Author Archive

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

When I first began managing my household, I happened upon a home management binder that really worked for our family. The binder became our family Bible and each year I would order a new set of sheets to keep the same binder going for our family for the next year. Last year when I went to order my sheets, the company no longer existed and I felt lost without my trusty home management binder system. I talked with our amazingly talented craft contributor, Sarah Milne, to see if she could help me execute a binder with the same principles, but a fresh design that would make managing a home fun.  She created the most beautiful set of printables ever and I am so excited to share these with you today.

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What Is a Home Management Binder?

When I say that a home management binder can be a Bible for a family, I really do mean that. A well-designed binder, which I really think we offer with these printables, helps you manage everything in your household in one place.  This binder is housed typically in a central location in your home and contains everything your family needs to have on-hand from your family calendar, your to-do list, important contact information that you want to have at a moment’s notice (particularly for someone who might babysit), the meal plan for the week, grocery lists, a price sheet, and all you need to run your family’s finances smoothly.

I recommend storing this binder  and then purchasing a set of pocketed dividers where you can tuck important information that you might need to refer to. I took a picture of my pockets for you and then realized that it is all pretty personal so you will have to take my word for it that this is where you put the good stuff. When school starts, in particular, you will find your mailbox filled with fliers for events, important forms that need to be filled out, appointment reminders, and invitations. Instead of piling them on a desk or tacking them on the fridge, use the pockets so you always know where to find these items when you need them. I also like to keep an extra pocket or two in the back for the randomness in my life- consider it another junk drawer, if you will.  I have also found that a good spot in the home for daily reference is in your family’s command center.

We have created header pages for each section and I do recommend printing these on heavy-duty cardstock so that they can hold up to the abuse of being referenced daily!

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What is Included In Our Home Management Binder Packet?

First, I just want to say that this is the just the beginning. I plan to come up with more sheets that you can use for all of your home management needs and this will be an ongoing project for MomAdvice.com. I want this to be useful to you so please, please let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see that we are missing in our packet. It will help us when we design the next round of sheets for you!

In our packet you will find:

Family Budget Pages

Grocery Price Sheet (for comparison shopping)

Grocery List Sheet

Menu Planner Sheet

Family Calendar

To-Do List

Contact Sheet

Header Pages for Each Section (to print on cardstock)

MomAdvice Newsletter

 

What is the Catch to These “Free” Printables?

Honestly, I paid a lot of money each year to update my binder with new sheets, but I didn’t want to charge for these.

We realize that there is so much happening on MomAdvice each week that it can be difficult to keep up with. I hired another designer to create a beautiful weekly newsletter for our readers that I would love for you to subscribe to. This email newsletter only is sent once a week to our readers (unless we have a special announcement/giveaway) and I promise to never, never spam you. In this newsletter, we feature everything that is happening for the week and this is where our subscribers can access the free printables and additional freebies that we offer ONLY TO NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.  It is beautiful, simple, mobile-friendly, and fast to scroll through.  I promise, I will never send you junk. I know your time is valuable and so is mine- I am committed to a very useful newsletter.

Honestly though, I realized that we needed to offer some type of incentive to get you to join my newsletter and this is our thank you for letting me come in your inbox once a week.  That is the only catch with getting free printables from MomAdvice.com.

If you are interested in receiving 14 free home management printables, just input your email below or in the sidebar and we will send you the link to your packet as our thank you for being a subscriber (look for it in the final welcome email). Subscribers will have access to our additional printables as they become available. Note: if you already subscribe to the Mom Advice Newsletter, be sure to look in your inbox for a special email that contains the link for your set of these printables! If you can’t seem to get the form to work with your browser, just look over to your right in the sidebar. You will see a handy form there too that works with all browsers! We appreciate you so much! Thank you! 

