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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year and Thank You

                                  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

A sincere thank you to all of you who showed interest in Meadow Muffin Gardens, from the blog posts to the Facebook page to your support of my shops. I sincerely appreciate all the feedback, which has not only given me confidence in why I'm doing this, but has planted the seeds for new ideas and direction.

Please let me know of any areas of interests you would enjoy reading about with the blog posts. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Blogger are all intertwined as a wonderful and powerful means of branching out to people, like tendrils on a vine reaching in every direction. Thank you for your part in my gaining exposure, either by word of mouth or sources such as these.

Enjoy whatever plans you may have for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Wishing 2016 to be an exciting year full of opportunity, fulfillment and good health.

Have a blessed 2016


Friday, December 21, 2012

Don't Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle

When to Know to Let It Go

The holiday months have to be some of the most exciting, stressful and sleep deprived times of the entire year.  Baking, shopping, wrapping, cleaning, decorating, cooking, entertaining, and probably more last minute shopping, all somehow accomplished on top of all the normal everyday activities.  Add a few over excited children to the mix and many adults just may think about asking Santa if they can hitch a ride to fly away from it all.

Interesting how some people can let things sail right over them, and others have to do the count to 10 trick before daring to even speak. Since we usually let our guard down around those whom we are most comfortable, it is very easy to fly off the handle and say things we may regret.

Murphy's Law says, "If something is bound to go wrong, it will, at the most inconvenient time."
Sounds like a very negative way to view life but we have to admit things usually don't go easy, at least not the first time around.  Maybe it is like that to force us to develop a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine and usually once a crisis is past it does become a great story.

If the Christmas lights you so meticulously arranged decide to quit mid-season and it is too cold or there just isn't time to tackle it again, let it go.
If the cat or dog knocks the tree over and delicate ornaments get broken, anchor the tree and let it go.
If you trek from one store to another and just cannot find that ooh aah gift,  or it's out of stock, again, let it go.
If sending cards has become nothing more than a chore, cut back or let it go. Send a note, e-mail, or phone call after the holiday commotion dies down.
If you have to decide on homemade iced cut-out cookies for the cookie exchange or a quick batch of rice krispee treats, make the latter, top with red and green sprinkles, and don't worry about it.
If wrapping is just too time consuming, stock up on tissue paper and gift bags.
If one more party invitation is pushing your tight schedule over the top, learn to politely decline.
Give yourself permission to turn off the phone, close the door and take a nap, bath or start a good book.
Fear you'll miss the good deals if you aren't running ragged on Black Friday? Wait till Cyber Monday and shop online.
Tired of going into credit card debt every year just to get it all over with and please everyone? 
Encourage name exchanges for family gatherings or else set price limits. 
There is nothing wrong with handmade, homemade type gifts, either crafty or from the kitchen.
Stop stressing over expectations, either from yourself or others.
Let it go or maybe Let them go.

Tension affects not only your mental state but ever notice how when you are all key up your back starts to hurt or that headache starts to pound?
Break down the word disease and it becomes 'dis' 'ease'.  Approximately 70% of disorders can be related to stress and nervous tension.  Since every part of the body receives its nerve supply from the spine, abnormal tension causes tightening of the muscles of the spine, causing pain as the nerves are affected and blood vessels are constricted.  Stress in life is unavoidable, but long-term fatigue and anxiety drains the immune system, resulting in the body being vulnerable to illness.

Attitude is the difference between fighting everything and just accepting "what is". There is a saying that goes: "We may not be able to change someone or a situation, but we can change our attitude about that person or situation." Try it and you really will discover a sense of freedom from the grip of frustration and worry.

Learning what is worth a raise in blood pressure and when to take things in stride is definitely a life lesson in not only maturity and wisdom, but your health.

Just about every culture has a version of the Serenity Prayer:

More information and a bit of humor about the Serenity Prayer:

The Serenity Prayer is most commonly attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, a famous Protestant theologian known for his concern for social justice back in the 1940's.

