The Key to Sweet Dreams is to be Kind to People During the Day

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There is nothing better after a long day then pulling back the sheets of your bed, tucking your feet in under the covers, and fluffing up your Pillow Pet for a good night’s sleep! We all know sleep is important but let’s look at what goes into a night’s sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. “For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” said Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, University of Chicago. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”

The NSF recommends that children ages 6 to 10 get 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and that children in the other three age groups get 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during preschool year.

School aged children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best.

An important factor in getting a good night of sleep is managing electronics.  Electronic devices are pervasive in modern American children’s bedrooms. Parents report that nearly three out of four (72 percent) children ages 6 to 17 have at least one electronic device in the bedroom while they are sleeping.

Children who leave electronic devices on at night get less sleep on school nights than other children do, according to parents’ estimates – a difference of up to nearly one hour on average per night.  “To ensure a better night’s sleep for their children, parents may want to limit their children using technology in their bedroom near or during bedtime,” said Orfeu Buxton, PhD, Harvard Medical School.

Sleep tips for children as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation:

1.     Make sleep a healthy priority in your family’s busy schedule.
2.     Set appropriate and consistent bedtimes for yourself and your children and stick to them.
3.     Know how your child is using electronics in the bedroom. Create a plan for appropriate use at night and set boundaries about use before and after bedtime.
4.     Educate yourself and your child on how light from electronic device screens can interfere with sleep.
5.     Talk to your child about the importance of sleep for health and well-being.
6.     Talk to your child’s teacher(s) about your child’s alertness during the day. Let your child’s teacher(s) know that you want to be made aware of any reports of your child falling asleep in school.
7.     Remember that you are a role model to your child; set a good example.
8.     Create a sleep-supportive bedroom and home environment, dimming the lights prior to bedtime and controlling the temperature (in most cases, temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will disrupt sleep).
9.     Try to encourage activities such as reading or listening to music before bedtime instead of watching TV, playing video games or surfing the web.
10.  Make sure children’s activities, including homework, can be completed without interfering with bedtimes.

Use your senses to create a calming environment in your bedroom:

Start with a cool room, make your room dark, try for peace and quiet, Surrounding yourself with the scent you like could help you drift off and, in fact, one study found that smells (both good and bad) influence our dreams. Most importantly, keep your room clean and use laundry detergents and other scented products with a pleasing smell, or no smell at all if that is your preference, eat lightly before bed (if at all) and avoid stimulants like caffeine.

Now grab your favorite Sweet Scented Pillow Pet, take a whiff, and drift off to sweet dreams!

 

Chocolate is the Answer!

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Where did chocolate come from and why do we love it so?  The first encounter with this delicious treat goes back to early Mexico. The Mayans and the Aztecs used to make a drink called Xocoatll from the beans of the cacao tree.  Believed to have health and restorative benefits, it was traditionally a drink of nobility.

After the Spanish war, the Spaniards brought the drink back to their Country and from there it traveled to France and England. In 1847 Fry & Sons created the first chocolate bar but it was bitter and not very popular. Around 1874, Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier started experimenting with adding milk to chocolate.  After some trial and error, he, along with the help of his neighbor, Henri Nestle, found the perfect way to mix chocolate and milk together by dehydrating the milk. And thus, the Nestle Company was founded.

The idea of adding cocoa butter back into the chocolate to create a creamier bar that would break into pieced was invented by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. This also enabled the chocolate bar to melt in the mouth.

In 1893, at an exposition in Chicago, a chocolate making machine was debuted from Dresden, Germany. A gentleman, by the name of Milton S. Hershey, installed this new machine in his factory in Lancaster, PA and produced his first chocolate bar in 1900.

During World War I, the U.S. Army commissioned various chocolate manufacturers to create this delicious treat for the troops as an emergency chocolate ration bar

There are different types of chocolate too:

  • Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa with little to no milk.
  • Milk chocolate is made with a powdered milk and is the most popular chocolate.
  • White is a chocolate derivative. It consists of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids and is pale or ivory in color.

The chocolate chip came about when Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn chopped up a Nestle semi sweet chocolate bar and added it to cookies. And, that story as we know it is history.

In 2014 Time Magazine wrote an article on the 13 Most Influential Candy Bars of All Time:

  • Wonka Bar – the first time a fictitious chocolate was made into the real thing.
  • Milky Way Bar which took its name from a real dessert, the milky way malted milkshake.
  • Baby Ruth which was supposedly named after Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth.
  • Nestle Crunch which added puffed rice, an inexpensive ingredient to a chocolate bar.
  • Cadbury which helped inspire Hershey.
  • Scharffen Berger the world’s first “artisanal” chocolate bar.
  • The Grenada chocolate bar the first bar created in the same Country where it’s grown.
  • Chicken Dinner, the first bar to be advertised as nutritious.
  • Snickers, the world’s best-selling international chocolate bar.
  • Nestle, the first milk chocolate bar.
  • Toblerone, the first flagship bar to debut with a filling.
  • Hershey’s, made the chocolate bar mainstream.
  • Kit Kat, the first bar to be marketed around sharing.

