It’s The 3 Little Things: Fashion Capsules, Taking Care of a Hairy Situation, & Laugh-Out-Loud Books

August 22nd, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends. It is a happy Friday, indeed, because BACK TO SCHOOL.  I treated myself to an entire day of things I dreamed I would get to do when I was a stay-at-home mom, but in fact, do not do. I hit the gym for a dance class, I got my nails done, I got coffee, I went shopping for my Fall wardrobe, and I read my book in sweet silence. It was the perfect day!  I rewarded myself handsomely for a summer filled with children. I highly recommend finding a way to reward yourself too.  We had a great summer and I enjoyed every minute with them, but I am happily back to a normal routine and schedule now that we have started school. It was nice to treat myself to a me day, but I am back in the office and hard at work again.

Today’s things that are making me happy all surprised me wildly. Here is to some unexpected happiness for your week!

Unfancy Fashion Challenge

Making My First Capsule Wardrobe

Ever since I was a little girl I have been nuts about pretty dresses and clothes.  I was always the girl that they talked about at church who was decked from head-to-toe in a lovely dress, shoes, tights, purse, hair bow…you name it. And it all matched.  Thanks, mom!

I have carried on this extravagant luxury over the years with a pretty rocking wardrobe and take great pride in all of the things  I wear. This year though I am challenging myself to embrace a minimalist wardrobe which is absolutely INSANE for this fashionista.  I discovered this post on How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by unfancy and it inspired me in so many ways to start thinking about my purchases.  It reminded me that I have a closet overflowing with pieces I am not wearing, it reminded me that I can still be fashionable with less, and it also reminded me how smart I used to be when we were broke and I would make the most of every piece in my closet.

For this challenge, you can select 37 pieces and that is it for three whole months. 37 pieces sounds like a lot, but this is counting your shoes too which is another area that my husband thinks I have too much of. This is totally a first world problem that I am stressed about this and that I have been counting over and over and over again in my closet the items, shuffling them, and recounting. I think it is bringing out my OCD tendencies. That said,  I already love my stuff so much that I have already started wearing them and have put all my clothes that I can’t wear in storage for now. Maybe this will inspire me once and for all to pare down my wardrobe.

This week I have been researching and purchasing for my first fashion capsule and I am so excited to share it with you. It is a mixture of items purchased on sale, secondhand goodness, and items from my own closet.

I am in no way a fashion blogger, but I would love to share this with you. I purchased some photo lights and a white backdrop so I can show you some different ways  I am wearing the items to hopefully inspire you to find a new way to wear something in your closet or to embrace a minimalist wardrobe of your own.  I know this challenge is going to be so good for me.

My husband doesn’t think I can do it. That, in itself, is a powerful motivator.

Braun Silk Epilator

Taking Care of a Hairy Situation

Have you ever tried a new beauty routine that absolutely terrified you? Let me tell you, friends, using an epilator for the first time was the scariest thing I have ever done.  I may have lead you astray in my post about a hairy friend who needed wax strips. This is probably going to shock you, but I am the person who needed them. I know.  This happiness project goes out to all my brunette friends. The ladies who struggle with an armpit shadow even after they have shaved, the ones with the coarse unmanageable leg hair, the ones who have stray chin hairs that have suddenly cropped up since they hit their 30′s, the ones who get razor burn 24/7, whose skin becomes rashy from just seeing a razor, and the girl’s whose lily-white skin tells tales of painful hair removal routines.

I am fist bumping you right now.

I bought this Braun Silk Epilator on Amazon and am saying goodbye to waxing. It removes hair from your legs, your underarms, and your face. It has a million attachments which you can use to remedy whatever your hair situation. It rips the hair out by the roots. It feels as good as it sounds. It has forty tweezers that do it at the same time and can lift hair that is as small as a grain of sand. It really can because I felt every last pull.

The first time was really excruciating because I didn’t do a lot of research beforehand. Here’s what I advise- drink a gallon of wine,  soak in the shower for five minutes, exfoliate well with a loofah, shave so you aren’t grabbing long hairs out, hold it at a ninety degree angle right up close in the shower under the water,  and go all out with the highest setting. The legs are not terrible and the bikini line was a piece of cake since I wax.

The underarms…I almost passed out.  Probably the worst beauty pain of my life.

Now that I am over the first three times of doing it, I love it and am addicted.

