5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

March 5th, 2015

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday and I can’t wait to share this super easy and adorable treat with you. The best part? This one can be made gluten-free! Yay!

Head to the Kenmore Blog today to see this fun 5-minute St. Patrick’s Day treat tutorial!

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Spring Trends: Bring Gray Into Your Wardrobe

March 5th, 2015

Note: As part of our March m challenge: Focus on Fashion, I’ve asked a number of fabulous fashion bloggers to share their wisdom with us, and I’m so happy that Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends.com agreed to come on board to share a spring trend with us, all about incorporating gray into our wardrobes!  Nicole is one of the savviest and most fashionable ladies I know. I can’t wait to show you some of her ideas today! 

Spring Gray Trend_Nicole Feliciano

Gray might not be the color you think of for spring, but I’m smitten. Why? It’s a subtle way to lighten up from the black, charcoal and navy hues of winter. For spring, I’m craving a soft dove gray–a kinder gentler gray that works with many complexions and lots of stuff you already own.

For this outfit, I paired my favorite boyfriend jeans with a few new treats.  The boyfriends jean trend isn’t going anywhere–we all love them too much. For spring, I’ll be wearing this old pair from LOFT with lots of spring fashion looks on top. What I’m basing this look off of something I saw in an ASOS ad. I’ve been looking to add a few gray things to my closet and here’s what I came up with–sneaks, a sweater and a bag.
The bag was the first find was this doctor bag from from Nat & Matt. It’s big enough to get all my mom-gear tucked inside without looking like luggage.
The fisherman sweater is a smart style move. It works with my spring looks AND it can still work with my winter layers. Sadly, I think there are more days ahead where I’ll need a coat and sweater. At least I’ll have a few cute new layers.
Nicole Feliciano_Gray for Spring

And finally the shoes. Oh, how I love my shoes. Sneakers used to not qualify as serious fashion in my book, but now, sneakers are the new high heel. Not only are they fabulous to look at, the Ash python sneakers are perfect for my mom-on-the-go life where I walk miles and miles around the city.

 

For more mom-friendly fashion trends from Nicole, be sure to visit Momtrends.com and follow on Instagram @momtrends

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Amy’s Notebook 03.04.15

March 4th, 2015

chocolate snacking cake via Barefeet In the Kitchen

Source: Barefeet in the Kitchen

 

Midnight snacking craving solved with this.

This is concerning.

Pattern a Day fun.

Fashion-forward ways to wear your sneakers. Yes, sneakers!

This is my kind of cake.

I love a great one-pot dish!

Say No via Elise Blaha

Source: Elise Blaha

 

Say No to Say Yes

Achieve perfectly creamy scrambled eggs with this secret.

How one stupid tweet can change your life.

I use to strain my pasta with a colander. After seeing this? Never again!

I feel the same way about the difficulty with book reviewing for others.

This is what poverty looks like. What can you do about it?

amys_notebook

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!

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 03.03.15

March 3rd, 2015

denim apron

Source: Attitude and Apron,  $35.00

 

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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How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons

March 2nd, 2015

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

Today I wanted to share an adorable gift idea for someone special in your life. Today’s tutorial is how to make beautiful chocolate coffee spoons that you can pair with a big basket of coffee for gift-giving. This gift is perfect for any occasion and can be made in less than 30 minutes. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.  I’m so excited to be partnering with them again on this project.

In case you missed my Maple Coffee Bacon post from last week, I had the opportunity to try out all of the new coffees from ALDI and create some fun projects using this newly launched line at their store.

This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this month.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Nothing pictured here is over $5 (even the Fair Trade coffee) which means it is quite the steal. In the past, I have relied on these bags of coffee for easy hostess gifts and breakfast baskets for new homeowners. It is an excellent gift to give especially to a tired new mom or a new college student.  I thought it would be fun to dress these baskets up a bit with beautiful chocolate coffee covered spoons that you could package in your basket.

Let’s get started!

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 bag Baker’s Corner Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 bag Baker’s Corner Milk Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 cup Baker’s Corner White Chocolate Baking Morsels

½ teaspoon Carlini Pure Vegetable Shortening (or more, if needed)

Edible sprinkles of your choice

Ribbon

Pastry/candy decorating bags

Candy wrappers

Antique spoons or plastic spoons (I got these six for $5 an antique store)

*Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips (the whole bag) over a steam bath or in microwave. Melt chocolate slowing, stirring frequently. If chocolate clumps or doesn’t melt smoothly, add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to help smooth it out.
  2. Dip your spoons into the chocolate and then rest them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

 

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com 3. Decorate with your choice of milk chocolate, white chocolate and/or various garnishes. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (using my pastry bag) and then shake on some edible pearls so they would stick. Let these set completely before placing into decorative bags and tying with beautiful ribbon.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

We placed these beauties into a basket with a variety of our favorite Barissimo coffees, exclusively from ALDI. A pretty dishtowel on bottom pulls it all together and acts as bonus gift.

