Author Archive

Amy’s Notebook 04.16.14

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Neutral Easter bunny napkin ring

Source: Design Dining & Diapers

 

Sweet and simple, these burlap bunny napkin rings will help make your Easter table adorable.

You can make bouncy balls at home? This is new to me, but I know my kids will flip for this science-experiment-wrapped-in-a-fun-activity!

Drool-worthy lemon meringue eclairs would be the highlight of any Easter celebration, don’t you think?

How fun are these diy bunny treat jars? I think they would make fabulous gifts for grandparents, friends, and neighbors as well as for the kids.

I’m loving the Easter coloring of this cake batter puppy chow snack mix and the fact that I can make it gluten free.

This small kids reading loft is completely inspiring – that crate-like bookshelf with books arranged by color – the stairs leading to the loft – the fun yellow chair and blue pouff!  Ahhh, it all makes this reader-girl’s heart go pitter-patter.

I just love mirrors and I’m totally motivated by these 35 ways to decorate with mirrors to look for some fun & different examples at thrift stores.

 

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed this 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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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.15.14

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

goldfish apron

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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How to Stain a Picnic Table

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

Have you ever stained a picnic table before? This was our first year staining our table and I wanted to share with you some tips on how to stain a picnic table so you can enjoy it all summer long.  Thanks to a coat of stain, our table looks and feels just like new and I can’t wait to show you just how easy it is to do.

Walmart challenged to me to showcase an idea for a Spring project and I knew that this was one of those projects that I really needed to complete on my to-do list, particularly after such a brutal Indiana winter.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

Have you ever spotted something in a magazine and just knew you had to have it… yet, you could find it nowhere! Many years ago, I flipped through a magazine and spied a picnic table that Katie Brown owned that was in her backyard and I just knew I wanted a table like that. After inquiring on Facebook, we found a gentleman in town who makes picnic tables and after telling him what I envisioned, he built this beautiful table for us that comfortably sits eight to ten people.  When I look out my window, this makes me so happy and the meals shared at this table are what summer is all about.

To keep her looking good, we decided to freshen her up for another year of family meals.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed:

Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain (we did our table in Nutmeg Brown in Semi-Transparent)

Drop Cloth

Knit Rags

Paint Tray

Foam & Paint Brush

Sandpaper

Heavy-Duty Cleaner

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

Directions

1. Before we begin, we need to prep our surface. Using a heavy-duty cleaner, spray and wipe down your table to remove any dirt and grime. Be sure that you clean the entire surface well and then wait 10-15 minutes, or until the table is completely dry, to begin staining. You never want to stain the table while it is wet so be sure that you are not trying to stain after a heavy rain.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

2. Since our piece was in good condition, it did not require any sanding. If your piece needs to be smoothed though, use a medium grit sandpaper sanding in the direction of the grain. This can be done with a small palm sander or can be done by hand. Once you are done with that, finish with a finer grit of sandpaper to smooth out any rough areas and give the table an even, smooth finish for the stain. Once it is sanded, make sure to use a tack cloth to remove any sanding.

3. Once your piece has been cleaned and prepped, it is time to begin applying stain.  With the Thompson’s Water Seal Waterproof Stain you do not want to thin this.  Make sure that you shake well and shake, stir or mix thoroughly before and occasionally during use. Before you begin staining, make sure you try a test run with a small trial patch in an inconspicuous place, like the underside of your bench or table, to make sure that the stain is the color you are going for.

Apply using an exterior paint pad, brush, roller, or even a rag to begin applying the stain to your table.  If you are doing the legs and underside of the table, lay down your drop cloth and invert your piece and do the bottom first. Allow the bottom to dry, it should take less than two hours to be fully dry, and then begin staining the top.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

5. Use your foam brush to get into the detail parts and legs of your table, using a rag to remove any drip marks on the ends.

6. Allow your table to dry for two hours.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

 

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

How to Stain a Picnic Table from MomAdvice.com.

This table looks just like new again and it only cost me $30 in supplies. Since picnic tables do reside outside, they are exposed to all of the weather elements, which means you need to stain your table from time to time.  This stain typically will last two to three years, but possibly less time than that, depending on if your picnic table is in direct sunlight. The properties of  sunlight can dry out the stain and cause it to weather much faster.  It also has a lot to do with how much freezing and thawing happens, which in our area, seems to happen often! 

I’m so proud of my table and I hope it inspires you to freshen up your own picnic table for Spring.  Speaking of staining,  I am still SO proud of this stained table I created for our office. If you are looking for tips on indoor staining, be sure to visit that post!

Too intimidated by stain? Check out how I spray painted my side table and how we painted our kitchen table that is STILL going strong after all these years. And it never hurts to reupholster those chairs while you are at it!

