DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

November 3rd, 2016

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from


This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a rice pillow that was handmade by my mother-in-law. Rice is such a surprisingly incredible conductor of heat and I loved that this gift could be reheated in the microwave to be used over and over again for warmth and comfort for all of life’s aches and pains. For today’s craft project, I wanted to create mini rice warmers perfect for keeping in your pocket for chilly days. Per usual, this project is completely no-sew (mic drop!) so you don’t even need to have a sewing machine to make these DIY hand warmers.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I wanted to create an easy hostess gift that would be perfect for sharing to thank someone for their hospitality. Not only do these diy no-sew hand warmers make a perfect gift, they also add beauty to your home when displayed in a pretty bowl!

How to Make DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

Rice can be a little pokey if it is sandwiched between thin fabric so these no-sew hand warmers are being made with a heavier home decorator fabric from the Waverly Inspirations line. Using this saves time cutting because these little hand warmers don’t need an interior lining. Thanks to this thick fabric, it also makes it far easier to pull together with our hemming tape.


Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Waverly Inspirations Fabric (I used the 100% cotton duck fabric available at the store)- each hand warmer needs two 5×5″ pieces

Hemming Tape and (optional) fabric glue

Cardstock for Template

Iron & Ironing Board



Measuring Cup

Fabric Rotary Cutter (or you can use scissors)

Rotary Mat

Pinking Shears

Waverly Inspirations Ribbon

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers Tutorial from

Directions for No-Sew Hand Warmers

1. Using cardboard or heavy-duty card stock, cut a 5×5″ template for cutting your fabric squares. Using this as your guide, begin cutting two squares for each each hand warmer. You will need four squares for each set. Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabrics, using different fabrics for each side.

2. With the print side facing OUT, line the almost the entire square with the hemming tape, leaving a small opening for your funnel to pour your rice in. Place the second fabric square on top (again, print side facing OUT), and iron the square on both sides, until the pocket has sealed.

3. Using a funnel, funnel in a 1/2 cup of rice into the pocket. Once all the rice has been added, take a small piece of hemming tape and put it in the hole that has been left open or you can finish with a dab of fabric glue to seal. Carefully iron it shut and then shake the pocket over a bowl to make sure all sides have been sealed.

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers Tutorial from

4. Finish by trimming the hand warmer with pinking shears to give it a finished edge. If giving as a gift, tie these with pretty ribbon for packaging.

5. To use these hand warmers, simply heat these for 30 seconds in your microwave. Tuck these in your pockets to help warm those hands in the colder months.


DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from

This craft takes about fifteen minutes which is just about how much time I have to craft these days! We love these so much and they also happen to be fantastic for my kids as they head down to the bus stop. I love that they can be used over and over again and that these attractive fabric choices make such a pretty display in our home!  I have them nestled next to my new tea organizer for a little warming station from the cold- how cute is that?

I also thought these would be such a great addition for carrying around in my no-sew hidden pocket scarf. If you haven’t caught that tutorial yet, it is probably my proudest craft moment this year!

Happy crafting, friends!

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Amy’s Notebook 11.02.16

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

November 1st, 2016

October 2016 Must-Reads from

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

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.

11 Ways to Naturally Relieve Joint Pain

October 31st, 2016

11 Ways to Naturally Relieve Joint Pain from


Since my diagnosis this year with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I have received so many emails from readers who have suspected they were struggling with the same disorder (or their family members are) and asking how I am managing my pain. In the beginning, I was on a variety of medications for my joint pain from anti-inflammatory medications to steroids to even anti-epileptic medications to help control the pain. I am now (mostly) pain medication free, but it took meeting with an incredible specialist and doing my own experimentations on what worked best for my body to finally kick my prescription habit.

Joint pain, of course, isn’t limited to just EDS. So many people I know have a variety of issues like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia that cause joint pain for them as well. Chronic pain, with any condition, makes doing routine tasks difficult. It is frustrating when doing simple routine tasks cause pain and it is more frustrating when that pain is invisible to others.

