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Bedtime Kiddie Quandaries and Their Solutions

As a toddler, your child is more mobile, more active, and more of his or her own person than ever before. She is ‘finding her feet,’ both literally and metaphorically speaking. So it’s not too surprising to find that when 8:30 rolls around, your toddler rebels against bedtime.

A sleeping toddler. (Vannessa Q, Wikimedia Commons).

 A toddler looking at a baby book (Jon Mick, Wikimedia Commons).

You may find that your toddler makes request after request to stave off the inevitable lights-out — ‘one more book, Mommy,’ or ‘one more glass of milk, Daddy,’ or ‘there are monsters in my closet, can I watch TV for just a little longer?’ But of course, the more excuses he makes, the later he goes to bed and the grouchier he will be in the morning. So how can you avoid his sleepytime stubbornness? Here are some tried and true techniques:

Stick to a routine. Set a solid bedtime, be sure to stick to it, and don’t let your child forget that he has a deadline. Remind him what time ‘bedtime’ is after dinner, and keep gently reminding him as he brushes his teeth, takes a bath, and gets into his pajamas. By sticking to a routine bedtime each night, you give your toddler structure. He will know what to expect and will also recognize that there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to bedtime.

Empower you child. She’s pushing for more independence – so yield when you can. Allow her to make as many bedtime choices as possible; like what book she wants to read before lights out, how many pillows she wants to sleep with, whether she wants to wear the Mickey Mouse pajamas or the Snow White ones, or if she’d like an extra blanket over her comforter. According to Parents magazine writer Allison Winn, the trick is to offer your child two alternatives which are both acceptable to you and give her some autonomy. Winn explains that you don’t want to ask your child, ‘do you want to go to bed now?’ After all, if your child says ‘no,’ then you have a potential dilemma on your hands. Instead, ask something like ‘do you want to go to bed now or in five minutes?’ No matter what decision she takes, you’ve got her cornered — whether it’s now or in five minutes, she’s going to bed at any rate.

A ‘big kid’ bed means you get a ‘big kid’ bedtime. After age three, your child has likely outgrown her crib and is setling into her new bed. Use this moment as an opportunity to tell her that a part of getting older is learning how to sleep on your own when bedtime rolls around. Encourage and praise her whenever she stays put in her bed. If she can’t resist the urge to go wandering after lights-out, gently take back to bed, tell her that it’s time to sleep, and leave – don’t linger. Above all, show your child that a big kid bed comes with a big kid responsibility – that is, going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting a good night’s sleep.

3 Great Costume Ideas Using Old Bed Sheets

While most of the little boys in our neighborhood wanted to be superheroes for Halloween, my son wanted to dress as his favorite fruit: grapes. After driving to several costume retailers and not being able to find what we were looking for, I decided it was time to seek alternative options. I researched homemade costumes and found an array of cheap and simple methods of creating my sons look as well as many others. Utilizing some old beds sheets and a couple of other materials, I was able to create a fantastic bushel of grapes. Not only did my homemade creation earn me some extra cool points with my little one, but I was able to save lots of money as well.

Dressing up is one of the best aspects of Halloween, however, it can also be one of the most wasteful. Every year, millions of parents purchase ready-made-costumes for their children. Their costume is usually worn one time then it’s cast aside. Instead of purchasing another costume, join me and get creative. With minimal materials, you can easily make some of the most unique and fun Halloween outfits for your children. It’s okay if you don’t know where to start as I have included 3 costume ideas you can make just by using some old bed sheets.

1. Grape Costume

Photo Courtesy of Coolest Homemade Costumes

You will need:

  • A purple or green sheet
  • A pack of purple or green balloons
  • Safety pins
  • A piece of green felt
  • A stocking cap
  • Scissors

Instructions:

First, take your scissors and cut out a hole from the sheet for your child’s head. Next, fashion sleeves out of the sheet and fasten them together with the safety pins. Now blow up balloons, and begin fastening the edge of them all over the sheet until no empty space remains. Finally, cut leaf shapes out of the felt and fasten them to the stocking cap. Now your child’s costume is complete.

2. Mummy Costume

You will need:

  • A white sheet
  • Scissors

Instructions:

With your scissors, begin cutting a variety of strips to accommodate all the different parts of your child’s body. Once you have cut all your strips, begin wrapping them around your child. Voila, you child is a mummy.

3. Greek or Roman

You will need:

  • A white sheet
  • A gold rope or belt

Instructions:

Fold the sheet in the middle, and place the folded part over your child’s shoulder. Open the ends of the sheet to wrap around your child’s body. The neckline can be as low or high as you’d like. Just remember that draping is the key. A gold rope or belt can be used to secure the sheet at the waist.

Personalize with Pooch Portraits

A lovable poodle. John Leslie from London, UK (Wikimedia Commons)

A regal dog (Valerie Leonard)

Love your dog? Do you love him enough to decorate your living room with his adorable mug? Some dog owners these days are translating their love for their dog into works of art, comissioning pooch portraits that range from adorable to laugh-out-loud kitschy. Below, check out a small sample of the artists who are actively working in this unique portrait field.

