Author Archive

8 Fun Sweater Crafts from Goodwill

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

8 Fun Sweater Crafts from Goodwill

Although those warmer temperatures seem like they are just around the corner, here in Indiana it is still sweater weather season for awhile. Whether you are looking to switch-up your winter wardrobe staple or looking for an easy craft to beat those last-days-of-cold-weather blues, Goodwill has you covered with these fun sweater crafts you can create for a fun pick-me-up!
Sweater crafts are the types of crafts that anyone can do and the possibilities are endless. I had the best time demoing some of these fun crafts at the grand opening of our Warsaw location and now I am sharing eight more ideas with you, for fun crafts you can try with items from your own store!

 Head to the Goodwill Tips Blog today to learn 8 fun new crafts you can try with sweaters!

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Amy’s Notebook 04.02.14

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

teacher-appreciation-gift-idea

Source: Confetti Sunshine

 

Oh my gosh, isn’t this teacher appreciation gift idea the cutest thing ever?

These beautiful watercolor flowers are just the thing I need to add a bit of spring to our house – bonus that they last forever and are no maintenance!

Here’s another blogger’s take on dying plastic eggs, using water color and gold leaf on the eggs – so fun!

You probably know that I’m a big fan of homemade versions of take-out meals, so it’s probably not a surprise that I’m dying to try better than takeout chicken fried rice…mmmm.

I’m loving this diy mason jar spice organizer – my mind is turning with all the other applications for this, too: buttons, small craft supplies, office things – awesome!

And I think you’ll agree with me that toasted pistachio toffee brittle needs to go on the to-make list, asap – drool.

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 04.01.14

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

blue-red apron

Source: Jassy Kitchen,  $33.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I have to apologize if you’ve had problems linking up since we updated our site, and want to let you know that we are trying out a new link-up below that we’ve tested and is working – yeah! If you are having problems, there is a “trouble with the link,” below the button that you can also use to access & share your links.  So, link away  - and we continue to hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! We really do want to know if you guys win anything- success stories are awesome!

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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Mama Francesca Cheese & a Gluten-Free Meatball & Pasta Recipe

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Mama Francesca Premium Cheese Review

*This post is sponsored by Mama Francesca

I have been looking forward to sharing with you all week my new partnership with Mama Francesca Grated Cheese. The company reached out to me to share about their beautiful product and I couldn’t wait to start cooking with it and showing it off on our site.

Mama Francesca Premium Cheese ReviewMama Francesca Premium Cheese Review

Have you heard of Mama Francesca? It is a delicious new grated cheese that comes in five different varieties. I am showcasing three flavors that I found at my own store. The ones pictured here are: Aromatico (Parmesan, Basil & Oregano), Fiero (Parmesan & Red Pepper), & Pungente (Parmesan & Garlic). As you can see from the picture, the cheese is light and fluffy while blended with delicious spices that you can see and taste in your dishes.

You can also find Audace (Parmesan & Romano), and Perfetto (Classic Parmesan) on your store shelves.

 Mama Francesca Premium Cheese Review

Many times when we think of parmesan cheese, we think of it as a way to just dress our dishes. With these fun cheese blends though, they offer a delicious ingredient alternative in your favorite recipes that, not only add flavor, but can save you time in the kitchen since they incorporate that perfect blend of spices.

My family is a big fan of pasta and meatballs.  I wanted to create that familiar dish that we love, but in a gluten-free variety using Mama Francesca’s cheese as the inspiration for our new dish. I replaced the spices and cheese with the Aromatico (Parmesan, Basil & Oregano) cheese blend and then replaced the breadcrumbs in these meatballs with a little gluten-free panko. The replacement of spices and cheese saved me time digging through my spice rack and the cheese blend managed to still perfectly spice our meatballs. When it comes to meatballs,  I recommend doubling these to enjoy a delicious meatball sub for a busy weeknight meal- topped with sauce & cheese.

With this dish, you can use any variety of gluten-free pasta shape you love. Rotini, shells, and elbow macaroni are three of my favorites in this dish. The pasta can be tossed gently in this delicate fresh tomato sauce.

Mama Francesca Premium Cheese Review Of course, just because you use the cheese in the meatballs doesn’t mean you can’t shake on the cheese liberally over your plates of pasta. Set out a few varieties of cheese and let your family member’s customize their dishes for a fun family meal!

I hope you will give Mama Francesca a try for your next family dinner! I promise that this cheese does not disappoint!

