5 Best Sunburn Remedies

August 3, 2015
family, motherhood

5 Best Sunburn Remedies #joyofmom


August is here and the days are already getting starting to get shorter. {Yikes!} With hot days ahead and school just around the corner the kiddos along with many of us want to get out there and soak up the last days of fun in the sun. It’s important to protect ourselves in the sun. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we arrive home to find out that our child is tomato red despite all that slathering of 99 SPF block. This weekend there were photos and stories shared about well known sunburn creams that aren’t working despite the fact that moms are trusting these healthy, organic products. Here our tried and true list of sunburn treatments if your little one has unfortunately experienced too many rays.

*Milk has healing powers and works wonders for a sunburn. Grab some gauze or a soft, washcloth and pour milk in a small bowl. Pour the milk in the bowl and make a cold compress, draining the extra liquid. Put the bowl of milk back in the fridge. Leave the compress in place for at least ten minutes. When it becomes room temperature, dip it into cool milk again and reapply.

*Baking soda is another great home product that will soothe your child’s sun issues. Make a paste using cool water (not cold) and place on sunburned areas. Leave on until the sting of the sunburn has diminished. Wash with cool water.

*Aloe is your best friend during a sunburn. Leave your aloe in the fridge, so it’s extra cool and soothing. You can also keep an aloe plant in the house and extract your own gel. Slit the plant leaves down the middle, but don’t cut through. Spread them flat and place what you extract on the burn. You can do the same thing with the store bought gel.

*Even though it might not be your child’s favorite choice, a bath with two cups of plain rolled oats will help heal burned skin thanks to the polysaccharides in the oatmeal. Grab some fun bath toys and make a tepid or cool bath for your child. The cooler water will also be soothing. Another way: Fill a clean, cotton tube sock with the uncooked oatmeal and cinch off the top. Toss this into a cool bath. Then squeeze out the sock to get all the healing properties into the water. Gently pat dry your child with a soft towel.

*If you’re on a car trip and don’t have time for a bath just head to the nearest grocery store and buy a few cartons of plain yogurt. Packed with enzymes that are true healers, yogurt is a great help. Apply the yogurt directly to the burn area including your child’s face and let it remain for five minutes. Then rinse with cool water. The probiotics also help with the healing. You can reapply this treatment several times throughout the day.

*One thing never to do with a child’s sunburn is run a bubble bath. The soap will dry out the skin and make it hurt more!

Here’s to fully enjoying and cherishing the last days of summer, sans sunburn pain, with your precious family!

Popcorn & Pics: Shaun The Sheep

July 31, 2015
by vicki, family



Just say baaaaa. Mommies can rejoice because there is FINALLY a big screen movie for the little ones. Shaun is the most adorable little sheep and a little brainiac barnyard boo boo who decides to take the day off and have some fun. Of course, our little furry guy gets into way more trouble than he anticipated. He has a major mix up with a farmer and has to climb a very steep hill on his way to a place called the Big City!

Behind The Scenes: Shaun is a British stop-motion film based on the animated TV series and also a spin-off of the hit “Wallace and Gromit” franchise. Shaun in the series has madcap adventures around his farm where he is the leader of his flock. You know this is a quality project because it’s from the legendary Aardman Animations and commissioned by the BBC. If your child falls in love with Shaun, you can order the seasons on Amazon.

Fun Fact: The series even has its own spin-off called “Timmy Time” starring Shaun’s small cousin and aimed at preschoolers. Don’t dare call these creatures livestock. Call this love-stock!

Photo courtesy of IMDB

We Time Vs Me Time

July 29, 2015
family, motherhood

We Time Vs Me Time! #joyofmom


I remember the early days when my son was a baby and taking a shower was an actual event. Could I leave the baby for a few minutes even though he was sleeping? Was my husband watching? Should I pop out of the shower in my terry cloth towel and check one more time? Do you know how many little drips were in the hallway when I checked on the person who was checking on my son?

