Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


May your day be blessed with good food, good company, and hearts filled to overflowing with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toxic Mattress Syndrome. Black Friday's the perfect time to remedy that

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation for the following post.

Photo by Vera Kratochvil

Have you ever woken up with a headache? How about body aches? An unexplained rash? Nosebleed? Perhaps you're currently going through a whole slew of tests to determine what is causing your migraines or the ringing in your ears. Did you ever stop to consider the possibility that your health woes all begin and end with the mattress you're sleeping on?

I'm not talking about a too-hard or too-soft mattress. I'm talking about a toxic mattress full of chemicals, like boric acid, formaldehyde, polyurethane foam, and PBDEs (which are banned in many other countries). Toxic Mattress Syndrome affects many, many more people that we realize. Maybe it affects you. Or your children. Or your parents.

There are so many issues with mattresses these days... so many things to consider. Look at the tag -- does it say "Treated Cotton"? Uh oh. You're most likely looking at boric acid. And unless the cotton is certified organic, you have the whole pesticide issue to consider. After all, of all crops, cotton is the most heavily sprayed with a multitude of toxins. As a matter of fact, approximately one-quarter of all agricultural chemicals are used to grow cotton. Do you really want to spend one-third of your life getting intimate with all those chemicals? Yuck. 

Then there are the flame retardants, mandated by the government. We've all been hearing about sofas loaded with these toxins, but did you ever stop to think about your mattress? Unless it was manufactured before July 1, 2007, your mattress is doing its best to not only protect you from being injured if you fall asleep while smoking in bed, but also to inflict all sorts of off-gassing and potentially serious damage to your system. That's a fact. 

Yikes! What can you do? Well, for one thing, you can buy a new mattress. Of course, certified organic mattresses are a bit costly. And you have to watch out for what the organic labeling means. The regulations are a bit lax here. Some of the materials can be organic, while others, like the cotton used, is not. So, just because it claims to be organic, does not necessarily mean it's safe. 

One thing you can do is get a doctor's excuse. Seriously. Your doctor or chiropractor can write a prescription for a mattress without flame retardants. That's one step toward a healthier night's sleep. Of course, that doesn't eliminate some of the other toxins, but it's certainly a step up.

Natural latex mattresses are another option. Organic latex is made from rubber trees. Of course, you want to steer clear of any synthetic latex, but many sleep experts give green thumbs up to natural latex mattresses.

Memory foam can go either way when it comes to delivering toxic mattress symptoms, so watch out if you're looking to go that route. You want to look for GreenGuard Certification. While that doesn't ensure a chemical-free night's rest, it does guarantee less emissions. 

With Black Friday breathing down our necks, maybe it's time to consider a healthier holiday season, starting with your family's mattresses. Even if you have to switch them one bed at a time, there's nothing like a good Black Friday sale to get you started. has a fantastic Black Friday sale going on this year, with $1200 off all of their 100% organic natural latex mattresses and $600 off their GreenGuard Gold certified memory foam mattresses.

With every purchase of a latex mattress or a memory foam mattress, you'll also receive extras valued at $376:
  • 2 free organic latex pillows
  • Free Egyptian sheet set
  • Free mattress protector
Every adjustable bed purchase includes a free 10 year extended warranty (valued at $349), as well as free white glove delivery (a $299 value).

The reasons for buying a new mattress are countless and the timing couldn't be better. Black Friday... the perfect time to upgrade your sleeping situation. Who knew?

Sleep tight,

Saturday, November 22, 2014

e-cloth Pet Grooming Set Giveaway!

e-cloth Pet Grooming Set Giveaway

Hosted by: 

Sponsor: e-cloth

Pet hair. Everywhere. That's how it is in our home and it seems like it's always been that way. Between the white American Eskimo we had for years to the menagerie of long- and short-haired cats, we have spent countless hours grooming our pets and removing fur from our furniture, rugs, and clothing. Anything that can help ease this problem has to be good, right?

