Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

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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Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

I love the concept of Friendsgiving and plan to continue this special tradition – the giving to both our friends AND our added component of giving to our community at the same time makes this a perfect post to share again with our November M Challenge Focus on Giving. I hope you all are inspired – it really is a wonderful time!

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

This post is sponsored by Walmart AND ALL PROCEEDS WERE DONATED.

I feel like such a lucky mom to have so many incredible women in my life. Most of these friendships started when I was a new mom still trying to figure out the ropes of motherhood.  Now my kids are growing up, but I need them as much as I did in the early days. Unfortunately, our schedules have all become so crazy that it becomes nearly impossible to get our group together anymore. I decided a few weeks ago that I really wanted to see them all before the holidays took over and we all began to hibernate for the Indiana winter. I invited them to my home for my first annual Friendsgiving feast to share in a meal together before the holidays and I couldn’t wait to share about it with you.

Let me disclose by saying that I wanted to make this as easy on myself as possible and, if you are considering hosting a feast of your own, I would advise you do the same. I wanted to do it on budget, make it as effortless as possible, and I wanted the cooking to be easy too.

Here is how I executed the world’s easiest Friendsgiving Feast and helped give to our community in the process.

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Create a Facebook Event (And Get Positive Responses)

Like I said, my friends are crazy busy and getting our group together is nearly impossible. Instead of setting up an event and shooting blindly in the dark for a date or receiving a million responses and being responsible for sorting people/dates, I utilize Doodle to schedule get togethers. Simply plug in the dates and times that will work for you and send out the link to the scheduling tool for each person to vote for the days that work best for them. Once you receive the responses you can set the date for the one that received the most positive response.

Once you have the date, it couldn’t be easier to invite your friends especially since everyone (at least in my group) is on Facebook. I just put up an event and asked that everyone respond there. It was easy to create, to monitor, and gave me an accurate headcount for making food purchases. Make sure that you set the privacy to, “Invite Only” for viewing otherwise everyone who is a friend can see a response (and might not be included- ouch!) I admit, the only time I wish I had a bigger house is when I host events like this. Believe me, Invite Only for viewers is the way to go.

Herb Roasted Turkey

You Supply the Turkey, They Supply the Fixins’

Last year I hosted my family for Thanksgiving all while photographing each and every dish for the site. This year I wanted to take an easier approach so I offered to supply the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, but requested that each person bring their own dish and a bottle of wine to share. To make sure all the categories were filled, I utilized Jooners to create a sign-up sheet for dishes. Be sure to specify what you need under the, “Needed,” box. That is where I asked for side dishes, desserts, bread, and appetizers. This will help you have a well-rounded feast and since everyone can fill in the dish they are bringing, it  helps cut down on anyone bringing the same dish.

Not only did I do store-bought stuffing and gravy, I purchased turkey breasts (here is my favorite method of preparation) instead of dealing with the bones and carving. It killed me a little bit to do this when I know I could do so much more, but this also helped me to truly enjoy the evening with my friends and allowed me to not worry about laboring over dishes and missing out on all the fun together. Not to mention the cost factor that I saved on by having everyone help me with dishes and drinks.

Decorate Store Bought Pies

Of course, there is always our make-ahead feast that gets you out of the kitchen that day altogether!  Here are my make-ahead mashed potatoes, make-ahead fresh green bean casserole, make-ahead gravy, make-ahead stuffing, make-ahead cranberry sauce, make-ahead appetizers, make-ahead rolls, make-ahead pie crust, and even some great make-ahead ways to dress up a store-bought pie… just to name a few!

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece

Invest in Smart Party Supplies That You Use Over & Over Again

Over the years we have hosted so many gatherings that I have accumulated an arsenal of tools so that I can pull a get together at a moment’s notice.  I honestly didn’t buy a thing other than disposable cups for our get together, but that is because I have invested over the years and I try to create handmade items that can double as centerpieces if I don’t have time to run out and purchase fresh flowers.

The things that I have used the most over the years:

Centerfold Table- I bought this three years ago and I use it at least three times a year. It has a handle on it and folds down the center making it easy to pack up and take it if you need to and also making it easy to store when you don’t.  I purchased this tablecloth (you can see it here in a game day party I did awhile back) because it was stain-resistant.  To save on time ironing, I just wash it and then spread it on the table the night before since it is so lightweight and dries quickly without even going through the dryer. It helps cut down on wasting time ironing and is wrinkle-free in the morning.


