It’s the 3 Little Things: Ping Pong, Entryway Dreams, & Pokemon Mania

July 22nd, 2016

mary-visit

Well, hey there! I hope you are having a wonderful summer! So much good stuff has been happening over here that this happy list is a genuine one. I headed to Nebraska Medicine for a second opinion on my health issues and the doctor added a pill to assist with the pain I have been experiencing and I FINALLY feel like my old self again. I am virtually pain-free after six months of unbelievable pain.

I truly feel like it is a miracle to feel this good.

Lucky for me, we got in great visits with friends while we were there, I ate my way through Omaha (and I mean it- hello, pajama jeans!), and drank far too much wine…but, hey, worth it!

I hosted a gathering for my girlfriends, once we rolled back into town, in our backyard and in our little she shed. I am always thankful that we had this beautiful table made to be extra long so we always have room at our table for our friends. We had a Salad Bar night for our evening meal (someday I will do a post on it!). I provided the greens, roasted chicken, and dressings for the group. Then everyone came with toppings and drinks to round out our meal. Such a fun and easy night in the backyard without stress on the hostess or the guests.

Here are three other things that are making me happy (and I think would make you happy too!)

Boot Tray Insert

My Boot Tray Got More Awesome

When I did my house tour, one of the most clicked on items in that was our boot tray and I don’t blame you. It is one of my favorite Target finds that we have gotten for our home. That said, anytime we had wet or dirty shoes, they would just sit in the tray in the puddle of water and dirt…

Well, that is, until now.

I was wandering around Target (always a dangerous pastime) and saw this incredible boot tray insert that fits right over my existing boot tray. It gives a place for wet shoes to drip, it’s black so it doesn’t show everything, and it actually looks decorative too. SUPER happy with this purchase!

Narrow entryways will bask in functional glory with this fun addition!

Joola Outdoor Ping Pong Table

 

We Have Been In Ping Pong Heaven

My husband loves playing ping pong and although I love our little house, things like ping pong tables just don’t fit in our tiny spaces.  This guy of mine has been working his tail off and needed a stress reliever that wasn’t in front of a screen and more than anything I wanted to give him a ping pong table to enjoy.

This summer it came time to break down our swing set (how bittersweet is that?) and I had to figure out something we could do in the backyard together that we would all enjoy.

In honor of Father’s Day we splurged on this JOOLA Outdoor Ping Pong Table. Yup, an outdoor table! Who knew?

I had been waiting to talk about it, in our favorite things list,  until we really used it (I hate sharing something we don’t REALLY genuinely love). This table is incredibly made, comes almost fully assembled, and is a breeze to put up and down. We got an outdoor cover (kind of like a grill cover for it) and we have enjoyed many evenings together playing ping pong in our backyard. My husband also discovered they make ping pong balls that are made for outdoor tables even since a windy day can sometimes be an issue. It’s been an incredible addition to our backyard.

In full disclosure, we had an awful surprise storm that knocked half of our table over due to some really crazy winds. One of the wheels broke off and I worried that we would have a broken table forever within the first week of purchase. I contacted the company and a REAL PERSON talked to me, he sent me extra wheels in case it happened again, and they emailed me a shipping notification so we could track our wheels until they arrived on my doorstep.

It was incredible customer service and our table is now happily repaired and awaiting many games together.

Want an inspiring ping pong documentary to share with your whole family? Watch Top Spin (on Netflix!!).  You can watch kids compete for the Olympic team and be wowed. This one is approved by our family for all ages! Yay!

After we watched that, we were all fighting over our turn at the ping pong table!

pokemon-go

I Love Pokemon Go (Even Though I Have No Clue What I’m Doing)

My kids are at a stage where they just want to sit in front of devices and do nothing. It takes a lot to motivate them so I was genuinely excited about the Pokemon Go app (FREE!!). You would have to be buried under a rock to not know about it, but here is a little more info if you haven’t tried it out yet.

My kids are MOTIVATED for evening walks and explorations at parks. Just in our neighborhood alone, we caught 5 of these critters looping the mile through the ‘hood.

Do I know a thing about Pokemon?

