MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! 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.

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Small-Budget Crushes 11.14.18

November 13th, 2018

Time to get our holiday shopping on!! xoxo

cross stitch coaster sets (cute stocking stuffer!!)

wubbly fleece pullover

headphones stand

the bike deconstructed book

holiday dress (loads of hues!!)

solid metallic throws (holy price drop!!!)

razor scooter (under $20!!)

mock-neck swing dress, several colors (use coupon code STYLE for 40% off!!)

red bowed heels

the giving plate (recipes transferred from someone you love in their handwriting)

plush to sherpa blanket

kid’s calligraphy starter kit

hallmark channel kind of day mug

spellbinding stories socks

monogrammed playing card sets

dinosaurs jigsaw puzzle

super mario tee

cashmere crewnecks (in a billion hues)

city tote bags

gentleman’s survival kit (great stocking stuffer!)

floral monogram cross stitch kit (choose your own letter!)

child apron

eyeglasses holder

cookie cutter set

backpack with leather detailing

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo

6 More Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

November 12th, 2018

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

I met my husband in the fall. We went on our first date later that same fall. And, years later, our first daughter was born in the fall. So when the weather begins to cool down and pumpkin spice everything shows up basically everywhere, I find myself feeling a little more lovey-dovey than usual.

Not that I don’t love him in the spring. Not that we don’t try to plan date nights in the winter. But there’s just something special about the fall!

Unless we’re incredibly intentional about it, though, our autumn date nights look exactly the same as every other date night in any other season. Because unless we are careful to be creative and plan ahead, my husband and I will always default to dinner at a Mexican restaurant chain and a movie.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! We love tacos! And movies about superheroes or spies!

We do.

And sometimes “the usual” is exactly what we need to give us space to connect and remember how much fun we can have together when we set aside the day-to-day for a while.

But other times?

We need to get out of a rut, and we need to try something different. So while we’re still in the midst of this romantic season, here are a few date night ideas I’ve come up with.

Perhaps you’ll find a new way to date your husband this fall, too!

6 More Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

 

Go back to school

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about pop quizzes or English papers! No, I’m suggesting you take a class with your husband. It’s always fun to learn something new or brush up on rusty skills — and doing it together will give you something fresh to talk about and a brand-new bond as you find hidden skills or even fail miserably together! Often, you can find classes open to the community through your local college or community college. Or just search online for classes. Depending on your interests (and level of adventure!), you could take a class in cooking, self defense, dance, woodworking, wine tasting, or even massage.

Think outside the box

Don’t tell my husband, but one thing I’m giving him for Christmas is a list of adventurous, totally new-to-us date ideas for next year. I’m hoping to get gift cards or make reservations to go along with the list, so we’ll actually have to stick to outside-the-box dates! I’m planning a taking a barbecue tour around our city, finally trying our skills in an escape room, going rock climbing, visiting a shooting range, and putting a lock on a “lovers’ bridge” in a nearby town. What new, exciting, just plain different activities does your town offer?

 

Try new restaurants

I’ve mentioned our tendency to eat at the same chain restaurant every time we go out. We know what to expect; we know the wait won’t be long. But we also know we won’t be surprised. So I’ve done a little research and looked up lists of the best local restaurants in our community. Some are new, some are just new to us. Some offer the type of food we always eat; some will stretch our palates a bit!

 

I actually made the list a couple years ago and we’re very slowly trying a new place every few months. And the last time we did? We had so much to talk about! Did we like it? What was our favorite part? What was different than we expected? Do we want to go back? I can’t wait to try another new restaurant this fall.

Ditch the kids

I know, I know, you love your kids. They’re wonderful! Your heart, walking around in the world. I know! Mine, too. However, sometimes it’s fun to do kid stuff…without the kids. Every time my husband and I take our girls to a fall festival, parade, pumpkin patch, or corn maze, I find myself thinking how lovely it would be if we could come back the next day, just the two of us. So this fall, I’m going to plan ahead and make sure we have a family day AND a date day at the fun farm.

