Summer vacation is almost over, and whether kids break from summer, winter, spring, or even a long weekend, they seem to want to stay up later. Late nights can lead to difficult mornings transitioning back into their normal school routine. It is important for parents to put healthy sleep on the back-to-school list of necessities. Here are some helpful tips to get kids prepared to go back to school.
First, calculate how much sleep your child needs. Preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep. Ages 5-10 need 10 to 11 hours, and teenagers 9 to 10 hours.
About 10 to 14 days before school starts, parents should gradually start adjusting their child’s bedtime schedules. Have them go to bed 15 minutes earlier each day before school starts. This will help set their circadian clock to school time. Try to also keep the same sleep schedule, even on weekends, to keep sleep rhythms regulated.
Stick to an age-appropriate bedtime routine to help them wind down. For younger children this may consist of taking a bath before bed, brushing their teeth, or reading a bedtime story. For older children, they may want to read a book to relax or find a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises.
Control the sleep environment by keeping the room cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electronics such as, cell phones, televisions, video games, and computers should be turned off an hour before bedtime.
Limit caffeine intake after lunch or at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and inhibits sleep. Healthy meals and regular exercise can help promote quality sleep.
Avoid food close to bedtime, especially spicy foods that can cause acid reflux and raise body temperature, both of which inhibit sleep.
Practice what you preach. Studies have shown that parents who set rules and abide by them themselves are more likely to have children follow their example. The right amount of sleep every night can help your child do better in school and help with mood and anxiety.
These strategies can help you and your child have a healthy, successful upcoming school year.
Do you have trouble sleeping on hot summer nights? Are you in need of some new lighter bed linens that sleep cooler in the summer and keep you warm in the winter? If so, then OMI has got you covered!
OMI’s certified organic Thermal Blanket is great by itself or to layer with our Pearl Sheets and/or Wool Comforter. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave. It is offered from Crib to King size.
Our Pearl Sheet Collection features 300-thread-count GOTS-certified organic sateen cotton in a creamy ivory. These sheets are pure luxury. The organic Pearl Sheet Collection is available as a set in sizes Twin-Cal King.
If you are one of those people who love to snuggle up in a blanket year-round, OMI’s certified organic Eco-Wool® comforter is for you! Wool is comfortable all year long because of its natural tendency regulate body temperature. The plush layers of our premium organic Eco-Wool® are quilted into our soft, certified organic sateen cover fabric. This lightweight comforter is available in sizes Twin-King.
Check out these top-of-bed accessories and more at one of your local OMI retailers!
As we go through the summer months with rising temperatures, it can be uncomfortable and dangerous to not only people, but our pets too. As pet owners, we need to be aware of these dangers and how to keep our pets cool and comfortable.
Here are a few tips to help keep your pets safe and comfortable in the summer heat.
Never leave your pet in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked. Temperatures inside a vehicle rise rapidly. For example, on an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees. This will cause organ damage and even death for any pet.
Limit exercise on hot days. On really hot days, limit your pet to early-morning or evening-hour exercises. Also, be especially careful with pets that have light-colored ears, since they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Pets with short noses, who typically have difficulty breathing, may also have a lot of difficulty in extreme heat. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pets’ paws, so walk them on grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your pet hydrated.
A fan isn’t enough. Pets respond to heat differently than humans do. Dogs sweat through their feet, and fans don’t have the same effect on dogs that they do on people.
Give them plenty of shade and water. Make sure your pet has protection from the heat and sun, and plenty of fresh cold water. During heat waves, add ice to water to keep it cooler longer. You may think that a just because a doghouse provides shade it can keep your dog cool enough, but it doesn’t. There isn’t enough air flow in a typical doghouse to keep a pet cool.
Take your dog swimming. If your dog enjoys water, this can be a great way for him to cool off and get some exercise. If you don’t live by water, you can use a kiddie pool in a shaded area.
Watch for signs of heat stroke. Warning signs to look for include, heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep-red or purple tongue, seizures, and unconsciousness.
Certain animals are more prone to heat stroke than others including, Senior pets and very young animals, overweight pets, pets that don’t get a lot of exercise or that have heart and respiratory issues.
Certain breeds of dogs, like boxers, pugs, and shih tzus, have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
If you think your pet is experiencing heat-stroke symptoms, move your pet into the shade or to an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest. Give your pet fresh, cold water or ice cubes to lick and call your veterinarian.
For more information, check out the Humane Society’s website for tips to keep pets safe in the heat. Let’s work together to keep all pets safe this summer.
Independence Day is this weekend. I am excited for one of my favorite Fourth of July traditions: the cookout. Each summer, I search for new and delicious fare to serve for this festive occasion. This year, I found some great recipes on Good Housekeeping’s website and also on azcentral.com.
Firecracker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
If you’d like to add a little spice to your holiday lineup, this sandwich will really hit the spot.
½ c. hot sauce
¼ c. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. ketchup
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c. ranch dressing
Bleu Cheese-Apple Slaw
1 c. packed shredded Savoy cabbage
1 small apple
2 celery ribs
1½ oz. bleu cheese
¼ c. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp. olive oil
1½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. sugar
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl; reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture. Add chicken to the remaining mixture and toss to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
Grill chicken, covered, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Grill buns until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread dressing on buns.
Serve chicken topped with Bleu Cheese-Apple Slaw and drizzled with reserved sauce between buns.
To make the slaw:Combine all slaw ingredients in a large bowl.
Smoky Barbequed Shrimp & Peach Kabobs
For lighter fare, these flavorful skewers kick it up a notch.
