Thursday, April 30, 2015

Free wood chip mulch delivered to your house? There’s an app for that!

Image by Lilla Frerichs

Spring is the time when many of us are out buying mulch to spread around our trees and bushes. Wouldn't it be nice to have that mulch delivered directly to your door for free? Well, thanks to a Kickstarter program, that's now a possibility.

When we use wood chip mulch, it helps hold moisture and adds nutrients back into the soil. That means less watering.

I was contacted about this new Kickstarter project and decided to back it enthusiastically. Why? Because it not only provides the simplest way to request a load of free wood chip mulch, but it also saves diesel fuel and keeps mulch out of our already overloaded landfills. It's a win-win. 

Mark Russell, I.S.A. Certified Arborist and the project's founder explains:

Since 1997, I've delivered mulch across the city to the dump sites, all the while knowing that I was passing people who would love it. The problem was the inefficiency of tree services maintaining their own separate in-house mulch request lists. I realized that we needed one centralized list for maximum efficiency. So we built Phase One and people love it.

The Free Mulch app from is the fastest way for clients to get their mulch. It saves the tree service time and fuel, and for every connection the app makes, it prevents the needless waste of an average of two to five gallons of fuel, and keeps 12-30 cubic yards of valuable material out of the landfill!

Check out the Kickstarter project here and sign up for a load of free wood chip mulch here

This is a seriously cool thing, don't you think? It gets two green thumbs up from me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bad Air Quality Can Harm Your Heart

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

 If you've been following the blog for awhile, you'll know that my husband had a heart attack on February 1st. Of course, since then we've been looking into causes and risk factors. The following article is about something I never realized before: how bad air quality can affect your heart.

You need air to breathe, and you are inhaling and exhaling it every moment of your life. If you are taking pollution into your lungs and body every time you take a breath, it can take its toll on your health. Bad air quality can lead to many ailments, including lung problems, asthma, cancer, and heart disease.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Heart or cardiovascular diseases are caused by blocked blood vessels that reduce blood-flow to your brain, heart, and other body parts. The heart is made up of valves designed to open and close easily when all systems are healthy. If vessels and valves are unhealthy, it can be a life-threatening situation. Some signs to look out for include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in jaw, throat, back, neck, and/or abdomen
  • Inability to take deep breaths
  • Numb, cold, or painful sensations in arms or legs

Poor Air Quality

When air is contaminated with particulates and pollution, it can travel through the blood and into the heart. When this occurs, swelling and malfunction of this crucial organ may occur. Other problems pollution can lead to include thickening or the arteries and high blood pressure. Air may be polluted due to:

  • Factories
  • Wildfires
  • Cooking without enough ventilation
  • Traffic emissions
  • Poor ventilation in buildings

Steps to Take

There are steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing heart disease due to poor air conditions. You can change some of your existing habits and develop new ones that are healthier for your cardiovascular systems. For example, you can do your part to reduce pollution by using your car less. You can:

  • Use public transportation such as the bus or train.
  • Carpool with friends, co-workers, or family members.
  • Plan your errands so you can do everything in one trip.
  • Ride your bicycle.
  • Walk, run, or hike to locations you want to reach.
  • Trade your gas-hog vehicle in on an energy-efficient model.

See Your Doctor

You can also do your part to keep your heart healthy by taking good care of your body. It’s important to pay attention to possible signs of heart disease. You should get regular checkups, and if you notice warning signs, make an appointment to see your physician. There are some red flags that need immediate attention, however. You need emergency medical attention if you:

  • Faint
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Experience chest pain

If you live in a polluted area, do your best to improve the quality of your air. You can create a healthier environment inside your home by using an air purifier, making sure you have proper ventilation, and having an air quality specialist assess your home’s air.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Stella & Dot gives back during Autism Awareness Month

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I invited my daughter, Bethany, to share a bit of info about the company she works with and what they're doing to help spread awareness. Plus, she's offering a great giveaway!

Hi Green Grandma fans! 

