Friday, March 1, 2019

Everything You Want To Know About CBD

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
All content and graphics provided by cbdMD.


“CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment.”

by Danielle Crary

By now, you’ve most likely heard someone speaking about CBD. With all the buzz on CBD, it can be confusing if you haven’t dived into the research on what it is and why it is being used. So what exactly is CBD?

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CBD has been a viable alternative for synthetic medications for decades. Now popular in the mainstream – due to numerous scientific studies and the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill – CBD has the potential to help alleviate a multitude of everyday ailments, including stress, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. With powerful properties that have proven to reduce anxiety and pain, CBD users are seeking new ways to ease their tension without the laundry list of harsh side effects common with traditional pharmaceuticals.

To learn more about CBD, we met with cbdMD, a leading CBD company out of North Carolina that is committed to the highest standards of CBD souring, extraction, and production. Their comprehensive line of CBD oil products come from certified non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free hemp that’s grown right here in the U.S.A – and all their products are 100% THC-free.


CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment. ECS functions include, regulating body temperature, maintaining blood sugar levels, inflammation responses, stabilizing CO2 levels, and more.

The interaction with receptor cells gives CBD the ability to promote beneficial effects on the human body. Working to mimic the look and functions of cells found in your body, CBD promotes recovery and/ or positive effects. Although CBD works in similar fashion to common medications, our CBD is extracted naturally from plants, instead of produced synthetically in a lab.

CBD helps promote a sense of balance throughout the body. For example, the vanilloid receptors
regulate both pain and inflammation. When activated, these receptors help you experience less pain
and inflammation. CBD has demonstrated the ability to promote both.

CBD has also demonstrated the ability to help stimulate the growth of the hippocampus – the part of the brain that shrinks when someone is experiencing anxiousness or depression. Once CBD is introduced, the hippocampus cells grow and increase in size to better contribute to the alleviation of anxiety and stress. CBD has demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of bacteria, while also showing properties that pacify the symptoms associated with pain, anxiety, and stress. It has also shown positive effects on maintaining a healthy nervous system, while also promoting a better, more restful night’s sleep.


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Not only is CBD a best practice in pain management for humans, CBD has also demonstrated the ability to improve your pet’s health and reduce their anxiety levels. With on-going research, the list of
its benefits continues to grow, giving more and more hope to patients suffering from a multitude of symptoms.


Not all CBD is created equal and not everyone will react the same to a new CBD regimen.

“CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with harsh pharmaceuticals. ”

Taking CBD is similar to starting a diet; you can’t expect to lose all the weight after one healthy meal - it takes time. CBD benefits are cumulative, so be patient and consistent to ensure that the potency has time to build up in your system. Daily use is suggested and dosage will vary for each individual. A good rule of thumb is to start with a smaller does and adjust accordingly. Visit to discover which dosage best suits your needs. CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with other synthetic medications.

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cbdMD offers customers plenty of ways to enjoy their daily dose of CBD:

• Sublingual tinctures, capsules, and
gummies (edibles)
• Powerful topicals that were designed
for recovery, pain/inflammation, and
• Full line of human-grade pet products
for your furry friends
• Vape oils for immediate bioavailability

This spring, cbdMD will be launching cbdPM and CBD Transdermal Patches. cbdPM is our all-natural sleep aid combing the beneficial properties of CBD and the relaxing features of Melatonin. The cbdMD Transdermal Patches will allow you to target the area of inflammation for a direct absorption of the CBD and its beneficial molecules, essentials oils, terpenes, and aminos acids.

 Whatever method you choose, stick with it and embrace the CBD difference.

cbdMD is offering an exclusive GRAND discount – just enter discount code GRAND20 at checkout and receive 20% off your purchase. As always, FREE SHIPPING ON ALL US ORDERS complete with a 30-day, moneyback guarantee!

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Danielle Crary, CAPM, is the Public Relations Manager at cbdMD.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: "Chicago Treasure"

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
            in exchange for my honest review. Opinions and photographs are my own.

Larry Broutman has done it again!

Months ago, I reviewed his pictorial volume, "Chicago Unleashed," sharing a rollicking journey through vibrant streets, each one punctuated with wildlife casually romping and rolling along "as if they owned the place!" You loved it! 

