5 Awesome Reasons Why the AC Hotel by Marriott in Raleigh's North Hills Area Impresses

As the founder of the @OutaboutNC social media community, I get asked a lot from people on where they should stay when visiting North Carolina. When I first started my blog in 2011, I had an entire feature devoted to hotels called a "Pack My Bags' feature.

Top 5 awesome reasons to stay at the AC Hotel Raleigh in North Hills #travel #familytravel #northcarolina

The invitation to visit the AC Hotel in Raleigh North Hills came at the perfect time in my life because I needed a hotel stay to renew me and awaken my senses to escape the ordinary in my life. The best part about my stay at the AC Hotel North Hills is that I only had to drive 15-minutes to experience this property.

The AC Hotel Raleigh is located in bustling North Hills, an area called midtown in Raleigh, N.C.

The AC Hotel by Marriott is a hotel brand that I've been curious about but had no personal experience. Last year, Raleigh's North Hills area was the first site in North Carolina to open the AC Raleigh Hotel.  Asheville, Chapel Hill, and Charlotte now have the AC Hotel Brand as a hotel option.

An Easy Dip Made with North Carolina Cackalacky Spice Sauce (A Sweet Potato Base)

Updated: August 2019

It’s not whether your team wins or loses on the football field; it’s all about the tailgate. A great game-day dip will score some points.

Need something quick and easy for your next tailgate? I’ve got just the party dip for you.  It’s so simple that you won’t believe something this natural tastes so good.

A quick and easy dip made with NC Cackalacky  Sauce.

You know I love to promote North Carolina on this blog. My state is the No. 1 producer of sweet potatoes in the U.S.  We’ve got a lot of them around here. One Chapel Hill company has found an excellent use for them.

Cackalacky Spice Sauce uses sweet potatoes as the main ingredient along with peppers, red wine, and other spices. This zesty sauce has all-natural ingredients, no preservatives, and is also gluten-free.  Honestly, it can turn plain sour cream into a zesty dip that wows. For those who may not know, but Cackalacky is slang for Carolina here. The company also has a famous Cheerwine sauce. 

My son went wild over this simple dip.  I served it with blue corn chips and fresh-cut veggies.  Both are good, but the vegetables dazzled with the sauce, so I suggest using it with a veggie tray.  It’s so good that people will be eating their veggies in no time. 

I’d say that is a touchdown!

A perfect game day dipping sauce with a Sweet Potato/Spicy Tang. Great with blue chips or vegetables. Awesome with carrots.

Cackalacky Game Day Dip 

16 ounces of sour cream

Combine Cackalacky Spice Sauce and sour cream in a large bowl. Serve with chips and vegetables. 

Told you it was easy! The hardest part is getting the groceries. 

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Cackalacky Dip is made with an original NC sauce that can be found on Amazon.

Are you ready for tailgating season in the south? You may like my spinach dip with no mayo and for a little kick, try this farm-fresh sausage dip.  If you are looking for more game-day recipes, you will like this collaborative recipe round-up where my NC Cackalacky dip was just one of the many recipes featured on Convos with Karen.

Disclosure:  My thanks to August blog sponsor, Kivett's Church Furniture based in Clinton, NC. Kivett's specializes in church steeples. Kivett's. a North Carolina business since 1958, performs work in its manufacturing plant in Clinton. My sponsors keep me at my desk writing editorial content and OutaboutNC. If you would like to be a blog sponsor, contact me for more information.

You can now purchase Cackalacy in grocery stores and on Amazon. They have lots of sauces. I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you want to try this North Carolina original recipe, you can order it off my blog Amazon link

A Vacation for Dogs in Asheville, NC: Dogs Like the Aloft Asheville Downtown

Asheville, a gorgeous mountain city, nestled in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains, is a haven for vacationers. The reasons to visit this city are endless.

When I was working on a magazine piece for a national publication this summer, I interviewed local business owners in Asheville.

