Archive for October, 2019

October Happy List

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

MomAdvice Book Club 2020

Hello, friends! Do you see me peeking out at you behind this mountain of books? 

This year I’ve got SO many big plans for the MomAdvice Book Club.  Right now, I am diligently working to pick the best books for our 2020 year of reading together. 

Unfortunately, that means that the reviews on here will be a bit thinner the next couple of months.

I REALLY want to surprise you with my selections this year. 

I guess December’s reviews are  going to be in one packed month as I reveal the 12 selections for our chats.

Not only are we doing this (!!!), but we are planning a fun project around each book. From printables, to craft ideas, to cooking the dishes (inspired by the stories)…it’s going to be AH-MAZING.

I’m teaming up with my amazing artist pal, M.J., to REALLY deliver on some beauty for your home and life.

Did I mention that I’m already dreaming up our next reading retreat.

Seriously, if you haven’t joined my FREE club, what are you waiting for

I love sharing good books with you all. With almost 3,000 members, this community is booming! 

If you are just on the hunt for Kindle book deals, be sure to sign up for my daily deals book newsletter. This is different than the weekly happy list and only contains the curated book deals for the day.

IMPORTANT REMINDER!! If you have Amazon Prime, be sure to get your FREE OCTOBER BOOK. This month’s selections expires on October 31st. 

the couch halloween episodes podcast

One of my favorite things to do is guest spot on podcasts. This week, you can catch me on, The Couch Podcast! Mary asked me to join her to chat about All-Things-Halloween!

We are dissecting our favorite Halloween sitcom episodes, my favorite spooky book, and my must-see list of Halloween movies. I think this episode should really get you in the mood for the season. 

If that isn’t enough, Mary also wrote a great post on 8 Halloween sitcom episodes that she has loved

I loved this one so much, she is going to be sharing one for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Just think of all the fun we can be watching while we get ready for the holidays! 

Have you been missing the 3 little things list each week? Just so you know, this feature didn’t go away…it just moved over to my newsletters each week. 

Sign up is super quick over here.  

I promise to never spam you. 

Life is too short to spend time deleting worthless emails, amiright? 

Today I wanted to share what you might have missed this past month in one big giant happy list!!

October Happy List Fun and Reviews


Perfect Fall Sweater

The Perfect Fall Sweater

Are you on the hunt for the most perfect fall sweater? 

I can’t recommend this one enough.

The cut is forgiving, the weight of the yarn is not too heavy, and it pairs so well with everything in my wardrobe.

I ended up snagging this in blue, but had to place a second order for the other colors. You won’t regret this purchase- I promise! (true to size)

The Politician

The Politician

Are there any other Gleeks in the house?

I watch, pretty much, anything that Ryan Murphy comes up with so I was THRILLED to see that he had developed a new series for Netflix with Ben Platt.

If you aren’t familiar with him, this piece opened my eyes to his discipline and talent.

If Wes Anderson & Ryan Murphy had a baby together, I believe that baby would be this new series.

Platt’s character is set on winning the presidency of his high school election. He believes this win will propel his fate to win the U.S. presidency and secure his spot at an elite college.

He never expects he will go up against the guy he loves though. In a doubly cruel twist of fate, his running mate commits suicide. 

If you think that secures his win though, you are wrong.

The story is reflective, rewinding eighteen months, and how that relationship evolved. 

The sets, costume, and quirky writing are everything I’ve been missing on television and I am HERE FOR IT! (watch the trailer here)

Whoa Wait Walmart Magazine

Whoa Wait Walmart Magazine 

Do you follow my friends over at Whoa Wait Walmart? Bethany & Amanda have this incredible account where they find and share all their cool finds at Walmart. It’s an Instagram account that I, honestly,  get excited to see each day. 

I promise, I’m not saying that just because they are my pals.

Want to know what’s more exciting than that though?

They came out with their VERY OWN MAGAZINE!

You can find it on the magazine stands of your Walmart store and it is filled with those fun finds that I’ve come to love, paired with incredible lifestyle pieces.

This magazine also contains a pretty cool high tech element.

If you like something, you can scan the QR code to order the item or find it in your stores. I have a feeling that this is just the start of other brands launching similar publications for their customers.

I was so honored that they sent me a copy and can’t wait to head to my store to replicate their finds!

Be sure to grab your copy ASAP!! 

New to Us House Exterior before

New to Us House After after

Our House Is Getting a Makeover

We have done all we can (for now) on the interior of our home so this has been an exciting month as we work on the exterior. 

Built in the 1960’s, our little tri-level has been a bit of an exterior challenge to modernize it. The house had aluminum siding and we discovered that aluminum is very easy to paint and it weathers really well too. 

A boring beige throughout, we switched it up with Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, a popular gray exterior choice these days. 

I am soooo happy how it turned out and it, truly, feels like we have brand new siding with the fresh coat. 

Now we start the process of figuring out new details like a much-needed lamp post, house numbers, and exterior light fixtures. 

I stumbled upon this Etsy seller who makes BEAUTIFUL cedar shutters, for a fraction of the prices I was looking at, and I couldn’t be more excited to get rid of our weathered shutters that were hanging on the front. I also am a big fan of supporting crafters so it feels like a purchase win-win to me! 

I can’t wait to share our results after we finish the last details. With paint alone, I feel like I have a brand new-to-me house.

Want to see what else we have done to our little house? Here is our biggest renovation, here is what we did to our storage shed, here’s how I cozied up our office, and here is a holiday home tour (if you are interested in that stuff!). 

Every dang day, I love my little house more.

Trim Financial Services Review


Trim Saved Me $79 This Year

As I’m working through our Passive Income series, I’ve been doing a deep dive into money-saving apps and new strategies for passive revenue. 

It is how I discovered this service called Trim and how we just saved a bundle on our internet bill. 

I will probably dedicate a post to this, at some point, but I had to share it with you now because I want you to save money too.

Trim is, basically, a bot service that negotiates rates, on your behalf, to lower your payments.  You give them permission to act on your behalf and see if they can secure your family savings.

Our Comcast internet bill was $80 a month.

Trim sent me a text that they were able to get a fee refund (of $2.32) and they also applied a promotion for $9.95 off for 12 months.