Change up the time of your date

Dating your husband doesn’t have to happen in the evening. And since fall seems to be one of the busiest seasons our families have, a night-time date might not even be possible. Why not meet for pumpkin donuts and coffee one morning? Or sneak outside for hot chocolate under the stars once the kids are in bed? You could also go to lunch at a food truck park, a chili contest, or your favorite picnic bench. The point is that you don’t have to wait for a free Friday night. Fit in date nights whenever you can, even if it’s at 8:00 in the morning!

Get physical

Hey now, not like that! I’m talking about doing something active together, like taking a hike, going for a bike ride, or participating in a fundraising walk. Take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather, and train for a 5K together (or just take your time walking through a flea market or art show). And who knows…this fall date might shake things up in more way than one!

 

Need more ideas? Don’t miss 5 Ways to Date Your Husband This Fall! What’s your favorite fall date night plan?

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Amy’s Notebook 11.08.18

November 8th, 2018

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I think I need to commit to one of these seasonal retreats.

One month inside L.A.’s cult of betterness.

I do love a good cup of tea. These additions to your tea cup sound delicious!

I don’t like this.

An easy way to eliminate drama from your life.

Here are three exercises to try to reduce your anxiety.

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This chai-spiced pecan granola looks like a delicious fall addition to our yogurt bowls.

8 short books to help you reach your reading goals.

Reading and adoring this incredible memoir. Add it to your stack!

How buying into fast fashion affects our brains.

This sounds like a Thanksgiving cocktail a girl could get behind.

These printable desk calendars would make such a great inexpensive gift.

Love these tips for helping your Christmas tree look more pro.

I love that these were your favorite purchase this week.

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A sweetly simple evergreen wreath to make for a corner in your home.

The first affordable one that I’ve seen. What a great price!

Here are some wonderful tips for caring for your sweaters.

How to help your body adjust to the cold weather.

17 Thanksgiving games for the whole family to play.

How successful women start their days.

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I’m digging this pom-pom tree topper.

I finally stopped doing this. If you are on the hunt for a replacement, I LOVE this one.

Looking for a new journaling technique? I loved this idea.

Some great tips for raising grateful children– I always love the comments section too.

This is wonderful news for this budget-friendly makeup brand.

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

October 2018 Must-Reads

November 5th, 2018

Check out this incredible list of 7 great books to add to your book stack. From historical fiction to dystopian, this list has you covered for your next night in!

Did we blink and head right into November? I apologize I’m a bit a late with this month’s reviews, but excited to share 7 incredible books I read in October with you.

I am hoping there are a few on this list that you haven’t tackled yet and these might be added to your book stacks this month.

I am happily chugging away at my GoodReads Challenge of reading 100 books this year. According to GoodReads, I’m just one book off pace, which I am hoping I will fix this month.

How are you guys doing on your goals?

My Usual Reminders

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there!

There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!

In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club!

I can’t believe we have almost 1,900 bookworms in this group now. Each month we chat about a book, but the real beauty is getting to talk 24/7 about books with people who love them as much as you.

announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in November) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page.

Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone?

Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!

This month’s selections:

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

This month’s special:

New members will get a free book with code FRIENDSGIVING.

How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly.

They’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then they’ll be renewed at the end of their second month (unless they cancel).

Here are 7 must-read books I tackled in October:

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The first book I read this month was, The Great Believers, after hearing that it would be a great selection for, A Little Life fans.  As you guys know, I am a huge fan of this book and even scored this amazing tee from a friend after we talked about our undying love for these characters.

Shortlisted for the National Book Award, this is a beautiful story of friendship during the height of the AIDS epidemic and offers similar themes of beautiful male friendships during the thick of a crisis in the gay community.

There are two intertwining stories being told in this story. Yale Tishman is a development director for an art gallery in Chicago and, as his career begins to really flourish, his friends are dying around him, one by one.

Meanwhile, thirty years later, Yale’s younger sister is in Paris desperately trying to reconnect with her daughter who has joined a cult. While staying in Paris with an old friend, she also is forced to deal with what AIDS has robbed of her and how it affected her relationship with her estranged daughter.

