Sleep Tight: Tech and How We’re Sacrificing Sleep

At New Jammies, we’re always cognizant of how electronics are affecting us and our children. Especially with kids headed back to school. The National Sleep Foundation’s latest Sleep Health Index (SHI) shows significant associations between technology use in bed and sleep health.

“Forty-eight percent of American adults reported using a device like a computer, tablet, or smartphone in bed before trying to go to sleep,” the NSF reports. “These people averaged two points lower on the overall SHI (75 vs. 77, on a 1 to 100 scale) and five points lower on the sleep quality subindex (65 vs. 70) than those who refrained from technology use in bed.”

Even more eye-opening, the Foundation found that 21% of American adults (52 million people) reported awakening from sleep and using an electronic device before trying to go back to sleep at least once in the past seven days.

“These individuals averaged 10 points lower for overall sleep health and 13 points lower on the sleep quality subindex than others (68 vs. 78, and 57 vs. 70, respectively),” according to the NSF. “Additionally, about 43% of these people reported sending a text or email after awakening. This means that 9% of American adults made the decision to engage with technology when awakening in the middle of the night, rather than trying to fall back asleep.

In short, electronics are changing our sleep patterns, and not necessarily in a positive way.

“The Sleep Health Index shows that bedtime electronics use is a problem. We can’t know if this use of tech is a cause of poor sleep health or a result of it,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “It is clear, however, that if you are having trouble sleeping, you should stay away from using technology while in bed.”

According to the American Sleep Association, sleep loss from using electronic devices before bed occurs from light coming from the screen of your device that interferes with circadian rhythms and melatonin production.

“The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that controls our biological patterns such as body temperature, blood pressure, and hormone release, and has a lot to do with how we sleep,” the Association says, in its report on sleep and electronics by Kristina Diaz, a Registered Respiratory Therapist and a health and wellness enthusiast and writer. “Circadian rhythm is affected by light, time, and melatonin production. Light and darkness tell us when to feel awake or sleepy.”

Diaz notes that time affects this cycle because we are clock readers and follow schedules to which our bodies have become adapted.

“Melatonin, a hormone secreted in the brain by the pineal gland, induces the tired feeling. This hormone helps keep our sleep-wake cycles on track,” Diaz says. “The light emitted from our devices, even just from a cell phone, passes through the retina of the eye, causing a delay in the release of melatonin making it harder to fall asleep.”

In regards to children and technology, kids are especially susceptible to having difficulty failing sleep wit’s electronics.

“Many children are now given an electronic device, such as an iPad or television to soothe and relax them before bed, but this is actually doing more harm than good,” the American Sleep Association says. “Children need sufficient sleep for growth, learning, mood, creativity, and weight control. But children who use electronics before bed tend to have later bedtimes, get fewer hours of sleep, and because of this suffer from daytime sleepiness more than children that do not use these devices before bed.”

This is also true for adolescents and teenagers, who not only use these devices for entertainment purposes, but also for homework, says the ASA.

“Using electronics before bed also stimulates our mind by getting our brains ‘fired up,'” the ASA says. “Electrical activity then increases and neurons start to race, making it difficult to sleep”

With electronics becoming such as big part of our daily lives, this begs the question of how we can improve sleep. Diaz advises just unplugging or turning off.

“Even going just 15-30 minutes electronic free before bedtime can make a difference. Make your bedroom completely device-free, including the television,” she suggests. “For children, refrain from giving them the iPad or letting them watch their T.V. shows, and have them read a book instead. It may not be easy at first to make this change since we have become so dependent on technology, but you will be happy when you are waking up feeling much more rested.”

For bedtime reading ideas, see our blog on New Children’s Books Perfect for Bedtime.

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 Lunch Box Ideas

Back-to-school for New Jammies kids means new teachers, new school clothes, new friends and new experiences. It also means brainstorming new healthy lunch ideas for culinary variety to make sure the kids are eating right.

For an easy rotation of sandwiches with snacks, ham or turkey with cheese are easy to assemble the night before school. Peanut, almond or sunflower butter (great for kids with nut allergies) with homemade low-sugar jelly sandwiches are perfect for variety and specific dietary requirements.