As mothers, our time goes from “me” to “we” the minute that we gaze at our beautiful children for the very first time. It begs the question: Is it selfish to take a little time for yourself? I was reading a recent story on Yahoo Parenting where “The Biggest Loser Host” Alison Sweeney said, “I try to impress upon parent contestants the same thing I tell myself: It isn’t selfish to give yourself the time and energy you need to be healthy.”

I think Alison makes an amazing point. I know so many moms in yoga class or who run around the track by my house who feel so guilty about taking that bit of time to work on themselves. Surely, there are a million things to do at home or with their child. Was it fair for them to take that hour (door-to-door) to do something for themselves. I say a resounding yes! A healthy mother can only give so much more to her children, and so can one who is engaged in life and striving to be her own personal best.

In this interview, the lovely Alison went on to say, “Working out, getting to sleep on time…those things make me a better parent. Being the strongest me I can be allows me to be there for my family.”

Absolutely, 100 percent, true. I believe that you’re a child’s first and number one teacher. Your lessons are the 24-7 kind and those little eyes are always watching. Do you want your child to see a frazzled Mommy who eats junk food and never exercises, only to lament the fact that she feels those extra pounds? Do you want your son or daughter to have a mom with little to no energy reserve? Or would you rather defy the age on your driver’s license, take time for yourself in the name of health, and be on that playground kicking that soccer ball and running like the wind? You also want your child to see you in other roles: as a caring child to your own parents, as a good friend and a great partner to your mate.

I know that it’s tough to take any time away from your child, especially in a world where many of us have to spend hours away due to work. The idea of another chunk of time away isn’t optimal, but it’s often necessary. Perhaps you can involve your child in exercise. If not, take a little “me time” and then bring all your gusto to your “we time.”

It isn’t selfish. It’s your best self that will be on the Mommy front lines – for your child, your family, and you.

Get The Itch Out Of Summer

July 27, 2015
family, motherhood

Get The Itch Out Of Summer! #joyofmom


Ah, summer! I love everything about it from the beach to the long, lazy nights in the backyard hanging out with my family. The music is playing, the food is yummy and then….darn it! Another bug is feasting off my arm or leg.

The one thing I don’t like about this season is these “souvenirs” from our time outdoors. It’s especially tough for moms of little ones who just want to scratch and scratch. Why? It itches, Mom!

First a little info: It itches because mosquitos do drink our blood as food.

You start to scratch because the little buggers inject you with anticoagulant to stop your blood from clotting while they drink. The end result is a minor allergic reaction or red bump that’s itchy.

Here are a few of the most natural, DIY bug bite treatments for your kids. Of course, see your doc if the condition persists or seems serious.

*Your first course of action is to keep some antihistamine cream or stick at the ready to stop the swelling and itch. Let’s say it’s missing or you’re out of it. Rush the bite victim into the kitchen where you can have some damp and chilled (keep them in the fridge always) green tea bags on hand. The cold of the bag will stop the itch and the actual compounds in the tea stop the inflammation.

*Always keep aloe vera in your fridge or grow an aloe vera plant in your home. This plant has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and will draw the sting out of a bug bite. If you keep cold aloe gel in the fridge then the chilliness of it will also stop the itch.

*Still itching? Crush one regular aspirin and mix it with a few drops of water to make a paste. Put the paste right on the bite. The salicylic acid in the aspirin (also anti-inflammatory) gets rid of the itch.

*Insist that your little one takes a quick bath. Take half a cup of oatmeal and put it in the tub as you run the water to help cope with the itch.

*Rubbing alcohol can remove the itch, but going on it can sting, too. Warn your child and say that you’re zapping the bug juices together.

*Do you like to camp? Always keep some honey on hand because it contains a natural antiseptic ingredient. This is also a good way in the wild (or the wilds of suburbia) to prevent infection. (Don’t do this is you plan to stay outdoors, however, as the sugar in honey could bring more bugs your way.)

*Another quick kitchen cure is to rub a basil leaf on the bite. Many moms insist that the itching stops immediately.

*If your kids turn bites into little infections because they scratch all night long then try to make a game out of not itching. Put a piece of clear scotch tape over the bite before bedtime and tell them that there will be a special surprise in the morning if it’s still there.