Regal Glory. Ordering a customized portrait from Valerie Leonard will get your pooch the Mona Lisa treatment. Leonard, who specializes in classic oil paintings, creates elaborate and realistic portraits of dogs lounging around in historic clothing reminiscent of the clothing you find on the aristocratic subjects painted by the European Old Masters. Your dog could be draped in an ermine stole, wear a gold pocket watch, or maybe model some napoleon era battle gear. Regardless of Leonard’s clothing choices, your dog’s portrait will certainly serve as a tongue in cheek conversation starter.

Pop art fun. If you’re more into contemporary painting, Brooklyn based artist Dean Russo can create a pop art portrait of your pooch that’s light, colorful, and very visually interesting. His doggie portraits sizzle with loud colors, pychadelic images and funky squiggles.

Elaborate Ink. Comissioning a portrait from Valentina Harper, on the other hand, will get you a South American influenced portrait of your puppy to hang by your mantelpiece. Harper, who is Veneuelan, usng black ink to create elaborately detailed portraits of man’s best friend.

Whatever your taste in art may be, there’s an artist who can help meet your doggie vision, and what better way to personalize a room in your home than a funky image of the most beloved critter living there? These artists are only a small sampling of doggie portrait artists working in the field today. To find just the right artist that suits the taste of both you and your best buddy, head over to Etsy or Pinterest to view the sample portraits of dog loving artists from all around the world.

Selecting The Right Mattress For Your Body & Sleep Habits

Choosing the right mattress can make the difference between years of satisfactory sleep or endless nights trying to find a comfortable position. Your body type has a bearing on the type of mattress you should select for best support. Your personal sleep preferences should also be taken into account when selecting the right mattress for your need

Side, Stomach or Back Sleepers

Your sleep position is a significant factor in selecting a mattress. Ultimately, a good mattress should keep your spine in a straight alignment regardless of what position you take. However, many back sleepers find that a firm mattress offers the necessary support of the lower back. Side sleepers need a bit more “give” to allow them a comfortable position that still offers support. For these sleepers, a medium firmness is a good choice. If you sleep on your stomach, a soft mattress will make you fall into it face down too readily, causing a deep curve in the lower back and neck. Choose a medium firmness mattress to allow some support for both upper and lower body.

Broad Shoulders

Individuals who have broad shoulders and are side sleepers will probably prefer a mattress on the softer side. Too much pressure on the shoulders can be uncomfortable, so softer support can be a better choice. The right mattress can be especially important for those with shoulder problems. A firm mattress can allow too much pressure on the shoulder joint, leading to aches and pains upon waking in the morning.

Wide Hips

Similarly, those individuals with wide hips may find that a firm textured mattress places too much pressure on tender hipbones. Older people who are troubled by hip pain may find this particularly uncomfortable. Give considerable thought before committing to the purchase of a mattress. A store with a good return policy may be a good idea for people who may have difficulty finding the right firmness texture for their needs.

Weight Factors

Thin individuals can generally tolerate any thickness and firmness of mattress unless they have other health issues that may come into play. However, heavy individuals generally prefer firm mattresses that are over nine inches in thickness to avoid unnecessary pressure.

Mattress Accessories

Many consumers find that adding one of the mattress accessories that are available can help to make a mattress more comfortable for their particular body type. Padded mattress covers and mattress pads can additional softness when needed and can be removed when the sensitive body part improves. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of products that can help to raise the comfort level of their mattress for a better night’s sleep.

Summer Wicker Decor

What is wicker? Wicker is woven fiber formed into a rigid material, usually used for baskets or furniture. Wicker is often made of material that originates from plants, but plastic fibers are also used. Wicker is light yet sturdy, making it suitable for furniture that will be moved often. Wicker furniture will last 20 to 30 years and therefore can be a fiscally responsible choice for furniture. It can be used indoors to improve any bedroom’s decor and also outdoors to dress up a patio or deck.
Pier 1 Wicker Chair

Wicker is made from different materials such as: rattan, cane, kubu, bamboo, willow, seagrass, and banana leaf. The primary material used is rattan vine. It can grow up to 600′ in length in a single day, making it a sustainable resource. Material from the entire rattan plant is used including: peel, core, pole and all. This furniture can be easily cleaned and maintained by wiping with a furniture polish. The durability of wicker is astonishing with the earliest known piece of wicker furniture dating back to 4000 B.C. while the oldest surviving pieces date from the Egyptian Empire.

Pier 1 Wicker Chair

Wicker chairs and sofas can be dressed up with cushions and pillows. A patio or deck can be transformed with a wicker furniture package. Add flair and decor to a boring bedroom with a wicker storage trunk, night stands, and a sitting bench. Wicker furniture is affordable and guaranteed to last many years. It’s reliable and sturdy yet lightweight making it easy to move. Summer decor is not complete without wicker furniture and stores like Pier 1 Imports offers excellent choices.

Wicker can be bought in a variety of pieces such as: dining tables, end and accent tables, chairs and sectionals, patio umbrellas, and ottomans. This furniture says backyard barbeque, summer cook-outs, and indoor elegance for those looking to change things up a little bit.