Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- week 21

The Sabbath Experiment was a major fail this week and I'm here to confess that to you. Ever since I landed this temporary fulltime voice over job, I haven't been able to stay away from my office/studio for a single day. Half days, here and there. Maybe an evening. But not for an entire day.

The result? I am feeling a bit disjointed and not at all peaceful, as I did when I was setting aside that one day a week to rest and recreate.

Yesterday, following church and lunch with the kids, I fully intended to head home and tackle 6 hours of recording and editing. Instead, I ended up with a blinding migraine and had to go to bed. When I got up around 6, I still had a full night of work ahead of me. No Academy Awards. No Bananagrams with my husband. No visiting with friends. Work.

Originally, it was our scheduled domino night with "Fred" and his wife. Remember them? Fred has cancer and things are not looking good. So we scheduled domino night for the last Sunday of every month. However, when we called them early in the week to confirm, they were on the auto train on their way to Florida for a short vacation. How lovely for them.

So we invited out pinochle partners over for a night of cards. When I didn't hear back from them, I took the liberty of taking off some time here and there, with the eventual result meaning I had to work on Sunday. And work I did. Did I meet the deadline? Nope. So all that stressful working didn't even avail the desired result.

Oh we humans can be so stupid sometimes.

Goal for the week: Stay focused. Work. Get it done. And, for goodness sake, and the sake of your health -- physical, mental and spiritual -- enjoy the Sabbath!!! Bill and I have spent little time together lately, as I always seem to be in my office. He brings dinner to me, sits and chats with me a bit and then he goes and does his thing and I do mine. It's a lonely way of life and I don't want to live like this. Perhaps I need some time management courses, but then that would just overburden my already too full schedule.

It is a bit ironic, however, that yesterday was the day I worked on narrations for an eLearning course about delegating. I started thinking I needed an assistant...if only that were in the budget!! I just wish someone else could do the editing of my voice files so I could just focus on what I do best: narration. I hate editing. For every minute of recording, I count on about 10 minutes of work. Which is why I find it amusing (or annoying) when a client comes to me and says, "The script is only about 4,000 words. It shouldn't take you more than a half hour. I can give you twenty-five bucks." Then they get huffy when I say no. Oh well.

See, I'm starting the week with a grumbling spirit. What is that about? I believe it is about skipping over the Sabbath rest again this week. So I'm making a commitment to you, my friends in the community -- I will not work this coming Sunday. I want you to hold me to it. Send me emails. Post comments on my FB wall. Remind me. Reprimand me. Help keep me on track. That's not too much to ask, I hope.

Thanks for your grace. Now I need a little bit of tough love.

Keeping it honest about the Sabbath,


Saturday, February 26, 2011

I value the friend
who for me
finds time on his calendar,
but I cherish the friend
who for me
does not consult his calendar.

-- Robert Brault                      

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vinegar Friday -- a poem

I sit and stare blankly at the screen.
The blank screen stares back at me.

TGIVF!! I type,
void of sincerity.
Sincerely wishing it were not so.

Vinegar Friday, that is.
So wishing another one had not crept up on me
so quickly.

Quickly, the weeks pass by,
bypassing the Sabbath and Review It Wednesdays.
And now, here it is --
another Vinegar Friday.

TGIVF!! I type.
But why? Why am I thanking God
for something I wish were not so?

Wishing the week had not flown by
so quickly.
Quickly leaving me in a bind.

Bound to a year’s worth of writing about vinegar –
Yes, vinegar!
I seem to have lost my way.

What shall I write?
I ponder.
Pondering the countless benefits I have already expounded on.

Expounding enthusiastically on evidence that evokes
strong devotion.

But, alas,
devotion cannot elicit new ideas.

And thus, I defer another day of research,
another hour of searching for yet one more tip
I have not shared.

Sharing my failure to do so
with you, my friends,
I close.

Vinegar Fridays have delighted,
and attracted many a follower
to this site.

But, they say all good things must end someday.

Good things like long summer nights,
Christmas vacation,
favorite television shows,
and, yes,
even Vinegar Fridays.

Thank you for giving me a reason
to discover so many intricacies about vinegar.

I hope somewhere along the line
vinegar has changed just a bit of your life.

It certainly has changed mine.

-- Hana Haatainen Caye                                                                        

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review it Wednesday -- Guest reviewer, Bethany Schad, gives her opinion of a fitted diaper

So many diaper choices! What’s a mother to do?

If you are considering cloth diapering, good for you! And if you are already hooked on it, read on. This week, my daughter, Bethany Schad, is offering her opinion on the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted diaper, graciously given to her to try by Happy Baby Company, a local Pittsburgh store that ships anywhere in the United States for free! Check out their fabulous website and you will discover that Happy Baby Company (formerly Pittsburgh Cloth Diapers) is about a whole lot more than what you put on your little one’s bottom!

Before you read Bethany’s review, I just wanted to warn you that visiting the HBC’s cloth diapering section of their website might transform you into cloth diaper addict. I asked Adam, the owner of HBC, if he knew of any CDAA classes in the area (Cloth Diapering Addicts Anonymous), because I am seriously concerned about my daughter’s obsession with buying the cutest, the best, the most innovative diapers out there. He not only did not know of any, but he was hoping it would stay that way!

