Tag Archives: Summer

4 Summer Cocktails You Need to Try

Summer is here in full force which means its patio and picnic time.  Sure you can have beer and wine on-hand for your fun summer activities and get togethers, but there’s something about an icy, fruity cocktail during the warm summer months that just makes the mood perfect! Refreshing and delicious, these cocktail recipes will be the perfect addition to any event you have planned.

  1. Rainbow Sangria. A beautiful and colorful cocktail that not only looks pretty and tastes great, but as a bonus, you also get a full serving of nutritious fruit in every glass. We found this recipe at Delish.com.

Ingredients

 

1 1/2 Bottles Moscato – chilled

1/2 c. Triple Sec

Juice of 3 limes

1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 c. each blackberries & blueberries

6 kiwis, peeled and sliced

2 c. each diced pineapple, diced mango & halved strawberries

Directions

  • In a large pitcher, stir together white wine, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar until combined.
  • In tall glasses, layer blackberries, blueberries, kiwis, pineapple, mango, and strawberries.
  • Pour wine mixture over fruit and serve.
  1. Kentucky Lemonade. Nothing says summer like a refreshing glass of lemonade. This recipe takes this favorite hot weather staple and gives it a new twist. This recipe courtesy of The Chunky Chef is simple to make and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Kentucky Lemonade

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from approximately 6 lemons)

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2-2/3 cup Bourbon (depending on your tastes)

6 cups ginger ale

additional lemon slices (for garnish)

 

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water and heat over MED heat.  Heat until sugar dissolves into water and mixture is clear.  Simmer 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add lemon juice, mint leaves, and Bourbon, then let mixture cool.
  • Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher to remove solid particles and mint leaves.  Add ginger ale and stir to combine.  Add ice and lemon slices and serve cold.
  • To serve as pictured:  Add a bit of water, lemon juice or light corn syrup to a shallow plate.  To another shallow plate, add coarse white sugar.  Dip the open end of glasses onto the liquid plate, then onto the sugar plate to create the sugar rim.  Serve drink over ice cubes, garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of mint.

 

  1. Island Breeze Cocktail. If your summer plans don’t involve heading to a tropical island, this cocktail form Crazy for Crust is the next best thing. With just a few ingredients you can make it either as a single drink or as a punch if you need a big batch for a picnic. Minus the palm trees, it’s just like you’re really there!

Island Breeze

Ingredients

To make one cocktail:

1-2 ounces vodka

6 ounces pineapple juice

Splash of cranberry juice

Pineapple and a maraschino cherry for garnish optional

To make as a punch:

36 ounces pineapple juice

12 ounces vodka more or less depending on how strong you want it

1/2 cup cranberry juice

Up to 1L Sparkling water or diet lemon-lime soda as a filler

 

Instructions

  • Pour all ingredients over ice, stir, and enjoy!

 

  1. Strawberry Mojito. With fresh Strawberries at peak flavor this time of year, you’ll get the feeling that you’re right there in the patch picking handfuls of juicy berries. Add a little rum, mint, and a few other ingredients and you’ll have the coolest, most refreshing beverage you could ever imagine. Thank you to the folks at Allrecipes for this one!

Strawberry Mojito

Ingredients

2 tablespoons white sugar, for rimming

2 large limes, quartered

½ bunch mint leaves

7 eaches strawberries, quartered

1 cup white sugar

1 cup white rum

2 cups club soda

8 cups ice cubes

 

Instructions

  • Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sugar onto a small, shallow plate. Run one of the lime quarters around the rim of each cocktail glass, then dip the glasses into the sugar to rim; set aside.
  • Squeeze all of the lime quarters into a sturdy glass pitcher. Toss the juiced limes into the pitcher along with the mint, strawberries, and 1 cup of sugar. Crush the fruits together with a muddler to release the juices from the strawberries and the oil from the mint leaves. Stir in the rum and club soda until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the sugared glasses over ice cubes to serve.

