Saturday, July 30, 2011


Photo by Dorothy Sessions

Rest is not idleness ...
listening to the murmur of water
or watching the clouds float across the sky
is hardly a waste of time.

-- John Lubbock             

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Lemons with a twist

In light of yesterday's post about lemons, I decided to do another one. This one is about repurposing lemons ... keeping with the theme of Friday's 3Rs. And, once again, it's a post Worth Repeating, originally posted in October of 2010.

When life gives you lemons, start cleaning!

My microwave is dirty. I don't know what exploded in there, but it definitely left its mark.

Now before those of you who are anti-microwaves (and probably rightfully so) jump on me, I know microwaves are not the best things to have in our homes. I use mine sparingly and generally keep it unplugged. Actually, it serves more as a breadbox than anything.

But back to the interior condition of my microwave -- it needs a good cleaning. Fortunately, I have a solution, and it doesn't involve chemicals! I found this little hint in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine recently. The blurb started out with "Let lemon-infused steam do the work of cleaning your microwave." That got my attention.

Here's what you do (and what I'll be doing a bit later):

Grab a glass bowl that is microwave-safe. Add about two cups of water, followed by the juice from half a lemon. Next, place the squeezed lemon half into the water and put the bowl into the microwave. Set it on high for five to ten minutes and turn it on. Now walk away...don't stand there watching the bowl spin. It is best not to be nearby when the microwave is doing its thing! Keep the door closed for an additional five minutes or so and then wipe out the inside with a cloth. According to BHG, "the work is done."

Here's hoping...

Now that you have used half of your lemon, why not use the other half for something useful? Here are some ideas:
  • If the change in weather has you feeling under the weather, and you are suffering from a sore throat, simply skewer the halved lemon and roast it over your stove's burner until the peel turns golden brown. After it cools down a bit, mix the juice with a teaspoon of honey and swallow it.
  • Are your fingernails (or toenails, for that matter) looking rather yellow and sickly? Just rub them with a wedge of lemon. They will be sparkly white in no time.
  • Speaking of white -- if you add about 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your wash cycle, your dingys won't be dingy anymore.
  • Plastic and wooden cutting boards can get nasty with food stains over time. Super lemon to the rescue! Just squeeze the lemon onto the board, rub the stain with the juice and then let it sit for a half hour. Rinse it off and it should be looking like new. This will disinfect the cutting board as well. This is a good trick for sanitizing chopping blocks, too.
  • If you have been grating cheese, simply rub the lemon (pulp side) over the grater and voila! No more stickiness!
Don't you love discovering new uses for the things God's created? Okay, I'm off to clean my microwave. I'll let you know how it goes!

Keeping it green with lemons this time,


Okay, here is my review on cleaning the microwave -- A-

After a little bit of scrubbing, my microwave looks like new. I only "cooked" the lemon-infused bowl of water for seven minutes. Perhaps had I gone with ten minutes, I would have bumped the grade up.

When the microwave was clean, I went on to clean other things in my kitchen with the lemon water. Then I used the cooked lemon and scrubbed my bamboo cutting boards. Finally, I soaked my sink stopper in the bowl and ripped apart the lemon and fed it to the garbage disposal. No waste here. My kitchen smells wonderfully lemony and I feel really good about disinfecting and cleaning with nothing more than a halved lemon, some water and a dishcloth. Post your own review after you give this a try. Maybe you'll give it an A+!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Worth Repeating -- Lemon-fragranced ... naturally!

Some things are simply worth repeating. My skin crawls every time I see a lemon-scented Pine-Sol commercial!

"It smells so clean!" they boast. It drives me crazy. No, it doesn't smell clean!! It smells like lemon-scented chemicals. Wolves in sheep's clothing.

But there is something wonderful about the invigorating scent of lemons ... provided they are real lemons. So, with that in mind, I'm repeating my post from one year ago today ... and it's all about lemons. Enjoy!

Lemon-fragranced ... naturally!

I received a question on Facebook after my post yesterday regarding the use of lemons in natural cleaning products. In addition to adding a truly natural lemon scent to your home, here are some of the things you can do with a lemon:
  • Polish up your brass and copper by halving a lemon and rubbing it on the tarnished items.
  • Dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits with undiluted lemon juice.
  • Scrub kitchen surfaces with a halved lemon sprinkled with baking soda. Use it the way you may have used Comet years ago. This is a wonderful way to get stains out of your sink or off your counters. You can also wash dishes, pots and pans with this handy little lemon scrubber. When done, toss the lemon into your garbage disposal. Ahh, the energizing aroma of lemons!
  • Polish your hardwood furniture with a solution of olive oil and lemon juice (1 cup to ½ cup). Guaranteed to make your home smell yummy – naturally!
  • Disinfect a cutting board by rubbing a cut lemon across the surface.
  • Speaking of disinfecting -- lemons are natural disinfectants. As a matter of fact, researchers at Tsyuma Central Hospital determined that lemon juice kills 99.9% of microbes, including the strain that causes strep infection. To make a natural disinfectant, simply mix up lemon juice with water (50/50) in a spray bottle and apply to non-porous surfaces.
Make sure you wear gloves if you have any cuts on your hands or fingers when cleaning with lemons. Lemon juice can sting when it seeps into an open wound!

Hope I’ve cleared up some of the questions about using lemons in your everyday cleaning. Keep the questions coming! I’m happy to find an answer for them when I can!

Keeping it green,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New to you ... and to me, too!

It's Review It Wednesday and today it's all about what Amy Boehme of Minneapolis did with an idea.

You see, Amy loved to shop at garage sales (a woman after my own heart). She also wanted to start a business someday. Passion + drive = magic! At least, that's the way I look at it.

