Scrumptious Chocolate Treats

February 10, 2016
recipes

Scrumptious Chocolate Treats

 

Of course we love Valentine’s Day for the love in the air, but we also adore it because of the all delicious chocolate! And we have good news: You don’t have to go to the store to buy scrumptious chocolate treats—you can make fabulous chocolate desserts right in your own kitchen.

We’ve rounded up six of the tastiest, decadent, and easy-to-make chocolate treats to help you make this holiday extra delicious.

One. These mini triple chocolate cheesecakes are triple the chocolate! You really can’t get much better than that, chocolate lovers. Plus, these little bite sized servings make it easy to indulge in them for days after, without the mess and inconvenience of a whole cake!

Two. Why didn’t we ever think of chocolate tacos?! These chocolate tacos look absolutely scrumptious. The fun part is you can fill them with whatever you like, but this version with vanilla ice cream and strawberries looks perfect.

Three. When you have to wrap a present, why not make the wrapping paper out of chocolate? We love this homemade chocolate box! You can fill it with other food, or with presents, or goodies. The possibilities are endless!

Four. We’re obsessed with this elegant dark chocolate pizzelle. It’s a gorgeous dessert, and it also has so many different uses! You can use this pizzelle as a cannoli shell, as the top and bottom of a cookie sandwich, or just as an addition to a beautiful cookie basket.

Five. This strawberry chocolate tart is no bake! That means that we can make a delicious dessert even if we’re not great in the kitchen or if we don’t have a lot of time to spare. We love how pretty this dessert is, without having to put too much effort into making it.

Six. Sometimes the little ones want to help you in the kitchen, right? This chocolate raspberry bark is perfect for your children to help you with! You can make any shape you want, as long as you have the cookie cutter for it!

We hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! And, of course, lots of love, too! We know that these desserts are the perfect way to show someone you love that you care about them, and that you think they’re as sweet as the treat you make them!

Creating a Home Filled with Love

February 8, 2016
family

Creating a Home Filled With Love

 

February is a month about love. And we love to talk about love! But we’re not just talking about Hallmark cards and heart-shaped candy. What we like to focus on is creating an entire home full of love.

It can start with the love and respect we share with our spouse. Children will witness that love and know that it trickles down to them, too. A strong partnership provides the solid foundation on which your house of love is built.

We strive to create a feeling of love throughout our home. One way is gathering around the dining room table to share a fresh, home-cooked meal. We put away the cell phones, turn off the television and turn to one another for heartfelt conversation. These quiet simple moments let our children know that we are there to support them, and will always lend an ear or provide a shoulder to cry on. Being present is a simple yet powerful show of love.

And how about loving those babies? With their tiny toes, innocent wonder, and sweet eyes we just cannot get enough of them! When we are caring for our little ones, they feel our love in amazing ways. Every snuggle, smile, and cuddle sends love to our baby. We know they can feel it even if they can’t tell us directly – we hear it in every coo.

We show our house is full of love in so many other ways. Welcoming in guests, hanging up preschool drawings next to beautiful pieces of art, being truly present with all that we do.

We believe in the beautiful saying, “Home is where the heart is.” During this month of love, we encourage you to focus on all the little things that say love in your home.

Here’s to filling your beautiful home with your own brand of love!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Martin Photography

Lovely Valentine’s Day Cookie Recipes

February 4, 2016
recipes

Valentine's Day Cookie Recipes

 

We love spoiling our hubbies and kids on Valentine’s Day by showering them with love! Valentine’s Day is one of our favorite holidays, since we really put a focus on love, and we love love! We’re smitten with the gorgeous red and pink decorations everywhere, and how much everyone truly appreciates and spoils their loved ones.

One sweet way to truly spoil your loves, and to make this a really special holiday, is to make them some tasty treats! We’ve rounded up six of the most delicious Valentine’s Day cookie recipes out there.

One. These heart shortbread cookies are absolutely stunning! Shortbread is such a delicious, but not overpoweringly sweet, dessert! We love how they formed the hearts in the frosting.

Two. We don’t really have words for how good these cookies look! Red velvet and cream cheese?! These red velvet cream cheese thumbprint cookies are the perfect treat to indulge in on Valentine’s Day.

Three. We just love macaroons. We especially love them when they’re heart shaped and pink! Looking for a different dessert to celebrate the holiday of love? These macaroons do the trick.

Four. We’re so in love with these simple Valentine’s Day cookie sticks. They’re easy to make, scrumptious, and super cute. We think this is the perfect dessert to hand out to neighbors!

Five. These Hershey kiss cookies are perfect to make with your little ones. The dough is easy to make, and you can have a variety of sprinkles for your kids to decorate their own cookies!