*You can mix baking soda with warm water by taking one tablespoon of it mixed with one pint of water. Gently apply to bite with clean fingers or a cotton ball. Leave on and then wash.

*Mix baking soda with a few drops of household cleaning ammonia to form a paste. Place on the bite, allow to dry and later wash with warm water.

*Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on the bite. Leave for several minutes and then wash with warm water.

*Create a thick paste from a pinch of corn flour with several drops of apple cider vinegar. Place on the bite. Allow the paste to dry and the itching will have stopped. Wash with warm water. If your child is squirmy then put a bandage over the mix to keep it in place until it dries.

You can even try a variety of all of the above to get the itch out. Here’s to enjoying the rest of our cherished summer time with our family ~ sans the itchy bug bites!

Popcorn & Pics: Pixels

July 24, 2015
by vicki, family



If your kiddos have a hard time putting down their favorite games then this is the movie that will finally let their fingers take a rest because it’s about video games. One of our favorite and most lovable comedians Adam Sandler stars in the story of aliens who misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war and then attack Earth in the form of our favorite video game characters. Yes, that’s Pac Man gobbling up San Francisco! Along with Adam, the film also stars Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan. It’s perfect, mindless, end of summer fun from director Chris Columbus who gave us the first “Harry Potter” film.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Get ready to see “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” in a very different way. Star Kevin James plays the President of the United States. “It’s a different role for me,” he says. “As president, I’m commanding, yet accessible.” Kevin adds, “He’s a good guy in a family film, which makes me really happy because those are my favorite films.”

Fun Fact: The busy Dad of four did the film for one reason. “Like most parents, I really want to sit next to my kids in a movie theater and laugh with them,” he says. In the end, you can sit next to your kids, grab a little popcorn and let “Pixels” cool you off on a hot summer day.

Enjoy “Pixels” and, most importantly, enjoy it with your precious family!

Photo courtesy of Sony

How Happy Moms Start Their Day

July 22, 2015
family, motherhood

How Happy Moms Start Their Day! #joyofmom


I’m not sure about you, but I love the morning! I slowly make my coffee (even if I’m in a bit of rush), chat with family, play with and walk my dogs, then hit ground running. My hubby usually makes a delicious breakfast every day. {I’ll be sharing delicious recipes soon!} I know many of us moms, tho, begin our day in a bit of a frenzy with breakfasts to make and mates to usher out the door, outfits to choose and little ones to feed. The list goes on and on.

How can you start your day in the most positive, gentle, soothing way to ensure that’s the vibe you hold in your heart and share with your children? I’ve been exploring how happy moms start their day, and it’s fascinating because what they don’t do is as important as what they do.

Here are a few ways you can make sure that you ease yourself into a beautiful new day without missing what makes each morning truly a blessing.

~ Don’t Reach for the Electronics. It might seem like second nature now to grab your cell phone and check for messages and emails the minute you get up, but resist the urge to touch any electronics. This is a stressful way to start your day instead of a grateful one. You don’t need to check your “to do” list at six a.m. Instead, you can hit that “on” button and put on some beautiful music to help you greet the day in an inspiring way.

~ Get Your Blood Flowing. You might not have time for a full workout in the morning, but in five or ten minutes you can get your brain working through movement. You can use your yoga mat to do a few simple poses and easy morning stretches. Or perhaps there is a gentle morning workout DVD where you can do a few moves before making breakfast. There is a Pilates move where you lay on your stomach and stretch your arms over your head and stretch your legs long. It’s a great way to tell your body that you’re transitioning out of sleep mode. Exercise is healthy in that it boosts your brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, natural stress fighters that even ward off depression. Studies show that happier people make time to exercise first thing in the morning, so they don’t miss it during a busy day.

~ Use the Power of Positivity. I read a Yale study where students were coached by their professor to feel positive before a big exam while brushing away any thoughts of stress or negativity. The study compared those students with others who were more negativity about their chances. The students who were positive had significantly higher scores. That’s why it’s your mission to rid yourself of negativity in the morning (including depressing news shows) and focus on what will be positive in your day.

