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.

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.

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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!

Fall Changes Bring GREEN Decorations

There’s no need to spend money on elaborate centerpieces when you can find beautiful décor in your own backyard. Pinecones and fall leaves, or even evergreen branches can be used to add holiday color and fragrance. Here are my top 4 favorite tips:

1. Gather things to make a wreath that can be placed around a candle or vase, then reuse it by hanging it on your door for the holiday season. If you have never created a wreath HERE is an easy tutorial.


2. While shopping for holiday meals at a local farmer’s market, keep an eye out for edible items such as colorful squash and gourds, apples, pears, berries and much more. These can be used as centerpieces, or if you cut out the center and place a candle inside, can be used as candleholders.


3. A clear vase is great for centerpieces! Since you can change its contents to fit any holiday, you can find many items around your home to add to it. This Thanksgiving, try adding fall leaves or some citrus. Simply cut up and set in water with a floating candle. Add cranberries for a bit of that holiday red!

4. Round discs cut from large tree logs can make unique pie or cake plates, candleholders, or even chargers. When cutting firewood, my husband slices ½-1” thick discs off the end of a log for me. And if they get spilled on at dinner, I just toss them back in with the firewood.

Make your holiday as eco-centered as possible this year by using what nature provides. Have a colorful and conscious holiday!

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Going green doesn’t mean you have to compromise the funny or yum factory of Halloween. Make your holiday fun, unique and an Eco-Friendly event.

  1. Participate in a Costume Swap

Gather a group of your children’s friends or parents from school and bring costumes to swap and trade. Your kids will be excited over having a “new” costume without having to purchase a whole new one and it will  eliminate waste.

  1. Give Out Healthy Candies and Treats

Pass out candy without harmful ingredients that still taste yummy and wont get your house egged.  See the Trick Or Treat OMI Blog from 2011.

UNREAL Candy offers chocolate treats that taste as good as major commercial brands but without the articial colors, dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and GMOs.  Check out their goodies HERE.

Surf Sweets offers a variety of gluten-free, organic gummies, sour bears and jellybeans.   They even have treats in spooky spider shapes for Halloween!

  1. Use Reusable Bags for Trick-or-Treating!

Any bag can hold goodies, from baskets to bags to old purses and more.  Old pillowcases make great bags to collect candy and can be easily decorated or customized for your child.  A simple white pillowcase can be turned into a “ghost bag” by drawing, sewing or gluing on eyes and mouth.  Or simply add your child’s name.

  1. Decorate with Nature

Use natural items to decorate this year, such as hay bales, leaves, branches, gourds, pumpkins, mums and more.

  1. Light up the Night

If you string up lights to keep your walkway safe for trick-or-treaters, be sure to use LEDs or solar-powered lights.  LEDs use less energy than conventional holiday twinklers.

  1. Let Kiddos Decorate

Forget store-bought window sickers and skeletons. Help your kids cut out bats from recycled paper or make hand print spiders for walls and windows.  Carve or paint pumpkins for more decorations. White sheets can be hung as ghosts.  Get creative!

How will you keep your Halloween more Earth friendly?

No More Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are seen everywhere from grocery stores to schools.  Many people are unaware that there is so much waste created in the production and use of the plastic water bottles. According to National Geographic, “Americans drink more bottled water than any other nation, purchasing an impressive 29 billion bottles every year. Making all the plastic for those bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil annually. That is equivalent to the fuel needed to keep 1 million vehicles on the road for 12 months. If you were to fill one quarter of a plastic water bottle with oil, you would be looking at roughly the amount used to produce that bottle.” For more water bottle pollution facts visit the National Geographic website HERE.

Concord, Massachusetts has tackled the issues surrounding water bottles and has become the first U.S. city to ban the sale of bottled water. Concord residents voted to ban the bottle citywide in an effort to promote sustainability.  The debate of the issue occurred in a Concord town meeting, and after nearly 2 hours of debate, attempted amendments and a recount, the vote was accepted.  The ban is for the sale of single-serving PET (polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles of less than 1 liter (34 ounces). The State Attorney General approved the bylaw, therefore the ban will be finalized on January 1st, 2013.

Using reusable bottles for water can save you money while reducing your impact on the planet.  There are many options for replacing plastic water bottles, from glass to stainless steel.  Choose the best option for you and enjoy.

Enjoy this video and follow the marching water bottles all the way to the recycling bin.

