Sleep Right: How To Ensure Quality Sleep During the Holidays

The holidays are a time of high excitement, for kids and parents alike. It may be fun (for the kids, at least) to wake up early and open presents, but all the holiday excitement can turn into a major case of the humbugs if naps are skipped, bedtimes are missed, and sugary treats take over our holiday diets.

How do you get kids from “holiday cheer” to “visions of snowplums dancing in their heads”?

These tips will help your family guarantee healthy sleep, during the most wonderful (and busiest) time of the year.

1. Whenever possible, stick to your regular routine.

The winter holidays often disrupt our usual routines. Instead of school, kids head to family events, neighborhood parties, and snowy outings. Despite your busy schedule, try to stick to your normal bedtime routine as much as possible. If you’re staying over at Grandma’s house, pack familiar toothbrushes, story books, and sleep aids like blankets or stuffed animals. When bedtime rolls around, try to resist the request for an extra fifteen or thirty minutes–sticking to normalcy will help your kids’ bodies fall into their natural bedtime rhythms, making sleep seem less far away.

2. Make bedtime fun with a new family tradition.

If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday with your kids, the night before the big day can be far too exciting to get to sleep. One way to curb this is to start the festivities a little early! Create a new family tradition, where everyone unwraps a new set of personalized jammies, curls up under blankets, and reads or tells stories together. This can be a good low-energy way to curb kids’ enthusiasm, and get their minds and bodies ready for bed.

3. Plan a seasonal siesta.

Between cooking, cleaning, gift-wrapping, and snowball fights, the actual holiday can add far too much stress. If your schedule allows, set aside an hour or two where the whole family–not just the kids–takes a brief break to energize and recharge. This can be nap time for the kids (and we all know a nap would be a great gift for Mom or Dad, too), or a quiet time for the adults to enjoy a cup of coffee. If you make the siesta a familiar part of your holiday routine, kids will benefit from the scheduled relaxation time.

4. Keep kids’ diets balanced.

Candy canes! Chocolate! Reese’s Trees! The holidays are full of sugary stuff that keeps our kids up at night. That’s why it’s so important to stick to a balanced diet during the holidays, and enjoy sweets and caffeine only in moderation. Plus, healthy proteins like turkey contain tryptophan, an amino acid that makes us sleepy as our bodies break it down. Avoid sugar and caffeine for a few hours before bedtime, and make sure your kids are eating a healthy ratio of greens, protein, and carbs at mealtimes.

5. Learn some new relaxation games.

If your kids are struggling to fall asleep, relaxation games can be a good activity to try together. Practice body mindfulness by stretching every body part one by one: while laying down, start by flexing the fingers and toes, then move clockwise around the body until you’ve checked in with every body part. You can also turn this into a holiday grounding activity by naming objects in the room, or objects related to the holiday you celebrate. Can your kids name five red things associated with Christmas? How about six decorations you create for Hanukkah? These mindfulness activities can help calm racing thoughts, release pent-up energy, and prepare the mind for rest.

6. Remove distractions.

Holiday decor like lights and music can be a major distraction when we’re trying to sleep. Make sure kids’ windows are well-covered, blocking out any twinkling or blinking lights from the street. If you’re staying with family, try to find a place for the kids to sleep well away from any late-night conversations. Tuck travel cribs in quiet, safe spaces like the laundry room or a home office. If cousins are likely to stay up all night giggling (like in my family), it might be time for separate rooms.

Winter Jammies

Winter is a great time to get outdoors and active!

7. Tire them out.

Kids have a seemingly limitless amount of energy, but that’s nothing some good old-fashioned cardio can’t cure! A few hours before bedtime, get the kids up and moving with some holiday games and activities. Winter is a great time for snowball fights, hide and seek, and capture the flag. If they opened new toys or games during the festivities, find a way to make playtime as active as possible. This extra calorie burn will come in handy at bedtime!