I know it's been a while since you've heard from me. You may know me as Green Grandma's daughter, Bethany, and also as a guest reviewer on the blog. I am a stay-at-home mom to an adorable little four year old boy named Lincoln and recently became a Stella & Dot stylist. This has been an amazing journey since I started back in October and I would love to share with you a little bit about a great foundation and fundraiser Stella & Dot is a part of.

Inspired by a father and a son, HollyRod Foundation was formed in 1996 by actress, Holly Robinson Peete and her husband former NFL quarterback, Rodney Peete. The HollyRod Foundation is dedicated to providing help and hope to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease.

In honor of Holly’s father, Matthew T. Robinson Jr., HollyRod partnered with the Center for Parkinson’s Research and Movement Disorders at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California to establish The HollyRod Compassionate Care Program with the mission to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s. The program provides patient services including physician consultations, speech and swallowing evaluation and treatment, physical therapy, counseling services and ambulation aids to those who have little or no healthcare insurance and limited financial resources.

After Holly and Rodney’s eldest son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism, HollyRod’s mission expanded to provide support and resources to families also affected by an autism diagnosis. Like Parkinson’s, autism can decimate families physically, emotionally and most of all financially. HollyRod introduced the “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign in 2010, providing tablet computers and specially-designed apps to help give a voice to those without. 50% of children living with autism have extreme difficulty learning to speak, 25% of them never will. While these individuals may not be able to speak, they have much to say and through the “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign, they can now make their voice heard. It is our commitment to continue this program so that every individual living with autism has a voice. HollyRod is currently developing plans to create The HollyRod Autism Network at California State University, Northridge, a unique constellation of autism resources, services, and one-one-one support, all with a family-centered focus.

Stella & Dot has partnered with the HollyRod Foundation by giving all net proceeds of the sale of their autism awareness bracelets to the help those living with autism. 

Here's the good news... I want to give a bracelet to one of you! 

Just enter below on the Rafflecopter. You must be 18 or older to enter. US and Canada. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner is chosen.  Contest ends at midnight on April 29th so you still have time to order a bracelet in April if you don't win one. Of course, they make great gifts, so go ahead and order one anyway. If you win, you'll have one for you and one for a friend, knowing all along you're supporting a great cause.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I could not be more proud to be associated with such a great quality, stylish and (honestly) addictive brand. I actually don't think I can do them justice so I invite you to check out this great video! And if you want to learn more about how you can earn some great Stella & Dot products by hosting a trunk show or becoming a stylist, or you simply want to shop, contact me via my website by clicking here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TBT -- A question for Earth Day

Earth Day 2015 has come and gone. But that doesn't mean it's time for us to stop caring for the earth or start coming up with ways to live greener, more earth-friendly lives, right? For today's Throwback Thursday, I want to share just a bit of a post from Earth Day 2013. Perhaps it will spur you on. After all, everyone needs a little prodding now and then, don't you agree?

Photo by Green Grandma
On Earth Day this year, I resolve to ________________.
So, how would you complete that sentence? Is there anything you've been doing that hasn't been particularly earth-friendly? Perhaps you're still using too many paper towels (rags work just as well). Are you a cloth diapering mama who's gotten lazy and been using way too many disposables? Have you been forgetting your reusable bags too often when you go to the grocery store? Are you still using fabric softener (GASP!)? Are you tossing your sheets into the dryer when you could let the sun and breeze dry them just as easily (and much more fragrantly)? Are you driving when you could be walking? Have you been tossing cans and plastic bottles into the trash can at work where there's no recycling, rather than taking them home with you and putting them in your own recycling bin? Are you throwing away paper instead of taking it to a paper recycling collection bin in your community? Are you still cleaning with toxins when vinegar, lemon, and baking soda work just as effectively?
Remember to keep it green... for you, for your family, for future generations, and for the earth.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wild Oats for Earth Day! Why eating organic matters to you... and to the earth

Disclosure: In exchange for this sponsored post, I received products and/or compensation.

I love Earth Day! It's the one day that non-green minded people actually might do something that helps the environment in one way or another. Whether you're picking up litter, carrying reusable bags into the grocery store, or conserving water or electricity, you're doing your part for Earth Day. As I've often said -- every little bit helps. 