Jillian Kelly, a local Asheville beekeeper, and owner of the store, The Asheville Bee Charmer, told me, "You have a want for nothing in Asheville, North Carolina!"

She's right.  There is something for everyone in this mountain city. All people and their unique, individual tastes are welcome in Asheville. Whether you are an adventure traveler, foodie, or a history and culture lover, you'll feel right at home in this progressive North Carolina city.

Your beloved pets will feel welcomed, too. Just like my poodle, Andy felt on his most recent stay.

I grew up near Asheville, North Carolina, but in the past nine years, I've visited Asheville more often than anywhere else in the state. For the past two years, our poodle, Andy, accompanied us there. Traveling with a dog is like traveling with children in some ways. Both require a little extra work, but unlike the tiny humans, dogs cannot go everywhere with you, nor can they stay in all lodgings. That's why, as pet owners, it is refreshing to know before booking a trip that your four-legged family member will be welcomed, too.

Asheville is touted as one of the most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. I think that's an accurate depiction of the town. Sometimes, I saw as many dogs as people walking the streets during my visits. The Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville has the honor of being of the most pet-friendly hotels in the entire state of North Carolina, in my opinion.

The Aloft Downtown Asheville operates a popular pet-adoption program that allows a rescue dog to live at the hotel until it finds a permanent home. This program has been so successful that it has been piloted in other Aloft hotels across the United States. With its own "lobby-dog" as a hotel greeter, your pet feels like a top dog or top cat, too. That's right. I said cat, also. The hotel does not discriminate against cats when it comes to their pet policy. Cats stay free at the property, just like dogs. Cats, as you would expect, are not as visible in the public areas as dogs, but Andy met a cat guest on his stay this time. If you have cat allergies or any pet allergy, be sure to discuss that with the front desk before checking-in.

I first stayed in the Aloft Downtown Asheville, located on Biltmore Avenue, several years ago. My daughter, who was five at the time, fell in love with the hotel's lobby adoption program. Every single year, she insists that we go to the Aloft hotel lobby to see who is up for adoption, even if we are not staying in the property. In fact, I have found myself inside the hotel a lot through the years because of the hotel's superb location to Asheville's South Slope district. Will and I are avid craft beer lovers, and this section of Asheville is where we chose to spend the most time.  The Aloft Asheville is within walking distance to everything in downtown Asheville. The Biltmore area is a quick ride away.

The nightly rates for this Aloft location may seem higher than what you are used to experiencing at other Aloft Hotels in different areas. That's because the demand for Asheville hotels is very high in general, especially in the downtown area. In fact, on peak weekends, a room at the Aloft Downtown Asheville can cost travelers between $400 and $500 per night. Marriott rewards members like myself get a slight discount on those rates because of brand loyalty.

Many hotels charge a pet fee when traveling with pets, but not the Aloft Downtown Asheville. All pets stay at this property free. Parking is also at a low cost of $10 a day at the deck underneath the hotel.

Not only do pets stay free at the Aloft Downtown Asheville, but there are not any public area off-limits inside the hotel. At the Aloft Asheville, you can have an appetizer and a drink at the WXYZ Lounge, and your dog can be right there with you. It really makes you feel as if you are in your own home when staying there.  I loved it, and I think Andy did, too.

The Aloft Asheville is so pet-friendly that it sometimes hosts fun "Bow-Wow" type social events for dogs and their owners. It's fun to stay at this hotel because most hotel guests have the love for their pets in common.

In July, on my last stay, I learned that a woman had a dog back home that looked just like my Andy. It made her miss her dog. I also met a couple from New Jersey with a dog named Opie. I told them, "Opie and Andy" were the perfect combo for North Carolina. Andy Griffith TV show fans will certainly understand why.

