Author Archive

My Little Holiday Home Tour

Monday, November 30th, 2015

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

Can you believe that December is here? I am so excited to celebrate another holiday with my family in our home. You know bloggers that do those beautiful home tours? I am always in amazement at their beauty & style and it inspires me so much. Our ’60’s fixer upper has never felt blog tour worthy, but I started to think about the types of things that really appeal to me in my real life. They aren’t always the big and elaborate homes with loads of store-bought accessories or even what one might find Pinterest-worthy, but more simplistic in beauty & a nod towards homemade.

Doable stuff, that’s what I am after. I think that our home accomplishes those two things so well so I wanted to invite you in for a bit!

I hope you like coffee because that’s what we serve around here! Please leave your shoes at the door in our beautiful boot tray that I have left out for you. It’s usually one of the first things people remark on and I found that baby at Target years ago! It’s perfect for the narrowest of hallways like ours!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(bells: michaels)

Guess what? I will have already known you have arrived because I put bells on our door. Typically, I am more of a wreath girl, but I loved the minimalistic simplicity of these bells. I also happened to get them while they were 60% off  at Michael’s and I had a gift certificate to spend from my birthday so these babies were FREE. Yay! Welcome to our little house- we are awfully proud of it!

Pay no mind to our hideous yard and feel sad for our neighbors who must view it every day. Notice this is not a yard tour because, seriously, we aren’t that amazing at yard work.

Let’s just ignore it for now and move on into our front room where no televisions are allowed, only vinyl.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(sources: bucky cardboard deer head/yarn pom pom trees tutorial/every day i’m hustlin pillow/knitted leaves centerpiece tutorial/pillows (a daily deal)/curtains (a daily deal)/fabric-lined bookcases tutorial/ thumbtack pumpkin tutorial/charlie brown vinyl)

Here is a wide shot of our front room. I am leaving my mountain of knitted cabled earwarmer projects because I am too lazy to move them.

Now that I think about it, this is probably why I don’t get invited to do blog tours.

Hey, we live here!

We just had this room painted in my favorite Benjamin Moore Gray Owl paint color along with fresh ceilings, new trim, and the window trim painted. This was a much needed update to this tired old house. This is my favorite room in our home now because it houses our record player that was gifted to us by my husband’s father and all the light spills into this room making it warm & cozy in the winter.

Our favorite accessory is our deer (I even included him in our gift guide!). We have way too much fun with this cardboard deer and decided to move the furniture around to really put him on display because Bucky is the star of the show. I loved decking him out for the holidays, although there is rarely a day when Bucky isn’t decked out in some way. In fact, he looks ridiculous now without glasses.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(sources: love grows best in little houses pillow cover/eddie ross modern mix/vintage home ec trophy (similar)/ pom pom wreath tutorial/ laura ingall’s wilder collection reissued b&n classic (similar)/wuthering heights reissued b&n classic)

I wanted a creative spot to put our keys and found a vintage first place home economics trophy from the 60’s on etsy that I absolutely love for throwing our keys into.  Let’s face it, no one is giving me any awards around here so I have to award myself. Well done, self.  It’s not Christmas-y, but it is one of my favorite things in our house.

My pom pom wreath was so labor intensive that I never put it away and it is now a year-round addition. I find that happens with a lot of homemade goodness around here. When you work that hard on something you really should show it off!


My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(source: mrs. meyer’s everything/ painted desk with bookshelf tutorial/ painted kitchen table tutorial/painted kitchen cabinets tutorial/ barclay light gray armchairs/yellow metal dining chairs/furry throw/ornament wreath handmade/succulent wreath/ yarn pom pom garland tutorial/chalkboard)

I have found the addition of red to anything green instantly makes it feel like Christmas. I tacked on a few bows to my green wreaths so I don’t have to switch them out for a month and just wired them on with a little floral wire for easy removal. Instant holiday!

Our kitchen is transitioning slowly which can be hard to do for this go-getter, but the funds needed for a complete kitchen overhaul just aren’t there. I wasn’t ready to make a big financial commitment in a new table & chairs so we switched out chairs for now and added a fresh coat of paint to our 13 year-old table to make things feel new again. Those two things have brought a lot of contentment for me in this space.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(source: owl ornaments/ornaments/bells/plaid ribbon/have yourself a merry little christmas pillow- all from Michael’s! Grab your coupons!)

We divided and conquered our tree this year. The boys went tree shopping and the girls purchased fresh ornaments. Our fifteen year-old ornaments looked REALLY bad last year, but I thought my kids would appreciate the sentiments behind them.  When I “broke the news” that I thought we should get some new ornaments, Emily said, “OH GOOD! You mean we will have Santas for our tree with TWO LEGS?”

So….surprisingly, they did not care one bit.

My husband was the only one who was like, let’s still have a tree with Santas with only one leg, but he got vetoed by the three unsentimental people in the family.

