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.

 

Sleep Tight: Clean Sleeping For Sleep Wellness


In 2017, the term “clean sleeping” has taken the spotlight as a trend that can help create a wellness routine to benefit the whole New Jammies family. Clean sleeping originated with Gwyneth Paltrow’s newest book, “Goop: Clean Beauty,” and her website, goop.com, which offers tips on improving sleep habits to help with your body’s dietary needs and energy levels.

According to Paltrow, sleep is a priority, and she has a goal of getting at least eight hours of good, quality sleep at night. Even nine and 10 are ideal for some. The idea behind clean sleeping is that your body repairs itself and detoxifies overnight. So, healthy skin and body are achieved with better sleep.

One way to achieve clean sleeping is to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. The “Clean Beauty” book also suggests spending time outdoors during the day so your body can get in sync with the sun’s schedule. Avoid caffeine later in the day, nighttime snacking, and relying on sleep aids. Also try to make your bedroom completely dark during your sleep routine.

Read more from Goop.com on How to Get Better Sleep.

Good sleep hygiene is also achieved by unplugging at the end of the day. Turning off electronics before bedtime is strongly advised, especially by the National Sleep Foundation.

“Careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness,” says the NSF. “As adults we are subject to these influences and our children are particularly susceptible.”

The National Sleep Foundation reminds us that we should give ourselves at least 30 minutes of gadget-free transition time before hitting the hay.

”Even better: Make your bedroom a technology-free zone — keep your electronics outside the room (that includes a TV!),” the Foundation adds.

For those who think they may have a screen addiction, commonplace in this tech-savvy Digital Age, and need a digital detox, Goop.com has suggestions. On Paltrow’s health and wellness site, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras advises unplugging from screens for 4 to 6 weeks (the extreme version also eliminates TV). Dr. Kardaras is an internationally renowned speaker, addiction expert, and author of “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids-and How to Break the Trance.”

”This allows a person’s adrenal system to re-regulate itself and get back to baseline. One also should plan to replace screen time during the tech fast with meaningful and/or healthy recreational activities,” says Dr. Kardaras, executive director of The Dunes in East Hampton, NY — one of the world’s top rehab centers. “After the detox period, the person slowly reintegrates some screen usage, and sees what level they can tolerate without falling down the compulsion rabbit hole. Some can go back to some moderate level of screen time, others can’t.”

Other ways to detoxify mind and body from Goop is to engage in journaling and guided meditation prior to bedtime.

”Another great trick for calming the mind is journaling before bed. Order your thoughts and get your problems in perspective by focusing on positive things in your life,” says Lauren Roxburgh, a structural integration practitioner known as the “body whisperer.” “It’s simple, but studies show it improves sleep. In a similar vein, doing a guided meditation before bed can really help.”

Warch this 10-minute clip to help you deeply relax.

Roxburgh also recommends a Detoxifying Magnesium-Salt Bath via Goop, for a “relaxing and detoxifying spa treatment in your own bathtub.”

”Magnesium is nature’s anti-stress mineral and contributes to health in numerous ways, including fascia, muscle, and cellular relaxation. It’s a great bath addition at the end of the day to support optimal beautifying sleep, recovery, digestion, and overall vitality,” Roxburgh says.

“Magnesium baths are good for post-workout recovery, too, and as part of a relaxing meditation to complement yoga practice. Soothing music and candlelight helps as well.“

Order magnesium bath flakes online here.

Visit Goop.com for more tips on health and wellness, beauty, style, food and more. Goop helps raise awareness and donates a portion of its profits to great causes including The Edible Schoolyard, The David Lynch Foundation, and Pencils of Promise, all of whom have touched the world with their proven success in helping children, as well as the nonprofit DonorsChoose.org.

 

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 Fall Treats for Kids

Two+Two re-useable snack bags for fall treats.

Apples. Pumpkins. Mushrooms. Figs. Turnips. And pears. These are just a few of New Jammies’ favorite Fall fruits and vegetables, and we’re happy to share some healthy and quick recipes for treats this season for the kids.

