UPDATED!! MomAdvice 2017 Book Club Selections

January 12th, 2017

2017-MOMADVICE-BOOK-CLUB

I hope your year of reading is off to an incredible start this month!  Between my two book clubs and our MomAdvice Reading Challenge, every surface and moment is book-filled over here!

How obsessed have I got with my reading this year? Totally figured out my wireless headphones are perfect for soaking in the bathtub with a book in my ears (just avoid sliding down into the water!) and I bought a $10 plant stand for my coffee propping so I can soak until the water gets cold every single day.

I do it for you guys. You need my recommendations!

Just kidding!!

Last year our MomAdvice Book Club on Facebook really began to take shape for our readers. I envisioned a place where bookworms could gather, a good spot to share the daily book deals that happen on Amazon, and a monthly book club discussion. It’s grown SO MUCH and last week we grew to over 700 bookworms last week.

Do you want to join my book club? Let me explain how it works!

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the first seven books to get you started on a fun journey of reading.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question. You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

This post will be updated with our monthly selections so you can join in at any time with our group! Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

For example, one of the books I selected, I did not enjoy. It has been removed from the list and replaced with a better selection. I want to make sure this book club is an enjoyable thing and that you don’t feel ripped off if you are purchasing books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2017 Book Club Selections

Miss Jane by Brad Watson

January

Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

February

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

March

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

April

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

May

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

June

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

All the Birds in the SKy by Charlie Jane Anders

July

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

If We Were Villains

August

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Words in Deep Blue

September

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Sing, Unburied, Sing

October

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

November

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer

The Changeling

December

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

Touch

January ’18 (if you are getting a jump on the next year!)

Touch by Courtney Maum

2017-MOMADVICE-BOOK-CLUB

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial for Fall

August 21st, 2017

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

I’m back to crafting today (all the jazz hands!) and I’m SO excited to share a fun apple wreath tutorial to freshen up your front door for fall, but I’m even more excited to share with you a secret that I’ve been keeping for the past couple of months.

Westcott, our sponsor today, has launched a new Mini Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Pen.

A  hot glue pen, you say?

Yes!

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Let’s talk about the Mini Hot Glue Guns first. The Mini Hot Glue Gun comes in two versions, high temp (this baby reached up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and low temp (that can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit).  What makes these a little different are the smart features that I’ve always wished my glue gun had and I know you will appreciate too.

This has a non-stick tip (!!!) and the nozzle changes color from blue to red so you know when it is ready to use. No guessing and burning yourself checking it anymore! It also has been ergonomically designed to help your hands stay comfortable for all your crafting time.

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Since I have so much joint pain, I haven’t been crafting as much as I used to. This new Hot Glue Pen though is incredible and helps with your precision and accuracy when you are doing detailed projects. This one also turns colors to indicate when it is ready and it offers a finger trigger right on top to help you dispense glue in a more controlled way.

I have joked that our entire house is held together with a glue gun so I was MORE THAN HAPPY to spread the good news about these new products! You can read more over here and also check out their new site for Westcott Creativators.

How about we take these for a test drive and craft up a beautiful diy apple wreath for your home, to share with a teacher, or a fun wreath to hang to celebrate back to school?

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

14″ styrofoam wreath form (or your own preferred size)

60-80 mini foam apples (I used 80 on mine to make it full)

24-30 feet of Mesh Burlap

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen or Mini Hot Glue Gun (low temp is great for gluing together plastic and styrofoam)

Hot glue sticks

1-2 Pins to secure on the back

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

 Directions to Make an Apple Wreath

1. Begin by wrapping burlap around the styrofoam wreath form. Once the entire wreath is wrapped in burlap, secure with a couple of pins to keep the burlap tight.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

2. Heat up your Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen and wait for the tip to turn red, to indicate that it is hot and ready. Begin securing these foam apples all around your burlap wreath, taking your time holding each of these to the burlap until they are secure. Be sure to tilt them in different directions, covering the entire top of the wreath. You can then leave the wreath as is or you can add another layer on top in between the first layer apples. I loved the dimension of two levels on this wreath so I added an extra round of apples to finish my wreath.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

3. Finish by hanging your wreath on a door. I looped a little twine on the back through the holes in the burlap to finish this wreath!

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

I hope you have fun making a wreath of your own, for yourself or for your favorite teacher! This is such an easy craft to make and can be enjoyed throughout the fall season. Thank you to Westcott for all the hot glue gun fun! I’m so excited to work on future projects with this smartly designed craft tool!

 

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Amy’s Notebook 08.16.17

August 16th, 2017

Garlic Herb Chicken With Zucchini

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I’m always looking for new one pan dishes and this garlic herb chicken with zucchini looks like a weeknight winner!

8 ways to help after Charlottesville. Also, this piece was great on talking through it all with your kids.

I won’t lie, I could eat this every single day and be very happy.

Stumped on how to mix patterns in your home? I loved this guide to perfecting the pattern mix.

Oh, I needed this laugh today.

Three types of friends you might need to break up with. Great advice for a better #girlsquad!

Did you hear about this new app?

This is just genius- I love how people make the most of small spaces!

How to experience the total eclipse from your living room.

Small Space Movie Night

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Who needs a theater room? I love this idea for making the most of small spaces!