Gluten-Free Meatball & Pasta Recipe

Gluten-Free Meatball & Pasta Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A gluten-free meatball & pasta dish that is just as delicious as the gluten-filled version.
Ingredients
  • Gluten-Free Pasta With Meatballs
  • ¼ cup gluten-free panko
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • ¾ cup Mama Francesca Aromatico (Parmesan, Basil & Oregano) Grated Cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages (remove the casings)
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound gluten-free pasta (any variety)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the panko , parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine.
  2. Make your meatballs the standard size and put them on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes.
  4. In a large pot, heat your olive oil and then heat your garlic for about thirty seconds. Next, heat chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, as directed on the packaging directions of your favorite pasta variety.
  6. Drain the pasta and rinse well with warm water. Add the meatball mixture and garnish with fresh parsley and more cheese.

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MomAdvice Summer Book Club Selection: Love With a Chance of Drowning

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Love With a Chance of Drowning

First, I just want to thank everyone for your feedback today about the MomAdvice Book Club. I hope you didn’t feel like I was coming down too hard about it, but the MomAdvice Book Club was a special project for me this year.  I have spent an unbelievable amount of time investing into reading so many books to find the perfect books, coordinating with publishing houses to get free books to giveaway, gathering questions for authors, and then posting/sharing each discussion. In all honesty, it became a little part-time job for me on top of my full-time job.

I didn’t mind doing it until the discussion and participation dwindled.

Based on your feedback, you are 1) very busy mamas 2) are waiting for library copies 3) didn’t have time to read this year.

Again, I get that! I totally do.

In order to make things more relaxed and fun again, we will be selecting a quarterly selection moving forward. This gives you plenty of time to get books, read them, and have questions for our featured authors. On alternate months, I will just share my book reviews as we have done in the past. 

Love With a Chance of Drowning

This summer we will be reading the AMAZING memoir of Torre DeRoche called, “Love With a Chance of Drowning.” It is our first non-fiction selection and I am so excited to share this book with you because I am enjoying it so much.

Not sure if you can get on board with a non-fiction pick? Just picture me laughing until tears are rolling down my cheeks ever since I picked this book up. Then picture me reading aloud almost the entire book to my husband, while trying to read it to him, still laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks and trying to catch my breath so I can read every word to him. It is that funny and that awesome.

Here is a book synopsis from Amazon…

City girl, Torre DeRoche,  isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.

 

Somewhere mid-Pacific, she finds herself battling to keep the old boat, the new relationship, and her floundering sanity afloat. . . .

 

This sometimes hilarious, often harrowing, and always poignant memoir is set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations. Equal parts love story and travel memoir, Love with a Chance of Drowning is witty, charming, and proof positive that there are some risks worth taking.

Our discussion for this book will be the last Tuesday in July! I will touch base with you in the upcoming month if I am able to secure a discussion with our author. If not, I still think this is a book that is perfect for your beach bag!

the_bear_claire_cameron_book_cover

In the meantime, this month’s selection, “The Bear,” is a short and powerful novel that I think you will be able to finish in just a couple of short days. It is hard to put down and is an author discussion that I am excited to participate in. I am doubly honored since Claire was featured in a glowing review from People Magazine, that she would take the time to chat with us.

I hope that you can join in and thank you for being candid in your thoughts about what works best for you!

xo,
Amy

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Please Join In!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

3_little_things

I am so enjoying your comments and lists on our new weekly, “It’s the 3 Little Things,” feature! I had a few people request to join in and share their own list of three things that make them happy so I am adding a linky at the bottom where you can share what is making your heart happy. It’s fun to end the week on a high and in a time of gratitude!

40_bags_in_40_days

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

One thing that has been making me happy in my house is that I have been working to cut the clutter in our home. I was inspired by my amazing friend, Ann Marie from White House Black Shutters, to join in her 40 bags in 40 days challenge. So far I am about ten bags down, but (as a disclaimer) I had taken several carloads of stuff from our house right before the challenge so I am really pleased with my progress.

The two things that have surprised me the most about this? I thought that I would need to add on to our kitchen, but when I cut out the clutter, I discovered that the size and storage are just right. We still plan to remodel, but I don’t feel like we need to make an addition anymore.

The second thing is that I found a huge stack of gift cards that we never cashed in…which was a super happy surprise for the whole family. Had I not cleaned out one of my purses, I would have never found them. The person that thought “found money,” only happened to other people just got schooled.