Elegant Plastic Dishes- Elegance and plastic might not seem like they go together, but plastic dishes have come a long way. I hosted a shed-warming party (totally a thing!) this summer and since we had so many guests coming, I decided to buy twenty of these dishes. If you go to Walmart, you can purchase the plates individually, which is exactly what I did.  Unfortunately (but then fortunately), they didn’t have enough in a single style so I ended up getting three different styles which adds a bit of fun to the dinner table. I love that these are lightweight and can be reused over and over again.

DIY Bar Cart

Bar Cart- This summer I transformed a tool cart into a bar cart and it is truly one of my favorite entertaining tools. Since we live in a small home (which we are very committed to) we don’t have a lot of counters or surfaces to use for putting out drinks and food. My bar cart resides in my shed, but I wheel it in when I am entertaining and it offers a fun place to tuck bottles of wine and glasses.

Inexpensive Silverware- I actually hit our local restaurant supply store for inexpensive silverware that reminds me of some of my favorite diners. There is never a shortage of forks, spoons, or knives at our home.

Decor That Can Be Used Over & Over Again- I love to craft and in the back of my mind, I am always thinking how I can weave these items into our seasonal decorating especially when it comes to the holidays. For our Friendsgiving feast my Knitted Leaf Centerpiece was perfect for my table (and is on display year-round in my craft room). This winter the table will be adorned with these Yarn Pom Pom Trees that I made. Think of creating something that you can get out every year and that can save you money when entertaining.


REALLY Make it a FriendsGIVING

I have some truly generous friends so I called upon them to assist me with giving back to our community.  First, I asked each of them to take a moment to clear out their pantries so that we could make a donation to my church’s food pantry. Right before the holidays is a great time to clear some space and make room for all of those items you will need to tackle your holiday baking and dishes.

The shelter that I have helped in the past where we achieved our MomAdvice Big Give, the Elkhart Faith Mission, is a charity that I love to support. Longtime readers may recall the MomAdvice Big Give we executed with them. Here is a little throwback footage for you.

It costs a mere $.1.79 to give a Thanksgiving meal to one person at the shelter. I left an envelope out and asked if anyone felt like giving that they could donate as little as two bucks to give someone something to look forward to for the holidays.

Consider making a true FriendsGIVING experience and find a scraps of life way to give back or gather together to make care packages for the homeless.

Faith Mission of Elkhart

Each year I like to dedicate one post from Walmart to those in need and today’s post is for the families heading to Faith Mission that need a holiday dinner to look forward to.  

I understand that sponsored posts aren’t always the favorite posts here, but the proceeds from this post today and the donations I collected fed 187 PEOPLE a Thanksgiving meal and many of our posts this year gave a community of  people clean water this year.  How cool is that? Please support our sponsors because they do help many- perhaps, more than you realize! 

I hope my Friendsgiving inspires you to give back to your community and to throw a get together with your own amazing friends!

Have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving? Any tips or tricks you would like to share!


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Fall Wreaths That Wow

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Fall Wreaths That Wow from

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Of course, the first thing our guests see when they pull up to our house is our front door adorned with a festive wreath for the occasion. I have made a lot of wreaths over the years. In fact, I used to shadow a silk florist at one of my first jobs and she taught me so much about creating beautiful wreaths.

Today I want to talk about dressing up a doorway, mirror, window, wall, or frame in your house with a fall wreath that really wows. There is just something so great about a well-dressed door. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to create a beautiful wreath and I have a stunning collection to share with you today of unexpected ways to decorate.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find some great ideas for creating beautiful fall wreaths today!

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DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

This post is sponsored by Airheads. Thank you for supporting the companies that support us! 

Are you a skilled decorator of cakes? I wish I was, but I am not!  I have never been good with fondant decorating and have always found the flavor lacking. Thankfully, there is a delicious substitute lurking in the candy aisle that you can mold & shape into whatever your heart’s desire is. Did you know Airheads candy can add that decorative touch to your cake decorating in just a few easy steps?