I had no idea that Amazon sold wine- here are 5 of the best affordable bottles!

I love, love, love colorful homes.

This is haunting, isn’t it?

I’ve been enjoying this book a lot.

I can absolutely see how this happens. In fact, I think it happens more than we realize.

“Start with what you have, not with what you want.”- I want to live like this always.

I think you should read this.

I thought this had some great advice if you are packing gluten-free lunches for your kiddos.

Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Chicken & Rice Bowls

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Put cheese on just about any veggie and I’m in. I love this spin on a good old-fashioned casserole.

Perfectionism, procrastination, paralysis- yes. This was a good read if you are in that awful cycle too.

This is your best defense against bad vibes.

I love these tips on adding removable wallpaper to a room.

Ohhhh, can’t wait to see this movie! And this one. And this one. And this one.

Putting together my capsule so I gathered a few of my favorite capsule pieces this year over here.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 08.15.17

August 15th, 2017

purl-knit sweater purl-knit sweater (several colors)

reversible tote

reversible tote (several color combos)

grey cross back sweater

grey cross back sweater

beaded tassel earrings

beaded tassel earrings (several colors)

barre now wine later shirt

barre now wine later shirt

Jersey Knit Swing Dress

jersey knit swing dress

comfy tan cardigan

comfy tan cardigan

 

patterned-canvas-clutch

patterned canvas clutch

puff tulip sleeve tee

tulip sleeve tee

english saddle skinny belt

crisscross detailed skinny belt

double-faced plaid shirt

double-faced plaid shirt

gemstone necklace

gemstone necklace

not getting ready today shirt

not getting ready today, me either matchy-matchy shirts

miranda bib necklace

miranda bib necklace

roll tab sleeve tunic

roll tab sleeve tunic (PERFECT fall wardrobe staple)

weaving loom kit

weaving loom kit

 

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

 

How To: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

August 15th, 2017

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com.

Gift-giving season is upon us and I am always looking for great gifts that don’t cost a lot, can be made in bulk, and will actually be used! Do you remember when we made Citronella Candles in our slow cooker for thoughtful hostess gifts for the cookout season? We are going to replicate that same idea, but with one of my FAVORITE fall scents…Pumpkin Spice!

Can you believe you can make candles in your crockpot? The first time I tried making candles in my slow cooker, I knew that I was hooked on a new favorite craft.

I am so excited to show you, yet again, how to make candles in your slow cooker and this time we are making easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles.

As a Pumpkin Spice everything addict, these are full of my favorite holiday scent and can be made with just a few inexpensive purchases.

FYI- I just want to warn you how good your house is going to smell so GET READY!

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed

8 Pint-Sized Mason Jars

5 Pounds Candle Wax Flakes

8 6” Natural Candle Wicks

2 Jars of Pumpkin Spice Fragrance Oil

8 Bamboo Skewers (or you can use pencils!)

Slow Cooker

Food Scale or Postal Scale

Decorative Accents to finish your candles

How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Making Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

1. Measure and weigh out 7 ounces of soy wax flakes for each mason jar in a glass measuring cup (be sure to tare your scale). It should fill jar to the top, and we will be adding more flakes after the first round melts down and creates more space inside the jar. Repeat the measuring with all of the other candles you plan to prepare.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

2. Add an inch or two of water to your slow cooker to create a water bath for your candles. Nestle the mason jars inside the slow cooker, place a lid on top, and turn it on HIGH for two hours. As the wax melts down, feel free to add more wax in the jars to the desired height. These will melt down to about half the size of your jar, so approximately 7 more ounces of soy flakes can be added to get a full candle like my pictures.

3. Once the two hours has passed, open the lid and add 10-20 drops of Pumpkin Spice fragrance to each candle (approximately 1 ml of oil). Using a bamboo skewer, stir each candle after adding the oil.  Turn your slow cooker off, then add your candle wick in the center of each candle. Take a bamboo skewer or pencil and wrap the top of the wick to the middle of it and allow it to help stand the candle up in the center.  Leave the candles in the slow cooker until the wax begins to harden. Remove them and then dry well with a dish towel.  Allow the candles to fully harden on your countertop.

4. The next day, trim your wicks and attach a little jute twine and thank you note for your favorite hostess.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

The best part about making these is how incredible your house is going to smell all day long as these cook and then cool. My kids thought I had baked pies all day when they got home from school.

What sad trickery I played on them with a slow cooker full of candles for our friends (#worstmomever).

I hope you have fun making this easy Fall craft for those you love!

This post contains affiliate links! Thank you for supporting the site with your purchases!

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Business Advice, Fresh Planner, & A Great Read

August 11th, 2017

vacation

Taking time off and stepping away from the grind of work this summer has given me time to reflect on how I have been running my business.

Blogging doesn’t always look like business, does it?

Actually, if I’m honest, I have no idea what it looks like to you.

This is my life’s work though and lately I have been reflecting on my business mistakes that have occurred these last few years.

At one point in my career, I got in over my head with my job and refused to allow anyone to help me because I didn’t think they could do the job as good as me (even though I was doing a terrible job). My email inbox was in the 50K region of UNOPENED messages, I wasn’t posting consistently, I had lost a sense of community, and I was doing a terrible job diversifying my income streams.