8. Try a natural route.

Certain natural supplements, like melatonin or specific essential oils, can help the body relax and calm down enough for sleep. (If you choose to go a supplement route, just be sure to check with your pediatrician first.) Essential oils like lavender, valerian, and chamomile are great for relaxation. A couple of drops in a diffuser, under pillows, or on your kids’ pajamas can help lull them into a smooth sleep.

9. Stay flexible!

We get it–the holidays are exciting! And for many kids, the winter holidays are the highlight of the year. Excitement, adrenaline, and sugar can all be a major detriment to healthy sleep–and kids who are normally well-behaved might fight bedtime a little harder than usual during the holidays. Take a few deep breaths, stay flexible, and remember how you felt about the holidays when you were a kid.

The holidays are a wonderful time to create and share memories with your family. With a can-do attitude, some perseverance, and just a sprinkling of holiday magic, you can ensure your kids get enough sleep to carry them through the excitement of the season.

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.

Celebrate Together: Holiday Traditions For Kids

The winter holidays are an amazing time for families to come together to celebrate! Whether you celebrate one particular holiday, multiple, or none at all, the end of the year offers a perfect opportunity to create and celebrate family traditions. The team at New Jammies worked together to share our favorite family traditions, in the hopes that we spark new celebrations for yours!

Have you tried one of these traditions? Have a unique tradition of your own you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Egg Carton Penguins from OneLittleProject are a great kid-friendly DIY decoration!

  1. Create DIY decorations. Many winter holidays involve a wonderful amount of decorating. Instead of spending tons of money on store-bought decor, set some time aside each year to create homemade holiday decorations together. There are tons of online guides for easy, kid-friendly DIY projects, like these adorable Egg Carton Penguins from OneLittleProject. The point of this tradition isn’t to be the best at arts and crafts — it’s to enjoy the laughs, the fun, and the time spent in each other’s company.
  2. Perform random acts of kindness. The holidays are a great time to teach children that a little kindness goes a long way. Make it a tradition to surprise strangers with random acts of kindness, like compliments, free hugs, or small gifts. One of our teammates says, “When I was a kid, my dad took my sister and I to a grocery store to buy a bunch of bouquets of carnations. Then, we went to the city center and handed out flowers to random holiday shoppers just to brighten their day. It became a quick tradition!”
  3. Pose for family photos. Holiday cards are an excellent way to update friends and family on the year gone by. They’re also a great addition to any scrapbook or family photo album! Many photographers offer discounted holiday photo packages during the fall and winter. For bonus points, have everyone dress in matching outfits!
  4. Make a countdown calendar devoted to learning. If you celebrate a winter holiday on a specific date, you can create a countdown or advent calendar of your own with your own traditions. For example, you can celebrate learning with a countdown calendar made of books! Each night, read a different book with your kids, focusing on a different holiday, historical figure, or culture. It’s a great way to learn more about the world around us, and share some wonderful family time!
  5. Surprise the neighbors. Many families enjoy baking cookies as part of a holiday tradition. You can take this tradition one step further by sharing the bounty with your neighborhood. There’s nothing quite like surprising your neighbor with a fresh-baked loaf of bread, still hot from the oven!
  6. Start a gag gift tradition. If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday, gag gifts can be a fun, inexpensive way to celebrate the end of the year. Another New Jammies teammate shared this great tradition from her family: “When I was a baby, we had a family friend known as Grandpa Sam. He was so much fun at the holidays. Anytime he opened a gift, he would yell ‘YOWZERS!’ He also had a knack for picking out gag gifts that people would inevitably find useful. For example, a pair of lotion-lined gloves from a dollar store that turned out to be a great cure for wintery dry skin! Today, my family still picks out small ‘gag’ gifts for each other, and as soon as we open them, we all yell ‘YOWZERS!’”
  7. Build your own hayride and look at the lights. Depending on what your neighbors celebrate, many neighborhoods are full to bursting with holiday decorations and lights. Get your family in on the fun by loading everyone in the car, jamming to a playlist of your favorite holiday music, and driving slowly through the neighborhood to look at the lights.

    Hosting a holiday PJ party? Set up a backyard photo booth with wintery decorations, props, costume pieces, and more!

