Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lemongrass Spa... Ahhhhh

Every once in awhile, I stumble upon a line of products that I love. When I do so, I share them with you. Sometimes, it's a sponsored review. Other times, it's just me letting you know why I think a product or company is worthy of a shout out.



Today, I want to tell you about some products I really, really love. It's not a sponsored post or review. However, I did have a party for the products on Sunday, and the online version is still open, so I will get credit toward free products if you decide to place an order. 

The company is called Lemongrass Spa and they feature products which are safe and affordable, made with only the highest-grade ingredients for your skin. It's an ethical company that tests its products on people, not animals. All items are gluten-free and cruelty-free!

According to their brochure, "Lemongrass has been 'going lime-green' since our inception! We strive to utilize product packaging that can be recycled or reused to provide sustainability to our environment. From our cornstarch packing peanuts and corn-based product labels, to our reusable gift bags and jars, we constantly look for the most eco-friendly options available. And with your health always at the forefront, our fragrances are phthalate-free, colorants are from natural sources and our essential oils are organically grown from farms around the world."

My friend's daughter, Sarah, was the consultant for my Spa Party, and she helped a group of 14 ladies relax on my patio by providing each of us with soothing foot baths. Ahh. What a nice way to de-stress. By the time we were done, each of us had amazingly soft feet and the entire area smelled simply delightful.

While Lemongrass Spa offers a wide range of products from Sheer Minerals makeup, soaps, hair products, body lotions, aromatherapy, and more, I am only going to personally recommend the products I've tried and loved. That's not to say you wouldn't love the other products; it's just that I haven't tried them yet.

I will say there was one product I did not like -- the Natural Stick Deodorant. Neither my husband nor I found it to be effective, so I was given credit to purchase something else. No questions asked and no product to return. Easy peasy.

Here are the products I tried and like:
  • Organic Mascara -- Made with chamomile, coffee, and rice extract, it's smudge-proof and water resistant. There are no parabens or petrochemicals and I've been wearing it for weeks.
  • Hair Spray -- I only sampled this at the party on Sunday, but I really liked it. Plus, there's a travel size, which is convenient. The spray is made with Flax Seed for softness and shine and it did seem to add volume with a light hold.
  • Foaming Liquid Soap -- I LOVED this. It made my hands feel so soft just from washing with it. There are a bunch of choices, too, so you can find a scent that pleases you -- Tea Tree Citrus, Grapefruit Lily, Coconut Lime Vanilla, Lemon Sorbet, Spearmint Eucalyptus, Pomegranate, Lavender, and Unscented. They even have an on-the-go foaming travel pump for those of you who avoid potentially toxic public bathroom soaps.
  • Body Polish -- Oh my. After I washed my hands with the liquid soap, I used the Almond Body Polish, which gently exfoliated and moisturized my hands. I couldn't stop touching my hands and rubbing them. They felt that good. 
  • Foot Pampering -- The highlight of the evening was when I dropped a small amount of the Epson salt/cucumber and calendula blend into a basin filled with warm water and slid my feet in. The smell was divine. After a short soak, I used the Cucumber Foot Scrub, creating the softest feet I've had since I was an infant. Seriously. Then I rinsed off in the basin and finished off the spa experience with the Cucumber Foot Creme. I smelled and felt delicious!
The above are all products I tried and highly recommend. Of course, I'd love for you to order something, as it would help me get more products for free (and it would, after all, be a great way for you to show your favorite grandma blogger some lovin'... ). Just click the link here and anything you buy between now and July 5, 2015 will be credited to my account. 

Thanks, ladies (and gents),



Monday, June 22, 2015

Anyone else feel burned out at times?

 
Photo by Bethany D. Schad showing what I'd rather be doing right now!



Do you ever feel burned out? I mean totally and completed done. That's how I'm feeling today and it's mostly because I'm being pulled in too many different directions. And most of those directions require my volunteering my time in one way or another. Sometimes, it behooves us to just say no. 

Anyone feel the same way? When bills are piling up and hours are winding down and everyone seems to need a piece of me, I just want to retreat and do nothing. I get super sensitive and snappy, reminiscent of my PMS days. I feel like I could cry at the slightest provocation, intended or not. Oh, and I feel fat.