Upon check-in at the Aloft in downtown Asheville, Andy was given a doggie care package.  He received extra pooh bags, treats, bowls for water and food, plus a massive dog bed, well at least for an eight-pound poodle. The front desk has a list of places where dogs can walk and have a good time in the city.

If you want to know more about North Carolina, be sure to sign up for my #OutaboutNC Travel Guides, coming to your inbox this fall. If you're going to book this hotel, you may begin that process here at the Marriott Bonvoy site.  When booking, type in Asheville, N.C. in the destination bar, and you will find all the Marriott hotels in this area, especially if this one is not within your budget for the season you want to visit. Feel free to email me about Asheville's lodging and locations. I've stayed in a lot through the years, and you can find those posts in my archives by searching for Asheville and hotels.

Dogs love Asheville, NC

Pet-Friendly Asheville, NC

Disclosure: My thanks to North Carolina business, Flooring by Design for being an August blog sponsor. With three locations in North Carolina, Flooring by Design is a trusted source for carpet installation in Raleigh. My blog sponsors keep me at my desk writing editorial content and OutaboutNC. The HinesSightBlog is also a Marriott Bonvoy Affiliate for bookings and referrals. We traveled during the peak summer tourism season and received a slight media discount on lodging. Opinions about the hotel are my own.

How Doing One Simple Thing Helped Me Lose 20 Pounds Before Turning 50

2019 is my year to be fifty.  Some may consider that number to be a milestone. AARP certainly does. I've already received my second invitation to become a member.

I still have kids on the younger side so I don't think of myself as fifty, honestly. I don't feel fifty. But yet, people who were born in my year are all fifty whether we like it or not.

NC Blogger Leigh Powell HInes at the Beautiful HIstoric Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC. This Black and White Hallway is an Inn landmark. Leigh shares her weight loss journey before turning 50. She lost 20 pounds.
March 2019 at 50
Photo by Curious Notions Photography

I feel that turning fifty was certainly better than turning forty-five. Beginning at forty-five, the body as I knew it began to change. I started holding weight in my midsection than rather my hips and every year, the scales would get heavier.  By the age of forty-nine, I was twenty-five pounds than I had been five years earlier. Now, at fifty, I'm not skinny. I'm average, but am twenty pounds lighter and weigh less than I did at the age of forty-four.

Having a blog is like having an online time capsule. I've written about weight many times before. The first time I wrote about weight was when I was participating in a clean eating/detox program. At forty-three I weighed 125 to 130 pounds.  Just a year later, I talk about turning forty-five soon, and I had jumped to 136 pounds so once again. I was working on a new eating program. I was finding that keeping weight off was not as easy as it once was and it was something I would battle throughout my forties.

Add moving to a new home, busy schedules and way too many carbohydrates in a diet, the pounds kept adding up.  In fact, I have very few photos of myself from 2105 and beyond and very few full-body shots like this one below from 2017. It's easy to tell in this photo that those twenty pounds were in face, arms, bust, and stomach.

Losing weight after 40 is hard. AT45, it gets even harder, NC Blogger Leigh Powell Hines before a low-carb lifestyle in 2017.
In the summer of 2017 at 47

When we moved into our new home, I started exercising more because of our clubhouse pool and gym. We even adopted a dog that needed walking.  No doubt, I was moving more by the time I was 48 in our new home, but my diet was not right.

 In July of 2018 when I went for my well-visit, I was shocked to learn that all that exercise and dog-walking may have toned my legs a little, but I was five pounds heavier than I was six months prior and unfortunately, I was only five pounds lighter than my husband. I was determined to make a plan right then because I was not turning fifty and be heavier than my own husband.

Before Weight Loss.
Summer of 2018 at 49

I had dinner with my college roommate who is the medical field. We discussed carbs and sugars that night over a great dinner at Bida Manda in Raleigh.  She said to me, "Go home and google keto and lower-carb. You'll find so much information." She told me how she monitored her carb intake daily.

