This is a very versatile dessert because you can use any kind of fruit you prefer in the recipe. It is typically made with Greek yogurt and fresh peaches, but you can substitute your favorite ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet.

Phyllo Cups with Greek Yogurt, Fresh Peaches and Honey

Ingredients

Butter-flavored cooking spray

1 (3 ½-ounce) package phyllo dough

½ cup Greek yogurt

3 medium ripe fresh peaches, pitted, skinned, and cut into 1-inch pieces

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

12 small fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons honey

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 6-cup muffin tin generously with cooking spray.

Remove 6 sheets of phyllo from the package, and cover them with a kitchen towel to keep them from drying out. Store the rest of the phyllo in the refrigerator.

Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface, and keep the remaining sheets covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Spray the sheet lightly with cooking spray. Cut the sheet into 5 (6-inch by 6-inch) squares. Place 1 square gently inside a muffin cup, and press the bottom to fit into the cup. Lay the other 4 squares in the muffin cup at different angles until all 5 have been gently pressed in. The ends of the phyllo dough will be taller than the cup and should overlap. Repeat the process for the other 5 muffin cups.

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before trying to lift the cups from the muffin tins. Gently lift the phyllo cups and place on a platter. Fill each to the top with yogurt. Add half a peach, and sprinkle with ¹⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of chopped walnuts, 2 mint leaves torn into small pieces, and 1 teaspoon of honey.

6 SERVINGS

*Recipe and image courtesy of Cristina Ferrare, author of the new cookbook, Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love.*

Beginning a calming bedtime ritual and a morning wake-up routine right from infancy is made easier with the new Day & Night Soother from Tiny Love! Transitioning from one activity to the next can be challenging for little ones, and associating a particular sound or signal when a change is going to occur cues your child to know what to expect, meaning less fussiness (or at least that is the hope!).

The Day & Night Soother attaches easily to any crib, and features 6 different classical and nature tunes to relax and soothe baby – 3 for daytime, and 3 for nighttime. With 5 volume levels, each tune lasts 20 minutes long, and you can set the soother to play only music, or for stimulation, the music is combined with lights and motion. With cheerful, smiling animals on parade, the soother illuminates a glowing moon and stars when in nighttime mode, and a rising sun for daytime! It is just too cute, and the best part (which “Mom” loves!) – it is not bulky or big, meaning it can packed easily for trips to Grandma’s house or even on vacation, so that naptime or bedtime rituals can be kept relatively the same in different environments! For those with high-need or fussy babies, this is key!

Tiny Love’s Day & Night Soother retails for $39.99 and is available nationwide at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon.com. It makes an excellent and very appreciated baby shower gift, as well! For more information, visit www.TinyLove.com.

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

Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate Mom

It might be tempting to buy flowers and candy for your mom this Mother’s Day, but that may not be what she really wants. Your special mom deserves careful consideration, and these three simple gifts will help you to make this Mother’s Day as unique as the mom in your life!

The Gift of Listening

Have you asked the mom in your life what she might like for Mother’s Day this year? The answer may surprise you.

Depending on the person, the special mother in your life might want to take a hike with the family or may want a couple of hours alone. Or, if she’s like me, your mom might want an unusual Mother’s Day gift, like a barbecue grill, or perhaps she won’t want you to spend a lot of money in order to cut down on potential financial stress.

The process of finding out what the mom in your life wants makes this gift special. The first part of the process is to ask seriously how she envisions that special day. The second essential step is to listen to the answer and act accordingly to make her vision for Mother’s Day a reality. The listening and follow-through on your part will provide a day to celebrate as unique as the mom in your life, and one she will remember for years to come.

The Gift of Surprise

What if your mom doesn’t really know what she wants on that special day? Don’t be discouraged – this is a wonderful opportunity to plan a surprise.

One of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts involved a surprise planned by my husband and children. On that Sunday afternoon, I was given our GPS programmed with a route that I was to follow, and at each stop I was greeted with a special treat – the first stop was a manicure, the second was coffee and a scone, and the third stop was at my favorite thrift store. This was a delightful way to spend the afternoon, and the surprise element only added to my excitement and joy.

The planned surprise doesn’t need to be elaborate or complicated, it just needs to cater to what’s special about your mom!

The Gift of Thoughtfulness

The crucial element to planning for Mother’s Day is to spend time thinking about what the mom in your life would really enjoy. Invest effort in thinking about her values and daily life, including how she spends her time and energy. Is she thrifty? Does she enjoy an occasional splurge and if so, what does she consider a “splurge?” Does she like to be active, or would she enjoy a relaxing massage? Could she benefit from some time alone with a gift card to shop without interruption? What is her favorite meal? Build your plans around your mom’s preferences and you’ll automatically be providing her with special treats.