Organic pastas such as penne noodles, ravioli and macaroni and cheese, including brands such as Annie’s, can also be made ahead of time to pack a convenient and nutritious lunch. Annie’s also makes organic gummies and fruit snacks, cookies, popcorn and granola bars to include as healthy lunch box snack options.

Bento Boxes, which are BPA- and phthalate-free and 100% recyclable, are extremely popular, especially this colorful divided lunch box, as they can help with portioning and organizing. We love Bentgo Kids, an innovative bento-style lunch box designed exclusively for active kids on the go, because you can put liquid dips in it and they won’t leak into other compartments with special sealed lid.

“What makes Bentgo Kids so much fun is the endless combinations of nutritious foods you can pack in the five convenient compartments,” says the company. “The largest compartment is the perfect size for a half sandwich or salad. Three mid-size compartments are great for fruit, veggies and other snack favorites. The smallest compartment is sized just right for dipping sauces. Bentgo Kids’ removable compartment tray allows you to mix and match the three fun colors to suit your child’s unique preference.”

Bentgo is also a purchase with a purpose, as the company is a proud supporter of Feed the Children. Try this Bentgo Kids All-in-One Lunch Box.

“Your purchase makes a difference in the lives of hungry children in America and around the world,” says Bentgo Kids.

For sustainable lunch packaging, we also love Two + Two re-usable and washable sandwich wraps and snack bags. Don’t waste ziplock bags and throw away plastic! These are made in New Jammies home state of Colorado in Aspen, and are food-safe and eco-friendly.

“This young company is run by two creative moms with a passion for style, sewing, Mother Earth, and doing what’s best (and cutest) for their little ones,” says Two+Two. “Products keep food fresh and uncontaminated with a proprietary lining that is free of lead, BPA, PVC and phthalates. The various sizes of eco-friendly reusable bags accommodate any and all packing organizing and traveling needs.”

Fill the snack bags and lunch boxes mentioned above with fresh-cut veggies, including carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower and broccoli pieces, and cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices from the garden, as healthy options. Dips such as hummus and homemade ranch with Greek yogurt can make veggie eating even more enticing for kids at lunchtime.

Cheese sticks in different varieties, including string cheese and cheddar, can keep things interesting from day-to-day. Fresh fruit that travels well, especially oranges and tangerines, red or green apples and ripe bananas, plus sugar-free applesauce and fruit cups are filling and great for adding important Vitamin C. Frozen yogurt tubes that thaw by lunch are good to include for a fast dose of Vitamin D.

For foodie kids who like to mix it up and try different dishes, black beans and rice sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese provide a tasty protein-filled option. Add salsa for fun and color. Roasted veggie quesadillas made with whole-wheat tortillas are also easy to make ahead and transport in the lunch box.

This recipe for Chic’ Penne from KidsHealth.com can be made ahead on the weekend and eaten cold throughout the week, or frozen for future lunches, after-school snacks and quick dinners after sports practice or club meetings:

Prep time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 box whole-wheat penne pasta (14 ounces)

3 cups of raw broccoli florettes

¾ cup of precooked chicken strips (4 ounces)

½ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (2 ounces)

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 ounces)

3 tablespoons skim milk (1.5 oz)

2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta according to directions until crisp-tender. Drain pasta.

3. Place drained pasta in a 13×9 baking dish.

4. Place broccoli in a stockpot of boiling water or a steamer for about 5 minutes.

5. Rinse with cool water.

6. Add the drained broccoli and the precooked chicken strips to the pasta.

7. Sprinkle shredded cheeses over pasta mixture.

8. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.

9. Pour milk mixture evenly over the pasta mixture and mix in with a spoon.

10. Cover baking dish with foil.

11. Bake 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted.

EatingWell.com offers some fun Bento lunchbox ideas, including this one for a Deconstructed Cobb Salad Lunch for Kids.

Ingredients:

½ ounce slice low- or reduced-sodium deli turkey

½ ounce slice low- or reduced-sodium deli ham

¼ cup chopped romaine lettuce

2 tablespoons chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped cucumber

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

½ avocado, cubed

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 hard-boiled egg, thinly sliced crosswise

1 slice crisply cooked bacon

Directions:

1. Stack turkey and ham slices on top of each other.

2. Tightly roll up and slice crosswise into 4 to 6 rounds.

3. Place in a small container.

4. Toss lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a medium container.

5. Place oil and vinegar in a dip-size container and nestle into the salad.

6. Toss avocado with lime juice and place in a medium container along with egg.

7. Place bacon in a small container.

For more recipe and menu ideas, visit the KidsHealth.com Recipes page. Bon appetite!

