Favorite Holiday Scents for the Home

December 11, 2015
links i love, lovely

Favorite Holiday Scents for the Home - Joy of Mom

 

Relaxing in our living room next to the fireplace, soaking in all of the scents of the holidays is one of our favorite things to do this time of year. There are so many amazing aromas that remind us of the holidays, and there are lots of ways to use those scents in your home to give it an extra special warmth.

We love to shop small and support fresh indie mom based businesses, so we’ve rounded up six amazing products from Etsy sellers who use our favorite holiday scents!

One. This whipped peppermint sugar scrub from IV and Co. makes your shower, and your body, smell like a Christmas treat! The scrub includes crushed candy canes and peppermint essential oils, so it’s a peppermint lover’s dream!

Two. We love lighting candles during the holidays—they give such a warm feel! For this time of year, we love the mint berry soy candle from Hensley Asher Co. They’re also adorably displayed in mason jars, which we love even more.

Three. This colder weather makes us crave a warm, delicious cup of tea. Brewing up tea can also make your house smell amazing! There are so many holiday teas out there, but we specifically love this winter tea set from RosieLea Tea UK. This package includes three packs of tea: winter warmer, Christmas spiced, and white Christmas.

Four. Gingerbread definitely makes us think of Christmas! This set of Gingerbread Bath Bombs from PureGRACESoap is a fun way to use this holiday scent!

Five. Vanilla evokes the warm smell of a freshly-baked batch of holiday cookies! Because of this, we love to put a few drops of vanilla essential oil in our diffusers so the fragrance spreads throughout our homes! This vanilla oil from Alexandria’s Soap Opera is a great choice!

Six. This candy cane soap from Seaside Soap Kitchen isn’t just adorable, it also smells amazing! This would make a great stocking stuffer, gift for a friend, or treat for you! This soap is also handcrafted with an all-natural premium detergent and sulfate-free glycerin soap base, so it’s great for your skin!

We love making our home feel warm, welcoming, and cozy during the holidays, and being creative with holiday scents is a fabulous way to evoke that comfy feeling.

Beautiful and Yummy Peppermint Treats

December 2, 2015
links i love, recipes

peppermint

 

One of our favorite things about Christmas is the yummy flavor of peppermint. It reminds us of eating candy canes as a kid, visiting Santa, and all the warm memories of winter. It’s such a special flavor that goes hand-in-hand with Christmastime.

But not only does peppermint taste amazing, its cheery & festive red and white design is simply perfect. You can create amazing desserts featuring peppermint that are as beautiful as they are delicious!

One. This peppermint bark from Cupcakes and Cashmere looks divine! The directions say you can store the bark up to two months in a container, but we’re positive it we’d finish it in just a few days!

Two. These DIY Peppermint Spoons from Princess Pinky Girl are so creative! They would make a fabulous gift (especially for your neighbors or children’s teachers) or a fun activity with your children.

Three. Hot chocolate is delicious on its own, especially during these cold months. But this peppermint white hot chocolate from Gimme Some Oven looks ten times better! We can’t wait to snuggle up by the fire and drink a cup of this!

Four. The cold months are a great time to snuggle the family up for movie nights, and that means popcorn! This peppermint bark popcorn from Cooking Classy is a delicious twist on a classic movie snack.

Five. Craving something a little colder? This no-churn peppermint chip ice cream from A Family Feast is a great dessert idea! With plenty of flavor and a beautiful pink hue, this ice cream will definitely be a family favorite.

Six. Yum! This peppermint cheesecake dip from A Pumpkin and a Princess is such a fun party recipe. You can get creative with what you dip in it, but we have to admit those chocolate-covered pretzels look pretty amazing!

So cozy up to the fireplace with your family and indulge in some of these treats as you share memories of favorite winter moments and look forward to all the future brings. Wishing you a delicious Christmas!

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.

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.

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!

Summer Sun Protection Tips for Your Family

July 6, 2015
family, links i love, motherhood

summer_sun_protection

 

Baby, it’s hot outside! In fact, most of the country is stuck in a major heatwave these days from 115 out West to 90 percent humidity in NYC.

