Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | October 29, 2011

warming ways

Yesterday was a day of celebration, a day we look forward to as soon as the weather starts turning colder, a day which causes sighs of happiness to sound quietly in the house. Yes, I put the flannel sheets on the bed. Soooo much nicer to snuggle into soft fuzzy sheets instead of smooth cold ones. Between them and the down comforter/duvet on top, I could quite happily spend all winter not moving at all. We keep our house quite cold in the winter to save on $$ and to not burn more than our fair share of fossil fuels, so we have gotten a little more creative in our methods of keeping warm. There is the plethora of throw blankets on the two sofas, so sharing the sofa and therefore the blanket can create little altercations. “You just uncovered my feet!” “Well, you were hogging the blanket!” “I’m all the way on my side!” Ah, yes, the bliss of family togetherness.

So here I give to you one of our favorite ways of keeping warm when it’s cold outside:  The Rice Sock!

the rice sock in it's natural unadorned state

To make a rice sock of your very own, this is what you need: one package of men’s cotton (as close to 100% as possible) tall (over the calf is best) tube or sport socks, and a large bag of plain white rice. DO NOT use minute or instant rice!! Bad things happen. Fill each sock about one half to two thirds full of rice and then tie a knot in the top of the sock. Heat sock in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Snuggle up with the warmth.

Rice socks can be embellished by embroidery, markers or possibly fabric paint although I haven’t tried the paint. Definitely do not decorate with anything metallic. You know – microwave – metal – no-no! Also, you can put a drop or two of essential oil mixed into your rice before filling the sock or possible some nice smelly something like lavender blossoms. I would watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn in the microwave though. And they do smell rather powerfully of rice for a while making yearnings for Chinese food appear. But they are great for warming up cold toes, soothing sore shoulders and necks, heating up sore muscles and tendons before exercising (*cough, Julie, cough*).

Then there is a recipe for what my family now calls Cold Killer Soup. It’s real name is Mexican Tomato Soup.

serves 2 generously

1 6 oz can tomato juice

1 6 oz. can spicy V-8

2 cups chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

juice from 1/2 lime

1 T. chopped cilantro

Stir everything together in a saucepan and heat for five minutes. Accompanies quesadillas really well.

Yesterday’s challenge was to stretch your ankles. I give you their directions:
How to do it: Sit toward the front edge of a sturdy chair, with your legs stretched out straight in front of you and your heels on the floor. Tip your toes up toward you, bending at the ankles. Hold for 10 seconds. Then point your toes away, holding for the same amount of time. Repeat four more times. You should feel this stretch in your ankles and lower legs, but don’t overdo it; this stretch should not cause any pain.

And today’s is to carry along a bottle of hand sanitizer for when you need to wash your hands but don’t have access to soap and water. I’m going to give a caveat to this one. Don’t use hand sanitizer when you can wash your hands. Overuse of antibiotics and antiseptics is creating super germs. Your body actually does need a certain amount of germiness to keep its immune system active and healthy.



  1. I’m just now heating up a rice sock for my cold fingers to grip … great minds do think alike!!

  2. A rice sock? WTF are you two talking about?! We’ve got these dealies at all the home shows now that people wrap around their necks, mostly they have some herb combo in them….. is this where that idea came from? Well, huh. I’ll need to investigate this further. And for tendons you say? Hm hm hm.

    Ooooh, Dan loves soup. Instead of printing maybe I’ll just send him over here to read the entire post. See? I’m saving the planet too.

    Doing my toe stretches. Lol, ya know, cuz I maybe haven’t been doing them all freaking week! (No, I really have.) 😉

    • Mother Earth pillows are definitely prettier and probably smell nicer, but cheaper? Hah!
      The soup is yummy and easy and my family is convinced it cures colds. With chicken soup and garlic and all that vitamin C in it, it certainly can’t hurt.
      Good on you for stretching!

  3. Rice socks are wonderful.

    I might have to try those sheets – they sound wonderful. Throw in a warmed rice sock prior to bed and snuggle city. I might have to go find me some of those sheets. Today!!

    • It gets cold and the flannel sheet/ rice sock combo is the best. Snuggle city indeed!

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