Friday, July 7, 2017

Heading to the beach? Don't forget the vinegar!

TGIVF (Thank God it's Vinegar Friday... for those of you who are new to this page)!

This month we're talking beach vacations. Who's heading out to the beach this summer? If you are, don't forget to take a jug (or bottle) of vinegar. Why? Keep reading.

4 Reasons Why Vinegar is Summer's 
MUST-HAVE Accessory!

1. Swimmer's Ear

No one wants to spend their summer vacation up all night with a crying baby or toddler. But that's just what you might be looking at if your kiddo ends up with swimmer's ear from too many dunks in the oceanside swimming pool. Moisture gets trapped in the ear canal, along with bacteria, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. Make sure you have an eyedropper in your cosmetic bag, just in case. Here's where you'll need some apple cider vinegar. The acidity in the ACV will work at preventing growth of the bacteria and will relieve some of the pain. Just apply it, undiluted. If you forgot the eyedropper, simply soak a cotton ball in the ACV and put a small piece directly into the ear.

Better yet -- prevent the problem altogether by gently dabbing a mixture of distilled white vinegar and rubbing alcohol (1:1 ratio) into the ears before the family hits the water.

2. Jellyfish sting

Okay, we all hope this doesn't happen. But the truth is, it does. And when it does, it's painful. Whether it happens to you or to someone else in your family, you'll be grateful you followed my advice to have a jug of DWV on hand. And I do mean on hand, not back at the room. Why? Because timing is everything here and you don't want to waste any.

When those nasty jellyfish tentacles slap or brush into an unsuspecting leg or torso, you want to work quickly to stop the venom from releasing anymore toxins under the skin. Grab the jug of vinegar and POUR it over the affected area. This will not only stop the spread of toxins, but will also relieve some of the itching, burning, and throbbing caused by the sting.

3. Skin irritants

Let's face it. Sand and sand bugs can cause some serious skin irritations. Ease the itch with diluted vinegar (DWV or ACV). The acidic liquid neutralizes the irritant and calms the itch. Ahhh.

4. Sunburn

Sure. We all like to think we're too smart to get a sunburn. But despite our best efforts, it still happens at times. If, as the sunsets and the sky darkens, you find out a family member's skin is darkening too (or should I say "brightening" as in bright red?!), everyone will be happy you remembered to bring the vinegar. Fill the tub with cool-to-lukewarm water and add 2 cups of either ACV or DWV and settle in for a soak, covering as much of the sunburned skin as possible for 15 minutes or so. 

You can also soak some washcloths (or towels, depending on how much skin you have to cover!) with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water) and apply them to the watermelon red skin. 

According to Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, author of Irresistible You, when a sunburn occurs, "blood vessels in the skin dilate, triggering an inflammatory reaction. That damage causes pain and blistering." Vinegar's antiseptic properties address both the pain and the inflammation, soothing and healing the burn.

Again, prevention is the best course of action. But make sure the sunscreen you use is safe and effective. Click here for a list of the Environmental Working Groups' 19 best sunscreens for babies and kids.

There you have it. Four reasons why vinegar is your best summer accessory for the beach. Of course, you can read more of my vinegar tips in my book, Vinegar Fridays, now on sale for just $6.99. Click here to order.

Keeping it green with vinegar,

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jeepers (it's Christmas) in July Giveaway!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this review.

Welcome to the Jeepers in July Giveaway!

Thank you to our host: and co-hosts: 

I also want to thank the folks at SKINourishment for their long-time support of Green Grandma and for sponsoring this awesome giveaway! SKINourishment is a 20-year-old skincare company created by aromatherapist and Easter medicine practitioner Polly Glasse. Their best known products include the climbOn and crossFIXE brands, popular among well-known athletes and everyday natural-minded sports enthusiasts (of which, I admit, I am not one). But, I love the products and have sung their praise throughout the years. And I'm not stopping now!

I received their new line of skin products -- POLYN® skin care -- made using 100% plant-based ingredients, and let me tell you, I love them. So much so, that when I ran out recently, I went online and ordered more. They've got a great deal going on right now, which I'll let you in on in a bit. First I want to tell you why I love this line.

Starting with the Invigorating Face Wash, which makes my 60-year-old dry, dry skin feel amazing! The fresh scent does, indeed, invigorate the senses. 

