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Category : Living

The best BBQ recipe is a matter of opinion — and taste testing!

May is National BBQ month, and we know you’re going to love the recipes we’ve rounded up. From different BBQ styles to a variety of sauces, everyone has their favorites — so you’re going to want to try each of these and let us know which one you consider the best BBQ recipe!

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Apple-Cider-Barbecue-Pulled-Pork
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Barbecue-pulled-pork-taquitos
BBQ-Chicken-Quesadillas
BBQ-Chicken-Pizza
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Bacon-Wrapped-Hot-Dogs
Harissa-Coconut-Grilled-Shrimp
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Barbecue pork recipes to impress your guests
Barbecue recipes with a twist
  • Bourbon Barbecue Sliders with Bleu Cheese from Saucy Pear is a delectable twist on the classic slider. The bourbon adds the perfect amount of flavor to the sauce, and you’ll love the bleu cheese spread so much you’ll be looking around for other uses for your new favorite condiment.
  • Barbecue Pulled Pork Taquitos from Life Tastes Good are a fantastic way to stretch your menu and use leftover pork. Leftovers on their own might not seem special, but rolling them into these taquitos makes an entirely new — and delicious — meal.
  • Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Quesadillas from Belle of the Kitchen are simple and delicious. The meat is prepared in your slow cooker, so the cleanup is minimal, and quesadillas are a fun way to incorporate BBQ recipes into your weekly menu.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza from The Optimalist Kitchen makes use of the perfect pizza dough for a recipe you’ll use long after National BBQ Month is finished. The pizza is great for summer months, and you can whip up a new batch of chicken or use leftovers from a meal made earlier in the week.
  • Smoked Chicken Wings with Turmeric Honey Mustard Glaze from Droolworthy are, in fact, drool worthy. Smoked wings really bring out the flavor in the chicken, and the turmeric honey mustard is the perfect balance of tangy and sweet to coat the crispy meat.
  • Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs from Garnish & Glaze are sure to be a crowd pleaser during your next outdoor party. Easy to make — and simple to adapt for kids who might not be open to experimenting with new foods — they can be popped on the grill and topped however you’d like.
  • Coconut-Harissa Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Floating Kitchen allow you to indulge your love for seafood while grilling this summer. The prep work is minimal, and a light meal is lovely as the weather starts to get warmer.
Find your signature barbecue sauce
  • Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce from The Suburban Soapbox is a fun twist on your classic barbecue sauce for summer grilling. Ready in just 30 minutes, this sauce will make all of your tried-and-true grilled meals taste even better.
  • Carolina Bold Gold from Patio Daddio is a mouth-watering interpretation of a classic South Carolina mustard sauce. The sauce is bold enough to make your pork shine but mellow enough for kids to enjoy, too, making it a true crowd favorite.
  • Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce from The Recipe Rebel blends sweet and sour together perfectly for a tangy sauce with just a bit of spice. You’ll want to try it on all of your meats this summer — pork, chicken and seafood all work well with the balanced flavors.
Follow our fabulous BBQ recipe gurus on social media!

Belle of the KitchenDroolworthyFloating KitchenGarnish & GlazeI Will Not Eat OystersLife Tastes GoodPatio DaddioSelf Proclaimed FoodieSaucy PearThe Optimalist KitchenThe Recipe RebelThe Spice TrainThe Suburban Soapbox

Do you have a favorite go-to barbecue recipe to share with us?
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There are so many important moms in your life. Your own mom, who taught you the best parts of becoming a mom yourself. Your mother-in-law, who always has a secret stash of sweets and wise words to add to a discussion. Your sisters, who are the only ones who will tell you when your kid really needs a good haircut. Your mama friends, who know more about your baby’s poop than your pediatrician.

No matter how many moms you’re celebrating this year, or if you’re simply looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas to sneakily handover to your loved ones, Minted has you covered. The Minted Mother’s Day gifts will be the perfect fit for every single mom in your life that makes you a better mom, each and every day.