No.

I don’t give a flip, but my kids do and they are MOVING.

And they are HANGING OUT WITH ME.

And for the caption on this photo:

“Mom, why would you pose with that? It’s not even a good one. It evolves and won’t even look at you straight. It’s just a goldfish.”

Me: “But, I’m really proud of my goldfish. I worked hard for it. Take my picture with my goldfish.”#pokemonposeur

Sometimes finding something you all love with big kids is hard so I am thrilled we have found something we can do together… even if I don’t understand it!

Advanced Readers for July

Reading: All the Missing Girls and it is incredible! If you are looking for a gripping psychological thriller, you should give this one a try for your summer reading!

Pictured above are some advanced readers for books that should be on your reading radar! I have a lot of reading to do and am looking forward to enjoying these on a family vacation!

LOST STARS

HER EVERY FEAR

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10

SAVING ABBY

BABY DOLL

SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE

Eating: We fired up the grill and enjoyed Chicken Pesto Burgers this week and I even baked french fries to go with them. I hope to share that recipe soon!!

Watching: I can’t stop watching this- it’s absolutely incredible and one of the best Adele covers ever made. Amen.

Making:  My hands are finally working again so I am knitting up some Chemo Caps for a special girl- lift her up in prayer for me, won’t you?

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 07.20.16

July 20th, 2016

DIY backyard before and after via Apartment Therapy

Source: Apartment Therapy

 

Totally inspired by this clean, welcoming diy backyard before-and-after!

Mindful grocery choices you can start making today.

Roasted broccoli sweet potato chickpea salad for your summer dinners.

Why the homestead is relevant to the modern woman.

Pork chops with cranberry-mustard sauce & more 5-ingredient meals!

How to slow down summer.

15 wardrobe basics every girl should check off her list.

Stuffed pancake puffs via A Beautiful Mess

Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

Maybe our new pancake obsession?

10 brand new books to read in July.

Easy home remedies for summer wounds.

10 things to eliminate from your kitchen right now.

Saying “yes” more.

S’mores rice krispie treats- maybe the best of both worlds?

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!

How to Create a Family Cookbook With Your Kids

July 19th, 2016

How to create a family cookbook with your kids

Have you ever wanted to tackle making a family cookbook with your kids? I’m so excited to show you how we made a scrapbook of our favorite foods and food traditions together. Making a cookbook with your kids is a fun activity that any family can do together and we are so excited to show you how we created ours.

Making a kids cookbook

If you know us, one thing that our family is big on is traditions created around the dinner table. Whether it is our pizza night on Fridays, our waffle tradition on Sundays, or the way we commemorate every little occasion in life, we somehow find a fun food tradition to surround the event. This creative project is a way to truly document those food traditions by creating a family cookbook with your kids that can be a fun project to create together as well as a legacy of your family traditions to pass down to future generations.

kid_made_cookbook_4

Supplies Needed

*affiliate links used to provide examples

12×12 Scrapbook Album, 10-page (or more)
12×12 sheets of scrapbook paper in neutral tones
Washi tape
Photo stickers or mounts
Markers (in various colors)
Stickers with food & cooking utensils
Colorful labels
Small scrapbooking cards to write your documentation on
Fun zig-zag scissors (optional)
Pictures of your favorite dishes
Recipes (printed out or written on recipe cards)

Making a cookbook with your kids

Instructions for Making A Family Cookbook

1) Begin by cutting out and assembling the items you would like on your page by laying them out and positioning them on each page. I like to cut my recipes out with zig-zag scissors to add a creative detail.

2) Once you figure out the placement of your items, mount pictures and recipes with double stick tape or photo stickers on the back and secure them to your page.

3) Have your children answer writing prompts on scrapbook labels or have them draw pictures of their favorite foods. Secure these additions with colorful washi tape. You can also add your own reflections on the pages to finish your pages.

4) Have kids finish the project by adding stickers to the pages or filling in sticker labels. Be creative with sticker placement, placing them even on the pictures and recipes themselves.

5) Finish by sliding the finished sheets into the sleeves of your scrapbook album. Repeat this same five step process with the rest of your sheets.