A magical assistant (here she is- she’s amazing!) swooped in and made all these issues disappear. My inbox was clutter-free, she helped me to get back to consistency, it freed up time to carve out community, she got my newsletter going again, and she encouraged me to find new avenues for income streams.

And then she needed to move on to a new chapter in her own life.

Yup, I lost this incredible person who was doing all the things for me and I was back to my old habits.

Here is what I am discovering though:

The mistake wasn’t in handing everything off to someone to help me manage my time better.

My mistake?

I didn’t know how to do many of these tasks for myself.

I didn’t know how to send out a newsletter, I didn’t understand the changes and new strategies I needed to implement to keep up with my social media platforms, I had no ideas on how to continue cultivating my work here. Basically, I have felt a little lost at sea and I worried about the time and effort it would require to get back in the game.

I’ve decided this new school year is a new school year for me too. I started taking online courses to help manage different aspects of my business this week

Would it still be good to hand things off?

Absolutely!

Will I know how to do these tasks though and train the next person who takes the reigns moving forward?

Yes, yes I will.

This week, I’m thankful for a new mindset for my business.

This is the year of not working harder, but working smarter.

I’d love to talk about what goals you have for yourself as your children return to school! What do you hope to achieve this year?

Here are 3 things that are making me happy this week!

The Defiant Ones

The Defiant Ones

HBO has sucked us in with another incredible series. The Defiant Ones is an incredible 4-part documentary that explores the careers of Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine and their remarkable business relationship that ended up landing them a 3 billion dollar deal with Apple.

What I loved about their story is that they were two very unlikely business moguls that didn’t have the background or education to have had such successful careers. Iovine, for example, was known for flaking out on jobs and seems to be lacking the ability to follow through on tasks. Dre couldn’t even get the time of day with a local club owner to deejay in the evenings. What they didn’t end up lacking was a passion for music that, ultimately, ended up bringing the two together on some incredible deals.

This isn’t a feel-good story, this is gritty and honest story about the business mistakes they made and how they almost lost it all. It’s incredibly inspirational though to see that if you play your cards right, even the most unlikely people can become the most successful.

I really think you’d love this one- give it a watch!

Get to Work Book

A Fresh New Planner

I’m so excited to have a fresh new planner for the year! I can’t think of anything more motivating than a new start to getting back on schedule.  I asked what planners people were loving in our MomAdvice Book Club Chat Group and was reminded just how much I wanted a Get to Work Book last year, but never got around to purchasing it.

I’m not saying that this year though because I finally have one. I love that this allows space for goal setting and intentions (both for personal and professional). Each month has a great tear-out motivational print as a fun bonus. The pages are spacious and have thoughtful prompts to help you dream big. I can’t wait to get planning in this.

Also, if aren’t following Elise on Instagram, it’s quite the treat! She’s been a big source of creative inspiration for me.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A Great Read

It’s been a busy week, as we start preparing for the new school year, but I managed to squeeze in a great book this week. Ginny Moon was such an enjoyable read from debut novelist, Benjamin Ludwig. Ludwig shares in his bio that he is the foster parent of a teen with autism and it is through his own experience (and fellow parents of autistic children) that helped him carve his character, Ginny Moon.

Ginny Moon had been taken from her neglectful mother and has been living with her new Forever Mother and Forever Father. When her birth mother starts creeping back into her life, Ginny will stop at nothing to get back to her mom and goes to shocking lengths to make that happen. When a new baby then is added to her Forever Family, Ginny becomes increasingly more of a burden to her strained foster parents and they must decide if this is the forever family THEY want. Ginny will stop at nothing though to get back to where she believes she really belongs and there is a pretty surprising reason why. It’s a real page-turner!

Ludwig really sheds light on the difficulties of finding adoptive families for teens of special needs and your heart just breaks for Ginny over the confusion of who her real “forever family,” is.

I won’t blab too much more about it, but I have a feeling you will really enjoy this one!

That’s what is making me happy this week- what’s been making your week?

This week I am…

women rise

Reading: I started this book and I am LOVING it!

Prepping: It’s time to prep the capsule wardrobe for fall. I ordered one of these skirts and I can’t wait to put it to work. I also have a box of goodies coming in from this shop- woohoo! Here’s ten bucks towards your first order, if you haven’t tried it before.

Netflix Binge Plan: Have you watched this yet? I can’t wait to dig in!

Can’t Wait: For this movie (!!!)

Inspired By: This list of intentions, especially the two hour phone break!

Throwing it Back:  Which one are you? Totally, Claudia! I’m all about that unicorn life, are you?

Listening: To this podcast over the weekend. They always have the best book recommendations.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Amy’s Notebook 08.09.17

August 9th, 2017

Grilled Caprese Zucchini source

This grilled caprese zucchini looks like a great way to put summer produce to work.

What happens when you say, “call me,” in response to emails you receive.

I think you should read this.

Now this is a ruffle sleeve I can get behind.

Love the addition of Greek yogurt to yield a juicier turkey burger- must try!

This bad habit is the reason why you can’t focus. I loved this passage, “Much like slow food, slow living is the world’s response to fast living, and its gospel encourages finding enjoyment outside of online life, urging participants to take the time to truly consider their relationships with others and the world around them. As the movement grows, FOMO is inspiring an opposite reaction of its own: FOBO – fear of burning out.”

