Author Archive

How To Use A Home Management Binder

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

How To Use a Home Management Binder

Have you been using our free home management binder printables yet? I thought it would be good during this m challenge month of Loving Your Home to revisit the home binder that I lovingly call our family “Bible” for the way that it has become indispensable for keeping us organized (and me sane!). It’s hard to love where you’re at if nothing seems to be working right and I’ve found that keeping a list of to-dos (both what we have to do and wish to do) can help you feel like you’re moving in the right direction – creating a place that truly feels like ‘home’ for your family.

A well-designed binder helps you manage everything in your household in one place. After a number of years using a home management binder, here’s the way that I’ve found it works best:

How to Use a Home Management Binder

~ Keep the binder in a central location in your home where everyone can access it

~ Include your family calendar and keep it up-to-date

~ Add important contact information that you want to have at a moment’s notice (particularly for someone who might babysit)

~ Use it as a meal-planner with weekly meal plans, grocery lists and a price sheet, as well as a list of family favorites (when the family’s raving about the meal, easily jot it down in the binder and you’ll have your family’s favorite dishes at your fingertips to make future meal planning easier!)

~ Add sheets that you need to run your family’s finances smoothly, like budgeting and planning for large purchases.

~ Use it as a central To-Do list for your home, both routine maintenance and any plans for updates. I’ve loved being able to see how far we’ve come and all the improvements we’ve made to help make our house into a home we love!


How to Set Up a Home Management Binder

~ I recommend this binder, both for it’s size and the view pockets for the outside.

~ Then purchase a set of pocketed dividers where you can tuck important information that you might need to easily find. When school starts, in particular, you will find your mailbox filled with fliers for events, important forms that need to be filled out, appointment reminders, and invitations. Instead of piling them on a desk or tacking them on the fridge, use the pockets so you always know where to find these items when you need them.

~ Keep an extra pocket or two in the back for the randomness in life- consider it another junk drawer, if you will.

~ I have also found that a good spot in the home for daily reference is in your family’s command center.

~ Print out any header pages for sections on heavy-duty cardstock so that they can hold up to the abuse of being referenced daily.


Of course, you can use any printables you want, but we are pretty attached to ours! Our set of binder printables is free to all who subscribe to our weekly newsletter simply by entering your email below or in the sidebar. We will then send you the link to your packet as our thank you for being a subscriber (look for it in the final welcome email). The binder set includes the following pages:

  • Family Budget Pages
  • Grocery Price Sheet
  • Grocery List Sheet
  • Menu Planner Sheet
  • Family Calendar
  • To-Do List
  • Contact Sheet
  • Header Pages for Each Section

Wondering about our newsletter? The Mom Advice newsletters are a recap of all the happenings for the week and will make sure you never miss a post. It’s also where our subscribers can access the free printables and any additional freebies that we may offer ONLY TO NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.  It is beautiful, simple, mobile-friendly, and fast to scroll through.  I promise, I will never send you junk. I know your time is valuable and so is mine- I am committed to a very useful newsletter!

Note: If you can’t seem to get the form below to work with your browser, just look over to your right in the sidebar. You will see a handy form there too that works with all browsers! We appreciate you so much! Thank you! 



 This post contains affiliate links.


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Amy’s Notebook 04.22.15

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Nacho Party via Camille Styles

Source: Camille Styles


What a fun party idea!

I need to add a few of these apps to my life.

Wow, it’s easy to see the differences in this picture review of 100 mascaras.

33 writers share the books that inspired them to write.

The first yes is the deepest.

ALDI is a growing menace to America’s grocery retailers – and I’ll just keep saving…

Some thoughts on living on $29 a week for food.

25 simple lifehacks- I really love #2!

Fit Volunteering in Your Life

Source: Life Hacker


How to fit volunteering into your packed schedule.

10 things you should know about your dishwasher.

Since the 1980s, Jeff Bridges has done something incredible on the set of all his movies.

7 ways Mad Men obsessed over historical details.

Paying off the mortgage early- yay or nay?

Your dose of house inspiration: an old hospital becomes a home.

A list of new podcasts to try- any favorites?

Shorts for Mom via JoLynneShane

Source: JoLynne Shane


Shorts for moms.

DIY blowout tutorial.

The more you know- all about estheticians.

3 bright lip colors for spring.

I’m inspired to do a projects update.

Isn’t it ironic? No, it’s coincidence.

This report is not surprising at all.


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!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.21.15

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Black-Gingham Apron via Etsy

Source: Mao Lucky Shop,  $24.99.


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

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

Good luck to each of you!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Roasted Garlic Hummus from *This post is sponsored by Wild Oats.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

I am so excited to be joining in as a contributor with Wild Oats this year and to get the opportunity to share with you about this company as an affordable organic offering at Walmart stores. I will be sharing ideas each month over on their blog as well as sharing a monthly offering here showcasing a fresh dish that you can create in your own kitchen that is delicious and gluten-free! Be sure to check out my first post on their blog sharing my delicious Baked Pecan Chicken Tenders recipe that is my new favorite salad topper.