While many of us can never fully understand what the AIDS epidemic looked like during this time in history, particularly for gay men, Makkai does an incredible job bringing humanity and compassion to these devastating stories. The friendships that are weaved are beautiful and believable. I loved these characters and the gorgeous writing that Makkai brings to the table. She is definitely deserving of the National Book Award and I am so glad I got to read it this month.

If you are looking for something to fill your, A Little Life void, I highly recommend this touching read. It would be an excellent book for discussion for book clubs too!

5 out of 5 Stars

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

I can tell you now that, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, will be on my favorite reads of 2018. I was so swept away by the vivid storytelling and the poetic descriptive language in this book.

The author uses elements of her own life story (a discovery I made after reading the author’s notes at the end) to create this incredible coming-of-age story from two markedly different Columbian girls, growing up during the time that Pablo Escobar has captured the nation’s attention.

Chula & Cassandra are sisters that grow up in a more protected gated community, although they are still surrounded my unsafe elements outside of their neighborhood walls. They are well-cared for, adored by their mother, and given everything they need.

While Chula & Cassandra are carefree and curious, Petrona (who is around their same age) is folding under the burden of being the breadwinner for her family. She ends up finding a job, working as a live-in maid for Chula & Cassandra’s mother.  Living in their home is a true blessing since she has grown up in the guerrilla-occupied slums.

When Petrona meets her first love though, she finds herself in the middle of a horrible situation that threatens her safety, the safety of her family, and the safety of the family she is working for. This relationship really sets the plot in motion as you worry for each of these girls and their safety.

I am not sure why I’m not hearing more about this novel because it is a powerful and devastating read. While I have read a lot of historical fiction, this is an era and country that I have not read a lot about so it made the story even more impactful for me.

If you love a good coming-of-age story, I have a feeling you will really connect with this incredible read.

5 out of 5 Stars

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Our story opens with eighty-four-year-old Florence who has fallen and is awaiting help in her room at the assisted living facility, where she resides.  She has kept many secrets that have been buried, but with her dementia, she is unable to always recall the exact details or why she feels a certain way about things.

Thankfully, her lifelong best friend, Elsie has retained her memory and is able to help Florence fill in those gaps where Florence needs it.

When a new resident arrives, Flo immediately becomes distressed, even though she can’t remember why. She is convinced that this man is there to punish her and has been doing things that make Flo look unstable. Flo is already on thin ice with the nursing home director and she can’t afford to look unfit because she will be shipped off to a facility for people who cannot care for themselves anymore.

Flo makes it her mission to try to remember just why this man’s presence is causing her so much distress and Elsie will be with her every step of the way.

Cannon does an incredible job showing the true struggle of dementia and  the beauty in having someone by our side who is able to fill in the gaps on our life.

Flo is an unreliable narrator and that unreliability makes the plot more interesting, especially as they go on a wild adventure to figure out more about this mystery man.

Be sure to have a tissue handy, this story is a beautiful one and worthy of being Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year.  It’s a gentle reminder of how we all would love to leave the world with our dignity intact.

Fans of, A Man Called Ove, are sure to love this sweet read.

4 out of 5 Stars

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

Debut novelists are my favorite and Vanessa Hua comes into the writing arena with, A River of Stars, like a seasoned pro.

It goes without saying, but if Celeste Ng puts her stamp of approval on it, I will be adding that book to my book stacks.

I have loved reading so many books about immigrants this year and Hua tells a gorgeous story of Scarlett Chen, a scared girl who has been taken far from her home in China.

Scarlett worked in a factory where she met and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. When Boss discovers she is pregnant with his first son, he sends her away to America where she can be cared for by the top doctors and kept on the right diet and regime to insure he will have the healthy son he has always wanted.

Oh, and he needs her to leave too because he is already married with three daughters of his own.

Unfortunately, this place that Boss has sent her to is nothing like it had been described in the brochures. The conditions are horrible, the caretaker is evil, and Scarlett would do anything to escape.

In the end, that is exactly what she does, with a surprise stowaway in the back of the stolen van she hijacked.

