CIJLadies Night

Girls Night – Host a Christmas in July Slumber Party

Looking for a different kind of get-together to mix it up between the summer barbecues, weddings, graduations, and birthday parties? Make plans to get your hubby and kids out of the house for the night, and get the ladies together for a good old-fashioned slumber party – adult style. Add to it a theme like ‘Christmas in July,’ and you’ve got the makings for a super fun evening that may become a tradition within your inner circle.

It’s hot outside and this is no time to think about sweaters, snow, or Santa. Instead, adapt what you would traditionally do for the December holiday to something that’s all about summer. We’ll get you started with some awesome ideas for your party, but don’t be afraid to let your creativity take over and make the sleepover all yours!

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Matching Pajamas for All: In December it’s a fun family tradition to all dress up in matching PJ’s to celebrate the season. Why not do the same thing for girl’s night? Cool cottons, Japanese satins, sassy short sets, or tropical prints are all perfect for your summer sleepover.

Frozen Cocoa

Frozen Hot Chocolate: The idea of a warm comforting beverage is probably the farthest thing from your mind when it’s 90 degrees outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a rich creamy drink in the middle of July.  Make a batch of hot cocoa and pour it into ice trays. Then use the cubes with your favorite Irish cream, coffee liquor, or rum. If it’s a free day on the calorie counter, top the drinks off with some whipped cream!

Beach Gift

Gift Exchange: We aren’t talking hats and gloves, perfume, or picture frames here… think summer. Exchange gifts that are perfect for the season you’re in. A beach gift basket (sunscreen, flip flops, a good book, and a bright towel for instance), floral candles, a park or zoo pass, a pedicure kit, or seashell jewelry (we LOVE ankle bracelets) are all great ideas for your best gal pals.

Tiki Buffet

Tiki Buffet: Get yourself some thatched grass, Christmas twinkle lights, and fiesta-ware to set the mood, and then put out a spread made with light, delicious summer ingredients and refreshing drinks (think Sangria). Have a handy husband? Have him build you a tiki bar for the occasion!

Movies

Watch a movie – NOT kid-friendly:  It’s your night to get away and enjoy the company of your besties. We do holiday movie night with the family, so instead, for your Christmas in July girls night watch a movie you’ve wanted to see but can’t because it isn’t appropriate for kids.  There are lots of great ones out there so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

CIJ Karaoke

Sing Karaoke: Once the alcohol kicks in, the inhibitions tend to disappear so let loose and sing! If you’ve never sung karaoke, you’re missing out and if you have, you know how fun it is. It’s just you ladies so have fun with it and you can even sing Christmas songs!

Games

Play Adult Games: If you’re tired of Monopoly or Candy Land and want to laugh, laugh, laugh play games that are just for adults. We like Cards Against Humanity, Social Sabotage, or For The Girls. All of these options can be played with additional rules that you make up (like you must use the word “elf), so you can customize them for your Christmas in July theme.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning your mid-summer pajama party. Let your imagination run wild because Christmas in July only comes once a year. You and the other ladies deserve to let loose!

 

 

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4thpicnic (1)

5 Red, White, and Blue Recipes for your 4th of July Celebration

It’s the Fourth of July weekend and time to celebrate the USA! That means cookouts, picnics, parades, and parties. Great food makes for great gatherings and Independence Day gives us the opportunity to show our patriotism through the food we make. It’s all about the red, white and blue and we’ve got 5 recipes that are a must for your celebration.

 

American Flag Caprese Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Caprese Appetizer

A perfect starter, this Caprese salad from eatingwell.com has cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and blueberries with a sweet yet tangy dressing on the side. The American Flag presentation is a perfect way to show your patriotism!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages mini mozzarella balls
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, divided
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

 

