Amy’s Notebook 10.08.14

October 8th, 2014

Pom Pom Bat Cupcake Toppers via Oh Happy Day

Source: Oh Happy Day

 

Adorable pom pom bat cupcake toppers.

How about a cheese graveyard with Brie cut in a coffin shape for your Halloween party?

Five things your teen wants you to know.

Who knew flu shots could be so hilarious?

DIY Crow Halloween Wreath via Darice Blog

Source: Darice Craft Blog

 

Go outside the norm for Halloween with a black crow wreath.

How to make the perfect sweet potato fries.

Are you navigating the eternal screen-time debate with Minecraft?

Top 10 tricks for shopping at Amazon.

Beautiful words on marriage.

Apple Chip Burbon Cider via A Subtle Revelry

Source: A Subtle Revelry

 

Bourbon apple chip cider – sounds just about right for the fall, doesn’t it?

You won’t believe this wedding dress made for $30 during the crafty bride’s commute!

33 books to read to celebrate banned books week – or any time of the year.

World’s best parenting tumblr.

This is what brave means.

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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Apron Full of Giveaways 10.07.14

October 7th, 2014

Black-Pink Polka Dot Apron via Etsy

Source: Cherry Pie Aprons,  $28.95

 

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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Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble

October 6th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble #recipe via MomAdvice.com This tomato soup and grilled cheese combo gets an update in the form of golden brown roasted cauliflower florets. It’s just the right combination of classic and new just in time for fall.

I’m giving in, but not without a bit of stomping my feet and audible sighing. Autumn is here, and with it there is a crispness to the air that didn’t accompany my summer evenings. I find myself continually reaching for my sweaters, and although they’re still kicking out a few tomatoes, the production in my garden is slowing mightily.

I even wore boots last week, pulling them from the closet where they sat all summer as I ran around in sandals and low profile tennis shoes, skipping along the pavement in the sunshine. I zipped them up over my jeans and stared in the mirror at my sweatered reflection before heading to the market. There I grabbed as many tomatoes as I could find, hauling them to my car and then home where I rinsed them and diced them and stewed them in a large pot, trying to preserve the flavors of summer for the winter that is just around the corner.

Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble #recipe via MomAdvice.com

At the end of the session, several pots of tomatoes later, I let the final batch cook down a bit longer, added a sautéed onion and some herbs, and then blended it together as the oven warmed the house right as the sun started to fade. I suppose fall isn’t so bad when it means the return of oven-warmed rooms and the smells that come with baking and roasting.

This soup gets a bit of a twist by placing the roasted cauliflower right on top. Cut your cauliflower into tiny florets so that they can suspend themselves right at the top of the bowl, just getting a bit of a dunk in the thick tomato broth.

Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 ounces stewed tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons minced basil
  • 2 cups milk
  • kosher salt to taste
  • For the roasted cauliflower:
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic.
  2. Add the stewed tomatoes and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. While the tomatoes are simmering, preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, olive oil, oregano, honey, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, stirring once.
  4. When the tomatoes have simmered for 25 minutes, remove from heat and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back into the pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring in the milk, basil, and salt. Cook until hot, but do not boil.
  5. Serve with cauliflower sprinkled over the tops of the soup bowls.

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Shiny Pots, Cozy Throws, & Beautiful Books

October 3rd, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! This week I have had the unique opportunity to head to the Celestial Seasonings headquarters and learn all about their teas which is, seriously, one of the coolest opportunities ever for a super fan like me. If you recall, I raved quite a bit about my Sleepytime Extra tea that helped me break my melatonin habit and I even included their teas in a gift guide this past year for the holidays. I am a tea enthusiast so I feel so lucky to get to see how they create their products and share that with you in the upcoming week! Yay!

I am writing this on Tuesday night for you since I will be in Boulder this week and hopefully I am having a magical flight where I get upgraded for no reason, my suitcase is incredibly light since I have a mere fashion capsule wardrobe that I can make four million outfits out of a mere one or two pieces,  and I will be reading the world’s best book.  Let’s just pretend all of those things are happening right now!

