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Scarily cute little mummies are the perfect snack to serve at your family’s Halloween gathering! Your family, friends and neighbors will shriek at the sight of Moore’s BBQ Pigs in Blankets morphed into eerie little mummies. By strategically wrapping crescent rolls around the cocktail wieners, you can add eyeballs and drizzle the finished snacks with extra Moore’s Honey BBQ Wings sauce to give them a little spooky style!

To make the dish healthier, we like to use Annie’s Organic Crescent Rolls and Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs, cut into thirds.

Spooky Honey BBQ Pigs in Blankets

Ingredients

1 large package cocktail wieners (We like Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs)
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls (We like Annie’s Organic Crescent Rolls)
1/2 bottle Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate crescent rolls into triangles and then cut each triangle into 3 smaller triangles.

With a pastry brush, brush the triangles with Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce.

Place a cocktail weiner on the wider end of the triangle and roll to the point.

Place on a baking sheet, point side down.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with extra Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce for dipping.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Moore’s Marinades & Sauces.*

Instead of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and other sugar-filled treats, we have compiled our favorite Easter basket surprises that children will delight in finding on Easter morning! We think that they are just as sweet!

An Easter Surprise and Plush Gift Set

An Easter Surprise & Plush Gift Set

Make Easter morning extra magical by taking your little one on an “eggs-traordinary” egg-hiding adventure around the world! An Easter Surprise gives your child the chance to plan his or her very own Easter mission! Soaring as high as the moon in a hot air balloon, delivering eggs all over town, and stashing tasty treats all down the streets, your little one will be thrilled at the surprise twist in this Easter adventure!

This entertaining Easter storybook can be personalized with your child’s name and hometown, along with a special message and photo on the dedication page. The incredibly soft, snuggly bunny that comes with the gift set is the perfect addition to your child’s Easter basket… and for lots of cuddles while reading together. $19.99 paperback, $34.99 hardcover, $44.99 gift set. http://www.putmeinthestory.com/personalized-gifts-for-kids/an-easter-surprise-and-plush-gift-set.html

Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie the Giraffe

Tuck the iconic Sophie the Giraffe into your baby’s Easter basket! There is just something magical about Sophie, isn’t there? From the way she looks, to the way she smells (faintly of vanilla), to how easy she is to grab and wave, it’s no surprise Sophie is one of the first toys babies adore! Handmade exclusively in France, Sophie the Giraffe is a timeless design that has been capturing the imagination and tiny hands and mouths of babies since 1961. Every Sophie is painstakingly made from 100% natural rubber and painted with food grade dyes so babies can chew and squish to their hearts’ delight. Easy to clean – simply wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth after baby has drooled on and played with Sophie. https://www.sophiethegiraffe-usa.com/

Mackenzie I Love You More Romper

Tenth & Pine Romper

Looking for a cute and egg-citing outfit to place in your child’s Easter basket? At Tenth & Pine, they offer a variety of gender neutral clothing pieces that will help your little boy or girl look their Sunday best! With everything from footwear to rompers, onesies, beanies, tees, and leggings, you can pick out the perfect outfit for them. Keep your little one up with the latest fashion as they go on their Easter egg hunt! “Mom’s” pick for her little guy – a full length romper that moves easily for all of the running and playing he does! Available in sizes for a newborn all the up to a 4-year-old toddler!

Zoonicorns

Zoonicorns

If you have a child who loves unicorns, they will love finding one or more of the Zoonicorns inside their basket on Easter morning! Zoonicorns are a collection of four adorable plush toys that are a combination of an exotic zebra and mythical creature, each with their own unique and loveable personality. In addition to the plush toys, Zoonicorn offers a new children’s app, online games, and stories that make the perfect gifts to stimulate your child’s mind, sharpen critical thinking skills and discover prominent life lessons through magical adventures. Named Valeo, Aleil, Ene or Promithea – your child will love seeing a favorite creature brought to life on the new app! If you are traveling over the holiday, the app will engage and inspire your child on a long car or plane ride! www.zoonicorn.com.

