You Are Who You Eat With

November 30, 2015
family, Uncategorized

You Are Who You Eat With - Joy of Mom

Connection. It’s the most valuable part of a family relationship.

Yet it’s also the first thing to dissolve when we inevitably get busy and distracted. Work demands call our attention. Our older children are busy texting with their friends. Laundry and dishes are a never-ending cycle. We retreat to our phones whenever we get a moment of quiet. We love our family, of course. There is just so much to do.

Then, before we know it, we stop saying what’s important. Our family conversation becomes merely a transfer of information instead of a connection of minds and souls. We suddenly realize that the connection we love is barely there anymore.

Luckily, the Mealtime Movement by Smuckers has been created to combat disconnection and create a connection revolution among families. They declare that “mealtime means taking a moment to enjoy food with humans you care about. And it makes a big difference in how we live and grow.” And we couldn’t agree more.

We love this video that Soul Pancake created for the movement. In the interviews of family members at the beginning, you can see and hear not only the disconnection, but also the longing for a true emotional connection with their family.

The truth of the statement breaks our hearts a little when one of the dads says, “We’re on our phones all the time. It’s really sad.”

Then, when each family sits down to a meal, watches the interviews, and talks…well, we won’t ruin the ending but all we can say is “so many happy tears!”

To learn more about the Mealtime Movement and savoring your time with your family, go to

Delicious Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 27, 2015
links i love, recipes

Delicious Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers


The guests are gone. The dishes are washed. Visions of Black Friday deals dance in your head. But there is still one hurdle that lingers, just like after every Thanksgiving:

What to do with the Thanksgiving leftovers?

Here are some of our favorite recipes that incorporate elements of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner so that you can turn those leftovers into something truly exciting and scrumptious:

One. These Turkey, Smashed Avocado, Cranberry, Brie and Mashed Potato Waffle Melts from Half Baked Harvest are a great way to use up several different Thanksgiving dishes! These flavors complement each other beautifully, and the surprising flavor of the waffle helps this dish take it up a notch.

Two. Why do we always make more mashed potatoes than we need? This Leftover Mashed Potato Quiche from Teacher By Day, Chef By Night, is the perfect solution to your leftover mashed potato problems! Stuffed with eggs, broccoli, and potatoes, this quiche is a family fave.

Three. Don’t just throw away the turkey drippings in the bottom of your pan! Put those drippings to good use by making this Turkey Root Vegetable Soup by The Roasted Root. Loaded with spices, this soup has tons of autumn flavors!

Four. If you’ve never had a Monte Cristo sandwich, this is the perfect time to try one! Using leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, this Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures gives a fun twist to the traditional Monte Cristo sandwich. It’s quick and simple, but definitely not lacking in taste!

Five. Another fabulous use for those mashed potatoes: Homemade Gnocchi! Gnocchi is a great alternative for pasta and can be served with marinara sauce, butter and Parmesan, and pesto sauce. Try this homemade gnocchi from The Art of Doing Stuff.

Six. Perhaps one of the more popular leftover Thanksgiving dishes is turkey pot pie. And rightfully so! Turkey pot pie is a great way to get through of all turkey and your leftover veggies! This turkey pot pie from Damn Delicious is a great recipe to follow!

This year, don’t make yet another turkey sandwich with your leftovers. Give your Thanksgiving dinner a second chance at stardom by using your leftovers in creative (and delicious!) ways.

What Moms Are Thankful For

November 25, 2015
family, inspiration, motherhood

What Moms Are Thankful For - Joy of Mom


As mothers, our to-do lists stretch on over the horizon. Our heads swim with field trip dates and names of our children’s new best friends. We kiss boo-boos while simultaneously fixing dinner and scheduling a doctor appointment.

We just keep going.

That’s why, when Thanksgiving gives us a reason to take a moment and reflect, we eagerly let our brain slow from the constantly flurry of thoughts for just a moment. We think about what we are most grateful for, not only at this time of year, but each and every day.

