Grow a Healing Garden with Medicinal Plants

Plants for Your Medicinal Garden |

I’m a lazy gardener. This means I plant crops that can thrive with very little attention, which is why our veggie garden typically consists of tomatoes, peas, beans, basil and lettuce. When I discovered herbs a few years ago, I was particularly fond of their perennial properties—plant once and they come back year after year. A lazy gardener’s dream! I love that herbs have multiple uses; not only do they add flavor to meals, many offer medicinal properties. Sage, for example, works in stews and also provides relief for sore throats or laryngitis when used in a tea. Since moving beyond food gardening to other plants, I try to choose those with multiple uses. Yarrow in the front yard gives us fern-like leaves and pretty pink blooms. It also stops my daughter’s nosebleeds. Lemon balm on our patio naturally deters mosquitoes, yet can also add flavor to drinks and salads. As … Continue reading

Why School Children Need Recess

Why Kids Need Recess |

Since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—and its precursor, the 2001 No Child Left Behind law—schools have focused on meeting rigid standards and preparing students for standardized tests. With school test scores being held up to scrutiny (and in some cases affecting teacher jobs or the threat of being put on the “watch list”), a lot of emphasis is put on preparing students for those tests. In many cases, this has resulted in schools eliminating recess in order to squeeze in more teaching time. When Atlanta elementary schools replaced recess with more instructional time, the superintendent was quoted as saying, “We are intent on improving academic performance. You don’t do that by having kids hanging from monkey bars.”  (source) Hanging from monkey bars is one of my daughter’s favorite parts of the school day. We hear detailed accounts at dinner of the games she and her friends play … Continue reading

Helping Kids Reduce Stress

Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress |

Already, at nine years old, my daughter has mentioned that she keeps her stress in her neck and shoulders. Stress? At nine? What’s happening? Nothing major, as it turns out. But I haven’t attributed much weight to Sofie’s everyday quarrels with friends, homework anxiety, or even how she reacts to issues within our family. Apparently, as much as we try to feather their nests, our kids still deal with stress at an earlier age than we may have thought. While we can’t relieve them of their anxieties, we can help them cope. Here are some tools your child can learn now and use for the rest of her life. Cultivate a Positive Outlook The more you focus on your child’s best parts and behaviors, the more he will learn to see the glass as half full and seek solution to his problems. The latest research shows that we can mold … Continue reading

Parenting According to Dosha

Tips for how to parent the dosha of your child |

The Indian science of Ayurveda is the art of living in harmony with nature. Everything in nature is formed from various proportions of these five elements: space, air, water, fire and earth. These elements are also present as biological energies within us, where they are called doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. What is a Dosha? The three doshas, or mind-body types, reveal our personal energy patterns—sort of like the way Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® identifies our personalities (ISFJ, anyone?). While we each have a mix of all three doshas, usually one primary dosha dominates our personality and health from birth. According to Ayurvedic principles, we can achieve balance in our health and our lives by nurturing our particular dosha. Here is a brief summary of each dosha. Pitta (fire and water; summer/early fall): Hot, intense, sour energy. Pitta people tend to have a medium build, sensitive skin and strong appetites. They … Continue reading

Review: Nourish Your Skin With Bard & Finch Beauty Products

Natural Skin Care from Bard & Finch |

My awareness of my skin seems to increase in summer, the season of allergies, hearty UV rays and hungry little bugs. I used to throw on any old skin product, usually based on whatever was on sale. Since I entered my forties—and learned more about product ingredients—I’ve become more interested in nourishing my skin so that it thrives for the next forty years. Happily, through this blog, I’m frequently introduced to new companies and their fabulous products. Today I want to tell you about Bard & Finch, a family-owned company on the coast of Maine, surrounded by vibrant finches and chatty barred owls. Their focus? Harnessing nature’s nutrients to create nourishing products for healthy skin. The Importance of Our Skin Skin is our body’s largest organ and often reflects our health. The role of skin involves: Protecting our internal selves from bacteria and other environmental pollutants. Regulating our body temperature. Both … Continue reading

Beauty Inside and Out: Goddess Garden Safe Sunscreen Review


This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood but, as always, the opinion is my own. The recent beautiful New England weather has my family spending more time outdoors, which means it’s time to lather ourselves with Goddess Garden’s safe sunscreen. I learned about Goddess Garden last year, and it’s been our family’s go-to sunscreen ever since. As a forty-something woman who knows about the increased importance of skin protection, I want to avoid sun damage. I don’t want wrinkles and pigmentation to keep me from feeling beautiful on the outside. And I’ve learned how external beauty is often affected by what’s inside our personal care products. In the same way you want to fuel your body with healthy foods, you only want healthy products to soak into your skin—both have a direct impact on how you feel and how you look. Thus, over the past five years, I’ve gradually transitioned … Continue reading

Safe Living with Ava Anderson Non Toxic Personal Care Products

Ava Anderson Non Toxic Products |

A typical fourteen-year-old likely spends her time shopping, sleeping in and socializing with friends, both in person and digitally. Ava Anderson was not your typical fourteen-year-old. At that age, horrified by an EWG report that discovered dangerous chemicals in teen urine, she began researching the health effects of the chemicals found in personal care products. She tossed her family’s supply of lotions, shampoos and makeup since they were not up to her newfound standards of safety. Unable to find products that were safe enough, Ava and her mom Kim founded Ava Anderson Non Toxic in 2009. The focus: Quality products WITHOUT harmful chemicals. What does that mean? It means NO parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde, glycol, sodium laureth sulfate or petroleum byproducts. Why are these chemicals bad for you? Ava’s done the research. Learn what each chemical means, and be sure to read your labels!   Toxic Facts Europe bans … Continue reading

Product Review: Adopt a Healthy, Sweeter-Smelling Herban Lifestyle

Herban Lifestyle Body Butter |

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood. I received products to review but was not compensated for publishing the review. Opinions are all my own. One of the best things about being a blogger is forging relationships with small, natural living companies that I may never otherwise have discovered. Herban Lifestyle is one such company that makes it easy for us to balance our urban lifestyles with herbal habits. Owner Mary Kearns grew up in an ecologically conscious family and began making herbal bath and beauty products in 1999, selling them at local farmers markets. Her interest in the healing properties of herbs led her to found Herban Lifestyle in 2008 and share her products with a larger audience. Mary has also served as a wellness consultant on the scientific review of cancer prevention programs. With a mission to “make the world a happier, healthier, better-smelling place,” Herban Lifestyle creates products of … Continue reading