The e-cloth Pet Grooming Set just might be the ticket. 
  • Dual sided Cleaning Mitt quickly removes dirt, bacteria and moisture while providing a gently massaging action, leaving fur clean and shiny
    • Remove dirt with the short pile side
    • Dry off with the fronded side
    • Fronded side will give a massaging feel to the pet, making cleaning a more pleasing experience
    • May be used wet or dry; use wet for all over use at bath time
    • Quickly and easily removes dirt and mud from all sizes of pets and all types of fur
    • Makes hard to clean areas such as legs, tail and underside easier to do
    • High capacity and rapid absorption makes it perfect for drying soggy moggy or a dripping doggy
    • Guarantee for 300 Machine washes
    • size: 11" x 5.9"
  • Dual sided Grooming Mitt removes dirt, bacteria and loose hair while providing a gently massaging action that leaves fur with a glossy natural sheen
    • Includes specially created grooming fibers to remove loose hair
    • Two-tone side (grayish cleaning and polishes - grooms away loose hair and debris from pet's coat
    • Cream side great for gently grooming around facial area
    • Guarantee for 300 Machine washes
    • size: 11" x 5.9"
  • Large Cleaning And Drying Towel does an excellent job of removing moisture, excess oils and pet dander from the coat
    • Quickly removes and locks away dirt, mud and bacteria
    • Absorbs twice as much moisture as a conventional towel and dries four times more quickly
    • Soft to touch and encourages pets to cuddle into
    • Guarantee for 300 Machine washes
    • size: 59" x 31.5"
Prize: e-cloth Pet Grooming Set 
in Winner's Choice of Small or Large 
RV $59.99
Dates: 11/22-12/6
Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. 
Good luck!

Disclosure: Green Grandma did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


Friday, November 21, 2014

IOTUT -- Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

It's Friday. That means we're either talking about vinegar or about smarter, more earth-friendly ways to do do things. Today, I'm happy to feature a guest post by Katherine Lilly, a freelance writer currently based in California. When she's not writing, Kathy enjoys traveling around California and spending time with her family. Click here to follow her on Twitter. As you'll see, she offers plenty of smarter solutions to the ways things are usually done.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving may involve a lot of excesses, but it doesn’t have to have an excessive impact on the environment. Here are a few ways you can green up your Thanksgiving festivities.

Shop Locally and Seasonally

It’s a given that a feast will end up on the table. One thing you can take into consideration, though, is the origin of that feast. Choose to shop locally and seasonally to cut down on the amount of transport that is needed to bring the food to your table. Buying from local farmers and food suppliers can reduce packaging as well as the preservatives and refrigeration needed to carry produce long distances.


Image by Junior Libby
Whether you’re peeling potatoes, scooping pumpkins or coring apples, you will likely have a lot of compostable materials piling up. Begin a compost bin to keep discarded produce parts from ending up in the trash can.

Decorate Naturally

Image by Vera Kratochvil

Send the kids on a scavenger hunt outside to locate natural decorations such as pine cones and acorns that can be brought back in to decorate in a natural manner. Pick up a pumpkin or a few squash to create a centerpiece. When the holiday is over you will have no plastic d├ęcor to dispose of or store and can likely compost most of the items.

Clean With Eco-Friendly Products

When you are prepping for the 17 aunts, uncles and cousins expected to infiltrate your home, cleaning every nook and cranny suddenly becomes a priority mission. This year do your deep cleaning with natural and organic products to ensure that you’re not only being earth friendly, but keeping potentially hazardous chemicals away from your loved ones. If you would rather not spend the extra money, you can create your own at costs lower than traditional cleaners. Check online to learn how to use items such as vinegar, baking soda and other household staples in your cleaning.**

Thanksgiving at Green Grandma's


With large numbers of guests it can be tempting to bring out the disposable dishes. If you can avoid that, though, you can reduce your amount of trash considerably. Then, when you are finished, clean the dishes with an environmentally friendly dish washing soap. If you absolutely must use disposable items, choose those made out of recyclable materials.


Thanksgiving is about connecting with the family and friends for whom you are so thankful. Do this by disconnecting from phones and computers and focusing instead on interacting with one another on a personal level. Instead of watching the afternoon game, turn off the television and send the gang outside to create your own friendly game of post-turkey flag football. 

Make this season a time to be thankful for everything the earth provides for you and the ones you love. Celebrate that by making a few tweaks to your event for an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.


**For more natural cleaning tips, check out my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS, available online and in various retail outlets.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2 Great Giveaways from Play It Safe Toys!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for my honest opinion about the following products.

I'm in the mood for another giveaway. What do you think?

Play It Safe Toys sent me some goodies for my grandchildren and I love them! Then, they offered to send some to you, too. How cool is that?

First, we have the absolutely adorable Bella the Cow Jumping Animal.

My granddaughter, Marley, obviously thought it was as awesome as I did. At 18 months, she can climb on with some assistance, but she does tend to topple off, so I recommend using it in a room with soft carpet for ones this little. Marley walked late and is still a bit wobbly!