Today’s tutorial shows you how to transform Airheads into the perfect crown cake topper in just 5 easy steps. Wouldn’t this be a great princess cake? The best part is that, unlike fondant, it tastes sweet and delicious and will be a crown worth fighting for when those slices are dished up. For those with food allergies, it is also peanut and gluten-free! Yay!

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

Supplies Needed:

Airheads (I used Blue Raspberry, Cherry, & White Mystery for my crown)

Mini cookie cutters- metal or plastic, I used a heart with a jagged edging

Parchment Paper

Fondant Roller

Cake (we picked ours up in the bakery section of our supermarket)

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from


  1. Pull out 3 cherry Airheads and line them up in one long line, slightly overlapping the edges. Place these between two sheets of parchment paper and roll with a fondant roller to smooth out your seams. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect because we will be adding a dot detail to camouflage any flaws on the crown. Set aside.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

  1. Microwave a white mystery Airheads for 3-5 seconds and then roll them out between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a mini heart shaped cookie cutter, press the cookie cutter firmly into the white mystery Airheads and pull up. Push the heart shape out gently and then place it upside down (with your heart tip pointing up) to create your crown points. Do this all the way around, layering one heart between two hearts as pictured. Feel free to microwave and re-roll the Airheads to get as many hearts as you can out of each one.  Press these firmly into the crown and continue layering until you get to the end.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

  1. Bring one end of the crown, to the other to create your shape. Using your fingers, gently rub the seam in a bit to create a smooth finish. Set your crown aside.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

  1. Grab your Blue Raspberry Airheads and pull off small sections of the candy and roll between your hands until you have created a dot shape. Take the dot and press firmly into the crown, spacing it as evenly as possible to add a decorative detail to finish.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from


  1. Place the crown in the refrigerator until it is time for your cake so it can harden up a bit and to help it keep its shape. Once it is cake time, remove from the fridge and rest it on the top of your cake. How easy is that?


DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from


DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from

 For more fun ideas on how to craft with Airheads visit and follow them on Pinterest. To learn more about Airheads candy visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

This post is sponsored by Airheads. Thank you for supporting the companies that support us! 

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How to Cable: Knitted Ear Warmers For Those In Need

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

As a knitter, I am often intimidated by things that look too complex. I find myself gravitating towards things that I think will be easier and not even considering things that I think will take me out of my knitting comfort zone. Cabling was one of those things for many years. It looked far too complex and I can barely handle the basics of knitting. Here’s the thing. It is truly one of the easiest things you can do in knitting especially when you know a few of my favorite tricks for cabling quickly. Today I want to show you how to cable and how this project can benefit someone in need.

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

This is the time of the year where the homeless and those in need really need us. When the temperatures drop and you are in that cold-in-your-bones zone, you are welcomed by the warmth of your home, maybe a fire, and a hot drink to settle in with when you arrive home. What if you had nowhere to escape?  Worse yet, imagine you were out in the cold without the warmth of a hat, gloves, or a scarf.  Let’s think also of the children whose family can’t afford these simple luxuries of warmth.

You can’t knit a hat? I get it! Those double-pointed needles are a pain in the rear, aren’t they? That is why I thought a simple knitted headband would be a great option for gift-giving and for a quick gift to share with those in need. In fact, I highly recommend knitting a few of these for your homeless care packages to keep in your car.

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

Supplies Needed

Any Bulky Yarn (My top preferences for this project are the Lion Brand Hometown USA & Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick)

US 11 Bamboo Needles

US 10 Double-Pointed Needles (you just need one!)

Optional: Stitch Counter (to help you stay on pattern)

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

(video below)

Trying to show you how to cable in a picture tutorial was a little impossible so today so I thought I would do a video. I am so terrible at videos so please forgive me. I’m off to a conference this week where I am hoping to learn more about doing these better for you all- it’s one of those work challenges I need to learn to tackle. I know how helpful it can be to show these techniques in a video.  Scroll to the end of this post to watch!

This cable is called a Shadow cable. In this pattern, we will be bringing three stitches in front with our double-pointed needle and three stitches cabled later behind our work. This cabling adds a double layer of warmth in this pattern and  I’d love for you to scroll down to the bottom so that you can see how I do this.