What Scarlett doesn’t know is that Boss needs her baby in his life to fight a battle of his own. He will stop at nothing to find Scarlett and his child, because it means life or death for him. His unrelenting hunt for her terrifies Scarlett because she knows she will be punished for running away.

Scarlett will stop at nothing to keep them both safe and Boss will stop at nothing to make sure they are found.

This book is just INCREDIBLE and, again, you will see this one on my top ten list, FOR SURE. Hua’s writing has the rich qualities of Lisa See where she is able to see a story through with these characters from beginning to end.

She also told a story that I just did not want to end.

I really hope there is a sequel in the works because it is that good.

This novel is gripping and perfectly timed for understanding more of what it is like to be an immigrant. Hua dives deep in exploring the definition of home, family, and belonging.

Add this to your stack ASAP!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

I always love to read a spooky book for October and selected, The Hunger, for our October Book Club selection. This novel has been listed as one of NPR’s Top 100 Horror Novels and was endorsed heartily by Stephen King.

Many of us are familiar with The Donner Party and their infamous trek across the trails that ended in death.

Katsu decides to use this story as the framework for exploring this story deeper and adding a supernatural twist to it.

What if these people were actually being pursued by something that inevitably caused the death and destruction of these families? How would this change the story?

Katsu didn’t just put together a supernatural telling of this story, but she dived deep into reading as much as she could get her hands on to fill out this story with facts about this journey. These elements really help round out the story, along with some fictionalized motives and characters that make the story more interesting.

If you love a good dystopian theme, I have a feeling you will enjoy, The Hunger. Fans of darker suspense novels, like Bird Box, will really enjoy this story!

4 out of 5 Stars

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A coming-of-age story combined with a murder mystery, Where the Crawdads Sing, has the framework for a book that anyone would love.

Kya Clark is a little girl who has found herself abandoned by her family and will do anything to keep anyone from finding out, knowing she would be taken from her home. Resourcefully, Kya finds ways to secure food and clothing, with help from a shop owner who takes mercy on her. Thanks to her love of nature, Kya never feels entirely abandoned because the animals and world around her make her feel like she is surrounded by friends.

As she grows up, her beauty and the mystery around her intrigues two local boys, that both make a way into her heart.

Years later though, one of those boys is found dead and the locals immediately suspect that Kya is the suspect. Known as the, “Marsh Girl,” no one in town likes or trusts her. How could they possibly trust her though because they don’t even know her?

The story goes back and forth through time as Kya goes from a frightened young girl to a more confident author to becoming the main suspect in a murder investigation. This story begs the question, can we ever escape our past?

If you are looking for an audiobook to enjoy this month, this one is BEAUTIFULLY narrated and should be savored. The writing is exquisite, the story is heartbreaking, and the characters are so well-developed that they lift off the pages.

Each year I get asked what book someone could confidently share for the holidays. I would put this book at the top of the list this year because it is one that I could hand to my mom, grandmother, or sister and know that they would be just as swept away as me. Buy this one in multiples for all the people you want to share a book with this year.

This book has had a lot of buzz already, thanks to being picked up by the Hello Sunshine book club, but I just had to add my stamp of approval too!  This is a buzz book that REALLY delivers and I think you will love it too.

5 out of 5 Stars

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I won a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors and I was so psyched when I won a copy of her next novel, Daisy Jones & the Six (releasing March 5th, available for pre-order). I have to say, timing this book with catching, A Star is Born, this week really could not have been more perfect. Reid has crafted a fictional band story set in the 1970’s that was so beautifully rendered that you can’t believe it is even fiction.

Daisy is the girl that every girl wants to be. She is stunning and has the ability to capture any man’s attention, sneaking out to clubs when she is just a kid, and capturing the heart of anyone her heart desires. She finds she has a knack for singing, a knack that people spend years trying to train their voices to achieve.

The Six is lead by Billy Dunne and is also getting noticed in the music world. Billy is an addict who has just discovered that he is going to be a father and he feels he needs to sow his wild oats before settling down.