Tested to meet tough European standards, Play It Safe Toys' Jumping Animals include Sammy the Pig and Harry the Horse and are free of both BPA and phthalates. They come in a variety of colors and are made to help build strength and coordination in children ages one and up.

Bella the Cow arrived deflated in a box that included a small pump. Once I pumped her up, she was ready to rock 'n roll! And she hasn't lost any of her bounce in the six weeks or so since I received her. 

In addition to Bella the Cow, the generous folks at Play It Safe Toys sent me some wooden sewing cards for my older grandchildren. The four Animal Lace Shapes included a monkey, fish, butterfly, and teddy bear. They are colorful, sturdy, and eco-friendly. Made in the USA using only FSC certified wood, they are cut from scrap materials that would have otherwise been thrown away. There are four 52" strings, so everyone can join in the fun, even grandpaps!

While the Lace Shapes are designed for children ages four and up, little Marley was fascinated and eager to give it a try, just like her big sister, Laura.

Even my four-year-old grandson, Lincoln, enjoys his time at Grandma's "sewing." Unfortunately, I neglected to snap a picture of him doing so.

I remember playing with sewing cards when I was a child. It's such a nice break from all the electronic games kids are playing today, and these cards are excellent tools for helping children develop their fine motor skills.


Now, don't you think these would make excellent Christmas or Chanukah gifts? I certainly do, but for the sake of the review, I couldn't wait that long to give them to my grandchildren. Actually, though, I love that I can keep them at my house as special toys for them to play with when they visit.

So, let's get this contest rolling. Since you might have use for one toy and not the other, I'm going to post two Rafflecopters. Feel free to enter on only one or on both of them. This gives you the opportunity to win twice!

Sorry, but the giveaway is open to those in the US only, 18+. The prizes will be shipped directly  from Play It Safe Toys to the winner(s). Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, November 30, 2014 and will be announced on Monday, December 1, 2014. Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address before alternate winners will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TBT -- Getting ready for Thanksgiving

 It's Throwback Thursday so I thought I'd revisit a post from November 2009. May it inspire you to new traditions.


Getting ready for Thanksgiving


Centerpiece Thanksgiving 2013
I love Thanksgiving, even though I'm not a huge fan of turkey and I pretty much hate football. What I love is gathering around the table with family and talking. I love the smells. I love not having to rush around buying and wrapping gifts (not that I don't like giving gifts...I do, but it's nice to have a holiday that doesn't involve it). 

We do something special as we sit around the table on Thanksgiving...and other holidays as well. It's become a tradition that used to evoke groans from the kids, but now has become an expected part of our gatherings. As a matter of fact, the first time I skipped it (because I was tired of their complaining) they groaned even louder! I guess they liked it after all.

What generated such a fuss through the years? Questions. I spend some time prior to each holiday dinner composing questions for my guests. Sometimes it's just the family gathered around the table, and sometimes we are fortunate enough to include friends or extended family. 

Kids' table 2013

Everyone at the table takes a question, without looking at it. As dinner or dessert is wrapping up, we go around the table, read our questions and share our answers. This allows everyone an opportunity to speak and be heard and it gives us all a chance to learn something we often didn't know about each other. 

The questions are related to the particular holiday we're celebrating. For instance, my husband's brothers and their wives joined us for Labor Day one year and the work-related questions revealed so much about them that we didn't know; like how one of the brothers would have liked to have been a professional singer if he had worked his ideal job (I didn't even know he could sing!) and how his wife always wanted to work in the neonatal nursery rocking the premies. 

 Thanksgiving questions naturally revolve around thankfulness and sharing the feast. Here are some of the questions from past years:
If you could have anyone else here at the table with us, who would it be? Of course, this question often brings tears.

If you could have someone you've never met at the table with us, who would that be? Oddly enough, my mother said, 'Bob Newhart.' We found that amusing!

What happened during the past year that you are most thankful for? This question got my son-in-law in trouble when he neglected to mention marrying my daughter that year! He chooses his answers more carefully now!

No artificial colors in this cake from Whole Foods

If you couldn't be here with us for Thanksgiving dinner, where would you like to be?

You get the idea. Christmas questions include: What's your favorite Christmas movie? and What's the favorite Christmas present you ever received?

Why am I including this in the Green Grandma blog? Quite simply because building stronger relationships with our kids is part of having a healthy family. And this does help build stronger relationships. Giving every child a chance to have "center stage" at a dining room table full of chatty adults can do wonders for his self esteem. Of course, there can't be any criticism or mocking of what he has to say and that guideline should be established before the questions are even passed out.