I follow up by dabbing a small amount of the Cooling Under Eye Serum underneath my eyes, along the dark circles and across the puffy bags that have accompanied my countenance for decades. While the circles and puffiness have not disappeared (I'm telling you, it's hopeless!), they have decreased dramatically, particularly the circles. And you only need the tiniest amount -- just a small drop. Seriously.

Finally, I squirt a few drops of the Regenerative Face Serum onto my palm and spread it across my face and neck. The result is satiny smooth skin. I do this before I go to bed and for the first time in years, I'm not waking up with sandpapery skin. 

Glasse combines aromatherapeutic formulations in these products, providing "therapy in a bottle™."

The bottles themselves are something special as well. Aside from the Face Wash, the other products come in beautiful MIRON glass bottles from Switzerland. The deep purple/black glass prevents light from getting in and compromising the food-grade ingredients. My only disappointment was that they didn't come with caps to use after the product was gone and I no longer needed the pump. I'd love to reuse these beautiful bottles with a twist-on cap.

All of the POLYN skin care products are Certified 100% Vegan and Gluten free. And none of them contain any GMOs (take that, Monsanto!). All ingredients are disclosed on their packaging and there are no synthetic ingredients. PLUS, they are certified Cruelty Free by PETA. 

Seriously, what's not to love about this line?

And, if you enter, you just might win the Essential 3 Face Line with an added bonus! Bought separately, the 3 products are valued at $93.97, plus the $11.95 Illuminating Face Oil. Remember the deal I mentioned earlier? Well, if you act relatively fast, you can snatch up this set of 4 products for a mere $39.95 through their exclusive TV Special. Just click here for details.

Even if you decide to buy a set while the special is good, you can still enter to win. There's nothing wrong with having back-up product for when you need it. And this would make a great gift for anyone concerned with what they're putting on their skin.

Enter below via the Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open to US only, 18 and older. NOTE: Winner has 48 hours to reply to congratulatory email before an alternate winner is chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's better than Ollie's Blocks? Ollie's Blocks at 20% off!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review.

When I received my box of Ollie's Blocks, I knew the grandkids were going to love them. And they did... right from the start. At first, I took them to my daughter's house for her two older girls. But now I'm taking them back. Mean ol' granny! The thing is, I want to keep them at my house for when any of the grandkids are visiting. I have to keep a close eye on the younger two, since there are small parts that could be swallowed, but the older three can play and invent to their heart's content. And let me tell you, they'll play for hours with Ollie's Blocks. There's just so much to create with them. The possibilities are endless! Think Legos meets Lincoln Logs. 

Ollie's Blocks are handmade in Israel out of high quality oak. The pegs are made from safe, durable plastic. Building with them is reminiscent of earlier eras when children explored their creativity down on the floor with blocks rather than having electronic devices lead them away from truly creative play. That's probably what I love most about them.

There are 100 pieces in each set and they come in a sturdy plastic carrying case. My rule: play with the Ollie's Blocks only. When you're done, put them back in the box before dragging out other toys. That way, all 100 pieces will be readily available each and every time they want to play with them.

Truth be told, adults love playing with them, too. 

The original toys were created many years ago for an old wooden toy company. The adult children of the creator resurrected them and, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, were launched as Ollie's Blocks, named after the owners' daughter, Olivia.

Your kids and grandkids will love them. I'm 99% sure of that. And thanks to a generous promo code, you can buy them on Amazon at 20% off the retail price. Just click here to purchase and use the code: OLIBLK20 at check out. 

Let me know what you think once your kit arrives. After all, you'll have plenty of time to kick off your shoes, grab a beverage of choice and shoot off a quick message to me. Your kids will be occupied for many hours. Whatever will you do with all your free time?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Time for a Giveaway! Teespring to the rescue!

Disclosure: I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post.

Hey everyone. It's been awhile since you've heard from me. So I thought I'd reenter the blogosphere with a giveaway. Sound good?

The thing is, there's this great website called Teespring with some awesome environmentally-themed designs. One of their designers reached out to me a while back and asked me if I'd like to sample some products. Of course, after checking them out, I was happy to do so. 

As a photographer, Heather Jepsen created some designs using a shot of the ocean she'd taken while in Grand Cayman. She sent me a super-comfy hoodie featuring one of these designs. While it's way too warm to be sporting the sweatshirt right now, I am looking forward to wearing it in the fall to advertise my love of this amazing planet of ours. 

