Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

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.

It’s the 3 Little Things: Puzzle Fun, Hamilton, & a Netflix Must-Watch

Friday, October 28th, 2016

fall-break

Well, hey there! Fall Break with the fam was another good one on the books.  I won’t lie. It did also contain bickering, irritation with everyone’s laziness, and a lot of TOGETHERNESS, but we were TOGETHER, even in those grumpy moments.

It’s funny, something that has come up a few times over this past month have been comments about my marriage and what kind of marriage I must be putting out there in the social media world. Since my husband doesn’t read my blog (no, it’s totally cool, I don’t care at all..really, it’s fine…) I know that he will probably never see this, but I’ve gotten a few questions about how we seem really happy and have a lot of fun together after all these years.

And there have been a lot of years- I’m not even forty and we have been together over 21 years! Wild, isn’t it?

No marriage is perfect and mine certainly isn’t. I won’t tell you that it is. We weathered some hard stuff- moving away from our family, transitioning into parents, unemployment, health issues…the list could go on and on.

I’m sure we all have difficult lists like this.

There are many people that I have met that portray their marriage online in a good way and then you find out that there is a different truth to that story. We can show off whatever we want to on social media and that highlight reel can be REALLY GRAND.  I have found in blogging, a “perfect” family is what you are after and, yet, I know very few of us that actually have it.

I can’t give you the secret sauce on this marriage, but I can tell you my adoration for him is genuine and I often wonder how this lottery life moment happened.  We had the perfect set-up for a divorce. We were young and blindly in love with no real plan, we married far too soon, we dropped out of college without diplomas,  and we are completely different people than when we met in high school.

In fact, I don’t even recognize myself from that teenage girl who had never left home and held those rigid life views.

I actually wouldn’t even like her.

It shouldn’t be this good and I can’t say why that is except that we evolved into people we both really like. No one makes me laugh this hard, no one talks me up like I’m the Queen of England, and no one feels like home more than him.

If I wasn’t with him, my biggest hope would be to still get to hang out with him as a friend.  Because he is that. He’s the best thing I got and he’s my friend.

Here are a few other things that are making me happy!

I Had One of Those! Puzzle

I Had One of Those! Puzzle

We are addicted to the White Mountain puzzles and purchase one for each of our trips for something to do. I usually pick out the puzzles, but my husband picked this one out for this trip and it was SO FUN!! Everyone contributed to this one and worked on different sections throughout the day.  If you haven’t put together one of their puzzles before, our favorite has been this one and we also really loved this one too.

Now that I’m trading puzzles with my friends, we are able to really extend our collection to keep us busy this winter!

Hamilton's America

Hamilton’s America

Our family has recently caught the Hamilton bug and that soundtrack became the soundtrack of our trip (I listened through Spotify or you can listen through Amazon Unlimited Music with a free 30-day trial) as we put together our puzzle and drove from Granger to Grand Haven- singing all the way. We have even been talking about ditching presents again this year (check out our Choose Your Own Adventure! travel idea we created!) and getting tickets to Hamilton in Chicago as our holiday gift. But, dang. $$$!!

PBS offered a documentary, Hamilton’s America for Hamilton fans that you can stream on their site and our family watched this together. The documentary is filmed even before the show hit Broadway just as Lin-Manuel Miranda is in the beginning stages of writing this. The film chronicles the success of the show and a little behind-the-scenes of these actors that made it so successful. Dictation of lines for each of these characters and rap artists that helped inspire Lin-Manuel were really interesting to me, as someone who geeks out on stuff like that.

If you haven’t watched it yet or listened to the soundtrack, you must! Such good stuff (although racy in parts for little ears- I have a tween & teen) for the whole family. My son said he would be WAY more into history class if it was taught like this and we all learned a lot more history through watching the PBS documentary together!

Did you catch it? What did you think?

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

Netflix recently added, The Imitation Game, to their roster and this was a movie that both my husband and I had been wanting to see. For those of you that love period pieces, this is a beautiful one and the acting is just incredible.

