Eat Right: Healthy foods for a Spring in Your Step

Spring brings the opportunity for New Jammies families to welcome the new season feeling refreshed. We say goodbye to the stuffy head colds, high fevers and sore throats of winter, taking an holistic approach to health with immune-boosting foods. Whether it’s a natural immune-supporting power bowl or an energy ball with chia seeds, these recipes harken back Spring’s fresh take at a healthy life.

Spring Power Bowl

Courtesy  Two Peas and Their Pod

For the Quinoa Bowl:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 asparagus spears, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Swap proteins, grains, veggies to your liking.

 

Kid Friendly Energy Balls
Courtesy The Lean Green Bean

These little morsels pack a healthy energizing punch.    Not only are the freezable, but they travel well and hey their something you can feel good about giving your child.   The lean green bean shares and assortments of recipes but this one caught my eye.  Citrus is always a great immune boosting food to enjoy in warmer weather and longer days.

Bursting with citrus flavor, these Lemon Energy balls make the perfect snack. Made with just 5 ingredients, they’re gluten-free, paleo-friendly and perfect for stashing in the fridge or freezer!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • zest and juice from a medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put dates, nuts and seeds in a food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  2. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and process until mixture comes together.
  3. Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. (I made 14 balls).

 

Veggie Spring Rolls20-Minute Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 6 spring rolls
Courtesy chefsavvy.com

This fresh recipe for vegetable spring rolls are perfect for a light lunch, healthy snack or easy-to-make appetizer. Colorful and full of flavor, these naturally vegan spring rolls include mango, high in Vitamins C & A. “The large amounts of Vitamin C act as a great immune booster. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin A. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins and fiber. Also a great source of antioxidants. The scallions’ Vitamin K and fiber make this a good choice for the spring rolls. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants,” says the recipe on chefsavvy.com.

Ingredients
6 spring rolls wrappers
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
1. Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit. Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff)
2. Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight. Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
3. Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won’t be serving them right away.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
1. Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
3. Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.

Instapot Lemon Veggie Risotto
Courtesy Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

It seems like every other day a parent is telling me how they are obsessed with their Instapot and it’s time saving ability to create homemade meals for the family.   When time is of the essence, but we still want to put a healthy dinner on the table, Instapot to the rescue.   If you too are in the Instapot fan club you may enjoy this veggie loaded risotto.   For all you classic risotto cooks, here are some new flavors to add to your slow cooked love.

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh peas, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add asparagus, broccoli, and peas to the baking sheet. Coat with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepper, toss well. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.
2. In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, press SAUTÉ. Add remaining extra-virgin olive oil and let the pot heat up. Once hot, add in onions, leeks and garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent.
3. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.
4. Add vegetable stock, butter and thyme. Stir well.
5. Turn the pressure cooker or instant pot off. Secure lid in place, turn valve to sealing, press manual, and modify time to 7 minutes.
6. Once the time has lapsed, and the pressure cooker is done, turn the valve to venting to quickly release the pressure. Open the lid and stir well.
7. Turn the setting to SAUTE. Add spinach, chives, roasted veggies, and spices to the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with lemon zest and additional chives.

Bon Appetit!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Naps and Why Kids Need Them

Ask some New Jammies parents about naps, and you may see a longing in their eyes. They might be wishing for one themselves. Or daydreaming about the days when their children’s naps were as common as a diaper change. Often, as a child grows older, naps can become a distant memory. That doesn’t always mean parents should give up on them.

According to KidsHealth, the importance of naps is vital, as “sleep is a major requirement for good health, and for young kids to get enough of it, some daytime sleep is usually needed.”

“Crucial physical and mental development occurs in early childhood, and naps provide much-needed downtime for growth and rejuvenation,” KidsHealth says. “Naps also help keep kids from becoming overtired, which not only takes a toll on their moods but may also make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. And naptime gives parents a brief oasis during the day and time to tackle household chores or just unwind.”

Sleep Needs by Age

KidsHealth reminds parents that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much daytime sleep kids need.

“It all depends on the age, the child, and the sleep total during a 24-hour period,” KidsHealth says. “For example, one toddler may sleep 13 hours at night with only some daytime catnapping, while another gets 9 hours at night but takes a solid 2-hour nap each afternoon.”