We start to make a mental list:

  • We are thankful for that moment, just before our child wakes up, when she looks so warm and peaceful. Dreaming of the happiness that will surely find her today.
  • We are thankful for imperfections. How that one big “mistake” wasn’t such a big deal after all, and became yet another loving inside joke to our family’s history.
  • We are thankful for that first cup of coffee in the morning, with the promise that, yes, we can make it through this day, too.
  • We are thankful that we can all be together as a family this year for the holiday. If not in body, then in spirit.
  • We are thankful that our children are growing into loving, kind humans. That they will continue to make this world a better place.
  • We are thankful that we know that even though the world can be scary and unpredictable, we can always find love and support amongst our family and friends.
  • We are thankful for the friends who know us better than we know ourselves. Who can laugh when we share the latest hijinks of our children, and who can be there with a hug when we need to cry.
  • We are thankful for every moment we are able to share with our family. Looking past the hustle and bustle that comes from motherhood, we see a group of people who we can’t imagine life without. Our loves.

In that moment, we are truly thankful for the blessing that is motherhood. We close our eyes, take a deep breath, and say a prayer of gratitude. Because we know that the second we open our eyes again, we just need to keep going.

Elegant Thanksgiving Projects

November 23, 2015

Elegant Thanksgiving Projects - Joy of Mom


We love doing crafts – both on our own and with our kiddos! And we really love homemade projects that are beautiful and exquisite, especially around the holidays. Take some time to indulge or explore your creative side and sprinkle special (and made with love!) DIY around your home for the Thanksgiving season.

Here are some really elegant crafts for your Thanksgiving table!

One. This beautiful leaf bowl from Fab DIY is made using hard drying glue, a balloon, a wedge brush and a lot of beautiful fall leaves. We love the combination of all the fall colors, and bringing nature into the house for a gorgeous decoration!

Two. Another project using leaves is this turkey leaf lantern from Rhythms of Play. These are adorable and would look great on a fall mantle or tablescape!

Three. Wow, this DIY falling leaves garland from House of Jade is stunning! It’s pretty enough to use as a focal decoration, but easy enough that a child could make it!

Four. This DIY Washi Tape Pinecone Turkey from Craftaholics Anonymous would make an adorable place setting at a Thanksgiving table. Using pinecones as the body, and popsicle sticks for the feathers, this craft is such a fun project for your kiddos to do!

Five. With autumn comes a lot of acorns all over your yard! We have a cute solution for your acorn overload. By allowing your children to paint the acorns, you can allow for a lot of creative freedom! Adding these acorns to a basket will make for the perfect fall decoration.

Six. Another painting activities for your little ones! Find leaves in the yard, have your children paint one side of the leaf, and press it onto a notecard. This makes such a beautiful design, and such a thoughtful notecard to send out during the holiday season!

We hope you simply love making these gorgeous crafts either with your family or on your own!

Photo courtesy of Home Stories A to Z

When the Unthinkable Happens

November 20, 2015
inspiration, motherhood

When the Unspeakable Happens - Joy of Mom


What do we say when the world goes crazy? When we want to cry and hide. When we want to shut our eyes.

What do we say when our children ask us why Facebook is plastered with photos of the Eiffel Tower? When they hear the news. When they look into our eyes and see our tears.

When our children leave toddlerhood in their wake, they become an active part of the world and all of the wonders that go along with it. They celebrate our holidays. They begin to understand history. They make an impact with their thoughts, words, and actions.

But they are also a part of our world’s sadder, darker moments. When heartbreak ripples through humanity, they feel it, too.

As parents, our first instinct is to shelter them. To hide them away from the shadows. But for our children to truly appreciate how beauty and love spread and change lives, they also must learn that there is hardship, loss, and imperfection ingrained in us. In life.