Set during WWII, this story chronicles the real-life story of Alan Turing, a gay mathematician, who invented a machine that saved thousands of lives and had the power to shorten the length of the war. He is one of those unsung heroes in history who only received true accolades after his sad death.

The punishment for being homosexual, at that time, was unknown to me and resulted in a very sad ending to this man’s story. That said, incredible acting and so much meat to this movie that you will have lots to ponder after those final credits are rolling.

If you don’t have Netflix, stream this one on Amazon. We gave it 5 out of 5 stars- definitely worth the price of streaming!

The Mothers

Reading: I finished this book on my trip and really loved the way the book was told through “the mothers” eyes- the elderly women of a congregation. I wouldn’t say this is a fast story at all. This is a slow telling of a secret and how it impacts the people involved. It definitely held my interest!

Giggling:  I’m not normally one to enjoy commercials, but these three got me! The first two had me in stitches and the last one is all the AWWW!!

Planning: Our next Halloween couple’s costume with my hubby for a weekend party. I don’t want to say too much, but ELEVEN is a good hint! ;)

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 10.26.16

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Yarn Pumpkin Inspiration

source: eighteen25

I just got all sorts of pumpkin decoration inspiration from this post.

What a sweet dinner ritual to try with your family.

Do you do date nights at home? We love them!

Pumpkin Spiked Lattes? Yes, please!

Swooning over the sneak peek of this kitchen makeover.

How creative is this pumpkin hack? I would have never thought to use an app to animate one.

Here are a few tips and reviews on shapewear options.

Pumpkin Butter Pull-Apart Bread

source: baking bites

Pumpkin butter pull apart bread made from a tube of biscuits. Dang, I wish I wasn’t gluten-free!! HEAVEN!

Two more great uses for the instant pot- pumpkin puree made easy in the pressure cooker & a pressure cooker tomato sauce. I freaking love that gadget!

Decorating ideas for parents of differently-abled children. So many things I would have never thought of!

I can’t wait to try out some of these sweater-weather recipes.

Just finished this read and it was a good one! Definitely add that one to your reading list!

Inspiring Gallery Wall

source: design mom

A beautiful thrifted home interior- inspiring for small budget decorating!

This looks so cute and easy- turn a summer chambray dress into a vest. Adorable!

I love this basket upcycle! It makes me want to head to the thrift store to recreate it.

I was pretty cozy on my flight thanks to this! I love it so much, I’m thinking about getting another one!

This might make you think differently about peel & stick flooring- I know it did for me.

The coolest book covers of 2016- I completely agree.

I love this advice to consider dressing in levels.

I don’t know if we could pull this off, but I’m loving this diy storage shed and how it flows with the rest of the home. We need a shed for storage now that our shed has been taken over by this.

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: Bed Upgrade, Sleepover Helper & Cozy Duck Boots

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Sushi Date

Time is such a precious commodity, isn’t it? This article really spoke to me this month and I wanted to share it with you because it made me really contemplate the usage of my time. One thing that I get asked a lot (and this is not a brag thing, it just comes up a lot) is how I make time to do the things I do.

First, let me say that I have met far more productive people in my life than me and often wonder the same thing. There are times where I feel great shame when I hear how someone else is out there changing the world for charities or finding success in a new business venture or doing the same dang business I am, but doing it SO MUCH better than me.

The thing is, we are all allotted the same amount of hours in our day- no one person is gifted more than the standard 24-hours. What we do with this gift is our choice.

What ARE the secrets of people that seem to have all the time in the world? In the article it contemplates why so many feel like they are short-changed the gift of time. “People sometimes invite time stress into their lives, says Jeff Kavanaugh, senior partner at Infosys Consulting, and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, whose career has involved advising many busy executives. “They treat their time as an open-ended invitation to commitments,” he explains, “drawn in by their desire to please people or the fear of missing out, and downplay their capacity limit until the commitments—and the stress—stack up.”

