Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Keeping your bed warm when it's 50 inside

Even though we've pledged for a night time temperature of 55 degrees in our house for this year's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge, our thermostat is in a faraway land as far as our bedroom is concerned. Because our old central heat is less than efficient, this means that, as the outside temps drop into the freezy zone at night, our bedroom gets colder than 55.

This really hasn't been an issue. Frankly, sometimes I'll wake up and it's 58 in the house and I'll be doing morning chores for a while before I realize I'd forgotten to turn on the heat. That's because I'm still kind of toasty from bed. So, when I get up and put on a sweater or extra layer, I'm fine. What's my secret? A down comforter.

We have two down comforters - the midweight one is the one we use. We have a heavier weight one, but that one makes us feel like we are in an inferno and have never actually used it in Seattle. I should probably sell it but I figure if we ever have a major loss of services, we could all survive under that at night.

If it gets really cold in the bedroom before bed, I'll warm up the bed warmer. A few years ago I researched like the dickens what the best bed warmer for me would be. I thought about a hot water bottle since they come in all fancy sorts of varieties with fuzzy, plushy characters, but I was afraid that it would pop and then I'd be left with water soaking my bed. I know this probably isn't a reasonable fear, but I think a wet bed is worse than a cold bed. Plus, once the water cools down, now you have a cold water bottle unless it's been near you all night. No thanks.

Cherry pit heating padAnd then there are the microwaveable bed warmers. No, I'm not talking about those gel packs. I'm talking about those kinds that are filled with rice or some sort of other material that holds heat for a little while and conforms to whatever shape you want. Somehow I managed to stumble upon cherry pit bed warmers, which are like the rice ones but filled with, well, cherry pits.

Not too surprisingly, it was from Mother Earth News. They have been used for ages to help heat up a bed and, traditionally, have been heated using a warming oven, but they can be put in your oven's warming drawer, or popped into the microwave. Now, why would I choose cherry pits over rice or another filler? Well, they hold heat for a lot longer - upwards of 2+ hours in my experience. And, it smells like cherry pie when you heat it. I must admit it is a bit noisy, but well worth it.

When I was in the market for one, I wanted to make my own, but didn't have a sewing machine or the skills, so I bought one (see fancy leopard print one above). However, it's incredibly easy to make your own. Since I'm sure you don't have several pounds of cherry pits lying about, you can buy sanitized pits in bulk from The Cherry Pit Store.

To make a heating pad, just sew a natural fabric bag into whatever size you want and fill a little more than halfway up with cherry pits. Sew it shut and heat in the microwave no more than 2-3 minutes until hot. You can make a cover for it or you can just hand wash it by sliding the pits to one side, washing the cover and the sliding them to the other side and washing that side. You can also put it in the washing machine. Just don't do this with rice bags! The only caveat is that the cherry pits are expensive. So, if cost is an issue, then use rice (not instant rice!).

And, let's not forget, it's never to late to sign up for this year's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge!

20 comments:

Tracey said...

We heat with wood so our upstairs gets pretty frigid in the winter. It was 56 degrees in the bedroom last night. We use corn or rice bags under the sheets before we get ready for bed. I make ours out of rice or corn which I put into kneehigh socks and knot at the top. Cheap, but it works :) My husband refuses to sleep in anything more than underwear no matter how cold it gets while I sleep in sweatpants, longsleeve shirt and socks. Needless to say, he complains quite a bit more than I do about the cold sheets.

KristaR said...

I have a home-made bed warmer that is filled with barley - after heating in the microwave for 2 minutes it retains heat for almost 2 hours.

Billie said...

I use one filled with an unknown substance. I am fairly certain it is not rice.

When I am getting ready for bed, I throw it in the microwave and then pop it under the covers where my feet go. I don't care if the rest of the bed is cold as my body will quickly warm it up. But I need my feet warm or I can't fall asleep and it seems to take forever for my feet to warm up the bed.

Those bags are really an amazing invention!

Kate said...

Wow. Great idea, thanks for sharing. We put in two cherry trees last year. This year one of them bore lightly. I guess pretty soon here we'll have our own supply of pits for this practical idea. We have an old rice one, and as the rice breaks down, it leaks through the fabric of the sock as dust. Cherry pits sound better. I'm right there with you on the down comforter thing, and I like my bedroom no warmer than 55 degrees. I've been thinking that if the world goes really post-apocalyptic, we should bring back the four-poster bed with the drapes. Before they were quaint furniture, they were, effectively, small sleeping chambers that could be warmed by one's own body heat. If

The Mom said...

I've gotten to the point that I really prefer the cold at night. We're doing the temps at 62/52 this year and so far it's going pretty well. It's funny, when I go to visit people, they're houses feel ridiculously hot now.

panamamama said...

Hmmm...might have to invest. My family is trying to ruin this challenge. They wake up in the night and turn up the heat.

Anna in Atlanta said...