  8. Have a holiday PJ party. This is a great tradition for neighborhood kids, extended family, and adults alike! Instead of an ugly sweater party, have everyone show up in their favorite pajamas. Guests can play games, bring food, and stay up late watching holiday movies. At the end of the night, the kids can have a group sleepover!
  9. Host a neighborhood potluck. This is a wonderful tradition for neighborhoods deeply steeped in culture, where many families celebrate different holidays. Ask everyone to bring a dish made from a family recipe, or a traditional recipe from their family’s country. Spend the night learning about different cultures through delicious food, traditional songs, and party games! “I have been having an annual holiday open house party in the day which is nice because people can stop by during a wider time range,” says New Jammies founder, Nicole Johnson. “It is nice for families because if kids have different nap times or other weekend obligations they can arrive and leave at their convenience.”
  10. Give back. The holidays give us an opportunity to build a volunteering spirit in kids from a young age. Nicole’s family participates in Toys for Tots by choosing a few names from a local tree each year to pick out presents for other families. And at New Jammies, we work with various organizations and fundraisers throughout the year to keep them well stocked in comfy, organic cotton jammies! Find a cause you believe in — hosting a food drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, making and handing out gifts for a senior home — and make it a family tradition. By participating each year, your kids will see the direct impact of their hands-on volunteer work.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments!

Sleep Tight: Back to School ~ Back to Bed-Time

The importance of a bedtime routine during the back-to-school transition.

For many kids, all the fun of summer can make it tough to stick to a bedtime routine. Summer camp hours, slumber parties, and more hours of daylight — especially when the sun isn’t all the way down by bedtime — can turn into late nights and grumpy mornings when kids get too little sleep. 

 

Even though we’re still in the height of summer, it’s never too early to start planning for the fall! Kids’ brains and bodies won’t adjust to a school-year sleep routine overnight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Children who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of experiencing behavioral problems at school, as well as a more difficult time with learning.” As we approach the back-to-school season, it’s important to get kids back into a structured bedtime routine. 

Having trouble turning Z’s into ABC’s? These four tricks will help your family get back to bedtime, just in time for the new school year. 

1. Make it a gradual transition.

If you suddenly had to wake up an hour or two earlier, how long would it take you to get used to the new routine? Kids’ bodies and brains need time to adjust to a school schedule, so it’s not realistic to set an extreme new schedule all at once. Instead, you can slowly move bedtime back by fifteen minutes or half an hour (with an equal adjustment to wake-up time), with a few days in between each shift. By giving your kids time to adjust to the shorter shifts, they’ll have an easier time transitioning to the school-year’s schedule. 

2. Turn bed into an electronics-free zone. 

Clean sleep is the key to healthy rest. Electronics are one of the modern marvels that keep our brains from switching off completely when we go to bed. The glow and blue light from screens sends signals to our brains, telling us it’s still time to be awake. Keeping cell phones and tablets out of your kids beds — by establishing the hour or two before bedtime as “electronics-free” — reduces the impact of this blue light. 

3. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. 

You can replace screen time with book time, or other electronics-free activities you and your kids can do together. Bedtime stories, breathing exercises, and baths are all great ways to help your kids unwind at the end of the day. The comfort of a favorite pair of jammies can also go a long way toward rewiring kids’ brains for bedtime! In the same way that light from electronics can send signals to your mind, the comfort of organic cotton and the routine of slipping into pajamas tells your body it’s time for bed. When you’re planning your bedtime routine, don’t forget to set a similar one for mornings! 

4. Let your kids help set the rules — and stick to them. 

Get your kids involved in bedtime, too! Giving your kids some power over their own choices helps them forget the parts of a new routine that they may not be too fond of. Introducing their first alarm clock? Let them choose the design! Want to make sure they brush their teeth before bed? Let them pick a new flavor of toothpaste! Plus, if your kids have outgrown last fall’s jammies, you can help them choose a new set of PJs with a pattern they can’t wait for bedtime to wear. 