Without further adieu- here’s the abbreviated happy today!

All the Lights We Cannot See

World’s Coziest Throw

As if the world’s coziest slippers were not enough, I could not wait for the temperatures to drop so I could spend my day curled up in the happiest shed on earth and read my library books! Last year I scored this throw on clearance for $10 and it has made my world so much cozier. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for it again as they seem to put these back out seasonally at the store and this is one to watch for. It is cozy fleece on one side and then the other side is a glorious faux fur.  They even had a free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription attached to it which made the deal even sweeter.  I promise that it instantly makes all your reading time better- keep those eyes peeled for something similar at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Walmart!

A Beautiful Book

My book club read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr this month, picked by my sweet friend Carrie. Everyone has been raving about this one and I am just going to have to agree that this is one fine piece of literature.  I loved it so much that I immediately emailed Anthony to see if he might do our Sundays With Writers with us and he graciously agreed!  If you want to read it before the interview, you will be so happy you did. I wish I could give this ten stars on GoodReads, it was that good.  I was held captive by this book and could not put it down. The storytelling is superb, the characters vividly created, and the words read like poetry. My heart was in my throat for much of it and I could not turn the pages quickly enough so I knew what would happen with Marie-Laure & Werner. I loved how their stories weaved together and how the author created such striking details that made you feel as though you were witnessing it all firsthand. I can’t recommend this one enough- it will be, perhaps, in my top ten books ever read.

Don’t be intimidated by the length as the chapter are short and help to keep the story moving.  It is one you will be glad you picked up and also will take you on a little Wikipedia narnia when you are done to learn more behind this beautiful piece of work! Stay tuned for a fun interview with Anthony soon!

Bar Keepers Friend

Shiny Everything

Tell me I am not the only one addicted to this stuff- Bar Keepers Friend is the best cleaner ever! You want shiny pots? A shiny sink? A shiny tub? Well, shine, shine, shine. I can think of very little that could not benefit from this cleaner! If you haven’t tried it, prepare to be amazed. My pots look like the day I bought them and I use this every night on my sink.  I can’t imagine my life without this little cleaner and if you have rust issues, this is a great one to have on hand.  A shiny home definitely makes this girl happy.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

tiny-bangs

Did I mention it is Tuesday when I am typing this? I’ve got nothing to share this early in the week, but I did get my bangs chopped and I feel like a brand new woman.

There is that.

If you want to see what I’m wearing you can check my trip highlights on my Instagram feed! :)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Quick & Easy Knitted Boot Cuffs

Easy Knitted Ruffled Scarf with Sashay Yarn

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

*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 October 3, 2014

October 3rd, 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 I’m excited to be sharing 7 ways to upcycle coats that you can find from Goodwill – you won’t believe what you can make with them! I’m also sharing my thoughts on the new Jodi Picoult book,  Leaving Time – I’m a big Jodi Picoult fan and was thrilled to have a chance to read and review her newest book. 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
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: October 4 - 10
4th - Home Depot: Built an EMS Truck, 9 am – 12 pm
4th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Makin’ Music Drum, 11 am – 3 pm
4th & 5th - National Museums: Bank of America card holders get free admission all weekend
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Amy’s Notebook 10.01.14

October 1st, 2014

Folded Leaf Garland via A Subtle Revelry

Source: A Subtle Revelry

 

Folded leaf garland – sometimes a simple seasonal update is just enough.

Have you ever wondered where to start when your style starts changing?

I love a good hollywood makeup trick!

An inspiring home tour that celebrates family.

Tips for getting organized, of which I can never have enough.

An amazing barn renovation.

7 foods you can cook straight out of the freezer for those busy weekday nights.

What to say to Mean Girls via We Are That Family

 

Source: We Are THAT Family

 

What we need to say to the mean girls.