Since Earth Day 2014, I've increased my awareness and consumption of organic foods. I know a lot of you are trying to raise families and it's much more difficult for you to afford organics simply because you have more mouths to feed. But eating organic doesn't have to cost a fortune. Seriously. 

Walmart features the Wild Oats Marketplace line, which is full of organic yumminess! 

So, what's the big deal with organics, anyway? And why is it something I'm focusing on for Earth Day?

There are many reasons to choose organic foods for your family, but here are some of my reasons:
  • Avoiding synthetic pesticides. As someone with extreme chemical sensitivity, the last thing I want to do is ingest chemicals, right? Conventional farmers apply up to 12 or more synthetic pesticides to their crops each year. When I choose organic foods, I don't expose myself to all that chemical crap.
  • Avoiding GMOs. Let's face it, we really don't know the long range effects of consuming genetically engineered foods, do we? I hate being a guinea pig.
  • Avoiding hormones and antibiotics. As a menopausal woman, the last thing I want to expose myself to is unnecessary hormones. Period. Or lack of one...
  • Preserving heirloom seeds. If certain companies have their way, the preservation of heirloom seeds will no longer be allowed. We have to fight for the farmers' rights to continue their organic lines of food varieties.
  • Caring about farmers, their families, and their neighbors. I grew up in Lancaster County where the smell of manure permeated the warmer seasons. Back then, it was natural. Now, it makes me shudder to think about what the people in my old stomping grounds are exposed to on a daily basis. Organic farming creates healthier working environments for the workers and their rural communities.
Did you know that certified organic farmers may not use
  • toxic synthetic pesiticides
  • artificial fertilizers
  • unnecessary hormones
  • antibiotics
They practice sustainability, restoring, maintaining, and enhancing soil and ecosystem health.

For me, there's no contest. When I have the choice, I'm going to choose organic foods. Walmart and Wild Oats Marketplace make that choice much easier

With Wild Oats, even cash strapped families can live healthier lifestyles and reduce their environmental footprint. With the wide variety of organic products at Walmart, you'll find their prices are comparable to conventional national brands. You can check out their prices here.

So here's my challenge to you for Earth Day 2015: head over to Walmart and pick up some organic products from Wild Oats Marketplace. Give them a try. And then celebrate your health and wellness as you celebrate the earth and all the wonderful gifts it bestows on us. 

And make sure you check out Wild Oats on Facebook and Instagram

And do me a favor -- Take a moment to post a comment. Let me know why eating organic is important to you.


Considering Earth Day: What is crying out, "I want to be recycled!"?

Monday, April 20, 2015

#10forSolar -- How ClimateStore Inc. is making a difference this week

Disclosure: I am an ambassador for ClimateStore Inc. This is a sponsored post. However, I do not receive anything for purchases made through any of the following links.

Last night, a huge transformer blew somewhere in our community. Our electricity went out, but was quickly restored again. We prepared for an evening without. I grabbed my solar lantern and my husband lit some candles. As it turned out, it was unnecessary, but it did make me think about those living in energy poverty. They don't have the luxury of electric lights, televisions with a kazillion stations, furnaces, etc. Their lives are often spent in darkness. Thank God for individuals and companies that care enough to do something about it.

With Earth Day 2015 only two days from now, I wanted to share how ClimateStore Inc. is partnering with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) on Earth Day to provide renewable energy to communities in need. But they're not limiting the project's positive impact to that one day. Instead, 10% of proceeds for all purchases made on through April 27, 2015 will be donated to SELF. How awesome is that?

You see, it's one thing to talk about something. It's an entirely different thing to actually do something about it.

Based in Washington, DC, SELF is a nonprofit with a mission of implementing solar energy solutions to assist the 1.5 billion people living in energy poverty. They do this through economic, educational, health care, and agricultural development by conducting small solar installations in places with a specific need. SELF solar installations helped power eight health centers after the devasting 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In Benin, SELF built a solar irrigation system, empowering farmers to grow food sustainably. Currently, they are working on a project to help provide lighting to schools in rural Columbia. 