A very reasonably-priced and yummy-scented option is feed corn (also sold as deer corn in hunting areas; NOT popcorn, obviously). I made bedwarmers for myself and the kids out of jeans legs and around 4-5 cups of corn. Heat for 3 mins in the microwave, it smells like air-popped popcorn, and holds heat for over 2 hours. I also kind of like the weight and snugglyness. This also works as a heating pad for tummy cramps and neck pains.

Olivia said...

I like a cold bedroom for sleeping. I even like feeling a little cold in bed. We heat with wood so the furnace is kept at 50, to heat the basement only: however, the exposed brick flue runs through our bedroom so I find it warm and keep the window open and/or a fan running year round. DH complains bitterly about the cold BUT - he is now used to having the window open and doesn't like it shut, even though winter temps are way below freezing. He puts a winter grade sleeping bag on top of the winter weight down duvet on his side of the bed while I kick the covers off. A knit toque for the head and socks on the feet are great for keeping in body heat. I don't use either but would recommend to anyone feeling the cold.

Annie said...

I just used my homemade warming bags, which are filled with beans, last night. And they kinda smell like beans so I'm super excited about cherry pie scented sheets! We don't have a microwave so we heat ours in the oven.

Anonymous said...

I have one filled with flax seed that works really well. Not sure exactly how long it holds heat - at least an hour. I plan on making some for Christmas presents this year. (My cat likes it, too!)

I can't get to sleep if my feet are cold, so I wear wool socks to bed. Usually kick them off after the bed warms up.

E said...

I made wheat filled bags last winter. Heat them in the wood stove oven before bed. Lovely!

Lesli said...

My whole family has used these to keep warm since last year. As I'm not much of a sewer, I got ours (and have gotten more for gifts) from etsy.com, seller theferriswheels. They have different prints, shapes, and sizes, and you can get them scented, too. They are filled with rice and flaxseed, and easy to re-scent when it wears off with a few drops of essential oil.

Robj98168 said...

I try to keep the heat off in my bedroom... although during Freeze fest 2010 this year wasn't possible. I keep my bed warm with an electric throw blanket, then I can turn the heat off. Upside with the electric throw is it usser less energy than a traditional electric blanket and keeps to a lower temp. Downside is the cat and dog love the throw blanket and insist on crawling under neath the covers. Oh well they provide heat as well!

Erin said...

I love my rice filled tube sock! I doubled up the socks so that the rice doesn't turn to powder and leak out (as another poster mentioned). I have had it for 3+ years and I use it constantly in the winter (we keep the house at 64 or less when home and 55 or lower at night). It works as a bed warmer and a nice neck/back wrap to ease sore/tight muscles. (As a side note, I enjoy the smell of it which is pretty much like warm rice/oatmeal. My husband does not enjoy it though and it reminds him of the shavings used in rodent cages, so he "lovingly" refers to the sock as "the dead hamster"!)

The Environmental Goddess said...

I LOVE down comforters! I also have one, and sleeping two in it, in a very cold apartment, I still sometimes wake up sweating! Before sleep, the cold is a great excuse to cuddle! Oh and good thinking about not using the water heater...my mom had one and it broke while she was in the bed and the water was still really hot and she got burned :S

Maria said...

We've used water bottles forever, and (knock on wood) have never had one break/leak. They do stay pretty warm, and even in the morning are not dead cold. I'd say more like luke-warm. I've had many different ones over the years, and this one is by far the best we've ever used - made in Germany.

http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Classic-Hot-Water-Bottle/dp/B000MR5RBI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1291830089&sr=8-2

The Nurturing Pirate said...

Loving my 'Bucky' this winter, I decided to make the kids their own buckwheat pillow to warm their beds. But I wanted to be creative, so I'm making them in the shape of a totoro (From "My Neighbor Totoro"). I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Alternatively, they can also be placed in the freezer. Good for those hot summer days.

evilbunnytoo said...

Before my parents gave us their extra down comforter, I used to sleep in fleece pajamas, with two pairs of socks (fleece socks over cotton socks) and still have trouble falling asleep under several layers of blankets because my feet were so cold.

Now I'm sleeping in shorts, cotton socks, and a t-shirt snug, as the down comforter is our top layer. We've found we don't need to turn on the heat at night even though the temperature drops into the 30s at night (it doesn't snow where I live thankfully).

However, getting up out of the nice snug bed in the morning is pretty hard when it's cold in the morning.

coldhousejournal said...

We're definitely cold-bedroom people now. No heat on the bedroom floor, and little on the floor below-- last year we had some morning bedroom temps in the high 30's (this year's low, so far, was 41ยบ). We use: (1) A large down comforter, (2) An electric blanket-- to warm the bed on "10" (180W) before getting in, and occasionally set to "1" (18W) for the rest of the night, (3) Two soapstones, warmed on the woodstove if we've had a fire, and (4) some cats. I've added a hat on cold nights, and if it gets really cold, might add socks. But basically we're comfy with this.

Anonymous said...

A simple rice warmer (or filled with cherry pits!) take a clean (new even) men's tube sock, and fill it 2/3 up, then tie it off. No sewing! I've also filled it a little less to make a heat pack that molds to my shoulder when injured.

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