Author Archive

Amy’s Notebook 07.30.14

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

DIY Lightbulb Terrariums via CladandCloth

Source: Clad and Cloth

 

I don’t think I can kill these diy lightbulb terrariums.

LOVE this family tree wall.

Four things to help you say no with confidence.

I’m wowed by this grill upgrade.

I simply love this dining room makeover.

Quinoa Cakes via A Beautiful Mess

Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

Baked quinoa falafel is a new recipe I am dying to try.

Can’t wait to try DIY natural disinfectant wipes.

These beautiful quotes with watercolor look inexpensive & easy to create.

24 hours in Paris is on my anniversary trip bucket list.

What I Instagrammed vs. what was really happening, or my entire life is a lie…busted!

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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Transforming Corners In Your Home

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

I can’t believe that we have lived in our home 11 years now. What I saw as just our temporary residence until something better came along has now become our forever home as we inch closer and closer towards paying it off.  This is the longest I have lived anywhere and I am so proud of the updates that we have made to our space and creating a place that we can be proud of and share with our family and friends.

Tackling a big renovation on your space can feel daunting and overwhelming. When I look around there is so much that I wish I could do, but just isn’t in our budget. The good news is that small switches in your home can still make improvements to your space that can sit sweetly in your budget and time constraints.

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

Walmart challenged me to refresh a corner in my home using some items from their store and I knew exactly which corner in my home I wanted to tackle. This corner is where I live during the school year. You will find me happily flipping through library books between getting my kids off to school and on their buses or spending my evenings knitting and sipping tea in this chair in the evenings.  The wall has had these three black-and-white pictures of shoes on it for ten years and I find that as I get older and develop my style more, I am drawn to lighter and brighter things in my home, rather than the masculine tones and colors that I was drawn to before.

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

I decided to brighten up the space with a few things we had around our house (rearranging, after all is always the most budget-friendly option), to add a few fresh picks from Walmart that would fit in my budget, and then combine it with our love for great art.  At Walmart, I found two throw pillows for my chair, beautiful picture frames for under $20, a fiery red flower pot, and a small succulent that would require very little watering. I pulled in a light throw I had to bring in the lighter tones and moved a wreath that I had from our kitchen into the spot next to our clock.

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

The entire color scheme hinged around some beautiful prints I found from Janet Hill Studio on Etsy. If you haven’t heard of her, I would just run right over and spend your afternoon coffee with her shop.  We had so much fun picking art for our wall and her pictures were so amazing that it took my husband & I almost three weeks to come to an agreement together on which prints to select. These prints brighten up the space so much more than my black-and-white photos and are a beautiful conversation piece. I love them so much that I have asked my husband if I can have a print for my birthday each year. I want to fill my home with her art, it really makes me that happy.

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

Of course, once you start, it can be difficult to stop.  For me, it is a never ending process of rearranging and adding and taking away items in our home. My view from  the chair was rather uninteresting too so we went ahead and ordered one extra print.
Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

Transforming Corners In Your Home from MomAdvice.com.

I now have a pretty view of this beautiful piece titled, “Tallulah Shaw Rehearses Before Her Final Show. 1959.”  With our new front door and the pop of color we embraced while turning our shed into a bonus room, it is a very different hallway view from a few weeks ago.

I hope this inspires you to makeover a corner in your own home.  The beauty for me is that next week this corner could look entirely different because the joy is in the rearranging, the repurposing, and the frugal additions that can make your space so fun!

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Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

For our family, birthdays are all about the cake and my son’s 12th birthday was just the reason to try out a new recipe. After browsing through the cookbooks, which is the birthday child’s honorary ritual and right, he decided to repeat his choice last year with another chocolate snickerdoodle cake. I rounded out our birthday dessert table with a gluten-free lemon chiffon cake so that I could enjoy a slice of cake with the family too. I would say that this cake was just as much of a hit as the the chocolate cake and tempted me everytime I opened the fridge.

“Just one more slice,” it screamed.

I would grab a fork and nip off a bit and eat it while still standing at the fridge.

Don’t judge.

I am not much of a sweets gal, but this cake was so light and lovely that I couldn’t stop eating it.