Raw pumpkin provides food energy and is an excellent source of provitamin A beta-carotene and vitamin A. Figs are a great source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure. Pears are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, and packed with fat-free and cholesterol-free nutrients. And of course we are pleased to know that apples are high in fiber, vitamin C and various antioxidants, plus low-calorie as well.

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This cute recipe for Apple Sandwiches with Granola and Peanut Butter from Whole Foods Markte are perect for after-school snack time, can be added to kids’ lunchboxes, or will top off dinner right as a healthy option for dessert.

Ingredients

2 small apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons granola

Directions

1. If you won’t be eating these tasty treats right away, start by brushing the apples slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

2. Spread one side of half of the apple slices with peanut or almond butter then sprinkle with chocolate chips and granola.

3. Top with remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches.

4. Transfer to napkins or plates and serve.

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The Dr. Oz Show is great for bringing healthy lifestyles to the forefront, and offer light recipes on its website that incorporates various veggies, including turnips, in this case. These Paleo-centric Turnip Fries are crispy and light when baked to avoid frying. And they add nutritional value unique to the turnip that kids will love without knowing just how healthy they truly are. For the diet-conscious, they’re great for keeping calories low, too, at 56 calories for 10 servings.

“This healthy take on fries are nutritional and delectable,” says the show’s website at doctoroz.com. “The turnips have anti-cancer properties and the spices make the fries very flavorful.”

Ingredients

3 lbs turnips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and lightly grease.

2. Peel the turnips, and cut into French fry-sized sticks, about 1/3 by 4 inches. Place into a large bowl, and toss with the vegetable oil to coat.

3. Place the Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder in a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Place the oiled turnips into the bag, and shake until evenly coated with the spices. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven until the outside is crispy, and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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According to Valley Fig Growers, figs are always “an excellent source of dietary fiber, a wealth of essential minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium, and rich in health-promoting antioxidants and complex carbohydrates.l

“Because figs are a whole food source of important nutrients and have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, they help you meet today’s Dietary Guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture,” says Valley Fig Growers. “A daily lifestyle that focuses on balancing calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.”

Try this recipe for Whole Wheat California Fig Muffins:

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup nonfat milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Figs, coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together flours, wheat germ, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. Cream together margarine and honey; beat in egg. Stir in milk, lemon peel and figs.

3. Add to dry ingredients and mix just enough to blend.

4. Evenly distribute batter among 12 (2 1/2-inch) greased muffin cups. Bake about 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and test done.

5. Carefully remove muffins from pan and serve warm.

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Look no further for a simple, sweet, kid-friendly treat featuring pears, which we previously mentioned are great for fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. These easy Pear Clouds, courtesy of USA Pears, are made for you and the kids, served hot or cool, depending on the mood or weather.

“You can put these into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toasted and bubbly — very yummy,” says USA Pears.

Ingredients

2 Anjou pears, cut in half and cored
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
⅔ cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions

1. Place pear halves on serving platter.

2. In bowl, combine whipped topping, coconut, and marshmallows.

3. Top pear halves with whipped topping mixture and serve.

 

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: Understanding the Real World Through Play

Even in adulthood, New Jammies parents know that the reality of the world can be hard to understand.

As caring and responsible parents, it’s our job to help our kids navigate through 24-7 news reports, social media and word-of-mouth info sharing.

That’s where play comes into, well, play.

According to the Genius of Play, children as young as 3 learn to understand the real world through realistic pretend play. The Genius of Play is a national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, spearheaded by The Toy Association.  The movement is rooted in research and facts, and serves as a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives. The group promotes play as a way to hone communication skills, important in coping with reality as teens and adults.

“Knowing what people mean isn’t always easy. Kids have to learn to decipher what people are saying — and not saying — by listening, observing, and sometimes picking up on very subtle clues,” says the group.