There’s nothing missing from his selection of cloth diapers and accessories: organic, swim, one-size, AIO, newborn, prefolds, flats, fitteds, pockets, and all-in-twos. Not to mention training pants, inserts and doublers, Snappis, and diaper covers. The selection is nothing short of fabulous! And they even offer Package Deals, to make stylish cloth diapering a bit more affordable.

Plus, Adam’s generosity went beyond offering a Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted diaper for Bethany to try. He is also offering one to a lucky reader of the blog (who will be chosen via! And there is no jumping through hoops required to win one. Simply do one of two things: “Like” the HBC Facebook page and/or sign up to receive the HBC newsletter (you will find the link to sign up on the left side of their website page as you scroll down). Then post a comment here letting me know what you did and what size Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted diaper you would like. It’s that simple. Oh, and while it is not a requirement, it would just be nice if you would “like” the GG FB page as well!


So, on to Bethany’s review!

This is the first fitted diaper I have tried and I am quite impressed. I always liked the option to use a prefold with a cover, but getting a Snappi on my wiggle worm is sometimes hard. This prefold diaper was very easy to get on. I used a size two on my five-month-old son, because Lincoln is just over 18 pounds.

The Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted diapers come in two sizes:

Size One – 0-9 mos. 6-18 lbs.

Size Two – 9-36 mos. 18-40 lbs.


• Soft
• Adjustable rise
• Tunnel design to allow for additional stuffing
• Elastic around the legs and waist
• Pair with a diaper cover (as with all prefolds – they are not waterproof!)
• Snaps or Aplix hook and loop closures
• Easy to use
• Grows with baby so you only need two sizes from birth to potty-learning
• Great colors (Mango, Honeydew, Orchid, White and Meadow)

Internal soaker is composed of spongy microfiber that can absorb up to seven times its weight in liquid.


• No leaks or blowouts
• Super soft
• Easy to get a good fit with the Aplix and a squirming baby
• Made it overnight with no leaks and with no extra inserts used (this would be a great diaper for a heavy wetter!)

Okay, to be fair, there are some downsides as well.

Fitted diaper with diaper cover

• Drying time was long
• A bit bulky (compared to AIOs and other diapers I’ve tried)
• Having to put both a diaper and a cover on

If you are looking for a fitted diaper that works well at keeping your lap and the baby’s crib dry, this is certainly one to consider. And ordering this and any other supplies from Happy Baby Company has its added benefits – FREE SHIPPING and GREEN PACKAGING!

To read more about cloth diapering, click on the links below:

Guest blogger, Heather Desuta's opinions about cloth diapering:
It's Worth It! and The Slippery Slope

Guest blogger, Danielle Gregory's experiences with cloth diapering twins:
Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapering Times Two

Cloth vs. Disposable: Let's Talk Money
Cloth vs. Disposable: An Environmental Issue
Cloth vs. Disposable: Health Alert!
A Tree Hugger I'm Not
I Poo in Blue...Really Now

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So many new visitors to the blog lately! Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you see, why not join the community on the Facebook page where you'll find links to interesting articles, recalls, and the Question of the Day? We'd love to hear what you have to say!

Just click the FB link on the left side of this page.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- week 20 -- A personal glimpse into my life

Wow, twenty weeks into this. That's remarkable. Have any of you decided to give this a try? If so, are you reaping any benefits?

We started off the day at church, as usual. My husband taught the teens and I taught the adult Sunday School class where we finished up a very long series on I Peter. It was a good discussion.

Our church pew was glaringly empty as our daughters took the grandbabies to Manheim, PA to visit my mom for the weekend. We sure did miss them and our going-out-to-lunch-after-church-as-a-family tradition. We opted for lunch at home instead since my wonderful husband was treating me to dinner as a belated Valentine's Day present. I was so excited when I read his card last Monday with the promise of dinner at Cross Keys Inn in Fox Chapel, an old favorite restaurant of ours that we haven't been to in quite a few years (it's pricey and they no longer have the BOGO coupons).

So yesterday afternoon, Bill asked me to call and make a reservation. It's not something he likes to do. Since they only open at 5:30, I expected voicemail to pick up. What I didn't expect was this:

Our hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. Except this Sunday, February 20th, when we will be closed.

Are you kidding me? I can't tell you how disappointed I was. Of course, my husband suggested going another night, but it was the Sabbath and I wanted to enjoy spending time with him at a nice restaurant. Every other night lately, I've been working.

So we ended up going to a nice restaurant closer to home, which worked out well, as it turns out, because our little interlude into spring ended abruptly, tossing us back into icy roads.

We had a lovely dinner at Blue. The food was exceptional, but the company was even better. You see, I love my husband and I love spending time with him. Let me share a little bit about our rocky road.

We met in 1989, just a couple short months after my husband died. I was immediately smitten, much to the dismay of my family. My daughters took an instant liking to him as well, and, quite honestly, I think he fell in love with them long before he fell in love with me.

We married a couple of years later and embarked on the blended family journey with our four daughters. Let me tell you something I learned about blending families. While I knew that everyone had to be tossed into the blender, what I failed to realize was that you had to put the lid on before hitting the button to blend! We had some messy times back then, mostly due to just one of the children who wasn't happy about this new family of hers. It is amazing how much havoc one child can create in a blended family. And, unfortunately, there is usually at least one.