That is a savings of $119.40 over the course of the year.

What’s in it for Trim? Well, they take 33% of the savings they get on the bill. We will be charged $40.17, but we still end up saving $79 for the year. 

Right now they are plugging away at our Verizon bill.

They also were able to flag a few things that were monthly charges that we may not want to continue spending money on.  

They even send them your cancellation requests for you so you don’t have to add it to your to-do list.

If you have a lot of personal debt, it also can negotiate credit card rates. 

The app is free, but they also offer a premium service where you can pay $9.99 per month to work with a financial coach. I decided to purchase the premium so I could tell you if it is worth it. 

For the most part, reviews are pretty positive, especially from the personal finance community.

Personally, we haven’t had any hiccup with the changes.

In fact, Comcast sent us a video to understand anything that changed on our bill after the negotiation.

My husband thought that was a bit of an overkill, but I didn’t hate it. 

I will keep you posted on this experiment, but here is a link if you are interested in trying it now. (check out the service here)

thrive tape review

Thrive Tape

One item I go through A LOT of, in our house, is KT Tape.  Weekly, my awesome husband tapes my shoulder blades and neck in place and it GREATLY decreases my pain throughout the day.  

Not only have we become experts at taping techniques that work, but we also can speak to the longevity of the tape. 

Thrive Tape is a new product that launched and they were looking for people to give them some honest feedback on what they brought to the world of tape.

When I shared that I’d love to give it a spin, they sent me some to try for my pain. The condition I have is lesser known so I was blown away that they had a dedicated page just for EDS’ers

Here are the pros and cons with this new product.


The tape is not divided into precut strips and has a paper back that reminded us of gift wrap, with simple graphing lines for measuring and cutting evenly. 

I did find it more durable than its competitor. KT Tape has a threaded quality to it and this tape doesn’t have the threading that can come loose on the edges. 

The tape feels like it holds my body in place more because of the sturdier nature of the tape. It feels almost like I have a brace on, without the bulkiness. 

The design is attractive and not medical looking. 

The adhesive is not irritating. Since I have mast cell activation disorder, adhesive is a tricky terrain.


Currently, it is only available in black. I do prefer a nude tone to my tape because it doesn’t attract as much attention and blends better with my clothing. 

The tape is not as stretchy. That’s not to say it is a bad thing, but the give on it is less. 

The corners are not rounded on the tape so you do have to cut those. Rounded corners tend to catch less on clothing so I prefer the tape corners rounded. If you have hand issues, it could be a little more challenging with scissors. 

That’s my honest opinion.  I can see myself purchasing this because it seems to have more longevity than the tape I currently use. Since I find it more supportive, I think it can benefit people like me.

I don’t really understand why tape works so well, but the best way I can describe it is that it feels like someone is putting a supportive hand on the areas that hurt.  

Taping is always one of the first tips I share with chronic pain sufferers because it has become such an important part of my routine. 

If you want to try it, they are giving MomAdvice readers a 20% off coupon. The coupon code is THRIVEMOM. Just use that when you go to checkout and it should take a discount off your order. No pressure, but if you use tape regularly, I think it is something to check out!  (check the tape out here)

Disclosure: I received two rolls of tape to try out and give my feedback with you.

best peach fuzz remover

The Peach Fuzz Remover Of My Dreams

Have you ever seen these little razors the beauty bloggers recommend for getting rid of peach fuzz?

I have no idea how people on the internet can convince me to take a blade to my face, but that’s where I seem to be getting beauty advice these days.

Seriously, I decided to give it a go and made tiny cuts all over my face that bled.

My sensitive skin was so angry that I had to take a break from a lot of face products until the wounds healed.

In hindsight, thin skin that’s prone to scarring probably isn’t the best type of skin for razoring your face.

I ordered this little gadget though and it is the BEST THING EVER for peach fuzz on your face.

I have had no irritation with it and no severe facial wounds.  It takes off the hair, but does not pull/hurt/stab you to death  and that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. 

I can’t recommend this enough for taming the fuzz. I’m so impressed! 

Aldi Pumpkin Coffee

ALDI’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee

If you are looking for a little fall in a cup, you have got to snag some of ALDI’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

It is my new favorite coffee and I think it will be yours too. 

This coffee smells heavenly, has just the right amount of spice, and has been a wonderful way to wake up. 

If you are still on the coffee pod game and thinking about switching to drip, this has been an incredible greener alternative for us.

I am linking to Bed, Bath, & Beyond because that’s where I now buy all my kitchen appliances because of their great return policies.

As silly as it may sound, we do keep a folder of receipts for all of our small appliances because you never know when one will quit on you and if you still might be able to return it or if the warranty is still active. 

I’m Off to the Races to Pick the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club Selections

Did you catch my Instagram picture this week? I reserved 20 books, that I think have MomAdvice Book Club potential, to start making next year’s selections.

While there has been joy in reading along with everyone (and not pre-reading everything for you), I am excited to make a little space to fully screen these.

Instead of choosing brand new books and buzz books (that always seem to lack the buzz), I’m going through best-of lists, from prior years, to make our picks.

I wish I could tell you more, but half the fun is in the surprise. Not only are the books going to be amazing,  we have another amazing bookish surprise to go along with next year’s selections.

As I’m awaiting the announcements, I have three friends that have agreed to be my “beta testers,” and read the books so I can get some good feedback before I share them with you.

If you don’t see me chatting as much, now you know why!

I know this is a crowd that can get behind a good day of reading though.

Corala Weighted Blanket Review

My New Obsession With Weighted Blankets

Have you ever slept with a weighted blanket? Corala Blanket reached out to me to see if I would like to try one out for our family.

Personally, I have always been curious if they could help my pain and insomnia at night.  

I was also really intrigued that  it came with a spring/summer and fall/winter duvet cover that could be switched up for the seasons (and WASHED). I took them up on their offer and I have had such good sleep since I started using this in my nighttime routine.

Not only is this blanket beautifully sewn, but it really does help me to settle down at night. 

Why would a weighted blanket help with chronic pain?

Well, it provides deep pressure that helps calm down your nervous system. 

This article really helps explain who weighted blankets are good for as well as why this helps with pain relief.

I also quickly realized what a great thing it is to curl up with at night. I never realized how busy I am and the pressure of this has me being still for the first time.