That July night of 2018, I downloaded a free app. I just googled "free carb counting" in the play store and came up with the Carb Manager.  I used the free version.  As you educate yourself on the Keto diet, it advises about 25 carbs a day.

Hello, 25 grams of carb is basically one sandwich a day. One medium tomato has nine grams of carbs.  I learned very quickly that I was eating a ton of carbs in my diet and had no idea how much carbs I was really eating in a day. I cooked a lot of pasta meals for the family because they were quick and easy.  This had been my lifestyle for years.

Twenty-five carbs a day was not going to work for me. I decided to shoot for 50 carbs a day and it would be OK if I went to 75 carbs some days. I figured I was eating about 200 carbs a day before changing my habits so going to 75 carbs a day would at least help.

The carb manager app helped NC Blogger Leigh Powell Hines track what she was eating daily.

I continued to walk the dog and go to the gym. I moved daily thanks to the dog, Andy. My weight loss was slow and steady at about a loss of one pound per week. By December (my birthday month), I was down finally down 20 pounds.

North Carolina Blogger Leigh Powell Hines is owner of the HinesSightBlog, Travel, Food, and Life with A Southern Spin.
Photo by Curious Notions Photography

I did not gain weight over the holidays. I did give up a lot of pasta throughout this process and I now use a lower-carb bread for sandwiches at home. When I was working to lose weight, I was strict, I would rarely eat a sandwich in a restaurant for lunch.  Instead, I would eat a chopped salad, tuna salad or chicken salad. Bread is not your friend on a low-carb diet, but fats are more tolerable. I also ate very little beans during the weight loss process.

Once I achieved a twenty-pound weight loss goal, I stopped using the app because I started to know my foods, but once I stopped using the Carb Manager app, the weight loss stopped.

50-year-old NC blogger lost 20 pounds on a low-carb eating plan.
Photo by Turnkey Photography

I've maintained my weight at about 132 pounds. I've fluctuated up to 135 pounds, if I don't eat well or drink enough water. I also will eat a sandwich out or a burger with bread now in a restaurant on occasion. I've learned now that my weight may creep up if I do it too many times in a row. I also eat more beans now than I did when I was trying to lose weight.  Everything I do has to be in moderation.  The biggest take away for me that I've learned from this experience is to actually lose weight, I need to log everything I eat with the app and be under 1300 calories a day. It was that simple.

Log what I eat, keep carbs between 50g to 75g per day, and do not go over 1300 calories.

The one thing that I did not give up through this entire process was NC Craft Beer, but I had very little wine unless it was sparkling. I rarely ate sweets and I kept sugar at a minimum. I still try to abide by both those rules.

On My eating plan, I still kept NC craft beer as part of my diet. This is a local beer from Brice's Brewing in Raleigh, NC.
Photo by Turnkey Photography 

What did I miss most on this diet? I missed spaghetti and meatballs. When I was losing weight I did zucchini noodles and let's be honest, there is no substitute for a big plate of angel hair.

I will eat angel hair now, but I really try to watch the portions or mix it with zucchini noodles so I can still get a hearty portion.

I'm really glad that I got my weight in check before turning fifty. If I can do it, you can, too.

How Lifestyle Blogger, Leigh Powell Hines, of the HinesSightBlog lost 20 pound before turning 50. She did one simple thing that helped her achieve her weight loss carb goals.

Disclosure: My thanks to Wells Family Dental Group in Wake Forest, N.C. for being a HinesSightBlog sponsor. My sponsors help keep me # OutaboutNC and writing editorial content at my desk. If your business is interested in becoming a blog sponsor, please email me at leigh@Hinessightblog.com for advertising rates.

A List of my Favorite Beautycounter Skin Care Products I Buy and Use Daily

*This post contains affiliate links

I'm not a beauty blogger and I certainly don't play one on the internet either. In fact, some people may compare me to an old-shoe because I get very brand loyal if I like a product and that is especially true with me when it comes to beauty and skincare lines. I don't switch it up if I like something.

