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How to Prepare Your Backyard for Summer Entertaining

How to Prepare Your Backyard for Summer Entertaining

Each year, spring comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Blooming trees are overtaken by lush green foliage and temperatures steadily climb as we cruise into summer at full speed. Summer brings sunshine, friends, and super fun outdoor gatherings. If you’re hoping your backyard becomes your neighborhood’s hot spot for barbeques, dinner parties, and July 4th celebrations, prepare your space with these pro tips.

Light Summer Pajamas

It’s heating up! We adore this summery ‘Made in America’ Flamingo pajama set from The Cat’s Pajamas.

7 Tips to Get Your Backyard Ready for Summer

1. Spring cleaning made easy.

A simple way to add some sparkle to your outdoor space is to give the patio and furniture a good scrub-down. Shave time off this process and rent a pressure washer from your local home improvement store. A pressure washer will blast away years of dirt and grime from any surface. Your patio furniture, windows, siding, fencing, deck, and any masonry will sparkle like the day they were installed — and you won’t even break a sweat! You won’t even have to get out of your pajamas.

2. Create a chef’s paradise.

The first step in entertaining is wanting to entertain. Create an inviting space where you and your family can cook, mix drinks, and socialize. First, give your grill a good deep clean to keep it running safely in tip-top shape. Consider investing in a patio-friendly kitchen island, so you can spread out your ingredients and comfortably have everything at your fingertips. Place the cooler or ice bucket next to the island so it can double as “the bar.” Guests will stop by for a drink and chat while you’re manning the grill. If there’s a garden bed nearby, it might the perfect spot for herbs. An herb garden will provide you with fresh ingredients for your favorite dishes and refreshments all summer long!

Lazy One Flapjack Kids Pajamas

Safety first! When treating your lawn, opt for eco-friendly pest and weed control so your little ones can safely enjoy the great outdoors!

3. Give the lawn a facelift.

A week or two before you plan to host your first backyard soiree, trim the grass, seed and fertilize bald spots, and spray for weeds. If you’re concerned about harmful chemicals, there are a host of “green” alternatives on the market today. Now you can keep your grass looking fresh while keeping your kids and pets safe. Even if you’re not in the mood to plant, weed and mulch your garden beds to give them a “fresh” appearance before your guests arrive. With these small adjustments, your yard will look like a manicured putting green.

4. Light it up!

Lighting is essential for creating a magical ambiance for summer outdoor gatherings. Pull out your ladder and check and replace the bulbs in your existing outdoor lighting. If your backyard is darker than you’d like, consider installing easy solar-powered lights that don’t require a power-source. Many quality solar brands have an impressive battery life and will last well into the night. Other options are battery-operated LED lanterns, that can be installed virtually anywhere with a weight-bearing hook.

5. Plan for pests.

With the warm weather comes all sorts of creepy crawlies. Again, there are plenty of eco-friendly options if you’d like to spray for insects like ants in the weeks before you entertain. Stock up on deet-free bug spray for guests and citronella candles or citronella oil burners. Another option for pest control is to plant lemongrass, lavender, and mint. Not only are these plants beautiful and functional, they also deter mosquitoes and gnats!

Creative Outdoor Seating

Get creative with your outdoor seating! This sleek modular bench can be used in a variety of ways.

6. Creative seating.

If you plan on entertaining a crowd throughout the season, having a set or two of stackable outdoor chairs tucked away in your shed or garage is a great idea. However, storage space can be an issue for many homes. In this case, get creative and choose seating that serves multiple purposes. For example, simple benches can seat many people, take up minimal space, and can also serve as a place to set a drink down. Cut logs are rustic and decorative, but can be used as either a seat or a side table. Think outside the box to make the most of your space!

7. Shade and shelter.

Summer makes us think of sunshine, but can turn at any moment — especially if you’re living in the Northeast! Whether it’s a sudden scorcher or an unexpected summer storm, be prepared with flexible shelter so your party isn’t crammed indoors or cancelled. Umbrellas with bases are an excellent solution as are “pop up tents,” which can be quickly assembled and easily stored.

We hope you find these tips useful! All of us at The Pajama Company wish you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Like many Americans, we look for opportunities to support the American worker and American entrepreneur. We’re proud to tell our customers about the brands we carry that produce 100% of their merchandise in the United States.

For more inspiration for family activities or gift ideas, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Pajamas Made In America

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11 Best Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

11 Best Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

Throughout your childhood, how many times did mom or grandma make you breakfast? Return the favor this Mother’s Day by cooking a stellar brunch in her honor. Whipping up a fabulous meal at home allows your family to skip loud, overcrowded restaurants with long Mother’s Day waitlists. Let mom enjoy a mimosa in the comfort of her pajamas and bathrobe, reclining on a couch cushion like the queen she is.

Simple, Elegant Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

Banana Bread Flapjacks from Country Living

Banana Bread Flapjacks from Country Living

1. Banana Bread Flapjacks from Country Living

It’s a simple pleasure: waking up to a hot cup of coffee and warm stack of flapjacks. These easy “banana bread” flapjacks from Country Living will warm your heart and your stomach. Spice up the presentation by presenting various toppings: candied nuts, fresh berries, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Get the recipe here.

Chard and Gruyere Eggs in the Hole from Good Housekeeping

Chard and Gruyere Eggs in the Hole from Good Housekeeping

2. Chard and Gruyere Eggs in the Hole from Good Housekeeping

“Eggs in the Hole” is simply a piece of bread with hole cut in the middle, that you fry on a skillet, cracking an egg over the center so the fried egg sits in the hole in the toast. This simple dish maintains the same concept but is elevated with gourmet cheese and dark leafy greens. Get the recipe from Good Housekeeping here.