~ Find Inner Peace. Many of the happiest people I know begin each day with mediation, prayer or a few minutes in bed of quiet reflection. Take the time for yourself to get in touch with yourself in this way. It will keep you focused, clam and remove negative thoughts from your mind as you instill an inner peace that can remain with you all day.

~Remember Gratitude. You might have gratitude in your heart, but you must practice gratitude on a daily basis. Remind yourself to start your day from a place of love in your heart as you truly appreciate your life and all the blessings. Look at those beautiful faces around your breakfast table and be thankful. Step outside and take a deep breath as you continue your gratitude journey. Remember to thank your partner and hug your beloved dog. If you have time then jot down a few things you’re truly grateful for in a journal that you keep by your bed or in the kitchen.

~ Remind Yourself That It Is Truly a New Day. To borrow a term from our children, each new day is a “do over!” It’s not yesterday or the day before that one, but a brand new 24 hours with all the excitement, adventure and moments for joy, love, creativity and wonder. Maintain this “do over” blank slate as you greet each morning as the start of something wonderful. By the way, if you can instill any and all of the above tips in your children well, that’s truly a gift from mother to child. A gift that will last a lifetime.

Here’s to a happy day! And to a beautiful and grateful one ~ each and every day!

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mommy Life

July 20, 2015
family, motherhood

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mommy Life Before Summer Is Over! #joyofmom


Tick, tock, tick, tock. That sound you’re hearing in your heart is summer beginning to wind down.

For most of us, there are only six more weeks (!) until the new school year begins. Are you already asking yourself: Where did my summer go? If so, it’s time to declutter your Mommy life and make some real time to enjoy the last weeks of the glorious and gorgeous warm weather months. Here’s how:

Step 1: Slim Your Schedule. Of course, there are those never-seen relatives coming to town and invites to pool parties from that child your child barely knows. It’s time to go through your schedule and only say “yes” to those activities that really make sense. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with “should I do’s?” then say no to two out of three of them. The goal is take some family time out just for your little tribe. Leave one or two free nights a week for your family to do something fun and spontaneous like a bike ride or movies in the park. Summer is about seizing the moments.

Step 2: Put Down the Social Media. You might get on your kids for bringing their devices to dinner, but how many summer nights have you wasted just hanging out on IG or FB. Stage a Social Media Takedown night once or twice a week where no one touches a device from the hours of 7 to 10 p.m. You might be met with “seriously, mom?”, but it will be worth it to have your child back from Snapchat and Instagram.

Step 3: Don’t Rush the Season. Sure, your kiddos might want to load up on all the back to school stuff we’re already seeing at the stores, but put the brakes on. It’s still really early and you don’t want to be in school mode just yet. Why not re-focus on summer, the precious slower moments, and that great pool, park or picnic. Don’t end your summer before it’s really over.

Step 4: Do a MAJOR Summer Cleaning. I love spring cleaning, but now that the kids have been home for weeks the house is starting to look like a mess again. Instead of endless little cleans, stage a whopper one. Have your kids donate old toys and clothes, while they also help you de-clutter the kitchen. Purge the old pots, pans and gadgets that should be in that giveaway box. As a Mom, get rid of your old beauty products that have been lingering over a year (when the chemicals change and can become dangerous). Clean out every room in the house by going through doors and closets. A huge purge feels good and leaves room for what’s new and fresh. Reward the family for a hot, sweaty job well done with some fun beach or pool time.

Step 5: Figure Out Finances. We’re more than halfway through the year. It’s a good time to get a grip on family finances before the holiday season sneaks up on us. Look at your credit cards and figure out how to start saving now. You’ll be glad you paid attention come November-December.

Step 6: Have A Mid Summer Fiesta. All the graduation and holiday parties are over now leaving many families with nothing to do on weekends. Get together with another mom or 2 and through a mid-summer fiesta at a local park or a yard. It’s something to look forward to during the dog days of summer and a way to reconnect before the busy back-to-school rush starts.