By providing renewable energy to developing countries, SELF not only improves quality of life in those communities, but it also mitigates climate change. SELF is implementing a win-win solution that transforms lives, eliminates greenhouse emissions and provides lasting skills and infrastructure that will build more resilient communities. While ClimateStore helps people reduce their carbon footprints here at home, they also want to help people that may endure the consequences of our fossil fuel use.

Click here to be directed to the Earth Week promotion at And don't forget, your purchase matters!  

Just look at the faces of those who will benefit, and start shopping!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Considering Earth Day: Industrial-size Waste -- How to reduce it

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Does anyone remember kitchen trash compactors? My husband had one in his home long before I met him. It seemed like a good way to reduce the amount of trash a family produced.

I love that my husband was green-minded long before it was trendy. He recycled everything he could since the 1970s. Years ago, he even instituted a recycling program at the place he worked, saving the company lots of money, and the earth quite a bit of trash.

When it comes to big companies, a small trash compactor like Bill had would be a bit useless. That's where waste balers enter the picture. QCR recycling balers can reduce a company's waste by as much as 90%. That's significant. This UK-based company sells and rents recycling balers and compactors for cardboard and plastic. Mill size and horizontal balers are available as well.

Why does it matter? Quite simply because, worldwide, we need to limit the amount of waste we're putting into the landfills. Recycling balers keep waste out of there and put it back into the recycling stream. They also save companies money.

As Earth Day approaches (April 22), consider how much waste you produce, not only at home, but at your workplace as well. Is there something you can do about it? Maybe. Will it matter? Absolutely.

How do you reduce waste?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All Natural Beauty Products Giveaway

All Natural Beauty Products Giveaway

An amazing prize pack with all skin care products made from high-quality, all-natural, and organic ingredients to ensure the best care for your skin! Pamper yourself today with these 3 wonderful products you will surely love to indulge in. Relax, enjoy, and GOOD LUCK!

All Natural Beauty Products Giveaway

Ends 4/30

Hosted By: Everything Home Life

Sponsored By:


ONE Lucky Winner will receive:

Organic Seaweed Facial Mask and Body Wrap 

Like having your own European Spa Treatment 
in the comfort of your own home! 
 Chemical-free & perfect for use on 
sensitive skin, 
and much much more!

Cutis Vita Moisturizer 

An Aloe Vera Moisturizing Cream that revitalizes 
and hydrates your face and body. 
Made from the highest quality all natural ingredients.

Vanilla Mint Deodorant Creme 

Organic arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally. 
It leaves you feeling confidently cool, fresh and clean.

Click on the following images for the Full Review  written by Everything Home Life



Open to U.S. Only 18+ may enter

Disclaimer: This giveaway is not endorsed, affiliated or associated with any social media networks. Winner will be randomly selected by Giveaway Tool Winner Selection. Winner’s name, email address & shipping information will be sent to sponsor for prize fulfillment. Sponsor is solely responsible for shipment of the prize. Everything Home Life and any other blogs promoting this giveaway are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

If you have any questions concerning this giveaway, please contact 
Everything Home Life directly @ EverythingHomeLife (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Autism Awareness Month: A young woman's personal journey with Asperger's

My story is complicated but has helped turn me into the person I am today. I've gotten where I am today because of a lot of hard work.

My story about autism didn't start until I was an adult. When I was a kid, there weren’t tests to diagnosis high functioning autism. I went through childhood struggling in school, not understanding why. My diagnosis for Asperger’s came from me wanting answers about myself. It started from an experience I had with one of my music therapy practicums. I was placed with a music therapist who worked with a young boy with Asperger Syndrome. While going through my practicum, I observed certain characteristics he would do when he was nervous, such as hiding under a dusty mat, whispering to the music therapist or not saying anything or playing any instruments. When I would go for my supervision, I wrote in my journals about how I didn't quite understand why he was hiding from me. As I started building rapport with him, I noticed similar characteristics of mine from childhood and beyond. Eventually, I had a conversation with my sister, and she encouraged me to go for an evaluation.

