Sofia’s Clean Summer Fun

School’s out and summertime – which officially starts next week – is heating up. The kids are reveling in summertime fun, splashing in pools, cutting loose at and delighting in family adventures. Meanwhile, you’re searching for ways to keep them entertained, fill their downtime, and probably noticed that summer fun means a bit more mess in the house. Here are some of our favorite tips for enjoying the dog days of summer (and keeping dirt at bay).

Get Outdoors

The more time that you can spend outside the house means that means is more likely to stay outside. So here are some ways to keep the fun (and the mess) outdoors. 

Water it Down

Skip the water park crowds and transform your backyard into your very own water playground. If you have enough space in the yard, inflatable pools are a game changer to every kid (and hold up surprisingly well these days). Don’t have space for a full pool? Check out these inflatable water slides and toys instead – some are actually better for smaller kiddos who are still learning to swim. And never underestimate the sheer joy that a simple hose and sprinkler can provide to kiddos during the dog days of summer. To decrease in-house drippage, keep a basket of towels just outside the door.

 

Sweet Sips

Skip sodas and make batches of fresh juice. Some of our favorite cooling indulgences are watermelon aqua fresca, strawberry lemonade with fresh basil, and – of course – a classic, refreshing lemonade. And then there’s Will Frolic for Food’s ultra-hydrating Watermelon Coconut Aloe Juice that is just about the best thing you can put into your body during the summer (except for plentiful H20, of course). 

 

Cool Eats

When it comes to snack time, look to the sweet bounty of summer’s seasonal produce. A perfect blend of simple, healthy and fresh, summer melons, berries, squash, tomatoes, and sweet corn are the staples of summer meals. Bonus, often you can whip up a fantastic snack with little to no time behind the stove. Need some sweet and savory inspiration? Camille Styles, one of our favorite lifestyle gurus, shows us the delicious diversity of hydrating watermelon hydrating watermelon. Or grill up one of Bon Appetit’s must-eat summer recipes (that tomato pie is calling our name…). 

Skip processed frozen treats this summer and opt for healthier, homemade popsicles. Have the kids help you to make their favorites and when it comes time to snack, you can feel better knowing they won’t go into sugar shock.

Photo: Camille Styles

 

Summer Adventures

Make a summer bucket list of family-friendly outings. Take a painting class. Check out a new library program. See a new museum exhibit. Have a picnic at a local park. Catch an IMAX movie. Take a trip to a nearby farm or zoo. Grab an Instagram-worthy ice cream cone from a local creamery. It can be kind of fun being a tourist in your own city and gives the whole family together time outside of the house. Backyard adventures include treasure hunts in the garage, a garden party, or pitching a tent for a backyard campout.

Then, there’s the obligatory summer road trip. Packing up the car, hitting the road and heading to a lakefront campground (or boutique hotel for the less outdoorsy) is a quintessential summer pastime. Make a killer playlist, pack a picnic basket (and activity kits for any kiddos) for the car, and hit the road on your next adventure. 

Summer Readings

Summer is the perfect time to use longer days to steal back a bit of time for yourself. Whether you’re using a book club recommendation, the NY Times summer reading list or asking a local bookstore for recommendations, there’s a whole world of wonder at your fingertips. Go old-fashioned with the simple pleasure of reading. Shut off social media, slow down and savor an escape into another story for a bit.

Summer Cleaning

With all the time spent outdoors, you’re likely going to be cleaning more than the winter months. Summer fun brings not-so-fun messes like grass stains, tracked dirt, wet towels, dirty grilling tools on a seemingly daily basis. But don’t like mess ruin the breezy summer days – this is totally manageable. Create a standing summer chore list gets the house in a habitual routine while school is out. Easy tasks to get the kids to do are cleaning up bedrooms, organizing legos and toys, tiding laundry. Make outdoor chores like washing cars, toys, bikes or letting them pull weeds as they search for earthworms. When it comes time to clean, Sofia’s Soy Cleaner easily wipes up dirt and mud from all surfaces. Break out the hydrogen peroxide to whiten earth-sodden laundry and easily wipe up tracked in dirt and mud. 

Essentially Sofia’s: Plant-Powered Cleaning with Essential Oils

Is there anything more satisfying than sitting back with a well-earned glass of wine on Sunday afternoon relaxing in a clean, fresh-smelling house? We agree. That’s why we sharing a little Sofia’s plant-powered secret with you: essential oils. Now, obviously, we haven’t invented essential oils (we were a bit preoccupied inventing an amazing green cleaner, after all). Essential oils are an age-old homeopathic remedy for nearly everything. But, we started playing with a DIY aromatherapy meets cleaning technique that amplifies all the satisfaction feels – and we’re here to share.