Loaded Bloody Mary from Foodie Crush

Loaded Bloody Mary from Foodie Crush

3. Loaded Bloody Mary from Foodie Crush

It’s a drink and a snack! The perfect treat for a pampered mom who just spent the morning lounging in her luxurious new pajama set. Learn how to build a “loaded Bloody Mary” with this how-to from Foodie Crush for creating the perfect Bloody Mary bar. With drink accoutrements like bacon, oysters, and steak, this really is a meal in a glass. Learn how to craft the perfect loaded Bloody Mary for Mother’s Day here.

Blueberry Chamomile Dutch Baby from Half Baked Harvest

Blueberry Chamomile Dutch Baby from Half Baked Harvest

4. Blueberry Chamomile Dutch Baby from Half Baked Harvest

A Dutch Baby is essentially a pancake that you bake in a skillet… which, by the way, was the original pancake. So a Dutch Baby is a real pancake? Well whatever it is, it’s and delicious. The skillet also makes for an Instagram-worthy Mother’s Day brunch presentation, so you’ll look like a pro! Get the recipe for this lightly spiced, hot and gooey treat from Half Baked Harvest here.

Ham and Egg Grilled Cheese from Damn Delicious

Ham and Egg Grilled Cheese from Damn Delicious

5. Ham and Egg Grilled Cheese from Damn Delicious

If you haven’t checked out Chungah Rhee’s cooking blog yet, now’s your chance. Your mom deserves the best for Mother’s Day and this site is filled with tasty, easy-to-prepare recipes that you’ll make again and again. This decadent take on a ham/egg/cheese is to die for and is practically designed to enjoy in your favorite pajama pants. Fire up your waffle iron (yes) and get the recipe from from Damn Delicious here.

Summer Mimosa Floats from That’s What Che Said

Summer Mimosa Floats from That’s What Che Said

6. Summer Mimosa Floats from That’s What Che Said

This cocktail is advertised as “the perfect beverage for brunch, book club, girls weekend, or just a normal Saturday.” If that’s the case, we want to spend every Saturday with Cheryl from That’s What Che Said! Instead of pouring champagne over orange juice this Mother’s Day, pour champagne over sweet, decadent sherbet. Wow your mother this weekend and get the over-the-top recipe here.

The Silkiest Carbonara from Bon Appetit

The Silkiest Carbonara from Bon Appetit

7. The Silkiest Carbonara from Bon Appetit

Pasta for brunch? Absolutely. Carbonara has all the markings of great brunch food: bacon in the form of pancetta, eggs, and a healthy dose of butter, heavy cream, and cheese. The smell of pancetta frying in your kitchen is the best reason for your mom to grab her mimosa, get out of bed, and join you all downstairs. Get the recipe from Bon Appetit here.

Bananas Foster Baked French Toast from Taste of Home

Bananas Foster Baked French Toast from Taste of Home

8. Bananas Foster Baked French Toast from Taste of Home

The classic dessert, with all its divine caramelized banana goodness, condensed into one 13X9 recipe from Taste of Home. This recipe sounds complicated, but it’s essentially a casserole. Everything is layered like a lasagna in one pan for easy preparation and even easier cleanup. If your mother is a fan of classic desserts, this will be a surefire hit on Mother’s Day. Get the recipe here.

Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs from Food & Wine

Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs from Food & Wine

9. Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs from Food & Wine

If your mother isn’t a fan of frills, try this elegant twist on a diner favorite on Mother’s Day (no corned beef from a can here!). Food & Wine walks you through scratch-made corned beef hash that will taste like nothing you’ve ever had at your local dive — it will taste a million times better! Spoil mom rotten with a laid-back brunch menu that features high quality ingredients. Get the recipe from Food & Wine here.

Savory Dutch Baby from Food with Feeling

Savory Dutch Baby from Food with Feeling

10. Savory Dutch Baby from Food with Feeling

This delicious Dutch Baby is a savory twist on the classic fruity variety. You can use the suggested toppings in this recipe from Food with Feeling or improvise with fresh seasonal spring veggies. Regardless of what vegetables you use to fill it, the presentation will knock mom’s warm and fuzzy socks off on Mother’s Day. Get the recipe here.

Citrusy Champagne Sangria from Kiran + Tarun

Citrusy Champagne Sangria from Kiran + Tarun

11. Citrusy Champagne Sangria from Kiran + Tarun

Kiran + Tarun is another blog that is loaded with simple super fun recipes to try any day of the week! But for Mother’s Day we love this beautiful and refreshing Citrusy Champagne Sangria. Get the recipe here.

For more ideas for Mother’s Day fun, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog

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Mother's Day Gift Guide 2018

Not-Your-Mama’s Pajamas: 2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Okay, so maybe they will be your mama’s pajamas. Some people think that pajamas and bathrobes are the “safe” gift choice for Mother’s Day. We can’t argue that everyone loves to be comfortable (it’s a fact!), but pajamas are also a fun way to show off your personality in the comfort of your home. With the right personal touch, any one of these unique pajama sets are guaranteed to bring a smile to your mom’s face on her big day.

