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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Straighten Up, Stretch It Out, Shorts Season Is About To Start!

Is it that time of year, again, when you feel unworthy of that cute little swimsuit on the department store rack?

Self-criticism only drains you of that positive energy you need to feel good about yourself and feeling blessed with who you are.

Mother Nature provides for our needs but when it comes to the condition of our physical bodies, we just have to do our part. There is no magic formula to melt away fat deposits.

A good detoxification and massage regimen can do wonders but only if we support our progress with proper diet and exercise. These fat deposits can be found on thin as well as heavier people. Toxins from our food and environment build up and clog our tissues resulting in dimples of cellulite. Other possible causes are an unbalanced endocrine system, poor lymph drainage as well as food allergies.

The best defense we have is to make wise food choices, try to avoid pesticides and maintain an active lifestyle. A good reason to get into yoga is that muscles that may not get enough exercise are strengthened and stretched. Oxygen is critical for a healthy system and yoga stresses good breathing techniques. Also, relaxation is important for overall well-being and yoga inevitably brings you into a sense of calm. A stressful lifestyle can cause the formation of cellulite.

A fantastic yoga program is taught by Baron Baptiste. He wrote a book, "Journey Into Power" which came out in 2002. This inspiring program helps you to lose weight, increase your physical and mental strength and stamina, and develop an inner sense of calm composure. Known as 'The yoga master for the stars', his gentle approach is as apparent on his dvd workouts as is evident from the book. Power vinyasa yoga is described as meditation in motion. Poses are not the pretzel twists often associated with yoga.
There is the website with an abundant source of activities and information, but if all you want is the exercise dvds, they can be found on or ebay. Available are a number of great dvds and even vhs tapes from back in the 1990's that are from beginner to intermediate.

The Cellulite Crusher Duo consists of detoxifying bath salts and a massage oil.

Bath salts contain epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and sea salt. Salt baths are a wonderful way for our bodies to eliminate the build up of toxins accumulated from the air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat. It is unavoidable that we are going to be exposed to environmental hazards. Salt baths help our bodies' elimination system function at a better level.

The follow-up massage oil is important because you must knead and pummel those problem areas to help break up the fatty deposits. Essential oils do penetrate the skin therefore massage is an important step for success.

The essential oils within these products are known for their aid to our endocrine and lymphatic systems in detoxifying and eliminating wastes. Juniper, cypress, grapefuit, rosemary, basil, sage, lemongrass, niaouli, carrot, fennel, red thyme and geranium; all potent aromatic oils. The carrier oils used are hazelnut, avocado and wheat germ oil. These oils are nutritionally rich and beneficial for toning and regenerating tissue.

Bath salts are to be used about once a week. You'll soon know if they are too drying for your skin. Before the bath give yourself a thorough body brushing to increase circulation. Moisturize afterward and rehydrate by drinking water.

The massage oil should be applied to problem areas twice a day. Help the essential oils along with the pinching and kneading.

Have patience. Perseverance is the key to success. Personal commitment to a healthier lifestyle overall and you should see results in a few weeks.

Avoid use while pregnant.
Those with heart conditions should avoid taking salt baths.

Detox Cellulite Bath Salts come in a plastic jar with a weight of about 13 oz. Included is a small plastic scoop which holds up to 1.5 Tbsp.

Cellulite Crusher Massage Oil comes in a choice of either a 4 oz. amber glass dropper bottle or a 4 oz. white plastic pump type bottle.

Meadow Muffin Gardens is the result of a passion to recognize the abundance of natural gifts provided to us by our Creator. Our desire is to utilize the healing power of plants and encourage people to educate themselves towards a greener footprint in their lives.
We supply an alternative choice for personal care products. We are not intending to treat or cure any particular condition. As with any herbal remedy, information and formulas have not been regulated by the FDA. Herbal lore has been trusted and handed down through the years but it is within your discretion how you use this information in treating a condition. Meadow Muffin Gardens does not take responsibility for your use of these products. Ingredients are listed so you as the consumer can use your own discretion as to which herbs, oils and essential oils may be beneficial to your needs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lupus Awareness Month, Julian Lennon Global Ambassador by LFA

Musician and Philanthropist Julian Lennon to Elevate the Global Profile of Lupus
April 20, 2011

The Lupus Foundation of America National Board of Directors Names Julian Lennon as Global Ambassador

(Washington, DC) April 20, 2011 −Musician and philanthropist Julian Lennon has been named Global Ambassador by the Lupus Foundation of America’s (LFA) National Board of Directors. The role of the Global Ambassador is to elevate lupus on the world’s health agenda, and increase awareness of the needs of the more than 5 million people living with lupus and their families around the world.