Yeah, that's how I'm feeling right now and I just thought I'd share it. If I'm absent for a few days, it's just my need to catch up on some other things.

Stick around, okay? I'll be looking for you when I return.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

The value of a father



A good father 
is one of the most unsung, 
unpraised, unnoticed, and yet 
one of the most valuable assets 
in our society.


~Billy Graham

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fatherhood, the second time around

With Father's Day coming up on Sunday, I wanted to give tribute to my husband, Bill, who stepped in after my first husband died, and became a loving daddy to my little girls. I never imagined how much love he would pour into them. Not only was he a father to the fatherless, but he was the daddy they needed as they grew. 

For all you single moms out there, hold on. Never settle for a man who does not love your children. Period. There are countless good men out there. You just have to wait for the right one. The one who will not only invite you into his heart, but will open his heart to your children as well.

I'm speaking from experience. I'm speaking because I know

Not only has he been the best father they could have, but he's an amazing grandpap as well. 

Happy Father's Day, Bill. I'll be ever grateful to God for the gift of you.

Hana

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd -- Do you fit the bill?

I admit it: I'm a grammar nerd. However, I also have to confess that I rarely proofread my posts. I'm just always so busy with my "real" job as a writer, editor, speaker, and voice-over talent with my company, Speechless, that I just don't take the time. Most of the time, that works for me, but you will occasionally find a glaring error or two. Believe me when I say, they're simply typos. I came by my grammar nerdiness honestly. My father, who was fluent in seven languages, could not tolerate grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors. He would make copies of letters he'd receive, typed by secretaries, circle the errors in red, and mail them back to the bosses. Ouch! He'd be appalled that I'm sending my work out there to the public without going through it carefully with a fine-toothed editor's comb. Yes, well... it is what it is. Grammarly.com sent me this cool infographic and asked me to share it with my readers. I hope you enjoy it. And 'fess up. Let me know in the comments below, on a scale of 1-5 (least to most), where you fit in as a grammar nerd.

Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd Infographic

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hard Days Hard Nights... a review

Today's Review it Wednesday is a bit different. We're not talking green living... we're talking Rock 'n' Roll!
 

I recently became acquainted with Pittsburgh legend, Pat DiCesare (of DiCesare Engler Productions) when we both presented workshops at a writers' conference in Leesburg, Virginia. We had dinner together with a group of others and then spent some time together at the Pennwriters conference here in Pittsburgh last month. Pat is a down-to-earth great guy. You'd never know, when meeting him, that he was responsible for bringing the Beatles to Pittsburgh in 1964 or that he promoted nearly every major rock and pop act that came to Pittsburgh and the tri-state area... acts like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, Chicago, Janis Joplin... the list goes on. Pat DiCesare has a fascinating story to tell. From his humble beginnings as part of a large Italian family to his tales of dealing with celebrity personalities, Pat maintains a humility and grace rarely seen in people of his stature.

 
Of course, he can't sit down with each of us and share his experiences one-on-one. So he did the next best thing. He wrote a book. Not just any book, but a really, really good book. If you're one of the thousands who attended a concert promoted by Pat DiCesare, or if you simply love true stories about rock stars who seem bigger than life, you have to pick up a copy of his book, HARD DAYS HARD NIGHTS. You won't be disappointed. 



Pick up a copy and find out why, despite all his hard work and considerable expense, Pat couldn't even attend the Beatles concert he promoted. It was September 1964 -- see if you can figure it out.

Discover why Janis Joplin was delayed in her dressing room the night of her concert and what she was wearing (or not wearing) underneath her fishnet dress.

Find out who demanded cases of Dom Perignon in their dressing rooms and what Pat did when he could only locate 3 bottles in all of Pittsburgh. Hint: someone's going to have a hissy fit.

The stories go on and on. And even for someone like me, who was never that into rock 'n' roll and going to concerts, the book is a fascinating read. It would be the perfect Father's Day present... I know it's cutting it close, but you could always slip an IOU into a card and let your husband or dad know the book is on its way. 

You can also buy the books directly from Pat DiCesare at book signings across the region. Or, if you know a group who may be interested in having him as a guest speaker, I highly recommend booking him. Visit his website for more information.