  1. Trim the stem end off each tomato, so they sit flat on their cut sides.
  2. Arranging one row of 10 tomatoes, cut-side down, on a large platter or cutting board. Arrange a row of 10 mozzarella balls directly below the tomatoes, and repeat with another row of tomatoes, another row of mozzarella balls, and another row of tomatoes. On the third row of mozzarella balls, add 5 more to extend the row to the left. Repeat with tomatoes and mozzarella balls two more times, ending with tomatoes.
  3. Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries. Arrange the remaining blueberries in a square to the right of the shorter rows of tomatoes and mozzarella balls.
  4. Slice mozzarella into 4 pieces, then cut each piece into quarters. Using a paring knife, cut a star from each quarter, creating 16 stars total. (Alternatively, use a small star cookie cutter.) Gently arrange the mozzarella stars on top of the blueberries.
  5. Combine the reserved 1/4 cup blueberries, oil, vinegar, honey, shallot, salt and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth. Scatter basil leaves around the flag, if desired, and serve with the dressing on the side.

 

Red White and Blue Burgers

RWB Burger

No summer holiday celebration is complete until you add the burgers! This delicious twist on the basic cheeseburger is courtesy of tablespoon.com. It’s topped with mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, and blue cheese. Perfect for the 4th of July!

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 8hamburger buns
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 4oz blue cheese crumbles
  • Salt and pepper

 

  1. For roasted red peppers, place peppers on grill over over gas burner on high for about five minutes, turning occasionally until the pepper skin is very charred. Remove peppers and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for ten minutes. Remove peppers and peel off skin. It should come off pretty easily and it’s okay if some skin is left on. Slice stems off of peppers and remove seeds, then slice.
  2. Form burgers into quarter pound rounds and make a small indent in each burger with your thumb. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill burgers over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Flip burgers, cook for another 2 minutes or so and then add a slice of fresh mozzarella to each burger. Close the lid on the grill to help the cheese melt. Let cheese melt for a minute, then add pepper slices and blue cheese. Cook for another minute. That should leave you with about a medium burger. Cook longer if you want your burger more done.
  4. Serve burger on a toasted bun.

Easy and Sweet Honeyed Quinoa Fruit Salad

Quinoa Salad

A sweet, delicious, and healthy salad is the perfect accompaniment to you celebration meal. This beautiful side dish from saladmenu.com will bring out the oooh’s and aaah’s from everyone at the party.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ lb strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 1 stem fresh mint
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 Tbsp honey

 

  1. Cut strawberries into bite size pieces, mix with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, and chopped fresh mint.
  2. Sweet dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together juice from 1/2 lemon and 3 Tablespoons honey; mix with fruit and quinoa and serve.

Sparkling Red, White & Blue Sangria

Cocktail

No party is complete without a cocktail and this Sangria recipe from gimmesomeoven.com is the perfect libation to toast America with! Fresh fruit and summer flavors will also cool you off on a hot summer day.

Ingredients:

  • White wine: One bottle of any kind of (still, not sparkling)
  • Sparkling white wine: We will also add in a bottle of sparkling white wine (such as cava or champagne) just before serving to make the sangria “sparkle.”
  • Berries: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
  • Apples: Thinly slice some crisp apples to serve as our “white.” Use a small star cookie cutter or cut the apple slices into star shapes.
  • Liqueur: Brandy is the liqueur that is most traditionally added to sangria. But you’re welcome to add cognac, orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec), white vermouth, or whatever sounds good.
  • Ice: For serving.

 

  1. Mix together the base ingredients. Stir together white wine, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and orange in a large pitcher.
  2. Cover and refrigerate. Pop the pitcher in the refrigerator for anywhere from 1-4 hours, so that the drink can chill and all of those fruity flavors can meld.
  3. Stir in the “sparkles.” Once you’re ready to serve the sangria, stir in the sparkling white wine, apples and a handful of ice.
  4. Serve! Then pour the sangria over ice, serve and enjoy!

 

Berry-Patch Brownie Pizza

Brownie

Don’t forget the dessert. This patriotic pizza from tasteofhome.com is a decadent way to round out your amazing meal. Chocolate and fresh berries will create your own fireworks when your guests get a taste of it.