Six. For our readers with a serious sweet tooth, and for those who love cookie dough as much as we do, you’re going to be obsessed with these chocolate cookie dough cookies.

No matter what you choose to make, or how you decide to celebrate, we hope that your Valentine’s Day is surrounded with plenty of love, happiness, and sweetness!

Connecting With Moms Online

January 31, 2016
motherhood

Connecting with Moms Online - Joy of Mom

 

Making new friends as a mom can be tough. Between changing diapers, doing laundry, or making sure everyone’s schoolwork is finished, we don’t really have a lot of time to go out and mingle! Thankfully, the Internet is a wonderful place. There are countless sites to connect with moms online so you can grow and build strong friendships without leaving your home (until you want to!).

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite ways to connect to other moms online, knowing that these are proven ways to make lasting friendships!

Twitter. Connecting with other moms on Twitter is a piece of cake. Twitter features a search bar where you can search “stay at home moms” or just “moms” or any keyword you can think of! Go through the search results, and follow the moms whose tweets really connect with you, or make you laugh, or help you learn something. Once you follow a mom, you can see who else she’s following, because it’s likely she’s following other moms! Follow us too @JoyOfMom!

The Mommies Network. The Mommies Network is an online community of moms that translates into real life! You can look for a chapter in your area and hang out with other moms in your community. This is a great way to meet friends online and have them become in-person friends!

Moms.com. We know that there are so many questions moms need answered, but sometimes you don’t know who to ask those questions to! We get it. That’s why we love Moms.com. This is a platform for moms to ask questions, and for other moms to answer with their experiences. It’s a great place to learn, explore, and meet others!

The Bump. Some of you may have heard of The Knot, which is a popular wedding website. The makers of The Knot also established a website for new and expecting moms, The Bump. What we love about The Bump is that you can really narrow down who you’re trying to connect with. Some of the types of sub-communities that exist on the site are: adoption, infertility, natural birth, toddlers, etc. So no matter what kind of mom you’re looking to connect with, they make it easy to find!

Joy of Mom Facebook Community. You can connect with other moms right in the comment section of the Joy of Mom Facebook community! Every day we have so many moms responding to our posters and blog posts. If you see someone to connect with, just reply to her comment! It’s so easy to connect when you have like-minded interests, like loving your little ones!

We know it can be overwhelming not being able to get out of the house and socialize or make friends as often as you may like. We also know that you love being at home with your littles ones. We hope these resources are a way to bridge the gap of making friends while being able to stay home!

Staying Connected to Friends Without Children

January 29, 2016
motherhood, inspiration

Staying Connected to Friends Without Children

 

We all understand that once you become a mother, your life changes. Your friends without children know it, too. Conversations that used to revolve around going out for a night on the town, new pilates class, or must-read book now are filled with stories about your baby. But we feel it’s important to bridge that gap between your mama friends and non-mama friends.

Between diaper changes, spit-up, and lack of sleep, making – and keeping – plans with friends can be near impossible. But the best way to be a good mother is to take care of yourself, and what better way to accomplish that than with the support of friendship?

Your friends without children may not understand what you’re going through, but a good friend will sit there and listen as you describe every coo, smile, precious moment from your little nugget, and fear you feel you’re not doing it right.

If you make an effort, you can keep the vital ties of friendship as strong as ever. On these essential girlfriend get-togethers, give an update on what’s new with baby, but then pull your focus outward. Ask your friend how she’s doing. You may not have energy for a chatty conversation, but everyone loves – and needs – a good listener! Let your friend talk about everything under the sun as you sip your coffee and try to remain alert.

And don’t forget the critical girlfriend getaways! Leave baby with Dad and take some time off with your gal pals. An hour, an afternoon, or even an overnight at a spa can do wonders for your sanity and reinforce to your girlfriends that they are still a much-needed part of your life.

Our female friendships are so vital to our well-being, so it’s super important to work hard to maintain them. And one day, the childless friend who may be rolling her eyes today at every detail you share about your precious baby, may be turning to you for motherhood wisdom. She will need someone to be there for her – especially someone who has been down the path before her.

So enjoy your time with your precious baby, but keep those ties with friends tight. You never know when you will need a night out, a quick phone call, or a shoulder to cry on. And those friends will be there for you! No matter how tired you may be, go on and call your girlfriends right now, and just listen! They will appreciate it and you can soak in the warmth of a lasting friendship!

Here’s to happy weekend mama with your beautiful family and good friends.

