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Happy Birthday America!

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Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Doctors Prescribe Sleep

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In today’s world of go-go-go attitudes, many people don’t find time to get a full night of sleep.   After a short night of sleep we all feel the effects: drowsiness, a lack of energy and just not feeling up to our full potential.  But what other effects are caused by not enough sleep?

Recently the New York Times published the article “Cheating Ourselves of Sleep,” in which they discuss the many harmful effects of the lack of a full night of sleep:

“Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.”

To see the full article click HERE.

Remember to take time for yourself.  Get the sleep your body needs!

Take Your Summer Vacation from Forgettable to Memorable

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DSCN0407 Summer weather is finally here, and with the days staying lighter  longer it gives us more time for fun activities.  Planning those activities can feel daunting at times, however here are some ideas that will help you create great summer memories while being eco-friendly.

  1. Take a Hike

    Bidwell Park - Chico, CA

    Bidwell Park – Chico, CA

Connect with nature by taking a walk in local park or nature trail.  Take time to check out the trees, wildflowers and birds.  Allow the kids to get exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature.

  1. Go for a Bike Ride

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Biking is a great exercise, and can be really enjoyable, especially in the evening after dinner.  Work off that meal you ate while peddling along with your family and friends.

  1. Visit a Local Farmer’s Market or Street Fair

    MarketJuly11

Search for hidden treasures at street fairs, or find great locally grown produce to incorporate into your menus for the week.

  1. Plant a Garden

Work on making a small garden for some fresh homegrown treats.  Gardens come in all sizes from window box gardens to large producing gardens.  Find an area for your garden and plant some of your favorite produce.

  1. Host a Potluck Dinner

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Invite friends over for an evening of fun. Potlucks allow guests to bring a dish, so this cuts back on energy used for cooking.  Pick a theme for the dinner, such as Italian, finger foods, etc.  The themes will keep your dinner options varied and allow for some creative cooking.

  1. Cool Off

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Escape the summer heat by visiting a local lake or community pool.

  1. Volunteer

Find a local organization such as a local food banks or animal shelter, and offer some help.  These organizations are always in need of a few extra hands.

  1. Plan A Mini Vacation

    Fisherman camping at a wilderness lake

Just because you can’t get a whole week off this summer does not mean you can’t take a mini vacation.  Plan a weekend trip to an area within driving distance and enjoy being away from home.  You don’t have to stay at an expensive hotel, but you can camp in a campground by a lake or river.  Just give yourself time to relax and “unplug.”

Whatever you decide to do this summer, remember to have fun, make some great memories, and as always, think about what you can do to keep your summer eco-friendly.

Spend This Earth Day Outside

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When the sun is shining and the signs of spring are all around enjoy the day outside with Mother Nature.  Pick your favorite local area such as a park, river or lake and enjoy the day with your friends and family. Here are some ideas of Earth-friendly activities that you can enjoy on Earth Day:

  1. Pack a picnic

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Pack a delicious lunch of locally grown food and keep it natural by using biodegradable or reusable tableware.

  1. Clean Up Litter

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After your lunch spend an hour picking up trash around your favorite area to keep it clean and enjoyable for all.

  1. Take A Walk

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Enjoy a leisurely walk or hike to explore the wildlife.  Bring along a field guide so you can learn about the different plants, tree and animals in the area.

  1. Make a list of Resolutions

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Discuss ways you can lessen your impact on Earth and make a list of resolutions that you would like to incorporate into your everyday routine, such as recycling, energy use, volunteering, cleaning up litter, shopping locally, buying organic, and more.  For a list of possible green resolutions see our previous blog, “Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Green Year’s Resolutions.”

However you spend your Earth Day, be sure to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Earth.

Mattress Protection: The OMI Mattress Pad Line

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With so many great OMI mattress accessories available, how can you be sure you’re getting what’s right for you?

Here’s an overview of the mattress pads we offer here at OMI to help you choose the right product(s) for any situation.

Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad

Our certified organic Flannel Mattress Pad makes a great first line of defense when protecting your mattress. Our flannel pad protects the mattress surface from perspiration and staining, keeping it pristine for years. It’s made of two layers of 8.5-oz. certified organic cotton flannel, quilted together and finished by hand with a certified organic cotton tape edge and natural-rubber elastic corner straps (crib size is fitted). It’s seamless and machine washable, making it the perfect complement for any organic mattress.