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 This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 08.26.14

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Black-purple apron via Etsy

Source: Boojiboo,  $28.75

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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BHG Live Better Style Showcase

Monday, August 25th, 2014

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

I’m so excited to share with you that I had the chance to participate in a sneak peek for the new BHG products that you will be able to find at your Walmart store. I have been a longtime fan of BHG and this was such a unique opportunity to both see the new products that will be debuting on your store shelves at Walmart as well as in-depth guidance on fun ways to utilize these items in your home. I left feeling excited and inspired about what I could do on a small budget to spruce up my home and I loved the craft & gift ideas that were created to show us new ways to use some of these items for gift-giving and entertaining.

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

This year it is all about mixing textures, embracing the brights, and bold patterns. We got the chance to circulate around the items and were given many tips for utilizing these pieces in our own home.

Here are some of the tips I received from the stylists for ways to make small and thoughtful updates to your home.

Embrace Weathered Wood

This year it is all about the weathered wood and they have brought this into key items like this awesome coffee table that has generous storage for storing away the family board games, a spare blanket, or the odds and ends that can pop up on a coffee table.  They referred to this style as, “farmhouse luxury.” They are offering many weathered pieces this year along with television stands, side tables, and cubby storage.  This was one of my favorite lines that they are offering this year.

Storage was also a hot discussion and they suggested corralling the remotes on your coffee table in a cookie jar so that you can grab them when you need them, so they aren’t creating a cluttered display in your space. Genius!

Look For The Nailhead Trend

Nailhead trim is very big this year whether it is brought into a headboard or even as a decorative nailhead design in your tableware. I loved this headboard so much that we are planning to purchase it when we update our bedroom. It looked just like one I had been eyeing in a catalog, but came in less than half the price of the one I had planned to purchase.

It’s All About Color

I have always been pretty neutral when it comes to my home, but that changed this year when I started embracing bright colors in my house. The stylists advised that color is big this year and color combos like blue & white, yellow and green, and orange are all hot trends. There is also a running trend of black and white, which will continue through this year.  In my opinion, you can never go wrong with those two colors!

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

BHG Live Better Style Showcase Layer, Layer, Layer

The key to any good design is the layering of textures. Throw a cozy fur throw over a chair or add a fur pillow to add texture to any room. Burlap table runners add a beautiful detail to tables especially when it is paired with a nod to the menswear trend of napkins adorning the tabletop like bow ties.

Textures also abound in centerpieces made from fruits that are in season, pinecones, and fresh flowers (from the yard or purchased on sale at your local market). We got to see numerous fun centerpieces made from a variety of items you could find at the market all using one serving plate. It goes to show that you don’t need a lot to achieve a beautifully decorated home.

I have already purchased this basic white dinnerware set since I got home and I love that this element of white can be layered with seasonal holiday dishes or even a little woodland animal whimsy for the autumn months.

If there is anything I got out of this day with the stylists it is that I need to embrace more layers to my decorating. I also learned that the burlap runner could double as a bathroom window treatment for a small window which I plan to do in our guest bathroom.

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

Simplify Gift-Giving

Gift-giving doesn’t need to be extravagant. One of my favorite examples was this simple idea for lining a walkway for your guests. A simple balloon was tied to a small candle that each guest could take home when they leave. I can’t wait to try this one at our next party!

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

dress: site sponsor, Flourish Boutique

 I have been a longtime fan of Eddie Ross and it was such a treat to get to meet him and also to have him showcase fun ideas for taking houseware basics to another level with the Eddie Ross touch. If you aren’t following his blog or Instagram feed, I highly recommend it. He showed off some of his favorite ways to spruce up the BHG at Walmart items that you could try yourself.

BHG-Style-Showcase-50

 

He transformed a white lampshades into a watercolor beauty using a technique with watered down paint and a paintbrush.  I wish I could have seen this one in action, but I left inspired to try my own watercolor lampshade for our home.

BHG-Style-Showcase-51

He added a tortoiseshell detail to a plain frame by decoupaging some tortoiseshell paper to a plain picture frame. The detail inside was achieved with a simple metallic tape.

BHG-Style-Showcase-53

Curtains don’t have to be plain, they can be trimmed with ribbon that you can attach with fabric glue or sew to your curtains. He also advised mixing up the curtains and using two different colors to create a more custom window treatment feel to your space!