Probably the same way people are addicted to tattoos.

It’s kind of sick, really.

I absolutely love how my legs and underarms look. My face is fuzz free.

I am living the blonde girl dream life!

 

This-Is-Where-I-Leave-You

Laugh-Out-Loud Books

I’m hosting my book club this month and I selected This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper as our book so that we can go out and see the movie together that is coming out soon. I love it in the way that I loved the movie Bridesmaids- so wrong and so right. Raunchy, hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming, and so perfectly pitched. I would highly recommend this one for fans of Arrested Development as it reads just like my favorite episodes of the early seasons of the Bluth family. The crazy family dramas are always my favorites and this family does not disappoint in the craziness department. For better or worse, they are family, with all that history and messiness and love. 

This was a fantastic little end-of-summer escape and I can’t wait to read more of Jonathan Tropper’s novels. I only hope they are as hilarious as this. I’m looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen. I hope it measures up to the hilarity of this book.

If you can’t handle adult language and scenarios, skip on over this recommendation.  I am planning a fun feast and book club around this one so keep your eyes peeled for those recipes and the discussion we share before catching the movie!

The bonus happy this week, of course, is getting those kids off to school! Enjoy this video that sums up perfectly our first week back!

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

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

Freebie Friday August 22, 2014

August 22nd, 2014

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

This week on MomAdvice you’ll find a super easy way to preserve your own pickles from our food contributor, Diana -canning made simple with refrigerator pickles. I’m sharing one of my go-to breakfasts during the school year, make ahead breakfast burritos and I have a great new interview on Sundays with Writers: Mary Kubica talking about her book, The Good Girl. On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Our regular feature,  Amy’s Notebook, is of course filled with lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Food & Drink
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: August 23 - 29
23rd - Barnes & Noble: Join Storytime featuring Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, 11 am
23rd - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Silly Faced Magnetic Note Holder, 11 am – 3 pm
23rd - Lowe’s: Build a Monsters vs. Aliens Robot, 10 am
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Amy’s Notebook 08.20.14

August 20th, 2014

Pineapple crochet washcloth via Persia Lou

Source: Persia Lou

 

I am crazy about pineapples, and this washcloth is too adorable.

Bookmarking these 25+ gluten and dairy free recipes.

Easy and cute plastic spoon garden markers.

Snack placemats free printable – who wouldn’t want a bearded man placemat?

Adding to my reading list- Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview.

Got bugs in your garden? This all natural, diy garden spray really works.

Summer journaling pages from Simple As That via Thirty Handmade Days

Source: Simple As That

 

Finish up the summer in style with printable summer journaling pages.

What teacher wouldn’t want a bouquet of Sharpie flowers?

This organizing project is for my Project Lifers!

Six subtle things highly productive people do every day.

Give me gratitude or give me debt- the head check that I needed this month.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

August 19th, 2014

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Back-to-School requires a lot of planning and getting back on track with a healthy breakfast is one thing I want to work on this year. Today I wanted to show you a recipe for Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos that can be made ahead and also created for your gluten-free or dairy-free family members.  One batch of these freezer breakfast burritos can yield 15-18 burritos, depending on how you stuff  ‘em, and they are filled with everything your kids need to start their day on the right foot. I am partnering with Walmart on this back-to-school idea today so you can snag all the supplies you need right at their store.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

What I love about these burritos is that they are not only filled with fresh whole foods, but also that they are inexpensive to create. With kitchen staples like eggs, cheese, potatoes, and tortillas, it is likely you already have a few things on hand for this back-to-school breakfast. Create an assembly line of ingredients in the kitchen and have your kids jump in on the fun.

The potatoes are tossed in paprika and garlic powder for a tasty topping to the eggs. I love a little Italian turkey sausage, red peppers, and cheddar or colby cheese for these burritos. You can create your own flavor combinations or consider clearing out items from the fridge and making a unique combination all your own.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Be careful to not overstuff the burritos so they can be wrapped easily and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to place in the freezer until frozen. Once these are frozen you can tuck them in a freezer bag and just grab them when you need them. Do you know how to wrap a burrito?  If not, I love this tutorial for perfectly wrapped breakfast burritos!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

With one kid in middle school (GASP!) and a daughter who prefers not to eat in the morning, I am hoping that these burritos will be the perfect way to get them motivated to eat a healthy breakfast. Just grab one from the freezer and wrap it in a dampened paper towel  for the microwave for three minutes (flip it halfway through). Wrap in foil and let them eat them on the way to the bus or in route to school.  These also make a great after school snack,  after sports activities, or an impromptu dinner with their pals while doing homework.