Wee Blessing

Wee Blessing

Give the gift of an adorable Easter outfit, or a special outfit to wear throughout the year with Wee Blessing. Wee Blessing is a professional children’s styling service tailored to your taste, budget and lifestyle that helps you feel your best and gives you back what matters most… your time! Wee Blessing provides parents and children hand-picked outfits from the most-popular and top name brand companies for 40-60% off retail price. Available for newborns to children aged 14 years-old, you pick the box that works best for you.

Here’s how it works: Fill out the personal style profile with your child’s name, clothing size, favorite colors, princesses, superheroes and more, then choose a one-time service, monthly or quarterly box that all come complete with four outfits, or you can choose a one-time outfit for a gift. You will only be charged for what you keep and a flat $5 shipping and handling fee. You will not have to pay return shipping or restocking fee. If you decide to keep all four outfits, Wee Blessing will give you an additional 10% off. Perfect for Easter for newborns on up! www.weeblessing.com

strawberry-banana Sunkist Trail Mix

Sunkist® Fruit Lover’s Trail Mix™ Single Serve Packs

If you want to add a treat that is nutritious and delicious, Sunkist Snacks’ new Sunkist® Fruit Lover’s Trail Mix™ Single Serve packs are a perfect choice for a healthy Easter basket. Small enough to fit in an Easter egg, Sunkist Snacks single serve packs contain delicious premium fruit and tree nuts (no low cost fillers like raisins and peanuts) to give you and the kids a satisfying, perfectly portioned snack. Choose from Strawberry Banana Blend, Pineapple Coconut Blend and Breakfast Espresso & Granola Blend. The Strawberry Banana Blend is a definite kid-pleaser with Cranberries, Banana Chips, Papaya, Strawberries, Almonds, and Cashews! We love that there are no artificial colors or flavors… just 6 nutritious ingredients! Sold at major grocers such as Walmart and Ralph’s as well as online at SunkistSnacks.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own. Image courtesy of jannoon028 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net*

It’s that time of the year again! We have put together our absolute favorites this year for the tiny eco-babies in your life!

Mati Mati Baby 1

MatiMati Baby Bandana Bibs

For stylish little droolers, MatiMati Bandana Bibs are “Mom’s” new favorite for her little guy! Made with 100% organic cotton, these super-soft and extra-absorbent bibs are as functional as they are practical…and your baby will look absolutely adorable, too! No velcro here – the bibs feature two nickel-free adjustable snaps so the bib can adjust as baby grows, and will not irritate delicate skin. Snaps stay put, too, making it more difficult for little fingers to pull off! Available in a variety of trendy patterns that go with baby’s outfits, rather than clash with them, MatiMati Bandana Bibs are sold in a set of four for $21.95. Visit www.matimatibaby.com.

MatiMati Baby Pacifier clips

MatiMati Baby Pacifier Clips

Does your little one use a paci? If so, grab a 4-pack of these stylin’ pacifier clips from MatiMati Baby, available in the same on-trend patterns and prints as their fashionable Bandana Bibs! No more worries for parents about losing pacifiers at home or on-the-go, the pacifier clips keep your child’s pacifier close by and off the ground! The clips can also be used for teething toys. With cute patterns to match all of your baby’s outfits, MatiMati Baby Pacifier Clips can be found at www.matimatibaby.com.

Marcus & Marcus Bath Toys

Marcus & Marcus’ NEW Mold Free Squirting Bath Toys

Safe + fun = a win-win for parents of little ones! Have you ever squeezed a bath toy only to be blasted with scary black chunks of mold? Most bath squeezers on the market are breeding grounds for molds that you don’t want your little one’s bathing in (or even worse drinking). YUCK! Break the mold cycle with Marcus & Marcus’ NEW Mold Free Squirting Bath Toys that allow parents to clean and air dry the toys after each use to prevent mold growth inside. The soft silicone material also makes it perfect for babies to hold and play with providing hours of bath time fun! Each Marcus & Marcus Toy is BPA Free, PVC Free & Phthalate Free 100% Smell Free and it’s made with nontoxic silicone, so it’s completely safe for kids. Available in 5 animal characters (Marcus the Lion (Red), Pokey the Pig (Pink), Lola the Giraffe (Yellow), Ollie the Elephant (Green and Willo the Whale (Purple), as well as a Submarine or Rocket Ship. $7.99 – $9.99. Available online at www.Sears.com.

