10 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Decompress

10 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Decompress

Your work schedule, the kids’ school schedule, Halloween, Thanksgiving, holiday shopping… is anyone else beginning to feel the crunch of this busy season? It’s as if the lazy days of summer are actually a rest period so we have the energy to make it through the marathon holiday season of the fall and winter.

As we approach this busy time of year, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of self care. The more hectic our schedules get, the easier it becomes to move your health and happiness to the bottom of the list. Apart from drinking enough water and eating our veggies, our most basic health requirement is sleep. We hope these simple bedtime rituals will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

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PJ Salvage ‘Think Pawsitive’ Classic Flannel Pajama Set in Antique White

Bedtime Rituals to Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

1. Make a to-do list.

Your to-do list can be as simple as few things you want to accomplish the next day, like clearing out your inbox, paying your phone bill, or tackling the first step of a project at work. By writing down each task, you’re actually creating an action plan for the day. This allows you to rest easy knowing that you will wake up with purpose and direction.

2. Stretch before bed.

Try a incorporating a simple yoga practice into your nighttime routine. The stretching will soothe aching joints and muscles and the breathing techniques will help you exhale all the stress you’ve accumulated throughout your day. This 7-minute bedtime yoga sequence is so simple you can do it your pajamas, no spandex required.

3. Try micro journaling.

Journaling is a healthy, reflective practice that allows you to acknowledge your successes and note areas for improvement. Micro journaling is simply writing down three things that went well that day and three things that didn’t. This practice gives your day closure, sealing it in the past. This keeps you focused on the positive and prevents you from dwelling on the negative, silencing that end-of-day chatter that keeps you up at night!

4. Take an evening stroll.

If you can slip away for twenty minutes, take a walk around your neighborhood. Studies have shown that walking, especially in green spaces like a park, can have the same stress-relieving effects as meditation. This would be a great time to think about what you’re grateful for today and what you want to accomplish tomorrow. The key to a restorative walk is to do it unplugged — no ear buds! After a hot shower, you’ll go to bed feeling rested and refreshed.

5. A cleansing soak.

Whether it’s a long leisurely bubble bath or quick a 5-minute foot soak, wash away your stress in the tub. Immersion in water is known to be very therapeutic, especially when you combine it with the relaxing effects of aromatherapy. In the evening, add lavender oil to the water to promote a deep sleep. After you towel off, wrap yourself up in a warm fluffy bathrobe to create a spa experience.

Women's Polar Bear Bathrobe

Munki Munki Women’s Fluffy ‘Polar Bear’ Fleece Robe

6. Unplug and open a book.

An hour before bed, unglue yourself from screens: television, phone, and computer. Put on your softest, comfiest pajamas and curl up in bed with a good book. The light from these screens has been shown to disrupt our sleep patterns. Not only will reading at the end of the day help you get to sleep faster, avoiding the glow of your electronics will help you stay asleep longer. Check out our fall classics reading list for ideas.

7. An evening cup of tea.

Simply the act of making a cup of tea can be a meditative practice. Waiting for the water to boil. Prepping the tea bags if you’re making loose tea. The scent of the water hitting the dried herbs. Get in the habit of making a cup of herbal tea before bed. Chamomile, jasmine, and mint are soothing herbal teas that won’t keep you up at night.

8. Adult coloring books.

Adult coloring books have been all the rage in the last few years, used mostly as a stress-relieving technique. Coloring is an easy way to be crafty and creative, no matter how much time you have at the end of the day. Coloring stimulates areas of the brain that most of us non-creatives don’t use every day, making it a soothing and helpful brain exercise that promotes creative problem solving. The perfect pre-bedtime activity.

9. Meditate for 5 minutes.

Meditating for as little as five minutes each day can reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. There are many guided meditations available online, so you can learn breathing techniques and practice helpful, relaxing visualizations. Meditating is a great way to clear your mind before bed, especially if you find that overthinking keeps you up at night!

10. Invest in comfortable pajamas.

We know, we know… to someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail! Believe it or not, investing in comfortable sleepwear will help you get to sleep faster. When you were a kid, pajamas weren’t just something to wear after your bath — they also acted as a signal to tell you that it was bedtime, mentally preparing you to wind down. The same logic can be applied as an adult. A ritual as simple as putting on pajamas says, “My day is finished. It’s time for me to rest.”

We hope these ideas for bedtime rituals help you get a great night’s sleep. For more sleep tips and ideas for family fun this fall season, visit The Pajama Company Blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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15 Late-Night Snacks You Can Make In A Microwave

Back to College: Late-Night Treats You Can Make in a Microwave

School is back in session. By now you’ve moved into the dorm, unpacked, and are getting settled into your class schedule. Balancing school, your social life, and maybe even your job is a lot to take on. This often leads to evening study sessions, night shifts, or late-night hang outs with friends. Whatever you’re up to in the wee hours, you’re bound to get a craving for a late night snack every now and again.

Don’t let minor details like “not having a kitchen” stop you from cooking up something delicious. Crawl into your favorite pajama pants and give one of these inventive microwave-only recipes a try. We guarantee that you will be equally amazed and satisfied!

Unisex Pajama Pants

Get cozy with a snack and these Unisex Flannel Pajama Pants from Boxercraft.

15 Late-night snacks you can make in a microwave.

1. Chocolate Pudding Cake. Brown sugar in the batter of this classic fudgy cake makes it extra rich and gooey. Swing by your local convenience store and grab your favorite vanilla ice cream to top it with. The longer the cake cools, the more the pudding is absorbed into the mixture. Get the recipe from Food Network here.

2. Blueberry Muffin. Fresh “baked” blueberry muffin, cooked in a mug in your microwave! While summer is over, you might still be able to find some reasonably priced blueberries. What we like about this recipe is that it’s actually low-sugar, low-carb, so it’s a lighter choice as well. Get the recipe from The Gingham Apron here.

