Monday, December 19, 2016

Tips for Helping the Whole Family Sleep Well

365/84 Bed time [Explored]Sleep deprivation can have an adverse affect on both kids and parents. As a parent or anyone who has spent time with young children, you know that when they get tired, they can get a little cranky. Although adults may not like the comparison, they too get a little irritable when they are sleep deprived. A lack of sleep can make kids and adults accident prone as well as making it difficult to concentrate at school or at work. Here are several things to look at that can help your whole family get a good night's sleep each night.
  • The Bedroom
    It's difficult to relax and feel a sense of calmness in a cluttered bedroom. Clearing the clutter and simplifying the décor can make the bedroom a more pleasant sleeping area. Some experts suggest that a bedroom be painted in soothing colors that encourage sleep. It's also difficult to sleep soundly in a room that is either too hot or too cold. Experts suggest that the ideal temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees. If noise prohibits kids from going to sleep or sleeping soundly through the night, a white noise machine could resolve that problem.
  • The Bed
    A good mattress is essential to good sleep. It's worth investing in the best non-toxic mattresses for everyone in your household. Memory foam mattresses and those with heat dissipating gel can provide a comfortable sleeping area for kids and adults. In addition to a comfortable, supportive mattress, everyone should have a high quality pillow on their bed. 
  • Routine Bedtime Stories
    Having the whole family establish a pre-bedtime ritual can help everyone go to sleep faster. This routine should start at the same time each evening. Keeping the same bedtime and wake-up time throughout the week and weekend is beneficial to the family. For everyone's benefit, you should set a technology curfew. Some studies show that watching television, using a laptop, or playing electronic games is not a good pre-bedtime activity. Bath time, followed by story time, is a good ritual for the kids. Reading prior to bedtime is also a good way for teens and adults to relax.
When every family member gets a sufficient amount of sleep, there's likely to be less conflict among siblings and less stress for parents.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trampolines for Fun and Exercise

Children and adults love to jump and bounce, sometimes for hours, for play and exercise. Trampolines are a fantastic way to stay healthy and fit. With many new technological advancements, they have become safer than ever before. We don't see many trampolines without strong reinforced nets for safety, but  here are a few safety innovations you may not have heard of.
  • Springfree trampolines have eliminated the traditional spring system and offer a wider jumping surface and a softer bounce. 
  • The AlleyOOP Double Bed is actually two trampolines. You can bounce on the top bed, and the second bed is eight inches below. When the bottom bed engages, it takes stress off knees and joints and creates a much softer and more controlled bounce. A great deal of the kickback force of the top bed is removed and offers less displacement when there are multiple jumpers. 
  • A Surestep Trampoline Ladder is easy to assemble and is non-permanent, so that it can be removed easily in order to limit access to the trampoline. In addition to having lasting weather protection, the two-step ladder fits most trampolines between 33 inches and 37 inches tall and has large, flat platform steps.
With safety taken care of, it's time to explore the playfort accessories for even more enjoyment.  Here are a couple that look fun:

  • A Pro Flex Basketball Hoop is designed specifically to be used with AlleyOOP Safety Enclosures. It attaches securely and comes with a reinforced full-size backboard, a cushioned hoop, heavy-duty hardware, and a five-inch inflatable basketball.
  • An Outback Tent can be used for daytime adventures or sleepovers. Made specifically for AlleyOOP and JumpSport Sports Safety Enclosures on 12 to 14 foot round trampolines, this giant 11-feet-across and 5.5 feet high tent has a netted/screened zippered door and three windows, a full floor, and attaches easily to the Safety Enclosure in under five minutes. No poles are used; the tent uses bungee cords that are suspended to the bottom and top of the enclosure.
Check out Play N Learn’s Playground Superstores for a wonderful selection of the safest trampolines on the market that will give many hours of fun to enthusiasts of all ages.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rules of the Aisles

I don't like shopping very much at any time, but it's particularly crazy this time of year.  There are so many people in the stores.  It's practically impossible to get from Point A to Point B, grab the things I need and get out of there.

So now's as good a time as any - probably a really good time - to ask:

When you meet up with someone in the store aisle, which way do you move so that you can get past each other?