Live-Better-Network-Badge

I’m very excited to be contributing this year to the BHG Live Better Network! Every other month I will get a project challenge and get to showcase a fun DIY project for you. I’m really excited about this opportunity and I hope to share a lot of fun ideas that you can incorporate in your own homes! I also was thrilled to get to sneak peek all the goodies from the new BHG at Walmart line and to find some inspiration for my own space.

Thank you to BHG for this opportunity!

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

 

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

I’m so excited to be putting together my first fashion capsule wardrobe this year.  Ever since I was a kid, I have been intrigued by fashion capsule projects. When I think of them I think of the popular Donna Karan line with seven easy pieces that inspired so many women to embrace a capsule wardrobe.  Who couldn’t be inspired by the simplicity of those pieces and how many outfits you could create from them?

I was not blessed with a big wardrobe budget when I was young, but I had big dreams of making the most of key pieces even then. I remember reading a piece in Glamour Magazine on the school bus that shared the essential pieces every girl should own which included a black blazer, a white shirt, a good pair of jeans, black slacks, and booties. My money for starting my fall wardrobe budget for high school was very small though so I remember investing in these pieces that I found for no more than $10-15 each at the cheapest store in town. What resulted was a really bad school picture in a poorly fitted shirt that only got washed once and became a wrinkly awful misshapen mess that I never could wear again.

The intentions were there, but the budget was not.

As I admitted, I am very passionate about fashion, but have no claims to fame in the fashion blogging world. I decided to embrace a fashion capsule challenge of my own and see if it makes an impact both on how much I am buying and how much I can create from what I already own. I am not doing a ten piece challenge because that does not fit with the area I live in (multiple seasons in the course of three months- you have to love the Midwest!) or with my personal style.  I love that with a fashion capsule you have the freedom to make it what you need in your life.

If you are already a fashion minimalist, you can be unimpressed with me.

I openly admit that I have a closet that is bulging over into other areas of our home and needs to be tailored down. I have so much- I can do better.  For me, this is a true challenge, but one that I hope will help me a lot to learn to embrace a less-is-more philosophy in one area that I need improving in.

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximise the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colours.

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

This project was inspired by the Unfancy fashion capsule challenge, but I am making a few of my own rules for my own personal challenge.

37 Piece Wardrobe- The wardrobe can have 37 pieces  in it. This wardrobe does not include pajamas, workout gear, undergarments, or camisoles (something that is a necessity for me).  The capsule is made from items I already own, some purchased to be workhorses in my wardrobe (since I fail in this department greatly), and purchased second hand at Goodwill or through Twice. All of the items I am not wearing and still love are being tucked in storage for the next fashion capsule.  I have created a Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help inspire me with the pieces I am using.

No Shoe Shopping- I am not including my shoes for this challenge, but I am challenging myself to not buy any more shoes and use what I already have.

One Steal Per Month- Things and events come up and I am allowing myself one steal per month from items that I already own. I may find I don’t need this, but I think it might help with the shopping bug.

No Shopping For Clothing- I will wear the clothes I have selected and not shop for three months and only shop two weeks prior to the next capsule for items for the next season if needed. This is going to require a lot of discipline for me and I am planning to unsubscribe to shopping newsletters and avoid the shops as much as possible.

Reassess & Evaluate The Next Capsule- Maybe I will find I don’t need 37 pieces. Maybe I will find that a steal is unnecessary. Maybe I will find that I like my capsule so much that I won’t need a new one. I promise to reevaluate this in three months.

Hopefully This Will Inspire You- Like I said, if you are rocking the minimalist life, this challenge may seem silly. If you aren’t or if you are and want to find new ways to use your pieces, I am hoping to share those ideas with you. I have no time to do a daily document, but I am happy to share once in awhile some fun ways I am wearing my 37 pieces. Please see my disclaimer above because I do not claim to be a fashion blogger. Take the ideas at your own risk!

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Let’s take a peek at the wardrobe! Here are the items that I have for my Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule. The ones that have not been pictured are currently in alterations and have an asterisk next to them!