Mothers Day Gift Ideas from Minted

For the mom who keeps everyone organized

A mom who is uber-organized is a mom who is after our own hearts! The collection of day planners from Minted is out of this world for calendar-obsessed moms. You can choose a cover that speaks to her personality and even customize it with photos of her kids. (Pictured: Bold Statement Day Planner, $23 for a monthly planner & $26 for a weekly planner)

For the mom who has a Pinterest board dedicated to quotes

Help her start or build a gallery wall at home with a few art prints from Minted’s gorgeous selection that will keep her inspired every time she walks in the room. We especially adore the prints that have a touch of gold foil, that give just that added something special to her Minted Mother’s Day gift this year. (Pictured: Some Things Take Time Print & Fleur Print, $38 and up each)

For the mom who is an Instagram pro

She’s killin’ it on Instagram, but her photos never come off of her iPhone. For Mother’s Day, snag a bunch of her best shots and use them in one of Minted’s custom art pieces. There are ideas and designs that will suit her photography style. Don’t forget about these thoughtful gifts for your own mom and mother-in-law, too. She will love having a special print filled with pictures of the reasons why she’s a mom — and grandmother — in the first place! (Pictured: Overlay Custom Photo Art & Where Life Begins Custom Photo Art, $24 and up each)

Don’t miss our Savvy Sassy Scouts + Minted

Our Savvy Sassy Product Scouts have been sharing some of their favorites from Minted, too! Check out their posts:

A gift for me, a gift for you! on O’Leary Love
Savvy Sassy Sunday: Minted home decor on The Magnolia Mamas
Minted custom photo art review on Running From the Law
Minted {& my love for collage prints} on Beloved Nest
April favorites on Simply Girly Blog
How to hang a gallery wall with Minted on The Nashville Mom
My yellow Minted favorites from The Average Jess

 What are your plans for Mother’s Day?
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best spring salads

Spring salads to spruce up your menu

As the days get longer and the local produce starts to look brighter, salads become an enticing menu choice. Whether you’re starting your meal with a small salad or finding the perfect spring salad to make your entire meal, spring brings a wide variety of salad options. We’ve rounded up fourteen delicious options — we know several of them will make their way into your meal rotation and will stay there throughout the summer.

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Protein-packed salads
  • The Mason Jar Healthy Taco Salad from Food Faith Fitness meets all sorts of healthy-eating check marks. The paleo-friendly salad is low-carb and high protein, without sacrificing any flavor. The convenient mason jar storage method means you can easily transport the taco salad without making a mess, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to pack any of the ingredients once you have it assembled.
  • If you love the idea of a mason jar salad, try the Spring Cobb Salad from Fit Foodie Finds. A raspberry vinaigrette dressing adds a delicious spring twist to the classic cobb salad. You can prep this salad at the beginning of the week, and it will be ready for lunch whenever you’re in the mood for it — and as delicious as it is, you’d better prepare more than one!
  • Yummy Beet offers a Smashed Chickpea Salad with Curry Mayo, which is a fantastic vegetarian salad that could even be used as a sandwich filling. The way she smashes the chickpeas might surprise you, but you’ll likely use her method for all of your chickpea recipes in the future! With only a few ingredients, this salad will end up on your shopping list again and again.
  • The Lyonnaise Salad from Today’s Nest is a filling salad that can definitely be considered a meal. With bacon, an egg, and a tasty dressing, the salad is packed with flavor. It’s the perfect salad for a brunch menu, and the beautiful presentation will make you feel like you’re eating something decadent.
  • The Roasted Root wants you to take advantage of spring’s bountiful veggies with a Spring Cleaning Detox Salad. While you’re spring cleaning your house, take a few meals to clean up your diet a little, too. Packed with protein, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants, this salad will help you feel ready to tackle whatever spring may toss your way.
Get your green on with these spring salads
Salads bursting with fruit flavor
Hearty spring salads
  • For a perfect picnic potluck, try the Vegan Rainbow Potato Salad from I Love Vegan. Bursting with flavor, this potato salad is colorful and delicious, and it will satisfy anyone looking for a potato salad that doesn’t have egg-filled mayonnaise.
  • The Quinoa Arugula Cucumber Salad from Give Recipe combines nutritious quinoa with the fresh and crispy arugula and cucumbers. The salad can be used as a side dish for your entree, but with the quinoa and the tasty, pomegranate dressing, a large bowl could be used as a main meal.
  • So Munch Love takes the classic wedge salad and takes it to a fabulous new level with the Corn and Black Bean Wedge Salad. Iceberg lettuce can be overlooked in salad recipes in favor of more flavorful greens, but a wedge salad takes advantage of the cool, crisp iceberg lettuce as the perfect texture and foundation for the creamy, delicious salad toppings.
  • The Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups from Simple Bites are a lovely addition to a lunch menu. Mango and jalapeño combine for the ideal balance of sweetness and heat, but the peppers can be left out of the salad if you’re serving it to young children — or if you don’t like spicy food yourself.

