Posts from October 2015

Good Eats Before Halloween Treats

October 30, 2015
family, recipes

tomato soup

 

With Halloween just hours away, we wanted to talk a little bit about how important it is to feed your little monsters and angels a nutritious meal before they head out trick-or-treating. We know that kids will come home with pillowcases and buckets full of candy, ready to separate them into categories and eat them all up! But before they do that, we want to feed them some good eats before their treats.

When we think of fall, we think of cozy, warm food. These recipes will warm up you and your kiddos before you head outdoors. They’ll also leave your little ones feeling satisfied, so that they’re not snacking on candy while they’re walking door to door.

This chili from Chew Out Loud is made in the slow cooker, so you can prepare everything in the morning. You won’t have to worry about cooking while you’re putting on your children’s wigs or applying vampire teeth. Once your stomachs start to rumble, just ladle it out of the slow cooker and you’re all set!

Sloppy joes are also a wonderful comfort meal before heading out. These healthy sloppy joes from Wine and Glue are packed with flavor and easy to make. If you want a fun twist on sloppy joes, be sure to stuff a sweet potato with the sloppy filling like Paleo Newbie does.

If you’re in a time crunch and you have leftover chicken in your fridge, this chicken stir fry is the perfect dish. It combines leftover chicken and loads of veggies to create a delectable, hearty meal!

Another time-friendly food is the quesadilla. Quesadillas are fast, and you can stuff them with vegetables! Depending on what your children like, try these caprese quesadillas from I Don’t Go to the Gym, or these black bean and corn quesadillas from Babble.

And here’s one of our top picks: simple and timeless toasted cheese served with warm tomato soup. You can choose the type of bread (I love seeded breads from Whole Foods) and cheese your family likes and tailor the recipe to them. In a time-crunch and can’t make the soup from scratch? Try either Trader Joe’s or Pacific low-sodium soups (a lot of brands of tomato soup are sodium heavy!).

We know holidays are fun, and we want them to be! But we also know our little ones are continuously growing and need constant nutrition, especially with candy rolling in. And as moms, we want to make sure that the candy they’re bringing home is safe to eat. Don’t be afraid to put restrictions on some types of candies—they have plenty of candy to eat, we never want to take any chances. Happy Halloweening! We wish you a day of fun family time and great trick-or-treating!

 

Embracing Your Child’s Self-Expression at Halloween

October 29, 2015
family, inspiration

ElsaHalloween

With Halloween in just a few days, our kids are putting on pirate eye patches, witches hats, and ballet slippers. Halloween is festive, fun, and all about expression. It gives children a chance to pretend to be something different than they are. It could be something they aspire to be, something they love to do, or something they think is just plain fun.

But what do you do when your child’s Halloween choice might not be what you expected? In this case, a boy wanted to dress up as Elsa for Halloween. Dad’s response: “Game on!”

The story of this Dad unflinchingly supporting his son is such a beautiful act of love and kindness. Our young children are delicate, and it is our job to provide a strong support system of unconditional love. Let them know they can be whatever or whoever they want, and that we will always be there for them. Anything they want to be is beautiful!

The comments on this father’s Facebook page were overwhelmingly positive. Many families shared photos of their boy dressed as a princess, or their daughter as Spider-Man. It is wonderful to see so many families embracing the fun of Halloween and letting their children be whatever they want!

It’s easy to worry that other kids might tease, and to prevent this hurt, you may think to discourage your child’s unconventional costume. But it is so beautiful to let your child feel confident about their choice and that they have the ability to express themselves.

They are being bold and brave – join them in their creativity! Have fun and soak up the love of this special season and moment of childhood! The moments, these moments, can make all the difference.

Sweet and Safe Shoes for Kids

October 28, 2015
links i love, lovely

shoes

Our babies ‘firsts’ will always be with us. Their first coo, their first smile, their first steps. We love when our babies and toddlers start discovering how to crawl and walk. Here’s some brands we are crushing on – not just because they are simply adorable – but they are committed to being gentle on our little ones’ feet and on the environment!

