Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

Amy’s Notebook 12.07.16

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Daily Goal Tracker

source: enJOY it

I love this daily goal tracker worksheet.

This Mediterranean pull-apart bread looks like a fun and easy appetizer.

The perfect person just bought the, “Full House,” house.

After hitting the art museum this past weekend, I loved this honest museum audio tour.

This is shaping up to be my dream grocery store- YES!

30 crowd-please non-awkward movies to watch with your relatives.

What it REALLY is like being an Instagram influencer. Hmmmm…?!?!

Take your salt dough ornament game up a notch.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

source: serious eats

Great tips for nailing the perfect roasted potatoes.

I love these tips for adding completer pieces to your wardrobe.

Never accept pickle juice in your career- amen.

I love this gathering of fun holiday diy ideas.

Adding spaghetti squash to this week’s menu plan after seeing these spaghetti squash pizza boats. YUM!!!

Pom-Pom gnomes- so cute!! I love this pom-pom maker for nailing the perfect pom-poms.

Foolproof Ways to Fake an Expensive Home

source: apartment therapy

5 foolproof ways to fake an expensive home.

Reflections on a year of no-spending.

I’ve been under the weather this week so I’ve been wrapped up in my heated throw and reading one of my favorite reads this year.

Styling tips for those blanket scarves. Don’t own one? Try making one with our no-sew blanket scarf tutorial.

Did you see this year’s NPR Book Concierge? So proud that I read 12 from this list (and counting!)

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! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

November 2016 Must-Reads

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

November 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that there wasn’t a lot of time for reading this month with all the holiday preparations going on. Being a part of a local book club and our online book club is what pushed me to keep reading this month. I will also admit, this month’s books were a bit of a mixed bag. I am not sure if it was because I was tired all the time or if they just weren’t books that would normally grab me. That said, I do have a few solid recommendations for you for this month!

For upcoming reading, I did just purchase this book for my audiobook listening while tackling my holiday wrapping. I also, once again, believe those cheap bluetooth headphones are my secret to reading success while getting stuff done. I actually loved them so much, we bought four pairs to give as gifts for the holidays this year. I think everyone should have a pair!

Also, because I can’t wait until next month to tell you about it, this book is EVERYTHING right now. I have laughed out loud until tears streamed down my face and have read entire chapters aloud to my husband. It’s a brilliantly told coming-of-age novel that I recommend you grab ASAP for your holiday reading. It’s a BIG book, but each chapter feels like its own individual story.

Here is what I tackled this month!

 5 Must-Read Books from November 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

If you are in a reading slump, this should pull you right on out. Behind Closed Doors will go down as my top thriller this year because of this tightly woven and finely crafted story.  I read this one in almost a single sitting and the author does not waste a single page from start to finish while building a plot that will send chills down your spine. This twisted tale is so vividly told that it is as though you are reading a movie with characters that are incredibly well-developed they practically lift off the pages.

I don’t want to give very much away because half of the fun is the discovery of what is actually going on behind these closed doors. A perfect marriage though is rarely what it seems and Jack & Grace are the perfect example of a marriage that looks beautiful on the outside, but is far different on the inside. From page one, you realize the cat-and-mouse game that Grace is in and the reader is pulled along from the first day that they met, giving you a chance to witness a rather unique marriage in a chilling way.

Just know that if you pick this one up, you are going to have a very hard time putting it down. I would recommend a weekend of binge-reading with this for a fantastic holiday escape! Please know that this one is DARK so if you prefer to keep your thrillers in the lighter mystery category, you might need to skip this intense read.

5 Out of 5 Stars

to-the-bright-edge-of-the-world

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eoywn Ivey

The Snow Child remains one of my all-time favorite reads (a perfect winter escape if you are looking for one!) and I was so excited to see that Eowyn Ivey had written a new book that has already gotten so much buzz this year. To the Bright Edge of the World could not be more different than her first book and is told uniquely through letters, photographs, and excerpts of other books to build a unique telling of an Alaskan expedition in the late 18oo’s. When a family member comes across journals and letters from his great-uncle and great-aunt from this time, he feels compelled to submit them to an Alaskan museum. The reader then gets to read the story of Colonel Allen as he leads a group through Alaska and the story of his wife, Sophie, who is newly pregnant and left behind while her husband makes this harrowing expedition.

The amount of research that Ivey would have to do to establish this story, I am sure, would astound us. The dialect and nailing down a historically accurate account of that era alone would be insane, but she also carves a hobby for Sophie that involves photography of birds that is incredibly detailed and astoundingly well told as well.

If you are into historical fiction, definitely pick this one up. Although letter format is always a struggle for me, this book is the first book I have read about Alaska during this era, and it really gave me a lot to think about after I finished this beautiful book.

4.5 Out of 5 Stars

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

Arrowood  was this month’s MomAdvice Book Club selection and since I was leading it, I had high hopes this would be a good one. Luckily for me, this one turned out to be a solid gothic mystery about twin girls who go missing and their sister who is haunted and filled with guilt because their disappearance happened when she was supposed to be watching them.