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

Sleep Tight: Transition from Toddler to Big Kid Beds

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

If only it were that easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, and happy holidays!

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

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.

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

New Jammies Stars and Stripes

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: Moms & Kids Get Moving in the New Year

StripesNew Jammies knows that motherhood brings us all the feels. With a range of emotions from joy and happiness to fatigue and sadness, our hormones play a big role in how body and mind adjusts to postpartum life. There’s also the weight gain and feelings of being overwhelmed that are hard to battle.

That’s where exercise can come into play — and involve mom and babies and kids at the same time.

There are many Mommy and Me-type fitness classes available online and in-person that incorporate cardio and strength training into an exercise routine for two. Positive Health Wellness (positivehealthwellness.com), a site for those seeking information to help live a more positive, healthier and happier life, offers helpful tips to build kids into an exercise routine.

“Involving your baby into exercise has become a popular way for moms to get fit,” says Positive Health Wellness blogger Karen Reed in “A New Mom’s Guide on Post Natal Fitness and Nutrition. “There is certainly nothing wrong with doing it yourself, once your doctor has cleared you for exercise.”

Reed says one of the most common exercises to add into your plan is buggy running, or walking to start, and it is just as it sounds: you run with the buggy.

“There are even running groups around the country offering moms to get together and run with their little ones, and then there will be socializing afterwards or during different days,” she says. “Make sure you have a buggy that is suitable for buggy running. There are now specific runner buggies designed, usually with three wheels to make it easier to turn corners and remain stable at faster paces. The last thing you want is to find you have to come to a halt just to get your buggy around a corner or risk affecting your child’s health.”

Reed also suggests playing a game of peek-a-boo while exercising.

“Put your child where he/she can see you as you do a sit up. Say peek-a-book and then lay back down. As your child gets older, they’ll join in with the game much more,” Reed says.

Yoga is also a fun way to strengthen and tone muscles and help moms mentally adjust with meditation and relaxing breathing techniques. Many local yoga studios, community centers and churches host in-person mom-and-baby yoga classes, and you can also find exercises online.

The What to Expect website includes Mommy-and-Me Yoga 101 information, featuring tips and a list of benefits for both baby and mom. There’s also a quick video of a playful baby yoga move, Butterfly Pose with Baby (Baddha Konasana), to try at home. What to Expect says to keep in mind that it’s best to do mommy-and-me yoga in a class with an experienced yoga teacher who can help ensure you’re doing the poses correctly and safely.

Good Night YogaOne way to introduce yoga to little ones is through colorfully illustrated books. Author and innovative educator Mariam Gates’ “Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story” is a beautiful tool for parents and caregivers to teach kids about yoga, and is a fun and effective new routine for bedtime.

The full-color book, illustrated by graphic artist Sarah Jane Hinder, tells the story of the natural world as it closes down for the night, while teaching children a simple flow of yoga postures inspired by their favorite characters from nature.

Good Morning YogaThe book’s follow-up, “Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story” invites young readers to practice a morning yoga routine to jumpstart the day and shows them how to focus, relax, self-monitor, and self-soothe.

Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than 20 years’ experience working with children. Her renowned Kid Power Yoga™ program combines her love of yoga with teaching to help children access their inner gifts. Learn more at kidpoweryoga.com/pages/home.html.

Yoga for FamiliesThe entire family can join in the fun of yoga with the “Yoga For Families: Connect With Your Kids” DVD, available on Amazon.

Yoga instructors to the stars Ingrid Von Burg and Tom Morley lead the workout, for ages 4 and older, that encourages time to jump, breathe, laugh, dance, sing and relax.

“Yoga provides us with clarity of thought, and allows us to communicate easier,” says the product description. “When we do that with our family, it gives us confidence.”

Special Features include a choice of music for the dynamic sections: Relaxing/Meditative or High Energy/Silly.

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: New Children’s Books Perfect for Bedtime

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New Jammies loves those sweet bedtime moments with the kids, reading them to sleep after a relaxing bath and cozy pair of footies. Books are key in developing vocabulary, learning words, and forming bonds.