OneLivie & Luca makes gorgeous children’s shoes that utilize lead-free leather and non-toxic glues. We love Livie & Luca’s motto: “Spreading joy, growing community, making a difference – this is Livie & Luca.” They are also committed to giving back through charitable efforts. Love!

Two. You may recognize Freshly Picked from Shark Tank or Ellen! The founder, Susan Petersen, started making baby moccasins back in 2009 after feeling first-hand frustration by the absence of well-designed baby shoes. She had a personal baby moccasin tester on hand, and a bag of yard sale scrap leather. After several design changes, Susan came up with moccasins that are adorable, durable, and actually stayed on her child’s feet!

ThreeBear Feet carry artisan-made shoes, so each shoe has been specially made! Bear Feet is committed to producing no chemical waste and they donate their extras and scrap leather. Since their products are made to order, they keep a low stock, which makes each individual item unique! The soles of their precious shoes are made from the sap of the Hevea tree, which actually helps preserve the life of the tree. They also only use leather that is a byproduct of animals that have been raised for the meat—no animals have been hunted or raised for skin.

Four. Woolby & Co. is an Etsy shop based out of Maryland. The owner, Voneen, decided to hand-craft shoes from recycled wool sweaters, cashmere, and leather apparel when she noticed her toddler having a difficult time walking and running in toddler shoes or sneakers that were on the market. These shoes promote comfort, movement, and no constrictions. They’re also slip resistant, so your child can have fun exploring without you having to worry too much! Voneen has also pledged to donate $2.00 of each sale to Autism Speaks, a national advocacy organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and conducting research studies to prevent and treat individuals impacted by autism. We love to see someone doing well by doing good!

Five. Soft star makes soft leather baby shoes. These gorgeous shoes are made with non-toxic dyes and undergo formaldehyde-free tanning processes. The goal of Soft Star is to provide comfortable and durable shoes for new walkers. Soft Stars also offers many vegan-friendly styles for the mamas who want to stay away from leather!

Six. Green Line Kids make all of their shoes from organic, sustainable, and natural fibers. They use organic hemp and cotton jersey knit in a lot of their styles, which ensures optimum comfort! All of their shoes are eco-friendly and gentle on babies’ skin.

Getting to see our children explore for the first time is something we’ll never forget. We love that there are brands out there committed to making our baby’s first steps and explorations as safe and as comfortable as possible!

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.

Taking a Breath: Reflecting on Motherhood

October 21, 2015
inspiration, motherhood

breathe horizontal

 

It can be hard to find the time to breathe. Ballet class. T-Ball. Pick up kids from school. Change diapers. Clean the bathroom. Soothe a teething toddler. Make dinner.

Some days, it feels like motherhood is a constant chain of chores. Help with homework. Load the dishwasher. Go to the pharmacy. Run the PTA meeting.

It may feel like we never stop moving. RSVP to classmate’s birthday party. Pay the bills. Make Halloween costumes. Vacuum Cheerios from the car seats. Grocery shopping.

In the constant whirlwind that is motherhood, it is important to find time catch our breath. We have the strength to give 110% to all we do. We have the power to knock off everything from our to do list without blinking an eye.

But, sometimes, we must slow down. We need to remember the first minute we held our children. When they were soft and snuggly and desperately needed us. We need to appreciate all the accomplishments. The first steps, the first words, the first day of school.

We made these events happen. We helped to shape our son into that confident little boy strolling into his first day of kindergarten without a look back. We encouraged that tiny ballerina on stage to twirl with all her might and pick herself right back up when she falls down.

This is motherhood, too. These small moments that don’t have a line item on our To Do list. We may forget them in the day-to-day hustle and bustle. We may be so buried in “What’s Next?” that we forget what’s special.

So we encourage you to stop and breathe. Take a moment for yourself and remember how far you have come, how much you and your children have accomplished. Savor every memory that floods into your heart.

