Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gifts for the Grown-ups Giveaway! $182 TRV!

Sponsored by: Grip2u, Sound Intone, AculiefObersee, and Khroma Herbal Products

Hosted by: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-hosted by:

1 Lucky Winner will receive 
over $182 worth of goodies!

Winner's choice (model and color) of in-stock iPhone cover and USB cable
$49.94 RV

Sound Intone

CX-05 noise isolating headphones with microphone in black. $22.98 RV
Aculief wearable acupressure -- 1 pack
$29.99 RV
Winner's choice of any product
Up to a $30 RV
Winner will receive a store credit
$50 RV

Open to US and must be 18+ to enter

Giveaway Dates ~ 1/30/18 9:00am EST 
through 2/28/18 11:59pm EST

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. 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.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Crock-Pot's loss is Kleenex's gain

You'd have to be living under a proverbial rock to have not heard at least something about the wildly popular show This is Us. And, due to the unfolding story that will culminate after the Super Bowl, Crock-Pot® brand is taking a hit (I'll explain later). 

If you're like me, you've been hooked on This is Us since the first episode. One daughter is with me on this one. My other daughter, not so much. She doesn't see any reason at all to watch a show that basically requires a box of Kleenex®  nearly every week (unless you're green like me and just keep hankies handy!). But for many, Tuesday nights just aren't the same when the show doesn't air. We walk around feeling that something is missing.

How is it that the Pearson family sucked us in this way? Perhaps, for some, it was their realism. For others, it was an ideal. Anyone who's struggled with their relationship with their father, in particular, is drawn to Papa Jack's genuine affection for his three children -- two birth children and one adopted. To Jack, they are one-in-the-same. He sees beyond faults and embraces the goodness of each child. Maybe it's because he carries the burdens of his own faults and those of his father's. 

Whatever the reason, we love Jack. Despite his alcoholism, he is our ideal in a husband. They are our ideal in a partnership, as Jack and Rebecca truly seem to function as one. Yes, there have been bumps in the road. They even separated for awhile. But maybe that's what appeals to us even more about them. Their tenacity. Their willingness to keep trying. Because underneath it all is not only a deep love for each other, but a genuine friendship. Something, I think, that gets lost in many a marriage as kids and jobs and broken furnaces and backed up sewers and everyday stuff prevents couples from remaining as buddies. But that's not what happened to Jack and Rebecca. You can't imagine one without the other. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. Bert and Ernie. Jack and Rebecca. Buddies. Friends. Partners.

On last week's episode, we fall in love with Jack even more (was that possible?) as we watch him cleaning up from what was supposed to be the final Super Bowl party before the kids head off to college. We see, we feel, the disappointment in both Jack and Rebecca as one-by-one the Pearson teens choose to be elsewhere that night. After all, the Steelers weren't playing, right? So, on this final Super Bowl Sunday, Jack and Rebecca find themselves alone. 

But back to that cleaning up bit I mentioned. What woman out there doesn't want a man who lets her sleep while he puts away the food, sweeps the floor, cleans up the dishes, takes care of the dog... ?? Yes, for many, Jack is the ideal spouse. That's the way he lives his life. And, from what the previews show us, it's how he'll end his life as well -- taking care of the ones he loves. 

The episode ends with sparks flying from a Crock-Pot, catching a towel on fire and quickly spreading to the curtains. From the previous episode, we know the battery is out of the smoke detector. And we've known from the start that Jack died while the kids were teens. Add it all up, and we know what's about to happen. 

Does Jack die trying to rescue the family dog? Or does he go down to Kevin's room in the basement, thinking his son is sleeping there, when in fact, he was spending the night elsewhere (something Rebecca failed to mention to her husband)? There are some questions. But all that really matters to the viewers is that Jack is going to die in that fire and we're crushed. 

For me, it goes a bit deeper. I had trouble sleeping last Tuesday after watching the show and I woke up depressed on Wednesday. It took awhile for me to shake it. Was it just because of a fictional family I care about? No. For me, it's about a fire in 1989 that cost me my own husband, a man who, while I slept, often put away the food, swept the floor, cleaned up the dishes, and took care of the dog. My husband. My partner. My friend.