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: Back-to-School Games for the Active

New Jammies kids are making a fresh start going back to school, and there are some fun play-time routines, games and puzzles that can refresh their memories and spark creativity.

For younger, preschool-aged children, play itself becomes more physical at that age. So “why just walk when you can hop, jump, or skip?” says the kidshealth.org website.

KidsHealth says smart toys for preschoolers include arts and crafts, and anything that help kids sharpen fine motor skills that are constantly improving.

“Activities like holding a crayon, drawing pictures of family members, and using a pair of safety scissors to cut and paste strengthen coordination, encourage creativity, and foster self-esteem,” kidshealth.org says.

The site’s childhood development experts suggest that blocks and construction sets, including building towers (and figuring out how to stop them from toppling over) encourage problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.

“Preschoolers will use their imaginations to create buildings, vehicles, animals, and more from simple construction sets,” KidsHealth says.

Jigsaw puzzles, to help with coordination and dexterity that teach about spatial relationships and logical thinking, and pretend play are also key for preschoolers to practice as they embrace school.

Big Knob First Puzzle Set

Wooden puzzles for kids from Lakeshore, a California-based company that applies real-world classroom experience to every product it develops, inspire little learners by using the power of play to make learning fun. We love the Big Knob First Puzzle Set for infants to pre-k toddlers.

As elementary school-aged kids are accomplished in ways they never were before, KidsHeath suggests activities that cultivate new talents and interests beginning to take hold.

“They’ve grasped an understanding of the world around them and are now moving toward mastering skills that once challenged them, like catching a football or braiding a friend’s hair,” says kidshealth.org. “A 4-year-old who enjoyed story time may grow to love reading; a 5-year-old who listened to music might want to play piano.”

With the refinement of physical abilities, including large and fine motor skills, elementary school is the time when kids learn to ride two-wheel bicycles and glide on skateboards, says KidsHealth. An appreciation of arts and the humanities also sparks.

“Arts and crafts become more intricate, and a child might spend hours weaving friendship bracelets or drawing comic strips, says the children’s-focused resource.”

KidsHealth suggests these smart toys and activities for big kids going back to school:

• Jump rope. By skipping rope with friends, kids learn to take turns and get along with peers. All that jumping, and the coordination it requires, encourages large motor development and problem-solving skills.

• Card and board games. Card games like “war” or “crazy eights” and board games like checkers or chess teach about strategy, turn-taking, negotiating rules, and fair play. Encourage cooperation and help your child learn to manage the emotions that come with winning as well as losing.

New Jammies Whales

• Musical instruments. Learning to play the piano, violin, guitar, or another instrument encourages listening and fine motor skills and helps build attention skills.
Science toys. Chemistry sets, binoculars, telescopes, or other toys that promote discovery and problem-solving help improve math and science skills, and help develop imagination.

KidsHealth also reminds parents and caregivers that students of all ages can learn from scavenger hunts, outdoors or indoors when it’s raining or the weather turns cold, to encourage problem-solving and teamwork. Just gather easily recognizable objects and hide them around the yard or house. Give each child a list of items to look for and clues to help them find the objects. Adults can pair kids up or assign teams to play.

“This game also works well outdoors provided you set some boundaries (the edges of the yard, certain spots in the park) for the kids to work inside,” kidshealth.org says.

 

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: Back-to-School Sleep Habits

 

New Jammies is getting ready for back to school, helping kids with nighttime gear in our fun, 100% organic cotton pajamas. Plus we have some great tips on a good night’s sleep for back to school.

This school year features updates on sleep recommendations for kids by the American Academy of Pediatrics, through recommendations developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The consensus group of 13 sleep medicine experts and researchers recommend:

• Infants 4 to 12 months – 12 to 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).*

• Children 1 to 2 years – 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).

• Children 3 to 5 years – 10 to 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).

• Children 6 to 12 years – 9 to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

• Teens 13 to 18 years – 8 to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

*Recommendations for babies younger than 4 months not reported because of the wide range normalcy in sleep patterns in newborns, and there isn’t enough research to back up guidance in the youngest of infants.