To me it seems obvious - move to the right. The same way you'd move if you were on the road driving. I asked this question the other day and had at least one person wondering if that's a rule in the store aisles.  Is it?  Does it need to be an actual rule? What about common sense and trying to help traffic flow through the store so that we can all get in, get our shopping done, and get on with our lives? While avoiding that awkward dance where both parties move in the same direction, and then in the other direction - back and forth until someone finally stops or makes a dash for it.

But why do they seem to always choose to move to the left first? Isn't it ingrained in those of us who drive to move to the right? In my mind, these are the same people who always insist on walking on the right-hand side of the road with the traffic, but somehow that doesn't follow them into the store.

Mostly I just avoid the awkward dance. I move to the right - because that's the only logical thing to do, and I can't do otherwise - and then just stay put until the other person goes around me.  And I do a lot of extra walking - looking for the empty aisles to walk down instead of fighting through the people-clogged aisles if I don't need anything in those particular aisles and am just trying to get from one side of the store to the other. If there are any unclogged aisles...

There's nothing as frustrating as not being able to move. Or get where I need to go. So many of these people seem to be in no hurry whatsoever, and they really seem absolutely unaware that there is anyone else in the store with them. The question of which way to move probably never even crossed their minds, because why would they ever need to move over. Or move forward at anything greater than a snail's pace?

I think I'll just stay home until this insane season is over. Or forever. Aren't there services that deliver groceries now? Or at least bring them to your car after you order them online.  That sounds nice. Maybe I'll check that out...

Friday, December 09, 2016

Why Making Your Bed Daily is Important

As a child, your parents may have nagged you to make your bed each day. While this may have been annoying at the time, it turns out that making your bed every day has many benefits. Here are a few of them:

  • You'll Develop Good Habits
    If there are areas of your life where you would like to improve discipline, such as curbing spending or exercising more, making your bed at the same time every day may actually help you achieve these goals. According to some mental health experts, a simple habit change can become a practice that you can build on to improve in other areas of your life.
  • You'll Improve Your Living Space
    Most people are happiest when they are living in an attractive, clean environment. Taking a few minutes each day to make your bed can greatly improve the way your bedroom looks, something that can have a positive effect on your mental state.
  • You'll Sleep Better
    You probably already know about the importance of getting a good night's sleep. One way that you can improve the quality of your sleep is making sure that your bed is inviting and comfortable. When you don't make your bed, it's easy for your sheets and blankets to get tangled up and even soiled due to pets or kids sitting on your sheets. It can also be frustrating to have to quickly make up your bed when you are already tired.
    When your bed is all ready for you at the end of the day, bedtime becomes a time for relaxation. This makes it easier for you to go to sleep and get the rest you need.
  • Your Mattress will be Protected
    If you are the kind of person who insists on sleeping on the best natural mattress, such as those sold by Health Rest Mattresses & Pillows, you probably want to protect your investment. By making your bed each day, you help to minimize damage because your mattress is fully covered with bedding, which is typically much less expensive to replace than the mattress itself. (I would also suggest a good waterproof or water-resistant mattress pad.)
Raise your hand (or comment) if you make your bed every day.  I do!  Well, most days...

Before and After

Beth Cleans
I always clean the house before we have company (or family) visit. Even though I know that it won't be long after they've arrived - especially if they're staying for a while - that it will be pretty much impossible to tell that I even tried cleaning the place up. But I just can't help myself. I have to clean first, and I know I'll have to do it all over again once they've left.

That's exactly what happened over Thanksgiving weekend. I had the house all cleaned up. It was actually looking pretty good. And then an extra dozen people dropped in for the weekend. Not that I'm complaining because they were all family, and it was awesome having them here.  -- They should come more often. --
But, wow - things just kind of exploded, and all the evidence of my cleaning disappeared. (Amazingly enough, it's exactly the same when it's just my kids here; it does not seem to be proportionate to the number of people in the house. Or else it's my kids and other people are perfectly neat. Hmmm... I'll have to think about that one.)

Anyway, if only I could restrain myself and just save the cleaning for after they leave...  Well, for everything except the bathrooms. Bathrooms must always be cleaned.

Anyone else?