Tips for Cleaning Trouble Spots in Your Bedroom

tips for cleaning trouble spots in your bedroomIt is time for spring cleaning! This is the time of year when everyone starts to dream about getting organized and deep cleaning neglected areas of the house.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you will finish and have time to be outside in warmer weather.

The bedroom is a great place to start for spring cleaning. It often gets neglected while other more visible areas of the house are more routinely cleaned. You may find a few trouble spots as you freshen your room. Here are a five tricks to help you out.

WD-40 for Crayon

Young children in the house almost always means crayon will end up somewhere other than paper. When you find crayon on your wall or just about any other surface, Real Simple recommends spraying a little WD-40 over it and then rubbing it with a cloth.

Walnut for Wood

This tip also comes from Real Simple. Wood floors in your bedroom easily collect small scratches. These scratches can be hidden by rubbing shelled walnuts into them.

Lemon to Remove Hard Water Stains

This tip doesn’t necessarily apply to your bedroom, but if you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, it is too good to leave out.  An article from Broccoli Cupcake suggests that all you need to do is cut a lemon in half and rub it on the hard water stains. Then rinse and your fixtures will look as good as new.

Carpet Stain Remover

When you discover old stains on your carpet try this trick for pulling them out. Picklee recommends mixing equal parts ammonia and hot water. Pour the mixture over the stain. Cover the area with a clean white towel. Then iron the towel. The stain will lift from the carpet into the towel.

Carpet Freshener

Once your carpet is nice and clean you may want to freshen it a bit to remove old odors. This is especially helpful if you have pets. One Good Thing shares this homemade powder for freshening your carpets: Combine 1/2 cup each of baking soda and borax then add 20 drops of essential oils such as lavender or a teaspoon of spices like cinnamon. One Good Thing warns to use oil instead of spice if you have light colored carpet. Shake this mix evenly over the carpet. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then vacuum.

These five tips can help you tackle your spring cleaning. Have fun rejuvenating your home starting with the bedroom. Do you have any household cleaning tips to share?

Photo “My Green Cleaning Kit” courtesy of go_greener_oz’s

5 Things Every Teenager’s Bedroom Needs

Is your teenager ready to graduate into a more grown up room? Redecorating can be a fun time of bonding for you and your teen. Just be sure to listen to their ideas and allow them some space to create, even if it isn’t exactly your taste. If you are ready to help your teenager decorate their room, here are 5 things to make sure you include.

Help your teenager create their dream room!

Help your teenager create their dream room!

Bookshelf

The best way to encourage teenagers to read is to make books accessible. Having a place to keep their favorites right in their room will make it easy to grab a book, relax and read. Over time having a bookshelf in their room rather than a TV will help develop healthier life long habits.

Desk

Teenagers have plenty of homework to do, but they also need space to be creative. A desk in their room will provide quiet and private space where your teenager do homework, journal, or do art. If you choose to let your teenager have a computer in their room, make sure you know how they are spending their time on it.

Their Own Touch

Decorating the room is a perfect way to give teenagers some independence and ownership. Give your teenager a budget and let them choose paint colors, bedding and other decor. If your teenager is into art, have some of their own work framed to hang in their room. Allowing your teenager to have some say in their room decor may help them take ownership and even keep their room clean.

Storage

Teenagers can accumulate plenty of clothes, awards, pictures and other items they may want to display or stash away. Under the bed boxes, shelves, drawers and other ways to store items will help keep their room from getting cluttered.

Cool Lighting

An easy to reach bedside lamp will also encourage reading and is convenient to have. Adding a fun light fixture can be an inexpensive way to add personality to the room. Even a string of christmas lights can add character and make the room warm and inviting.

A room redo is the perfect time to let your child’s creative abilities shine. Help them create a space they love. Not only is redecorating a room fun, but a good opportunity to let your teenager exercise their decision making skills. What do you think a teenager’s room absolutely needs?

 

Image: “Turquoise Bedroom” by PoshSurfside.com

Sleep Apnea: Causes and Effects

If you are suffering from excessive drowsiness during the day, but you went to bed early and woke up late, there may be a hidden cause. Sleep apnea momentarily stops breathing, arousing a sleeper briefly many times throughout the night. While these moments of awakening may go unnoticed during the night, the resulting sleepy feeling during the day may indicate a problem.  According The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), sleep apnea effects more 18 million Americans and many of the sufferers remain undiagnosed.

