Articles from August 2015

6 Decorating Ideas For Your Child’s Room

It can feel impossible to keep your child’s room stylish and clean. Between changing tastes and giant, creative play messes it is hard to make a space that works for you and your child. Here are a few easy decorating tips that are inexpensive and will help your child’s room feel personalized, homey and functional.

1. Metal Letters

Spell out your child’s name along a wall with inexpensive letters found at a hardware store. Hang the letters with ribbon. Old ribbon scraps you have laying around will work great and won’t cost you anything.

2. Wall Decals

Wall decals are a simple way to add a personalized touch to a room without changing the paint or wallpaper. Vinyl decals are easy to place and come off the wall without damaging paint. They are an easy way to cater to a child’s quickly changing tastes.

6 Decorating Ideas For Your Child’s Room


3. Geometric Painting

Canvases and acrylic paint are cheap to buy at a craft store. If you don’t have strong artistic skills, HGTV notes that geometric shapes are easy and quick to paint. You can even find forms to trace. Your kids may want to do this themselves!

4. Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards add personality to the room, let kids express themselves and remind them of special times with friends and family. Let your child pick out his or her favorite pictures, mementos from special events, and art work to display on the board. Kids will enjoy big colorful pushpins to pin up their special treasures.

5. Chalkboard Paint

Are you tired of scrubbing crayon off the wall? Encourage your child’s creative side without all of the work. RealSimple recommends painting a designated space or even a whole wall with chalkboard paint so they can have a canvas as big as their imagination.

6. Cloth Storage Bins

Make picking up simple by placing several large cloth storage bins around the room. You can set them on bookshelves, in the closet or right on the floor. They come in all kinds of cute designs. Your kids will be encouraged to pick up when it is quick, easy and they know where everything goes. Open bins are a lot simpler than plastic containers with lids.

These six simple and inexpensive ideas will help create a space both you and your kids will enjoy. What are your favorite kid’s room decorating ideas? How do you let your kid’s personalize their space?


Image: “chalkboard paint!” by amy gizienski

Understanding Sleep Cycles

Understanding sleep cycles can be the key to getting sleep that is restorative. Knowing how your body functions while you are asleep and the important roles that different stages of sleep play during the night, can help you maintain a sleep schedule that is the most beneficial to your daytime health.

Understanding Sleep Cycles

Two Types of Sleep

There are two types of sleep according to Harvard Health Publications, Non-REM sleep (NREM) and REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, and is well known as the dreaming portion of sleep. NREM is separated into three stages N1 or drowsiness, N2 or light sleep, and N3 or deep sleep. The body moves in and out of these stages throughout the night, each stage varying in length as the night progresses.



N1 and N2 are the stages that transition the body into sleeping. During this time your brain waves begin to slow down and you begin to sleep, but you are still easily woken. It is during these stages of sleep that noise, or changes in the environment can waken you out of sleep.

N3 or deep sleep is when your brain slows down and your body restores physical energy. suggests that deep sleep is essential for “stimulating growth and development, repairing muscles and tissues, and boosting your immune system.” Deep sleep is needed in order to feel physically well during the day. Harvard Health Publications state that young adults spend about 20% of their sleep in deep sleep, but this amount decreases significantly as a person ages. Deep sleep occurs in approximately half hour segments and happens more often during the beginning of the night.


During REM sleep the brain becomes very active. This is when you dream.  This is also when your brain is restored so that you are able to fully function mentally. Scientist are beginning to find that REM sleep plays significant roles in memory and learning as well as restoring mood enhancing hormones. To feel mentally aware during the day it is important to get enough REM sleep. Harvard Health Publications points out that REM stages become longer and more frequent towards the morning.

Plan For a Gentle Wake Up

One tip gives for feeling better in the morning is to time your sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. You may be waking up feeling groggy if your alarm goes off during deep sleep. Depending on when you go to sleep, waking up a half an hour earlier may be more beneficial than sleeping more and waking during a deep sleep stage.

Because these sleep stages take place at different times and varying lengths throughout the night it is important to get a full night of sleep. For most adults, this is at least 7.5 hours for many adults it is more. In order to feel both mentally and physically restored and able to function optimally during the day, the body needs sufficient amounts of all cycles of sleep.