Compiling all the other issues we were facing, was the fact that I was walking around with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Can anyone say 'crazy lady'?! Once diagnosed, I had to wade through the waters of finding the right combination of meds to stabilize me. Lithium made me a non-person. Prozac, added to the lithium, provided a good balance. Years later, I was able to wean myself off both, as I hated the side effects, and regulate my mood swings with St. John's Wort. I know this does not work for everyone. But I also know it works for me. And I have daughters, friends and a husband who can vouch for that.

We will be celebrating our twentieth anniversary in August and, despite those rough times when either one of us could have been 'justified' in walking away, I am beyond ecstatic that neither of us did. There is no one who is a better match for me than Bill. And I strongly believe that there is no one who could have loved my children more thoroughly. Those who know us can see it in the tenderness of his eyes. To top all of that off, Bill is the best grandpap anywhere! The best.

I adore my husband, and that makes the Sabbath even more special. Why? Because I cannot look at him and not thank God daily for the gift of him. Do I always feel that way? Of course not! We're only human, after all, and we both equally get on each other's nerves from time to time. But beneath all the daily aggravations and annoyances, is the deepest love I have ever known.

This week, I want to challenge those of you who are in a relationship. Cherish the one you love. Express your thankfulness to God for your partner. Stop looking back into the dark woods of past mistakes. It is undoubtedly scary back there. Step out into the open field of sunshine and possibilities. Forgive. Move on. Love.

Keeping it loving on the Sabbath,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Photo courtesy of Sharee Basinger
Every miracle in Scripture
always started out as a problem.
If you have a problem you can't handle,
you're a candidate for a

-- John Maxwell      

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vinegar Friday


Well, guess what? Today we celebrate one year of Vinegar Fridays! And in light of the remarkably warm weather here in Western PA, I am reposting parts of an old VF all about vinegar and pet care. And yes, by midday, the laundry will be on the line, flapping in the breeze!

Outside my office windows in Pittsburgh an unfamiliar sight is warming my soul -- sunshine!! Two days in a row.

As a result of slightly warmer temps and glorious sunshine, laundry is flapping happily on the line! Can't wait to breathe in the scent of it!

Speaking of scents, if you've ever had a pet, you know things in your home don't always smell the best. So I thought I'd give you some distilled white vinegar tips for your fuzzy, finned and feathered friends.

Remember to use distilled white vinegar ONLY!
 WARNING! When I recommend spraying or pouring vinegar on a surface, please test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure there will be no discoloration!

First we'll address odors:

  • Accidents on the carpet? Blot up any liquid, then cover the spot with baking soda and leave it alone overnight. After vacuuming it up the next morning, scrub the area with the vinegar. Don't forget to rinse with clear water. Sound like a lot of steps? Well, you could opt for a quicker, chemically-laden commercial solution if you prefer. But this does work.
  • Stinky litter box? Clean it out, then fill the bottom of the box up to 1/2 inch with vinegar. Wait a half hour or so, then rinse the litter box clean. Adding baking soda or Borax to the litter will help keep the litter odors in check.
  • Sassy skunk-sprayed? If your kitty or pup dog run into the house with the telltale odor of a tussle with a skunk, you don't have to go the messy route of a tomato juice bath. Mix up a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar and sponge Sassy down. She won't like it, but maybe it will teach her to steer clear of anything black with a white stripe down the middle. Make sure you rinse her off thoroughly with clear water. Repeat as necessary.
  • Kitty getting territorial? If your cat is marking his territory around your house by spraying, spray back. Spritz some vinegar on the spots and rinse off with water. Kitties hate the smell of vinegar.
Reduce the itch:
  • Fido ferociously scratching at his ears? Try wiping them with a soft rag saturated, then rung out, with undiluted distilled white vinegar.
  • Fleas? Add a splash of distilled white vinegar in the water dish.
Behavior problems:

  • Kitties jumping up where they don't belong? Spritz the area with a 50/50 vinegar water solution.
  • Pets chewing on plants? Spritz the leaves.
  • Cat fight? You guessed it. Spritz 'em.
  • Incessant barking? Again you want to grab the 50/50 spray bottle, but make sure you only spritz in the direction of the dog, and not in his face!
Birds, rodents and fish:

  • Dirty cage? Scrub out your bird's and other small pet's domain with undiluted vinegar. Follow with a good rinsing.
  • Dull fishbowl or aquarium? Empty the bowl or aquarium and them wipe it out with straight vinegar. Again, rinse well. If there are stubborn Again, rinse well. If there are stubborn water lines and deposits, make your fish cozy for the night in another container and soak the fishbowl or aquarium overnight. At the very least, let it soak for a few hours before rinsing out.
One last tip for Fido. Want his coat to shine like a showdogs? Skip the expensive pet store solutions and mix up your own with a cup of vinegar and a quart of water. Rub it in good and let it dry. Looks like a blue ribbon to me!

Keeping it green with vinegar for a whole year,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- for breastfeeding mamas

So happy to have guest reviewer and GG community member, Erika Gohl, reviewing Motherlove's More Milk Plus for us today! Thank you, Erika!!

I first want to say thank you to Green Grandma for allowing me to try and review this product for her and the blog.