Ingredients

  • 1 package fudge brownie mix (13×9-inch pan size)
  • 1/3 cup chopped unblanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • Assorted fresh berries
  • Optional: Fresh mint leaves and coarse sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions for fudgelike brownies, adding almonds and almond extract. Spread into a greased 14-in. pizza pan.
  2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Beat next 4 ingredients until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust to within 1/2 in. of edges; refrigerate, loosely covered, 2 hours.
  4. To serve, cut into 12 pieces; top with berries of choice. If desired, top with mint and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

We hope you have a wonderful 4th of July celebration. This year more than ever it will be wonderful to celebrate with family and friends!

 

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Backyard Camping (1)

Planning a Summer Backyard Camping Adventure

This weekend marks the official start of summer. The kids are out of school and it’s time to start finding creative ways to keep them entertained. June is National Camping Month so many families pack up their cars and campers, head out to campgrounds, and enjoy the great outdoors. If camping is something that you’ve had on your radar but haven’t yet taken the plunge because of time commitments or a limited budget, why not consider escaping to your own backyard campsite to get your feet wet?

Camping is a great way to escape computers, phones, and TV’s, get some fresh air, and teach kids a different way of doing things. Plus, you avoid what is sure to be an extremely crowded season in the campgrounds. Backyard camping is also economical and with proper planning, you’ll even forget you’re at home as you sleep under the stars. To make sure your at-home getaway feels authentic, here are eight things you’ll want to include in your plans to ensure success.

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  1. Have rules. These should be followed by adults and children alike and should include things like no electronics – put them in a non-accessible place in the house, limited access to the amenities in the house (ie: you can only go in to use the bathroom), and full participation from everyone which includes set-up and tear-down. Camping can be a great adventure and quite educational if everyone is 100% in.

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  1. Put safety measures in place. Although camping in your backyard is a much more controlled environment than trekking out into the wilderness, safety should still be your #1 priority. Have a way to extinguish the campfire, make sure the area is free of things someone could trip over in the dark, employ proper lighting –including nightlights and flashlights, have bug spray readily available, and check the area for poisonous plants.

Setup (1)

  1. Create a campsite. If you don’t have tents, there’s no need to spend a lot of money to buy them. Create makeshift shelters with sheets, blankets, or tarps. Make sure to keep the kids involved in the building process so they will have the satisfying feeling of accomplishment and pride in what they have created.

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  1. Set up sleep accommodations. The shelter is ready and it’s time to set up sleeping arrangements and even though there are no comfy beds, you can still be comfortable sleeping outdoors by using air mattresses, yoga mats, or cots. Keep in mind that you don’t have the luxury of a climate-controlled home, so also plan for cool nights and dewy mornings with extra blankets, cozy socks, and warm pajamas. Here are some of our favorite camp themed pj’s.

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  1. Build your campfire spot. Have the whole family gather sticks for kindling to get your fire going and make sure you have bigger hardwood logs on hand to keep it roaring. If an in-ground fire pit is not an option you can buy a portable fire pit that will serve the purpose. Also note: It’s important to know the burning regulations in your area beforehand to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules.

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  1. Plan your menu. For each day you camp, you’ll want breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. You can look online for all kinds of yummy campfire recipes, but if you want to stay the traditional route think foil pack meals, roasted hot dogs, campfire pies, and of course S’mores. Eggs and bacon are easy to do with a cast iron pan and one-pot meals can easily be heated over your open flame. Don’t forget a cooler to keep everything from spoiling. Remember, you’re not really at home, so the fridge isn’t an option.

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7. Keep everyone entertained. Make a list of fun activities to partake in once you put your pajamas on and gather around the campfire. You can tell stories (ghost stories if age appropriate), sing songs, or play campfire games. This is when your family will really bond and have quality time together. It’s also when so many memories are made so make sure to take pictures!

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  1. Observe the nature around you. Camping is all about taking in the beauty that Mother Nature has given us. During the day, participate in bird watching (a bird book can be a fantastic reference guide), have a nature scavenger hunt, or learn about the foliage that grows right in your own backyard. At night you can identify star constellations or listen to wildlife sounds and try to figure out what they are.

Whether you camp for one night or a whole weekend, having happy campers is the ultimate goal. We hope these pointers will make for fond family memories you’ll treasure for years to come!

 

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10 ways to spend fathers day (1)

10 Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day in Pajamas!