Amy is the owner of New to You Clothing. Oh, another resale shop, you may be thinking. What's so special about that? What's special about it is that you don't have to get dressed, fix your hair/makeup, strap the kiddos in their carseats and drive to the shop. You simply pop open your laptop and shop in the luxury of your home/office/backyard ... wherever. But don't think you're going to have to pay premium prices for this premium concept. Nope. Amy offers garage sale prices on gently used kids' clothes. And shipping in the U.S. is beyond reasonable. $2.50 for the first item, with a 50 cents charge per additional item. Or, you can fill a box for a flat rate price of $10.95 for a medium USPS box, or $14.95 for a large one. Of course, bulky items might run a bit more, but overall, the S/H costs are quite low compared to other sites.

It all started with a need to sell her first child's clothing. Living in a small apartment, Amy simply didn't have the space to store clothes in case they had another girl. So she started listing her clothes, in lots, on Craigslist. While some things sold, this was not an ideal situation. Then one day, after considering the recommendation of a repeat customer, Amy launched her New to You Clothing website.

Here's what I like about it:
  • Convenient. Like I said, this is I'm looking grimy today, but it's okay kind of shopping. You can do it anywhere you have Internet access.
  • Cheap. With prices ranging from 50 cents to 15 dollars, this site gives Goodwill and garage saling a run for their money!
  • Categorized. Don't you hate having to search through Rubbermaid bins full of kids' clothing at garage sales? Or sorting through the racks at Goodwill, where there is no rhyme or reason to the placement of clothes? Amy has her site set up in such an orderly fashion, it is a delight to shop for clothing for your little one. Everything is categorized according to gender and size, with pictures and description of each item. I simply love this!
  • Clean. Amy carefully launders each item prior to listing it.
  • Cool. This is just a cool idea. Period.
  • Creative. I just adore creative minds.
Here are some of NTYC's current offerings:





I could go on and on about why I think this is an awesome business. But I'll let you decide that for yourself. While I've not yet ordered anything, I cannot testify as to the speed of delivery, etc., but after browsing through some of the posts on her Facebook wall, it looks like the folks are pretty darned satisfied with their dealings with Amy.

Now, who doesn't love a giveaway? Amy is graciously offering a $15 gift certificate to one lucky community member. Will it be you?

This time, in order to enter, I need for you to do two simple things:

'Like' the New to You Clothing FB page and post a message saying Green Grandma sent you. If you already 'like' their page, but haven't joined us in the GG community yet, simply 'like' my page and post a comment saying you want to win the NTYC gift certificate.

If you already 'like' both of us, just post a message on FB and let me know.

The winner will be chosen via after midnight on Monday, August 1st and posted here on the blog on Tuesday, August 2nd. Winner has 5 days to claim their prize. After that, another drawing will take place and an alternate winner will be named. As always, I will post a link on FB when the winner is announced.

Amy and I would both appreciate it if you would spread the word about this online garage sale. After all, who doesn't like a bargain ... and a giveaway?!

Sharing more good stuff with you,


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Sabbath Experience -- week 42

As I typed 'week 42' in the title, I found myself amazed that this experiment has continued on for this long, morphing into an experience that I intend to follow through with for the rest of my life. Of course, I don't always expound on the Sabbath itself when I write these beginning-of-the-week posts. Often, I just give you a glimpse into my life.

Last night, I returned home from a lovely 3-day weekend break. I must admit, I'm struggling through those Monday morning, don't-want-to-be-at-work, blahs. The break just wasn't long enough. Do you ever feel that way? The temptation to check my emails and see what I would be facing workwise as I started the week was strong last night. But my commitment to stay true to my Sabbath Experiment prevented me from doing so. Instead, I relaxed with my husband and watched an episode of Season One of Beauty and the Beast.

Bill and I left on Friday morning with our lovely little granddaughter and headed east on the PA Turnpike to Manheim, Pennsylvania where we gathered at my mother's house with my two sisters (from Glendale, CA and Binghamton, NY) and my niece and her family (from NYC). Since I spend most of my days alone with my computer, I must admit at first I had trouble adjusting to the crowd, especially on Saturday morning. Time spent alone on my porch with my coffee and Bible, was replaced with time in a small, hot, crowded kitchen with lots of noise. I eventually adjusted, and by the time there were 13 of us in the house on Saturday night, I was enjoying the company.

Life's like that sometimes, isn't it? We ease into a routine that is comfortable and then, WHAM, something disrupts it and we're thrown a bit off balance. Often, it's by choice, and the disruption is temporary. Other times, we're thrown a situational curve ball that completely knocks us off base and we have to struggle to find a new balance. If you are going through that right now (because of a loss), my heart goes out to you. Please know that will come a time when your equilibrium is back in tune. Granted, it will be a different tune, but lovely, just the same.

When I became a grandmother, I earned bragging rights. I have an absolutely adorable grandson, Lincoln, who will be turning one next month. Unfortunately, he wasn't with us in Manheim over the weekend. But our 33-month-old little Laura was. And she was such a delight. We've traveled with her since she was quite young and enjoyed every trip. She has never complained, whined, or asked "Are we there yet?" on our trips. There is no DVD player to entertain her. Rather, there are songs and games from the start of the drive until the end, with a nap thrown in there along the way.

Some of my favorite memories with my girls when they were young emerged from time spent in the car. Those of you whose kids are caught up in videos or video games instead of conversation and fun as a family, are missing so much, in my opinion. What can you play with a 2-year-old? Well, we look for things that start with certain letters. Or we look for shapes.

"Look grandma! It's a rectangle!" Laura will shout as a large truck rolls by.

"A triangle," she exclaims as we pull off the road and she spots a yield sign. The stop sign is acknowledged with "A octagon!" (She doesn't know the difference between 'a' and 'an' yet.)