I guess he can have a tree for his office with the Island of Misfit Ornaments and we will keep this shiny tree here for the fancy folks!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My best friend said I should show you all this because she had never seen anyone do this before. I wire my ribbon garland to the tree limbs. I know it is completely OCD, but I never want it to move once I put it on. You can twist it there or just do what I do which is kind of bubble it up and then cinch it with an ornament hook. It makes it look super PROFESSIONAL. Which I am not.

When I was in high school I worked at a hardware store where we decorated trees every holiday season so I know a lot of things that seem useless like how to make bows and make garland stick and wrap lights around limbs like your life depends on it,  but these useless things definitely comes in handy around the holidays!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from


My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(source: bar cart tutorial/blanket scarf tutorial/forbidden desert/carcassonne/boss monster/tapple/ticket to ride/alvin & dexter/boss monster extension/love actually/white christmas/annie (don’t forget a treat!)/nightmare before christmas/yarn garland tutorial)

I switch the bar cart out for the season and it doubles as a great entertaining tool when hosting large groups in our home. Although our house is on the smaller size (about 1,500 square feet), we maximize every space with little storage ideas like this for our home. For the winter, it is loaded with our favorite board games, holiday movies, holiday puzzles, and all my vintage records that I collect from Goodwill for just a quarter each!
My Little Holiday Home Tour from


My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(source: blanket scarf tutorial/diy painted laminate fireplace/furry throw/copper deer head (michael’s)/winter garland (michael’s)/storage ottoman)

The picture above the mantle distracted from the beautiful copper deer head so I covered it with one of my blanket scarves for the holiday. This little fireplace is probably one of the smartest home investments we have made. This is our sub-basements (our home is a quad level) so it can get chilly down here in my office. This addition not only added warmth, but it added a focal point to this room that wasn’t my work and desk.

The only bad part is feeling motivated to work when I have such a cozy spot to curl up in.

I mean…look at that focal point.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

(source: yarn pom pom & ornament garland tutorial/yarn-wrapped letters tutorial/sherpa blanket/bed/nightstand/nobody puts baby in a corner pillow (similar)/q&a for couples/ yarn trees/bell wreath (similar))

I photographed my bed with yarn pom pom garland, but I think I pushed too much yarn bombing on my husband so we are back to the minimalist metal frame. He’s actually such a good sport about yarn, but maybe that is because his mom is a knitter.

Basically, he was raised right.

One vow I have always made to myself is that our room will be treated like a sanctuary which means NO CLUTTER. There is nothing relaxing about sleeping in a room that is filled with stuff so this is truly a retreat space for me during the holiday season. I would stay in this room all day if I didn’t have kids and have to work.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from

And just because everything feels more magical at night, I wanted to close with this photo. I love the twinkle of Christmas lights!

I don’t know if this home is “blog tour worthy,” but I couldn’t be prouder of our sweet little home if I tried. It is filled with my favorite people which makes it the most special place of all.

And if I want to retreat from those special people even more, you can find me hiding out in my She Shed thanks to the heating unit out there. It’s like my own private getaway.

I hope you liked touring our little house with us! Happy holidays!  xoxo

*This post contains affiliate links. I promise to only recommend what I love!

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The Only Cyber Deal a Parent Needs

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The Only Cyber Deal a Parent Needs

Sometimes it is difficult to share here and keep a sense of privacy  around certain issues that we have in our family. We have been dealing with a personal struggle with our kids and creating a good balance of online time and offline time with them. Our biggest struggle though has been protecting them from the internet and potentially harmful content as well as monitoring the amount of time they are spending on their devices.

There are a few things that I became aware of over the past couple of years about my loss of control as a parent.

One was that one of my children was getting up in the middle of the night to play online games while we were sleeping because we were monitoring the amount of technology hours they were allowed online. We found out that this child had been getting up at 3 in the morning every day, slipping on their uniform, playing Minecraft until I needed to wake them up, and then pretending to read in their room, absolutely wowing me that I did not have to pull them out of bed. Of course, the routine started to slip when they became an absolute disaster at school and emotional mess when they came home. We checked our internet logs to discover what was happening and realized it had been a routine for quite awhile before we realized they had been doing it.

The second was that one of our children left open their Google searches on our computer and a peek at their open search history yielded a serious discussion we needed to have about sex and the potential that their search could yield pornography or put them at risk of child predators. We should have had the talk sooner- it felt like a parenting fail to see what they were looking for.

The third were some unsavory jokes at our dinner table that apparently had been found on YouTube skits. 

Clearly, we had lost our control.

The Only Cyber Deal a Parent Needs

We started locking down the internet in as many ways as possible. No one could get on during certain hours, their Kindles had every parental restriction we could set, and we blocked any potential sites that we could that might pop up in their searches. We became police monitors of their behavior as best as we could, but still situations arose where we felt we lost control. My husband did hours and hours of research on what we could do to make this better, but we couldn’t find anything that fit our family’s needs. These blockers for our kids created blockers for me all day trying to do my job and I didn’t know how to reset the blockers my husband enabled. Potential monitoring systems would not work with our router so this is the crappy “block you from everything,”  solution that we had come up with for now.