12 metal or bamboo skewers
1 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. shelled de-veined shrimp
3 medium peaches
1 bunch green onions
If using bamboo skewers, soak skewers in cold water at least 30 minutes to prevent burning. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on high.
In large bowl, combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add shrimp, peaches, and onion; toss until evenly coated.
Thread shrimp, peaches, and onion alternately onto skewers.
Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until browned and shrimp become opaque throughout, turning once. Serve with lime wedges.
Red, White, and Bleu Potato Salad
This fresher version of a traditional staple is a welcome accompaniment to any summer barbeque.
3 lb. red potatoes
¼ c. aged sherry vinegar
1 small shallot
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ c. bleu cheese
⅓ c. olive oil
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
14 oz. watercress
2 green onions
Place potatoes in an 8-quart saucepot. Add water until potatoes are immersed. Add 2 tablespoons salt and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium. Boil 10 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked through, but not soft. Test by piercing a potato with a thin skewer or toothpick; when skewer meets some resistance but can slide all the way through, drain potatoes immediately. Potatoes can be drained and set aside at room temperature up to 4 hours ahead.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, bleu cheese, and 1/3 cup oil. This vinaigrette can be covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours ahead.
Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on high.
Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, then sprinkle with a 1/2-teaspoon of salt and a 1/4-teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Place potato slices on the hot grill grate. Grill 5 to 10 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on both sides, turning over once.
Place watercress on large serving platter. Top with the potatoes and green onions. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately.
Firework Fruit Skewers
The kids (and adults) will love these colorful and festive fruity fireworks.
1 set of 10-inch skewers
Star cookie cutter
Red grapes (optional)
Wash fruit and skewers.
Slice watermelon into 1-inch pieces that fit your cookie cutter’s width.
Cut out stars from the watermelon using your cookie cutter.
To assemble the skewers, slide a blueberry onto a stick. Follow with a mini marshmallow.
Repeat, rotating between berries and marshmallows until there is about an inch of stick left.
Place a star-shaped watermelon slice at the top of each skewer, making sure the pointed stick is not exposed.
If desired, add red grapes or raspberries after the marshmallows to make a red, white, and blue pattern on the stick.
Don’t forget a crisp and refreshing beverage to beat the summer heat.
1 bottle white wine
3 oz. elderflower liqueur
2 c. blueberries, washed
2 c. strawberries, washed and quartered
3-4 Granny Smith apples
12 oz. sparkling water
Combine the first four ingredients in a pitcher.
Slice the apples into 1/4-inch pieces, wide enough to fit your cookie cutter.
Cut out stars from the apple slices using your cookie cutter.
Chill beverage for at least 4 hours.
Just before serving the sangria, add sparkling water.
Serve sangria in a tall glass with ice and garnish with an apple-star cutout.
Now that you have some delicious ideas for your holiday cookout, you can have peace of mind going into this busy holiday weekend. Just remember to hit your local farm stands and farmers’ markets to get the freshest local organic ingredients.
Here are some great gift ideas for your special dad.
Plan an Outing: Take your dad to his favorite restaurant or plan a family fishing trip, hike with a picnic, movie, concert, or sporting event that he would enjoy.
Plan a special at-home treat: Make him breakfast in bed, or plan a night in you can make his favorite dinner, then watch a video and relax.
Build him an eco-inspired bird house out of a recycled bottle – HERE
Get dad some new items for the barbecue to inspire more summer night barbecues.
Show dad how much he’s appreciated by making a homemade picture frame. Here’s a link for some creatives ways to make a frame – HERE
Create a gift basket and fill it with some of his favorite things. Maybe pick a theme based on his hobbies or favorite treats and fill the basket based on the theme. Some great examples of theme ideas: sportsman, coffee lover, sweet-tooth fanatic, bookworm, Mr. Fix It, film buff or outdoorsman, to name just a few.
Get him a digital magazine subscription or pick out some books by his favorite author at a used bookstore.
This Father’s Day, show dad how important he is and how much he’s loved.
Make Her Kitchen Mason-Jar Herb Garden:Use a piece of wood and affix the quart-size mason jars using heavy-duty stainless hose clamps, adding chalkboard strips for labeling. Place gravel or clay shards at the bottom of the jars to avoid rot.Click HERE for the full tutorial.
Paint a Tin-Can Mini Flower Pot: Transform tin cans into elegant containers for potted roses with a can of spray paint in a bright and stylish color.
Give Her the Gift of Relaxation: Gift your mom a relaxing gift basket filled with assorted “tub teas.” pampering items, lotions, etc., to help with sleepless nights.
Glass Vase Centerpiece:Use recycled glass wine bottles in a pine or whitewood frame and with fresh flowers. For a full tutorial on creating this gift, visit Shanty 2 Chic.
Recipe Ring: A great easy gift to help keep your mom’s special recipes. Type out recipes with 6” long and 4” tall dimensions so you are able to glue them onto note cards. Print the recipes onto different-colored paper. You can even color code them according to side dish, entree, dessert, etc. Cut out and glue to note cards; laminate if possible. Hole-punch the top left corner and add a ring. You can even attach a new bright spatula or whisk to the ring for a fun extra addition. Click HERE for the full tutorial.
Head Outdoors: Enjoy the great outdoors with a trip to the park for a picnic, or plan a hike to a favorite outdoor area.
Framed Memory: A picture can be worth a thousand words, so give your mom a favorite picture of you or your siblings, or even the two of you together.
Send a Thoughtful Card: Skip the funny card from the card aisle at the grocery store and make your own. Include a note about how special your mom is to you.
This Mother’s Day, make sure to do a little something extra special!