3. Caramel Popcorn. You read that correctly: perfect caramel popcorn. Hot from the microwave. Each piece of popcorn is guaranteed to be coated with just enough salty sugary sweetness. Best part? Its light and crispy texture. Get the recipe from This Week for Dinner here.

4. Chili Cheese Dip. This is just a friendly reminder that the go-to “microwave classics” are still just as delicious. Whip up a quick 3-ingredient chili cheese dip in a mere 5 minutes. Crack open a bag of tortilla chips and enjoy. Get the recipe from All Recipes here.

5. Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup. That’s right a freshly baked… errr, zapped… ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie, on demand, using nothing but your microwave. The perfect snack to go with a pair of warm footy pajamas and a big glass of milk. Get the recipe from No. 2 Pencil here.

6. Oatmeal Bars. Great for a late-night snack or a sweet accompaniment to stale coffee, these chocolate-slathered oatmeal bars can be whipped up in just moments. With so few ingredients, it’s pretty easy to keep everything you need on hand. Get the recipe from Taste of Home here.

7. Best Ever Bacon. What about those Saturday or Sunday mornings when you’re craving a hot breakfast but feeling a little… shall we say, under the weather? If you’re not one to make it to the dining hall for breakfast, master this easy how-to for perfectly crispy microwaved bacon. Get the instructions from The Creek Line House here.

Sushi pajama pants

Unfortunately, you can’t make sushi in the microwave. Satisfy your late-night craving with these sushi flannel pajama pants from The Cat’s Pajamas.

8. Cheesy Vegetable Quiche. Looking for a follow-up dish to go with that perfectly crispy bacon? Why stay in your pajamas and whip up some brunch? These quiche delivers time after time, regardless of the ingredients you choose. Get the recipe from Fresh April Flours here.

9. Enchiladas. Late night cravings for salty, cheesy, spicy Mexican food can be satisfied with this quick and easy recipe for microwave enchiladas. Ready in just 10 minutes! Get the recipe from Flippin Delicious here.

10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake. This super decadent cake tastes just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and just like the candy, it’s virtually impossible to share. The entire cake is made inside — you guessed it — a coffee mug. Get the recipe from Yammie’s Noshery here.

11. French Toast. Okay, we understand that this one might be hard to wrap your head around but it is possible to recreate French Toast in a microwave… in just 2-minutes! Top with maple syrup and you have a tasty fall treat for any time of the day. Get the recipe from Pretty Prudent here.

12. Peanut Brittle. We agree that at first glance, microwave peanut brittle does sound like it would be a total disaster. However, this recipe turns out beautifully to everyone’s surprise. Just like grandma used to make, but without all the fuss. Get the recipe from Plain Chicken here.

13. Hasty Chocolate Pudding. Have you ever had fresh, hot pudding? It is absolute perfection, especially on a chilly fall night. Pull on your coziest flannel pajamas and curl up with a bowl of this delicious microwave alternative to stove top pudding. Get the recipe from All Recipes here.

14. Scrambled Eggs. Another great side to go with that microwave bacon, scrambled eggs in the microwave is done in as little as three steps and 3 minutes depending on how many eggs you make. Throw in some cheese and green onion if you want to get crazy. Get the recipe from She Pins here.

15. Mac n’ Cheese. This list wouldn’t be complete without the addition of the ultimate late-night craving, mac n’ cheese. This is an awesome recipe for homemade single-serving mac that you can whip up in a coffee mug in the microwave. It’s creamy and delicious and actually better for you than the store-bought microwave variety. Get the easy recipe from Ella Claire Inspired here.

We hope this collection of fun microwave recipes come to your rescue this semester! For more recipes and ideas for fall fun, visit The Pajama Company blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Back to College Pajamas

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Best Fall Hot Drink Recipes

12 Warm and Cozy Drinks for Fall

Let’s be honest: yes, we all love a good pumpkin-spiced coffee drink — ‘tis the season, right? But sometimes we don’t feel like waiting in line for thirty minutes or dropping up to $42 each week on a new bad habit. We’re more the “sip-at-home-in-your-pajama-pants” type and that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Instead of schlepping your cold, tired body to your nearest coffee chain this fall, try these simple, warm and cozy fall drink recipes at home. Don your favorite bathrobe and curl up with a book from our latest reading list — what’s more ‘fall’ than that?

"Coffee" Hooded Fleece Adult Union Suit by Boxercraft

“Coffee” Hooded Fleece Adult Union Suit by Boxercraft

12 Hot Drink Recipes for Fall

1. The Golden Latte

Move over, Pumpkin Spice. This is a dairy-free, lightly spiced drink that warms and satisfies. It has a beautiful golden yellow glow from the turmeric, which is blended with fresh ginger, honey, and coconut oil for a decadent, calming, brew. Get the recipe from Martha Stewart here.

2. Easy Chai Tea

This coffee shop favorite is actually easier to make than you think. Just bring crushed spices, cinnamon sticks, ginger and milk to a boil, add tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Get the full recipe from Real Simple here.

3. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

This homemade hot chocolate mix is made with a blend of chocolate and cocoa powder for a rich, decadent, creamy texture. Throw it in a jar, wrap a bow around it, and it’ll make a great gift too! Get the instructions from Epicurious here.

4. Caramel-Hazelnut Cafe Mocha

The only thing you need to know about this recipe: melted Nutella. Yes, please. This recipe is made in the slow cooker and after cooking it can be kept on the warm setting for one hour, so it’s great to serve at an upcoming holiday party. Get the recipe from Midwest Living here.

5. Matcha Green Tea

How’s this for a pick-me-up? Matcha, a traditional Japanese tea, is one of the most nutritious beverages you can consume. This is a warm, healthy pick-me-up to replace your morning cup o’ joe. Get the recipe from My Recipes here.