When a true crime writer decides he wants to figure out the answer to this unsolved case for a book, we begin to realize that Arden’s memories of that fateful day may not be entirely accurate. McHugh then takes the reader down a winding path of suspects to answer where these children could have gone in a classic mystery format.

I will say, the ending was not as conclusive as I would have liked and if you prefer a clearly defined ending, this might be an unsatisfactory ending for you. It did serve as an excellent book for discussion as you think about your own childhood memories and what it would be like as a family to have old wounds reopened for the sake of true crime writing.

I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it for our mystery reader fans!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

This book, for me, is a hard one to review. Swing Time was one of the most anticipated books this year and I put my name on the hold list as soon as I heard about it. As a theater nerd and dancer, I could not wait to dig into this story of the friendship formed by two dancers.  The book started solid and beautifully, Smith’s turn of phrasing was so beautiful and unique that it was unlike any other book I had read before.

This is the story of two girls who begin dancing, but only one of them ends up having the talent. Tracey begins a career working in the chorus line of Broadway shows and Aimee falls into an assistant position to an iconic pop singer, getting the chance to observe how the one percent live. The tale swings from past to present as Smith builds layer upon layer in this friendship and, ultimately, if leaving home really does help to define our success.

There are profound moments in this book. An observation on race that had went unnoticed as a child, in her very opening chapter, moved me. There were moments where the writing was just brilliant and I wanted to read more. Yet, there was a lot of lag in this story where I felt if the novel had been trimmed in half, it would have been a more solid read for me. The swinging between decades, at times, also felt confusing and did not flow. I may be in the minority on those observations, but thought I would share that anyway!

I am still glad I read it and I want to read White Teeth next month since that seems to be the book that everyone loved from her.  Have you read it? For me, the brilliant moments made it worth the read, but I am not sure if this would be a good book for everyone.

4 Out of 5 Stars

Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner

Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner

Missing Presumed came out at the same time as All the Missing Girls and I decided I could only handle one missing girl story in the summer so I went with All the Missing Girls. This book was selected for our local book club and it also had received a lot of buzz from critics. I would not say this was a bad book, but I will say that I discovered that I do not enjoy police procedural books very much at all. The reason I am including it though is that I know many of you do so this might be a perfect pick for you especially if you are a fan of British mysteries.

This explores the case of a wealthy college girl who goes missing and the 72-hours that are spent trying to find where this girl went. With no signs of struggle and no real evidence left behind, the police have a case that seems almost impossible to solve. They begin with her closest friends and boyfriend, looking for any information that they can to find Edith. The reader gets to go through the case from start to finish, interview by interview, leading up to the discovery of what happened to Edith.

If you love a good British mystery, this book just might be for you! For me, not my favorite!

3 Out of 5 Stars

sundays-with-writers-1

 

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June 2016 Must-Reads

July 2016 Must-Reads

August 2016 Must-Reads

September 2016 Must-Reads

October 2016 Must-Reads

November 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What should I be adding to my library bag? Leave your suggestions in the comments below! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

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

Amy’s Notebook 11.30.16

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Organized Camera Gear Drawer

source: i heart organizing

This post is really inspiring me to get my camera equipment organized.

I did not know a lot behind the Fixer Upper success and found this to be a great read on entrepreneurship.

Old sweaters get a fun new purpose in holiday stockings- I love a good upcycle!

12 DIY gifts people will actually want. You can find some other great ideas over here too!

Listening to complaining is as bad as secondhand smoke for your health. I am really inspired by this complaining challenge.

Put leftover turkey and cranberry sauce to work in these delicious melts!

8 things all successful women do on Sundays.

Chicken, Sausage, & Sprouts One-Pot Meal

source: serious eats

I can’t wait to make this one-pot wonder for a family meal. It looks divine!

I was so excited to pick up this book today from my library. He has always been such a solid author for me- fingers crossed it’s a good one!

I haven’t jumped on the Gilmore Girls train yet, but fans will appreciate this analysis of the Gilmore Girls food.

This printable holiday to-do list is a good one to track everything floating around in your head in the middle of the night (or is that just me?).

Pretty and functional ways to style a bedside table. Love all of these smart solutions for wee spaces.

Brussels Sprouts and Breadcrumb Spaghetti? Um, yes please! I’d love to adapt this to gluten-free! This a great way to repurpose leftovers too.

How to DIY Oprah’s Favorite Things! I was so excited to see two of my projects featured in this incredible round-up!

Minimalist Holiday Decorating

source: my scandinavian home

I love this list of minimalist holiday decorating ideas- just think of how little you will have to put away after Christmas too!

My parents ordered this for me for Christmas and I’m so excited about trying a new craft this year!

This is great advice on choosing wardrobe essentials especially if your new year goal is to simplify that closet!