However, it may take a while to find the beauty product that works for you so there is a lot of trial and error.  Skincare is so personal because what works for me may not work you. Our skin, our largest organ, is unique to us. What I choose to pay for skincare lines not be what you choose to pay for products. But, as aging women, we all can agree that we want skincare products that perform well.

Since I'm now 50, my cosmetic bag has been filled with many brands over the years. In the past twenty-five years, I've purchased brands such as Bobbi Brown, MAC, Elizabeth Arden, Lancome, L'oreal, Stila, Avon, Urban Decay, Olay, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Cover Girl, Revlon, Peter Thomas Roth, Smashbox, Tarte and probably many more. Seriously, just take a look at this list of this Nordstrom beauty products and you will see just how many cosmetic and skincare brands are on the market, and this is just the high-end list. Have you been to an Ulta store lately? It can be overwhelming.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.

About four years ago, I started looking into using safe beauty products since I learned that the cosmetic industry is basically unregulated when it comes to product safety. Mainstream companies are now changing their toxic ways and the entire beauty industry as a whole is changing to become safer. That is good news, but there is still a lot of greenwashing of labels these days for marketing for clean beauty products. You may think you are buying a safe beauty product because it's labeled natural, but the reality is that not all cosmetic and skincare ingredients are safe for your body.

The beauty brand that I buy most consistently now is Beautycounter, which was founded by Gregg Renfrow in 2013.  In 2018, this California-based skincare company was the most searched clean beauty product line on google. Is Beautycounter really safe? Yes, it is. The company bans 1500 ingredients in its product line known to cause health issues. The company also lobbies for better legislation.  Is Beautycounter a pyramid scheme?  No, it is not. You can buy Beautycounter directly through the company website,  pop-up markets, or through direct links like mine. It does have direct consultants as well who actively sell products in communities since it an online business only. Can you return Beautycounter products? Absolutely.  Beautycounter has a very liberal return policy.  Regarding what was searched on Google, Beautycounter has created a lot of buzz and industry awareness since its creation.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.

I have tried many products by Beautycounter and I certainly have my favorites. It's also important to note that I'm not one of these people who buys or uses everything natural or organic. I think small steps make a difference toward a cleaner lifestyle. It has taken me years and a lot of reading to actual change my buying habits and even eating habits.

I am also very careful about what my children use when it comes to products. In my fifty years, I've been exposed to many toxins probably. Sometimes I wonder if the cosmetics and skincare I was using in the past had any correlation to my late fertility. We know a lot more today than we did twenty years ago so I owe it to my children to try to give them a  clean start because our knowledge is so much greater.

Beautycounter Countercontrol Products for Acne and Oily Skin for Tween/Teenage Skin

Countercontrol products by Beautycounter for blemish-prone and oily skin.

My teenage son uses a few of the Countercontrol products to help control his acne. I personally think that he may overuse them because he is going through them a little too quickly for my beauty budget,  but he likes it and uses it. That is key for me. He uses it without complaint.  It is also reassuring to know he is using a product that will not impact his hormones. Beautycounter has a NEVER LIST of 1500 products that they feel are questionable to human safety. The countercontrol collection is without harsh chemicals that cause drying and irritation.

The only downside of these Beautycounter skincare products that I see is that I have to order them online and unfortunately, he tells me he is out of the product the day that he is out of the product. I have tried other over the counter products for convenience in between orders, but they were too harsh for him. I always try to keep the Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser and Countercontrol All Over Acne Treatment in stock. Beautycounter has a countercontrol regimen that helps you save in bulk, but I know that my son would not use all the products right now as a routine so I still buy a-la-carte.

Beautycounter Anti-Aging Skincare Line (New Product Launch called Countertime on July 9)

Countertime, a new anti-aging line by Beautycounter with a retinatural complex instead of retinol.