7 Unique Pajama Sets for Every Mom

Mother's Day Bathrobe from Kasher

Seasonless Robes by Kashwere

1. Mom’s All Business

No one has more hustle than your mom. When she’s not on the grind, she’s unwinding with a nice glass of wine in the bathtub. Do not disturb! For the mother that works hard and relaxes harder, pair her favorite vino with bath salts and our most luxurious bathrobe by Kashwere. It’s a gift that says “I appreciate all you’ve sacrificed: now please use your vacation time.”

The Travel Collection by Munki Munki for Mother's Day

The Travel Collection by Munki Munki

2. Where’s Mom?

No, seriously, where is she? Did she fly to the Caribbean with her sister? Head to Napa for the weekend with her bestie? Take on New York with her book club? If your mother loves to jet, show her you support her frequent flier status with a pair of pajamas from this cheeky Travel Collection by Munki Munki. Throw in a cute pack of travel-sized toiletries, an eye mask, and a quality travel pillow to highlight the theme. Bon voyage!

Dog Themed Pajamas from PJ Salvage for Mother's Day

Life’s Ruff Pajama Set by PJ Salvage

3. Mom’s Other Baby

If you take a backseat to a smaller, furrier, four-legged baby — you’re not alone. Show mom that you fully accept your fur-sibling with this super fun pajama set from PJ Salvage. To tie in the doggy theme, include fancy dog treats and a pack of tennis balls. After all, the dog probably deserves a reward for being better behaved than you were as child, right?

Pajama Sets by Needham Lane for Mother's Day

Ellie Navy Pajama Set by Needham Lane

4. Mom’s So Fancy

Your mom has more Instagram followers than you do. She’s dressed to the nines and looks flawless in every selfie. For the mom who prides herself in being “best dressed,” send her to sleep in style with this gorgeous pajama set from luxury PJ designers, Needham Lane. Needham Lane pairs classic cuts with high-end fabrics and contemporary patterns. Throw in a gift certificate for a mani-pedi and you’ve got a Mother’s Day win.

The Queen Bee Collection by The Cat's Pajamas for Mother's Day

The Queen Bee Collection by The Cat’s Pajamas

5. The Queen Bee

Have you stopped buying zucchini since your mom took up gardening? If your mom yearns for spring and likes to spend the warm months outdoors with her hands in the dirt, then gift her a beautiful set of pajamas from The Queen Bee Collection by The Cat’s Pajamas. Include a new pair of gardening gloves and a few packs of seeds to add a thoughtful touch.

Sushi Pajamas for Mother's Day

The Sushi Collection by The Cat’s Pajamas

6. Foodie Flavor

Your mom has her finger on the pulse when it comes to food. Whether she’s experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen or dragging your dad to the latest restaurant opening, she’s first in line to try all the latest trends. Show her some foodie love by taking her out to dinner and gifting her a pair of these fun sushi-themed pajamas by The Cat’s Pajamas. We dare anyone not to smile that this joyful little set.

Sushi-Themed Pajamas for Mother's Day

The Sushi Collection by The Cat’s Pajamas

7. Lounge Lover

It’s 11am on a Saturday and you know for a fact that your mother is just now considering starting her day. For the mom who loves to lounge hard on the weekends with a pot of coffee, a sunny chair, and a good book — encourage all three. For Mother’s Day, gift her this Fancy Coffee Pajama Set by Munki Munki, a gourmet roast, and the latest book from her favorite author. A simple, thoughtful, personalized Mother’s Day gift.

For more ideas for Mother’s Day fun, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog

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Spring Cleaning Pro Tips

Spring Cleaning is a Breeze with These Pro Tips

Treetops that were dusted with the reddish hue of leaf buds are now bursting with vibrant spring colors. We welcome the fresh spring air by throwing open our windows and… hey, what is that all over our windows? Can dust be simultaneously dusty and greasy? Where the heck did all this dirt come from?! Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a headache, so go ahead and throw open your windows and the cabinet under your sink. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to tackle spring cleaning in your pajamas, without breaking a sweat.

Spring cleaning is a breeze with these pro tips!

7 Best Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

1. Rugs and Carpets. Take a minute to clean your vacuum. Yes, you read that correctly. Cleaning out the filter and brushes — which are often tangled with a mess of hair — will make it as powerful as the day you bought it. This is especially true of robotic vacuums, like the Roomba. With your machine in tip-top shape, you’ll spend less time going over the same area again and again. For an extra boost, generously sprinkle your rugs and carpets with baking soda and leave overnight. The baking soda “traps” moisture and smells. Thoroughly vacuum the baking soda the next morning.

2. Windows. For the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, focus on the outside of the windows and don’t sweat the details. Pick up a preferred window or exterior cleaner that is approved for the outdoors. Brands like Scotts and Windex have created cleaner that will attach to your garden hose, so you can skip renting the pressure washer. Just spray and done!

3. Walls and Doors. Some people wash their walls and doors annually. We’re not those people. Spot clean high-traffic, high-touch areas with a product like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The areas around door handles and door jams gather a layer of grime. The “Magic Eraser” lives up to its name. With little effort, you can erase this tricky layer of dirt. It also removes scuff marks from doors!

Spring Cleaning Hack for Bathrooms

Use shaving cream to shine your bathroom fixtures.

4. Oven. If your oven has a “self clean” option, use it. Plan to be out for the day while it works its magic and be sure to crack a window so the house doesn’t smell like gas. After it’s done self-cleaning simply wipe it down. “Self-cleaning” means that the oven reaches its peak temperature for a long period of time, rendering everything inside to ash. If the oven doesn’t have a self-clean option and your scared of the chemicals in harsh spray-on oven cleaner, a thick layer of baking soda and vinegar can remove most of the grime. Leave the solution on for 30 minutes and wipe the paste away with a sponge and water. Easy peasy.

