Saturday, May 13, 2017

The influence of a mother

My mother holding me many, many years ago.

"The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry..."
~Billy Graham

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cardinals and your health. What is the connection?

I love cardinals. There's nothing like looking out of the window and seeing a splash or two of red in the trees and bushes. It's especially stunning when the yard is blanketed in snow. Stunning!

Thanks, katmystiry for the lovely photo!

But aside from their beauty, did you know that having cardinals in your yard is actually healthy, too? Seriously. A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, noted that cardinals are good for our health.

The findings are related to a study at Emory University in Atlanta where there are fewer cases of  people infected with the West Nile virus than in other cities with similar demographics. What's the difference? Cardinals. 

The West Nile virus shows up in approximately 30% of birds in Atlanta. In Chicago, the number is lower at 18.5%. But throughout the state of Illinois, there have been 2,088 cases of West Nile in humans since 2002. In Georgia during that same period, the number drops to only 330 cases. 

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus feed on robins and other birds, which then spreads to people. However, the opposite happens when they feed on cardinals. For some reason, after feeding on cardinals, the virus is suppressed.

Moral of the story: provide an ideal habitat for cardinals and your chances of contracting West Nile virus drop dramatically. Cardinals like to nest in dense thickets. Make sure you provide fresh water for them and grow native plants. Of course, you want to avoid insecticides, since many birds, including cardinals, depend on insects as their main source of food, protein, and fats.

By welcoming cardinals into your yard, you're adding a bit of protection against a nasty virus. Now sit back and enjoy the view!

I'd love to see your own photos of cardinals in your yards. Feel free to add them to the Green Grandma FB page!

Have a safe and happy May!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- It's time to break out the summer clothing


We started out our spring Vinegar Fridays with a guest post by Jeriann Watkins Ireland. She's joining us again this month to discuss how apple cider vinegar can help with conditions like varicose veins.

It’s almost summer, and that means it’s time for shorts, skirts, and other skin-exposing clothing. If you’ve got skin conditions like eczema, warts, spider veins, or varicose veins, sometimes wearing warm-weather clothing seems daunting.

I’ve always had pretty visible veins, especially when I’m cold. Sometimes, I don’t even feel cold and I look down and my hands are purple. My dad had the same issue and I’ve never given it much thought -- just chalked it up to bad circulation.

One major concern when it comes to circulation is veins, particularly varicose veins. Varicose veins are blue, twisted veins that can be seen through the skin. These veins have damaged valves that result in them holding more blood at higher pressure than normal. This can cause leg pain, swollen ankles, aching, cramping, itching, restless legs, and even venous ulcers. For some people, varicose veins are simply an aesthetic inconvenience, making warm weather attire less appealing. Others suffer severe pain due to the venous insufficiencies that cause varicose veins.

Luckily, venous insufficiency doesn’t have to be permanent. Below I’m going to talk about the different causes of venous insufficiency and how Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can combat the root cause of varicose veins in each situation.

When you’re pregnant, the presence of the fetus puts pressure on the uterus. This can cause blood flow issues in the surrounding veins. Hormonal changes also weaken the vein walls and cause valves to stop functioning properly. This causes blood that’s supposed to circulate back to the heart to get stuck in pools, usually in the legs.

Luckily, our good friend ACV boosts the body’s ability to produce hormones and balance levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Apple Cider Vinegar also offers other benefits to pregnant bodies, such as helping with indigestion and encouraging balanced levels of bacteria in the microbiome of both the mother and the developing baby. Drinking a shot of ACV in the mornings can help regulate hormones and digestive function throughout the day.

Being overweight can cause increased blood pressure, which can damage valve function and prevent blood from moving up toward the heart. Regular ACV consumption is known to help with both weight loss and blood pressure management. It helps with weight loss by balancing bacteria and flushing fats out of the body. It helps with blood pressure by getting rid of bad cholesterol.

Of course, like any weight loss strategy (or health strategy in general), consistency is important. 2 TBSP a day of ACV is recommended in order to see results. Adding ACV to salad dressings is a great way to eat healthy and manage blood pressure and weight at the same time. You can also make a warm tonic each morning with ACV, local honey, and lemon juice. You can also add water to this mixture to dilute the strong flavors. Without water, it’s more of a “shot. With water, it can be a morning beverage to sip on. Drinking warm lemon water in the mornings is recommended as a detoxifying method, so mixing it with ACV helps boost those effects. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you’ve ever had blood clots or other vein conditions, you’re much more likely to experience varicose veins. Luckily, we already know ACV helps blood flow, so combining it with other ingredients that aid circulation can help prevent blood clots. Try putting some turmeric or cayenne pepper in your daily shot of ACV. These are both natural blood thinners. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory, so if you’re already experiencing pain due to venous insufficiency, it can help calm things down.

Lack of Movement/Prolonged Crossed Legs
ACV won’t help you move more, but I like to combine my wellness strategies through awareness. If I’m sitting at my home office with my legs up on my yoga ball (which is horrible for circulation), and my legs start to go numb, I use the moment to do something healthy. This might be as simple as stretching and drinking a glass of water. If I haven’t had any ACV yet, I might take a moment to mix up a shot with honey, turmeric, ginger, or other healthy ingredients, based on what my health focus is that day. So while I go up the stairs or wait for water to heat up, I make sure to move as much as possible. This helps combat the negative effects on my body from sitting all day.