Turn a bottle of rosé into four weeknight meals.

I love peeking at what other people are reading this summer. I added a few of these books to my library wish list!

Why not just give people money? I’m a big fan of no-strings attached giving.

Tiny House Kitchen

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This tiny house kitchen is dreamy. I refuse to give up on my tiny house dreams!

Are you an HSP too? I could identify almost 100% with these.

20 dinner ideas you can prep & make-ahead on Sunday.

Love this idea for this app- LOL!

Excited to finally dig into this read- it looks like a fantastic escape.

My husband has strong feelings about this font.

How to quickly become happier with these ten tips.

Want to add a little style to your bookshelves? I found this post really inspiring.

Paper Chain Wall Hanging

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Do you remember making paper chains in school? This is the coolest paper chain display I’ve ever seen.

Want to raise kind kids? Check out this idea!

How to throw away the memories our kids leave behind- love the bin idea for time to process.

Really geeking out about this movie news.

I loved hearing your tips on this topic. Sometimes just hearing, “me too,” brings relief, doesn’t it?

I’m agreeing with with a lot of these selections on the best books of 2017 (so far!).

I am always on the hunt for the perfect white tee- what a great guide!

I still have a few of these tucked away from my note exchanges with my hubby. Just might need to pick that habit back up!

Let black kids just be kids- a compelling piece I shared with my family this week.

I really need to pick up a tea habit. I did not know the benefits of this tea.

We are starting to get quite the hat collection over here so I loved this diy hat rack for small spaces.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 08.07.17

August 7th, 2017

Essential Leggings

lou & grey essential leggings- just $10!!

Rescued Tote

rescued tote

Striped Poplin Shirt

striped poplin shirt- use coupon code FFSALE for 40% off

Felt Letter Board

felt letter board

brown leopard dress

brown leopard dress (loads of cute prints on sale)

Tasseled Poncho

tasseled poncho (several colors)

The Future Is Inclusive Tee

the future is inclusive tee

brit+co planner

brit+co planner

haircalf leopard belt

haircalf leopard belt- use coupon code FFSALE for 40% off!!

bookworm bag

bookworm bag

Bell Sleeve Embroidered Tee

bell sleeve embroidered tee

crossbody bag

crossbody bag (several colors- great price!!)

you got this wall planner

you got this wall planner

crepe pleated joggers

crepe pleated joggers

peel and stick clothing labels

waterproof peel and stick clothing labels

Vintage Cotton Tee

vintage cotton tees ($10-15!!)- no coupon code needed

toms booties

my favorite booties- so comfortable!!

 

Work Hard & Be Nice Tee

work hard & be nice tee

Side Slit Tee

side slit tee

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

5 Natural Ways To Stop Anxiety Quickly

August 4th, 2017

5 Natural Anxiety Remedies

Do you struggle with anxiety? When we met with the specialist to talk about my diagnosis, she asked me this very question. Embarrassed, I responded that I did.  She quickly assured me not to be ashamed of my anxiety because it is often a symptom that goes along with all my other health issues.

Anytime there are big changes in my routine, it often sends my anxiety into a tailspin. Big things like discovering you have a connective tissue disease definitely sent me spiraling. Little things though, like the start of each school year and doing allthethings, can also send me down the tunnels of anxiety.

An admitted perfectionist and people pleaser with anxiety?

Yep, it is often the reason why I suffer from sleepless nights and stomach aches.

This year I have really been working on my responses to things and have been finding natural remedies to curb my anxiety symptoms. I wanted to share them with you today because they have helped me so much.  Here are 5 things I’ve discovered can stop my anxiety quickly.

mark-twain-quote

Working through the “then what” scenario

I shared that this year I decided to see a counselor to help me get my life back on track. We talked about changing some of my routines and habits to reduce stress and help me be more productive at my job. As a people pleaser, I find it difficult to let people down in my life. He worked with me on talking through these situations and now I use this trick when talking myself through tricky conversations or scenarios I might be faced with.

For example, my body’s new limitations made working and lifting food at our food pantry hard to do. Instead of admitting that it wasn’t a good fit for me, I continued to do it and flare up an elbow issue that I had. I told my counselor how it was causing strain, but I worried that I would let the director down.

Him- Why can’t you tell her that you can’t work the food pantry?

Me- I made a commitment and I know that there aren’t a lot of people to help. I love doing it, but it is causing pain.

Him- What do you think she would say if you told her that you couldn’t work the food pantry?

Me- Well, she will probably be very disappointed in me. She will think I’m a flake. I told her I was going to do something and then I didn’t do it.

Him- Do you think she will be angry?

Me- I don’t know.

Him- What if someone told you that they had an injury and couldn’t do a job for you?  What do you think you would say?

Me- I would be disappointed that I didn’t have help.

Him- Then what?

Me- I would tell them I’m sorry they are hurting and I understand.

Him- Then what?

Me- I would probably find someone else to help.

My initial reaction is everyone will be angry with me if I change a routine or have to bail on a commitment, but a lot of times these scenarios never happen. Of course, as soon as I told her that I couldn’t do it because I had an elbow issue and was starting physical therapy she told me she would miss me, but COMPLETELY UNDERSTOOD. She graciously said she would be happy to have me back whenever I felt better.

