Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

The Good Life For Less Hits Store Shelves

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

I can think of no better way to start the New Year than to see your very own book sitting on a bookshelf. We made a family field trip over to our local Barnes & Noble to take a peek at my book on the shelves. It is both exciting and completely surreal at the same time. In all my life, I never imagined this moment would ever happen. We are simply OVER THE MOON with excitement.

We created enough of a scene with our shutter happiness that another couple headed to the checkout counter with one of my books in their hand and tracked me down to sign their book.

Chad & Angie, if you happen to see this picture, know that this made the moment even more special for our family.

One of us may have been a little confused about what exactly we were celebrating. Emily insisted on wearing her fabulous NYE accessories for our outing. I felt like I was with a real life Ramona Quimby as she stomped her feet and tooted her New Year’s horn all through the Barnes & Noble parking lot and screamed…

“MY MOMMY’S AN AUTHOR!!!!!”

Who could ever refuse a joyful noise like that?

Many more details soon on some exciting booking signings and events happening (maybe in your area!) Be sure to head over to this week’s giveaway where we are giving away 5 signed copies of THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS.

 

 

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Giveaway Closed: 5 Autographed Copies of, “The Good Life For Less!”

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Sorry! This giveaway is now closed! We would like to congratulate our five winners!  Sheri (#128), Elaine (#41), Renee (#148), Carrie (#201), &  Michelle (#32) on winning these books! Thank you again for entering and your love & support for this book!

 

This is a big week for our family as my book, “The Good Life for Less,” will be hitting bookstore shelves on January 2nd. I have waited so many years for this book of my words to be printed and I can think of no better way to start the year than with this big moment in our life.

I know my readers are very frugal (that is why you are here, after all!) so I wanted to share with you a little bit about why this book would be a great investment for your bookshelf and also offer you the opportunity to win a copy of it to save your family the expense of buying it!

 

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

Here is a little bit more background on what my book and family is all about:

THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS is about thrifty homemaking with heart. As a Walmart Mom and spokesperson for companies like Kenmore and Minute Maid, I am sharing the tricks and tips our family has adopted to help other families create a quality life while being able to stay within budget. Filled with clever ideas for families living on a budget, THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS provides guidance, tools, and inspiration to run happy households, such as:

  • Create a family budget book to track what money goes where, and utilize one of the free financial programs out there, such as Mint.com, to find spending leaks, or try out your spending habits by adopting the envelope system or a cash-only approach to spending. One way to jump-start your savings is by paying for everything with bills, and accumulating the change into a savings account.
  • Take advantage of online freebies such as Ebates.com and Swagbucks.com to find discounts and bonuses for shopping for necessities.
  • Delicious and affordable recipes such as rosemary ranch chicken kabobs, baked blueberry donuts with a lemon glaze, Italian veggie and pasta soup, and parmesan crusted pork chops that stretch every cent and utilize the efficient tools in your kitchen, such as the slow-cooker, to enable you more time with your kids instead of behind the stove.
  • Many people take advantage of the layaway programs featured at retailers, but also try to buy in bulk, shop off-season, and subscribe to daily deal sites, so your budget won’t take such a hit around the holidays. Buying in bulk lets you save money and pay less than at the grocery store, especially for meat, which you can divide up into 1 or 2 pound packages and freeze.
  • Take a look at your bills and utilities; be sure there is no double billing (perhaps a credit card got swiped twice at a register). If everyone in your house has a cell phone, do you really need a traditional landline plan, or could you switch to a nearly free provider like Vonage. Know what your appliances cost; one easy way to save on gas bills is to do your laundry with cold water, which cuts between 50-90% off a load of wash using hot water.

THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS will give you this and more information, tools, and inspiration to maximize every cent of the family paycheck.

By living leaner, you and your family will gain financial stability, and as I state in my book, “living frugally has made me so much more aware of our family’s every blessing, great and small. It’s a richness that money can’t buy.” Empowering your family with the knowledge to make the best financial decisions will only bring you closer together, and give you even more enjoyment out of the time you spend together.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

Today I want to share with you the opportunity to win a signed copy of my book. I will be giving away 5 copies this week in celebration of my book launch and to thank you all for your love and support of us over the last nine years. 

To enter to win a signed copy of, “The Good Life For Less“:

• First Entry: Leave a comment and tell me why you need this book in your life!