I recall being nervous the day I went in for testing. Exams always make me nervous, and I tend to take several breaks to collect my thoughts. The test was long, and I needed to take a few breaks to refresh my mind. I always try to do my best no matter what, but tests are just not something I do well. When I received my results, I was relieved.  It felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I understood why I was different. My two music therapy professors and various friends were happy I finally had answers. However, even though it brought me relief, it took a long time for me to adjust. I started being aware of situations that gave me a lot of anxiety and tried experimenting with different sensory products. I asked people to sit on me to provide pressure, used ear plugs in class, and even tried sleeping with a weighted blanket. The biggest struggle I had with my diagnosis came in 2012, when I went away to New Jersey to do a music therapy internship.

When I picked an internship site, I went and visited places and asked questions about what was expected of me. I prayed about it and chose what I felt in my heart, believing at the time it was where God wanted me to be. During the internship, however, I encountered some difficulty. The music therapists weren't willing to help me, and I felt judged and discriminated against. I was there when Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, and I remember how scared I felt from being away from home. After the storm had hit and everything was slowly getting back to normal, I had a meeting with my internship director. I will never forget how I felt the moment she told me I would never be successful as a music therapist because of my disability.  She told me I thought too much in black and white, was not flexible enough, saw things in tunnel vision, etc. She also said that she was going to give me an incomplete grade and told me to go home and get help. I was distraught that night, confused and angry with the situation. It was awkward trying to explain to my clients why I was leaving so early. When I came home to Pennsylvania, I went to see a psychologist. I remember being confused as to what was going on and what had happened. That's when I received a diagnosis of depression and anxiety.

Angry with God, I didn’t understand why this happened. I struggled to sleep for four months, and it was difficult to leave the house because I hated my life so much. Once I started going to church again, I began to feel hope. The people there encouraged me and prayed for me, even though they didn't know me very well. I got involved with my church’s worship team and forced myself to meet people. That also gave me hope. 

Being around encouraging people helped me get through this dark and cloudy time. Eventually, I found a new place to do my internship again – the nursing home where I did an earlier practicum. I didn't really want to finish my internship in a nursing home, but was willing to try and to do whatever it took to graduate. Once I started to understand Alzheimers disease, I was better equipped to handle this population and stopped taking their comments personally. 

By the time I finished my internship, I had built professional relationships with the residents there and really enjoyed being there. My biggest relief was finishing and feeling such a sense of accomplishment. My family was especially proud of me and relieved. Receiving my diploma in the mail reminded me of all the hard work I put in. I had enough people encouraging me to not give up, even though I wanted to sometimes.
My framed diploma in my room reminds me to not give up on myself. I credit my internship supervisor at the nursing home as the reason I got through the internship the second time. Since having my practicum with him before, he knew what I was capable of and that made a difference. I needed someone to remind me why I had chosen to go into music therapy.

For years, people didn't believe I would make it to college. High school was a struggle with my learning difficulties; how could someone like me make it through college? Through all of this, I discovered that with some hard work and dedication, people can do whatever they set you’re their minds to. Today, I am continuing to persevere through the trials and tribulations of this disorder. 

As an adult, my life continues to be a struggle. I decided not to continue music therapy and receive help from a government agency. Now the most difficult part is finding a job suited to me so that I can be successful. In the past three years, I’ve learned to cope with Asperger's better. I've read books on it and continue to read articles and discover companies that sell sensory equipment. I'm starting to love myself again and slowly regrowing my confidence.

I hope that my story encourages someone today who might be going through the same thing I did. Even though this month is about awareness, I'm choosing to celebrate this month. I want to remember how much I've grown and how much I've accomplished, as I continue to set new goals for myself. I will always be autistic but can learn to cope with it better. I will continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life, but it doesn't define me. I will persist in pushing myself out of my comfort zone and will continue to grow and handle situations better. If it wasn’t for the support I have from my family and friends, I don't know where I would be. Their love and encouragement spur me on.

 * * *

Amy, 27, from Pittsburgh PA, attended Slippery Rock University where she studied Music Therapy and Voice.  She plays acoustic, bass and piano for her church worship team.  Currently, Amy is a home health aide working with a child with Cerebral Palsy.  She teaches piano, acoustic guitar, and voice lessons at her home.

If you have a story about autism that you would like to share, please email me at

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