Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hyland's rides the hoarse right out of town

DISCLAIMER: I am a Hyland's Homeopathy HealthMaker. As a HealthMaker, I receive various products and gift cards from Hyland's and its promotional partners at no cost to me. All views and opinions expressed on this blog post and corresponding social network mentions are my own and based on my experience. The content should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

A couple of weeks ago, I started losing my voice. Sometimes it was fine; other times it was quite hoarse. As a voice-over talent, this is problematic. Especially with my narrations as Maya Ray for iStoryBooks. My usual jovial and kind, "Hi! I'm Maya. What's your name?" beginning to each narration came out froggy, thus totally unacceptable. 

Not only that, but it was the week leading up to Easter. On Good Friday, my husband and I were singing at the service at Northgate Church in Pittsburgh. On Easter Sunday, I was singing with the choir at both the 9:30 and 11:00 services. 

But my voice didn't care. At all. It was rough and at times I'd try to sing a note and the note simply wasn't there. 

The weird thing was, I didn't have any other symptoms. No sore throat. No runny nose. Not even itchy eyes. Still, when I opened a package I received from Hyland's, I immediately twisted off the cap of the Seasonal Allergy Relief and popped a couple tablets under my tongue. A short time later, my voice returned. Throughout the week, I continued to take the Allergy Relief tablets whenever the hoarseness returned. By Friday, I was able to sing, and Sunday morning proved to be no problem. Hyland's did it for me again!

They say that this spring is really bad for allergies, at least it is here in south western Pennsylvania. That's why I'm super happy to have a safe remedy without side effects (like drowsiness) for my husband and me (yes, he's been popping them, too!) and for my grandchildren who have been suffering with various symptoms.

While the FDA may be leery of homeopathic remedies, I am not. I would much rather put something natural in my body than load it up with the chemicals pushed on us by the pharmaceutical companies. Do I ever take prescription or OTC meds? Yes. However, if given a choice between a Hyland's product and something from the big drug companies, I'll choose Hyland's every time.

Hyland's 4Kids Allergy Relief helps relieve itchy nose and throat, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. In other words, it provides much needed relief to your kids when they're feeling miserable due to the pollen, pet dander, dust, etc. And the adult formula does the same for grown ups and children over 12 years old. 

Hooray for Hyland's. You will forever hear me singing their praise! And my voice won't sound froggy at all!

As a mother and grandmother, I am constantly researching healthier living options, which include being proactive in preventing diseases and conditions. My use of homeopathic remedies has spanned decades and is the reason I’m thrilled to be a Hyland’s Healthmaker. Let’s not just treat our health conditions, let’s do everything we can to prevent them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What Da Fluff Subscription Box Giveaway!

You know I'm all about cloth diapering. It's one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. That's why I'm excited to participate in this giveaway!

What Da Fluff subscription boxes is a fun cloth diapering surprise every month. Each box will contain at least one diaper as well as cloth diapering products (wet bags, cloth wipes, cloth diaper safe rash creams and detergent). What Da Fluff knows that parenting can be hard and will always have a small treat for you included in each box. What Da Fluff is a great way to try new products and test our samples before buying. Fluff Mail has never been so fun!

Sponsored By: What Da Fluff

Hosted By: MamatheFox

Winner Will Receive:

(1) What Da Fluff Subscription Box

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- Eco-friendly yard improvements


It's the first Vinegar Friday of the spring and I'm thrilled to feature a post by guest blogger, Jeriann Watkins Ireland. It's all about getting your yard ready for the season and, of course, that means you'll need to grab your jug of distilled white vinegar (DWV).

Photo courtesy of Karen Arnold

It's that time of year where your grass is starting to grow, some flowers are popping up, and you're realizing you really need to decide what to do with your lawn this year. You're likely seeing and hearing ads for chemical weed removal and expensive lawn services. But there are lots of natural, affordable ways to keep your landscaping beautiful, without harming the environment. With Earth Day approaching, now is a great time to focus on daily sustainable practices to make every day Earth Day. Below are some suggestions for sustainable landscaping.

