Luckily, we’ve had a fairly mild winter throughout most of the state so far, but we all know that can change at any moment. Every seasoned Michigander knows that, even if you love the cold and fluffy white stuff, it can eventually take a toll. It brings cold and flu season, not to mention dry air, and of course ice and snow. Here are six products that can really make your winter easier.
Zoup! Bone Broth
Anyone who has ever set foot in a Zoup! location knows that the restaurant chain makes deeply satisfying savory soups. What you may not know is that the bones of those recipes, are almost literally available for purchase in grocery stores. The company makes a variety of broths including one of the world’s most popular superfoods—bone broth. Bones and connective tissue are storehouses for essential amino acids and minerals, which are lacking in many diets today. Bone Broth is an invaluable source of those critical elements as well as protein, collagen and gelatin. A cup of bone broth can help boost your immune system to ward off the bugs going around, as well as reducing inflamation, and may even aid in getting more of those essential zzzzz. The company’s veggie and chicken broths also make excellent bases for one of the season’s most essential food groups…hot bowls of savory soups.
No matter how delicious it is, putting something hot past your lips can present another challenge at this time of year though. That delicate skin takes a beating during the winter months. Dry, chapped lips are more the norm than not, but some special attention can help prevent a lot of discomfort. Healthy Body Investment makes two products that, used in tandem, can really breathe new life into lips. The smoothing sugar lip scrub can be used daily to exfoliate and remove dry skin. Then the lip conditioner can be applied, as needed, to add moisture and prevent chapping. These products are made from natural ingredients, so you can feel comfortable putting them on your mouth.
Surgeon’s Secret Lotion
As the temperature drops, so typically, does the humidity in the air, affecting more than just kips. Dry air inevitably means water evaporating from skin all over the body, leaving it flaky, itchy, cracking, and downright uncomfortable. Add to that the need to repeatedly wash our hands during cold and flu season and dry skin can becomes a winter tradition. Repeatedly washing his hands, or so the story goes, is exactly what led one Michigan doctor to create an incredibly effective moisturizer back in the 1950s. His secret ingredient was beeswax, which forms a protective barrier, which is similar to the typical effects of glycerin. However, unlike glycerin, beeswax is also believed to have strong skin healing and soothing properties, and may even act as an antibacterial agent. Jamark Laboratories in Grand Rapids has made the product popular nationally these days. You can feel comfortable washing your hands often with this product as your backup.
Stormy Kromer Cap
In addition to keeping bodies healthy, we must also strive to keep them warm. For decades moms have warned kids to wear hats so heat doesn’t escape their bodies through their heads and make them sick. Germs may be the cause of sickness, but uncovered heads are definitely a source of discomfort. Thankfully this solution comes from the U.P. (Ironwood to be exact), where they know a thing or two about battling the cold. The famous Stormy Kromer cap is a wool that was named for George “Stormy” Kromer over a hundred years ago. Kromer was a semi-professional baseball player who later worked as a railroad engineer. He lost many a hat in the wind while working on trains and finally asked his wife, Ida, to make him a warm hat that would stay on more securely. Not surprisingly she chose to modify a baseball cap into what became the Stormy Kromer hat by sewing on a pair of ear flaps. Those ear flaps are what separates these hats from nearly all others. Cold ears can really ruin even the most glorious of winter days, but if you’re wearing a Stormy Kromer, you need only pull the flaps down over your ears and comfort soon follows.
Green Glove Dryer
Warm hats and gloves or mittens are essential for winter survival of course, but even the warmest of garments will fail you if wet. Unfortunately, when flakes fall from the sky on a regular basis, wet garments are inevitable. That battle to keep things dry has plagued mothers for decades. They say necessity is the mother of invention, but it’s increasingly true that frustrated and creative mothers are literally the creators of inventions. Such is the case with Karen Smoots, inventor of the simple, practical, and purposeful Green Glove Dryer. Her clever idea was to create a series of tubes that could hold hats or gloves and then be placed over a heating vent to dry the garments. The result is an ecologically-friendly device that is being deployed in schools across the state to warm mittens up between recess and the trip home. It’s a great, affordable device to have in any home or cottage.
Snow Scoop and Roof Rake
Now that we’ve figured out how to protect ourselves, how about our homes? The Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P. averages over 200 inches of snow each year. It stands to reason then that a snow removal product created there would have to get the job done, or the company would be long gone. Silver Bear Manufacturing has been making its unique Snow Scoops for thirty years. These shovels are designed to save your time and your back, when it’s time to clear a drive or walkway. They are wide and easy to push and dump out without having to lift heavy snow and strain your back. They are also much better for the environment than snowblowers. As an added bonus, the company also makes roof rakes to help clear snow and ice from the top of your home, which if not removed regularly, can cause significant damage.
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