To our brave service members past and present: We thank you for your service and dedication. This Memorial Day we are thinking of you and the loved ones we have lost.
With Summer approaching and fresh vegetables coming into season, we begin to plan yummy veggie dishes to share with our family and friends. Farmer’s markets begin to open, and many people will venture there to pick up their produce. However, there is another option available: growing your own vegetables. There are many ways to grow your own veggies, even if you do not have a large yard for a garden. Here are several great places you can start a garden with limited space:
Hanging organizers or up-cycling pallets can create vertical garden planters that can be hung on exterior walls or fences. These hanging gardens can help keep your outdoor area clear, and can also brighten up your outdoor space with a lush look.
Patios or Steps
If you have a small outdoor space such as a patio, terrace, porch, or steps, you can use the space by planting your vegetables in pots. Almost any vegetable can be planted in a pot. Some even do particularly well in pots, such as tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, and herbs. There are even varieties of berries that thrive in pots.
Vegetable gardens don’t need to be planted outside. Many vegetables will grow happily in a sunny window. Use long plant boxes that fit in the window to create a small veggie garden. When doing an indoor garden, stay away from vegetables like squash, since they spread as they grow and they can take over the planter. Vegetables that work best in small planters are vertically growing veggies, such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and herbs.
Many people want to grow their own vegetables, but don’t have the space to do so. To accommodate the growing demand for fresh produce, community gardens have been created. These gardens are typically on public plots of land, and you can rent a plot in the garden to plant and care for yourself. To find a community garden near you, visit the American Community Garden Association.
Enjoy all of the yummy produce, whether it’s home-grown or from a local farmer’s market!
What would happen if you only ate organic food? To answer just that the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL conducted a study on the effects of eating only organics. Watch this short video, The Organic Effect, to see the results.
The decrease in the amounts of pesticides present in the body after eating only organics is astonishing. Buying organic when possible is a great way to have less exposure to chemicals and pesticides used in conventional items. “There were a whole number of chemical removed from my kids’ bodies and I don’t want them back.”
For more information on the study and the full report, click HERE.
With Earth Day fast approaching, now is the time to start incorporating some eco-friendly ideas into your everyday life. In my search for fun ideas I came across several great ways to not only celebrate Earth Day, but keep the eco-friendly ideas going throughout the year.
- Plant a tree
- Clean up a park, lake, trail, river, beach, or other natural site
- Go for a walk
- Plant a garden
- Start a compost pile
- Make an indoor herb garden
- Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be
- Pay bills online
- Stop paper bills and bank statements
- Limit your water usage
- Reduce energy consumption
- Lower your water-heater temperature to save energy
- Visit a farmers’ market
- When shopping, bring your own reusable bags
- Ditch the plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead
- Bring your own coffee mug when visiting a coffee shop
- Check your home for water leaks
- Plan a vegetarian meal once a week
- Skip the baths and take a shower
- Take a shorter shower
- Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter to save energy
- Eliminate excess junk mail by removing yourself from unnecessary lists
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Wash laundry in cold or warm water
- Have a picnic
However you decide to spend Earth Day, be sure to try to lessen your impact on the planet by changing one thing you do. Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Sleep is a complex process, and there is a lot we don’t know or have wrong about it. The Huffington Post just published the article 3 Crazy Myths and Facts about Sleep that clears up several myths with some interesting truths about sleep.
Myth #1: Getting up at night for, say, 15 minutes just means I lose 15 minutes of sleep. Unfortunately, when life wakes you in the middle of the night, you lose way more than just those minutes out of bed. Waking to change your pajamas after a hot flash, answer the phone if you’re on call, or of course, comfort a crying baby is harder on us than we ever thought.
I’m surprised it took until 2014 to officially research this, but a first-of-a-kind study in the journal Sleep Medicine looked at the effects of sleep interruption over two nights. The first night, all the study participants slept for eight hours. Then researchers then measured their mood and ability to pay attention. Good so far.
A few nights later, the participants were split into two groups: half slept for only four hours, while the other half slept for eight hours but got woken up four times for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch. So technically, they spent at least seven hours asleep — three hours longer than the four-hour group — just interspersed with awakenings. Then everyone’s mood and attention was measured again.
Anyone who’s ever had a newborn or been on call for work knows the results: the mood and attention of folks with interrupted sleep were just as bad as those who slept for only four hours. Both groups felt depressed, irritable, and had a hard time getting going. Plus, performance on the attention task got worse the longer they kept at it. Indeed, whoever coined the term “sleep like a baby” clearly never had one.
Myth #2: My brain holds my internal clock. Yes, the master clock, technically called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, is in your brain. But almost all your organs, plus your fat and skeletal muscle, follow some sort of daily rhythm as well. Your gut, liver, and kidneys in particular have strong rhythms.