I am sure everyone has a bucket list of things they would love to learn to create in their kitchen. Hummus has been one of those things that I usually buy pre-packaged that I have always thought to myself, “I bet you could make that…and cheaper too!” Inspired by the Wild Oats Chickpeas on my store shelves, I knew that this was a sign that I should attempt this dish in my kitchen.

Roasted Garlic Hummus from

Making homemade hummus is so ridiculously easy that I am embarrassed it took me years to finally attempt this in my kitchen. Hummus can be made in a variety of flavors, but one of the flavors I love the most is the garlic hummus. To take this pantry staple to another level though, I roasted it in my oven with a little olive oil to create a deeper, richer flavor. Once the garlic is roasted, it is just a matter of whirling these chickpeas in your food processor along with spices, tahini, lemon juice, and a little water until you get the consistency you are after.

Where the heck is tahini in the grocery aisle? Good question (says the girl who visited many aisles where tahini was not). It is typically in the international foods aisles of stores or can be found at international markets, but can also be found in weird and random places like next to the olives in you standard grocery store.  Really, ask your grocer if you aren’t sure and don’t let a little thing like I don’t know how to say tahini or I don’t know what tahini looks like stop you from making this amazing dish. The best part is how long tahini lasts in your fridge so you can buy this and enjoy hummus all summer long. And you will. Because once you try this recipe, you will realize that homemade hummus really IS the best hummus to eat and you will be stockpiling those cans of chickpeas so you can enjoy this easy appetizer anytime you get the craving for it. Amen.

Roasted Garlic Hummus from

Roasted Garlic Hummus
Cuisine: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Once you try homemade hummus, you will never go back. Make this easy dish with canned chickpeas from Wild Oats.
  • 1 large head garlic
  • 2½ Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15 oz) can Wild Oats chickpeas, drained
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp water
  • Chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut about ¼-inch from top of garlic to expose tops of cloves for roasting.
  2. Place garlic head on a sheet of foil and drizzle 1½ tsp olive oil evenly over top of garlic. Wrap foil up around garlic and roast 35 - 45 minutes until golden brown on a cookie sheet. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. To your food processor add chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, salt and cumin then pulse mixture 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of food processor, add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, set aside 3 - 4 cloves of the garlic and add remaining (about 10 - 11) to food processor. Pulse 1 minute, then add water and pulse 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Plate hummus, make indentation in center and add 1 - 2 Tbsp more olive oil to taste (optional), then chop remaining roasted garlic cloves and sprinkle over top, sprinkle with parsley and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve with fresh veggies or gluten-free crackers. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy 

What is one dish that has been on your cooking bucket list? Anything you have tried with success that you were surprised about! Feel free to share here!

*This post is sponsored by Wild Oats.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!



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It’s The 3 Little Things (With Ashley): Mad Money Skills, Pearly Whites, & Gluten-Free Pancakes

Friday, April 17th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a happy Friday, indeed, for this girl as I am preparing for an overnight with my two best friends from my church camp days in Chicago. I get to travel a lot for work, but a trip just for me is a rarity and I’m so excited. I’m also happy that our bathroom renovations are finally done!  This week has been a mad scramble to get back on track with my work since my kiddos were on Spring Break. I am sure, just like every other mom, you understand the juggle struggle that happens as the school year comes to a close. Every day my mantra is, “I think I can, I think I can.”

Today we have Ashley from A Little Something Wonderful sharing a few things that are making her happy this week! Ashley is a frequent commenter on here and also a 3 things enthusiast. How lucky am I to get to share her list today? VERY lucky! 

If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to and I will share them in the upcoming weeks!

Let’s peek at Ashley’s favorites today!

Cash Envelope System

Cash Envelope System Wallet

My husband and I recently took Dave Ramsey’s course, Financial Peace University.  In addition to doing a monthly budget, we now also follow his recommendation for paying cash for many purchases.  While paying for cash has really transformed our budget and allowed us to save money and pay off debt every month, I was not a fan of the envelopes.  There was no place to keep change and they were flimsy.  Enter my favorite new wallet from Melissa’s etsy shop, A Time for Everything.  This wallet has amazing tabs to help divide and organize your cash into categories of spending (groceries, gas, etc.).  There is a separate zipper pocket for change, and pockets for cards, a driver’s license, and receipts.

Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse
I have a serious phobia of the dentist that causes me to take fanatical care of my oral health.  I recently found this amazing mouthwash that I have been loving lately.  Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse is described as part mouthwash, part toothpaste.  It works to repair and prevent a whole host of oral issues including gum pockets and receding gums, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, tartar, canker sores and toxic morning mouth.  It does all of this while also naturally whitening your teeth.  Free of harmful chemicals this brushing rinse also contains essential oils (which I love!).  This mouthwash is not overpowering and does not leave a weird aftertaste in your mouth.  After using it, your mouth just feels clean.
Birch Benders Pancake & Waffle Mix

Birch Bender Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix 

My husband loves pancakes on the weekends.  I was always so grouchy about making them because it meant mixing up a gluten free flour mix and creating pancakes from scratch.  I wouldn’t mind this except the pancakes often weren’t very good–either a weird flavor or a strange consistency–the joys of gluten free baking!  Last weekend while shopping at Whole Foods we saw this new to us product on the shelves and decided to give it a try–all you do is add water and cook up your flap jacks.  These were so delicious that I actually went back to double check the bag to confirm that they were in fact gluten free.  I can not recommend this mix enough!!!