6. Easy Blender Eggnog

Make this holiday favorite with all the flavor in half the time (without sacrificing quality!). Use your blender to whip up a batch of this fall / winter favorite instantly. Get the time saving recipe from Real Simple here.

Women's "Fancy Coffee" Classic Pajama Set by Munki Munki

Women’s “Fancy Coffee” Classic Pajama Set by Munki Munki

7. Cinnamon White Hot Chocolate

Cinnamon lends a warming and welcome complexity to this comforing, creamy, cold-weather drink. A bit of a grown-up twist on your childhood favorite. Of course, it’s great for white chocolate lovers. Get the recipe from Epicurious here.

8. Hot Honey Lemonade with Ginger

Sweet and a touch of spicy, kids actually love this hot lemonade! What makes the drink so popular? Honey-drop candies are melted in each glass… You could alter the recipe with less sugar and serve it as a soothing beverage for your little ones when they come down with their first cold of the season. Get the unique and fun recipe from Martha Stewart here.

9. Heartwarming Cider

Spiced with the right ingredients — ginger, allspice, nutmeg — this classic drink is transformed into a festive treat that’s sweet but not too sweet. Optional: serve with rum. Get the recipe from My Recipes here.

10. Chai Eggnog

A spicy twist on a classic. Mix this homemade eggnog recipe with a touch of chai tea (and a dash of bourbon if you’d like!). You’ll feel extra toasty inside and out. Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven here.

11. Mexican Hot Chocolate

This. Is. The. Best. If you’re a fan of a little spicy kick now and again, you’ll never drink chocolate the old way again. Simmered with a cinnamon stick, vanilla extract, and a touch of chili powder, this hot chocolate is fragrant and delicious with a dollop of whipped cream. Get the mouthwatering recipe from My Recipes here.

12. Pumpkin Spice Latte (we had to)

Make this favorite at home! Enjoy this fall favorite anytime. The recipe calls for strong coffee, warming spices, and plenty of whipped cream. Get the recipe from Martha Stewart here.

For more drinks, recipes, and ideas for family fun this fall season, visit our blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

coffee pajamas

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10 Classics for Your Fall Reading List

10 Classics for Your Fall Reading List

It’s ‘back-to-school’ season and even if you’re a grown up or sans kiddos, you can still feed your brain by mixing some classics into your fall reading list. Fall is the perfect time to curl up in your pajamas with a good book, so make those moments count with these classic literary reads.

10 Books for Your Fall Reading List

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Grown-Up Bedtime Stories: Classics to Add to Your Reading List

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

If you want a literary classic that is guaranteed to get your blood pumping, look no further than The Count of Monte Cristo. You could technically call this novel the first ‘action movie’ before movies. How’s this for a plot: an innocent man wrongly, but deliberately imprisoned spends his time locked away crafting a brilliant strategy for revenge against all who betrayed him. Should prove to be moderately entertaining!

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

In the mood for a wistful fall read? Laugh and cry with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the literary classic that follows the four March girls in this tale of poverty, womanhood, and growing up. In short: being a woman is complicated and becoming a woman is even more so.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A dash of romance in an over-the-top luxe 1920s setting. The Great Gatsby follows the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby as told by Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner who lives on Long Island but works in Manhattan. Gatsby’s enormous mansion is adjacent to Carraway’s modest home, and Carraway becomes curious about his neighbor after being invited to one of his famous parties. Romance, intrigue, and violence ensue as Gatsby’s intentions are revealed.

4. 1984 by George Orwell

This novel has seen a revival in popularity in recent years. Orwell’s story, published in 1949, unfolds in “futuristic” 1984 Oceania, the totalitarian superpower in post World War II Europe. In this world, most of the world’s population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. This book was the catalyst for Big Brother paranoia. A thrilling, engaging, must-read that is as relevant today as it was 1949.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

A dense and truly epic read, Great Expectations is arguably Charles Dickens’ masterpiece. The tale depicts the personal growth and development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. Be warned, Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery — poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death — and has a colorful cast of characters that have endure in our mainstream popular culture. One for the literary bucket list.

10 Literary Classics to Add to Your Reading List

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6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I mean, it’s fall so you have to watch the movie (any of them, really…) but why not actually read the book this season? A ‘modern’ Romeo and Juliet, this Jane Austen classic is a love story for the ages and perfect read for fall.

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Already have your Halloween decorations ready to go? For the horror enthusiasts, dive into the classic of classics, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley in 1818. You know the general plot based on the book’s lasting portrayal in popular culture, but nothing quite compares experiencing the original tale.

8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

It doesn’t get more nostalgic than New England in the fall and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye perfectly captures the old school prep-school vibe. Set around the 1950s, the story is narrated by a young man named Holden Caulfield. Holden untangles his past in a foggy, dreamlike narrative, with a startling surprise at the end.

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In case you’re not familiar with the epic takes that inspired the blockbuster movie of the same name and the Lord of The Kings films, J.R.R. Tolkien expertly crafts an entire universe filled with new races, places, and languages. Follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he leaves his quiet life to help a group of dwarves take back the Mountain from a dragon. Adventure awaits.

10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Ok, so this may not fit your traditional idea of “classic literature,” but this ‘80s comedy science fiction trilogy was an adaptation of Adams’ radio series by the same name. The novel is a fictional guide book for hitchhikers galavanting around the universe with an alien, written in the form of an encyclopedia. A laugh-out-loud funny read that will awaken your childlike curiosity.

For more reading lists, movie recommendations, and fall recipes, visit our blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Fall Pajama Sets

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30 Easy After School Snack Ideas

30 Easy After-School Snack Ideas

We love fall: warm sweaters, scarves, hot chocolate… but for families fall is an busy time of the year. While September is the one month out of the next five without a major holiday, it’s challenging because it’s a transitional month. Families switch gears from carefree summer days to tight school schedules packed with activities.