Ah, I see several things that apply to me. I hate missing out (THE WORST!) and not wanting to let people down by saying no is a daily struggle for me.

Yet, our time is so precious and we shouldn’t be inviting these additional stresses into our lives. When we are at capacity and tack on one more thing, we invite things like sleepless nights and failing health.

My husband and I gifted ourselves the gift of time this week while our kids are on fall break. We are escaping to a little house and spending our days in a different way- relaxed and unscheduled. I find that each time I do that, I realize that I could be doing that a lot more in my very own home. I shouldn’t have to go somewhere to get unscheduled time.  I am hoping this helps me hit the reset button and reminds me of the gift of my time and what I really could be doing with it.

Here are a few things that are making me happy this week!

Microfiber Sheets

Finally, Soft Wrinkle-Free Sheets

I have been wanting to get a few new sets of sheets for our bed, but DANG, sheets are expensive. I am pretty particular about our sheets because I hate stiff and wrinkled sheets. I have spent a mint on terrible sheets, but ran across these sheet sets and figured, at that price, it might be worth a shot to get a few pairs for our beds.

These sheets are incredibly soft and wrinkle resistant. They are lighter in weight (preferable for this hot sleeper) and have generously deep pockets so that the sheets stay on well. I ended up getting one set for our guests (in one color) and two sets for us (in another color) so that we have great sheets when we have people visit.

I can’t speak to durability yet, but they are well-made for the price and pair well with our fabulous sherpa blanket. We loved that blanket so much, we bought one for every bed in the house! It’s definitely a winter must-have.

Affordable Bronze Iron Bed

Whenever I post a picture of our bed, we always get lots of questions about where it is from. If you can believe it, I bought this beautiful bed on Overstock too. My great-grandma had beautiful beds like this and I remember so many fun nights with my sister curled up in one of these at their little farmhouse. When I saw it, I had to have it for our own home.

Since our room lacks storage, we actually put this on plastic bed risers so we have a little more room for storage underneath. I love this small space solution for making more space.

Kamik Sienna Boot

My Feet Are Warm

Kamik has been my new go-to for boots and this fall they debuted the cutest pair of duck boots ever. I have been on the hunt for a cute pair of brown duck boots and the Kamik Sienna glams them up this year with a quilted flannel plaid print on the side and adorable buckle.

Of course, more important than being cute is how they feel and how they function. I have to be very serious about footwear (this body really pays if I wear bad shoes)  and these deliver on both being comfortable and being practical. The interior is lined with a comfortable layer of Thinsulate and the rubber material on these is surprisingly light while still being waterproof and durable.

If you are looking to switch up your duck boot game this year, I can’t rave about these enough. You do need to size up one size from your standard size (I am normally a 7 and these are comfortable for me as a size 8). In Indiana, I am always thankful when I make a warm boot investment- if you are on the hunt, these are fantastic!

You can take a peek at all their cute styles on their website- thank you, Kamik, for letting me give your boot a test run!

Serta Air Mattress

We Have a Bed for Guests

Our home lacks a guest room and sleepovers, I have heard, can get a little uncomfortable without a bed. Since we don’t have a place where we can really add more furniture right now, we decided to purchase an air mattress for guests. If you can’t tell already, I am a bit Overstock obsessed and they had this Serta Raised Queen Air Mattress that was at a fair price point and had raving reviews.

It inflates in three minutes (we totally timed it!) and deflates in the same time too. The nice thing about this one though is that you can customize the firmness on it so your guests can actually get a good night’s sleep. It’s comfy on its own, but if you really wanted to up the comfort factor a foam mattress topper would make this bed even better. We broke it in this weekend for my son’s sleepover and everyone slept great.

If you have a small storage space like us, it comes with a little carrying case and this doesn’t take up much room. I had been dreaming about an air mattress with a frame, but we have to be mindful of our storage space so that’s why we went with this one.