I love the surprises from this challenge!

tu_sei_bella

Cardio Dance With Abbi

I bought a Groupon for 10 classes at a local dance fitness studio and never expected just how happy this would make me. They offer a Cardio Dance class a few times a week and I went once and was forever hooked.

My face hurts from smiling at the end of class and I never feel like I am working out. The instructor, Abbi, is absolutely phenomenal and it brightens my week to get to have a midday dance break.

Abbi has a YouTube channel and I am sharing an example of what I am doing because it is so dang fun. Picture me doing this, but much less coordinated and starting with the wrong foot.

Even if you don’t live near me, you can learn the moves on her channel. That’s some fun stuff!  It has become my new weekly addiction and brings me so much joy that my husband didn’t even grumble when I begged for a monthly membership.

Of course, that guy has some MOVES and also likes midday dance breaks so it helps that he gets me.

got_to_dance Netflix Documentary Binging

I go through phases where all I want to do is read and then I go through phases where all I want to do is Netflix binge. I think my work is tapping me out so in the evenings, I just want to sip my tea and watch a good documentary.

Although I can’t say all the documentaries make me happy, I can say that knowing about the world and the different views in it makes me happy.

After we watch our documentaries, I try to share the best ones on my Reality Bites Pinterest board. I also try to note the family-friendly ones, since most documentaries are not rated!

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!

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

April Book Club Selection: The Bear by Claire Cameron

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The Bear by Claire Cameron

I am so excited to announce our next book club selection and giveaway for April. This month we will be reading, “The Bear,” by Claire Cameron.  The past three books have all been historical fiction so I wanted to branch out a bit from that and try a different style of book this month.

I found, “The Bear,” at my local library and immediately was swept away in the suspenseful story of Anna & her brother Alex (nicknamed Sticky). While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of her mother screaming. A bear has found their campsite and her parents become the bear’s victims.

As her mother lays injured on the ground, she convinces Anna to take her brother in the canoe, getting them away from the bear and (hopefully) to safety. Anna & Sticky must fight for survival as they are lost and alone in the wilderness.

Told through the eyes of five-year-old Anna, we see the struggles and triumphs as she tries to find safety with her brother.  A survival story unlike any other I have read, it is one that you just won’t be able to put down because you must know what happens to these children.

Claire Cameron

Born in 1973, Claire Cameron grew up in Toronto. She studied History and Culture at Queen’s University. She then worked as an instructor for Outward Bound, teaching mountaineering, climbing, and white-water rafting in Oregon. Next she worked in San Francisco for Pearson Plc before moving to London in 1999. There she was director of Shift Media, a consultancy whose clients included the BBC, McGraw-Hill, and Oxford University Press. Her first novel was the taut thriller, “The Line Painter.”  Claire lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons. You can become a fan of Claire Cameron on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, follow her on IG, and on GoodReads.

Claire Cameron has graciously offered three of our readers the chance to win her book. She has also offered to answer your questions, which I could not be more excited about! 

MomAdvice Book Club

Our book club discussion for this novel will take place on April 29th. I will try to collect your questions for the author before that though via our Facebook groupSign up for our newsletter to stay informed and connect with me on GoodReads too!

To enter to win a copy of, “The Bear,”  please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!  Just leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts on our book club and book club selections so far! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Freebie Friday March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28th, 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 an amazing and unique recipe from our food contributor, Diana, for Hazelnut Soup. You’ll also find my newest gluten-free recipe for waffles (so yummy!) along with a giveaway from Mrs. Butterworths that you will definitely want to enter! I’m also excited to share with you how to dye plastic Easter eggs – perfect for making them last and for those with egg allergies. I’m honored to share, too, the March book club discussion for A White Wind Blew – if you’re reading this book with us, you have to check out the author’s take on a number of questions!

And make sure to check out our new Friday feature each week – It’s the 3 Little Things. This is where I get to share 3 things that I’m loving right now, and I hope that you’ll join in, too, by sharing your favorite things!