And you're going to love this one, too! 

Back on the road again, camera in hand, Broutman enlists a talented duo (Green and Rabias), specialists in illustration, text, and digital effects. Their collective mission is to showcase the true treasure of Chicago: its beautiful children! But what warms the heart beyond the technical skill exhibited between covers of Chicago Treasure is the commitment to inclusion. You see, many of the featured children are visually impaired. They attend the Judy and Ray McCaskey Preschool Program at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, learning alongside classmates without visual disabilities. And, once again, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living will share author profits from the sale of Broutman's book. 

Anxious for a tour? So am I! Let's Go! 

Chicago Treasure comes to you in three parts: "Just Imagine!", "Now Showing!", and "Sightings!" - each one a playful paradise of color, charm, and fun adaptation.

"Just Imagine!" pictures children in story book settings whimsically described in front page news items from the "Chicago Pretender." 😉 That's how we learn that the young prince who rescued Rapunzel transported her back to his home base in Chicago on horseback - an impressive 7,000+ kilometer journey!

Sweet Snow White is here, too. She's finally awake, happily married to her handsome prince, and enjoying the company of her forest friends. Her wicked nemesis, the poison-apple-bearing queen is nowhere to be seen! Good riddance!

I have a few personal favorites from this section - the largest in the book....

Oh, to be Hermione Granger if only for a moment! She's just one part of the fantasy world that draws from nursery rhymes, folk tales, and even pop culture, like Disney's Toy Story!

And imagine being this lucky little dude! "The ride of a lifetime"? Indeed!

"Now Showing!" follows with a stroll through the galleries of the Chicago Art Institute. Children populate the parks, avenues, and living spaces of French and American masterworks so unobtrusively that a blink of the eye might mean missing them! What fun it is to carefully inspect each scene in search of modern day additions! I choose Wood's American Gothic stoic young visitor.... 

and Rockwell's puzzled observer as my personal favorites! 
Our journey concludes with "Sightings!" You'll enjoy views of familiar Chicago landmarks, each one, again, digitally visited by beautiful children occasionally accompanied by such randomness as a cheetah trio, koala family, or firmly leashed tiger! 

Photos of The Chicago River Walk, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and State Street Bridge brought back fond memories of my own visits to that magical city!

I look forward to sharing this 168 page treasury with each of my grandchildren. It's truly one to return to over and over again, uncovering new dimensions every time. Together we'll recall fairy tales and recite nursery rhymes. We'll talk about visual impairment and other disabilities and how they are overcome with wheelchairs and guide dogs and competency in Braille. We'll identify famous art work and compare and contrast moods and methods in works by Rockwell and Hopper and more. I will describe the hustling bustle of Chicago, promising that, one day, each of my grandchildren will experience the allure of this remarkable city the way I have - in person, and again and again through the pages of this delightful volume! 

PURCHASE Chicago Treasure here:

Everything Goes Media - use code CTBLOG15 for a 15% discount on total order!

and at Chicagoland book stores and gift shops

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Love Bug Valentine Party Game

Years ago, if one of my high school students had presented this cacophony of eye popping shapes, sizes, and color to me for appraisal, I might have coupled my admiration of her skilled use of principals and elements of design with gentle admonishment: "My goodness, dear! Next time give your eye a place to rest!"

But this twittering twirl of love bugs wasn't born of academic propriety! Grandma-hood has spiked my response to family requests for artsy-craftsy help, and enthusiastic "over-the-topness" is the means by which challenges are currently met. This time, I was asked for a game suitable for Kindergarten students to play at their classroom Valentine's Day party.....

Once circles were cut from scrapbook paper, there was no turning back! Love bugs built from them, glued to a 24" x 36" background tacked to a lightweight bulletin board, filled the field, inviting players to hit numbers with toy "sticky darts" (shown in top picture). They'll tally their scores after three successful hits. Purple hearts net one bonus point each. Adjust rules for age of participants.