These unique details are your keys to planning the best Mother’s Day celebration for the special mom in your life!

About the Author

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer who is looking forward to Mother’s Day. To find out more about the gift of teeth whitening for your special mom, check out Dr. Brett L. Johnson, DMD, a dentist in Oregon City, OR.

*Image provided by Organic Bouquet.*

Rich and creamy, but without all of the sugar and fat, these pudding cups featuring Voskos® Greek Yogurt are the perfect blend of chocolate & cherries!

Voskos Greek Yogurt Cherry Chocolate “Pudding Cups”

Ingredients

3 cups Voskos® Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

28 fresh or frozen dark cherries

4 tbs Torani® sugar-free Dark Cherry syrup

4 tbs Torani sugar-free Chocolate syrup

4 tsp sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding mix

Preparation

1. Defrost and chop cherries to a small dice.

2. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive mixing bowl and blend until well-mixed.

3. Spoon into four small resealable plastic food storage containers.

4. Refrigerate Voskos Greek Yogurt Cherry Chocolate “Pudding” Cups after mixing.

Makes 4 – 3/4 Cup Servings

*Recipe and image courtesy of Voskos®.*

Offering the benefits of acupressure in the comfort of your own home, or truly anywhere, the eco-fabulous and portable Spoonk ™ Acupressure Massage Mat is such a unique product! Designed by Natasha Frykman, this mat tucks away conveniently at home and packs up neatly for stress relief on-the-go. Natasha took a few minutes out of her busy day to answer some questions about the Spoonk ™ Acupressure Massage Mat and her planet-friendly company for Tiny Green Mom.

An Interview with Natasha Frykman, Founder of Spoonk Space

Tell us About Your Eco-Inspired Company!

Spoonk Space’s mission is to provide high quality, effective solutions for a natural way to alleviate stress-related problems. The company is committed to using eco-friendly manufacturing solutions as much as possible and educating consumers about natural choices to promote health and wellness. The Spoonk ECO acupressure massage mat is our first product to incorporate all of above, made from GOTS certified organic hemp, non toxic ABS plastic and eco foam that is free from toxic of-gassing chemicals. Spoonk mats are made locally in the USA and have been a sensation at all consumer and tradeshows that we have participated in.

Our mat is gaining increasing popularity and appreciation from people of all walks of life that have been helped by its application. From sleeping better and easier to aiding with pain relief of all kinds, we are helping people and that is what makes us happy!

How Do You Choose To Go Green in Your Own Life?

I am committed to only purchasing food that is organically grown and supporting other companies who aspire to make the world a greener place. I also cook my four children’s food from scratch. We do not own a TV and we have only one car. Our plan is to buy a land with few other families where we can grow organic food so that we may have food of better quality and price.

Guilty Green Pleasure?

I love indulging in a good, hot cup of organic coffee with rice milk.

Can You Offer Any Encouraging Words for Those With a Small Sustainable Business?

Don’t give up. It’s marathon, not a sprint—time is on your side!

*Image provided by Spoonk Space.*

Your parents’ lives revolved around you from Day One: from changing diapers through helping with homework, kissing boo-boos through dishing out dating advice, they’ve helped make you who you are today. But before fanny packs became their go-to accessory and minivans their car of choice, they were people, too!

In a digital age where we can retake digital photos until they’re “perfec,” the wildly popular website My Parents Were Awesome bucks the trend by appluading the everyday heroes – parents – with vintage photos. Launched in 2009 by writer, comedian and editor Eliot Glazer, the online collection of old photos of parents before parenthood proves that parents were once young, fun, and effortlessly cool. Yes – you know you want to check it out!

Now, Glazer combines the spontaneity and nostalgia of old photographs with stories by sons and daughters in a heartwarming collection of essays: MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME: Before Fanny Packs & Minivans, They Were People Too.

With intimate memories from Jamie Deen, Christian Lander, Laurie Notaro, and other acclaimed writers, comedians, musicians, and artists – MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME celebrates the hilarious stories of real parents: the mom and dad who traveled by VW bus to see Led Zeppelin for $1, the grandmother whose halter top and shorts belied her perfect demeanor, the father whose wanderlust passed down to his equally nomadic daughter.

