It’s the 3 Little Things: Can’t Hear You Snoring, Home Goods, & the Backpack Corral

October 7th, 2016

home-goods

Did you read this article in the notebook this week? It got me thinking about something that I noticed about myself. Being a crafter and being frugal means that I rarely purchase things that I really desire for our home.

Many times I think, “I can make that. We don’t REALLY need that. We can do without. It’s falling apart, but there is still a little life in it. Is it REALLY a joy sparker?”

I also have other talks with myself that run through my head like, “Do you deserve that? What could you do to help someone else with that money? Why are you wasting money on such meaningless things? Why can’t what you have just be enough?”

Then I go to other people’s homes and long to have their decor and think how nice it must be to have things like that. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a few nice things that I didn’t have to make from scratch.

The thing is, I can have those things. I just deny them from my own life.

So, as frivolous as it is, I gave myself permission to spruce up our home this week. The pillows were falling apart and didn’t match anymore, I really DID need a few organizers to get our drawers tidy, it was okay to have a rug by all the entrances (yes, I hand carried one back and forth to, “save money.”), and it was okay to buy a stool if it helped make getting shoes on easier. Some of the things were useful (rugs and stools) and some things just made me happy (pretty pumpkins for our dining table).

Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but the joy that it brought me to buy some purposeful & pretty things for our home made me very happy. I still want to be careful with our funds, but I am giving myself permission to bring beauty in. And when my husband came home and bewilderingly looked around at our house, I looked him in the eye and said, “I make no apologies I love what I got.” And, after I gave him the grand tour, he hugged me and thanked me for working so hard to make our home such a beautiful place.

Do you struggle with this too?

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

home-goods-2

HomeGoods (!!!!)

The timing of HomeGoods opening in our town could not have been better with my home spruce up. It has been over a decade since I have stepped into a Home Goods so I couldn’t wait to take a field trip there with my husband. He was really killing my vibe though so the next day, I went back by myself to spend hours walking up and down the same aisles over and over again.

I got some great pillows for our couch, a stool for our entryway, furry throws, fresh dish cloths, pretty cutting boards, and organizers. I also got fridge organizers (similar to this) and actually used these underneath my sinks and in my fridge (especially for sticky items like syrup!)  for getting these spaces organized. I got on such a kick with these that, we now have several eyesores made over into useful spots.

Welcome to Michiana, HomeGoods!

sleepphones-review

I Can’t Hear You Snoring

I rarely read through pitches for products (see opening paragraph!) because I hate to clutter up my house, but when I got a pitch for SleepPhones, I could not resist responding. These are a fleece headband with small flat headphones built inside that you can wear while sleeping or when lounging in bed. They make two versions, one has a headphone jack that you put into your phone, the other is the bluetooth-enabled version that is wireless.

I love these for three reasons- 1. Most headphones bother my ears (except these- and I really mean it!) so I can only tolerate them for short periods of time. 2. White noise is much more effective because this is against the ear and blocks out lots of distracting sounds (Like my husband. Who also says I snore, but I do not. He does.) 3. I like to lay in bed to watch shows on my iPad and listen to audiobooks and I like to do that while laying on my side. These work perfectly.

I have the bluetooth version so when I get up, I just plug it in and charge it to be ready for the next day. Then I just slip these on, put on the app they offer to go with these, and pass out. I also think these would be AWESOME for chilly mornings and walking in my neighborhood. Podcast listening would just be so much more comfortable because my ears are always cold.

I can’t rave enough about these- they would make such a great holiday gift for a fellow light-sleeper.

Small Space Organization Basket

Backpack Corral

Small houses usually lack mudrooms and our home is no exception. We got this mirror with hooks several years ago (here is a very similar one), but I felt nervous about putting our backpacks on it, especially the weight of these kid’s backpacks (good grief!). When I was walking around Target (always a dangerous pastime), I spied this basket and knew it would be perfect for this troublesome spot. It’s just the perfect height for your backpacks. If you are struggling to figure out an easy holding station for bags, this basket works like a charm! It has a 5-star rating on their site so I must not be the only one that thinks this is the perfect basket for their home.

It was also requested I show off the rest of our home so I will try to take some pictures today now that it has officially been spruced up for fall!

Pumpkin_Chili_1

Eating: Big bowls of Pumpkin Chili and baked potatoes. If you haven’t tried this technique for roasting your potatoes, you are in for a big treat!