Since we were driving in Pennsylvania (the Keystone State), all our state highway signs have keystones on them. Laura now can identify a keystone.

Is that normal for a 2-year-old? Probably not. Is it because she's exceptionally bright? Probably not. Perhaps it is just she's been taught. Not by an educational television show, but by parents, an aunt and uncle, and grandparents who have instructed her from the time she was born. It's not hard to do.

While putting on her tiny little socks when she was a baby, we'd say, "This is your left foot," or "Give me your right foot." I can't tell you how long she's known her right and left now. While grocery shopping, I'd say, "I need 3 apples," and she'd help me count them as we put them in the cart. Browsing through the shoe racks at Goodwill, I picked up various sizes of shoes and Laura would tell me if they were too big or too small for her. And she got it right every time, even though she was only 27-months-old.

Children are so teachable. We just have to use the time we spend with them to work teaching into our regular routine. My daughter is teaching her The Lord's Prayer, and I was amazed, over the weekend, how much of it she knows already. And it's not just about words. It's about explaining the whys and the meanings behind the words. It's about encouraging reasoning. It's about doing it in love. When there is love behind the teaching, children will absorb the lessons like the little sponges they are. They want to learn.

Don't miss the opportunities, folks. Don't let cartoon characters or puppets replace the teachers you were meant to be. And, for goodness sake, lead by example.

Bill and I left Laura in Manheim with my mom and sisters yesterday and traveled back to Pittsburgh. While we can always find enough to talk about in the car, we still missed that little voice in the backseat saying, "Let's sing 'Tinkle, Tinkle Little Tar' again, Gamaw," or "Look, PapPap, a circle!"

While I know she's having a ball with her Great-Grandma Gene and Great-Aunts Carolyn and Tina, I have to admit I'm a little jealous. After all, they get to spend the next few days with my favorite little girl in the world, and I ... I get to get back into my routine.

Sharing my thoughts,


Saturday, July 23, 2011

My daily dilemma

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

"I wake up every morning
determined both to change the world
and have one hell of a good time.
Sometimes this makes
planning the day
a little difficult."

-- EB White                         

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Give me a little kiss ...

In keeping with my chocolate train of thought I started earlier in the week ...

Did you know that approximately 80,000,000 Hershey's kisses are wrapped in foil every day?! That foil could cover 40 football fields! And what do we do with it? Most of us simply toss it in the trash. But guess what -- that foil is recyclable.

So the next time you reach for a kiss (the chocolate kind), make sure you save the foil for recycling. It's that simple and, today, that's all I have to say.

Reducing waste,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat and tough days ... oh, and a glass of milk

Photo by Sharee Basinger

It's hot. Really, really hot.

Work is challenging (to put it kindly), and my Internet is plaguing me with difficulties. Needless to say, I'm a bit grumpy today. Actually, I've been pretty grumpy all week. I do not like heat. I do not like trying to appease hard-to-please clients. I do not enjoy repeated calls to my Internet provider (and by now, they know it).

Do you ever have weeks like that? How do you put everything back into perspective? For me, I have to keep focusing on the fact that the temps will eventually drop, this project will wrap up (hopefully today!) and in heaven, there will be no computers : )

In the meantime, I'm hoping for a productive and successful day here in this heat. And I'm really hoping the electricity doesn't go out, as they are calling for brownouts across the region. If my AC goes out, I just might melt away.

But nothing I've said is particularly useful to any of you. So here are a couple of tidbits I've read lately and thought I'd share:

Milk. It does a body good, right? Well, apparently not for kids if they're drinking too much of it! According to Claire McCarthy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, children who drink more than 16 - 24 ounces of milk per day are at a greater risk of constipation, anemia and becoming overweight. Who knew? I certainly didn't. I've never liked milk and could literally gag just thinking about drinking it, but that's beside the point. I know many of you give milk to your kids and wanted to post this warning, in case you have a milk-guzzler in your home. And remember, after they turn 2, make the switch to low-fat milk. Of course, as far as possible, please stick to organic milk as well. Your kids really don't need all those hormones and antibiotics regulary found in conventional milk, right?

Vincent Ianelli, M.D. recommends giving your toddler smaller doses of milk at a time. Instead of pouring in 8 ounces, stick to 3 or 4 sippy cups each day with 4 to 5 ounces in them. Your little one won't notice the difference. Also, watch their juice intake. When kids fill up on milk and juice, they're less apt to eat healthy doses of good-for-them food. You don't want them coming to the dinner table full. And, this should go without saying, stay away from the soda!!

That's it for today. Time to get back to the project from ... well, you know. It's rumored to be hot there, too.

Keeping it healthy,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review It Wednesday -- letters from across the pond

I'm in the mood for something different. So here it is.

A couple of months ago, my daughter's best friend, Nicole (who I affectionately call 'my favorite daughter'), posted something on Facebook about a book she'd just read called 84 Charing Cross Road. Well, the concept of the book intrigued me, so Nicole sent the book home with Bethany after a weekend visit. I am so glad she did.

This 1970 non-fiction gem was written by Helene Hanff, the woman responsible for the Ellery Queen television show scripts. Quite simply, the book is a compilation of letters written between Helene and Frank Doel, principal buyer for Marks & Co., an antiquarian bookstore located at 84 Charing Cross Road in London.

Rarely have I read a book that delighted me as much as this one did. After a really long day seated at my desk, I ventured out onto the porch with a glass of wine and this marvelous little book. Once I started reading, I knew I was in it for the long haul. As the night wore on, my outbursts of laughter disturbed the stillness. It is not often I laugh out loud like this while reading a book. Laughter eventually gave way to tears, as I wept with regret and remorse, the way I assume Ms. Hanff once did as well.