Kid made cookbook pages

Here is how our family cookbook turned out- we are so proud of how it turned out and it was such a fun activity to do together!

If you are unsure about theme ideas for your pages, here are a few fun recommendations:

  • Family Food Traditions
  • Dad or Mom’s Favorite Dishes
  • Your Child’s Favorite Dish
  • Cool Food We Tried
  • Holiday Food
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Back to School Traditions
  • Food Through the Generations (sharing those recipes from your extended family)
  • Grilling Out
  • Birthday Cakes/Parties

kid_made_cookbook

As a mom, this activity truly brought so much joy to me and to my kids. With everything digital, I have grown increasingly bad about printing pictures and handwritten documentation of my memories. This project truly served as a reminder how wonderful it is to see my children’s handwriting and pictures as well as how much it might mean to them to see their mother’s handwriting (as pitiful as it may be!).

I hope you consider this family activity as a way to preserve your family & food traditions for future generations. I promise that it will bring so much joy to your life and will be something that your kids will truly enjoy doing with you!

What are some of your family traditions – do they center around food like ours?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!

 

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Look For The Helpers (Miracles From Heaven)

July 18th, 2016

Miracles-From-Heaven-Review

This post is sponsored by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Mr. Rogers said it best when he said,“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

It is a quote that has stuck with me for a very long time although I had not realized how much we would need our helpers until we had to call upon them this year. This year’s diagnosis has been tough on our family, but we have gotten through it because of the people that have been our helpers in our lives. Being one who refuses to ask for help (even when I really need it), my friends took it upon themselves to assist our family in the most generous of ways…through a random acts of kindness that would show up on our doorstep.

flowers

I was in crippling pain and extremely depressed.  I have been angry at God and frustrated by my body’s new limitations. One of my girlfriends saw what was happening and organized my friends to do a doorstep delivery each day. One day I came out to a pretty candle from a favorite shop, a gift card to Amazon to buy a book, beautiful stationery, flowers and a meal, a basket of gluten-free treats, a pail of sunshine (with items all in yellow), wine tucked in our mailbox, and fun snacks to enjoy with my wine. Each day, my spirits felt lifted. I felt really and truly loved.

sunshine

Not only did they make these gestures, but they kept me busy to help take my mind of the pain. I went for walks, I had friends to join me for yoga classes, coffee invitations, movie dates…It is amazing how much a social outing can pull one out of their slump. There was no time to fixate on my circumstances.

Luckily for me, these past two weeks have been magical thanks to a pill that we have finally found that is finally controlling my pain.

To me, that pill feels like a miracle.

My miracle pales in comparison to the incredible miracle featured in the movie, Miracles from Heaven though. The film, which was just released on DVD,  is based on the true story of the Beam family and their special little girl named Anna who is diagnosed with a very rare and incurable disease.  As if that family had not been through enough, Anna is involved in a terrible accident that should have killed her, but brought an unexpected miracle into their lives that helped to restore their faith.

My daughter & I had a movie day together to watch this one and it lead to a great discussion on our feelings about miracles and about turning away from God when you feel so angry. Although my situation has been mild in comparison, I still can acknowledge that there is anger when you don’t understand why God will let things like this happen.

What stood out to me more about this story though is that there were SO MANY helpers in that family’s life that got them through those difficult moments. Those helpers got their family through some of their most difficult moments from caring for their children to assisting with travel when they needed to be together to working Anna in with the top specialist to make sure she was cared for. Just like me, these helpers are what made many unbearable moments bearable and broke up that desperation that they were feeling.

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner delivers a truly incredible performance as Anna’s mother. The emotion she is able to deliver is powerful, as is the mother’s determination to try to get the best care for her daughter. I don’t know how anyone could watch this and not be moved.

Miracles-From-Heaven-Review-3

If you haven’t checked out the film yet, you can pick up a copy of the DVD at Walmart for a family movie night together. If it is anything like our experience watching it, I am sure your kids will have lots of questions and it will give you a chance to talk about this family’s miracle.