In addition to the hoodie, I also received a green mug (appropriate, don't you think?) that reminds me of one of my favorite, life-changing phrases: Don't sweat the small stuff. How often I need that daily reminder with my morning cup of coffee!

Now let's get to the giveaway part! There will be two winners of this one because there are two prizes. The first is a grey t-shirt (size 3XL) that features a ocean-themed peace sign.

And the second is a deep heather tank top (size 2XL) with the Love, Water theme.

Isn't the ocean photo fabulous? Oh, and Heather assures me that these sizes run small.

In addition to the giveaway, all Green Grandma followers are entitled to a 20% off deal on everything through June 20. So jump on it! There are some great products and if you act fast, you'll save $$$ when you order. Just click this link here to activate your savings.

And please follow Heather on FB, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Enter the giveaway below. Must be 18 or older. USA only.

Good luck!

Winners must respond to emails within 48 hours before alternate winners will be chosen. Green Grandma is not responsible for prize fulfillment but will do everything she can to ensure the prizes are delivered in a timely matter. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hyland's rides the hoarse right out of town

DISCLAIMER: I am a Hyland's Homeopathy HealthMaker. As a HealthMaker, I receive various products and gift cards from Hyland's and its promotional partners at no cost to me. All views and opinions expressed on this blog post and corresponding social network mentions are my own and based on my experience. The content should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

A couple of weeks ago, I started losing my voice. Sometimes it was fine; other times it was quite hoarse. As a voice-over talent, this is problematic. Especially with my narrations as Maya Ray for iStoryBooks. My usual jovial and kind, "Hi! I'm Maya. What's your name?" beginning to each narration came out froggy, thus totally unacceptable. 

Not only that, but it was the week leading up to Easter. On Good Friday, my husband and I were singing at the service at Northgate Church in Pittsburgh. On Easter Sunday, I was singing with the choir at both the 9:30 and 11:00 services. 

But my voice didn't care. At all. It was rough and at times I'd try to sing a note and the note simply wasn't there. 

The weird thing was, I didn't have any other symptoms. No sore throat. No runny nose. Not even itchy eyes. Still, when I opened a package I received from Hyland's, I immediately twisted off the cap of the Seasonal Allergy Relief and popped a couple tablets under my tongue. A short time later, my voice returned. Throughout the week, I continued to take the Allergy Relief tablets whenever the hoarseness returned. By Friday, I was able to sing, and Sunday morning proved to be no problem. Hyland's did it for me again!

They say that this spring is really bad for allergies, at least it is here in south western Pennsylvania. That's why I'm super happy to have a safe remedy without side effects (like drowsiness) for my husband and me (yes, he's been popping them, too!) and for my grandchildren who have been suffering with various symptoms.

While the FDA may be leery of homeopathic remedies, I am not. I would much rather put something natural in my body than load it up with the chemicals pushed on us by the pharmaceutical companies. Do I ever take prescription or OTC meds? Yes. However, if given a choice between a Hyland's product and something from the big drug companies, I'll choose Hyland's every time.

Hyland's 4Kids Allergy Relief helps relieve itchy nose and throat, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. In other words, it provides much needed relief to your kids when they're feeling miserable due to the pollen, pet dander, dust, etc. And the adult formula does the same for grown ups and children over 12 years old. 

Hooray for Hyland's. You will forever hear me singing their praise! And my voice won't sound froggy at all!

As a mother and grandmother, I am constantly researching healthier living options, which include being proactive in preventing diseases and conditions. My use of homeopathic remedies has spanned decades and is the reason I’m thrilled to be a Hyland’s Healthmaker. Let’s not just treat our health conditions, let’s do everything we can to prevent them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What Da Fluff Subscription Box Giveaway!

You know I'm all about cloth diapering. It's one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. That's why I'm excited to participate in this giveaway!

What Da Fluff subscription boxes is a fun cloth diapering surprise every month. Each box will contain at least one diaper as well as cloth diapering products (wet bags, cloth wipes, cloth diaper safe rash creams and detergent). What Da Fluff knows that parenting can be hard and will always have a small treat for you included in each box. What Da Fluff is a great way to try new products and test our samples before buying. Fluff Mail has never been so fun!