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake Chiffon cakes are my favorite cakes because they are so light. Much like an angel food cake, they are created with egg whites which really helps with the density of the gluten-free cakes. The cake is so delicate though that I ended up wrapping the cooled cakes in saran wrap and a layer of foil and freezing them overnight so they would not tear or fall apart when I frosted the cake. I highly recommend doing that too.  I still rely upon these two 8″ Wilton pans (affiliate)  (instead of those 9″ pans that produced flat layers for me) and a good spatula (affiliate) for all my cakes. With this cake, in particular, you want to make sure you don’t produce thin cake layers that crumble when pulled from the pan.

Smoothed between the layers is a delicious lemon curd (I used this recipe!) which sounds wildly impressive, but is so easy to make that you will wonder why you never tried making it before. My children fought over who could enjoy the last of the lemon curd that was in the jar.

I broke it up by telling them that since they were going to fight about it, I was going to eat it.

That’s the kind of mom I am, a true problem-solver.

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

The cake is then frosted with a whipped cream frosting that has the lemon curd whipped through it.

I mean, seriously. It’s as if this cake fulfilled all my food dreams.

12

Happy 12th birthday to my beautiful boy. I think this is the happiest of his birthdays and it was because there was no fuss and no elaborate themes. We had just got back from vacation, I had a millionty projects for work, and our shed was in the process of being finished.  There was no time for an elaborate birthday. It ended up being the best birthday yet.

Just friends, a takeout pizza, and some cake.

Why have I been stressing about this birthday party every year?

The smile says it all- simple is better.

I hope you can give this recipe a try. If you gluten-free cakes aren’t your thing, definitely try this Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Homemade Lemon Curd- it’s a winner too!

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A beautiful lemon chiffon cake with lemon curd between the layers topped with a whipped topping laced with more lemon curd. It is the perfect summer dessert!
Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
  • 1 extra large or 2 small lemons
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (fresh or from a carton)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • For the filling and lemon whipped cream frosting: 1 jar (10 ounces) gluten-free lemon curd (or prepare the homemade version- link above)
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust with the rice flour. Shake out the excess rice flour and set the pans aside.
  2. Zest a lemon and measure out two teaspoons for the cake batter and place it in a large mixing bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds. Measure ¼ cup of lemon juice, pour it into the mixing bowl with the zest, and set the bowl aside.
  3. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in another large mixing bowl and the yolks in the mixing bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Beat the whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Set the beaten egg whites aside.
  4. Place the cake mix, sugar, orange juice, and oil in the bowl with the egg yolks and lemon and beat with an electric mixer and beat until mixed.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no traces of whites remain and the batter has lightened.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side. Place a large mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the refrigerator to chill.
  7. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18-22 minutes. Allow them to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Freeze the layers wrapped in saran wrap & foil overnight to produce a sturdy base for icing.
  9. Meanwhile, make the filling and frosting. Measure ⅔ cup of lemon curd for the filling and set it aside in a small microwave-safe glass bowl. Pour the cream into the chilled mixing bowl. Using the refrigerated mixer beaters, beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 minutes. Fold in the confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup lemon curd. Beat again at low speed until the lemon curd is incorporated, 30 seconds. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to use.
  10. Remove the layers from the freezer. To assemble the cake, place the glass bowl with the lemon curd for the filling into the microwave on high power for 10 seconds to warm it. Transfer one cake layer, right side up, to a serving plate. Spread the top with the warmed lemon curd. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first and frost the top and side of the cake with the lemon whipped cream frosting. Refrigerate the cake until time to serve.

Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free (affiliate)

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Apron Full of Giveaways 07.29.14

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Owl apron via Etsy

Source: Creative Chics,  $50.00

 

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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It’s the 3 Little Things: So American, Spot Free Dishes, & a Little Dystopia

Friday, July 25th, 2014

3_little_things

Happy Friday, friends!  If you are anything like me, I know that you are looking forward to this weekend. I have quite a few fun projects I am tackling for the site and am jetting off to Austin next week with Savings.com for a fun weekend of learning! In the meantime, it is a mad dash of laundry, deadlines, and playing catch up on the house. The usual.

Here are three things that are making me happy this week that I think you will love too!