As of July 9, Beautycounter is phasing out its Rejuvenating skincare line and has launched Countertime, an anti-aging line with a retinatural formula instead of retinol. Retinol is a common beauty ingredient that many beauty brands tout as safe. Beautycounter still has retinol on its NeverList though and refuses to use it in its product line. The EWG Skindeep score for retinol is in the red-zone at 9.

Beautycounter has developed a new retinatural formula in the Countertime line, which is plant-derived, featuring bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose. Bakuchiol, used in Chinese skin-care remedies, offers retinol results without irritation. It's also safe to use when pregnant, nursing, and when in the sun. Retinol is not safe according to the EWG.  Even though retinol is not that safe for our bodies, we know it works for anti-aging and it is coveted in many over-the-counter and prescription skin care products.

I am very excited to try the Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream because I have been in this stage of my life where I was not happy with any eye cream I was using at the price point I was willing to pay. There are many eye creams out there for over $100 and I am not paying it. The Rejuvenating eye cream line worked for me for a while, but as I got closer to fifty, I felt I needed more active ingredients. I have floundered for years in this product area and am anxiously awaiting this eye cream to arrive at my home. I will have to follow up at a later date.

Beautycounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Line

Countermatch by Beautycounter. This is a great line for those who are starting to be concerned about aging.

In the past couple of years, Beautycounter launched a special Countermatch line that gives your skin hydration when you need it. I tried it and liked the Countermatch adaptive moisture lotion for daytime use better than the old Beautycounter Rejuvenating line. I recommend this line for those who want to start anti-aging clean beauty, but not spend $75 on a daily moisturizer or night cream. I think this is a good product and does its job. It's lightweight, too. If you do not know where to start with Beautycounter then I recommend purchasing this line. However, I don't really like the cleanser in this line as much as I like the Countercontrol and Essential Nourishing lines.

It is recommended that the milk cleanser be used on a dry face first then rinsed. I prefer to clean my face in the shower so I think that is why I chose not to buy it again plus it is more expensive than the original nourishing line cleanser.  The Countercontrol clear pore cleanser also acts as an exfoliator.

Beautycounter Essential Nourishing Line

The Essential Nourishing Line by Beautycounter is great for those who are interested in making a clean swap in their beauty products for safer beauty.

This is Beautycounter's original skincare line. It's the most inexpensive line by Beautycounter and the least effective for someone my age except for the cleanser and exfoliator, which I do buy.

I love these two cleansing products in this Beautycounter essential nourishing line and still use them four years after first trying them.  I also think the day or night cream can be good for someone my age, especially if used in conjunction with the facial oils. The Beautycounter facial oils are hands down my favorite Beautycounter products on the market. I am never without the No. 1 Brightening Oil which is rich with Vitamin C or the Overnight Resurfacing Peel which I  use two to three times a week.

I sometimes use my beautycounter facial oil as my sole moisturizer.  I have tried the other Beautycounter serums on the market within each line, but I prefer the No.1 facial oil so I use that exclusively.

Overall, I recommend Essential Nourishing Beautycounter skincare line to those who want to go with a clean beauty routine and are used to more drug store prices.  This is a great place to start for that clean swap. At first glance, it looks way more expensive than drug store products, but the products go a very long way.  The essential nourishing skincare line is perfect for the twenty-something or for the person who barely remembers to use a moisturizer. It is a good product, but it has its limits in anti-aging performance but overall, it's a great first line to get into safer beauty.

Beautycounter Lip Conditioner 

I'm just going to say this is the best $22 you will ever spend. I adore the peppermint lip balm, but the calendula is a best-seller. The lip conditioner is by far my very favorite Beautycounter skincare product.I've been talking about the Beautycounter lip balm for years on the blog.  One balm should last up to six months. I buy maybe two a year.