It, honestly, felt really weird.

As a busy mom, I don’t do a lot of sitting and the weight of this kept my body quiet…with a book, of course!

Honestly, I can’t rave enough about how beautifully this is made and how beneficial it already is to me!

PSST….My husband was slow to jump on the ol’ weighted blanket train, but last night he gave in and slept the best he has in a lonnnggg time. I think I have converted him this week to that weighted blanket life. – Shop This Blanket

ellevest review


I Invested In Myself

If you keep up with MomAdvice online, you may have already heard this one. I still have to tell you how proud I am to have started my own retirement account.

I have been a small business owner for sixteen years and have never put money away for my own retirement.  I didn’t really know what my options were and never made time to get the answers I needed.

This series has PUSHED me really hard to come up with practical ways to save.

It was through that research that I found the perfect spot for investing in myself and I’m so excited to see YOU investing in YOURSELF.

It is worth reading my article (linked above), even if you are all set with retirement.

The company I used also has smart ways you can create buckets for what you want to save for.

Dreaming of a great trip?

Want to own your own business?

Have kids (like, whoa, expensive)?

You can set up accounts like that and more.

Put it on automatic and you don’t even have to think about one more thing.-  Here is $20 to get you started! 

Unnatural Selection Netflix Documentary

An Intriguing Documentary Series

Are you looking for a fresh documentary series to sink your teeth into?

Unnatural Selection is an absolute must see.

With so many breakthroughs with genetics, it is no surprise that the laws are far behind on where they need to be on this topic.

There are so many incredibly amazing things that can be done, but it is also a Wild West with people taking their own genetics in their hands.

This one brought out strong opinions and a great discussion. It is balanced and thought-provoking.- See the trailer

Top Ten Most Visited Articles in October

  1. Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial
  2. Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint
  3. How to Make a Blanket Scarf
  4. Minecraft Costume Ideas
  5. How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark Jell-O
  6. How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans
  7. Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies
  8. How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath
  9. The Best Homemade Non Stick Spray in the World
  10. 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs

Top Ten Most Purchased Items in October

  1. Prison Mike Air Freshener (best stocking stuffer ever)
  2. Jumbo Wooden Knitting Needles (you guys must be whipping up my big fat hygge blanket this month!!)
  3. Flannel Fabrics (and you must be making blanket scarves)
  4. Support Your Local Library Shirt
  5. Bookshelf Bullet Journal Printables
  6. Shaker Stitch Sweater
  7. Buffalo Plaid Earrings
  8. Rib Trim Longline Cardigan
  9. Faux Leather Leggings (so much cheaper than the Spanx version!)
  10. Grove Awake Essential Oil (MY FAVE!)

Top Ten Amazon Purchases in October

  1. The Lying Woods
  2. I Miss You When I Blink
  3. The Name of the Stars
  4. Cruel Beautiful World
  5. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
  6. Facial Hair Remover
  7. The Heart’s Invisible Furies
  8. The One
  9. An Unwanted Guest
  10. Korean Skin Care Snail Cream

I hope you enjoyed this month’s round-up of October fun. I hope my month of happy brings a month of happy to you too! If this post doesn’t convince you my newsletter is fun, I’ve got nothing. Sign up over here to get this fun weekly in your inbox.

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

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from

I know everyone is very different about their decorating.

In my house, I try to only decorate with items that I have handmade for the holidays and that really mean something to our family.

Our home doesn’t have a lot of storage so I have to be selective about what we carry over from year to year.

In a nod to my yarn and knitting habit, this year the house is decorated in pom-poms for the season.

I created this easy yarn pom-pom & ornament garland and I got out my yarn pom-pom trees that I had created, to decorate a shelf in our kitchen.

Other than that, we keep it fairly simple with fresh greenery that doesn’t take up valuable storage.

Each year I dedicate my Black Friday to one craft that I have always wanted to try.

When I first started knitting it was all about finding projects out of my comfort zone.

This year though,  I decided to tackle a crafting to-do that I have wanted to do for many, many years…it is a pom-pom wreath for our front door.

Just as my autumn burlap wreath carried me through from Halloween to Thanksgiving, this pom-pom wreath in cream has all of the magic of the holiday season, but can be carried over into the spring months due to its neutral tones.

This craft can’t be whipped up quick, but the reward is great.

In fact, I smiled today as I pulled up to my front door.

Just seeing it and knowing the labor of love that went into creating it makes my heart truly happy.

If you are a maker, you know the joy that comes with the completion of a craft project you have always wanted to do and then have done it well. It’s unlike any other feeling.

I also ADORE when you share your pictures of crafts that you have done from our site.

If you are looking for a little color on your door, check out this INCREDIBLE wreath that Christy made. 

I mean, how gorgeous is that??

Thank you, Christy, for letting me share your beautiful wreath with my readers.

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from

Supplies Needed (don’t forget to use your Rakuten app to get money back on your craft purchases!):

1- 18″ straw wreath (leave it wrapped in the plastic)

5-6 skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA Los Angeles Tan Yarn (you can also check for price comparisons HERE)


Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker (we are using the blue one)- be sure to check here for a price comparison


wreath door hanger


How to Use a Pom-Pom Maker

How to Use a Pom-Pom Maker1. Following the pictures above, create your pom-poms using your Clover Pom-Pom Maker.

You can create these and pin as you go to see how many you end up needing for your wreath.

2. After you make your pom-poms (which will take one million years- don’t say I did not warn you), you can begin pinning them on your wreath form.

Make sure that you leave your straw wreath in the plastic.

Using pins, pin your pom-poms with two to three pins each and then fluff them.

You will want to start adding a pom-pom in the center, then on one side, then on the other side.

Continue stacking them this way, next to each other, making sure that the form is covered.

No need to make these extremely tight so you can make sure that your pom-poms really fluff up and stand to attention.

3. Continue adding pom-poms, pinning, and fluffing until your entire wreath is covered.

Once you hang your wreath, pull on pom-poms to see if everything is secure and add any pins as needed.

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from

I hope this wreath makes you as happy as it has made me.