Other sleep recommendations that remain consistent as kids return to school is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and computers at night. That can be said for kids as well as adults.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies, toddlers, and younger children should have a regular, structured bedtime routine, including reading books together and brushing teeth, as well as going to bed at the same time every evening.

The academy also suggests the 4 B’s of Bedtime to best prepare for a proper night’s sleep. ​​​

“The reality of habits is that (a) they can be hard to break and (b) they are not always bad. Take away one habit and you often need to find something to take its place,” says the AAP. In the case of the bedtime breast or bottle, be reassured that we don’t intend to leave you empty-handed once you take away your baby’s primary source of bedtime comfort.”

These 4 B’s of Bedtime offer a soothing substitute proven to be one of the AAP’s most tried-and-true routines for bedtime success — both for babies and older children.

• Bathing. Baths are a soothing, hygienic, and decisive way of separating the evening’s eating activities from sleeping. No way around it — only the unbelievably fatigued child will sleep his way through a bath. That means that when feeding time is over, your child will get the message that eating is not in any way, shape, or form a cue to go to sleep.

• Brushing. Whether you choose to brush your child’s teeth (or gums) right after the last feeding or just before the actual bedtime itself, we strongly encourage you to get in the habit of having a toothbrush (or washcloth or gauze) be the last thing in your baby’s mouth at night (other than, perhaps, a clean pacifier during the first year as an added method of sudden infant death syndrome prevention).

• Books. We’ve found nothing more suitable as a breast/bottle stand-in than books at bedtime. Since you don’t want food or drink to become your child’s bedtime source of comfort, books can serve as the perfect cue that it’s time to cuddle up and go to sleep. Think about what happens when you’re tired and you try to read?

• Bingo—you fall asleep. When it comes to lifelong healthy habits, we can’t think of a better one.
Bedtime. Short of drugging kids (which we don’t condone, no matter how tired or tempted you might be), it’s mighty hard to force a child to fall asleep. We suggest you stop trying and instead stick to implementing a routine time for your child to get ready for and get into bed. Once you’ve set the stage so that bathing, brushing, and books signal bedtime, you should just let your child fall asleep independently. Sure, this may involve some additional challenges, protests, and even the need to consult additional parenting resources (of which, we can assure you, there are many), but in the end we have always found that if you do a good job of making the bed, your child will learn to lie in it.

New Jammies Sleep Sacks

New Jammies Sleep Sacks

Sleep Tight to Summer’s End

Gearing up for back to school takes plenty of rest, so help those little ones sleep tight through the night while their big brothers and sisters make the most of the end-of-summer sun. Through August 15, enjoy 20% off Sleep Sacks and Toddler Footies for a great night’s sleep. Our Classic Stripes sleep sacks, seen here, are a popular print this season. Shop online for Sleep Sacks and Toddler Footies today and receive 20% off (code? DREAM056).

Play Right: After-School Activities to Help Kids Focus

Now that New Jammies kids are back in the swing of school, focus is a key to helping them achieve high marks and perform well in class. After-school can be an important time of the day for kids to not only relax and play, but also work on focusing on schoolwork.

Let’s Get Physical
Exercise is a great way for kids to fight childhood obesity (September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month) and stay mind-sharp. The experts at WebMD agree.

“Physical activity boosts blood flow all over the body, including to the brain. Brain cells get better at connecting with each another,” says WebMD author R. Morgan Griffin in “Your Kid’s Brain on Exercise. “What’s the result? Better thinking skills.”

WebMD says studies show that people who exercise more are sharper mentally.

“The effects may be almost immediate. One study found that kids scored higher on math and reading comprehension tests after exercising for 20 minutes,” says the report.

Griffin suggests helping kids benefit from after-school activity with an hour of exercise a day. “That’s what the CDC recommends for kids ages 6 to 18. Your kids can split up activity over the course of the day. A few minutes here and there adds up.”

footballThe CDC offers age-appropriate* ideas for physical activity for children and adolescents, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60-or-more minutes, such as:

1. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running.

2. Muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups.

3. Bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running.

*Per the CDC, some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.

Exercise the Brain
Check out the interactive website goofybrains.com, a division of Brain Pages, which specializes in the ethical and honest promotion of brain health and mental  health products, resources and professionals. The site offers ideas to keep kids’ minds sharp in its “Six Brain Exercises For Children” feature by Sarah Holt, a writer for increasebrainpower.com.