What’s your favorite spring salad?

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Clean up your diet with the best juice cleanses

After the onslaught of jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, your nutrition plan may feel a little stalled. Even if you don’t actually celebrate Easter, it’s not exactly easy to bypass the post-Easter candy clearance aisles. A juice cleanse can jump start you back into cleaner eating, and we’ve rounded up the best juice cleanses for you to try.

Juice cleanses

BluePrint offers three levels of cleansing intensity

Moving from snacking on candy to six liquid meals a day might seem drastic, but BluePrint® makes sure there’s a cleanse available for anyone who wants to clean up their diets. Their three cleanses — Renovation, Foundation and Excavation — are designed for beginning, intermediate and advanced cleansers. The basic difference is the amount of green juices are included versus fruit juices, because moving straight into a green-juice-heavy cleanse can be difficult, and BluePrint wants you to stick with your cleanse until you’re feeling healthier and more energized.

best juice cleanses

Make your blender work for you with Dr. Oz’s 3-Day Detox Cleanse

Not all juice cleanses need to break your budget. Dr. Oz’s 3-Day Detox Cleanse arms you with a shopping list and recipe sheet that can have you on the way to healthier eating for $16 a day. Fruits and vegetables deliver bursts of phytochemicals and antioxidants through three different drinks throughout the day — you can choose one of the drinks to repeat for a snack if you’re feeling a little hungry. Green tea helps start your morning if you’re used to hot coffee. If you’re unsure about a cleanse, three days isn’t a terrible length of time to try, and the site has a bunch of great information about how to transition your body in a way that keeps you energized and comfortable.
Detox Juice Cleanse

Mix and match your juicing needs

Project Juice knows not all cleanse-doers are the same, and they’ve designed a way for you to personalize your experience to meet your own needs — and tastes. With the Project Juice Build Your Own Juice Cleanse, you choose everything, from the amount of days to the types of juices you want — 6 juices per day. Project juice has recommendations on how many of each type of juice you should include and why, for example, they recommend at least one nut juice for healthy fats and protein each day.

Project Juice

Going green isn’t just about the environment

Go Green from Organic Avenue is a cleanse comprised of all green juices for three or five days. The low-glycemic, nut-free cleanse is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, giving you the opportunity to really incorporate the benefits of green juice into your diet. The juice is delivered to your home after undergoing two cold-pressing processes to maintain the highest levels of freshness and nutrition.

Best Juice Cleanses

Make juicing part of your daily life

The benefits of incorporating cold-pressed, nutrient-dense juices into your diet don’t have to stop at the end of your juice cleanse. Life Juice urges juicers to use a cleanse to jump-start a lifestyle change. They recommend a three-day diet to slowly ease into the cleanse, then a one, three or five day all-juice diet, followed by incorporating juices into your daily diet in a way that works for you. Their juices work together on the cleanse to keep you balanced and supplied with the proper nutrients, but you can choose the juices you need for daily use to meet your individual needs — like getting more green vegetables into your diet or soothing your digestive system.