Lovely Laundry Room Hacks

January 22, 2016
links i love

Lovely Laundry Room Hacks

 

I love doing laundry, for as long as I can remember. My friends have always thought I’m crazy and never miss an opportunity to let me know that they’d be happy if I did theirs. There’s a meditative feel to cleaning. Maybe because I’m so busy with work and all things mom that when I clean and organize (and, yes, do laundry) it has a peaceful, calming, centering feeling. It’s turned into a bit of an art form discovering fabulous green cleaning and laundry products. So when I stumbled upon these creative and inspired laundry room tips and hacks, we had to share. In the spirit of friends everywhere, we hope you enjoy these ideas and may they elevate all things laundry for you, too!

One. Ironing boards take up so much space! That’s why we love this DIY ironing board that can go right on top of the dryer. This way, once you take the clothes out, you can iron them right there in the laundry room without having to set up a big ironing board! Brilliant.

Two. If you have the space, these shelves are perfect for laundry room storage! We store so many linens, towels, and clothes in our laundry rooms, and it would be great to have all of this extra storage space!

Three. It’s so frustrating noticing stains on clothes right as you’re throwing them into the washer, so we love this stain station. Keep everything you need to remove stains in a basket right above the washer, and you’ll be less frustrated when you come across a dirty spot!

Four. Laundry baskets are such a hassle to carry, and you can only carry one at a time. I don’t know about you, but we usually have more than one basket of clothes on laundry day! To make this process easier, make a mobile laundry station. This adds a little bit of convenience to laundry day.

Five. Another laundry basket idea we love is this DIY laundry pedestal. There’s usually a lot of unused space above the washer and dryer, so by lifting them up, you create a space underneath for storage. This is a great place to sort laundry!

Six. Creating a one-stop-shop station for everything you need while doing laundry is such a smart idea! We think the lint roller and lint basket are the most useful on this station, but you can add in whatever you use the most.

In my laundry room, I installed a sweet and casual chandelier and found a seaside shabby chic sign that says “laundry.” I put it up about a year ago, and still love seeing it every day! Here’s to happy homekeeping!

Our Fave Natural Infant Toys

January 19, 2016
links i love

Our Fave Natural Infant Toys - Joy of Mom

 

When a tiny baby enters our life, we can think of nothing but keeping him safe. That means that we become hyper-conscious about everything that our babe eats, wears, and plays with. We know that our little one explores by putting everything in her mouth, so being aware of what each toy is made of is a necessity. No one wants their child to be chewing on toys made from harsh chemicals!

That’s why every mama is on a search for the healthiest and most engaging toys for her children. Here are six that we adore:

One. This Organic Crinkle Bunny Ears toy is more than just an ordinary teether. It has super cute bunny ears that crinkle when touched – an engaging detail for your baby! It is made with natural wood and soft organic fabric to ensure that your little one is only exposed to top quality organic materials.

Two. If you have a handy boy or girl in your family, this Tool Box with Tools may be the perfect toy for them. Made with wood and 100% Egyptian organic cotton, it is free of BPA, flame retardants, formaldehyde, fragrance, PVC, and lead. Not only is it safe, but the bright colors make this a visually entertaining gift for small children.

Three. This adorable Lion play mat provides a cozy area for your little one to hang out. Made with 100% organic cotton, this sweet snuggly mat comes with a little monkey rattle for your baby to shake while he explores his surroundings. Soft, comfy, and cute—it even rolls up for easy travel!

Four. This Animal Friends Wooden Book is perfect for young toddlers looking to explore “reading.” Made with birch, non-toxic paints, and leather ties, the book is not only entertaining but also incredibly safe for young mouths and hands. It is the perfect first book for babies and toddlers.

Five. Whether it’s for yourself or a friend, this Better Basics Take Me Home Gift Set provides a variety of sweet, soft items. This set includes a onesie, two swaddle blankets, and a cute stuffed bunny. All are 100% organic and 100% adorable!

Six. A stuffed animal may never leave a baby’s side as she grows, so caring moms want to know it’s made of the very best materials. That’s the case with this Organic Lamb Towel Doll. Made with organic cotton, it’s perfect for nuzzling. It has knots for hands and feet, which are great for chewing as teething begins. Plus, being machine washable, it’s easy to keep it clean and ready for cuddling.

Thinking green while choosing your little one’s toys is luckily easy these days. Let us know on Twitter what your favorite “green” baby toy is.

This is not a sponsored post. I am sharing these products because I adore them and I think you will, too! Sponsored material will always be disclosed.

Supporting Mothers as a Community

January 15, 2016
motherhood

Supporting Mothers as a Community - Joy of Mom

 

Once you become a mother, you are introduced to a whole new world you didn’t know existed. You experience immeasurable depths of unconditional love. You suddenly notice babies everywhere. You learn – like it or not – all about the world of diaper changes and spit-up.