We also have our weekly notebook which is filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and you’ll want to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Sure hope you have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink

Quest Protein Bar
Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample
Lipton Tea Sample

Health & Beauty

Zarbee’s Seasonal Relief Sample
Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Cleansing Oil Sample

Home

Finish Dishwashing Detergent Sample

Entertainment

Quilting for Beginners eBook
Delicious, Quick & Simple – Paleo Lunch Recipes eBook
Photo Book for Anyone Stationed Abroad
Family Circle Magazine Subscription

This Week’s Freebie Events: March 28 - April 4

29th -  Lakeshore Learning: Create a Funny Fish Puppet, 11 am - 3 pm

 

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Mrs. Butterworth Sweet-Stakes Giveaway & Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Mrs. Butterworth Sweet-Stakes Giveaway

*This post is sponsored by Mrs. Butterworth

I am excited to share with you that I have partnered with Mrs. Butterworth today for a fun family prize pack giveaway and to share about their sweet-stakes they are hosting for their fans through April 30th!  Lucky for us, I am not only giving away a prize pack for our MomAdvice readers, but I am showing you a fun new recipe you can try to put that wonderful prize pack to work in your kitchen.

Mrs. Butterworth Sweet-Stakes Giveaway

This month, Mrs. Butterworth’s has teamed up with Busch Gardens to generate some more fun around the dinner table. They have launched a Family Fun Sweet-stakes where you can enter to win a trip to one of the Busch Garden parks.  You can read all about their fun contest here! This contest inspired me so much that I knew I had to head to my kitchen and create something in honor of it.

I have always been a syrup-loving girl. For years, we have made it a family tradition to indulge in, what we lovingly call, “Jazzy Sunday.” Jazzy Sunday amounts to throwing on a few jazz records and making waffles and pancakes drenched in syrup for a delicious Sunday brunch.

With eating gluten-free, I have found that it takes a lot of practice to replicate my favorite pancake and waffle recipes.  I began to think about the fluffiest waffles I had ever made and it was an overnight waffle recipe that my best friend shared with me years ago. I started wondering if I could replicate this with a gluten-free waffle recipe. Low and behold, after a few experiments, I found it is possible to make fluffy-as-air waffles with the overnight technique of warm milk, frothy yeast, and easy all-purpose gluten-free flour.

The batter is still dense, but it yields a fluffy waffle that no one will ever know is missing the gluten. When topped with fresh berries and Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup, it is truly a Sunday treat that will make your own, “Jazzy Sunday,” complete.

Mrs. Butterworth Sweet-Stakes Giveaway

In honor of this fun contest, Mrs. Butterworth’s gave me a Family Fun Breakfast Kit that include goodies from Mrs. Butterworth’s and Busch Gardens, as well as jungle animal-themed pancake pans, perfect for the explorer in the family. If you don’t win it here though, they will also be giving away a Family Fun Breakfast kits every two weeks during this contest so there are some great chances you can win there too!

Enter our giveaway of one Family Fun Breakfast Kit using our Rafflecopter widget below and let us know one of your favorite breakfast traditions and LIKE Mrs. Butterworth’s for an additional entry! I will be selecting one winner on April 3rd so be sure to get those entries in! Grab the recipe for Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles below! 

Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles

Mrs. Butterworth Sweet-Stakes Giveaway & Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A light, fluffy, and super delicious overnight waffle recipe that is also gluten-free!
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups milk (or dairy substitute)
  • 2.25 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter in this)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, gluten-free
Instructions
  1. Warm milk and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat just until the butter melts.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once to a lukewarm temperature, add dry yeast and sugar to the milk and let sit until the yeast is bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the liquid into a large container with a tight fitting lid.
  4. Add the salt and flour, mixing until smooth.
  5. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature overnight (don’t refrigerate).
  6. When you are ready to cook the waffles, preheat waffle griddle, stir in the beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla.
  7. Pour ⅔ cup of the batter on the griddle (or enough to cover the surface) and bake until golden.
  8. Serve with fresh fruit and Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup.
Recipe Slightly Adapted from About.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Amy’s Notebook 03.26.14

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Make-spring-rolls-Like-a-PRO

Source: How Does She

 

I simply adore springrolls and I’m looking forward to making Vietnamese springrolls like a pro with these directions – and hopefully with rice wrappers to be gluten free!

I’m loving these ideas for 5, 10, & 15 minute plans to painlessly clean your house – perfect for easing into spring cleaning.

Here’s a really easy way to make a no sew bench cushion for any wooden bench – plus a great tip to save on the most expensive part of any cushion, the foam.

Oh, goodness, these really awesome black bean burgers look so good, I don’t think I’d miss the meat at all!

Not only does this robin’s egg nest chocolate cake look delicious, it’s absolutely beautiful, too!

SO many incredible ideas I’m getting in these 12 craft closet makeovers…now just to put them into use, ha!

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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