For more information about, Miracles from Heaven, visit the Official Website, give them a Like on Facebook, & follow them on Twitter!

This post is sponsored by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Amy’s Notebook 07.13.16

July 13th, 2016

2-ingredient cocktails via My Domaine

Source: My Domaine

 

2-ingredient cocktails for summer sipping.

How to build a beach bonfire.

This painted floor is gorgeous (and thrifty!).

These no-bake breakfast cookies look delicious.

Bookmarking this list of books to read when I need a good cry.

A smart way to pack- the 5-4-3-2-1 rule.

A dozen diy wall art projects to try.

DIY lawn dice via The Merry Thought

Source: The Merry Thought

 

DIY lawn dice looks like a fun outdoor activity!

The movement for racial justice needs more White Americans to get involved.

DIY summer tote- so cute & simple!

Did you know there is a KonMari conference?

Zero pot dinners sound perfect for the summer!

9 ways to decorate above a bed.

Chasing after more when you already have enough.

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!

 

Easy Hostess Gift: How to Make Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

July 12th, 2016

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_4

With summer comes many fun parties and opportunities to share these warm days with friends. This tutorial for a paint-dipped spoon set – and the packaging – makes a colorful and useful hostess gift that you can easily create to show your appreciation for those hosting your family at their next party.

Paint-dipped anything is quite a trend and so are these vibrant shades of neon I used. It was with those color trends in mind that I created this easy paint-dipped spoon set that embraces those fun colors and I also have found a unique way to package it that any hostess would flip for.

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_supplies

Supplies

(affiliate links*)

Making Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Directions

1) Mark off the ends of your wooden spoons with tape. I choose to do them at different levels, instead of all matching, to give it more of that “paint-dipped” look I was going for.

2) Pour small dots of paint into a disposable bowl or plate. Using a slightly damp paint brush, brush on a layer of neon paint around the top of your spoon. Remember to go with the grain of your wood when painting these.

3) Prop the painted spoons on a surface where they can dry. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

4) Next, add a layer of the Triple Thick Glaze to the ends of your spoons, to protect the surface as well as to add a layer of gloss. Allow this to dry for one hour or until hardened before moving your spoons.

*Note that directions state that these paint-dipped spoons will not be fully cured for 21 days before you want to wash them.

Wrapping Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

5) While your spoons are drying, you can create the dishtowel bow for your oven mitt. Fold your towel until you get the desired narrowness on it.

6) Fold each side in to create your bow shape and then tie it securely with a strip of grosgrain ribbon. Tie the ribbon into a bow as well.

7) Finish by securing your dishtowel bow to your oven mitt with a paper clip or clothespin. Stuff the end of your mitt with a piece of tissue paper and then rest your spoons inside the mitt. Add a note of thanks and tie or clip it to your gift as well.

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_5

How easy was that? What hostess wouldn’t love a gift as cute and as useful as this? I hope this inspires you to share the love with your favorite hostess this summer and keep this cute gift in mind for your next housewarming party or bridal shower too!

What kind of host or hostess gift would you like to make or receive?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!

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June 2016 Must-Reads

July 8th, 2016

June 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

There is nothing better than a good book…except when that good book is read poolside! Am I right? I’m so excited to share with you this month’s reading list which includes everything from a mystery to science fiction to an epic love story. I can’t wait to hear what books you were enjoying this past month.

Want the inside scoop on what I’m reading each week? Join our online book club where we talk about books all day every day. This is not an exaggeration! Join me!

8 Must-Read Books I Read In June

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

The first adult book from Robin Wasserman and it is ADULT so, readers, be warned! Follow down the path of Dex & Lacey, two social outcasts who find comfort and friendship in one another through a mutual dislike for the high school queen bee. When one of the popular kids commits suicide in their small town, we are quick to see that things are often not as they seem as Lacey’s dangerous interactions start coming to light. Set in the ‘90’s with plenty of nostalgic flashbacks, it also laces in the beginning of the twilight of the satanic panic that plagued this era.

Due to the language, sex, and violence in this one, this will be a pretty polarizing book that you will either really love or really hate. I found it to be a great summer escape and a well-woven plot although, as a reader, I often wondered if some of the scenes were set up to shock you rather than to move the story forward.