It’s already June and that means Father’s Day is just a few short weeks away. Dad works hard for the family and deserves this special day dedicated to him! This year, plan a fun pajama-wearing day at home doing activities that you plan and execute so he can just sit back and enjoy the family time together.  Here are 10 great ideas to get your wheels spinning towards pulling off the most perfect Father’s Day ever.

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Breakfast in bed. It’s the most important meal of the day so do it up right with a homemade breakfast served up to dad in bed. You’ll want to make sure you make plenty of food because he’s going to need a lot of nutrition for the rest of the day’s festivities.

bagtoss

Have a Cornhole tournament.  Also known as Bags, Bean Bag Toss, and Tailgate Toss depending on what part of the country you are from, this fun game is perfect for Dad’s special day. You have 2 teams and 2 boards with holes in the middle where you want to toss the bean-filled bags through. The first team to 21 wins!

Birdhouse

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Watch a ballgame. Get some peanuts and Crackerjacks and plop yourselves in front of the TV for America’s favorite pastime. You’ll have the best seat for the game while you cheer on your favorite team dressed in your PJ’s!

Man Napping

Take a walk without Dad. Father’s Day is for spending with the kids and that’s why it lasts a whole day! But if only for an hour or two, Dad would probably really appreciate just a little peace, quiet, and alone time. He could read, nap, catch up on his favorite show, or just pad around the house in his pajamas!

Photo scrapbook dad

Scrapbooking. Dad probably has all his favorite pictures stored on Facebook or Instagram but there’s just nothing better than printing all those pictures up and putting them together in a real-life photo book. Have them all ready to go so he can reminisce, laugh, and enjoy his fondest of memories.

Kids Dress Up

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Have a Daddy spa day. Ladies love to get pampered but did you ever think Dad might like it too? Give Dad an at-home spa day complete with a home facial, manicure, and pedicure.

Grilling

Barbecue his favorite dinner. We know that it might be tough to keep Dad away from the grill but tell him that this is the one day of the year he doesn’t have to do anything. Give him a cold beverage, a relaxing chaise lounge, and let him watch while the family cooks all his favorites just for him!

Dad Movie

Have a backyard movie night. Set up a screen or TV in the back yard, fill the area with pillows and blankets, and roll Dad’s favorite movie under the stars. Don’t forget the popcorn!

However you decide to spoil Dad this year we know it’s going to be a hit! Head over to our Facebook page or leave your comments here and tell us about your big plans.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there!

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Memorial Day

Ideas to keep you active Memorial Day weekend

Let’s face it; if you are like a lot of other Americans, between the long winter and staying at home more often due to the pandemic, you may have packed on a few extra pounds over the last year. With things beginning to return to normal, it’s time to start moving again.

Memorial Day Weekend upon us and the weather is getting warmer.  Why not use that opportunity to get outside and get active? You’ll enjoy the fresh air, nice weather, and maybe take off a little of that extra weight. With so many things opening back up, here are some ideas that will be fun, active, and easy to participate in.

Hike

Take a hike. You can do this activity just about anywhere. Whether it’s at a local or state park, a designated walking trail, or through the woods, you’ll see all the beauty nature has to offer while getting yourself some exercise. Don’t forget to bring a snack and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Kayaking

Go canoeing or kayaking. Believe it or not, rowing burns a lot of calories. It also strengthens your arms and upper body. Many places rent canoes and kayaks, and the serenity of being on the water is second to none. Watch the wildlife and take in the majesty around you. Remember to bring sunscreen.

Biking

Take a bike ride. Cut loose on the open road while getting some great exercise. A 20 mile bike ride burs an average of 953-1429 calories. With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face it’s a great activity that you can just get up and do!

 

Gardening

Get your garden growing. An activity like gardening, actually keeps you moving constantly. You’ll be up and down, moving from place to place, and those bags of soil can do wonders for upper body strength. At the same time, you’ll be getting one of those tasks done on your spring to-do list and beautifying your outdoor areas.

Neighborhood Walk

Walk your neighborhood. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or out in the country, how often do you really walk around your neighborhood and just look at everything? You may have interesting architecture, beautiful landscaping, or other interesting traits in the place that you live that you’ve never noticed before. You might even meet some of the neighbors and make new friends.