Reading:  I am almost done with this book and it is ALL THE FEELS. If you are looking for a sweet read and enjoyed The Rosie Project or even A Man Called Ove, I just think you would love this little book too. Catch a whole bunch of reviews next week from me and my reading buddy, Todd!

Listening: Closing in on this one on audiobook then I’m passing it off to my daughter to listen to before we see the movie. If you guys see it, please let me know how it is! Also, did you enjoy the other books from this series? Is it worth continuing? I have commitment issues!

Sharing: If you aren’t part of the MomAdvice Book Club, you are missing out on some incredible Kindle deals!

Here are your incredible book deals for today (even if you aren’t in the club!):

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, $1.99 (absolutely loved this one!)

ROSE DAUGHTER, $1.99

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, $1.99 (I gave this one 5-stars!!)

DISRUPTED, $2.99 (I have this in my stack this month!)

CLAIMING GROUND, $1.99

STITCHES IN TIME, $.99

LAST NIGHT, $1.99

JUNO’S DAUGHTER, $1.99

DEEP DOWN TRUE, $1.99 (I really enjoyed this one!)

HOOD, $1.99

I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, $1.99 (beautiful stuff!!)

THE WITCH, $1.99

THREE LIVES OF TOMOMI ISHIKAWA, $1.99

Happy Friday, friends!

*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 10.05.16

October 5th, 2016

Quinoa Lasagna

source: fit foodie finds

This quinoa lasagna is going on my menu planner this week.

Why absolute minimalism will never feel like home- I loved this perspective.

I love that they tested internet viral kitchen hacks (with surprising results!)

A simple slow cooker marinara sauce for busy weeknights.

“Learn to embrace a paradox: Time is precious and plentiful. To have as much time as you need for the things you want, you need to be ruthless about not filling time with things you don’t care about.”- secrets of people with all the time in the world.

I can never turn down a great twist on caprese. Get in my belly!

Stuffed Baked Apples

source: camille styles

Stuffed baked apples look like a heavenly autumn treat.

Here are a few ways to turn chicken nuggets into dinner.

Have you heard of a FEED supper? It looks like a great way to share an experience & money for a good cause.

An adorably decorated Halloween porch.

Book Styling Ideas

source: apartment therapy

New ways to style your home with books- SWOON!!

Speaking of books, I am really enjoying this read and excited to dive into this one this week!

The minimum amount you should be tipping for food deliveries.

We need to start a family movie tradition.

These apple treats look like the perfect portion size for our family.

Fake a mantle- we are still enjoying our space heater version that I painted for our office.

This is such a great budget exercise. It makes me think about my own spending.

Halloween Plate Wall

source: tatertots & jello

These are such cute decorating ideas for Halloween!

Blanket scarf diy’ing must be happening right now- this is our top article this week!

I can’t wait to give this new podcast a listen.

Meal prep IG’ers on fleek!  Off to follow them all…

I’m going to work on simplifying my email responses.

You guys must be cozy, blanket capes were your top purchase this week!

I am SO EXCITED about this new Netflix series!

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

 

How to Enjoy Autumn to the Fullest

October 4th, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Tips to Enjoy Autumn at MomAdvice.com

Every year, as I sprint (or limp, depending on the year) toward Labor Day and long for routine and cooler temperatures and colorful leaves and pumpkin everything, I vow that this will be the year I really enjoy fall. Summer is, quite simply, not my favorite season — but my reward for surviving it each year is autumn. So you’d think I would enjoy it, right?

Ahhhhh, autumn.

Brisk air and comfy sweaters and crunchy leaves and hot drinks and apple picking and pumpkin carving. Autumn, the season of change and preparation as we gently roll toward the holidays and a colder, more hectic time of life. Right? It sounds so romantic, doesn’t it?

[Speaking of romantic, don’t forget to date your husband this fall…]

But the reality of September and October and [hold me] November is that this season is just as crazy chaotic as every other one. We have practices and games and rehearsals and concerts to add to the calendar, not to mention dentist appointments and counseling sessions and family dinners and book club and Bible study and craft projects. (Seriously. Is there another non-Christmas season with SO MANY craft projects?!)