I couldn’t be happier to have tackled this project over my Black Friday weekend and I hope it can brighten a corner in your home too!

this post contains affiliate links

Love this tutorial? Here are a few more of my favorites on the site!

how to make a pom-pom and ornament garland

yarn pom-pom & ornament garland

DIY Chunky Knit Hygge Blanket how to knit a chunky knit hygge blanket with fur pom poms

yarn pom-pom flower bouquets

how to make yarn pom pom trees

yarn pom-pom trees

how to make an autumn burlap wreath from

autumn burlap wreath

how to make a burlap wreath

easy burlap wreath

diy apple fall wreath

fabric flower wreath

fabric scrap wreath & fabric scrap garland

how to paint laminate wood

tour all the winter crafts in my holiday home

What fun crafts do you do with yarn pom-poms? Let me know in the links below!

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from

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How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Monday, October 28th, 2019

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from

It is so easy to make your pumpkin spice lattes at home. Today’s coffee drink is made with real pumpkin purée, your favorite milk, with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and coffee. You won’t believe how easy it is to diy this expensive treat at home. Check out this pumpkin spice latte recipe today and SO many more diy Starbucks drink recipes.

Fall, for me, is Pumpkin Spice Latte season and that’s why I love sharing my favorite DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe with you. Not only do you get to have full control over the sugar and fat content, you also get to save a few dollars in your pocket too.

Have you ever thought about what might actually be going into your pumpkin spice latte? Here is what I discovered, when researching for this recipe…

For a long time, Starbucks did not have pumpkin in their pumpkin spice lattes!

Say what?

Don’t worry, you get your pumpkin spice latte full of real pumpkin now, but it was one of those interesting facts that I stumbled on while preparing today’s post.

How Does Starbucks Get the Pumpkin Flavor In Your Lattes?

Did you know that up until about 2015, the PSL didn’t have any actual pumpkin in it?

Originally, they relied upon an artificial caramel coloring and a mix of spices to create these drinks. 

That’s why it was such a big deal when Starbucks announced that they were getting rid of the caramel syrup and relying on a little pumpkin instead.

It is good to know that when you order this treat that you can look forward to these delicious real ingredients in your cup.

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from

Why Should I Make a Starbucks Drink at Home if It Doesn’t Contain Artificial Ingredients Anymore?

Honestly, for the cost-savings.  As we all know, the cost to buy drinks from Starbucks REALLY adds up.

Have you heard of the latte factor?

This outlines PERFECTLY how these tiny expenses multiply over time.

Let’s look at the cost on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Price will vary by location, but hovers in the $4.45- $5.45 range for a tall.

Even if you only buy a tall latte once a week (as a treat yo’self day!!), this will cost you $17.80 a month or $213.60 a year.

This also doesn’t factor in the tip for the barista, which is SUPER important (just ask my brother who worked there!) or if you need to use an alternative milk, like coconut or almond.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather put $213 to work by investing it in women-owned businesses and saving it up for my retirement fund.

In addition to the cost factor, there is also the huge difference in  fat and sugar in each of these of these delicious beverages.

A grande is 380 calories (120 of these are fat calories) and an unbelievable 50 grams of sugar.

This is why it is so great to make this treat at home. When you make these Starbucks copycat drinks at home, you have more control over the sugar, the milk mixture used, and the strength of the espresso or coffee. 

Heck, who even said that these need to be caffeinated? Try a decaffeinated pumpkin spice latte so you can enjoy it later in the day because YOU CAN AFFORD IT NOW.

This is why I developed my own recipe to share with you today. 

This Pumpkin Spice Latte relies on strongly brewed coffee, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, milk (I love almond!), vanilla, and a fraction of the sugar.

What Type of Pumpkin Do I Use For My Pumpkin Spice Latte- I Get Confused at the Grocery Store?

One of the biggest mistakes I made, when first starting to cook with pumpkin, is picking up the wrong type of pumpkin at the grocery store. If you see a can that says, “Pumpkin Pie Mix,” (it looks like this), you do not want this type of pumpkin for your pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin Pie Mix is intended to just be mixed with milk and eggs to create pumpkin pies really fast. Lucky for you, you don’t need anything like that because you have this recipe in your back pocket.

Instead, you are looking for canned pumpkin (that will look like this) because it is ONLY pumpkin and allows you to add in your own sugar and spices to create your dishes. 

As you can see, the labels are almost identical and this can really throw people off when they are shopping for their recipes. 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from

What Supplies Do I Need to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home?

The tools I would recommend are an immersion blender (or small individual blender for drinks or a simple whisk), a saucepan, and a french press or espresso pot (depending on how strong you like to make it).

I like to use a French Press for my lattes, but I also embrace my little stovetop espresso maker when I need that extra bit of caffeine.

How Can I Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte At Home if I Have a Keurig?

I don’t, personally, have a Keurig, but two of my amazing readers shared their tricks to get that coffee shop taste at home with your Keurig.

Lora said, “Try one of the dark, strong coffee K-Cups they offer! Jet fuel is one. They do make some nice strong ones you just have to look!”

What a great idea! Take a peek at some of the k-cup options for a diy latte at home.

Another reader, Kim, shared this super smart idea to brew coffee with a completely different type of k-cup.

Kim said, “If you buy the iced coffee blends for Keurig (I have Nantucket Iced Coffee) and just brew it like a normal cup (not over ice) – it is super strong and works great for these type recipes!”

Another fantastic suggestion! You can shop for iced coffee k-cup options here.

Do You Have Any Pumpkin Spice Latte Topping Suggestions?

I try to skip these (because of the sugar and calories), but I would HIGHLY recommend this fun spiced whipped cream as a finisher and an extra dusting of cinnamon.

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

What Other Ways Can I Spice Up My Latte Routine?

Here are the best suggestions from our reader comments!

“Something that I have been doing for the past week that creates a DELICIOUS cinnamon flavor is to make cinnamon water to brew your coffee with. Take a large jar or container. Fill it with filtered water and throw in a cinnamon stick or 2 (depending on size). Let it sit for a whole day. The next morning use that water to make your coffee and it is to die for! Would be a great addition to this drink, especially those who have texture issues! Cheers!”- Liz

“I’ve made this at least a half dozen times now…YUM!! Thanks for sharing. I reduced the sugar and with the last two I’ve made, I’ve cut the cinnamon stick in half to make ’em stretch a little, but those are the only changes I’ve made. Thanks again! LOVE the recipe and all the money I’m saving”- Sara

I love hearing how much you enjoy these homemade Starbucks treats! I also REALLY love that this is a great way to put a partial can of pumpkin to work!