Really?

It was NO BIG DEAL.

Working through the then what, then what, then what helps me guess what might happen and put away irrational fears about situations in my life, but it also helps me prepare a response ahead of time for the changes I make that are healthy for me. You can’t plan for everything, of course, but it has helped tremendously.

The stop sign trick

Joanna Goddard, from Cup of Jo, shared a really great trick that she learned from her therapist that helped her with anxiety. Her therapist told her that when her spiraling thoughts started that she should start visualizing a stop sign.

A small switch that is completely free?

Sign me up!

This week, for example, as we prepare for the new school year, my anxiety really starts to ramp up. I will lay awake thinking about the physicals I forgot to schedule, the new bus schedule, the school supplies we haven’t bought, the uniforms…. Once the floodgates are opened, the anxiety of the upcoming year starts pouring out.

Now I have started to use this tip once my mind starts going and it does, truly, help interrupt the anxiety routine.

I didn’t get the school supplies… STOP SIGN

I forgot to schedule physicals… STOP SIGN

I…STOP SIGN.

The 7-second rule

One element of my anxiety is saying the wrong thing in social situations. I will be having a great day with friends just talking and enjoying each other’s company- all in all, a perfect day. On the drive home though, my mind starts thinking again about EVERYTHING I said. Did I say too much? Was that wrong of me to say? What if their feelings were hurt? Why did I share that?

It goes on and on.

I read about the 7-second rule though and I have started to apply it to my life. I’m generally (*ahem*) good people and I try really hard to say the right things. I would never intentionally hurt someone with my words and the things that I typically worry about, I’m pretty sure no one else is replaying over and over again in THEIR mind.

Only allowing myself 7-seconds to replay things has changed this routine of replaying the night over and over and over again in my head to a mere few seconds. I also try to extend the same grace to other people and even share the tip with them when they apologize to me for something they have worried about. Seriously, 7-seconds and moving on.

Stop looking for it

I have a BAD habit of looking for things to become anxious about- do you do this too?

For example, I had a terrible nighttime routine of checking Instagram and Facebook right before I would go to sleep. I would, essentially, look for things to be anxious about and then try to go to bed. Social media, for me, has ALWAYS been a trigger, but it is also a necessary part of my work.

Yet, let’s be honest,  it is not a necessary part of my work to start scrolling at 10PM.

Now I turn off all social media in the evenings and keep normal “business hours” with my time. I also don’t go hunting for things to be upset about (another REALLY bad habit) on my feeds. In the morning, I seem to have the ability to distance myself more from things that cause me anxiety and I can apply that ol’ stop sign rule when my thoughts start spiraling.

Peace Over Worry

Get involved in an anxiety interrupter

I am sure you have heard that yoga is helpful for anxiety, but it isn’t necessarily the movement that helps my anxiety. It is the fact that it is a mind interrupter.

When doing yoga, the instructor is guiding us through movement with directions and oftentimes isn’t demonstrating the movement. I have to think really hard to stay with the flow of the class and remember one pose to the next. I become so focused on moving through poses that I can’t let my mind spiral.

Anxiety interruption also happens when I go to dance class because I’m so focused on following the movement that my brain doesn’t have time to think about anything else. When all my brain cells are dedicated to one thing, there are no brain cells to contribute to my irrational worries.

I have been looking more for healthy anxiety interrupters like this in my life. Walks with husband around the neighborhood, a good book, podcasts, volunteering, a documentary, doing things (and being present) with my kids are all good examples of good things that have helped interrupt my anxiety routine.

Of course, do not be afraid to talk to your physician or a therapist about your anxiety. You don’t have to suffer alone!

Natural Products/Services That Also Help My Anxiety

Calm Now Supplement (I take this in the afternoon)

Natural Calm The Anti-Stress Drink (great bedtime routine)

L-Theanine (I used this with great success before taking the Calm Now supplement)

Calm Meditation App (the sleep stories really help me in the evenings)

Epsom Salts (I buy them in bulk) with 5 drops of lavender oil for a nighttime bath

Sleepytime Extra Tea

Kill News Feed Plugin

Facebook Unseen

What YOU Say Helps

T. says, “I read somewhere when in the middle of an anxiety/panic attack is to tell yourself I can anything for 10 minutes. It’s what got me through a 6 hour drive just hours after we were involved in a car accident that totaled my car.”

J. says, “I  was on medication for anxiety/depression for years and found that while it helped the anxiety, it was affecting other areas of my life so I went off them and started looking for natural options.

I do a lot of the things you talked about in your article, especially the interrupter. I use exercise, and I was thinking that it was the exercise itself that was helpful, but I think it is also the interrupter. I often do a workout on my lunch break at work and it really helps me to shut off the stress of the morning and get back to a more neutral head space.

I am also a creature of routine and habits, which is great for organization and generally keeps the anxiety manageable, but when things throw the routine off, it is often extremely difficult to deal with. Sometimes I get worries that play on a loop in my head, like when I’ve texted my son who is out somewhere and he doesn’t text back when I think he should and I start imagining the absolute worst and it won’t stop until he either texts back or gets home. If my husband is home, I can tell him specifically what is in my head, what the specific worry is and he helps me to break it down and either get rid of it or at least lessen the anxiety a bit.”