Though sleep needs are highly individual, these age-by-age guidelines give an idea of average daily sleep requirements:

Birth to 6 months: Infants require about 14 to 18 total hours of sleep per day. Younger infants tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they approach 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more established. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

6 to 12 months: Babies this age usually sleep about 14 hours total for the day. This usually includes two naps a day, which may last 20 minutes for some babies, for others a few hours. At this age, infants may not need to wake at night to feed, but may begin to experience separation anxiety, which can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): Toddlers generally require 12 to 14 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours. Young toddlers might still be taking two naps, but naps should not occur too close to bedtime, as they may make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep at night.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): Preschoolers average about 11 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap. Most give up this nap by 5 years of age.

School-age (5 to 12 years): School-age kids need about 10 to 11 hours at night. Some 5-year-olds might still need a nap, and if a regular nap isn’t possible, they might need an earlier bedtime.

To Nap Or Not to Nap?

The National Sleep Foundation reminds parents not to become discouraged, as naps, or the lack thereof, are a phase all kids go through.

“About half of all children stop napping by age four, and 70 percent are done with daytime sleep by age five,” the NSF reports.

What are some signs little ones are ready to drop the nap habit?

“Consistently taking 45 minutes or more to fall asleep for a daytime snooze or getting 11 to 12 hours of sleep overnight are two big ones,” the Foundation says. “If you think it’s time to give nap-less living a try, follow these steps to ease the transition.”

Nap as Needed

The National Sleep Foundation agrees that napping doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing proposition.”

“While some children might be fine quitting cold turkey, others may do better with a gradual approach. For instance, consider skipping naps for three days, then napping again on the fourth,” the NSF says.

“Alternately, you could shorten the naps by waking your child within the hour to keep daytime sleep from interfering with bedtime. Even a 20-minute nap can have benefits for a small child. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, so follow your child’s cues to figure out the right sleep strategy.”

Turn Naps into Quiet Time

“Skipping an afternoon nap doesn’t mean your child is ready for constant action from morning to night. An hour of quiet time in the afternoon can offer an important opportunity for a non-napping child to re-group (not to mention restoring the caregiver’s energy, too),” says the Fiundation. “Reading books, coloring quietly, and listening to calming music are all good ways to rest up for the evening ahead.”

Also, the National Sleep Foundation suggests moving bedtime to an earlier time.

“If your child is no longer napping, bedtime hours may need to be adjusted to be sure you still provide enough time for sleep,” the NSF says. “Preschoolers should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day, with or without naps, which could mean going to sleep as early as 6:30 PM depending on what time your child wakes up in the morning.”

For more information on naps, sleep and additional topics involving kids’ health, visit these helpful online resources:

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
http://www.sleepfoundation.org
NSF is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
http://www.aasmnet.org
AASM strives to increase awareness of sleep disorders in public and professional communities.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Heart-healthy Family Dinners

February is American Heart Month, and New Jammies joins the American Heart Association in reminding families this is an ideal time to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their loved ones, friends and communities involved.

“The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices,” says the AHA. “While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

In its Heart-healthy Recipes section of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, the AHA provides meal planning ideas that can save your heart by improving your diet.

“There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy is lacking in flavor and satisfaction. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable,” the American Heart Association says.

“The truth is, there are plenty of creative ways to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish. And you don’t have to be a master chef to whip one up, and do it well … Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn’t start sooner. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with your own inspired creations.”

Try these heart-healthy dishes from the American Heart Association and encourage your New Jammies kids and to eat right today:

Healthy greens and beans add a flavorful punch to this easy soup recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Ingredients

6 Servings (Serving size 1 cup)
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/2 small red onion (chopped)
1 medium celery (chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (minced)
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.

2. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.

3. Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

4. Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.

This protein-packed vegetarian Edamame Salad with Orange-Balsamic Dressing can be a main course or a side dish.

Ingredients

Serving size 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, lowest sodium available
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar PLUS
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided use
1 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 tsp. pepper
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. mixed salad greens, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 medium cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Directions

1. Prepare the edamame using the package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the edamame, navy beans, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to five days.

3. At serving time, put the salad greens on plates. Top, in order, with the cucumber, tomato, carrot, radishes, and bean mixture. Pour the dressing over all.

Benefit from heart-healthy omega-3 fats with this vegetable and seafood Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon dish.

Ingredients
4 Servings (Serving size 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables)

1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 oz. spinach
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs, lowest sodium available
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

This Blackberry Cobbler dessert recipe features nutrient-dense blackberries and is great for family meals, especially as the weather warms. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, and contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Cooking Tip: On the blackberries, this sweet-tart fruit is nutrient dense. Look for plump berries with a dark, rich color.