Until THIS.  It’s called Circle. The company reached out to me to help spread the word about their service for the holidays. Honestly, I almost cried when I watched the video because this is what we needed.  THIS is what our family has been waiting for. THIS is the answer to our issues and I am so excited to show it to you today. I am over the moon excited that we are implementing this system in our home to help protect our kids and I can’t encourage you enough to consider the same system especially if you are having these struggles too.

Every family needs this in their home.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video clip and you’ll be sold too.

Best part…

It’s on sale today!

$85.00! (regularly $99)

The Only Cyber Deal a Parent Needs

Are you tired of letting the Internet dictate what your family is exposed to? Not Anymore! With Circle, you are the boss!

Here are 4 Awesome things you can EASILY do with Circle:

1. Set appropriate filters for EACH DEVICE. Use the pre-designed ones or customize your own.

iOS Screen 4

2. Track where your family is spending their time online. iOS Screen 3

3. Give your devices a BED TIME! iOS Screen 2

4. PAUSE the internet! Yes. you. can. iOS Screen 1

If you are still not convinced, read what these Circle customers are saying about it:

“As the father of four kids from elementary through college age, I am not exaggerating when I say Circle is EXACTLY the device I have been looking for to control the internet in my house. Circle truly is peace of mind in a little white box.” – Wayne Stocks

“Circle has literally changed our lives and how our family spends time on the internet. My worries of what my children could be exposed to online has changed overnight by the use of Circle. I can pause the internet anytime making getting chores or homework done much easier these days.” -Terra Nyce

“Circle makes it easy for me to protect my kids online, monitor usage across all our home’s devices, and create conversations with the entire family. It’s rare that something is simple and effective, but Circle is both.” — Michael Lukaszewski

We are so excited to finally have control again. Get control of the Internet and give your family this gift of Circle on Cyber Monday.

*This post contains an affiliate link, but I only promote things I believe will add value to your life.

M Challenge Giving Syllabus Notebook 11.25.15

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


As a wrap-up of each month’s M Challenge theme, we will be using the last Notebook of the month as a sort of “Cliffs Notes” edition of the challenge – a place where you can find a list of all the articles we’ve published for the challenge, as well as more inspiration and links from the web around the challenge theme. Our hope is that this will be something that you can refer to in the future as well as catch up on in case you’ve missed anything!

November M Challenge: Focus on Giving

Other Links: Ideas for Giving

Picasso Printable via Lia Griffith

Source: Lia Griffith


Free printable: The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away ~Pablo Picasso

Blessing Bags: give a blessing bag to someone in need. Keep a stash in your car.

A Friendsgiving master plan for stress-free hosting.

Simplify Christmas gift giving.

A “gifts that give back” 2015 holiday gift guide

How to be generous even if you’re broke.

75 military care package ideas.

20 volunteer date ideas.

24 ways to volunteer with kids.

I hope you enjoyed our M Challenge syllabus notebook, a collection of the Mom Advice articles and gathered links all around the month’s challenge focus. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!


Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas from I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I am hosting both sides of our family and as a hostess, I know the struggles of decorating AND getting the feast on the table. Today I wanted to show you a few easy last minute ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving table that don’t cost a lot and can be pulled together rather quickly for the holiday.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog where I show off these easy to execute ideas for your holiday table today!

Amy’s Notebook 11.25.15

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes via Design Mom

Source: Design Mom


A Thanksgiving – or any time – side dish: Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potatoes with Herbed Goat Cheese

I’m inspired to go leaf hunting in the backyard now!

Beautiful Thanksgiving placemats- I’m in love!

3 ways to make mornings rock.

11 comfort foods to eat while crying to the Adele album.

How to want very little.

Girls apron pattern via 5 Minutes for Mom

Source: Design Mom


How cute is this free pattern for a little girl’s apron? Perfect for the holidays!

I have a crush on this simple modern wreath.

Be wowed by this beautiful closet.

Beautiful scrappy trees.


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!


Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

  Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. 

I don’t think any holiday meal is complete without a good stuffing. Being gluten-free can be a challenge around the holidays, trying to recreate those comforting holiday dishes, but without the gluten. Today I wanted to show you a delicious Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Stuffing that you can make for the holidays with a few delicious ingredients at Walmart that you will never guess is gluten-free and so affordable to make too!

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

The star of today’s ingredient line-up is definitely this Wright® Bacon! I love that this thick bacon is naturally hickory smoked which adds a rich depth to your stuffing. This grocery staple can be found in the refrigerated section of Walmart.