Weed Removal

Natural weed removal seems daunting, but it's actually simple and dirt-cheap! Because of the high acid content, vinegar is quite effective as a weed killer. Even DWV with 5% acidity works to kill most weeds. If you want to get rid of grass or tougher plants though, you might want to try the 20% concentration. Spray or pour it on the plants you want to kill, then wait a few days for them to die.

You can also mix vinegar with equal parts salt and dish soap (make sure you use an eco-friendly liquid). Vinegar won't discriminate what it kills, so be sure to apply it only to the plants you want to be rid of.  I've used this on the cracks in the sidewalk before and experienced good results. This year, I plan to try it on the goat heads (prickly weeds) in my backyard.

Replacing Grass

For a plant without much function, grass sure takes a lot of resources to maintain. A pretty lawn requires regular watering and mowing, which, for the most part, involves gas consumption. Instead of putting weekly effort and natural resources into keeping your plain ol' grass alive, plan out a xeriscape -- a landscape that uses more beneficial plants. Bark and gravel are great bases for xeriscaping, and both have the drainage to allow for shrubs, trees, and flowers.

If you're looking to get rid of your lawn and don't want to hire someone, there are a couple of methods you could use. First, try high-concentration vinegar to kill the grass. But be warned: it will take a lot of vinegar. Alternatively, you could use black plastic as an effective way to block the sunlight from the grass, thus removing its food source. Killing your grass will take time, but the result will be an easier to maintain landscape that is kinder to the environment.

Another way to reduce the ongoing environmental impact of your yard is to make it smaller. Adding a sunroom or deck to your house encourages you to spend more time looking at the landscape you put so much work into. A sunroom can also be a great place to plant an indoor herb garden and other edibles, particularly during cold weather seasons. Increasing the amount of edibles you grow both indoors and outdoors reduces your commercial consumption as well as your overall carbon footprint. If you're interested in indoor gardening, it's worth it to look into efficient hydroponic systems to maximize growth and prevent water waste.

Choosing Beneficial Plants and Landscaping Features

When landscaping focuses solely on aesthetics, the environment often suffers. Bringing in exotic plants may look nice, but it can result in species invading and killing the native foliage. Additionally, it can bring harm to native animals that may be poisoned by the exotic foliage. Choose plants native to your region.

Landscaping plants can do more than just look nice. The right flowers can attract bees, which then encourages more native plant growth. Consider turning your yard into a wildflower garden with native plants that attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

Landscaping isn't just about the plants, however. Water features are popular additions as well. Ponds can be beneficial to animal life and plant growth in your yard, but there are some steps to take to make sure you're not doing more harm than good. Avoid using chemical cleaners by choosing pond filter media that naturally kills bacteria.

Encouraging Growth

We all want our landscape to be aesthetically pleasing, but there are lots of mistakes people make when trimming trees and plants. Methods like tree topping and over-pruning can prohibit growth, meaning you'll have to replace your plants sooner. Be sure to research the native plants that grow best in your area and the ways to properly care for them. By allowing your plants to grow naturally with minimal trimming, you can show your neighborhood the true beauty of nature and encourage others to make natural landscaping choices as well.

It's simple to make a pretty landscape, but being conscientious in your choices to ensure you're having a positive effect on your local environment takes dedication and effort. Eco-friendly landscaping is an extremely rewarding process that can positively impact you as it allows you to learn about native plant life.

Do you have any natural landscaping tips? Have you used vinegar to kill weeds? Share your experience in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thirsties AIO Diaper Giveaway!

When I started this blog back in August 2009, my main focus was cloth diapering. I've strayed a bit from that, but it doesn't mean cloth diapering isn't as important to me as ever. I believe cloth diapering is the healthiest, greenest, and cheapest way to go. And it grieves my heart to see disposables piling up in our landfills.

Thirsties Natural One Size All In One Diaper is super trim and extremely absorbent with 11 layers of natural fibers. Thirsties is known for their quality of cloth diapers along with their amazing business ethics and their never ending goal to be as green as possible. Read MamatheFox's full review and check out Thirsties website.  

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Gina's Soft Cloth $50 Giveaway!

If you visit my home, you'll see that, other than toilet paper, we do not use disposable products. There's no reason to! With cloth napkins, rags, and hankies, we eliminated the need for disposables a long time ago. And forget about paper plates, etc.! Not in my house.