5. Refrigerator. The worst part of cleaning the fridge is taking everything out and putting it back in… and the cleaning. With a little planning, you can cut a lot of time off this process. Simply clean the fridge when you know you will be low on groceries. If you’re concerned about cleaning with chemicals in an area where you store food, use baking soda and vinegar as you would to clean your oven. It will quickly remove any stains and food gunk!

6. Bathroom. Everyone’s least favorite room to clean! Instead of scheduling time to clean the room, spot clean with these handy bathroom cleaning hacks. If you’re using baking soda and vinegar to clean other rooms in the house, sprinkle both in your toilet and let it sit for 15 minutes — flush and done! While you’re shaving, you can rub shaving cream on your fixtures, rinse, and they’ll sparkle. If you’re a tea drinker, you can take the tea bag from your morning cup and wipe down your mirror for a streak-free shine.

7. Tile. The grout between tiles is one of the hardest parts of your home to clean — and the most tedious. Scrubbing apart sponges or spending hours scouring with an old toothbrush are not appealing approaches. If you have a lot of tile in your home and a drill, consider purchasing a drill brush. This is a scrub brush attachment for a drill, originally designed for auto detailing, that allows you to power through your grout cleaning! After you’re finished, use a candle made of wax that is similar to your grout color. Gently rub the candle over the grout. The light wax coating will keep your grout clean for longer!

We hope these spring cleaning tips help you spend less time cleaning and more time in your pajamas this weekend! For more tips for easy living, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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7 Best Earth Day Seed Starters

Earth Day: 7 Easy Indoor Seed Starter Projects

Earth Day is coming up this Sunday, April 22nd. Celebrate Mother Earth by planning a summer garden with your family. Buying fully grown plants is expensive and unnecessary. Seeds are more affordable and sprouting them indoors gives them a better chance of surviving outdoors.

Sprouting the seeds indoors protects the seeds from being eaten by birds and keeps the sweet sprouts from being devoured by insects. Plan your summer garden this spring with these simple upcycled indoor seed starter projects. These fun ideas turn everyday trash into helpful gardening tools. No green thumb required!

Queen Bee from The Cat's Pajamas

We adore this ‘Queen Bee‘ PJ set from The Cat’s Pajamas!

Simple Upcycled Seed Starters for Earth Day

Earth Day Seed Starter Milk Jug Greenhouse

1. Milk Jug Greenhouses. Got plastic? Upcycle your plastic milk jugs by cutting off the tops and using the base as a container to grow plants. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can reuse the entire jug by turning it into a self-contained miniature greenhouse. In this cool tutorial from Preparedness Mama, you learn how to create a sprouting container that keeps the soil moist so you can grow your delicate seedlings in direct sunlight. Depending on the type of seed you’re growing, your plants will sprout in three days and will be ready for your garden in just two weeks. Learn how on preparednessmama.com

Earth Day Seed Starters Mason Jars

2. Mason Jar Seed Starters. It’s not a ‘DIY’ list unless there’s a project involving mason jars, amiright? The great thing about this seed starter project from Miser Mom is that depending on how many jars you save, you can create so many seedlings at once! If you wrap a ribbon around the top of the jars, these also make great gifts. A mason jar sprout is a thoughtful way to encourage your neighbors to start their own summer gardens. Learn how on miser-mom.blogspot.com

Earth Day Seed Starter Chinese Takeout

3. Takeout Container Seed Pods. Turn cardboard Chinese takeout containers into beautiful and unique ‘seed pods’ courtesy of this tutorial from instructables. Most of these containers are water-resistant to keep saucy food from leaking. This means that they won’t leave water stains on your window sills as you move them around the house, chasing sunlight. When it’s time to transplant, the sides easily fold down, making it nearly impossible to damage the roots unlike traditional flower pots that require a bit of shaking. Learn how on instructables.com

Earth Day Projects Milk Carton Seed Starter

4. Egg Carton Seed Starters. This is probably the most popular method of starting seeds at home. You can purchase planters specifically designed for starting seeds at your local home improvement store. You can grow seeds in these planters just as you would a traditional pot, but you can plant the entire container when it comes time to transplant. The containers are designed to biodegrade. Traditional egg cartons are also biodegradable. You can start the seeds in each slot, then cut apart the container and bury it whole when you’re ready to transfer the contents to your garden. Learn how on motherearthnews.com

Earth Day Projects Juice Seed Starter

5. Juice Carton Seed Starters. Cardboard juice cartons (or milk cartons) are perfect for starting a garden on your windowsill. They’re deep enough that you can grow the seedlings to a hearty size before transplanting and wide enough that you can fit multiple plants in each container. This image was found on Pinterest.

Earth Day Projects Seed Starter from Newspaper

6. Newspaper Seed Starter. Doesn’t get any easier than this! If you have an old newspaper on hand, you can learn to fold the paper into a container, origami style. As with egg cartons, the newspaper container and your sprouted plants can be placed directly into the ground, avoiding ‘transplant shock.’ Learn how to turn an old newspaper into a beautiful planter on HGTV.com

Earth Day Projects Loofah Seed Starter

7. Loofah Sponge Seed Starter. We saved the best for last! This is a decidedly unique way to recycle an old loofah sponge. Traditional loofah sponges are made of natural materials that will break down and feed your plant after you transplant the sprout. The container is ideal for encouraging root growth. You might argue that loofahs actually make better seed starters than exfoliants! Learn how to upcycle your loofa on thymesquaregarden.blogspot.com

For more ideas for springtime family fun, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Rainy Day Craft Ideas for Kids

April Showers: Simple Rainy Day Crafts for Kids

April showers bring… cold, rainy weekends with the whole family stuck indoors! Make the most of a rainy spring day with easy crafts you can do with the kids. Don’t have a PhD in Pinterest? No worries. These are truly simple craft ideas that everyone will enjoy. So easy, you can stay in your pajama pants all weekend. These craft ideas only require items you can find in your house or at your local dollar store. No gold leaf paint required.