Stemming from Ms. Hanff's passion for hard-to-find classic books, the couple engages in enchanting banter, via snail mail (air mail in those days) from New York to London and back again. Doel sends Helene obscure books and Helene gifts him, his family and the others working at Marks & Co. with eggs (a rarity during the days of rationing in England) and other delectable treats.

Of course, the above description may not lure you into picking up a copy of the book for yourself. It does sound rather bland. But there is just something about this short little book that captivates, enthralls and delights the reader. Perhaps it's the essence of Helene's and Frank's personalities that shine through each letter. Quite honestly, I couldn't help connecting the exchange between them to today's Facebook walls, where we invite others in to read our thoughts and conversations with people they don't even know. It's like reading Facebook posts spanning two decades a half-century ago.

There was just something about these letters that draws the reader in. By the time you're done reading, you feel as if you've just spent time with some good friends. And you know you will miss them as you gently close the back cover.

I cannot recommend this book more highly. I want everyone I know to read it. Not because it has any real drama or suspense. There isn't any hot romance or unsolved mysteries. It's just a simple book that turns the ordinary into something extraordinary.

And, for those of you who just don't like to read, guess what? In 1987, a movie, so closely based on the book, was released. I went on eBay and snatched up a copy for less than $5 with shipping. Of course, it's a VHS. But that's not a problem in our household of antiquated electronics.

I was both excited and afraid to watch the movie. So often, the screenwriters seem to destroy the original stories. Not in this case. Bill and I both loved this adaptation, with the incomparable Anne Bancroft, as Helene, and equally brilliant Anthony Hopkins, as Frank. The superb acting was matched by a simply amazing screenplay. And it would have to be, wouldn't it? After all, it is based on a book comprised entirely of letters.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, as I sat down to write, I was in the mood for something different. A book and movie review. Yeah, that's different for this site, but it was on my mind this week and I just wanted to share. Let me know if you read the book or see the movie. I'd love to know what you think.

Reviewing it for you,


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We have a winner!

to Andrea Hertz,
the winner of the
Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
from Earth Mama Angel Baby!

Andrea wrote:

"My fav. way to get dirty as a kid was to play in a mud puddle and make mud pies. It would have been nice to have some earth mama angel baby shampoo way back then
(the 70's lol)."

Andrea -- send me an email and I'll let you know how you can claim your prize : )

A Tuesday quickie

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
 Sometimes we all just need a quickie. Too much info bears down on us and we just can't process it all.

So today, I thought you might enjoy a quickie. And it's all about your health, ladies (sorry guys). Just 3 simple tips:
  1. Wine is good for you. Really. A glass a day (red being better than white) just might help you fight heart disease. How? By increasing your blood's level of omega-3 fatty acids. That's according to a report by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. By reducing inflamation, your arteries will simply be healthier. Cheers!
  2. Smoking is not good for you. Yeah, you needed me to remind you of that, right? If you are a smoker, just know that, on average, those cigarettes have robbed you of over 14 years of the life you've been blessed with. Bottom line ... that sucks.
  3. This one you'll love, and you probably know. But it is well worth repeating! Sally Scroggs, R.D. (M.D. Anderson Cancer Prevention Center) says dark chocolate, oh yeah! has properties that just may hold off cell changes that lead to tumors, thus reducing your risk of cancer.
Bottom line -- stomp out the cigarette and grab some dark chocolate to accompany that small glass of wine. Your body will thank you for it.

Keeping it healthy,


Monday, July 18, 2011

I married a Gravity HIll atheist

Jesus Laughing painting by Ralph Kozak

Switched things up a bit this week and decided to honor the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday. Well, at least as far as not working goes.

My husband, Bill, and I drove out Rt. 30 E from Pittsburgh to Bedford, PA to meet my best friend, Dawn, and her husband, Scott, who traveled about the same distance on the turnpike from Lancaster County, PA. We antiqued, shopped, talked and laughed. My how we laughed! In the evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner before heading in opposite directions to our homes. I hated saying 'goodbye.'

Dawn and I are nearing our 50th anniversary as best friends, a distinction not shared by many. Throughout my life, Dawn has been my biggest supporter, affirming my choices, drying my tears, celebrating my accomplishments and always, always, building me up. When I see myself through Dawn's eyes, I can do remarkable things!

One thing we decided to do while in Bedford, was to drive the 12 or 13 miles to experience something known as Gravity Hill. Located a short drive from Schellsburg, PA (where we had dinner), Gravity Hill is a Central PA attraction that has been drawing visitors for decades. But let me tell you, my hubby was not impressed, which made the trip all the more fun for Dawn, Scott and me as our laughter over Bill's Gravity Hill atheism was almost painful.

When you arrive at the spot on a narrow windy road marked with "G H" you stop, put your car in neutral and watch what happens. Depending on how you've positioned your car, it either starts headin uphill going forward or backward. This "defying gravity" action has stumped many, but not Bill, who adamently proclaimed we were going downhill the whole time.

I have an issue with that. If we were, indeed, going downhill, what's the attraction? Why would people drive from miles away to experience this if, in reality, there was nothing to experience?

Is it an optical illusion? I don't know. But Bill certainly believes it is. Party pooper. To quote him, "This was right up there with the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life."

All we could do was laugh at him.

Sometimes, more than needing a day of rest, what we really need is a hearty dose of laughter. I'm betting Jesus enjoyed a bit of humor with his closest friends from time to time. And on Sunday, I couldn't help but to thank Him for the gift of friendship, laughter, and a natural phenomenon in the mountains of this beautiful state of Pennsylvania known as Gravity Hill. I wonder if He laughed along with us.