You might look like a million bucks, but internally you are somewhere curled up in a fetal position just trying to get through your day.

It’s a frustrating feeling.

I am sure I will be updating this post as I find new things that work for me so be sure to bookmark this post for more ideas! In full disclosure, I am not a doctor and have no medical background. What works for me is not guaranteed to work for you. These suggestions are ones that should be reviewed with a trusted physician! 

Please also note, I have purchased ALL OF THESE THINGS WITH MY OWN MONEY. I know that people often feel mislead by bloggers about false claims on products. I can tell you that everything I promote on my site is always legit, but I can also tell you that no one has paid to be in this spot or is giving me a freebie so I will write about it. Just ask my husband about the bank alerts when I start buying this stuff… ;) 

There are four things that I have found that really help my joint pain- Warmth, Good Sleep, Supplements, & Gentle Stretching. If any of these categories are off (even just a tad), I am usually in a lot of pain by the end of the day. 

Here are 11 products that I have found help me in each of these categories.

11 Ways to Naturally Relieve Joint Pain



Not only do I have EDS, but I also have a disease called Raynaud’s that causes my fingers and toes to be cold, losing feeling, and change colors. For me, one of my best defenses against Raynaud’s and my joint pain is to stay warm. A simple thing like an extra sweater layer, warm socks, warm slippers, and even having my little fireplace going in the summer all help my joints so much.

When I spoke with my doctor about what I could do to help my Raynaud’s he suggested UGGS in the summer.

Basically, bundle up.

Stiff joints, for me, require the same kind of bundling. Winter is my worst enemy and I am dreading the cold days that are coming in Indiana. Luckily, I have found a few things that help warm my joints and relieve some of my pain.

Here are a few products that I use to help in this category:

Sunbeam Heated Blanket

A Heated Throw

With all these weird joint issues I have going on, I am absolutely miserable in the mornings and I am also cold all the time. I treated myself to a Sunbeam Sherpa Electric Throw and it has been such a game-changer for me throughout the day. It has three settings and the Low setting is warm without getting hot and the sherpa interior and velvety exterior make it a treat to snuggle with. The sizing is perfect for two or one really cold woman who wraps herself like a burrito in it.

If you struggle with joint pain in the morning, having one of these to plug in while you have a cup of coffee is a great way to warm up those joints for your day. I even plop it on my lap while I am working on the computer so I can keep the warmth in my toes.  Although this is a pricier investment, it has been my go-to on my bad days with my joints.

Epsoak Epsom Salts

Epsom Salt Baths (in Bulk!)

One thing I also started doing in the mornings (post workouts or on those mornings that I can’t seem to get my joints moving) is indulging in an epsom salt soak to help with my joint pain. Going to the store to stock up on salts every week got a little ridiculous so I was excited to discover that I could get almost 20 pounds in bulk on Amazon and have it shipped right to my door (thanks, Prime!)

The scented soaks are my favorite so I soak in these with a few drops of this lavender oil. Thank God for that epic bath tray so I can make the most of my bath with a good book.

In a 2004 study, conducted by the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, researchers concluded that prolonged soaking in an Epsom salt bath raises magnesium levels without any adverse effects. The ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths to raise magnesium status, according to the study, is approximately 500 grams, or 2 cups, of Epsom salt dissolved in 15 gallons of water — the amount that can fit in a standard-sized bathtub. The ideal amount of time spent soaking is 12 minutes, two to three times per week.” (source)

Although I will share this in the supplements section later, epsom salts are a fantastic way to get in a dose of magnesium and magnesium is a great thing for joint pain. I am a bit of a mag addict these days.

Did you know that most people are deficient in this?

You can read more about why magnesium is such an important and vital nutrient, even if you don’t suffer from joint pain.