A batch of this simmering away on your stove will bring the scent of the Fall season right into the room.

This milky coffee treat tastes just like a little pumpkin pie with a hint of warm spices throughout. Top it with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to round out these beautiful flavors.

By making this at home, it is one homemade treat you can enjoy guilt-free as often as you like!

Be sure to scroll down after the recipe to get even more warm drink ideas and good old Starbucks Knock-Off Recipes.

Remember, this is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences. It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!

Thank you all for trying and sharing this recipe!

The response has been overwhelming on this one and I love it.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of today’s recipe!

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte
Recipe Type: Drinks
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 servings
It is so easy to make your pumpkin spice lattes at home. Today’s coffee drink is made with real pumpkin purée, your favorite milk, with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and coffee. You won’t believe how easy it is to diy this expensive treat at home. Check out this pumpkin spice latte recipe today!
  • 2 cups milk of your choice (almond, rice, coconut, whole, skim, 2%)
  • 1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon spice
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
  1. Pour the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, strong coffee, vanilla extract, and spiced pumpkin seasonings into a saucepan.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat until the coffee is steaming hot, whisking with a wire whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and a little frothy. If you have an immersion blender or single-serve blender, you would just blend these until your homemade pumpkin spice latte is frothy.
  3. Pour into mugs and top with fresh whipped cream & cinnamon. Enjoy!
  4. Note- If you are not a fan of the cinnamon texture, add a cinnamon stick to the coffee mixture while heating instead. This way you get all of the cinnamon taste, but none of the grit! Visit our reader suggestions for more great ideas!


Love this recipe? Here are a few more that I think you should check out!

How to Make a Salted Caramel Latte from how to make a salted caramel latte

How to Make a Peppermint Mocha from how to make a peppermint mocha

DIY Your Own Chai Tea Mix from homemade vanilla chai mix recipe (an easy diy for the pantry!)

How to Make a Gingerbread Latte from how to make a gingerbread latte

How to Cold Brew Coffee from how to cold brew coffee at home

Amy's Famous Cocoa Mix Amy’s Famous Hot Cocoa Mix

Peppermint Cocoa Recipe from peppermint cocoa recipe

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows from homemade peppermint marshmallows

Chocolate Coffee Spoons from chocolate coffee spoons

Do you have any suggestions to improve on this DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from

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How to Enjoy Autumn to the Fullest

Monday, October 28th, 2019

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Tips to Enjoy Autumn at


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 spiced 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.


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.

During these fall months, 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 this time of year brings, 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. 


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


Two 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 or the corn maze.

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 and enjoy the fall foliage.

Or do a fun fall activity.

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 the days of fall are 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.


How to Enjoy Autumn from


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


Some other ideas to make the most of your fall:



Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial



DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles



Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread




The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving-49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More

The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving



Fall Wreaths that Wow

Fall Wreaths that Wow



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Amy’s Notebook 10.25.19

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Wintertide Stitch Sampler Crochet Blanket source

Now I really want to learn to crochet so I can make this blanket.

A week of Instant Pot meals for two.

It’s time to stop treating parentings as mom’s burden & dad’s adorable hobby. A-MEN.

15 magical recipes for warding off illness

These easy pumpkin bars with cream cheese look like the perfect fall dessert.

4 steps to loving your ordinary life.

5 women share what they want you to know about their journey with cancer

10 great tips for making pizza at home

Did you catch this?

7 easy halloween cupcakes source

7 easy Halloween cupcakes to make together. These are all so fun!

Cracking up that this was your favorite purchase this week.

I definitely learned a lot about our flower care myths.

I love seeing what this next generation is up to.

4 ways to begin practicing active meditation.

Reading through heartache. Let’s all agree that reading cures everything.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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 in this post- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 10.25.19

Friday, October 25th, 2019

small budget crushes

Don’t forget to download the Rakuten app before making any purchases on today’s list. You can find all the current coupons AND get cash back on all your purchases! Learn more about it over here!

ban ignorance not books ban ignorance not books t-shirt

soft stretch long sleeve pajamas soft stretch long sleeve pajamas

dress with pockets (two adorable holiday prints!)

so much fun planner

it was books clock it was books clock

knit boots

knit boots (three color options)

instant pot divided pan (for cooking multiple dishes at once!)

homebody mugs homebody mugs

autumn leaf pie crust cutter (how gorgeous!)


book club mug what happens in book club stays in book club mug

autumn sherpa throw autumn sherpa throw

buffalo plaid earrings buffalo plaid earrings

printed cotton sheets

printed cotton sheet sets (so many gorgeous patterns)

leopard dress

wooden stocking names (what a cute detail!!)


Earn Money Investing in Women With Ellevest

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest


Are you looking for easy ways to earn extra cash for your family? Today I’m sharing how easy it is to invest in YOU with an incredible robo advisor tool. Ellevest is committed to helping you achieve your financial goals by investing in yourself and in women-owned businesses. 

This is the second challenge in our Passive Income for Busy Moms series. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

Does the idea of investing in yourself feel intimidating?

You aren’t alone.

I have always been intimidated by this process and, honestly, have never invested in my own retirement.  Although we have been aggressively putting money away in my husband’s retirement account, I started thinking about how nice it would be to take some of my own salary and start investing in myself.

The thing is… where do you even start?

I spent weeks and weeks researching different companies, reading reviews, and watching interviews with representatives from different investment companies. It is through that research that I stumbled on the most incredible investment company that makes it UNBELIEVABLY easy to start investing in all of your financial goals.

Honestly, I am so  excited about this and can’t believe how sleekly automated and easy this tool is.

First of all, are you unfamiliar with how robo-advisors work?

I know I was!

I will walk you through everything I have learned this month! 

Also, for the record, this is a REAL review of Ellevest based on my first month with them. Many of the reviews I read NEVER had a REAL PERSON using Ellevest for investing- they just seemed to be in it for affiliate money.

Anything I share with you, through this series, are things that I’m exploring right along with you. It is my promise to you.