• Additional Entry: Let us know you are a fan of MomAdvice and join the MomAdvice Facebook Community.

• Additional Entry: Follow me on Twitter and stay up-to-date on current book promotions, giveaways, and advice on living a frugal life.

• Additional Entry: Fan my Author Profile on GoodReads or add my book to your to-be-read pile.

Five winners, chosen at random, will receive a signed copy of my first book.  Please submit your entries by Tuesday (01/08) at 8PM EST. Our winner will be drawn at random. Good luck, everyone! We are so thankful for each of you!

 

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National Blogging Day of Remembrance

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Good Life for Less Book Update

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

There are no words to explain seeing and holding your book for the first time. Last week a box arrived on my doorstep from Penguin and, with shaky hands, I opened the book and drank it all in. The only thing that even comes close to this experience is the birth of my children.

Last week I received an email that nearly brought me to my knees. My editor emailed to let me know that we had already sold the first print run of the book and they had to reprint it.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that, can you? 

The big question I am always asked is how you even begin the process of writing a book. My experience getting published was a unique one because it came through a truly unique opportunity for our family. Several years ago, I had replied to a media inquiry for a magazine that was looking for families that choose to live a life without credit cards. I submitted our family as an example and shared that we also had celebrated paying off our credit cards with our kids by throwing a debt-free party with them. They loved this unique spin on debt-free living and sent a team out to my house to photograph me for Redbook and wrote a feature on us. It was, perhaps, the most glamorous day of my life and I couldn’t believe all of these people were in our little house in Granger.

That magazine somehow landed in the hands of a literary agent who reached out to me and asked if I had ever considered writing a book.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

 
Of course, the process of going from a blog and freelance article writer to a book writer was a difficult one. The entire process took me three years, mainly due to my own obstacles with running my site and running after small children.  When we finally sold the book, I had only gone over the first hurdle. You see, with nonfiction books, you sell your proposal before you sell a book.  Writing the proposal is writing the blueprint for what you envision the book will look like. It sets up the skeleton of how it will all look, but it is not the book.

Once that was sold, I still had a book to write.

I remember talking to another author about how I had never realized what a process this all would be and he shared with me that it isn’t really about how talented of a writer you are, it is just if you have the endurance to get through the process of publishing a book. I now understand.

When I finally received a copy of my book in my hands after all that writing, it was a big girl’s little girl dream come true. I don’t know if I ever will get over how incredibly incredible it all is.  You see, even as a child, I wanted to be a writer and to write my very own book.

I remember sitting and listening to my teachers read to me and rolling around words and phrases in my head and mouth because I loved them so much. I wished that I could have that power with words that my words would someday get stuck in their heads the way they did in mine.

One of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary and now that I am rereading her books with my daughter, it brings even more joy to me as I roll the words around in my mouth again and her stories bring new meaning to me as an adult.

When I was a kid,  I used to type furiously on an old typewriter in my parent’s basement, writing my own little books of stories of my own imagination. My mother can also attest to the elaborate storytelling (that’s how I like to think of it) and my power at embellishing every story I told. I wanted more than anything to be a writer.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

 
When my husband suggested I start a blog for my ideas, it turned out to be a fantastic outlet for me when I first became a stay-at-home mom and has fed that creative part of my brain so well over the years. I could be a “published author,” simply by hitting a button to post my words. Granted, it was publishing that anyone can do, but I have always treated it like my life’s work to write words and have people read them. More empowering is when someone reads your words and then they share with you how you have changed their lives through them.

If you have followed me over the years, you have seen the evolution of the blog, the words, and the found love for creating beautiful images with those words. If there is one thing I have learned it is that there is always the potential to do and be better. I am still evolving.

I hope you will be able to pick up my book and read more about our family’s journey out of debt and unemployment and into a life far richer than we could have ever imagined…in all the important ways.

The book will be out on bookstore shelves on January 2nd (a slight shift in dates due to our reprinting), but is now available for pre-order.  Here are some options for great places to order it! I also encourage you to hit your local bookstore to pick it up! 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Walmart

Powell’s

Indiebound

My first book signing will be on January 19th from 2-4 PM at the Mishawaka Barnes & Noble Store in the University Park Mall.  Feel free to accept my invitation to join me on that day. I will admit, I am SUPER nervous about that. I can just picture me and my mom sitting at a table alone.

To crickets. 