Rounding out our ingredient list are sweet apples, savory celery, onions, Great Value Brand chicken broth, a gluten free-cornbread mix, fresh thyme, fresh sage, and just a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a kick to this dish. I love that these ingredients are all available at one store, even my gluten-free cornbread mix, leaving me more time for making those family holiday memories!

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

Confession time! I was really nervous about creating this dish for you. This was actually my first time baking any gluten-free bread so I was really nervous about the texture of this bread, but even more nervous that the bread wouldn’t stand up to cubing. I am so happy to say that it actually cubed up and toasted beautifully in my oven for this dish.  I would recommend baking it the day before and cubing it the next day to help it keep its shape and prevent any crumbling. In 15-18 minutes you have your base for a beautiful bowl of stuffing.

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

Great stuffing is all about the layering of flavors and this one has them all. From the sweetness of the apples to the savory of the celery and onions to the deliciously salty and chewy bacon to the kick of spices from the cayenne, each bite is like a little holiday symphony in your mouth.

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

I would definitely say that this dish takes my holidays from good to great. You can find this and so many other great recipes over at the Joy to the Meal site to help inspire you in the kitchen. I hope you can experience a few #joy2themeal dishes at your table and I hope this recipe helps you to be brave and tackle your own gluten-free stuffing for the holidays!

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing from

Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
It's hard to believe that this stuffing is gluten-free thanks to the richness of the bacon & cornbread. I hope you love this dish as much as our family does this holiday season!
  • 1 package of prepared Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix (12 ounces), prepared one day prior
  • 10 oz Wright® Brand Bacon, chopped, ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme, removed from stem and chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons of sage, leaves removed and chopped finely
  • 1 cup Great Value Brand Chicken Broth
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cube your prepared gluten-free cornbread and spread on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cubes are lightly toasted. Reduce the heat on your oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Fry bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate layered in paper towels. Drain the fat from your pan, reserving three tablespoons to sauté your veggies.
  4. To the pan, add your onion and celery and sauté these until golden about 6-8 minutes. Add apples, thyme, sage, and cayenne pepper. Cook until apples soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Toss cooked apples & veggies in a large bowl with cornbread cubes, broth and cooked bacon. Mix well.
  6. Bake at 375° in a buttered dish covered with foil for 40 minutes, remove foil and bake until top turns golden, about 15 minutes more.



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The MomAdvice Hangout- Join Me!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015


Just popping in quickly before the holidays to let you know that I set up a private Facebook group called the MomAdvice Hangout to gab with you all on Facebook.  It’s not a place of promotion, unless I happen to have something useful from the site to share, but just a spot to ask questions and get to know one another. I have missed the commenting on the blog a lot and totally get how busy everyone is. I am feeling that too SO MUCH. I thought we could give the group a trial run and see how things go!

I’d love for you to join me over there and chat with you!

Happiest of holidays! xo

How We Successfully Raised $6,000 in Two Weeks for Burkina Faso

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

One of the most important and proud moments of my life happened almost 2 years ago when you all helped us give $8,000 total to provide clean water wells for Burkina Faso by donating $6,000 in just 2 weeks. You all blew us away!! I then shared this post on how to successfully raise funds for YOUR favorite charities. How fitting to end our November M Challenge focus on giving by republishing our story – if you’ve raised money for a charity using any of these tips, let me know in the comments!

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

I could not be prouder of my friends and readers than I am today. Today we were able to give $6,000 in raised funds to our Wells of Hope campaign for Burkina Faso and pitched in another $2,000 raising our total to an incredible $8,000 to build wells. This gift gives up to 4,000 men, women, & children access to clean water.

How did we do it? I am baffled myself! When we initially pitched the idea to the ministry team at our church that we wanted to do this, I had no clue if we would ever be able to pull it off. I am no Momastery, in traffic or in size of influence, but I did believe that my passion for this project could be contagious, if seen in front of the right eyes.

If you are trying to raise funds for a passion project of your own, I want to share with you the strategies I used for this campaign. I believe that there is enough love and money to go around to fund these projects, but it is finding ways to make that voice heard that is essential for funding.

Start With a Clear Plan & Goals

I am a big believer in getting everything on paper and when I came to the team with my big dreams of birthday wishes I didn’t speak vaguely of what I believed I could do. Let me be clear though, saying it out loud is hard. I did not want to let a single person down.  At the same time, knowing that I was trying to commit to a goal, offered motivation for me to really pull through for Burkina Faso. We shared that our family was financially committed to one well and we hoped to raise enough funds for at least two more wells.

I shared every avenue I was willing to tap into, how we could gather our funds, what I would need from the team to get people to connect to our cause, and what would be happening each day in that first week on our site.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

Get People Curious About What You Are Doing

I began posting teasers that we were up to something a couple of weeks in advance of launching our project. We wanted to get people excited that something big was going to be happening and that we would be calling on them to be a part of it.  You can do this even if you don’t have a blog or website, but just through your social media channels.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

State Your Needs Clearly So People Know Who They Are Helping

People need to know what they are funding and what organizations they are helping. In a case like ours where there are numerous organizations involved, I tried to clearly state exactly who the partners in this project were, facts about the community & people that would be impacted, and what a donation would mean to this cause.