God give us grace, to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Longer version:
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Funny Versions: 
God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change

Courage to change the one I can change,
And wisdom to know it's me.
author unknown

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
and the eyesight to tell the difference.
-author unknown

When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, keep in mind that a lot of our pressure is from expectations we put on ourselves. Family members would much rather have you relaxed and smiling rather than irritable and on the verge of getting sick. All easier said than done, but we can try.
The true meaning of the holidays has to do with cherishing that which we already have, not letting commercialism plant the seed of dissatisfaction and the never enough syndrome. Best gifts are those given from the heart, which may or may not be a purchased item.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Satisfy Your Skin's Thirst for Moisture

Our skin takes quite a beating no matter what the season. Regardless of how we choose to heat our homes in the winter, most likely the result will be a lack of humidity and dry indoor air. Get in the car and the blast of the heater seems to aim right for the face. Get out of the car and the wind whips around and further dries out our skin. In the summer, we have the glaring down of the hot summer sun in addition to the effects of the chlorine in swimming pools.

 Normal water weight in the human body varies with age, gender and body composition. The more muscle mass you have, the higher the percentage of water weight you'll have. Water constitutes 65 - 75 percent of muscle and 10 percent of fat.

Water is the key to healthy skin, and in order to function properly our bodies require 2 - 3 liters of water per day to replenish normal water loss. Our lungs expel up to 4 cups of water a day just by normal breathing. Water, called "the blood of life", makes up 95% of a skin cell, therefore for supple, beautiful skin, you need to stay hydrated by drinking enough and through topical moisturizers.

Help your body maintain a beautiful, healthy skin in three ways:
The environmental atmosphere in which you live, the amount of water you drink, and drawing water to the skin by way of moisturizers.

Depending on where you live you can help your skin maintain that 20% level from the atmosphere. A climate with 60% humidity is ideal.

Drinking more water is a must for proper overall health. Water plays an essential role in almost all bodily functions and without it you can only expect to live a few days. Water acts to transport nutrients and gases throughout the body, and also enables cellular reactions to take place. Water carries waste products out of your body, helps lubricate your joints, and helps maintain body temperature. Many times when people suffer from headaches, fatigue and fuzzy thinking, they need to drink more water.  With our blood being about 83%  water, we must daily replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods we eat.

Last, draw or apply more water to your skin by way of oils, creams and lotions. 
Oils can provide rich nourishment, lubrication and protection for your skin. By themselves oils do not hydrate, so technically they are not moisturizers. Yet at times, when hydration is not the issue or when skin is damaged or not producing enough sedum a little oil may be all that is needed. Oils can act as moisture barriers when applied to a damp face that has been cleansed and rinsed.
Olive oil is good for most skin types, with the exception of very oily skin.
Almond oil is good for most skin types.
Grapeseed oil is drying, so good for oily skin
Jojoba oil is good for most skin types, especially for dry, aging or damaged skin.

Creams and lotions combine the hydrating effects of water and the nourishing lubricating effects of oil into one product. The difference between a cream and a lotion is the oil to water ratio. A lotion is lighter due to the higher water content. Look for natural ingredients that include emollients, humectants and reduce water loss by way of occlusion.

Emollients immediately relieve the discomfort of dry skin and include plant oils, lanolin and butters such as cocoa and shea. They penetrate the outer layers of the stratum corneum and function as moisturizers.
Humectants draw water from the atmosphere to your skin and include vegetable glycerin, aloe vera, alpha hydroxy acids, and olive oil.
Occlusion prevents water loss from the skin by trapping in the water, and forms a barrier to prevent evaporation. Desired barrier ingredients to look for in your creams are cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil.

Normal skin is healthy and needs no extensive special care. It can be treated simply with a mild cleansing formula and a day and/or night moisturizing cream or lotion. Essential oils often seen in formulas for normal skin are roman chamomile, lavender, geranium, rose and rosewood.