You don’t want that do you? I would be so honored to meet you all and please forgive me ahead of time about  knowing everyone’s name. I know Facebook faces, Twitter profile handles, and can recognize you on IG… BUT I tend to have an old lady brain and can’t always remember actual names! That is the other part I am nervous about so I thought I would say that in advance!

Thank you all for your continued love and support for me through this project.  I find myself randomly bursting into tears when I think of how kind everyone has been to us through this process and the genuine excitement from our friends about all of it.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Sponsor Spotlight: Flourish Boutique (Coupon Code)

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Today I just wanted to say thank you to one of our advertising sponsors that has been so good to me over the years. Flourish Boutique is known for not only helping women find outfits and accessories to make them feel special, but also for being a unique but affordable places to shop. Most items run from around $30-$100 for their customers.

Boutique shopping may seem out of the budget, but what I think makes Flourish special is their  great sales and a Steal of the Day program too; where a new inventory item is guaranteed to be $9.99 or less! If you happen to be a local, they also offer a fun Overstock room upstairs where I have been able to score many great deals for a fraction of the price and an annual sale where you can shop at truly deep discounts.

I get a lot of great compliments on the clothing I wear and it is through my partnership with Flourish that I get to look so great. I like to stand out at conferences and feel confident in the clothing I wear. Here are some examples of beautiful things I have worn this year from our sponsor!

I love clothing that is very feminine, ladylike, and I love pretty ruffles and embellishments to my outfits. As you can see, the store offers just that with those little details that I love. The only hard thing is that the clothing is so darn memorable that people remember when I wore the outfits last so I have to keep adding to my outfits to switch them up.

I never wear something from the store and not get stopped or complimented. Even when we spent the day in Chicago, people would stop me on the street and ask where I got my necklace or dress. It got to the point that my husband claimed, he was just “an accessory to the Amy show.”

True story!

The store offers online shopping so if you don’t live around here, you can still partake of all of the amazing deals and steals that the store offers on their website. MomAdvice customers receive a 25% discount code. Just enter WEB25 when you checkout!

Thank you again to Flourish for being a valued supporter of MomAdvice.

My husband thanks you too!

 

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Freebie Friday: June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week. Be sure to swing by the site to get the scoop on loads of deals, freebies, and coupons happening in your area!

This week on MomAdvice you can get some last minute Father’s Day gift inspiration, grab a recipe for an easy basic vinaigrette that you can use to dress your salads, find out how to make your very own DIY Fridge Salad Bar,  grab our free printable chore and tech time tickets to help you and your kids stay on track this summer, see what we are tackling on our summer bucket list, and a great list of 160 giveaways to enter this week.

I have had lots of questions about the notebook this week. I am sorry I couldn’t get to it. I am a mom with two kiddos at home for the summer and am in the middle of a juggling act to complete all of the assignments I have for all of my freelance clients, the edited book manuscript was due this week, and I am trying to maintain the blog. I am the only one that works on the site so it is difficult to keep all the balls in the air sometimes. My apologies to those that were disappointed, but this summer (as all summers are) will be a struggle to always maintain every element of the site. Please follow me on Pinterest for items that would be highlighted in the notebook this week. Thank you for being understanding!  

 

Health & Beauty

Poise Liners Sample
Fekkai Glossing or Technician Color Care Collection Sample (Costco members)

Entertainment

Dog-Themed Preschool Printable Pack
Summer Fun eBook
$5 Cracker Barrel Gift Card
Redbox Video Game Rental: Text SCREEN to 727272
“Brave” Digital Book

Photo

8×10 Photo Enlargement from Walgreens with code PRINT8X10

Home

Paint Quart from Ace Hardware

This Week’s Freebie Events

June 15th – 22nd

15 - Michael’s: Make a Duck Tape Wallet for Dad, 6 pm – 8 pm.

16 -  Lakeshore Learning: Create a Hanging Key Keeper, 11 am – 3pm.

16 - Michael’s: Decorate a Father’s Day Shirt or Tie, 10 am – 12 pm.

16 - Toys R Us: Create a Batman or Superman Shield with Lego Bricks, 2 pm – 4 pm.

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It’s Another 100 Days of Summer Pinterest Board!!!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I had the best time last summer creating our very first 100 days of summer activities board for our family to do and share with you. We had over 6,000 followers to that board and heard from many of you that the board inspired you to tackle fun projects with your kids.

