It is getting cold outside quickly! It seems that overnight my 22 month old transitioned from going to bed in a onsie to slip sliding across the floor each morning in his footie pajamas. His bedtime routine for the past few months consists of changing into his pajamas, and reading two books (though he always wants another). Within the last month, after lights out he falls asleep (On his own YAY!) to his Louis Lion Sings Goodnight CD from the Baby Loves Jazz series. Though we don't always follow a set schedule during the day, his books, kisses and hugs at bedtime are something he's come to expect, from both my husband and myself, and he'll readily point out what activity comes next if either of us strays from the routine.
Unfortunately, not all children have these comforting rituals to look forward to at bedtime. The Pajama Program was established precisely to help fill this need.
The Pajama Program provides new pajamas and new books to children in need, many who are waiting and hoping to be adopted. Thousands of the children [they] serve live in orphanages, group homes, and shelters and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime and read to them. Since 2001 [the Pajama Program has provided] more than 430,000 pajamas and 190,000 books to children in need nationwide. -The Pajama Program
The winter is not only the coldest season, but one filled with reminders of friendship, family, love and gift-giving. For those children awaiting a family or who are otherwise estranged from their own, this can be a time when they are feeling loneliest. The gift of Pajamas from the Pajama Program, is often the first pair that any of these children have owned, and they provide warmth and comfort on a number of levels.
For youngsters, new pajamas are a necessary part of promoting good health and preventing infections and disease, as well as providing psychological benefits," says Pajama Program advisory board member Sheldon Cherry, M.D., a clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York's Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.In order to drum up awareness of this organization among your friends/family, host a Spajama Party! This fun and whimsical theme lends itself well to a multi generational event, with the added bonus of involving children in charitable work. Ask guests to come clad in PJs and to bring along a donation of either a new book, new PJs or both. After your party, you can deliver the items that you've collected to your local Pajama Program chapter. November is also National Adoption Month and this party offers a great opportunity to spread the word about the many children who are in need of homes.
Fun & Games
- By suggesting that guests to donate a new copy of their favorite childhood story, you can create an icebreaker discussion topic with no extra work on your part. If there is a group that knows each other well, like family, you can take the idea one step further by creating a game of guessing who brought which book.
- Offer door prizes for the cutest PJs, funniest slippers, etc.
The theme for this party is fittingly Milk & Cookies, which will influence not only the menu but the spa treatments as well. For this party I'd suggest offering guests the products and tools they'll need to complete DIY manicures. Using my Seven S Strategy, I'll break down the things you'll need to pull off your milk-n-cookies manicures.
1. Soak: Plain or Chocolate Milk Bath (see recipe below)
2. Shape: nail clippers, nail files, and orangewood sticks
3. Scrub: Milk & Cookeez makes adorable bath tub cookies that look good enough to eat. Though they are normally immersed in a bathtub, the combination of sea salt, epsom salt, sugar and oils make for an exfoliating scrub if you wet them by dipping them into your milk soak.
4. Slather: You may want to finish your treatments with a more "grown up" scent, because not everyone will want to spend the rest of the evening smelling like a chocolate chip. The WHEREVER Body Cream by Vintage body Spa is a non greasy moisturizer that is well suited for the job. Try it in the sweet yet sophisticated scents of Warm Sugar or Praline Pecan.
5.Slick: your choice of polishes
6. Sanitize: Asking guests to begin their treatments by washing their hands is a good way to cut down on spreading germs, having nail brushes and a cookie scented moisturizing hand soap available at the sink will make this task fit in well with the theme. Most other implements required for a manicure (emery board, orangewood sticks) are inexpensive, disposable and come packaged in quantities making it easy enough for you to provide one per person. Stainless Steel manicure tools, like clippers may be a little harder to come by in bulk, to look for good deals on these visit your local beauty supply or dollar store. Have several clippers on hand and encourage guests to use alcohol wipes between uses. If you do not have enough manicure bowls for each individual, make sure that they are washed between uses. A sanitizing pack from CleanWell is good to have on hand, as it contains a sanitizing spray, wipes, and soap which are all free of harsh chemicals and kid-friendly.
7.Signature: In lieu of the Cookeez, you can encourage your guest to create their own custom manicure by offering them a cookie scented create-your-own scrub bar. Start with the ingredients for a simple sugar scrub which include a carrier oil(s) of your choosing [i.e. olive, sweet almond, jojoba, avocado, or grapeseed oil] and some sugar [brown and/or white table sugar will do just fine]. Purchase a few fragrance oils such as Almond Biscotti, Buttercream &Snickerdoodle, Dark Rich Chocolate, Gingersnap or Orange Mocha from Brambleberry and Easter Cookie or Vanilla Pumpkin from From Nature With Love. You can even provide small containers for guest to take their scrubs home as a favor, if you choose to do so, it is a good idea to also provide vitamin E as a scrub ingredient as it is a natural preservative.
Chocolate Milk Bath
1 cup powdered milk
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, if desired
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Add to running bath water. Makes 1 large bath
You can find recipes for Bath Tub Whoppie Pies, Coco-Lime, and Rainbow Sprinkle tub cookies on the Natural Beauty Workshop blog.
Note: if you are having children attend your event it is a good idea to steer away from products that contain nut oils such as Sweet Almond, as nut allergies have become increasingly prevalent.
During your treatments guests can either enjoy one another's conversation or to set a "bedtime mood" listen to an audiobook. One collection of tales which has made for plenty a bedtime story is the 1,001 Arabian Nights, from which we'd all recognize the story of Aladdin. The Arabian Nights audiobook by Kate Douglas Wiggins and Nora A. Smith, is one that I quite enjoyed listening to, and it is available for download on Itunes. Out of the ten stories included in the book, I'd recommend The Talking Bird, The Singing Tree & The Golden Water and The Story of Ali Baba & The Forty Thieves. Be warned these are not short stories but the storytelling is intriguing and colorful.
If you are planning on having an actual sleepover, pop in a movie, The Princess Bride, and The Neverending Story, and the more recent Bedtime Stories featuring Adam Sandler all fit well with the theme.
For more cookie inspiration, see my previous post Sweet Invitations & Favors.
In the next Spa Party of the Month post, I'll share ideas on how to put together a great spread of edible cookies.
In the meantime feel free to share with the class, what your favorite children's story is.
Your Resident Spashionista!