In welcoming 2017, we’ve found a host of cute books to help kids wind down after a fun day of play and learning. Check out these new titles that will be favorites when it comes to making memories during the nightly bedtime routine.

I'll Hug You More1. I’ll Hug You More
In her latest addition to her “I Love You More” books, New York Times bestselling author Laura Duksta wants kids to know hugs can say a lot, including “hello,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” “But underneath it all, every hug says ‘I love you,'” she says. Duksta learned valuable lessons about love, compassion, and understanding for humanity, as well as for herself, when she lost all her hair at age 11 to Alopecia Areata. In its review of Jan. 1 release, Publishers Weekly described “I’ll Hug You More” as, “Cheery, multi-textured illustrations highlight the sheer versatility of hugs one can give a small hippo offers a one-handed, behind-the-back number as it eats cereal at the breakfast table, a ladybug uses all six limbs to cling to its parent, and two snakes entwine in a cozy, circular embrace … [Duksta’s] reassuring message comes through loud and clear.”

Super Happy Party Bears2. Super Happy Party Bears (Volume 2)
Arriving Jan. 17, this second book in Marcie Colleen’s witty chapter book series is described as, “filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals.” The author is a former classroom teacher and current educational consultant for the Picture Book Month initiative. She also creates teacher’s guides for picture books and middle grade novels and is a advocate for using children’s fictional literature in the classroom. Illustrator Steve James has 10 years experience in the art industry (animation, greeting cards and video game artwork). Super Happy Party Bears is his first children’s book. The book’s description, from publisher Macmillan, says it all: “The Grumpy Woods dislike Wallace Woodpecker only slightly less than the Super Happy Party Bears. They find his pecking preposterously loud, but the bears think Wallace is beating a nice rhythm — it’s great for early-morning dancercise. The bears convince Wallace he has great skills to offer the woods, and they give him ideas for unsolicited handy work. Instead of endearing him to the neighbors, it annoys them even more. Can the bears really help this noisy neighbor?”

Pete the Cat3. Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks
Written and illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book author James Dean, “Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks is a cool adaptation of the classic children’s song “Five Little Ducks.” “Fans of Pete the Cat will love rocking out to this classic tune with a groovy twist,” says publisher HarperCollins, regarding the newest book in the Pete the Cat series, which comes out Jan. 24. James Dean’s art has sold in more than 90 galleries and shops across the U.S., and he has devoted his paintings to Pete the Cat for 15 years, turning his natural love for cats into his life’s work. He has also published “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” and “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes.” Visit him online at www.petethecat.com.

By the Light of the Moon4. By the Light of the Moon
Published in the fall of 2016, By the Light of the Moon by Tom Percival is a gently emotional story to reassure fears about moving, with stunning artwork and a wonderful magical element. In the book, main character Ivan’s old house had always been so warm and friendly, but he finds out his new one is not. In the book, publisher Bloomsbury says, “Ivan finds his new house strange and can’t sleep. He lies awake and then sees a shimmering light come down. The light turns into a creature called a Moji, and it takes him on a magical nighttime adventure, up high into space, bounding through magical forests and down deep into the oceans. Ivan has never had so much fun! And the magical Moji shows him that soon the new house will feel like home.”

Be Who You Are5. Be Who You Are!
The end of 2016 also saw a new children’s book by New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr, “Be Who You Are!” the follow-up to his beloved classic, “It’s Okay to Be Different.” With nods to everything from race to gender expression to economic background, he encourages kids to be proud of who they are inside. “Be old. Be young. Speak your language. Be Who You AreBe proud of where you’re from. Just be who you are!” “Todd’s collection of work occupies a unique space in the children’s book market, addressing topics in a way that feels wholly necessary, inclusive, and appropriate with a sensibility that’s wacky, kid-friendly, and fun. The time is right for a book about acceptance in all forms, and we have no doubt this will resonate with many fans new and old,” says the publisher, Hachette Book Group, for its youth division, Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

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.