1.  a’reve lace shirt (owned- Flourish Boutique)

2.  Polka Dotted Peplum Top (owned- Francesca’s)

3. H&M Black & White Striped Top (owned- Goodwill)

4. Gap Black Blazer (owned- Gap)

5. Fleetwood Mac T-Shirt (owned- Luxe Wagon)

6.  Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Black (Old Navy)

7. Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in White (Old Navy)

8. Faux Leather Jacket (purchased- Marshall’s)

9. Mossimo Short Sleeve Coral Shirt (purchased- Target)

10. Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

11.  Ann Taylor Loft Pink Print Collared Shirt (purchased second hand on Twice)

12.  Not Afraid of the Dark Denim Jacket (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

13.   Don’t Pull Me Down Mustard Sweater (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

14.  Free People White Cowl Neck Sweater (owned- Flourish Boutique)

15.  Forest Fairy Cardigan (owned- Flourish Boutique)

16.  Black Crochet Sweater (owned- Flourish Boutique)

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

 

17.  Long Sleeve Seamless Layering Piece in Gray  (owned- Flourish Boutique)

18.  Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Gray (Old Navy)

19. Old Navy Plaid Flannel Shirt (owned- Old Navy)

20.  White House Black Market Blue Striped Collared Top (purchased second hand on Twice)

21.  J. Crew Teal Silk Blend Skirt (purchased second hand on Twice)

22. Pleated Bird Skirt (owned- Stitch Fix)

23.  Anthropologie Gray Print Dress (purchased second hand on Twice)

24.  Little Black Dress (owned- Flourish Boutique)

25. Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans (owned- Old Navy)

26. Chambray Shirt (owned- Flourish Boutique)

27.  Black Pleated Maxi Skirt (owned- Flourish Boutique)

28.  Seven Skinny Jeans (owned- Flourish Boutique)

29.  Mossimo Black Track Pants (purchased- Target)

30.  Blue Colored Skinny Jeans (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

31.  The Essential Leggings in Black (owned- Flourish Boutique)

32. Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans in Black (owned- Old Navy)

33. Converse White Collared Shirt (purchased- Target)

*34. The Must-Have Maxi in Burgundy (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

*35.  Down With Damask Tunic (similar & owned- Flourish Boutique)

*36. Gap Black Skirt (purchased second hand on Twice)

*37. Mustard Peplum Dress (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

 

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Current Coupons for Old Navy (I am a big fan of their jeans and basic t-shirts)

Current Coupons for Target (their wardrobe is on the smart minimalist side this season- yay!)

Current Coupons for Gap (blazers, chambray shirts, collared shirts, jeans- oh my!)

Get $10 for your first Twice purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Use web code WEB25 for 25% off your purchase at Flourish Boutique (this is our site sponsor and where I get the majority of my clothing). You can also catch a sale daily on the Flourish Boutique Facebook Page)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Thank you to my hubby for photographing my entire wardrobe for this challenge. I am really excited to share this adventure with you! I won’t be daily documenting, but you can find me on Instagram sharing ideas and we will have some ideas for layering and utilizing these basic items in the upcoming months. I promise though to fully commit to this and I know this will be very good for me this year.

Would you like to do a challenge with me? Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you want to join in on the fun or if you are doing a similar challenge of your own!

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

 

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Sundays With Writers: The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Sundays With Writers

Happy Sunday, friends! As always, I am so excited to share about great books with you and interviews with fantastic authors. I picked up today’s featured book The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley at my local library and absolutely loved it. I am always a lover of books with big moral issues and this book is one of those books that shares a dilemma of something a mother could face and then begs the question, “Would I do that if I was in her shoes?”

It’s one of those books you want to read with your book club and then dive in a discussion about this mother’s choices. It is one where it is unclear what the right or wrong answers are.

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

In this story, Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

Until the night the unthinkable happens. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears. And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.

This book is deeply moving and suspenseful. I sat down with it and I could not put it down until I shut it two days later.  I would recommend this book for fans of Defending JacobThe Husband’s Secret, or My Sister’s Keeper.

Now hurry up and grab that cup of coffee and enjoy this beautiful interview with Carla Buckley!