Do you have issues with varicose or spider veins? Have you found other strategies to manage or prevent them? Share in the comments!

Monday, May 1, 2017

And his name is Heroin

Photo courtesy of George Hodan

"I took her to rehab," he told me. "But then her mother got her out."

I knew this man only in passing... we'd smile at each other and say hello. But yesterday, we shared a bond when he let me know Julia* was gone. Our eyes shed the same tears -- wistful, stinging, bitter. I will never forget that moment.

Julia (*not her actual name) was my husband's and my favorite waitress. She always, always greeted us with a smile that lit up the room. She was kind, enthusiastic, and energetic. Julia knew how to make you feel welcomed in her presence. When I work late, my husband occasionally waits for me at the restaurant where she worked. On slower nights, they'd chat. Bill got to know her better than I did and started looking at her as another (older) grandchild.

"Did you see Julia today?" he'd ask when I'd arrive home from work. And for the past few weeks, I always said, "No." He wondered if she'd found another job. Yesterday, he found the answer to his question.

You see, while Julia appeared to us to be a gracious young woman with an infectious smile and a bright future ahead of her, she had a dark side we knew nothing about.

"She died a few weeks ago," the chef said in response to Bill's inquiry. I saw the look on his face and approached, not ready to hear the words. 

"Julia died," Bill said, disbelief crossing his face like a knife dulled from too much abuse. I looked from his tear-filled eyes to the eyes of the chef and I knew it to be true. 

"What... how?" I stammered. In my heart, I already knew.

"She O.D.ed," he said, his voice cold and hollow like a waiting tomb.

I felt weak and sat, my own tears now burning my eyes. Not Julia. No, not Julia.

This morning, as I drove to work, the heaviness of it all crowded out all other thoughts. I wept as I drove; words filling my mind. I knew they'd have to spill out onto the screen before I could properly function today. So here they are. My too late words to a blossoming flower with such a sweet scent, brought down by the glyphosate of this generation -- heroin. Oh, Julia. If only I'd known. Could I have done/said anything to have stopped this? That is the question haunting far too many loved ones of the victims of this insidious curse. Too many parents wondering. I am angry at/feel sorry for her own mother who, like all parents, wanted what was best for her 25-year-old daughter. She just didn't realize that Julia truly needed to be in rehab.

When I was in my 20s, heroin was something you heard about from the ghettos. "Junkies," we'd called them and thought little else about them. Heroin was not the destroyer in suburban American neighborhoods. It happened to other people. It wasn't in our schools, our playgrounds, next door. 

Last week, a mother and father were found passed out in the front seat of their car with their children in the back. They'd been shooting up heroin. And they were driving a Mercedes Benz.

What the heck is happening? How can so many of our promising and brilliant and once-happy young people be choosing this drug over their families, their friends, their children? Children in our community are being orphaned by heroin. What?? What?? 

Today, my heart is broken. I feel helpless against the evil one. His name is heroin. And I hate him.


Don't Sweat It in the Super Mom Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Super Mom Giveaway Hop

This fun and exciting giveaway hop is brought to you by:

MamatheFox, The Kids Did ItThe Mommy Island

This Mothers Day there are so many options for gifts to give! At each stop in this giveaway hop you will find a prize that will be perfect for a mom in your life. While it's always nice to win something to give away... it's also nice to win something for yourself. I know busy, health-conscious moms are always looking for natural products to improve their lives. But it can get expensive to shop around only to find out that the products just don't work for you. I found that to be the case when looking for a natural and safe deodorant. That's why my Don't Sweat It Giveaway is geared toward you -- the always-on-the-go mom who works up a sweat just going about the business of mommying. Thanks to the kind folks at Natural Products Network, I have some great deodorants for you to try. But that's not all. Moms need some pampering, too, so I'm including a couple of face masks and some metabolism-boosting tea to help you feel and look your best! All the products are complements of the Natural Products Network.

Included in the giveaway are:

Enter below for a chance to win this prize package valued at over $43! US only. 18+

Good luck!

Don't forget to check out MamatheFox's Grand Prize of (1) Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Micro Microwave Pressure Cooker, (1) Kyocera Ceramic Coated Fry Pan Set 8” and 10” & (1) Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Coffee Grinder and (1) bag of Capresso’s Grand Aroma Coffee Beans - Regular Roast! This Grand Prize is valued at $266!

Be sure to come back daily to increase your chances of winning!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

$50 HearthSong Giveaway!

Sponsored By: HearthSong

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-Hosted By:


Winner will receive:
A $50 Gift Certificate to HearthSong!

You know I'm not a big fan of kids getting caught up in electronic games, etc. That's one of the reasons I love HearthSong. Anything that engages kids without the use of electricity grabs my attention. And when you add quality stuff... well... this is one giveaway you really, really want to win!

HearthSong began in 1983 and has been committed to helping parents find age-appropriate, wholesome, high-quality playthings ever since. They select and design the best in kid-powered, screen-free toys and games that the whole family can enjoy! Can I get a high-five?! So many little ones love princesses, fairies, and the magical world in which they live. Check out all HearthSong has to offer and ENTER TO WIN!

Click here to read Love, Mrs. Mommy's full HearthSong Review!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 5/1 9:00 AM EST through 5/15 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received HearthSong products at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

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