Zoo

Go to the zoo. With things getting back to normal, most zoos are back open. You probably don’t realize it while you’re there, but going from exhibit to exhibit can actually put quite a few miles on your legs. Plus all the animals that have probably missed their daily visitors will be happy to see you.

 

flea market

Visit a flea market. Many flea markets can be quite expansive in size. Walking from vendor to vendor not only gives us some of that much-needed exercise, but you might also find a couple items that you like. And who doesn’t love shopping?

Run

Memorial Day run. Many communities hold Memorial Day runs to raise money for veterans and veteran affairs. Look in your local community and see if you can find one. After all, this holiday is dedicated to veterans.

Camping

Go camping. Camping is a great way to spend the weekend doing active things. From pitching the tent to fishing, to exploring your surroundings, there’s so much to do on a camping trip. Our favorite part is the evening campfires (and yes, you can bring wine camping)!

However you decide to spend your Memorial Day weekend, make sure you take a moment to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our country. It truly is one of the most special holidays we observe.

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Happy kids school out

Start planning now to manage the end of the school year

The last few crazy weeks of the school year are here and there’s lots to do which can make for some hectic times. With so much to look forward to this summer, it’s best to take a deep breath and get organized now so you can coast into vacation time stress-free.

These tips will help get you on track and focused even before the final tests have been taken and the kid’s lockers have been cleaned out.

Spring Fever

Manage Spring Fever. The weather is getting nicer and the end of the school year is near which can make for antsy, distracted kids. Keep them focused on finishing the year strong by sticking to routines and reinforcing the fact that they only have a few short weeks left. Encourage children to make an extra effort with praise or even a small reward for a job well done.

Babysitter

Organize for Child Care. If you will need to rely on child care this summer now is a good time to start planning. Make a list of important things the babysitter will need to know like allergies, dietary restrictions, emergency phone numbers, and your doctor’s contact information. It’s always a great idea to tell your neighbors about your child care arrangements so they can be an extra set of eyes. Make sure your child care provider knows what your kids like to do for fun so that they can plan fun activities and outings as well.

Camp

Consider Summer Camp. With so many types of summer camps available there is sure to be something that would be perfect for your child. Once you determine which camp they will attend, find out what supplies they will need and what will need to be packed. Preparing in advance will save a whole bunch of last-minute scrambling stress.

Summer Job

 Research Summer Job Options for Teens. Kids don’t have to spend the whole summer working but a part-time job can be invaluable to preparing young adults for real-world experiences. A great idea is to make a deal where they can have a percentage of their earnings to spend on themselves while putting the rest aside for their future. Businesses are hiring like never before and there are jobs available in every industry. Give them some options and help them fill out applications so they can land a job they will enjoy.

Report Card

Know Where your Kid’s Grades Currently Stand. Don’t wait for final report cards to find out how they are doing in school. Being tuned in to where your kids stand academically now can allow you to help them focus on the areas they may need additional work on, as well as determine if a tutor may need to be hired during the summer to help them strengthen the weaker areas.

Thanks to teacher

Prepare for Goodbyes. Even with the excitement of summer vacation, there can be some anxiety for children who have to say goodbye to friends and mentors for a few months. Teachers worked extra hard this year and had several challenges to overcome. Have your child write them a thank you note showing appreciation for all they do and communicate to them that they’d like to stay in touch. To stay connected with friends, create a chat room where parents can coordinate summer get-togethers over the summer so everyone can see each other.

Plan Ahead

Think about next year. Yes, it’s a good idea to start planning the next school year now especially if there will be changes like moving to a new building or going back to in-person learning from virtual. Gather information so you can use the summer break to pre-prepare. When mid-August hits, you’ll be happy you did.

How do you prepare for summer break? Share with us here or on our Facebook page!

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Gift Giving

Gift ideas for the Mom who has everything

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching it’s time to start looking for the perfect gift. Of course, you could always go with the usual stand-by like a potted plant, a box of chocolates, or a scarf she may or may not wear. But what about a gift for the mom who has everything? We’ve got some unique gift-giving ideas that you may not have thought of.