These spoons add another level of richness to your coffee giving you a rich chocolate flavor. These also would make a fun addition to your cocoa.

I hope you enjoyed our fun series with ALDI this month and that these ideas have inspired you to give their new coffee line-up a try! I promise that you won’t be disappointed, not just in the incredible taste, but the incredible amount of savings to be had for your family!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

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m challenge: Focus on Fashion

March 2nd, 2015

m challenge: Focus on Fashion

 

Welcome to our third month  in the m challenge series.  If you missed our focus on money management last month, be sure to visit the syllabus where we have gathered everything you need to get caught up! I don’t want you to miss a single moment of this inspiring series. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am and I look forward to tackling another topic with you!

m challenge: Focus on Fashion

For this month, our site focus is on Fashion as we begin thinking (and praying!) towards warmer temperatures and revamping our Spring wardrobes.  This challenge is not just about making smart purchase though, this is also about whittling away at the closet clutter that you might be harboring. This year I have went through a bit of a fashion transformation and decided to tackle a capsule wardrobe project for the year. I will be pulling together my third capsule for the year and sharing it with you this month.

We will also be hearing from several fashion bloggers on what Spring trends we should be embracing and their must-haves for your closet.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Each month I will be sharing a book selection that you can read that goes along with our theme for the month. This month as we begin whittling away at our closets, I decided to select a book on decluttering our homes that I have just started reading.  It is called  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Although this book deals with tidying up our own home, I thought it would add renewed focus for Spring and also on what clutter we might need to whittle away in our home & closets for the year. Many fashion books are quickly dated and it was a struggle to find one that I felt fit best with the goals of the challenge. I think this book illustrates the importance of holding on to only what you truly love and letting go of the things that are weighing you down. Consider this book to be the start of good things in your wardrobe and in your home this year.

I look forward to reading along with you and exploring these topics with our fashion experts this month!

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February 2015 Must-Reads

February 27th, 2015

February 2015 Must Reads from MomAdvice.com

 

I told you that I couldn’t possible have read as many books as I tackled over a vacation, but I was wrong. This month I was a reading machine thanks to freezing cold temperatures and snowy days and nights that left us unmotivated to leave our cozy house. I am so excited to share with you some new books that you can add to your book stack and, thankfully, many of these writers will also be featured in our Sundays With Writers series in the upcoming month. How cool is that?

 

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

INSIDE THE O’BRIENS by Lisa Genova

(available April 7th)

I was lucky enough to score an advanced reader of this book on NetGalley for this book. I am a huge fan of Lisa Genova, particularly her novels STILL ALICE (have you seen the flick yet?)  and LEFT NEGLECTED. She truly has a gift for writing about illnesses and diseases that can affect the brain and mind.

Genova continues with her trademarks of great writing paired with a neurological issue, raising awareness for diseases that the public may not be aware of. This book captured a typical Irish Catholic family on the East Coast where the dad, Joe, finds out that he has Huntington’s disease. This book explores not only the everyday struggle of someone who works in an occupation that would make it impossible to continue doing his work, but the struggles of each family member as they grapple with their family member’s illness and the possibility that this genetic disease could have been passed down through the family lineage.

It’s a beautiful read, but I particularly appreciate that not only is the author raising awareness for a little known disease, but she is also trying to raise funds for charity through her readership. It was a beautiful read that should be depressing, but ends with a lot of hope & positivity.

4 Out of 5 Stars

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

I requested that my book club read this book for our discussion after hearing everyone talking about this one. Did you hear that the movie rights were already sold? Wild!

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved.

This is a twisty dark psychological thriller with an unreliable and unlikeable narrator. The novel has a slow start, but builds beautifully once you get going.  Not a character in this one feels trustworthy, taking the reader along on a bumpy train ride when a woman in town goes missing. The comparison to GONE GIRL is warranted, but the ending is far more satisfying. The book kept me guessing and each character was beautifully fleshed out. Usually in alternating viewpoints, I want to skim chapters, only enjoying one point of view. In this one, I looked forward to each viewpoint as it built upon the mystery. I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to see this book adapted to film.