Earn Money With Ellevest

Earn Money Investing in Women With Ellevest

What The Heck is a Robo Advisor?

Robo advisors (also known as automated investing services or online advisors) use computer algorithms and advanced software to create an investment portfolio for you. They are referred to as robo because this is mostly an automated process that requires little to no human interaction.

This is a really great way to get started with entry-level investing because everything is done automatically for you and you don’t have to spend a lot of time babysitting your portfolio.

These robo-advisor tools can vary based upon their platform that they offer and what the goals of your portfolio are.

The reason I settled on Ellevest is because it is a goal-oriented program (something I find very attractive!), it is user-friendly, and their impact portfolios are pretty darn awesome.

What is Ellevest And Why Did You Pick It?

As I explained, I did a ton of research and spent many nights reading article after article on different investment tools. The idea behind this series was that it would be easy to implement and that it wouldn’t require a ton of time for a busy mom.

It is through this research that I stumbled upon this interview with Sallie Krawcheck on The Daily Show.

I really encourage you to take the time to watch it because it does a much better job than I ever could on just how important it is to support women in business and why this company is pretty groundbreaking.

As you can see, this lady is a real bada$$ and wants to do a better job representing women in the financial industry. This approach to simplify investing makes long term goals simple and straightforward.

From the Ellevest site, “Co-founder and CEO, Sallie Krawcheck, realized the investing industry has been, frankly, “by men, for men” — and has historically kept women from achieving their financial goals. Sallie has made it her life’s mission to unleash women’s financial power and get them invested in their biggest goals.”

How Much Money Do I Need to Open an Ellevest Account?

Honestly, you can open an account and invest zero dollars.

Of course, that’s how many you will make back too.

In all seriousness, you determine how much you want to invest to start and then Ellevest offers up how much you should regularly be depositing to reach your goals, within your desired timespan.

They also understand that women also need other types of shorter term or once-in-a-lifetime type of investments. They create this investment plan and then offer options for other goals based accounts.

Some of the offerings are funds to start a business, once-in-a-lifetime splurges, retirement, kids, buying a home, and emergency funds.

How Does Ellevest Determine My Investment Goals & Strategies?

Ellevest uses a algorithm to calculate financial goal targets to meet your specific needs, including a larger retirement target amount for your potentially longer lifespan (ladies, we need to save MORE because of that!).

Did you know that women retire with two-thirds as much money men do, but we live six to eight years longer?!

These are the circumstances that are factored in with a company that understands women.

Once they have calculated the amount you should aim for, they suggest how much you should contribute in order to get there based on your financial profile, a gender-specific salary curve, and your target horizon.

This is processed through a Monte Carlo simulation.

What the heck is Monte Carlo simulation?

My thoughts exactly.

Monte Carlo simulation is a forward-looking, computer-based analysis in which they run recommended portfolios and savings rates through hundreds of different economic scenarios, to pick the best one for you.

Earn Money Supporting Women With Ellevest

How Is Ellevest Supporting Women?

Is it just me, or are you as jaded as I am when people make broad claims about how they support women?

In this case, they REALLY do.

A lot of people love to aim products towards women, but really don’t stand behind that message.

This is where my real love for the company is…they tailor a portfolio that helps YOU support WOMEN IN BUSINESS! 

Is that not the coolest?

They settled on three criteria of support that I think are really amazing (not to mention hiring female investors to work on your accounts):


Funds investing in companies with more women leaders and policies that advance women.


Funds investing in companies working to meet  for sustainability and ethical practices.


Funds providing loans to support women-owned businesses and companies that provide community services – child education, performing arts, and housing and care for seniors and individuals in need.

How Hard is It to Create An Account?

This was incredibly easy to set up and it all made sense to me because of its goal driven platform.

They use a tool, that my hubby immediately recognized as a TypeForm template, that I found very easy to use.

How to Set Goals With Ellevest

You answer some really basic questions, like in the screenshot above, and that helps you see how much you need to put away each month to reach your goals.

Ellevest Real Review

Once it has this information, you can set up how much you want to start putting away into your accounts automatically.

Just like a withdrawal you would have for a bill, this takes out the payments you set up monthly.

You can also add additional money into your account and there is no minimum balance.

If you earned money from one of the other passive income ideas I’m sharing, for example, you could put this unexpected money away for yourself to earn a little more.

How Much Does Ellevest Cost?

This tool is much cheaper than hiring a financial advisor because more personalized services can charge you a whopping 1% annually.

With Ellevest, your annual management fee is .25%.

If you saved $5,000, for example, you would pay $12.50 for the entire year. 

They do offer a more expensive premium account that allows you to receive coaching and some other benefits.

For that account though, you need a minimum private wealth investment of $50,000.

Is Investing Money With Ellevest Risky?

Investing does come with risks and it is important to understand what those risks are.

I found this article to be very helpful in explaining what risks might be involved.

Why Did You Start This a Month Before Me?

With something like investing, I thought it was important to do the entire process so that I could be honest about how easy or hard it is. I put in $2,000 into a wealth-building account.

Real Ellevest Earnings

This is my current status for potential earnings!

Of course, investing is a long haul game, but it is fun to see that needle shifting in my favor a bit.

Should I Be Investing If I’m Worried About a Recession?

Some experts are saying that a financial recession is looming.

Here’s the thing, I am going with these opinions and agreeing with the experts on this one. I do believe we will be facing another recession soon.

I think this is a valid concern and something that we all should be thinking about as we make choices with our money.

The most important thing you can do is to prepare an emergency safety net so that you can weather the economic changes.

The second most important thing?

 Pay off your highest interest debts NOW. 

If you need another gentle nudge, you might enjoy my book! (I’m pretty proud of it!)

I think this article does a really great job at explaining how to invest if you are worried about another recession.

The biggest thing I am learning from wealth-building is that it is REALLY important to keep things diversified.

Never put your eggs into one basket.

Earn Money Supporting Women With Ellevest

Join My November Passive Income Challenge

Your challenge is to set up an account and invest in yourself. If you only have $5 a month, that is $5 more towards reaching a financial goal FOR YOU.

Start brainstorming with your family about what would benefit you the most right now.