To make them dairy-free substitute the cream with almond milk (which is what we did) and add a vegan cheese to them or leave them cheeseless. For a gluten-free burritos, Walmart offers this option in their stores.

We hope you love this delicious breakfast as much as we did. We have already started raiding our make-ahead breakfast burritos for quick lunches this week. I am shocked how beautifully these reheat and taste. There are no excuses why you can’t tackle a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check out my recipe for Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal for another fun breakfast treat!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
A make-ahead breakfast burrito that you can tuck in your freezer for a healthy breakfast, snack or meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream (or milk substitute)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • ½ pound cheese of your choice (or vegan cheese)
  • 18 tortillas, soft-taco size (8-inch), whole-wheat, flour, or gluten-free tortillas
Instructions
  1. To roast potatoes, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle diced potatoes with oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Toss the potatoes together to evenly coat in oil and seasonings, and spread out into a single layer on the parchment. Roast until browned on the bottom and tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Brown your sausage. Once it is cooked through, set aside in a large bowl, leaving about a 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan for the eggs.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream (or milk substitute) and pour into the sausage skillet. Cook over medium heat until just set, stirring as needed. season with salt and pepper and stir to combine, and transfer to the bowl with sausage.
  4. In the same skillet, cook your red peppers over medium heat until fragrant and softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Make an assembly line- tortilla, cheese, followed by a small handful of potatoes and a scoop of the egg/sausage mixture. Roll the tortilla up.
  6. For freezing, place burritos on a wax- or parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until firm, at least an hour. Transfer to large freezer bags and keep frozen for up to one month.
  7. For reheating, place a frozen burrito in a dampened paper towel and microwave for three minutes, turning halfway through.

Recipe Adapted From: Dinners For Winners

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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Apron Full of Giveaways 08.19.14

August 19th, 2014

Mint flowered apron via Etsy

Source: Creative Chics,  $40.00

 

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

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

Good luck to each of you!

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Refrigerator Pickles – Canning Made Simple

August 18th, 2014

From our food contributor, Diana Bauman.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Easy | momadvice.com

Okay, so a raise of hands: who here loves the icy cold crunch or sour pucker of a dill pickle on a hot summer day? Me too! Really, nothing says summer like a steaming footlong hot dog or a savory bbq pulled pork sandwich served with a cold pickle on the side. With cucumbers growing in abundance during this season, let’s make some pickles to enjoy at your next family bbq.

Dill pickles, made tangy and sour, are a cinch to make. I make them in a couple of different ways with no canning equipment required. I put up most of my cucumber harvest by fermenting them – brine cured pickles. They’re easy enough to make at home, requiring no vinegar to make, and the end result is a good old fashioned sour pickle filled with probiotics. I love the flavor of a fermented, brine cured pickle. The downside is that although you don’t need any canning equipment to make these pickles, they do need to ferment at room temperature for a good 1-2 weeks. If you’re having a family bbq soon, well, they just won’t be done in time. This is why whenever I make a large batch of fermented pickles, I also put up a few pints of refrigerator pickles that I know my family will be able to enjoy right away.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Easy | momadvice.com Refrigerator pickles are easy to make and don’t take much time at all. What’s great about them is that you can use this same simple recipe and pickle any kind of vegetable you may have in abundance. Cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, carrots, green beans, okra, hot peppers, and one of my favorites… red onions. Really, whatever you may have growing or bits and ends you have leftover from cooking will make great refrigerator pickles.

To make them, all you need to do is cut up the vegetable of your choice and layer them into a pint sized mason jar. I used pickling cucumbers.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Easy | momadvice.com

Then, add a couple cloves of smashed garlic, about a teaspoon of pickling spice, and then some dill weed, or if you’re growing them or can find them at your farmers market, the head of the dill weed with seeds. Not too much, about a couple teaspoons worth.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Easy | momadvice.com

Once you’re jars are packed, all you need to do is make a quick brine with apple cider vinegar, water, and salt, and fill the jar.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Easy | momadvice.com For refrigerator pickles, I like to use un-pasteurized, raw, apple cider vinegar since it’s filled with immune boosting probiotics. These pickles aren’t just tasty but nourishing. Just make sure to bring the brine just to a simmer, not a full boil. You can find raw apple cider vinegar at any natural food store or the natural food section of your local grocer.