Chewbeads 1

Chewbeads

This is the perfect stocking stuffer for a mom with a little one! Chewbeads offers teething jewelry for moms that are completely safe for infants! Not only is the jewelry fashionable, but the soft silicone that’s used in the jewelry won’t hurt emerging teeth or sensitive gums. Chewbeads do not contain lead, BPA, phthalates, cadmium, or other metals, so you can let your little one chew to his or her heart’s content. Breakaway clasps enhance the overall safety of the necklaces, as little fingers do like to tug & pull! Plus, the jewelry can safely be washed in the dishwasher. Visit www.chewbeads.com.

Gunapod 1

Gunapod

‘Sleep in heavenly peace!’ Your little one will stay toasty and warm all night long in this safe, smart, and extremely soft wearable blanket! Like sleeping wrapped in a cloud, Gunapod features the WONDERZiP® system for easy changing in the night and temperature control to prevent overheating. The WONDERZiP® opens completely from underarm to underarm, with 4 separate pulls functioning in a multitude of ways as you choose. Generously sized for maximum comfort, Gunapod provides baby with plenty of space to fold legs or spread out, as well as move arms freely. In addition, you can unzip the Gunapod® along the bottom to accomodate a carseat or stroller safety strap, which allows your baby to kick freely. Gunapod® adheres to the strictest standards of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CPSIA. http://www.gunamuna.com/

Bears for Humanity

Bears For Humanity Premium Sherpa Bear

The bear that gives back! Bears for Humanity™ is a leading social commerce company committed to helping its community and the earth. From farm to fulfillment, the products are made using only certified organic materials and Fair Trade practices, while employing at-risk women from welfare-work programs right in the U.S. The “BUY One, give ONE” program provides a bear to a child in need for every bear purchased. Sourced from the world’s finest Himalayan organic cotton, the original 16” Sherpa Bear is as soft and huggable as ever. Choose from natural white, beige, dark brown, soft pink and blue. $49.99. www.bearsforhumanity.com

California Baby Aloe Cream

California Baby Aloe & Arnica Cream

Made with certified organically grown aloe vera, California Baby Aloe & Arnica Cream is recommended for dry, irritated, or parched skin. Botanically based, this light and fluffy non-greasy cream contains Aloe Vera and Arnica Montana infused with herbs and essential oils known for their soothing properties. It smells delightful, and living in FL, “Mom” uses this cream year-round on her children’s skin. It makes a fantastic stocking stuffer for babies (and adults!), as this ultra-hydrating cream can be used as a moisturizing lotion for all ages – newborn and up! www.californiababy.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

*Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography.*

It’s New Year’s Eve, and what better time to try your hand at making delicious crab legs for dinner tonight? This recipe for Lime Chipotle-Roasted Alaska Snow Crab is a distinctly delicious take on traditional crab legs, sure to impress family members and friends alike!

Lime Chipotle-Roasted Alaska Snow Crab

Ingredients

Lime Chipotle Vinaigrette:

1 cup rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
Zest and juice from 5 limes (1/2 cup fresh lime juice)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
1-1/2 Tablespoons chipotle puree*
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2-1/2 cups canola or olive oil

4 pounds Alaska Snow Crab clusters, frozen
1 cup (packed) chopped cilantro

Preparation

Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and slowly drizzle in oil.

Crab: Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Snow Crab under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Marinate crab in vinaigrette and chopped cilantro for 15 to 20 minutes, to allow flavor into shells.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place crab on sheet tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning and basting every 4 minutes or so. Serve with Chipotle Corn Puree or Cauliflower Puree and grilled/roasted vegetables. Skip the butter!

*Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Serves 4.

Recipe by Alaska Chef Erik Slater: “Vinaigrettes are not just for salads, and there’s way more to crab than just putting a bib on and dipping some boiled legs into melted butter. Roasting crab brings out flavors from the shell that you just can’t get from the steamer or a pot of water. There is a ton of flavor in those crustaceous shells! This dish brings the deep tones of roasted Alaska Snow crab with a smoky tease of Latin America. Win-win, I say…”

*Recipe and image courtesy of Wild Alaska Seafood Company.*

The holiday season is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for some, it’s quite the opposite and the holidays can actually be more like the most miserable time of the year.