One thing all parents with school-aged kids hear after they pick up their kids: “I’m huuungryyyy…” Take some of the stress out of meal prep with these quick and easy after-school snack ideas. With a little snack to hold them over, parents can get dinner on the table, homework checked, and the kids to sleep just a little bit earlier — giving you that much-needed down time!

Easy Back to School Snack Ideas

Snug As A Bug ‘Flower Power’ Kids Fleece Footy

Quick and Easy After-School Snacks

1. Graham Cracker ‘Cheesecake’. Spread cream cheese on graham crackers and top with fresh slices fruit or berries for a “cheesecake” effect.

2. Hummus and Veggies. Baby carrots, sliced cucumber or red pepper, and whole wheat pita will make for a quick veggie infusion before dinner. An easy way to present them with new vegetables to try.

3. Ants on a Log. Cut celery sticks into ‘logs’, fill with smooth or chunky peanut butter and top with a row of raisins.

4. Popcorn. Short on time? Pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave. If you’re concerned about health, opt for plain popcorn and top with shaved parmesan, nutritional yeast (parmesan flavor with protein and without the fat), Italian seasoning, or chili powder.

5. Peanut Butter ‘Pizzas’. Spread peanut butter on whole wheat bread and offer an assortment of toppings for your kids to add: sliced strawberries, banana, or even a handful of dark chocolate chips.

6. Frozen Bananas. This snack involves some thinking ahead, but is great way to satisfy cries for “I want ice cream!” Cut bananas in half and stick popsicle sticks inside. Freeze overnight on a baking sheet then put in a freezer-bag. Serve as you would a popsicle.

7. Apple Blossoms. Blend a little chocolate hazelnut spread with almond butter. Put a dollop on a plate. Arrange thinly sliced apple slices in the dip to look like a flower. Sometimes presentation and a touch of chocolate is half the battle to getting your kids to eat produce.

8. Steamed Broccoli with Ranch. The tough, sometimes grainy texture of raw broccoli is sometimes hard for kids to get past. Lightly steamed broccoli, either on the stove in or in the microwave, creates a much more palatable texture. A side of ranch dressing for dipping never hurts.

9. Pita Pizza Pockets. Slice whole wheat mini-pitas in half, spread pasta sauce inside and stuff with cheese and thinly sliced veggies and melt in the oven for a healthier — and sometimes faster — alternative to frozen pizza pockets.

10. Cheese Plate. Inspire your kids to be adventurous with their snacking. Slice a couple different types of cheese (cheddar, gouda, and pepper jack are fun!) with their favorite crackers and let them try sometime new. They’ll learn that there’s an alternative to American cheese slices!

30 After School Snack Ideas

Lazy One Kids “Timberland Bear” Footy

11. Caramel Apple ‘Nachos.’ This is a super neat idea. Fill a plate with sliced apples. Drizzle a little bit of caramel topping, vanilla yogurt, mini chocolate chips, and crushed nuts for a fun treat.

12. Rice Cakes with Sliced Banana. Doesn’t get much easier than this. Spread rice cakes or multigrain cakes with a nut butter of your choice and top with sliced bananas. A sweet, healthful, crunchy snack.

13. Cheese Roll-Ups. Lay sliced provolone flat, top with turkey or ham, roll up and serve! Add a little dish of mustard for dipping if you’d like.

14. Yogurt Parfait. Layer berries and vanilla yogurt in a small dish, drizzle with honey, and top with crunchy granola.

15. Cheerios Snack Mix. Don’t have time to make homemade Chex Mix? Same here. Throw some regular cheerios, peanuts, raisins, and a handful of chocolate chips in a bowl. Toss and serve.

16. Avocado Toast. Whole wheat toast topped with smashed avocado and a sprinkle of salt makes for a satisfying snack. For older kids looking for kick, add some crushed red pepper or nutritional yeast for a protein-packed cheese flavor.

17. Pizza Bagels. Slice a bagel or mini-bagel in half. Top with tomato sauce, cheese, and let your kids add toppings from options like chopped veggies (whatever you have on hand), olives, or ham or pepperoni. Place in oven at 350 until cheese melts and bubbles.

18. Fruit and Yogurt Dip. Dip makes a difference! This trick does for fruit what ranch does for vegetables. Sweeten Greek yogurt with honey, mix together, and serve dip with an assortment of fruit. The kids will love it and it’s packed with protein — keeping the kids out the kitchen until dinner.

19. Pretzels and Chocolate Chips. Introduce the kids to the lovable combination of sweet and salty with a handful of pretzels, chocolate chips, and some roasted peanuts.

20. English Muffin Toasties. Slice whole wheat english muffins in half, top with a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, toast in oven until cheese is hot and bubbly.

30 Snack Ideas for Back-to-School

Munki Munki Kids Dino Bikes Long John Set

21. Hulk Smoothies. Throw frozen bananas, a couple handfuls of baby spinach, and milk or milk substitute into a blender. The kids will only be able to taste the sweet bananas in the smooth creamy texture of this fun green ‘milkshake.’

22. Lazy Loaded Nachos. Spread tortilla chips over a microwave safe plate. Top with sliced cheese (whatever you have on hand) and beans or veggies of choice. Microwave until cheese melts. Serve with salsa or sour cream.

23. Quesadilla. This is perfect if you have a fridge full of leftover chicken or steak. Warm a pan, place a large whole wheat tortilla in the middle, quickly top with leftover meat, sprinkle with cheese, top with another tortilla. Heat and flip until both sides are golden, crisp, and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve as is or with sour cream or salsa.

24. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. Dip a handful of fresh strawberries into a little bit of chocolate hazelnut spread. Serve on a plate.

25. No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls. A great make-ahead snack. You can make a variety of flavors and store in the fridge and serve throughout the week. Get the recipe at Bless This Mess here.