As a mother it was essential for me to breastfeed my baby. A little background here on me and my family.... I have two beautiful children aged 4 years and 6 months. When I had my daughter 4 years ago I tried to breastfeed her but was told she had an allergy to breast milk. So I started her on formula and slowly watched her turn into the Michelin baby (cute but not healthy). I decided this time around with my son that I was going to try and breastfeed for as long as possible, no matter what, especially now that I know more about the benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk.

I'm sure a lot of breastfeeding mothers go through what I do with feeding my son. There are times when we feel like we aren't producing enough milk for our children. Like my lactation consultant says, "It's hard to have faith in something you can't see.” I was trying my hardest to believe I was producing enough but my breasts were feeling empty all the time even hours after a feeding. My son was still gaining weight regularly, so I knew he was getting what he needed, but I wanted to build up a freezer supply.

I started doing some research about ways to increase milk supply and came across Fenugreek seed. I had heard some new mothers talking about this. Research shows that Fenugreek is frequently used by lactating women to increase milk supply. However, I was hesitant about going out and buying something I had no idea would work or not, and I didn't know how to take it. So I tried some other things first. One thing I heard was that eating cooked oatmeal (regular not instant) could also increase the milk supply, so I tried this for a few days. I am not the type of person to eat the same thing all the time, as I get bored with food. Although, it was funny to hear my 4-year-old say that I was making milk every time I ate oatmeal!

I came across More Milk Plus through Green Grandma because she was looking for someone to review the product for her. I went to the Motherlove website before I let her know I was interested, and checked out the other reviews and ingredients, happy to see that all of the reviews were good and the ingredients were certified organic. The combination of ingredients is proven effective in increasing milk supply quickly and effectively. Some of the reviewers on the site stated that their milk increased within 2 days so I really wanted to try it. At this point, I was a little skeptical about this working.

I began taking More Milk Plus capsules almost a week ago and within 24 hours I was able to pump twice the amount I would have normally pumped! The second day I was able to start pumping for my freezer supply. When I started taking the capsules, I noticed 2 capsules (into the recommended dose of 4 capsules) made me extremely thirsty! I couldn't get enough to drink. I also noticed a faint odor of maple syrup when I am feeding my son, which comes from the fenugreek seed in the capsule. The only downside to all of this is that my son is now eating more. I'm hoping continued usage will keep up with his demand.

I would honestly recommend this product to any breastfeeding mother looking to increase their supply. It works quickly and effectively. It is also very easy to take/use if you follow the directions. Motherlove has a whole line of products geared towards breastfeeding. If this one isn't right for you, they will have something else that is. Now, even after taking More Milk Plus for a short amount of time, I can say there is no need to be skeptical about this product really working.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Sabbath Experiment -- week 19

Driving to church yesterday morning, my husband and I engaged in a conversation about forcing kids to go to church. The question has been on my mind a lot lately, because there are two schools of thought:

1. While you're living in my house, you will go to church with us on Sundays. It's what we do.

2. It's not good to force the kids to go to church. I want them to decide for themselves. Then their faith will be genuine and not just something they never gave any thought to.


Bill and I talked about the people we knew who adhered to the first school of thought. For the most part, those kids are young adults now and are now raising their kids in the church. Then we discussed the second group. While the kids in this group were all active in the church in their younger years, by the time they became teenagers, they were no longer 'forced' to attend, so they didn't. Now they are young adults who, according to what I see of FB, claim to be agnostics or, at the very least, believers who are raising their kids without the benefit of a church family to help them along.

This makes me sad. Of course, I know some of you may fit into the latter category. Or you may not even be believers. So, excuse my rant. But this is something that is important to me. And, yes, I know how damaging a legalistic church can be to young minds. But I also know that these young minds are looking for something to believe in. If you, as parents, are not presenting a consistent picture of who Christ is, both in your homes and in the church you attend, then don't expect your kids to follow after Him. They will follow after the first thing that comes along that makes them feel good.

Interestingly enough, our minister, Bob Hartman, was preaching on Acts 16, which led us to the first chapter of II Timothy. Verse 5 jumped out at me:

"For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well."

See, it is a generational thing. And when a generation drops the ball, well...the results speak for themselves. Generally speaking, that is.

Bob went on to tell us about the great strides being made to present the Gospel to children in the UK (through the Open the Book program), as well as to children around the world. He talked about how important it is to reach these kids before other influences reach them -- because there truly are no "unreached" kids. There are just kids who haven't been reached with the story of a Savior who loves them and died for them.

We go to great effort to present the Gospel to kids around the world. We send Bibles. We support missionaries. We pray. And yet somehow, too many of us don't feel we have the "right" to impose our beliefs on our kids. It is not imposing, folks. It is presenting. And you, as parents, have every right, and in my opinion -- obligation, to insist your teenagers attend church with you. That is, if you believe that a life lived for Christ is a life worth pursuing.

My personal opinion is that there is no greater life than one lived for Christ and I thank God weekly when I look down the pew and see my daughters and grandchildren sitting there with me. Because, like I said, it is a generational thing.

But back to the conversation I was having with my husband on the way to church. We, sadly, had to admit our own failure. You see, his older two daughters weren't forced to go to church the way our younger daughters were. The oldest would fight us every week, until we finally just gave up. The younger of the two started living with her mom when she was 15 or so, and they no longer attended church. So, during those important years, neither one was a part of church family. And neither one attends church now.

