LIGHTITUP / Twenty20

When your home is bombarded with clutter or has maintained exactly the same look for the past decade, there's a good possibility that it's time to consider mixing things up. No, we aren't talking about costly home renovations or purchasing all new furniture. However, keeping the essentials and purchasing some visually appealing items is essential. Rotating decor, which interior decorators recommend doing every three years to avoid boredom, is another way to improve how you feel about the appearance of your home.

There are plenty of relatively inexpensive options you can rotate every few years or at your leisure: throw pillows, indoor plants, wall art, bedding, storage baskets, duvet covers, and more. Then there are staples that can remain year round—pieces that are meaningful to you or simply spruce up your home without the need to relocate or frequently replace them.

When you switch up the look of your home without breaking the bank, studies show that you will feel more content and get an overall boost in mood. We have selected 20 options to get you started. And don't worry, you can thank us later.

Thriae Sardis Peshtemal

Regular towels have a tendency of acquiring a mildew odor in addition to harboring a ton of bacteria. Thriae's peshtemals are the best of the best—they look beautiful in the bathroom due to their calming color palettes, and the material dries much faster than regular towels.

The Turkish long cotton and flat weave is soft and absorbent, and with three colors to choose from, you're sure to find one that suits you, while making bath time more peaceful than ever.


​Shabby Chic Storage Set - Set Of 3 Multi Color Crates

Each wooden crate is appropriately sized differently: small, medium, and large. And the matching floral patterns come in pink, grey, and blue. This biggest crate is perfect for filing paperwork in your office, whereas the tiniest and mid-size crates are excellent storage options for skincare products, makeup, faux floral arrangements, or whatever you think looks and fits best.


​Parachute Cloud Cotton Shower Curtain


Turkish towels will freshen up your bathroom, while Parachute's Turkish cotton shower curtain will take it to the next level. And it's one-of-a-kind—you can't possibly find one that is more visually appealing. This one is admittedly a splurge, but consider that you won't have to replace your shower curtain for years due to this one's quality.

$99 Pink Calla Blooming Plant

There are several studies that have proven indoor plants can give us a better quality of life and improve the state of our mental health. We can change the way our home looks and how it makes us feel by placing plants in every room and switching them out as we please. is excellent for premium quality plants, and personally, we are partial to the pink calla lilies—they're low maintenance and even come with an attractive gold mister which is a really nice touch.


​MDESIGN Natural Woven Seagrass Round Storage Basket


Let's stop throwing random toys, unworn clothes, and knick-knacks on closet floors— they end up piling up so high that organizing becomes too overwhelming. Instead, invest in some pretty baskets and store clothes, kids toys, skincare products, and more inside. This basket is made from woven braided seagrass rope, and is sized rather generously, so you won't need many to declutter your home.


Pura Summer Love Set


With Pura's smart home fragrance diffuser, you can insert two scents of your choice at once, which fills an average sized room. This Disney collab set comes with a Minnie bouquet bloom and Mickey Mouse chocolate truffle fragrance.

The best part is, you can manage so many options from the app: Controlling the intensity of the strength, setting a schedule for when the scents disperse, turning on night light from a color wheel of choices, and even shutting the device off when you're not home.


​Revival Rugs Petanque

When you're living in a house with wood floors, area rugs can provide your living space with a homey, welcoming vibe. This specific rug is unique in that it is made for indoor or outdoor use—and they're made from water bottles, 460-500 to be exact, that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.


​Kitchen Science Copper 3-Tier Fruit Basket


No need to leave bananas, yams, and other non-refrigerable fruits and veggies on the kitchen counter, causing clutter and less space for cooking. This basket comes with three rose gold colored tiers—small, medium, and large—and even two useful accessories, a watermelon and avocado slicer. Simply hang from a hook on the ceiling and enjoy the beauty of arranged fruit and your newfound counter space.


​RoboRock S7

Despite the fact that a robot vacuum is a splurge item, maintaining a clean house isn't only about removing clutter, right? Everyone wants spotless floors. The latest version, the s7, does it all and more: it has sensors so your belongings aren't smashed into and your RoboRock doesn't fall down staircases while vacuuming and mopping.

And for even more bonus points: It's voice and app controlled. This is worth spending your hard-earned cash on because you'll save so much time during weekend cleaning—offering more free time for organizing, rotating decor, and spending quality time with the fam.


​Who's Frankie Titanium Aura Quartz Clusters

Crystals, titanium aura quartz, in particular can be a beautiful knick knack in your home, with healing properties. These clusters work on the third eye chakra—causing you to feel balanced, grounded, strong, confident, aware and joyous.