Fingerless Arthritis Gloves

Fingerless Arthritis Gloves

Although not fashionable, I discovered fingerless arthritis gloves are a GREAT way to improve the circulation in my fingers and to reduce joint pain, particularly when I am working. The mild compression in each glove helps to relieve stiffness in your hands and can be extremely beneficial if you work at a desk job like I do.

Not only are these fantastic indoors, but they are also wonderful to be worn outdoors too underneath your usual layers. My son has Raynaud’s too and he wears these as a layer underneath his gloves to help keep his fingers warm. It is incredible how much relief they can bring and they are an easy thing to slip on while doing routine tasks thanks to their fingerless design.

Deep Blue Rub

Deep Blue Rub

I am one of those people that is a disbeliever when it comes to the oils craze (don’t throw rotten tomatoes please!). That is to say that I am NOT a distributor and also don’t always believe in the claims that are made about these. Several friends recommended trying this cream and even shared tubes with me when I was first diagnosed.

This Deep Blue Rub cream is magic and has helped a lot with providing a little pain relief. It also happens to smell way better than the heavy-duty stuff I had been using that made my eyes water!

I am putting this under the Warmth category because it begins with a cool tingle and then offers a comforting warmth when the coolness wears off.

Keep in mind, it’s pricier than the stuff at the drugstore, but I’m finding just a little goes a long way. I wish it never wore off, but the moments of relief it provides have helped me a lot, particularly in the evenings! They do offer smaller packages for purchase that can help you decide if this is a good pain relieving option or not!

Good Sleep

Sleep with joint pain has felt almost impossible this year. I have never struggled with insomnia until I started experiencing pain like this. I can tell you that few things help my joints more than a good night’s rest though. If I have a miserable night of sleep, it makes for a very difficult day for me (and for my family!).

Here are a couple of things that I have found improve my sleep and reduce my joint pain:

Body Pillows

A Body Pillow

I started getting massages for all of my joint issues (another great natural pain reliever, if you can afford it!) and the massage therapist offered some suggestions for better sleeping including hugging a pillow between my arms and legs. I thought a body pillow might be the way to go instead of wrestling with little pillows and found this inexpensive body pillow at Target (less than $10!). The best part is that they have all these gorgeous covers that can coordinate with your bedding and I found this furry one in gray (again, less than $10!!) that make it an incredible joy to curl up with it!

I should note, I do couple this body pillow with a proper pillow for my head. Many, many years ago I got a Tempur-Pedic pillow that ended up saving me hundreds of dollars visiting a chiropractor. I couldn’t believe how much this pillow cost, but we often remark that these pillows are one of our most valued possessions. You know, the kind you would grab if there was a fire. It’s right up there with precious pictures.

If you can’t swing one of those though, give this inexpensive body pillow option a try and see if it helps!

sleepytime extra tea

Sleepytime EXTRA Tea

When I was struggling with some stomach issues, the dietician I saw suggested making the switch over to tea to help calm stomach (instead of that red wine habit- ahem!). I have difficulty unwinding in the evenings and still needed something that would help me with that. I had been taking melatonin, but seeing this piece on it kind of freaked me out about that.

I found this Sleepytime Extra Tea and I don’t know what voodoo is in this stuff, but it makes me feel sleepy and relaxed at night. I actually do know what voodoo it is… it is valerian and it seems to work like a charm for me. I sleep good and I have no problems getting up and around in the morning. This has replaced my melatonin hangover and I have been really happy about this little life switch.

I add a splash of almond milk and honey to it for an evening treat with my book. It was also a treat, after discovering it and becoming a genuine fan, to get to head to the headquarters and see where this tea was made and learn more about their company.

Driftoff Natural Sleep Aid


Sometimes Sleepytime Tea just doesn’t cut out and so I tried a variety of different natural sleep aids to help me get some zzz’s so my joints would feel better. Of the things I have tried, DRIFTOFF is the one that has brought me the most success recently. It does contain melatonin, but only 2 mg (within the range of appropriate dosage according to the experts). This sleep aid combines the powers of valerian root with the powers of melatonin to help you sleep better and more soundly.