In my family we have a birthday on top of all of the “usual” stuff, and more often than not, as we dive bomb into the holidays I realize that I missed it. I missed my favorite season, the best season of all (in my unbiased opinion!). I missed autumn. Again.

Well, not this year! I’m determined to enjoy every bit of fall this year, and I want to encourage you to do the same. I have a few ideas for making this happen, and I’m happy to share them with you. Just in case you have missed an autumn or two, but long to truly enjoy this beautiful season.

2 ways to enjoy fall to it's fullest at MomAdvice.com

2 Ways to Enjoy Autumn

1. Pick three things. We all know the temptation of bucket lists, and heaven knows I’ve made my share. But this fall, instead of adding every fall-type activity to your to-do list (not to mention printing it out and putting it on the fridge), why not keep it simple? We’ve already discussed how busy regular life is before we begin adding field trips to the apple orchard. So just pick three things. Pick one special autumn food to make (my all-time favorite is this DELICIOUS pumpkin bread), pick one craft to make (I’ve already bought the supplies to make this wreath from Amy), and pick one trip to take (and if it just happens to be the church fall festival, THAT’S STILL GOOD AND FUN AND ENOUGH!).

Pick three things – a food, a craft, and a trip.

And then? Use all that extra time you’ll have (hahaha!) to simply walk outside and breathe in the crisp air. Or watch a football game. Or let your kids buy pumpkins on your next run to the grocery store. (Believe me, they are still festive when they come from the grocery store and not the pumpkin patch.)

2. Count your days. Time flies when we’re busy or when we’re looking forward to big events, and fall is full of both those things for me. So this year I’m going to make sure I am intentionally taking note of each individual day. (I mean, probably not EACH and EVERY day. Let’s be realistic and accept that even every other day is still better than letting an entire season pass in a blur or parties and costumes and crafts and meetings!)

A few ways you might make your days count this autumn are with a daily photo challenge, reading a seasonal quote or a scripture each day, or keeping a gratitude journal. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious (or unable to make a choice…something I am quite familiar with!), you could do one of those each month of the season. Start reading a Bible verse each day this month, then take a photo challenge next month, and finish up with a daily gratitude exercise in November.

However you do it (and, really, keep it as simple as you need to), just do something to intentionally appreciate your days.

When it comes to enjoying every season, I sometimes struggle between committing to carpe-ing the diem out of life and remembering that, more than likely, there will be another opportunity to carve pumpkins if we don’t do it this week, this month, this fall. But this year, I’m determined to let all of that struggling and striving and regretting go.

I am going to LIVE and LOVE and ENJOY this autumn. Will you join me?

 

Brain Food: Trail Mix Energy Bites

October 3rd, 2016

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

I’m partnering today with Workman Publishing to chat a little more about our family’s genuine love for the new Big Fat Notebooks series, perfect for your middle school child, and to share a fun brain food snack to pair with these fun books!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

Last month I shared with you my car organizing strategies (I can’t believe it still looks REALLY good, you guys!! Miracles DO happen!) and how we have incorporated these books into our car time as a great activity to make the most of those moments. Just like I love to take in a good audiobook or a podcast while I am driving, I love that this pocket of time is perfect for some fun learning on the way for my kids. Why not make the most of all those wasted minutes?

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

I know I have said it before, but these books are F-U-N. I am actually going to include these in our holiday gift guide because I think they make an incredible gift for any kid. As you can see, they are adorably illustrated and even the font choice makes it not feel like a textbook, but more like a Diary of a Wimpy Kid escape.

Do you remember that show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Since my daughter has been asking me questions about the things she has been learning from this book and reciting trivia on different subjects, I can tell you that I am, indeed, NOT.

Hey, I can’t be good at everything!

There are five books in this fun series and each is the only book you need for each main subject taught in middle school: Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts, and World History. Did I mention that they meet  Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state history standards?

Yup, pretty awesome stuff.

You can find these fantastic books at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, or Workman.

Here are 4 fun free Big Fat Notebooks worksheets to get you started! 

Thinking Like a Scientist

How to Take Great Notes

Displaying Data

Ancient Egypt Timeline

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

In honor of fueling our brains, I wanted to create a brain food treat that the whole family will enjoy and requires ZERO baking. Holla!  I am a big fan of energy bites and this little bite is filled with a protein-rich trail mix that is bound together with peanut butter, oatmeal, and quinoa.