One day I’ll have to make a post on how to make a makeshift guest bed on the floor feel more welcoming! Wouldn’t that be an interesting assignment?

Capsule Report

The capsule wardrobe is going great. I do have one small issue, I actually gained a little weight this month and my rose jeans were becoming a little uncomfortable. Rather than grin and bear it, I ordered these discounted rose pants to replace them. I know that gaining weight after being this sick is a good thing and those jeans were pissing me off because I didn’t feel confident in them. So. SEE YA, uncomfortable pants!!

Do you ever wonder what that LIKEtoKNOWit stuff is about on Instagram pictures? I am sharing those little tags on my photos for my capsule IG account.  The title is really what the service means- if you like something with that tag on it on Instagram, you can receive an email that tells you exactly where the items are from and how to order them. I get a commision on these that assists with supporting our site and I always try to find the same or a similar budget-friendly equivalent for my outfits.

To receive these shopping links, do a quick registration (in just 30 seconds!!)  to register at www.LIKEtoKNOW.it.  An email will give you links to all the great pieces and I always try to stay within my small budget.

You can also shop my looks from the web by going directly to my LIKEtoKNOWit page: http://liketoknow.it/momadvicecapsule. Make sure you are registered!

Pintuck dress + Fleece top + infinity scarf + belt + booties

(pintuck swing dress- deeply clearanced!* cozy fleece top*  tassel booties (world’s comfiest booties- I swear!) * scarf (similar here and here) * belt (similar)

floral + stripes + mustard + nude booties

floral shirt (they also make a long sleeve version) * striped boatneck top * essential pants * nude booties (similar & similar) * mustard necklace (similar)

flannel shirt + jeans + duck boots

plaid flannel (same cut, different prints!) * scarf (handmade!) * boots * jeans

Reading: I’m taking this book on my trip- it sounds like the perfect little escape. Also hoping to dive into this one too- everyone raves about it and it sounds like a great cooler weather read. Have you read it?

Watching: The Just Add Magic Halloween Special- I wouldn’t have ever known if you guys didn’t tell me about this. My daughter and I were so excited about this! Thank YOU!!


Anticipating:  Season 2 of this show already! Don’t you love the clues they are giving us?

Trying: To get back to my curls again- love this cheap gadget for perfect curls in no time flat.

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 10.19.16

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

 

 

 

diy-marbled-indigo-pumpkins-6

source: alice & lois

These indigo pumpkins are everything.

Another sheet pan meal to try- yum!

I need to up my bookcase game- these shelves are inspiring!

How to find all the food shows on Netflix- time for a binge session!!

The trick to the crispiest chicken and turkey skin- who knew??

Did you know that the elderly homeless population is on the rise? Breaks my heart and reminds me to stock the car for the winter again with these.

Gretchen Rubin shares 81 Children & YA books that are her favorites. (and if you don’t know her- read this book immediately!)

Speaking of books, here are 100 YA books that have little to no romance in them (great selections for your YA reader!)

10 mason jar soups to share.

Buffalo Check Cork Bulletin Board

source: i heart organizing

Buffalo Check Bulletin Board. Love this idea for organizing papers!

I can’t wait to ask my kids these three questions tonight over our family meal.

I love these 4 decluttering epiphanies. All things I need to work on over here.

Can’t wait to dig into this book for my local book club- have you read it yet?

14 small space journeys to follow on IG.

Inspiring meatless meal ideas.

Waffled Pizza Fries

source: real food by dad

Waffled pizza fries? OMG!!! I’m all over this one!

This pumpkin bread looks heavenly- would love to adapt it to gluten-free.  I also had no idea that this is a great way to store it- will have to remember this!

Tips for making pho at home- YES!!

Read this first review and belly laugh. I’m still laughing.

This is a great series for working parents- bookmarking to listen to these stories. The juggle is real.

What your wine glass should look like- oops.

Who wants to move into Hermione’s house? ME!!! ME!!!

I just discovered these- not impressed with what they did to my whites, but a good add to my other loads!

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