Step 7: Plan a Date Night With Your Mate. With all the family fun of summer, you might forget about a little couple time. Get tickets to that great outdoor concert or book a table to dine al fresco. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but make the time to plan an amazing night out with your love.

Step 8: Live in the Moment. There will always be chores and things to do, but you need to know when to shut all that into the OFF position. The key is living in the moment because this moment will never be here again. What’s better than chasing fireflies in the dark? Or grabbing some frozen yogurt and sitting on the curb while half of your neighbors show up to do the same thing? Summer is about the little moments. Make sure that yours is not spent in front of a screen (TV or computer) and you’re getting out there to enjoy the balmy nights.

In the end, you can de-clutter your Mommy life by focusing on what’s important: Your family. Summer 2015 will soon be a memory, but what you’ve done to make it memorable will last a lifetime.

Popcorn & Pics: ANT-MAN

July 17, 2015
by vicki, family

Popcorn & Pics: ANT-MAN #joyofmom


He’s just an uber-busy Dad who wants to protect his daughter. He’s also a sleek suited superhero who knows how to shrink way, way, way down! (Please don’t take him to a picnic either) Introducing…Ant-Man, the next big budget action flick of summer starring one of our movie favorites, Paul Rudd from “This is 40.” Paul plays the duel roles of Scott Lang and Ant-Man in the story of a man who must find his inner hero to conquer major odds. When his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) plots a heist to save the world, Scott find the ability to shrink down to ant size and grow in strength at the same time. Why? “He’s basically just a man trying to protect his daughter from harm,” says Rudd. “Isn’t that the best reason of all to save the world? You want to protect your kids at any cost.” (Gotta love that!!)

Behind the Scenes: Rudd is 46, but got into super shape for the film by leaning out his diet and giving up his beloved burgers. Yet, he still worried about a scene where he had to show his six-pack. “I am very self-conscious,” Rudd said. “The day we shot that scene, I think I ate only one almond. And I still felt so bloated!” He did love wearing the sleek Ant-Man suit. “I even wore it on my day off,” he joked. “I wore it home. You should see me do karaoke in the Ant-Man suit.”

Fun Fact: Rudd is a Dad to son Jack, 9, and daughter Darby, 5, with wife, Julie Yaeger. “Originally, my son said I wasn’t cool enough to be Ant-Man!” Rudd fretted. Then they went to an early screening. “My son said, ‘Dad, you killed it!’ That was the best review of ever.” (Is that so sweet…. I literally have chills now.)

This is a fun movie for families where you’ll be rooting for the little guy with the huge heart!

Photo courtesy of Marvel

Recipe: Beauty Juicing

July 15, 2015
by vicki, family

Recipe: Beauty Juicing #joyofmom


She takes care of the skin belonging to some of Hollywood’s biggest mommies including Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. Joanna Vargas, celebrity esthetician and organic skincare specialist, says that true beauty begins from inside.

To that end, she’s passionate on juicing to be healthy and have gorgeous skin. Juicing aides in detoxing, weight loss and glowing skin. It also combats the damaging effects of stress, toxins and even aging so your skin can look radiant.

In the spirit of getting us going, she shared a few of her favorite juice recipes with Joy of Mom! Thanks Joanna!

Joanna’s Favorite Green Juice

This recipe will hydrate your skin and encourage your lymphatic system to drain, getting rid of bloating and glowing.

“The greens instantly hydrate the skin while encouraging lymphatic drainage, so you are de-puffed and glowing!”

1 green apple
1 handful parsley
1 handful kale3 stalks celery
1/2 cucumber
1/2 lemon
1 inch ginger
2 handfuls romaine

Blend and enjoy.

Knock Out Your Craving for Sweets

This will help get rid of your sugar cravings:

Ginger to taste
4 carrots
1/2 apple

Blend and enjoy.

Super Eight

This veggie-only juice helps relieve stress and aid weight loss.

1 Kale Leaf
1 collard leaf
Handful parsley
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1/2 red pepper
1 tomato
1 broccoli floret

Blend and enjoy.