Rainy day pajama day!

These Kids FlapJack Pajamas from Lazy One are perfect for rainy day fun!

11 Easy Rainy Day Crafts for Kids

Rainy Day Finger Puppets

1. Marker Top Finger Puppets. We’re willing to guess you have a dried up marker or two (or thirty?) hiding around the house. Use the caps and materials like construction paper, yarn, twine, or pipe cleaners to make these fun finger puppets featured on The Handmade Adventures of Captain Crafty.

Rainy Day Marble Paint Project

2. Marble Painting. We love this one from The Mother Huddle! It’s finger painting with a twist. Squirt a little paint on top of  a sheet of paper inside a baking pan. Drop a marble or small ball inside and let your kiddo twist and turn the pan to roll the ball through the paint and create one-of-a-kind works of art! This craft combines getting messy with the added bonus of a noisy marble rattling around a baking pan — sure to be a hit!

Rainy Day Puppet Theater Project

3. Rainy Day Puppet Theater. Maybe combine this idea with the ‘Marker Top Finger Puppets’? A rainy day is perfect for a day at the theater, especially if your kids construct it from this cool template that you can run off your printer! Using only a cracker or cereal box, paper, scissors, glue or tape, and some popsicle sticks or skewers — your kids can quickly create their own puppet theater with this craft from BKids.

Rainy Day Paper Lantern Craft

4. Tracing Paper Lanterns. Using translucent tracing paper and watercolors or markers, have your kids create pictures and tape or glue them to old glass jars. Pop a tealight inside and you have mood lighting for dinner, courtesy of your children. The original project idea from Mamascout is a bit more involved if you want to get fancy!

Rainy Day Fun Googly Eyes

5. Eye-Bombing. Another idea we’re in love with! Using a pack of stick-on googly eyes, “eye bomb” common objects in your house to turn them into a source of silliness! This craft would be even funnier if another parent or older sibling were to come home to discover the random peepers! A big belly laugh courtesy of MiniEco.

Rainy Day Egg Carton Craft

6. Egg Carton Bouquet. The kids with love creating a new springtime centerpiece for your kitchen table. This fun upcycled craft idea comes from Better Homes & Gardens. Simply cut up an egg carton, paint each of the “egg holders,” and twist together pipe cleaners to make stems.

Rainy Day Marble Run Craft

7. Cereal Box Marble Run. This super simple marble track from Made by Joel uses only a cereal box, scissors, and glue to create hours (okay… maybe 40 minutes?) of fun for your little one. You can encourage your kiddos to get more creative and paint or color the box, add stickers, glitter — go wild!

Rainy Day Fish Craft Project

8. Fishy Fun. Have paper plates laying around the house? Create these fun, Pac-Man inspired fish from Made Everyday with scissors, construction paper, and whatever else you have on hand. This is craft is especially fun considering the recent popularity of book The Pout Pout Fish. It could be a great project after story time!

Rainy Day Brushless Painting Activity

9. Brushless Painting Station. Kids love getting messy. A surefire way to keep them busy for hours is to encourage some messy play. NurtureStore suggests a “brushless” painting station. Using utensils, leaves, twigs, cotton balls, sponges, cookie cutters… let your kids paint with anything but a brush! This craft is guaranteed to grant you a couple hours of silence.

Rainy Day Memory Game

10. Memory Game. This is a simple old school rainy day activity that will definitely pass some time! Curly Birds suggests putting a handful of objects on a tray — all the same color — and have the kids stare at it for a few minutes to memorize what they see. Cover the tray with a cloth and take one object away and have them guess which one is missing. This is not only great for memory, it’s a wonderful way to help them build their language skills!

Pop Up Zoo Rainy Day Craft

11. Pop-Up Zoo. This pop-up zoo craft idea from Tinker Lab will keep your children amused for the whole afternoon! Have them create the animals they know and recognize and then invent new ones for some whacky imaginative fun!

For more ideas for springtime family fun, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Activities That Will Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy

Puppy Love: Keep Your Bestie Happy and Healthy with These Activities

Spring has sprung! (Unless you’re living in the Northeast… over here spring comes and goes as it pleases.) The blustery winter weather is becoming less severe and warmer spring days are more frequent. This is great news for you and your dog, as the warmer weather opens up a slew of activities for you to enjoy!

Your pup loved cuddling with you on the couch in matching pajamas during the long winter months, but dogs crave companionship, entertainment, and mental stimulation just like people do. Make time for activities that will facilitate exercise, bonding, and learning for a happy, healthy dog. Your best friend will reward your effort with unconditional love — but we have a feeling that’s already on the table.

Fun Activities for You and Your Dog

We’re dog lovers and we adore this Cool Cowboy Dog Flannel Set from PJ Salvage!