26. Baked S’Mores. Okay, so this isn’t the ‘healthiest’ treat — but everything in moderation! Make one s’more for each kiddo, but bake in the oven instead of heating over the fire. Slip in some sliced fruit or berries if you’d like.

27. Woven Wheat ‘Pizzas’. Place your favorite woven wheat crackers on a baking try. Top with cheese slices and a slice of pepperoni or a piece of ham. Bake until cheese is melted.

28. Protein-Packed Hot Chocolate. Soy milk contains 7-9 grams of protein per serving, making it a great snack if you want to beef up a beverage. Make a standard hot chocolate pack with soy milk instead of regular milk for a more satisfying after-school beverage.

29. Baked Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Chips. Here’s an after school snack that the adults might want to enjoy too. While it’s not as quick as some of the other options, it’s a relatively low-maintenance recipe. Get the recipe from Diethood here.

30. Banana ‘Nice Cream’. Blend frozen bananas in a food processor, add dashes of milk or milk substitute until you reach the desired consistency (think soft-serve ice cream). Top with a squirt of chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, cereal, or a dash of sprinkles for a healthier take on ice cream.

We hope you and your children enjoy these snacks or were inspired to invent your own! For more back-to-school tips and family-friendly recipe ideas, visit our blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Kids Pajamas for Back-to-School

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10 Last Minute Labor Day Weekend Getaways

10 Last-Minute Labor Day Weekend “Getaways”

Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of the summer season before we settle into fall. It seems that on September first — regardless of the weather — everyone is wearing boots and scarves and sipping fall-spiced coffee.

Every long weekend has a popularized way to spend those three days. Since Labor Day weekend is about savoring the last lazy days of summer, many people opt for a beachside getaway. If a 4-day weekend isn’t in your forecast, don’t feel bad! You can still “get away” without a getaway. Check out our tips for a restorative summer staycation, plan to stay local, and get inspired by these ideas.

The Cat's Pajamas Aloha Pima Cotton Set

Sometimes the best plan is no plan. Aloha Pima Cotton Set from The Cat’s Pajamas

Relaxing Labor Day Weekend Activities

1. Local Beach

You don’t need to travel far and wide to enjoy a beach vacation. If you’re near the coast, travel to one of your local beaches for a getaway that’s close to home. Think outside the box: lakes and rivers have beaches too! Opt for lesser known destinations if you can. Fewer crowds means more relaxation.

2. Cultural Weekend

Instead of going to a new exotic locale, why not be a tourist in your own backyard? We often overlook sites and attractions that are closest to us. Discover museums, historic sites, and art galleries that are near to you and see your hometown from the eyes of a visitor.

3. Picnic

It’s a bit old fashioned, but classics never go out of style. Pack a picnic and plan to spend a lazy afternoon in a local park. Lounging under a shady tree, reading, or enjoying your family’s company outdoors is a wonderful way to wrap up the summer season.

4. Hiking

Maybe you can’t make a mountain getaway work for you, but how about a nice long hike? Search for nearby trails and make a day of it. What better way to end your summer than in a peaceful natural environment, soaking up some great views.

5. Explore a New City

If you can swing a day trip, consider visiting your nearest major city. Even if you live in a metropolitan area, consider taking a drive or a train to a new city for the day. This will give you the thrill of getting away and being a tourist, without the hefty price tag of an urban hotel or Airbnb. Have an adventure!

Munki Munki Postcards from Abroad Pajama Set

I’ll send you a postcard… from the couch. Postcards from Abroad Pajama Set by Munki Munki

6. Spa Day

Not all of us know the feeling of “carefree summer days.” If you’re aching for a much-needed vacation, but it isn’t in the cards — how about splurging on a spa day? Many spas have affordable half day packages or discounts if you purchase three or more services. Explore your options and plan to take some time to relax.

7. On the Water

Maybe you’re unable to rent a boat, but how about a kayak or canoe at a nearby lake or river? Not only is kayaking great exercise, it’s a peaceful, meditative activity. Just you on the water surrounded by leafy green foliage. Take it all in at a slower pace.

8. Seafood Feast

Many associate summer with the ocean, beaches, and an abundance of fresh seafood. Why not getaway to a local restaurant and enjoy some seafood? Maybe the restaurant is on a beach, on a lake, or inland. But with the right ambiance, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from home. If you like to cook, skip the restaurant and try out some beach-inspired recipes at home!

9. Bike Ride

Summers of childhood were usually filled with long bike rides: down the street, to friend’s houses, on back roads. If you don’t own a bike, consider renting or borrowing one for the weekend. Spend a day trying to recapture those simple childhood thrills.

10. Let’s not and say we did?

Are you ‘that friend’ or ‘the family’ who is known, perhaps a little too well, for being the life of the party or the host with the most? Why not sit this one out? Spend a weekend at home, lounging in your pajamas, eating takeout, and putting your feet up before the busy holiday season kicks in. This is the last long weekend of the summer, but not the last one of the year!

For more ideas for rest and relaxation this fall season, check out The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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17 Sleep Inducing Bedtime Snacks

17 Sleep-Inducing Bedtime Snacks

How is it August already? It’s time to get back to school and back to our family routines. The long carefree days of summer sometimes encourage parents to let bedtime stretch 30 minutes… or one or two hours… later than on a school night. Getting your kids back on board with “early to bed, early to rise” might be a challenge.

Cutting out screen time at least one hour before bed is a great way to help kids (and adults!) fall asleep and stay asleep. If your kids usually have a bedtime snack, rethink milk and cookies and opt for one of these sleep inducing treats instead. Your kids will practically be begging for their pajamas.

Classic Moose Flapjack Pajamas by Lazy One

Classic Moose Flapjack Pajamas by Lazy One

Snacks That Make You Sleepy

1. Banana and Almond Butter. The magnesium and potassium in bananas serve as a natural muscle and nerve relaxant. The protein and fiber in almond butter will ensure that your kids will stay asleep.

