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The Science and Value of Organic

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.   

The Organic Center Organic Report

For the full report click HERE.

Back to School, Easy as 1-2-3

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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.

80450 All Star Recycle SetSet-2 copy

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!

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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.

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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.

Four Ways to Help You Improve Your Sleep

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Four Ways for Improving Sleep

Environment can make a big difference in how well we sleep. One way to improve the quality of sleep is as simple as changing your bedroom. Sleep Junkie has some great tips to help make your nights more restful, including:

603967 Color matters…

The paint choice for your bedroom may seem like only a cosmetic preference, but it can really influence how well you sleep. Studies suggest that neutral colors are best for a bedroom because they provide a calming and relaxing vibe. Loud and harsh colors can actually distract and even irritate your eyes while you try to settle in for the night…If you want to redecorate, think about how the color might look or affect you as you drift off.

Darker is better for sleep…

It is important to make your room as dark as possible in order for most people to get a restful night’s sleep. To do this, you should use shades and curtains. If your room faces towards the sunrise and you don’t awake at the crack of dawn, than blackout drapes can help improve your shut eye, and eliminate pesky streetlights…The less light the more likely you are to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.”

Invest in a good, comfortable mattress…

The mattress that you choose is absolutely critical to how well you sleep… There is nothing more disturbing to your sleep than a lumpy and uncomfortable mattress.

Don’t forget the details…

There are a number of other extra things that you can incorporate into your bedroom to lull you to sleep. After you have selected a comfortable mattress be sure to include fresh sheets and a cozy comforter. All-cotton sheets keep your bed breathable and feel nice against your skin.

There are a number of things to consider when bettering your bedroom for a restful night’s sleep. Incorporating a few or all of these suggestions are sure to make your sleeping environment much more calming and relaxing.  While these things may take a few extra moments to transform your bedroom into a sleeping haven, it will be worth every minute once you realize how restful your sleep can actually be.

To read the article in full please click HERE.

Here at OMI, we can’t help rearrange your room, but we can help by providing comfortable mattresses, pillows, sheets and other accessories to help you achieve the best (and safest) night’s sleep.

Time to Get Pickin’

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All the fruits and veggies that I love are out and ready for hand picking or picking up from the local farmers market. My most loved, however, are blackberries. It just so happens that my grandparents and my best friend have a few acres of roaming wild organic blackberries that pop up every summer, this year the season came a bit earlier than usual and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Yesterday afternoon my husband, a few of our closest friends and I headed out in our sturdiest clothes and picked some of the most juicy, beautiful berries I have seen. I am excited for homemade jam, blackberry ice cream, blackberry syrup, and most importantly, blackberry cobbler.

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Make your own cobbler with this delicious recipe from www.bunsinmyoven.com.

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For the dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose organic flour

1/2 cup raw organic sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

9 tablespoons cold organic butter

1/3 cup boiling water

 dough

For the filling:

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon organic fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 cups fresh organic blackberries

1/2 cup sugar

 berries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pour in the boiling water and stir together well so that all of the dough is wet. Set aside.

For the berries, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, berries, and sugar. Mix together well. Transfer berries to a 10 inch cast iron pan.

Heat mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Drop spoonfuls of dough over the berry mixture and place the cast iron pan on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the berries are thick and bubbly.

(If you don’t have a cast iron pan, bring to a boil in a sauce pan and bake in a 9×9 baking dish.)

ENJOY!

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.

Natural Mosquito Repellants

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Summer is (almost) here, along with all of those pesky critters that seem to have been hibernating over the winter– including 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:

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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.

 vanilla

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.

 garlic

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.)

 Vinegar_Bottle

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!

 Citronella oil_lit

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.

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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!

Raw Food Cleanse

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When the springtime hits, I like to take on a challenge by doing a raw foods cleanse. With social gatherings and weddings surrounding me these days, I have shortened my usual 6 week cleanse to 3 weeks. I like to think of it as spring cleaning for my body. I thought it would be fun to share a delicious and easy raw food recipe.

If you aren’t into doing a full-on raw cleanse, this hearty, delicious green smoothie is a great way to supercharge your body with a bountiful amount of delicious nutrients. This wonderful recipe for one of my favorite green smoothies is from one of my favorite raw-food blogs: rawmazing.com

Good Morning Green Drink

Serves 2

2 cups organic spinach

1 1/2 cups organic grapes

2 organic carrots

1/2 organic cucumber

1/2″ piece of ginger

1 stalk organic celery

2 dates

handful ice

1/2 to 1 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Start with 1/2 cup water and add more to desired thickness. Blend until smooth.

I also like to add some raw protein powder and instead of water, add some coconut water for added flavor.  The best part about these smoothies is that you can easily change the ingredients to best suit what you prefer!

ENJOY!

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

    picnics

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

  1. Clean Up Litter

    E00001

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

    stock-footage-smiling-family-coloring-together-in-the-countryside

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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SpillonBed

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 $180

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 $70

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 $125

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 $235

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

My-stack-of-newspapers

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.

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