When you pick up the book, you'll notice the endorsements on the back from Alice Cooper and Shep Gordon, Tommy James, and Lou Christie. And this blurb:

Pat DiCesare is widely considered to be one of the fathers of the rock 'n' roll concert business, not only in Pittsburgh, but nationwide.

As he says in the final chapter of the book, "They were hard days and hard nights, but they were the best days of my life." That shines through on every page.

It's an honor to know Pat DiCesare. Read his book and you'll feel as if you know him, too.

Reviewing it for you,

 




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Ways to Help Save the Bees

My husband worked hard to remove the top layer of grass on an 8'x8' section of our lawn. Then he chopped up the roots from the oak trees and turned the soil a bit. Next, he filled the wheel barrel a few times with compost soil and spread it out, mixing it with some organic top soil he'd bought. Next, he planted seeds; but only after he'd thrown out an entire container of wildflower seeds that bore the Miracle Gro label (we bought them before we knew any better). Why did my 68-year-old husband, who had a heart attack and a bulging disc in his back just this past February, do all of this work? Quite simply, to help save the bees. He's my hero.

Now, we're patiently waiting and watching as the tender, but tenacious, seeds sprout and grow. 

We avoided planting any seeds or plants in our gardens that were treated with neonics. The problem with neonicotinoids is that they act as a nerve poison. This causes disorientation in bees, adversely affecting their homing instincts, which means they cannot find their way back to their hives. And if they do arrive back at the hive, they come back with pesticide-laden pollen and nectar. The results, since the EPA approved the use of neonics, has been widespread bee colony collapse.

This is just like ours and available here.
Back to what we're doing... In addition to planting the pollinator garden, we hung up our bee house and the bees went in, laid eggs, packed the holes up, and left. Now we're patiently waiting and watching as the tender, but tenacious, baby bees hatch and escape. 

I also put out two saucers of river rocks and colorful glass and filled them with just a bit of water so the pollinators have fresh water every day. And, we're only planting plants and seeds not treated with neonicotinoids.

So, here are the 5 tips I promised you:
  1. Plant a bee-friendly garden. (Ask, ask, ask about neonicotinoids before you buy!)
  2. Avoid products like Roundup and other toxic pesticides and insecticides.
  3. Add a bee house to your garden/yard. 
  4. Add a water supply source. Click here for an example.
  5. Go organic -- from compost to garden soil, keep it organic and toxin-free.
There are my tips. Feel free to comment below and share what you and your family are doing to save the bees in your neighborhood. Every little bit helps.

Keeping it green in the garden,















Monday, June 15, 2015

Answers to your questions about GMOs


Sometimes, I just assume you all know what I'm talking about when I mention GMOs (which I do on a regular basis!). So I thought it would be a good idea to refresh you a bit on what they are exactly, and why I am so opposed to them. The info I'm sharing today is from a brochure from Non GMO Project Verified.

What are GMOs?

GMO stands for 'genetically modified organisms.' These are plants or animals created through genetic engineering (GE). It's done through a gene splicing technique of biotechnology where the DNA from different species are merged. The results are organisms that cannot occur in nature or traditional crossbreeding (i.e. hybrids).

For the most part, commercial GMOs are created to either produce an insecticide or to survive the direct application of herbicide.

What about safety?

When it comes to consuming genetically modified foods, there are various opinions. Many are based on biased studies done from the very companies set to profit from GMO crops (think Monsanto, Syngenta, etc.). The thing is, 60+ countries worldwide do not believe these foods are safe for consumption. There are strict regulations and/or complete bans on production and sale of GMOs in these countries (Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, for example) However, in the good ol' U. S. of A., the government has approved most GMOs. 

Fortunately, as consumers who care about our health and our families, we have the right to choose non-GMO food. But that brings up the issue:

Why aren't GMOs labeled?

Despite the continual outcry from the public, there are no requirements in the U.S. regarding the labeling of GMOs. In this, as in many cases, what you don't know can hurt you. You can trust, however, that there are no genetically modified organisms in any food labeled 'organic' or with the Non GMO Project Verified label. 

What about the environment and GMOs?


I'm glad you asked. At this point, over 80% of GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance. That means the use of products like Roundup and other toxic herbicides has increased dramatically since the introduction of GMOs. Now we have 'super weeds' and 'super bugs.' And, you guessed it, we now have a need for more toxic products to control them. Products like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). 