2. Hummus and Whole-Grain Bread. Hummus is a great source of tryptophan, which gets metabolized into serotonin and melatonin, two of the main chemicals responsible for getting you to sleep. Whole-grain bread triggers insulin production, which makes you feel sleepy by naturally raising your blood sugar.

3. Whole-Grain Crackers, Cheese, and Turkey. The protein in cheese will help you stay asleep while turkey is another great source of tryptophan. The calcium in cheese will also regulate involuntary muscle movements, reducing the chance of “twitching” awake.

4. Cherries. The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to increase your melatonin intake. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin. When eaten regularly, they can help regulate your sleep cycle.

5. Chocolate Covered Almonds. Dark chocolate contains serotonin, which relaxes your body and mind. Almonds are packed with protein and fiber to curb hunger.

6. Watermelon. Each 2-cup serving is half water, which will hydrate kids before bed and eliminate post-dinner hunger pains with its fiber and volume.

7. Whole-Grain Crackers and Tuna Salad. Whole-Grain foods are great for regulating your blood sugar and fish such as tuna, halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin.

'Bear Cheeks' Flapjack Pajamas by Lazy One

‘Bear Cheeks’ Flapjack Pajamas by Lazy One

8. Honey-Sweetened Hot Chocolate. Milk, dark chocolate powder, and a touch of honey warmed on the stove is a drink that will send anyone off to dreamland. Dark chocolate is a natural source of serotonin and the calcium in milk helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture sleep-inducing melatonin. The natural sugar in honey slightly raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily.

9. Pistachios. A handful of pistachios packs protein, vitamin B6, and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep.

10. String Cheese. If your kids are complaining of hunger pangs, “string cheese” — part-skim mozzarella cheese — is packed with protein and makes for a satisfying pre-bed snack.

11. Pretzels. This one might surprise you. Pretzels have a high glycemic index, which means they will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, shortening the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Combine with nut butter for a snack with some staying power.

12. Whole-Grain Toast, Smoked Salmon, and Cream Cheese. If your kids are happy with tuna, give this one a try. Given what we already know about whole-grains and dairy, this snack should be no surprise. Like tuna, salmon is rich in vitamin B6, which aids in melatonin and serotonin production.

13. Oatmeal with Dried Cherries. Oats raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.

14. Baked Sweet Potato “Toast”. Baked sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium to help you relax. Drizzle with honey or a tablespoon of almond butter for a pre-bedtime treat.

15. Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Walnuts. The vitamin B6 in bananas converts tryptophan into serotonin, increasing the body’s ability to relax. Walnuts are another natural source of melatonin, which will help regulate your sleep cycle.

16. Bowl of Rice Cereal. A bowl of rice cereal before bed could help your kids get better sleep. The snack combines calcium from milk with carbs and the blood sugar spike from rice to help them get to sleep faster.

17. Cantaloupe. Dehydration can impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, so choosing to snack on a watery fruit like cantaloupe will help make up for any deficits.

For more back-to-school tips and tricks,  visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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How to Recreate the Comforts of Home in a Dorm Room

How to Recreate the Comforts of Home in Your Dorm Room

Your first college dorm room is often the first time many you experience the discomforts of adulthood in your young life. You’re crammed into a tiny box with white washed cement walls with a complete stranger. This shared space is a far cry from the comfortable and familiar home you came from.

Many college freshmen end up sending half a carload of stuff back home, overestimating the amount of space they’ll be granted. While it’s important to pack light, and seasonally, there are a handful of items that will make your brief stay in this little cell far more enjoyable.

Unisex Back-to-College Pajama Pants

Boxercraft Red and Black Plaid Flannel Pajama Pant

10 Tips to Make Your College Dorm Feel Like Home

1. Maximize Closet Space

One thing you have at home that you definitely will not have in college is space. Going home for Thanksgiving? Bring your summer wear and forgo packing every little layer you own. When you head home for Turkey Day, plan to check your bag and swap your light clothing for sweaters, jackets, and scarves. Another simple, inexpensive closet solution are vertical hangers — small hanging strips of hooks that allow to hang up to 8 articles of clothing vertically, utilizing all your closet space.

2. Soft Lighting

Rather than make use of the harsh, fluorescent overhead ceiling lights, it’s worth it to make a little room for a nice desk lamp with a “warm” bulb — one that diffuses a warm yellow glow instead of a harsh, bright white glare.

Fuzzy Friends 'Unicorn' Slippers from Aroma Home

Fuzzy Friends ‘Unicorn’ Slippers from Aroma Home

3. Slippers or Slipper Socks

What’s that weird stain on the carpet? Why is the linoleum floor perpetually sandy no matter how much you Swiffer? No need to care if your feet never touch the floor. Even if you weren’t into slippers at home, now is the time. College dorm rooms are notoriously disgusting, collecting decades of grunge that no amount of elbow grease will lift. A comfortable pair of slippers or a few pairs of slipper socks will go a long way.

4. Mattress Pad

No matter what you decide to bring, definitely opt for a high-quality mattress pad — one that will last you the full four years. The mattress you will sleep on is absolutely older than you. Serta makes extra fancy mattress pads that will provide you with a layer of its signature memory foam for a plush sleeping experience. A good night’s sleep is critical to performing at your peak, so don’t pass on this advice!

5. Oversized Coffee Mug

Think about items that could serve multiple purposes. A bowl-like coffee cup will get a lot of use over four years, for way more than coffee. It could also be a ramen bowl, a cereal bowl, hot chocolate mug, a Chex Mix holder, or heck eat a slice of pizza out of it — whatever. One of those and a spoon, fork, and knife are all you’ll need in a limited space.

