Play Right: Getting Out and Playing Pokemon GO

Pokemon GOAt New Jammies we like to keep abreast of pop culture. So the extreme popularity of Pokémon GO has us curious, which of course means we have questions.

Luckily we found the answers. And more.

What exactly is Pokémon GO?

According to Pokémon GO info on pokemon.com, the latest trend in smartphone apps for iPhone and Android is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform. The free game can be set up for single or multi-player use, and features real locations to encourage players to “search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon.” Users travel between the real and virtual worlds of Pokémon to find and catch more than 100 species of Pokémon while exploring their surroundings.

“As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokémon. Once you’ve encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone’s touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away!” says the pokemon.com site. “Also look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items.”

Can kids play Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is geared toward users 13 years old and older, however parents can add younger kids to their parental account if they want to play along, says a special USA Today report on tips for parents of Pokémon Go kids, by Jinny Gudmundsen.

Pokemon GO screen“The game has a number of positives, such as encouraging people to walk, explore their surroundings and meet new people. But for children, there are risks as well.”

The USA Today story lists five key points parents should know about the popular game, including that it can lead kids to private property. Some people grieving at cemeteries have also had issues with respect when playing.

“Parents can use Pokémon Go as a teachable moment to explain why some areas — even those that have Pokémon hiding within them — can’t be reached. Most young kids don’t know about trespassing, so this is a good time to explain the concept,” Gudmundsen writes.

How can kids be safe while playing Pokémon GO?

Gudmundsen also warns parents stranger danger is the real deal.

“Part of what makes this game fun is that it is social,” she says. “You are out in the world, looking for things. Loads of other people are playing it at the same time, and since there is a geocaching element — certain Pokémon are found at specific locations, as are Pokéstops and gyms — a camaraderie arises out of meeting others looking for the same thing as you. Most people enthusiastically share what they know. And since the game is vague on a lot of specifics of how to play, this sharing is crucial to your enjoyment.”

Not all user’s motives can be trusted, the report warns, as there have been robberies associated with the game. Also, in Indiana, there was an arrest of a pedophile playing the game with kids outside a Hoosier courthouse. Gudmundsen suggests parents supervise younger children while they play by joining in, or having them play in adult-managed groups.

“For teens, have them play with a friend, and impose other rules (such as not playing late at night or at remote places). All kids need to be reminded to never give personal information to strangers,” she writes.

Pokemon GO PlusThe distracted walking danger is mentioned in USA Today’s tips (read full story here), so parents may be relieved to learn that in late July, the Pokémon GO Plus is being offered. The portable device enables players to enjoy the game and not have to look down at their smartphones so they walk into a pole or fall into a fountain. Or worse yet, cause a traffic accident.

Pokémon GO Plus connects directly to a smartphone via Bluetooth and notifies the player about events in the game — such as the appearance of a Pokémon nearby — using an LED and vibration, says the product’s description. In addition, players can catch Pokémon or perform other simple actions by pressing the button on the device, according to the Pokémon GO informational page.

For additional details about Pokémon GO, visit the offical website at http://www.pokemongo.com/en-us.

Eat Right: Healthy Summer Snacks for Families On the Go

StripesSummer sure is great for relaxing, but it can also be a busy time when New Jammies families are on the go.

Whether it’s to and from ball games and the pool or traveling for family vacations and reunions, helping kids eat right is made easy with tips on packing snacks with a healthy punch.

New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow opts for healthy snacks on the go including dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, banana, and bringing along a soft-pack cooler for cut-up fruit, veggies and cheese.

“Veggies are an easy route for snacks, especially when chopped into child bite-sized portions,” Nicole says. “We love carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, jicama, and red, yellow and green bell peppers for fresh, mobile snacks.”

Jicama is a fun, nutritional vegetable, native to central and South America, that kids enjoy because it has a crisp sweetness that stays cool in the summer. The root veggie has been used for thousands of years as a medicinally beneficial dietary element, according to organicfacts.net.

“Some of the health benefits of jicama include its ability to help you manage your weight, optimize your digestion, boost your immune system, prevent various types of cancer,” says the Organic Facts website, which provides unbiased info on nutrition and benefits of food and home remedies. “It also increases energy levels, helps manage diabetes, builds strong bones, increase circulation, lowers blood pressure, and boosts brain function.”

Fresh fruit is also a favorite with New Jammies kids. From watermelon and blueberries to strawberries and mango, fruit goes with summer like sun and a day at the beach. Fruit is extremely versatile — it can be eaten alone or diced up and mixed in with yogurt. Apples, oranges, pears, and peaches make for quick snacks to take on the go.

And dried fruits including cranberries, apricots, and bananas are nutritious non-perishable items to pack for longer trips or vacations. Dried fruit can be packed in individual travel snack bags or added to homemade granola and protein-heavy nut mixes that include peanuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and cashews.

GranolaTry this easy sugar-free granola recipe that can be packed for snacking from superhealthykids.com:

Ingredients:
2 cup oats, dry
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
2. In large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into dry oat mixture. Stir gently until dry mixture is coated.
4. Turn oat and egg white mixture onto a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner)
5. Bake in pre-heated oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

Also easily portable are wheat crackers topped with peanut butter, hummus, cheese cubes and pepperoni slices, and dry snacks including pretzels, apple and sweet potato chips, goldfish and graham crackers, and low-sugar fig newtons. This recipe from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission for homemade baked sweet potato chips is easy to prepare, and can be great for snacking or family get-togethers. They can be made with or without the red pepper for spice, if needed, for kids:

Courtesy sweetpotato.org

Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and dried
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Peanut oil for frying
1 recipe Vidalia Onion Dip (recipe follows)

Instructions:
1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. In a small bowl, combine salt and red pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Plunge chips, 10 to 12 at a time, into oil. Fry until light golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove, and drain on paper towels or paper bags until completely cooled. Sprinkle with salt mixture.
5. Serve immediately with Vidalia Onion Dip, if desired.

Serving Size: 12 servings

Vidalia Onion Dip

Ingredients:
1 Vidalia onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Garnish: chopped fresh thyme

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Place onion slices on prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat onion with olive oil.
3. Bake until slightly charred, approximately 12 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool, and roughly chop.
4. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine onion, sour cream, ricotta, tarragon, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Pulse until smooth.
5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Garnish with thyme, if desired. Serve with Spicy Sweet Potato Chips, if desired.

Serving Size: approximately 3 cups

Happy, healthy snacking from New Jammies!