If you're going to make a Love Bug dart game, you can substitute a mat or foam board background. Assemble a group of paper punches or round things to trace in a variety of sizes. Collect paper scraps in red, pink, purple, and white. Two identical sized circles make a body and head. Smaller, concentric ones make eyes. Wings are oval shaped or fancy cuts from punches. Use craft foam hearts to accent antennae. Rubber cement best adheres each assembled love bug. Cut or punch heart shapes for targets, adding hand printed numbers or purchased stickers. Draw legs and mouths with black marker.

Find sticky darts at Amazon - or do a Google search for them that will direct you to other sources. Sticky darts will leave a residue on your game board (or any other surface) but they are safe fun for kids and really do last 20+ uses each, as promised. Besides that, they are inexpensive. Kids love them! And so does grandma!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gingerbread Jamboree!

Jump for joy, you jolly little jingle belles! You've been invited to a Christmas candy cottage party!

I can't take credit for this one, it's all Mary Jo, down to the very last spicy gum drop! My beautiful and creative oldest daughter loves hosting parties, and does them well, conquering with aplomb every inevitable glitch that would send me soaring over the edge!

For instance, her order of one dozen pre-made gingerbread houses plopped down on her porch in pieces just hours before eight little ladies arrived to decorate them. I held my breath while she breezily described adding a Target run to her errand list to remedy the situation. Whew! They had them! Unbroken! And in enough quantity to please!

Let the partying begin!

Granddaughters Ava and Angeline greeted early arrivals, gifting them with personalized aprons whipped up by mommy on her new Cricut machine. Little ladies found them tied charmingly to their chairs, at places where gingerbread houses waited alongside generously filled cups of cute candy, cookies, and icing.

Gingerbreading is an exacting science! Guests went right to work, fortified by creamy cocoa sipped from Santa cups.

I love the patterning, the outlining, and the abundance of festive light bulbs festooning the eaves! I love the intensity and the focus! I love how those trusty trusses held up candy - hard and soft, minty, chocolaty, and spicy!

I love the scent of peppermint in the air, the snack bar, and the "adult beverage" option offered to moms who stayed to help!   

But mostly, I love a gathering of pretty little "jingle belles" who brought the warmth of their smiles on a cold and rainy pre-Christmas Saturday afternoon to sweetly decorate this year's Gingerbread Jamboree!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Spooky Spotlight

Here! Have a cracker!
I'm on a diet!

For most folks, it's something lurking right around the corner. For us, its been in full bloom for several weeks! Packed back to back with cookie baking, book browsing, costume creating, and hearty partying, our Halloween season is a cherished friend, one whose return we embrace with the unbridled vigor of a headless horseman!

Family joins me for a mid-month Friday evening gathering each year, where crafting and cookie baking typically top the agenda. At other times we just play games after dinner - like the Spooky Picture Bingo we enjoyed this time around. "Mummies" and daddies win cash, and kids win small Halloween toys - every "ghoul" and boy goes home happy!

By the way, if seating all those spooky little spirits for food and festivity confounds you, solve that problem with a 29" x 60" folding table - the kind sold at every household store. Top it with a 2.5 yard length of 45" fabric - a time and money saving shortcut. My own choice - a black and white clearance length - was a $9 bargain. And, I spotted a cute turkey print on my way out the door, so I'll be trotting back for that one, too!

Table settings respect the fact that some guests come to eat, and other come to play! I'm ready for both. Each place presents with a cute skellie English cracker - one needing mom or dad to firmly grasp the opposite end, briskly pulling in tandem to yield a loud "SNAP!" and a tumble of toys. This time we found Halloween tattoos, paper party crowns, and cute jokes that regaled the crowd. (Why did the skeleton cross the road? To get to the body shop!)

Weird little wind-up Halloween characters kept the kids' table lively, too, toddling about mindlessly while guests were "goblin" up home made mac and cheese and Jello (orange, of course! with a generous dollop of ghostly white whipping cream!).

See those cute cardboard houses? Dollar Tree finds served as suitable places to stash bingo prizes for the trip home. And...if you dared reach inside, you may or may not
(👵grandma humor!) have pulled out a super squishy, slimy toy rat and a fancy light up necklace tucked inside!

Oh, these too! Dancing skellie straws - another Dollar Tree goodie that made sipping chilled apple cider an even tastier experience!