So, while the rest of you may be snuggled up on the couch with a box of Kleenex on Sunday night, I think it's best I skip the episode... at least for now. My mental health trumps my This is Us addiction. Pearson family, my heart goes out to you. I've been there. And for those of you throwing out your Crock-Pots and removing them from your wedding registries... c'mon, that's just plain silly. Just be safe with all small appliances and for goodness' sake, unplug them!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Chemical stew and a dog named Friday

Scrolling through Facebook over the weekend, I came across a disturbing post from my friend Belinda. Because I felt this was important info to share with any pet lovers in the community, I asked her to write a guest post for me and she agreed. Below is her account of what happened to her dog when she took him for a walk last week. 

I can’t describe the guilt I feel writing this. I can only console myself by repeating, “Next time, I’ll know better.”

Standing in the parking lot, I stared at the endless solid chunks of de-icing salt. The chemicals were especially thick after the extreme temperatures and considerable snowfall we had in Western Pennsylvania. I looked down at my dog, Friday, as he laid on his side whimpering and compulsively licking his paws. Instinctively, I knew what was wrong with him, but how? And why? I always took him out for a walk as soon as the temperature allowed. What was it about these chemicals and this outing that left him with painful chemical burns between the pads of his paws? And more importantly, how can dog lovers everywhere avoid a scenario like this in the future?

I made a number of regrettable mistakes that day. Here are a few things I wished I’d known to look out for: 

Excessive de-icing 

Each product has different guidelines on how much is considered “safe.” Unfortunately, most of the warnings are geared more toward not damaging concrete than not harming animals. But I’m guessing if it can corrode a parking lot, it’s probably not good for bare paws. I distinctly remember the sheer volume of little ice rocks that littered the parking lot that day. Next time, I’ll choose a different route.

A period of exceptionally cold temperatures

Harsher weather requires a broader variety of snow and ice treatments. Once the temperatures dive into the negatives, most snow removal companies need to concoct a “chemical stew,” with many of the ingredients imported from Asia and other parts of the globe. We simply don’t know much about the safety and purity of it. And with all those chemicals interacting with each other, who knows the true potency on any given surface? 

The day Friday’s paws were burned, we were warming up from a particularly cold spell. I suspect he picked up a piece of solid salt chemical and when it came into contact with his damp paws, it turned into what pennDOT describes as a “strong brine," which is what caused the immediate chemical burn.

An area of low traffic

Here’s where the irony kicks in. A lot of the de-icing chemicals work best when there’s frequent friction; like tires driving on a busy road. So parking lots and walkways have to use a stronger mixture of the “brine” to keep pedestrians safe. Of course, I'm not suggesting you walk your dog where there’s high traffic. But be aware of the extra risks walkways may pose to your pooch.

What about booties? Every dog is different. I know Friday wouldn't tolerate having them on his feet and would have them off within seconds. But if your dog doesn’t mind them, it may be worth the cost and effort to protect those paws from these harsh chemicals.

As for me, I’m lucky to have two indoor dog parks nearby. My Sheltie requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Staying cooped up in the house isn’t really an option. People laugh at me taking Friday to our “doggie social.” But for future cold and thawing weather, the indoor dog park may just be the the only way to go.

Belinda and Friday live in Pennsylvania with their family. They enjoy agility, long hikes, and snuggling on the sofa. They've been together since 2009 and neither can imagine life without the other.

If your pet has been exposed to de-icing chemicals and has burns on his paws, there are safe and natural treatments. Click here for some guidance.

And click here for a safer, non-salt solution for de-icing your own driveway and walk.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Air quality control, the greenery way

As winter bears down upon us, those of us living in the colder climates are spending our days in closed up homes and offices. That means we're breathing in stuff we probably shouldn't be. 

Did you know that houseplants can improve the air quality indoors? Having the right plants around is especially useful when you're doing home improvements like painting or installing new carpets or flooring, or even when you get new furniture. 

Here's a list of plants that are perfectly suited for various rooms in your home and workplace:

  • Aloe Vera -- This is a good plant for every room, as it's one of the best in cleaning your air.
  • English Ivy -- Perfect for the bedroom or basement, as it's been known to reduce airborne mold by as much as 94%!
  • Jasmine -- Every bedroom needs a jasmine plant! Jasmine helps improve the quality of sleep you get. If I had a nursery, there would definitely be a jasmine plant up on a shelf above the crib!
  • Lavender -- Again, an ideal choice for the bedroom. It's also a good choice for the office, as lavender is known for its stress-relieving properties.
  • Rosemary -- Why not pair a rosemary plant with the lavender in your office, since rosemary works to improve your memory. Maybe it'll help you avoid those, "What was that word?" moments at the computer.
  • Snake Plant -- If you experience headaches, a snake plant might be the answer in whatever room you spend a lot of time in.