Finding a cloth alternative to your everyday paper products will not only save you money it will cut your carbon foot print. As far as cleaning up messes, paperless towels are far superior to paper. I am able to clean the biggest of messes with one towel. Paperless Towels wont fall apart like paper towels do, these high quality towels will last you a long time. Simply wash and reuse! Read MamatheFox's full review here.

Enter for your chance to win 

one (1) $50 Gift Certificate to Gina's Soft Cloth Shop.

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tax Time Giveaway! $50 PayPal cash is up for grabs!

Those who know me well, know that I absolutely HATE tax time. If you're like me, you'll especially appreciate the opportunity to sweeten this time of year with some cold, hard cash! Treat yourself to something special. You deserve it! Good luck!

Welcome to the Tax Time Paypal Cash Giveaway!

Hosted by: Southern Mom Loves

Tax Season is here again and Holly at Southern Mom Loves wants to give one of our readers $50 in Paypal cash to help out at tax time. Enter through the widget below and good luck!

Enter below for your chance to win $50 in Paypal Cash! 
Open Worldwide!

Giveaway begins on 3/12/17 at 1:00 am CST and ends on 4/13/17 at 11:59 pm CST. Must be 18 years or older, open Worldwide (void where prohibited.) Once winners are confirmed, they will be added to the Winner's List here.

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per IP address. All entries will be verified. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email; Please add to your whitelist. Southern Mom Loves will be responsible for prize delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, or any other social media platform.

Contact Holly at if you have any additional questions or comments, or would like Southern Mom Loves to organize your next giveaway.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Snap, share, and win!

DISCLAIMER: I am a Hyland's Homeopathy HealthMaker. As a HealthMaker, I receive various products and gift cards from Hyland's and its promotional partners at no cost to me. All views and opinions expressed on this blog post and corresponding social network mentions are my own and based on my experience. The content should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

I love contests that not only offer great prizes, but also provide great tips for healthier living. With this MAKING HEALTH HAPPEN contest through Hyland's you get both. 

By simply sharing an image and caption that shows how you embrace wellness, you could win a VISA gift card and a product package worth more than $150! How awesome is that? PLUS, there just might be someone out there who needs your unique advice. Just think, YOU could help change someone's life through your healthy tip. It doesn't get much better than that!

Upload your photo and caption by the end of the month (3/31/17) and show us all how you're reaching your healthy goals. Pretty simple, huh? Your tip just might be featured on Hyland's social networks.

The entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Adherence to the HealthMaker "Making Health Happen" theme (35%)
  • Creativity of photo caption (15%)
  • Demonstration of a healthy and inspiring activity (35%)
  • Quality of the photo (15%)
Want to learn more? Just click here for details and the official rules.

You do understand that I will be beaming with pride if someone in the GG community wins, right? You bet, I will.

Reaching for that healthy goal,

Friday, March 3, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- Anyone laying tile?


With so many of us trying to save money, we're doing more and more DIY projects. Right? We sit down and watch a YouTube video, gather our supplies, and get to work. Well, that's what a lot of you do. Me? I'm more of a hire someone kind of person. My daughter and her husband, on the other hand, tackle as many home projects as they can. That's how I learned about today's vinegar tip.

Have you ever grouted tile? If so, you know all about how messy it can get. And before you can call the project finished, you have to remove all the grout residue smeared across your lovely new tiles. So what do you do? 

Most people would head to Home Depot or Lowe's and purchase something with hydrochloric acid like Stone Pro Quick Clean or any number of other products that remove grout, none of which are cheap. And let's face it, if you weren't concerned about the cost, you wouldn't be laying the tile yourself anyway, right?

And let's not forget the whole thing about breathing in toxic fumes as you work with these chemicals. Yikes!

But there is a toxic-free, earth-friendly solution. And you already know what I'm going to say. On three... VINEGAR!

My son-in-law discovered this while laying a ceramic tile floor in their kitchen a few years ago. Just one part distilled white vinegar to three parts water in a bucket. Wipe and repeat. While the other commercial products took several tries, the vinegar and water method takes only two. Was it a fluke? 

Just last month, my son-in-law laid another tile floor; this time in the bathroom. Then he grabbed the DWV and a bucket and cleaned up the grout residue in two easy steps. Yeah, vinegar is awesome like that. No fumes, no harm to the environment, and less work. Much less work.