As Global Ambassador, Lennon will support public awareness initiatives to observe World Lupus Day on May 10 and Lupus Awareness Month throughout May. Lennon will also help to raise funds for lupus research, including the Lucy Vodden Research Grant Award, which was established last year by the LFA and Julian Lennon.
Julian Lennon's drawing of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
The grant is named in memory of Lucy Vodden, Lennon’s childhood friend, who lost her battle with lupus in 2009 at the age of 46. Lucy was the subject of a drawing Lennon created which inspired his father, John, to write the classic Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

“I am thrilled to take on this role in honor and tribute to my friend Lucy,” said Lennon. “I look forward to working with the LFA on behalf of all individuals living with lupus around the world.”

Lennon has been a long-time supporter of raising awareness and funds for lupus research. In 2009, he and musician James Scott Cook released the song “Lucy” in honor of Vodden. Proceeds from the song benefited the LFA and the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust in London. Lennon was also recognized for his support with the Butterfly of Hope Award during the LFA’s inaugural New York City Butterfly Gala last year.

“Julian Lennon’s efforts will go a long way to draw global attention and resources to lupus, a disease which remains under-recognized and under-appreciated,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America. “We also look forward to continued collaboration with the entire global lupus community to expand efforts to raise awareness of this disease.”

Photo courtesy: Paul Harmer

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sure signs of Spring

Spring is in full swing!

Our bullfrog made it through the winter!

Fiddlehead ferns!
Time to stretch!

Baby robins, so vulnerable, its amazing how fast they'll grow!

People tend to be so anxious to get their hands back in the dirt that it is very easy to rush too soon to the nursery or to plant that envisioned garden.
According to the Farmer's Almanac the last possible frost dates in our area (zone 6) aren't until the end of April. Just because we are starting to have beautiful warm days doesn't mean it is safe to plant everything at once. The soil needs time to dry out and warm up before planting many of our annuals and tender vegetables. Seeds may just rot if the soil is too wet or cool. Young plants from the nursery usually have the protection of their greenhouse to survive the night time temperatures. Heat thriving plants like tomatoes and peppers may survive a cold snap but won't ever really thrive if they get stunted.

The Farmer's Almanac has a neat reference table using folk wisdom:

Plant corn when the oak leaves are the size of a mouse's ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when the dogwoods are in full bloom.

Plant lettuce, spinach and peas when the lilacs show their first leaves or when the daffodils begin to bloom.

Plant beets and carrots when the dandelions are blooming.

Plant cucumbers and squashes when the lilac flowers fade.

Plant perennials when the maple leaves begin to unfurl.

Plant hardy annuals like pansies after the aspen and chokecherry trees leaf out.

People often use May 15th as a guideline to be safe to start filling those flower pots and planting garden beds with nursery started flats. Garden seedlings which were started indoors can be moved into the garden but only after being gradually exposed to the outdoors and full sun. A few hours at a time each day for about a week will " harden them off".

If you don't want to be bothered with planting flower seeds and then waiting and hoping they will germinate, flowers that self-seed and volunteer themselves are for you.
These types of flowers are for those of you who like the cottage garden or wild garden look. I have spent enough time trying to control what goes where and now just appreciate what thrives at certain spots. Three no fail annual flowers that are easy to grow, and are drought tolerant are calendula, cosmos and cleome (spider flower). I still gather their seeds in the fall and sprinkle them at certain spots in the spring but these types are great for self-sowing. They do like full sun and if you do plant them remember the rule about seed size. Only plant three times the size of the seed deep. So these seeds barely get covered with soil. They need some light to germinate.

