Eat Right: Warm Drinks to Cozy Up to This Winter

On a cold winter’s New Jammies night, there’s nothing that warms the soul better than a warm mug of creamy homemade cocoa for the kids. Mom and Dad can relax with a soothing cup of herbal tea paired with a hearty scone on the side. These ideas for warm drinks, and more, will help the whole family heat up and eat (or drink) right this winter.

Warm milky drinkWarm Milky Drink

This recipe for a cozy milk concoction from Everyday Roots is described as a “tasty combination of warm milk, honey, and a sprinkling of nutmeg that’s your ticket into Snoozefest.”

The Everyday Roots website‘s goal is to spread knowledge about natural and home remedies to the general public. “A natural remedy could be defined as simply exercising daily, or eating healthier. After all, it’s the little everyday decisions that will help you live not just a longer and healthier life, but a happier one as well,” says the online resource.

According to Everyday Roots:

“Why warm milk: The idea that warm milk helps you fall asleep didn’t come out of nowhere. People over the centuries could tell you it really does work, but not for the modern-day reason that states it makes you sleepy because of tryptophan. Conclusive studies have been done that show milk does not raise tryptophan levels, but can raise internal body temperature when it’s heated, which will relax you and make you sleepy and calm. Add to this the most powerful effect of all, the placebo effect. Warm milk seems to do something psychologically that makes us calm and drowsy. Perhaps it makes us harken back to our days of infancy, and therefore makes the drinker ‘sleep like a baby.’ Either way you look at it, there’s something about it that makes falling asleep a breeze.

Why honey: L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid vital to our rest. It is the precursor to serotonin, which can be converted into melatonin, and melatonin is what regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Honey creates a spike in insulin, which drives tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. It is then converted into serotonin, which in darkness is converted in to melatonin in the pineal gland in our brain. The result is that as nighttime approaches, you have more melatonin to tell your body ‘ok, it’s time to sleep now.’

Why nutmeg: Nutmeg is a pretty powerful spice, so much so it’s very possible to “overdose” and end up getting looped out, feeling incredibly ill, hallucinating, and experiencing a myriad of other unpleasant side effects. Ingested safely though, it is a pretty darn good natural sleep-aid, thanks to numerous chemical components that act similar to tranquilizers — just stick to a quarter teaspoon or less.”

Ingredients
1 glass of milk
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey
1/8 teaspoon to a 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Warm up about 8 ounces of milk in your favorite mug.
2. Heat it until it’s a little hotter than you would comfortably drink, and stir in 1 tablespoon of honey (or as little as 2 teaspoons if you prefer.)
3. Sprinkle with a ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg at the most, and let it cool to a temperature that is still nice and toasty warm but drinkable.
4. Make this about 30 minutes before bed when you start winding down, sip slowly, and enjoy.

Hot cocoa is a winter staple that makes us think of snuggling up by the fire with a fuzzy blanket and a nice book. This healthy version from at WellnessMama.com, a mom blog and resource that offers real food recipes, natural living and cleaning tutorials, beauty recipes and health tips with natural ingredients and remedies, is all-natural and dairy-free with no refined sugar.

Real Food Hot ChocolateReal Food Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
8 ounces of hot (not boiling) water or coconut milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon gelatin powder
1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey (optional)
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend to combine.
2. Serve warm and enjoy.

Notes
• Recipe can be doubled or multiplied as needed.
• Adding more butter or coconut oil will make a thicker hot chocolate.
• This must be done in a blender, since with the added coconut oil or butter, just stirring will not make a smooth mixture.
• More sweetener can be added for a sweeter hot chocolate if desired.

Green tea has many health advantages, and has been called the healthiest beverage on the planet. From brain-boosting nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants, green tea packs a healthy punch as a beverage served hot or cold. Wintertime is a great season to keep warm green tea on hand in a slow cooker in the kitchen or in a Dutch oven on a wood-burning stove. This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens is perfect for the cold weather and fighting off the effects of winter colds.