Seven Earth Conscious Tips for an Awesome Dorm Room

  Every year students all across the country make the big move to college.  This move is often the first chance to live away from home.  Setting up a dorm is no small task, especially for the first semester.  It is important to make your dorm room a comfortable place to study, sleep and hang out.  Why not make your room into a more earth-friendly place by making conscious decisions?  All it takes is a little creativity, effort, and a few tips and tricks.

1. Moving

Use reusable packing materials.  Transport clothes and other items in laundry baskets, bags and suitcases.  Be sure to recycle any boxes you used for moving.

2. Electronics and Appliances

Dorm rooms are usually stuffed with all types of electronics and appliances: Computers, printers, TVs, DVD players, sound systems, alarm clocks, mini fridges, microwaves and more.  Talk to your roommate about who brings what so you aren’t doubling up.  When buying electronics or appliances look for higher ENERGY-STAR-Certified ratings.  ENERGY-STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that rates electronics and the amount of energy that they use to help consumers purchase items that do not use excess amounts of electricity.  Be sure to turn off all electronics when not in use.  Also, plugging electronics into power strips is a great solution to easily turn off multiple electronics at once. Choose electronics that serve multiple purposes, such as an alarm clock that’s also a speaker and charger for an iPod or iPhone.  A laptop with a large screen that can act as not only a computer but a TV and DVD player, too.

3. Furniture

Most dorm rooms come furnished, but can often be lacking key pieces such as chairs or bookshelves.  If possible, look for second-hand or recycled products made from sustainable processes and materials.  The typical particleboard furniture found in dorms can contain formaldehyde and other chemicals that can offgas and pollute indoor air so steer clear of them when you can.

4. Lighting

Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bubs or LED lights, which consume less energy and last longer than standard bulbs, as well as giving off better light to allow for the better studying.

5. Air Quality

Improve air quality in the dormand add some appeal by having a green plant or two.  The plants help to absorb unwanted airborne gases and brighten up your surroundings.  A trip to your local nursery can help you pick out a plant that will thrive indoors in low-light conditions.

6. Bed and Bedding

It is essential for students to have a good night’s sleep to help keep the brain fresh and ready to learn.  To make a good night’s sleep possible, be sure to have a comfortable and natural mattress and bedding that doesn’t offgas toxic chemicals.  We offer several economical options of organic mattresses, including the Midori – one of our classic mattresses – available in Twin XL, which fits most form beds.

OMI Midori

MSRP (mattress only): twin $1495• twin XL $1595• full $1895 • queen $2195 • king $3095

Foundation sold separately

If you can’t change out your mattress, invest in a Mattress Barrier Cover, which encases the entire mattress to protect from bed bugs and dust mites, reducing allergens.

OMI Mattress Barrier Covers starting at $220

 Bedding is just as important as a mattress, since it needs to be comfortable and made without the use of chemicals.  Pick soft and luxurious organic cotton sheets and all season wool comforters.  You can choose a duvet made with color grown cotton to add some color but make sure it is organic.

OMI Eco-Wool™ Comforter starting at $475

Click HERE for more information on OMI mattresses and bedding.

7. Decorations

Many students want to make their dorm rooms comfortable and homey.  Rather than buying all new decorations, choose items from your bedroom at home and revamp them to better fit the dorm.  Use material from a favorite shirt or old curtains to cover corkboards, creating an area to hang pictures, notes and other items and add color.  Coordinate with roommates to get complimentary organic duvet covers and cover you thrifted loveseat with matching sheets.

 

Find more tips and useful ideas by going to Teens Turning Green’s ‘Project Green Dorm’ website HERE.  Enter their challenge for a chance to win OMI products as well as many other fabulous and green prizes!

The Midori is Back!

Welcome the Midori Back!

The Midori is a contemporary, low-profile mattress.  Measuring at 7” high, it is a two-sided, flat-surface mattress made from one-piece 6” core of medium-firm 100%-natural rubber latex, then covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.  The Midori was designed in the style of a firm Japanese-style sleep system.  It makes a great option for sleepers looking for firm support, as well as for children.

Features and Benefits

  • Low-profile design
  • For those who favor a firmer sleeping surface
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Signature OrganicPedic® fully quilted cover
  • Eco-Wool fill naturally regulates body temperature
  • Naturally mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant

MSRP (mattress only): twin $2395 • full $3295 • queen $3895 • king $4695 Foundation sold separately

For more information on OrganicPedic® mattresses, click HERE.