Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Changing of the Sheets
The weather has finally turned brisk and there is a crispness in the air that was decidedly lacking for the last month. We have started making a fire every morning in the wood stove to cut the chill and the upstairs feels like an icebox in the mornings. Now that it is finally really fall I got out all the flannel sheets and heavy comforters to put them on every ones beds.
This ritual began when we were living in Wyoming. For the first time in our lives we lived in a place where it routinely got down in the teens (that was during warm parts) and stayed firmly below zero for months. The old farmhouse we lived in had only one source of heat. It is called a gas box and is just a fancy natural gas fueled space heater. The downstairs rooms stayed the coldest even though they were closer to the box. The upstairs stayed much warmer through ambient heat. What a change of lifestyle this was for us! For the first time we were really really cold! Our bedding had been bought with the expectation of central heating. You flip a switch and the whole house gets warm. We layered two or three comforters on top of the bed and when walmart put the flannel sheet sets on sale for 10.00 each I bought a set for everyone. Then I started investing in multiple thick comforters and warm sheet sets. Most of these I bought at yard sales since that's the best place to find good quality blankets for cheap. Whenever I see warm flannel nightgowns and pajama pants in good condition at thrift stores or yard sales I snatch them up knowing someone will wear them come winter. I also have started sewing flannel nightgowns for my daughters because they don't sell the old fashioned kind anymore.
We started to pre plan for winters without central heat. If you are heating with wood or a space heater many of the rooms will be cold. Flannel sheets and pillow cases instantly turn a cold bed warm and cozy. Then I top with two comforters and we have a cuddly bed.
Another lifesaver, especially for young children, is the rice bag. This is a simple cotton bag filled with rice that you warm up in the microwave. They retain heat for an hour or more depending on the size and can be put into a cold bed to warm it before bed. We used to have a whole winter bedtime routine. Right before bedtime I would heat up the rice bags and put them in the kids beds. Then we go potty, read stories, pray, and have a lullaby song. By the time we get them into bed it is toasty warm. Kisses and then lights out! My kids love their rice bags and frequently request them in cold weather. I made each child their own bag with a fleece slipcover that I put on after heating. It took me maybe a half hour start to finish to make every person in our house their own. These are great for upset tummies and sore muscles too. I going to try to warm these up with my wood stove and see how to make it work.