Have you ever stained a picnic table or deck? What tips can you share on this?

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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It’s The 3 Little Things: Word to the Mother, Positivity, & Workout Gear

Friday, April 11th, 2014

3_little_things

It must be Friday and time for our 3 Little Things that are making me happy this week!  I am actually pretty impressed that I remembered to do this since we are on Spring Break and completely off schedule. Truth be told, one thing that made me awfully happy was not having to get up at 5:45 to get my son on the bus each day. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

the_daily_positive

The Daily Positive

I discovered a site called The Daily Positive and decided to sign up for their daily email that offers a positive thought each morning. Over my coffee in the morning, I read the daily positive and it has really helped me start my day on a better foot. This week some of the takeaways were reminders to utilize my time more wisely, to be an unsung hero for others, and a gentle reminder about my social media addiction. There is usually some awesome video element to it and the words are short and to the point. Head here and sign up for your own daily positive thought and see if it doesn’t change your outlook a bit!

Here is one of the videos that was shared that touched me deeply. This is the kind of stuff that reminds you what life is all about and starts your day in a positive way.

braggs_apple_cider_vinegar

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

I kept reading about Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and the enormous health benefits of it and decided to give it a try after I read this article.  I can’t tell you how much I am loving this stuff and how much it has helped me with my energy levels, my low blood sugar issues, and also helping me feel more full which has been a big issue for me since I cut gluten out of my diet.  I add two teaspoons of this vinegar to a glass of ice water and drink it through a straw. You can add sweeteners (like honey or liquid stevia), spices (like cinnamon or cayenne pepper), but I love acidic things so I just drink it plain with just water, and it has fixed my midday slumps like nothing else I have tried.

There are many health claims about what apple cider vinegar can offer.  Rather than fad claims though, check out this article on WebMD about the true benefits of it. What it has done for me, personally, is that my stomach feels much calmer (particularly if I eat things that I shouldn’t), I no longer have those terrible drops in my blood sugar, and it makes my stomach feel full (which can definitely help you if you are trying to lose weight).

Whatever you choose, it must say WITH THE MOTHER, not anything else. THE MOTHER is what you need for all these enormous health benefits.

The Mother is making me happy.

Word to her.

twice_workout_gear

New-To-Me Workout Gear

Getting new workout clothes makes me happy, but the price tag on things you sweat in is absolutely ridiculous. I try to buy one or two really good workout pieces each year and then rely on inexpensive stuff from Old Navy to get me  by from week to week.  I am super psyched though that Twice is now offering workout gear.  It hasn’t shown up on their homepage as a category yet, but those scrolling pictures clue you in that they are now offering workout clothes. I got three new workout tops that were about the same price as I pay for my Old Navy gear, but it is fancy-schmancy brands like Lululemon, Lucy, & Nike.

So now you can be all Fancy Pants at the gym like everyone else, but your pants are less than half price.

And that’s something worth celebrating!

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!


 

Freebie Friday April 11, 2014

Friday, April 11th, 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 I’m excited to start a new occasional author-interview series, Sundays With Writers by interviewing Suzanne Fedfearn – I know you’ll love this new series as much as I do! We’ve also got an amazing recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry from our food contributor, Shaina, as well as How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses AND Income from our money contributor, Kelly. You’ll find a very special guest post for those looking for Gluten Free Easter Treats as well as How to Make a DIY Terrarium and How to Style Bookshelves – two easy decor updates to refresh your home for spring!

And of course you’ll find our weekly features – It’s the 3 Little Things, where I share the 3 things that I’m loving right now (with a linky that you can join, too!), my Notebook, always filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and a ton of contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Food & Drink

Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample

Health & Beauty

L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hair Care Sample

Hydroxycut Gummies Sample

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Toothpaste Sample

Pet

Purina Healthy Weight Cat Chow

Entertainment

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide To Money eBook

A Method For Prayer eBook

Rainy Day Pre-K/Kindergarten Pack

Flower Learning Pack

Easter Printable Pack

Spring Sentence Scramble Pack

Plants and Garden Literacy Sample Pack

Easter Blessings Lapbook

This Week’s Freebie Events: April 12 - 18

12th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Write & Wipe Schedule, 11 am - 3 pm

12th - Lowe’s: Build a Recycling Truck, 10 am

12th - Toys R Us: Attend the Lego Movie Building Event, 12 – 2 pm

 

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How to Style Your Bookshelves

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

How to Style Your Bookshelves from MomAdvice.com.

The art of styling bookshelves had never really been important to me until I started perusing pictures on Pinterest and saw the carefully curated collections and beauty in the organized book spines. Of course, I don’t have an unlimited budget where I can add decorative books in one carefully choreographed color or an unlimited budget for fantastic looking odds-and-ends to update my bookshelves. That is why I am excited to share with you some easy ideas for updating your bookshelves with Goodwill items and a few budget-friendly craft materials.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips Blog to grab some budget-friendly styling ideas for your bookshelves!