This has really helped me a lot and I’m considering trying their product for anxiety relief too because I have had such good success with this one.

Natural Calm

Natural Calm

Hey, there anxiety! You sure cause me a lot of sleepless nights.

Several of my friends had been telling me about Natural Calm and the benefits of magnesium on the body even before my joint issues had started.  I knew how good I felt after soaking in epsom salts (see above), but the advice to take magnesium orally  went in one ear and out the other.

When I went to pick up my supplement though, the girl waiting on me said, “PLEASE try this! It has changed my life.” She pointed to a bottle on the shelf and I actually listened this time.

It was the same bottle of stuff that my friends had been raving about. If you read the reviews you can get a better picture of how much it helps people.

It is unreal the difference in my mood and calmness levels.  For me, the difference was noticeable immediately. My hardest day of the week is Tuesday. It’s the day ALL THE THINGS must happen and I am a disaster by the end of the day.

I took it in the afternoon and my husband came home and was like, “How did it go today?”

And I’m all like…”It’s cool.”

And he’s like, “No, really. Isn’t this THE HARDEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE?”

And I’m like, “Nah, man, it’s cool.”

In short, he nicknamed me Matthew McConaughey cause I’m all like, “Alright, alright, alright,” around house. Not high strung. Not crying because I can’t do ALL THE THINGS for ALL THE PEOPLE. And I’m sleeping better (a huge bonus on the joints).

Do your own research, start small (or you will have the runs- trust me!) and don’t take more than what is recommended. I take a small amount in the afternoon before my children come home when they ask for ALL THE THINGS and a small amount if I am worried I will have trouble sleeping at night. I took it once in the morning and it knocked me out and I slept all day so I don’t recommend it if you want to have a productive morning. If you want to have the most glorious day of day sleeping though, it was quite lovely.  Of course, it reacts differently in everyone. For me, it makes me feel like I had a little glass of wine or a great bath.


Since I have EDS, one of my main defenses against joint pain is supplements. The other (although I am not getting into it here) is eating gluten-free to reduce the inflammation in my joints. Both are a pain in the patootie, to be honest. I miss eating real pizza and I hate taking pills.

I’m not going to dive into my supplements, but if you have EDS too, Dr. Collins has a great guide on eating and supplementation.

There are a couple of things that I would recommend though (from my personal experience) that are helping.

Pill Box Organizer

A Big Guns Pill Organizer

Three people in our family are following the supplement guidelines recommended by our doctor to help with our joints and that means A LOT OF FREAKING PILLS. I was getting really overwhelmed getting everything organized and the volume we need to take don’t fit in a traditional organizer. I got one of these large pill box organizers for sorting and I love it. Each of us has our initials on the outside, I do all the sorting once a week, and then each person pulls out the drawer for the day and takes their pills.

This one offers an AM & a PM side on each day. It has helped me stay on track with the supplement routine and I credit the regime with bringing a ton of joint pain relief.

I would also say, getting these supplements set up on Prime Pantry has helped a ton with keeping us stocked each week. There are two things that arrive on my doorstep regularly through Prime Pantry- supplements and my hair color, friends. It’s WILD over here!

artnaturals Magnesium Oil

Magnesium Oil

Can you tell that I’m obsessed with magnesium? Magnesium oil was a recommendation from the specialist I saw and has been the latest discovery for me to help relieve my joint pain. The one that I use is this one from artnaturals (you can definitely explore other options though- I went by reviews!)

This stuff is amazing!  It works INCREDIBLY well for joint pain, but it also says that it helps a ton for people with migraines too. I don’t suffer from migraines, but I know many of you do and wanted to mention that.

There is 100 mg elemental magnesium per 1 ml (approximately 8 sprays) in this oil. Since I was recommended to double my current magnesium intake, this is helping me achieve that without taking more supplements.