Saying that we need clean water for people in Africa would not be as impactful as, “One out of three children will probably die before they ever reach the age of ten. The deaths are mostly due to a lack of fresh water. The women of Burkina Faso often walk several miles to a dirty stream or stagnant pool, just to fill a bowl with water.”

Children dying before they are ten?

Women walking for miles to find a water source?

It is awful, but truthful information that calls upon people to help in a very visual way.


How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

Find an Avenue for Easy Collection

I have been a longtime fan of Pure Charity and knew that I wanted to use this site to spread the message of what we needed. I cannot recommend their site enough for what they can bring to your passion projects.

I could go on and on about why I love them so much, but it all boils down to people being able to connect with your cause, see their money grow, and know how many they have impacted. You can take a peek at my campaign to see how this looked.  I can’t tell you how many people went back in and donated a little more after their first donation to the project, just see the money bar go up a little more. After each donation is given, through Pure Charity, the person is told exactly how many lives their donation impacts. Even if you were only about to offer $10, you knew that you had impacted five people that day once your funds were submitted.

This method of collection was easy and you can connect your organization right to the funds.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

Donations Are Great- Whether Big or Small

Unless the organization’s collection form states that you need to have a minimum donation, show people small and approachable ways of donating. Anything over $1 was considered a donation on Pure Charity so I tried to think of things that were a little over $1 that people could “give up” to give a child clean water. A Redbox flick, a Starbucks coffee, a ticket to the latest movie, or a quick stop for a burrito is money that could be spent to give clean water to Burkina Faso.

It worked so well that people were donating after they went through the drive-thru or they gave up their weekly latte run or pizza night for my cause.

The point of this was to prove that you don’t have to be a millionaire to give. Every donation was important to me. Every. Dollar.

Connect Your Cause With Your Social Media Channels

If you are active on social media, use it to your advantage and ask your friends to spread the word. My two biggest audiences on social media are Facebook & Instagram.

Here’s a fun fact, I absolutely despise video or hearing myself on video or anything to do with video. That being said, some people like pictures, some people like videos, and some people just like to read a status. I tried to utilize every avenue from the beginning. An intro video connected you to our cause, I did a couple of thank you videos to thank people as we met goals, and we shared lots of pictures. If you want to make quick banners or collages for your cause, PicMonkey is great for your websites and if you are looking to add text to your phone images, I love Rhonna Designs app.

Thank Everyone for Everything Often

Each time we received a donation, I thanked them, whether publicly or privately. I was so grateful to everyone who gave, whether it was a dollar or a hundred dollars. The fact that they connected with my cause and helped meant the world to me.

Anytime I have ever donated to someone and received a thank you, it acted as double validation for what I did. With 121 contributors to our campaign, I tried not to overlook a single person and sent an email or message to them as soon as I could to say thank you.

After all, if we didn’t have these AMAZING friends we could never be sharing our success story with you today. My friends ROCK!

Don’t Stop Once You Reach Your Goal

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from goal was to raise enough funds for three wells. In the end, the money kept trickling in and bit by bit we were inching closer to our fourth well. If we would have given up when we reached our goal, we would have never known we could have achieved an additional well.

I’m not done with Burkina Faso though. The water of funds will continue to trickle as I knit my way to another well this year. I am working on my first round of wares for an Etsy shop to give all the profit to Burkina Faso.

If you have a talent for something and a burning desire like this amazing young lady that shared her story with our readers, you can continue raising funds in whatever little ways and pockets of time you have in your day.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from

Whatever your project, I pray that God blesses you abundantly in it. I also thank each of you for helping us reach and surpass our goal of giving clean water to the people of Burkina Faso. Thanks to your donations, we will have water for up to 4,000 people. What an incredible gift you have given us and these people.

Thank you for celebrating the site’s tenth anniversary with us in such a grand and beautiful way! It solidifies my belief that this is just what God wants me to be doing with my life.



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The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide 2015: 20+ Ideas for Everyone On Your List

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide 2015: 20+ Ideas for Everyone On Your List

Each year I look forward to sharing a few fun gifts to add to your holiday wish list. This year we added a new weekly feature called It’s the 3 Little Things where you will find loads of recommendations for things that I love, but I still wanted to honor our annual list for you. Today’s list includes a few I have shared before and lots of new things that I think you will love. My promise to you is that I only share gifts that I believe will add value to your home and life, not more items to junk it up. There are gifts at all price points so I hope you find a few gift ideas that will inspire you for the giving season!