Ingredients
8 Servings

Cooking spray
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar substitute and 1/2 cup sugar substitute, divided use
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, the water, lime juice, and ginger. Let the berry mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so the juices can accumulate.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar substitute.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.

5. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until no flour is visible. Don’t overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter in the pan. (The batter doesn’t have to touch the edge of the pan; it will spread while baking.) Top with the berry mixture.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For information on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Plan a Family Vacation to Remember

At New Jammies, we know the benefits of traveling with the kids to new, and familiar, places. We see the wonder in their eyes of seeing special landmarks. In the diverse cultures they experience. And in the memories made together as a family.

“Vacation is essential to strengthen personal relationships, inspire creative thinking, improve professional performance, and promote better heath,” says Project: Time Off, a leading national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior about taking vacation time.

“We aim to shift culture so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.​“

Although Project: Time Off sees the value of vacation time for close relationships and work growth, the movement says Americans still fail to use 662 million vacation days annually.

“The stockpile of unused vacation is creating a spike in worker burnout and even larger balance sheet liabilities that directly affect a company’s bottom line,” the movement reports. “What’s worse—employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016.”

And Project: Time Off says 51% of Americans still skip the one step that could help them vacation: planning.

”Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured,” Project: Time Off reminds us. “A majority of parents believe that family vacations are worth the time and money because they ‘give my child experiences that they will remember years down the road.’”

To encourage parents and caregiving family members to do so, the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative established the last Tuesday of January as National Plan for Vacation Day in 2017.

This day is ideal to start planning ahead and declare vacation days at the start of the year. Project: Time Off says the first-ever National Plan for Vacation Day saw organizations implement creative activations for Americans to take time off to reunite with family and friends and rejuvenate.

“In its inaugural year, more than 600 organizations, representing all 50 states, came together to encourage Americans to plan for vacation,” Project: Time Off says.

This year’s National Plan for Vacation Day, on Jan. 30, 2018, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year. The registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Plan for Vacation Day to be observed annually in 2018 as an opportunity to come together at a single moment to rally around the importance of planning for a vacation.

Learn more at ProjectTimeOff.com/Plan and join the conversation online with #PlanForVacation on social media. Project: Time Off is making it easy for Americans to plan their vacations with the new Vacation Planning Tool.

And take this advice from Nationwide on planning a family vacation with kids.

“It makes sense to go for one that’s stress-free and age appropriate. (For tips on the stress-free part, check out their page on packing light.)” says the Nationwide Learning Center. “While ‘less is more’ applies to any kind of travel, The Family Travel Files has specific family travel tips for different age groups, including the young ones:

Children six weeks to five years
It’s never too early to start traveling with young children, as long as parents are prepared for the slow pace and frequent naps. Before you begin your trip:

• Get a well-baby checkup (especially if you’re traveling to another country)
• Pack first aid items including water, sunscreen & insect repellent
• Pack baby-proofing items like socket plugs, corner tabs & nightlights

Children ages 6-12
Family vacations can create life-long memories for kids in this age range. Even better, children in these primary-school years are still very dependent on their parents and haven’t yet reached the rebellious teenage years.

• Pack light, because children often lose personal items
• Pack a surprise to keep your child occupied in transit, during delays and long lines

Read more tips here.

Bon voyage!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Infant Sleeping Best Practices

At New Jammies, we all know the old saying, “Babies don’t come with instructions.” Lucky for us, there are helpful organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, among many others, to help us navigate child-rearing. Many of the first questions we have as parents has much to do about sleep.

Especially safety and sleep.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths,” says the AAP. “Recommendations for a safe sleep environment include supine positioning, the use of a firm sleep surface, room-sharing without bed-sharing, and the avoidance of soft bedding and overheating.”

The APA reports approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the U.S. from sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Recent updates to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for SIDS reduction include the avoidance of exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs; breastfeeding; routine immunization; and use of a pacifier.

”New evidence is also presented for skin-to-skin care for newborn infants, use of bedside and in-bed sleepers, sleeping on couches/armchairs and in sitting devices, and use of soft bedding after 4 months of age,” the APA reports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following baby safety tips to keep in mind for parents:

• Place your baby to sleep on his or her back for all sleep times — including short naps

• Never place the baby on its side or stomach to sleep

• Use a safety-approved mattress and crib

• No pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys or sleep positioners in the crib

• Feel free to share a room with your baby, but resist the temptation to bring them into your bed

• And remember, money should never be an issue when it comes to the safety of your child! KeepingBabiesSafe.org runs a donor-supported program that offers free safety-approved cribs to financially challenged parents.