So where do Pillow Pets fit in with all this talk about chocolate? Enter Chocolate Chip Cookie Pup, part of the new Sweet Scented Pillow Pets with the scent of delicious chocolate.  A subtle scent patch above the paw makes this a cuddly and yummy treat year round. The scents are created in the United States and are made from sustainably harvested trees or cotton. Each scent has certification from the International Fragrance Association and complies with USA & EU Toy regulations including stuffed animals.

Pick up your delicious treat today!

 

Friends are Like Sprinkles on the Cupcake of Life

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The encyclopedia defines friendship as a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friendship is an important part of growing up – a first friendship may form with a sibling, an imaginary friend, or for many us, a stuffed animal.  How many people recall making “tea” for their stuffed animal friends?

Is there any difference between a friendship with a stuffed animal and an imaginary friend? Researchers found that children who create a friend out of a personified object tend to have a parent-like relationship with their special toy friend, whereas children with invisible friends tend to imagine an egalitarian relationship, more like a real friend, writes Psychology Today.

According to Parents magazine, these playthings have unique advantages over other toys, researchers say. Because kids know that a plush puppy or a princess doll represents a living thing, they can relate and attach emotions to it. Playing with these “friends” allows kids to explore their complex feelings.  Dolls and stuffed animals also give toddlers the chance to master people skills, improve their vocabulary, and much more.

Disney’s Doc McStuffins brings to life this concept of stuffed animals and toys. Here stuffed animals are able to move, speak, hear, see and smell, and she can interact with them. With help from her stuffed friends – Stuffy the Dragon, Hallie the Hippo, Lambie the Lamb, and Chilly the Snowman – Doc helps toys recover, or “feel better”, by giving them check-ups and diagnosing their illnesses with an encyclopedia called “The Big Book of Boo Boos” and another encyclopedia called “The Big Vet Book” for her toy pets when she’s a veterinarian.

In My Little Pony Friendship is Magic series, Princess Celestia sends her star pupil, the bookish unicorn Twilight Sparkle, to Ponyville to improve her socialization skills. Twilight quickly makes five new four-legged friends: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rarity. Each instilled with the respective spirits of magic, honesty, loyalty, laughter, kindness and generosity, the animals learn that by working together they can achieve the most important element of all: harmony.

In Paw Patrol a friendship was formed based upon their desire to protect and save Adventure Bay. Chase, Skye and Marshall bond whether it’s saving a cat in a tree or rescuing someone off the train tracks, they always find a way to help those in need.

The true bond of Dory and Nemo are summed up in this great quote: “When I look at you, I can feel it. I look at you, and I’m home.” This is why people say they can go years without talking to a friend and just jump right back into a conversation without missing a beat. Friendship is like going home again.

Sheriff Callie has some wonderful takes on teaching preschoolers about being good friends and citizens through the adventures of a colorful cast of animal characters in an Old West setting. Each story sees one character faced with a choice between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing, the latter of which always has negative consequences like mistrust or hurt feelings, until the instigator makes amends. Friendships help navigate the way.

One of the most beloved children’s books is Winnie-the-Pooh and this quote from author A.A. Milne sums up the friendship of Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet, and hopefully all friendships, perfectly: “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

Happiness is Believing in Unicorns

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Rainbows make us smile and unicorns make us smile. Put them together and we couldn’t be happier.  We know rainbows exist because we have seen them.  But what about unicorns? Here is a little history we found on both rainbows and unicorns.

What makes a rainbow? As sunlight passes through the water droplets, it is bent and split into the colors of the rainbow . Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of all visible colors. Rainbows appear in seven colors because water droplets break white sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). You can only see a rainbow if the sun is behind you and the rain in front. The main rainbow becomes visible at an angle of around 40″ from the horizon.

No two people see the same rainbow, in fact even our individual eyes see slightly different rainbows. If someone appears to be standing under a rainbow you can see, they will see a different rainbow at the same angle but further away.

A “double rainbow” is where a second, much fainter arc can be seen outside of the primary arc. This is caused by the light reflecting twice inside the water droplets. As a result of this double reflection the colors of the second arc are inverted with violet on the outer edge and red on the inner edge.

Sir Isaac Newton identified the 7 colors of the visible spectrum that together make up white light. All of which are present in a rainbow in the order red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (the acronym or name ROY G BIV is a good way to remember these colors and their order).

So what about unicorns?

So far the only way we know how to see a unicorn is by visiting our website and seeing our adorable stuffed animal styles.  However, we did find a lot of information on what may or may not be part of the unicorn lore.  Here are a few facts we found interesting:

The first mention of a unicorn was by an Indian doctor, Ctesias, who described the creature as having a white body, purple head and blue eyes.

The Unicorn has been a part of the Royal Seal of Scotland since the 1300s. When James became king of both Scotland and England, he redrew the Royal Coat of Arms to include both the Lion of England and the Scottish Unicorn.

A newly discovered skull fossil found in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan,  “Elasmotherium sibiricum” lived roughly 29,000 years ago but looked more like a rhinoceros than the mythical fairy tale version we know and love.  The study, published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences, also revealed that these unicorns stood about six feet tall, measured 15 feet long, and weighed around 8,000 pounds.

Whatever version of unicorns you believe in, we believe in the adorable, stuffed, huggable Pillow Pet Unicorns – the original purple Pillow Pet Unicorn (retired), the Rainbow Unicorn, Mystical Unicorn, and the new Sweet Scented Pillow Pet Cotton Candy Unicorn.