She suggests word searches and crosswords, memory exercises, and obstacle courses for the brain with stations set up hosting different focus-building activities. Holt also encourages parents and caregivers try having kids write or draw left-handed (or right-handed).

“This can be fun to see who can tell what was written or drawn afterwards. Another option is to draw a picture where one-half is done with the dominant hand and then afterwards it is copied onto the other half by the non-dominant hand. These are brain exercises for children that encourage both sides of their brain to work together,” she says.

Thank you, Internet

Image courtesy puzzlestoprint.com

From puzzles-to-print.com

The puzzles-to-print.com website is a helpful resource for parents and caregivers who have the ability to print off pdfs of word scrambles as educational tools and after-school activities to build focus.

Make the mind games fun for the holidays by printing off holiday-themed puzzles including this puzzle, just in time for Halloween. Click here to print out the fun.

Fall into Fun
Autumn is closing in, so while the weather is still warm, encourage New Jammies kids to play outside after being inside in the classroom all day. The website Kids Activities (www.kidsactivities.net), which provides “1,000s of ideas for childcare professionals and teachers,” offers these ideas, and more, for autumn after-school activities:

gourds1. Gourd Bowling. Set up bowling pins using empty two-liter soda bottles. If preferred, the bottles can be weighted with seeds or water. Use a round, bumpy gourd as the ball.

2. Magic Pumpkin Seeds. Materials: Pumpkin seeds, small paper bag and small pumpkins. Show the children a small bag of pumpkin seeds and explain that you believe these are magic pumpkin seeds. Take the children outside to your yard where they toss the seeds onto the ground. Have them make up a few magic words, if they want. The next day, before children go outside — gather the seeds and put small pumpkins in their place. Take the children outside and delight them with the ‘magical’ pumpkins that have grown. If you have enough pumpkins, the children can take the pumpkins home and/or first decorate and paint them to add to theme of your space. Idea adapted from preschoolrainbow.org.

3. The Squirrel Game. Let the kids pretend they are squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. Give each a small paper bag, then toss out several unshelled nuts onto the floor and let the kids race to see who can collect the most. Older and younger children should be separated for this game. Another way to play this game, (if you have a way to corral a large quantity of leaves) is to hide nuts beneath a large pile of leaves and give the kids a set amount of time to find as many nuts as they can.

4. Visit http://www.kidactivities.net/category/Seasonal-FallAutumn-Games.aspx for more fun fall game ideas.

Eat Right: Healthy Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas

LunchboxSchool is back from summer, and the perks of packing lunches for New Jammies kids is the ability to control what they eat for lunch.

That means more fruits and veggies. And less fillers and high fructose sugars.

At New Jammies, we love lunchbox recipes that are simple and nutritious, making prep time quicker and lunches more healthy. For her toddler, New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow makes easy snacks that can easily be adapted to lunchbox fare in the next few years as he heads to class.

“I cut up all kinds of fruit — grapes, strawberries, peaches, plums, bananas, avocado, etc. Harder fruits or veggies like apples, pears, carrots I might steam,” she says. “Fruits and cheeses are also the easiest snack for me right now.”

The Cooking Light website is a helpful resource for nutritional lunchbox ideas, for kids. In the “Healthy Eating for Kids: Recipes and Nutrition Advice” article, which suggests delicious foods kids will eat and nutritious meals moms will love, Sidney Fry, MS, RD, offers several ideas for back-to-school, including:

OrangeFor the Rabbits
Give salad greens some oomph with lots of lean protein.

Veggies: Mixed greens, 2 oz. rotisserie chicken, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 hard-cooked egg, 2 tablespoons oil-and-vinegar dressing
Fruit: 1 orange, peeled
Snack: 2 cups 94%-fat-free popcorn
Stats: 444 calories, 4g sat fat, 460mg sodium

The Pita Pocketeer
Low-fat Greek yogurt is the base for this tangy chicken salad. Chocolate kisses are perfectly portioned treats.