Keeping Babies Safe has already donated thousands of safe cribs to those who need them most, since its founding in 2006 by Joyce Davis. She lost her four-month-old son, Garret, to a completely preventable circumstance: an unsafe sleeping condition that might have been avoided had the proper information been available. Keeping Babies Safe also serves as a dedicated resource for free information about reliable crib and sleep safety information, safety tips, and product recall information.

”We help parents, caregivers and hospital personnel stay vigilant about keeping babies safe in their nurseries,” says the nonprofit’s mission statement.

This noble cause is funded with the help of sponsors and donations from the general public. With every $125 donation, Keeping Babies Safe can purchase a new crib that complies with the federal crib standards.

”Project Safe Crib donation helps provide safe cribs to financially-challenged parents. Keeping Babies Safe will purchase safe cribs at an industry discount and offer them to human service organizations with proven training in safe crib practices,” KBS says. “Trained professionals then set up our donated cribs in homes according to the highest safety standards. Since 2007, Project Safe Crib has donated more than 8,000 safe cribs nationwide. With your help, we can raise this number over 10,000 – and more.”

Start out the new year helping others by donating online to here, or mail a check to:

Keeping Babies Safe
16 Mount Bethel Road
Suite #245
Warren, NJ 07059

If your employer has a gift matching program, your donation to Keeping Babies Safe can be doubled and in some cases tripled. Ask your employer and submit the necessary paperwork with your donation to KBS.

Here’s to helping sleeping babies stay safe in 2018, and beyond!

__________________________________

How New Jammies Supports Safe Sleeping

New Jammies Sleep Sacks

Our cozy Sleep Sacks have babies safely sleeping in comfort. Our double-layered organic cotton design is warm and breathable. Our Sleep Sack fits perfectly over New Jammies footie pajamas for cool evenings or can be paired with a onesie for warmer nights. In addition, New Jammies Sleep Sacks encourage baby to sleep on their backs until they can comfortably roll over from their back or tummy, and eliminates loose crib blankets for the prevention of SIDS.

Shop here.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Eating in 2018

Every January, millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their health and well being in the new year, including through diet and exercise. The intention is there, but only about 8 percent of people who make resolutions keep them. At New Jammies, we’re here to improve those odds with these tips for healthy eating habits for the whole family in the new year.

The CDC Office of Women’s Health offers Six Tips for 2018, including No. 3, make healthy food choices.

”A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products,” the CDC says. “It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.”

One way the CDC offers advice on Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight is by trying a new twist on an old favorite.

“If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling,” the CDC suggests. “Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish.”

This American Heart Association recipe for Kid-Friendly Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs with Brown Rice, from its Simple Cooking with Heart program, “helps you travel to the islands with this recipe. Kids can help make them and because they’ll be in the kitchen where all the action is, they’re probably going to be excited to eat them, too.”

Ingredients

4 Servings

For the Marinade:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (at least 36 pieces), all visible fat discarded, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
20 oz. canned, unsweetened juice from pineapple chunks can
2 clove fresh garlic (minced)
OR
1 tsp. jarred, minced garlic

For the Chicken Kebabs:

Non-stick cooking spray
36 pineapple chunks (packed in their own juice)
2 fresh, chopped bell peppers (chopped into 36 pieces)
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
12-15 wooden skewers
2 cup brown rice (cooked to package instructions)
OR
2 8.8- oz. packaged, cooked brown rice

Directions

For the Marinade:
1. In a plastic bag, add chicken chunks.
2. Have kids add soy sauce, 1 cup pineapple juice, and garlic into the plastic bag. Seal and let chicken marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

For the Chicken Kebabs:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Take chicken out of marinade and place in a bowl.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Have kids wash bell peppers and tomatoes before chopping peppers. For kid-friendly assembly, place the pineapple, chopped peppers, and tomatoes in 3 separate bowls.
3. Let kids add 1 tomato to the bottom of 1 skewer. Top with pineapple, chicken and bell pepper 3 times, letting kids add everything but the raw chicken. Let kids add 1 more tomato to top. Repeat with the rest of skewers.
4. After 12 skewers are made (and all the chicken has been used), have kids make their own skewers with any remaining pieces. Cook kabobs in oven until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve with rice.