A perfect gift for Mother’s Day, MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME includes a special section where you can personalize the book with your favorite image of your parents and write down your own cherished memories. With stories and photos that will warm your heart and make you laugh, the paperback edition of MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME reminds you to reflect, say thanks to Mom (and Dad) – and admit that, yes, your parents ARE awesome.

To learn more, or to order in time for Mother’s Day to let your mom know how amazingly awesome she is, visit myparentswereawesome.com.

*Company generously provided a copy of the book and cover image for this review.*

How to Be a Better Parent

It takes a lot of work to be a great parent. Everything you say or do not only affects your child, but teaches them things that they will carry for a lifetime. It is sobering to realize that the way you raise your children will affect the way your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and perhaps even further, are raised. So many of the suggestions currently being published as parenting techniques focus on behavior modification. This misses the mark for most parents. Success depends just as much on what your children see you doing as it does on what you actively teach them.

Work on Your Self-Esteem

If you have problems with your self-esteem and regularly self-deprecate, work on this. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t showing those feelings knowingly – your child will see it and interpret is as instruction that a person should not love oneself. Learn how to love yourself and take to heart that you are a worthy person and your child will learn through you.

Right alongside this goes a mistake that many parents make: criticism. Criticizing qualities in your child that you see in yourself forces the child to see him- or herself through what they believe to be your eyes, negatively and hypercritically. This can be damaging, and it stays with a child throughout their life.

Avoid Perpetrating Your Own Parents’ Negative Behaviors

All parents have that moment of horror when they hear something come out of their mouth that their parents said word-for-word. Think back to the things your parents did with the best of intentions that backfired spectacularly. Not all of their techniques were bad, but most of us can remember the things that made us miserable as a child.

Pay attention to what you’re doing and weed out the behaviors that bothered you most in your parents. Many new parents are compelled to replicate the things they saw their own parents doing because it may have been their only example. When you’re tempted to do this, take a deep breath and find a different path. Making yourself a better parent is about change for the better.

Dump the ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ Philosophy

Parents are role models, whether they aim to be or not. Make sure that the things you’re showing your child are things you’ll be proud to see them do twenty years down the road. One of the most important ways you can be a role model for your child is in personal relationships. Make sure that your relationship with your spouse or partner is healthy. Display affection to your children and in front of them. Sharing a kiss with your spouse or snuggling together with your kids can be a huge positive influence. Be warm and loving toward your kids at all times. Even – no, especially when you’re angry. Make sure your children know that anger or disappointment does not mean a lack of love. Children look back on what they saw their parents doing when they begin learning about relationships themselves.

Children will attempt to imitate your mind and body, as well. If you never finished that degree you wanted, go back and get it through night school. Keep learning, even if you have your dream job, and inject different cultural experiences into your family life. Make your weekends opportunities for new experiences:

• Local theatre groups

• Libraries

• Museum trips – have a dinosaur trip one week, local artist trip the next, and so on

• Art classes

Teach your kids (and yourself) how to eat well and exercise. Get healthy together. It’s not necessary to create an absolutely perfect food environment – the occasional chicken nugget isn’t going to ruin an otherwise healthy diet – but showing your children a variety of foods that are good for the whole family will broaden the mind when it comes to trying new things.

About the Author

Michele Allen, in addition to being a mother, writes on various health topics. She’s almost done with her CNA Certification and is about to start looking for CNA Jobs to begin her health services career.

Summertime is about the last time of the year we moms feel like firing up the stove or oven. But, with kids underfoot, the demand for snacks is as constant as the mercury pushing over 90 degrees outside.

How to keep your cool? By making the kids create their own healthy frozen treats using fresh summer fruit! It’s as easy as fresh fruit, 100 percent juice, and maybe even some fresh herbs for the creative kids.

Try these recipes courtesy of Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club from Storey Publishers. Or, you can even make your own recipes! If you like more creamy treats, try using lowfat yogurt as well as the fruit and juice.

These healthier frozen treats offer a serving of fruit, no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors and colors, and less sugar than many frozen treats. Making a batch takes only minutes of prep time, and no cooking! Just be sure to call them popSTICKles, as her daughter reminds Beth, because of the stick.