Two Types

There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common type, occurs when the soft palate in the throat prohibits air from passing normally.  Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain failing to signal the body to breathe. Central sleep apnea is rare, but serious.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs for a number reasons. Muscles in the throat that are relaxed from alcohol use, sleep inducing drugs, and smoking can cause the airway to become obstructed. People over 40, men, and those who are overweight are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

Indications and Side Effects

Mayo Clinic discuses some indications that you may have experienced sleep apnea during the night including; constantly feeling tired, loud snoring, waking with the feeling of a very dry mouth,  a morning headache, insomnia, and the physical experience of interrupted breathing during the night.  If you feel like any of these indications are regularly effecting your daily life you should seek help from a doctor. Sleep apnea can also have the serious side effect of increased blood pressure. People who suffer from sleep apnea may be more at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Treatments

Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the determined cause. Some suffererssleep apnea may be able to make a lifestyle change such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or refraining from alcohol several hours before sleep. According to WebMD mild sufferers of sleep apnea may be fitted with a mouthpiece to be worn at night that holds the jaw so that the airway cannot be blocked. Mayo Clinic suggests the most common and usually most effective treatment is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machine. This machine keeps the airway open by placing a mask over the nose that puts a small amount of pressure on the airway, preventing it from becoming blocked.

Sleeping Better

Sleep apnea may be interfering with your healthy night of sleep. If you suspect a problem, get help. There are many ways a professional can help you sleep well and feel better!

 

Photo “comfortable mask at cpap central” courtesy of Rachel Tayse

What is Satin?

Satin, rather than being a type of fiber, is a type of weave. It is the weave that creates the characteristic shiny look and the incredibly smooth feel of satin. Satin is typically woven from silk, polyester, or other synthetic material.

The Weave

To understand how satin works, it is important to know how materials are woven. WiseGeek.com describes two important terms, warp and weft.  satinThe warp strands run vertically and the weft strands run horizontally. There are many different ways to weave together the warp and weft strands to create different feels and appearances. In a regular weave, the warp and weft strands are woven singly, one over the top of each other. In a satin weave, at least four warp strands must be woven over the top of every weft strand. This is called “floating.” Floating the four strands gives the material a very smooth feel and one shiny side.  This smooth, silky feel, makes satin sheets perfect for hot summer nights,  making your bed a cool, and comfortable. This weave also makes satin sheets very durable.

 

Silk vs. Synthetic

Wikipedia explains that the most commonly known silk comes from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. Silk must be harvested and transformed into fibers in a process that is very involved. This is usually reflected in its price, silk being much more expensive than many other fibers.

Satin sheets made of silk are usually very expensive and also difficult to care for. As a natural fabric, silk is prone to shrinking and can be easily discolored. For this reason, they most often must be dry cleaned. According to Doityourself.com, polyester and other synthetic satin can usually be washed on the gentle cycle, with cold water in your washing machine. They can also be dried on low or no heat settings in your dryer.  This ease of care, and lower cost make polyester satin sheets more feasible for everyday use.

Luxury

Satin sheets or even a satin comforter can give your bedroom a luxurious look and feel. They can also give you a cool and comfortable night of sleep. With the availability of synthetic satin sheets, there are a number of affordable options, so you can enjoy luxury satin in your home.

 

Photo “Purple Satin Fabric” courtesy of Sherrie Thai

Now is the Time for Leafy Greens

Spring is the perfect time to either grow leafy greens or find them fresh in supermarkets and farmers markets. It is important for your health to take advantage of these delicious vegetables. Eating the proper amounts of vegetables have a variety of benefits for your health, but the often overlooked green, leafy vegetables have particular advantages.

Now is the time for Leafy GreensEating the right amount of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. It can lower blood pressure and possibly even prevent cancer. According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who are 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day had a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Phytonutrients

The Colorado State University Extension discusses that leafy greens are particularly special because they contain phytonutrients along with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, and fiber.  Phytonutrients act as antioxidants which prevent both cancer and heart disease.

Diabetes

Vegetarian-nutrition.info points out that the high magnesium and low glycemic index found in greens helps prevent type 2 diabetes. The article states “An increase of 1 serving/day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of diabetes.”

Salads

Iceberg lettuce is one of the most common greens eaten in the United States. While it is a healthy way to curb an appetite, it does not contain the high levels of nutritious vitamins that darker green, leafy vegetables have. Spinach, mesclun, and romaine lettuce, are good alternatives to iceberg lettuce for salads.

Sautéed

Other leafy greens are a good source of nutrition and can be sautéed and served as a side dish. Swiss chard is a beautiful leafy green with bright red ribs and veins that is high in nutrients. Beet greens, turnip greens, and collard greens are other greens that are delicious cooked.

Cool Weather Crops

Most greens grow in cool weather and are readily available in the fall and spring. In mild climates they can be grown all winter long. When other fresh vegetables are hard to come by, greens are in their prime.

A healthy lifestyle that includes a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly greens, can lead to overall improved health. Feeling better can help you sleep better and conversely sleeping better can help you feel better. This cycle makes it important to eat well and rest well!

 

Photo “Swiss Chard Rainbow” courtesy of eflon.

