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Here’s an eco-fabulous gift any woman on your gift list this season will love – the new Indulgent Body Lotion Kit from Weleda! Featuring the four rich, luxuriously soft new lotions, including Weleda Citrus Replenishing Body Lotion, Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion, Wild Rose Pampering Body Lotion, and Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion, this is the perfect present to pamper Mom, Grandma, your best friend, or your favorite office pal! It makes an appreciated and lovely gift.

Why do we love the new Indulgent Body Lotion Kit at Tiny Green Mom? Each scent is crisp and clean, and the lotions leave your skin feeling extremely soft and radiant. Plus, each lotion offers an unique formulation for different skin types.

You can find Weleda products at your local Target store, or you can purchase online at Weleda.com. Full sizes (pictured above) of each lotion are available, as well!

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

Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year from Tiny Green Mom! We wish you a wonder-filled Christmas and a New Year filled with delights! However you celebrate the season, we hope that it will be tinged with a hint of green!

*Image: suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net*

8 Toddler Pitfalls to Avoid on Christmas Morning

Regardless of your nostalgic, Christmas-morning-frenzy memories, you’ll quickly learn that a no-holds-barred approach doesn’t go over well with your toddler — especially on the most anticipated morning of the year. Don’t wing it Christmas morning. Get a game plan together now so that your entire family can enjoy the holidays without going into meltdown mode.

1. Decide on a number of sweet treats allowed.
With the font of sucrose flowing throughout the holidays, be a sugar-monitor fiend and make sure other house visitors know your rules. If you have a struggle with, ahem, I-want-to-be-the-favorite grandmothers, get it out in the open first rather than commencing a power struggle on Christmas. According to the American Heart Association, children should limit their intake to about 4 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

2. Get to bed early the night before.
While establishing family traditions for Christmas takes precedence over toddler routine, make your plans reasonable for the younger crowd. Try to wrap up Christmas Eve activities early and give plenty of down time before going to sleep. Junior needs good rest to enjoy the following morning. He won’t get it if he stays up until 10:00 with out-of-town visitors.

3. Limit gift opening to a small number.
Three is good. This will be the hardest part of your holiday experience. Regardless of your convictions, the gift-giving fever kicks in at Toys ‘R Us and you go crazy buying, wrapping–and still more buying–several days ahead of Christmas. Even this late in the season you can nab holiday coupons from sites like CouponSherpa.com for one or two special gifts– open them earlier in the week rather than all at once on Christmas morning.

4. Wrap up the morning with quiet time and a nap.
After opening a few presents and enjoying time with visiting family, give your toddler plenty of time to decompress alone in a quiet space. Review the fun times of the morning with her and read a special book to help calm her down. Be on the lookout for overstimulation — nasty meltdowns, hyperactivity, and avoiding eye contact should be a red flag to flee the scene and recover.

5. Plan a Christmas morning activity.
In the throngs of gift-wrap thrashing, laughing and emotion, kids with a typically predictable routine can become stressed out by the absence of normal. If your toddler is particularly sensitive to big events, make sure you have a small, soothing activity planned — like watercolor Christmas trees or lacing boards of holiday characters — to keep your little one anchored.

6. Space out opening gifts throughout the morning.
You’ll probably feel enormous pressure for your kid to open every gift, respond with enthusiasm and then give a huge, grateful “thank you” to the recipient. It just won’t happen if you rush through the gift opening. Some moms, like Mae at What To Expect, prefer to open one gift every other day for the week leading up to Christmas–a godsend when winter storms hit and the family is stuck indoors. Bare in mind that your preschooler will enjoy his offerings much more if he has time in between opening to play with the goodies.

7. Construct all disassembled toys the night before.
Most parents learn this the hard way after their first Christmas with kids. Kids don’t want to open up a box, especially the preschool crowd.They will either get frustrated while you sweat over a screwdriver and instructions written in Mandarin or lose complete interest. Skip the $5.99 for wrapping paper and tie a simple bow on your ready-to-play toys. Start putting them together now so you aren’t up past midnight, bleary eyed with a wrench, on Christmas Eve.

8. Don’t barrage your kids with posed pictures.
Get candid with these fantastic tips from Photography Blog! A surefire way to send your toddler into defiance is demanding he smile in a picture with his hand-knitted sweater. Even though Aunt Jeanmay get a little ticked off that she can’t see Junior with her woven creation Christmas morning, it’s not worth the struggle. Opt instead for unposed, spontaneous smiles.

Photo by Joe Green

About the Author

Ashley Grimaldo comes from a long line of penny pinchers and enjoys blogging on money-saving tips and advice for frugal-minded parents. She lives with her husband and three children in Bryan, Texas. Ashley has been featured among such media outlets as Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, Time.com, and CBS News-Houston.