Sharing my Sabbath experience,


The following post is a YouTube video of Gravity Hill. Maybe it will make you a true believer!

Gravity Hill near Bedford, PA

Saturday, July 16, 2011


My grandbabies
Photo by Bethany Schad

"If you want your children to improve,
let them overhear the nice things
you say about them
to others."

-- Haim Ginott                      

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Worth Repeating

Photo by Peter Griffin

"I've seen people drinking water out of plastic bottles and then not recycling them. That's infuriating. I know it's faster to throw it in the garbage. But if you're going to buy water individually bottled for your convenience, then all I say is,
take the time and put it in the can marked 'Recycle.'

It's a small thing that makes a big difference."

                                                                                     -- Ellen DeGeneres

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get the lead out

Lead poisoning. Does it frighten you? Do you even think about it?

Remember when the big scare was paint chips -- like any of us let our kids sit around eating paint chips! Last I recall, they didn't flavor them. I mean, there weren't Barbecue Paint Chips, Salt and Vinegar Paint Chips or even Veggie Paint Chips. Paint chips were ... well, unappetizing. I was never concerned.

In recent years, however, the lead issue reared its ugly head in ways that did concern me. Lead in toys?! What?? We can largely thank China for that! You see, the problem is, while the U.S. government may enjoy poisoning us with GMOs, they do have stricter guidelines when it comes to toys. Which is probably why most of them are made in countries where the rules are, shall we say, lacking? I wonder if any of the people working in the toy factories in China let their kids play with the toys.

Or course, the U.S. government didn't get with the program about lead until the late 70s, which means environmental lead actually is a problem, in that much of the paint and plumbing in older buildings was packed with it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some common sources of lead that can put your children at risk:
  • Artificial turf (Phew ... don't have any of that around)
  • Ceramic cookware and dinnerware (I'm really not too sure about this one)
  • Candles with lead wicks (uh oh)
  • Folk medicines (I don't even know what they mean with this one. There haven't been any medicine men around my neighborhood lately, so maybe I'm safe)
  • Imported candy (What?? From what I read on labels lately, it seems like nearly all candy is imported these days!)
  • Imported vinyl mini-blinds (It's bad enough I have to look to see where my lettuce is coming from. Now I have to check out my mini-blinds. And what if they do have lead in them. I'm not planning on feeding them to my grandbabies!)
  • Porcelain-enameled bathtubs (NO!!! My haven. My retreat. My ... source of lead poisoning?! Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Too many hours ... and hours ... and hours ... soaking in that cesspool of lead.)
  • Tap water that moves through old pipes (Hmmm. House was built in '47. Pipes have not been replaced. Ummm ... things aren't looking too good here.)
  • Toy jewelry. (I'm thinking it's time to toss some of those necklaces, bracelets and rings from Chuck E. Cheese, Laura dear.)
  • Toys (Yes. I said it again. Toys.)
So what if your kiddo is spending his time playing with lead-infused toys? Or your little princess simply won't part with her Dollar Store tiara? Well, chances are your child won't end up with a blood level of 10 micrograms/dL or higher, but here are the signs to look for if you fear your child has been exposed to a bit too much lead:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Agitation
  • Clumsiness
  • Constipation
  • Decreased activity
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
I know. Sounds like any number of things from typical kid stuff (clumsiness for instance) to too much cheese to boredom.

But if there is any chance these symptoms are a result of lead poisoning, it is important to get your child to a doctor immediately. Even when the amount of lead in the bloodstream is less than what is considered "poisoning," long-term problems can still develop. Elevated levels of lead can affect behavior because it disrupts brain and nerve function.

If your child is at risk, talk to your pediatrician about lead screening (which is usually done between the ages of 9 months and six years). Here is the list of questions to ask yourself, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
  1. Does your child life in or regularly visit a house or child care facility built before 1950?
  2. Does your child live in or regularly visit a house or child care facility built before 1978 that is being or has recently been renovated or remodeled?
  3. Does your child have a sibling or playmate who has or had lead poisoning?
If you answer 'yes' to any of the above questions, look into screening. The initial test is just a simple finger prick blood test. Your pediatrician might recommend screening if your child has a speech or language problem, delayed growth, anemia or an attention or behavior disorder.

There is no way to reverse the brain damage or neuropsychological effects of lead poisoning, so treatment (which could include chelation therapy) must be sought as early as possible.

It's about being a good parent. And that, after all, is your primary job.

Keeping it healthy,


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review It Wednesday with a Giveaway!

We were hot and sweaty. It was the middle of the day, but my 2 1/2-year-old grandbaby and I decided to hop in the shower. As we were enjoying the spray of cool water, I thought about how many other parents or grandparents do the same, without thinking twice about the products they're using on those precious little ones.

I was relieved and happy to reach for a product, uncap the lid and squirt some fragrant foam in Laura's hands, knowing what I was giving her was 100% toxin-free. I can't imagine using anything else.

This past week, I've been trying to subdue my anger at the U.S. government for their assault on the citizens who pledge allegiance to the flag and then put government-sanctioned poisons into and onto their bodies. Quite honestly, I'm infuriated. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about a product and company we all can trust to provide safe and effective products for our families.While there are many products in their line that I could sing the praises of, today I simply want to focus on one.

Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash by Earth Mama Angel Baby. With the first puff of foam in Laura's little hands, the aroma of vanilla and orange gently fills the air. I was able to wash her, head-to-toe, with this amazingly gentle castile soap, knowing that there wasn't a single toxin to disrupt her hormones or rev up some cancer cells. That made me want to pin a "Good Grandma" badge on, but, ummm, we were in the shower and there wasn't exactly any good places to pin it!