Quick Tips

Cooking Tip: Pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain that helps to make meat tender, making pineapple juice an excellent quick marinade.
Keep it Healthy: Skewering pieces of meat, vegetables, and fruit for dinner makes it fun for kids to eat, along with a having a meal with a quick cooking time.
Tip: You can also cook these on the grill but first, you would need to soak the wooden skewers in cold water to prevent them from catching on fire.
Tip: Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, so more will fit in a pint container. If using grape tomatoes, there will be enough tomatoes to add 4 grape tomatoes per skewer. If using cherry tomatoes, just stick with 2 per skewer.

In helping people stay on course for their wellness resolutions, the American Heart Association suggests these tips on How to Eat Healthy without “Dieting”:

• Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
• Read labels. Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
• Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
• Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
• Don’t dismiss entire food groups. Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
• Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.

Another kid-friendly, healthy recipe to help you and your family eat well throughout the new year is courtesy the We Can! program, a collaboration between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute.

Find more easy, healthy Fun Family Recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

11 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups dry lentils
1 can (14 ½ ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
6 ½ cups water

Directions

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; cook and stir until the onion is tender.
2. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in lentils and tomatoes, then add the vegetable broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. The soup will taste better the next day!

This recipe for a Superfood Smoothie from the American Diabetes Association is great for kids and adults, for breakfast, a snack or dessert on the go.

“Blueberries, spinach, and almond milk make this a Superfood Smoothie and a great way to start your day,” says the ADA. “Superfoods provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet.”

Ingredients

2 Servings

1 cup original almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups baby spinach
1 banana

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and thick.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free and this recipe can be made gluten-free.

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Pantone Color of the Year Inspires

At New Jammies, we wait for the announcement of the Pantone Color of the Year like little kids anticipant Santa. We can’t wait to see what’s the “in” color for fashion — especially children’s sleepwear — as well as retail, interior/exterior, and graphic designs.

Pantone’s “2018 Color of the Year” also means trends change for toys, which inspire creative play.

Suffice, to say, we were delighted to hear the “complex, magical, and non-conformist” Ultra Violet has been named “2018 Color of the Year” by Pantone.

“The world-renowned authority on color says the blue-based purple ‘[inspires] the desire to pursue a world beyond our own,’” says the Toy Association, which is committed to serving as the industry’s voice on the cognitive, social, emotional, and creative benefits of play, while providing members with programs, events, services, and tools that will help them to deliver safe, fun and developmentally beneficial toys and games to children around the world.

“It’s reflective of our current culture and the collective need to create original content, express individuality, and contemplate the future – and will be seen across every industry in 2018, including fashion, food, interior design – and toys,” adds the Association.

Pantone says Ultra Violet is an evolution of Greenery, 2017 Color of the Year, selected based on it’s longing to reconnect with nature and with one another.

”Through the combination of ‘light-sustaining red and heavenly blue,’ color experts say that Ultra Violet takes the sentiment one step deeper by inspiring us to create a more meaningful connection with the future and providing a calm refuge in an over-stimulated world,” according to Pantone.

The Toy Association says toymakers may apply the rich purple hue in a variety of ways:

• MYSTICAL & INTRIGUING: Thanks to the color’s magical properties, the use of Ultra Violet in toy design helps to heighten make-believe, cosmic, and fantastical worlds.

• DRAMA & GLAMOR: Long-worn by movie stars and style icons – from Elizabeth Taylor to Beyoncé – the purple hue brings an air of drama, glamor, and sophistication to dolls and doll accessories, including shoes, purses, makeup, jewelry, and hair.

• NON-CONFORMIST: The incorporation of Ultra Violet in role play items can create a bold and complex statement. Since the color symbolizes experimentation, it inspires children to push boundaries through creative play.

• HEALTH & WELLNESS: According to Pantone, the color is used in design, lighting, and gathering places to “energize communities […] and inspire connection.” As the toy industry continues to create more toys and games that foster connection within communities, teach kids to be better global citizens, and inspire families to lead healthier lives, the use of Ultra Violet in packaging and marketing will help drive these messages home.

“It’s fascinating how color in product design and packaging can impact everything from the way consumers think and feel to what they purchase,” says Adrienne Appell, trend expert at The Toy Association. “As described by Pantone, Ultra Violet is a powerful and inspiring color that will lend itself well to the world of toys and games. We encourage toymakers to consider how this trending hue can be incorporated into their lines as they plan new product for 2018 and beyond.”

More information about the 2018 Color of the Year is available on Pantone’s website.