That’s the entire process. Like I said, they are super simple to make, are full of crunch and mouth watering pucker, and will last a few months in your refrigerator…. unless you have a house full of boys that love pickles.

Refrigerator Pickles - Canning Made Simple
Author: 
 
Simple to make, refrigerator pickles recipe that is full of crunch and mouth watering pucker, and will last a few months in your refrigerator.
Ingredients
  • 9-10 small pickling cucumbers
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed then peeled (2 per jar)
  • 3 teaspoons pickling spice (1 tsp per jar)
  • fresh dill weed or dill heads (about a good 1-2 tsp per jar)
  • 1½ cups raw, apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons large granule sea salt (kosher or pickling salt)
Instructions
  1. Gently clean and remove any dirt and debris from the cucumbers.
  2. Slice the ends off of the cucumbers and quarter each one.
  3. Pack them into 3 pint sized mason jars.
  4. To the jars add the garlic cloves, pickling spice, and dill.
  5. In a medium sized heavy bottomed pan, bring the apple cider vinegar, water, and sea salt just to a simmer.
  6. Pour the brine into the jars, leaving about a ½" headspace.
  7. Screw the lids onto the jars and allow them to cool completely on the counter. Once cooled place the jars in the refrigerator. Let them sit for 24-48 hours before eating.

Have you ever made refrigerator pickles? Tell me, what vegetables have you used?

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Sundays With Writers: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

August 17th, 2014

Sundays With Writers

If there is one thing I love it is a summer thriller. There is nothing  better to tuck in a beach bag then a book that you can rapidly flip through and sit in suspenseful moments as the story unfolds. Those kinds of books that your eyes can’t read fast enough because you just HAVE to know what is going to happen.   If you have been waiting for the next-big-thing since Gone Girl, then I have the just the book for you!

The Good Girl

Today I am excited to feature a fantastic debut novelist, Mary Kubica, and share a little about her first book, The Good Girl. I snagged an advanced reader of this book from NetGalley, but it is now out on the bookshelves just begging for you to pick it up.  Debut novelists hold a special place in my heart and I’m excited to share her incredible journey into seeing her first book come to life with you.

The book opens with the following words, “I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia is unlike her parents in every way, content with her life as an inner-city school teacher. When she finds herself at a bar one night alone, after being stood up by her boyfriend,  she meets a guy. Her plans for a one-night stand turns into the worst mistake of her life.

I don’t want to say anymore because the beauty in this book is those plot twists you never see coming!

Grab your coffee and let’s chat with Mary Kubica about her debut novel The Good Girl!

Mary Kubica

I am a big reader and it is so difficult to find a book that actually has plot twists I didn’t see coming, but The Good Girl absolutely surprised me. As the writer of these twists, did you always see these twists coming or were they as equally surprising to you?

This is a great question! The plot twists are often equally as surprising to me as they are to the reader. In the case of The Good Girl, I had written a significant chunk of the novel before the ending came to me. This is one of the most exciting parts of writing for me – when I get that clear picture of how the story will end. I don’t typically outline or do much note taking before starting a new manuscript, and so all I have is a starting point; the rest of the details remain obscure. I make it a point not to overthink my plot too much, and to have faith that the details, plot twists, etc. will come in due time. It’s very exciting when it all comes together in my mind, and I get to go through the manuscript and insert clues to help the reader along, or in some cases, throw them off course. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing this genre!

Mia’s mother is the character that I relate to the most in your story because she is always questioning if she did enough or if she was a good enough mother. Is this something you really identified with too?

Absolutely. Mia’s mother, Eve Dennett, is the character I relate the most to. She is a woman, for one, but more importantly a mother, and as a mother myself, I was able to put myself in her shoes and ask myself how I would respond to the situation. How would I feel, and what would I do or say if it was my child that was missing? I really felt for Eve in the pages of the book. Even the very best mother makes choices that they may second guess, and not only is Eve longing for her missing child, but she’s desperate for a chance to make things up to Mia and amend for the poor decisions she made in Mia’s childhood. I think that as mothers, no matter how hard we try there is always the fear we will fall short and not do anything and everything we can for our children. I believe many mothers out there will relate to Eve on some level.

