Tuesday, March 31, 2015

$100 up for grabs!

Coming tomorrow:

10 of us joined forces for this one! We're giving away $100 via Paypal! Lots of painless ways to enter. Spread the word and come back on April 1st to enter. No foolin'!



Monday, March 30, 2015

Fair Trade Certified Fruits -- Are you looking for the label?

We talk a lot about buying organic and non-GMO foods, but how often do you consider fair trade when you're shopping? Did you know that Fair Trade Certified™ tropical fruits have been available for over a decade now in the US? And in Europe, they've been available since the mid-90s. Fair Trade farms adhere to all international legislation regarding pesticide-use standards, meaning the most dangerous pesticides are never used. Even more encouraging news -- many of the Fair Trade fruit farmers are embracing organic farming.

So, when buying bananas, grapes, mangoes, and pineapples, look for the Fair Trade Certified label.

We'll be talking a lot more about Fair Trade in the coming weeks. Let's spread awareness.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Earth Hour 2015 Turn out the lights on March 28th

For the past few years, my husband and I have enjoyed participating in Earth Hour. For one hour, we purposefully turned off and unplugged nearly everything in our house (except the refrigerator and furnace). We turned our heat way down, so the furnace wouldn't kick on. Then we planted ourselves in front of the fireplace and played Bananagrams by candlelight. We enjoyed it so much, we rarely turned on the lights until well after 10 or 11 p.m.

Unfortunately, this year, I will be on the road at 8:30 on Saturday night and will not be able to participate. So Bill and I will just have to find an alternate evening to honor the Earth. But that doesn't mean you can't participate!

After all, people have committed to reducing their carbon emissions for this one hour all around the globe. They're raising their voices, in the darkness, to demand strong action from world leaders. 

Won't you join them in a collective display of your commitment to creating a better future for the planet? Turn off the lights at 8:30 p.m. local time and take a stand against climate change.

Click here for more information

And click here for more fun ideas of what you can do in the dark. I wonder how many Earth Hour babies there are.

Weekend Quote: Notice it.

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it. 
Notice the bumblebee,
the small child,
and the smiling faces.
 Smell the rain,
and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential,
and fight for your dreams.

~Ashley Smith 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

50% off Tiny Prints!

zulily Sale Alert - Get 50% off Tiny Prints!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links


Do you have a special event coming up and need invitations, announcements or any type of personalized home products?

Right now, zulily.com has an AMAZING offer running where you can buy a $40 Tiny Prints voucher for only $20! That's a 50% savings that can't be beat! Click here to check out the sale >> $20 for a $40 Tiny Prints Voucher - Save 50%!

Choosing your energy provider

Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this sponsored post.

Photo by Robert Lynch

Remember how simple life used to be. Back when we didn't have so many darned choices. But having choices can be good, especially when it can save you money and/or let you live according to your convictions.

Energy choice was something I hadn't given much thought to. Then I talked to an electric company rep at the Allegheny Green and Innovation Festival and learned that having a choice is a good thing. I was able to go with a green energy company and not only save money, but do my part in saving the environment as well.

In addition to environmental standards, there are a few other things you should look for in a utility company. 

1. An Established Brand

One of the first things you want to look for in a utility company is an established brand. While this can have a broad definition, it typically refers to a company that has been in operation for several years and has maintained a stellar reputation for offering the public excellent products, expedient services, and cost-effective rates. When you start your search for an established brand in New York, consider Columbia Utilities. This company has been in operation since 1938 and has a reputation for offering great services to great people. 

2. Reasonable Prices

Most of us are on the look out for ways to save money. Although you're probably interested in getting dependable energy services, undoubtedly, you don't want to pay an arm and a leg for them. In recognizing this reality, it's important that you carefully compare the costs and fees charged by several utility companies before you determine whose services to use. This way, you'll be able to get the most cost-effective pricing on the market. Also keep in mind that the utility industry is highly competitive, which means some companies may be willing to match or beat the prices of other brands in order to attain and retain your business.

3. An excellent Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

One final characteristic you definitely want to look for in a utility company is an excellent BBB rating. The BBB has earned a solid reputation for providing consumers with excellent, accurate information regarding how effective specific companies are in operating within the marketplace in an ethical manner. For this reason, it's a good idea to visit their website and see if the utility company you're interested in has attained a favorable rating from them. 

When it's time for you to start investing in utility services, it's important for you to locate an energy provider who will offer you the absolutely amazing services you deserve. To make it happen, be sure that you check out the above recommendations as a start.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Home Called Place

It's been over a year since we sold my childhood home. Yet I still struggle with a deep aching to go there. This has disturbed me. After all, in some ways, it's just a house, right? With Mom gone, I can't help wondering why this place has such a hold on me. Place. That's the secret... and I figured that out on Thursday as I was reading the day's devotion in Our Daily Bread. I read it. I paused. I read it again.

"A thousand strands of time, events, and people weave into a tapestry we call place. More than just a house, place is where meaning, belonging, and safety come together under the covering of our best efforts at unconditional love. Place beckons us with memories buried deep in our souls. Even when our place isn't perfect, its hold on us is dramatic, magnetic."  ~Randy Kilgore, A Place to Be

That's it! It's not about the house; it's about the place!