Time for a holiday brunch or New Year’s Day gathering with these lighter, healthier versions of classic cocktail and mocktail combinations made using Truvia® natural sweetener instead of sugar! The Strawberry Rouge recipe is simply delightful – unique and elegant, this mocktail (if made using club soda, which “Mom” prefers) combines fresh strawberries, basil, balsamic vinegar and a variety of fresh juices to make a lovely libation! Another wonderful beverage to serve for brunch in lieu of the typical mimosa is the Grapefruit Basil Champagne! Again, basil adds an interesting twist to this drink that will be loved by guests! If you are lucky, like “Mom,” to live somewhere where fresh grapefruits can be picked from a tree in the backyard, a fresh grapefruit rather than a canned or boxed juice variety makes it all the sweeter! To learn more about substituting Truvia® in your cooking, baking, and beverages such as coffee or tea, please visit truvia.com.

Strawberry Rouge

Ingredients

½ cup cachaca or good quality rum (for a non-alcoholic version substitute 2/3 cup club soda, which “Mom” adores)
1 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
6 medium sized strawberries, rinsed and quartered
10 medium sized basil leaves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup pineapple juice, with no added sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice, approximately 2 limes
1 3/4 tsp Truvia® natural sweetener spoonable*
½ cup crushed ice
* or 2 packets Truvia® natural sweetener

Preparation

1. In a tumbler, combine the basil, strawberries and lime juice. Muddle the mixture by pounding to break up the berries and release the basil flavor.

2. Add the cachaca or rum, balsamic vinegar, pineapple juice, Truvia® natural sweetener, and ice into the tumbler. Shake for several minutes, until the drink is chilled and well blended.

3. Strain only half of the mixture, so that you still get a few pieces of basil and strawberry in each glass. Serve the drink in a well chilled martini glass.

Grapefruit Basil Champagne

Ingredients

1.5oz Grapefruit Juice
0.5oz Truvia® Simple Syrup
1 Basil Leaf
2.5oz Brut Champagne
Basil leaf, for garnish

Preparation

1. In a Boston Shaker add all the ingredients together except champagne and fill halfway with ice. Shake vigorously.

2. Double strain into cocktail glass, fill with champagne and garnish.

White Sparkling Sangria

Ingredients

Citrus Simple Syrup
Makes 1 cup

1 cup water
1/4 cup Truvia® natural sweetener, spoonable
1/2 whole orange, sliced thinly
1/2 whole lemon, sliced thinly
1 whole lime, sliced thinly.
*or 14 packets of Truvia® natural sweetener

Sangria
Makes 10 servings, 8 fl oz servings

1 bottle (750 mL) white wine (“Mom” tried Sparkling White Grape Juice for a mocktail version)
1/3 cup citrus simple syrup (recipe above)
1/2 cup papaya or mango nectar
1 Red Delicious apple, cored and sliced
1 cup green grapes
Orange, lemon and lime slices (optional)
3 cups sparkling water
2 cups ice cubes

Preparation

Citrus Simple Syrup

1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir.

2. Heat on high heat, bring to a boil.

3. Remove from heat, allow to cool completely.

4. Pour syrup through a strainer to remove fruit. Press the fruit slices with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out juice and syrup. Discard pressed fruit.

5. Pour syrup into a jar with lid and store refrigerated. Shake before using.

Sangria

1. Add the wine, citrus syrup, papaya nectar, apple, grapes, optional citrus slices and wine to a large glass pitcher.

2. Stir well and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Add the sparkling water and serve over ice.

*Recipes, samples and images generously provided by Truvia. All thoughts expressed within are strictly those of Tiny Green Mom.*

Twinkling Holiday Décor That You and Your Kids Will Adore

It’s Christmas time and beautiful décor, lights, and magical displays are everywhere! When it comes to decorating your home it might be important to you to incorporate decorations that both you and your children will adore. But in order to accomplish this there should be a good mix of kid-friendly décor and adult Christmas accessories that you love as well. Finding eco-friendly products might also be on your mind and here are a few ideas for you to glam up your home through Christmas and the New Year to come!

Glittery Branches

It’s fun and enjoyable to add glittery branches to a vase, winter wonderland setting, or whatever else you can think of in your home. Lamplust offers fabulous holiday décor items that will work perfectly for the holidays. These glamorous elements will also bring you through the New Year and beyond too. Find lighted branches and more that will work seamlessly into your interior and as your kids glance at the twinkled branches, they’ll be delighted too.