Here are the facts: 
  • GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture
  • GMOs are developed and sold by the world's biggest chemical companies
  • The long-term impact of GMOs on the environment are a mystery right now
  • Once these GMOs are released into the environment, these lab-created organisms cannot be recalled (kind of reminds you of a horror movie, doesn't it?)
Are most farmers benefiting from GMOs?

Ask a farmer who's been sued by Monsanto or other biotechnology companies because the companies patented seeds have contaminated the farmers fields. Wait... that sounds backwards. Yep. Sure does. Farmers who opt for non-GMO crops and don't buy into the whole GMO scam the government is propagating cannot sue Monsanto for contaminating their crops by cross pollination, etc., but Monsanto can sue them. Makes me want to puke.

Is the produce at local farmers markets safe?

Maybe. Maybe not. I caution you to ask questions about GMOs and Roundup. Move on to the next booth if
  • the farmer pretends to not know what you're talking about
  • the farmer actually does not know what you're talking about
  • the farmer starts to defend GMOs, Monsanto, or the use of Roundup (Yikes! Run!!)
There, that's my little overview on GMOs and some of the reasons I am opposed to them. I'll share some of the health concerns I have in another post.

Happy and healthy eating,

 


Friday, June 12, 2015

Dinner in the Field at Freedom Farms

Don't let the "...in the field" part throw you. The pavilion is quite comfortable.

This past Sunday, I attended Dinner in the Field event at Freedom Farms in Valencia, PA. The theme was 'Fresh Herbs' and we were served some amazing food right from the farm. We also had ridiculously delicious cocktails made from strawberries and basil, rhubarb and rosemary. I haven't had a mixed drink in years, but The King of the Garden (the one with strawberries, basil, and dark rum) made me wish I could have one or two nightly! I'm actually going to make a pitcher of them for an upcoming party I'm having. Can't wait to taste it again!

Jessica with her youngest of three

Bethany with Robyn Lee

My daughter, Jessica, treated her sister, Bethany, and me to dinner with the Kings for our birthdays. And I'm so glad she did. Our friend, Erin, joined us, and my husband babysat two of Jess's children, so we only had the 3-month-old with us for the evening. Like I said, the food was amazing. 

Equally amazing to me was the reaction I got when Lisa (Mama King) saw me there. She squealed (literally), "I love your book! It saved my winter."


Pete's signature locks are hidden in this picture
After asking her what she liked about it, she said, "Everything. The hair rinse. Cleaning the toilet. Oh... and the face mask. My sister's doing that now. And Pete rinses his hair in vinegar all the time. I lent him my copy and he's never given it back."

She went on to tell me she must have me come to one of the events for a book signing. One thing led to another and next month you'll be able to read my column in the Freedom Farms magazine, where "Farming is King."

Lisa King sharing planting tips

 


Needless to say, I was delighted by the accolades. Looks like Lisa King and I have a mutual admiration society. If the name of the farm sounds familiar, there used to be a reality television show called The Farm Kings. They're one and the same.



 


If you are in the area, I highly recommend attending one of their Dinner in the Field events. The next one, Circus in the Field, will be held on Sunday, June 28 at 6 PM. You can find out more information or purchase tickets online at www.FreedomFarmsPA.com or by calling 724-586-5551. You can also buy tickets at their Farmers Market, Traveling Markets, Donut Shop, or Sandwich Shop

And look! Even in the field, we used cloth napkins. I'm in love.

The table settings and centerpieces (old liquor bottles spray painted and graced with some of the flowers from Lisa's garden -- I failed to get a picture) were done by a really cool place in downtown Butler called All About Reclaimed. I can't wait to take a trip out there to see their shop.


You can see one of the yellow centerpieces in the background

Lisa King keeps herself and her family busy. I find it hard to believe she actually had time to read VINEGAR FRIDAYS. She's a dynamo who never stops.