Best Juice Cleanses

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Plan your meals around seasonal foods with Pure Food

With her new cookbook, Pure Food, Veronica Bosgraaf encourages moms to clean up their family’s eating by focusing on seasonal, healthy ingredients (Amazon, $10). Bosgraaf knows trying to balance healthy eating with a busy schedule isn’t easy, but her tips — and fantastic recipes — will help you find ways to bring simple, clean eating foods into your meal plan.

Pure Food cookbook

5 Meal planning tips to make life easier as a mom

Veronica Bosgraaf shared some of her favorite meal planning tips that are sure to make clean eating a little easier at home:

1. Think simple: There are days when dinner is organic pasta, steamed green beans and cut up oranges, and my family loves it!

2. Keep a few constants always stocked:  I know that if I always have fruit, baby spinach, rice and lentils I can whip up a quick meal. These thing are always in my kitchen!

3. Make more than you need: If I’m making chili I double or triple the recipe, which doesn’t add much more work. We can either eat the leftovers later in the week or freeze them to pull out in a pinch.

4. Plan ahead: On Saturdays, I make a list of meals and the ingredients I need for the week. It makes cooking much more manageable!

5. Make meal preparation fun: Turn on some music, pour yourself a treat, and enjoy your time in the kitchen!

About Pure Food, by Veronica Bosgraaf

A busy mother who was seeking solutions for healthy, organic snacks for her kids, Veronica Bosgraaf decided to make one herself, the Pure Bar. Now nationally available, the bar kick-started a nutrition overhaul in Veronica’s home with clean foods and a simple way of cooking, replacing anything overly-processed and loaded with sugar.

Organized by month to highlight seasonal produce, Pure Food shares Veronica’s easy vegetarian recipes, many of which are also vegan and gluten-free.

With eighteen color photographs and tips for cleaning your kitchen and lifestyle – from drying your own herbs to eliminating chemical cleaners – Pure Food is the ultimate resource for living a healthy life.

Plant-based recipes take advantage of seasonal foods

I genuinely appreciate a seasonal, plant-based approach to eating. I don’t eat red meat at all, and I think plant-based meals have a little more versatility as leftovers — which is important when my five-year old changes his mind daily about what he likes and does not like to eat. Pure Food focuses on clean eating, which is helpful for families trying to reduce their reliance on processed foods.

Pure Food cookbook

I’ve been tempted for a few years to try a food co-op share for produce, but I haven’t yet tried one because I worry about what to actually do with the food that comes and is outside of my normal menu plans. With Pure Food, finding the right recipes for each time of the year is simple. It’s organized by month, and I like the way the recipes incorporate familiar foods with ones that might be new ones for your family — like the watercress salad found in the May section of the cookbook.

Keep the Pure Bar stashed in your bag

Honestly, there are days when I rely on some sort of bar for at least one my meals. I do my best to get the kids fed in a nutritionally balanced way, but sometimes I find myself running out of the house without having made anything for myself to eat. I’ve tried a variety of protein bars, and I really love the ingredients in the Pure Bars. Chocolate always catches my eye, but my current favorite Pure Bar is Cherry Cashew. Organic cherries and salty cashew perfection combine for a truly satisfying bar!

Pure Bar

You can find more from Veronica Bosgraaf, The Pure Bar, and Pure Food on her website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

What’s your biggest obstacle to cleaner eating?
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Welcome the morning with a protein smoothie

Mornings can be tough, and sometimes you need more than coffee to get you moving. Blending together a breakfast smoothie is a fabulous way to start your day with the nutritional punch of fruits and vegetables, but you need protein to make sure you’re not hungry again in an hour. Personally, adding protein to my smoothies helps turn them from a healthy drink into a healthy meal, and I don’t need to eat until lunch. The problem is, some protein additives aren’t very transparent about what they’re hiding inside their little scoops of powder.

protein smoothies

The Kura difference

Kura New Zealand Protein Smoothie Powder is a fantastic way to give your favorite smoothie a protein and flavor boost — while being sure you’re filling your glass with ingredients you can feel confident are truly nutritious. Filled with protein, Omega-3 and probiotics, Kura protein smoothie powder helps you create a breakfast that starts your morning right. Kura is:

  • Made from Natural Ingredients
  • rBST-free
  • 14g Grass-fed Dairy Protein
  • GMO Free

Kura protein powder for smoothies

How to incorporate Kura protein powder into your smoothies

Smoothie recipes don’t have to be complicated. With the protein powder and flavors of Kura New Zealand Protein Smoothie Powder, creating a delicious smoothie is simple. Start with your favorite beverage — any sort of milk, water or coconut water work wonderfully — add Kura protein powder, add fruits and vegetables, and blend to your desired consistency. If you have a tried-and-true smoothie recipe — we have several here! — add Kura for a little extra boost of nutrition. The protein powder is available in three flavors — vanilla, berry and chocolate — which means it can be added effortlessly to any of your current smoothie recipes.

Kura protein smoothies

Choconut Smoothie — recipe available at KuraNutrition.com

My favorite morning smoothie

I’m not going to lie. Smoothie making in my kitchen generally involves checking out the fruit to see what’s dangerously close to overripe and working from there, but some I do find myself looking forward to certain flavor combinations — especially anything involving pineapple.

Kura protein smoothie

Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more coconut water if you want a thinner consistency.

What is your favorite smoothie ingredient?
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Easter side dishes
Easter side dishes for a lovely family meal

Holiday meals don’t need to be complicated. Using simple ingredients in creative ways gives you the opportunity to offer your family delicious food that seems elegant and special, without taking you all day — or involving cooking skills only seen on TV.

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Vegetable dishes you’ll adore

Lemon Green Beans with Feta and Fried Pecans will satisfy even the most stubborn non-veggie eaters at your Easter table. The recipe from The Food Charlatan is fresh, filled with the delicious addition of feta and fried pecans and delivers non-soggy green beans every time — so important for cooked vegetable recipes.

The Endless Meal brings you her Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and your Easter guests will thank you for them. Not only does roasting vegetables turn them into a delicious, irresistible dish, the inclusion of bacon makes everything better. Kristen even includes a fantastic tip for how to time the cooking of the Brussels Sprouts to help get everything ready for your holiday meal at the right time.

Fabulous potato side dishes

Seasons & Suppers offers an Easter side dish that hits many of the favorite ingredients on your guests’ lists. Creamy Stood-up Potatoes with Bacon and Aged Cheddar is a recipe that takes a classic dish — scalloped potatoes — and tweaks it into the type of dish everyone will beg you to make for every holiday meal.

Herbed Potatoes Anna uses only five ingredients, but the finished result is a beautiful, elegant side dish that will look lovely on your Easter table. NeighborFood has identified an impossible-to-ignore flavor combination — potatoes and butter — and added three simple ingredients to create a flavorful side dish that tastes as amazing as it looks.

Creamy Purple Potato Salad from Zestuous adds a gorgeous pop of color to traditional potato salad — and a burst of flavor, too. The creamy potato salad uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo, which makes it a perfect recipe to try if you’re looking for a slightly different version of a traditional side dish.

A delicious, gluten free side dish

Gluten Free Spring Vegetable Stuffing from Little Leopard Book is a delicious way to accommodate gluten free friends and family members during your holiday meal. Dealing with dietary restrictions can be difficult during holidays, but this stuffing recipe combines your favorite flavors and a cozy, favorite dish using gluten free ingredients.

What side dishes does your family love?
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St. Patrick's Day Cocktails

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with 8 fabulous cocktails — and mocktails

St. Patrick’s Day drinks aren’t limited to Guiness and unimpressive green beer. Gather your girlfriends for a St. Patrick’s Day gathering, complete with festive St. Patrick’s Day cocktails. We’ve rounded up some delicious drinks for the perfect girls’ night in — including two mocktails for any friends abstaining from alcohol.