Steve Siebold, a psychological performance and mental toughness coach who is the author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class, says, “The change from everyday routines, the large gatherings, the decorating, shopping and more can make many people feel overwhelmed and stressed this time of year.”

Siebold offers his top tips to reduce the stress of the holidays and make it more enjoyable:

1. Slow down: Life is challenging enough as it is, and with all the extra commitments and things that have to get done this time of year, it can cause panic and chaos for even the most mentally tough people. When you find yourself moving a million miles an hour, take a step back and slow down. Instead of getting overwhelmed in everything you have to do, focus on one task at a time. Looking at one thing in front of you compared to the big picture makes it much more manageable.

2. Ask for help: There’s no reason you have to do everything by yourself during the holiday season. Ask for help. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, for example, ask your spouse or children to help with the shopping, coking, decorating, setting up the guest bedroom, taking out the trash, walking the dog, etc.

3. Don’t feel bad about saying ‘No:’ There’s only so much time in a day, and with all the extra commitments at the holidays, don’t feel guilty about telling people ‘no.’ A very simple response to soften it is, “I would normally love to help; however, I already have so much on my plate right now. I’ll have to pass on the offer. I would love to help another time.”

4. Take a break: If the holiday season gets to be too much, take a break. Put everything down for a day and go do something you really enjoy. If you feel a day is too long, take 30 minutes to an hour and go for a walk, spend time doing something fun with a friend, take your kids to the park, read a new book, work on your business plan for the New Year, watch TV or whatever it is that will take your mind off of the holidays.

5. Talk it out: It’s never a good idea to keep your feelings bottled up inside. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, talk to a close friend you can confide in, a therapist or try journaling. In fact, become your own best means of support and talk to yourself. Put things in perspective and tell yourself the craziness of the holiday season will only last for a few weeks and then life goes back to normal. Tell yourself it’s only temporary and that you can hang tough a little longer.

6. Lower your expectations: Many people have ridiculously high expectations of what the holidays are supposed to be like. Stop paying attention to what you see on TV. Stop being influenced by those holiday catalogs. Take the pressure off and just let the holidays play out naturally.

7. Focus on being rather than doing: One of the best ways to find happiness this time of year is to focus on being rather than doing. Make a list of the 10 things you are most grateful for in your life, and review them every morning for the month of December. Monitor how this simple activity impacts your emotions.

Article courtesy of Steve Siebold, author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class. Learn more at www.mentaltoughnesssecrets.com.

*Image courtesy of imagerymajestic on FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Tis’ the season to indulge, and why not indulge in these delicious White Chocolate Ginger Cookies made with fresh ginger, vanilla paste and white chocolate chips?

Terra’s Kitchen White Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature (“Mom” prefers organic, cage-free eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste, can substitute vanilla extract
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (we suggest using a microplane)
11 ounces white chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully combined. Add in the vanilla paste and ginger, mixing until just combined. Gradually add in the flour mixture 1 cup at a time. Add the white chocolate chips.

Drop by the heaping tablespoon full onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly golden (12-15 minutes), cookies will appear still slightly soft in the middle, but will set up firmly as they cool. (Note: For smaller, less decadent cookies use a teaspoon measure and bake for 8-10 minutes). Using a spatula, remove cookies from the parchment to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Makes 2 dozen big/over indulged cookies.
Makes 4 dozen smaller/less decadent cookies.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Terra’s Kitchen.* 

It’s November 1st already! This time of year brings with it a season of warm, tummy-filling delights created using root vegetables. Try your hand at making these delightful little puff pastry hors d’oeuvres for any upcoming get-together you may be throwing or attending!

Butternut Squash & Herb Tarts 2Butternut Squash, Chestnut and Herb Filled Puff Pastry Hors d’oeuvres

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs. (you can also use kabocha)

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 jar or package peeled chestnuts (5-8 oz.)