 

They say we’re in for a hot summer, but we know you’ll keep cool with these tasty concoctions. We sure will! If you have other cocktail recipes we need to know about, feel free to tell us about them here or share them with our community over on Facebook.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Staycation Ideas

Memorial Day, first and foremost, is the time we remember the heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s also an extra-long weekend where we spend quality time with family and friends to celebrate the official start of summer. Typically this holiday weekend is spent enjoying cookouts, parades, beach parties, and other celebrations that involve large gatherings. This year however, things will look dramatically different due to social distancing practices.

Although all our states are now open to one degree or another, everyone is still being encouraged to stay home whenever possible and limit the number of people we come in contact with. Because of this, folks are looking for ways to still enjoy the holiday weekend in a toned-down way.  We have some fabulous ideas, sure to keep the spirit of the weekend alive and well.

1. Sleep in. To make sure you are refreshed and ready to enjoy all your planned activities, you’ll need to be well-rested. Sleeping in – even an extra hour will assure that you are re-energized for all the fun.

2. Have a down-sized cookout: Memorial Day weekend just isn’t complete until you fire up the grill. You can set up yard games like cornhole or lawn Jenga and spend the day playing games, enjoying terrific food, and getting fresh air.

3. Go to a concert – virtually. The National Memorial Day Concert is being broadcast on PBS on Sunday night at 8pm EDT. The concert will stream from various locations around the country and feature performances and tributes honoring our veterans and troops. It features performances from artists such as Trace Adkins, CeCe Winans, Kelli O-Hara, and more.

 4. Build a campfire: Roast hot dogs and marshmallows, tell stories, and play campfire games for a good old fashioned summer tradition.

5. Do nothing. You read that right. Use the weekend to just relax, gather your thoughts, and enjoy the beautiful weather. There’s nothing we enjoy more than unplugging and taking as early afternoon nap in our favorite lawn chair or hammock.

6.Make your own paper poppies: After World War I, the red field poppy was one of the first plants to flourish in the battlefields of France & Belgium. The color also symbolized the bloodshed of the battles, after the publication of the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines. Today, paper poppies, which are all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, are distributed on Memorial Day weekend as a symbol of remembrance. This simple tutorial outlines how you can make your own poppies right at home. We love the idea of crafting them yourselves then donating money to your local VFW to continue supporting their mission.

7. Have a neighborhood parade: Get the neighbors together and plan a parade for your street or block. Kids can decorate floats and show their handiwork while everyone watches from their respective driveways or yards. It’s a great way to lift people’s spirits and get outside for some fun.

8. Make care packages for soldiers: While you are enjoying your uber long holiday weekend, soldiers are on the front line protecting our country. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude hold several events during Memorial Day weekend and are ready and waiting to collect your donations to send to our men and women serving in the armed forces. You can also check with your local chapter of veteran’s affiliations to find out what items they need and how you can get your care package to an appreciative soldier.

9. Decorate in Red, White & Blue. Nothing shows patriotism more than displaying our national colors. Fly the American flag, make ‘Thank you’ signs  for your front yard, decorate your driveway in red, white & blue in chalk art, and deck your home out with other arts and crafts to show your support for the good old U.S.A. This weekend is a good time to thank our first responders, care givers, doctors and nurses.

10. Bake festive treats. Baking can bring families together and the results are always delicious. Whip up some yummy treats for the family and decorate them in red, white & blue for the theme of the weekend.

Your Memorial Day weekend may be a bit more low-key than what you are used to but that doesn’t mean you can’t make everlasting memories, have fun, and spend time remembering what the day is all about.

We’d love to hear about your plans for the holiday. Share them below or visit our page on Facebook and share them with our community.

 

Happy Memorial Day!

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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.

Munki Munki Travel Collection Pajamas

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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.

Munki Munki Blue Pajama Set

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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15 Summer Boredom Busters for Kids

15 Summer Boredom Busters for Kids

“I’m bored!” says every child three days into their summer vacation. While it’s not our job as parents to be cruise directors, here we offer alternatives to the default response of “Go outside and play!” Unlike elaborate Pinterest-inspired activities, we tried to keep this list to activities that most children could do without too much adult intervention. Of course, please use your best judgement when selecting activities that are both safe and age appropriate for your kiddos!

Screen-Free Summer Activities for Kids

1. Water Balloon Fight

Why a water balloon fight vs. a squirt gun fight? Time! The kids will have a blast filling and making the balloons… which also incidentally kills more time. If you’re worried about clean up and the environment, know that you can find biodegradable water balloons — 500 for less than $10!

2. Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course

Have your kids devise an “obstacle course” with sidewalk chalk. It could be one that they skip, hop, and jump through or use with their bikes, trikes, or scooters. This activity is a great way to get them to use their imagination and get some exercise!

3. Sprinkler Fun!

Sprinklers are a classic summer boredom buster for kids! A great alternative to splashing in a pool, running through a sprinkler will amuse your kids for hours, especially when you combine the activity with others like water balloons and squirt guns. Inexpensive and quick to set up, apart from supervision, this activity takes minimal effort.

4. Sun Tea

Sun tea is a quick and easy activity that is especially amusing for the younger set. Select a tea with a vibrant color, preferably a fruit tea, like passionfruit, peach, or mango. Place several of the bags in a large, clear, glass pitcher or mason jar for a big batch. Fill it up with water and set it in the sun to “brew.” After an hour of playing, the kids will return to find a brightly colored pitcher of tea waiting for them — made by the sun!

5. Plant and Bird Identification

Plant identification is a great activity for younger children who are excited about reading and science. Give them a plant or bird guide that is specific to their region and encourage them to find and identify different birds, flowers, shrubs, or trees in either their backyard or a local park. Increase the “science” factor by giving them magnifying glasses or binoculars to examine their finds with more detail!

Summer Boredom Busters for Kids

Can’t go camping without the right gear! We love these matching Lazy One flapjacks!

6. Backyard Camping

Can’t drive out to the wilderness for the weekend? Camp in the backyard! Have the kids set up a tent, wear their favorite pajamas, and sleep outside in the great outdoors. Even if they’re not keen on spending the night outside, they’ll have a blast pretending to camp all day long. Perfect for kids who enjoy imaginative play.

7. Nerf Blaster Target Practice

If your kids love Nerf blasters, set up “target practice” outside. Give them plastic cups to stack and knock over. Another option is to have them draw and hang paper targets. If they’re of the age where they enjoy competition, encourage them to keep score and practice their math skills while they’re at it!

8. Dominoes

Another old school rainy day classic, find dominoes and teach your kids how to set up trails of falling dominoes. Look at YouTube videos of dominoes falling to get inspiration for epic examples of what people have created. Take videos of the final result and maybe post it on the web for other domino enthusiasts to enjoy!

9. Make Popsicles

Popsicle molds are pretty common these days and can purchased on Amazon or in stores like Target or Walmart. While there are a lot of “recipes” for popsicles that involve fresh fruit and a blender, simplify the activity by purchasing an armful of fruit juices. Have kids combine their favorite juices into fun new flavors!

10. Crayon Rubbings

Send your kids outside with pad of paper and a box of crayons. Show them how they can make “rubbings” of their favorite leaves and flowers to create fun and original artwork. Simply place the leave under a piece of paper and lightly add pressure with the crayon to create an imprint of what is beneath. Works best when you take the wrapping off the crayon and rub lengthwise.

11. No-Bake Baking

It’s too hot outside to turn on the oven! Search the web for “no-bake desserts.” Since these recipes don’t involve an oven, they’re often easier for younger children to make from start to finish. Great for building kitchen skills and confidence!

12. Make Collages

Drawing, coloring, and painting are a great way to pass the time. If you have a lot of magazines and junk mail, give the kids some age-appropriate scissors (or help them cut!) and encourage them to enhance their artwork by collaging.

13. Squirt Gun Painting

Using squirt guns, water, and food coloring, your kids can make paintings outside. Set up large pads of paper at a distance and fill various water guns with different colored water. Let them fire away and create!

14. Water Xylophone

Fill several tall glasses with various amounts of water. Using a spoon, tap each glass. Show your kids how filling the glasses with more or less water creates a different sound. This is a fun way to experiment with music in your kitchen!

Summer Boredom Busters for Kids

This goldfish pajama set from Munki Munki is perfect for playing in pillow fort!

15. Living Room Fort

In many regions, summer has no shortage of rainy days! When your kids are trapped inside, let them build the living room fort of their dreams: no chairs, bedding, or pillows are off-limits! They’ll have a blast building the cozy castle of their dreams. Later that night, host a family pajama party in their “new home inside of home.”