When your plate is full- what a good reminder about our choices during this busy season.

I love all these fall trends that are happening right now. They all feel very doable!

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! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

It’s the 3 Little Things: Boutique Workouts At Home, Netflix Binges, and Foldable Kitchen Islands

Friday, November 18th, 2016

holiday-home-tour-23

I had always dreamed of living in a big house and when we purchased our home, I knew that this would be the stepping stone we would need to get us to where we REALLY belonged. Thirteen years ago, my plans and life were laid out so very differently than they are now.

What changed?

Honestly, my own thinking about what we could make work in our space.

Only one shower?

Let’s put a corner to work in our half bath.

Always wanted a fireplace?

I’ll just make a little addition to a corner in our office.

More recently it was the desire to have a kitchen island that would require a complete renovation of our kitchen to make work. Guess who found a foldable island this week that can be brought out when needed (see below)? This girl! Sometimes small spaces require us to think outside of the box.

The real blessing of this smaller home came into fruition when my own health took a turn. My body doesn’t have the capacity it used to and this year, I realized I owed God a big thank you.

This home is just right for our needs and just right for my life.

Here are three other things that are making me awfully happy this week!

Exerpuetic Magnetic Stationary Bike

Boutique Workouts at Home

I have a membership to a local yoga studio, but I have been missing cardio a lot in my life. One type of exercise my doctor had suggested would be good for me would be biking because it would be low-impact and still give me that cardio high I had been after.

I gave a spinning class a try at a local gym and knew that I really loved it, but the reality of carrying two gym memberships and making time to use them both was making me a little anxious. There was just no way to do this with working full-time and the kid juggle.

Exerpuetic Foldable Stationary Bike

I actually found that purchasing a stationary bike was about the equivalent of a three month membership and being able to do this at home allows me to workout AND work on my own schedule rather than wasting my time at the gym. After reading a ton of reviews, I got the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike and we were amazed at how awesome this turned out to be for its price. Our home is small so we appreciated that this bike wouldn’t intrude too much on our living room space and it would be a little quieter way to workout rather than pounding on that treadmill in the mornings. It is well-built, quiet, and does a really great job for what I was looking for in an at-home workout.

The real problem for me though was getting in a proper workout without a proper trainer. Honestly, I need guidance or I’m lazy.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cyclecast-indoor-cycling-workout/id999390082?mt=8

YOU GUYS! I found the BEST trainer app for my phone and now I am KILLING it in this little corner of our house.

Once you purchase a stationary bike, you can get the CycleCast app and have a fresh workout each week for $9.99 a month. Basically, it costs less than a single class at our gym and I have a whole month of classes with a variety of instructors every single week.

CycleCast App

With this app, you can pick the duration of your workouts and you can select an instructor whose music taste fits with your own.  Once the workout starts, you have guided training throughout to help push you to burn calories and increase your distance. The first workout I did, I burned over 500 calories and clocked in over ten miles on my stationary bike.

Actual conversations I had with my imaginary trainer…

ME: I can’t do it anymore. My legs are burning and I’m tired.

JONATHAN: I’m going to put on a little Turn Down for What to see if you can push yourself more.

ME: You got me. I’ll keep riding. I do love some Turn Down for What….you’re the best, Jonathan! 

Each week the instructors add a new workout so you don’t get bored or have to do the same thing twice. The music is awesome and the price is just right for a cheapskate!

The first month membership is free so you have 30-days to try it out. I can’t recommend it enough and I’m very excited about how I’ve been able to squeeze this into my week in a realistic way. I also love that my husband can use this in the winter and get some cardio in as well. We both need it in these long winter months.

kitchen-island-review

Foldable Kitchen Island

A kitchen island has been a dream of mine, but my small kitchen would need a complete overhaul to make it happen. I started researching to see if there were any portable kitchen islands that would work and ran across these Origami Kitchen Carts and told my husband that I thought this would make the perfect solution for our kitchen.

As you can see it’s a metal cart that comes in a variety of colors and the entire top is solid wood. It comes almost fully assembled (you only need to attach the casters) and it is easy to pop up or put down as needed. Not only does it make a great kitchen island, but it could be a makeshift bar cart, can be used for your outdoor entertaining, or a as a grilling station set-up next to the grill. Since I do a ton of food photography for our site, it’s actually the perfect solution for prepping and pulling into a well-lit corner for photos.

This folds into a very reasonable size too so it can be put away when it is not needed.

I know I’ve talked about the Honey extension for your computer on this list, but download that before purchasing. Honey will find a coupon code for you and, if you are lucky like me, it brings the cost of this baby down to just $80!  They also offer these on Amazon, but purchasing through HSN makes more sense if you have a coupon code going for you or you want some fun colors! It was my first purchase with them and I was pleasantly surprised at the quick shipping and the way it was packed.