Sponsored By: What Da Fluff

Hosted By: MamatheFox

Winner Will Receive:

(1) What Da Fluff Subscription Box

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- Eco-friendly yard improvements


It's the first Vinegar Friday of the spring and I'm thrilled to feature a post by guest blogger, Jeriann Watkins Ireland. It's all about getting your yard ready for the season and, of course, that means you'll need to grab your jug of distilled white vinegar (DWV).

Photo courtesy of Karen Arnold

It's that time of year where your grass is starting to grow, some flowers are popping up, and you're realizing you really need to decide what to do with your lawn this year. You're likely seeing and hearing ads for chemical weed removal and expensive lawn services. But there are lots of natural, affordable ways to keep your landscaping beautiful, without harming the environment. With Earth Day approaching, now is a great time to focus on daily sustainable practices to make every day Earth Day. Below are some suggestions for sustainable landscaping.

Weed Removal

Natural weed removal seems daunting, but it's actually simple and dirt-cheap! Because of the high acid content, vinegar is quite effective as a weed killer. Even DWV with 5% acidity works to kill most weeds. If you want to get rid of grass or tougher plants though, you might want to try the 20% concentration. Spray or pour it on the plants you want to kill, then wait a few days for them to die.

You can also mix vinegar with equal parts salt and dish soap (make sure you use an eco-friendly liquid). Vinegar won't discriminate what it kills, so be sure to apply it only to the plants you want to be rid of.  I've used this on the cracks in the sidewalk before and experienced good results. This year, I plan to try it on the goat heads (prickly weeds) in my backyard.

Replacing Grass

For a plant without much function, grass sure takes a lot of resources to maintain. A pretty lawn requires regular watering and mowing, which, for the most part, involves gas consumption. Instead of putting weekly effort and natural resources into keeping your plain ol' grass alive, plan out a xeriscape -- a landscape that uses more beneficial plants. Bark and gravel are great bases for xeriscaping, and both have the drainage to allow for shrubs, trees, and flowers.

If you're looking to get rid of your lawn and don't want to hire someone, there are a couple of methods you could use. First, try high-concentration vinegar to kill the grass. But be warned: it will take a lot of vinegar. Alternatively, you could use black plastic as an effective way to block the sunlight from the grass, thus removing its food source. Killing your grass will take time, but the result will be an easier to maintain landscape that is kinder to the environment.

Another way to reduce the ongoing environmental impact of your yard is to make it smaller. Adding a sunroom or deck to your house encourages you to spend more time looking at the landscape you put so much work into. A sunroom can also be a great place to plant an indoor herb garden and other edibles, particularly during cold weather seasons. Increasing the amount of edibles you grow both indoors and outdoors reduces your commercial consumption as well as your overall carbon footprint. If you're interested in indoor gardening, it's worth it to look into efficient hydroponic systems to maximize growth and prevent water waste.

Choosing Beneficial Plants and Landscaping Features

When landscaping focuses solely on aesthetics, the environment often suffers. Bringing in exotic plants may look nice, but it can result in species invading and killing the native foliage. Additionally, it can bring harm to native animals that may be poisoned by the exotic foliage. Choose plants native to your region.

Landscaping plants can do more than just look nice. The right flowers can attract bees, which then encourages more native plant growth. Consider turning your yard into a wildflower garden with native plants that attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

Landscaping isn't just about the plants, however. Water features are popular additions as well. Ponds can be beneficial to animal life and plant growth in your yard, but there are some steps to take to make sure you're not doing more harm than good. Avoid using chemical cleaners by choosing pond filter media that naturally kills bacteria.

Encouraging Growth

We all want our landscape to be aesthetically pleasing, but there are lots of mistakes people make when trimming trees and plants. Methods like tree topping and over-pruning can prohibit growth, meaning you'll have to replace your plants sooner. Be sure to research the native plants that grow best in your area and the ways to properly care for them. By allowing your plants to grow naturally with minimal trimming, you can show your neighborhood the true beauty of nature and encourage others to make natural landscaping choices as well.

It's simple to make a pretty landscape, but being conscientious in your choices to ensure you're having a positive effect on your local environment takes dedication and effort. Eco-friendly landscaping is an extremely rewarding process that can positively impact you as it allows you to learn about native plant life.

Do you have any natural landscaping tips? Have you used vinegar to kill weeds? Share your experience in the comments below.

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