“By playing with others, children learn the art of communication. They come to recognize facial expressions and body language. They figure out how to strike up and carry on conversations, and how to express their thoughts and desires in a way that won’t cause problems and put a stop to the group game.”

Specifically, the Genius of Play says pretend play is especially important for children’s communication development and literacy.

“The idea that a letter represents a sound is based on symbolism — a concept kids come to understand when they pretend that a cardboard box is a castle, or that a shoe is a race car. Role-play also gives children a chance to use words they’ve heard adults and other kids use, and helps improve their vocabulary. As they grow older, word-based games help reinforce language and literacy skills.”

Genius of Play lists these games as great communication-building ideas for play:

Jumping Jack Syllables (ages 4 1/2 – 5)
Teach the child to do a simple jumping jack. In one smooth movement, jump and land with feet spread apart, raise hands over the head and clap. Share with them that a syllable is a separate count or beat in a word. Then by using the days of the week or months of the year, use jumping jacks to play out the number of syllables per word. For instance, using Saturday, the child will have three movements to the word, ending with his arms over his head.

Courtesy BestBeginningsAlaska.org

Balloon Ball (for ages 4+)

INGREDIENTS:

• An air-filled balloon or beach ball
• A broomstick or row of pillows
PREP TIME:
5 minutes

Lay a broomstick or row of pillows on the floor to act as the ‘net.’ Have your child hit the balloon over the ‘net,’ then run to the other side to hit it back before it touches the ground. Score 1 each time your child hits the ball without it hitting the floor. If two children, have them hit the ball over the ‘net.’ The game ends when the ball hits the floor. The child who hit that ball wins.

Kick the Can (ages 5+)

INGREDIENTS:
A large, empty can or bucket to be kicked
PREP TIME:
2 minutes

Choose one person to be “IT” and a “home base” for the children to gather (when playing outside, a fire hydrant or familiar tree are great spots). Place the can in a safe, open space. To start, have IT count to 50 with his/her eyes closed while the other players hide. Upon opening their eyes, IT should start searching for the hiders. When IT finds a hider, he/she calls out the player’s name and that player goes to jail (home base). Another player can risk capture to save jailbirds by kicking over the can and calling out “Home Free” without getting tagged by IT, after which the jailbirds are free to run and hide from IT again. The game continues until everyone has been captured. If jailbreaks keep the game going too long, the first person caught 3 times becomes IT and a new game begins.

Crafts Cards (ages 3+, requites adult help)

INGREDIENTS:
• Multiple sheets of construction paper for each child
• Old magazines
• Glue
• Safety scissors
• Magic markers and crayons
• Extras: stencils, stickers, feathers, glitter

PREP TIME:
10 minutes

Nothing says “you’re special” like a homemade card. Give each child some paper folded in half, magazine pages, markers and crayons. You can leave additional magazines, the stencils, stickers, feathers, and glitter where each child can reach them to use. Allow their imaginations run wild as the kids use the supplies to make cards for their friends, their families, even their favorite pet!

Parentingscience.com agrees that playful experiences are learning experiences. An evolutionary anthropologist created the online parenting resource for critical thinkers who want to understand child development from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology, evolution, and cognitive neuroscience.

“Most play involves exploration, and exploration is, by definition, an act of investigation. It’s easy to see how this applies to a budding scientist who is playing with magnets, but it also applies to far less intellectual pursuits, like the rough-and-tumble play in puppies,” says parentingscience.com. “The animals are testing social bonds and learning how to control their impulses, so that friendly wrestling doesn’t turn into anti-social aggression. Play is learning.”

Parentingscience.com reminds us that play is self-motivated and fun, as well as important for understanding the real world.

“These arguments aside, there is also empirical evidence that kids treat play as a tutorial for coping with real life challenges,” says the site. “All around the world, children engage in pretend play that simulates the sorts of activities they will need to master as adults, suggesting such play is a form of practice.”

Parentingscience.com adds that when kids are fed information during pretend play — from more knowledgeable peers or adults — they take it in.