Protein and veggies: CL Creamy Chicken Salad (1/2 cup) with mixed greens in half a 6-inch whole-wheat pita
Fruit: 1 medium apple
Snack: 4 milk chocolate kisses
Stats: 446 calories, 4.6g sat fat, 451mg sodium

Creamy Chicken Salad
Courtesy Cooking Light

Ingredients
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
7 tablespoons (about 2 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds
6 cups mixed salad greens

Preparation
1. Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full of water; bring to a boil.
2. Wrap each chicken breast half completely and tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap. Add the chicken to boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Remove from pan, and let stand for 5 minutes. Unwrap chicken and shred; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold.
3. Combine mayonnaise and the next 7 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until combined. Add chicken, 1/3 cup celery, cranberries, and almonds; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

On its yummy website, the Food Network’s chefs provide recipes for kid-approved lunchbox ideas. Soup is universally known to be good for the soul, and it can be an easy addition in a lunchbox thermos to a cheese sandwich and goldfish crackers. Soups from the can are the go-to solution for on-the-go families. But this Food Network recipe for tomato soup only takes a blender or food processor and 10 minutes while the kids are doing homework to make for an homemade and healthy (less sodium and mystery ingredients) lunchbox option.

tomatoTen-Minute Tomato Soup
Courtesy the Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, in juice
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup cream

Preparation
1. Puree the tomatoes, celery and broth in a blender until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Season with lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir in cream.
2. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on HIGH until warmed through, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively heat the old-fashioned way in a pan.)
3. Pour hot soup into an air-tight thermos. Pack in a lunch sack and send off to school.

Total Time: 14 min (Prep: 10 min, cook: 4 min)
Yield: 4 servings

If your kids love store-bought oatmeal bars but you’re not crazy about all the food additives and preservatives, take some time to bake and control what they eat. Ree Drummond, best known as the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman, home schools her kids and makes their food from scratch as part of her family’s farm-to-table ranching life. In the episode “Little School House on the Prairie,” the Pioneer Woman whips up a batch of strawberry oatmeal bars that make 24. Freeze them to have bars available in advance.

StrawberryStrawberry Oatmeal Bars
Courtesy Ree Drummond

Ingredients
1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
2. Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly.
3. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.

______________________

Ranching Cowboys

Ranching Cowboys

New for Fall!
Head back-to-school with new designs now featured on the newjammies.com website. Check out these fun collections your kids will love:
Elephant Kites
Trains
Ballerina Slippers
Monster Trucks
Space Cadets
Moose Tracks
Rainbow Unicorns
Ranching Cowboys
Bicycle Hills

Sleep Tight: Sending Kids Back to School Well-Rested

imageAs New Jammies kids head back to school, sleep is a major component to making sure they’re alert and ready to take on the day. For starters, we suggest a good night’s sleep and a healthy diet of fruits and veggies.

There are also many suggestions from experts on how to help send kids back to school well-rested. According to Prevea Health Services in Green Bay, Wisconsin, summer can change a child’s sleep schedule dramatically.

“During the summer, going to bed late and sleeping in late can become normal for kids. Two to three weeks before school starts, ease your children back into a more school-friendly sleep routine with consistent bedtimes. Encourage them to gradually start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to help them better transition/’ says the healthcare organization, on its website. “The start of the school year can be very challenging when children are not well rested, so make sure to practice good sleep habits.”

Previa also suggests not allowing TVs in children’s bedrooms, turning off other electronics or cell phones at least 30 minutes before lights out, limiting caffeine during the day and discouraging any leading up to bedtime. Parents can also follow these suggestions for themselves and lead by example.

“These are valuable tips for parents, too,” Previa says. “It’s helpful to set a good example for kids to follow.”

Allowing for enough time to sleep is important when preparing for back-to-school. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says school-aged kids, 6-13 years old, need 9-11 hours of sleep, especially as they become involved in additional school activities.

“At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities,” says the NSF. “In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep.”

The National Sleep Foundation reminds parents that in particular, watching TV close to bedtime is associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleeping.

Preschoolers (3-5 years) typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age.

“As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during preschool years,” says the National Sleep Foundation.

The foundation’s sleep tips for preschoolers suggests parents make sure to:

• Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
• Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
• Have a child sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV.