Oily skin is thicker and tends to form blackheads and pimples. The sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, and the fatty tissue under the epidermis is thick. Sebaceous glands are found next to each hair shaft, providing the hair with sedum, making it smooth and protected from drying out. An overproduction can result in oily looking skin and pores that tend to clog. Although it may sound like a contradiction, oily skin can be treated with vegetable oils.

Cleaning your face with oil may sound unappealing but contrary to popular belief, oil does not contribute to oily skin or breakouts. The sedum that the skin creates is there to protect the skin. When we use commercial cleansers to remove this natural oil, the body reacts by producing more oil.
In washing our faces we want to remove the dirt and bacteria which builds up in our pores but we have to think about the chemistry behind it. Oil dissolves oil, like dissolves like. Water and oil do not mix; commercial cleansers contain ingredients to break up the oils but in doing so may strip away the natural protective layer. Bergamot and lavender help reduce and balance the production of sedum. For breakouts,  anti-inflammatory oils such as geranium, chamomile, lavender, rose, peppermint, myrrh are beneficial. Frankincense, lemon, ylang-ylang, rosemary and sandalwood are also seen in oily skin lotions.

Dry skin is characterized by a lack of fat or moisture caused by inadequate production of the sebaceous glands. Over washing or over use of astringents containing alcohol can strip away this natural barrier which can alter the balance of skin chemistry. It is the same as how our hair adjusts to constant shampooing.The acid equilibrium is off kilter and cannot be restored simply by splashing water on your face. Water cannot penetrate the skin, and in actuality even more moisture is taken from the surface of the skin through evaporation when water is applied. The best way to cleanse dry skin is with a cleansing oil such as almond, olive, hazelnut, a bit of wheat germ oil and a few drops of essential oils that stimulate the sebaceous glands such as geranium, carrot seed, frankincense and ylang-ylang. Add a bit of the oil blend to a cotton square and wipe over your face to cleanse away dirt and make-up. Dry skin is more prone to forming wrinkles so it is imperative the take care of it on a regular basis. Lavender, orange, rose, rosewood, sandalwood, frankincense, ylang-ylang and cedarwood are all wonderful for dry skin care.

Reduction of stress is sure to bring an improvement in the condition of the skin. Stress, fear and life's frustrations are expressed in the skin as a mirror of our inner lives. Various skin disturbances can indicate that the emotional world is not in balance. Remember that our skin is the largest detox organ in the human body. Advancing age, environmental toxins, poor nutrition, hormonal changes all catch up with you and contribute to the aging of the skin. Over time the skin has an increased need for additional moisture and oxygen. Many factors are involved, but for example, as the collagen hardens the skin is less able to take up moisture, thus shrinks and wrinkles. Almond, apricot and hazelnut oils are all beneficial for mature skin. Great skin cell rejuvenating essential oils are carrot seed, frankincense, fennel, geranium, rosewood, lavender, patchouli, myrrh, sage, cypress and neroli.

A few last tips to remember:
Apply moisturizer to damp skin to help trap needed moisture.
It has been shown that permeability is greater at night than in the morning. Applying moisturizers before bed is ideal to allow time for the skin to fully absorb the benefits.
Don't forget to moisturize your neck as well.
Smile! Laugh lines are a lot better than those furrows between the eyebrows. Worry and stress eventually do show up on your face.

Our skin changes constantly, from infancy to our senior years. Take care of it at every stage and enjoy one of the secrets to the fountain of youth.

 Good article on skin care and the effects of the sun.

A few moisturizing options found within the Meadow Muffin Gardens Shop.
Etsy shop
Zibbet shop

Serenity Facial Moisturizer

Vanilla Massage or Body Oil

Shea & Coconut Oil Body Butter Fluff

Heavy Duty Body Butter

Cocoa Butter Hand Cream
SPF Facial CreamSummer sun, Wiinter wind

Saturday, December 8, 2012

One With The Sea

'We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. "
By John F. Kennedy

Neil Shubin, a paleontologist, wrote the book "Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into A 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body".