This definitely will come in handy for holiday food prep and our many gatherings in our home.

the-crown

The Crown

I needed an escape this week and I found a breathtaking one in The Crown on Netflix. I had been waiting with bated breath for the show and asked my hubby if he might want to give this show a shot this week. Although he isn’t into period pieces the way that I am, we are both absolutely stunned by the incredible acting, costuming, sets, and stories of the Royal family in this series.

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with what it’s about, this  story  focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. Her father’s untimely death leaves her in a position of authority and it is a mixed blessing for Elizabeth and her family.

As a fun fact, this is Netflix’s most expensive series and they are anticipating at least six seasons of this show so it is one you can get fully committed to for awhile. They are, in fact, already shooting the second season.

If you haven’t tuned into The Crown yet, make this part of your weekend agenda. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Loving: Today’s highlights include how Christmas feels when you have a cat, a PSA for Hufflepuffs, Thanksgiving amidst a heated political climate, me when I’m listening to A Tribe Called Quest, some amazing dancing, and Enter Sandman with classroom instruments.

If you want to laugh at something a little less PC, this subway prank with book covers made me LOL repeatedly. It’s juvenile and sometimes you just need that!

Reading: My book club meets up today so I have been working through this book. It has been a good mystery exploring a missing person’s case. I would say if you enjoyed What She Knew or All the Missing Girls, this would be a good book for you!

Laughing: If Ross Geller had an IG account- so funny and loving the comments from his family below the pics. If you are a Friends fan, you will appreciate this one!!

Date night

Thankful: For a semi-annual date night with my husband this week. We shared a beer and talked our way through our feelings on politics. Blessed to be in a partnership with someone who shares many of my same views on politics and the world. It’s good to talk it through, if you can, with someone you love, respect, and trust. I got to do that this weekend and it was some good stuff for both of us!

Happy Fri-yay!

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

Amy’s Notebook 11.16.16

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Snowball Wreath  source: the happy housie

How adorable is this snowball wreath for the holidays?

Maybe success doesn’t always feel like it looks from the outside. I often doubt my own success on anything so this resonated with me a lot.

I love the idea of starting a cookbook club to help me getting out of my cooking ruts!

10 pieces, 15 outfits. I love this capsule inspiration.

If you need a little inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast, I have a slow cooker Thanksgiving turkey this year and how to make almost your entire feast ahead this year! It’s not too late!

Here are also some tips for having a Chill-giving (totally a thing!).

one-sheet-pan-honey-garlic-lemon-chicken-with-potatoes

source: diethood

This honey garlic lemon chicken with potatoes looks like a delicious sheet pan dinner to try.

I’m reading this book for my book club this week and really enjoying it!

Here are 9 fall outfit ideas to inspire your autumn wardrobe.

If you are still processing the election, Design Mom asked readers about who they voted for and I enjoyed reading through the answers with my morning coffee. My husband and I had a lot to talk about after reading this respectful comment thread. Cup of Jo shares a few things you can do now that the election is over and I couldn’t agree more with this list. Lastly, Tsh shares tips on three things she does when she is discouraged and sad. You can also read my own thoughts on the election, if you haven’t caught that post yet- I was honored to have my piece shared in our church newsletter last week.

Who is excited about this potential new service from Amazon? Crazy!

This slow cooker cacciatore looks divine!!

Organizing Sunglasses

source: graceful order (image),  apartment therapy (article)

How to get large collections of items into an organized order. I’m going to try a few of these in my house!

I want to try this pumpkin risotto recipe. Get ready, Instant Pot!

Madly in love with this idea for hanging photos on your Christmas tree (and all those colors)!

12 perfect wines for Thanksgiving- noted!

If you want to get a jump start, here are some tips for freezing that pumpkin pie this year!

This was your top purchase from our site this week- what a great gift to share for the holidays!

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! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

 

I Hope You Brought a Second Piece of Luggage

Friday, November 11th, 2016

America

Our son is preparing for high school this year and, in our district, that means choosing a field of interest he might want to explore at college and selecting what option might fit his needs best. It was quite the process because it was really important to us that we pick the right thing for him. We went to hours and hours of meetings, we poured over the information that was sent home and spent lots of time talking to parents about how it all worked and their experience with the school. After all that time vested this year, we were relieved to find a school that would fit his needs perfectly. We can’t wait for this next chapter with him!

For me, the election season was like that. I never go into voting lightly and this year, I believe, was my most informed voter decision that I had ever made. I took unbiased quizzes to try to figure out what issues aligned with me most, I watched each of the debates, I spent hours reading articles from both sides of the coin, and I talked endlessly with my husband about what we were looking for in this presidential election. I was very vested when I placed my vote, as I know many of you were, and the person that I thought would do a good job did not win.

I expected what I saw on social media, but it’s been an awful scroll from both sides.

I hope you will humor me for a moment and envision the voting process a little differently than maybe the way you did before. I want you to imagine that when each person went to vote they carried behind them their luggage of issues. Maybe you came with an overnight sack of a couple of things that were important to you and placed your vote or you just had a week’s worth of stuff that was easier to roll and to manage while you were voting.