Looking forward to my next trip to the farm,



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Homeopathy -- Some of my favorite remedies

If you've been around for awhile, you know I love homeopathy. If I can opt for a remedy that comes from plant, mineral, or animal sources rather than a chemical lab, I'm all for it.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hypericum


Hypericum -- About 15 years ago, I weaned myself off Prozac and lithium (used to treat my bipolar depression) and started taking St. John's Wort (hypericum). It has worked to stabilize my moods for all these years and has prevented any kind of flare up. I adjust my dose according to need (between 300 mg and 900 mg per day). Years into this homeopathic treatment, I discovered another use for it -- it's been known to help ease the symptoms of Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome, which I suffer from as well. Ahhh... no wonder I felt better.
 
Arnica


Arnica -- Sometimes I take the pill form and other times I use the cream. Either way, it's my first choice to ease pain before I reach for an NSAID. 

Apis Mellifica


Apis Mellifica  -- After being told by my doctor to start taking a niacin supplement, I discovered I was allergic to it. The hives and swelling were awful! Within minutes of dissolving some apis mellifica tablets under my tongue, the hives subsided. It seemed truly miraculous.

Phosphorus


Phosphorus -- I use this for diarrhea instead of Imodium. Works wonders.

Nux Vomica

Nux Vomica -- When I'm nauseous, I pop a few of these tablets under my tongue.

Silver

Colloidal Silver -- I developed asthma when I was 27. There were times when it was quite severe and I landed in the hospital on several occasions. I was on several medications daily and never went anywhere without my rescue inhaler. Then I discovered Innerlight's Silver Plus, a combination of colloidal silver, gold, titanium, and copper. It changed my life. As long as I'm taking it regularly (every other day or so), my asthma is gone. However, the times I've run out of it or forgotten to take it for a week or so, guess what? The wheezing starts up again.

The Silver Plus also boosts my immune system. Since I started taking it, I've rarely had any illnesses that used to plague me -- colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, flu... Plus, my husband swears by it to control his IBS. We're real believers. Unfortunately, I just discovered the company is out of business as of April 30, 2015. So now I'm in a bit of a panic over what we're going to use to replace our Silver Plus.

When it comes to homeopathy, the US is a bit behind. In India, over 100 million people rely primarily on homeopathy for medical care and in Switzerland, a 2011 study commissioned by the government found that homeopathy was effective and should be covered by the national health care system, which it now is. It is also covered by the national health care system in Holland. [Rodale's Organic Life, July/August 2015]



In addition to buying Silver Plus from Innerlight, I also have Hyland's Homeopathic Remedy Chest, which contains 29 different homeopathic remedies for a variety of conditions. My husband and I have used nearly all of them at one time or another.


If you're uncertain whether or not homeopathy is for you, I encourage you to do some research. You just might find the 'cure' you're looking for and it will come without a doctor's prescription.

Sharing my experiences,

 



Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and am expressing my personal experiences regarding homeopathic remedies. Please consult with your physician prior to starting any homeopathic regimen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy birthday, Bubba!

Bethany on her 2nd birthday... long before we understood the dangers of artificial food coloring!


Thirty-three years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I named her Bethany because I loved the softness of the name. It reminded me of sweetness and kindness. To this day, the name still fits her perfectly.


2 years old


The middle name was an equally easy choice -- Dawn -- after my best friend since kindergarten. I liked the idea of honoring a friendship by naming my daughter after her. I hoped it would create in Bethany a sense of loyalty that is essential to friendship. 

9 years old

I was honored to raise this beautiful young lady. She is sweet, kind, and loyal (as I'd hoped), but she is also strong, committed, and devoted (qualities I hope she got from me). She has a servant's heart like both of her fathers. And she resonates with grace and forgiveness, which she gleaned from the examples and teachings of her second father. 

14 years old

She has triumphed over hardships many others would have surrendered to as victims. One of the most touching things I've ever heard her say was, "I don't regret anything I've gone through because I wouldn't be who I am without any of it." Oh, if only more people could embrace that philosophy in life.

Jessica, Bethany and me

As you can tell, I am a proud mama. Bethany is a devoted wife and fantastic mother and like I said in the beginning of this post, I am honored to be her mother.

Happy birthday, Bubba. I love you with everything in me.

Mom

Monday, June 8, 2015

What's for lunch? How about some organic hummus?

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

 

I love a challenge, don't you? Well, Wild Oats challenged me to come up with a recipe with some of the products they sent to me. I already had some organic purple carrots and organic cucumbers, so I decided to make hummus for lunch. 