Slow Cooker Green TeaSlow Cooker Spiced Green Tea
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
6 inches stick cinnamon, broken*
1 tablespoon snipped crystallized ginger
4 cups brewed green tea
4 cups orange-peach-mango juice or orange juice
1 cup dried fruit, such as peaches, apricots, and/or pears
Orange slices
Sugar (optional)
Cheesecloth

Directions
1. For a spice bag, place cinnamon and crystallized ginger in the center of a double-thick, 6- to 8-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners; tie closed with clean cotton string.
2. In a 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart slow cooker combine tea and juice. Add spice bag and dried fruit.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard spice bag and dried fruit.
3. Ladle tea into cups. Float an orange slice in each cup. If desired, sweeten to taste with sugar.

*TIP: To break cinnamon sticks, place in a heavy plastic bag and gently pound sticks with a meat mallet.


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: Family Game Night Fun

Personalized New JammiesNew Jammies knows the benefits of kids and their loved ones gathering around a board game on Family Game Night to encourage good sportsmanship, creativity, and problem solving. Parents can bond with their kids over games they used to play in their youth, and children can introduce new games that can challenge the mind and promote team spirit.

ParentingScience.com, a website that provides evidence-based information about parenting and child development, says games may encourage kids to consider the concept of rules, practice following rules, and reason about moral problems. Citing a 2004 study by researchers Gobet and Retschitzki, titled, “Moves in mind: The psychology of board games,” published in Psychology Press, evidence has shown that when kids play with older role models, they can learn something else, too.

“How to win — and lose — with grace and good manners,” the reports stated.
Also, there are the possible intellectual benefits. “Many board games, including the classics like chess and Mancala, encourage players to detect patterns, says ParentingScience.com.

Personalized PJsThe Child Development Institute suggests board games teach planning, taking turns, handling winning and losing, problem solving, and other spatial skills.

“When played as a family, board games facilitate bonding and improve communication,” says Dr. Bob Myers, a licensed child and adolescent psychologist, in his article, “Toys That Help Develop Spatial Skills, Creativity, and Social Skills.” “Parents can use board games as an opportunity to teach social skills and frustration tolerance.”

Dr. Meyers says parents should select toys that are appropriate for your child, and look for ones with a fairly wide age-range so that your child will be able to enjoy them for a long period of time.

“Spend time building things and solving puzzles together with your child as well as encourage them to create on their own,” he suggests.

Jenga, Connect 4, Scrabble, and Clue are all classic games that can help with problem solving and helps kids use their analytical skills. For parents seeking options to make Family Game Night fun and educational, there’s a website at familygamenightsideas.com. The online community site is a resource to help parents and kids create successful Family Game Nights.

Ticket to RideA few board game ideas as holiday gifts include the popular Ticket to Ride. Players draw cards that offer perspective routes to complete on the map in order to score points at the end of the game. “Then you draw and play cards throughout the game to place your trains on the map in order to achieve your route goals,” says familygamenightsideas.com. “This can be very challenging especially when other players are competing for similar routes to you. You can also draw for new routes throughout the game, but beware that uncompleted routes will cost you points so plan carefully!”

Beat the ParentsThe game Beat The Parents is fun for kids ages 6 and older, and entails each team starting on one side and racing past the other to victory.

“This game is kids versus parents in a mad dash of trivia. It is designed for the parents to answer questions about kid’s stuff, while the kids have to answer things the parents should know. All the while you are trying to be the first to move your pieces across the board to win,” says the game’s review.

“One value that this game can really help with is teamwork. It was quite fun to watch the kids discuss what they thought was the right answer and why the team should take one over the other.”

HedbanzAnother favorite for kids and parents is the game Hedbanz, which gets both the parents and the kids laughing for hours. Amazon describes the award-winning game as a “goofy guessing ‘What am I? game. In the game, kids use their heads in more ways than one while asking yes or no questions to figure out if the cartoon on their head. The first player to guess what you are wins. Fun for all ages.


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.