Others though were backing up moving vans of issues and trying to haul that in with them when they voted. That van was loaded, heavy, and packed to the brim.

When we got home, maybe your overnight bag was easy to unpack and you felt good about the outcome of the day. Even if it didn’t go your way, you felt good about unpacking and moving on to the next chapter.   You went about making your coffee, feeling good, and you gazed out your window and saw your neighbor with all this stuff just strewn all over the lawn.

It was a mess over there.

They looked overwhelmed and they were just sitting in the middle of it looking bewildered at how they were ever going to put all this crap away.

What is your knee jerk reaction to this view?

Do you roll your eyes and tell them to declutter? You laugh and head to your computer to make a hilarious meme on hoarding- your friends are going to LOVE this!

Do you head into the house and message them a helpful article that outlines why they should have hired a moving service? They should have known this was going to happen. You always saw it coming and had shared with them lots of articles before they moved about outsourcing this. I guess they did not read them.

Do you yell out the window, “Get up and put it away! You look emotional and you need to get over it and make your lawn look like mine!”

Do you put your coffee down, get your coat on, and tell them you want to help? You’re overwhelmed with their mess, but you know it might lighten the load if you did something. You know you are good at praying, listening, and organizing. You know they are hurting and and you are good at many of these things. You can’t do the unpacking, but wouldn’t it be nice to tell them that you are their friend.

What I worry about is that some of us may have forgotten a second piece of luggage in baggage claim. It was the bag with the empathy in it that helps you see your neighbor with love. Some people unpacked those bags and used them, but I fear that others of us forgot them. That second piece of luggage was really important for both sides to be able to work together. That second piece was the key to helping unpack the first one.

I’ll admit, this family still has some stuff on their lawn so I apologize for the view. We are hoping the view will change, but we haven’t gotten everything put away yet. We will get there, but we are trying to distribute that second piece of luggage to our friends while still unpacking our own. It wasn’t a moving truck size, but it wasn’t an overnight bag.

The silver lining to this story is that I know that we ALL want this country to succeed and this is the common theme that I am choosing to focus on.  I love our people and our country. I am praying that the transition is a good and hopeful one. We need it!

If you are feeling in the dumps right now, I hope that this will be an enjoyable scroll as I highlight the good in the world.

Good In Action

Amy’s Notebook 11.09.16

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

source: good cheap eats

How comforting does a big bowl of this creamy chicken noodle soup look right now? I love the tips for prepping and freezing for soup season!

I love getting to peek behind-the-scenes on how magazine covers are made.

A clever way to add style to your cabinets without breaking the bank.

This pumpkin pie green smoothie looks like a great way to start the morning.

Bookmarking this holiday decluttering guide- I always need these reminders.

I can always use a new Brussels Sprouts recipe- the addition of cider and bacon sound divine!

 

Peruvian Shrimp Recipe

source: gimme some oven

I’m drooling over this easy Peruvian Shrimp recipe. What a great weeknight meal idea!

Gluten-free pumpkin pie? YES, PLEASE!  Here is also another gluten-free option if you want to attempt pie-crust making!

Speaking of pie, these pie box toppers are so cute!

I cannot put this book down. You guys were right! It’s a fantastic thriller!

A beautiful lesson in letting go of objects connected to grief.

30 days of fall outfit inspiration- I can always use that!

Fur Pom Pom Wreath source: centsational girl

This fur pom-pom wreath is EVERYTHING!

A little tip to remember when signing off on those holiday cards.

I’d love to implement this bookshelf idea in our home!

I am adding a couple of these budget-friendly meal ideas from celebrity chefs to our meal plan!

Here are some great strategies for decluttering your digital life.

Drooling over these soy sauce eggs!

I needed these mindset reminders for decluttering.

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! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Good People, Tea Organization, & Key Lime Dreams

Friday, November 4th, 2016

reading-space

The weather has been lovely this week and I switched my reading spot to sit under this beautiful tree in our backyard with a big stack of books. The fall here is nothing compared to our New England falls, but I think Indiana still provides a great display of colorful beauty too. Don’t you?

This has also been the first week of high school shopping for our son. Our kids have to pick an area of focus for their schooling which can be a difficult task at 14 to figure out. Can you imagine where your focus may have been at that age? I’m sure I would have felt the stage was where my career destiny was! I definitely never could have dreamed up this wildly weird job.  It feels strange to even be thinking about something that has always felt like a distant land when it comes to parenting my children. It feels monumental and, honestly, brings me a lot of melancholy as a mom. Everyone said it went by fast, but this feels just too soon for me. It’s a happy bittersweet moment to be moving into this realm as a mama.

I guess I feel conflicted about this next stage. Proud we kept him alive this long (kind of touch and go in those toddler years- hahaha!). If you have kids this age, do you feel that way too? I’m open to your advice on high school!