Today, we're singing the praises of vinegar once again, with a tip for you DIY kings and queens. Before starting a project, make sure you have a gallon of DWV on hand. You never know when it might come in handy!

Keeping it green with vinegar,

You can find more great vinegar tips in my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS. Click here to purchase.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Making Health Happen with Hyland's!

DISCLAIMER: I am a Hyland's Homeopathy HealthMaker. As a HealthMaker, I receive various products and gift cards from Hyland's and its promotional partners at no cost to me. All views and opinions expressed on this blog post and corresponding social network mentions are my own and based on my experience. The content should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Ahhh, Hyland's. How oft I have reached for you in times of need. And you deliver. Time and time again.

As a Type 2 diabetic, there are certain prescription drugs I have to take in order to stay healthy. But other than that, I try to avoid both prescription drugs and OTC drugs as much as possible. So what do I do when I get a migraine? Or wake up with leg cramps? Or can't quiet my thoughts so I can sleep? Oh, and let's not even mention the diarrhea I have as a side effect to one of my diabetes drugs. Hyland's. Hyland's. Hyland's. Seriously. Hyland's.

For years, I've depended on Hyland's Homeopathic to solve a myriad of health issues. That's why I was beyond thrilled when I was invited to become a Hyland's HealthMaker. Oh yeah. It's never been a problem for me to sing the praises of Hyland's on this blog. I've been doing it since the beginning in 2009.

Just this morning on my Facebook memories, this post came up from March 2, 2014: 

A spider bite yesterday had really nasty effects. The pain and swelling in my hand went all the way up to my elbow. Even holding a fork caused crazy pain. Finally took some Hyland's Homeopathic hives formula and the swelling subsided. ER visit averted.

What would most people do following a spider bite? Reach for the Benadryl, I suppose. But with a cupboard stocked with Hyland's products, I don't have to ingest things full of ingredients I don't want in my body. When homeopathic remedies work, why opt for something else? At least, that's my experience.

When I had a severe allergic reaction to too much niacin several years ago, Hyland's Hives took the itching and facial swelling down within 5 minutes. 

After a lifetime of nighttime leg cramps, I learned long ago to keep a bottle of Hyland's leg cramp tablets beside my bed. And I always take them with me when traveling. Just in case.

In December, after accepting a position as manager of Dignity Home Care Professionals in Pittsburgh, I was faced with many sleepless nights as my thoughts just wouldn't leave the office. But then I started taking Hyland's Calm Forte and --presto! -- blessed sleep descended upon me.

I could go on and on. Really I could. But I think by now you get the picture. I'm thrilled to be chosen as a Hyland's HealthMaker because I've been Making Health Happen with Hyland's for years. And I plan to continue doing so for years to come. 

Hyland's is anxious to hear how you are making health happen in your life. Check out their contest and you just might win $150 worth of products! 

Sharing my pathway to healthier living,

P.S. I use Hyland's Phosphorus or Sulfur for that other problem I mentioned. You know, that dreaded "D" word.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Adult skin problems? Borrow something from your baby.

"Ouch," I moan, feeling as if I'm walking on glass. I don't know if I should blame it on age or my diabetes, or both, although I do know one of the main culprits. My feet become cracked and skin feels like it's splitting more and more lately. And something I'm doing makes it worse. Before I go into it in more detail, I wanted to apologize.

The weeks are passing by so quickly now that I'm working full time as manager of Dignity Home Care Professionals in Pittsburgh. On many a day, I fully intend to blog. And then we get busy at the office, I work into the evening, arrive home for a late dinner, and crash on the couch. Well, maybe tomorrow, I think. Then I fall into the same pattern the next day. If I do go into my home office in the evening, it's to do a voice-over or write an article for a client. Alas... Green Grandma isn't keeping up with things as I used to. For that, I am truly sorry. It's not that the blog isn't important to me anymore. Not at all.

I've been meaning to write this post for that past week and finally have the time to do it. If you've been following for long (as in years), you know I love to promote good products. Sometimes I do it as a sponsored post after I've received a product to review. Today, however, I just want to sing the praises of a product I have at home.