Carla Buckley

 Fourteen-year-old Tyler suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum, a genetic condition that means he must avoid any exposure to the sun or any UV light. How did you first hear about this condition and what prompted the idea for creating a story around this condition? What type of research did you do to prepare for what it would be like to live with this condition or be a family member who lives with someone who has XP?

When my son was sixteen and had just gotten his driver’s license, I had mixed feelings as I watched him drive away that very first time. He’d worked hard and proven himself to be responsible and I was proud as I watched him carefully back the car out of our driveway. But I also felt sad. He wasn’t just driving himself to his guitar lesson. He was taking a critical first step to becoming a man and leaving home forever. I began to wonder what it would be like to mother a child who could never reach this sort of milestone. It occurred to me that this normal, turbulent, and always challenging period of a boy’s growing up would be complicated immeasurably if he had a medical condition. But which one? My sister, an ER physician, suggested Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and as soon as she said the words, I saw my story start to unfold.

XP’s an extraordinarily rare disease passed on by both parents in which a person’s skin and eye cells cannot repair the deadly damage done by ultraviolet radiation. Most parents don’t realize they’re carriers until their child is diagnosed, usually by the time their child is two years old. But by then, the damage has already been done. The average life expectancy for someone born with XP is twenty years.

In order to understand the disease itself, I scoured online resources (there are two parent-run organizations, one in the US and the other in the UK that offer general information to caregivers), read numerous medical research papers, and interviewed dermatologists and dentists. Combined, this gave me a basic foundation upon which to build. Then I began to put myself in Eve’s place to imagine what I would do if I had to keep my child safe from sunlight.

Eve struggles with the moral decision of coming forward with information when her best friend’s child goes missing because she thinks keeping it secret can protect her family. Do you think you would have kept the deepest secret, personally, or would you have taken different actions than Eve?

If only there were a users’ manual for raising children. Failing that, we all write our own, cobbled together from experiences that range from “Okay, remember that the next time this happens” to “Boy, I wish I hadn’t done that.” If we’re lucky, our children survive our mistakes with just a few scars. Sometimes I think parenting is like throwing darts and praying they hit the wall and not a few innocent bystanders.

That’s what I wanted to show in THE DEEPEST SECRET. Most of us are just doing the best we can, and we’re not perfect. Eve’s circumstances are difficult, if not impossible, and she’s going to make mistakes. But she’s also going to do some things incredibly right. My hope is that readers will recognize something of themselves in her, whether or not they agree with her choices.

I’m not sure what I would have done if I had been Eve. I hope I never face that kind of dilemma.

There are a lot of secrets throughout the book and many of them focus on the neighbors and Tyler capturing some of those secret lives through photography when they are unaware in their windows. The book also builds to a big scene were the neighbors are disagreeing and then spilling those secrets out onto the pavement to each other.  It made me think how little we know our own neighbors, especially today. What made building this neighborhood such a big part of the Lattimore’s story and was it difficult to develop so many plotlines for so many people?

I’ve always thought there was something magical about a neighborhood at night, all the house windows glowing brightly in the darkness. When I’m out walking my dogs, I sometimes catch a glimpse of a family eating dinner or watching television. From a distance, it all looks so cozy and cheerful.

My children had a piano teacher whose house we visited for lessons. Her home was tidy and filled with photographs of her smiling children. She had something delicious-smelling simmering on the stove, and she laughed easily. One sunny afternoon, her oldest son wandered down the street with a knife in his hand, headed for her house. She didn’t survive the assault and neither did another child home at the time. I had been in her kitchen just the day before and had chatted with her son, and I’d had absolutely no inkling that anything was wrong.

It’s haunted me for a long time. What do we really know about the people in our life, about the houses we visit during the day and pass at night?

Coming up with so many secrets was a challenge. I had to ask myself over and over why someone would hide a part of their life. I searched for the kinds of quiet secrets I believe every neighborhood contains.

I admit to being an overly-protective mother and I could relate so much to Eve’s desire to protect Tyler with his medical circumstance. Did you relate to Eve in this way or did you find her overprotectiveness to be extreme?