I loved these plain, but I thought they could benefit from a little crunch so I toasted up quinoa in a skillet (watch out, it pops!!) and rolled these trail mix bites into the toasty quinoa for a crunchy coating that reminds me of sesame seeds or even rice cereal.

What Makes These Trail Mix Bites Good Fuel for Your Brain?

Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, a major building block of brain cells that are critical for a good memory and stable mood (AKA, they fight the HANGRY!). They are also rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It takes all these important nutrients to help keep your brain functioning well.

Quinoa is our binding agent and our crispy coating and it also contains vital nutrients for your noggin. Quinoa is so easy to prepare in a rice cooker (this tutorial should help!) and happens to be one of my favorite gluten-free indulgences. Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. It also is a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, contains B Vitamins, and iron. All such good stuff to help your brain!

I hope you can share this delicious brain food (both the treat AND the incredible Big Fat Notebooks with your kids. They truly make learning fun and I’m so happy our family got to share about these with you!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from MomAdvice.com

Trail Mix Energy Bites
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Fuel your brain with these delicious energy bites that provide vital nutrients and vitamins. Packed with quinoa, these gluten-free treats are satisfying and filling!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (check the post above for cooking directions or follow packaging)
  • 1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup dry roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
Instructions
  1. In a dry skillet, heat it to medium heat and toast the uncooked quinoa for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the energy bite to look golden. Be careful, quinoa does pop!
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the other ingredients until they are incorporated well.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then begin scooping & rolling the balls (I like a cookie dough scooper for this).
  4. Roll each ball into the toasted quinoa, coating all sides evenly. Place on the parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all of the batter has been used.
  5. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove and then place them in an airtight container for snacking.

 Recipe Adapted from The Baker Mama

 This post was sponsored by Workman Publishing and Big Fat Notebooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Be sure to follow the Workman Blog for more great ideas!

Small-Budget Crushes 10.02.16

October 2nd, 2016

Rib Knit Tunic

long & lean rib-knit striped tunics, $16.94

monogrammed meadow trinket dish

monogrammed meadow trinket dish, $12

Soup Bowls

souper mugs, $10

Blanket Scarves

blanket scarves, $10.99 each (or buy 2 get 1 free)

When In Doubt Go to the Library

when in doubt go to the library, $29.99

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

September 30th, 2016

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

October means it is time for another capsule wardrobe and I’m excited to reveal my capsule wardrobe to you today. If you have been contemplating a capsule wardrobe, I would love to encourage you to give a try this fall. For me, fall and winter are the easier of the planning seasons. Plus, who doesn’t love cozy sweaters and warm layering?

The number of items has shifted, but only to make room for the two seasons. Pieces will be switched around as the weather gets cooler and requires heavier layers. I allow myself flexibility and also love to request a few key pieces as holiday gifts to keep the wardrobe fresh.

I decided to start a SEPARATE Instagram account for my capsule since it feels like two separate audiences. This account is only about fashion & the capsule. You can follow me here (@momadvicecapsule) or if you just want the general usual odds & ends, you can follow me here (@momadvice). I hope that makes sense!

Let’s talk about this 2016 fall & winter capsule wardrobe.

First, What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

(check out how I’m styling my pieces this year over here and here!)

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

Capsule Wardrobe Colors

What Trends Did You Embrace For Fall/Winter?

The past couple of years my color scheme has leaned more into the red, white, & blue that feels very nautical and timeless to me. This year I wanted to warm things up so I am selecting a few pieces in wine, rose, mustard yellow, & navy. These colors are folded into my basic neutral scheme (gray, black, cream) for the year.

I love how these colors can be mixed and matched together.

I also love the pink hues since I love a more feminine touch to my wardrobe.

Get some inspiration for creating and styling your capsule by following my Capsule Pinterest Board!

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule. Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you. When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in.

I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces.

That’s been the best place to start for me.

Do Accessories Count in the Capsule?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

What Are the Rules for a Capsule Wardrobe?

Here are my modified Project 333 rules or you can go to Courtney’s website to read more about the official guidelines!

Below is my fall/winter 2016 capsule wardrobe.