The-Americans

Television We Both Love

As you may or may not know, we ditched cable so we either have to purchase a series through Amazon or wait for it to come through our Netflix or Hulu subscriptions. My husband signed us up for Amazon Prime this year and they have a partnership now with HBO and are offering several FX series shows that I am not able to get on Netflix or Hulu. Since we are paying for this membership, we are doing our best to get our money out of it and one way is through our television-watching.

I kept hearing great things about The Americans and we are only three shows in and I am absolutely in love with this series already. It’s a little Mr. & Mrs. Smith and a little Alias. The story is set in the ’80′s and centers around  the marriage of KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington DC.  The show is set during the Reagan presidency and follows Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, two spies who are in an arranged marriage.

The fight scenes are amazing, the acting is superb, and the plot just keeps thickening.  A marathon of this show is on our weekend agenda and that makes me very, very happy!

lemishine

Goodbye to Spotty Glassware

Summer is the season of wine glasses… oh, wait… maybe that’s just me (*ahem*).  We have hard water and by hard water, I mean miserably hard water that builds up in my coffee makers, on our shower heads, coats our sink fixtures, and makes for the world’s spottiest dishware. I didn’t know what to do other than donate our cups each year and get new ones. We got a new dishwasher and it still wasn’t helping even with vinegar in my rinse aid and running all of our different cycles.

As I researched how to get rid of spots, I ran across this Lemi Shine in a “hard water woe discussion forum,”  and it has changed my world. You add this where the dishwasher tablet usually goes and then put your dishwasher tablet in the other compartment. It boosts your dishwasher soap and makes everything shine like the top of the Chrysler building (said with my best jazz hands). Seriously, if you struggle with hard water, give this a shot and tell me what you think.

the-girl-with-all-the-gifts

A Great Summer Escape

Let me preface by saying that this book is so very far out of my genre that when I picked it up, I wasn’t sure if this was ever going to be a book I could get into. I am just done with dystopian societies, I hate science fiction, and I really am not into shows like The Walking Dead.  I got an advance reader of The Girl With All the Gifts from NetGalley and I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it.  This book is wildly imaginative, suspenseful, and leaves you wondering who you should be rooting for as the story develops. I really, really loved this book.  Unfortunately, it is just the kind of book that you shouldn’t talk about so that each reader can go on the journey with this child and find out just what makes her special.

It lagged a bit in the middle and there were times I was skimming through some of the scientific portions because they were so lengthy, but overall it was an amazing read that found me irritated every time some real-life activity had to interrupt my reading time. It’s been a long time since I have felt that way about a book like this.

I have reached out to the author for an interview, but he’s kind of a big deal… I am not sure if he will reply to my messages. I didn’t want to let this read slip through the cracks though so I am mentioning it today if you want to try something new.

It does have graphic violence and graphic language. Power through.

Don’t read the reviews, it will spoil your journey and discovery of Melanie and all her gifts! 

*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 or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!


Freebie Friday July 25, 2014

Friday, July 25th, 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 we have a fantastic craft from our DIY contributor, Sarah – DIY library tote bags with free printable designs, which are totally adorable! You’ll also find easy lunchbox solutions for the coming school year (oh, yes, I did just mention back-to-school!) and some fun dresser makeover ideas that will have you shopping at Goodwill asap. 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

L’Oreal Triple Resist Hair Care Sample
Origins GinZing Face Mask Sample
Emergen-C Sample
Schiff Move Free Ultra Sample
Nivea Lotion Sample

Food & Drink

Entertainment

Family Fun Magazine Subscription
Bird Nature Study Printables
Cats Preschool Printables
The Paleo Summer Survival Guide eBook Download
Beginner Soap Making: Simple Homemade Recipes eBook Download

Pet

Fancy Feast Broths Sample

This Week’s Freebie Events: July 25 - 31
26th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Make & Shake Noisemaker, 11 am – 3 pm
26th - Lowes: Make a Turbo Taco Truck, 10 am

 

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Amy’s Notebook 07.23.14

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

After school checklist via WhipperBerry

Source: Whipperberry

 

Print this after school checklist. Check!

Balsamic chicken caprese pasta screams summer.

These printable s’mores cubes are adorable – my kids would flip for them!

Grilled peach, honey goat cheese & spiced pecan salad? Yes, please.