Peaches and Herb Popstickles

Ingredients

5 large or 8 small peaches, peeled, pit removed, and diced

{1/2} cup honey

Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme

6 fresh mint leaves

Preparation

Combine the peaches, honey, thyme, and mint in a blender and purée. Pour into reusable ice-pop molds. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Pineapple-Cilantro Popstickles

Ingredients

{1/2} pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Combine the pineapple, lime juice, and agave nectar in a blender, and purée. Stir in the cilantro (if you purée the cilantro with the rest of the ingredients, you will end up with green pops). Pour into reusable ice-pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

*Recipes and image courtesy of The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, from Storey Publishers.*

A sweet addition to the adorable and stylish BabyLegs® collection is BabyLegs® Newborn! Too, too cute, the 12 new designs were created for teeny, tiny tots, and made from 80% organic cotton, 18% nylon and 2% latex-free spandex. It is because they are latex-free and made from organic cotton that they are NICU-approved, for the most petite infants in need of some extra warmth!

What “Mom” loves most about these bright, cheerful little leg warmers is how easy diaper changes become! No need to fuss with tons of itty-bitty snaps or zippers that get stuck – plus, your precious cherub stays warm and toasty, too!

The BabyLegs® Newborn collection includes an array of modern, hip designs, such as Lil’ Popsicle, Peter Rabbit, Hearts & Flowers, and Citrus Dot. Not just for infants and newborns, BabyLegs® offers a variety of styles for toddlers (2-4T), including classic BabyLegs®, socks, footless tights, and the new BabyLegs® Cool collection, which boasts 50+ UPF protection for sunny days!

For more information on BabyLegs®, to locate a store near you, or to order online, visit www.babylegs.com.

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

Making Green Fun for Your Children

What better way to insure that the environment remains in good shape for subsequent generations but to teach your children about all the values and insights that proceed from “going green.” The following are some tips for teaching your children about the importance of protecting our Earth and doing things in an environmentally conscious way:

Plant/Tend a Garden with your Kids

Planting a garden and harvesting it when it is ripe is one of the most time-honored environmentally based family activities. This is something you can do with children of virtually any age. It will teach them all about how plants grow and give them a respect for and interest in the process. Once they deal firsthand with plants they will realize how important and wonderful they are.

Green Outings and Vacations

Parents and kids can go on green vacations together. Eco tourism is huge industry and there are many such vacations possible. You might think in terms of going through an ecologically aware travel agency or just designing green trips of your own. Almost anything that deals with the outdoors in a way that does not hurt the environment can be considered a green outing. Visits to other countries and planting trees there, hiking trips where you teach children not to litter or harm flora and fauna, nature walks in ecologically responsible wildlife preserves, the possibilities are almost endless.

Use Green Cleaning Products

Doing the dishes and other sorts of household cleaning are activities that kids often become involved in as they do their chores (perhaps for an allowance). You can buy all sorts of green soaps and cleaning products and explain their value to children as the family does routine cleaning activities.

Green Shopping

When you go shopping with your kids, whether at the supermarket or some other type of store, point out organic and environmentally responsible products. Explain how these foods and products were grown or produced and why it is important to buy these types of products when possible. Shopping excursions are a great way to familiarize children with environmental issues because they often find shopping interesting and fun.

Conserving Water and Electricity

Teach your children about conserving water and electricity around the house. You can even make this fun by turning it into a kind of game. You can, for instance, give a reward to children for turning off the most lights or remembering to fill up the sink when washing dishes rather than letting all the water run down the drain.

Walk or Bike Together

Walking or biking to locations where you go with your children is a lot of fun and teaches children that there are other ways to get around than motor vehicles. Be sure and explain to your children how these simple modes of transportation help the environment.

Recycle and Reuse

Teach your children all about recycling – the how and why of it. In addition to simply having bins or boxes for things like cans and bottles, you can also try fun ways to simply reuse items. For instance, paper bags can be used for lunch bags or even drawing or writing paper. Nice looking bottles can become candle holders or paper weights. Jars can be used as drinking glasses or you can put homemade jam in them.

Food Prep and Cooking

Children love to help their parents make things in the kitchen. A great way to teach your kids about green living is to make natural, perhaps vegetarian, meals and snacks with them. These can be made from organically grown ingredients or ordinarily produced fruits and vegetables. The point is to emphasize that cooking and making snacks for yourself is much better for the environment than buying junk food snacks with their wrappers, artificial ingredients, and big business origin.

You can have great fun teaching your children about how to go green. As you do this on a regular basis, your children will not only learn facts and points of view but will get into environmentally conscious and responsible habits. They will thus grow up to be green conscious adults just like you and the great legacy of saving and protecting the planet will continue and proliferate, helping to give your children the kind of world you would want them to live in.

About the Author

Growing up with a father as a mechanic, William J. Lee has always loved and now actively follows the automobile industry. In particular he focuses on Toyota Dealers and Toyota Dealerships.