FlannelMatPad Starting at $175

Premium Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad

Our Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad offers powerful moisture protection, preventing soiling due to heavy night sweats, incontinence, or other moisture-related concerns. It’s made from certified wool, which is naturally moisture resistant and easy to clean – simply rinse with warm water and air dry – along with natural-rubber elastic corner straps to hold it in place. An absolute must-have for anyone concerned about keeping a mattress dry and healthful.

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Starting at $65

Premium Eco-Wool Underbed Pad

Place our Eco-Wool™ Underbed Pad under your mattress to protect it from airborne dust or premature wear-and-tear caused by the mattress rubbing against wooden bed slats. Made from dense, needle-punched certified wool, it’s supremely breathable.

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Starting at $119

Certified Organic Cotton Bed-Bug and Dust-Mite Mattress Barrier Cover

Our mattress barrier covers are great for protecting your mattress from bed bugs and dust mites. They’re also the best way to protect the surface of your mattress from staining, and ultimately to extend the life of your mattress.  Our barrier covers are made from tightly woven 100% organic cotton, and close with a heavy-duty brass zipper.

MattressBarrier

Starting at $220

To learn how these accessories should be placed on your mattress, check out the OMI Blog “How Does Your Mattress Stack Up.”   For more information about the pure accessories we have available, click HERE

10 Eco-Friendly Solutions to Start Your Spring Cleaning

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It’s that time of year again when we all get out the cleaning supplies and start our spring cleaning.  Rather than using harsh chemical cleaners, here are some more eco-friendly options that I use for my deep spring clean.

1. Make Your Own Surface Cleaner

Surface cleaner comes in handy all around the house, and is super easy to make. Combine 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a spray bottle. This natural all-purpose cleaner quickly kills germs and evaporates, making for a clean and clear finish.

2. Lift Stains with Lemons

Lemons in White Bowl

Getting that tomato sauce stain off your countertop or cabinet is easier than you think. Simply wet the stain with lemon juice, let sit for 30 minutes or so, and then sprinkle baking soda on the abrasive side of an all-purpose kitchen sponge and scrub the discolored area. Most stains will vanish, and your kitchen will smell fresher.

3. Clean Your Kitchen Drains Without Harsh Chemicals

Not all drain cleaners need to be made of toxic chemicals.  The chemistry between baking soda and vinegar is so powerful that this combo can flush grease out of kitchen drains. Just pour ½ cup baking soda into a clogged drain and follow it with ½ cup white vinegar. Cover the drain for a few minutes as the chemical reaction dissolves the grease — then flush the drain with warm water.

4. Clean Windows Without Leaving Streaks

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To make those windows and mirrors shine without awful streaks, use newspaper! The paper leaves behind virtually zero lint. Just spray the glass with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar, rub the glass with a dry cloth, then go over the surface with a piece of newspaper.

5. Freshen Up the Air Naturally

Even the worst odors can be eliminated with fresh lemons. To get rid of strong odors such as garlic, fish and other tough smells use half a cut lemon or some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. To freshen indoor air, simmer lemon peel on the stovetop, adding water as needed.

 6. Eliminate Smells in Your Fridge  

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There are many different and unexpected uses for coffee, but one of my favorites is to absorb odors in the refrigerator. If you have some stale coffee grounds just place them in a bowl in the fridge for a day or so.

7. Clean Your Oven Without Killing Your Arms

baking soda

Ovens can be the worst mess to clean, but with this trick you can clean your oven without having to scrub until your arms feel like they’re going to fall off!  Baking soda makes it as easy as it gets, and your next batch of cookies won’t taste like chemical cleaners. Sprinkle it liberally all over the floor of the oven, spray it with water until it’s well dampened, and leave it for a few hours. Then just wipe out the mess and use vinegar to remove the film of baking-soda residue left behind.