A few variations:

Level One:

4 celery
1/3 cucumber
1 bunch parsley
1 apple
Ginger to taste
1 lemon

Level Two:

4 celery
1 bunch parsley
2 handfuls spinach
2 carrots
1 apple
1 bunch cilantro
Lemon and Ginger

Level Three:

4 celery
1 bunch parsley
2 handfuls spinach
1/3 cucumber
2 carrot
1 beet
1/2 kale
Lemon and Ginger

Happy juicing! And here’s to our health and beauty, inside and out!

Essentials To Bring On Family Summer Vacation

July 13, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

Essentials To Bring On Family Summer Vacation! #joyofmom


You’re vacation bound! Get out the suitcases, grab your swimsuit and tell the kiddos to jump in the car. Zoom to the airport and you will be one of millions of moms this month who jump into summer vacation season. Whoo—hooo! Relaxation, plus some well-needed family fun times is just around the bend, over the woods, or through the clouds.

It’s that time of the year to love, laugh and linger at the beach or your favorite destination. As the family vacation season hits us, I wanted to remind moms of several essential items to pack in their carry on airplane bag, which is a mom’s secret weapon on both long or short plane rides.

Happy summer vacay!

My list of favorites.

1. A Fast $20. Kids always want something at the airport, so it’s helpful to have a quick $20 bill in the pocket of your carry on to buy a few {healthy} treats, but not go overboard. Make a game out of it and allow the kids to only spend that money. Or if your kids are bringing their own money and they’re under 12 then put their stash in bags in your carry on. That way, no one is losing their vacation funds.

2. Extra wipes. Kids seem to find goopy, sticky stuff whenever and where ever possible. A savvy mom will have a fresh pack of wipes on hand at all times. Also, the airplane tray that pulls down is always full of germs. It’s a great idea to give it a quick wipe for your kids touch it.

3. Earbuds for all. The worst thing ever on the plane is having a movie and not enough buds for everyone. Make sure to buy/collect some new ones and have them with you to dole out and then collect them so you can issue them out again.

4. Chargers. No longer is my charger packed away where I can get to it. We don’t need that stress of watching our battery drain, planning when we next need to use our phone, and estimating what’s left on the battery. (And doesn’t our phone always seem to drain on hyper speed when we feel we’ll need it most!) Bring at least two chargers (in case one doesn’t work, get’s lost, etc.) and make sure one is in your purse, at all times. It’s a “whew…” to take off our mental to-do or worry-about list. I take the rest of the chargers for electronics, group them together in a bag, and pack away. Easy to find and ready to use when we need them.

5. Gum. Kids hate when their ears pop, so make sure your gum supply is ready to avoid any mid-air tears from pressure changes. Most of us don’t chew that much gum anymore, so it’s an easy item to forget. And if you can plan in advance, there is great tasting healthy chewing gum that you can order online or find at a local market.

6. Nuts and Raisins. Why buy all that expensive, often unhealthy food that the airline sells like cookies and chips. Instead, bring a homemade trail mix packed with almonds, a few chocolate chips and raisins. It will be a treat, an energy boost, plus a much better way to snack.

7. New Chapter Book or Comic. Kids bored on the plane? There’s nothing like something brand new to read that will get their attention. Save it for the trip, so it’s a surprise and then watch them get into it. Make it a contest to see who can read the longest.

8. Deck of Cards. A long plane trip or car ride is the perfect time for fun card games, which will really pass the time and double as a family activity.

9. Cheat Sheet Package. Once you land, you don’t want to be searching for your hotel confirmation or maps. Take one of those big plastic sealed baggies and place in it a copy of your hotel info, all confirmations including car and hotel, plus a map of the new city or any directions you’ve printed out in advance. You can later use that bag for wet swimsuits.

10. Your Inner Child. Hey, moms, you’re on vacation, too. Pack something for you in the bag from a guilty pleasure book or magazines to your favorite CDs for the car or plane ride.

Enjoy! Have fun! That’s what vacation season is all about! And, as always, safe travels!

Photo courtesy of Piper+Claire

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