3 Reasons Bamboo Sheets Are Great For Summer

Are you looking for the perfect hot weather sheets to keep you comfortable during summer nights? There are three reasons you should consider using bamboo sheets instead of traditional cotton blends.

Bamboo is also a sustainable material.

Bamboo is also a sustainable material.

1) Wicking

Bamboo fibers have natural properties that wick moisture away from your body. Bamboo sheets will help you feel dry when you sweat during the night. Wicking also reduces the humidity around your body. Water in the air conducts hot or cold quickly so that it is difficult to regulate your body temperature. By reducing the moisture in the air around your body you can stay cooler on a warm night. Moisture wicking also eliminates the discomfort of feeling damp.

2) Anti-Microbial

Bamboo fibers have natural bacteria fighting properties. Bacteria and germs just can’t hang around in these sheets.According to eHow, in 2003 the China Industrial Testing Center did a study that placed bacteria on bamboo sheets. In 24 hours the sheets were 99% bacteria free. This special quality means you don’t have to wash bamboo sheets as often as cotton sheets and you don’t have to use really hot water to get rid of any bacteria. This reduces the amount of wear and tear on the sheets so you can keep them longer.

3) Insulating

Bamboo sheets are great insulators. Hot or cold temperatures outside of the bed will move slowly between the fibers towards your body. With materials that are good insulators your body temperature is preserved so you can stay warm on a cold night and cool on a hot night.

In addition to these three very practical reasons for using bamboo in the summer, bamboo fabric is also very soft and smooth. Everyone wants soft and comfortable sheets for a good night’s rest no matter what the temperature.

Finding the right sheets so that you can sleep well can make a big difference in your overall health and well being. Sleeping well will reduce stress and improve productivity. Don’t let a hot summer leave you feeling worn out and stressed. Use bamboo sheets to feel comfortable even when temperatures soar. How do you keep your bedroom cool in the summer?

Image: “Bamboo Shining” by TheBusyBrain

Should you be counting sheep?

Can occupying your mind with sheep help you fall asleep?

Can occupying your mind with sheep help you fall asleep?

 

Have you ever laid in bed watching the minutes tick by, knowing the alarm is set for early in the morning and you just can’t drift off? Counting sheep is a timeless suggestion to help you fall asleep, but where does it come from and does it really help?

The History

Sheep counting may go back to very early shepherds. These shepherds would have needed to literally count their sheep to make sure they were all safe before they could go to sleep.

Why it Doesn’t Work

Sleep specialist Michael Decker PhD, says that counting actually activates parts of the brain that processes information. Putting this part of the brain to work may stimulate you rather than help you fall asleep.

Alternatives

Other studies suggest you should try a different method.  A study performed by Oxford researchers that found people who were told to visualize a relaxing scene such as a beach, waterfall or walk in the woods fell asleep on average twenty minutes faster than those who were given no instruction.

The idea is that you can occupy your mind with something relaxing so that you are not thinking about tasks, relationships or other worries that might cause stress instead of help you fall asleep. These relaxing scenes are enough to keep you busy without stimulating your brain.

Try Again

If you can’t fall asleep after thirty minutes, you should get up. Move to a different room and read or listen to relaxing music until you feel sleepy. Then return to bed and try again. Try not to read or do other activities in bed. Doing so can help train your body to stay awake in bed.

Worth a Try

While the research shows counting sheep may not be the best option for drifting off to sleep, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. Picturing relaxing scenes or counting sheep will not have any of the side effects of sleeping pills or other medications.

If your insomnia is not severe or it is related to a short terms stress, feel free to try any at home tricks to help you drift off. However, if your sleeplessness is interfering with your day to day activities, counting sheep certainly won’t help. See a doctor so that you can get some rest and feel healthy again.

 

Image: Counting Sheep by Amen Clinic

Preparing a Nursery

There are so many exciting plans and preparations when welcoming a new baby into a home. One of the most fun projects can be decorating a nursery. With so many options available it can also be overwhelming. Here are a few tips and ideas to create a fun nursery you and your baby will love.

preparing a nurseryStyle and Colors

As you start out, you should choose a style you enjoy and that is comfortable for you. Your baby probably won’t have an opinion about the decor for a few more years. Choose colors and patterns that you like. Many colors beyond the traditional pastel pinks and blues are popular right now. Try combinations like grey and orange, neutral browns and greens, and bright orange and turquoise.

Lighting

Plan several options for lighting. There will be times you want the nursery to be bright and to encourage play. Other times you will want the nursery dim and quiet. Be sure to find soft lamps to accompany any overhead lighting.

Framed Art

Babies love to look at pictures; faces, bold shapes and patterns in contrasting colors are particularly stimulating. You can easily cut pictures out of old story books, use patterned scrapbook paper, or blow up pictures of family and frame them to hang on the nursery wall. Bulletin boards are also fun to hang up pictures of friends, family, special places, and cards.