Let’s start with the essentials – the oil essentials that is.

Not all oils are created equal.

Extracted directly from plants, essential oils are natural concentrations of plant fragrance. They are perfectly safe and offer a variety of mood and health benefits. Our preferred brand is DoTerra because we think their purity and high-concentration oils are the best bang for your buck. Whatever brand you decide, here are the cardinal rules when shopping for oils:

  • Buy only organic, non-gmo brands
  • Buy brands that source their plants from their native regions (and aim for sustainability when possible)
  • Avoid any brands that have warning labels

Do keep in mind that while essential oils are safe, over-consumption can have health and environmental impacts.

The Bedroom

Lavender is a natural source of zen with calming qualities perfectly suited to creating a clam, serene bedroom. Floral, without being cloying, it’s a subtle way to soothe and relax your mind. We mix a drop into our bedding wash and use a spray bottle to mist oil infused water (just a couple drops to one part water) on linens. When it comes to the [hard] floors, we combine a couple drops of lavender oil with warm water and Sofia’s Soy Cleaner and give it a quick, simple mop.

Want to spice it up? Exotic scents create a subtle seductiveness. Ylang Ylang, lotus, cardamom, and jasmine are some that come to mind. The oil-infused linen mist trick is a great way to add some warmth to your room. Another way to use oils in the bedroom is as an antimicrobial mattress spray. Good oils for this are eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree and rosemary (in any combination you like).

Furniture Care

Essential oils not only smell wonderful but also add richness to wood furnishings when used appropriately. A particularly lovely mixture is lemon, sweet orange, and a wood-based oil like cedarwood, eucalyptus or myrhh. Combine a drop or two in a small spray bottle with Sofia’s all-purpose cleaner and wipe down dusty surfaces with a clean cloth. Be careful not to saturate the wood with oil, less is more when cleaning furniture.

Kitchen & Bathroom

We love a combination of a bright citrusy oil, an herbaceous oil such as oregano, coriander or basil, and a disinfecting oil like tea tree, eucalyptus or black pepper. Of note, black pepper oil was reported effective against several problem bacteria including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, e. coli, and salmonella. Simply mix a couple drops of each oil of choice with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner and grease, grime and germs will be gone in no time – leaving a fresh scent and luxurious shine.

A trick to mitigating food odors in the kitchen is to create a pan diffuser of sorts. Boil water on the stove, then reduce to a simmer. Add a few drops of oils (either a fresh citrus or floral scent or a warm scent like cinnamon or cardamom) and infuse the room with neutralizing aroma.

Keep a bottle of your favorite scent in the bathroom to add to lotion, body wash or shampoo. Here is a good breakdown of the health benefits of various oils.

Disinfecting

Tea tree and lemon oils are natural cleansers and antibacterial oils. Mixing a few drops with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner gives you double the protection with the added benefit of clean shine and clean scent. Since our soy cleaner is safe and all0purpose, you can use it to disinfect every room in the house. If you’re cleaning the kiddos toys, lavender oil has shown to have some antimicrobial properties and is mild enough for children.

Pest Control

You don’t need Sofia’s for this, but we wanted to share none-the-less. Essential oil blends are brilliant pest repellents. You can deter bugs easily and naturally with tea tree oil, peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus. Either apply directly onto skin or soak cotton balls then place into a jar to set on tables near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sofia’s Guide to Surviving the Flu

Surviving the flu is rough. Most people are taken out for 7 to 10 days of sheer pain and suffering unless you’re lucky enough to get a mild version. Not only is it painful to endure, but keeping the rest of the house healthy when someone has the flu is challenging for us all. And, as evidenced by one of Sofia’s own – flu season is not over yet. In that [sickly] spirit, we thought we’d share some of her favorite tricks for trying to stay as healthy as possible when you’re an incubus of viral plague (related, watching Devil Wears Prada is also advised).

Designate your Sick Space

If you, like most of us, live in a house with other humans – you want to limit their exposure to your sick germs. To the extent that you can, make your bed your healing haven. We like to make “sick boxes” that are filled with the essentials to keep in the sick room. Water, meds, crackers, cough drops, vitamins, kleenex, hand sanitizer – whatever you need to get you through the day – go into the basket for easy access from the bed. As dull as lying on your back for seven days can be, flu is highly contagious, and it’s essential to avoid the common areas to the best of your ability.