How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Ashley, for generously sharing the happy today!


In my world… Capsule Wardrobe Ideas (current capsule HERE).  The April switch is one sweater out and silky floral pants in for the month. I think all sweaters are officially out of the wardrobe now. Did you get the memo, Indiana?  Are you following me on Instagram? I post 4 outfits each week!

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

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

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


Freebie Friday April 17, 2015

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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

This week on MomAdvice I am sharing a delicious recipe for baked pecan chicken tenders as well as two DIY articles in line with our April M Challenge of loving our homesDIY lampshade ideas and the DIY laundry, with recipes for detergent and dryer sheets. Mary Carver is also with us sharing tips to stay connected to your spouse during busy seasons – it’s terrific, as always!

Check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy,  find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
This Week’s Freebie Events: April 18 – 24
18th – Barnes & Noble: Join storytime featuring Aqualicious, 11 am
18th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Whirly Twirly Windmill, 11 am – 3 pm
18th & 19th – National Parks: Free Admission All Weekend
21st – Pottery Barn: Decorate a Biodegradable Flower Pot and Plant Seeds, 11 am
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The DIY Laundry: Detergent & Fabric Softener Sheets

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The DIY Laundry-Detergent and Softener Sheets

Have you ever thought about making your own laundry detergent and dryer sheets? While it’s not specifically around our M Challenge of Loving Your Home, thinking about our home made me think about the DIY projects that have helped to create a better environment for my family – one of which is our DIY Laundry! I love the control and confidence I have in making our own laundry essentials – it’s better for the environment and results in major savings with minimal time invested.

Ready to make your own? Here’s a little more on each project with a link to the original full article where you’ll find complete tutorials with photos and recipes:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

I have been making my own DIY fabric softener sheets for years – it’s an easy process that will stretch your softener further with nothing to throw away! Plus, they actually perform better than putting fabric softener in your washer compartment and you don’t have to worry about any staining on your fabrics.

They are also reusable – you can use each sheet about 20 times before they lose their effectiveness. But then it’s an easy step to repeat the process!

Go here for the steps to make your own fabric softener sheets – plus tips on other options if you don’t want to use commercial fabric softener:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making homemade detergent is easier than you might think and the cost comparison makes it worth the small amount of effort required. It’s naturally low-sudsing, making it perfect for using with HE washing machines and because it contains zero phosphates or fillers, it’s septic-friendly as well.

This homemade detergent is made up of three ingredients: Fels-Naptha (or Ivory Soap), Washing Soda, and Borax, which can be bought for around $8.00 total. Dividing the total materials required to make one batch of soap (the soap bar and 1 c. each of the remaining ingredients) equals a cost of $1.80-$1.90 for a batch. At one to two tablespoons per load, it comes in at around $.05, compared to $0.17-.0.21 per load of name brand detergents.

It also takes less time than you may think: I was able to make a triple batch of this soap in about fifteen minutes (and that is along with taking pictures for this tutorial). The real time-consuming process of it is grating the soap, but if you have a food processor, that can be accomplished in no time at all!

Go here for a picture tutorial of how to make your own laundry detergent, including photos of all the ingredients (and where to find them):

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Do you make any laundry items for your home? Have you made either of these after the original postings?


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Amy’s Notebook 04.15.15

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

How to Write a Thank You via The Morning News

Source: The Morning News


Fabulous advice on giving thanks.

Love these dresser details.

How to start running.

50 great genre-bending books everyone should read.

Could you do a work uniform?

My husband said this museum would be perfect for me.

8 secrets happy couples know.

50 wonderful things from 2014- bookmarking for anything I missed.

How not to Raise a Narcissist via NY Post

Source: New York Post


How not to raise a narcissist in 9 easy steps.

In love with this.

Reading this – and loving it. (noteaffiliate link)

Very excited to see this book turned into a film.

Yelp reviews of newborn babies.

Haven’t laughed this hard in a long time- if you have Netflix, it’s a good one!

The secret language of girls on Instagram.


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!


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DIY Lampshade Ideas

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

DIY Lampshade Ideas from

One of the quickest ways to update a room is to spruce up a lamp in your home and today I wanted to show you some easy and affordable ways to transform a lampshade from Goodwill. I love these ideas so much, in fact, that I have plans to add a new lamp or two to our space now for Spring! I hope you will be as inspired as I am by these bloggers and their incredible lampshade makeovers. This post fits so perfectly with our Love Your Home m challenge because it is one small way you can really personalize a room with your own DIY touch.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to see these fast & stylish DIY Lampshade ideas!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.14.15

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

gingham apron via Etsy

Source: Wild Rose Farms,  $20.00


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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