 
Starting with the above 3 ingredients, I added a few more, tossed them in the blender, and here's what I ended up with.




When I started putting together my ingredients, I realized I was missing a couple. Staples like tahini and/or cumin were not in my cupboard or spice rack. Uh oh. So I decided to compromise. And let me tell you, the result was delicious. Here's the recipe:
  • One can organic garbanzo beans 
  • 3 TBSP organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp organic garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP organic paprika
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp finely ground Himalayan salt
  • 1 TBSP organic almond butter
Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the liquid. Pinch off the shells from the beans. I know it's a bit time-consuming, but you just won't get the right consistency if you don't do this. If you have small children, this is a perfect chore for them to do. Just make sure they wash their hands well first!

Toss all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend. Add some of the liquid from the garbanzo beans until you get the desired consistency for your taste.

Serve with pita and fresh veggies and enjoy!


To make it a simply perfect lunch, I added a bowl of organic strawberries from Freedom Farms


Wild Oats makes it easy to 'play' with food and create delicious meals and snacks. Why not check out their supply of affordable organics at your local Walmart, come up with a yummy recipe, and post a picture on Instagram for them to see? Make sure you follow Wild Oats and tag them. Of course, folks are always looking for new recipes on Pinterest, so why not share it on there, too. Have fun with it.

Oh, and be sure to join us for a Twitter party on Wednesday, June 10 from 7-8 p.m. EST. Wild Oats, Bison Dave, Organic Trade, and Organic Center will be discussing hot topics like non-GMOs (you know I'll be all over that one), organic farming, organic meal planning, and how to make organic foods more affordable and accessible to everyone. Three lucky participants will each win a $50 gift certificate to Walmart, which can really kickstart your affordable organic meal planning! Use the hashtag #AffordableOrganics and join the party!

Hope to see you there!


 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

June is a month for weddings


Today would have been our 34th anniversary, had my husband lived.  


Brief is life but love is long.

                                                                                                     ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, June 5, 2015

Vinegar Friday -- Some of my favorite tips

TGIVF!

It's the first Friday of the month, which means it's Vinegar Friday! If you're relatively new to the blog, let me tell you a little bit about what that means.

Several years ago, I started a weekly feature on the blog called Vinegar Fridays. Every Friday for about a year, I wrote about vinegar. When I felt as if I had no more to say about it, I quit. That's when I heard, "You can't quit Vinegar Fridays!" from a disgruntled group of followers. So I promised them a book. In November 2011, VINEGAR FRIDAYS hit the shelves.

Originally selling for $12.99, the book is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a mere $6.99. It is packed with tips on how vinegar can be used to replace many of the toxins in our lives, from the kitchen to the laundry room to the medicine chest. Plus there are recipes and even a children's story as an added bonus!

Since Green Grandma was so closely identified with vinegar, I renewed the feature on the blog. Now it runs once a month, however, instead of once a week.

Here are a few of my favorite tips from my book:
  • If your showerhead has seen better days, grab an old plastic bread bag, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar and secure the bag over the showerhead. Let the DWV (distilled white vinegar) do its magic for an hour or so. After the bubbling stops, remove the bag and turn on the water. Voila! A shiny, efficient showerhead. Chapter 3 Spic-and-Span without the Chemicals. Vinegar and Cleaning
  • To save money and still reap the benefits of spot-free dishes, use DWV in the rinse agent compartment of your dishwasher. If you are still dealing with spots, pour 1/2 cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher before you run it. This is in addition to your dishwasher detergent, of course. Chapter 4 Coffee, Tea or Vinegar? Vinegar in the Kitchen
  • Hands smelling oniony or garlicky? Wash them in some distilled white vinegar. Problem solved. Chapter 6 Vinegar -- The Original Odor Eater
  • Add 1/2 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar) to a warm water foot bath. After a 5-minute soak, your feet will be soft and smooth. Chapter 8 Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder... Or in that Bottle of Vinegar
  • Mix 1/2 cup of ACV in 2 cups of water and pour it over your hair after shampooing and do not rinse it. The ACV rinse is an excellent way to strip away all the gunk in your hair every once in awhile. Note: You can substitute DWV in place of ACV. Many people with light-colored hair prefer this. Chapter 11 No More Tangles... and No More Toxins. Vinegar and Hair Care
  • When weeds and grass start poking through the bricks or stones on your patio or walkway, kill them off safely by pouring undiluted DWV on them. Chapter 15 Great Outdoors
  • To keep centipedes out of your house, mix together 1 part vinegar with 1/4 part cumin in a spray bottle and spray the perimeter of your house. This should repel them. Chapter 16 Creepy Crawlers
  •  Add 1/2 cup of DWV to the rinse cycle when doing laundry. It will soften your clothing and help reduce static cling. Plus, vinegar whitens, deodorizes, and disinfects... which means there is no need for bleach -- which is so toxic it shouldn't be in your laundry room anyway. Chapter 17 Snuggle-free and Loving It! Vinegar in the Laundry Room
The above some of my favorite vinegar tips. Of course, the book contains many, many more. Do yourself a favor and order a copy. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