Flowers

A flower subscription. Flower arrangements are the most common gifts given on Mother’s Day. Although beautiful for several days, they don’t last forever. A flower subscription ensures that a gorgeous bouquet will be delivered to mom’s door every month and acts as a constant reminder of how much you love and appreciate her.

 

Portrait

A custom pet portrait. Does mom have a loyal furry friend that she considers just as much a part of the family as you are? Or maybe she had a cherished pet that has passed away but still holds a special place in her heart. A custom pet portrait is a thoughtful and treasured gift that mom will absolutely love. Look for someone local to do the painting but if you turn up empty, there are tons of online resources for you to choose from.

 

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Some not so ‘mom’ pajamas. Show mom a taste of the wild side with a pair of PJ’s she normally wouldn’t buy for herself. Think silky fabrics, bold and fun prints featuring her personality and what she loves. Show your mom that she doesn’t always have to go with the same old style and that it’s ok to let loose sometimes. Top off the gift of pajamas with a bit of pampering for mom. Sleeping in, breakfast in bed, a long bath, a new candle all go a long way to show mom some love.

Blanket

A weighted blanket. The latest trend in the ‘good night’s sleep’ arena is weighted blankets. These are surging in popularity as they have been known to relieve stress and improve sleep. A weighted blanket is a soft fluffy cover weighted with glass beads that you use on your bed. They impart the feeling of being “hugged” which in turn relays a calming effect that is necessary for restful sleep.

Puzzle (1)

A customized puzzle. Jigsaw puzzles are all the rage these days. With people spending more time at home, putting puzzles together is a great stress way to keep the mind active and sharp. A custom puzzle made from any image will become a keepsake that mom can display on her coffee table or have framed to hang on the wall.

Wine

A subscription to a wine of the month club. You can never go wrong with wine, and when it’s delivered right to mom’s house it might just be the most perfect gift ever! A subscription to a wine of the month club will ensure that mom never runs out of the good stuff.  And if you’re lucky, you might just get an invite to join her in sampling the monthly selections.

Online Class

A virtual class. Has mom ever expressed an interest in learning something new? Does she have a creative side that she should explore? It’s never too late to learn something new, and virtual classes are a great way to test the waters. Mom could learn a new language, take an art or cooking class, or even evolve her computer skills. She’ll gain a wealth of knowledge and might find a new hobby that she really loves.

Gift time

The gift of time. The single most precious gift you can give to Mom is your time. Plan a day alone where just the two of you have an all-out adventure doing all the things she loves. Another idea would be to spend a day cleaning her house, doing her laundry, and cooking meals while she relaxes. Of all these ideas, this one would likely be the most appreciated and the best thing is that you can make this an add-on to any other gifts you choose to give.

However you choose to spend Mother’s Day the most important thing is that it’s all about Mom and how special she is!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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blog Rainy Day (3)

Rainy April days just got a little better

We’ve all heard the saying April showers bring May flowers, but while we wait patiently for those spring blooms to brighten the landscape we still have to deal with some dreary rainy days in April.

So what should one do while standing by for better weather to enjoy the great outdoors? Well, we could give typical ideas like baking chocolate chip cookies or having a movie marathon, but we’d like to give you some inspiration instead. Are there things you have been putting off, or have always wanted to do but never found the time? Take advantage of the inclement April weather to tackle those things that aren’t in your normal routine. We’ve got some great ideas that we have on our to-do/wanna-do list that might help push you in the right direction.

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Organize family photo albums. Most of us still have boxes of pictures stashed away from times past. Before the days of mobile devices, Instagram, and digital picture frames, we used cameras and film to capture life events. Even with all the amazing technological advances, there truly is nothing better and being able to flip through a real photo album full of precious memories. Here’s your chance to get everything together, organize your pictures, and put together a family keepsake that you can pass down to future generations.

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Make old connections. How many times have you thought “I should reach out to this person”, or “I haven’t spoken to this person in ages?” A rainy day is the perfect time to make those connections. Whether you reach out through social media, a phone call, email, or sit down and write an old-fashioned letter, it’s great to catch up with the people you don’t speak to regularly or should speak to more often. You never know whose day you’ll make with a simple “hello.