After sudsing Laura up, I turned the power of Angel Baby on me. Why not? It certainly wasn't going to hurt me. I personally wouldn't touch the baby shampoo if it was perhaps Johnson & Johnson Johnson's No More Tears Baby Shampoo, which rates pretty high for immunotoxicity rates. Sure, it may reduce the chance for tears during bathtime, but the long-range repercussions could be devastating.

Does Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash boast the 'no more tears' claim? Not during the bath ... but down the road, you can bet the zero-toxins formula had no ill affects on your child's development or health. Now that's something to smile about!

The ingredients in Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash are all USDA Certified Organics. There is nothing artificial in this wonder soap ... nothing. Every drop, every luscious mound of foam, is completely safe. Just don't get any in your baby's eyes. The self-foaming dispenser keeps the soap from running, which reduces the risk of that irritating, but safe, soap-in-the-eyes experience.

The castille soap contains organic calendula. What it does not contain (unlike other popular baby products on the market) is petrochemicals, synthetic surfactants, sodium laureth sulfate, cocoamidylpropyl betaine, Quarternium-15 (you've heard me talk about this toxin before!), 1,4-Dioxane, formaldehyde or phthalates. You can actually pronounce all the ingredients in Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash! How's that for a pleasant change of pace?!

It smells good. It's safe. And it's effective in removing all the dirt and grime your little ones, and not so little ones, tend to get into.

Now, are you ready for a happy dance?

Mama, at Earth Mama Angel Baby, wants one of you to give Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash a try. So she's giving one away! Who wants to win it?

Here's what you need to do. Post a comment either here, or on the GG Facebook page, recalling your favorite way to get dirty when you were a kid. Don't you wish you had some Angel Baby to wash up with back then?!

You have until midnight (EST) on Monday, July 18 to enter. A winner will be chosen via and I will post his or her name right here on the blog on Tuesday.

Good luck! Can't wait to find out your dirty little secrets!

Reviewing it for you,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ultimate Recycler

Today, I am honored to share this post written by my friend, Maureen Profeta. You can follow her journey on her blog, Parable of my Life.

When my son was twelve years old, he was in a fatal accident. After twenty-four hours of one extreme measure after another to save his life, the medical team liaison informed his father and I that he was brain dead. After explaining what that meant, she asked if we would be willing to consider organ donation. We decided that our little boy would have wanted that. He was a loving, giving child and we could think of no better way to honor the short but joyous life of our son than to consent to organ donation. While I can’t tell you who all received the gift of life from our decision, I do know that one of his cornea went to a grandmother in Ohio who is now able to watch her grandbabies grow up and his heart and lungs went to a little boy right here in Pennsylvania who loves to play sports, just like my son did.

Many Americans who need transplants cannot get them because organ donors are always in short supply. There are far more people in need of a transplant than there are people willing to donate an organ. At this moment, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ. Four thousand more people are added to the national waiting list each day. Everyone of them is in desperate need of a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung, or other organ. More than 6,500 people a year – about 18 a day – die before that organ ever becomes available. By becoming an organ donor, one person can save up to eight lives and enhance the quality of life for many more.

What can one donor do?

One donor can:

• Donate kidneys to free two people from dialysis treatments needed to sustain life.
• Save the lives of patients awaiting heart, liver, lung or pancreas transplants.
• Give sight to two people through the donation of corneas.
• Donate bone to help repair injured joints or to help save an arm or leg threatened by cancer.
• Help burn victims heal more quickly through the donation of skin.
• Provide healthy heart valves for someone whose life is threatened by malfunctioning or diseased valves.

The bad news is that every 11 minutes one more person is added to the transplant waiting list. The good news is that someone may be receiving that long-awaited, much needed organ right now. Statistics can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. One way to understand their magnitude is to remember that every number is a person whose only hope for life is for someone to donate the organ they so desperately need. Each number represents a mom, dad, brother, sister or a child – someone who is important to someone else, maybe even you. What if it were your family member or friend on that list?

It's especially important to consider becoming an organ donor if you belong to an ethnic minority. Minorities including African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to have certain chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver. Certain blood types are more prevalent in ethnic minority populations. Because matching blood type is necessary for transplants, the need for minority donor organs is especially high.

While a small number of organs come from healthy people (about 6,000 transplants from living donors are performed each year) most of the organs that are available come from deceased donors. To donate your organs after death, you can either register with your state's donor registry, or fill out and carry an organ donor card or designate your choice on your driver’s license when you get or renew it. To become a living donor, you can either work directly with your family member or friend's transplant team, or contact a transplant center in your area to find out who's in need of an organ.

Be the ultimate recycler….give life by becoming an Organ and Tissue Donor.

On a personal note (from Hana), for various reasons and concerns, I am not a registerd Organ and Tissue Donor. However, everyone in my family knows my explicit wishes to donate when I die. I just am uncomfortable with the medical profession having that knowledge ahead of time ... call me cynical. I guess I am. If you are not registered, but Maureen's story has moved you, make sure your family understands exactly what you want in the case of your death. And don't wait. Like Maureen shared, accidents happen ... every day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men

Ahh. The Sabbath. How much I have enjoyed The Sabbath Experiment / Experience. It really has changed my life and, dare I say, greatly improved my marriage. Bill and I were talking about that yesterday afternoon and he agreed. Since starting The Sabbath Experiment the last week in September, we've grown closer and are generally happier in our marriage. That was a perk I hadn't planned on from the beginning, but in hindsight, see that it makes sense.

Slowing down. Enjoying life. Enjoying family. Even if it is just for one day a week, that's certainly better than no days a week. After all, I was just too busy. Or so I thought.

Do you fall into that trap? Do you feel as if you slow down you might miss something? Guess what? If you don't slow down, you will miss things ... many things.

I shared this story with my Sunday School class yesterday morning:

A migrant South African tribe went for long marches on a regular basis. Day after day they would trudge along until suddenly, they would stop and set up camp. When asked why they stopped, the answer was simple -- so their souls could catch up with them.

Ask yourself -- when was the last time you let your soul catch up? Have you been trudging along at such a harried pace that your soul has been left somewhere in a cloud of dust? Be honest. God calls us to rest one day a week. It's not a legalistic calling, but one of concern, care and love for you, a vital part of His creation.

The Sabbath is so important to God, that He even calls upon us to allow our animals to rest on the Sabbath:

In Exodus 23, verse 12, He says:  “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed."

If a Sabbath rest is important enough for your ox and donkey, don't you think it's important for you?

It's funny. I spent several hours out with a friend on Saturday. My plan was to come home and work. However, I got home and simply didn't feel like it. So I told Bill I was going to have to work on Sunday evening. And then I sat down to prepare my Sunday School lesson. Talk about conviction!! There would be no work for me on Sunday. Or so I thought.

My intentions were good. My plan was to go to Sunday School and church, out to lunch with the kids and grandkids, and then come home for an afternoon and evening of rest. We were going to watch a movie, play some Bananagrams and possibly nap. It was going to be a lovely day. But then I opened my silverware drawer. The smell of peppermint oil wafted up from the open drawer. As I reached for a teaspoon to stir my coffee, I stopped and stared. There, positioned neatly between two of my favorite spoons, was a shiny new piece of mouse poop. Like a balloon encounting a sharp object, my plans for the day quickly deflated. So much for the peppermint oil -- the mice in my house are not at all repelled by it.

Although we did nap for awhile after lunch, we eventually had to get up and face the daunting task of emptying the drawers, washing everything, wiping down the drawers with vinegar and then with the Norwex cloth. Of course, that wasn't all we had to do. Since this was the third time mice left evidence in our drawers of their presence this summer, and since the peppermint oil apparently was ineffective, we had to work, and I mean work, on solving the problem. That meant closing up the entry points.

Could someone explain to me why kitchen cabinets are not closed up all the way in the back? Apparently, I'm not the only one with this problem. When I started typing in the problem on Google, all I had to write was "Mice in ..." and Google completed the sentence with "... silverware drawer." Really? There were 104,000 responses. I was not alone.

Reaching into the back of cabinets through narrow drawer openings was not an easy task for a husband with bursitis (we think) in his shoulder. The pain, evidenced by his facial expressions and not by his complaining, was intense. And this was supposed to be a day of rest!!

The moral of the story -- despite our best intentions, sometimes life has a way of undoing them. In this case, our intentions were undone by a mouse.

Hoping your day was restful,


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Photo by Petr Kratochvil

"We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted ... So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life."

                                                                           -- Theodore Roosevelt

"Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States" April 15, 1907

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CT scans -- helpful or potentially harmful to your child?

You rush your child to the ER with stomach pains and the first thing they want to do is send him in for a CT scan. What should you do?

That's a good question. And it should be followed by some more questions -- directed at the doctor who is ordering the scan. Since you can't plan your emergencies, it's a good idea to write these down and slip them into your wallet in case you ever need them. Look the doctor straight in the eye and ask:
  • Will you be reducing the radiation dose according to my child's size? It is essential that the facility has a method of reducing the dose for children and teenagers.
  • Are there any non-radiation types of tests that could be run first? Your goal is to lessen the risk of radiation exposure for your child ... sometimes it is absolutely necessary, and sometimes it is not.
  • Is your facility accredited with the American College of Radiology or the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation?
  • What kind of credentials do the imaging technologists have?
  • Do you have a pediatric radiologist on staff?
  • Will I be able to go into the scanner room with my child?
Perhaps these seem like unnecessary questions in light of a doubled over kiddo writhing in pain. However, radiation exposure from imaging tests is a real concern, especially for children and teenagers.

According to Virginia C. Calega, MD, vice president of Medical Management and Policy at Highmark, "Children are at greater risk of developing future cancers than adults from a given dose of ionizing radiation. It's because their young bodies are more radiosensitive and because they have more remaining years of life, during which radiation-induced cancers could develop. Also, children's bodies are growing, which means their cells are dividing more rapidly than in adults. This results in a greater opportunity for radiation to disrupt the growing process."

Especially susceptible is the abdomen because the digestive organs are more sensitive to the radiation than is the brain. Of course, the above questions need to be asked in the case of a PET scan or a nuclear stress test (myocardial perfusion imaging) as well.

Granted, there may be times your little one will need to be scanned. Just be sure it is absolutely necessary and that reduced levels of radiation are used.

Then pray ...

Keeping your little ones safe whenever possible,


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An ERGO by any other name is simply not an ERGO!

Welcome to another Review It Wednesday. Today, I'm happy to have my daughter, Bethany, back as a guest reviewer. This time she's offering her opinion of the ERGObaby Carrier. Thanks, Bethany.

My beautiful daughter, Bethany, and her handsome son, Lincoln

I get asked a lot about what my favorite baby products are. I have found many products I love for different reasons but the ERGObaby Carrier is on the top of my list. The ERGObaby Carrier is one of those products that has been a lifesaver. Other than the fact that I can get tons of stuff done while wearing Lincoln, it's also great bonding time. He loves to be held and that is not always possible when I'm trying to do laundry, shopping or taking long walks on the beach. We just got back from vacation in North Carolina, and let me tell you, the ERGObaby Carrier was a staple on this trip. I worn Lincoln in the front carrying position while he napped as I walked along the beach. My husband, Tom, wore him on his back for another sunset walk down the beach, and I wore him for a full day touring an island with wild horses!

The ERGO work will work for everyone- including Dad...

There are some of the other great benefits to owning a ERGObaby Carrier. Your baby can nurse, sleep and take in the world all while being close to you. Mom can get a lot done while wearing baby, especially since, at times, it is instantly calming for a fussy baby. Plus, it's comfortable for both the parent and child. The ERGObaby Carrier is ergonomically designed to safely carry your child with the baby's weight evenly distributed, which means no soreness or discomfort for either of you!! I have worn Lincoln for hours at a time without any discomfort.

The ERGObaby Carrier is suitable from birth to toddlerhood and one size fits most adults. My husband and I both wear it without any problems. I can usually put Lincoln in it without assistance, unless I'm wearing him on my back. It's great if there is help available, but if not, I try to put him on over a couch for added safety.

ERGObaby Blue Sport Carrier

I love the multiple carrying positions. It can be used in the back carry, front carry (face-in only, your baby should never be worn face-out!), or the hip carry. They recommend the ERGObaby Carrier for babies up to 40 pounds but I've heard of people using them up to 90 lbs!! Yikes!! You need to check out all the options the ERGObaby Carrier comes in. Like the Performance, Sport, Original and Organic. With all the beautiful colors and accessories, I would love to own more than one!

Sharing another product review to help you decide what's best for you and your family,


Here are some other great reviews posted by Bethany:

Cloth Diaper Review

Sophie the Giraffe

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diaper

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What do you get when you cross a frog and a tomato?

Photo by David Wagner

Stop! Before you bite into that apple, check the PLU!

The PLU? What's a PLU?

You know the little sticker you peel off as you're washing your produce (and I'm hoping you are washing your produce!). There is a 4 or 5 number code on it known as a Price Look Up code (or PLU). I thought that was just to make it easier for the check out clerks (who seem ridiculously inept at identifying the produce they sell in their stores) to determine the difference between a zucchini and a spaghetti squash when weighing them to be priced. Of course, that is one of the purposes. But for us, as consumers, the PLUs contain a very important piece of info we all need to know. The secret lies in the decoding (if only we all had decoder rings we could wear to the grocery store!). Here's what you need to know:

If your produce has a 4-digit code -- that means it has been conventionally grown, pesticides and all.

A 5-digit code can either be better ... or worse. The difference lies in the first number. A 9 gives you a green light to a safe purchase -- that means it is organic. Woo hoo. It might be a bit pricier, but after you read this post, you might be willing to fork over the extra pennies.

However, if your pear's PLU starts out with an 8 -- put it back!! An 8 means that lovely piece of produce has been genetically modified. What does that mean? Well, quite simply, it means someone's been messing with the genes. Huh? Take that GM tomato on the shelf -- did you know it was probably crossed with frog genes? Yes, I said frog genes. Why? So that feeble little tomato can be strong enough to withstand a bit of cold weather. Yum.

Bottom line on what to look for if you want to stay away from GMOs (genetically modified organisms), which started hitting the shelves in the early '90s:

Black plum -- 4039
Organic black plum -- 94039
GM black plum -- 84039

Here's an easy rhyme I came up with to help you remember:

Keep an 8 off your plate, bite into a 9 which is perfectly fine.

Silly? Yeah, but it just might help you remember.

Other than not wanting to imbibe on frog genes and other mad scientist experiments, there are some facts surrounding GMOs worth noting. GMOs are linked to a variety of conditions that seem to be growing in astronomical proportions in the last decade or so. Conditions such as:
  • anemia
  • autoimmune disorders
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • food allergies
  • infertility
  • and more
Scary, scary stuff. Scary enough to cause the European Union to take a stand against GMOs ... at least in some countries. You're safe from the devastating effects of genetically modified foods if you live in Germany, Austria, Luxemborg, Hungary, Greece, or France. More countries are waking up to the dangers and are adopting their own bans.

One of the problems in the U.S. is that, other than the PLU codes, labeling of GMOs is prohibited. How crazy is that?? And the problem is a bit overwhelming. As it turns out, 93% of the soybeans commercially grown in the States is genetically modified. Corn follows close behind at 80%. And it's not just fresh produce. Fresh nuts and herbs bear the PLU codes, but pre-packaged foods do not. It is estimated that 7 out of 10 products on the grocery store shelves are GM foods.

These products include dairy products, meat and poultry, eggs, rice, wheat, dressings and oils, soda and infant formula. What?? There are also countless processed foods packed with hidden GM additives and ingredients. Foods like spaghetti sauce, peanut butter and ice cream. Why? That's my question. Why??

What can you do? Campaign against GMOs! Check out the Organic Consumers Association for more information. Or sign the FB petition here.

You can also shop at stores dedicated to keeping GMOs off their shelves. At this point, I only know of one chain -- Whole Foods -- that makes this claim. Please let me know if you find there are others. CORRECTION!! Whole Foods has caved to the pressure. Click here for more info on this disturbing info.

We have a right to know what is being done to the food we eat and feed to our families. The thought of giving GM formula to an infant is enough to make me sick ... and it should make you sick as well. What is wrong with the U.S. food industry???
Keeping you informed in hopes of keeping you and your families safe,


If you want to learn more about the dangers of genetically modified foods, visit Seeds of Deception.

And the winner is ...

to Liz Solomon Wright!

She is the winner of
goodnight, Dad
 a WonderDads picture book.

Here's why Liz thinks her husband deserves
the WonderDad title:

My husband deserves the "Wonderdad" title because not only is he a dad, but he goes to art school full-time and works part-time all while being home by dinner and making my little one laugh every night (and he does baths every night, that's his thing). He's definitely a WonderDad.

Liz -- email your mailing address to me and I'll get the book out to you this week.

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