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

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9 Surprising Things That Are ‘Made in America’

The Fourth of July is right around the corner! Celebrate America’s Independence Day with these fun ‘Made in America’ facts. Contrary to popular belief, there are many, many brands and products that are still manufactured right here in the good ol’ US of A. As an informed consumer, it’s a good idea to understand where the products you purchase come from and who they support. Take a look at the list below — we’re sure some of these brand names will surprise you!

Daisy Alexander Pajamas are Made in America

Daisy Alexander pajamas are Made in America.

Products You Never Knew Were ‘Made in the USA’

1. Crayola Crayons (and everything else!)

The crayons that you grew up with and love are still made in the USA. Crayola has expanded into thousands of other kid-inspired art supplies that go way beyond washable crayons, markers, and pencils. However, the company is still known for its iconic crayons — and Crayola certainly makes a lot! Crayola makes 650 crayons per minute and over 13.5 million each day!

2. Duraflame Logs

If you don’t have a fireplace or go camping, you might not know this, but Duraflame is the household name in the firelog market (yes… there is a firelog market). These handy logs are great for those of us who want to enjoy the warmth and beauty of a crackling fire without all the kindling, shredded newspaper, and sooty hands. Duraflame’s manufacturing plants in California and Kentucky employ 200 Americans, who make 14,000 miles of firelogs each year!

3. Post-Its

Post-Its that you buy in the US and Japan are 100% ‘Made in America.’ In fact, the Post-It became so popular that in 1985 3M, the company who owns the Post-It brand, ceased manufacturing copiers and overhead projectors to become the chief manufacturing plant for sticky notepads — talk about going all in! Today 3M sells more than 4,000 unique Post-It products in over 120 countries and employs over 35,000 people.

4. Pyrex Glassware

Corning, based in Corning, New York, started making Pyrex nearly 100 years ago. When the company sold Pyrex to another corporation in 1998, many feared that the American product would be manufactured overseas. Much to everyone’s surprise, World Kitchen ensured that Pyrex oven-safe glassware would continue to be manufactured in the same Pennsylvania plant where the product has been created since the 1940s.

The Cat's Pajamas Made in USA

The Cat’s Pajamas has been making products in the USA for two decades.

5. The Cat’s Pajamas

For 20 years, The Cat’s Pajamas, an eclectic California-based pajama company, has been making their fun and luxurious pima cotton PJs in the USA and shipping them around the world. Proudly “California Top to Bottom,” the company’s designers, textile artists, and the people who sew every stitch are based in California.

6. KitchenAid Mixers

Yes, the most iconic American kitchen appliance is still 100% manufactured in America. KitchenAid Mixers were known for their signature cherry-red hue, but are now manufactured in a rainbow of colors and shipped around the globe. The product has been made in the same Greenville, Ohio plant since 1941. The plant employs over 700 people and can turn out up to 7,000 mixers per day!

7. Sub-Zero Refrigerators

Another kitchen mainstay, especially in luxury homes, the Sub-Zero Refrigerator has been manufactured in Madison, Wisconsin since 1945. Since Wolf Appliance acquired the family-owned business, they kept the plant in Wisconsin and opened up two more in Kentucky, employing 1,000 more people!

8. Wilson Footballs

Does this get any more American? Wilson footballs, the American football, still makes its leather game balls at a dedicated facility in Ada, Ohio. The facility makes 700,000 footballs per year — all by hand! Wilson is the official game ball supplier to the NFL. Something to think about as your throwing a ball around during your Fourth of July barbeque!

BedHead Pajamas Made in America

BedHead pajamas have been made in California for 20 years.

9. BedHead Pajamas

Another 20-year old brand, BedHead pajamas founder Renee Claire has been personally designing each collection for the company since its inception. 100% made in the USA, BedHead pajamas are designed and sewn in California. The brand is fun, flirty, and relaxed. A perfect embodiment of the laid-back Cali lifestyle.