Puffin In Bloom Collection

Puffin In Bloom Collection

I have been coveting these Puffin reissued classics for our family’s bookcase for so long now that I am adding these to my Christmas wish list this year. Little Women &  A Little Princess were two of my favorite books as a child and I would love to share this classic set with my family and dive in with these with my daughter. ($45)


Adele- 25

It is killing me to wait on purchasing this one, but Christmas is just around the corner and I would love to have Adele’s 25 album on vinyl for our collection.  Although Hello is being way too overplayed on the radio right now,  I still can’t get enough of this lady and know that this would be an incredible addition to our collection. Following closely behind it on my vinyl wish list is the 500 Days of Summer album since that has become one of my favorite little films. ($22.99)

Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is our ALL TIME favorite game in the world to play and share with friends. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. For 2 to 5 players this one is recommended for ages eight and older. Once you have the game, I highly recommend adding a couple of expansion packs on it.  The first one we added was the 1910 expansion ($19.99)  because the cards are really tiny in the board game and these give you the full-size cards. To really create havoc on your board though, we love the Alvin & Dexter expansion pack. ($39.99)


Nikibiki Seamless Tops

I am obsessed  with these Nikibiki seamless layers to go underneath my layers in the winter. They are long enough to cover my rear, don’t add a lot of bulk under my sweaters, and they keep me cozy. If you are local, check out Ali on the Boulevard to snag a few and support a local business! If you aren’t, you can find all the colors on Overstock. These are made in the US and are a one size fits most item. ($19.99)

UGG Ansley Slippers

UGG Ansley Slippers

This past year, I found a pair of brand new UGG slippers on eBay and I wear them every single day without fail. Quit throwing out cheap slippers and invest in good slippers- it is a gift that keeps on giving.  As a gift to my husband, I got him this pair too and now we are both super cozy this winter. These UGG Ansley Slippers look delightfully cozy and I love all the colors they come in. If you are already a proud UGG slippers owner, a fresh pair of inserts makes a lovely stocking stuffer. ($99.95)


Should I Wash My Hair Today? Flowchart Print

I hate washing my hair so this Should I Wash My Hair Today? Flowchart is one of the first pieces of art I picked out for our bathroom. It makes me laugh when I see it and is always enjoyed by the guests in our home. Poor hygiene always makes for a great ice breaker with new friends, doesn’t it?  Do you have a hair washing problem? Consider this print from ChipperThings for a spot on your bathroom wall! ($20)


Kamik Porto Boots

I have been coveting the lace-up furry boots for our Indiana winters that so many of my friends own. Kamik sent me these Porto boots & my daughter received an adorable pair of Girl’s Solstice boots to sample this winter and this helped quiet my urge to spend a lot more on the Sorel boots I have been eyeing. These Kamik Porto boots are really cozy and well constructed to keep your feet toasty while still looking stylish. I have never had a really good pair of snow boots and always wished I did when playing outside with my kids or for our sledding days. I am excited to break these in with my kids and tackle some hill. Half the price of Sorels and just as cute!   If you are in the market for these, I recommend sizing up one size for the perfect fit.  ($107.96)



Janet Hill is a Clark favorite and I dream of adding one of her original oil paintings to our walls. The English Major was a print that I asked for last year for Christmas and is one of my favorites in our home. It would be perfect for a little girl’s room too!  My Janet Hill wish list is LONG (this one is on my list right now!). We have 7 of her prints in our home and it is never enough. I dare you to look at her art and not find something that speaks to you! ($18)



I purchased Carcassonne after playing it at Secret Door Games and we have already played it three more times this week.  This is one of those rare games that can be played with up to five people (yay for families with three kids, am I right?)  Basically, the game board is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses. The game itself is not complex (although they do have a junior edition), but it is more the point system and your own strategies they make it complex and interesting. It reminds me of a combo of Blokus & Ticket to Ride, but medieval. Building roads, castles, and land has now become a highly addictive game in our house. We watched this video the first time to get the hang of it and now we can’t stop playing! Locals can find this at Secret Door Games. ($23.36)

Skin Authority Cleansing Brush

Skin Authority Cleansing System

I have tons of friends that swear by these facial brushes for helping reduce breakouts and keeping their skin looking fresh. I am a newer convert, but am already seeing great benefits with this Skin Authority Cleansing System for my sensitive skin. I liked the price tag on this system and appreciate that it is battery powered since we have a tiny bathroom and minimal outlets for charging. This would make a great stocking stuffer for a teen girl in your home! ($59.00)

Coobie Bras

Coobie Bras

Looking for a bra that is the equivalent of your favorite yoga pants. Let me introduce you to the Coobie Bra.  There are no wire, no hooks, no clasps, and these are perfectly lightly padded. I mean, what more could a girl ask for?  It comes in the plain version  or you can get ones with a lace detail if you prefer a lacy cami look. They are intended to fit women from a 32A to 36D, but they also make a full-size version for  just a few dollars extra if you need a little more support. This is another great gift for a teen, yourself, or for your bestie! ($20)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove 

