There are (literally) tons of benefits of choosing organic products. Check out this report from The Organic Center recently released by the USDA about the impact you can have by making an organic purchasing choice.
For the full report click HERE.
Halloween is fast approaching and I am getting my house ready for trick-or-treaters. My simple Sea Salt Seeds are the perfect treat to enjoy while carving Jack-o-lanterns. Make them yourself using the seeds from carving pumpkins.
Sea Salt Seeds
1. Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Clean all the pumpkin goop off the seeds and rinse them well in warm water.
2. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and place seeds in boiling water for 10 minutes. This will help soften the seeds and make them easier to digest. Also, the steam inside the seeds will cook them more thoroughly.
3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. After boiling the seeds in water, place them in a colander, then gently pat dry with a paper towel (they don’t have to be completely dry, but shouldn’t contain too much excess water).
4. Place the seeds on a baking dish with olive oil and sea salt to taste. (Use 1 tbsp per cup of pumpkin seeds).
5. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Stir seeds on baking dish and cook for another 8 minutes.
6. Take out of the oven and enjoy!
For some great variations, during step 4, replace the olive oil and salt with: 1. Cinnamon, sugar and butter
2. Fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper
3. Ginger, clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (for pumpkin-pie-spiced pumpkin seeds, mix with a little bit of butter)
4. Seasoning salt and olive oil
With the weather getting cooler and the food getting warmer, soup is the first thing I start to crave. Favorites like chicken soup and tomato soup are always great, but this fall I wanted to try something new. There are so many great ingredients that you can throw together to make a delicious-tasting (and healthy) soup! These great recipes are sure to broaden your soup horizon.
From Top Left to Right:
It is time for the kiddos to go back to school. Whether they are starting off their first year of school in kindergarten or finishing their last semesters at college, every student can take a step toward being more conscious of the world we all live in.
Here are some great first leaps to make to help preserve our precious resources!
1. Recycled Supplies:
TreeSmart is a company based in Oregon that makes pencils and rulers out of recycled newspapers! They also make recycled crayons, pens and coloring booklets that have educational messages about recycling, endangered species and ways to help the environment.
Have a small nub of a crayon left that seems unusable? Donate it to Crazy Crayons, which makes 100% recycled crayons from unwanted crayons collected by The National Crayon Recycle Program. They collect old crayon stubs and melt them down to liquid, then pour them into cute and funky moulds to give the crayons new life!
2. Pack it in:
One of the best ways to recycle for the coming school year, is to reuse your old backpack, or swapping with a sibling or a friend can give everyone a new pack. If you are in need of a new one however, EcoGear provides very stylish and certified organic cotton backpacks for kids of every age. The Panda Eco-Pack Backpack in particular is great because it uses minimal plastic as well as being the perfect smaller size for young kids in school.
3. Lunch with Love:
It might be adorable to tell your lil’ one on their first day of school how much you love them on the outside of their brown bagged lunch. By getting reusable containers for your kids to take lunch in. Reusable bottles for liquids instead of juiceboxes, as well as reusable forks, spoons, or even sporks, can help reduce the amount of plastic and paper going into our landfills every day. Plus, you can still stick a sweet note in their lunch box.
Extra Credit! First Day Outfit:
It feels great as a kid to go shopping for the first day of schools’ outfit. Second-hand stores are a great way to recycle old clothing and buy something “new” for your kids to wear, at a fraction of the cost of brand-new clothing.
For those of you with kids going off to college (or if you are a college student yourself), check out our tips for getting your dorm room ready.
As the hot nights of summer are coming to an end, fall is bringing cooler weather. It may be time to think about adding a blanket to your bed. Here are our new offerings for staying cozy and warm on chilly autumn nights:
Perfect for lightweight warmth or for layering in colder seasons. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave. Offered from crib to king sizes.
Baby Heirloom Blanket
Featuring detailed hearts. It is woven of 100% certified organic cotton, and is machine washable.
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.
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.
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.
Search for hidden treasures at street fairs, or find great locally grown produce to incorporate into your menus for the week.
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.
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.
Escape the summer heat by visiting a local lake or community pool.
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.
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.
Summer is (almost)here, along with all of those pesky critters that seem to have been hibernating over the winter– ncluding my least favorite, the mosquito.
This year, I went on a hunt for a natural remedy that is less toxic and harsh than store-bought bug spray that usually includes DEET (http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/1006.asp). There are so many great remedies out there (some that I already knew about), and others that I am definitely going to try see which ones work for me.
Here are the top 9 ways I’ve found to keep from getting eaten this summer:
1. Know where they are. You may notice that there are a lot more mosquitoes around water. Lakes, pools, ponds, and any place there is standing water will attract the pests. If you know you are going to be around water, be sure to plan ahead and carry your natural repellant with you.
2. Don’t smell too good. Mosquitoes are attracted to floral and sweet smells, like perfume and body lotion. Reducing these as much as you can may help lessen your attractiveness to them.
3. Spritz yourself with vanilla. Simply dilute pure vanilla extract in water and spray it on.
4. Wear light clothing. Mosquitoes are drawn to darker clothing and colors. Wearing light colored clothing can be your first line of defense against these insects.
5. Make a garlic paste. This is not something I can see people doing everyday, but it is definitely great for repelling those little critters. Make a paste with garlic powder and water and apply to pulse points, behind the knees, on shoes and ankles, and a bit on your cheeks or somewhere on your face and neck. (Keep it out of your eyes, it will sting!) You can also spray garlic powder and water around your yard and bushes for an extra preventative measure. (Rumor has it it will also keep away unwanted vampires.)
6. Dab on a little Eau de Vinegar: If you don’t mind the smell of vinegar (and neither do those around you), dabbing on a little vinegar is a great way to repel mosquitoes. Put a little bit on exposed areas, or dilute with water and use as a spray. Many people swear by this one!
7. Use essential oils. Citronella, lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, tansy, basil, thyme, cedar, tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass will all help keep the mosquitoes at bay. Mix with rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or water, (just one or any combination), shake well, and spritz on your body. You can also add a few drops to baby oil or olive oil and rub onto your skin, avoiding the mouth and eye areas.
8. Eat up! Certain foods we eat are rumored to repel the bugs. B1 vitamins, brewers yeast, lemon and, of course, garlic have all been thought to deter mosquitoes because of the smell that comes out of your pores after eating them.
9. Exercise your green thumb. Potted plants, such as lemon thyme, citronella, lavender, basil, catnip, pennyroyal, tansy, and marigolds, will help keep mosquitoes out of your yard. Place them around your porch or patio, and when you need a little more protection, break off a leaf and rub it on your clothes and skin. You can also infuse the leaves in water and use as a spray.
Everyone has a different body chemistry that may make different methods work better than others. Try them out and let us know which of these natural remedies worked for you!
We are an organic company, so using organic products is a no-brainer for us. But we have to remember that not everyone has the same immersion into the world of organics, and new parents need to know when it is essential to choose organic products.
This great info-graphic, put together by our friends at Harmony Art, is a great visual aid for new parents, and puts the “how” and “why” of buying organic for your baby into an easy-to-digest graphic that takes away the guessing game:
To read about how this piece came together, be sure to check out Harmony Art’s blog.
In case you are wondering: OMI’s innerspring crib mattresses are GOTS certified, and our latex crib mattresses are GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified.
Go ahead and share this graphic (download the pdf here) and help spread the word.
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:
Pack a delicious lunch of locally grown food and keep it natural by using biodegradable or reusable tableware.
After your lunch spend an hour picking up trash around your favorite area to keep it clean and enjoyable for all.
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.
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.