Disinfecting

If you live alone, this is less important and can arguably wait until you can get up with ease. But, if you live with others, disinfecting daily is necessary to limit exposure. Wash hands frequently or use anti-bacterial sanitizer prior to touching shared objects like remotes, computers and door handles. Keep a spray bottle of a hydrogen peroxide solution and a few paper towels handy (hello, sick box) and spray surfaces immediately after touching them to disinfect. Follow our guide to thoroughly sanitizing after the flu once you’re well.

Eat Well

Did you know that your body burns significantly more calories when you have a fever? On average, with each 0.5 increase in body temp your basal metabolic rate increases approximately seven percent. This is great for weight loss, but not so great for fighting infection. Sustenance gives your body the strength to kick the flu, even though it can be hard to eat anything. Hopefully, you have a caretaker or a friend who can whip up soup or rice both of which are easy enough to eat and reheat. Smoothies are another great way to get quick, easy energy and nutrition into your body. Throw what fruits and veg you have on hand (bonus if you have protein powder) with some nut butter and coconut water and – voila, drinkable lunch. If you really can’t make any effort – either to cook or to chew – a sleeve of Saltine crackers could be your lifesaver. It should go without saying that you need plenty of fluids. We’re fans of putting gallons of water or the entire water pitcher in the sick room to limit trips to the fridge.

Delivery

If you live in an area with delivery services, now is the time to pay for convenience. Not only can it be physically challenging to walk around with high fevers and body aches, but you also shouldn’t be exposing others to your germs. Urban centers will likely have some delivery option for prepared food, groceries and even pharmacies. Have soup, smoothies or groceries delivered if feasible – it’ll be the best $10 delivery charge you’ve ever spent. If delivery services are unavailable, arrange for a friend or family member to drop off some supplies at the doorstep (repay the kindness with a nice meal or bottle of wine once you’re on the mend).

Breathe Easy

A humidifier can do wonders to help you breathe during the flu. If you don’t already have one, you can find them easily on Amazon Prime. Vick’s even makes a line of humidifier that retail for $14 – $60 and are fantastic for those sick days. They will help you breathe a bit better as well as ease that cough some. Bonus: double up with a HEPA-approved air purifier to remove germs from the air and get to feeling better quickly. If it is possible, keep a window open in the sick room to circulate fresh air into the room (and allow some germs to escape).

Pain Relievers

Unfortunately, you have little choice than to ride the flu out (often from the flat of your back). Body, joint, and skin pain; potentially severe headaches; a sore throat and cough; and high fever are all common with the flu. These symptoms vary per person and can range from mild to miserable to absolutely debilitating. When body pain is at its worst, walking can feel next to impossible. Sleep, which is essential, might also be evasive due to pain. Here are the best pain relievers to help make the best out of a bad situation.

  • Fever, Body and Joint Pain – Tylenol or Ibuprofen reduces temperature for temporary relief. A cold compress on your head and neck can also provide some comfort through the high fever.
  • Sore Throat – Traditional Medicinal makes a great sore throat tea called throat coat which can help ease some pain there. Bonus, combine it with a green tea for antioxidants.
  • Stuffy Nose – DoTerra makes a fantastic oil called breathe which is helpful with any congestion. Tea Tree Therapy makes a fantastic chest rub full of essential oils that not only soothes respiratory symptoms but is also antimicrobial.
  • Keep Coconut or Vitamin E oil in the sick box to rehydrate and soothe irritation from blowing your nose.

Those are Sofia’s suggestions for surviving the flu. Hopefully, you will manage to escape the flu this year, but if not – then we wish you a quick recovery.

 

 

Akron-area startup aims to fill Walmart stores with household cleaner aimed at millennials – Akron Beacon Journal

Tom Wolski wants to see Sofia in Walmart.

More specifically, he wants the soy-based household cleaner he developed, Sofia’s Soy Cleaner, on the shelves of the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer.

Wolski, a 60-year-old Fairlawn resident, appears to be well on his way to fulfilling that dream, with selling to the 80-million-strong millennial generation as his primary goal. He is newly returned from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s once-a-year, invitation-only Open Call program, where hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch to place their made-in-the-U.S.A. products into Walmart stores across the nation.

Read More Here: http://www.ohio.com/business/akron-area-startup-aims-to-fill-walmart-stores-with-household-cleaner-aimed-at-millennials-1.782010