While it was home for my entire life, it was just Grandma's house to my niece, nephew, and daughters. It was Grandma Gene's to the her great-grandchildren. None of these people could call it home the way I did. But they loved it just the same. I've struggled with the reasons why. And then, on March 19th as I sat reading my Bible and this short devotion, I had my answer. 

How we all long for this place. Yet I'm encouraged by the words of Jesus, who said, "Let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1,2) 

I will find my place again someday. And when I get there, I'll settle onto the couch with my mom, my sisters, my dad, my daughters, niece, nephew, grandkids, and more... We'll crowd around the kitchen table and share stories, like we always did, and once again, I'll be home.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#Relay4Kids Campaign Helping SOS Children's Villages

One of the things I love about blogging as Green Grandma is that I'm not bound to focusing on one issue alone. While "Green" speaks for itself, "Grandma" is a broad category -- one I continually redefine as necessary.

Part of caring for the earth is caring for the people inhabiting it. And not just those in our own neighborhoods. We need to have a global concern for people if we really want to make a difference and show our kids and grandkids what being human is all about.

Partnering with Mom Bloggers for Social Good, SOS Children's Villages is kicking off their #Relay4Kids campaign today. When anyone (that means you) shares posts from Huffington Post's Global Motherhood for the relay, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to SOS Children's Villages.

Putting aside any issues we may have with the toxins and chemicals in products manufactured by the company, the good this money will do can't be denied. Simply by sharing posts, you can unlock $1 or more that will go directly to helping orphaned children globally as well as here in the US where SOS works with foster children in Illinois and Florida.

SOS Children's Villages build families for children in need as they help them shape their own futures. The organization shares in the development of their communities. They believe that every child belongs with a family and will grow with love, respect, and security.

To learn more about this wonderful organization, please take a few minutes to watch the video. And then share Huffington Post's Global Motherhood posts with the hashtag #Relay4Kids.

*Blogs must be shared between March 23 and April 24, on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Tumblr and Google+ via the Huffington Post’s social media icons. Each share will trigger a $1 donation up to $30,000. There are no limits on how many times you can share a post. 

** via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and users can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still receive a minimum donation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Easter Bunny's gone green!

Disclosure: I am an ambassador for ClimateStore and this is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for my thoughts expressed here. Nevertheless, they are my honest thoughts and opinions. 

Easter baskets. They were so simple when my kids were growing up and I wasn't concerned about artificial colors in candy, GMOs in chocolate, or loading my kids' rooms up with more and more stuff. Things have changed, however, and Easter baskets aren't as simple as they once were. Now, health-conscious and green living parents are looking for alternatives to the way things used to be. Many are using natural dyes to paint their eggs and are filling their children's baskets with organic snacks and toys made from recycled and safe materials.

Here are some of my recommendations for Easter basket goodies from ClimateStore:

Fox Waste-Not Animal Kit
Recommended for ages 8 and up, this kit includes everything you need (except the 20 oz. water bottle) to create a fuzzy orange fox. eeBoo uses recycled materials, which help teach your kids about sustainability. And they've found that crafting actually helps develop parts of the brain that deal with math. So if your kiddo is struggling with arithmetic, pull them away from the homework and set them down at the craft table for awhile. Available in hedgehog and chameleon, too.

Jump Rope
This eco-friendly jump rope by Green Toys is the perfect Easter basket stuffer. Not only are there no batteries required, but the jump rope is made of 100% cotton rope with handles made from recycled plastic. Plus, jump ropes take your kiddos outside to play. What a great way to burn up that excess energy kids always seem to have! Available in 3 colors.

Recycling Truck

This Green Toy is kind of a practice-what-you-preach toy. A recycling truck made from recycled plastics. Brilliant! What child wouldn't delight in "driving" this truck around the neighborhood?

What Do You Know Bingo

A Bingo game loaded with fun facts to help children learn about the natural world. Yes! Add to that eeBoo's dedication to providing earth-friendly products. This Bingo game is for ages 5 and up and is printed on high-quality 90% recycled greyboard.

Ecosaucer Flying Disc

Take some plastic milk jugs and create toys for kids. That's exactly what Green Toys does and this flying disc is no exception. Another Easter basket goody that takes your kids outside for some fresh air and exercise. Mom and Dad might even enjoy tossing the Ecosaucer around a bit!
Honest Kids Binder Pencil Case 
Made from upcycled Honest Kids® drink pouches, this zip up case is perfect for pencils, crayons, or any little collections your child may be gathering.

Of course, there are many other wonderful items you can find on the ClimateStore website that would make excellent fillers for your little ones or your teenagers. Why does it make it difference to shop online at ClimateStore? Simply because they care about what is happening to the earth we'll be leaving behind for our kids and grandkids. Isn't that reason enough? As they state on their website: A planet friendly lifestyle should be easy. They've searched high and low for their collection of energy efficient and low carbon products, so you don't have to! You can trust them.