H. says,“I replay my conversations or what I post in my head all of the time, like you! When my anxiety gets out of control I have meds, but one time I didn’t have any on me and I was having a panic attack and luckily my husband happened to be with me and he told me to get outside with him and go for a walk. That interrupter (like the yoga you mentioned) really calmed me and stopped the attack from happening. Interrupters are really good for me. I found that coloring in the adult coloring books helps a lot too. I really try and go more natural unless it gets to a point where I can’t control it.  I also use Tulsi Tea and it helps, but it could probably be a placebo thing, but I don’t care!”

M. says,  “I have been trying to get into a routine of meditation. Just 10 minutes a morning. I have been using the app 10% Happier. I love their logical approach and the concept of ‘just begin again.’  Since I have been doing it I’ve noticed that when my mind starts racing later in the day, or even when it wakes me up at night, if I take 30 seconds and focus on my breath it really does reset my brain. I think it is the same idea as the interrupter.”

Katie says, “I take a magnesium supplement before bed that has really helped me with sleeping. Since I started taking it, for the first time in years I am able to fall asleep easily. Another thing I’ve noticed is I get significantly fewer headaches taking magnesium. In general, getting on a vitamin routine has helped in a lot of ways. For example, I found out I tested low for vitamin D and that had a correlation with my stress too. Taking omegas and B12 has helped managing moods when I’m stressed.

Another trigger for me is if I am not drinking enough water or eat meals too late. My husband is really good at letting me know that I need to eat or drink something when he can tell I’m getting stressy and it’s a nice gentle reminder to take care of my physical needs but also “check myself” on my emotional state. It works well for us because I know he is doing it out of love and not to poke at me.

I love my essential oil diffuser with lavender or other calming blends in the evening in our bedroom.

I have moved the FB and Instagram icons off the front page of my phone and put them in a separate folder on a page I have to scroll to at times to help break the habit of getting on just because I pick up my phone.”

Another J. says, “I’ve had success in managing my anxiety with various herbal tinctures and elixirs, which I always fear makes me sound all “woo-woo crazy”, but I’m so much more consistent about taking them than sipping tea. They’re fast! :) My favorites are Motherwort (<– the real workhorse of the bunch!), Borage Flower elixir (calming and mellowing), Milky Oats tincture (<– also a great one for dulling intense responses), Wild Rose Elixir (awesome for brightening mood and promoting optimism), and Skullcap tincture (my go-to for stopping racing thoughts in their tracks at bedtime.)”

A. says, “One thing that my therapist worked with me on was journaling, which I use not only as a way to get my thoughts out, but as a way to keep myself organized. When things get chaotic and disorganized I can always feel the anxiety start to ramp up.”

 

5 Natural Anxiety Remedies

If you liked this article you might enjoy my natural ways to relieve joint pain article! I’d love to hear from you some natural ways you have found to reduce anxiety in your life?

Amy’s Notebook 08.02.17

August 2nd, 2017

DIY Wood Faux Paneling

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I’m so inspired by this inexpensive diy wood faux paneling project to brighten up a room.

We are trying a meal delivery service this month so this piece was really interesting. Have you done one before? Would love to hear your thoughts!

The one thing Airbnb hosts wish you wouldn’t do.

What to say to a grieving friend- I needed these tips.

We have more time than we think. Loved this quote, “Rather than saying you don’t have time, use the phrase, “It’s not a priority.” Not only will you feel less guilty for saying no, but it will remind you what your priorities are.

Ten clever camping tips- bookmarking if I ever go camping (unlikely).

15 easy ways to update your home- we have a lot of little projects like this still left to do.

Are you an abundance thinker or a scarcity thinker? Good food for thought!

Elevate Your BBQ

 

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I love these elegant ways to elevate your next summer gathering.

Here are some great tips on choosing the right protein powders for your morning smoothie. I had no idea that Target sold this protein powder now. Has anyone tried it?

Oh, I’m afraid we are THOSE neighbors! Love these backyard distractions so people won’t hate us.

I’m so sad to have missed this while we are in CA. Check out the Color Factory! Whoa.

I love this idea of running a cruelty-free blog. Particularly this passage, “Here is a good method: If you have a criticism of us you feel compelled to write then pretend that an 8 year old, someone who is just learning how people should behave in the world, will read your comment out loud in front of you. If that makes you uncomfortable then perhaps rephrase it. I think this is probably a great way to go about life, actually.”

Be Happy

Working on the good-hearted ways to respond to people in my life.

I just snagged this thriller from the library and I’m excited to dig in! Did you see the nine books I read in July? I think you’d love them!

I’m inspired by this zero-dollar savings hack. I need to do this!

I loved following this creative project. She always amazes me with the depth to her creativity.

Ugh, I have no idea how to get the right balance on this with my job. Do you like “real” feeds or “inspirational” feeds? I struggle with being authentic AND real.