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

the-good-place

The Good Place

I’d love to hear if you have gotten into any of the new shows this Fall television season!  It takes a lot to suck us into a show, mainly because we have far too much on our agenda to watch already, but we have gotten majorly sucked into, The Good Place. When I saw the trailer for this show, I told my husband I thought this was one we could really get into it. Eight episodes within two days confirms that, yes, this show is a real winner. With Kristen Bell and Ted Danson leading the cast, it comes as no surprise that it would be a good one.

The Good Place is a town where those who have been good throughout their life go to once they have passed away. Michael (Danson) is the architect who oversees the town, but this is the first time he has ever created one of these communities. He begins to realize that he made a few missteps, although he doesn’t know what they are, that include allowing a few people in who shouldn’t have been there. These people have to find a way to blend in or they risk destroying the good place for everyone.

It is laugh out loud funny, surprisingly sweet, and has some really smart writing. It’s also an enjoyably short show, perfect for tired moms and dads who can’t seem to commit to a full hour anymore. We have been watching it through Hulu!

I hope you love it as much as we do!

tea-organizer

An Organized Tea Spot

I love seasonal teas for the cooler seasons, but I don’t love how much space all of the boxes take in my small kitchen. I found this beautiful tea organizer, while out doing my shopping, and knew it would be the perfect addition to my kitchen. It also happens to be a great way to share your tea on the table with a guest.

Each of the drawers is glass and holds an entire box of tea bags. I cut the names off of the boxes to slip inside of the drawers so I knew what I was grabbing without covering up this pretty display. The drawers have a small wooden peg that keep them from slipping out and breaking. It’s surprisingly well-made especially for that price.

Pioneer Woman Tea Organizer

I love that it matches all the other patterned bowls that we have in our kitchen and it has freed up a ton of space in the drawer where I store all my coffee mugs! How cute is that?!?

Chobani Key Lime Yogurt

Chobani Key Lime Greek Yogurt

This week our grocery store had Chobani Key Lime Yogurts on sale for their 10 for $10 deal. It happened to be the only flavor that was on sale so I got ten and crossed my fingers that they would be a hit.

If you haven’t tried these RUN and get them RIGHT NOW. It tastes just like the filling in a key lime pie, but with a protein punch and less sugar. I put this in a bowl with this chocolate granola from ALDI and I feel like I get to have pie in the morning. Who wouldn’t be happy about pie in the morning?  Since I hate the crust anyway, this is my perfect idea of pie eating!

If you love key lime, you will love these!

Find-Her

Reading: Find Her by Lisa Gardner and it is a good pick if you are drawn to darker plot themes like Pretty Girls or anything by Gillian Flynn. I am about halfway through and loving every minute of it.

Browsing:  The GoodReads choice nominees for this year. I can’t pick a favorite this year. It’s like choosing your favorite child. So many incredible books happened in 2016 and I was so proud to see several of the authors I interviewed this year were featured. Which books are you voting for? I will try to put together a post for you for the library again like I did for you last year!

Laughing: I hear you like the laughs each week so I thought I would keep them coming. Today’s highlights include hilarious misspellings, a Stranger Things Christmas, a raccoon cooking tutorial, and a hilarious skit on congress to encourage you to vote. Don’t worry, it doesn’t endorse any particular candidate- I’m pretty sure you can guess who I’m voting for anyway!  Please note,that last one does have some language, but definitely compels a girl to get out there and do her civic duty!

I’m hoping to get my vote in early this weekend and dodge the crowds.

Stripes & Polka Dots

Loving:  The tiny scarf trend! Have you tried it? I got this scarf and now I want a million more. It is a perfect trend for petite girls and I love it with my favorite striped top! I’m also loving the large barreled curling wand I scored for waves for longer locks. Beach waves without a lot of work are definitely my jam!

Listening: NEW MUSIC FROM HAMILTON!!! OMG!!


Snag Some Great Book Deals Today (join the MomAdvice Book Club for More!)

A couple of FYI’s on today’s deals! FIRST WOMEN & GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT are GoodReads Choice Award Nominees and THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT is actually a new Amazon series that I’m hoping to catch!!

FIRST WOMEN, $1.99
GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT, $1.99
THE NEVER LIST, $1.99
AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING, $1.99
COURTING GRETA, $1.99
MAUD’S LINE, $1.99
THE WHITE TIGER, $1.99
UNDER THE BLACK FLAG, $1.99
QUEEN SUGAR, $1.99
THE TYPEWRITER GIRL, $1.99
A CERTAIN SUMMER, $1.99
THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, $1.99
THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, $1.99
DOUBT- $2
GHOST MONTH, $1.99
AMARYLLIS IN BLUEBERRY, $1.99
LOVE WATER MEMORY, $1.99
THE BOOKSTORE, $1.99
WHEN SHE WAS GONE, $1.99
ANGELINA’S BACHELORS, $1.99
CROSSING ON THE PARIS, $1.99
DELANCEY, $3.99
TO FIND A MOUNTAIN, $1.99

Happy Fri-yay!