Photo “Alarm Clock 1” courtesy of Alan Cleaver


Quick Tips For Organizing Closets and Pantries

Quick Tips For Organizing Closets and Pantries

Keep your closets neat and comfy with a few quick tips.

Closets and pantries can easily become overrun with piles of clothes, mismatched shoes, outdated boxes of cereal and every other miscellaneous thing that gets stashed out of sight. Here are some easy tips and tricks to keep your closets, pantries and other hiding spaces neat and tidy.

Hanging Storage Bags

DIY Home Sweet Home shows how to free up drawer or shelf space by tacking boxes of freezer bags, sandwich bags, and other small boxes directly to the pantry door or wall.

Organize Storage Container Lids

DIY Home Sweet Home recommends attaching a wire dish rack to a plastic basket with twine or clear fishing line. Use the wire slots to keep your plastic storage container lids upright and separated. You won’t have to dig through piles of lids to find the right sized tops anymore.


Superwoman suggests placing a magnetic strip inside your closet door, medicine cabinet or even bathroom drawer. Stick bobby pins, hair clips, nail clippers and tweezers to it for easy access.

Extra Clothes Bar

This tip comes from Alex Haralson. Use rope to hang PVC pipe, a sturdy cardboard tube, or a wooden dowel for an extra bar for clothes in your closet. This is especially handy in kid’s closets so they can reach their clothes. Compression shower rods also work well for this same purpose.

Luggage Tags

Better Homes and Gardens suggests labeling bins in your closet or pantry with luggage tags. This works well for cloth bins with handles. Use a cute and colorful luggage tag to identify the items stored in each bin. Then you can find and put things away quickly and easily.

Over the Door Organizers

Pocket organizers that hang over the door in either pantries or closets are perfect for shoes, socks, tights, kitchen utensils, coupons and any other small odds and ends. Organizers with clear pockets are ideal so you can find what you are looking for right away.

A Step Stool

Place a step stool in your closet or pantry so you can reach the top shelves with ease. It is always wise to place items you don’t use regularly in the hard to reach spaces, but making it easier to get items on and off of top shelves will keep you from wasting space or ignoring useful items.

Simple, small touches can make a world of difference in your hidden places. Once you’ve organized your closets and pantry make a commitment to stick to your new system so you won’t have to organize over and over. Do you have any quick tips for organizing a closet or pantry?


Image: Cat in the Closet by Sam Lavy

How to Manage Summer Allergies

For some people allergies are a major problem in the summer. There are a few allergens that peak in the late summer months as the weather becomes hot and humid. Itchy eyes and throats, stuffy noses and coughs can all lead to sleepless nights. There are some precautions you can take against summer allergens that will help you feel better.summer allergies

Top Two Allergens

The two top summer allergens are pollen and mold. In late summer, pollen from weeds becomes a problem, especially from plants like ragweed. Mold becomes a problem in humid and rainy weather.

Avoiding Pollen

To avoid exposure to the offensive pollen, avoid using window box fans in your room because they can pull in pollen from outside. They also suggest showering or washing your hair before your go to sleep to get rid of any pollen that may have landed on you during the day. Exercise indoors on high pollen count days and when you exercise outdoors, do it in the morning when pollen counts are at their lowest. You can view your community’s pollen forecast at

Wearing a mask can also cut back the amount of allergens you inhale. WebMD suggests wearing a mask when you mow the lawn or vacuum your carpets.

Using a Neti Pot or sinus rinse to clean out pollen from your sinuses is very helpful. A Neti Pot is a tool that looks like a very small teapot that allows you to run a saline solution through your sinuses. They can be purchased at most pharmacies.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and eggs may help fight inflammation that is associated with allergic reactions.

Avoiding Mold

To avoid molds be sure to repair any leaks or water damaged areas in your home. You may also need to employ a dehumidifier if you live in a particularly moist or damp area. For small areas of mold, use a 5% bleach solution to scrub it away.

By taking a few steps to avoid exposure to typical summer allergens you can be more comfortable throughout the day and sleep more soundly at night. If these precautions don’t help improve your allergy symptoms, you may want to consult a doctor.

Photo “No273 13 Oct. 2009 Sneeze” courtesy of mcfarlandmo