To commemorate an evening of good eating, fun playing, and great gathering, a cousin round up photo was in order. It's unnecessary for any grandma of more than - say, three? - to comment that there will always be a group comedian (see below, far right, front!) and at least one attempted escape! I had both. But this capture, all clad in grandma's gift of matching ghostly pjs, is the best of over 50 shots. It will serve as my personal "Happy Halloween" greeting to all of you because this grandma thinks they're so cute it's scary!

The skinny guy at extreme right, back, finds it bone rattlin' hilarious that I even try getting this little six pack to look up and smile at the same time!

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Grandma Who Used Her Wits!

If I were to author a dictionary, my entry for "grandmother" would avoid the term "academics" like the plague. I'd stick to describing that lady solely as a treasured source of carefree joy and comfort - a complete disconnect from classroom rigor. "Grandma" = "fun" and nothing more than that!

But sometimes traditional book learnin' encroaches on playtime despite our best efforts. Grandmas have an innate knack for introducing "the fun of learning" with hardly an effort or barely a penny expended! I had such an opportunity recently, and I'm still basking in the afterglow!

Let me explain!

Granddaughter Brielle's eighth birthday occurred on the second day of third grade this year. Her wise and lovely teacher eschewed the celebratory tradition of cupcakes and candy in favor of an appealing option: invite a special person in your life to come read to the classroom! My participation was requested and I was "in" with enthusiasm!

But what to read to those eager little learners? What type of story would entertain, hold interest, and, perhaps, even venture to teach a thing or two? I'm personally not a fan of pop culture characters. Too slick, too shallow, too commercially driven. Sorry, Elsa and Anna! Today I'm looking elsewhere for a poignant tale!

Childhood nostalgia for me is best represented in a 12 volume set of My Book House books. Anyone else out there familiar with this treasure of the 50s? Our well worn set belongs to me now, and I've often reached for its pages, seeking folk and fairy tales for fireside grandma camp reading. The age of my rapt audience was always considered because the rich heritage of such stories, told generation to generation in every country of the world, does not always respect the absence of triumphing evil, racism, or frightening characters who pose danger to children. When selected with age-level care, folk and fairy tales add a spirit of adventure to a child's life: kings, giants, princesses, trolls, and talking animals entertain, cultural history is acknowledged, and, most commonly, lessons are taught.

I chose a Chinese folk tale, The Girl Who Used Her Wits, for my presentation. This charming telling challenges two young wives to bring home "fire wrapped in a paper" and "wind in a paper" in exchange for a favor granted by their mother-in-law. Entertaining? Yes! I used my repertoire of story voices: crotchety, whimpering, and wise! A glimpse into family life described the culture of multi-generational living, while the wits of an intervening character redeemed the folly of reckless promise making. Success! Every box checked!

I didn't just leave it there, though. No way. Not this grandma! At story's conclusion, Brielle handed out paper fans to her classmates. Those, of course, were "wind in a paper" - not only a meaningful favor to memorialize the folk tale, but a much appreciated classroom cooler in the late August humidity we were experiencing!

But the best part? Brielle's report to me that my visit earned the day's "best moment" by student acclamation!

So....invited to go in and read, grandma? Do it! They'll love you!

My Book House vintage volumes can be found on ebay
Paper fans were purchased at Party City
See You Tube for a telling of The Girl Who Used Her Wits as well as the following:

Here's a list of other folk and fairy tales that are suitable for young children, checking all the boxes for entertainment, cultural learning, and lessons taught:

The Little Snow Maiden (Russian)
The Boy Hero of Harlem (Dutch)
The Cap That Mother Made (Swedish)
The Shoemaker and the Elves (German)

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Kitty Cat Cafe

Kitty Cat Cafe welcomes you!

Yes, it could have been "Dolphin Deli" or "Monkey Munchies" or "Petunia Patio," but the cutest fabric on the rack was this one - purr-fect for aprons in pint-size waitress scale! It also doesn't hurt that we're a family of 18 feline fans, hosting a grand total of eleven (11!) as pets. That's .611 cats per person for us! We know cats, love 'em, and don't mind naming our family diner after 'em!