“Experiments on American preschoolers suggest that children as young as 3 understand make distinctions between realistic and fanciful pretending, and use information learned from realistic pretend scenarios to understand the real world.”

Find more information on why play is essential to learning and development at Mom Loves Best

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.

Sleep Tight: Surviving Baby’s Sleep Regression

It’s the question New Jammies moms and dads hear once consistently when their babies reach at least three months.

Does he sleep through the night yet?

Just when parents can confidently answer yes, it seems, sleep regression makes sleeping through the night seem like a distant memory. What exactly is sleep regression again?

According to babysleepsite.com, sleep regression is described as “a period of time (anywhere from 1-4 weeks) when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason.”

“Parents often describe being caught totally off guard: you think your have conquered all your little one’s sleep challenges, when suddenly, out of nowhere, you’re back to constant night wakings and nonexistent naps,” says the website.

In the babysleepsite.com article “4-Month Sleep Regression Explained (sometimes 3 and 5 months too),” it notes that changes that happen with the 4-month sleep regression are permanent changes.

“By 4 months, your baby has ditched her babyish sleeping patterns and is sleeping more like an adult – and that translates into frequent night waking (and lots of fussing) along with shortened naps.”

New Jammies Classic Stripes Sleep Sacks

Changes in sleep can also happen at 8-10 months and 11 or 12 and 18 months, and even at 2 years old, and beyond. The “Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need to Know” article’s author, Emily DeJeu, says the key to coping and moving past sleep regression is to “know the what, the why, and the when behind common baby and toddler sleep regression – now how about the ‘how to’? As in, “How the heck do I fix this and get back to my peaceful nights of sleep again?!?!”

“Well, for starters, remember that the 4-month sleep regression is a permanent change – there is no going back to the way things were,” DeJeu writes. “Once you are through the worst of the 4-month sleep regression you will want to focus on helping your baby break her sleep associations, and on heaping her learn to fall asleep without help from you. Once she can do that, she will be well on her way to sleeping through the night, and establishing a more predictable daytime schedule.”

For mom-of-two Nicole Ludlow, New Jammies founder and CEO, she found herself up every night with one child or the other just last week for various reasons. Her 3-year-old often kicks his sheets off at night, then is cold or wakes and is afraid of the dark.

“I just ordered him a nightlight because the one we had wouldn’t stay on all night,” she said.

Her younger 16-month-old used to wake for a bottle after she stopped nursing, but now she can mostly just change his diaper and he will go back to sleep.

“Last night both kids slept through the night. Overall I would say they are good sleepers, just those quick wake-ups when they need comforting disrupts my good sleep,” she adds. “I am finding daytime naps sometimes seem to help them sleep better at night.”

Nicole says she always tries to determine what is really the cause of any sleep change, especially if it has to do with teething.

“We can usually tell before bed if it’s his teeth and he is really fussy,” she says. “If teething is causing extra fussiness, we usually look for signs like rubbing face and putting hands in mouth, and then check his gums. If it looks like one is coming through I will give him the recommended dose of Tylenol before bed. It’s pretty rare, but helps on occasion.”

For free resources from the Baby Sleep Site, click here.

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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: “Up & Active” Toy Trends Perfect for Summer

New Jammies Trains Collection

Early this year, the Toy Industry Association announced its top trends at the New York Toy Fair, and New Jammies was happy to see popularity of the “Up & Active” theme.

“With more room for innovation and a greater willingness to take risks, toymakers are pulling out all the stops to create highly ground-breaking products, reinvent play patterns, and refresh classic brands with cutting-edge technologies and exciting new licenses,” says Adrienne Appell, a trend expert at TIA. “Best of all, these toys build children’s developmental skills through collaborative, hands-on, and imaginative play.”

Collectible toys were also among the hot forecasted trends, which help children develop lifelong skills, including social skills (when negotiating and trading with friends), organization skills (as they maintain their collections), and perseverance (not giving up on the “hunt”), according to the Toy Industry Association.

