Articles from October 2011

How To Fold a Fitted Sheet

When I was newly married and setting up my house, my linen closet was immaculate. I would fold and refold towels so that they fit perfectly on each shelf. I was very meticulous, but only because I had the time to be. It was fun making the closet look like a photo shoot from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. My mom told me that when I got older I wouldn’t care how the towels were folded, I would only be glad they were all clean and in the closet. I can remember that day like it was yesterday, and here I am twenty-one years and three children later, and she was right! My closet surely doesn’t look like it used to, but the towels are clean, they’re somewhat stacked, and I am happy.

Learning how to fold bottom fitted sheets wasn’t quite as easy as the towels. It took a little more time (and patience), but I’ve had many years to practice, and even more so being in the bed linen business. I stumbled upon this great video by Jill Cooper from which demonstrates how to fold a fitted sheet. Neatly folded sheets really do save space in the closet. (I haven’t lost all of my senses – I still like a somewhat organized closet).

I hope you find this video to be helpful. Be sure to check out Jill’s website too. She has a lot of money saving tips, coupons, great recipes and more!


How to Involve Children in the Kitchen

We do not remember days,

we remember moments.

Kids are usually curious about what happens in the kitchen. As soon as they can crawl, they spend time trying to get into this forbidden realm, only to find their parents constantly blocking their paths. In the long run, though, making the kitchen the forbidden place is not in the best interest of the kids or the parents.

When children lose interest in the kitchen, they also lose the opportunity to become more independent and secure, to spend real quality time with their parents and to become healthier. So, how can parents maintain and encourage interest in the kitchen, while keeping their children safe?

One good way to start fostering an early love of cooking is by allowing babies to hang out in the kitchen while the parents cook. Parents can narrate the process and allow the kids to play with some of the safe kitchen utensils as they cook. These babies will grow thinking about the importance of the act of cooking and will also begin learning early about healthy foods.

As the kids grow into older toddlers, parents can encourage their interest in the kitchen by getting them actively involved. Older toddlers and preschoolers can wash vegetables, pour ingredients and help stir when cooking. They can help knead bread and shape cookies. These hands-on activities are especially delightful to kids. They also serve a double purpose as parents can take the time to teach the kids about the different types of foods.

Once old enough, kids can be allowed to begin actual cooking over heat, with strict parental supervision. They can even help plan meals, which will show them that their contributions to family decisions are important. Eventually, older kids can actually be in charge of completing a meal a week if they want to. This is great preparation for when they move out on their own.

The Benefits of Quality Sleep

In this fast paced world that most of us live in, trading some precious sleep in order to accomplish one more task, might sound like a good idea, until we realize the cost of doing so. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential to maintain good health, and although the actual hours of sleep needed vary by age and quality of sleep, most adults should be getting approximately eight hours of sleep every night. A solid eight hours of quality sleep can yield benefits that include a more energetic body, improved health, good mood, enhanced creativity, quicker physical reflexes, stable, healthy weight, higher work productivity, emotional stability and overall general happiness.

Even our furry friends need their rest.

Quality of sleep is very important. And since sleep works in cycles, to receive the maximum benefits, it is vital that a person spends enough time in the deep sleep and REM stages. If too little time is spent at these stages, sleep will not yield the desired benefits, no matter the number of hours spent sleeping.

The consequences of too little, low quality sleep:

Sleep deprivation is said to lead to a weakened immune system, making a person more easily susceptible to illness. It can also interfere with concentration, memory, hand-eye coordination and reflexes. In fact, people who drive in a sleep deprived state actually experience the same kind of challenges as those impaired from alcohol consumption. Not getting the right amount of sleep can also interfere with mood, as too little sleep can lead to depression. Sleeping too much can also have negative effects, one of which can be increased mortality.

Getting too little sleep creates a sleep deficit, which is the difference between the hours of sleep a person gets and the hours of sleep a person needs. Once gone, you cannot get it back, even if you plan to sleep in on weekends. The only way to prevent sleep deprivation is to practice good sleeping habits to ensure quality sleep every day.

Tips for a restful night’s sleep:

1)  Start getting ready for bed at the same time every night. Being on a sleep schedule is not only a good healthy habit, but sets the internal clock to let your body know it’s time to quit for the day.

2)  Prepare your body and mind by dimming the lights and slowing down on activities a few minutes before crawling into bed. Reading is a great way to relax your mind and body.

3)  Don’t eat before going to bed, but if you can’t avoid the craving, eat only a couple of small bites. It takes energy for your body to digest food, so if you eat before going to bed, your body is working and not resting.

4)  Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Although alcohol may make you feel tired at first, it is considered a stimulant and can cause you to wake up during the night.

5)  Try to establish a comfortable sleep environment. If you’re a person who tends to sleep cold, a heated mattress pad or electric blanket is a great investment. When you’re cold you tend to wake up more often and your body is less likely to enter the REM sleep stage. On the other hand, an air conditioner in warmer climates is very helpful in maintaining the correct body temperature.

6)  Keep your room dark until it’s time to wake up. Invest in heavy curtains or room darkening shades. The darker it is, the better you will sleep, guaranteed.

7)  If you are waking up with back or neck pain, it may be time to invest in a good mattress and/or pillow. Proper body alignment while sleeping is crucial in obtaining a restful night’s sleep, as well as to your overall physical well being.