Finally, I want to mention a list of plants that thrive on sucking up formaldehyde, one of my worst offenders for my chemical sensitivities. One or more of these plants are a MUST in offices full of pressed wood furnishings and commercial carpeting. Place them everywhere that formaldehyde is polluting!
  • Boston Fern -- This plant is known to positively devour formaldehyde. They also dig benzene and xylene, so keep 'em close to your attached garage!
  • Palm Trees -- Particularly the Dwarf Date Palm if formaldehyde is your primary concern. Areca and Lady Palms are also good choices.
  • Rubber Plants -- Here's a perk -- they do really well in dim light. Perfect for an interior office with no windows!
  • Dracaena "Janet Craig" -- Ditto the above perk.
  • Peace Lily -- It will also take care of some of the VOCs in cleaning products, if you work in an office building where harsh cleansers are used.
  • Philedendron -- Extremely durable, but keep it out of direct sunlight!
  • Spider Plant -- According to a study at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, the spider plant is the winner when it comes to eating up formaldehyde. Why not place one beside your Boston fern and let the competition begin!
Now, in this season of indoor gardening, let's put up a fight against the indoor pollutants that are hurting our families. Let's go green as in greenery!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

It's about those pesky nightshades

Photo courtesy of George Hodan

"Fibro? Yeah, my sister-in-law has that. You know what you should do? Avoid eating..."

"Arthritis? My mother's doctor told her to take..."

"You think you have bad joints? I could barely walk until..."

We've all heard it, right? Everyone has an opinion on what will help ease your pain. That is, unless you're one of the lucky ones who don't suffer from fibro or arthritis or any of the other body pain-related ailments. 

I've suffered from EBVS (Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome) since before it even had a name. I was 16 when the first episode hit and it landed me in bed for months. The only good thing about it was that I was excused from gym class for an entire year.

Later, fibromyalgia was added to the mix of the pain cocktail I was living with. Fun times. 

As a young mom, I was pretty much useless when it came to caring for my kids. I couldn't lift them and I often fell asleep while they were playing at my feet. It was scary time. Eventually, we discovered that the main trigger for the EBVS flare-ups was chemical-related. Once I started eliminating chemicals from my life, I got better. Unfortunately, it took years for me to figure out that cleaning and laundry chemicals were some of the biggest culprits. These days, I have fewer bouts with the disease, although the fibro continues to plague me with joint pain and weakness.

That said, I'm going to join in with the well-meaning folks I quoted in the beginning of this post and offer some advice on what has helped me. Keep in mind, not everything works for everybody. Our bodies are different and respond differently to nearly everything.

Two things that really help me are:
1) Organic bone broth
2) Turmeric (supplements and the spice). I've found the most relief taking Organic India's Turmeric Formula.

Most recently, I've discovered the advantage of avoiding nightshade vegetables. I'd been told about this a few years ago, but ignored the advice, mostly because I didn't want to give up something I enjoyed eating. Then, about 6 months ago, I stumbled upon a Facebook posting about it and decided it was worth trying. 

It meant giving up nightshades, which included potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. It also meant the end of using paprika, one of my favorite spices. I was pretty convinced it wouldn't work, so I gave it a try. And guess what? It worked. The pain level was significantly decreased. As a matter of fact, for the first time in years, I was pain-free at times. Until you've lived with chronic pain, you can't possibly understand what a miracle that is!

You probably have a couple of questions. First, what's a nightshade?

Collectively, this species of botanical plants (known as Solanaceae) number close to 2,500. While most are not to be consumed at all, others are so common in our diet that it really is difficult to eliminate them (like the ones mentioned above). Click here for a full list of nightshades, along with warnings about homeopathic medications and OTC and prescription drugs, as nightshades could be used as fillers, etc.

Second, what's the problem with them?

Most research points to the alkaloids in nightshades. Alkaloids can produce inflammation; thus joint pain and swelling.

For some, consumption of nightshades is linked to chronic pain. Perhaps there is an allergic reaction involved, because not all people who consume nightshades experience joint stiffness, swelling, and debilitating pain that others live with. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, every body is different. But that doesn't mean that eating potatoes or tomatoes isn't the source of your pain. It well might be. 