'Malibu Plaid' Unisex Flannel Pajama Pants from Boxercraft

‘Malibu Plaid’ Unisex Flannel Pajama Pants from Boxercraft

6. Pajama Pants

Pajama pants are not just for sleeping! Keep in mind that you’ll likely be rolling out of bed and sprinting to class in these, so you’ll want to have pajama pants with some style. Check out our back-to-college style guide for inspiration.

7. Induction Cooktop

Many college campuses have banned hot plates, so if you’re craving a hot meal — especially during cold winter months — and the cafeteria isn’t an option, you’re out of luck. Induction cooktops don’t actually get hot. They heat the cookware on top of the cooktop. Now you can enjoy a bowl of ramen without burning the dorm down.

8. Tapestry

Posters are the classic way to cover those unsightly white concrete walls. For a softer homey look opt for a tapestry instead. They come in so many colors and styles that guys and girls with varying tastes can find something that suits them. Tapestries are large expanses of patterned fabric that will immediately soften the look of your dorm room cell, and diffuse that harsh fluorescent lighting.

9. Room Dividing Curtain

Thanks to Amazon, you can easily find 1000 dorm room privacy solutions, including an awkward but efficient twin-sized over-bed tent to zip yourself into. A great solution if you or your parents are handy, is a neutral-colored room-dividing curtain. They come with a heavy-duty tension rod (like a shower rod on steroids) and a heavy fabric that will provide floor-to-ceiling privacy as long as you can hang it between two walls. There are also hospital style room dividers that involve screwing a track into the ceiling. You will want to get approval from both your roommate and your RA before implementing.

'Fluffy Black Sheep' Fleece Robe by Munki Munki

‘Fluffy Black Sheep’ Fleece Robe by Munki Munki

10. Plush Bathrobe

You have no control over the fact that you have to share three grimey shower stalls with 40 other college freshman, but you can control how you feel while you’re walking there! Invest in a plush bathrobe that makes you feel warm, cozy, and comfortable. And shower sandals. Definitely don’t forget the shower sandals…

Embrace every pajama-filled, pizza-laden, coffee-saturated, sleep-deprived moment of your college experience and good luck to the class of 2022! For the latest back-to-college tips, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Just Pajama Pants for Back-to-College

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Summer Lounging: 12 Mocktail Recipes to Stay Hydrated

It’s August and it’s hot. Long, hot, humid summer days can have the same effect on us as a blistering cold winter day and we go into a hibernation of sorts. We recline on the couch with a good book and the A/C blasting, recline in a rocker on the porch, or find a nice shady spot in the park to take a nap. Summers are ideal for lazy afternoons spent lounging in your flimsiest, featherlight cotton pajamas.

The heat zaps both the energy and the water from our bodies. Even if you’re relaxing in air conditioning, it’s more important than any other time to stay hydrated. This replacing skipping a “refreshing” mojito or ice cold beer with a few glasses of ice water every now and again. If you want to enjoy a seasonally festive beverage while warding off heat stroke, give these healthy mocktail recipes a try.

Munki Munki Champagne Dreams Pajama Set

Munki Munki Champagne Dreams Pajama Set

Healthy and Hydrating Summer Mocktail Recipes

1. Raspberry-Lime Rickey Slushies

This recipe calls for gin, but the liquor can easily be omitted for a refreshing summer mocktail. Raspberries’ juicy, sweet flavor peaks from late june through August, so this sweet frozen treat is in season. Get the recipe from myrecipes.com.

2. Cucumber-Mint Limeade

There are few things more refreshing than the combination of fresh cucumber and cool mint. This limeade recipe leverages both in a perfectly balanced summertime cocktail that’s fit for sipping in a shorty robe on your back porch. Get the recipe from intheraw.com.

3. Green Juice Cocktail

This resort-ready green juice mocktail is from The Ranch, a world-renowned detox spa and fitness center — so pull out your eye masks and unwind. Melon and apple add a natural sweetness, celery and ginger add a detoxifying bite, and sparkling water gives the beverage a cocktail-esque fizz. Get the recipe from Popsugar.

4. Sweet Heat Arnold Palmer

This is a spicy twist on the classic lemonade-iced tea hybrid. The addition of a habanero chile balances the sweetness in this summer favorite. The recipe calls for quite a bit of sugar, so experiment with reducing the amount by at least a third to make it a more healthful beverage. Get the recipe on myrecipes.com.

5. Black Cherry Basil Mocktail

This fruity, refreshing drink takes the edge off even the hottest summer days. The fresh basil offsets the sweetness of the black cherry in this mocktail, creating a killer combination that you won’t be able to stop sipping. Get the recipe from wickedspatula.com.

Munki Munki Strawberry Pajama Set

Munki Munki Strawberry Pajama Set

6. Frosted Strawberry Limeade

Summer is for lounging and it’s also for frozen drinks! Rather than treating yourself to a well-tequila mix in the frozen drink machine at your local watering hole, why not treat your body right with this Frosted Strawberry Limeade. This smoothie, loaded with goodies like frozen strawberries, banana, and cashews, would make for a great meal on a hot afternoon. Get the recipe from Healthy Happy Life.

7. Blood Orange and Ginger Soda

Mint is, without a doubt, one of the most refreshing flavors in anything — especially a cold beverages. The combination of cool mint with the heat of ginger and the sweet tang of blood oranges makes for a perfectly balanced glass. Get the recipe from my recipes.com.

8. Copa Verde Mocktail

This is another mocktail that could double as lunch on a sweltering summer day. Avocado, fresh herbs, and refreshing lime are blended and spiked with ice cold club soda for a healthy, delicious treat. Perfect for sipping in your favorite summer pajamas on a Saturday night in.  Get the recipe from The Merry Thought.

9. Tomato Peach Spritzer

You read that correctly. This is probably what “V8 Splash” was going for when they launched their brand… Veggies and fruits combine in this surprisingly delicious mocktail. Tomatoes, peaches, ginger, and ginger ale make this drink an ode to summer. Get the recipe from Vegetarian Times.