Since that time I have been getting emails and comments requesting that we do another 100 days of summer list with you again! How could we turn away your cries of longing for cool stuff to do with your kids, sweet treats to share with them, and great craftiness on a dime?

I am so excited to share with you the 100 days of summer (’12) edition where you can get another amazing round-up of 100 ideas to inspire your summer bucket list. As I was gathering these ideas, I began to get more and more excited about the summer ahead and what we could do together.

This list has everything from making homemade butterbeer drinks for those Harry Potter enthusiasts, to making homemade shrinky dinks, to getting back to the basics with great dinner discussions with great family conversation starters.

There is something for everyone on here- boys and girls of all ages and craft levels. The best part is that they are ALL budget-friendly and will cost you very little in supplies.

I am looking forward to tackling our own summer list and will be documenting our projects through mobile pictures.You can catch me on Instagram, fellow iPhone and Droid users, where I am documenting our summer.  Just search for the username momadvice. Just as a side note, I try to always answer all the comments on my pictures if I can. If you have questions about projects we are doing or just want to say hello, I will do my best to respond! 

I still will be sharing our apron full of giveaways and our notebook of inspiration each week. I will also have fresh content through my freelance writing jobs with Snackpicks, Kenmore, Goodwill, Glad, & Walmart that will keep our site fully loaded with great ideas for your summer. Best of all, a weekly meal planner will be available to you to help you plan your summer menus.

On Tuesdays though, I will be sharing what we are working on from our summer list through mobile pictures and quick notes on what fun activities we are doing at our house. I am hoping it will be an inspiration to you to get out and enjoy the summer with your children. I can’t say we will tackle a hundred activities, but I will be awfully proud if we do one cool activity a week.

I hope you will enjoy our laid-back inspiration this summer!  I want to enjoy every moment I have with these two kids- my time with them is so fleeting and precious to me. I plan to soak up every moment with them that I can.

Cheers to an amazing summer with your families!

If you’d like, you can follow all of my Pinterest Boards here!

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Easy Cake Batter Ice Cream

Monday, May 14th, 2012


Last summer I got an ice cream maker for $20 at our local ALDI store. I was excited to try making homemade ice cream, but wasn’t willing to make an investment into my dream Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker until I figured out if ice cream making was something we would actually enjoy doing together. I am happy to say our little $20 purchase paid for itself over and over again since we enjoyed several fun varieties of ice cream.

Last week we had a new reason to break out our ice cream maker. We finally turned in the manuscript for, “The Good Life for Less,” to my Editor. My day has felt so divided between all of my client’s projects, my children and all of their school projects/activities, the book, and the blog. We all agreed that a party would be in order for this momentous family occasion. It is bringing a small fraction of my day back to me.

This cake batter ice cream is, by far, my favorite recipe for ice cream. There is no cooking of ingredients required, I usually have all of the ingredients on hand in my refrigerator, and the cake mix can be your own favorite variety or a cake mix that you need to use up in your cupboard. It is so rich and creamy and tastes just like your favorite ice cream shop, without the hefty price tag!

Top this ice cream with a few of your favorite sprinkles and find a reason to celebrate something in your family. Perhaps, it is the beginning of summer, a great report card, or just celebrating how awesome and amazing your child is. Party hats are optional, but sprinkles are not!


Easy Cake Batter Ice Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Choose any variety of cake mix or even a brownie mix to add to this deliciously rich ice cream. Top with your favorite toppings for a fun sundae party at home!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup skim milk, well chilled
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup cake mix (you can use any variety of cake mix or brownie mix)
Instructions
  1. Place freezer bowl of ice cream maker into the freezer. Chill the freezer bowl for a minimum of 24 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps.
  5. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes). Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate freezer-safe container.
  6. Place freezer bowl and the ice cream into the freezer to further harden (at least three hours).
  7. Serve with your favorite sundae toppings.

 

 

Here are a few pictures of our Manuscript Done, Party for Four….

My hubby ran to the grocery store and picked up some party hats for us. My best friend contributed a bottle of bubbly grape juice for our little party. For our celebration dinner, I made my favorite Chicken Lo Mein, baked brown rice, steamed edamame, and this delicious ice cream. We finished our party, as all good parties should, with a little karaoke on our Craigslist-purchased Xbox. It was the perfect party with the perfect people!