7 Tail-Wagging Activities to Keep Your Dog Healthy

1. Choose a different path. Do you ever get bored with your daily walk route? Chances are, your pup does too. Mix it up and explore a different part of your neighborhood. Or if you go to the same park every morning, try a new one. Plan to move slowly so your dog can soak up all the new sights, sounds, and smells. Not instinctively knowing what turns you’re going to take will be far more entertaining and mentally stimulating. Despite the slow pace, don’t be surprised if your dog is more worn out than usual, from processing all the new information!

2. Go for a hike. Instead of your everyday walk route, mix it up and hit a trail with your dog. Maybe your nearest trailhead or national park is 15 minutes away, or maybe it’s a day trip. A car ride and picnic lunch will just be another super exciting bonus for your pup. Be sure to bring a towel in case your dog happens upon a stream and decides to go for a dip! The best part of a good hike is the rewarding view from the top, and who better to share it with than your best friend?

3. Ultimate Fetch. Do you have a dog who loves to chase a tennis ball? These handheld tennis ball launchers give you the ability to throw a ball up to 85 feet, effortlessly! This is perfect for a high-energy breed who wears you out when you’re playing. Bring a water dish, even if it’s cold out, so your buddy doesn’t dehydrate. A dozen throws with this gadget and your pup will be ready for a nap!

4. Tracking. If you enjoy hiking or taking long walks in the woods, this might be the perfect hobby for you and your dog to share. Tracking gives your dog a “job” during your walks and provides them with a challenge, something most dogs enjoy immensely. There are many books that can teach you how to train your dog to track. This is an activity that will be fascinating and fun for both of you!

Outdoor Activities for You and Your Dog this Spring

Keep your best bud warm in this super cute dog hoodie from Big Feet!

5. Agility Training. If your dog is on the high-energy side, consider agility training. Not only will it burn energy, it will teach your active breed to listen and focus. If you’re competitive, there are many regional competitions your dog can participate in if your dog shows promise. A quick search online will yield agility training classes in your area. If classes aren’t an option, there are many online videos that will teach you how to train your pup at home!

6. Puzzle Toys. Puzzle toys are often used to distract dogs that experience anxiety while their owners are at work. Puzzles are also used to distribute meals to a dog that eats too quickly. Even if your dog doesn’t experience these issues, puzzle toys are a blast! You can use them indoors or outdoors (if you want to keep a certain someone from being under foot at a BBQ). They often come with different difficulty levels and can be purchased at your local pet supply store or online. If buying in store, talk to a customer service representative who will help you determine your dog’s skill.

7. Frisbee. Believe it or not, you can join versions of ‘ultimate frisbee’ teams with your dog in some regions of the US! Even without the team, if your dog enjoys fetch she’ll love the added challenge of the frisbee. A frisbee takes more focus for you to throw and requires more skill for your dog to catch. Your pup will have to judge the arc of the frisbee’s path and the speed of descent. A frisbee isn’t just another thing to fetch, it’s an extra mental workout for your dog!

For more ideas for how to have fun with your buddy this spring, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Quick and Easy Snack Ideas for March Madness

8 Quick and Easy ‘March Madness’ Snack Ideas

“Oh, by the way, the guys are coming over to watch the game in 30 minutes…” Is March Madness driving you bonkers? The guys are coming over might be a common ‘FYI’ in your house these days. Unlike the Super Bowl, an event you have months to prepare for, the weeks of March Madness can result in a parade of last-minute house guests. Just because the gathering is less “formal,” doesn’t mean that you won’t be expected to provide something to snack on during the game.

A simple solution for any last-minute gathering is to have simple snacks that you can throw together from your pantry with little to no preparation. Here is our collection of game day snacks that will make you look like a super host without any effort. We promise you won’t even have to put real pants on.

Easy Game Day Snack Ideas

With a few items from your pantry, you can whip up a snack to please the crowd (and keep your pajama pants on).

Game Day Snack Ideas from Your Pantry

1. Flatbread Pizza. If you keep flatbread or pita bread on hand, you can have a snack in a flash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the flatbread or pita rounds on a baking tray. Top with whatever you have on hand and bake for 8 minutes. Here are a few combinations to get you started:

  • pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella with pepperoni
  • olive oil and parmesan topped with olives or roasted red peppers
  • shredded sharp cheddar with ham or bacon
  • ricotta, red onion, and asparagus finished with arugula after baking

2. Chips and Queso. What is Velveeta? Who cares. It’s ‘cheese’… we think. It has a long shelf life so you can keep it in your pantry for entertaining emergencies. Drop the block of Velveeta in a small pot or microwavable bowl, top with a can of your favorite chili, and heat until melted while stirring every so often. In five minutes or less you will have a tasty dip to go with chips, a jar of salsa, and beer.

3. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp. Bacon, frozen shrimp, and toothpicks will make an amazing snack to serve alongside cheese and crackers. Thaw out the shrimp, cut the slices of bacon in half, roll up the shrimp in the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or wax paper, line with the wrapped shrimp, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes — done!

4. Easy Poutine. For a poor man’s version of this Canadian indulgence, just keep a bag of frozen fries on hand. Bake according to instructions on a baking sheet, remove from oven and create a pile of fries. Drizzle with a can of brown gravy and top with shredded cheese (the real deal is made with cheese curds, but use any cheese really). Pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve on the baking sheet and let the animals have at it.

Easy Entertaining Ideas for March Madness

White Bean and Rosemary dip is so versatile, you can serve it with anything.