Pumpkin pie spice…popcorn? Um, yes.

I want to try this 7-day smartphone detox.

Anthro-inspired mugs would make beautiful gifts for friends & teachers.

When blogging becomes a slog.

Breakfast hacks – ways to make breakfast easier.

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!

Pin It

7 Ways to Upcycle a Coat Into Something You Really Love

September 30th, 2014

7 Ways to Upcycle a Coat Into Something You Really Love from MomAdvice.com

With the fall temperatures upon us, it is time to start thinking about an extra outer layer to help keep us warm for these cooler Midwest temperatures. Jackets can be an expensive investment and finding one that is the perfect cut and style can sometimes be difficult especially with everyone’s unique sizing and build. Today’s tutorial offers some fun ideas for refashioning a Goodwill jacket into something you really love.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find 7 ways to upcycle a coat into something you really love!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 09.30.14

September 30th, 2014

Eric Carle Apron via Etsy2

Source: Mizzez Tee,  $38.00

 

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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Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

September 28th, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I was so excited to get a chance to preview the new Jodi Picoult book, LEAVING TIME, that will be hitting store shelves on October 14th! Through a partnership with Walmart Moms, I was given the chance to take a peek and share my honest opinions of this new book with you.

Over the years I have been a huge Picoult fan and I have read almost every book she has written. My love affair with her began with MY SISTER’S KEEPER and I was thrilled when she came to visit our town and our book club got a chance to meet her in person. She was as charming and genuine as I could have hoped so I continued to read her books despite the similar themes with courtroom battles and a surprising twist. Even though I wasn’t as enraptured as I once was, I decided to pick up THE STORYTELLER last year which ended up making my top ten list for one of the best books she has ever written. If I was going to make any recommendation at all, I would pick that one up and devour it immediately. It is, in my opinion, Picoult’s finest work. It is because of this book that I was so excited to see what she would tackle next.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

In LEAVING TIME Picoult embraces a mystery theme that brings an unlikely cast of characters together to piece together the disappearance of Alice Metcalf. Jenna Metcalf’s mother’s death is now a cold case and one that consumes Jenna’s every thought. Alice Metcalf mysteriously disappeared during a tragic accident at the elephant conservatory where she works as a scientist studying the grief among elephants, working alongside her husband. Jenna believes that there is a bigger story to her disappearance and hires Serenity Jones, a disgraced psychic, and Virgil Stanhope, an alcoholic private detective, to help her find out once and for all if Alice is alive or dead. The true question though, is what if Alice has been alive all along and never wanted a relationship with Jenna?

In predictable Picoult fashion, this story alternates between the different characters, and it also weaves in the scientific journals and observations of elephant behavior by Alice. As the story builds, more and more layers are added and we are given a host of possible suspects for Alice’s disappearance. As more of puzzle pieces are added, Jenna begins remembering more and more about what happened when she was a child as it all comes together in a shocking twist that readers will never see coming.

One element I thought worked really well was the storyline of Serenity and her rise and fall in psychic stardom and her struggle with no longer having the gifts she had before. I also loved the private detective and the demons that he was battling since this case was one he never thought he performed well. Most of all, I really appreciated the ending to this one that makes you want to reread the book again to find all of those hidden clues that Picoult placed in there for you that you might not have noticed before.

You can tell that Picoult has thoroughly researched this one, but at points the researched portions dragged on and on for me. Alice’s scientific journals add predictable parallels to her own mothering. At times though, the research was so long that it felt as though you were reading a nonfiction story.  If you are a fan of elephants or the struggles of elephant conservation, you will be swimming in all of the facts and have plenty to read. For me, I felt that this created a bit of lag in my reading and I found myself skimming through those portions to get back to the meat of the story.

Truth be told, the ending is really what makes this Picoult book shine and worthy of a read- I would recommend this book simply for that reason alone! The final forty pages have a way of tying this story together that will have you begging your friends to read it so that you can discuss the plot twist you never saw coming.