When Billy & Daisy cross paths, a producer realizes that putting these two voices together could be just the ticket to make them all successful.

Told in interview format, the reader uncovers the story of Daisy Jones & the Six from their humble beginnings to their explosive endings. It’s the stuff of legends, as all good rock and roll stories are.

As a reader, don’t be surprised if you don’t find yourself thinking of these people as real people. Reid is such a wildly talented writer that it should come as no surprise that this book is just as wildy fabulous as she is.

Be sure to pre-order and read this one before you see it!

5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year:

January 2018 Must-Reads

February 2018 Must-Reads

March 2018 Must-Reads

April 2018 Must-Reads

May 2018 Must-Reads

June 2018 Must-Reads

July 2018 Must-Reads

August 2018 Must-Reads

September 2018 Must-Reads

What did you read this month? 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.

Amy’s Notebook 11.02.18

November 2nd, 2018

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Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

How gorgeous are these ornament vases? I would have never thought to use these for that!

A cheap and simple way to upcycle jars. So smart!

Did you see what launched! OMG!

I love seeing the evolution of her style.

Okay, this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

This pattern might just have me busting out my knitting needles again.

Here are some fun recipes to do with your leftover Halloween candy.

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I love a good carbonara and this butternut squash carbonara recipe looks so delicious for fall!

4 things to do to get ready to vote in the midterms.

30 soup and stew recipes to bookmark for these cooler months.

This was your favorite purchase this week. They look so stylish and comfortable!

10 thrillers with supernatural twists that may surprise you.

Speaking of books, here are 10 life-changing books to add to your book stack.

All the motivation you need to simplify your life. This really spoke to me this week!

Do you do this?

I’m thinking this would make a great holiday gift for the ladies in my life.

This was very inspiring this week.

Reading and loving this book this week.

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How gorgeous are these macrame feathers?

What a simple and polished ponytail.

It is puzzle season and I’m starting with this one. Try this DIY for your puzzles too- you’ll thank me!

Adding these to my Christmas wish list.

How gratitude fixed my relationship with Instagram.

A few fall layering tips. I’ve never seen a jacket under a vest, but I like it!

But you don’t look sick. #storyofmylife

How you really should be measuring success. Good advice!

This made me laugh.

Ready to start watching Christmas movies? This Netflix Christmas movie list might help.

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

 

Simplifying Your Holiday Gatherings

November 1st, 2018

You will love these strategies for hosting memorable gatherings without the stress.

I’ve got everything from cooking shortcuts to decorations that transition through the seasons to your perfect playlist! 

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Now that Halloween is behind us, it is time to start thinking about all of those upcoming holiday gatherings. Hostess duties can often feel stressful and overwhelming, don’t they? That is why I’m excited to be partnering today with Honeysuckle White to share some fresh ideas for hosting your next gathering without the stress.

I learned that if I wanted to connect with my friends and family that I often had to be the one to step up to bat and offer to host. I have discovered, over the years, that so many people feel intimidated by hosting and are often self-conscious of things like undone house projects, their limited cooking abilities, or not feeling like they have that perfectly sized space for the ideal gathering.

The thing is, our own intimidations rob us of precious moments with those we love and the people that REALLY and GENUINELY love us will always, always be thankful to you for creating space in your home and day for them.

That is, truly, why I am excited to share that Honeysuckle White recognizes how precious our time is and wanted to take out that intimidation factor by providing a brilliantly easy turkey product that will make gatherings so much easier on busy moms.

Even better?

You can order it right through Amazon.

And, ladies, I KNOW we all have Amazon ordering down pat! (*ahem*)

Say hello to the world’s easiest holiday dish, the NEWS Honeysuckle White Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast “Turketta”, inspired by the flavor profile of porchetta!

I gave ordering one of these a spin and really was surprised how well-seasoned and easy this was to execute for my Friendsgiving gathering this week.

In your package (that arrives right on your doorstep!)  you will get one of these beautiful roasts that serve approximately 4-6 people.  The packages arrive frozen and you can thaw it for an ASAP gathering or you can tuck this in the freezer for a future meal.