When the unspeakable happens, we can always give them a hug, look into their eyes, and tell them…

  • Terrible, terrible things sometimes happen.
  • For every terrible thing that happens, there are hundreds and thousands of people who are joining together to make this world better. To make it safer for everyone. To bring the flowers and candles.
  • We are lucky because we are a family who will always be there for one another. We will always protect each other. And we have the power to make our little piece of the world better every day.
  • Not only that, but we have the power to make it better for everyone else too. By being kind. By giving a hug. By helping a friend. By telling the truth. By standing up for what is right. With that power, we can change the world.

We are all a part of this uncertain world, and together we will make it better. Slowly. Patiently.

Tomorrow will be safer, more peaceful, and more full of light. And it starts with us. All of us. Even…especially…our children.



This post was inspired by this moving video from Upworthy, which has since gone viral. The interaction between the boy and his father is simply beautiful. A must-watch…


When the Unthinkable Happens - Joy of Mom



Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

November 18, 2015
entertainment, recipes

Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts - Joy of Mom


When we gather together with family, time is always precious. And we want it to slow down just a bit to take it all in. Thanksgiving is one of those times. Your mom’s warm smile as you put the finishing touches on a recipe that’s been passed down for generations. Your kids racing to the door to welcome everyone who walks through it. The aroma of your Thanksgiving feast filling your home. And the gratefulness of it all when sitting around the table with your most favorite people in the world.

We wanted to share a few of our favorite healthy and wholesome recipes to share with your family and friends this holiday season.

One. These Chia Seed Peanut Butter Superfood Cookies from Yummy Mummy Kitchen are chock full of nutrition, and gluten free! Filled with peanut butter, oats, and chia seeds, these cookies are guilt-free but definitely delicious enough to serve at Thanksgiving!

Two. There are so many dishes that need to take up space in our ovens for Thanksgiving. We love the idea of a healthy, no-cake dessert! This apple and grape medley from Skinny Taste is filled with crisp apples, delicious grapes and crushed walnuts topped with a sweet creamy sauce.

Three. This pumpkin pie pudding from Popsugar has a secret ingredient: avocadoes! There’s also high-protein silken tofu hidden in the pudding, making this recipe incredibly healthy and nutritional.

Four. Nothing says “fall” and “Thanksgiving” like cranberries! This cranberry-pecan loaf from An Edible Mosaic is paleo! This loaf is grain-free, moist, dense, and absolutely beautiful! The color of the cranberries makes this loaf look irresistible.

Five. Peanut Butter Cups are scrumptious, especially when they’re healthy! These little treats from Dashing Dish are filled with almond milk, low-fat Greek yogurt, protein powder and stevia! All of the taste, with a fraction of the calories.

Six. Want to have the taste of apple pie without having to eat a big slice of sugar? These apple pie oatmeal cookies from Amy’s Healthy Baking are made with whole wheat flour, instant oats, coconut oil, agave, and a whole bunch of other great ingredients! [I checked the link and it works fine for me. What browser are you using? Or are you on your phone?]

This year, when you share that special meal with the ones you love, you will know that you are only giving them the best. The best food, yes, but also the best love, laughter, and gratefulness that this holiday brings.

We wish you and yours a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving season brimming full of family, friends, and new treasured memories!

Staying Happy Through the Holidays

November 13, 2015
inspiration, motherhood

Staying Happy Through the Holidays


With the holidays coming up, there is so much to do: shopping, decorating, hosting family, preparing meals, and more! And all this work can easily create stress. But we have some tips from health and wellness expert Dave Romanelli to help us moms keep our happiness and joy during the holiday season.

If you need help staying positive while you’re staying on top of all the details, here are Dave’s top tips:

Meditation: Dave calls meditation a game-changer when it comes to stress. Meditation helps you work through anxiety and even sleep better at night-and who couldn’t use a great night’s sleep?! He also believes meditation can be light-hearted and fun. Another benefit: “Meditation is amazing for allowing your mind to relax so you can be more present with your kids.”