All three of these types will offer continuous blooms right up until frost.

Calendula is also known as pot marigold and is one of my medicinal plants used for making healing salves for skin conditions and wound care. All season long this plant flowers and matures into easy to gather seeds, all while forming new flowers. You can already start gathering seeds by August.

Cosmos is one of those plants that can take a beating and keep on going. Branches broken by the weather will still survive unless broken off completely. It is wild and carefree, and tends to look a bit messy by seasons end. Plant where tidiness isn't an issue. In the fall, the flowers dry and form easy to gather seeds.

Cleome is a beautiful plant but just be aware that should you brush up against it or work around the mature plants they tend to be a 'pricky'. Not thorns just the defense of the plant itself. Also, should you stick your nose right into this plant to smell it you probably won't smell anything but when you just walk by its general vicinity you'll smell a vague skunk- like scent. Not enough to turn you off to planting this beauty but it is interesting. In the fall the flowers form 2 - 3 inch pods that dry and split open to reveal pepper-like seeds. Gather these if desired.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Pampering gift ideas for your loved one this Mother's Day!

Listings below are through my Etsy shop
If you are not interested as an etsy shopper these items are also available on the website

Mother's very often put everyone and everything ahead of their own wants and needs. This Mother's Day present that special mom with a gift that says how much you appreciate her.
What better gift idea for the one you love than a basket filled to the brim with head to toe ideas for her to pamper, self-indulge and feel beautiful.

Women often take care of everyone else before seeing to their own needs. These hand-crafted, all natural body care products are sure to offer her a well deserved spa like experience right at home.

This collection consists of the following eight items:

1. Sandalwood & Lavender Relaxing Sensual Massage & Body Oil

Body oils are for lubricating and nourishing the skin. They can be used as a bath oil to enhance the experience, or as a full body moisturizer after bathing. Combine the oil with the rewarding benefits of touch and you have a massage oil. Great for a full body massage or a much appreciated foot massage.

2. Dry and Damaged Hair Repair Conditioning Oil Treatment

Hair needs a periodic break from the overuse of hair dryers, curling irons, color treatments, summer sun, pool chemicals, and harsh, dry winter air. Jojoba oil and an essential oil blend can do wonders to restore softness and shine.
Dry Hair Conditioning Treatment can be used in various ways:
1. Apply a bit to untangle snarls in long hair.
2. Scrunch into just the ends for touch up care.
3. For a full scalp and hair conditioning treatment

3. Blemish Treatment & Raw Honey Facial Mask

Let the bees help you maintain a beautiful complexion. Wildflower and clover honey already have the beneficial attributes of natural herbs within the honey itself.
Honey is a natural humectant which means it retains moisture and plumps up skin cells. Honey all by itself is wonderful but our treatment utilizes the properties of two essential oils. Tea tree oil is a disinfectant and chamomile is an anti-inflammatory, both great for soothing and healing irritated or infected skin.

4. Elegance of Rose Facial Moisturizing Cream

For those who love roses, this facial cream starts with rosewater created by our own roses and the kiss of the sunshine. High in essential fatty acids, sunflower seed oil absorbs into the skin without leaving behind an oily residue. Coconut oil and aloe vera gel contribute their cooling beneficial goodness. All together, an ideal moisturizer.

5. Lovely Lavender Face and Body Sugar Scrub

The best way to regain that healthy glow is to remove old skin cells through exfoliation. Sugar scrubs are a great way to slough off that layer and unclog blocked pores. Sugar is less abrasive than salt so it can be used as often as once or twice a week without fear of drying out or irritating sensitive skin. Use on rough elbows, knees, feet or enjoy its nourishing effects over the entire body, and gentle enough for the face.

6. Baby Soft Avocado Body Butter for Ultra Moisturizing
Skin Care

With proper care and attention our skin can remain smooth and supple whether it be in preparation for summer clothes or the dry indoor air of winter.
Baby Soft Body Butter consists of moisturizers heavier than those used for lotions. Cocoa and Shea Butters are rich butters known as the ultimate moisturizers. Containing Vitamins A and E as well as high in fatty acids, they are very healing for rough, dry skin in need of some extra attention. Great for skin exposed to harsh winter weather.

7. Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

Cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean so you will taste a natural touch of chocolate. It is highly protective in that it prevents dehydration by staying on the surface of the skin. Sunflower oil in not only a great moisturizer and nourishing for your skin but also adds a protective barrier against irritants. Last there is a bit of castor oil for added gloss.

8. Sleep Aid Dream Mist Pillow Spray

The Sleep Aid Dream Mist Pillow Spray consists of a combination of essential oils therapeutically known for their value in relaxing nervous excitability and emotional conflict. To create a feeling of peace often helps dispel gloomy thoughts and once things are put in perspective our minds and bodies can relax.

Tucked into this basket as a little something extra will be a sample of our Shea and Cocoa Butter Solid Moisturizing Body Bars. These little gems serve many a use and are small and discreet to be very portable. With the addition of coconut oil they can be a great personal lubricant.

Each of these products has its own listing within our store. Please check them out for more information on their ingredients and use.

Bought separately these items would cost about $80.
This thoughtful basket will save you about 20%!

A complete gift all ready to present to your special someone who deserves the peace of mind of all natural holistic personal care products!

Spring is a season full of rebirth and new life. This basket of goodies would make a great gift idea for that special someone who sees the end of winter as a sign for renewing the spirits.

1. Lavender Face and Body Sugar Scrub

Let this sugar scrub help with the "out with the old, in with the new me" attitude. You can "shed your old skin". Give your body a boost to look alive and refreshed with regular use of an exfoliating, yet gentle sugar scrub.

1. Natural Therapeutic Sea Salt Baths

Between the holidays and sporting events, winter is a season for many social occasions full of rich food and perhaps alcohol. Add lack of enough physical activity and by spring our bodies need a good detox. Bath salts are a great way to help eliminate many of those toxins draining your energy levels. Everything about the smell of peppermint says "wake up". Enjoy the benefits of an energizing sea salt bath.

3. Invigorating Rosemary & Lavender Body Spray

Rosemary and Lavender are uplifting to the mind and body. This invigorating body spray is a great way to start a busy day. Help stay focused, yet calm with this refreshing combination of essential oils. Lightly scent your body as your skin takes advantage of the stimulating benefits of these herbs.

4. Raw Honey Facial Mask - Ideal for Blemish Prone Skin

We all know how important it is to periodically deep clean our facial pores. Honey is such a nourishing, natural way to do just that. Honey softens and conditions skin to help reduce signs of wrinkles. Keep minor skin flare-ups at bay as you give your face a new vibrant look.

5. Wrinkle Wrath Facial Moisturizing Cream

Beautiful skin begins with a good moisturizer. Help keep your face looking young and fresh with this essential oil blend known for regenerating skin cells. Our skin needs to stay hydrated and this facial cream helps do that with the goodness of nourishing nut oils. Wrinkle Wrath facial moisturizer can perk up a dull complexion.

So there you have five great ideas to be good to yourself or someone you love. Sold separately these items would total around $45. This basket saves you money and you even get a seasonal decorative basket!

For more information and ingredients used please check the individual listings within the shop.

Great gift idea for that special man or woman who just loves the out of doors and its many activities and occupations!
Think ahead to Mother's Day, Father's Day or Birthday celebrations!
Very practical for the 'hard to buy for' man or woman!

Assortment of necessities and first aid items for the gardener, hunter, fisherman, farmer, ranch hand or outdoor enthusiast

Items include:
1. Calendula and Comfrey Healing Balm

Herbal salve to aid in the healing of minor wounds,
skin irritation and minor burns.
2 oz. jar

2. Weekend Warrior Muscle Ache Overexertion Relief Balm

Herbal balm utilizing comfrey, ginger and essential oils
to help relieve tight, sore muscles and stiff joints.
2 oz. jar

3. Shea Butter Herbal Balm

Herbal olive oil infusion and shea butter help those
with chapped and irritated skin, eczema or dermatitis.
2 oz. jar