The first time I heard the term “helicopter parenting,” I thought it meant a parent who dropped in every so often as needed, like a Medevac. I think that’s the real challenge parents face today—knowing when to be present and when to step back. I don’t think the world is any more dangerous today than it was a generation ago, but the dangers are different and we’re more aware of them. A parent can become almost paralyzed by too much knowledge.

Personally, I do tend toward being an overprotective mother. I’d love to lock my children in a room until they were twenty-five but even if I could, I know it would backfire. Kids are smart—they can fool you into thinking you know what they’re up to. The trick is to give them just enough freedom so they can make a few mistakes and learn a few life lessons that will keep them safe. There’s a lot of trust involved—on both sides.

 I will not say anything about the ending because I don’t want to spoil the book for our readers. Would you say you were pleased though with how this story wrapped up? Did you always envision this to be the ending for this family?

Actually, coming up with the ending was the single greatest challenge I faced in writing this novel. The ending I initially envisioned turned out to be far too melodramatic and I was forced to pull and consider what I was really trying to say in THE DEEPEST SECRET. It’s this: I wanted to write about love in all its guises and show how love prevails, regardless of the obstacles it faces. That’s the note I decided to end this story on and I admit to getting a little teary every time I think of it.

 If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

Oh, I love talking about books! There are three novels that inspired me as I wrote THE DEEPEST SECRET: Emma Donaghue’s ROOM, Anna Quindlen’s EVERY LAST ONE, and Elizabeth Strout’s OLIVE KITTERIDGE. Just a few days ago, I finished Laline Paull’s fabulous debut, THE BEES; I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can connect with Carla Buckley  on Facebook or on her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Fashion Capsules, Taking Care of a Hairy Situation, & Laugh-Out-Loud Books

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends. It is a happy Friday, indeed, because BACK TO SCHOOL.  I treated myself to an entire day of things I dreamed I would get to do when I was a stay-at-home mom, but in fact, do not do. I hit the gym for a dance class, I got my nails done, I got coffee, I went shopping for my Fall wardrobe, and I read my book in sweet silence. It was the perfect day!  I rewarded myself handsomely for a summer filled with children. I highly recommend finding a way to reward yourself too.  We had a great summer and I enjoyed every minute with them, but I am happily back to a normal routine and schedule now that we have started school. It was nice to treat myself to a me day, but I am back in the office and hard at work again.

Today’s things that are making me happy all surprised me wildly. Here is to some unexpected happiness for your week!

Unfancy Fashion Challenge

Making My First Capsule Wardrobe

Ever since I was a little girl I have been nuts about pretty dresses and clothes.  I was always the girl that they talked about at church who was decked from head-to-toe in a lovely dress, shoes, tights, purse, hair bow…you name it. And it all matched.  Thanks, mom!

I have carried on this extravagant luxury over the years with a pretty rocking wardrobe and take great pride in all of the things  I wear. This year though I am challenging myself to embrace a minimalist wardrobe which is absolutely INSANE for this fashionista.  I discovered this post on How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by unfancy and it inspired me in so many ways to start thinking about my purchases.  It reminded me that I have a closet overflowing with pieces I am not wearing, it reminded me that I can still be fashionable with less, and it also reminded me how smart I used to be when we were broke and I would make the most of every piece in my closet.

For this challenge, you can select 37 pieces and that is it for three whole months. 37 pieces sounds like a lot, but this is counting your shoes too which is another area that my husband thinks I have too much of. This is totally a first world problem that I am stressed about this and that I have been counting over and over and over again in my closet the items, shuffling them, and recounting. I think it is bringing out my OCD tendencies. That said,  I already love my stuff so much that I have already started wearing them and have put all my clothes that I can’t wear in storage for now. Maybe this will inspire me once and for all to pare down my wardrobe.

This week I have been researching and purchasing for my first fashion capsule and I am so excited to share it with you. It is a mixture of items purchased on sale, secondhand goodness, and items from my own closet.

I am in no way a fashion blogger, but I would love to share this with you. I purchased some photo lights and a white backdrop so I can show you some different ways  I am wearing the items to hopefully inspire you to find a new way to wear something in your closet or to embrace a minimalist wardrobe of your own.  I know this challenge is going to be so good for me.