On the other hand, the others rarely miss.

The difference? I believe it has to do with insisting the younger ones attend regularly; one of who seemingly hated every minute of it for a couple of years. As a young adult, I'm proud to say she's been to Mexico on a mission trip to help build a church, and has traveled to Kenya to work with the AIDS orphans. I guess imposing our faith on her didn't have such bad results.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I believe kids need to be healthy, not only in a physical sense, but in a spiritual one as well. And I truly believe that involves church involvement. But I also believe it has to do with going to a church that celebrates freedom in Christ and does not bog down the kids with a long list of rules. Legalism rarely leads to joy, and a lack of joy rarely leads a young person to a lasting relationship with Christ.

And that's just my opinion on this Monday after a...gasp...failed attempt at honoring my own Sabbath experiment! Actually, it wasn't even an attempt. I had work that had to be done and opted to spend two days this past week with my beautiful granddaughter. Which meant I had to work on Sunday. But, since I am not about being legalistic, I guess that's okay. There's always next week.

Sharing my heart,


Saturday, February 12, 2011

We've got this gift of love,
but love is like a precious plant.
You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard
or just think it's going to get on by itself.
You've got to keep watering it.
You've got to really look after it and nurture it.

 -- John Lennon

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vinegar Friday

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil


It's another Vinegar Friday...seems we just had one of those. How is it these things roll around so quickly?

Yesterday, the amazing Green Cleaning Team of my daughter, Jessica Taylor, and Erin Fitterer attacked my house with their green cleaning magic! Equipped with steamers, vinegar and baking soda, they steamed and scrubbed their way to a sparkling, disinfected and fresh home all without the use of any chemicals or toxins. Amazing! I can't tell you how good that feels. Of course, my home doesn't have that "clean house" smell it used to have after other cleaning people left -- you know, the Scrubbin' Bubbles, Lemon Pledge, Murphy's Oil Soap smell that was always welcoming upon first sniff, but inevitably would send me to bed with a headache later on. There simply aren't any odors at all. I guess that's the downside of green cleaning, although you can always add real lemon juice to the mix for a fresh lemony scent.

I was most impressed with the job Jessica did in the bathroom. She steamed the ceramic wall tiles and they literally shine. I have to admit, it has been awhile since that has happened! As I soaked in my uber clean bathtub last night, I thought about how appropriate it would be to dedicate this Vinegar Friday to bathroom cleaning and disinfecting. So here goes:

Let's start off with killing germs, which is kind of necessary when we're talking bathrooms. Full-strength distilled white vinegar is the answer here. I always have some handy in a spray bottle. Spritzing and then wiping the doorknobs will kill any germs that remain from hands that were washed in haste, or perhaps not washed at all. Eww. While you have the spray bottle in your hand, spritz the toilet seat (both sides) and all around the exterior of the toilet bowl. That will send the germs a-running.

In the meantime, fill the bowl with 1 to 2 cups of undiluted DWV. Close the lid and let soak for several hours. There will be very little scrubbing needed when it's time to lift the lid again. Vinegar's just amazing like that! For extra deodorizing power, add 3 cups of vinegar to the bowl and flush after an hour or so.

If you use sponges, loofahs or those germ-catching little poofs, fill a bucket with a 3-1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water and toss them in for an overnight soak. You might want to throw in your bath pillow and tub stopper while you're at it. In the morning, rinse the items well several times with cold water and hang them (preferably on the clothesline in the sun) to dry.

Shower door tracks can be cleaned by pouring undiluted DWV in them and letting them soak for several hours. Rinse them out with hot water and then brush away any remaining scum with an old toothbrush. If you don't have any old toothbrushes handy, you can always stock up on some cheap ones at the dollar store. But I only recommend using the cheap ones for cleaning!

And here's a quick trick to get rid of the hard water deposits on your shower doors. Simply spray them with the undiluted vinegar you've been using for disinfecting and hop in the shower. Let the steam and vinegar go to work on it, so you don't have to! For streak-free glass, squeegee them after you're done showering.

If your showerhead has seen better days, grab an old plastic bread bag, pour a cup of vinegar in, added to 1/2 cup of baking soda. Secure the bag over the showerhead and let it do its magic for an hour or so. After the bubbling has stopped, take off the bag and turn on the water. Voila! A shiny, efficient showerhead.

The tub and sink can be cleaned with straight vinegar sprayed on the surface and baking soda used as a scrub (just like you used to use Comet in your days of ignorance!). You can also fill the tub and sink with water and dump a decent amount of vinegar in them. Let them soak for awhile before draining and wiping.

Your grout will clean up nicely by saturating it with undiluted DWV and then putting the toothbrush to use once again after about an hour or so.

To rid your faucets of calcium and lime deposits, you can either use the plastic bag trick you used on the showerhead, followed by a good toothbrush scrubbing, or simply wrap the faucet tightly with a vinegar-soaked rag and letting it alone for the night.
Soap scum will come off easily by using the good ol' toothbrush dipped in some salt and sprayed with vinegar.