8. Use a Little Lemon and Water to Clean the Microwave

Microwaves can be a pain to clean with all the stuck-on food residue, but the citric acid in lemon juice can loosen even the crustiest food.  Place lemon wedges in a small bowl of water and microwave for two to three minutes. Leave the door closed and let sit for approximately 10 minutes, then wipe out the inside. If there are any odors or food residue left behind, use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub it right out.

9. Polish Your Wood with Olive Oil

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Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a quarter cup of lemon juice for a non-toxic, gentle furniture polish that will remove dust and bring wood surfaces to a brilliant shine. Due to its natural ingredients, this furniture polish will not build up a dull finish.

10. Turn Your Mismatched Socks and Old Towels Into Rags

If you lose the battle of the socks to your dryer like I do, then you probably have a few unmatched socks gathering.  There’s no need to throw them away these socks can be used for cleaning!  Put one over your hand like a glove and use it to dust surfaces around the house.  If you don’t have any mismatched socks, towels that are no longer soft can provide you with a dozen or more new, totally free cleaning rags. Just cut the towels up and you’ll have a whole new supply.  This is a far better option for the planet than using disposable paper towels.

7 Natural Remedies to Fight the Flu and Seasonal Colds

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This year I have seen my share of germs and viruses attack our house, the majority of which are courtesy of my 5-year-old and her adventures at school.  So with all these colds and flu viruses flying around all over the place, I have gathered quite a list of great home remedies that help pull my family through the sick patches. Here are some of the best that I have found, and I want to share them with you!

Homemade Cough Syrup

Take a red onion; cut into quarter inch slices and restack with a dollop of raw local honey  in between each layer.  (The local honey will also help prevent allergies in springtime.) Allow to sit overnight.  In the morning you will have a syrup that not only helps get rid of the tickle in your throat but also helps you rest easy about not adding chemicals and medications into your system that you don’t need.

Garlic Tea

Cloves of garlic have been used for YEARS to help alleviate cold and flu systems. Garlic is naturally antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Simply cut 2-3 cloves of garlic, place into boiling water, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. For added taste use lemon juice, raw honey or ginger.  Ginger is also a great way to naturally help soothe tummy aches and digestive issues.

Onion Juice Earache Relief

One of the most effective remedies I have found for an earache is onions.  Take an onion and bake for about 15 minutes at 425° F (be sure to leave the skin on the onion, as it helps keep the juices inside while cooking.)  Let the onion sit until cool enough to touch then crush it in a bowl to extract the juice.  Using an eyedropper, place the warm juice in the ear.  This will usually help relieve the pain within a few minutes.

Warm Salt Water

Add a generous amount of salt to lukewarm water and mix well.  Gargle with the lukewarm salt-water mixture to help soothe your sore throat and promote healing.

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Hot Washcloths/Ice Packs

If you have sinus congestion, a great solution is to apply either hot or cold around the congested sinuses.  Take a damp washcloth and heat it for about 50 seconds in the microwave (be sure to test it first too make sure it is not to hot).  For a cold pack, you can use frozen vegetables/fruits or place a damp washcloth in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.  Chose hot or cold, whichever feels more comfortable.

Water, Water, Water

Drink it, steam it, and soak in it! Keeping the fluids in is the best way to flush out toxins when you are sick. A comfortable way to help clean out your head is to run a hot shower, since the steam will help moisten the air around you, especially good for dry coughs. Lastly, when you are feeling body aches or muscle pain from the flu, try a nice hot bath to soothe aches and pains. Try throwing in some oils like tea tree or eucalyptus, to help speed up the healing process.

SLEEP!

Sometimes the thing that best helps beat the flu is time and rest. Allow your body time to rejuvenate and bring itself back to its usual healthy, energetic state.

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Stay healthy this germy season!

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just a mom, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider before using any of these remedies.

It’s Time for the Winter Las Vegas Market

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Everyone gets excited to attend Vegas with the hopes of winning big, and OMI is no different.  As we gather in Las Vegas at the World Market Center, we will be presenting a HUGE industry announcement as well as introducing new products.  (If you can’t visit us in Las Vegas stay tuned on the OMI blog for more information.)

Mark your calendar and book your flight to come and check out OMI’s brand new showroom, January 28th – February 1st, at Showroom C-1507.