I found myself sympathizing with Colin so much that I did not see him as the bad guy in this story at all, even though I felt very differently at the beginning. Did you sympathize with him?

Without giving anything away, I think that The Good Girl is a novel that makes you rethink much of what you know, and teaches the reader not to take things at face value. What you see if not always what you get, a fact which holds true with many of the characters in the book. I sympathize with nearly every character in The Good Girl for various reasons. They are imperfect and flawed, as most of us are, something that will hopefully make them relatable to the reader.

Your journey of becoming a debut novelist is such a good one and showcases why writers should never give up on their dreams. How long did you have to wait to see your book on bookshelves? Does it still feel surreal to you?

Yes, it feels absolutely surreal. It was 2006 when I first began working on The Good Girl, and 2014 when it was published. That’s 8 years of hard work, hopes, dreams and fears – all of it. There were many ups and downs all along the way, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. After finishing the novel, I submitted it to many literary agencies, and, as you may know by now, it was rejected by every single one of them. I thought that was it; any hope of a writing career was through. Two years later I received an out-of-the-blue email from one of the agencies that had previously declined to represent my novel. The Good Girl had stuck with them all that time and they wanted to represent it – proof that writers, or anyone for that matter, should never give up on their dreams. It still shocks me to see my name on a book at the bookstore. I wonder if this will ever feel real to me and no longer surreal? Probably not.

Your book is being compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. What do you think of the comparison? Do you think this comparison has helped in the selling of your novel?

I definitely think the comparisons to Gone Girl did nothing but help The Good Girl. There are so many Gillian Flynn fans out there (including me!), and so I’m thrilled with the comparison. That said, it can be a bit unnerving, trying to live up to such a masterpiece, but early feedback for The Good Girl has been phenomenal. I couldn’t be more pleased.

We featured Heather Gudenkauf and her book Little Mercies this past month (which was also so fabulous!) How did you end up partnering with her for your book promotion?

First, let me say that Heather Gudenkauf is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with, and her latest novel Little Mercies is by far one of my favorites of 2014. Heather and I share not only the same publisher – Harlequin MIRA – but the same editor as well, and seeing as our novels came out just a month apart, and we write in the same genre, it’s a perfect match. We’ve been able to travel together many times to promote our books, and have connected at many conferences throughout the year. Heather has been a wonderful mentor to me, and I feel so fortunate for our time together. It’s so great to be able to connect with other authors. Writing can be an isolated profession, and so the more people – authors, readers, etc. – we’re able to connect with, the better!

Can you give us a sneak peek on what you have in store for us next?

Yes, I’d love to! I just finished up my second novel Pretty Baby, which will be released by Harlequin MIRA in 2015. This is another psychological suspense set in the Midwest, about a Chicago mother who encounters a young homeless girl with a baby. She becomes quite taken with the two of them, and as she does, we learn more about these women and what effect this chance encounter will have on both of their lives. Be sure to check my website or follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates on Pretty Baby as they arrive!

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

My favorite book of all time is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This is one that I tell everyone to read. It’s a Vietnam War memoir, but is much more than that. You don’t need to be a history guru to fall in love with this book. When it comes to my own genre though, psychological suspense, Before I Go To Sleep is one I often recommend. I just loved this S.J. Watson novel.

I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Steak Dinners at Home, Spinning Plates, & Fall Boots for Less

August 15th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

I hope everyone is having a great Friday and looking forward to the weekend! We start school next week so we are savoring this last bit of free time before life as we know it ends. You know the routine- living in your car and running your children from activity to activity, homework battles, and trying to keep up with all those papers. I am hoping to offer some solutions for the back-to-school craziness in the next couple of weeks since it is something we have been working on over here and I plan to share some of this year’s solutions with you!

In the meantime, here is what is making me happy this week!

Discounted Naturalizer Boots

Boots That Don’t Break the Bank

Fall is just around the corner and that means boot season is around the corner. I have had the same pair of chocolate colored boots from SEARS that I got for $29.99 for the last six years. On my last trip, the zipper just finally gave out.  I loved these boots so much and remember being in New York and people asking me where I got them and me saying,  “SEARS,”  but kind of trying to pull that French accent that people do with Target. It sounded all kinds of wrong- I don’t know how I can make that name sound fashionable (even though my boots were!).