You can always follow our family through Instagram! It is a fun little photo app for your iPhone or Droid. I am momadvice and would love to be friends with you on there!

 

Have you made homemade ice cream before? Have any recipes, techniques, or tools you use to make your family’s favorite summer treat?

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A Behind the Scenes Look at, “The Good Life for Less”

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
(found on Pinterest- original source unknown)

 

These past few months have been among the most chaotic in my life, but also have come with many great rewards. This week we hand in the manuscript for my first book, “The Good Life for Less,”  (written with Jana Murphy).  It will be such a relief to not have that looming over our heads and to finally move on to another step in the process of publishing our book in January.

I have learned that the process of writing a book is one of the most agonizing, painful, and rewarding experiences that I have ever encountered. I am thankful for the amazing team that I have had, from my literary agent who was biggest cheerleader, to my co-writer who added the polish to my words and saw the vision of my book, to my editor who has held my hand through each stage.

When it came to the cover, I had a clear idea of what I wanted on the cover of my book. I wanted something that was pastel and illustrated inside and out. When I spoke to the publisher though they said that everything on the market on saving money was pastel and illustrated right now. They wanted this book to stand out among the crowd.

Our family pictures had caught their eye, taken by my dear friend Nancy Lary of Nancy Lary Studios (photo credit for the above photo). They wondered if they could see more of our pictures. After seeing these photos, they asked us how we felt about our family being the cover of the book.

I had a long talk with my kids about how they felt about it. I have always made it their choice, especially as they have gotten older, on if they want to be photographed for the blog or any of the other media appearances that I have done. Their response?

Ethan, “I am going to start practicing an epic pose for the cover.”

Emily, “I know why they want me on the cover of the book. Because I am awesome.”

Clearly, they were not the issue.

Who was the issue with the book cover?

Myself.

Don’t love the book? That’s okay! The illustrated me can take the criticism. For a long time on the site, we only had an illustrated version of me. Which suited me fine. It has taken a lot of bravery for me to come to terms with our family on the cover, but I also understand that it will make us more real and (hopefully) easier to relate to another mom reading the book.

After it was decided that we would be the cover family, it was a flurry of activity to pull everyone and everything together. Outfits were selected for the kids, I ordered and shopped for a dozen different options for myself, coffee was drank, our fabulous photographer was secured, more coffee was drank, a location was selected (my girlfriend, Andy, offered her beautifully renovated kitchen to us), and my best friend was on standby to take all my meltdown calls about dresses not being shipped, what props to choose, and how I was going to coordinate all these people on a Sunday afternoon.

Some small miracle occurred and everything came together. I still can’t believe our luck.

My baby girl looked amazing on this special day. The hairspray was flying and the curling iron was on full blast. After much primping, my Emily looked like a cover model. We are so thankful to Jesica Keller at, “That Hair Place,” in Mishawaka, Indiana, for coming in on her day off to make Emily & I look so fabulous. She is a fantastic hairstylist and I can’t recommend her services enough. If you live in the Michiana area, please hire her for your hair. You won’t regret it!

I am also so thankful to Gabrielle Thompson, from GabGlam,  for doing my make-up for this shoot. Gabrielle did my make-up for our Redbook Magazine photo shoot and I knew she was just the girl for the job. She is an amazing make-up artist with endless talent. If you live in the Michiana area, please keep her in mind for your next event! She is truly a miracle worker, especially for this tired mama with big bags and circles under her eyes!

I was so lucky to get to have my sweet friend Nancy of Nancy Lary Studios shoot this for our family. She has become one of my dearest friends and I was so happy that we got to have her capture our family. She does amazing lifestyle portrait sessions for families in the Michiana area. I would highly recommend hiring her for your next family photo.

My best friend, Becky, came and helped with everything from food props to doing the behind-the-scenes photography. She is truly the best and the first person I call when something big goes on in my life. I am so thankful to her for being a part of this day for our family. I could not imagine my life without her!

Here is my whole team- Andy (Nancy’s “assistant,” maker of great coffee, provider of the most awesome kitchen, a fantastic cheerleader always), Nancy, myself, & Becky. I am so lucky to have got to share this day with my amazing friends. I am truly, truly blessed.

Of course, the biggest supporter to this day was my husband. I never get tired of this guy. He spent hours and hours playing board games with the kids while I was changing outfits and getting my make-up touched up. He pushed me when I was ready to give up on this project and he believed in this book from the day we talked about it. I am forever grateful that God gave me such an amazing life partner.