The mirrors and chrome will shine when you use a 50/50 mix of water and distilled white vinegar. For a streak-free shine, apply the liquid directly to a cloth and then wipe rather than spraying it directly on the surface.

Get rid of stale odors in your bathroom by spritzing the air with a mixture of baking soda (1 teaspoon), distilled white vinegar (1 tablespoon) and a cup of water.

When you are ready to get down on your hands and knees, like Jessica was for a good deal of time today, simply fill a bucket with a gallon of warm water with a cup of vinegar added to it and start scrubbing. Baking soda can be sprinkled on the floor for tough stains. Best part, other than the fact that you're not down there breathing in toxic fumes, is that there is no rinsing needed!

Ahh...the wonders of vinegar! And the wonders of a daughter who is not only a mother extraordinaire, but also industrious enough to start her own green cleaning business, scheduling her cleanings around her husband's schedule as much as possible. And on the days when he's working? Well, that's where the Green Grandma comes in, of course! Like yesterday, when I got to enjoy the company of the lovely little Lady Laura while her mommy made my house sparkle. What a good deal! And when I'm not available, there's always Laura's Aunt B. So in the end, everyone wins. And to think this whole business started out because of Vinegar Fridays! Now that's a testimonial!

Keeping it green with vinegar,


P.S. If you are in the Pittsburgh area and would like more information about the Green Cleaning Team, email me and Jess will get in touch with you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- Green Child Magazine

There's a new magazine on the block and I am so excited about it, I just had to post a review! It is called Green Child Magazine with a great tagline at the bottom of the cover -- raising your child the way nature intended. Wish I had written that!

I couldn't wait to peruse the 78 pages of the premiere issue yesterday. But then I discovered something I wasn't too happy about. Green Child Magazine is actually an ezine, and I hate reading magazines online! Give me something solid to hold in my hands, flip through and highlight for goodness sake. So what did I do? I opted for the non-eco-friendly option and I printed it! All 78 pages. Of course, I set my Energy Star printer on its best ink-saving setting and printed in black ink only only both sides of the paper. Ahhh. Now I have something to hold, flip through and highlight!

Moving on from the negative, I would much rather expound upon the positive things about this magazine...of which there are many.

First of all, the design. This is a classy looking publication! It is professional, snazzy, attractive and, quite honestly, would rival any of the other parenting magazines that have been around for decades. It simply looks that good! And the babies and children are simply adorable!

Secondly, the product reviews, of which there are many! Between the short snippets artfully placed beside product images, there are also some nice full-sized ads from companies I had never heard of, with descriptions of some of their products. Products like Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers and Hip Mountain Mama have great graphics and copy. Good enough to make me want to visit their websites.

Two ads that caught my attention were the ones for Chubby Cheeks all-in-2 one size cloth diapers and LolliDoo Diapers. Chubby Cheeks claim to be guaranteed to fit even the chubbiest little legs and LolliDoo cloth diapers are made from recycled beverage bottles, organic cotton and recycled stainless steel (snaps). How green is that?!

From page 4 to 7, there is a nice variety of kid-friendly, earth-friendly products featured. There are some really unique products like ToothSoap, a non-toxic, gluten free dental product made from 100% sustainable ingredients and created by a SAHM! And then there is the old standard, Rockin Green Cloth Diaper and Laundry Detergent that I know so many of you swear by.

Finally, there are some solid articles on a variety of subjects. With Earth Day and Easter coming up in April, the magazine nicely addresses both with an article on natural egg dyes and ideas for celebrating Earth Day with your family. But they didn't forget this month's special day -- there are several pages dedicated to recipes in an article titled "Vegan Valentine's Day."

On the crafty side -- I loved the instructional article on how to make a marble roller coaster. I have an old wooden Amish marble thingy (I don't know what you would call it) that my granddaughter loves to play with. It could keep her happy for hours if the sound of marbles speeding down the tracks didn't drive me crazy after awhile! So I know she would love to make her own marble roller coaster. The one in Green Child is constructed from pizza boxes and paper towel rolls, among other things.

There is also an interview with Nancy Traversy, co-founder and CEO of Barefoot Books. Quite enlightening.

Other articles featured in this first issue include:
  • Stop Poisoning your Home (complete with a handy comparison chart to help you find the right replacements for the toxic products you may still be using)
  • Benefits of Cloth Diapering
  • The Great Zoo Debate
  • 5 Things You Can Do to Help Big
This magazine is packed full of info to help you make greener choices for your family.

I did catch a couple of misspellings and/or typos, but as an editor I can't seem to help that! As a writer, I was looking for names to attribute the articles to and was disappointed not to find any. And as a consumer, I couldn't help looking through the ads wishing some of my favorite companies were featured there. Because, let me tell you, I believe Green Child Magazine is going to be around for quite some time and is going to develop a huge reader base. That's why I hope to see Leaf & Bud Naturals, Green Baby Clothing Company and Happy Baby Company ads gracing the pages of an upcoming issue!

Keeping it honest with reviews,


Monday, February 7, 2011

Real Heroes

Well, Green Bay beat the Steelers...which was a disappointment for those of us in Pittsburgh who root for their home team. Living in a Championship City makes one painfully aware of 'sports obsession,' which, here in Pittsburgh, is a major thing. Lately, with all the "Stairway to Seven" hoopla (as in a seventh Super Bowl win), it has made me think about heroes. Pittsburgh fans are LOUD! They cheer their teams on with unbridled enthusiasm. They don jerseys of their favorite players...their heroes.