Catch my interview with Robin Wasserman as she discusses why she made the leap to writing for adults and reminisce a bit about the ’90’s with us!

4 Out of 5 Stars

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go will be the psychological thriller you need to pull you out of a reading slump. The book opens with a mother crossing the street with her child. She lets go for just a moment and that child is hit by a car. This hit-and-run case leaves little clues to the killer and the reader follows this grief-stricken survivor as she tries to form a new life in a new town, far from the reminders of the accident. Hold onto your hats though because nothing is as it seems and the reader is taken on plot twists that will leave you gasping. This is, truly, the next Gone Girl, friends, don’t miss it!

Check out my interview with Clare Mackintosh and hear about the case that inspired her book and the life experience that shaped the raw grief of the mother in her story!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Ona is 104 and develops a fast friendship with a Scout who is obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records. He believes Ona has a chance of winning, thanks to her age. Unfortunately, the boy tragically dies and his father is left to fulfill his son’s duties. Quinn has never been much of a father though, but it is through Ona that he discovers just how special his boy is.

The book flashes back to the special conversations the boy had with Ona around her kitchen table, is laced with true Guinness Book of World record holders, and a road trip adventure that brings the boy’s parents closer to Ona as she tries to seal the deal on her very own world record. This story is touching, heartfelt, and beautifully told. My only complaint would be that it could have been trimmed down a bit to create a tighter storyline.

Stay tuned, Monica will be joining my Sundays With Writers series this month to share more about her story behind the story!

4 Out of 5 Stars

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

I find Reid’s writing to be just the right amount of heart with just the right amount of reality and her storytelling truly shines in this beautiful story of loves found and lost. When Emma’s husband dies in a helicopter crash, she is left to rebuild her life without her high school sweetheart and you feel that devastation through Reid’s words. After years of sadness though, she finds love again with an old high school friend and begins to find that happiness she has been missing. Just before her wedding though she receives a call that her husband, Jesse, is still alive and coming home to be with her again.

A heart aching love triangle is formed and Emma must choose between the man she loved and lost or the new love of her life. I couldn’t put this one down and read it in less than a day. Reid’s latest book does not disappoint and would be the perfect addition to any beach bag this summer!

Check out an interview I did with Taylor in our Sundays With Writers series as she discusses her ability to write such believable and beautiful love stories!

5 Out of 5 Stars

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (available for preorder!)

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

I am not much of a science fiction reader, but there are those exceptions that have lead me to embrace a little sci-fi in my life. If you enjoyed The Girl With All the Gifts, Ready Player One, or The Martian, do NOT miss Dark Matter.

It’s very hard to review this book without giving away some of the reader surprises. Crouch creates a fictional exploration that allows his character, Jason Desson, to explore different paths that his life could have taken if he had made different choices. When he is abducted on his way to the grocery store, he awakens and discovers that his wife is not his wife, his house is not his house, and nothing in his life is the way it seems. You are then lead through adventure after adventure as Jason tries to find his old life again in a rather unique way.

Equal parts science fiction adventure and equal parts a beautiful love story, there is SO MUCH to love in this book. The reader can’t help but root for Jason to be reunited with his family and there is never a dull moment with a hefty duty delivery of smart plot twists. The screenplay is already in the works so read this one before you catch it on the big screen!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

The Two-Family House is a sweet literary escape telling the story of brothers living in a two-family house in Brooklyn in the ‘40’s. While the men are away to work, in the midst of a winter storm, both of their wives go into labor and end up delivering their babies at home, thanks to one determined midwife. It’s the birth of these two babies that begins to threaten and unravel the two families, particularly their mothers, as they carry around a family secret that begins to impact them all.

A strong debut novel rich with characters and the raw emotional impact of family secrets, it is one that you will be unable to put down, and a storyline rich with lots to chat about for book clubs. If you prefer character-driven stories, this book is for you!