I can’t wait to see what the cover ends up looking like and can’t wait to see it on bookshelves in January ’13!

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Our Top 11 Posts of 2011

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

What a wonderful year 2011 was for our site and our family. I am so happy that our readership continues to grow and this year I wanted to highlight our top 11 posts from 2011.  Thanks to a little thing called Pinterest, I am finding recipes and projects are being shared in a really big way and that makes my heart so happy.

Thank you for sharing our site with others.

Thank you for your continued support.

Thank you for your comments.

I can’t tell you what they mean to me.

Here are the top 11 posts that happened on MomAdvice this year:

 

1. Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

There was a latte of latte loving this year as I tried to recreate every possible coffee creation that I loved from Starbucks. Apparently, you all were looking for a few homemade creations of your own. This is some yummy stuff and lots of helpful comments on this entry to customize your Salted Caramel Mocha Latte to your own level of latte perfection.

 

2. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

The latte loving all began with this drink and recreating my favorite pumpkin treat at Starbucks. I can happily say that I rarely ordered one of these this fall thanks to this handy little recipe. It’s nice to know when Starbucks pulls a drink off of their menu, I can still get my midday fix.

3. DIY Tissue Paper Pom Poms

I love homemade decorations for my parties and these tissue paper pom poms were a big hit at our parties this year. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t show you how to do it yourself? These are unbelievably easy and so inexpensive to create. Visit our picture-by-picture tutorial for the scoop.

 

4. 36 Handmade Gift Ideas

I am pretty proud of the assortment of inexpensive and beautiful gifts we create over here.  This round-up of just 36 of my favorites was a hit this holiday season as everyone was hunting for unique gifts to give this year.  I am excited to add many more handmade gift options to our site in 2012. For now, I hope you can create a few of these for upcoming gift exchanges.

5. A Yarn Wreath For All Seasons

This year I started working with Walmart working on their DIY channel and sharing projects you can create from their store. I have always wanted a yarn wreath you could enjoy all year long and this was my brainchild for homes with small storage (like mine!). I can’t wait to gussy her up for Valentine’s Day and share how you can continue to accessorize this wreath for your door. For now, find out how to make one of these easy creations for your home!

6. The Perfect Pink Barbie Cake Tutorial

This past year was the year of the Barbie at our house. I won’t lie. I was pretty pumped about this party. Before she was a twinkle in my eye, I wanted to do a Barbie cake and I finally got my chance. This tutorial documents how to create a really fun pink Barbie birthday cake for a special little girl in your life.

PS- This picture is still one of my absolute favorites of all time of her. Isn’t she the cutest?

7. Homemade Gingerbread Latte

I really thought this was going to be the year of the donuts on the site, but you proved me wrong.  This Homemade Gingerbread Latte was a big hit for the holiday season and just think about how much money you save every time you make one of these at home. The best part was sipping this and never getting out of my pajamas. You can’t beat that!

8. Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Truth be told, the Peppermint Mocha is still one of my all-time favorite drinks at Starbucks…but… once I started making these at home,  I am not loving the Starbucks version as much as my homemade version. This post offers a recipe for a simple peppermint syrup that you can add to your drinks and keep on hand in your fridge whenever the Peppermint Mocha Latte urge hits you.  These are so delicious and one of my favorite recipes on our site.

9. Grilled Ground Beef Gyros

All I have to say to this is that you have some very good taste. These grilled ground beef gyros are as good as my favorite gyro joint and I even share a few secrets for making those pitas in your bread machine. I am thrilled to see that these made the top eleven posts on our site.

10. Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Brownies

I am excited to see that I am not the only one enjoying the sweet and salty combinations that are trending in the food world this year. These dark chocolate & sea salt brownies may have made me famous in some small circles. These are absolutely heavenly and are one of my favorite creations I made in the kitchen this year.

11. 100 Days of Summer

I was inspired to share with you 100 activities you could do with your children over the summer break this year. The response to this board was overwhelming and it was so fun to see everyone gaining summer inspiration through this board. We actually used the board ourselves and documented our summer through Instagram.

I was excited to do this for me, but also for my kids. It was a fun way to share with you our summer in a more informal manner. I am so glad you loved this one as much as we did!

(First Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios)

 

What would you like to see happen on MomAdvice in 2012? I look to you for my inspiration!