Walmart will be offering LEAVING TIME at a deep rollback discount! You can preorder your copy today at the price of, $20.52.

 

What is your favorite Jodi Picoult book? I’d LOVE to hear!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Comfy Slippers, Cleanish Floors, & an Open Table

September 26th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I am excited to share with you my quick list of what is making me happy this week and can’t wait to hear your lists too!

UGG Driving Moccasins

The World’s Coziest Slippers

You know you have hit middle-age when great slippers are making you super happy.  Every year I buy a cheap pair of slippers from Target that I trash and then have to buy another pair, usually mid-season. I discovered that UGG makes slippers (I know, I am so behind on the times!) and I decided to hunt on eBay to see if I could find a pair of slippers for myself.  I wanted something that looked like a shoe and not yo grandma’s slippers. I found these Gray Suede Driving Moccasins that were brand-new (just missing their box) and bought them for $55. Considering I am probably spending that much on two cheap pairs every year, this is a worthy investment. The best part is that they have leather inserts for warm days and then they have that delightful furry insert for freezing days. You can wear them to get the mail or the kids off the bus or just wear them around the house.  Between these and my thrift store UGG boots that I replaced the inserts on (who knew?),  I have the world’s coziest feet.

Bissell Steam & Sweep

Cleanish Floors

You know how people can be very OCD about one thing and not care about another. Dust gathering on shelves? Don’t care! Dirty floors? I CAN’T HANDLE IT (thus, why my feet are in slippers all the time).  I have tried many a floor steamer and the Bissell Steam & Sweep makes me so happy because it steams and sweeps at the same time.  I use this a couple of times a week on our bathroom floors and in our kitchen. It does as good of a job as my vacuum and I can be doing that while cleaning up spills at the same time in one swipe of this tool.  If you are looking for something to clean and sweep at the same time for floors, this is the gadget I recommend. It has saved me a ton of time cleaning which makes me very, very happy.

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Open Table

This article that I shared last week really inspired me to open my home up more to guests and that has, in return,  brought so much happiness to my life. Although I don’t feel equipped with our families busy schedule to devote one night a week to a dinner with all of our friends in my home, it did inspire me to think about setting aside some of my worries about our home not being completely renovated the way I want or always as clean as I want for the perfect entertaining experience and just allow people to see things as they are. The past two weeks we have invited family and friends into our home for meals, coffee, and conversation. We made new friends and I even had both my sister and my sister-in-law over in one week! It has helped motivate me to keep my home in some state of cleanliness just knowing that someone might need a meal one night and it has been good at curbing the loneliness that can happen sometimes with working from home.

I am calling it Open Table and I am opening my table weekly to someone and sharing a meal or a cup of coffee with them in my home.  It’s making my heart very happy and I hope it is making others happy too.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Note that this week I finally cashed in on my steal for the month!! I am one month in and grabbed my steal on the very last day of the first month’s challenge- yay!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

white collared shirt + rolled teal jeans + oxford shoes

Converse White Collared Shirt (purchased- Target)/ Teal My Heart Skinny Jeans (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Oxford Shoes (Owned-Naturalizer)/Chevron Necklace (owned- Charming Charlie)

wine colored maxi dress + mustard necklace + jean jacked + leopard belt + peep toe shoes

 The Must-Have Maxi in Burgundy (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/ Not Afraid of the Dark Denim Jacket (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Peep Toe Shoes (owned- Payless Shoes), Mustard Necklace (owned- Goodwill)/Belt (Owned-Target)

utility vest + gray t-shirt + pearls + rolled jeans + ballet flats

STEAL OF THE MONTH: Utility Vest (owned- Groopdealz)/Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Gray (Old Navy)/Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans (owned- Old Navy)/ Ballet Flats (owned- Payless Shoes)/Pearl Necklace (owned- Flourish Boutique)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

How to Make a Care Package for the Homeless

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

*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?