Putting your savings and investments on automatic makes it easier to stay on track with your financial goals.

Please note, this Ellevest affiliate program is not associated with being a blogger.

Also, let it be known, although I love the focus on women, men are more than welcome to invest too.

If your guy is as awesome as mine, he will love putting his money towards companies that are helping women level the financial playing field.

Love this post? Here are a few others that I think you might love too!

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from passive revenue ideas for busy moms

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from earn money through rakuten cash back

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from do you really earn money with rakuten?

I’d love to hear what has been your experience with Ellevest or with using a robo-advisor for your investments? How do you make investing in yourself and your retirement a priority?

this post contains affiliate links

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What I Earned From One Month Using the Rakuten App

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019


Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from

Are you looking for an easy way to earn cash back or even double cash back on your purchases? Today I’m sharing what I really earned through the Rakuten app as we explore passive income money making opportunities for moms. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

I can’t believe all of the enthusiasm and excitement for this new Passive Income Ideas for Moms series that I have started. It has meant so much to me to have your support and have you join me in these challenges. It’s also such a joy to have some of our older readers back now that I’m exploring another frugality series. 

I am so happy to have you here and helping you explore new ways to make money for your family.

If you are new to the series, I am challenging myself to find new ways to make money for our family and taking you on the journey with me. I started with learning about the Rakuten app and shared how you could use this too as you were shopping.

Now that I have the first month under my belt, I’m sharing what I thought about my month with this app.

What I Earned From One Month Using the Rakuten App

Real Rakuten Cash Back Results

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a site (and app) that gives you cash back on on qualifying purchases. If you didn’t join me last month, simply use this referral link to receive your first $10 to shop with and to get began earning your own cash back rewards.

Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo and is a a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company. The company handles a lot of different types of services like Rakuten Kobo Ebooks, Rakuten Credit Cards, Rakuten Super Points (which include member rewards), Rakuten Viber, and so much more.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know how to say the name of this service company, the Rakuten marketing team handled that with this clever commercial.

Spoiler alert: I was saying it the WRONG WAY all month long.

Was It Easy to Earn Money Through Rakuten?

Although I had been with Ebates (years ago!), I had completely forgotten to use this for my purchases. Downloading the app was super easy and it was also very easy to install the extension that allowed me to see what the cash back rewards were as well as any coupons that might be available for my purchases.

What Was the Outcome of the Cash Back Rewards?

Although I had planned to make a few purchases for the exterior of our home, we ended up doing some unexpected travel and that meant that no one was here to purchase or install these items. I have a feeling these next few months will be much more rewarding because of these home purchases as well as our upcoming holiday gifts we will be buying.

I am not a big spender so the results on the cash back rewards matched my spending habits.

Here are some creative cash back rewards though that I did receive:

Rakuten Real Results

We Got Cash Back on Our Food Delivery– Rakuten gives you cash rewards for shopping through DoorDash so I used the app for our family’s sushi delivery. Since I was a new customer, I was able to have the delivery fee waived, had a great coupon code, and also got $2.67 back on our dinner delivery.

I Got Cash Back on Our Day Pass to Great Wolf Lodge– $2.25 was deposited in my Rakuten account after snagging day passes for us to hit the water park over our fall break.

I Got Cash Back on my Old Navy Purchase– I ordered a few sweaters, for fall, and ended up getting $1.85 back on my purchase.

I Also Have Cash Back Pending on Travel Expenses- Since Rakuten was affiliated with Expedia, I booked my airline ticket through them so I could get the cash rewards. I also secured a Groupon, that is in processing, so I’m waiting for those pending charges to go through.

Airline tickets, for example, take six weeks to process so you don’t see immediate results.

As you can see, it was not an exciting month of purchases, BUT the point was to earn money on things I was already buying and not buy things just to buy things.

Overall, the total earned through my shopping was a mere $6.77.

If you are a big shopper, the potential for rewards would be much greater.

I have now trained myself to do targeted shopping and to check for double cash back rewards. 

It only takes a minute, but it is more money back in my pocket by being strategic with this app.

Rakuten Affiliate Results

Did You *REALLY* Earn Money on Referrals Through Rakuten?

I am really surprised that Rakuten does not have a cap on how many referrals you can cash in on. I know most of you were already signed up with this company so I didn’t think this was going to be a big earner.

It’s important to know that you don’t actually earn the referral cash unless the person spends $25 using the app. I had a lot of people sign up, but many who have not made their first purchase (21 pending referrals are still not activated). These just stay in a holding pattern until they make their first $25 purchase.

I still ended up referring 11 new people to the shopping app who actually made their qualifying $25 purchase. This yielded a $275 profit in my account that will be applied to my next big fat check.

I did share that I understand that I have an unfair advantage with this because of the website referrals. Even if I didn’t though, I can see how sharing your referral link, especially as people begin holiday shopping, can yield holiday cash for anyone. They offer easy ways to share on Facebook, text, and email. 

While many affiliate programs are limited to bloggers, I love that this one is open to anyone who wants to share and that is a very high return on sharing a link on social media.

Rakuten App Screen

Will You Continue Using Rakuten For Shopping?

These are one month explorations because I may or may not feel like these efforts are worth it.

With this one, I actually do plan to make this a regular part of my spending routines. It was so darn easy to use and I loved their easy way of finding additional coupons for my purchases.

It wasn’t completely seamless because two of my purchases didn’t go through and I thought I wouldn’t receive my cash back credit.

I emailed the help desk a copy of my receipts and the deposit was quickly processed.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the customer service and the ease of the app.

I also realized that I had pending cash (from 2008!!!) that they still had in their system to credit me. That means that my actual check is $321.77, but isn’t actually reflective of my October earnings.

Grand Total Earnings for October: $281.77


I will continue to keep you updated on totals as we go through this year.

Tomorrow I will be sharing with you a bigger November challenge that might get you thinking about how you are investing in yourself. I’m a month ahead of you, this time, so I can make sure that I could fully check out this next passive income builder for you and make sure it is worth your time.

See you on the blog tomorrow for our November Passive Income For Moms Challenge!!

Don’t forget to follow along on our Passive Income Challenge series. You can head here to see all the posts in one place. Did you sign up for Rakuten or start using it again for cash back rewards? What was your experience with this passive income money maker for October?