Because of my intense affection for soaking in hot baths, my feet are drying out like never before. Until last week, I seriously was considering having to let go of this favorite pastime. But as I was rummaging through my bathroom cupboard looking for something, I came across a bottle of Massage Serum by Babytimes. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder if this would help. I read the label and without hesitation, applied some serum to the bottom and top of my feet. I felt immediate relief, so I did it again the next morning before putting on my socks and shoes. I repeated this pattern for a few days, applying the serum at night after my bath and again in the morning before going to work. 

One particularly warm night (we've been having crazy temps for February), I was stretched out across the couch and my husband started rubbing my bare feet. 

"What did you do to your feet?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"They're so soft. They feel like a baby's skin."

Yes! I thought, because next to baths, I really, really love foot massages. But my feet have been too rough and Bill hasn't been eager to rub them. 

I told him about the Massage Serum by Babytimes and he told me to keep using it. He knew how concerned I was about my feet and recognized this awesome solution. 

Of course, I still was doing my apple cider vinegar soaks to soften my feet from time to time, but I just haven't been keeping up with them because of this new crazy schedule of mine. With the serum, I can accomplish the same thing in a few seconds twice a day. I'm in love.

Moral of the story? Don't neglect reaching for your baby's products when you have an issue of your own. The solution just might be in the nursery!

Wishing you soft feet and a partner who likes to rub them!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"I don't like my kids." Say what??

Did you ever feel guilty for not liking your kids? I know some of you are appalled I would even ask such a question. But others of you get it. For some, liking our kids, or at least one in particular, does not come easily. 

Now, keep in mind, I'm not talking about loving your kids. That's a given. And, for the most part, love is just there. But like? Not so much. If you're really lucky, you have kids that are simply delightful... they're easy to like. But sometimes there's just that one who defies you at every turn or rubs you the wrong way. Perhaps they are too much like your own unlikable side (we all have one). 

When I was growing up, I believed my dad hated me, particularly during my pre-teen and teenage years. It was a heavy burden to carry... this supposed hatred from a father... and it molded me in many ways, most of which were not good. When you believe that even your own father hates you, it's hard to find anything lovable about yourself. Bad behavior ensued. I became a bully, so much so that at one of my class reunions, a classmate came up to me and told me I was his second least-favorite person in school. Wow. What an honor. I think I redeemed myself in his eyes, but it was bothersome knowing that for years he had despised me. 

As a young adult, I started seeing my dad in a different way. He was a proud man who, at only 45, was struck down by not one, but two, major heart attacks. Doctors gave him five years at most to live. My mother was only 37. Of course, back then, there were many more restrictions for heart patients -- no physical activity of any kind. No dancing. No mowing lawns. No sex. 

I was seven at the time and lost the daddy I knew. His medications (there were many) changed his personality. At least that's what my mom said. I often wonder if it was more the loss of dreams, the loss of self, the loss of what was and what would be/should be. Death peeked around every corner. We never knew when the "big one" would strike. As it turned out, he survived 11 more heart attacks in 18 years. My childhood and early adult years were overshadowed by ambulances, CPR, and ICUs. Even after I moved 250 miles away from home, whenever I'd hear a siren, I'd think Dad was heading to the hospital again.

As I look back on his life, I have a hard time grasping what he went through. I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been had his heart not been so damaged. I wonder what kind of dad I would have had. One thing I know for sure, however, is that my dad never hated me. I'm pretty sure he didn't like me much (I was a loud, demonstrative, dramatic little girl and he was a heart patient), but I know he loved me. He loved me like every daddy loves his daughters. He loved me like only a parent can. 

And I've come to terms with the idea that my father might not have liked me. I don't know that I would have liked me if I was my own daughter. When we have children, we get what we get. And they're not always the kids we'd dreamt of having, are they? So mamas (and papas) -- it's okay if you're not liking one of yours. What's not okay, however, is making them feel that they're unlovable. That's never, ever okay. Even if you have to pretend to like them, DO IT. And stop beating yourself up for how you're feeling. 

Love them, pretend to like them (if you must), and before long they just might grow into people you genuinely do like. I know that's what happened with Dad and me. And I'll be grateful forever that it did.