One-minute hug: Try to take one minute each day and dedicate it to love. Write an email to a family member or call an old friend. Kids are great cuddlers – when you feel the stress overcoming you, stop and hug your child for one full minute. Both your body and mind will relax! And your kids will love it too!

Beautiful, funny, and delicious: Try to find moments in each day that are beautiful, funny, or delicious. This is a great topic to talk about around the dinner table. Use this as a chance for the whole family to remember the special moments of each day so you can focus on the positive.

Vitamin G: Gratitude. When you turn in for the night, instead of letting your mind worry about what you have to do tomorrow, focus on what you were grateful for today. Talk with your spouse about three things that happened that you were grateful for. Dave suggests that you, “Train your mind to be strong, positive, and grateful when it’s otherwise negative or self-doubting.” You will see the benefits so fast!

Embracing imperfections: Don’t strive to do everything perfectly – no one is able to accomplish perfection all the time! Dave says, “The best you can do is show up fully for the people you love.” No one else is expecting perfection from you – they want your presence more than anything. Being there is enough!


Dave Romanelli is a leading health and wellness innovator. He played a pivotal role in the modernization of yoga into mainstream culture. His Yoga + Chocolate, Yoga + Wine, and Yoga for Foodies experiences were featured in The NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Food + Wine, and O Magazine. He is now focusing on the modernization of meditation. In 2013, he launched an online company, Meditate ON, which makes meditation fun, light, and accessible for the whole family.  Dave’s new book Happy is the New Healthy hit the shelves in January and reached #1 on Amazon’s Healthy Living Bestseller list. The book shares secrets and meditations on relaxing, letting go, and enjoying life (not tomorrow) but NOW. Discover more about his journey on Dave lives in New York City.

Amazing Hostess Gifts

November 11, 2015

Amazing Hostess Gifts


Holiday time is upon us. Breaking bread and celebrating with dear friends and loved ones over all the festivities and parties sprinkled throughout the holiday season! As this time of year approaches (every year!), I think of what special hostess gifts I make. There’s something that feels extra special, extra from-the-heart when it’s homemade with love.

Here are some of our fave super cute and really creative hostess gifts! Take a look at this list to see what will meet your hostess’ tastes and show her your gratitude for her hospitality.

One. Potpourri is a lovely way to warm up your friend’s home with the beautiful scents of the season. This winter spice potpourri with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, oranges, and apples from Julie Blanner smells great and is easy to make!

Two. Masons jars filled with fresh herbs is an adorable, but practical, present! Anyone who spends time in their kitchen appreciates fresh herbs. Plus, if you give them herbs with the roots, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. (We love those!)

Three. Sugar scrub is a great way to say “thank you!” This is a way for your hostess to relax and enjoy herself by bringing a little spa time into her home. It’s easy to make sugar scrub: We love this coconut vanilla scrub and this rosemary mint scrub (it even includes free printables for the jars!)

Four. Homemade apple butter is a delicious gift, and is simple to make. Pairing the Harris Sisters’ crockpot apple butter with this “Thankful!” jar topper printable from The 36th Avenue is adorable!

Five. A shower basket is useful and thoughtful! This is also another way to give someone the spa experience, without having to send her to the spa. You can personalize the basket with your fave products. We love this shower kit idea from Design Love Fest.

Six. Who doesn’t love an amazing smelling house?! This simmer-in-a-jar idea is a wonderful alternative to a candle, and more personal. You could give an herb jar, a citrus jar, a spice jar – so many choices! You infuse the ingredients in a jar of water, and your hostess pours the contents into a saucepan and simmers it on low. It’ll make her whole house smell amazing! Here are some fabulous ideas for simmer jars from The Yummy Life.

We love to entertain, so we know all the hard work and love that is poured into hosting a holiday dinner. Show your hostess how much you appreciate her time and effort with these super special gifts. And don’t forget a great big hug!