4 Out of 5 Stars

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a home together and formed a fast friendship that they thought would have forever. When Bea, one of their most faithful friends, passes away, her dying wish is to see them reunited once again twenty years later, on the eve of what would have been her 40th birthday. Of course, each of these friends is carrying their own demons and as time passes, secrets are revealed and the true nature of each of them is uncovered.

I have always been a big fan of Scotch’s books (Time of My Life still remains one of my all-time favorites) and have appreciated her storylines, particularly with love stories. Perhaps, that is why I struggled a bit because there wasn’t a strong love story for me in this one.  The book could have benefited from a bit of trimming to carve out a tighter storyline, but I still think this is a fun addition to your beach bag this summer if you are looking for a fun escape.

3 Out of 5 Stars

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

I am not big into series books, but I have heard from many of that you really love to sink your teeth into a new series. A Murder in Time is the first in the Kendra Donovan mysteries series and is a promising start for time travel and historical fiction lovers. It was this month’s selection for the Global Book Club (check to see if your library is participating in the Global Read to snag a free download of it).

The story follows an FBI agent, Kendra Donovan, that is involved in a case that goes horribly wrong and claims the life of her colleagues. When she finds out that they are using the murderer as an informant, she decides to take revenge at a period piece party he is attending at a castle. Hiding from him when her revenge takes an unexpected turn, she goes into a corridor and then comes out in the same castle, but in an entirely different era- the 1800’s. Her ability to sleuth out cases comes in handy though when a serial killer is on the loose and no one else can solve it. Without her modern day tools though, this case isn’t an easy one.

Oh, and she’s a woman and a low level employee at the castle so she’s not respected either.

Although far-fetched, as most time travel books are, this is a fun escape. I actually learned a lot about that era that I had never been before. Twist in a fun love story, and you have a great escape that fans of the Outlander series will enjoy with this fun modern spin!

5 Out of 5 Stars

sundays-with-writers-1

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June-2016-Must-Read-Books

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.

Picnic in a Jar: Easy Quinoa Salad With Spinach and Tomatoes

July 7th, 2016

Quinoa-Salad-In-A-Jar

Summertime means a lot of eating on-the-go for our family. It isn’t the running to and from activities like the school year, but the good stuff like picnics with my people, poolside lounging and road trips to the neighboring Michigan beaches.

Thankfully, the fresh produce and deliciously grown convenience food that we all love is in season. A container of cherries shared by the pool, bunches of grapes on our car trips, and strawberries by the fistful in the sunshine until we think we might turn into berries ourselves. It’s all such good stuff, isn’t it?

Salads are my go-to in the summer thanks to their amazing portability factor. Not only do I love fresh green salads made with romaine or spinach, but I adore a healthy topping of quinoa on top for that protein punch.

Quinoa-Salad-In-A-Jar-1

Quinoa is one of my favorite summertime ingredients because it is filling and gluten-free. Have you had quinoa before? It couldn’t be easier to prepare or more delicious!

Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. It’s a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, and it contains B Vitamins and iron.

Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior. In reality, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, becoming tender but chewy, and expelling spirals that boast the slightest crunch.

To add more flavor to my quinoa I love to cook it in veggie or chicken broth.

Quinoa-Salad-In-A-Jar-7

To make these salads portable, I layer the salads in jars. You want to layer the salads in a way that everything stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

For these salads, I start with a scoop of cooked quinoa and add a drizzle of olive oil and squirt of lemon. I then allow that all to cool completely and then start the layer of veggies. The tomatoes go in first and then I fill the jar up to the tippy top with as much spinach as possible. I learned a lot from all those episodes of Popeye as a kid!

quinoa-salads-in-a-jar-tutorial

Picnic in a Jar: Easy Quinoa Salad With Spinach and Tomatoes
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Take these along on your next family outing for a filling, easy meal!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (follow the instructions for preparation on the packaging)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare quinoa as directed on package (it’s just like rice with a 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid ratio- veggie broth, chicken broth, or water all work in this one). Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Halve grape or cherry tomatoes with a paring knife and add them to the mixing bowl.
  3. Once the quinoa is done, scoop it into equal amounts into four jars. Squirt the juice of your lemons on top of the quinoa and add a light drizzle of olive oil to each one. Allow these to cool fully before adding the rest of your ingredients.
  4. Next layer on your tomatoes and then add your layer of spinach.
  5. Lid your jar and store in your fridge for up to five days. Eat directly out of the jar or pour into a bowl for an easy picnic feast!