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Classic St. Patrick’s Day cocktails — with a twist
  • Every St. Patrick’s Day should start with brunch and a Green Bloody Mary from Platings and Pairings — or at least the St. Patrick’s Days in our dreams. Garnish this spicy cocktail with lots of veggies, and you can call it nutrition in a glass.
  • Prepare for your St. Patrick’s Day drinking with delicious, decadent Homemade Irish Cream from The Art of Moseying. Whether you’re drinking it solo or using it to add a little punch to your coffee, this recipe will guarantee you’ll never go back to store-bought Irish Cream again.
Don’t forget the Irish Whiskey
  • Kitchen Riffs knows St. Patrick’s Day isn’t complete without an Irish Whiskey cocktail, and The Brainstorm is a creative twist using classic ingredients. John also has several trivia facts about St. Patrick’s Day listed with the recipe, so check them out and impress your friends this March.
  • The Irish Buck from Kleinworth & Co. is a sparkling cocktail made with Irish Whiskey. With only three ingredients, the Irish Buck isn’t complicated, but you’ll want to fill your Collins glass a few times once you see what brings the bubbles to your glass.
Light St. Patrick’s Day cocktails
Alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day options
  • The Shamrock Chip Shake from Veggies Don’t Bite not only offers a bit of alcohol-free deliciousness, the shake is bursting with nutrition. Spinach is hidden within the creamy, minty treat. Even kids will love this method of eating their veggies.
  • Kids will love the Homemade Mint White Hot Chocolate from The Gracious Wife. The recipe is simple enough that kids can help — even if it’s just with the marshmallows — and the warm drink is a cozy alternative to the icy options for St. Patrick’s Day.
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Happy birthday to YOU, Mom!

Some moms are easy to shop for (mostly because they’re always shopping for the kids and never for themselves!), but some are trickier to buy for. Whether you’re looking for some ideas for gifts for moms in your life — your mama friends, your own mom or mother-in-law, your sister — or if you’re on the hunt for some gift ideas to leave as hints for your own upcoming birthday, these birthday gifts from one of our favorite places to shop, UncommonGoods, are the perfect place to start.

Not only do we love UncommonGoods for their carefully curated selection of gifts for moms (and for dads and kids, while we’re at it!), but we love the way they operate, with a focus on carrying products that are made in the USA and that are created using recycled and/or upcycled materials. Plus, their dedication to the charities they support makes shopping with them twice as sweet.

10 Birthday gifts for moms from UncommonGoods

10 Gift ideas for moms from UncommonGoods

1. Foldable Market Basket, $35
Fill this basket with a bouquet of her favorite flowers or stock it with colorful fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market or give it to her just as-is for the perfect birthday gift for Mom. These foldable baskets come in handy for everything mom-related, from last-minute park picnic dates to hauling her baseball game watching supplies to the bleachers.

2. Wearable Candle, $28
For the mom who loves to relax after a long day, gift her with one of these pretty candles that doubles as a solid perfume and a body butter! It’s fresh scent will be a favorite for any mom, no matter what kind of perfume or lotion she typically wears.

3. Wayuu Handwoven Cosmetics Pouch, $38
Have you ever looked inside of a mom’s purse? There’s a reason why moms are known for carrying everything and the kitchen sink in there! Help keep Mom organized with one of these bright, colorful cosmetic pouches. Fill it with some of her favorite beauty products to make it extra special!

Looking for something a little more personal for your mom? Take a peek at the personalized gifts from UncommonGoods here.

4. Cheese & Crackers Serving Board, $48
Moms who love to entertain will think this cheese and cracker serving board is the perfect gift. Add a few of her own favorite snacks to go with it… and maybe a bottle of wine, just to be safe!

5. Forget Me Not Rings, $48
Not that she could ever forget her sweet kiddos (even if she tried!), this ring is a precious gift to remind her of the little ones who love her most.

6. Wine Jelly Set, $14
Hey, Mom? Want some wine on the side of that wine? These wine jelly sets are a fun addition to her next mom’s night out and are available in two flavors — sweet or savory.