Wrap up that feeling, and the next time you wrap your arms around your child, remember to breathe. Remember all you have done. Remember the joy of mom.

Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

Perfectly Autumn Teas We Love

October 19, 2015
links i love, lovely

FallTeas

 

Whether you need to wake up in the morning, or wind down at night, tea is the perfect drink. These teas are soothing, warming, and tasty for those crisp autumn days! So put on the kettle, take out the honey, and grab your favorite mug from the shelf.

One. This Apple Cinnamon Chamomile tea from Teamotions is caffeine free and meant to foster relaxation and rest. Made with ashwagandha, green rooibos, warm cinnamon, and tasty apple, this tea is a perfect drink to sip on while reading a book and snuggling by the fire. Its tagline is “Enjoy Rest,” so if you need a little help getting a deep sleep, this is the tea for you.

Two. Mighty Leaf Tea’s Organic Spring Jasmine is a new take on a classic. The loose leaf green tea leaves are wrapped in a lovely, hand-crafted silken pouch. Arabian jasmine buds deliver a delicious aroma that will be sure to soothe your soul.

Three. The Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea from Teavana is the ideal tea for a chilly autumn day. It’s warming oolong body is a mix of sweetness and spice. With a blend consisting of rich pumpkin, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and creamy vanilla, the Pumpkin Spice Brulee is a delicious indulgence for any part of the day.

Four. Tea Forte’s Sweet Orange Spice Tea is for our cinnamon lovers. Rich with cinnamon flavor and a hint of mandarin orange, this black tea will wake you up and get you moving.

Five. Two Leaves and Bud’s Organic Earl Grey Tea brings its flavor all the way from a citrus fruit in Bergamo, Italy. The full black tea leaves, wrapped in adorable sachets, mix with the natural bergamot oil to create a luxurious flavor that will put a warm smile on your face.

Six. This Organic African Nectar Tea from Mighty Leaf is caffeine free and made with Organic African rooibos. Also known as red tea, it has a wonderful mix of tropic fruit and blossoms. The jewel red color houses a rich and full body that will give a boost to both your energy and immune system.

We hope you get to steal a quiet moment for yourself and watch the beautiful leaves turn colors as you warm up with one of these tasty teas!

Namaste.

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.

6 Fall Favorites Featuring Squash

October 13, 2015
links i love, recipes

squash2

 

Nothing screams Fall like a delicious squash. As the leaves are changing and the squash are nice and ripe, we’re taking advantage of all that autumn has to offer—starting with these scrumptious squash meals. Who says you need meat to have a hearty meal? These recipes are all vegetarian (and most vegan), but hearty enough to leave you and your family feeling satisfied.

One: Butternut Squash Kale Tart: This tart is loaded with savory flavors! With the bulk of the tart being butternut squash and kale, you’re loading up on nutrients and deliciousness. Never made a tart before? Don’t worry. The post walks you through every step of the way.

Two: Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberry: Acorn squash is a serious superfood: It’s loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, folate, Vitamin B complex, copper and tryptophan, and omega-3 fatty acids. We always hear about people cooking their acorn squash with maple syrup and butter, but we love this twist! Stuffing them with walnuts and cranberries boosts the nutrients as well as the amazing flavor.

Three: Creamy (Vegan!) Butternut Squash Linguini with Fried Sage: Creamy, savory, brimming with veggies—perfect comfort food! The combination of vegetable broth, butternut squash, and spices make up the base. Pour that over whole grain pasta and top with fried sage—and you have a perfect autumn meal!

Four: Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls: This makes burritos 10x better. Without the rice and the tortilla, this spaghetti squash burrito bowl is a healthy take on the Mexican classic. Plus, as the blogger points out, the bowl is compostable! Even better.

Five: Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries, Apples and Onions: Our mouths dropped when we saw this incredible combination of fall veggies and fruits. Though this was intended as a side dish, we think its hearty enough for a main dish too! The best part about this dish is that it’s easy to throw together, but impressive enough that everyone thinks you’re a pro.

Six: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup: We love our slow cookers, especially when the weather gets colder! With the fire burning and the blankets snuggling us, the smell from the slow cooker really adds to the cozy feel of the house. This butternut squash soup is perfect for those autumn days!

Here’s to ushering in the crispness of Fall and the beauty of these wholesome, healthy, and delicious meals with the warmth of your family!

Eco-friendly Halloween Costumes

October 9, 2015
DIY, family, links i love

Eco-friendly Halloween Costumes - Joy of Mom

 

The costumes. The trick-or-treating. The classroom parties. They all speak ahhhh autumn! And this beautiful, festive, magical time of year!

The only thing I’ve never been a fan of are the pricey costumes and harmful materials associated with many of them – which can quickly turn a mom’s excitement into stress. What I have always been a fan of is homemade, DIY costumes! Especially when they’re eco-friendly. Costumes for your little ones can be just as cute (or cuter!) when they’re eco-friendly, safe for our little ones, and made with love!

Here are a few faves:

One: We love how the parent utilized a push car in this Back to the Future costume from Inhabitots! Including your child’s push car into the costume makes for an easier evening of trick-or-treating while keeping the look adorable. The rest of the costume is made out of recycled cardboard boxes. Love!

Two: This superhero costume, also from Inhabitots, is equal parts adorable and eco-friendly. The cape is made from leftover felt and embroidery thread, the skirt uses leftover tulle and ribbon, and the arm cuffs come from Starbucks coffee sleeves (brilliant!). Underneath her costume, she’s wearing a t-shirt, sweatpants, and winter boots. We love this look!

Three: Okay, there’s “cute,” and then there’s “really, really cute.” This DIY Fireman costume from POPSUGAR falls under the “really, really cute” category. This firetruck is made from a cardboard box, and the wheels are painted paper plates. We are in love with this idea!

Four: This precious sailor costume from The Honest Company is made from materials found inside the family’s home! The dress, tights and shoes were already in her wardrobe. The neck tie is made from a white flour sack dishtowel and the sailor hat is an easily-folded white sheet of paper. The telescope is a paper towel tube. So clever…

Five: Oh Happy Day has the most adorable snail we’ve ever seen! The items used in this costume are brown paper, glue, cardboard, a headband, Styrofoam balls, and ribbon!

Six: Okay, is this Harry Potter too sweet?! Courtesy of Love & Lion, this costume is made from khaki or blacks pants, a white button up shirt, and a knitted scarf and black glasses (click here for info on the knitting pattern). The mom used her eyeliner to draw Harry’s scar on the toddler’s head. Love!

We hope these costumes gave you some ideas to focus on saving money and the environment this Halloween! Just remember, anything you can re-use, recycle, or swap is considered eco-friendly! No need to break the bank for your child to look adorable, as you can clearly see above. Happy Halloween!

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmys Red Carpet

October 2, 2015
entertainment, lifestyle

Last weekend, the stars shined bring on the Emmy’s red carpet but none had that special glow quite like the celebrity mamas!

 

Here are just a few of our favorite fashionista moms:

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Amanda Peet is a mother of two daughters with Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff. At the Emmys she looked incredibly elegant in this Michael Kors floor-length black brocade dress.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Is it just us, or could only Kerry Washington pull off this Marc Jacobs dress? The star of Scandal, and mother to one daughter, is fiercely confident which makes her all the more beautiful.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been owning the red carpet since her Seinfeld days. Julia is now the star of Veep and mother to two sons. Julia’s style is always timeless, and this Safiyaa gown is no different.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Always bright-eyed and cheerful, Maggie Gyllenhaal wore this Oscar de la Renta gown perfectly. This mother of two girls is a great example of “the happiest girls make the prettiest girls.”

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Photos courtesy of www.mom.me

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