Families are active and mommies know that sunscreen is our best friend along with easy sun blockers like floppy hats and sunglasses for yourself and the little ones. Even if it seems like the sun is hiding behind clouds, our skin can still be harmed by the sun’s UV rays (especially children!). It has been proven that children are especially at risk of developing health problems later in life if they experience sunburn.

To avoid burns, it’s recommended by pediatricians to apply sunscreen on our children every day, throughout the day, and to wear sun hats to shield their face and eyes. Here’s our personal favorite sunscreen and hat brands for optimum skincare and sun health for you and your family.

Badger Balm is a broad spectrum protector against UVA & UBA rays using the safe mineral zinc oxide. It contains no Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, or other harsh chemicals that are typically found in sunscreening agents. Instead, it is made with an organic base of sunflower oil, beeswax, and vitamin E. Badger Balm is water resistant for at least 40 minutes, hypoallergenic, and is not tested on animals.

We also truly love Goddess Gardens. This too is an all-natural broad spectrum SPF 30 protector, with zinc and titanium as its active ingredients. You won’t find any synthetic chemicals, paragons, or alcohols in this sunscreen. It is a certified organic product, water resistant for 40 minutes, and comes in a recyclable container.

For babies with the most sensitive skin California Baby is the way to go. Fragrance-free, mineral-based, and PABA free, this sunscreen is perfect for those with skin sensitivities or fragrance allergies. California Baby’s most active ingredient is a highly micronized Titanium Dioxide that scatters and reflects dangerous UV rays. This brand comes highly recommended by leading dermatologists and allergists, and has won many awards for its products such as “Best Sunscreen” from WebMD and babble, and best eco-friendly baby skincare by SheKnows Parenting Awards two years in a row.

To ensure your baby’s face stays completely away from the sun’s harmful rays, sun hats are imperative. Our two favorite brands are Flap happy and i play. Flap happy is a great brand because they have an assortment of floppy hats, flap hats, and crusher hats. Our personal choice is this flap hat with ties. It was designed to provide excellent sun protection by its large brim to shade the face, a flap that covers the ears and neck, an elastic band inside to help the hat fit snuggly around the head, and ties to keep the hat from falling off. This hat can be worn in or out of the water for all-day sun protection.

Our pick from i play is this mod brim hat with ties. This hat has a wide brim and special UV-protective fabric that is breathable, wicks away water, dries quickly and keeps your baby cool and shaded all day long. This hat also has the ties to keep in place, and can be worn in or out of the water. (i play also has a matching swimsuit in the same pattern, so cute!)

Sun protection is an important topic for everyone in the family, especially the little ones. Applying sunscreen each morning is a positive habit that everyone should introduce into their routines. Even in cloudy weather, our skin can be damaged from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. It’s important to apply sunscreen to your children every morning if they are planning to spend time outside, and re-apply every 2 hours as needed. As always, babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun completely.

Here’s to enjoying the warmer weather, sunshine, and, of course, precious family bonding time outside this summer!

Weekly Roundup

May 22, 2015
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Head on over to Joy of Mom for the best of what the internet has to offer in our Weekly Roundup! #joyofmom

 

Joy of Mom’s Weekly Roundup

~ This is the coolest speaker I’ve ever seen!

~ Your birdies will feel so special!

~ How fun are these finger puppets?

~ The sweetest little nightlight for any princess or fairy

~ They’ll enjoy chewing it as much as you’ll enjoy wearing it!

~ Your baby will have the sweetest of dreams <3

~ Very much teacher of the year!

~ These organic sodas are super delish (and make great mixers, too)!

~ Didn’t I see this on Thomas?

~ Super soft and kissable lips!

Weekly Roundup

April 26, 2015
links i love

Head on over to Joy of Mom for the best of what the internet has to offer in our Weekly Roundup! #joyofmom

 

Joy of Mom’s Weekly Roundup

~What will hatch? The sweetest illustrations ever.

~You don’t even have to be nursing to love this scarf!

~Fit for a princess.

~See, its not just our kids!

~So incredibly incredible and beautiful.

~Now that’s a smart accessory!

~Stomp stomp stomp

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