Sharing a bit of my story,

P.S. Just so you know, I happen to really, really like my kids. I've been blessed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

It's Vinegar Friday! Today we're serving up a fruity vinegar drink


Today, we're talking health for the entire family with guest blogger Shelly McGraw.

Fruity Vinegar Drink

There are numerous health benefits to adding apple cider vinegar to your diet. It can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improve “gut” health, and even help with weight loss by improving your metabolism over time.

However, if you’re like me and struggle to get it down (even when heavily diluted by water) there is hope!

Not only did I want to figure out a way to add it to my diet but I wanted to start introducing apple cider vinegar to my three daughters as well.

So, after trying different combinations of ingredients, I came up with a quick and easy fruity vinegar drink that my family absolutely loves!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need: 
  • 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” still in it. (I prefer the brand “bragg”)
  • 3-4 large organic strawberries chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup organic orange juice
  • ½ cup of organic cranberry apple juice or organic grape juice
  • A few pieces of ice
  • 1 12oz jar or glass

Makes 12oz. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. It’s even sweeter the next day!

I start with a 12oz jar.

 Next, I fill the bottom of the jar with a few pieces of ice.

I cut up 3-4 large organic strawberries into small pieces and add those on top.

Then, I add 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the “mother” still in it.

I then add 1 cup of orange juice.

Finally, I fill the remainder of the jar with ½ cup of organic fruit juice. Use cranberry apple juice for a slightly stronger taste or grape juice for a sweeter taste. Both are delicious!

Stir and enjoy!

Left is grape, right is cranberry apple.

You now have a refreshing drink that’s super easy to make and is packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and apple cider vinegar!

Here are a few serving suggestions:
  • Drink whole jar as your fruit serving in the place of fresh fruit for that day. (I only recommend doing this once a week at the most.)
  • Make multiple batches and serve to your friends and family for a hot summer day treat.
  • Drink 1/3 or 1/4 of the jar with a meal as your fruit serving.
  • Take a sip each morning to help fight a cold.

I normally make this drink for my family about 2-3 times a month.

Good health doesn’t change overnight. Be patient and consistent with good nutrition and your body will gradually improve from the inside out.

Do you have a favorite way to drink apple cider vinegar? My family and I would love to try your recipe! 


A little bit about me:

I’m a wife of a great guy and a mom of 3 beautiful daughters and a handsome beagle named Rusty. I love God and I love people. For more about who I am, visit my blog called Lessons of Grace and Wisdom.

Lessons of Grace and Wisdom

Social Media:
Facebook: @shellymcgrawministries
Twitter: @shellymcgraw
Instagram: @shellymcgraw
Pinterest: Shelly McGraw


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Stretch marks -- what can you do?

Stretch marks. Some moms love them. After all, they're a sign of all they went through to bring a little one (or ones) into this world. They see them as badges of courage. For the rest of us who just might want to erase those outward signs of skin stretching far beyond what seems possible, guest blogger, Trisha Miller, returns to give us some advice.

Natural Methods for Reducing 
the Appearance of Stretch Marks

These are some of the best natural methods out there for potentially reducing the appearance of your stretch marks. With that being said, every body is different and everyone’s skin is different. I  cannot guarantee that any of these methods will work for everyone. 

Stretch marks are stubborn. They occur when skin is pushed to its absolute limit. So, please be aware that they may never go away completely, but you may be able to reduce their appearance.

Essential Oils

Frankincense is a sap derived from the Boswellia Sacra tree, used for centuries due to its healing qualities. The tree is domestic to the areas of Oman, Yemen and the Horn of Africa. It has been used for centuries due to its healing qualities. Before the use of more modern medicine, it was used in the actual healing process. It was placed directly on wounds to aid the body in healing. In current years, frankincense is used more for beauty remedies including the removal of dark spots, stretch marks, and acne scarring. Not only is frankincense wonderfully restorative, it’s also a fantastic protectant. When used on the skin, it can help remove scarring and prevent new skin damage from occurring.