 

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How to Make a DIY Terrarium

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

You know people that are amazing at gardening and planting?

I’m not one of those people.

I am the girl that goes to the greenhouse and requests plants that can take care of themselves. My plants must be able to survive without water or nourishment of any kind.

Despite my black thumb, I spent many of my summers working in a greenhouse as a kid and I do know a few things about caring for plants. Thanks to my greenhouse knowledge, I know that terrariums are the perfect project for a girl with my skill set and they are also the perfect project  for any gardener-in-the-making.

For those of you itching to play in the dirt, this project is a fun one that adds a bit of green to your house while you await planting season.  If you are looking for a fun project to tackle with the kids, this can transform into a little fairy garden with a few novelty items.

I created this project for the Kenmore Blog a little over a month ago and my terrarium is still going strong. And I pat myself on the back EVERY TIME I SEE IT.

Yes, I do.

To find out how to create your own terrarium, visit the Kenmore Blog today for instructions on creating this beautiful Spring-filled addition to your home!

Learn how to make a DIY Terrarium for your home HERE.

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Amy’s Notebook 04.09.14

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Chalkboard Bunny Easter Bucket

Source: Sugar Bee Crafts

 

I’m just over the moon with how cute – and simple! – these chalkboard bunny Easter buckets are. What a fun change from a regular basket.

Oh, this creamy corn casserole with bacon seems like the most perfect comfort food – Drool.

This is a completely adorable ‘Be Happy” printable bunting that would just be the sweetest decoration for a kids room or any bright, colorful space!

This horse-themed birthday party idea is really unique and any horse-crazy kid would love it!

I totally agree with Alice’s one rule for perfect cake pan prep.

I’m so intrigued with “zoodles” – zucchini noodles – and am looking forward to trying them in this lemon-garlic spicy shrimp with zoodles recipe. Sounds just about perfect for my new gluten-free life!

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed this 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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5 Gluten-Free Treats, Perfect for Easter

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
5 Gluten-Free Treats,  Perfect for Easter
Happy Spring, MomAdvice readers! My name is Sarah and I’m the baker/blogger over at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. I have loved baking for as long as I can remember and for the past 3 years, I have been baking 100% gluten free. My husband has celiac disease and both my son and I have a gluten allergy. Most of my baking is also dairy and egg free. It was quite the adventure, learning how to transition over to gluten free baking. Now I have a passion for sharing delicious gluten free recipes with others so that they can also have the confidence to bake again!
April is one of my most favorite months. Beautiful spring weather, flowers are in bloom and most importantly…Easter! Such a joyous holiday, celebrating with family and friends. We always gather around a good meal (total feast) and enjoy plenty of satisfying sweets. Always too many desserts!

I’m sharing a few of my favorite gluten free treats with you today! All of these goodies would be a lovely addition to your Easter gathering. They also egg and dairy free too (vegan), which is great for those with multiple food allergies. Each recipe features Sarah’s gluten free flour blend, a staple in my pantry. Perfect for all of your gluten free baking needs!

  Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Every celebration becomes that much more fantastic when cupcakes are involved! These chocolate cupcakes are simply delicious. Moist chocolate cake, topped with a creamy dairy free chocolate buttercream. Those colorful sprinkles are a must!

 

Gluten Free Vegan Mini Lemon Blueberry Cakes

Gluten Free Vegan Mini Lemon Blueberry Cakes

Anything in miniature size is my favorite. That’s one reason to love these mini lemon blueberry cakes. Bursting with blueberries and drizzled with a simple glaze. The fresh lemon zest gives this cake a beautiful brightness.

  Gluten Free Vegan Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Wouldn’t this apple cinnamon coffee cake be a delight to serve at your Easter brunch? Vanilla cake, topped with sliced apples and covered in cinnamon crumb topping. Everyone will be asking for a second slice.

  Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Hand Pies

Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Hand Pies

I remember the first time I made these raspberry hand pies. It took me right back to my childhood. Eating those “home run” pies that we would get from the local market down the street. This homemade version is even more delicious and let’s not forget…it’s pie you can eat with your hands!

  Gluten Free Vegan Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Gluten Free Vegan Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Every kid loves a good frosted sugar cookie. This gluten free version is just about as yummy as you can get. Let the kids help with the decorating and get creative. They may end up eating more frosting and sprinkles along the way, but that’s the best part!

  Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats- Sarah Hornacek

You can check out more of Sarah’s recipes at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. You can also follow her on facebooktwitterpinterest, and instagram. Happy baking!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.08.14

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

mint-red apron

Source: Imagine That,  $38.99

 

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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