The Toy Associqtion and Pantone agree that Pantone’s Color of the Year is a popular topic because “individuals around the world become more fascinated with color and realize its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, designers and brands should feel empowered to use color to inspire and influence.”

”The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design, reflecting the Pantone Color Institute’s year-round work doing the same for designers and brands,” says Pantone, through the Toy Association.

Look for Ultra Violet in 2018 … Happy New Year!

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Transition from Toddler to Big Kid Beds

Toddlers. They‘re always on the move, and constantly learning new information and activities. So when it comes to bedtime, it seems like they would go right to sleep in their new toddler beds set up with cozy, new bed sheets and comforters, and New Jammies PJs.

If only it were that easy.

Toddlers can have habits that change on a dime. Adjusting from sleeping soundly in the crib as a baby to fighting nighttime rituals in the toddler bed can be tough. There may be tears — from both toddler and tired Mom — and frustration. But also sweet moments of bonding time over bedtime stories and snuggles before sleep finally comes. Each child is different, so the scenarios play out in a variety of ways. There’s always a chance the transition may not go as planned, so be prepared for anything and everything this change may bring.

With two young boys, one still in diapers and the other potty training, New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow knows personally how the struggle is real.

“As for bedtime, I am wondering how that transistion is going to go for me with my second son. It seems like most parents struggle with this transition, especially if you have more than one child,” she says.

Nicole recalled a recent conversation shared with a mother of toddler twins, a boy and a girl, as she herself approaches her second child’s transition from crib to big kid bed.

“She was just telling me the tough time she’s having with her twins, particularly the little girl. I lucked out with Brandt (first born) because he was such a good sleeper. Landon might be a different story, and right now he still hasn’t tried to jump out of the crib so I’ve left him in there,” Nicole says. “I transitioned Brandt around 22 months so it’s coming soon!”

Nicole suggests including a child’s favorite stuffed animals, blankets and routine to help with bedtime. Dad is involved every night, says Nicole, and it’s usually a family affair.

”Our routine right now is story time (not always, but we try), potty or diaper change, putting on New Jammies, teeth brushing, singing a song in bed with all the lights out except night light and turtle with stars in Brandt’s room,” she says. “Then we take Landon and put him in his crib.”

”Last night, Landon was so upset he didn’t want to go to bed and I had skipped the routine because I thought he was tired. I took him out of the crib and we stayed up for about 20 minutes more playing and then I made both of them go through the routine together and no problem — off to bed!”

These real-life scenarios are often experienced by parents transitioning young children from crib to toddler bed. For New Jammies blogger April Allford, her 2-year-old (approx. 28 months) son, Will, is experiencing a new type of bedtime routine that requires patience. He was no longer staying in his crib, and she and her husband felt it was time for the change.

She tries to make every night consistent after starting the transition from crib to “big boy” bed after WI’ll made a nightly habit of climbing out of his bed, and they were concerned for his safety. As well as their own sanity, as he would wander into their room in the middle of the night after climbing out of bed looking to go back to sleep.

“We gave it some time not knowing if he was being adventurous or he was just trying to see if he could climb out and what would happen. It became an every night thing, so we switched the bed from crib to toddler bed,” she recalls. “It’s the same bed, just a different configuration. The first night was probably the toughest, as we have a three in-one convertible bed that converts from crib to toddler bed to child’s bed and we didn’t know how he would adapt. It didn’t have a rail for the side, so I think maybe he didn’t feel as secure as the crib enclosure made him feel,” she says.

“It’s very low to the ground, but he still rolled on to the floor in his sleep the second night. That was a rookie mistake on my part. We made sure to go out the next day and buy a safety rail that attaches to the side of the bed. That made a big difference for him, as well as for our peace of mind.”

April says the bedtime routine of bath and New Jammies, then book reading or a little relaxing play, helps her son wind down for the night. As they transition to toddler bed, sometimes Will runs right into his room and climbs into bed.

”Other Times he wants to rock in the rocking chair and read a book first or have me sit in the room and tell stories about the nightlight that has animals that reflect on the ceiling,” she says. “We like to name and count the animals we see in the dark. He gets a kick out of that and it’s calming for him.”

April says consistency in bed times is key, but there are nights he is may be put into bed on time, then a few minutes later he‘s back up, then again and again after returning him to his bed a few more times.

“It’s hard, but sometimes he just seems more restless than other nights, and I give him the benefit of the doubt there. Not every day is the same … Sometimes he has more activity or stimulation during the daytime hours than others,” April says. “The transition takes patience, as about most everything a toddler brings to the table.”