Espresso Yourself with These DIY Coffee Upgrades

November 5, 2015

girl holding a mug of tea in the autumn park


The air is crisp. The leaves are falling. Now that autumn is fully upon us, we crave something warm and cozy to help us start our day. And nothing fits the bill quite as well as that first delicious sip of a perfect cup of coffee.

Why not take a cue from the warm, spiciness of fall, and add a little something extra to your coffee this morning to make that first moment of the day just a little more perfect?

One. For those with a sweet tooth, adding sugar to your coffee may not be the healthiest. Use a touch of Maple Syrup to sweeten up your morning energy boost while giving it that autumn flavor! The richness of the syrup may make you want to keep this coffee upgrade in your routine long after the last leaf has fallen!

Two. Autumn is all about the spice, and nutmeg is one of our favorites. Putting nutmeg (whether freshly grated or pre-ground) will give your coffee a hint of a gingerbread flavor that we crave. Or double the love – add maple syrup to your coffee and sprinkle it with nutmeg!

Three. Finding ways to sweeten coffee without sugar and processed creamers is so important to us! Adding a few drops of vanilla extract will result in a luxurious flavor, but without the chemicals we hate. You can also add almond extract if you want to try something a little more nutty.

Four. If you like your coffee creamy but want to ditch the dairy, try using coconut or almond milk. Both have very distinct flavors, and they make your coffee even more savory. If you’re a coconut lover or an almond lover, you’ll definitely want to try this.

Five. Getting a little tired of pumpkin, well, everything? (Another pumpkin spiced latte, anyone?!) Why not add a hint of autumn apple to your coffee instead? The coffee site Sprudge gives you tips on how to make an amazing apple syrup.

Six. Cinnamon is used often for tea, but it’s also delicious in coffee! Not only can cinnamon save you a few calories a cup and boost your immune system, it also gives it a deliciously decadent flavor. Either sprinkle your cup with cinnamon or simply brew it with a cinnamon stick!

Make that first moment of the day something amazing and just-for-you with a flavorful cup of coffee that’s just for fall!

Darling DIY: Bringing Fall Home

November 3, 2015

wool acorns


Fall is my favorite season—with Spring as a close second. There is always something magical about the change of seasons, the promise and hope each one brings, and the coziness of it all! As each one ushers in, I love decorating with little reminders that bring the season’s special feelings inside my home.

And I really love DIY! Combine a fresh, new season with DIY projects and I’m all set! There are sooo many ways to bring fall into the home—pumpkins, leaves, acorns, thankfulness. The DIY possibilities are endless. I’ve rounded up a list of some of my favorite autumn DIY projects:

One. This fall centerpiece is gorgeous! Worthing Court utilizes a galvanized tray and overflowing fall goodies. Arrange pumpkins, acorns, candles and other fave fall foliage on a tray.

Two. Decorated porches are so cozy in Fall – they add such warmth and welcome! We love the way that Anderson and Grant painted this rustic crate to express themselves. There are so many different ways to paint this crate that would fit autumn. Get your kiddos together and design a unique one just right for your family!

Three. These felted acorns from Celebrate Creativity are another fun activity for the family. You can use these acorns to decorate centerpieces, mantels, baskets, etc. We love how versatile they are!

Four. This DIY project is easy enough to do for anyone who’s not exceptionally craft savvy, but the results make it look like you’re an expert crafter! Simply Albany walks you through how to make adorable pumpkins from twine and old book pages.

Five. This stunning “Give Thanks” sign from Liz Marie Blog would make the perfect addition to a porch or a living room. Using a wooden board, wooden craft letters, paint and glue, you can create a sign that’s unique to your home.

Fall is such a warm, welcoming season and these projects can bring the spirit of autumn right into your home. Have fun with your family as you design your own style from these sweet and fantastic inspirations!

Photo courtesy of Celebrate Creativity

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