Parents and younger siblings are patrons of our cafe. They come to eat, drink, win prizes, and enjoy exceptional serve staff talent. Our venture is the joint success of grandma and the kids; much of the baking, prep work, and training is done in advance at weekly times together. That's when we make cookies and gelatin, prep salad veggies, and mix sumptuous servings of creamy mac 'n cheese. That's also when we carefully measure ingredients and fill the ice cream maker, lining up with enthusiasm for our turn to punch the "start" button. Grandma and gramps take care of the rest of the menu, but we step back and relax when customers arrive and competent kids spring into action!

Doors open with a friendly greeting. Ryan and Austin, three year old cousins, sport name tags and natty bow ties, guiding each guest to a sunny place on the deck. They present menus and request drink orders. Cold beer is an option on this warm summer day, so the boys know they need to politely ask to see ID when daddies ask for one!

Next up are the girls, Brielle and Kaylee, our lovely server pair. They're here to invite you to The Catnip Bar, our oh-so-clever way of introducing fresh greens to your meal! Jello cups are an option for little brothers. There's two of those in attendance today, both just a year old, but very opinionated on what they will and will not eat!

Siblings Austin and Brielle at your service! 

Don't think for a sec that since kids are running the asylum today, we scoot past some of the niceties of fine dining! Crayons and coloring sheets keep the little ones occupied while wait staff scrambles to please!

Salad bowls are bussed by Austin and Ryan, and just like that, it's time to order an entree! The girls whip out their handy pads and carefully record the heart's desire of each guest. Brielle's a third grade whiz at writing and spelling, but Kindergarten is new to Kaylee, so she's most comfortable indicating shorthand initials. Our kitchen is customer friendly, though. We pretty much already know what makes everybody happy and have it ready in ample supply!

Those who opted for fish receive a broiled filet of cod. Sides of rice and veggies couple nicely with a self service trip to the Catnip Bar.

Staff sits down to eat once adults are served. Host Ryan enjoys his "home made" jello and mac 'n cheese! (And please note that he signed his own name tag, too!)

Channing's only been around for a year and a half, but he knows what's coming after you clean your plate of an entree....


But wait! WHAT? 

That can't be! Oh my goodness! YES! it is...


Well, come on, scaredy cats! What else would you expect to be offered at a place named Kitty Cat Cafe?

Patrons and wait staff alike have collective doubts.....which is why ice cream is an option - with multiple takers!

Post dinner finds a table of well fed, purring patrons - timing is right for the serious business of selling raffle tickets to mom, dad, and grandpa. Eight giant chocolate chip cookies are up for grabs. Kids handle the entire process without a whisker of help! I'm so proud of all of them!

Patrons pay their tabs with enthusiasm and "beyond generous" tipping, departing with "kitty bags" of leftovers, declaring their Kitty Cat Cafe experience a five star one! 👍

Tips for operating your own grandchild staffed family cafe!

1. Make it special with all the goodies! My apron pattern is traced from one I bought at Dollar Tree. Add a little length as kids grow. Omit the trouble and expense of bias tape edging by sewing a matching muslin backing, (right sides together), leaving top open for turning. Press and close. Use ribbon for neck and waist ties.

2. Bow ties are cute in a paw print pattern. Cut 3" x 8" and 3" x 4" strips for each. Fold larger piece in half and sew right sides together (1/4" seam) along 8" side. Turn. Press seam to center back. Fold both short ends to overlap at center back, and take a few gathering stitches to hold. Press 4" sides under 1/2" on remaining piece. Center perpendicular over larger piece, folding both short ends back to create knot effect. Trim as needed and take a few stitches to hold. Use safety pin to attach tie to shirt.

3. "Head Boppers" were Dollar Tree purchases covered with paper punched designs. Fold wired ribbon into bow and hand stitch to center top.

4. Design and print your own menus and name tags. Find coloring sheets on Pinterest. Order pads were purchased from a local toy store.

5. Make an easy-to-serve menu so you won't have a hissy fit when orders start to come in! I made a beef slow cooker recipe, pre-baked mac 'n cheese, fish readied for broiling, steamable microwave veggies, and a self serve salad bar. Enlist grandpa's help with getting drinks and ice cream cones to staff. (Feed him first, he'll be happier to help!)

6. Here's where you'll find the recipe for Kitty Litter Box cake!