All of us at The Pajama Company wish you and your family a safe and happy Fourth of July! 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, summer recipes, or fun gift ideas, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Pajamas Made In America

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What to Wear Camping

11 Must-Have Summer ‘Glamping’ Essentials

“We should go camping!” exclaims your friend / roommate / significant other and before you know it (before you’ve had your coffee) you shout, “YES! We should TOTALLY go camping!” Three clicks and a rental car later, you made plans to spend the weekend in the great outdoors.

Sleeping under the stars… or on the ground in a hot tent surrounded by bugs… isn’t for everyone, but glamping certainly is. Glamping is short for “glamorous camping” and the concept inspires even the most hardened indoor cats to venture into the wilderness. The idea behind glamping is to make the experience as relaxing and restorative as a night in a hotel. Here’s how.

11 Must-Have Summer Glamping Essentials

Turn Camping into ‘Glamping’ with the Right Gear

1. Effective “Dry” Insect Repellent

If you’re not a fan of the outdoors, this is not the time to try an “all natural” bug spray made of essential oils and unicorn tears. This is the time to stock up on products like OFF! Deep Woods Dry. Bug spray may not sound like “glamping” gear, but the less time you spend tending to mosquito bites and swatting at gnats, the more time you spend enjoying the outdoors. Dry repellents last for 8 hours, aren’t greasy like typical sprays, and are safe to use on your clothing and tents! Make your weekend a bug-free zone.

2. Starter Logs

It’s cute that your partner wants to show you how they learned to make a fire in Scouts over 20 years ago… but on the off chance they’re a little rusty, pack starter logs. Starter logs will have you enjoying perfectly toasted marshmallows in a matter of minutes. Brands like Enviro-Log are safe for the environment and burn clean without all the chemicals.

3. “Fold and Go” Propane Camping Grill

You won’t want to start a bonfire every time you want to enjoy a hot meal. Make mealtime easier with an inexpensive, lightweight “fold and go” propane grill. They pack away neatly, are easy to carry in a backpack, and simple to clean and maintain. These grills are the difference between eating a granola bar for breakfast or savoring a hearty meal of bacon and eggs.

4. Reliable Cooler for the Champagne

With the right cooler or ice chest, you can keep food cold for up to 4 days! Don’t limit yourself to canned food, dry goods, and water. Pack your favorite meats, cheeses, and beverages and enjoy them all at a refreshing temperature. You can’t go glamping without the mimosas!

Light Summer Pajamas

It’s heating up! We adore this cotton pajama set from The Cat’s Pajamas.

5. The Perfect Camping Pajamas

You won’t feel glamorous sliding into your sleeping bag wearing the the same T-shirt you’ve been wearing all day, smelling of sweat and bug spray. Drift off to sleep in a silky, lightweight pajama set that will breathe through even the most humid summer nights. Check out our most popular light, breezy summer pajama sets for inspiration.

6. Air Mattress, Blankets, and Plenty of Pillows

Even the cushiest sleeping bag won’t save your spine from the uneven dirt floor beneath your tent. Splurge on a battery-operated pump for an air mattress. Go ahead and bring sheets, blankets, and plenty of indoor and outdoor pillows to turn your tent into a cozy den of comfort. Don’t forget LED-powered lanterns and battery-operated fans for an extra-luxurious experience.

7. Dry Shampoo and Other Creature Comforts

If your campsite is especially “rustic,” you’re going to need to pack basic creature comforts to live your glamping dream. If there is no running water, bring plenty of moist wipes to freshen up between deodorant applications. Wash your hair with a luxurious dry shampoo before bed, so you can hit your pillow with that “fresh blowout” feeling.

Give a Bathrobe and an At-Home Spa Day for the Holidays 2017

Kashwere Super Soft Shawl Collared Robe

8. A Plush, Luxurious Bathrobe

Even without running water, you can feel instantly cozy in the soft, cocoon-like arms of a high-end bathrobe. Wrap up in your robe at the end of the day, while you read in your tent. Be comfortable during cool early mornings, snug in your robe, sipping coffee brewed over an open flame. The perfect bathrobe instantly elevates any outdoor experience from camping to “glamping.”