We can all make changes in our lifestyle through small changes. Maybe it is a cleanser, a sunscreen, a lipstick.  Whatever it may be, I'm giving my wonderful readers a chance to make clean swap for Better Beauty. 

Giveaway on @LeighPowellHines on Instagram for $50 in product to help you make the clean beauty switch. The giveaway will last until July 31, 2019, in honor of the new Countertime launch.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.


My thanks to HinesSightBlog sponsor Mile High Smiles for being a sponsor for my editorial content. My sponsors keep me at my desk writing and OutaboutNC. Learn more about how dental implants could help you have a beautiful smile.

This post contains affiliate links. Any Beautycounter purchase from this site will generate a commission at no cost to the buyer. This, however, does not alter my opinion about these products. If I did not love them, I would have stopped buying them long ago.

Kids and Sleep Schedules: Doctors Say Follow the 4 B's for Bedtime

updated: August 2019

I had the honor of hosting WTVD Anchor/Reporter Julie Wilson and WTVD photographer, Shawn, in my home to talk about getting kids back into the groove on their sleep schedules as school begins.

Working parents outside the home have probably stayed relatively consistent in their schedules, but I am not good at keeping a consistent sleep schedule during the summer months.

Sleep Schedules are Important for School. Follow these Simple Tips for Bedtime Routines #sleep #Kids #sleephabits #sleeproutine #c2cgroup

We are a mess in this family. We've stayed up way too late and slept way too late in the morning.

My kids have never been easy with bedtimes except for when they were babies. That was easy peasy. We still struggle with nine-year-old.

 I would classify them both as considerable pains in our behinds. Getting my kids to bed now is a lot of work. My son has nighttime rituals that would make any sane person crazy. His covers have to be tucked in just right. The other won't go to sleep alone. Just as you've rubbed her back for the one billionth stroke, you slowly try to get out of her bed. Suddenly, you feel her feet wrap around you like an anaconda.  Immediately you hear, "I'm not asleep yet. Don't leave!"

What happened to us? We're two college-educated people. Why can't we put our children to be with success like other families seem to do?

We look at bedtime as our version of hell. It's something I dread nightly. Because even when we think they are snug as a bug in their beds, at least one usually makes a surprise appearance later in the evening.

Fill in the blank with whatever works best.
"The light is shining in my window."
"I have a headache."
"I feel itchy."
"My covers are not right."
"I'm hot."
"I  just can't go to sleep."

Kids can wear you down. I think kids bedtimes sometimes get pushed back because if you start at 7 pm luck as it that you still aren't done with them two hours later. I think I'm guilty of starting the process then at night in hopes the ritual will be shorter.

It never is better.

As I told Julie in our interview that did not make the segment, I think it will all work itself out once school starts. The first week or two will be rough, but after a few mornings of getting up early and having full days, then our beds will look very good at night. I saw this a lot with my youngest during swim team season. She was basically putting herself to bed and doing it within minutes.

But, UNC Children's Hospital Pediatrician, Dr. Michael Steiner's advice is golden when he says the four B's allow for consistency:


Sleep Schedules are important for Back to School; Follow these 4 Easy Tips from Pediatricians for the Perfect Bedtime Routine for Children.

Teens need about nine to eleven hours of sleep. Elementary school children need ten to twelve hours. He also suggested moving your routine back 30 minutes a night to get used to change.
It's a little late for us. School is on Monday.

Lights out for all of us need to be 9 pm at the latest on school nights.  If any of my friends see my behind on social media after 9 pm, tell me to "Go to BED!"

I'm happy to report that my 13-year-old son is better at his sleep routine now. So, eventually, it will get easier at night on parents. My dog, Andy, has no problem going to bed at all.

Disclosure: My thanks to Louisiana Eye and Laser for being a HinesSightBlog Sponsor.  If you are looking for a Monroe, Louisiana eye doctor, this office is now taking appointments. My sponsors keep me at my desk writing editorial content and OutaboutNC.

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