I spray it on all my achy joints and it has helped me to skip my pain medications this week because it helps so much!  If you have migraines, you just spray your temples to help with your pain management, usually easing pain within just a couple of hours. It has helped so much I actually stopped taking my second dose of pain relievers without a great deal of discomfort in the evening.

It does leave a bit of a residue, but not too bad for this white, white woman. I’ve also found it stings a bit so not a good thing to spray shortly after shaving!  I’m planning to mix up a lotion she recommended soon (I’ll share that recipe later!), but in the meantime this is an effortless way to increase my magnesium.

Gentle Stretching

This cardio queen has had to make a lot of changes to her exercise routines. The advice I was given was to do what I had been doing, unless it was causing me pain. I knew, in my heart, pounding on my joints actually was doing more harm than good. I switched to a yoga routine (never taking things too far!!) and it has been one of the best things for my body. If you are local, this studio and their instructors have brought a lot of joint pain relief to my life. If you are not a local, check Groupon to see if you can score a few classes on a budget.


If I could make any recommendations, it would be to consider getting a thicker yoga mat to protect your achy joints. I bought an expensive one and I wouldn’t say paying a ton more was worth it. You can even find good quality thick mats at places like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.  I also found this affordable option that should help protect your knees while working out. If you are determined to keep to a thin mat though (it really does help with balance), I love this knee pad offering that would be perfectly portable for protecting your knees.

I also advise keeping warm especially until your joints warm up. I use thredUP (new customers can get a $10 credit using that link) for layering my workout apparel (they carry a lot of those pricier activewear options) and I found that the yoga socks on Amazon work just as good as the pricier yoga socks that were being sold at my studio.

A gentle stretch always helps me feel better and has been a great way to avoid relying on prescription medication.

PHEW!! I think that is it for now. I REALLY and TRULY hope this helps someone else with their joint pain. So much of this is your own trial and error and I hope someone else trying a few things out (and spending a gazillion dollars on stuff that didn’t work!) will help you in your journey towards joint pain relief.

11 Ways to Naturally Relieve Joint Pain from

If you have any of your own suggestions or questions, I’m happy to answer them! I hope I can pay forward all that I have learned from so many! xo

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

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Small-Budget Crushes 10.30.16

October 30th, 2016

Just Handle It T-Shirt

just handle it t-shirt


Oversized Flannel Scarf

oversized flannel scarf

Modal Joggers

modal joggers (loads of prints/colors)

Flannel Fleece Pom-Pom Throw

flannel fleece pom-pom throw

Personalized Starbucks Cups

personalized reusable starbucks cups

Faux Fur Slippers

faux fur slippers

Pintucked Swing Dress

pintuck swing dress in yellow

Marbled Vase

marbled vase

Rubber Boots With Removable Liner

rubber boots with removable liner

Taco Rack

taco rack



If You Can Read This Socks

if you can read this, bring me a glass of wine socks

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo

Happy Halloween!

October 29th, 2016

Stranger Things Couple's Costume

We hope you have a wonderful Halloween! I can’t tell you how much I love dressing up for Halloween with this guy, but I feel like this year wins all the years. We are a bit Stranger Things obsessed this year so this costume was so much fun to put together. If you haven’t dove into the series, may this costume inspire you to look into this show. You will not regret it!

Barb, Stranger Things

We didn’t want to be basic with this costume (it was swinging in that direction after all my traveling) so Ryan suggested that he go as Barb.

Maybe you don’t remember Barb. No one seemed to care about her. She was the fallen hero in this show. Everyone is crying over Will and poor Barb goes missing and no one hardly notices.

Barb Missing

Barb Missing

My husband put together a Barb costume that made me laugh all evening long. He actually designed a Trapper Keeper cover for an old binder and we blouse shopped for DAYS to get the right ruffled blouse. An old pair of jeans for snow plowing made the perfect “mom jeans” and he snagged some glasses on Amazon for his look.