My husband doesn’t think I can do it. That, in itself, is a powerful motivator.

Braun Silk Epilator

Taking Care of a Hairy Situation

Have you ever tried a new beauty routine that absolutely terrified you? Let me tell you, friends, using an epilator for the first time was the scariest thing I have ever done.  I may have lead you astray in my post about a hairy friend who needed wax strips. This is probably going to shock you, but I am the person who needed them. I know.  This happiness project goes out to all my brunette friends. The ladies who struggle with an armpit shadow even after they have shaved, the ones with the coarse unmanageable leg hair, the ones who have stray chin hairs that have suddenly cropped up since they hit their 30′s, the ones who get razor burn 24/7, whose skin becomes rashy from just seeing a razor, and the girl’s whose lily-white skin tells tales of painful hair removal routines.

I am fist bumping you right now.

I bought this Braun Silk Epilator on Amazon and am saying goodbye to waxing. It removes hair from your legs, your underarms, and your face. It has a million attachments which you can use to remedy whatever your hair situation. It rips the hair out by the roots. It feels as good as it sounds. It has forty tweezers that do it at the same time and can lift hair that is as small as a grain of sand. It really can because I felt every last pull.

The first time was really excruciating because I didn’t do a lot of research beforehand. Here’s what I advise- drink a gallon of wine,  soak in the shower for five minutes, exfoliate well with a loofah, shave so you aren’t grabbing long hairs out, hold it at a ninety degree angle right up close in the shower under the water,  and go all out with the highest setting. The legs are not terrible and the bikini line was a piece of cake since I wax.

The underarms…I almost passed out.  Probably the worst beauty pain of my life.

Now that I am over the first three times of doing it, I love it and am addicted.

Probably the same way people are addicted to tattoos.

It’s kind of sick, really.

I absolutely love how my legs and underarms look. My face is fuzz free.

I am living the blonde girl dream life!

 

This-Is-Where-I-Leave-You

Laugh-Out-Loud Books

I’m hosting my book club this month and I selected This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper as our book so that we can go out and see the movie together that is coming out soon. I love it in the way that I loved the movie Bridesmaids- so wrong and so right. Raunchy, hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming, and so perfectly pitched. I would highly recommend this one for fans of Arrested Development as it reads just like my favorite episodes of the early seasons of the Bluth family. The crazy family dramas are always my favorites and this family does not disappoint in the craziness department. For better or worse, they are family, with all that history and messiness and love. 

This was a fantastic little end-of-summer escape and I can’t wait to read more of Jonathan Tropper’s novels. I only hope they are as hilarious as this. I’m looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen. I hope it measures up to the hilarity of this book.

If you can’t handle adult language and scenarios, skip on over this recommendation.  I am planning a fun feast and book club around this one so keep your eyes peeled for those recipes and the discussion we share before catching the movie!

The bonus happy this week, of course, is getting those kids off to school! Enjoy this video that sums up perfectly our first week back!

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

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Freebie Friday August 22, 2014

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice you’ll find a super easy way to preserve your own pickles from our food contributor, Diana -canning made simple with refrigerator pickles. I’m sharing one of my go-to breakfasts during the school year, make ahead breakfast burritos and I have a great new interview on Sundays with Writers: Mary Kubica talking about her book, The Good Girl. On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Our regular feature,  Amy’s Notebook, is of course filled with lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Food & Drink
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: August 23 - 29
23rd - Barnes & Noble: Join Storytime featuring Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, 11 am
23rd - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Silly Faced Magnetic Note Holder, 11 am – 3 pm
23rd - Lowe’s: Build a Monsters vs. Aliens Robot, 10 am
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Amy’s Notebook 08.20.14

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Pineapple crochet washcloth via Persia Lou

Source: Persia Lou

 

I am crazy about pineapples, and this washcloth is too adorable.

Bookmarking these 25+ gluten and dairy free recipes.

Easy and cute plastic spoon garden markers.

Snack placemats free printable – who wouldn’t want a bearded man placemat?