I decided I could go boot shopping this year and needed a pair of chocolate and black riding boots. Can I just say that boot prices are outrageous? $200 on up to $1K for a pair of boots? Nope. I refuse.  Now that I am an old lady, I rely on Naturalizer for my shoe needs and discovered 6pm.

Have you heard of 6pm before? It’s like the world’s best shoe warehouse and they carry my Naturalizer brand for my wide foot & old lady back issues. Last season’s $200 boots that I wanted so bad (but refuse to pay for) were marked down to $89.99.  That’s still an awful lot for boots for me, but if I can rock my fancy Sears boots for six years, I can surely get that many out of a really good boot. From now on, I’m doing my shoe shopping on that site- I can’t recommend it enough for savings.

I’m pretty excited for my boots being delivered this week and I know I will be having happy feet all Fall long!

Restaurant-Style Steak Recipe

Mastering the Steak

We decided to have a little celebration dinner for the end-of-summer with our kids.  I took my kids the Gucci grocery store in town and asked them what they would like to eat. We settled on steaks and they loved a fun appetizer of mozzarella balls, salami, and kalamata olives that they had on skewers for us to sample while we were shopping. We bought beautiful filet mignons, fresh berries, heavy cream, and baby asparagus to go along with our steaks.

I forget that all of the fancy dinners we eat typically are on date nights and out with my husband. My kids don’t get to enjoy foods like that very often and they were so excited to help prepare it with me and to experience some of the foods that are our special occasion foods.

I’m proud of how far I have come in my cooking abilities, but my proudest moment this summer is finally mastering the technique for a beautiful steak.  It has taken a bit of the fun out of dining out and getting a steak because now that I have it down, I think I do a better job than most of the places we have been to.

We threw Carole King on the record player and ate the best food ever together, as a family, and it was pretty much perfect.

Then we said in fancy voices that we should have Filet Fridays instead of Pizza Fridays.

Then we remembered we have to live on a budget.

And we aren’t that fancy.

 

I wear Sears boots for six years, for goodness sakes.

It was a beautiful thing to share together.

Spinning Plates Documentary

Spinning Plates

I know that last week I shared about our love for the documentary, “Tiny,” on what was making me happy. I am in a bit of a documentary mood in the evenings and we watched Spinning Plates together as a family. As a disclaimer, there were two swear words (which my children pointed out), but overall, I felt this one is very family-friendly and so worth a viewing if you have a Netflix account like we do.

Here is why I think you should watch this one.  This movie is about people who are passionate about food and what sacrifices they make when running a restaurant. It is about the most successful restaurant, a failing restaurant, and the most intriguing community-driven restaurant I have ever seen.  It is heartwarming and beautiful. The passion for food is contagious and discovering the why behind their cooking is a beautiful journey.

I would say this is a good one for fans of Jiro Dreams of Sushi (and if you haven’t seen that yet, you haven’t lived!)

I was teary-eyed a bit through this one, but seeing people’s passion for food makes me so happy. I hope you can catch it if you haven’t already!

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

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

 

Freebie Friday August 15, 2014

August 15th, 2014

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

This week on MomAdvice we have two contributor articles where you’ll find parenting tips and money tips – Mary Carver writes about how to encourage your child’s creativity and Kelly Whalen asks “can debt be good?” You’ll also find my announcement of a fun back to school pinterest party this Sunday where you could win BIG prizes – click here to get the details! On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Our regular feature,  Amy’s Notebook, is of course filled with lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Food & Drink
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: August 16 - 22
16th - Barnes & Noble: Join Storytime featuring Pete the Cat and the New Guy, 11 am
16th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Blooming Numbers Garden, 11 am – 3 pm
16th - Michael’s: Make a Locker Picture Frame Out of Duct Tape, 12 – 3 pm
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Amy’s Notebook 08.13.14

August 13th, 2014

Apricot Jam via The Idea Room

Source: The Idea Room

Oh, this apricot jam recipe sounds divine!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this kitchen reveal.

Loved this piece on first novels and social media.

This DIY fire pit table top is so awesome!

Perfect tips to hang a gallery wall without nails.

Diy movie theater seats via Not Just a Housewife

Source: Not Just a Housewife

DIY backyard movie theater seats- yes, please.

I think we need to make a teepee for our cat, ha!

Chipotle honey bbq ribs- fist pump!

This Outlander viewing party is too cute.

Four words: grilled chicken pesto sliders. You’re welcome.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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