How to Use: Add a few drops of frankincense to your favorite carrier oil (like coconut, avocado, or grapeseed oil) massage a small amount directly onto stretch marks and allow it to soak in completely. More essential oil does not equal better results. If you add too much essential oil to your mixture, you may experience discomfort on the skin. This is because essential oils are extremely concentrated and in most cases are suggested to be used with a carrier oil, not by themselves. Another great option is to use them with an air humidifier daily. Humidifiers are great for people with dry skin anyway. However, do not put the oils directly into the humidifier, as they could damage the unit. Rather, sprinkle a few drops of oil on a small cloth and drape it in front of the escaping steam to diffuse it into the air. A diffuser is another good option.

Aloe Vera

You may have heard of aloe vera gel being used to treat heat burns and sun burns. Like frankincense, aloe has been used for healing for hundreds of years. The aloe plant itself consists of many “leaves” that grow straight out of the stem, which lies underneath the surface of the ground. These leaves are thick and squishy and hold the actual aloe gel inside. The plant uses this gel to survive extreme temperatures, since aloe mostly grows in desert locales -- originating in places like Africa, Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula. This plant can survive almost everywhere. It is because of this that we can benefit from the natural antiseptic that exists within the leaves. The gel is deeply reparative. When applied, it absorbs into the skin and helps it to repair itself from the inside.

How to Use: Grab your favorite aloe gel (it can be purchased in plant form or gel form -- just make sure you check the ingredients and make sure there are little to no unnecessary additives that could irritate your skin) and dab a small amount directly onto the scarred area. Massaging it into the skin is unnecessary. Once it is applied, allow the gel to fully dry. If there is any residue, remove it with a soft towel.

Castor Oil

This plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean area, Eastern Africa, as well as India. It has long been used in oil form for its medicinal properties, but other parts of the plant, including the leaves and bark, have been used for their antihistamine, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil can be purchased just about anywhere and is still commonly used for ailments such as constipation, reduction of scarring, and even to treat fungal infections (like athlete's foot and ringworm -- although I don’t suggest skipping a doctor’s appointment if you have a serious infection). Aside from all of the above effects, castor oil is thick in nature, which allows for extreme moisturization to dry, damaged skin and stretch marks.

How to Use: Castor oil can be applied directly to the skin, but due to its thickness, it does take awhile to dry. If you prefer, you can add some to another oil (like avocado, grapeseed, or coconut) and allow that to absorb for several minutes. Another option is to soak a cloth in castor oil and simply place it on the stretch marks. This makes for less of a mess and can be removed whenever you’re ready.

Every person in the world is born with imperfections. Many of us develop scars, spots, blemishes, and more throughout our lifetime. The best method for dealing with the appearance of stretch marks is to have an open mind. Accept your body as it is. Sure, everyone can use a bit of improvement here or there, but no one should be expected to have the perfect body. We see some things in society as imperfections simply because we don’t understand them. If we can spread acceptance of our bodies through positivity, hopefully less people will feel the need to change what nature and real life has given them.

Trisha Miller is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan and is committed to an all-around eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle. You can follow her on Twitter @thatdangvegan and her blog (

Monday, January 23, 2017

Jack N' Jill and Luna: A perfect match!

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

You know how your kids get money for Christmas and their birthdays and you're never really quite sure what to do with it? Of course, putting it into savings is always a good choice. But if Aunt Susie really wants you to buy something for your little one, I have a great suggestion for all that unused Christmas money. 

What could be better than buying your baby/toddler something they not only like, but is also good for them? 

Jack N' Jill gift sets won my heart when I saw they included a sleepover bag, perfect for going to Grandma's! Check out what the kit includes:

I mean, seriously, look at the fun they've put into a child's early tooth care regimen! The designs are whimsical and fun. And the Stage 3 Silicone Tooth & Gum Brush is perfect for taking care of those first teeth. Plus, with the non-choke guard, you don't have to worry about baby shoving the toothbrush down their throat! 

Since pictures are supposedly worth 1,000 words, I'll just let Luna show you how excited she was to receive this kit for Christmas. And, in true Green Grandma grandbaby fashion, she'll even show you how to use both types of toothbrushes!

I know I'm biased, but... how cute is she?? And how great are these kits? If your kids have never tried Jack N' Jill toothpaste, they're in for a treat! It's natural with organic flavors. What could be better than that?

At just $36.99, the Jack N' Jill Bunny, Dino, Hippo, or Koala Gift Kit is well-worth the money!

Reviewing it for you,

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