A paleontologist is a scientist who studies prehistoric life. He claims that the bodies of sea creatures are just simpler versions of our own and to understand their anatomy will cause us to rethink what it means to be human. His mother was a surgeon who had always told him that our own anatomy is unintelligible without a knowledge of its evolutionary origins. She believed all creatures are linked.
One of his discoveries was the unearthing of a fish with elbows and a neck, a long-sought evolutionary "missing link" between creatures of the sea and land-dwellers.
He explains what evolutionary science, i.e. paleontology, comparative anatomy, genetics, embryology and developmental biology have to tell us about the human body, and how it came to be the way it is.
He is careful to say that he see's science and religion in two different spheres, that he is involved in the study of DNA, not getting into the discussion of evolution vs. creation.

Interesting is the fact that the water content of our bodies is a salty water solution very similar to seawater.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, discovered the therapeutic qualities of seawater by noticing the healing affects it had on the injured hands of fishermen. The seawater not only restricted infection risks, but patients who followed treatments involving the use of seawater found that it also promoted pain relief. It is now known that sea salt therapy is an effective treatment that assists in the rejuvenation of the cells and also induces a healthy exchange of minerals and toxins between the blood and the water.

Benefits of Sea Water Therapy
1) Immune system: immunity refers to the natural healing power and defense power that is inherent to human beings. It refers to resistance against virus and bacteria, or the resistance against malignant neoplasms.

2) Endocrine system: The endocrine system refers to adjustment of bodily functions that are critical for sustaining life. Thalassotherapy sea water therapy has a potential to recover a low responsiveness of hypothalamic-adrenal endocrine system, which is caused by stress.

3) Relaxation: It appears that mental  changes brought by a stay in a marine environment for the thalassotherapy showed positive psychological effects were noted such as peace of mind, regain of self confidence, improvement of response behavior against stress, and improvement in the quality of sleep.

4) Metabolism: Seaweed helps to balance circulation that improves oxygenation and nutrition of the connective tissues.  Seaweed speeds up metabolism allowing the body's own lipolytic (fat-burning) enzymes to access fat in hard to reach places such as with cellulite.

5) Skin allergies: Sea-bathing gives an antiseptic effect to the skin and reduces histamine that causes inflammation and itching sensation.

6) Anti-inflammatory: Seaweed such as White Algae, flushes out toxins and by-products of metabolism via the lymph system. This is valuable in the elimination of trapped fluids around the thighs, knees and ankles.

SeaAloe is a reputable source of a natural, whole-food, plant based supplementation for those interested in a liquid form of vitamins and minerals.

Salt baths are so common that we often forget the fact that "the simpler the better". A soak in warm salt water has long been used for achy joints and muscles as well as periodic detoxification. The addition of essential oils add their own therapeutic value as well as the pleasure of the aroma.

Epsom salts are not the same as regular table salt. Epsom salts are known as magnesium sulfate.
Magnesium and sulfur are naturally present in sea water. Modern diets consisting of primarily processed foods are often deficient in these minerals. When you soak in a salt bath containing epsom salts your body will benefit as these minerals are absorbed through your skin.

Magnesium is important for combating stress by producing serotonin, which is a mood-elevating chemical that creates a sense of calm. By lowering the effects of adrenaline, blood pressure comes down, sleep is improved and basically the nerves and muscles function properly.

Sea salt is also different from table salt in that rather than being pure sodium chloride which is refined from mined rock salt(halite), sea salt is evaporated sea water. It still contains natural minerals. Examples of the minerals in salt are calcium, potassium, bromides and magnesium. Calcium increases circulation and combats fluid retention. Potassium energizes the body, and bromides ease stiff muscles.

Dead sea salts originate from the Dead Sea, which is a salt lake located in the Middle East. The saline and mineral rich marshes have been used since ancient times for therapeutic and beautifying purposes.
Adding these luxurious salts to your bathing experience will help you understand why even the beautiful Cleopatra demanded rights to these mineral rich natural salts.

Tranquil Lavender Bath Salts

Peppermint Bath & Foot Soak Salts

Soak & Sweat Mineral Mustard Bath Salts