent initially, only to lose it after several uses. This is not the case with the Wildwood SoapWorks soap.

The blue poppy seeds, generously sprinkled throughout the bar, add a nice exfoliating texture to the soap, although at times it is a bit abrasive. I would not suggest using this on sunburned skin, for example.

To complement my soap, the kind folks at Wildwood also sent me the Ice Storm Lotion Bar. Again, the minty scent is wonderful. The lotion is in the form of a solid cylinder that pushes up with a twist of the bottom of the plastic bottle, similar to a solid deodorant bar. Again, there are all natural and safe ingredients: organic shea butter, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil, organic high oleic sunflower oil, a proprietary blend of therapeutic grade essential oils and vitamin E.

I have mixed feelings about the lotion bar. I love the scent and the packaging is convenient for travel. However, I find the bar to be a bit sticky when trying to apply it to my skin. But ... I love it for my heels! When my heels are dry and I don't have time to soak my feet in apple cider vinegar, I can do a couple of swipes with the lotion bar and go on my way. It's great for that! It works well to soften elbows, too.

I also received a small .5 oz. tin of Healing Balm, listed as a natural antiseptic ointment, made up of extra virgin olive oil, natural beeswax, goldenseal root, myrrh powder, echinachea, black walnut powder, calendula, tea tree essential oil, and lavender essential oil. Again, it has a pleasant scent. Quite honestly, I haven't had much of an opportunity to try it out. No cuts, no burns. I have tried it on mosquito bites and found it does not relieve the itch. My husband, on the other hand, used it after shaving and was happy to report zero razor burn!

Bill also gave the bug spray a try on a hot, humid day when the bugs were threatening to take him down as he worked in the yard. Success! And with the "Buzzed" Natural Bug and Tick Spray, he wasn't walking around smelling like a citronella candle! The natural blend of essential oils with a proprietary extract, repels mosquitos, ticks, gnats, no-see-ums, black flies, green head flies, chiggers, and other insects. Since it is in a fractionated coconut oil base, it doesn't sweat away or stain clothing. My husband does reapply it throughout the day if he's outside for an extended period of time.

So, for the most part, it works. But we were unhappy to discover that it isn't particularly effective at night when the mosquitoes are on a rampage. However, our property borders the woods where deer bed down for the night, and an occasional morning or afternoon, so ticks are a concern. And it's safe enough to spray on the grandkids when they're playing in the yard. This stuff is essential in anyone's home where ticks are a potential problem!

Finally, we love the additional bar of soap that Wildwood SoapWorks sent to us! The Gardener soap is "A sweet penetrating aroma of eucalyptus and Sage essential oils. Blueberry seeds, corn meal and extra fine pumice are added for gentle exfoliation." We keep this soap by our stationary tubs in the basement so we can give our hands and thorough, and fragrant, washing after working in the yard. This is awesome stuff!

Wildwood SoapWorks offers a wide array of natural products, using only certified organic, plant-based oils. Even the colors are obtained from the use of ground herbs, vegetable purees, or root infusions. Check out their website to see the list of products for baby, bath, pets, and more! Plus, there's some eye candy for the ladies!

As if the review package wasn't generous enough, Wildwood SoapWorks also offered to send a Gardener's Package to one of you! How nice is that?

So, enter to win and a package just may be on its way to you in a week or two. The Gardener's Package includes:
  • Gardener's Soap
  • Solid lotion
  • "Buzzed" Natural Bug and Tick Spray 

Just enter below, and Good Luck!!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are you crunchy?


Guest bloggers make me happy, and Brittany is no exception. When I posted a need for someone to write about being "crunchy," she quickly responded. You see, even though I'd heard the term over and over, quite honestly, I didn't really know what it meant. I mean, I knew it had to do with a greener and healthier lifestyle, but I wasn't sure of all the details. 

In today's post, Brittany tells you of her own journey into crunchiness. By the time you're done reading, you can determine for yourself whether or not you can claim the "crunchy" badge.



What a Crunchy Mom is and Why I Choose to be One

If you haven’t heard of the term “crunchy” before, you aren’t alone. It’s a somewhat new term and there are many people who look at me funny when I tell them I’m crunchy. For the most part, crunchy gets used a lot like the terms: “granola,” “hippie,” and even “green.” While these terms are definitely similar and there are some who would argue there is no difference whatsoever, I think there’s more to being crunchy then the images most people would bring to mind if they heard “hippie” instead.

What Crunchy Is

Crunchy is generally used in reference to a parenting style, although I think it’s important to remember that anyone can be crunchy. Granted many of the crunchy topics refer to parenting choices, but saying crunchy is exclusive to anyone but a parent would be incorrect.

Those who are crunchy generally do not just go with mainstream ideas and practices simply because everyone else is doing so. I’m not saying all mainstream ideas are off limits to the crunchy crowd, but it does mean that crunchy people research. They choose to make educated decisions and therefore, they usually research things most people wouldn’t bother to investigate. 

Of course, there are plenty of people who research their hearts out as well. Research doesn’t make one crunchy. Being crunchy comes with the decision you finally make. The long and short of it is that being crunchy usually puts you in the “natural” category. For instance, someone who is crunchy may eat organic, cloth diaper, avoid plastics, compost, use alternative medicine, use chemical free/natural products, co-sleep, chose to not, or selectively, vaccinate. 

There is one thing I like to mention when I talk about what crunchy looks like however. Being crunchy doesn’t mean you are 100% crunchy. No one can be 100% of anything and that includes crunchiness. There will always be things you could be crunchier on and there may always be things you decide to never go crunchy with. Doing things that are not necessarily crunchy or even anti-crunchy, does not remove you from the crunchy crowd. Nor does it mean that if you see someone who is not crunchy in a particular area you can then look down your nose at him or her. Crunchies should realize that being crunchy is a journey and therefore there should be no “crunchier than thou”s.

Why I am Crunchy

I never intended to be crunchy. I was as mainstream as they get when I got married and had my first child. I’d hear a friend say they cloth diapered or delayed vaccinations and I’d think they were extreme. However, I then had my second child and he dealt with eczema. Nothing major, but it was enough to move me towards my journey of being crunchy. Due to my son having eczema, I suddenly needed to buy unscented/un-dyed laundry detergent. I switched our cleaning products and my children’s personal products. I even began researching alternatives to steroid cream. Some people get to choose if they want to be crunchy, others practically are forced into it. I was one of those who was pushed into being crunchy. After that initial push, I found I had a hunger to learn more ways to keep my kids and my family safe and healthy.

Being crunchy might mean a bit more work. I have to research our options, I have to spend time comparing products to see which are safer, I have to wash my diapers, I even make many of our own personal products. However, I know that being crunchy is making a difference for my family. We are healthier since we became crunchy, we save money (well, at least in most areas), and my kids will know that life doesn’t necessarily come off a shelf and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yes, it’s more work, but I am glad to do it; I’m happy to be crunchy.

Brittany lives in Seattle with her husband and three children. She enjoys researching everything that involves living naturally and writes about her increasingly crunchy life at The Pistachio Project. Please check out her blog for more insight into crunchiness!

Are you crunchy?


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