If you are looking for a book that would be perfect for anyone (your mom, your grandma, your best friend, your husband, your father,  ANYONE), I must recommend, A Man Called Ove to share with them for the holidays. This is the most beautiful fictional book on aging that I have ever read. It really served as a reminder to me how we all have things that happen to us that shape us as we get older and how we often neglect to listen to those layered stories of our elders. I laughed and cried over this sweet story of Ove & the stray cat that claimed him. The touching story of his beautiful bride and the difficulties of seeing your friends age and forget you just really pulled at my heartstrings. Beautifully written supporting characters in the neighborhood just brought the whole story together for me and rounded out the beauty of finding “home.”(Hardcover, $18.74)

hazel and ruby knitted boot cuff

Holiday Knitted Boot Cuffs Crafternoon Kit

I love putting  my own products in my gift guides- ha!  If you do have a crafter in your family though, they will love my Holiday Knitted Boot Cuffs Kit that I created with Hazel & Ruby. The kit comes with a recipe card to walk you through your knitting a pair of boot cuffs as well as a code on that back that you scan to access a video tutorial. No need to understand double-pointed needles with this one since the kit provides needles that let you work this one just on smaller circulars.  This would be a fun gift for a tween, teen, or perfect girlfriend gift for them to craft or you could make the set and give it as a gift for a non-crafter. ($14.99)

Harry Potter Illustrated

Harry Potter Illustrated

Jim Kay is going to be illustrating the entire Harry Potter series and the first colorful book is the Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone in this newly illustrated series. This first one had over a hundred illustrations, but each illustration is like a million illustrations because of his incredible detail. Watch this piece on BBC to get a peek at his technique and artistry- it is jaw-droppingly beautiful! What is more impressive is that he is putting his own interpretation on each of these characters which I would think is one of the biggest challenges since the movie versions are so beloved.  You will be proud to add this to your library. Amazon seems to have trouble keeping this one on the shelves so I’m linking to Target to grab it! ($26.48)

Our Q&A

Our Q&A 3-Year Journal for 2 People

If strengthening your marriage is something you want to work on, this Q&A journal is a great way to bond with your spouse especially in busy seasons of your life. Each day there is a writing prompt like, “What feels vitally important right now,” or “Do you have enough independence,” for example. On one page, there is room for three years that gives each person the opportunity to write a line or two to answer the question. Each year, you answer the same question so you begin to see how your answers have changed each year. We have this on our bed and I move it to his side after I fill it out. I look forward so much to reading his responses and it has been a good way to begin talking about things that we didn’t even know were important to each other. ($12.00)



Tapple is a game that our whole family loves and every family member could play.  The object of the game is very simple and there aren’t a lot of rules.  There are a set of cards that tell you a topic like, “Pizza Toppings” or “Animals at the Zoo.” You start the timer and then you try to think of a word that starts with each available letter on the game board that fits under that category. If you can’t get it under the allotted time, you are out, and play continues with the remaining players. The kids absolutely loved this and really loved making up their own categories (an option available on the cards) to create their own game like, “Words to Describe Our Cat Lulu,” or “What Mom Is Like Before Her Coffee” (hardy-har-har!). We love this one! ($13.19)



For the person who has everything, may I present to you Bucky. We love this guy so much in our house that my husband got one for his office too. They come in a flat package and you assemble them much like you would a very beginner LEGO set. This cardboard guy is a statement piece in any room and comes plain or patterned. So beautifully made that it is a treat to put him together, he is always a great conversation piece in our house. Nerdy glasses and accessories you might want to add to him are all sold separately. ($55 for the large size)


Sherpa Comforters

If you are looking for a gift that will keep your recipient cozy all winter long, these sherpa comforters are my family’s new favorite thing. We have one on every single bed after I ordered one for my post that I was writing for BHG at Walmart. It’s the perfect blanket- warm, but not too warm, velvety on one side, furry on the other, and a surprisingly lightweight warm layer. These do make it a difficult bed to leave, but a delight to stay in on the weekends. ($38.96$43.97, depending on your bed size)

11/22/63 by Stephen King


Have a history nut to buy for? Give them 11/22/63 right now so they can wait with bated breath for the Hulu series to come out. King offers up the hypothetical scenario, if you could change something in history, would you alter it? Jake Epping discovers a secret portal to 1958 that he uses to time travel in the back pantry of a restaurant.  The goal? See if he can alter the JFK assassination, killing Lee Oswald Harvey before he kills JFK. Hang on tight, this is a true adventure!  (Hardcover, $24.50)

Happy Socks

Happy Socks

My husband has a million pairs of Happy Socks and they have become a go-to gift for him for the holidays from everyone in our family.  I love the trend of wildly patterned socks for men and I also  love seeing these peeking out from his normally neutral attire. For the guy who has everything, I present Happy Socks. ($12.00)

What If? by Randall Munroe

What If?