Create Strings of Popcorn and Paper Chains

If you feel like being creative with your kids, show them how to make strings of popcorn or paper chains. Cranberries also work to string along with the popcorn or separately depending on the string pattern you’d like to create. Then have them incorporate the chains on the branches of their own tree or even your family tree! They also can draw and color on the paper that attaches to each chain or add glitter to make it extra glamorous as well. This is also a very eco-friendly alternative to tinsel because you’ll be reusing materials that may otherwise be thrown out.

Purchase Recycled Ornaments on Etsy

Have you thought about making your own ornaments with your kids or purchasing them on a handmade site such as Etsy? Find ornaments made with organic materials on a seller’s site such as Recyledparts by Jennifer or gain inspiration on how to make your own. Fill your tree with green ornaments that save the earth and add something special to your holiday décor. With the lights and sparkly elements, eco-friendly ornaments on your tree will be the perfect touch!

There are countless of ways to bring some extra holiday cheer this Christmas. Having your children participate in decorating your home with sparkly elements will make them happy and you extra joyous as you observe their cheer. Now grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy this special time of year and all of the celebrations and twinkled lights that come with it.

About the Author

Sierra is a freelance writer and social media specialist. Catch up on Sierra’s latest happenings on her Ocean Dreams blog.

*Images courtesy of www.lamplust.com and Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

What would the Holidays be without some Nog? Rather than packing on the calories with the traditional, full fat egg nog, try Earth Balance Soy Nog, which is organic, non-GMO and made with USA grown soybeans! Creamy and delicious without dairy or gluten, the Soy Nog can be served warmed, chilled or even spiked! “Mom” prefers to enjoy hers chilled, sprinkled with a hint of cinnamon and ground nutmeg!

For those with gluten or lactose sensitivities, this is a perfect alternative to keep on hand during the holidays! One cup contains 150 calories, and only 3.5 grams of fat! Plus, Earth Balance Soy Nog boasts 6 grams of protein per serving. If you are so inclined, try it in your coffee as a creamer alternative for a merry and festive difference in your morning cup of joe!

Earth Balance Soy Nog can be found in most major supermarkets this holiday season, and you can learn more at EarthBalanceNatural.com.

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

Make the Holidays Green with a Living Tree

There’s just no denying that cut Christmas trees are a blight on the season. Certainly they fill a niche in the cavalcade of traditions that surround the holidays, but they pose a very real fire hazard in the home before they get carted off to landfills en masse. In short, they may be pretty, but they’re definitely not eco-friendly. However, even self-proclaimed greenies may be hesitant to give up on the tradition they’ve observed since childhood, especially since decorating a Christmas tree is something that families often gather to do together, taking the time to reminisce over this ornament or that one and remember the many holidays past. So if you’re looking for an alternative that doesn’t require you place a plastic monstrosity in your living room or give up on the tree altogether, why not consider a living tree?

Here’s how it works. You basically get a conifer in a container, keep it indoors for no more than a few weeks, and then give it back. The thought of renting a Christmas tree may strike you as fairly odd, but it’s both easy and eco-friendly, provided you can find such a service where you live. You’ll start by seeking tree-rental businesses, and they don’t necessarily have to be targeted at Christmas trees. Many will rent potted trees for weddings (and other events) throughout the year, so all you have to do is call to find out if they have the evergreen you’re looking for, be it pine, spruce, or other. The only problem is that these companies may want to charge a pretty hefty price per day and you’ll be required to keep them in good condition in the meantime, whereas companies that specialize in Christmas tree rentals will likely have a better price point.

Once you’ve selected a vendor, you simply arrange for a drop-off date, at which point they’ll place the living tree in your home, providing you with all the pine-smelling freshness you could possibly hope for. While the plant is in your care, you’ll have to attend to its needs, though. It will require water more frequently than a cut tree, especially in a warm environment, so you’ll want to check the soil to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Then, when Christmas has passed, the tree will be picked up and returned to the rental agency or in some cases, planted on reclaimed land. Easy-peasy-piney-treesy.

Of course, if you can’t find a service for delivery and pickup you could always go to a nursery or the garden center at a hardware store to find the tree you’re looking for, although you will have to provide it with a good home. Keep in mind that these trees are used to outdoor weather patterns, so it really won’t do to keep them in year-round. In fact, more than a few weeks indoors and you’ll start seeing the new growth that is typical of springtime conditions. What you can do is keep your tree in the garage until the ground thaws and then plant it outside, or place it on your deck or doorstep in a decorative planter so that you can reuse it next year.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for MorrisonHershfield, the leader in innovative, eco-friendly and cost effective engineering projects.

Cuddle up with your children this season with three new books that will soon become holiday classics, to be read and remembered each year! “Mom” especially enjoyed reading What am I? Christmas with her little one who loves any book where there are flaps to be lifted and surprises to be discovered!