The “Up & Active” category features toys to encourage kids to get up and move – both indoors and outdoors.

“The latest active toys not only motivate kids to burn off excess energy, they are also engaging for the whole family and are more seamlessly integrated into other types of play,” says the Toy Industry Association. “This trend includes tech toys that weave in active components, classic outdoor ride-ons, traditional games that incorporate physical activity, and digital toys that foster face-to-face play.”

The Toy Industry Association notes that toys which encourage kids to move are a part of a larger health-and-wellness trend that spans multiple industries.

“We see consumers making healthy lifestyle choices, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, athleisure, wearable devices, and natural-looking beauty options, so I believe the outdoor and sports toys trend will continue into the near future as well,” says Juli Lennett, NPD’s senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst.

Toy companies are launching toys and games designed to motivate kids to move – both indoors and outdoors – particularly as they respond to the demands of millennial parents seeking more engaging toys for their kids, such as offering educational or more active play, says the Association.

“Toys that encourage kids to get up and move are on both kids’ and parents’ wish lists,” says Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert. “It’s not just classic outdoor toys that are popular; we are seeing toy companies innovate with tech toys that weave in active components, educational toys that incorporate physical activity, new exciting ride-ons, and traditional games that require kids to move around in order to play.”

One toy that help kids enjoy the Great Outdoors is the Regatta Swing. The nautical -themed swing is developed exclusively for Magic Cabin, which specializes in open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts to nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity. The swing, for ages 3–6 and older, holds up to 200 pounds and features an innovative design to sits two sailors on two heavy-duty mesh seats. The mesh bottom means water won’t get trapped inside while not in use. The simple concept of the bowline knot creates a secure hanging apparatus of adjustable height that’s easy to use.

New Jammies’ Pirates collection of PJs, which can double as comfy play wear to stay cool in the summer, would be a fun addition to this imagination-building play. Sailboat n’Waves would also be cute to rock in the Regatta Swing.

Antsy Pants’ line of Build and Play kits are designed to let kids’ imaginations run wild and get kids and families creating, imagining and building together. With each product purchased, sold exclusively at Target, Antsy Pants helps support KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive.

“Antsy Pants will make a donation to KaBOOM! for each product purchased, and is projected to give more than $150,000 in the first year to build playgrounds for kids across America,” says the product’s website.

The Antsy Pants Build and Play Obstacle Course  gets the whole family moving with toss rings, jump hurdles and a race to the finish for fun-and-friendly competition. The easy-to-build Obstacle Course Kit comes with an agility ring course, start and finish flags, adjustable height hurdles, and weave pole course. No tools necessary!

New Jammies’ Star Spangled collection would be a patriotic, America-themed way to celebrate the Fourth of July while running through the Obstacle Course this summer.

USA! USA! USA!

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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: From Daytime Jams to Sleep Jammies

One of the most versatile ways for kids to wear New Jammies in the warmer months is to don them during the day in the park, poolside or at neighborhood BBQs. Then mix and match at nighttime for a cool, comfortable sleep.

“New Jammies’ signature 100% organic cotton fabric is breathable and keeps kids cool in the summer heat and warm at night,” says New Jammies CEO and founder Nicole Ludlow.

“The fun part is to mix and match the short sets, pants and long-sleeved shirts for several different color and print combinations on vacation or out and about having a good time, day into night.”

A cute look for girls in the summer is to add brightly colored tutus and comfy sandals to our Lobsters collection. Or incorporate pastel tutus into an outfit with our pretty Ballerina Slippers or Mermaid Bubbles prints.

The Lobsters and Whales collections come with 100% organic cotton summer roll hats, too. The fun summertime New Jammies headwear designs provide a coordinated look at the beach or in town, especially with our Classic Stripes and nautical-themed collections, to help protect babies’ sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Boys are typically fairly easy to dress, especially in the summer, so our shorts sets with bold stripes and colorful prints really come in handy when packing for the day, weekend, or a week of well-derserved vacation.