The website www.sleepforkids.org is a service of the National Sleep Foundation that teaches the importance of sleep to kids. Through the site, parents can order the informative booklet “Time to Sleep with P.J. Bear,” which uses an illustrated story to teach children about sleep. The website also includes a Games and Puzzles section where kids can have fun while learning about sleep. They can see how much sleep time they get by calculating their bedtime and test their memories with the Sleep Card Game. They can also print out the “Bring Out the Stars” activity page that features P.J. Bear.

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New Jammies appShop Right

This school year, New Jammies is making shopping for back-to-school sleepwear easier with our new mobile site and shopping app. New Jammies wants to make shopping online for kid’s PJs, footies, sleep sacks and more a breeze for our on-the-go customers. Go to your smart phone or tablet’s App Store and search for New Jammies to download our new shopping app for iPhone and Android. And visit our updated mobile shopping website at www.newjammies.com to shop our 100% organic cotton pajamas on the go!

Win a year of seasonal New Jammies!

1WEBNothing says “Hello Fall!” like a snuggly pair of 100% organic cotton pajamas. And New Jammies is awarding one lucky kiddo with a year of free pajamas (4 pair), featuring brand-new designs with each change of the season.

The winner of the New Jammies Fall Photo Contest picks from any style and size each season.

Enter the photo contest by clicking here and uploading a fun photo of your favorite little guy or gal in New Jammies, and tell us why you and your kids love our pajamas. Online entries will be accepted through Oct. 14, 2014, and will be published on our Facebook page at facebook.com/NewJammies.

One entry per contestant and contest, please.

Pictures will be shared with our Facebook fans and our blog throughout the contest. The winner of the New Jammies Fall Photo Contest will be announced on our Facebook page and featured in the November New Jammies News e-newsletter. Register for our mailing list here. Have fun, and good luck!

Sleep Tight: Back-to-school sleep tips

New_Jammies_schoolNever underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

Especially on a school night.

That’s the message New Jammies parents are sharing with their kids as summer wraps up and going back to school moves front and center. According to a 2014 poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), many children receive less sleep on school nights than they should.

“For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” said Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, University of Chicago. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”

The poll reported that parents’ estimates of sleep time are only 8.9 hours for children ages 6 to 10; 8.2 hours for 11 and 12 year olds; 7.7 hours for 13 and 14 year olds; and 7.1 hours for teens ages 15 to 17. Those numbers fall short, by NSF’s standards. The nonprofit sleep organization recommends kids ages 6 to 10 receive 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and that children in the other three age groups secure 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

“It can be tough to make time for sleep when we’re too busy; making sleep a priority can give all family members the energy to function at their best every day,” said Hawley Montgomery-Downs, PhD, West Virginia University. “Sometimes performing better in fewer activities can be a healthy trade for too many activities while fatigued.”

In today’s digital age, many kids have a hard time achieving optimal sleep because of the prevalence of electronics in youth bedrooms. The NSF reports that families who turn off electronics off while sleeping can improve this growing trend.

“To ensure a better night’s sleep for their children, parents may want to limit their children using technology in their bedroom near or during bedtime,” said Orfeu Buxton, PhD, Harvard Medical School.

To help parents approach the better-sleep subject, the NSF has created an educational SleepforKids.org website. The site reminds children and their parents that with more sleep, kidspay better attention in school, are more creative, generate more ideas, fight sickness better, have improved moods and relationships with friends and family, and are quicker problem solvers.

SleepforKids.org offers these sleep practices for preschoolers:

  1. Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule
  2. Follow-through with a bedtime routine every night
  3. The child should have the same sleeping environment every night.  It should be cool, quiet and dark and without a TV
  4. Watch for difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings, chronic sleep problems, and behavioral problems during the day.

And these tips for school-age kids:

  1. Introduce healthy sleep habits, disease prevention and health promotion
  2. Continue to emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
  3. The child’s bedroom should be conducive to sleep: dark, cool and quiet. TV’s and computers should be off and out of the bedroom
  4. Set limits
  5. Avoid caffeine
  6. Watch for signs of chronic difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings and frequent daytime sleepiness.
Turtle-Ap-Organic-PJ

Teetering Turtles New Jammies

New Jammies encourages kids to eat right, play right and sleep tight. Our 100% pure, natural organic cotton New Jammies pajamas make heading off to bed a fun and comfortable experience for parents and their children. Make bedtime, and a good night’s sleep, a priority by including a pair of New Jammies in all your back-to-school shopping lists.