Three New Christmas Books for Children

What Am I? Christmas
by Anne Margaret Lewis and Illustrated by Tom Mills

From Santa to a Christmas tree, this is a sure hit for little ones as they guess “What Am I?” and lift the flap to find out! Filled with colorful illustrations, this lift-the-flap book showcasing all that makes the season merry and bright will be a favorite for young children. You can find it online at amazon.com.

The Christmas Pups
by Teresa Bateman and Illustrated by John Kanzler

On an icy, December night, three puppies are rescued from the side of the road and taken to an animal shelter. Ruff and Tuff have a plan to ensure that their sister, Penny, finds a home for Christmas, even if they can’t. With the help of an older dog named Brownie, the puppies learn the true meaning of Christmas…and find a home for all four of them just in time. These adorable puppies will melt your heart, and little ones will want you to read it over and over before bed this holiday season! Found at amazon.com.

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Their New Skates
by Author and Illustrator: Maj Lindman

After 30 years, a Christmas classic has returned! Perhaps you remember this one from your own childhood, but older children will delight in this wintry tale set on Christmas morning in Sweden! Longtime fans of the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka series will love revisiting the story as the girls must save their friend Bertie after an ice-skating disaster. opened their eyes. This classic tale is now in a deluxe hardcover edition with paper dolls of the characters included. Visit www.albertwhitman.com.

*Companies generously provided review copies of the books for this article.*

Tis’ the season to give and receive! “Mom’s” most recent article on SheKnows.com touches on how to encourage compassion this holiday season in children of all ages. Visit SheKnows.com to read the full article! Happy Holidays!

*Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

As John Denver said in song, “The season is upon us. A time for gifts and giving.” Who is the most fun to buy for at the holidays? The kids, of course! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom has chosen her very favorites for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary-aged children for 2011.

Tiny Green Mom’s Holiday Gift Guide for Children

JuneBee Baby

For the youngest member of the family, JuneBee Baby offers over-the-top adorable, luxuriously soft, stylish children’s clothing, all made lovingly with pure natural fibers in one-of-a-kind designs! Each piece of whimsical clothing will have your baby or toddler warm, toasty, and eco-chic through the season. Plus, a portion of JuneBee Baby sales is donated to “Generation Rescue” to directly help families with autism.

Maple Landmark Push N Pull Bunny

For the tiny eco-explorer in your life, the Maple Landmark Push N Pull Bunny is an excellent choice! When your little one is a crawler, the Push N Pull’s large handle is sized for little hands to push the bunny across the floor. As your child grows into a walker, a string can be attached to the front of the bunny through the hole, and it becomes a pull toy. The Push N Pull is crafted from locally sourced, responsibly harvested maple with hardwood components and laser detailing on both sides. For ages 6 months +.

A-Maze Rain Rush

Shake, rattle and roll – this wooden rain maker from B. toys sounds like rain gently falling against the windowpane, and your budding musician will love to sing and dance to the beat! A perfect choice for children ages 18 months to 3 years, this is one musical instrument that will definitely be a hit with the whole family!

In the Indian Night Sky

Hathi Chiti uses eastern-themed characters and concepts as a gateway to educate little ones about different cultures around the world. Children ages 3 and up will delight reading about Indian folklore and culture through this beautifully illustrated book written by Reshma Sapre and illustrated by Jayme Robinson.

Gone Fishin Bath Toy

Encourage your future marine biologist or deep sea fisherman with this BPA-free bath toy from Munchkin! A magnetic fishing pole catches sea squirts and makes “reel” clicking sounds – making bathtime fun and enjoyable all through the winter.

Pengoloo

Children ages 4 and up will adore this all-wooden, eco-friendly memory game taking them on a South Pole Eggspedition! Be the first to collect six penguins with their eggs on an iceberg to win. This award-winning game teaches color recognition, memory, visualization, and social skills. It’s a gift that gives back too, as Blue Orange plants two trees for each one used in game construction!

hello paper dolls

For unplugged, imaginative fun for your granddaughter, daughter or niece, hello paper dolls are sure to inspire creativity! Choose from 4 paper doll princess kits – each comes with a large 6″ paper doll princess and royal pet, 2 sheets of punch out clothing, 1 sheet of fashion accessory stickers and a unique stencil for endless designs. Made with FSC-certified uncoated recyclable paper.

Plush Giraffe Hot Water Bottle

Kids love giraffes, and this particular Giraffe Hot Water Bottle is perfect for a bedtime cuddle buddy during the chilly winter months. Includes a removable travel size Fashy thermoplastic hot water bottle that has a large opening for easy filling, and retains heat for hours. It is odorless, recyclable and safe, and features an adorable machine washable cover.