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

Cable needles look like this and I have a ton of them. I hate them. I usually lose my stitches and I find it difficult to transfer stitches especially when it comes to bulky yarn. You can certainly buy them (this is my favorite type), but I recommend just doing a double-pointed needle one size down from the work to grab your stitches. I am a big fan of bamboo because they grip the yarn so well especially when moving stitches around. It’s the only type of needles I knit with!

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

Not only are these quick to knit (they shouldn’t take you more than two hours!), but I think they look pretty fashionable too. For gals with long hair, ear warmers are a dream for keeping your locks in place. For ponytail days,  you can just pull your hair through and still have warm ears.

I gave them a test run on the most miserable weather day which is ALWAYS, ALWAYS Halloween. My husband was freezing, but I was delightfully warm thanks to these cozy ear warmers. The cabling really adds a double warmth to them. For particularly rotten Indiana days (I know they are coming), you can layer this under your hat for extra ear protection.

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

How to Cable: Free Knitted Ear Warmers Pattern from

Can you just imagine the warmth you can give this season to someone in need? This little project is fast to memorize and easy to execute with a good audiobook (can I recommend our books section to you?) or with a great big Netflix binge (I’m sure you can find loads of recommendations on my 3 Little Things list).

Thank you to Nancy Ricci for sharing her beautiful Vanessa Headband Pattern for free with the Ravelry community- I am so honored to share her pattern with you today!

Free Pattern Download HERE: Vanessa Headband Pattern by Nancy Ricci

Check out my video below to see just how easy it is to cable with your double-pointed needle! Visit our Knitting section for more great ideas and be sure to friend me on Ravelry! You can also pick up my beautiful knitted boot cuff kit in stores RIGHT NOW!  Happy knitting!

*This post contains affiliate links! I only recommend what I truly love though! xo
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How to Make a Homeless Care Package (Free Printable Supplies List)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Note: From November 2012, this is one of the articles I’m most proud of on Mom Advice, and I’m SO happy that it’s also one of the most pinned, making me proud of YOU. I’m republishing it for our November Focus on Giving M Challenge with the hopes it will see a whole new group of people who will be inspired to give!

One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless. Creating a homeless care package can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for the homeless. Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.

This month Walmart let me choose a project that I was passionate about for the holidays and showcase how families could recreate it in their own homes. As I always disclose, I am compensated for my writing, BUT instead of accepting the compensation, we invested what I would have earned along with the gift card budget Walmart gave me to give back to the homeless in our community. 

These homeless care packages can be prepared for your local homeless shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help. I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.

I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.

That is his heart.

That is why I love him.

If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair. We have to lead our children by our example. I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.  

My kids assisted in every aspect of this project. My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.

Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package

Feed Their Needs- One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies. Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first. Simple items like shampoo, a razor, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are great items to keep on hand.

Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags. If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.

Provide Warmth- We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal. I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items I need for warmth. Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags. Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.

Feed Their Souls- I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs. You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources. We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town. A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.

God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now.  My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place. Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was. I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.

Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver. There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays. Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started.  I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.”  I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well! 

We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!

Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages. Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)!  Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!


How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?


I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. For this project, all compensation was invested in aiding our area homeless.  My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

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Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

It’s that time of year again where I show you how incredibly awesome it is to prepare your Thanksgiving meal ahead and pack it away in your freezer for the big upcoming feast. Over the years I have tried so many recipes to share with you and today I want to show you my foolproof technique meal for creating a delicious meal right from your freezer and to your table that will taste like you cooked it that very day.

Before we dive into all the recipes, here are a few items I recommend having in your arsenal to make your meal preparation day easier and to actually create room for all of these delicious dishes.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

Ninja Cooker For Preparation & Buffet

This item is definitely a splurge item, but has paid for itself over and over again for me. The Ninja Cooker has two functions on it (Stovetop & Slow Cooker) that allow you to brown meat inside of it and then switch to slow cooking. It also has a Buffet setting that is perfect for using on Thanksgiving Day to keep your dishes warm. I can’t recommend this gadget enough and consider it to be a smart holiday investment. Did I mention it is nonstick? DREAMY!

Ziploc Freezer Bags For Food Storage for the Big Day

I love, love, love Ziploc Freezer Bags for their stackability for storing our food for the big day. I use these to package up my stuffing and casseroles to help me pack more in my freezer without taking up so much space like a disposable pan would. Make sure you reach for the freezer bags and not the regular ones though to prevent freezer burn. When in doubt if something will hold, always double bag!