The bird is perfectly seasoned, boneless (no carving- woot, woot!), and requires just a simple quick sear on the bottom and baking.

This isn’t the only option you can have delivered. They also are offering Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast, a Honeysuckle White Fresh Traceable Whole Bird Turkey, & the Honest Turkey Whole Turkey.

Even better, for a limited time offer, MomAdvice readers can get 15% off using my coupon code 15MOMADVICE.

I can really get behind this company and the work they do with farmers, especially after having the opportunity to tour one of the farms.

The company is committed to raising their turkeys without growth-promoting antibiotics and no added hormones or steroids.

They also are committed to supporting independent family farmers to provide family farm-raised turkeys.

I don’t know if you know this, but my great-grandpa was a farmer and that is why that commitment and their true love for these families really warms my heart.

Now that you have the turkey covered, here are a few other ideas for a simple gathering of great friends and great food!

Send Out a Small Invite

I have done loads of large gatherings, but I find the best gatherings are often the intimate ones with just a couple of close friends so you can really catch up.

A friendsgiving need not be a large gathering and the invitation does not need to be a formal one.

Text invitations are perfectly acceptable, especially during such a busy season.

Also, allowing mamas to bring kids is a blessing to the mom (who won’t have to cook) and to you (to get to love on your friend’s beautiful kiddos especially since your kids are tweens/teens and you now have to FORCE YOUR LOVE on them).

 

Keep the Sides Simple

Roasted vegetables are an easy side that can be prepared a day in advance.

In fact, storing your carrots and potatoes in water overnight will yield a much crisper roast than if you cut them up immediately.

Toss your prepared vegetables in olive oil, kosher salt, and your favorite dried seasoning (I’m a thyme girl!) and roast them at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

Love perfectly roasted potatoes?

Cut baby potatoes in half and put the cut side down on a cookie sheet that’s been lined with aluminum foil and is lightly greased. You will get a perfect roast every time AND they are so good that my kids call them mom’s french fries.

It goes without saying, but lining the cookie sheets with tin foil or parchment paper squares is also an excellent way to cut down on dishes!

Skip the Baking

Thankfully, there is no need to bake since we have so many delicious options for desserts that are already made and available for purchase at our local markets.

You can still make these purchased desserts feel really special though with quick homemade touches.

Spicing up your whipped cream, adding crunchy toppings, or adding details with pie cutters or an embossing rolling pin (made from refrigerated pie dough) are all fun ways to make pies feel special and more homemade.

This post offers 5 strategies for making store-bought pies feel special that I think you will find REALLY helpful for the holidays and even an idea for packaging up mini pies as a parting gift at the end of the night.

replicate my table with this easy tutorial

Think Evergreen When It Comes to Home Decorating

In the blog world, evergreen content is king. It means that we really focus on creating timeless pieces that can be shared over and over again and always feel relevant.

This is the SAME WAY we can approach our decorating. Purchase or DIY things that are neutral and can be used over and over again throughout the seasons. A bit of faux greenery, a roll of kraft paper (DO buy this– it’s such a affordable investment for decorating and gift wrapping), white plates, and loads of candles are perfect for ANY occasion.

Adding simple seasonal touches, like the small bundles of sage I gathered with cotton twine feel very Martha-y, but cost only a couple of bucks to pull off.

Stop pulling out and storing seasonal bins and buy a few items that you can use over and over and over again.

You can’t imagine the stress you will relieve yourself of!

Set the Mood

Before I go, I have one more fun fact for you…I used to be a glorified D.J. for my college’s radio station.

Music is essential to me like breathing and food.

Growing up, I played the violin, sang in the choir, did musical theater, and had parents who were crazy about music too.

I am also the one that hogs the microphone if you karaoke with me.

To me, a solid playlist for special occasions is oh-so-necessary.

Don’t have time to make one?

How about if I shared mine with you!

Also, as a thoughtful introvert, I have included three goodbye songs at the end that you can feel free to boot those up after the meal when you just need to retreat to your Snuggie and Netflix.

Hopefully they catch on..I know, “CLOSING TIME,” is a very, very subtle exit song!