“So many of our collections offer options for mixing and matching, and for going from day to night, if the boys manage to stay clear of mud!” says Nicole, who has two young boys of her own.

The organic Classic Stripe in blue and white is a great option for bold and colorful day-to-night wear for boys or girls, and the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sailboats n’Waves pajamas and short sets are perfect to switch up from afternoon into evening. Especially for hanging around the water at the lake or ocean, and for summer vacations involving pirate ships, sunset cruises or floating on the river.

In celebration of summer, New Jammies has a few of these versatile outdoor and sleep time looks in our sale section of our online store.

Enjoy great sale prices on our Sharks PJ Shorts Set and Ottoman Flowers PJ Shorts Set, as well as the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sly Fox PJ Shorts Set, for a wonderful summer playing in the sun and sleeping under the stars.

Here’s to a summer to remember!

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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: Fun Food Truck Recipes

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New Jammies Star Spangled PJs

A perk of the nice spring and summer weather is the re-emergence of food trucks into our worlds. New Jammies loves the idea of mobile food providers who utilize local, farm-to-table ingredients in their recipes. We’ve found a few food truck-savvy recipes you can make at home, perfect for the week days or the weekends.

Spaghetti Squash is the Secret

The Healthy Food Truck is an Indianapolis-based business offering a brick-and-mortar cafe and mobile locations throughout the week. The company started out as a personal desire to get people fit and eat quality, healthy food.

“With our personal training clients and family as inspiration on our menu items, rose a great opportunity to serve paleo, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan food options that everyone enjoys,” says the Healthy Food Truck, on its website. “This is a veteran/woman-owned small business and we take great pride in offering the freshest, local, organic pressed juices, and foods while maintaining a close relationship with our customers.”

Healthy Food Truck says its recipe for Low-Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs will help families learn to love nature’s healthy noodles: spaghetti squash.

“If you haven’t yet tried spaghetti squash then you’re in for a real treat. A pile of tender spaghetti squash strands piled high with protein and veggie meatballs makes the perfect fitness meal,” says the site.

Low-Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serves 12

Ingredients

2 pounds lean, organic, grass-fed ground beef
1 pound lean, sweet turkey sausage
4 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 omega-3, eggs
1/2 cup almond meal
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of salt and pepper
Optional: handful of olives

Sauce

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
splash of white wine
2 cups fresh basil, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
dash of salt and pepper

Noodles

1 spaghetti squash

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Wash spaghetti squash and poke all over with a knife.

3. Place directly on the middle oven rack and bake for 1 hour.

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

5. Once cooled, slice in half and remove the seeds. Scoop the spaghetti squash strands out with a large spoon, set aside in a bowl.

6. Throw all of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands. Form into large, golf ball sized meatballs.

7. Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well.

8. Cook with Crockpot: Place the meatballs in your slow cooker. Cover with the sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours. OR Cook with stovetop: Place meatballs in a large pot. Cover with sauce and cook, covered, over low heat for 2-3 hours.

9. Place a scoop of spaghetti squash noodles on each plate, top with meatballs and some sauce and then throw on a few olives.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 266 calories, 12g fat, 426mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 26g protein

Tacos

Veggies in These Tacos

Serves 4

“The First Mess” cookbook author and foodie blogger Laura Wright grew up working in restaurants and growing up with agriculture. So farm-to-table-inspired cuisine is right up her alley. Her recipe for Roasted Spring Vegetable + Quinoa Tacos with Dill-y Guacamole, which features rice, lentils, beans or any other grain you prefer, fits the mold of healthy food truck offerings for a fresh, healthy option for spring and summer.