4. Sunburn Care Ointment

St. Johnswort and comfrey infused olive oil and
essential oils aid in the repair of sun damaged skin.
For use with first degree burns.
2 oz. jar

5. Yarrow Insect Repellent Body Spray

Deet free herbal body spray to help deter insect bites.
Alcohol based infusion with the addition of essential
4 oz. plastic spray bottle

6. Jewelweed Vinegar Body Spray Remedy for Poison Ivy

Herbal vinegar infusion with lavender essential oil to
ease the itch and irritation caused by exposure to
poison ivy.
4 oz. plastic spray bottle

7. Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

Flavor free cocoa butter lip balm for healing and
protecting chapped lips.
plastic jar or tube style(if have a preference convo me)

Each of these products has its own listing within our store. Please check them out for more information on their ingredients and use.

Bought separately these items would cost you over $50.
This decorative basket will save you about 20%!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love Simple - movie premier

Filmmakers to Present the Pennsylvania Premiere of "Love Simple" at The Allen Theatre

Related Media

  • "Love Simple" art

ANNVILLE, PA (03/21/2011)(readMedia)-- Writer/director Mark von Sternberg and producer John Casey are bringing their movie, Love Simple, to the Allen Theatre, 36 East Main St. in Annville, on Tuesday, April 12, beginning at 5:15 p.m. for an exclusive event, sponsored by the Lupus Foundation of PA and Lebanon Valley College.

Not only will you get to meet and greet the filmmakers, but you can also enjoy a wine tasting, courtesy of "Wine Wench" Christine Smolenski and see the Pennsylvania premiere of this independent film, Love Simple.

Despite its title, Love Simple is not simple, and how could it be?

Mark wrote his low-budget, independent film in seven months and produced it in three weeks, and he chose to have his female lead portray a young woman in love, a young woman who also happens to have lupus. A serious autoimmune disease, lupus is so complicated that the FDA has only approved one drug to treat the disease in the last 50 years.

Nothing is simple about lupus, love, or this film set in Brooklyn, N.Y. The film tells a boy meets girl story with an urban gritty edge and a twist. The young man exaggerates his accomplishments and conceals his responsibility for caring for his disabled father, while the young woman hides her lupus from her new boyfriend.

"I wanted this film to bring visibility to a disease," says Mark about his decision to portray a lupus patient. "My own experience with lupus was as someone who, like the majority of Americans, really knew nothing about it."

Mark received his introduction to lupus when he was working in the nursing office in a Brooklyn, NY hospital. While there in 2003, he learned about a young patient with lupus. To his horror, she died. Fresh out of school, he wondered how he could not have heard of such a serious illness that could take the life of someone so young. He began to research lupus, discovering a mysterious disease that causes the immune system to turn from protector to betrayer. He also learned lupus causes a multitude of problems that vary from patient to patient, including some that can be managed and some that are life threatening.

The filmmakers are committed to using Love Simple to bring attention to lupus, and that's why they are coming to Pennsylvania.

"The reaction to this film has been overwhelming and very meaningful," says John, and "the film is already making an impact on the lupus community." Mark adds, "We are so happy and honored to be participating in this movie event and hope the evening helps raise awareness and funds for lupus."

I had the pleasure of watching this movie at Lebanon Valley College. Rather than focusing on 'what is lupus?' it made a point to give the viewer a glimpse on what it is like to " live with lupus". Very well done. Though a potentially life threatening condition, a person with this condition can lead a full, though complicated, life and not be labeled by their disease. For more information on this movie visit the sites below.

You can get reviews on this movie at:

Watch the movie trailer:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beauty Is As Beauty Does!


Beauty shouldn't be trying to create an image or cover up "flaws" using synthetic
imitations encouraged by commercial hype.

Trust your instincts in the choices you make of how to take care of yourself. Build a sense of mind, body and spiritual awareness and your inner light will shine. That is the definition of beauty.