At church yesterday, I stood out in the sea of black and gold. I was wearing a jean skirt, brown sweater and brown tights. Now I knew better than to wear green, but I just don't do the Steeler garb. Oversized jerseys are not the most flattering look on me. Not that I didn't enjoy the game or do my share of shouting at the television; I just didn't dress the part.

Heroes. Is it wrong to elevate overpaid athletes, or movie stars for that matter? Maybe not, but today I want to sing the praises of the most underappreciated, and underpaid, people I know. Stay-at-home moms. Like my two daughters, Bethany and Jessica, who have chosen to forego careers to stay at home with their children. They are my heroes.

Back in the early '80s, I performed in the show Working, based on the book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel. In the book, Terkel interviews people about their jobs. Some of the interviews were turned into a musical showcasing a wide variety of careers. One of the songs has remained in my mind for nearly three decades. It is called "Just a Housewife" with lyrics by Craig Carnelia. I'm going to post the words of the song here, because I think they so brilliantly reflect what a housewife/SAHM experiences. This was a song, that when I sang it in the show, resonated within my soul.

All I am is just a housewife
Nothing special, nothing great
What I do is kinda boring
If you'd rather, it can wait

All I am is someone's mother
All I am is someone's wife
All of which seems unimportant
All it is is
Just my life

Do the laundry, wash the dishes
Take the dog out, clean the house
Shop for groceries, look for specials
God it sounds so, Mickey Mouse

Drop the kids off, pick the shirts up
Try to lose weight, try again
Keep the troops fed, pick their things up
Lose your patience, count to ten



All I am is just a housewife
Just a housewife, nothing great
What I do is "out of fashion"
What I feel is out of date

All I am is someone's mother
Right away I'm not too bright
What I do is unfulfulling
So the T.V. talk-shows tell me every night

I don't mean to complain at all
but they make you feel like you're two feet tall
when you're just a wife

(Just a housewife)

All the magazines
make a bunch of beans
out of family life

(My life)

You're a "whiz" if you go to work
but you're just a jerk if you say you won't

(Just a housewife)

People say that they think it's fine
if the choice is mine
but you know they don't

What I do, what I choose to do
may be dumb to you
but it's not to me

Is it dumb that they need me there?
Is it dumb to care?
Cause I do, you see

And I mean, did ya ever think,
really stop and think
what a job it was --

Doing all the things
that a housewife does?

I'm afraid it's unimpressive

(All I am is someone's mother
nothing special)

What I do is

(What I do is)


(Kinda dull)

Take the kids here,

Take the kids there


I don't mean to complain at all

(All I am is...

All I am is...)

Busy, busy...


(All I am is...)

Like my mother...

(All I am is...)

Just a housewife

Don't you love the lines, "Is it dumb that they need me there? Is it dumb to care? Cause I do you see"??

Now, before all of you working moms jump all over me, I am not, in any way, putting you down! That is not what this is about. In the midst of all the football hoopla, I just want to give a shout out to stay-at-home-moms, because they don't have bosses or coworkers patting them on the back, giving them promotions, sending them flowers on Secretary's Day (or whatever the politically correct term is these days), giving them Christmas bonuses or any of the other things that go along with working outside of the home. What do they get? Oh yeah...snotty faced kisses and endless recitings of the alphabet. And you know what? Nothing can beat that for them.

But what they deserve is a stadium full of screaming fans waving Terrible Towels...or maybe some well-worn cloth diapers! They deserve media attention and society's devotion. Well guess what? I am a fan. A devoted, diehard fan. And in the Super Bowl of life, you ladies are all winners!

And that's what I wanted to share with you today because it has been on my mind a lot lately.

Yes, I know it's Monday and I usually write about my Sabbath Experiment on Mondays. But I really didn't have anything exciting to share about that. Although I do have a confession to make. Due to the blessing of an enormous workload last week, I did end up having to put a few hours in at the office yesterday. But, believe me, I fully intend on resuming my day of rest this coming weekend. I'll let you know how that goes next Monday!

Sharing my heart,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trying to make sense of hatred

I imagine
one of the reasons people cling to their hates
so stubbornly
is because they sense,
once hate is gone...
they will be forced to deal with pain.

-- James Arthur Baldwin           

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vinegar Friday


Actually, I'm not really thanking God another Vinegar Friday has rolled around so quickly. You see, I started working a temporary fulltime voice over job this week, which means, in addition to my ongoing work with my regular clients and my work on this blog, I'll be putting in 40 hours a week behind a microphone. Guess what that means? Little time for anything else. I'm already behind schedule for this week, which means I'll be spending tonight and all day tomorrow in my office working. Not that I'm complaining! I'm thrilled I landed this gig. It just means I don't have as much time for posts like this. So I'm going to have to make it short. I have a magazine article due today on composting and I still need to work on that. Plus get in my 8 hours of recording time. Whew.