Won't you prove to your family this year that the Easter Bunny has gone green? Let's hop to it.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

TBT -- Mothballs, olives, honey, and daffodils

Today on Throwback Thursday, we're revisiting some helpful little tidbits from February 2012.

Photo by Joy Shrader

Remember the smell of mothballs when you walked into your grandparents' house? Hopefully, it's just a memory for you. But if you're still using mothballs in your closets, you might want to consider getting rid of them. Why? Because they contain the chemicals paradichlorobenzene (PCDB) and naphthalene, known carcinogens.

Click here for a recipe for a natural moth repellant that combines rosemary, mint, ginseng, thyme and cloves. 

Photo by Jiri Hodan

While looking for some helpful hints to share, I couldn't help laughing at this one from Health Magazine (April 2008):

"An antioxidant in extra-virgin olive oil can protect against brain-cell damage, according to a recent study. Plus, women who eat a Mediterranean diet, often rich in olive oil, seem to reduce their risk of dying (from any cause) by 20 percent."

Did you get that ... "reduce their risk of dying by 20 percent." Really? So, why hasn't this immortality secret gotten out?

Photo by me

Eating locally produced raw honey will help ward off seasonal allergies, as the pollen in the honey will work to build up an immunity to those things that normally set your eyes a-itchin' and your nose a-runnin'. How cool is that?

But remember ... because of the chance of botulism, NEVER give honey to infants!

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

Flowers inspire. According to researchers at Texas A&M University, an arrangement of fresh flowers in your office will bring out innovative ideas and solutions to problems. 

Those are my truths and tidbits for today. Hope you found something useful here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review it Wednesday -- Renewable, a new release by author Eileen Flanagan

Former Peace Corps volunteer Eileen Flanagan recently released her insightful memoir Renewable (She Writes Press, March 3, 2015), which follows her transformation from a mother afraid she's lost the passionate discourse and bold ideals of her youth, to a social activist handcuffed to the White House gate. I was sent a copy of the book to review at no cost to me.

When I received Renewable by Eileen Flanagan, I intended to browse the pages and put it aside for future reading. However, I found myself caught up in her story as it resonated within me.

Ms Flanagan "attacks" the consumerism she, herself, was caught up in. After moving from their suitable house to a much larger home, she writes:

To me, life in the new house felt strange. After dinner, Megan and Luke headed up to their spacious third-floor bedrooms. With piles of homework and a bathroom of their own, they often didn't come down again until breakfast. Once the dishwasher was loaded and the food put away, Tom pulled out his laptop on the leather living room couch and started recording the dying people he'd visited that day, a chore that took even longer than it had when he used to do it on paper, though the computer was supposed to make it faster. [Her husband was a social worker] With everyone else on an electronic device, I headed up to my newly painted office to have a good cry. 

I missed walking by Megan's open door on the way to the bathroom and poking my head in casually. Now I had to trudge up to the third floor just to say hi.

That is the kind of life so many of us work diligently for... and for what? We give our kids plenty of room and plenty of devices so we really don't have to spend much time with them. Because, let's face it, we're all busy chasing the American dream and don't have a lot of energy left at the end of the day.

While that's not the heart of the book, it still resonated with me as I looked around my home filled with stuff. 

Years ago, I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's wonderful book, Gift from the Sea. If you've never read this little gem, I highly recommend it. Like Flanagan, Lindbergh longed for simplicity in her life. Living with few things in a cottage by the sea lead to some revelations that seared a place in my heart. Yet here I sit, surrounded by my things. Part of me envies those living minimalistic lives while the other part loves my stuff. It's a real quandary, and it bonds me somehow to the author of Renewable. A Philadelphia Quaker, Flanagan shares her mid-life spiritual crisis with us. It seemed to have started with an aching feeling inside. Therein lies a familiarity for, perhaps, all of us.

Her quest for making a difference, not only in her own life, but in the world in general, is heartfelt and wrenching at times. She takes you on her personal journey... a journey that eventually leads her to finding peace amidst the war on the environment. She shares her one-day-in-jail experience:

At age fifty, I snapped half a plastic handcuff around one wrought iron bar of the White House fence. Glancing over my shoulder at the famous sloping lawn and the imposing white pillars of the south portico, I slipped the other cuff around my maroon leather glove and locked it into place. To my left, Robert Kennedy, Jr. and his son Conor were doing the same... In front of us, actress Daryl Hannah sat on the cold sidewalk by a banner telling President Obama to "Lead on Climate."

Hers is quite a story. But Flanagan tells it in the same way she seeks to live her life... with simplicity, honesty, and transparency. I highly recommend Renewable for individual reading or for a book club whose participants like to discuss something deeper than 50 shades of... well, you know.

Reviewing it for you,

Renewable is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound and wherever books are sold.

About The Author: A graduate of both Duke and Yale, Eileen Flanagan writes for a wide range of national publications and speaks at conferences, colleges, and religious gatherings. She is the author of the memoir Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope. Her previous book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change--and When to Let Go, was endorsed by the Dalai Lama and won the Silver Nautilus Book Award. A leader of Earth Quaker Action Team, she lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two children. Learn more about her work at eileenflanagan.com

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