4 Out of 5 Stars

Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar

DEEP DOWN DARK by Hector Tobar

I heard about this book on NPR since it is their first Morning Edition book club selection and we know I am all about anything NPR-related. When a Chilean mine collapsed in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. This book is the story of the miners and what they  experienced below the surface. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Hector Tobar gains exclusive access to the miners and their stories and tells these beautifully. It helps to offer an understanding of the families and the personal stories of these miners, as well as adds insight into what it would be like to work in this type of job.

When I read stories like this, much like the beautiful book UNBROKEN, I am reminded that I would die in the first day because I am a very weak, weak person. I could not exist in this kind of tomb-like existence. It is an incredible testimony to the strength of these men and the love they had for their families.

This is a survival story unlike any other I have read. The harrowing tale of these men trapped in this mine is completely unbelievable and what they do to survive together is just as unbelievable. The story of their survival proves that miracles really do happen and I am so glad I got to read the stories of their days in this mine as well as what life is really like after you become a hero in the eyes of the media and public. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be as author to capture all of these stories of these men in one book…and do it so well. I am so happy NPR Morning Edition selected this as their first book club pick so I could dig into something that was outside of my usual genre this year!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly

THE BULLET by Mary Louise Kelly

(available March 17th)

If you are looking for a fast page-turner of a book, this is it. This is a beautifully written mystery that echoes some of my favorite thrillers from Chevy Stevens. When a woman discover a bullet in her body that she was never aware of it, it sends her life spiraling in a direction that she never expected. The origin of that bullet and the people around her that it has affected, cause this cold case to be reopened… reopening wounds of the family and friends around her. Despite the gravity of the case and the circumstances surrounding it, the book is laced with great humor and a cast of endearing characters. I really enjoyed this one for a quick escape!

I’m looking forward to featuring the author in our Sundays With Writers series next month!

* book obtained through Netgalley- all opinions & thoughts are my own.

4 Out of 5 Stars

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES by Frances Whiting

This is one of those books that you think will just be a quick escape, but ends up being a beautiful story with endearing characters that you think about after you close the final pages. This coming-of-age story follows the friendship between two teen girls and then the consequences of them both falling for the same guy, which destroys their friendship. Thankfully, it was just so much more than that and really built around a cast of flawed characters, the bonds & love of our family, first loves, true loves, and how friendships between unlikely people can reshape your destiny. There were some really great themes in this one and it is the kind of book that reminds you of your own coming-of-age story and the friendships that can endure those tumultuous years. The theme seems simple, but the story was not. I highly recommend this one!

Read my interview with Frances Whiting HERE!

* book obtained through Netgalley- all opinions & thoughts are my own.

5 Out of 5 Stars

Whisky Charlie Foxtrot by Annabel Smith

 

WHISKY & CHARLIE by Annabel Smith (published as WHISKY CHARLIE FOXTROT in Australia)

US version available on April 7th, Australian version available now)

Wow! What an incredibly moving story this was. The story centers around estranged adult identical twin brothers who are brought together when one brother, Whiskey, is involved in an accident that leaves him in a coma. The story goes back and forth from the time they are kids gabbing through walkie-talkies until the present day and what caused the strains in their relationship. The author does a great job tackling the difficulties of sibling rivalry, what it would be like to be a twin, and how even when we don’t always like our family members, they are always our family and loved. The most ambitious element of this book is that the author uses the phonetic alphabet for each chapter that perfectly weaves into the story and adds another level of charm to this story. I highly recommend this book!

I am so excited to have Annabel join us for our Sundays With Writers series next month!

* book obtained through Netgalley- all opinions & thoughts are my own.

4 Out of 5 Stars

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.

Freebie Friday February 27, 2015

February 27th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, 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 our m challenge posts include a completely inspiring reader transformation – Shanna’s no-spend challenge, how to save money by making one of 33 copycat Starbucks drinks, and our focus on money management wrap-up Notebook Syllabus. You’ll also find an incredible Maple Coffee Bacon recipe and a Sunday’s with Writers interview with Walking on Trampolines author Frances Whiting, as well as our our weekly round-up of great giveaways. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Mountain Dew Kickstart at Kroger with eCoupon

 
Health & Beauty
 
 
Entertainment
 
 
This Week’s Freebie Events: February 28 – March 6
 
28th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring I am Jackie Robinson and I am Rosa Parks, 11 am
 
28th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Hats Off Pencil Holder, 11 am – 3 pm
 
28th – Lowe’s: Build Max-D from Monster Jam, 10 am
 
3rd – Lego Store: Build a Lego Robot, 5 pm

 

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Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe & a NEW Coffee Line from ALDI!