”In having an 8-year-old brother in the room next door, he sometimes gets in his mind that he’s going to jump in bed with him, so that happens as well. I can probably see them in bunk beds next year because they have a close relationship and love being together. So far, he’s getting very used to his new bed and the sleeping transition that’s taking place.”

Along with advice from other parents and caregivers, there are many suggestions from experts on transitioning a child from crib to a toddler bed in his own room. We thought these tips from Dr. William Sears, in his Q&A for “Parenting” magazine, were a good start (Read the full article here.):

• Sell the idea. Make a special family trip to the “big boy bed” store. …
• Continue your usual bedtime routine for a while. …
• Try the “fade away” strategy. …
• Snuggle to sleep. …
• Move in and out. …

“Whatever sleep strategy you use, be sure to relieve your child’s nighttime anxiety by helping him develop a healthy attitude about sleep,” says Dr. Sears. “You want him to learn that sleep is not only a pleasant state to enter, but a safe one to remain in.”

These “8 Tips For Transitioning To A Big Kid Bed” by blogger Katie Hurley on the Scary Mommy site are also helpful. She begins by reminding parents there is no “best” time to move your toddler from a crib to a bed.

”While most little ones begin transitioning to a big kid bed somewhere between ages 2 -3 ½, there really are no rules about making the switch,” she says. “Moving from a crib to a bed is a huge transition for little ones that can result in night wandering, new fears, and new insecurities.”

As we said earlier, every child is different. And every life change during toddlerhood requires patience. Take your time and do what feels right for your child along the way. Everything will eventually fall into place.

Good luck, and happy holidays!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Recipes for the Whole Family

Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.

One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:

• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)

• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)

• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)

• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)

• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)

These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:

Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip

Found on Pinterest, one of our favorite resources for ideas for healthy recipes and fun holiday do-it-yourself projects, this simple, vegetarian, five-ingredient, gluten-free dip is “packed with protein and veggies, and tons of cheesy flavor.” Sounds great to us!

Ingredients
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1 15 oz. can white beans, small
2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Blend in food processor; salt and pepper to taste.

2. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, pita chips or any healthy chip or veggie stick that goes great with dips.

 

Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds

This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.

3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.

4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.

 

Orange Glazed Turkey with Potatoes & Carrots

The American Heart Association offers many healthy options for traditional recipes on its website at recipes.heart.org. This citrus-roasted recipe for a turkey breast, to make holiday prep easier, caught our eye for a healthy take on festive meals.

”Try this new Simple Cooking with Heart take on traditional turkey. Its seasoning gives the dish a base of flavor, and orange marmalade adds tangy sweetness. Serve with potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving year-round!”

Ingredients
6 Servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5-1.75 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast (all visible fat discarded)
2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (mix a combination of any/all – rosemary, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 lb. washed potatoes (can use any type of potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Place turkey in the dish.

3. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Rub half of mixture over the turkey.

4. Spread marmalade over turkey.

5. Stir potatoes, carrots and oil in to remaining herb mixture. Place vegetables in dish around the turkey. Bake for 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

 

Spiced Caramel Apples

Better Homes and Gardens knows a little something about entertaining, and has spent decades being one of the foremost experts on food. So it’s no surprise they’ve put together a list of Healthy Apple Desserts that includes this easy recipe that slow cooks while everyone is visiting.

“Instead of serving caramel apples on a stick, we cut apples in half, topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, and cooked them in a slow cooker. We added a drizzle of caramel topping later, along with a few chopped pecans, to create a healthy apple dessert that wows.”

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 medium red-skinned cooking apples (such as Rome or Jonathan), cored, and halved
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Core and halve the apples.

2. Place 1/2 of the apple halves in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with some of the cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

3. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.

4. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring gently halfway through cooking time.

5. Spoon apples and cooking liquid to individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Fall Crafting for the Kids

At New Jammies, we love the beauty that Autumn brings, from the changing of the leaves to the colors of the harvest. So this season the time is right to let the kids become inspired by all that surrounds them to make fun crafts with a Fall theme at home.

New Jammies Founder and CEO Nicole Ludlow loved the Halloween-inspired Paper Plate Spiders her preschool-aged son made at school, with inspiration from the I Heart Crafty Things blog. We thought we would check out other do-it-yourself crafts young children can complete from iheartcraftythings.com, and these Cupcake Liner Turkey Puppets caught our eye.

Just in time to get into the Thanksgiving spirit!