Quinoa-Salad-In-A-Jar-9

For a sweet little picnic touch, use a little twine to tie on forks or tape a plastic fork with washi tape on your lids. You now have the makings for the perfect summertime lunch wherever your summer adventures might take you!

 

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Amy’s Notebook 07.06.16

July 6th, 2016

DIY Embroidered Sun Hat via A Beautiful Mess

Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

My new poolside hat – what words would you use?

Cauliflower burrito bowls for easy summer meals.

Love this colorful, yet calming decor.

Adorable braided bun.

Orange Frappe? Oh yes!

I want to be like Princess Diana.

Yarn Bombing via Crixeo

Source: Crixeo

 

Grab your needles and hooks and enter the yarn bombing movement.

Perfect Spanish tortilla.

Small kitchen solutions.

5-ingredient slow cooker apricot chicken.

Let’s remember to rest this summer.

Toy room organization tips & ideas.

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!

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland

July 5th, 2016

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

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

Making a fabric wreath has been on my crafting bucket list for a long time and I finally had the perfect excuse to execute it. I joined the Waverly Inspirations Network this month and am showcasing all the fun craft goodies you can find now at your local Walmart stores- YAY!

Each month I am challenged to make a project out of a surprise box of materials and the team gives me a theme to work with. This month’s theme was BEACH so I went with a nautical spin to show you how to make a fabric wreath and rope garland for your home.

Best of all, no sewing skills required!

Let’s get crafting.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed To Make a Fabric Wreath

12″ or 20″ wire wreath frame

2 1/2 yards Waverly Inspirations Fabric (for 12″) or 3 yards Waverly Inspirations Fabric (for 20″). Be sure to select two or more patterns or solids that compliment each other. Have fun with this!

6 yards Waverly Inspirations Grosgrain or Satin Ribbon (select 2 3-yard packages in complementary colors)

Fabric Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutting Mat

(Note- if making matching garland, be sure to pick up some rope (like this) over in the home improvement section of the store)

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Making a Fabric Wreath

1. Taking your fabric lengthwise, cut at the 1″ mark on your rotary cutter.

2. From this starting point, begin tearing down until you get to the bottom of your fabric to create strips. There will be loose threads. Pull any that are particularly bothersome, but this project is meant to have rough edges to it.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

3. Begin cutting this torn fabric into 6″ strips. Repeat these same 3 steps over and over again with your two fabrics.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

4. The same length strips will need to be cut out of your two ribbon options so begin cutting those, utilizing all of the ribbon that you have purchased..

5. Starting from the outer edge of the wire wreath frame, begin tying the fabric, making sure to keep your printed side turned out, and then slide the tied fabric down to the nearest crossbar. Repeat until you have filled the section, alternating fabrics and sprinkling a tie of ribbon in throughout. In the picture above, you can see that ALL of these have a fabric loop- this is to demonstrate your starting point for each row.  Continue doing this until you get all the way around the outside edge. Then repeat this same process on the remaining 3 wires until you have filled your entire wreath.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

I added a little pom-pom trim that I had in my crafting cart and clipped it with two tiny clothespins to finish this.  I had so much fun making this that I wanted to add a garland to match.

How to Make a Fabric Rope Garland from MomAdvice.com

Utilizing the same technique for ripping your fabrics, cut 2″ strips this time and then cut these into 8″ pieces. Repeat this step with both fabric selections (or more if you have them!). Tie them onto your rope, making sure to have that printed side facing out. I love that you can make this as long or as short as you need for your space!

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

My little painted laminate fireplace, in our basement, gets so much love and I love decorating it for the different seasons. I finished our beachy look with two rope handled lanterns. I, honestly, loved making this so much that I now have plans to make another smaller one for my fancy little she shed in yellows and polka dots.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to get out there and craft today!

Making brings me so much joy and I love sharing that with you!

 

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

 

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