ShowroomSheep

Call the OMI sales office at 1-800-951-9196 to schedule an appointment at Market and for more information on new products and announcements.

Visit our website HERE.

‘Tis the Season to be Yummy…

As we gather together for the holidays, there is typically food involved in our celebrations. Here are some great recipes to incorporate into your festivities, with inspiration from different holiday celebrations from latkes to prime rib.  Whatever you decide to make, make it delicious!

Latkes

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Ingredients:

  •     5 potatoes
  •     2 onions
  •     3 eggs
  •     1 tsp. salt
  •     ¼ tsp. pepper
  •     ¼ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  •     oil for frying (canola is recommended)

Directions:

Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water so they won’t turn brown. When ready to prepare the latkes, drain the potatoes. Place potatoes and onions in a food processor fitted with a knife blade; pulse until smooth. Drain mixture well.  Pour potato mixture into a large bowl. Add beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper. Add enough flour so that the mixture holds together.

Pour 1” of oil into a large, deep frying pan; heat over medium-high heat.  Carefully drop ¼  cup of the potato mixture into the hot oil.  (Flatten the pancake slightly so the center will cook.)  Fry for several minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through; drain on paper towels.

Serving Suggestion: Serve the latkes with applesauce.

Collard Greens

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Ingredients:

  •     ½ lb. smoked meat (ham hocks, turkey wings, or neck bones)
  •     1 Tbsp. house seasoning (recipe follows)
  •     1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
  •     1 Tbsp. hot red pepper sauce
  •     1 large bunch collard greens
  •     1 Tbsp. butter

Directions:

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt, and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.

Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand.  (The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped) Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into ½” to 1” thick slices. Place greens in pot with meat; add butter.

Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, adjust seasoning to taste.

House Seasoning

  •     1 cup salt
  •     ¼ cup black pepper
  •     ¼ cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Joe’s Prime Rib

Chef Joe, who we have given the honorary title of “Official OMI Chef,” provided us with a wonderful prime rib recipe you will be sure to use over and over again.

prime-rib

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup Montreal steak seasoning
  • ¼ cup thyme
  • ¼ cup paprika

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Preheat oven to 425° F.  Tie prime rib using butcher’s twine in 3 or 4 equal spacing increments.  Rub the entire prime rib: top, bottom, and sides all over!

Roast at 425° for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, reduce temp to 275° and continue to roast until the internal temp in the very center of the roast is between 110°-120°F for medium rare (120°-130° for medium).

Allow roast to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing with a very sharp knife.

To serve with your delicious prime rib, try one of these excellent sauces:

Horseradish Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup grated fresh horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to meld. Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

Au Jus Sauce

Ingredients: 

  • 2 packets beef buillion
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in pan; bring to a boil and strain.

Now that dinner is over and you’re looking to add something sweet, here’s a great recipe for delicious Nutty Chocolate Matzo Crunch.

Nutty Chocolate Matzo Crunch

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Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 6”x6” matzos
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup Marcona almonds or salted cashews, chopped
  • ½ Tbsp. fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

Directions:

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and top with a wire rack. Place matzos on top of rack. Drizzle chocolate over matzos until almost covered. Immediately sprinkle evenly with chopped nuts and salt. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until set, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces. (If chocolate softens, return to refrigerator until set) Matzo crunch is best eaten the day it is made.

Home for the Holidays

This is a great time of year, when families get together and celebrate the holidays.  Here are some eco-friendly tips to get your house ready for the festivities.

Have old ornaments that don’t make the cut to be used on your tree?  Use your vintage or extra ornaments to create a sparkly wreath for your front door. ChristmasWreath1

Centerpieces on your table are a great way to add decoration with a variety of materials.  Let nature be your guide.  Use things your can find in your own yard such tree branches, oranges, apples, pinecones, and more.

Creative-Eco-Friendly-Christmas-Decorating-Ideas-Green-Orange

Or you can use edible treats in clear vases to add color and fun to your tables.

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Are you getting a Christmas tree? Rather than getting a tree that was grown on a tree farm or one made of plastic try making one out of reclaimed wood to add a unique and fun look.

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Even the holiday cards you receive can be used as decoration, by simply hanging them on some ribbon.

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So whatever you chose, have fun decking your halls!

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