I have embedded it here for you so be sure to bookmark this awesome post and give me a follow for more fabulous dinner music.

Now hurry on over to order your turkey and don’t forget to use my coupon code 15MOMADVICE to snag your 15% off!

this post contains affiliate links

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Small-Budget Crushes 10.31.18

October 31st, 2018

Time to get our holiday shopping on!! xoxo


hallmark movie watching mug

pleated midi skirt (perfect for holiday photos & comes in black too!)

nevertheless she persisted jigsaw puzzle

harry potter illustrated box set collection

fleece coatigan (comes in several hues!)

table topics (perfect for getting those kids to chat!)

star wars pie cutters

cable mock neck sweater (so many gorgeous colors!)

personalized cord organizer & coaster

classic black wrap dress (perfect for all occasions- comes in plus sizes!)

personalized necklace

classic poncho

cat lady old maid

harry potter trivial pursuit

slim fit textured coat

beauty station

night runner headlights

college town tumblers (pick your college town!)

flounce trim tee (so many colors, great reviews, and only $9!!!)

rechargeable hand warmers (with flashlight built in!)

beeropoly

golden girls puzzle

cumin fringe blanket scarf 

fuzzy slipper socks

funnel neck sweatshirt

little feminist book set

 

rainbow marl cardi

my life story so far

bob’s burgers monopoly

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

October 30th, 2018

Transform your table with this easy DIY table runner that you can use for any occasion. Who knew cardstock could look so beautiful?

Today’s tutorial is for a diy table runner made from humble cardstock, glue, and twine.  As a minimalist, I’m a big fan of any decorations that can be used for multiple seasons and I fully admit that I am REALLY proud when I craft something that is so very uniquely me.

As you guys know, I have really been on the struggle bus with my hand pain and I started thinking how I might need to start broadening my horizons with my crafting. It has been a dream of mine to own a Cricut so, after doing a ridiculous amount of research and price investigation, I settled on a Cricut Explore Air as the best option for what I needed.

Please note, they do offer a brand new Cricut Explore Air 2, but the price difference is $70 and the only real difference is that it can cut faster.

I can wait a few extra minutes if I can save $70!

Today’s craft is a great way to break in your Cricut since paper crafting is so darn affordable.

Before we begin, I decided to get a Cricut Access membership (I’m on the $7.99 monthly plan) so I could have unlimited access to patterns and get the discounts for the holidays. You can also pay individually for patterns, but so far the cost has been worth it for gift-making.

Do what makes sense for you and your budget though!

How to DIY a Paper Leaf Table Runner

Supplies

12-15 sheets Gray Cardstock (I used 4 different shades of gray)

Hopeless Romantic Garland Pattern– you will need to create a Cricut profile to access this

Hot Glue Gun (this is the one I use and love)

Glue Sticks

Cotton Twine

A pencil, pen, or end of a small paint brush for shaping your petals

Cricut

Cricut 12×12 Standard Grip Adhesive Cutting Mats

Kraft Paper (I bought this roll and use it for wrapping our gifts too)- this is optional, but helps the garland stand out!

Tutorial

Following the pattern listed above, begin by cutting all of the leaves for this project using a different shade of gray each time you load it.

Make sure that the dial on your Cricut is set to CARDSTOCK and make sure that the blade you have loaded is the FINE-POINT BLADE.

If you have not cut cardstock before, here is a tutorial and here is also a tutorial to switching your blade (if you haven’t done that before).

Begin by creating a gathering of four to five leaves that will look good layered together.

To make this look more natural, try to avoid making each of these gatherings identical and make sure to weave in those different subtle hues that you have cut.

Using the end of a pencil, end of a paintbrush, or scissors, gently begin curling these petals to add depth and shape.

If you have not curled paper before, I found this advice very helpful (and her patterns are just gorgeous too!).

Now we can begin gluing our stack together. Keep in mind how you had them originally stacked and replicate that.

You will also want to figure out how you want these to trail and be linked together. Once again, avoid your perfectionistic nature and don’t be afraid to have these going in different directions. If it looks too matchy-matchy, it won’t have a natural feel.