10. Ginger Beer Mojito

Enjoy the mojito without the hangover. This recipe calls for rum but it can easily be omitted. The key to making this recipe work is high quality ginger beer. Fentiman’s is a great brand. Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

11. Aqua Fresca Trio

These are the perfect drinks to serve at a summer afternoon gathering or non-boozy brunch. Loaded with colorful fresh fruit, these mocktails as a beautiful as they are delicious. Whether you choose the strawberry lemon fizz, citrus peach spritzer, or coconut raspberry lemon, each of these options has Summer written all over it. Get the recipes from Healthy Happy Life.

12. Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha Mocktails

Using kombucha instead of alcohol makes this drink immune-system-and-belly-friendly, since the brew is packed with probiotics. Mangoes are also loaded with healthy, delicious fiber. This is truly a mocktail you can feel great about. Get the recipe from The Roasted Root.

For more summer recipes and ideas for fun in the sun visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Cool Cotton Pajamas for Summer

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11 Best Summer Beach Reads

11 Best End-of-Summer Beach Reads

It’s never too late for rest and relaxation. We may have past summer’s halfway mark, but there is still plenty of time squeeze in a “beach read” (or a “rainy summer afternoon in your pajamas” read). If you’re the type of reader who reads in short, sporadic bursts — instead of cover-to-cover in a week or less, consider short stories.

Short stories aren’t just for kids and teens. There are many classic and contemporary short story collections that allow readers to complete a narrative in one sitting. These are our favorite short story collections for your end-of-summer beach read.

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Munki Munki “Deep Sea Whales” Cotton Jersey Classic Pajama Set

Best Short Story Collections for Your Next Beach Read

1. Runaway by Alice Munro (2004)

This list is starting out strong: Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 for her extraordinary work as “master of the contemporary short story. She also won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work and has been called the modern-day Chekhov. Runaway is among her best collections, effortless shifting across decades. Munro has the remarkable ability to convey an entire life in a few pages.

2. Pulse by Julian Barnes (2011)

Barnes is best known as a novelist and won the Man Booker Prize in 2011 for The Sense of an Ending (sensing a theme here?). His collection of short stories, Pulse, is brilliant — steeped in social nuance and colorful details. Two particularly excellent examples from this collection are “Complicity,” about the start of a love affair, and “East Wind,” about a relationship between an estate agent and a foreign waitress. Perfect content for a beach read.

3. Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl (1960)

Everyone knows his peerless children’s books, but did you know that Roald Dahl writes adult fiction that is equally vivid and… well… wicked and a little unsettling? The stories in Kiss Kiss are brilliantly unnerving and considered a “masterclass” in the form. This collection is is a wonderful way to see Dahl in a new light.

4. This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor (2012)

Set in the UK — in Norfolk and Cambridge — this collection of stories will haunt you for months. McGregor has a knack for elevating everyday occurances, turning them into small, perfectly rendered pieces of art. As one review in the Guardian noted, “The stories wrap themselves around the wholly disconcerting premise that catastrophe can rear up in anyone’s life without warning.”

5. Tenth of December by George Saunders (2013)

Winner of the Folio Prize for fiction, Saunders is, according to Entertainment Weekly, “the master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endless entertaining flights of imagination.” Written with a mix of humor and humanity, this collection is ideal for readers who want to smile and be moved.

The Cat's Pajamas Pink Shorts Set

The Cat’s Pajamas Women’s Tahiti Palm Knit Shorts Set

6. A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma (2017)

Like Alice Munro, Akhil Sharma has also been likened to Chekov. A truly epic writer, Sharma’s stories in this collection feature Indian protagonists, both in India and abroad, carefully exploring complex relationships with their families, partners, and selves in flawless short form.

7. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? By Raymond Carver (1976)

Carver’s classic 1970s collection is perfect for people who like a writer who uses one word instead of 12. Known for his short, punchy prose, Carver conveys in a few words what many novelists take several pages to express. In stories such as “Fat” and “Are You a Doctor?” he writes with flat understatement about suburban disenchantment in mid-century America. This particular collection was shortlisted for the National Book prize and was written during what Carver called his “first life,” when he nearly died of alcoholism.

8. There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry (2007)

If you’ve ever read Kevin Barry’s work before, it’s clear that he takes joy in story-telling — a joy that is palpable in his writing. It’s well, fun, to read authors that are clearly having fun. While the stories themselves are not always “joyous” — there are plenty of tales of lost souls and misfiring Irish families and friendships — this is funny, stirring writing from a unique talent.

9. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

Another prize winning read. This collection of nine stories by Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize shortly after it was published and was named New Yorker’s debut of the year. The New York Times described the stories as containing an “uncommon elegance and poise.” The narratives explore the Indian-American immigrant experience and the alchemy of love and relationships.

10. A Selfie As Big As the Ritz by Laura Williams (2016)

Get lost in this contemporary collection by Laura Williams, a smart and funny writer who uses details that other writers would overlook, losing their punch. One critic wrote, “I admire that at the core of each story, Williams sticks to the familiar. Her writing however, her style, are anything but.” The stories aren’t a stretch and are easy to grasp, but presented in a new and entertaining format. Especially relatable for readers of a younger generation, but timelessly enjoyed.

11. The Love Object by Edna O’Brien (2014)

Edna O’Brien is a critic favorite and considered one of the great modern Irish writers. This collection spans five decades of brilliant short story writing from O’Brien whose prose style is among the most celebrated of any living author. Her characters range from lonely nuns to single mothers to modern millionaires and are consistently remarkable. Perfect stories for the beach, on the couch, or if you’re tucked in bed for the night with a cup of tea. Good luck putting this one down.

For more ideas for rest and relaxation this summer, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Cool Cotton Pajamas for Summer

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