This post contains affiliate links. 

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How to Make Glow in the Dark JELL-O

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Glow in the Dark Jello from

This easy recipe for Glow-in-the-Dark Jell-O is perfect for kids to make for Halloween! Mix science and spookiness for an edible experiment any budding (mad) scientist will love!


Halloween is just around the corner and today we wanted to showcase a fun and easy craft you could do with your kids.

Today’s recipe offering is how to make glow in the dark JELL-O in jars for a spooktacular Halloween dessert.

Glow in the Dark JELL-O is a recipe that your kids can easily mix up and gives you a fun opportunity to talk a little bit about the science behind it in the process.


Glow in the Dark Jello from


How Does it Glow?

Did you know that tonic water can glow under a black light?

My kids were in awe of this bubbly drink and how it could glow under the black light.

The glowing comes from the fluorescence of the quinine in the tonic water.

Quinine also gives tonic water a distinctive bitter flavor which is why it is best mixed with other sweeter ingredients.

As you can see, the quinine glows blue-white when placed under a black light which makes it the perfect ingredient for a spooky JELL-O treat.


Glow in the Dark Jello from


Do All Colors of JELL-O Glow the Same?



All of the colors of JELL-O will definitely not glow the same.

We tested two colors (green and orange) and found brilliant results with the green JELL-O and dull results with the orange JELL-O.

Although our tutorial below shows the orange, we recommend the green variety for a truly great glow!

Here is the light we used to achieve our glow with great success (affiliate link).  

Other readers have stated that a black bulb does not achieve the glowing results so please keep that in mind when purchasing your bulb. 


Glow in the Dark Jello from


So It Glows…How Does it Taste?

As we mentioned before, the quinine in the tonic water makes the tonic water glow, but it also yields a bitter taste.

We tried to cut the bitterness by using half water and half tonic water.

I also topped each jar of JELL-O with whipped cream and sprinkles which would add another layer of sweetness.

Try adding more sugar to the concoction to help cut some of the bitterness.

The kids loved the glow, but said they were, “spicy,” which is what they say about all sodas and bubbly drinks.

If your kids have a sensitive palate like mine, they might not love them, but they still ate the whipped cream and loved doing the experiment.

I still call this experiment a win for creativity, cool science factoids, and fun.


Glow in the Dark Jello from


I had a great helper in the kitchen for this project.

Emily was excited to show you all just how easy it is to make this JELL-O and you can find the recipe below along with her picture tutorial on how to recreate this fun experiment in your kitchen.

You can totally steal the experiment, but I am keeping my sous chef for myself!

  Glow in the Dark Jello from

Glow in the Dark JELL-O
Author: Inspired by American Girl Magazine
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Glow in the dark JELL-O is not only a fun science project, but a super fun Halloween treat. Pick up a black light at your local Halloween shop to show off it’s glow!
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup tonic water
  • 1 package of JELL-O
  • Whipped Cream and Sprinkles for topping (optional)
  • Additional Sugar (to help cut the bitterness)
  • Jars
  • Black Light
  1. Bring one cup of water to a boil.
  2. Pour JELL-O packet into a large bowl.
  3. Have a grown-up help you add your boiling water.
  4. Stir for two minutes with a wire whisk.
  5. Have a grown-up pour one cup of tonic water into a measuring cup.
  6. Slowly whisk while adding the tonic water. The mixture will be very bubbly. Give it a couple of minutes to rest.
  7. Pour it into four clean jars.
  8. Place in the refrigerator for two to three hours to set.
  9. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  10. Place under a black light and watch it glow. Happy Halloween! EDITORS NOTE: See notes above for taste and ideas for improving flavor.



Glow in the Dark Jello from



Glow in the Dark Jello from




Glow in the Dark Jello from



Love this idea for Halloween? Can I make a few other fun fall recommendations?



doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking necessary!!)



pumpkin chili (perfect for Halloween night)



diy blanket scarf (perfect for bundling up on Halloween night)



dollar store thumbtack pumpkins



diy minecraft costume ideas



DIY_Halloween_Costumes diy halloween costume ideas



autumn burlap wreath tutorial



candy apple martini recipe



caramel apple sangria recipe



painted pumpkins tutorial


This post contains affiliate links



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Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble

Monday, October 21st, 2019


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

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

I’m giving in, but not without a bit of stomping my feet and audible sighing.

Autumn is here, and with it there is a crispness to the air that didn’t accompany my summer evenings.

I find myself continually reaching for my sweaters, and although they’re still kicking out a few tomatoes, the production in my garden is slowing mightily.

I even wore boots last week, pulling them from the closet where they sat all summer as I ran around in sandals and low profile tennis shoes, skipping along the pavement in the sunshine.

I zipped them up over my jeans and stared in the mirror at my sweatered reflection before heading to the market.

There I grabbed as many tomatoes as I could find, hauling them to my car and then home where I rinsed them and diced them and stewed them in a large pot, trying to preserve the flavors of summer for the winter that is just around the corner.

Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble /

Tomato soup with roasted cauliflower crumble /

At the end of the session, several pots of tomatoes later, I let the final batch cook down a bit longer, added a sautéed onion and some herbs, and then blended it together as the oven warmed the house right as the sun started to fade.

I suppose fall isn’t so bad when it means the return of oven-warmed rooms and the smells that come with baking and roasting.

This soup gets a bit of a twist by placing the roasted cauliflower right on top.

Cut your cauliflower into tiny florets so that they can suspend themselves right at the top of the bowl, just getting a bit of a dunk in the thick tomato broth.

Tomato soup with roasted cauliflower crumbed /

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Tomato Soup with Roasted Cauliflower Crumble
Recipe Type: soup
Author: Shaina Olmanson
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 ounces stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons minced basil
  • 2 cups milk
  • kosher salt to taste
  • [i]For the roasted cauliflower:[/i]
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic.
  2. Add the stewed tomatoes and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. While the tomatoes are simmering, preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, olive oil, oregano, honey, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, stirring once.
  4. When the tomatoes have simmered for 25 minutes, remove from heat and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back into the pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring in the milk, basil, and salt. Cook until hot, but do not boil.
  5. Serve with cauliflower sprinkled over the tops of the soup bowls.

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