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

1. Chambray Shirt (similar or similar)

2. Relaxed Cozy T-Shirt in gray (exact)

3. Striped T-Shirt (exact or similar)

4. Tunic in black (similar or similar)

5. Relaxed Cozy T-Shirt in oatmeal (exact)

6. Flannel Shirt (similar or similar)

7. Mustard Cardigan (exact or similar)

8. Burgundy Cardigan (exact or similar)

9. Black Cardigan (exact or similar)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

10. Black Utility Vest (exact or similar)

11. Denim Vest (similar or similar)

12. Denim Jacket (similar or similar)

13. Green Poncho (fun option)

14. Blanket Cape (exact)

15. Navy & White Striped Blazer (similar or similar)

16. Jersey Knit Cardigan in Rose (similar)

17. Cowl Neck Sweatshirt (similar or similar)

18. White Lace Tank (similar or similar)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

19. Burgundy Swing Tank (similar or similar)

20. Pintucked Blouse in Black (exact or similar)

21. Pintucked Blouse in Blush (exact or similar)

22. Floral Print Top (exact or similar)

23. Poncho Sweater (exact)

24. Burgundy Sweater T (stitch fix)

25. Sweater Dress (thredup or similar)

26. Burgundy Tassel Boho Shift (exact)

27. Sleeveless Pintuck Swing Dress (exact)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

28. Khaki Skirt (similar or similar)

29. Black Faux Leather Skirt (similar or similar)

30. Burgundy Tunic Top (thredup or similar)

31. Striped Jersey Dress (exact)

32. Blue & White Striped Shift (explore options here)

33. Wrap Dress in Gray (exact)

34. Fox Sweater (gifted from this incredible lady!)

35. Black Jeans (stitch fix)

36. The Essential Pant (exact)

37. 7 Jeans (thredup)

38. Rose Jeans (thredup or similar)

Shoes for my Capsule Wardrobe

Although I don’t include shoes as part of my capsule, I do get asked about them A LOT. I have a wide foot and I only seek comfortable shoes. If I am showing them to you, I guarantee comfort for you.  Here are the shoes that I am loving this fall.

Tassel Booties

Black & White Sneakers (I add one of these inserts to line them since they are a bit thinner)

New Balance 574

Velvet Hush Puppies Ballet Flat

Leopard Print Hush Puppies Ballet Flat

Tall Camel Boots (similar mine are from thredup!)

Moccasins (similar mine are from stitch fix)

Nude Booties (so many styles over here)

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

One Piece, Many Ways

Fashion Capsule Shopping on a Budget

Planning the Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring/Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

closet clean out with thredup

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is what I am getting rid of this time. Off to thredup it goes for credit for the next capsule- so proud!! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Meetups, GF Pizza, & Bluetoothing

September 30th, 2016

emily-st-john-mandel

Happy Fri-yay! This was such a fun week because it was full of fun diversions from my usual mom duties. I just got home from one of the coolest little road trip adventures ever. My longtime reader, Carie, messaged me to share that Emily St. John Mandel was coming to her town and wanted to know if I would come out for the author meetup, to hang out in her town, and meet her family.

Say what?

Yes, please!

I’m not sure if I have ever shared this, but this has been the year of truth telling on here, hasn’t it?  I struggle with anxiety and one of my biggest anxiety triggers is driving. Honestly, if I could have a driver cart me around, I would. In fact, my friends lovingly call me, “Daisy,” and generously pick my anxiety-ridden behind up when we go out. So when Carie asked me to come to her town,  I consulted a map and saw she was four hours away, BUT it looked like a pretty straight shot.  I just knew, in my heart, I would be so sad if I did not do this even though it was entirely out of my comfort zone.

I share this because I know many of you struggle with anxiety too. Maybe you are cool driving, but maybe it is something else. I felt very brave doing this simple thing that I struggle with daily.

How did it go?

Do you remember the scene in Divergent, when they throw them into a fear simulator? I remember it involved birds (another trigger for me- hahaha!). Well, that fear simulator happened on the road as the heavens opened up, the construction narrowed the road into a tiny pathway, and a UPS truck was swinging its backend into my lane.

And I survived.

I was sweaty and needed a shot of something, but I survived.

And I was really proud.

The best part though is that I got to meet someone who has read this site for years and loved books as much as me (and neither of us was crazy which we were both concerned about. I mean, meeting your internet friends can be a little SCARY!) Meeting Emily St. John Mandel was the icing on the cake for this week as she graciously shared about the story behind Station Eleven with all of us.