Chinet Bakeware For An Elegant Freezer Meal Spread

Since I freeze my feast for Thanksgiving Day, I love the ease of stacking (and clean-up) when it comes to disposable pans. Chinet makes ones that are nonstick and I have found them to be a bit more durable for transporting from oven to table. Since they are made of paper, the first time I used them I was a little scared how my food would turn out, but I have had great success with these and find them to be an affordable alternative to foil pans for Thanksgiving Day. If you want to keep things looking nice, these casserole baskets (less than $10 each) are a clever trick I use to disguise a disposable pan.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

Pie Cutters For Glamming Up Store-Bought Pies

If baking pies isn’t your thing, consider buying a little pie dough and adding a personalized touch with an inexpensive set of decorative pie cutters. You simply roll out the pre-packaged dough, cut out a piece with the pie cutter and press to make a detailed impression on the top. Transfer these delicate details to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed. Add a glossy shine with a little egg or sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on top to add a little flavor. Between this and a glammed up whip cream or quick topping, your store-bought pies will be a fabulous addition to the dinner table.

Carry-Out Dishes For Packing Leftovers

Sharing the leftovers is not only a nice gesture for your guests, but it makes sure that all the dishes get eaten. I use my takeout pho containers when packaging food up for myself, but these Fitpacker containers would be lovely to share and let your guests take home food or to prepare a few lunches/dinners for your own family for the week so you can really put your feet up!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip from


Bacon Ranch Cheeseball- Need I say more?

Spunky Spinach Dip- A delicious combination of spinach, salsa, & cream cheese. Serve with carrots and tortilla chips for dipping

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip- Prepare until the point of baking. Freeze for the big day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip- AKA Crack Dip, as it is so lovingly referred to in our house.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Appetizer

Gluten-Free Meatballs- Bake & prepare sauce. Freeze separately for the big day. Warm up on the stove top and then skewer with baby mozzarella balls.

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix- Would also make a great hostess gift if you aren’t making the meal!

Cranberry Spread- Tangy and a delicious dip to pair with crackers.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole


Green Bean Casserole- Panko with homemade mushroom cream sauce- it’s divine!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes- I always double batch this recipe because these are the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce- This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever eaten- truly!

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls- This foolproof recipe makes storing a bread machine worth it! Be sure to read this article for lots of bread machine tips!

Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe- Finding out I could make this early last year saved me so much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread- Bake & freeze for the big day!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Fancy Up Store-Bought Pies


Store-Bought Pie Tricks- Wow, your guests with a few easy details

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust- Prepare and freeze discs of dough

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping- Store wet and dry ingredients separately for the big day

Spiced Whipped Cream- Make-ahead and store in the fridge for the big day

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes- A promise of all the good treats to come this holiday season

Not cooking? Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

Mini Pie Hostess Favor


Mini Pie Gifts

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

Sugar & Spice Nuts Mix

Sugar & Spice Nuts

Knitted Sweater Cozies

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Wine Hats & Scarves

Wine Hats & Scarves

Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Free Thanksgiving Printable

Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Friendsgiving Feast

Friendsgiving Feast

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

I hope these ideas inspire you! If you are looking for a great turkey recipe, be sure to check out this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast or just use this simple technique for a small crowd to prepare a boneless breast! Happy holidays, friends! xo

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

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How To: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

Friday, November 6th, 2015

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from

Gift-giving season is upon us and I am always looking for great gifts that don’t cost a lot, can be made in bulk, and will actually be used! Do you remember when we made Citronella Candles in our slow cooker for thoughtful hostess gifts for the cookout season? I am so excited to show you, yet again, how to make candles in your slow cooker and this time we are making easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles for the holidays.

As a Pumpkin Spice everything addict, these are full of my favorite holiday scent and can be made with just a few purchases from your craft store and your slow cooker! I just want to warn you how good your house is going to smell so GET READY!

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog to get the scoop on how to make these beautiful candles for the perfect hostess gift for the holidays!