Salt & freshly ground pepper

Sauce:

1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Salt to taste

1-2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 package frozen puff pastry (we suggest DuFour which is an all-butter puff)

1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon water

Make the filling:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Top and tail the squash, halve it crosswise, put each piece flat-side down on the cutting board, and peel with a knife. Remove the seeds, then cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl, toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt & freshly ground pepper. Spread on a parchment-paper covered sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes, until the squash is tender and starting to brown. Add the chestnuts and roast an additional 2 minutes, just to warm them.

While the squash roasts, make the sauce by combining the ingredients in the food processor (start with the smaller amount of lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of salt; you can always add). Pulse to puree to a sauce consistency.

Toss the squash with the sauce, and allow to cool. If you’re making these hors d’oeuvres ahead, you can finish the pastry, fill the cases and freeze. Just remove from the freezer and reheat to serve.

For the puff pastry cases, raise the oven temperature to 375°F. The pastry sheet should be well-chilled so thaw it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Unfold the sheet, use a rolling pin to even it out and thin it slightly. Use two square cutters (try a three-inch and a 2 1/4 inch) to first cut the larger squares, then the smaller square inside each one. Once you get them all cut, refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once chilled again, brush the edge of the inner square with the beaten egg, and carefully fold the large square over it, so that the corner of the large square meets the edge of the small, doing this twice so that you have a high-sided case. Where the two sides cross, the corners will be a bit thicker. Brush the whole case with a little egg wash, refrigerate again for 10 minutes, then bake until lightly brown and puffed up. As you take them from the oven, squish the centers down to form the cup for the filling. Let cool, then heap in the squash mixture. Reheat before serving.

Yield: About 24 pieces

About Paulding & Company

Founded by mother-daughter duo Terry and Tracy Paulding, Paulding & Co. is a commercial kitchen and instructional/event space that specializes in creating innovative event ideas for families and corporate entities through public cooking classes and exercises. Located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, Paulding & Company inspired Disney/Pixar animators for the Ratatouille film and director Clint Eastwood for several projects.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Paulding & Co.*

ID-100120230Top 5 Eco-Baby & Toddler Gifts for 2013

The holidays are here, and it is time for “Mom” to reveal her top eco-friendly gifts for babies and toddlers! The five items below will delight and surprise both parents and children this season!

KicKee Pants Blanket

KicKee Pants Ruffle Blanket
Wee ones will love to snuggle up with this super-soft Ruffle Blanket from KicKee Pants! Made from soft Viscose from Bamboo fabric, the blanket is the ideal combo of stretch and softness. Great for swaddling or for cuddling as your child grows – this will surely be a favorite for years to come! Available in a variety of solid colors and cozy prints. www.kickeepants.com

Dots on Tots

Dots on Tots Flap Hat
Celeb-loved line Dots on Tots has the perfect stocking stuffer for babies this season – the organic cotton Flap Hat! Made from 100% certified organic soft baby cotton, the Flap Hat is double layered for warmth, and seamless with a soft Velcro (hook and loop) closure on the flaps. The hat is a must-have for chilly weather! Made in the USA with low-impact dyes, the Flap Hat is available in white, blue or pink in either cotton or sherpa fabric. www.dotsontots.com

Baby Mantra

Baby Mantra Skincare Line
Safeguard your baby’s sacred bedtime bath with Baby Mantra, a new baby skincare line made of top quality, all-natural and organic ingredients. Lush formulations pamper mom and baby alike, without the harmful chemicals and carcinogens often found in mainstream products. For the perfect gift set for a newborn baby this season, Baby Mantra offers four toxin-free products to protect, pamper and soothe, including the Newborn Shampoo & Body Wash, 3-in-1 Baby Bubble Bath, Shampoo & Body Wash, Calming Massage Oil, and Calming Lotion. The line can be found at Walgreens, Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and Diapers.com. www.babymantra.com

Lullabag

Cloud b Lullabag
Little ones will be snug as a bug all winter long in the Cloud b Lullabag! This gorgeous, extremely comfy sleep bag helps keep your baby’s body temperature just right throughout the night, making for better, longer sleep. Used in place of loose blankets and bedding, it is a safe alternative that helps to reduce the risk factors associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation. The Lullabag is available in fleece, bamboo/cotton and pointelle in a variety of prints in sizes S-L. www.cloudb.com

Green Toys Rocket

Green Toys Rocket
Your future astronaut will love pretending to blast off into outer space while being socially responsible this holiday season with the new Green Toys Rocket, which is made from recycled materials and is free of toxins. The fully equipped, 2-in-1 set includes a detachable top capsule and two astronauts that sport molded spacesuits, helmets, and dual-tank backpacks. Powered by a main booster and three auxiliary fin boosters, the Rocket has a large door that flips down to double as a set of steps up into the main cavity, while the detachable nose cone capsule has its own door that opens to reveal buttons, dials, and more. $24.99. www.GreenToys.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece. Top image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

How to Make Recycled Material Christmas Ornaments With Kids

One of the true pleasures of the holiday season for many parents is taking the time to sit down with kids and create cards and gifts for family and friends, as well as ornaments to hang on the tree and treasure in the years to come. And for many families, the craft store can provide nearly unlimited options. But if you’ve decided that it’s high time you started living more sensibly and doing your part to protect the planet for your tiny tots, then perhaps you’re on the prowl for craft materials that do less harm this year. In other words, you might be looking for a few good ways to create Christmas ornaments using recycled materials. And here are some cool ideas to get you started.

If the majority of your crafts tend to be of the paper variety, you’re in luck. You can find all different kinds of recycled paper products to make your Christmas crafts more eco-friendly this year. For one thing, you could start by using the scrap paper in your own home. Have the kids color on it to cover any print and then fold and cut to create unique snowflakes to hang on the windows, walls, or even the Christmas tree. Even old magazines can provide you with fun paper options here. You might also look online for recycled card stock if you need something stiffer for ornaments like holiday theme photo frames to hang on the tree or seasonal cutouts (snowmen, reindeer, etc.) that the kids can decorate.

Of course, you might want to do something a bit more three-dimensional. Popsicle sticks are one handy craft item that can be used in a number of ways and if you are the planning type you might save them from the kids’ summer obsession with frozen treats. This way you’ll have them on hand to create God’s eyes or even a miniature manger for your nativity scene. Another fun and easy craft that kids of all ages can do involves using leftover twist ties that comes with your trash bags or recycled ones from your bread bags. All you have to do is make a bunch of about twenty, tie one around the middle, and then fan them out in all directions to make a starburst. Add a string and you can hang them on the tree or mantle. You might also put them in a hurricane glass with some tinsel for a table centerpiece.

And if you save spaghetti and jam jars, these can also be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can throw in pine cones and small pine branches that you pick up outside your house to create rustic, decorations to place around the house. Or if you’re looking for a little extra illumination (but you’re not quite ready for solar power from Brisbane to Boston), you can use a little decoupage glue and colored tissue paper salvaged from presents throughout the year to make opaque designs on your glass jars. Then all you have to do is place tea light candles inside for festive, custom lighting. As you can see, there are all kinds of crafts you can do with the kids to create holiday ornaments and décor with recycled materials. You’re pretty much only limited by the scope of your imagination.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that the brand new Tom’s of Maine Naturally Clean Toothbrush would soon be placed in there! Looking for healthier stocking stuffers this year? Alongside all those goodies and sweetss, consider adding Tom’s of Maine new Naturally Clean Toothbrush, a chemical-free option that’s good for your smile and for your world. “Mom” is a longtime fan of Tom’s of Maine products, and her young daughter only uses the Children’s Silly Strawberry to brush her teeth! The toothpaste is flouride-free, dye-free and all-natural, making it an excellent choice for little ones!

Why choose Tom’s of Maine new Naturally Clean Toothbrush?

•Natural benefits include a BPA-free and dye-free plant-based handle made from renewable castor oil plants and colored with mineral-based pigments.

•The toothbrush also performs with multi-height bristles to clean between teeth and along the gum line and an angled neck for accessing hard-to-reach areas.

•Consumers can recycle the toothbrush through the Natural Care Brigade created by Tom’s of Maine and TerraCycle, which recycles packaging that may otherwise end up in a landfill into useful products like picnic tables and park benches.

This season, give the gift of good dental hygiene – a welcome present for any age!

The Tom’s of Maine Naturally Clean Toothbrush can be found at TomsofMainestore.com and will be available at health and specialty retailers nationwide in January.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*