February 26th, 2015

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe
Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

If there is one thing I have learned over my years of surfing on Pinterest it’s that anything bacon and anything coffee is always a hit (and not just with me!).

Today I wanted to pair these two flavors together in a Maple Coffee Bacon that your whole family will love. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.

Since you know I am a regular shopper, I had noticed the new line on the store shelves and was intrigued. The packaging is beautiful and the product feels very high-end, but a whole bag of ground coffee is a mere $3.99.  It is, seriously, a steal!

This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this week.

Barrisimo Coffee Line from Aldi

The Barissimo line, available exclusively at ALDI, includes the following (and here are the prices on these items too) for my fellow frugal shoppers:

Ready-to-drink Iced Coffees (French Vanilla, Mocha and Coffee) – $1.19

Whole Bean Coffee (Morning Roast and Donut Store) – $3.99

Fair Trade Coffee (Medium and Dark Roast) – $3.99

Donut Store Ground Coffee – $3.99

12 oz. Bag Coffee (Breakfast Blend, House Blend, and French Roast) – $3.99

Assorted Flavored Coffee (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.99

Flavored Coffee Cups (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.79

Regular Roast Coffee Cups (Breakfast and Donut) – $4.79

Specialty Roast Coffee Cups (Fair Trade Colombian and Dark Roast) – $4.79

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Ever since a trip last year to NOLA, I have been thinking about the embarrassing pile of praline bacon I ate in one of the local restaurants that my brother took me too. Bacon that tastes like candy? How could that be bad?

I loved the candied sweetness of the bacon, but I love to add on to that layer of flavor with something to cut the sweet and I decided the Fair Trade Dark Roast Coffee paired with the thick sliced Maple Flavored Bacon would be a delightful combination.

If you haven’t tried the coffee itself, the dark roast is delightfully full-bodied and strong.  It’s the kind of coffee that a mom who has to get her kids on the bus in the morning can really embrace.

As I had suspected, this delicious dark roast coffee was just what this sweet bacon needed to balance it out. The coarseness of the ground coffee adds an element of texture and the brown sugar glaze made from freshly brewed coffee and brown sugar is brushed on to each side of the bacon to create that delightful layering of flavors.

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Since this bacon is so sweet, you don’t want to pair this one with another sweet breakfast item.  I recommend an easy frittata for balance, a little fresh fruit, and a big mug of coffee (of course!).

Now run over to your local ALDI and snag a bag of this delicious coffee for yourself- at a price like that, you have nothing to lose!

Maple Bacon Coffee Tutorial

Maple Coffee Bacon Recipe

Maple Bacon Coffee
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Specially Selected Maple Thick Sliced Bacon
  • 1 tablespoon Barrisimo Fair Trade Dark Roast Ground Coffee
  • ½ cup packed Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly brewed Barrisimo Fair Trade Dark Roast Ground Coffee
  • Note- *Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment or waxed paper and set a flat rack on top. Lay bacon strips on rack, overlapping slightly if needed. Sprinkle top of strips evenly with ground coffee. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and brewed coffee, stirring just to blend to a paste. Brush top of strips with half of sugar mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Turn bacon over and brush with remaining sugar glaze. Bake until crispy, 10-15 minutes more.

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Amy’s Notebook 02.25.15: The M Challenge Focus on Money Management Syllabus

February 25th, 2015

m-challenge

Note: As a wrap-up of each month’s m challenge theme, we will be using the last Notebook of the month as a sort of “Cliffs Notes” edition of the challenge – a place where you can find a list of all the articles we’ve published for the challenge, as well as more inspiration and links from the web around the challenge theme. Our hope is that this will serve as a one stop shopping for the theme that you can refer to as well as catch up on in case you’ve missed anything!

February M Challenge: Focus on Money Management

Recipes

Links for More Money Management Ideas:

How-to-Budget-For-People-That-Hate-Budgeting via Premeditated Leftovers

Source: Premeditated Leftovers

 

How To Budget (For People That Hate Budgeting)

Couples & Money – Building a Solid Relationship with Money and Each Other

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

6 Tips for Living on One Income

30-Day Money Cleanse

The 5-Step Plan: How To Get Out Of Debt

Accountability binder 30daysblog

Source: 30 Handmade Days

 

Teach Your Kids How to Work & Manage Money

9 Ways to Cut Expenses without Feeling Deprived

Teaching Children About Financial Responsibility

How to Make Living on a Budget Fun

Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes When Getting Out of Debt

Saving Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons

35 ways to save money

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed this notebook, a collection of gathered links all around our m challenge about focusing on money management. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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