What If? is the book I am recommending for the boys in your life! Munroe explores the absolute craziest, “what if” scenarios and comes up with a truly scientific explanation of the outcome for each of them. It is accompanied by hilarious drawings of what might occur in these scenarios, making it a perfect book for tween & teen boys who loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (Hardcover, $14.40)

Coloring Flower Mandalas

Adult Coloring Books

I love the stress relieving trend of adult coloring books and my friend Wendy has a beautiful mandalas collection she has designed that I am hoping to give as gifts this year. I plan to pair one of these with beautiful colored pencils for gift-giving. This would also make a great teen or tween gift for the holidays! ($9)

I hope this little list helps as you plan your holiday shopping. You can also find a great list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for those special people in your life!  Anything from my list on your wish list? Share below!! xo

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love though! Promise! 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Cozy Bras, Virgins, & a Taser

Friday, November 20th, 2015


Hey, did the title get your attention? It’s been so quiet around here that I thought I would lighten the mood and bring you in before the holidays. I miss your comments, friends! I have been considering starting a private Facebook group where we can chat. Would you be interested in something like that? Let me know in the comments today and I will try to execute that before our new year!

This week included a rather surreal moment of seeing a product I designed in a real store for the first time.  It’s been such an honor to be a part of the Hazel & Ruby team for the holidays and my Holiday Knitted Boot Cuffs Kit has been flying off the shelves. Don’t forget it’s available at Jo-Ann’s nationwide I hope you can snag one before they run out. This would make a lovely holiday gift for yourself or for a friend.

You can read a fantastic post from Kim (from Everything Etsy) on what she thought about it as well as read Crystal’s (from Money Saving Mom) experience with knitting in the round for the first time. I’m so proud to know these ladies and thankful for their support on this adventure!

This week I just started this book that you all have been raving about and I plan to listen to this one on audio while I tackle my Thanksgiving feast today. I want to give it a listen before I see the film which looks INCREDIBLE! Have you read either of these?

Here are a few other things that are making me happy this week!

Coobie Bras


I was in Asheville this past week for a conference and popped into a boutique that was selling a bra called the Coobie Bra. I decided to buy two since they looked super comfortable and I am IN LOVE with these bras and their affordable price tag!  What makes these so special? Well, I can’t wait to tell you!

Coobie Bras

So here is what the bra looks like all on display which, to me, looks just like a tank top or a camisole when it is peeking out of other layers, but it doesn’t add a lot of bulk under bulkier clothing items. The reason I love them is that they have no wire, no hooks, no clasps, and are perfectly lightly padded. I mean, what more could a girl ask for?  It comes in the plain version (like I am showing here- these are the ones I purchased) or you can get ones with a lace detail if you prefer a lacy cami look. They are intended to fit women from a 32A to 36D, but they also make a full-size version for  just a few dollars extra if you need a little more support.

I am LIVING in these and intend to buy a few more as a treat to myself. It’s the next best thing to no bra all! Am I right, ladies? Ha!


Jane the Virgin- Acting Perfection

Netflix secured the first season of Jane the Virgin and I thought I would give the show a watch since I had heard it was so highly rated. You guys, have you watched this? It is AWESOME! The story is about a girl named Jane who comes in for a routine Pap Smear and is accidentally inseminated by her doctor when she mixes up the patient’s procedures. Jane is a virgin, thus her name, and finds out that she is pregnant which is just what she has avoided her whole life. Newly engaged and ready to start her life with her boyfriend, she is faced with a pregnancy with a man who just so happens to be her handsome boss. Delightfully campy coupled with incredible acting, it is so dang good and I am loving every minute of it. The first season is available for streaming on Amazon if you don’t have a Netflix membership! You must watch it!

Infini'Silk Pro

Taser Tuesdays (Laser Hair Removal At Home)

My dream is to never shave my legs again, but the treatments are not cheap and I am also very bad about escaping work to make any appointments and there are many to get rid of body hair.  I did a ton of research on at-home laser hair treatment options and this Veet Infini’Silk Pro was rated the highest and seemed to have the best results from reviewers. I went ahead and bought it for myself and once a week, I spend about an hour doing this one evening a week. This night has been lovingly nicknamed Taser Tuesday by my husband. Isn’t he such a funny guy?

Is it painful? Well, I was using an epilator so this feels like sunshine & roses in comparison. Sensitive areas like the backs of thighs, the bikini line, and a little under the underarms can be a little painful, but not unbearable…just maybe a tad uncomfortable.

After three treatments, I am down to shaving about once a week so I do feel like it is working, but I am an ideal candidate for this. Fair girls with dark hair are exactly who they recommend to give this a try.

I will keep you guys posted on this one, but for now I am seeing results that make this girl very happy and fit into my price range. Have you ever tried laser treatments or the DIY kits for at-home? I would love to hear your experience.

No Soliciting Unless You Are Justin Timberlake

Final happy- this sign made me laugh in Asheville.  I thought you would get a kick out of it too! I hope you 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

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