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Learn something new. If you’ve always wanted to learn a second language or become better at something technology-wise, rainy days cooped up in the house are the perfect opportunity to do just that. You can find anything online. From courses to how-to videos, it’s out there. Want to learn how to make candles or play an instrument? There is a world of information at your fingertips. You just have to look for it.

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Stay in bed all day. This may not seem like a productive suggestion but, a solid day of rest can make a world of difference in your attitude, stress level, emotions, and overall well-being. Of course you don’t have to sleep all day. You can read, watch TV, or just lay there and listen to raindrops hit the roof all while in your favorite comfy pajamas. These are our Rainy Day favorites.

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If you love a loud thunderstorm there’s no better place to hear the rumbles than snuggled up in bed.

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Rearrange your furniture. Maybe you’ve been thinking for quite some time that the couch would look better on the other side of the room or that the dresser just doesn’t look good in the space that it’s in. Now’s your chance to experiment. What’s the worst that could happen? You put it back the way it was.

Recipe Cards (1)

Organize family recipes. If you’ve got recipes that have been handed down through the generations, organizing them in a well-thought-out way will assure that your favorite meals will be prepared for years to come. Whether you use a recipe box, recipe book, or even some form of digital method, you’ll rest easier knowing that grandma’s famous apple pie recipe won’t be lost.

blogBagels (2)

Make bagels. You bake cookies, cakes, and pies all the time but have you ever made your own bagels? Maybe you’ve thought about it but changed your mind when you found out how much time was involved. We found an answer! This delicious 3 ingredient bagel recipe is a great way to start what could possibly be your new favorite baking routine.

Here at The Pajama Company, we love a rainy day as a day with lots of possibilities! Do you love rainy days? Share your rainy day favorite things on our facebook page.

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Spring Cleaning Money

Spring Cleaning Could Earn You a Pretty Penny

Spring cleaning time is upon us again. It’s when we open the windows to air the house out, shake out the winter dust, and get rid of all that clutter. Spring cleaning typically means throwing away junk or putting some not-so-often used items into boxes to be brought to a charitable organization.

 

You might want to look into the value of some of these items before you simply discard them. Vintage is in, and people are willing to pay a pretty penny a piece of the past. Here is just a sampling of items you may have in your home right now that you don’t even know are worth anything.

Glasses

Themed Glasses. Peanuts, Flintstones, and other cartoon favorites were printed on glasses mainly as giveaways for many years. If you have some of these fun drinking glasses shoved in the back of a cabinet taking up space, you may want to put them up for sale. Here’s an example of what a lucky seller scored for their McDonald’s glasses.

Records

Vinyl Records. Believe it or not, people are going back to spinning records to listen to music.  The sound is warm and reminiscent of simpler times. Vinyl records have become a huge commodity, and depending on the condition of not only the record but also the sleeve, you can probably make some money on them. If you are lucky enough to own an early pressing or limited edition album, it could be worth thousands.

Costume Jewelry

Costume Jewelry. Do you have some of your mother’s or grandmother’s old costume jewelry lying around? Don’t just throw it away. Some of these pieces are very collectible and have even become a fashion trend again. Check out these recent costume jewelry sales.

Tupperware Containers

Vintage Tupperware. In the age of grab-and-go containers and throwaways, Tupperware is not as popular as it used to be. It’s pricey and takes up a lot of room. Nowadays however, vintage Tupperware is all the rage. People have come to realize that the quality these products offer cannot be found in today’s disposable plasticware.

Beauty Products

Discontinued Beauty Products. It happens all the time. You find a product you love and the company discontinues it. Have a bottle of shampoo you bought a while back that didn’t work with your hair type? There might be somebody out there looking for it. Recently a bar of face soap that was discontinued years ago was sold for big bucks.

Phones

Cell Phones. If they work, there are plenty of people willing to pay for them. If you have an old “brick phone” like you’d see in movies from the 80’s and 90’s, or the very first iPhone, they can be worth a bundle in the right market.