Turkey Time

“I love making crafts with my kids that can be interactive for pretend play or that we can use to reenact a story that we’ve just read. I came across some darling Cereal Box Turkeys over at Plum Pudding recently and I loved them,” says the iheartcraftythings founder and kids craft designer Rachel Nipper. “I decided to make more of a kid-friendly version that my children could help me with and we are using them as Turkey Puppets. We used one of my favorite crafting materials to make them also, cupcake liners.”

Supplies:

• craft stick [We received ours from our friends at Craftprojectideas.com.]
• 2 mini brown cupcake liners
• 1 orange cupcake liner
• sheet of cardstock paper (I used a scrap piece of yellow, you can use whatever color you want)
• small piece of brown, yellow and red cardstock paper
• 2-inch circle punch (or you can free hand a circle this size)
• school glue
• glue stick
• scissors

Directions:
1. Start by using your glue stick to glue down your orange cupcake liner onto a sheet of cardstock paper. I used a scrap piece of yellow that I had. You can choose whatever color you want to use. Now cut the cupcake liner out. (Backing it with cardstock paper gives the cupcake liner and puppet stability.)

2. Use school glue to glue your craft stick down to the front of your orange cupcake liner.

3. Using your glue stick, glue one of your mini brown cupcake liners onto the orange cupcake liner, positioning it at the bottom.

4. Use your scissors to make slits around the top and sides of your orange cupcake liner. Some of the cardstock paper you glued your cupcake liner onto may show through after doing this, so keep that in mind when deciding what color you use in step 1.

5. Cut your other mini brown cupcake liner in half and glue the pieces onto the sides of your other brown cupcake liner to act as turkey wings.

6. Cut a 2-inch circle from your circle punch out of your brown paper and then glue it onto your puppet.

7. Finish your turkey by adding googly eyes, a beak and snood cut out of your red and yellow paper.

“Now you have a fun little turkey puppet to reenact your favorite turkey story or for imaginative, pretend play. We made several turkeys so my kids have had fun letting them interact with each other,” Rachel says. “I think it would also be fun to play around with different patterned cupcake liners instead of the orange one. I’m thinking orange polka-dot liners or a different pattern. I didn’t have any on hand to try it out.”

Sponge Paint It

Nicole also noticed her preschooler seems to be drawn to painting with sponges, so she became inspired to ignite his creativity at home using household sponges and paint.

“I just cut up a sponge into different shapes and put colors of paint on plate to dip and splotch, she says.

At school, he made this Egg Carton Caterpillar project in class, and it turned out pretty cute, according to Nicole.

“All you need for this project is an egg carton, some kid-friendly paint, pipe cleaners and eyes (optional, because you can always just paint the eyes on),” says Megan Bray, from the Balancing Home blog site.

Read full instructions here.

Catch the Sun

Nicole says another neat project her son did at school, but parents and caregivers can also do at home, is making suncatchers or stainglass.

“Cut a shape out of thin tissue paper and paint with water colors,” she says.

The Artful Parent blog offers 50+ suncatcher crafts for kids at https://artfulparent.com/stained-glass-suncatcher-ideas-kids.

These Autumn Leaf Suncatchers from The Artful Parent are great as holiday presents in December or gifts for the family at Thanksgiving in November.

Supplies:

• Transparent contact paper (sticky-back plastic)
• Fresh autumn leaves
• Heart or other hole punch (optional)

Directions:

1. Cut off a rectangular piece of contact paper. Fold it in half, then pull the paper covering off to the fold, exposing half of the sticky plastic.

2. Arrange your autumn leaves on the sticky contact paper and press to adhere.

3. If desired, your your hole punch to cut out heart (or other) shapes from leaves and add those to the suncatcher as well.

4. When you are satisfied with your design, remove the rest of the paper backing from the contact paper. Carefully fold it over the leaves, sandwiching them in between the two layers of plastic, and press down with your hands, avoiding air bubbles if possible.

5. Hang in a sunny window and admire!

The Artful Parent taped the suncatchers to the window, but sometimes they punch holes in the top and add a ribbon for hanging.

A note about the leaves: The fresh autumn leaves are beautiful, vibrant, and full of color which is one of the reasons we like to use them for these nature suncatchers every year (rather than pressed and dried autumn leaves). However, please note that they will lose some of their color over time and decay. Ours are usually enjoyed for about two weeks before we take them down.

For more fun DIY arts and crafts activities ideas from The Artful Parent, click here.

Happy crafting!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.