Roasted Spring Vegetable Quinoa Tacos

Ingredients

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

For roasted veggies:

1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 2 inch lengths

1 bulb of fennel, cored + cut into 2 inch lengths

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt + pepper

For the guac:

1 ripe avocado, peeled + pitted

juice of 1 lime

1 green onion, sliced

3 sprigs of dill, leaves chopped

For assembly:

3-4 radishes, thinly sliced

12 small corn tortillas, warmed

hot sauce to serve

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Place the rinsed quinoa, a pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until all of the liquid is gone, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place the asparagus and fennel pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast until the vegetables are just soft, about 12-13 minutes.

4. While vegetables are roasting, mash the avocado in a small bowl with the lime juice, sliced green onion and some salt and pepper. Once you have a chunky puree, check it for seasoning. Adjust accordingly and mash in the chopped dill. Set aside.

5. Start assembling tacos: lay a warm tortilla down and top it with 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa. Top the quinoa with a small handful of the roasted vegetables and a tablespoon or two of the guacamole. Finish with a few radish slices and hot sauce if you like. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

 

Sippin’ on Summertime

In its “Aloha, Portland” episode of “Eat St.,” the Cooking Channel featured a refreshing drink recipe, courtesy of Scratch. This watermelon lemonade mixes heat with sweet, a perfect drink for Mom and Dad to relax on the back porch while the kids enjoy their 100% juice boxes. Give it a try at your next BBQ.

Watermelon lemonadeWatermelon Jalapeno Lemonade

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined and chopped
1/2 seedless watermelon, chopped
16 fresh mint leaves, optional
Ice
Lemon slices, for serving

Directions

1. In batches, combine 12 cups water, the lemon juice, sugar, jalapeno, watermelon and mint, if using, in a blender. Blend to a puree.

2. Allow the puree to steep for 10 minutes before straining it through a fine mesh sieve. Chill well.

3. Serve chilled, with ice and a lemon slice floating at the top.

Click here to watch it being made.

 

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: Music Makes Playtime Fun

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Jammin’ out in New Jammies’ Whales!

Soul and R&B icon Aretha Franklin once said, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.”

New Jammies couldn’t agree more.

We see the benefits of music, not only for the mind and spirit, but also for the heart, in kids of all ages. From babies to big kids-at-heart, we’re all affected by music as a simple way to relax, enjoy fun and entertainment, and benefit personally from physical and emotional therapy.

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy can make a difference with young children in stimulating all of the senses. by involving the child at many levels. This approach facilitates many developmental skills, promoting quality learning and maximum participation as children experience the joy of play, says the organization.

“The medium of music therapy allows this play to occur naturally and frequently. Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect,” the AMTA says. “Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make children feel better about themselves.”

The American Music Therapy Association also reports that music therapy can help a child manage pain and stressful situations. Also, music encourages socialization, self-expression, communication, and motor development.

“Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills,” music therapy experts say.

Music TogetherMusic Together is an internationally recognized organization that offers early childhood music and movement programs for children, birth through age 7, to experience with their parents and caregivers. Music Together started in the late ’80s, pioneering the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum strongly emphasizing and facilitating adult involvement.

“It’s based on the recognition that, in a supportive environment, children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and confidently participate in the music of their culture,” says Music Together. “By emphasizing actual music-making experiences, we introduce children to the pleasures of producing music instead of passively consuming it from iTunes or TV. We’re very high-touch. Face to face, heart to heart, voice to voice, for a truly bonding and enriching experience.”

New jammies founder Nicole Ludlow has enjoyed her experience at Music Together with her young boys.

“They love it,” she says. “And the music is for kids but I actually like listening to it at home, too.”

To introduce children into the world of music, PBS hosts a plethora of information available on its pbs.org website, on the Music page. Articles range from “Creating a Musical Home Environment,” which offers easy steps to include music in the home and daily routines in meaningful ways, to “The Benefits of Music Education,” showing that learning the do-re-mis can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.

Music Together cofounder Kenneth Guilmartin contributed to the article, adding that “Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously. For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles.”

“Music learning supports all learning. Not that Mozart makes you smarter, but it’s a very integrating, stimulating pastime or activity,” he added.

For more information on Music Together and classes in your area, click 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.