5. White Bean and Rosemary Dip. An alternative to hummus, this is the best dip to make if you don’t want to invest in a tub of tahini and have fresh rosemary on hand. Simply drain a can of cannellini beans and add to your food processor with a squirt of lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary. Blend and add olive oil until you reach the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, pita bread, or toasts.

6. Easiest Cheesiest Bean Dip. If there’s anything we learned from our parents or grandparents, it’s that you can make a meal in minute with a can of condensed soup. Keep a can of condensed bean with bacon soup — you know the brand — in your pantry. Stir together the soup, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning mix in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir again and microwave an additional 3 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve with chips and you’re done!

7. Easy Mini Meatballs. Keep Italian sausage in your freezer to thaw as you need it. Cut off the casing of the sausage and cut the link into quarter size pieces, rolling them into balls. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place balls on a wax-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl of warm pasta sauce for dipping. You can also use Italian turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter option!

8. Hot Crab Dip. Dips that you can bake require minimal effort on your part. Crab dip may sound complicated, but you can make it with items in your kitchen that have a long shelf life. In a bowl, combine a block of softened cream cheese, ⅓ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, 1 ½ cups shredded cheese of your preference, 1 can of crabmeat, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh onion (red, white, yellow, or green). Mix together then transfer mixture to an oven-friendly baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Stir. Sprinkle sliced almond on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot with crackers!

For more recipes and ideas for entertaining, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Best TV Shows to Binge Watch in 2018

The Best TV Shows to Binge in Your Pajamas

We in the Northeast have endured another blizzard, but more pajama time is A-OK with us! Snow days and quiet Friday nights are perfect for binge-watching gripping television shows in the comfort of your living room. If you tend to binge-watch your television shows, you’re not alone.

It may seem counterintuitive in this age of short, quippy social media posts and funny cat videos, but humans have a psychological urge to watch entire seasons of television from start finish — no matter how dark, twisted, and complicated the storylines. According to Netflix, three out of four viewers watch the entire first season of Breaking Bad in one sitting!

Psychologists believe that we binge-watch because we crave an escape from our busy lives. As it turns out, occasionally binge-watching television shows can help alleviate symptoms of stress. So put on your coziest pair of pajama pants, pop some popcorn, and stream one of these binge-worthy TV shows. Doctor’s orders.

Best Shows to Stream in 2018

Put on your pajama pants and get ready stream.

Top 10 TV Shows to Binge-Watch Right Now

1. The Americans

Nothing is what it seems on The Americans. To their unsuspecting suburban neighbors, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are the most boring couple you could possibly imagine. But to anyone who gets in their way — including the FBI — these undercover Russian spies are quick, efficient, and deadly. If you like intrigue, action, ‘80s nostalgia, and brutally honest depictions of marriage, you’re going to love The Americans. Stream on Amazon.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

If you like to laugh and love a little action, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the breakout hit for you. Starring SNL funnyman Andy Samberg and acting veterans Andre Braugher and Terry Crews, the TV show follows the hijinx of the NYPD’s fictional 99th Precinct. The plot revolves around the professional and personal life of Detective Jake Peralta (Samberg), an immature but talented police officer. Hilarity ensues. Stream on Hulu.

3. Westworld

For the sci-fi fanatics, Westworld is a thriller that takes place in a technologically advanced Wild West-themed amusement park populated by android hosts. Westworld caters to high-paying guests, who may indulge in whatever they wish within the park without retribution from their hosts — including murder. The series begins as a routine update in the hosts’ programming causes unusual deviations in their behavior, concerning park staff. A few of the hosts become sentient and learn the truth about themselves and the world they are forced to live in. Stream on HBO Go.

Jane the Virgin jammies

Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo in pajamas for a scene in ‘Jane the Virgin’

4. Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin follows twenty-something Jane Villanueva as she navigates the aftermath of an accidental artificial insemination in her very Catholic household. With plenty of family drama, comedic relief, a steamy love triangle, and crime lord, the telenovela satire packs a lot entertainment into each and every episode. Perfect if you were a fan of the old series Desperate Housewives.  Stream on Netflix.

5. Orphan Black

Sci-fi is clearly coming back to mainstream television with shows like Westworld and this hit, Orphan Black. The Canadian series raises questions about the moral and ethical implications of cloning. Con-artist Sarah Manning, one of several identical clones, assumes the identity of one of her fellow matches, police officer Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing her suicide. Viewers can watch the entire plot from start to finish, as all five seasons are now available for streaming. Stream on Amazon.

6. Peaky Blinders

If you enjoyed The Godfather trilogy, know that Peaky Blinders is essentially the British version. Inspired by a real-life gang that operated in Birmingham, England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the story follows Tommy Shelby, the gang’s reluctant but passionate leader, who must take over his family business (Michael Corleone, anyone?). Each season is just six episodes, making it very easy to devour in one sitting. Stream on Netflix.

7. Friends from College

Friends from College is a “coming of age” story for a new generation. This intense all-too-real dramedy starring funnyman Keegan Michael Key will resonate with many tightly knit college groups who have tried to keep their youthful connections rolling into their 40s. Filled with anti-heroes, beautifully acted, and endlessly entertaining, each of the eight half-hour episodes can be watched in one evening. Stream on Netflix.

8. Bob’s Burgers

Is it just us, or is everything on television these days dark and twisted? Take an extended break from reality and stream every season of the funny adult animated series Bob’s Burgers. We promise that you will fall in love with at least one of the adorable cast members who feature voice talent from legend H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Kristen Schaal (Last Man On Earth, The Daily Show) Megan Mullally (Parks and Rec, Will and Grace), Jordan Peele (Get Out, Key and Peele), SNL alum Bill Hader, and Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec, Master of None) to name a few. The plot follows the hilarious antics that take place in and around Bob Belcher’s family business, Bob’s Burgers. Stream on Hulu.