My old Thelma & Louise wig from a Halloween past (doesn’t everyone have an entire bin of wigs laying around in their house?) was hacked down to a Barb length.

In short, he NAILED IT!

Eleven, Stranger Things

Eleven, Stranger Things

Eleven, Stranger Things

Eleven’s dress was almost impossible to find. We walked the malls for days, found a poor substitute for a dress, and sat down in the food court with our kids to tell them about our terrible luck. That is when Emily (who has NEVER SEEN THE SHOW, but I am sure has photographic memory) said that she thought she saw the dress we were after in Hot Topic while her and her brother were shopping.

After we got over the shock that our kids were walking around Hot Topic while we were dress shopping, we ran into the store and she was absolutely right.

It was the real Eleven dress.

I borrowed her blue rain jacket, we sprung for another wig for the wig box, bought some waffles, and I rocked my husband’s socks and a pair of sneakers.

We both debated on the blood and leeches bit. You totally could do that too!

I hope you will indulge me and let me reminisce about our other couple’s costumes for a bit…

Mary Poppins & Burt

Mary Poppins

Where's Waldo & Carmen San Diego

Glee Halloween Costume

Glee Halloween Costume

Glee Halloween Costume

'50's costume night Marilyn Monroe Costume



I know. SO. MUCH. FUN!


Every year is my favorite year and this is no exception. I hope you have a fun Halloween!!

And if you need a good laugh, here is a video for you. If you were wondering, this was my first glass of wine. Can you just imagine how much my dancing improved after that? :)





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

October 28th, 2016


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

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


3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids

October 25th, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids from

We’ve been practicing a lot of basic math facts at our house this month. My older daughter has lost that loving feeling for math (a subject she’s run hot and cold on throughout elementary school), despite my repeated declarations that math is everywhere! and yes, she really WILL use this in real life! And somehow, between second and third grade, she’s apparently forgotten all the subtraction facts she memorized last year.

So it’s been pop quizzes over dinner, practice tests after karate, and flashcards in the car for us. Because I’ve read what feels like a million articles about the importance of emphasizing STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) with our kids — and especially our girls. It’s why I’ve enrolled my daughter in science and robotics classes the past few summers and why we have engineering blocks and doll sets stacked up in her room.

But it’s also why we play dress-up and pretend at our house (and why she also goes to theater camp every summer). I’m no researcher or education professional, but as far as I can tell, having the ability to think creatively is just as important to school (and life) success as memorizing facts.

As I watched my daughter try to figure out another math problem on the worksheet her teacher sent home one night, I realized she was so frustrated and confused that she wasn’t even using common sense. In a bit of a fit, I grabbed her most recent timed test and flipped it over. I drew a tic tac toe board, a carton of eggs, and a hand. “That’s nine!” I exclaimed. “And twelve! And FIVE! You KNOW five!”

My daughter had gotten so worked up, her brain had frozen. She had stopped using common sense or thinking creatively — two things that are crucial for solving any problem! (And, to be fair, I had neglected to help her with math up to this point because she is being taught in a totally different way than I was taught three decades ago. Whether or not I like this “new math,” I respect her teacher and was afraid of confusing my daughter even more with my lack of understanding of the strategies she’s being taught.)

Since that homework session, I’ve bought flash cards and begun reviewing math facts with my daughter on a regular basis. I’ve taken time to read the worksheets she brings home, in an effort to understand the way her teacher approaches math. But I’ve also looked for opportunities to encourage problem solving, to think outside the box, to help my daughter use common sense to figure out something new. It’s reminded me of the importance of creativity and the things we can do to encourage it in our kids.