I didn’t let something like my anxiety hold me back and I made a beautiful real-life friendship with someone who has supported my family for years. How cool is that?

chicago

The other incredible escape was spending the weekend in Chicago with some of my dearest girlfriends. My friend, Nancy, moved to Nebraska and I miss this woman every single day. When I headed out that way for some medical testing, we stayed with her family and it made a really tough time into a mini-vacation. She is just good people.

We got to see Lake Street Dive in concert and it was, truly, one of the best shows I have ever seen. We danced the night away at the rooftop bar and got hounded by annoying guys which was annoying, but also proved, WE STILL GOT IT.  I got to eat great food and laughed in that rare away that only comes through with your truest friends. I could ride on that high for a good month!

Here is a great Lake Street Dive playlist for you to kick of your weekend! PS- Follow me on Spotify for some killer playlists! You will never hear the same song twice again!

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

Bob's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

A Decent Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix

Now that three of us are gluten-free, I have had to figure out some new options for some of our weeknight favorites. When it was just me, I loved the ease of the Udi’s Gluten-Free Crusts, but that doesn’t make sense with three people eating this way anymore. I read a ton of reviews on gluten-free pizza crusts and this Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix had great reviews and was surprisingly affordable.

We had pizza last weekend and this crust was REALLY good and came together REALLY easily. It is sticky, but you just use a little plastic, between your crust and hands, to help shape it. The edge is crisp and the slices were fluffy and not as dense as I have come to expect with gluten-free pizza. It made a huge pizza that fed all 4 of us with 3 slices leftover!

If you have any other recommendations for great pizza crust mixes to try, please let me know! I’d love to hear what your favorite is!

mpow-bluetooth-receiver

Bluetooth In My Old Ride

I have a car without bluetooth (feel sad for me, a poor white woman!), but I wanted to listen to my podcasts, audiobooks, and music in my car from my phone. My husband said I could get a bluetooth adapter for less than $20 and I found this Mpow Bluetooth Receiver and had it shipped to me before I left for this week’s road trip.

It comes with an auxiliary cable that I can plug in and pair with my phone to stream all of the content I want to listen to while I am running around. I also discovered that it can be paired in your house to make other things that you have also bluetooth-enabled. Want to watch a show on your phone with your regular headphones? You can plug it directly into this and not have to connect with your phone. Want to make use of some old speakers you have laying around to create a killer sound system? Plug this into the computer speakers and you can listen to Spotify from your phone.

The battery life is pretty incredible (approximately ten hours) and the sound was really good. Phone calls weren’t awesome (Siri is like, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU, AMY. DO YOU EVEN KNOW ENGLISH, AMY. WHY ARE YOU CRYING, AMY?”)  but it was really good for squeezing a great book on my trip and rocking it out to some tunes.

Who says you can’t teach an old car new tricks?

Michiana Old Mom Club

This Old Woman Is Starting a Club

The most meaningful connections I’ve made as a mom were through my mom’s group. They all still remain my dearest friends today. It seems though that once our kids are done being little, that the support isn’t there anymore. Almost all discussions I have with people with kids in school all day are asking how to make friends now, searching for others to help navigate the new waters with older child, and how they can get involved in meaningful volunteer work.

This socially awkward woman is starting a local Michiana Old Mom Club because small talk & Facebook aren’t enough to sustain a mom socially. There will be 3 meetups a month.

Coffee Talk- A daytime chat centered around a discussion related to parenting older children (how to manage cell phones, tween fun, teenage angst, preparing financially for college, etc..) Each person brings an article that they read that they think is helpful and their own experience to the table. No judgement.

MNO- One outing a month where we get to know Michiana- try a new restaurant, see a great local band, have a wine/whine night, see a flick, etc..

Charity- We do one thing for charity each month. Busy months might be throwing change in a pot for something, slower months could be spent doing REAL things for our community.

That’s what I’m bringing to the table because I miss connecting in real ways with people. Kickoff will be Wed. Oct 5 at 7PM at Barnes & Noble (in UP Mall) & then the after-party is at Bar Louie. I’d love for you to join me for a drink and to introduce yourself. Although I’m awkward, I’m a good connector of people, and I’d love to fill that empty spot that I see so many of us have!

Join the group HERE!