Adding to my reading list- Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview.

Got bugs in your garden? This all natural, diy garden spray really works.

Summer journaling pages from Simple As That via Thirty Handmade Days

Source: Simple As That

 

Finish up the summer in style with printable summer journaling pages.

What teacher wouldn’t want a bouquet of Sharpie flowers?

This organizing project is for my Project Lifers!

Six subtle things highly productive people do every day.

Give me gratitude or give me debt- the head check that I needed this month.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Back-to-School requires a lot of planning and getting back on track with a healthy breakfast is one thing I want to work on this year. Today I wanted to show you a recipe for Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos that can be made ahead and also created for your gluten-free or dairy-free family members.  One batch of these freezer breakfast burritos can yield 15-18 burritos, depending on how you stuff  ‘em, and they are filled with everything your kids need to start their day on the right foot. I am partnering with Walmart on this back-to-school idea today so you can snag all the supplies you need right at their store.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

What I love about these burritos is that they are not only filled with fresh whole foods, but also that they are inexpensive to create. With kitchen staples like eggs, cheese, potatoes, and tortillas, it is likely you already have a few things on hand for this back-to-school breakfast. Create an assembly line of ingredients in the kitchen and have your kids jump in on the fun.

The potatoes are tossed in paprika and garlic powder for a tasty topping to the eggs. I love a little Italian turkey sausage, red peppers, and cheddar or colby cheese for these burritos. You can create your own flavor combinations or consider clearing out items from the fridge and making a unique combination all your own.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Be careful to not overstuff the burritos so they can be wrapped easily and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to place in the freezer until frozen. Once these are frozen you can tuck them in a freezer bag and just grab them when you need them. Do you know how to wrap a burrito?  If not, I love this tutorial for perfectly wrapped breakfast burritos!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

With one kid in middle school (GASP!) and a daughter who prefers not to eat in the morning, I am hoping that these burritos will be the perfect way to get them motivated to eat a healthy breakfast. Just grab one from the freezer and wrap it in a dampened paper towel  for the microwave for three minutes (flip it halfway through). Wrap in foil and let them eat them on the way to the bus or in route to school.  These also make a great after school snack,  after sports activities, or an impromptu dinner with their pals while doing homework.

To make them dairy-free substitute the cream with almond milk (which is what we did) and add a vegan cheese to them or leave them cheeseless. For a gluten-free burritos, Walmart offers this option in their stores.

We hope you love this delicious breakfast as much as we did. We have already started raiding our make-ahead breakfast burritos for quick lunches this week. I am shocked how beautifully these reheat and taste. There are no excuses why you can’t tackle a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check out my recipe for Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal for another fun breakfast treat!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
A make-ahead breakfast burrito that you can tuck in your freezer for a healthy breakfast, snack or meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream (or milk substitute)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • ½ pound cheese of your choice (or vegan cheese)
  • 18 tortillas, soft-taco size (8-inch), whole-wheat, flour, or gluten-free tortillas
Instructions
  1. To roast potatoes, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle diced potatoes with oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Toss the potatoes together to evenly coat in oil and seasonings, and spread out into a single layer on the parchment. Roast until browned on the bottom and tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Brown your sausage. Once it is cooked through, set aside in a large bowl, leaving about a 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan for the eggs.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream (or milk substitute) and pour into the sausage skillet. Cook over medium heat until just set, stirring as needed. season with salt and pepper and stir to combine, and transfer to the bowl with sausage.
  4. In the same skillet, cook your red peppers over medium heat until fragrant and softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Make an assembly line- tortilla, cheese, followed by a small handful of potatoes and a scoop of the egg/sausage mixture. Roll the tortilla up.
  6. For freezing, place burritos on a wax- or parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until firm, at least an hour. Transfer to large freezer bags and keep frozen for up to one month.
  7. For reheating, place a frozen burrito in a dampened paper towel and microwave for three minutes, turning halfway through.

Recipe Adapted From: Dinners For Winners

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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Apron Full of Giveaways 08.19.14

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Mint flowered apron via Etsy

Source: Creative Chics,  $40.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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