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

Amy’s Notebook 11.02.16

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Dyed Fringe Pillows

source: centsational girl

I’m so inspired to try dying my fabric and fringe to match after reading this tutorial.

Life gets real when the television goes off- very interesting observations!!

Check out these responses for a fresh book list.

Bookmarking this channel for my kids to watch!

I love a good playlist so I am excited about listening to  this playlist for Thanksgiving.

No-Sew Passport Cover

source: inspired by charm

What a gorgeous no-sew passport cover for your travels. Love the masculine touches on this one!

The best career advice (and so much more in the comments too). My husband and I read these together and gained a lot.

How to set a simple and elegant table- I love the unfussiness of this spread!

Oh, this Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake looks divine!

I just bought this cute little scarf this week and I can’t wait to mix it into my capsule wardrobe.

 

Navy Fower

source: lark & linen

Design mistakes almost every home makes- these tips are invaluable!

Swooning over the art in this gathering of the best online art resources.

Here are three unique ways to use your craft supplies- love the reminder to donate what you aren’t using!

This book is keeping me up WAY past my bedtime. Have you read it? I’m on edge!

I have never heard of an etiquette dinner party, but I am feeling inspired after reading about one.

I enjoyed peeking at what people carry in their purses- note to self, add dry shampoo to my purse!

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! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

October 2016 Must-Reads

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

October 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

This was one of those reading months that really flew by for me and I didn’t even have time to sit down and really jot down my thoughts on all the books I read this month until today. I did some traveling this month and spent a couple of days curled up with some really great books on our little Michigan getaway so it gave some time to dive into some books that have been on my radar for awhile.

I also discovered that I really enjoy listening to audiobooks on flights which is something that I haven’t tried before. My eyes were so tired on my flight home, but I wanted to read so bad that I decided to download a book to listen to while flying. Once again those cheap bluetooth headphones pulled through for me and I enjoyed listening to a book on my flight. What a great way to sneak in another book!

I’m really excited to share with you this month’s list because I got in some REALLY incredible reads that I think you should check out. I tried to add a little variety to my stack this month so I read a couple of great memoirs along with some excellent fiction. 

7 Must-Read Books from October 2016

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

I heard about Hillbilly Elegy when I got the chance to share about my favorite summer reads on Sorta Awesome awhile back. Laura, who will always be Hollywood Housewife to me, mentioned that this was one of the best reads she read over the summer so I knew I needed to add this to my stack. This book is incredibly compelling and gave me so much to think about as it explores Vance’s life growing up in a hillbilly family. He writes in a very real and unflinching way about the difficulties growing up in poverty and how the hillbilly mentality seems to force people to continue living in poverty even when opportunities are presented that could enable them to finally get ahead.

There are many moments in this book that helped illustrate a few of my own life moments that helped me understand my own Southern family better. Vance’s life was far more extreme, but I still could identify with a few of his stories that I hope help me feel more compassion for my own roots.

I would highly recommend this one for a book club because you would have so much to discuss and I think anyone who reads it will be able to understand this pocket of America better.

5 Out of 5 Stars

I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows

I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows

I am always thankful for historical fiction because of how much it teaches me about times in history I was not aware of. I Will Send Rain was an absolutely phenomenal book on one family’s survival when the Dust Bowl storms hit their community in the 1930’s. Through alternating viewpoints, Meadows dives deep into what it would be like to live through these storms from eating, to farming, to raising your children, to growing up as a child, to the impact of a marriage during this difficult time in history.  My hard days pale in comparison to the survival of this poor family’s daily existence as this dust covers their land and home, impacting their lives forever.

This book is so well-researched and so beautifully told that I have been thinking about it ever since I finished it. It is heartbreakingly sad, haunting, and achingly beautiful. I know you will be thinking about this one as much as I do when you finish it. If you are looking for a good historical fiction escape with a great coming-of-age story, make sure you add this one to your book stack. If you like this one as much as I did, be sure to read Mudbound. It reminded me so much of that beautiful read!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

I absolutely LOVED What She Knew and I even had Gilly join me for our Sundays With Writers series. I was so excited to read her next book, The Perfect Girl, after enjoying her first novel so much. This thriller is about a teenage girl, named Zoe, that is involved in a tragic car accident that kills three of her classmates. They relocate their family, her mother marries a wealthy guy, and they try to start a brand new life.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to escape a past like that and Zoe’s secret comes to life in a very public way at a piano concert she is doing. That same evening, her mother is murdered after the secret is revealed to the family, and everyone looks like a suspect. The reader gets the chance to try to solve who killed her and what other secrets this family might be carrying as the story unfolds.

This was a solid thriller, but the big reveal of who killed the mother was a bit of a let down after the length and build-up of the story. It just didn’t seem to have the same magic for me as I found with What She Knew, but I still enjoyed the story. Macmillan is a gifted storyteller and I can’t wait to read what she brings to the thriller table next!