As I said before, I am no expert. I have not conducted research. I’m merely a mom who’s connected a few dots for what her two kids need as they learn and grow. Perhaps creative thinking isn’t the missing piece for your kids. But if it is, here are a few easy, fun ways you can encourage it:

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids from

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids

Play dress-up. I’m a girl mom, so you will probably not be surprised to learn that we have princess dresses and a Minnie Mouse costume in our house. But we also have costumes that turn my girls into firefighters, chefs, doctors and veterinarians. Not to mention the animal hats and clown noses floating around in the toy box. And, really, anything laying around can be used for dressing up.

My girls’ current obsession is running around the house, rescuing each other, while wearing capes. Or putting on Dad’s hat or Mom’s shoes and pretending to be a grown-up.

When I first began encouraging my oldest daughter to play dress-up, it was solely a girl power, “you can be anything you want to be” thing. But eventually I realized the additional value of this playtime activity. Simply by asking a few pointed questions, I can set my girls on a journey of learning and perspective-shifting.

“What would a doctor want for snack?”
“How would a princess pick up her toys?”
“Do you think a firefighter would like to wear these shoes or those shoes?”

Thinking outside the box, developing empathy for others, learning about different types of people (not just different careers, although that’s a place to start): all of these can be outcomes of a simple costume party.

Play pretend. Last night, my two-year-old left the dinner table (we were mostly finished and just talking for a minute). She walked over to her play kitchen and then came back, saying, “I need the pink screwdriver.” I stared blankly at her for a moment before realizing what we were doing. I mimed handing her a tool and said, “Here you go!” She thanked me and ran back to her toys.

She has a giant basket of toy food and toy dishes in that kitchen, but she wanted to play mechanic. She actually has a play toolkit in our basement, but she’d rather use make-believe tools for her projects.

And so, just like the days when her sister would lay under our dining room table and pretend to “work on the car,” I play along. When she hands me a plate of that play food and tells me it’s hot, I put it up to my mouth and act like I burned my tongue. I take tiny sips and big gulps of the “tea” she serves me, and I make up scary spiders I need to be saved from so “Super Adrienne” has a reason to run to my rescue.

I sometimes think about that scene in Hook, the Robin Williams movie about a grown-up Peter Pan, when Peter and the Lost Boys get into a pretend food fight. No, I don’t think that pretending her imaginary pink screwdriver is real will make it appear in my daughter’s hands. But I do think that when we pretend we expand our minds and our world so that more is possible than would ever be in real life.

That’s fun — and it also helps us think creatively later when we’re trying to solve problems that seem impossible.

Don’t forget to say, “Yes, and…” Using the most basic rule of improv, whenever I can I try to say, “Yes, and…” when my girls play dress-up or pretend. By extending the pretend game or story, I encourage their imaginations to run wild and their brains to keep growing. [You can read more about this strategy here.]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not always game for imaginary friends or pretend games. For the past several days my oldest daughter has been carrying on a game of “balloon ball,” a highly competitive [made-up] sport of which she is, reportedly, the world champion. I love seeing her creativity and confidence, but OH MY WORD am I ever tired of listening to her drone on with the play-by-play of this pretend game!

So, even though I love pretend and dress-up and all things imaginary, I have my limits, too. So I say yes when I can, and then I pull out the flashcards or a basket of books when I can’t stand it anymore.

How do you encourage creativity in your kids?

Small-Budget Crushes 10.23.16

October 23rd, 2016

Winter is Coming Doormat

winter is coming doormat, $39.99

Mustard Necklace

mustard necklace, $19.99

Faux Leather Crossbody Mini-Tote

faux leather crossbody mini-tote, $44

Antique Brass Call Bell

antique brass call bell, $5.99

Textured Twill Blazer

textured twill blazer, $34

bone and gold bracelet watch

bone & gold bracelet watch, $19.99


beer cap map of the usa, $16.94


double-breasted peacoat, $37.90

Buffalo Checked Socks

buffalo checked socks, $13

Ask Me About My Cats Sign

ask me about my cats desk sign, $29.99


cow hide pillows (set of 2!!), $36.54

Star Wars Rolling Pin

star wars rolling pin, $26.77