Painted Pumpkins

Completing: I painted pumpkins this week and it was such an easy & gratifying 5-minute project.

Reading:  I am closing in on the final pages of this book and it is BEAUTIFUL. I have learned so much about an event in history that I did not even know about. I am hoping to reach out to the author to get our Sundays With Writers series going again.

Listening: To this audiobook (still loving my headphones- it’s a game changer for audiobook lovers)  in anticipation of our book club meeting tomorrow!

Sharing: If you aren’t part of the MomAdvice Book Club, you are missing out on some incredible Kindle deals!

Here are your incredible book deals for today (even if you aren’t in the club!):

IS THIS TOMORROW?, $1.99

HEAT & LIGHT, $1.99

A CERTAIN AGE, $1.99

ISLE OF PALMS, $1.99

THE 19TH WIFE, $1.99

THE BEST PUNCTUATION BOOK, PERIOD, $1.99

CROW LAKE, $1.99

ROSE IN A STORM, $1.99

BIG SUR, $1.99

THE LULLABY OF POLISH GIRLS, $.99

THE MERMAID CHAIR, $1.99

HOOD, $1.99

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, $1.99

TRAIL OF BROKEN DREAMS, $2

NEVER KISS A RAKE, $1.99

Laughing: Pretty sure my husband is singing along to this one. Are you #teampumpkinspice too?

Happy Friday, friends!

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

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

September 30th, 2016

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

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

Have you ever painted pumpkins with acrylic paints before? This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right on over that part of the fall decorating. This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween display so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

Let’s get painting!

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

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

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate (I got this one with a chalkboard on the side)

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Directions for Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

1. Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

2. With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins,using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface. Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint. Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for. I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats. Once dry,sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.
Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads. The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

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

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

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 09.28.16

September 28th, 2016

Italian Salad Platter from FoodieCrush

source: foodie crush

Ultimate Italian Salad Platter idea- what a great way to share a meal with friends without cooking.

Speaking of entertaining, who wants to join my Crappy Dinner Party?

Great tips for freezing and thawing food.

I hate cilantro- why do you exist?

I never knew why Honeycrisp apples are so expensive until I read this.

Take a peek at the co-founder of Anthro’s house- Um, yes please!

This navy bean, bacon, & spinach soup looks like another pressure cooker winner!

Speaking of soup, this looks like a big bowl of autumn!

I’m reading this right now and I already know it is going to be a 5-star rating from me. It’s exquisite!

Yeah, so I’m thinking about soup a lot and this one looks good too! #obsessed

Advice for choosing and hanging art in your home. I wish I would have had this advice when we were first hanging our pieces.

Excited about the next Big Library Read- are you in?

Love this Penguin classics poster!

Pumpkin Creamer Recipe from Inspired by Charm

source: inspired by charm

Homemade pumpkin spice creamer for your coffee. YUM!

Spicy red curry cauliflower “wings” sound like a great game day appetizer.

5 things anyone with food allergies should have on their phone- I need to add these to mine.

These booties are my favorite ever. I danced the night away at a Chicago rooftop bar and my feet didn’t hurt a bit. Holla!

The best foundations at different price points- might need to revisit this for fall!

Sheet Pan Bruschetta is on next week’s meal plan.

DIY Wooden Planter from A Beautiful Mess

source: a beautiful mess

What an adorably easy wooden planter.

Hamburger Helper glammed up. I admit it, I loved this stuff!

I am listening to this on audiobook because I get to meet the author tonight- woohoo!!! Pinch me please.

These are some great tips to help reduce your dining out budget.

I always love touring her home.

I’m sure you can guess my political side (if you are on the same side, you’ll enjoy this! ), but I always appreciate good documentation on both sides. Here is the presidential debate with fact checking. It really helped to read the entire transcript and the facts. Who knows? Maybe you might change your mind…

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

It’s the 3 Little Things: Mag Fix, 60 Second Manis, & Epic Docs

September 23rd, 2016

Martin's Groceries to Go

Some of you city kids might not find picking up your grocery orders by shopping online a big deal, but this girl is OVER THE MOON to not have to step into the grocery store this week. Thank you, Martin’s To Go!