9. Silicon Valley

A surprise hit from producer Mike Judge, best known for King of the HIll and Beavis and Butt-Head, is Silicon Valley, a witty live-action comedy starring Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani. The story follows the day-to-day struggle of Richard Hendricks (Middleditch), a Silicon Valley engineer trying to build his own company within the quirky valley tech bubble. Stream on Hulu.

Tracee Ellis Ross Black-ish Pajamas

Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis Ross wears a lot of cute pajama sets as her character Bo Johnson in the hit comedy series ‘Black-ish.’

10. Black-ish

Network after network is producing gloomy, depressing content but Black-ish on ABC is a much-needed standout family sitcom. Loosely based on the family life of creator Kenya Barris, the show doesn’t shy away from discussions of family, race, gender equality, or politics, but addresses these hot-button topics in a way that is timely, relatable, and approachable. The plot follows family man Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) as he struggles to maintain a sense of cultural identity while raising his children in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood. Every episode is smart, sweet, and guaranteed to make you laugh until your belly hurts. Stream on Hulu.

For more ideas for how to unwind in your pajamas this season, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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12-healthy-late-night-snacks-pajamas

12 Simple and Delicious Late Night Snacks

The clock is creeping past ten. You’re unwinding in your pajamas, snuggled into the couch, wrapped up a cozy throw blanket… when your stomach grumbles. You know you “aren’t supposed to” eat after 8pm, but is that really a hard rule? And who made the rule? Why do you have to follow it?

As it turns out, the supposed link between weight gain and late-night eating is a myth. Our metabolism doesn’t slow down at night, converting everything we ate into fat. The same daytime rules apply at nighttime: everything in moderation. That said, we’ve compiled a collection of tasty late night snacks that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Strawberry Smoothie

Late Night Snacks You Can Feel Good About

1. Strawberry Smoothie. Combine vanilla yogurt, milk or your preferred milk substitute, frozen strawberries and blend. Depending on how sweet the yogurt is, add honey to sweeten the shake. Using Greek yogurt will increase your protein intake — on average 15 to 20 grams per 6 ounces — and make for a more satisfying snack. Low fat yogurt is also an option for reduced calorie intake.

2. Avocado Toast. Simply make a piece of toast and slice up half of a small avocado. Smash the avocado on top of the toast with a fork. Add other toppings like nutritional yeast, green onions, sliced radishes, or baby arugula. Using multigrain or sprouted bread will increase both your fiber and protein intake.

3. Frozen Grapes. This may sound a little strange if you’ve never done it before, but trust us — frozen grapes are delicious. Pull grapes from their stems and place them in a freezer bag. Once they’re frozen you have snackable sorbet. This is a wonderful low-calorie option for those of us who like to reach for a frozen treat at night. Crackers, Turkey, Cheese

4. Whole Wheat Crackers with Cheese and Turkey. Fiber-rich woven wheat crackers are low in calories and very satisfying. Just six Triscuit crackers contain 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Top with thin slices of your favorite cheese and roast turkey. Very satisfying!

5. Quesadilla Half. Heat one 8-inch multigrain tortilla on a skillet and place grated cheese on one half. Layer with other toppings if desired (deli meats, baby spinach, green onions), top half with second layer of cheese and fold the quesadilla in half. Once one side is toasted, flip and toast the other side until the cheese is melted through. Serve with salsa and enjoy!

6. Greek Yogurt and Low-Fat Granola. As we mentioned earlier, Greek yogurt is packed with protein so a small serving will ward off hunger for a long time. Combine the yogurt with the fiber punch of granola, top with honey, and you have a sweet, creamy, and crunchy snack.

7. Ham and Provolone Roll-Ups. Cut out the carbs with these quick and easy ham and provolone roll-ups. Spread a thin layer of mustard on a slice of provolone, top with a slice of ham, and roll it up! Packed with protein and flavor, this filling snack will put an end to your hunger pangs.

Dark Chocolate is a Healthy Snack

8. Dark Chocolate. If you’re craving chocolate, the darker the better. Milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate and contains more milk, sugar, and cream. Savoring a little bit of quality dark chocolate will satisfy your craving and will be a relatively healthy treat.

9. Banana and Peanut Butter. Snacks don’t get much easier than this! Simply spread a little bit on peanut butter on a banana as you peel it. While peanut butter is high in protein, it’s also high-calorie and high in saturated fat, so spread accordingly.

10. DIY Popcorn. Air pop your own popcorn at home or pop with oil. Either way, it will be far better for you than the sodium and chemical-loaded stuff that comes out of the microwave. The benefit of popping it yourself is that you’re in control of the toppings — what they are and how much. Add a little parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or zesty lime seasoning. Have fun with it!

Black Bean Salad and Tortilla Chips

11. Black Bean Salad and Tortilla Chips. Keeping a batch of black bean salad in the fridge is a great way to spice up salads, rice, and other side dishes throughout the week. It’s also wonderful as a flavorful and hearty snack on a handful of tortilla chips.

12. Pita with Veggies and Hummus. Cut a small whole wheat pita in half, open up the pocket and spread the inside with hummus. Place mixed greens and sliced veggies inside for a fresh and tasty treat!

For more ideas for how to unwind in your pajamas this winter, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

 

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