Not that I got all of that rambling out of the way, I wanted to focus on something those of us in the snowy parts of the world know too well -- the problem of road salt residue. Don't you hate it?? I mean, I'm glad it's there to keep my car from sliding into a tree or something, but I do not like it when I brush up against the side of the car and my coat ends up streaked with a dusty white. Yuck. Of course, you know where this is going -- vinegar! Distilled white vinegar to the rescue! And it's the same solution you've read about week after week. A 50/50 mix of water and vinegar.

Use it to remove salt stains from your leather boots by simply wiping them down with a soft cloth moistened with the vinegar water.

Clean the salt residue off the floor mats in your car by spraying them with the solution and then blotting with a towel.

What about salt stains on your suede boots? Uggs and other such boots can be cleaned by lightly brushing the dirt off with an old toothbrush and then wiping them with a cloth dampened in undiluted distilled white vinegar. Test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area first. If the color transfers to the cloth, do not use the vinegar on the suede!! Do not saturate the boot! Let the vinegar dry and then brush again with the toothbrush. This will work on suede jackets as well.

And then there are the floors! Once the snowy footprints dry, there is often salt residue on your floors as well. If you don't have a steam mop (which is my first choice for cleaning floors), then mix up an eco-friendly floor cleaning solution in a spray bottle.
  • 1/3 part water
  • 1/3 part rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 part distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of dishwashing liquid
Spray lightly and mop. It's quick. It's easy. And it's the perfect solution for a Vinegar Friday!

And, of course, there's the problem of salt stains on your carpet. To take care of this, simply make a paste of baking soda (1/4 cup) and vinegar (2 TBSPs). Rub it into the carpet and let dry overnight. In the morning, vacuum up the paste and the stains. Of course, you want to test for colorfastness on your carpet as well. Remember, if the color transfers to the rag, you want to skip the vinegar!

Those are my tips for this snowy Vinegar Friday. I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend!

Keeping it clean with vinegar,


P.S. The winner of the Happy Mama Spray is....Leann! Congratulations!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who wants to be a Happy Mama?

The folks at Earth Mama Angel Baby have graciously offered to gift one of you with a bottle of Happy Mama Spray! How awesome is that?!

So here's what I want you to do: Post a comment here and share with the community what makes you a happy mama (or happy papa or happy daughter or ... whatever it is that makes you happy)! Also, mention one other Earth Mama Angel Baby product that has the word "happy" in it. (You'll have to visit the website for that!)

I'll choose a winner (via after midnight EST and announce the winner on Vinegar Friday!

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- I'm a Happy Mama!

A few weeks ago when I decided to start the Review It Wednesday feature on the blog, I contacted the folks at Earth Mama Angel Baby and asked them if I could review one of their products. They enthusiastically agreed and asked me to pick something. Of course, Green Grandma doesn't have need of any of the pregnancy or breastfeeding products (thank God!), so I went with something even those of us in the latter half of our lives could appreciate. I requested the Happy Mama Spray and let me tell you...I'm a happy grandmama!!

When I'm feelin' run down,
a bit depressed,
feel like giving up
'cause I'm oh so stressed,
I grab a little bottle,
shake it up and then I spray.
Who needs Calgon?
Happy Mama takes me away!

Okay, so I know the meter is off by a beat in the last line, but you get the idea! Seriously, the Happy Mama Spray provides the pick-me-up I am so often in need of. The bottle sits on my desk, within reach, so that anytime I need a lift, I can just grab it, shake it up and spritz the air around me. Inhaling has never felt so good! It's like a little endorphin party every time I breathe in!

What makes this stuff so amazing? Well, for one thing, it is completely safe to use. The ingredients include pure essential oils and flower essences, like ylang ylang flower oil and organic orange, ginger and lime essential oils. The aroma is simply delicious.

Granted, this is a spray that is sold on the Earth Mama Angel Baby website under the Pregnancy tab -- but that doesn't mean we grandmas can't enjoy it! Why is it marketed to pregnant mamas? Because of the blend of oils, particularly ginger, which is ideal for helping to fight morning sickness.

But Happy Mama Spray is designed for other purposes as well. If you know a new mom who is suffering from post-partum depression, this aromatic spray can help battle the baby blues. Or for that stressed-out mama who is chasing around a toddler all day or navigating through the waters of having a teenager or two, Happy Mama Spray won't solve their problems, but it will give them an occasional lift.

It's perfect as a linen spray. And an air freshener. A body spray. And a calm-your-nerves and lift-your-spirits spray.

Earth Mama Angel Baby promotes Happy Mama Spray as "virtual bliss in a bottle," and that it is. Remember the old bubble bath commercials where the woman would sigh, "Calgon, take me away" as she sank into a tub of bubbles? Well, this aromatherapy mist will do just that, without all the toxins. I shudder as I think about what was in that tub with her!

The bottom line is, yes, I did get the product for free from EMAB so I could review it. And yes, I love this company of safe baby and mommy products. So the question is: Can I be objective? Well, let me tell you. I could sit here and try to come up with something negative to say...but then all I have to do is spritz some Happy Mama Spray and all the negativity vanishes. So can I be objective? Ummm, I don't know. I just misted the air around me and all I want to do is a Happy Mama dance. You decide.

Keeping it green and happy on Review It Wednesday,


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Diva Cup -- Winner #2

Congratulations to Kate (kat_henna) who was chosen via to win the Diva Cup after our first winner never claimed her prize.

Please email me at with your full name and address.

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