That’s why you feel so lousy when you have jet lag, and that’s why you often wake up groggy or feeling thrown off when you sleep in on the weekend: your whole body is affected.
And over the long term, throwing off your body clocks through overnight shift work, frequent jet lag, or just wacky sleep habits can put you at risk for some serious diseases, including breast cancer and colon cancer.
Circadian disruption is also thought to be a final push that sends some of those merely at risk over the edge. For example, only 30 percent of alcoholics develop liver disease. Why? Well, a 2013 study found that circadian disorganization, common in shift workers, increases “permeability of the intestinal epithelial barrier,” or in other words, a leaky gut. In the context of what the researchers called “injurious agents,” i.e., booze, a leaky gut puts folks at higher risk for liver inflammation and disease. They concluded that while there are many factors that determine whether someone with alcohol addiction develops liver disease, circadian disruption may be a swizzle stick that breaks the camel’s back.
Myth #3: If I can’t sleep, I should just wait it out… sleep will come. On the contrary, if you know you’ll be staring at the ceiling for awhile, get up. Yes, your bed is cozy and warm, but here’s why. Much like you probably associate biting into a lemon with puckered lips and Pavlov’s dog associated the bell with food, thereby salivating, you want to associate your bed with one thing: sleep (well okay, two things: I’ll let you guess the other).
When you lie in bed for more than about 15 or 20 minutes without sleeping, you start to associate your bed with wakefulness. And when you watch TV or fool around on Pinterest in bed when you can’t sleep, those too become associations with bed.
With time, bed could mean sleep, or it could also mean CSI, preschool science project pinboards, or planning your day in your head. Yes, even thinking and worrying qualify as activities you don’t want to do in bed.
So what to do? You can still do all these things, just don’t do them in bed. Get them done before you head to bed, and if you can’t sleep after 15 to 20 minutes, get up and do something non-stimulating like reading (on paper, not a tablet!) until you feel sleepy. Then try again. If you still can’t sleep, rinse and repeat: get up again to avoid associating the bed with anything but sleep and sex.
This is what behavioral psychologists call stimulus control and it’s the most effective way to combat chronic insomnia. It may take a week or two, but it’s been shown to break the bad habits that maintain insomnia. Before you know it, you’ll be so good at sleeping you’ll do it with your eyes closed!
For the full article click HERE.
Here are a few must-have organic essentials to help create a healthy sleep environment for the baby in your life!
A super-firm 780-coil innerspring assembly is covered with 100% certified organic cotton and certified organic Eco-Wool™ padding, then hand-tufted between four layers of certified organic cotton fabric. Our innerspring crib mattress offers a comfortable and truly non-compromising organic mattress that is built to last.
GOLS-Ceritfied Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress
The choice for baby when parents are concerned about dust mites or wish to give baby a metal-free bed. Our extra-firm GOLS-certified Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress offers a comfortable, solid support, and will last for years.
Both our natural rubber and innerspring crib mattresses are the purest thing to put your little love on for a nap, or hopefully a full night of rest.
To protect your baby’s organic crib mattress from the many messes that can occur, we recommend topping the mattress with our Premium Certified Organic Eco-Wool Moisture Pad and Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad.
This is a liquid-resistance barrier layer to keep any mess off your beautiful organic mattress. This pad requires only a warm-water rinse as needed (which can easily be done in a bathtub) and fresh air to dry.
Layer this on top of the wool moisture pad to offer the best combination of protection! This organic cotton flannel pad is a soft, absorbent layer, which to catches the bulk of the mess and prevents shifting liquids from wiggling, like your little one, on top of the wool pad. This more practical of the two layers is machine washable and dryable, so it can be cleaned during play time and be ready when baby is ready for nap or bedtime.
This pad is placed under the mattress to protect the underside from airborne dust or from rubbing against wood bed slats or, in the case of a crib, exposed metal springs, which can cause tearing and premature wear and tear. The underbed pad ensures years of comfortable and safe sleep.
This is the perfect blanket to help keep that snuggly baby warm. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave and offers a lightweight warmth.
Click HERE for more information on OMI and the products we have available.
Before you rush out and buy those last-minute Valentine’s gifts from the grocery store, here are a few ideas to keep your Valentine’s personal and eco-friendly.
Homemade Cards are the Best!
Use recycled paper to create a unique and one-of-a-kind heartfelt card. You can even add some flare with objects from around the house, like buttons and ribbons, or add a list of things that you love most about the person.
Choose Potted Over Cut Flowers
Chocolate Makes a Delicious Option
Skip the Restaurant
Avoid the crowds and create a delicious dinner at home together! This is a fun way to spend the evening, and you can even pick your own menu, music, and entertainment.
Pick a Unique Gift
However you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, be sure to make it special!