Decals

Wall decals are particularly popular right now. They are an easy way to add a personal touch to a wall. They are also removable once your child becomes old enough to want something different.

Mobiles

Mobiles are also an attractive addition that can stimulate your baby in the crib or on the changing table. There are all kinds of do it yourself mobile ideas available, like using colorful pictures from magazines cut into shapes and strung on fishing line or colorful ribbon. BabyMobile.com offers some mobile safety tips to keep in mind as you craft your mobile.

Just Right for You

Ultimately, your baby’s nursery should be just right for you and your family. Make sure you have everything you need easily accessible, from diapers to bedtime stories. Invest in comfortable and safe furniture and decorations. Sleepless nights might be more bearable when you are cuddling your baby in a room you love.

Photo “Baby’s Nursery” courtesy of Caleb Zahnd

 

6 Ways to Save Energy in Your Bedroom

5 Ways to Save Energy in Your Bedroom

There are many ways that you can reduce your energy bill for your home. Here are six simple things you can do just in your bedroom to save a bit on energy costs.

1) Close Your Blinds During the Summer

Keep all window coverings closed during the hottest parts of the day. Keeping out the light will help retain cooler temperatures. Likewise, in the winter, opening up the blinds on a sunny day can help warm the house. Thick window coverings will also insulate the house from either hot or cold temperatures.

2) Close Your Closet

You do not need to heat or cool your closet. Keeping the door shut to prevent your heating and cooling systems from working to regulate temperature in spaces that don’t need to maintain a comfortable environment. You will see the most significant difference when your closet is on an outside wall.

3) Don’t Block Vents

To help heating and cooling systems work more efficiently, move any furniture that may be blocking vents. Vents that allow the air to flow freely will be more effective at heating and cooling your home.

4) Use Your Fan

Ceiling fans use significantly less energy than a central heating or cooling system. Running your fan will allow you to turn up the temperature on your thermostat while still staying cool. Did you know you can also use fans during the winter? Most fans have a switch that changes the direction of the fan. Fans should run slowly and clockwise during the winter to keep warm air circulating.

5) Use Insulated Bedding

Bedding that acts as insulators such as wool or down will help you stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These insulators trap the air around your body preventing hot air from seeping out in the summer and warm air from escaping during the winter. If you have bedding that keeps your body temperature comfortable, you can adjust the thermostat so that your heat and air don’t run as often during the night.

6) Unplug Electrical Devices

Do you have a computer, TV, stereo and other appliances plugged in in your bedroom? These devices use power even if they are not turned on. An easy way to address this problem is to place all of your devices on a power strip. Turn off the power strip when you leave the bedroom in the morning.

These simple tips can save you a few dollars on each energy bill, which can add up to a lot of savings in the long run. Make small changes one at a time to make a big difference.

Image: “Random: Power Supply” by semihundido

 

What Bedding Should You Have on Hand?

What Bedding Should You Have on HandHow much bedding you should keep in your linen closet can be a very subjective debate. A lot will depend on how many and what kind of beds you have, how often you like to change your sheets, as well as how drastic your seasonal weather changes are.

Changing Sheets

The general rule is that sheets should be changed about once a week. It is important to wash your sheets in warm water regularly to get rid of any bacteria or dust mites. You may want to do this more often if you suffer from allergies. If you want to be able to make your bed again quickly, before your sheets have made it all the way through the wash, you may want to have at least two sets of sheets per bed. That way you can make the bed with a new set and fold up the clean ones for the following week. You may want to change your pillowcases more often especially if you are allergic to dust-mites, so having a few extra oh hand for a quick replacement is very helpful.

Children’s beds and crib sheets may require more frequent washing. If you want to wait to do a full load of laundry before you wash them you may want to have three or four sets on hand.

Guests

Don’t forget about your guests. If you have an air mattress, sofa bed, or guest bed you want to have the appropriate bedding on hand for them. You don’t have to have a comforter if you don’t want to but a few extra blankets are nice. Guest beds generally require only one set of sheets because you are not likely to change them during their stay.

Seasonal Bedding

Next, you should consider changing your bedding material according to the season. Think about having a cool, light weight sheet set for the summer, and warm, cozy flannel sheets for the winter. An extra blanket might also be important to add to your bed for the winter months. If you live in an extremely cold climate, consider investing in an electric blanket or heated mattress pad.

Quality Sheets

Most likely, you will want to have between three and four sets of sheets per bed; two summer sets of sheets and two winter sets. Buying quality sheet sets will help your sheets last longer and be more comfortable. If you like to change your decor regularly, choose neutral colors like white or off white which will go with anything. Determine exactly what you want to have on hand and what will make your life easiest then invest in the right bedding for each season.

Photo “Bed Linen” courtesy of 3 Objectives Photography