Along the back, you will then add a thin line of hot glue and attach your twine to help hold the garland together and that can also act as a tool for hanging, if you decide this one is better suited to your mantle or bar.

You can see the layer of brown paper has been laid underneath it.  To add a little more dimension to this table, I added two sets of these inexpensive votive candle holder sets (I’m pointing you in the general direction so you can pick out your favorite finish). You can get them in a variety of shades and I love that these sit low so you don’t have to try to talk around a tall arrangement.

Here are just a few other details on this table, in case you were interested in replicating this further.

I tied tiny bundles of sage to nestle on top of our cloth napkins with a little more of the cotton twine. It added a natural element to the tablescape which felt really necessary with the paper display. It also smelled divine which is always a wonderful bonus.

I have had a hard time finding cloth napkins that wash really well, but can’t recommend these beauties enough. I picked a dark gray to eliminate needing to bleach out stains, but they come in a zillion colors that can match your own table runner.

The dishes were such a steal and came with such thoughtful storage racks. I am in love with how everything nests together so well especially these bowls which are the perfect size.

I found the glasses on clearance and can’t tell you how beautiful they are. I have been dying to have some ornate glasses for our fancier occasions. Of course, these already sold out (boooo!!!), but here and here and here are a few gorgeous options.

Once again, thankful for this smart tool I bought for our water bottles because it gets things clean, but doesn’t scratch the pattern or gold rim on these.

I hope this spread inspires you to embrace decorations you can use for all the seasons.

I’m also excited to share with you about the Friendsgiving gathering I had to make use of this lovely display. Stay tuned for all the details on that!

Looking for some more great craft ideas? Check these out!

How to make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath how to make a yarn pom-pom wreath

how to make a yarn pom-pom garland

how to make an autumn burlap wreath

easy burlap wreath tutorial

how to diy a no-sew blanket scarf

Happy crafting, friends!

This post contains affiliate links.

Amy’s Notebook 10.26.18

October 26th, 2018

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Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

I loved this beautifully woven storage basket– that looks like such a fun fall diy!

How beautiful is this pumpkin spice soap? 

I always love peeking at other people’s book recommendations.

I won’t lie, I’m REALLY pumped about this book. It is still my favorite comfort food show.

This is a really compelling piece on quitting the wine habit. (thank you, Centsational Girl!)

Love this smart tip for another way to hang your wreaths on your door.

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How adorable are these yarn ghosts?

I really love her.

What a beautiful and heartbreaking obituary.

A permission slip for moms. Such a good reminder!

I started this book and I’m already IN LOVE.

Why you should consider a hobby you are bad at.

I loved reading these goals and all she accomplished. So inspiring!

I am guilty of saying this. What a great reminder!

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Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? You had me at pumpkin!

A smart way to organize those phone apps.

This was your top purchase this month. Can I do puzzles at your house?

Here are 28 Instant Pot soup ideas for your menu plan.

I was so sad to read this.

One word that will help lower your anxiety.

I’m a big fan of these methods though.

iPad tipping is so very awkward.

The power of writing thank you notes. I love this so much.

Do you struggle with a cell phone addiction?

11 useful ways to use zip ties.

Doing a one day deep clean project to complete. So smart!!

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 10.23.18

October 23rd, 2018

I’ll take one of each! xo

double knit cardi (so many colors!)

herringbone leggings

cozy twist sweatshirt

book lover winter hat faux suede sneakers (use coupon code SWEET for an extra 20% off!!)

bread cutting board

wood & glass pie sign

chenille ribbed throws

floral highball glasses (just got these and they look like anthro!!)

veggie list tee

off-the-shoulder sweatshirt (two colors)

open-front teddy coat

hooded poncho

fleece tights (buy 1 get 2 free on tights)

i am a vital voice sweatshirt

stephen king magnetic bookmark

double breasted peacoat

stranger things poster

tailored knit blazer (several colors)

haunting of hill house tee

cozy pajama set

suede shoulder bag

decorative cooling rack

christmas pajama set

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo