Posts

Have you ever wanted one thing – just one thing – more than anything else in the world? A toy? A new bike? A computer game? Did you imagine that this one possession would make you incredibly happy – forever? For Benji that one thing is an enormous orange kite. In BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE (Clavis Publishing; August 2018), bestselling author Alan C. Fox tells the enchanting story of a young boy who learns that possessing something is not quite as meaningful as letting it go.

In His Illustrated Children’s Book, BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE, Bestselling Author Alan C. Fox Focuses On Perseverence, Dreams, and Letting Go

BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE, with illustrations by Eefje Jujil, is the second in Alan Fox’s series of picture books. The first, BENJI AND THE 24 POUND BANANA SQUASH, was named a notable children’s book of 2017 by Booklist magazine and has become a much-loved story for youngsters and parents alike.

Alan Fox explains that like all of his books, “BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE is based on a real-life incident. This one happened when I was a child. I decided to tell the story, because I wanted to share the sense of achievement I felt by working hard to obtain something I really loved. But once I saw the kite flying at the beach, I wanted to let it go. My dream had been accomplished. It was time move on to another, new experience. You must always keep going to fulfill your dreams and aspirations.”

Would you like to win a copy of BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE for your family? From August 1st – August 5th, 2018 you can enter to win daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE Giveaway!

To obtain extra entries:

Follow @TinyGreenMom on Instagram. This is only valid for one entry.

Like this post on Instagram @TinyGreenMom. This is only valid for one entry.

Follow @TinyGreenMom on Twitter. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

The BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE Giveaway ends on August 5th, 2018 and is open to the US only. Please make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! We can’t wait to announce the winner of this giveaway!

I’m not going to lie… I am a sucker for a delicious blueberry muffin! While dining at Sweet Tomoatoes this past week, I enjoyed several of these warm, moist muffins with my soup and salad. I am thrilled to share this recipe with you from their team, as well as offer you the chance to win a visit for four to eat at Sweet Tomatoes this summer! Just head on over to the Sweet Tomatoes Summer Giveaway on my website here… good luck!

I made a few suggestions below on simple modifications to the recipe to make them even healthier. As always, choose organic ingredients when possible. Yum!

Wildly Blue Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

2 ¾ cups white flour (“Mom” prefers organic, unbleached flour)
½ cup wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 cup white sugar (“Mom” prefers organic)
2/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup cracked eggs (“Mom” prefers cage-free eggs)
1 teaspoon blueberry extract
½ lb blueberries (“Mom” prefers organic)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Combine white flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and table salt in a 1 quart mixing bowl and thoroughly mix to combine. Set aside.

In a separate 2 quart mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, sugar, canola oil, eggs, and blueberry extract and thoroughly whisk until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.

Add dry mixture to wet mixture and thoroughly mix to combine.

Gently fold in blueberries.

Grease muffin pan with pan spray. Spoon muffin batter into muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until batter is firm and springs to the touch. The muffin will be a light golden brown.

Enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sweet Tomatoes.*

Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to dine at Sweet Tomatoes for a fun-filled family night! If you are stuck on where to take your family for a healthy dinner, kids can now eat FREE every Tuesday throughout the summer season! Little ones under three eat free all year-round with the purchase of an adult meal, too.

Free meals aside, Sweet Tomatoes uses the freshest fruits and vegetables to create all homemade recipes from scratch. Each restaurant invites families to come together for a healthy dining experience, where farm meets the table. My children had fun picking out their favorites… from warm blueberry muffins, oranges, tomatoes (yes, my toddler can put away a plate of tomatoes quickly!), pizza and macaroni cheese. I enjoyed two bowls of Asian Ginger Broth and a big salad! This month, guests can enjoy a limited-time menu, which spotlights picnic delights like the new Avocado BLT Salad, smoky BBQ Chicken Focaccia and tasty Broccoli Potato Soup.

With Sweet Tomatoes turning 40 this year they are celebrating all summer! In addition to kids eating free every Tuesday throughout the summer, Seniors can also enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal and beverage for only $8.29 every day from 2-5PM all season long. And that’s not all – through July 31st Sweet Tomatoes is partnering with Pepsi to give away a cruise for four to Hawaii. Guests can purchase a beverage to receive a scratch off for entry.

Tiny Green Mom is also giving away 4 free meal passes to visit Sweet Tomatoes with your family this summer in our Sweet Tomatoes Summer Giveaway!

From July 15th – July 20th, 2018 you can enter to win daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Sweet Tomatoes Summer Giveaway!

To obtain extra entries:

Like this post on Instagram @TinyGreenMom. This is only valid for one entry

Follow @TinyGreenMom on Twitter. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

The Sweet Tomatoes Summer Giveaway ends on July 20th, 2018 and is open to the US only.

Please make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! We can’t wait to announce the winner of this delicious giveaway!

*Giveaway sponsored by Sweet Tomatoes.*

Updating your baby’s nursery to a more timeless, neutral space for your little one, or looking for more classic pieces that could work for more than one child? We have compiled some tips on creating an eco-friendly, modern space that will grow with your child that won’t break the bank!

Choose materials carefully. For the walls, opt for a child safe, enviromentally-safe, no or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, such as Real Milk Paint. Paint is one of the top indoor air pollutants, and VOC’s are the toxins that off-gas into the air upon application. Most major paint manufacturers now make a no or low-VOC line of paint with a wide choice of colors, so when picking out paint, read labels carefully or ask a store associate for assistance.

We all know that the color in a space can greatly affect our mood… and our children’s mood! For young children, opt for a color scheme that promotes a healthy night’s sleep & a calm, nurturing atmosphere for play. A neutral color can help to stabilize and ground, while green is an ideal color for any space. Green is neither hot nor cool & symbolizes growth & new beginnings. Use yellow sparingly, or not at all, as yellow is the hardest color for your eye to break down.

In addition to paint, carpet is another major indoor air pollutant, so instead look for hardwood, bamboo, cork, rubber or tile options for bedroom flooring. Adding an area rug made from natural fibers adds the needed warmth you want in a bedroom, plus offers a sound deadening quality to help sound from bouncing off the floor & walls. Wool is strongly suggested as it is a self-extinguishing fiber, an added bonus. We love this ABC Classic Rug from Peurobaby, as it is ethically made from 100% raw materials and non-toxic dyes. It is also washable, which comes in handy with little ones! It is extremely lightweight and easy to pick up and move, with anti-slip underlay to ensure safety.

When adding furniture pieces to your child’s room, such as dressers or chairs, look for unfinished wood furniture, and then stain/paint with a NO VOC stain or paint. This will limit any off-gassing of toxins that a finished piece of new furniture would emit into the space. Another eco-friendly choice is to choose a recycled or upcycled item from a family member or friend. For a fun, timeless piece that blends in seamlessly with any space, the Wooden Toddler Slide from Peurobaby is perfect for indoor use, and encourages exercise, motor skills and independence! Available in a wide variety of colors, the slide is made from molded wood and finished with water-dilutable finish, free of methylpyrrolidone and free of phthalate plasticizers.

For additional play items that grow with your child, choose items that delight their imagination and encourage independent play, from a wooden kitchen to an adorable Chalkboard Ride-On Wagon! This little wagon is a favorite with my children… my now 6 year old likes to decorate it with her artwork, and my little guy likes to pull his wooden cars around in it! It wipes clean easily, too!

When choosing new linens and bedding for a neutral space, think cool colors such as blues, greens, and lavender to calm and soothe, rather than jarring, bright colors! Organic cotton blankets, sheets and pillows give your child a soft, safe place to snuggle into at night, and if possible, opt for Naturepedic, a company that makes GOTS certified organic cotton sheets, pillows, and more… all allergen-friendly, as well! We also adore Aden + Anais, who make the softest, breathable, 100% cotton muslin blankets, changing pad covers, and sleep sacks.

It can be fairly simple to makeover your child’s space to create a delightful, neutral space in which to sleep and play! When in doubt, opt for eco-friendly, natural, and classics that grow with your child.

*Peurobaby provided a sample & images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

The reality of achieving silky hair and glowing skin can be hard with the triple threat of sun, salt water and chlorine, but it’s never too soon to protect skin by choosing natural ingredients over harsh chemicals. Desert Essence has everything we need to look and feel our best this summer… and did I mention that the items below smell a-mazing? Read more

Fun and festive, these delicious 4th of July red, white and blue berry cake parfaits will be the stars of the dessert table! With berries in season right now, this is a winning combination!

This recipe uses Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Cake Mix and Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, plus lots of fresh berries, which makes for easy baking, assembling and cleaning.

We love that all of Miss Jones’ mixes and frostings are vegan-friendly, so everyone can enjoy this festive, patriotic dessert! Plus, they are perfectly portioned and ready to serve!

For this recipe, Miss Jones’ used parfait glasses & drinking glasses, using the rim of the glass to cut out circles from a sheet cake, but you can also use crumbled cake to fill mason jars for a dessert on-the-go if you are spending the day at a picnic or someone else’s home.

Red, White and Blue Berries and Cream Cake Parfaits

Ingredients

1 box Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Cake Mix
1 jars Miss Jones Organic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3 eggs (“Mom” prefers cage-free eggs)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted (“Mom” prefers organic)
6 oz raspberries
6 oz blueberries
6 oz blackberries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 in pan with parchment paper and spray with oil.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, butter and milk together until combined.

Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool completely.

Use the rim of the glass to cut circles out of the sheet cake. Push the cake circle to the bottom of the glass. If it’s too tight, use a knife to trim a little around the edges.

Fill piping bag with frosting. Pipe some frosting over the cake layer and add some berries. Place another cake circle on top and layer with frosting and berries. Keep layering until you reach the top of the glass.

Serve and enjoy!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Total Time: 50-65 minutes

*Recipe and image courtesy of Miss Jones Baking Co.*

Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to enjoy the fresh vegetables found at your local farmer’s market! This adorable Mason Jar Pasta Salad is a wonderful way to prep some healthy lunches and grab-n-go options for the week ahead, thanks to Pasta Fits!

Their recipe calls for baby bocconcini cheese, but we used fresh mozzarella balls instead, as that is what we could find at our local grocery store. You can also substitute baby kale for the baby spinach, but we combined the two to add an even more nutritious punch!

Mason Jar Pasta Salad

Ingredients

4 oz. farfalle
4 oz. low-fat baby bocconcini cheese
1 cup/5 oz. halved heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 cup/5 oz. chopped cucumber
1 cup/5 oz. chopped red pepper
1/2 cup/2.5 oz. chopped red onion
2 cups/2 oz. baby spinach

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside; let cool.

Divide pasta and cheese among four (8 oz.) Mason jars. Toss together tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and onion. Divide evenly among jars.

Red Wine Vinaigrette: Whisk together oil, parsley, vinegar, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper.

Drizzle vinaigrette over tomato mixture; top with spinach. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Shake before serving.

Tip: Substitute baby kale for spinach if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Pasta Fits.*

It is the height of summer here in Florida, and the mosquitoes are out in full force! At dusk, they seem to hover near our patio door, patiently waiting for anyone who opens the door to step outside! My little guy seems to be their biggest target… his sweet, 2 year old skin seems to be their favorite and tiny mosquito bites appear like chicken pox the second he is outside for more than 2 minutes at that time of day!

To keep those pesky mosquitoes away naturally, I have compiled a list of 3 tips and tricks that we use around our home. I don’t like to spray my children or myself with DEET-based repellents, so have found other, less toxic ways to combat the problem. Here are a few of our favorites!

3 Tips on Keeping Mosquitoes Away Naturally

sand toys image

Eliminate Standing Water Sources

Mosquitoes breed in water, and with heavy rains in FL in the summer, this makes for a terrible combination! If at all possible, drain areas that fill up quickly. Any toys & other items, such as plastic buckets, small wading pools, wagons, etc. should be dumped out at the end of the day after playing so as not to create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Yes, those sand box & water play table toys are the ideal place for mosquitoes to breed, so remember to dump them out and cover the table or sand box at the end of the day!

Brittanies Thyme Bug Spray

Apply (and Reapply!) a DEET-Free Insect Repellent

Brittanie’s Thyme offers a safe, effective organic bug spray that is derived from essential oils, not toxic chemicals. The Organic Bug Spray provides floral & woodsy scents that create a pleasing aroma for people, yet the bugs hate it! Brittanie’s Thyme does not contain citronella, and will not stain your clothes. They recommend not spraying the bug spray directly on the skin of babies and toddlers under 2 years old. Instead, spray your child’s clothing, stroller, blankets or grass area around them.

white socks

Dress Appropriately

We know it’s hot, but wearing light colored, long-sleeved pants & tops will deter mosquitoes from those areas of your body! Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, so white or other lightly colored clothing are an optimal choice when planning to spend time outdoors hiking, playing and more! In addition, mosquitoes love feet, so opt for socks and shoes whenever possible!

*Brittanie’s Thyme provided samples for review for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

I am always on the lookout for a healthier treat for my family, and these little bites of organic goodness definitely fit the bill! I have seen Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies tucked in the bins at Starbucks and have always wanted to give them a try… so when asked to try all 4 of their delicious flavors, I jumped at the chance!

IMG_5657

Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies are made with clean, organic ingredients like fair trade cocoa powder, and contain zero artificial ingredients or coloring! They are certified USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and paleo-friendly, making them an ideal little snack!

Available in flavors like Dark Cacao, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Bean, Lemon Ginger and more, these superfood snacks are great atop smoothies, yogurt, or as a yummy bite straight from the bag.

IMG_5658

Emmy’s are also the perfect size for summer travel and can be found at Starbucks stores nationwide — making them an ideal on-the-go vegan or paleo option!

We loved the simplicity of the vanilla flavor, which reminded me of traditional shortbread with a hint of coconut! If you have little ones like I do, make sure they eat those over a plate as they are soft and can be a bit flaky.

To learn more about Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies, visit emmysorganics.com.

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

Whole grains, organic yogurt, and bananas… these are all nutritious foods for your little one, combined into delicious mini muffins that are easy to hold, pack in lunch boxes, or serve for a quick snack!

Banana & Yogurt Muffins

Ingredients & Supplies

1 Happy Tot Apple & Pear Whole Milk Yogurt Cup OR 2 Happy Baby Plain Whole Milk Yogurt Cups
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg*
1 tablespoon milk or milk alternative (“Mom” prefers organic)
24-cup mini-muffin tin

Preparation

STEP 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.

STEP 2
Add bananas, vanilla, oil, egg, milk and yogurt to a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until well combined, smooth and creamy. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

STEP 3
Divide batter evenly into mini-muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool muffins for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm and even better the next day.

Makes 24 muffins.

*If your baby has an egg allergy, replace the egg with 2 to 3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce.

If your baby suffers from allergies, check with your pediatrician before trying these recipes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Happy Family.*