3 Out of 5 Stars

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

One of the most buzzed about books this year is, The Mothers. The author, Brit Bennett,  is only 25 years old and was named to the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 this year so I have been anxiously awaiting this book’s appearance.

“The Mothers,” refer to the elderly women in a conservative congregation and their observations about their fellow church members, including observations about a girl named Nadia who is the main character in this story.

Nadia falls into a romantic relationship with the pastor’s son and their relationship ends when a secret that they carry becomes the primary focus of their relationship. Nadia continues to hide the secret, even from her dearest friend Aubrey, and ends up moving away to start fresh elsewhere. When she comes home though, she discovers that her feelings are still there for the man she left, but he has moved on with her best friend who has never known the secret past they carry.

This was a great read if you go into it knowing that this is more of a character piece than anything else. I really enjoyed Bennett’s writing and the unique viewpoint that, “the mothers,” offered to this.

I was excited to find this at the library, but if the wait list is too long, this was one of this month’s selections from the Book of the Month Club which is a great way to get great selections for a great price on books! Take 30% off 3 months plus a free BOTM tote with this coupon code: 30TOTE.

4 Out of 5 Stars

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

I’m not a big fan of books about animals so as soon as I see if a book is about an animal, I promptly dismiss it. I asked Sasha, from Pathologically Literate, to lead our book club discussion this month though and she selected, Lily and the Octopus, as her pick for us to read because she loved it so much she wanted to read it again.

I can’t tell you how much I love book clubs for this VERY reason because it pushed me to pick up this book, a book I would have dismissed,  and it is one of my new favorite books. I just can’t stop thinking about this sweet story that had SO MUCH humor and heart.

Teddy is a single gay man who has found the love of his life in his sweet little dog, Lily. Sounds basic, right? It isn’t though, it is rich and laugh-out-loud funny and heartfelt and gorgeous from start to finish. Rowley writes from Lily’s perspective in the most wildly unique way that it makes your heart hurt with its sweetness. When the two of them face a big challenge together, the story really begins to build.

The ending? Sheer perfection.

If a book moves me to tears, it’s a treasure. Get those tissues ready because it’s a tearjerker!

As soon as I finished it, I wanted to pick it right back up and read it again. I’m so thankful for this gentle nudge from our book club hostess to read this beautiful book. It was, truly, my favorite read of the month!

5 Out of 5 Stars

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

I read about, It Was Me All Along, ages ago when Kristen from Dine & Dish recommended it on one of her reading round-ups. I was not familiar with Andie’s blog and this was not a memoir I would have typically grabbed, but Kristen never leads me astray. It also happened to be chosen as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2015, picked as People Magazine’s Book of the Week, one of Amazon’s Best New Books of January 2015, and a finalist in the 2015 GoodReads Choice Awards.

It Was Me All Along chronicles Andie’s lifelong difficulties with healthy eating and her transformative journey of losing 135 pounds and finally finding the balance she was missing with food.

Andie really illustrates what so many struggle with and how often our best memories and our greatest comfort comes from food. She writes in a raw and honest way about how difficult it was to have a healthy perspective on eating and why so many of her hurdles with her food addiction were deeply rooted in her childhood.

I have had issues of my own with food and my weight and recognize how difficult it is to not fall back into bad behaviors. Andie’s honesty with her journey makes this a compelling read and I look forward to now being a follower of her beautiful blog too.

4 Out of 5 Stars

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley- all thoughts and opinions are my own!

I have always enjoyed Leavitt’s books (you can read an interview that I did with her over here), but this book…this book is EXCEPTIONAL and, I believe, her best book yet. The Girls had a lot of hype (I still need to read this one), but I think this is the book that should have received the hype as Leavitt explores this era in such a beautiful and compelling way.

When I interviewed Caroline she was working on this book and she had said, “Cruel Beautiful World was sold on the basis of a first chapter and a thirty page synopsis. It’s set in the 60s and early 70s, the time when all the free love movement was starting to turn ugly, with the Manson murders and Altamont. It’s about a 16 year-old girl who runs off with her 30 year-old hippy teacher to join the “back to the land” movement that began in the 70s, a so-called-paradise that turns into a nightmare for her.”

Who better to describe it than the author herself? What I would like to say about it is that she carves such incredible dynamics between the sisters and the fear that she creates in Lucy, as she worries for her safety during the Manson murders, is so poignant as she is being held captive herself by the man she thought she was in love with. These characters are written in a way that they feel so real and you can’t help but worry for each of them after Lucy disappears from their family.

If you are wanting to step back into that crazy time in history, this book is a perfect way to do it!

5 Out of 5 Stars

Sundays With Writers

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June 2016 Must-Reads

July 2016 Must-Reads

August 2016 Must-Reads

September 2016 Must-Reads

October 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What should I be adding to my library bag? Leave your suggestions in the comments below! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

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