Table set for our small gathering 2013
The challenge of having grown children is having to share them with their in-laws. Holidays tend to be little more than stressful days of running here and there and eating way too much. That's why we're celebrating Thanksgiving today, on Wednesday, so they're free to enjoy their Thursday with their other families. I'll find it a bit lonely to prepare the meal alone as my husband, who usually prepares the turkey, spends his day at work. But the pay off will be a relaxed group of people gathering around the table, enjoying the bounty which God has richly provided, laughing at the lovely little Lady Laura's antics, and sharing our answers once more.

It should be a wonderful evening. And this year, that's what I'm thankful for.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by the people you love and filled to overflowing with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Build-A-Bear $30 GC Giveaway!

Build-A-Bear $30 Gift Card Giveaway

Hosted by: 

Sponsor: Build-A-Bear

After my first granddaughter was born, we bought her a stuffed panda from Build-A-Bear for her first Christmas. I had written a song about teddy bears that I often sang to Laura, so I recorded it and the recording was placed inside the bear. Whenever she wanted to hear Grandma's voice, all she had to do was squeeze the panda's paw. She still loves that bear.

The lyrics were simple:

Bears, bears, everywhere,
on the shelves and on the chairs.
Bears are here and 
bears are there.
Teddy bears are everywhere.

Laura loves the little bears.
Laura loves the big bears, too.
Laura loves the teddy bears.
Laura loves her grandpap, too.

Bears, bears, everywhere,
on the shelves and on the chairs.
Bears are here and
bears are there.
Teddy bears are everywhere.  ©2008
Wouldn't you like to create a special treasure like that for your own children or grandchildren? Enter below and you just might receive a $30 gift card to get you started.
Prize: Build-A-Bear $30 Gift Card

Dates: 11/19-12/3
Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. 
Good luck!


Disclosure: Green Grandma did not receive compensation for this post 
and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


Fresh Christmas Wreath Giveaway!

Forest Fresh 20" Classic Wreath from Giveaway

Hosted by:  

There's nothing like the look and smell of fresh pine wreaths hanging on your front door. I'm allergic to pine, yet I still love having a fresh wreath outside my door every year. The Classic Christmas wreath from Christmas Forest adds a distinctive touch of holiday elegance to the traditional red and green theme with its ornately embossed red bow and berries. Alive with the evergreen scent of the Cascade forests, the Classic wreath will brighten any place you call home for the holidays. And if you enter below, you just might win one!

Dates: 11/19-12/3
Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. 
Good luck!


Disclosure: Green Grandma did not receive compensation for this post 
and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Play it Forward... an opportunity for Pittsburghers to give

Have you ever been in a position where adding Christmas shopping to your budget was especially challenging? I remember those days. One year, we couldn't even afford a tree. It happens to so many of us.

There is an organization here in Pittsburgh that is trying to help ease that burden for families who just can't scrape together enough money to buy presents for their kids. It's called Play it Forward and I want to encourage those of you in the Pittsburgh area to consider donating to this fantastic organization. They are in their third year and there are various drop off locations throughout the region.

One thing that sets Play it Forward apart from the rest of the charitable organizations collecting toys for children -- the age cutoff isn't 12, it's 16, so it serves families with teenagers as well. And it doesn't discriminate. If someone is part of a family, they qualify. Period. 

Even families with two working parents with decent incomes can fall on rough times -- medical bills or home repairs can suck up their savings and large portions of their paychecks. The stress of holiday spending can be too much, even for them.

Of course, single parents can have especially rough. They don't want to disappoint their children, but there's only so much money to go around.

Play it Forward

That's where you come in. If you remember a time when you faced similar struggles, but have been blessed to be out of that period in your life, why not pay it forward? And if you're outside of the area, you can always make monetary donations via Paypal or with a credit card.

Here are some suggested gently used items to donate for kids 0-16:
  • toys
  • games
  • puzzles
  • books
  • DVDs and VHS tapes
  • stuffed animals
  • electronics
  • sporting equipment
  • CDs
  • bicycles
  • jewelry and accessories
  • purses
  • diaries/journals
They are also in need of boxes, packing tape, and plastic bags for sorting and storing: garbage bags, kitchen bags, gallon-sized and larger Ziploc-type bags.

The "Shop for Free" day will be held at Century III Mall on December 13, 2014, so be sure to donate in plenty of time for the volunteers to sort and display your donations properly. 

My husband and I are putting together a couple of boxes full of goodies for the kids. Won't you join us? I'm counting on the GG community to step up to the plate and make a difference this holiday season. 

Giving from my heart,

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