A thoughtful approach towards shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

I finally got this on vinyl and it makes me unbelievably happy.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

July 2017 Must-Reads

August 1st, 2017

July 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Summer reading has been in full swing as I start wrapping up the last of my lovely quiet days before school starts. We were fortunate enough to have two getaways this month that gave me a little extra reading time so I’m excited to share 9 great must-read books with you! I had some really great stuff in my stack this month including a few 5-star reads that I think you will enjoy.

Summer Books

follow me on IG to see what I’m reading!

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! This month we will be reading this book (you can see the full list over here).

Not enough variety? Print out our Reading Challenge Worksheet! I’m having a blast working my way through it!

Here are  must-read books that I tackled in July!

Nine Women, One Dress

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

Nine Women, One Dress came recommended to me by a local librarian as a fantastic summer read and I couldn’t agree more with her pick.  This type of book is like a big bowl of chick lit comfort food and reminds me of my obsession with the ol’ rom com films that I loved so much growing up. If you loved Meg Ryan films, I bet you will find this to be a light and easy book escape for your summer stack.

The title pretty much explains what this cute read is about. A famous designer, who is soon retiring, makes a beautiful black dress that ends up being THE dress of the season. The dress then finds its way into many hands (some deserving, some not) and the book explores these touching and humorous stories of how this dress came into their possession and what happened after they wore it out.

If it sounds a little cheesy, it is.

I loved every minute of it and grinned from ear to ear right up until the final pages.

Reading Challenge Category Completed- A book recommended by a librarian

4 Out Of 5 Stars

The Book of Polly

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

I love quirky stories that are big on humor and The Book of Polly was everything a good read should be. Beautifully developed characters, loads of hilarity, and Hepinstall’s choice of words and phrasing make these characters, truly, come to life.

Polly has an unexpected surprise in her late fifties and gives birth to her daughter, Willow. Polly is not like any mother that Willow knows at school and the reader experiences her pride and shame at just how little she does fit in. One of Willow’s biggest worries is Polly dying and when she ends up being diagnosed with cancer, it is like her worst fears coming true.

Polly’s not going to exit this world quietly though and Willow decides she wants to know more about Polly’s life from her younger years which lead them on an epic road trip.

I laughed out loud through this book and kept reading passages to my husband who laughed alongside me.  Fans of Be Frank With Me and Whistling Past the Graveyard are FOR SURE going to love this hilarious read! This one will definitely be on my top ten list of the year!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Saints for All Occasions

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

I have read a couple of Sullivan’s books and enjoyed them, but this book is unlike anything she has written before and is an exquisite escape that I think most readers will love. This story reads like Brooklyn had a baby with The Two-Family House so if you enjoyed those, don’t miss this one!

This story explores the lives of two sisters who come to America in the late fifties. One sister is wildly enjoying her newfound freedom while the other is promised to marry a boy she doesn’t love, but finds the responsible sister role to be an easier one. When Theresa, the “fun” sister, ends up pregnant, her sister comes up with a plan to save her reputation while making sure her son is loved and safe.

The book explores the past and present as each sister makes life-altering decisions that lead them down very different paths.  When Nora’s son dies, it brings the two sisters back together again while unleashing a load of family secrets in the process.

As far as criticism goes, I did think it went on just a tad too long in the building of the story, while the ending felt abrupt to me. I wanted more of the conclusion fleshed out, after the long journey, but I understand Sullivan had to end it at some point. Regardless, this will be one of my favorite reads this summer and I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t connected with her books in the past.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

The Arrangement

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

The Arrangement was on this summer’s guilty pleasure reading bucket list and this one did not disappoint. I expected a lot of predictability with this book and Dunn surprised me with some really witty dialogue, twists I didn’t see coming and a town of characters that rivaled the infamous folks in Big Little Lies.

Owen & Lucy have a dinner party where friends share with them about an “arrangement,” a couple they know is having in an open marriage (no questions, no guilt) where they can explore having relationships with other people while keeping their marriage happy and healthy.

They feel inspired to devise their own six-month arrangement where they can explore relationships with other people, but it must end after six months. What follows is anything but predictable for either of them and the reader gets to go on one tryst to another,  then concluding their days by coming home to raise their autistic son together.

There are loads of laugh-out-loud moments and some heartfelt ones that resonated with me since we experienced many similar parenting moments to this couple. It also solidified that open marriage, while fun reading in a book, is definitely not for me! I do admit, the husband getting “chored” by his mistress was a treat that brought all the LOL’s.

Seriously, I really enjoyed the wild ride with these two and the book ended up being a lot less fluff and more satisfying than I expected.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Dreamland Burning was a selection that I discovered on the MMD Summer Reading Guide. This YA historical fiction novel sheds light on a little known time in history, examining the Tulsa race riot of 1921 and what it might have looked like for the town’s residents.

I had never heard of these race riots, but it is horrific to learn that historians put the death toll at around 300 black lives lost to white rioters. The author notes that some people refer to this as the, “black holocaust,” because of this. Since it is a YA book though, I thought Latham did a great job of giving you an eye-opening amount of violence and dialogue, while staying true to her genre.

The book explores the case of a skeleton that has been buried and found on a family’s property when their family begins to renovate their home.  Rowan, the teen daughter, decides she wants to do some sleuthing to find out who these bones belong to and it sends her hunting for answers that are over a hundred years old.