For me, potatoes seem to be the worst trigger. I avoid raw tomatoes, but cooked sauce doesn't seem to bother me. It's all about experimenting and finding out what works best for you.

If you're seeking a reason why your pain flares at certain times, perhaps keeping a food diary would be a good idea. Or try avoiding nightshades for two or three months and see what happens. The difference it made for me was dramatic and quick. 

Maybe you've already done your own experiments and discovered your own triggers. Dairy? Gluten? A combination? Share your story below in the comments. Maybe your personal experience will help someone else ease their own suffering.

I'd love to hear your stories!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The above is simply an observation I have made based on my own experience. Always seek the advice of your physician.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Swiss cheese hearts

Today would have been my mother's 91st birthday. Next week will be the five-year anniversary of her death. I still can't believe she's been gone that long. 

Five years ago today, my husband and I were in Manheim, Pennsylvania visiting with her. The night before her 86th birthday, we played 13 hands of Pinochle. She kept score. And she beat us nearly every hand. Although her body was plagued with pain (I blame the Lipitor her doctor prescribed), her mind was still sharp. She remained in the home I grew up in, did her own chores and laundry, and was still driving (although that was starting to be a concern). Her plan for that year was to sell the house and move to a retirement community in Pittsburgh so she could be near our family and watch her great-grandchildren grow up. It was a good plan; one we all looked forward to. But it never happened.

Life's like that, isn't it? We dream. We plan. We love. And we lose. Over and over again, especially as we age, we attend funeral after funeral. Sometimes we have the chance to say goodbye. Often, we do not.

Time goes by and grief remains, although the years tend to muffle it. Hearts become drafty, with Swiss cheese-type holes throughout. We are not alone in our experience of suffering. Hour-by-hour, folks join our clubs; the clubs for widows, for orphans, and, worst of all, the club for the unnamed -- parents who've lost children.

We can't escape it, so there's no use trying. Embracing the "I am a rock" mentality Paul Simon sang about is pointless. Why? Because in the attempt to avoid the pain of loss, you live with the constant pain of loneliness. It's simply not a good exchange.

The good news is we can experience the joy these people -- spouses, parents, friends, siblings, and, yes, even children -- have brought to our lives, for however long they were here with us.

For me, my mom was with me for 55 years. How wonderful is that? 

So, today, rather than focusing on her death, I'm celebrating her 86 years and the 55 she spent loving me. 

I am blessed.

Who are you missing today?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A promise (I hope) for the new year

Ahhh... a new year is upon us. One brimming with possibilities.

This one, at least for us in Pittsburgh, is starting off to be a cold one. Even my kitty, Vincent Van Gogh, is bundling up to stay warm.

2017 was a year of major changes for me, although my family came through it intact. No deaths. No births. No one added and, thank God, no one subtracted.

Unlike the previous year when we experienced 20 deaths (family and friends), this year the changes were good ones. Yes, my husband did suffer a major heart attack in October and I almost lost him, but the fantastic part is I didn't!! 

My changes were work-related. I just completed 13 months at my new job -- a job that takes me out of the comfort zone of my own home and into an office setting. I haven't worked full-time outside of my home since 1982. This was a huge change for me. And it came with a cost. As manager of Dignity Home Care Professionals in Pittsburgh, I no longer have the time to devote to the blog as I once had. I'm still operating my other business, Speechless, which specializes in writing, editing, and voice-over work, and while I'm not actively pursuing new clients, the old ones still keep me busy from time-to-time. 

I felt I needed to apologize to you, the faithful members of the Green Grandma community, who continue to drop by occasionally, perhaps in hopes of something new, only to find out I haven't posted in weeks. I am truly sorry. I even ended up dropping my monthly installments of Vinegar Fridays

The crux of the problem is that I don't like posting content that isn't well-researched and is useful to you, my readers. And I simply haven't had time to present you with that kind of content.

That said, I will add that I am not shutting down the blog. I will try to post something weekly throughout the new year. And, of course, I love featuring guest bloggers. So... if you have something you would like to share with the GG community, let me know. You can reach me at greengrandma@comcast.net. I look forward to hearing your ideas. Perhaps you have an Instant Pot recipe to share. Or an environmental cause to support. Or a car seat safety tip you've not seen elsewhere. Whatever it is, pitch the idea to me and we'll see what we can do. 

So keep coming back in search of some useful tidbits that help you navigate this thing called life. I strive to spread kindness while encouraging you to live greener and healthier lives. 

Thanks for sticking with me.

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