7. Mom Vase, $32
Just add flowers to make this one of the most memorable birthday gifts for moms. And, don’t forget to keep adding fresh flowers to make it a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

Don’t stop shopping with Mom! UncommonGoods has the absolute best gifts for kids, for dads, for grandparents, for teachers, for anyone you’re shopping for. Find their entire collection of birthday gift ideas here.

8. Define Bottle, $25 (Editor’s Pick!)
With a million cool water bottles to pick from these days, this one is a standout. Add fruit or slices of lemon or fresh mint in the bottom compartment for flavored water to keep Mom hydrated when she’s chasing after her little ones.

9. Bike Tote, $48
The perfect spot to stash some snacks, drinks and, most importantly, a first aid kit, for family-friendly bike rides, this bike tote is super cute and functional. Plus, it detaches and turns into a tote!

10. Benbini Watch, $99
A watch that was designed with functions that moms can appreciate with two rotating bezels to bookmark times for feedings or nap times. Beyond its function, it’s also made of soft silicon and extremely stylish, too.

Any of these gifts for moms on your wishlist?
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Flower essential oils

How can natural solutions like essential oils enhance the lives of both you and your family? There are a number of ways. And, more and more, parents are finding how effective they can be at helping their children in numerous ways — both at school and at home.

For instance, lavender is an essential oil that delivers calming benefits, making it an ideal fix for those children that struggle with finding quality sleep. It can also help relieve stress. So if your child is fretting about homework or the various social activities during the school hour, essential oils provide a solution that is both safe and natural.

Which oils to use?

When it comes to the world of essential oils, at first it can seem a little overwhelming. After all, there are dozens of oils to choose from and determining which one to use for which purpose can be a daunting endeavor. For starters, consider these issues and the oils that can work to resolve them.

  • Calming effect: Dilute a drop of lavender with a carrier oil and apply to the bottom of the feet for relaxation.

  • Digestive support: Dilute a drop of lavender and orange with a carrier oil and rub on your child’s tummy in a clockwise motion.

  • Improved respiratory health: Dilute lemon and apply to the chest and feet. Also combine with frankincense for improved support.

  • Stomach ache: Combine a drop of orange and roman chamomile with a carrier oil and mix in warm bath water.cloves and oil

How to apply essential oils

Two of the most popular methods for applying essential oils are:

  • Topically: Apply directly to the skin, with a “carrier oil.”

  • Diffusion: Mix with water and run through a diffuser.

To be clear, applications depend largely on the type of oil, the brand of the oil, and at what age the oil will be applied. While there are oils that can be applied “neat” (meaning, no dilution), for children it is always recommended to use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or grape-seed oil.

Remember that quality matters

When applying essential oils, whether it be for you or your children, the quality of the product cannot be overlooked. Not only will you gain more potent benefits from a higher-grade oil, you’ll be able to ensure the safety of the application.

There is a wide range of quality when it comes to these life-changing products. For starters, some oils are therapeutic grade, while others are not. Moreover, some manufacturers produce 100% pure oils, while other brands contain additives.

Consider this general list of guidelines:

  • Where the plants are sourced and whether they’re sourced from the regions they’re indigenous to.

  • Quality control measures taken by the distiller, along with adequate labeling standards.

  • If ingredients are manufactured appropriately by experienced workers.

Simply put, you want safe and effective oils that will deliver the benefits you and your child need.

Think about essential oil safety

To ensure safety, don’t stop with the quality of the brand. Essential oils can be very potent (particularly therapeutic-grade products), so applying them with the right measures is important to prevent skin irritation or other side effects.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and therefore, can cause allergic reactions. While oils like lavender and chamomile are among the safest, it is still recommended that they are used sparingly and diluted with a carrier oil. This is particularly important when applying essential oils to children, because their skin is generally more sensitive than adults.

Incorporating essential oils into your daily routine harbors the benefits of enhancing both you and your children’s lives. Simply find the symptom you’re looking to address and be sure to find the oil and brand that is right for you.

A teacher and natural health guru, Heather Koenig has a passion for all things natural. In addition to living a natural lifestyle herself, Heather loves sharing her expertise with others on her blog, Natural Remedies.

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