​House of Jade Fallon Tray

Even more beautiful in person, the Fallon Tray is oval shaped with a looped handle on one end. You can use this as a jewelry tray, small kids' toys, or any knick-knacks.


​PGW Small Walnut Apostrophe Serving Board


What better way is there to serve your guests other than with a wooden serving board? In the shape of an apostrophe, your friends and family will be raving about your uniquely shaped board, while asking where they can purchase their own.


​Cozy Earth Bamboo Comforter

This bamboo comforter is designed for year-round use, thanks to its temperature regulation. The filling inside doesn't shift, which makes sleeping that much easier, no bumps and lumps forming in certain areas. But the best part is, it's super soft and machine washable.


Braid and Wood Plant Hanger (Dark & Stormy)


When you want to add some simple yet beautiful decor to your home, this three dimensional plant hanger is the way to go. Made from stainless steel rings and a walnut hardwood base, it's a standout piece. You can place a potted plant inside it or opt for a more minimalistic look and plant your favorite indoor plant inside.


Impala Quad Skate - Pastel Fade

These skates aren't your typical version of home decor, however, we must admit that they'll spruce up anyone's home with their retro, pastel color pallet. Place them on a stool, next to a basket, or on an end table—wherever you want. Then whenever you feel like going skating with your little one, slip them on, go for a ride, and put them back in your place of choice.


American Blossom Linens Organic Cotton Herringbone Weave Blanket

This 100% American cotton blanket is available in two color options and three sizes: beige and navy blue, and full/queen, king, and throw. From "farm to bed," these soft, cozy blankets are manufactured in a family-owned mill. The best part is, they are temperature controlled so you don't sweat in the summer months or freeze throughout the colder seasons.


Urban Stems The Tuckernuck

Switching out fresh flowers is practically a necessity for giving your home a fresh new look whenever you want. This bouquet comes with it all: white roses, delphinium, Italian ruscus, and more. The beachy colors blend well with all furniture, and this arrangement is bursting with shades of white and green, in addition to blue and purple hues.


August Sage Ankole Horn Heirloom Tray

Made from authentic Ankhole horn—a breed of cattle indigenous to East Africa with horns that can reach a whopping eight feet long—this tray is perfect for catching all your odds and ends. Since no two horns are the same, you can choose from dark or light; however, this piece will always be one-of-a-kind with its lovely stripes and range of colors.


Elsie Home Sierra Rose

Throw pillows are a necessity, a home decor item worth splurging on—you see them many times every single day, the level of comfort counts, and no one wants pillows that smush in and never return to their original shape. Elsie Home creates throw pillows in dozens of fabrics, which helps you to match your room with ease. Many folks enjoy rotating their throw pillows for new ones every few years in order to add a different splash of color. This in and of itself can change the appearance of an entire room.


​Modular Closets Vista Collection 4.25 Ft. Closet System

No, this isn't a small item that you can rotate throughout the year; however, you can spruce up your closet by changing the way you organize things and also, what you decide to place on your shelves and hangers. Based on your closet measurements, you can choose from a variety of pre-designed closets or even better, you can design your own. Their team keeps your preferences—drawers, hanging bars, and shelving—into account, and then they present you with a few options for your closet (don't worry, installation is much more simple than you'd imagine).


Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker

Sure, you don't need to switch out your current shower head on a regular basis like you enjoy doing with farm-fresh flowers. But what about splurging on a brand new one that's equipped with Bluetooth or Alexa enabled technology, a removable wireless speaker that you can take with you on the go, and a magnetic charging dock? We don't think shower time gets much better than that.

You even have the ability to use voice activation so you can make phone calls or perhaps listen to your favorite tunes; whatever you choose, you're sure to have a blast. Bonus points: The shower head itself is visually appealing and has phenomenal water pressure.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.


Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)


Breast Milk Storage Bags

With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.


Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.


Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.


This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

1. Prep snacks on Sunday

This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

2. When in doubt, go for fruit

Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

3. Pair snacks with a dip

Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

4. Have high-protein options readily available

Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

5. Always keep the pantry stocked

Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

6. Make cracker tartines

I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

  • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
  • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

7. Pre-make smoothie pops

The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

Family Foodies

15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.


Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


Secret Agent play set


This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Stepping Stones


Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.


Sensory play set


Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Foam pogo stick


Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


Pull-along ducks


There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Rocking chair seesaw


This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

MoMo Productions/Getty Images

If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.

The correlations between screen time and children's health

But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

"When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

A novel look at screen time in adolescents

The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

Children's health

Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

Motherhood knows no bounds.

When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.

Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO)

Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

"When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

Our favorite viral mama + kid videos