15 read-aloud chapter books that everyone loves – perfect!

Chicken Skewers via Yummy Healthy Easy

Source: Yummy Healthy Easy

 

Marinated and grilled Thai coconut chicken skewers over a bed of delicious coconut rice!

A perfect housewarming gift – includes free printable wine label and hammer design.

Fascinating piece on Harper Lee- ‘Mockingbird Next Door’: A Genteel Peek Into Harper Lee’s Quiet Life

How family game night makes kids into better students- bring on the games!

Great tips for hanging party lights.

 

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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8 Fun Dresser Makeovers

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

8 Fun Dresser Makeovers

 

I have so much fun gathering up ideas for repurposing items on the Goodwill Tips Blog and look forward to showcasing these ideas for you each month. Today’s post is all about a furniture staple…the dresser. I have gathered 8 fun ways you can you can makeover a Goodwill dresser that I know you will want to run right out and find this thrift store gem to create a new fun piece in your home. In fact, I can’t wait to snag a dresser myself so I can implement these ideas in my own home.

Head over to the Goodwill Tips blog and discover 8 fun ideas for dresser makeovers today!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 07.22.14

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Floral apron via Etsy

Source: Gerbear Collectibles,  $9.99 (pattern)

 

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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Easy Lunchbox Solutions

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Easy Lunchbox Solutions from MomAdvice.com

The back-to-school season is just around the corner and today I wanted to share some easy strategies for packing those lunches this year. I have teamed up with Walmart to share three fun products that you can purchase this year for those lunchboxes: Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread, Frito Lay Chips in their 20-count variety pack, and Danimals Smoothies 12-packs (that just so happen to be worth triple the Box Tops for Education points!). These are all affordable and easy additions for this year’s lunchboxes.

Here are some additional fun ideas for making lunchtime fun for your child this year:

Easy Lunchbox Solutions from MomAdvice.com

Get Organized- As with all things related to back-to-school, getting organized is half the battle. Our family relies on this lunchbox creation station for creating our lunches for the week.  Take advantage of those back-to-school sales and get your lunchbox station stocked with reusable containers and baggies, water bottles, drinks, snacks and chips for the year.

As my children get older, I put more of the responsibility of lunch preparation on them and our lunchbox station really helps when assembling lunches the night before school as well as packing drinks & snacks for our extracurricular activities.

Insert Fun- Every year, I feel a little melancholy about my kids going back to school especially when we have spent so much time together in the summer. This is the perfect time to add a note to let them know how much you love them or add a comic strip and joke to an older child’s lunchbox.

If your school lunch hour is anything like our lunchtime, our kids have very little time to eat. Try to keep the gesture simple so that you can be assured that they were able to tackle their lunch and not just your note.

You can also add fun details like pretty straws, washi tape flags with special messages on them, or a fun treat like Frito Lay’s Chips & a fruity Danimals Smoothie to round out the meal. I love to use Rick Rack Scissors to trim my washi tape to add a fast & easy detail.

  Easy Sushi Sandwich from MomAdvice.com

Try a Sushi Sandwich- Have you ever made a sushi sandwich? These are so fun to create and couldn’t be easier. Grab a loaf of Sara Lee Whole Grain White Bread and your favorite rolling pin. Roll the bread out thinly, but not so thin that the bread will no longer hold together. Add a few slices of your child’s favorite lunch meat and then a cheese stick in their favorite flavor (my kid’s love a swirled stick). Carefully roll this up and then slice in half with a sharp knife. For kids that don’t love sandwiches, these spin on the traditional sandwich is always a hit.

Keep Them Organized Using Their Lunchbox- Trying to keep myself organized is difficult. Keeping my kids organized too? Well, that seems even more impossible. I have found that my children rarely forget their lunches though and this is the perfect spot to clip items that they need to remember for their day. Utilize a binder clip or heavy-duty clothespin and use this spot to jot down notes of activities they need to do for the day, apparel that they need to bring for extracurricular activities, appointments they might need to be picked up for, or forms/permission slips they need to turn in to school. This has been a great system for us and helps remind us all of what needs to happen each day.

I hope you love these ideas for freshening up those lunchbox routines and wishing you easy and sweet transitions back into the swing of the school year!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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