From little on up we are bombarded with our cultural attitudes on what makes up a beautiful man or woman. Step back and think about it. Think about those people you are with day in and day out. Think about what you really see when you look at them. Most likely you see the person, not just the physical appearance as we see someone on TV or on the street. Jane is Jane, Jeff is Jeff, they just are who they are. I often wonder if I could really accurately describe my loved ones to a sketch artist. Would I even recognize myself walking down the street? Those we love can gain a few pounds and we usually are thankful for those people to just remain healthy.

Beauty isn't a mask. We are born with what we have and if we take care of our gifts we can get the most out of it. Don't let yourself fall into the commercial cosmetic business of psychological manipulation. Of course they are going to create a sense of dissatisfaction with our appearance. Of course good advertisement will sell their self-improvement products to supposedly make us more beautiful. Of course there is always going to be new and improved because people believe something new must mean something better. You are letting your own insecurities put money in the pockets of big business!

True beauty is a healthy emotional attitude. True beauty is making wise lifestyle choices. Letting your body chemistry get out of balance may lead to dis ease. Break down the word disease and you have dis ease, illness wearing down our energy systems, our emotional feeling of wellness. Those of us with chronic health issues beyond our control can still do all we can to feel our best.

Remember, you may not be able to change a situation, but you can change your attitude about that situation! Don't let people or circumstances become drainers. Worry is the most likely culprit for those dreaded creases we spend a fortune trying to smooth out.

Educate yourself before purchasing any body care product. Know exactly what will be absorbed into your body and how it could effect your system. When in doubt, leave it out. Use products you can trust as healthy for your skin, hair and nervous system. Healthy skin and hair are what gives your physique that beautiful glow, not the 'right' cover-up foundation. Observe pictures of yourself and others. The smiling faces are always the more appealing. The frowning ones show all the wrinkles!

 We are fully aware of how silly it is to let our insecurities of what others think get in the way, yet most of us go through it. Put yourself in charge, as it should be and do what you need to do for improved physical and mental health. Healthy food, drink, exercise and stress relief should be part of your life anyway.

Meadow Muffin Gardens

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reuse and Reinvent Those Old Pool Covers

If you have an above ground pool then most likely you'll be taking off that pool cover around Memorial Day. Since nothing lasts forever you may have had to replace that cover and felt the pangs of guilt adding these tarps to the landfill.
We've found a few ways to reuse them.

When we put in our little pond in the front yard we wanted to make the area around it into a mulched perennial garden utilizing the trees already there.

What we did to cover such a large area was cut the pool cover as needed to lay in the shape we desired. We put it right over the grass eliminating the need to pull up the sod.

Then using a box cutter we cut large X's in the spots we intended to add the chosen perennials. Fold under the cut plastic so you have a square about 12 - 18 inches across. Once the plants were in the ground we covered the pool tarp with mulch. Be sure to cut slits here and there across the tarp to allow for drainage before covering with the mulch.

You can save a lot of money if you can get word to the tree trimmers when they pass through your area that you would appreciate a load of mulch dumped onto your property. They are glad to have convenient locations to unload a full truck.
Just be aware that this type of mulch isn't going to be your fine, broken down mulch you buy from a nursery. There will be twigs and larger pieces and it will be fresh and not aged. For our purposes this didn't matter. We did put the nicer, finer mulch around the benches where there will be the most foot traffic (especially if people are barefoot). Keep it from being too close to your plantings since the mulch isn't aged yet.

These picturesque scenes let you see how seasonal change brings continuous beauty to this setting.

Many of us have backyard septic systems in the middle of the yard and their location can be made into a more attractive area. We used another pool tarp to create a large circular herb garden. We left this one as is in a round shape and laid it right over the grass. We held down the edges with garden staples (those things you use to hold down floating row covers or you can use tent stakes), cut out X's for the herb plants and septic PVC pipes, and again covered the whole thing with mulch. The mulch does break down so has to be replenished at least every other year depending how thick you lay it.

Below are spring and summer pictures of this herb garden in its third year of growth. Perennials need 2 - 3 years for their root systems to get established before their above ground display really takes off.

Finally, for the vegetable garden these tarps can be cut to lay as your walking foot paths. You will need to weigh them down with garden staples or small rocks to hold the paths in place.

No matter what size area you have to work with, these old tarps can be cut to size and utilized in a number of different ways.