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DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs With Hazel & Ruby

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs from

Friends, I could not be more excited today to share with you my Knitted Boot Cuff Kit that I have created with Hazel & Ruby for their Holiday Crafternoon line that is available in Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft stores nationwide. It was such a great challenge for me as a crafter to design a kit like this and I have learned so much (and have a new appreciation for) about how people create these kits for the stores.

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs from

What is Crafternoon?

The purpose of these kits is to be able to create a great gift in an afternoon for the holidays. In this kit, we have lovingly prepared everything you need to create a beautiful set of boot cuffs from lace to yarn to buttons. Instead of you spending time hunting down patterns, materials, or trying to muddle through a pattern alone, Crafternoon puts it all together to you in one easy-to-use package! Check out the video above to see what the fuss is all about!

Why I Know You Will Love This Kit

The thing that I believe really sells this kit though is a set of bamboo needles that you can use over and over again for knitting small projects in the round without the need for double-pointed needles. This particular set is typically not available in most craft and yarn stores. In fact, I have had to order my sets overseas and they cost about the price of this entire kit once I factored in shipping and the expense of the needles. This set includes my favorite needles and once you have them, you can use this pattern over and over again, adding your own unique and beautiful details to these cuffs.

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs from

Will This Pattern Challenge Me?

I really hope so! I didn’t want to just a simple knitted pattern, although you can definitely do that with the materials provided too. I wanted to create a pattern that would help you learn a little bit of the lace technique (without that super thin yarn!), but that there are enough basic stitches that you could zone out a bit with a Netflix binge and just enough that will hold your interest and create beauty within the cuff.

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs from

If you have never knit in the round before, these needles make it possible.  Crystal, from Money Saving Mom, shared on her Instagram feed her pride of knitting in the round for the first time thanks to this little kit. I couldn’t have been prouder of her and I know that you can do it too!

The kit not only includes step-by-step instructions, but you can also access a video where I walk you through every step of the way through this process and be accessed with the QR code on the back of your packaging or you can just watch it above! Doesn’t it feel like we are crafting together?

Amy Allen Clark from

Now hurry up and order a kit so we can knit together or order one for a holiday gift for a favorite crafter in your life. You can also pick a kit up at Jo-Ann that you can use this weeks 30% of total purchase on Wednesday AND of course they always have a 40% off coupon!


Have fun blog-hopping through all of the beautiful Crafternoon projects! Lolly Jane has a beautiful Christmas Art Kit that she would love to share with you so swing by to see her Crafternoon project.  Be sure to check out the entire Crafternoon line from Hazel & Ruby for all of your gifting needs!



The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving: 49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More!

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving-49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More

Fall is really one of my favorite seasons, from the first leaves that turn glorious colors through Halloween costumes to hanging out with family and friends for Thanksgiving, I love it all! Mom Advice has been around long enough that I’ve got a TON of great ideas, tutorials, and recipes that are perfect for this season, so I’m rounding it all up in one spot for you, since I know a lot of your are fall lovers like me.

No matter what you like, you’ll find something here for you, including lots of easy DIY decorating, some fun knitting projects, comforting food recipes (including my popular list of make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes!), costume ideas for the whole family, and more.


Fall Decor & Crafts

Mini Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Warm Up Outdoor Spaces for Fall

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

7 Easy Upcycle Projects for Fall

Fall Decorating with Goodwill Items

DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece
Knitted Leaf Centerpiece

Duct Tape Pumpkins

How to Decoupage Pumpkins

Painted Address Pumpkin Topiary

7 Scarves & Cowls to Knit for Fall


Fall Recipes

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Fall DIY Drinks

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

11 Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread

21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals

8 Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

12 Great Tailgating Recipes

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

And while not a decor or recipe, let’s not forget these 5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall!


Halloween Costumes, Decor & Recipes

7 New DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake

Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas

How to Make Chalkboard Pumpkins

Happy, Healthy Halloween Night Feast

How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark Jell-o


Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames


Thanksgiving Recipes

Make Ahead Apple, Sausage & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Make Ahead Gravy

Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd

Make Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast


5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Dress Up a Store-Bought Pie with Cranberry-Crunch Pie Topping

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust Tutorial

7 Make Ahead Appetizers for Thanksgiving

Make Ahead Recipes for Thanksgiving Day

Are you a fall lover, too? What are some of your favorite recipes, crafts, or traditions?

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