The chapter alternates between her viewpoint and the viewpoint of William, a white teen growing up in this historical era and struggling to understand his own viewpoint on race.  The reader gets to watch the evolution of William from racist to helper of minorities.

Latham weaves a smart final twist that gives the reader a satisfying conclusion. She also provides resources where you can discover more about this horrific time in history.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (available for preorder!)

I received a copy of this book for review from the publishing house.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Everything I Never Told You was Celeste Ng’s gorgeous debut (you can read my interview with her over here) and I couldn’t wait to see what she had next in store for us.  I was thrilled when the publishing house reached out to see if I would like to take a peek at her next book and this one did not disappoint.

This novel is a perfect read for Jodi Picoult fans as it explores the intertwining stories of a picture-perfect family and a single mother & child who end up disrupting what has always seemed ideal.

The book is set in a suburban bubble where a wealthy family, The Richardson’s, reside. Always with good intentions, they love to help others and one of the ways they help them is by offering a rental home to deserving recipients at an affordable cost so that they can get back on their feet again.

Mia Warren is the lucky recipient of this rental, where she can make rent doing odd jobs so she can pursue her true passion for photography and art. When the Richardson family also happens to have an opening for a housekeeper, they bring Mia further into their lives as Pearl & Mia become fixtures in their home. Everything seems ideal about this family and Pearl, her daughter, immediately is drawn to them and their idyllic life.

Yet, when close friends of the wealthy family decides to adopt a Chinese American baby, sides are quickly drawn leaving Mia & Pearl on the opposing side. It is when the battle becomes fierce that secrets began to unravel and true feelings begin to erupt. And there are secrets….a LOT of secrets.

This is a heartstring puller that I devoured in a little over a day. It would lend itself really well to a lively book club discussion if you are looking for something fresh to add to your group that is guaranteed to get your book club members chatting!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Shtum

Shtum by Jem Lester

Shtum is a Yiddish word that means silence and this beautiful story is inspired by Jem Lester’s own struggles and triumphs with his autistic son who is trapped in a silence of his own. It is, truly, the most accurate portrayal of what it would be like to parent a profoundly autistic child and a read that many of us can learn a lot from.

In this story, Jonah and his autistic son Ben find themselves under Jonah’s father’s roof to help with the application process for a school for autism that could help Jonah. They don’t have the funds to do it and Ben’s wife encourages a separation in their marriage to help Jonah because being a single parent will lend them favor on the application process and offer more scholarship money.

Residing under one roof with a child who requires 24-hour supervision and a grumpy father isn’t Ben’s idea of a great time and alcohol is Ben’s escape. It is a downward spiral at times and Lester doesn’t let you escape it. The day-to-day grind becomes overwhelming, even as a reader, and it made me REALLY understand more about the challenges that these family’s face every single day.

Yet, as heart wrenching as this read is, it has sparks of dark comedy that had me chuckle out loud many times, particularly with Ben’s father, Georg. This debut novel is raw and unapologetic in the challenges that come with love and sacrifice. I highly recommend this read!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Everyone has been talking about Eleanor Oliphant so I knew I needed to dig into this one.

Eleanor is certainly one of the most unusual characters I have read because she lacks social skills and avoids all unnecessary human contact. She keeps a rigid schedule with herself that involves a lot of frozen pizza, vodka, and a routine call with her mother.

A persistent I.T. guy, named Raymond, comes into Eleanor’s life though when they help save an elderly man on the street who had fallen. Raymond is also the kind of guy that won’t take no for an answer and begins infiltrating into Eleanor’s life.

Eleanor has her eye on someone else though and he doesn’t even know it. Lunches with Raymond give her a chance to practice for the big moment when she can confess to her true love how she feels about him.

Too bad the guy has never heard of her!

This novel is quirky and the reader gets to go on every cringe worthy moment as the true story of Eleanor unfolds. Honeyman ends the book with a really smart little twist that adds to the beauty of Eleanor’s healing process to find love in her life and readers discover why Eleanor struggles so much in society. It’s a solid read and a promising debut from Honeyman!

P.S.- Look who bought the movie rights to this one? Yay!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

A tequila-soaked night at a comic book convention leaves Leia Birch Briggs, a graphic novel artist, pregnant after a rendezvous with a guy that she only knows as Batman.

Yup, how is that for a starter?

Before she can break the news to her family though, her sister’s marriage implodes and they discover their grandmother has been hiding her rapidly progressing dementia from them. In efforts to help, Leia heads home to start making arrangements for her grandmother and to clear out the home of anything unnecessary…

Like, a skeleton in the trunk of the attic.

This really isn’t a typical Jackson novel, is it?

Jackson has built great dynamics between the two sisters and comical horror as Birchie, their grandmother, lets loose all the town secrets that she knows, thanks to her dementia. It seems there are quite a lot of secrets, especially just who might be residing in the trunk of this house.

This is one of Jackson’s best books, in my opinion, and a treat to read from start to finish. I could see this one being made into a film- it has great charm and heart.

You can read my past interview with Joshilyn as we discussed her writing process on her last great read!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2017 Must-Reads

February 2017 Must-Reads

March 2017 Must-Reads

April 2017 Must-Reads

May 2017 Must-Reads

June 2017 Must-Reads

July 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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