Costumes

Halloween Costumes. If you purchase new costumes for Halloween every year and then stick them away somewhere to gather dust, consider selling them. We all know that many times dressing up for that one day out of the year isn’t cheap. Why not recoup some of your money and giving someone else a deal at the same time?

Fine China

Fine China. Nowadays most people don’t break out the china for dinner parties or special family dinners. It’s likely taking up space in a box in the attic or basement. Depending on the manufacturer, certain sets of china can be worth some money. If you have a collection, take it to an appraiser who specializes in antiques.

cookbooks on shelf

Old Cookbooks. In today’s digital society we get our recipes off the internet and save them on a Pinterest board or something similar. If you have old cookbooks lying around,d check a couple ‘for sale’ sites and see what they bring. As an example, if you have a copy of Julia Child’s original cookbook published by Knopf in 1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking, it’s worth hundreds of dollars.

VHS Tapes

VHS Tapes. Before Blu-rays and streaming, VHS tape is how we watched movies at home. Did you know that some of them are worth a lot of money? Take a look at your collection and do some research before just throwing them in a landfill.

 

What are you waiting for? Start digging through those boxes and bins that you stuffed away years ago. Extra money is fun and can buy you lots of new pajamas!  Good luck with your treasure hunt and happy selling

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St Pattys (1)

Show your inner Irish – 7 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

The observance of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland goes all the way back to the 17th century. It commemorates the death of St. Patrick in the fifth century, who is credited with having brought Christianity to Ireland. As such he became a figure of incredible devotion, was named the nation’s patron saint, and in 1631 the Vatican named March 17th an official religious holiday.

In the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the most celebrated events of the year. It’s a time where EVERYONE has a little Irish in them. From city-wide parades to the partaking of green beer and Irish libations, millions of people participate in the festivities. It truly is a special holiday.

Do you have plans this year? Whether you’re heading out to a local affair or staying in with family and close friends, we have seven fun ideas that you and your gang of leprechauns can take part in to make the day shine.

Shepherd's Pie

Make a traditional Irish dinner. Most people don’t realize that corned beef and cabbage are not what you would find on the menu in Ireland for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The custom of serving this brined brisket with boiled cabbage and potatoes started here in America. If you want to have a meal like they do in Ireland, the traditional fare would include roast leg of lamb with rosemary, Shepherd’s Pie, or the very popular Beef and Guinness pie.

Dress Up (1)

Play dress up. Novelty, department, and online stores are full of St Patrick’s Day gear right now. You can find leprechaun hats, sparkly ties, beads, pajama bottoms, and even lucky gold coins. If you’re celebrating with others, consider having a costume contest where your friends and family can let their inner Irish shine.

Irish Dance Stepdance

Teach yourself to Stepdance. In Ireland, dancing is an important part of their culture. The Irish Stepdance has been evolving for centuries but came to the forefront in 1994’s ‘Riverdance.’ There are many videos available on YouTube, so why do not get the gang together and try it out for yourself? You’ll even get a little exercise which is a bonus.

Shamrock plants

Plant shamrocks. These adorable green little plants make wonderful foliage for your outdoor summer garden. If you’re lucky enough to be in an area where you can put them outside now, go ahead and do so. You’ll watch them grow all season long and have a little luck growing outside your door. If it’s not quite time to plant outdoors in your zone, start them inside. You can nurture and grow them until it gets warm enough, and then find the perfect place to put them later.

Treasure Hunt

Have a treasure hunt. People are always looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now’s their chance to find it. Have a scavenger hunt that sends the players to a variety of locations to get clues which will eventually lead to the “treasure.”

SPD Crafts

Have an Irish craft day. The wee ones will have hours of fun creating things like Shamrock Slime, Rainbow Pasta Necklaces, or their own St Patrick’s Day Play Dough. There are tons of ideas available online just a Google search away.

Ireland Lake

Watch movies that take place in Ireland. If you can’t travel, why not do the second best thing? Ireland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Stream a couple of movies that are set in Ireland and watch them from your big screen. It’s not the same as traveling, but during these times, we take what we can get.

How are you celebrating St. Patty’s this year? Share with us here or over on our Facebook page.

Sláinte!

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