We have had to make some diet modifications with our kiddos this week (pretend I’m using my Oprah voice for this part, “YOU get to be gluten-free, YOU get to be gluten-free, YOU get to be gluten-free…You ALL get to be gluten-free!!”) and I am trying out new products like gluten-free pizza crust mixes and bread mixes to accommodate everyone. It was nice to get to research reviews online and make smart choices and then add them to my online grocery cart.

Then on a MAGICAL day (now you can pretend like I’m reading a story in the movie, ELF…) I pulled up to a VIP parking spot, called a MAGICAL woman on my phone and said, “I HAVE ARRIVED, ROLL OUT MY RED CARPET”, and she MAGICALLY put all my groceries in my car for me, without me stepping into the store.

It was GLORIOUS.

She did not MAGICALLY let me order my boxed wine online though so then I had to hightail it over the liquor store like some COMMONER and pick it up.

What a quick and shocking fall from VIP that was.

Once they add that though?

Perfection.

Here are 3 other things that made me happy this week…

Magnesium Oil For Joint Pain

Magnesium Relief

I had my doctor’s appointment last week, with a specialist for EDS,  and we talked a lot about ways I could manage some of my joint aches and pains. I am trying to wean myself off medications (per her recommendations)  and she suggested one of the best things I could do was not only take magnesium orally (I take this one), but to also consider topical uses of magnesium through epsom salt baths and Magnesium Oil.

The heck?

Yeah, I actually had never heard of magnesium oil before. After reading a million reviews and reading up on it, I got the Art Naturals Magnesium Oil and started using it as soon as it arrived. 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.

I also bought this enormous bag of epsom salts (our poor delivery guy!) and I soak in that with a few drops of this lavender oil in the evenings for another way to get my magnesium in topically. Thank God for that epic bath tray so I can make the most of my bath with a good book.

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.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

60 Second Manicure

I have ZERO patience when it comes to painting my nails. I actually find pedicures to be excruciating because I can think of a million other ways to spend my time.

Too bad I have hooves for feet or I would never take care of them.

I ran across this Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish and read on the packaging that it will dry in 60-seconds.

Say what?

I don’t have one minute for this nonsense.

Although this feels like a long time, I thought this felt more manageable than the usual 15.

If you can believe it, this REALLY does dry in that short amount of time. I am recommending this for women that have ADD (like me!) or busy, busy little girls that can’t hold still for nail painting. This works incredibly well and my toes lasted for a week!

O.J.: Made in America

O.J.: Made in America

If I was going to make a top 10 of the best documentaries I have ever seen, O.J.: Made in America would be top of the list. You may have thought you knew everything about this case, but this documentary explores so much more than O.J., with a more of a pointed look at race, social class, and being an American hero. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to follow through on a five-part (8 hour!!) series (we have commitment issues with shows), but each night we looked forward to the next chapter of this series and I was genuinely sad when it ended.

I’m awaiting the American Crime series to hit Hulu, but I understand that the O.J. portrayal in that is very, very different from this portrayal. O.J. appears much more calculating and has a true awareness of alignment when it came to who he identified himself with and how it benefitted him. It starts from his childhood and works its way out, helping explain a lot of his behaviors and why he was the way he was.


This was one of the best things I have ever watched on race- I urge you to watch it too. We spent so much time talking about this and rehashing it in the evenings. It was incredibly compelling and made me think a lot differently about the case.

We watched this on Hulu, but you can also watch it through the ESPN site (if you have cable), or through Amazon.

It will be worth every moment of your time.

Bar Cart Makeover

Completing: I finally finished my beautiful bar cart Craigslist find. I will share more about that restoration process later, but I am enjoying basking in her beauty this week. It’s been a beautiful anchor for our antique painting on this wall.

I will hopefully also have the capsule posted next week. I am in LOVE with this blanket cape I found last week for it.

Reading:  Just wrapping up this YA novel this week. I have enjoyed it especially because it was based on this Modern Love essay (one of my favorite columns!)

Watching: Did you catch the premiere of, This is Us? I was like ho-hum, ho-hum, and then the ending was like, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” I absolutely loved how they pulled it together and can’t wait for the next one. You can watch on NBC or on Hulu!!

Eating:  Instant Pot, you are a glorious invention. This week I tried this recipe for a delicious evening in our backyard!

Laughing:  Not Safe For Kids (!!!!),  but laughing my tail off at this. Trump supporters might not love this one, but I sure did ;)

Happy Friday, friends!

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