But as your time in motherhood grows, you may begin to notice that there are “camps” of mothering styles. Bottle-feed or breastfeed? Cry it out or co-sleep? Working mom or stay-at-home mom?

And there may become times where you observe a mother doing something that you would “never” do yourself. And little did you know at the time, you will be doing that exact same thing down the road eventually. When it comes to mothering, we should never say never.

So before you join a camp and look down on the other side, we encourage you to view motherhood as a community. We are at our best when we support one another, whether we agree on a parenting style or not.

One thing we can all agree on is that being a mother is hard. There is so much joy and so many wonderful moments in motherhood. But it doesn’t always come easy, and some days are smoother than others. All moms understand this. And no matter how much another mom may look like she has her act together, she has her moments of uncertainty too.

There are so many different ways to approach mothering, but the foundation of it all is love. We all love our babies. We all would do anything for them. We all want the very best for our children, we just may have different ways of achieving that.

We are a community of moms, and with a shared goal of caring for our sweet children. That is enough to bring us together and support a fellow mom.

We think that this brilliant video from Similac addresses the bottom line of what being a mother is all about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me9yrREXOj4

Simple Meals for New Moms to Pin

January 13, 2016
recipes

Simple Recipes for New Moms to Pin - Joy of Mom

 

New moms have three major requirements for each meal that they prepare: it must be simple to make, it must be satisfying, and it must be healthy.

It must be simple because she never knows when her newest little one will need to be fed, changed, or just need a few extra cuddles. Plus, there’s a strong chance that she will need to prepare it one-handed – something every new mom knows all too well.

It must be satisfying because she never knows when she will be able to eat next. Finding the time to prepare and eat a snack just might not be an option.

It must be healthy because she must be 100% at all times. A new mom is doing the most important yet mostdemanding job in the world. She needs every nutrient available to make sure she can give all she can to caring for her new charge.

We found 5 recipes on Pinterest that fit the bill for new moms. Pin them now so that you can find them when you’re running on empty those first days of motherhood.

One. This Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara from Closet Cooking is full of energy-giving protein, vitamins, and flavor! This recipe can be completed in short segments, so that you can step away to attend to your baby between steps. Plus, there will be plenty of leftovers to warm up for meals later in the week.

Two. There’s nothing like a warm cup of soup to give you a moment of ahhh… The savory spices of this Easy Thai Shrimp Soup from Damn Delicious will transport you to some exotic place, while the folate, potassium, and iron replace the nutrients you need after giving birth. Quick and simple, there’s nothing quite like this recipe pin!

Three. Eating your greens as a new mom isn’t just a luxury, and we can’t think of a more scrumptious way to get our fix than with this Green Risotto from A Spicy Perspective. Loaded with spinach, a superfood known for its vitamins, this risotto is the definition of satisfying and healthy. If you love rice, cheese, and fresh herbs, pin this recipe now!

Four. If you can think of nothing easier than throwing ingredients into a crockpot, then this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from Tidy Mom is for you. But this is no ordinary pulled pork. Its combination of sweetness and spiciness will have you coming back for seconds. Pair with this 10-Minute Parmesan Zucchini and Corn Salad, and you have a healthy complete meal.

Five. If salad is more your style, this Roasted Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Salad can’t be beat. This quick and naturally sweet meal is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and protein. It makes a satisfying meal, or a flavorful and healthy side dish. Yum!

There’s nothing more important than new moms staying healthy and energized, and these five meals will definitely do the trick! Find more simply mouthwatering meals to pin on our Pinterest board: Simple + Delish Recipes.

Bon appétit!

Celebrating New Moms

January 11, 2016
motherhood

Celebrating New Moms

 

As we usher in the new year, we are taking time this month to celebrate new moms. We remember those first few precious minutes with our beautiful baby, swaddled and cozy in our arms for the first time. And how the love in our heart grew to lengths we didn’t even know existed.

We cherished every moment, every coo, every flutter of the eyelids as they looked up at us. That first warm feeling of skin-to-skin contact, the instantaneous bond growing.

Minutes turned into months as our precious babies grew before our eyes. Every moment. Every stage. Indescribable joy. Discovering the true color of their eyes, recognizing the meaning in each different cry, learning what makes them smile.

We remember all these precious moments, and we know new moms will treasure them before the whirlwind of life with a baby takes hold. The laundry can wait, the dishes can linger in the sink – what’s most important now is caring for and loving that wonderful new part of your family.

We have all been through our sleepless nights, our unshowered days, our middle of the night cries. Welcome to precious and sacred motherhood.

We wish all the new moms – and all moms – a year of abounding beauty, love, gratitude and joy in the most significant and sacred journey we’ll ever travel: motherhood. And all the best, always, as we celebrate our precious bundles of joy during every beautiful stage!

Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

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