9. Entertainment of Every Kind

We know, we know. You’re outdoors, so you should be stargazing and hiking and frolicking in fields with fawns and singing birds… but two or three days in the woods can get a little dull. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a fully charged tablet and watching a movie in the comfort of your pillow-stuffed tent. Of course, bring plenty of board games, card games, books, or magazines for non-electronic entertainment too!

10. The Hammock

Can you really call it “glamping” without a hammock? Don’t forget this absolutely essential piece of glamping equipment. Hammocks are the best way to lounge outdoors. They are easily packed and easily installed between two trees at any campsite. You can even find folding hammocks that pop up independently, without screwing bolts into trees.

11. Elevated S’Mores

We have nothing against Hershey’s, but if you want to take your camping experience from rustic to elegant, start with the s’mores. Instead of the standard Hershey’s milk chocolate, try incorporating bars of artisan chocolate with your graham crackers and toasted marshmallows. Artisanal chocolates come in flavors like candied orange peel, spiced chili, cinnamon, and lavender. This is a simple way to add a touch of luxury to any gathering around a bonfire.

For more ideas for outdoor fun for the whole family, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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How to Travel with Your Dog

How to Plan a Summer Getaway with Your Dog

Jetsetting is great for our health! In fact, getaways have many of the same health benefits as doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles. When we travel our brain is actively engaged, taking in all the new sights and sounds. While our brains our active, our bodies remain relaxed because they are physically removed from potentially stressful environments and routines. The result is more brain power and reduced blood pressure.

Everyone enjoys breaking their routine and getting out of town for the weekend — including your pup. This summer, pack him up and hit the open road together! If you think that traveling with your dog would be a huge hassle, you’d be wrong. More and more businesses are updating their policies to include the most loyal member of the family. Here’s how to plan the perfect weekend getaway with your best friend.

Puppy Love: Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

1. Pre-book dog-friendly accommodations.

When you’re traveling with your pooch, you don’t have to limit yourself to campgrounds or make the little guy to sleep in the car. Nowadays, virtually every hotel chain has a pet policy. Many hotels, like Marriott for example, will charge a small fee — $50 to $100 — to let your dog crash in the room with you. Before booking, call ahead to double-check to make sure that your buddy is welcome. Snuggle up in your favorite pajamas and let him sleep at the foot of your bed in the lap of luxury!

2. Make sure he has space to rest.

Some people are the “backpack and go!” travelers and others are the “everything but the kitchen sink” type. Whichever end of the spectrum you’re on, remember to make sure that your dog has plenty of space to stand up or lay down especially during a long car ride. Secure stacked baggage with bungee cords, to ensure Fido doesn’t get smooshed! An uncomfortable pup is an unhappy travel companion. So roll that window down and let him enjoy the ride!

3. Prepare for frequent stops.

You and your dog both need to stop and stretch your legs during a longer trip. Stop at least once for every two hours of driving. Whether it’s a pee break, a snack break, or a stop to briefly stretch your legs, getting to stand on solid ground will prevent your dog from getting stressed in the car. Bring plenty of water and let your dog take a drink during these breaks so he can stay happy, healthy, and hydrated!

Dog Pajamas, PJ Salvage, Traveling with Dogs

Unwind in this fun ‘Life’s Ruff’ pajama set from PJ Salvage.

4. Don’t forget his favorite kibble!

When you’re packing, bring his favorite brand of dog food along with you. While it would be easy to pick up a bag at your destination, you want to stay consistent with his feedings. Traveling in a car and staying in a hotel is not the optimal time for puppy tummy troubles… and you could wind up spending your days scrubbing car and hotel carpets instead of enjoying the great outdoors!

5. Research pet-friendly activities in advance.

Flying by the seat of your pants is a fun way travel, but when you have a pooch — especially if you’re driving to a more urban environment — you’re going to want to plan ahead. Run a quick search of hikes, parks, beaches, tours, and restaurants that will your dog participate. You don’t have to bring him everywhere, but it’s nice to know that you have options if you think he’s spending too much time lounging all day in a king-sized hotel bed (poor baby).