If you have a vinegar tip you would like to see included in an upcoming edition of Vinegar Fridays, please share it in the
comments below. It just might make it into an ebook that is in the works!


 
 





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Love Like Weeds -- a review

As a poet who has won an award or two for her poetry, I still find myself in awe (and envy) of those who can sculpt words into works of art. Those who know the power of few and embrace it. Poets who get it.

Julie Ann Cook has been a member of the Green Grandma community for quite awhile now. Through some postings on Facebook, I discovered this young mom of three had suffered the loss of two pregnancies and was pregnant again. I put a Post-It on my computer to remind me to pray for her.



Less than a month later, she let me know that her baby died. On October 31st, she delivered a 1 lb. 8 oz. 4.75" stillborn son. I wept for her and her family.

In the meantime, I discovered she was a poet and I ordered one of her books, Lemonade and Rumors

She chose to send me her newest book of poetry, Love Like Weeds, as well. The book has a beautiful, well-designed cover.



But it's inside the book where the real beauty exists. Raw, honest, beauty. Julie Ann Cook has the heart of an artist, with her art spilling out onto the pages like a fresh wound or a newly split-open pinata or a fragrant bouquet of wildflowers. She is that good. And I have to confess, I am envious of her talent.

She writes of love and loss and of a toddler's unique language. She challenges the reader to rethink the obvious, to question hard held beliefs. She undresses and dances naked before our hearts. And we wish we could be so transparent.

If you are looking for a book of poetry that will make you feel, look no further. Here are a few lines from some of my favorite poems in the book: 

Unplanned
... 

But anxiety dried her mouth, wet her palms:
the baby had stopped moving.

The doctor found no rapid whir-whir-whir
of a baby's heartbeat. The sight of the flat line
on the monitor brought tears to her eyes
and overwhelmed her with nausea.

Still,
he was born. 

Hence, Fourth
... 

"Yeah, we need a van," I say, addressing
our sanity, our judgment, our convictions,
our ability to keep our selves to ourselves.

"So, you're gonna have four?!" I hear.
"Well, that's what happens after three," I laugh,
"if you don't stop." 

Visiting My Son on a November Afternoon 

The day does not know
it is short. Yellow light warms me,
though chill breathes in lengthening shadows.
...

A leaf from a tulip tree flutters from blue
to where you rest. I consider it a gift--
this gold from the heavens-- as I trace

the name on your headstone 
and surrender to sobs--
heaving and shoulder-shaking--

for every moment 
I thought less
of you. 

Grief 

Because I was afraid,
I hid--shivering and pale--
under mountains. I dug
and spat and shook
the dirt from my eyelashes
until I was nailless, broken.
...

There is an end somewhere.

It is not here.


Do you see why I envy her talent? Of course, I'm just offering you small glimpses of this wondrous collection of poetry, but I hope it gives you enough motivation to head over to Julie Ann Cook's site, read more about her, and purchase a copy for yourself. Do it for one of our community members. Do it for yourself. I guarantee you will be touched. She makes you smile. She makes you cry. Julie Ann Cook makes her readers feel. 


  



Julie Ann Cook was one of the featured guest bloggers in our Supermom -- How I Birthed My Baby series. Click here to read The Tale of Two Pre-Term Births



    

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