Sunday, March 31, 2013

Birth Relaxation Kit Giveaway

Birth. It is a most sacred event in a woman’s life. A right to passage to motherhood. Whether you birth at home or in a hospital, your body presents your long awaited gift…one that you’ve nurtured diligently. If there is one thing we can all agree on, all women labor differently and there are options to birth as compatibly as every laboring mom needs. 

Hypnobirthing is one option that’s gentle and natural. Hypnobirthing is a childbirth method that applies techniques to induce deep relaxation, visualization and self-hypnosis. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of unconsciousness or sleep, but can be best described as daydream or focus that occurs when you’re performing mundane tasks, such as staring into a fire in a fireplace. 

Obviously, I'm well past the birthing years, but I wish I'd known these techniques when I had my 3 children. Actually, I wish I'd known a lot of things back then. I've been wanting to do a series on birthing options, and thought this post on hypnobirthing was a good place to begin... especially with a daughter who is due on Earth Day (how appropriate is that?).


Of course, eliminating fear and concerns associated with childbirth is vital. Affirmations during hypnosis encourages a positive mindset in overcoming this. To learn more about hypnobirthing, you can sign up for hypnobirthing info series for free

The Birth Relaxation Kit is the only hypnobirthing program presented by a board certified medical doctor who used this method to birth her child, at home, pain-free! Dr. Mavi Gupta and her husband, Jeremy Dyen are both certified hypnotherapists. Jeremy Dyen has been a professional musician for over 20 years. He has recorded on John Legend’s Grammy award winning CD, Get Lifted, and creates music for Yoga and meditation. 

The Birth Relaxation Kit comes in three different packages; Basic, Plus and Deluxe. It comes with Hypnosis MP3s, Birth Affirmation MP3, Birth Empowerment Book and more! All downloadable with no shipping. You can purchase this yourself and get a 10 week, money back guarantee OR WIN IT HERE. All from the comfort of your home; no scheduling and all of the privacy needed to enjoy deep and true relaxation! 

The Giveaway!
Just in time for Mother’s Day, TheOliveParent and Friends are offering TWO moms-to-be a chance to have a gentle birth! Two “Plus” Birth Relaxation Kits will be given away! 

Entry is easy. Visit and leave a comment on the blog you’re visiting. Tell us which one of the four facts found on the homepage speaks to you the most and why. Fill out as many entries as possible to increase your chances of winning.

Not expecting, but know someone who is?  Share this giveaway with them and refer your friends for entries! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, 18+ Giveaway ends 4/29/13 1:00 AM CST Entering into the giveaway indicates you understand its terms and conditions. 

Many thanks to the AWESOME blogs co-hosting this giveaway! You can show your support of these blogs by following them on Twitter, Facebook & Google Plus.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Birth Relaxation Kit, Hosted by TheOliveParent, and Co-Hosted by participating blogs. Prize fulfillment is not the responsibility of TheOliveParent, TheOliveParent Media or participating blogs.  All information and products presented in this post is presented in an educational format and has not been evaluated by the FDA - should not be used to cure, treat or diagnose any diseases.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Good Vinegar Friday


Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."

A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

~ John 19:28-30

"It is finished," Jesus said, right after he tasted of the last thing his earthly body would ever partake of... vinegar!

So I am thanking God for this particular Vinegar Friday... this Good Friday. Without this day in history, I would not be who I am. His sacrifice humbles me and propels me forward in His service. 

Yes, He died. But hold on... Resurrection Sunday is right around the corner!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quick! Grab the apis mellifica!

My chiropractor recommended niacin to help lower my cholesterol. I refuse to take the cholesterol meds touted by the pharmaceutical companies as the cure-all, finding that the meds create just as many, if not more, health problems than the cholesterol potentially causes. And I'm not convinced cholesterol is the demon it's made out to be. Of course, I'm not a medical professional, so please keep that in mind as I dole out advice.

Niacin. No problem. I bought a bottle and started taking it with my morning meal. The problem was that three of the eight days after I took it, I developed hives. Not minor itching or redness, mind you, but full-fledged, skin tightening, red, hot, itching face, ears, lips, neck, chest, arms, hands, fingers hives. Horrible hives. I want to rip my skin off hives. And I had no idea what the common denominator was. Each time it happened, it was within 10 minutes of taking my pills and supplements. But I took them every day, so it couldn't be any of them. Or so I thought.

Here's what we determined. I am sensitive to niacin. The reason I didn't have a reaction after taking it some days was because I hadn't eaten any niacin-rich food on those days. The other days, the bad days, I had.

"Run and get some Benadryl," I instructed my husband. "Quick!"

"What about the Hyland's Chest... maybe there's something in there," he countered.

He grabbed the book and we searched the index for hives. Popping open the bottle of apis mellifica, I put four tablets under my tongue. Within five minutes, the hives receded and shortly thereafter, there was no sign of a reaction at all. I did the same thing the other two times this happened, with the same results. 

I now carry apis mellifica tablets with me everywhere. The hives were scary and I certainly don't want to go through that again. Since I stopped taking the niacin, I haven't had another incident, but I'm not taking chances. Besides, these tiny little white pills might come in handy if someone else has a reaction to a bee sting, bug bite, or food allergy. This stuff is amazing. 

I cannot recommend Hyland's Homeopathic products enough. They have resolved many a health issue for me, including the leg and foot cramps I often get during the night. The Hyland's Remedy Chest my husband referred to is a box that opens up to reveal six rows of five bottles each of a variety of homeopathic remedies, from apis mellifica to phosporus to nux vomica. There is an accompanying booklet that lays out the purpose for each remedy, from obscure "fear of the dentist" to common problems like allergies and diarrhea.

I've seen the remedy chest on various websites priced between $85.74 and $155.75, so shop around. It's the same kit, no matter how much you spend. Personally, I think every household should have a Hyland's Remedy Chest. Why reach for the pharmaceutical "gems" when, quite possibly, there's something natural and homeopathic that will do the trick?

And, no, this is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this and I was not paid to do so. I simply love the results I've had when I've taken many of the homeopathic remedies in this kit and I think you will, too.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review it Wednesday... The weather

Photo by Julie Gentry

It's hard to believe April is just a few days away. The first quarter of 2013 is gone already. How did that happen? Every year, I promise myself I will not leave taxes until the last minute. And every year, I fail to keep that promise. This is about the time I start to panic.

While I usually review a product on Wednesdays, this week I decided to review the weather. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, is related to the whole April-is-almost-here-and-I-have-failed-to-do-my-taxes-yet situation. I simply don't have time for an honest full-fledged review of anything. And two, the weather deserves a review. At least it does here in Western Pennsylvania. 

I'm looking out my office window at mounds of snow and bare trees. A pair of cardinals, a chickadee, three warblers and a titmouse are flitting around my birdfeeders, fueling their bodies with the energy they need to stay warm. There's something wrong with this picture. 

Of course, the usual anti-environment critics are joking about Global Warming. Clearly this is a sure sign that nothing's getting warmer, right? I find the problem is in the semantics. Climate change should have never been touted as Global Warming. Had that term been avoided, perhaps more people would have jumped on board and cared. The fact of climate change is being experienced globally. Sometimes it's too hot. Sometimes too cold. The winds are blowing a bit stronger than usual, and more often. At least, that's the way my husband, who hates wind with a passion, sees it. 

Yes, the Earth does have its own unique cycles. That's obvious as we look at weather-related history. However, anyone who is foolish enough to believe we have done nothing to contribute to the meteorological craziness, is... well... crazy. Of course, it has something to do with us. We can't poison the atmosphere the way we do and not expect ramifications. That's ridiculous to even begin to assume. 

But back to my review. I will admit that I am loving the cold weather, as I am not looking forward to wearing less clothing. Let's face it... big sweaters hide a multitude of bad choices. For me, there is nothing better than turtlenecks, sweaters, leggings and boots. And, of course, scarves. That's my look. The thought of short sleeves (or, gasp, sleeveless), shorts and sandals, does not appeal to me in the least. So, I'll give winter's bout of tenacity a thumbs up. While I am looking forward to opening the windows, sitting on the porch late into the evening, and seeing green instead of brown and white outside my office window, I shudder to think of packing my comfort clothes into the cedar chest.

So, how about you? Are you loving or hating the weather where you are?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Returning to an empty house

My mom sitting in her dining room January 7, 2012 Her 85th birthday
I headed to Eastern Pennsylvania for a writers' conference this past weekend, stopping at my mom's house for the night before driving the final 77 miles to Allentown. I returned to the house on Saturday night. For those who are new to the blog, I guess I should fill you in on why this is significant. My mother died suddenly in January and, of course, I'm still reeling. She lived 240 miles from me, so I didn't spend nearly as much time with her as I wanted/should have. Regrets haunt me now, as I wonder why I didn't take more time to make this trip over the last few years. I was busy. I was constantly busy. Busyness, my friends, is a curse.

I dreaded this trip. I was sick to my stomach with that awful feeling of dread throughout the week. Tears threatened to undo me time and time again. I simply did not want to return to this place I called home for the past 55+ years. It wasn't the same.

On Saturday night, after meeting relatives for dinner on the way back to the house from the conference, my husband dropped me off and ran out to to the store. I entered the house alone, turned up the heat and looked around. Something, other than my mother's absence, was amiss and I was determined to remedy it. First, I went down to the basement, rummaged through the boxes my sister packed up for an upcoming garage sale, and retrieved the CD player and CDs. Setting it up in the living room, I turned on a Henry Mancini CD and listened as music filled the house. Then I lit candles. Lots of them. Candles on the mantle, on the dining room table, around the living room. I even lit 7 or 8 candles in the fireplace. Music. Warmth. Light. I pulled ceramic and wooden Easter eggs out of drawers and placed them around.

Finally, I opened a bottle of red wine, poured myself a glass, and sat down, gazing into the fireplace, absorbing the experience of the house... the experience of my home. All around me were lessons from my mother. And in that moment, I once again felt her embrace.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vinegar Friday -- Short and super sweet


Image by Petr Kratochvil
I've shared this tip before, but find it's really worth sharing again. It comes from community member, Jessica Barber, who wrote to suggest putting citrus peels in a jar of distilled white vinegar. After 6 weeks or so, you have a citrus-scented safe and natural cleanser and disinfectant. How dandy is that?!

It also works nicely for those of us in the no-pooing community. All the scent of oranges in your hair. Divine.

Enjoy your Vinegar Friday... and the rest of your weekend.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stupid cancer

Photo by Robert Nacke

Received some bad news yesterday about someone we know who has cancer. As hard as she's fighting this, it keeps swinging at her and trying to knock her down. This time it's spots on her liver. Not good. Pray as we might, there's no guaranteeing any of the treatments will work to eradicate this cancer from her body. It's just not the way it works sometimes.

I've often wondered what I would do if I found out I had a life-threatening cancer. Would I go the traditional route of chemo and/or radiation? Would I just ignore it and live life to the fullest as long as I could? Would I opt for some of the natural cures? I'd like to think I'd try the breast milk treatment, provided there was someone close to me who could supply me with the 17 or 18 necessary ounces per day. But I hate milk, so that would be a tough one. I honestly don't know what I'd do. But I do know that I would examine all of my options before making a decision. And I'd probably be up for some clinical trials. After all, I have a serious mistrust of the pharmaceutical companies and the way they seem to have an unnatural connection to many doctors... the whole "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mentality, you know? Maybe I'm just being a bit too cynical. But when a doctor prescribes a medication for me, I can't help wondering what he has to gain when, and if, I get the prescription filled.

There are various sites where you can find clinical trials and alternative treatments. One site is cureLauncher. The site has access to over 8,600 clinical trial locations across the U.S. and they'll help you find the one that's right for you. They've been featured on various programs and associated with different sites, including, which has the tagline: i'm too young for that foundation. There's something about the website name and tagline that draws you in, don't you agree?

Because of all the medical mumbo jumbo, clinical trials are the best way for people to gain access to the latest treatments when they're facing life-threatening conditions, such as cancer and heart disease. These clinical trials could save their lives! The bottom line is that people who are quite possibly dying, need cutting edge treatments. Treatments they will only find by participating in clinical trials... Since these trials are not always easy to find, sites like cureLauncher are a lifeline. When a company is clearly patient-focused, like cureLauncher is, you can trust they are on your side. In the case of finding the right clinical trial, it's all about having the right connections.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out to you. I'm thinking about my friend and wondering what I'd do if I were in her shoes... or her body. I'm just not sure. But I'd probably start by checking out some clinical trials and go from there. What about you? If the doctor spoke the C word to you, what would you do?

This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ava Anderson Hair Care -- a review and a giveaway!

If you've been following GG for long, or if you've read my book, you know I'm generally a no-pooer. I've been no-pooing for a couple of years now, which means I haven't been using shampoo or conditioner. My hair washing routine involves baking soda and water to clean my hair and vinegar and water to rinse it.

But every once in awhile, a company asks me to review their hair products and I'll break my routine.

This is one of those times. I've reviewed other Ava Anderson Non-Toxic products before, so I was eager to try their hair products when one of their consultants contacted me. Why not? After all, their products have zero toxins and I'm all about promoting safe products to the GG community. I figured that even if I went back to no-pooing, you all could benefit from my review.

So, let me tell you, I love these products! The lightly scented shampoo smells wonderful. It is designed to repair, beautify and strengthen hair with mild cleansing ingredients and organic aloe vera juice. There are absolutely no harmful, damaging chemicals in the Ava Anderson  shampoo.

Check out some of these ingredients for yourself: organic aloe vera leaf juice extract, organic rice bran oil, vegetable glycerin, peppermint extract, organic mojave yucca extract, organic nettle, organic lemon balm, organic sweet orange essential oil, organic lemon essential oil, organic pomegranate essential oil.

The shampoo lathers up nicely with just a small bit, and rinses clean. My hair does tangle a bit after being washed, but the conditioner works nicely to detangle it and leaves it soft and manageable.

So, in addition to no-pooing for all this time, I've also stopped using any styling products in my hair. Until now. And the timing couldn't be better. I'm now sporting shorter hair than I've had in many, many years. And shorter hair needs something to help it out. Enter the Ava Anderson Styling Cream. A pea-sized drop of this lightweight styling cream gives my hair the body it needs. There's no stickiness, no filminess, no heaviness. Just a bit of bounce my flat, straight hair needs.

I'm sold on the products and am so happy consultant Nancy decided to send them to me (at no charge, of course). And I'm equally happy that she's going to send them to one of you, too, provided you have a U.S. mailing address.

So enter to win full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner and styling cream from the avaHAIR -- Hair Care line! The giveaway starts NOW and ends at 12:01 AM EST on April 4th (in honor of my hubby's birthday)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hobbits, elves and dwarves, oh my!

Guess what's out on DVD and Blu-ray today? From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.This epic adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an amazing quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.

I'm partnering with Warner Bros. to bring you the opportunity to win The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey combo pack. To participate, click on the Are you 100% Hobbit quiz below. What has a tendency to be very brave, is around 4 ft. tall with sharp eyesight, little to no facial hair, and loves cake? If you thought I was talking about you, then you might be a Hobbit indeed! Take the quiz and enter your score in the comments below. That's good for 10 entries on the Rafflecopter. Check out the other ways to enter and who knows? You might be settling in with your kiddos to enjoy the movie in no time. 

Don't forget to check out the vital stats and unique features about each of the magical creatures that call Middle-earth home on the app below. And consider throwing a viewing party in your home. The Hobbit Handbook includes ideas for the best viewing party in Middle-earth!

Have fun with this one! I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, March 26th. The winner has 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner is chosen. The prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS, so we cannot send to a P.O. box.

Prize courtesy of Warner Bros. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tap water? Not me. But what's the alternative?

Knowing I'm not a fan of individual plastic water bottles, people often ask me what I drink. Just because I generally will not buy a bottle of water, doesn't mean I've resorted to drinking chemically-laden tap water. God forbid!

Photo by Maliz Ong
In my home, we have two alternatives to tap water. One is my wonderful water cooler in the hallway right outside my second story office. My husband bought this for me for Christmas 2011 and I cannot tell you how much I love it! The 5-gallon water bottles are refillable and cost less than $7 to refill. My Energy Star water cooler has hot, cold and room temperature faucets. In order to save on my electric bill, I only turn on the water heater when I'm planning on making tea. I also have a small 4 cup coffee maker beside the water cooler, so I can make coffee with spring water whenever I want, or need, it. As there are generally 3 gallons of water in a case of 24 bottles, the financial cost is a bit lower to use the water cooler over time. However, the environmental impact is huge. I strongly recommend this route in lieu of buying cases of water. The only times I will buy a bottle of water, is if I am out somewhere, do not have a clean reusable bottle with me, and my only choices are soda or water, or if I am in a hotel or B&B in a different town/state and do not want to chance drinking the water. So, you see, I'm not saying you should never buy a bottle of water. But I do believe it is unnecessary to buy bottled water to drink at home. In my opinion, that is incredibly wasteful and environmentally irresponsible.

In addition to my upstairs water cooler, I also have a refrigerator on the first floor that serves chilled filtered water and ice right on the outside of the freezer door. This is not only convenient, it also prevents us from having to use tap water for cooking and drinking. So, if you are in the market for a new refrigerator, I highly recommend buying an Energy Star model that has this feature.

Filters come in different sizes, shapes, makes and models. And they all tend to filter out different impurities, so you want to research the filters before you buy them. Originally, I was going to Kmart or Sears and picking up the filter for my Kenmore refrigerator for $55. I didn't know any better. Then a friend told me about a website where I could buy other brands that would fit my Kenmore. Who knew? Of course, you have to search for the right filter to fit your particular brand of refrigerator, whether you're looking for a Whirlpool PUR, Maytag AquaFresh, Frigidaire Puresource water filter, or any other brand. Just make sure the filter fits your particular make and model of refrigerator and shop around. You might be surprised at the money you'll save.

Of course, if neither option works for your budget right now, there's always the Brita or PUR filtered water pitchers. Of the two, I recommend the Brita simply because the Brita water filters are recyclable and the PUR filters are not. 

I hope I answered your questions. If not, feel free to ask more. You can email me or comment below. 

This is a sponsored post. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vinegar Friday and a bit of skin care advice


One of the things I hear a lot is about how many of you don't like the smell of vinegar. If you're really turned off by it, you're probably not going to like today's tip. But for the rest of you, here it is.

Skip the expensive toners. All you need is some apple cider vinegar. Apply it to your face after cleansing. You can either dilute it with water, or use it undiluted, whichever works best for you. There are a few advantages to using ACV on your face. One is the obvious cost factor. It is inexpensive skin care. It gives your skin an extra cleansing, while tightening your face up a bit. And, I am discovering, it fades age spots. The fading is gradual, but it is definitely happening, much to my delight. Of course, many of you young mamas aren't facing this issue, yet. But look out. If you've spent any amount of unprotected time in the sun, it'll happen, and you probably won't be too happy about it. Of course, maybe you'll luck out and, if you're using ACV as a daily toner, those pesky spots won't even make an appearance. Wouldn't that be nice?

If you find the ACV is drying your skin too much, just reach for the organic coconut oil and apply a thin layer to your face. I love the skin-softening properties of coconut oil! I soak in ACV to soften my feet, so chances are, it will soften your face rather than drying it out, but just in case...

For those of you who just can't stomach the thought of putting ACV on their face where it will send your olfactory nerves into overdrive, you want to at least stick with organic skin care. There are many companies out there offering their own "green" lines, but be careful. Greenwashing is becoming more and more prevalent as consumers are wising up and searching for the healthiest options for their families. 

EnviroProductsWorld offers a nice array of organic personal care and beauty items created with the philosophy of kindness to you and the earth. While you may not make a connection between your skincare routine and the environment, companies like EnviroProductsWorld do. After all, the harshest additives and preservatives in most skincare products are not only hazardous to the environment, but to you as well!

So, while I may stick to an apple cider vinegar toner and coconut oil moisturizer, you have other options to choose from. Just choose wisely and make sure what you're using on your skin is safe for you... and the world we live in.

Keeping it green with vinegar,

More tips like these can be found in my book, Vinegar Fridays, available through Amazon or

This is a sponsored post.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The iPotty... Tell me it isn't so!

I give up. You already know how I feel about toddlers and technology. I'm not a fan. But this has definitely crossed the line for me and descended into the pit of what-are-we-doing-to-our-kids? hell. I mean seriously. Look at this:
The iPotty by CTA Digital

Tell me it isn't so! Initially, I looked at this and thought, There are no words. But then I got fired up, and guess what? There are a whole lot of words! 

What in God's name are we doing to this generation of toddlers? For a mere $40, we can transform potty training into yet another opportunity to entertain our little ones. Tell me, please, why do parents believe that children should be entertained every single waking hour?! Do they not see the kind of future they are laying out for these overstimulated children who are addicted to technology before they're even old enough to read?! 

I am so fired up right now, so please forgive my rant. Or, if you're feeling the same way, please share my rant with as many young parents or parents-to-be that you know. This madness has to stop!

And let me reassure you... your child is not going to be behind the other kids if he does not have an iPad, iPhone, iWhatever by the time he's 4. He's not. I'm willing to bet that if you sit an 8-year-old down with one of those devices in front of him for the first time, he'll catch up rather quickly to his playmate who has been fidgeting with one since he was 2. 

Aside from the over-stimulation and lack of parent involvement, there is the issue of radiation, which many experts are quite concerned about. And then people have the nerve to blame God when their child ends up with brain cancer. 

As a grandmother, I am here to tell you that your not-yet-potty-trained toddler does not need an iPotty. Period. While potty training reduces the best of us to bribery, do not fall prey to this technological nightmare. If your child needs added motivation and a bit of entertainment while trying to master the art of pooping on the potty, plop yourself down beside him and read a book... GASP... did I just recommend actually reading to your child? How dare me be so old-fashioned. 

My all-time favorite potty training book was Everyone Poops by Tara Gomi. Check it out. There are no apps to download. Just some mommy-and-me time gathered 'round the loo. Some reading. Some talking. Some laughing. And a hug or two. No batteries needed.

So what do you think? Is it about time I caught up with the current parenting trends? Or, just maybe, am I right on about this one? After all, there was a time people thought disposable diapers and formula was the wave of the future. I'm glad I didn't buy into any of that either.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Ode to Prop 37

Who us?

These are our bodies and those of our friends.
We’re eating what’s fed us.
It doesn’t depend
on whether organic
or mixed with frogs’ genes.
You’re fussin’ for nothin’.
The modified greens
are healthy, I’m sure
‘cause the big shots don’t lie.
They’re not out to get us.
We’re not gonna die…

We’re not gonna die, right?
This food, it won’t hurt us,
for surely if harmful,
they’d all just desert us.

The labels are silly.
They’re just meant to scare you
Pass this proposition?
How dare you.

--Hana Haatainen Caye

Search This Blog