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

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Rainy Day BBQ Recipes for the Oven

Rain or Shine: BBQ Recipes for the Oven or Grill

Barbecue season has officially arrived! What’s more American than grilling up thick juicy cuts of meat in the great outdoors? The key to hosting a stress-free outdoor bash is to create a backup plan for a rainy day. Unexpected showers are frequent during these temperamental spring-to-summer days and sudden thunderstorms are common in the thick of summer. Rained out barbecues are stressful for a number of reasons, the primary concern being: what the heck are you going to do with all that food?!

Take the pressure off your party planning and have oven-friendly barbecue recipes on hand. If you can move your party indoors or safely tuck your crowd under a tent, you can “party on” even if your grill is out of play. These are our favorite oven-friendly barbecue recipes that can easily be thrown on a grill if the weather lets up!

6 Oven-Friendly Barbecue Recipes for a Rainy Day

Moist Oven BBQ Chicken for a Rainy Day

Super Moist Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken by Heather Likes Food

1. Super Moist Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken by Heather Likes Food

This recipe delivers as promised: chicken so tender you could cut it with a fork and all that smoky BBQ flavor your guests are craving — minus the grill. The secret to Heather’s recipe is the killer overnight marinade. Just be sure you don’t marinade for more than 24 hours! Chicken has a sweet spot and the meat could get a little funky. If the sun decides to make an appearance you can easily change course and throw this flavor-packed meat on the grill instead. Get the full recipe from Heather Likes Food here.

Oven-Baked BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Baked BBQ Baby Back Ribs by AllRecipes

2. Baked BBQ Baby Back Ribs by AllRecipes

We’re talking fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth delicious pork ribs straight from the oven. Rain shouldn’t mean that you let all that flavor go to waste! The ground chipotle pepper is the key ingredient in this keeper from AllRecipes. Chipotle peppers have a smoky taste, so even from the oven the meat will taste like it was served fresh off the grill. Get the full recipe from AllRecipes here.

Juicy Oven Steak for a Rainy Day

Juicy Oven Steak by Weary Chef

3. Juicy Oven Steak by Weary Chef

Making steak in an oven sound sacrilegious, but when you’re without a grill and you have to feed a crowd: a host’s gotta do what a host’s gotta do. You can’t go wrong with this tasty steak recipe from Weary Chef. The beef comes out far more tender than it would from a grill and you can easily knock out multiple servings at once. Keep in mind with all of these recipes that the meat needs to rest for a period of 30 minutes before serving, so that gives you plenty of time to move various dishes in and out of the oven. Get the full recipe from Weary Chef here.

Garlic Shrimp Kabobs for a Rainy Day

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs by Damn Delicious

4. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs by Damn Delicious

We are huge fans of Damn Delicious over here and you will probably find one Chungah’s recipes in practically every food post from Pajama Company! If your barbecue is rained out and you have an ungodly amount of expensive jumbo shrimp burning a hole in your fridge, fear not! These flavor-packed Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs are roasted in the oven to perfection. The best part is that they can be served up in a flash in between other oven-barbecue dishes like chicken or steak. If the weather clears up, just throw them on the grill! This recipe is super versatile. Get the full recipe from Damn Delicious here.

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Oven for a Rainy Day

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Oven by Taste of Southern

5. BBQ Pulled Pork in the Oven by Taste of Southern

Were you planning on firing up the smoker this weekend only to have rain ruin your plans? Slow cook that Boston butt in your oven with this delicious pulled pork recipe from Taste of Southern. The recipe includes a homemade dry rub called “Steves Butt Rub” — and you if you can’t get behind that… What we love most about this recipe is that it pleases both sides of the BBQ fence by including a recipe for homemade “NC Eastern Style Vinegar-Based Sauce.” Pull out the sliders and keep the party going. Get the full recipe from Taste of Southern here.

Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks for a rainy day

Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks by Sweet C Designs

6. Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks by Sweet C Designs

Arguably everyone’s favorite: smoky, juicy, crispy drumsticks fresh off the grill. If Mother Nature has other plans for your barbecue menu, don’t panic! This simple recipe from Sweet C Designs will give you the juicy flavor packed chicken with a to-die-for crunchy crust — fresh from the oven. This recipe is loaded with BBQ-in-the-oven pro tips (“Don’t rush the magic!”) that you can apply to the other dishes on this list. Get the full recipe from Sweet C Designs here.

We hope you enjoy these recipes! 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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