Create a beautiful wall display with letters and scrap yarn. This Anthropologie-inspired craft really adds a beautiful element to any home. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to achieve a wall display of your own!
There are a few decorations in our home that have stood their test of time and the wall display in our bedroom remains one of those tried-and-true craft projects that I still love today.
I love to create projects that can be great stash-busters for the knitter AND a great yarn project for someone who doesn’t knit, but would love to have those textures in their home. Today’s project requires zero knitting skills and is simple enough that you could yarn-wrap those letters with your child.
I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to make this yarn display for a wall in your home.
Additions to my home, like these, really bring that Anthropologie shopping experience right in my home. It is, in fact, a lot of the inspiration for the crafts I try to do around here!
Do your best to cover the letter in that direction and feel free to cut and secure yarn on the back as you go to cover the entire letter.
You can begin and end the securing of your yarn with a thumbtack, a piece of clear tape, or a little dab of hot glue.
Once you have covered the letter to the best of your ability, now begin wrapping the yarn in the other direction.
Navigating around detailed corners will be tricky. Don’t be afraid to stop and start the yarn to wrap the letters. I found that the corners were a bit bulkier to try to cover, but no one will notice that.
For the last letter, utilize all the ends of each of your skeins to create a scrappy letter from the three colors used in your L,O, and V.
I tried to layer the colors in places, securing again with a little hot glue, tape or thumbtacks for starting and finishing these wrapped places.
I also added a few knitted accessories to my last letter. The same idea could be achieved with fabric, interesting buttons, or purchased accessories. The possibilities are limitless and can fit your own style.
To mount them, I used clear 3M hooks, and used a razor blade to cut an “X” in the back of the cardboard letter to create a spot to hide the hook internally. Some of the letters could be mounted with just one hook (like the O) while others require d two or three hooks to secure.
The best part is that you can move your letters around or remount the hooks if you struggle with getting everything level.
These won’t damage your walls and when you get tired of this display, you can remove them and try something else.
As you can see from my giant display, I tend to go all out when I tackle projects like this, but you could definitely use smaller letters and thinner yarn to make this display of LOVE on a smaller scale.
Anybody else want to curl up and read Little House with me?
Love this yarn project? We have SO many more fun ways to use yarn on the site!
This post is sponsored by Gixo. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
When my health challenges started to make my gym routines difficult, I began to realize that a gym membership just couldn’t be in my cards anymore. I had no idea from day to day if my body was going to cooperate and there were months that I paid for a full membership and only was able to make a class or two.
That, my friends, was not a good return on investment.
That is when I REALLY began to realize the beauty in online month-by-month memberships and how affordable they were. Online apps typically cost less than a single class at my gym and pay for themselves rather quickly. Even more than that, I am able to use these apps around my busy work schedule!
Haven’t tried a gym app before?
Well, today I wanted to show off a new-to-me app called Gixo! Gixo is designed for busy schedules with 15, 25 or 40-minute workout classes and include offerings like:
You are able to exercise wherever you are (at home, outdoors, traveling, at the gym, or on the go) and ZERO equipment is required.
Here are a few other reasons why I REALLY love this app!
The accountability factor- One of the reasons many people gravitate towards gym memberships is that accountability factor. Although many classes are available as on-demand options, you can sign up for class times just like you would with a traditional gym membership. Signing up for a class means that you will receive a text reminder that you have a class coming up (and what equipment you might need), and then a text that reminds you when your class is starting. Scheduling a class requires you to commit and then follow through on what you set out to do for the day.
The fun coaching- When you sign into class, you take a quick selfie to check in, and your coach has access to your screen to help guide you through your class. Having this view, they are able to help you make adjustments that help reduce the risk of injury. I loved that when I checked in for class, I even got a shoutout from the coach, all the way in London, to thank me for joining in. It makes the experience feel more intimate than just a recorded class and it gives you a personal trainer experience.
The incredible music- Workouts, for me, are ALL about the music and each of their classes has awesome music mixes curated by Gixo’s in-house DJ. I also appreciate that you can make adjustments to coaching and the music levels so if I want to just do my own workout to their amazing mixes, I can do that by turning down the volume on the coaching.
When would I do this?
Oh, how about when I am KILLING IT around my house or doing my laundry.
How fun is that?
They Add Variation to My Winter Treadmill Workouts- It is hard to make a treadmill workout fun, but Gixo manages to do it. Thanks to this app, I’m able to hit my goals with steps and they weave in strength routines, like a series of pushups, that make this more fun and more beneficial to your body.
It is affordable-Memberships start at just $14.99/mo (billed at $179.99/year) or $19.99/mo. This cost means that it is less than the cost of a single studio class and that you are able to get A LOT for your money. You also aren’t put into one gym class type category. I can do a strength class, yoga, run or walk (outside or on my treadmill),
Want to try it out? How about some coupons AND a giveaway today?
Use code momadvice on the Gixo app to get a 7-day free trial and 20% off either a monthly or one-year subscription!
Follow the instructions below to enter to win a 1-year subscription to Gixo! Good luck, everyone!
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.
You can order it right through Amazon.
And, ladies, I KNOW we all have Amazon ordering down pat! (*ahem*)
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.
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.
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.
When I was a kid one of my favorite treats in the world was an apple pie that they served at a fast food restaurant in town.
The flaky crust in a pocket filled with the warm apple filling was the perfect comfort food to me and it always seemed to be the perfect amount to satisfy my sweet tooth craving.
Clearly, I am no food snob when it comes to the humble pie whether it is from a box in the grocery store or a local diner.
Just give me ALL THE PIE.
It should come as no surprise that my children adore pie like their mother so I wanted to create a treat for them that would be deemed one of the coolest after school snacks I have made to date.
Of course, we are creating the only pie worth making, at least according to our household.
For us, it is the incredible pumpkin pie that truly brings together the flavors of fall in every delicious bite and makes it feel like Thanksgiving… even if it really is just another boring Monday.
Of course, I have a little secret in the refrigerator now that I am a busy mom.
These little treats couldn’t be easier to prepare thanks to store-bought pie crust that saves me a lot of time on treats (and dishes).
With a little pumpkin shape placed on top of each delicate pie and dusted with cinnamon and sugar, this treat looks impressive, but can be pulled together in a matter of minutes.
These would be just perfect for a fun Halloween lunchbox treat or to celebrate the season any other day of the week! Best of all, since the filling calls for just a cup of pumpkin puree, it is the perfect way to use up a leftover can that might be taking up space in your refrigerator.
If you haven’t made a hand pie before, it couldn’t be easier. You can use a floured cup as a circle cutter or a biscuit cutter to cut out your circles. Add a tablespoon of your filling to the tops of each of your circles and then add an identical circle on top to pull the pie together. To make sure everything is secure, I seal and add pretty scores with a fork.
To add a little decoration, I love to buy seasonal decorative pie cutters that add a little detail to the edge of my pies, decorative edible touches to a dessert table for the holidays, and happen to add the perfect detail to these hand pies.
To secure these adorable pumpkins, I brushed the pies with an egg wash and then rested this on top, brushing again lightly with the egg wash.
It adds a beautiful touch and shine to the crust and makes these pretty pies into a little work of art.
I hope you can share these treats with someone you love this month and I look forward to sharing more fun fall ideas with you on the blog. Looking for a traditional pumpkin pie for the whole gang? I can’t recommend this tried-and-true recipe enough!
This fun semi-homemade treat has all of your favorite pumpkin pie flavors in a single size version. Be sure to snag some fun pie cutters to really make these festive! Need to make these gluten-free? No problem! Simply switch your prepared pie crust to a gluten-free version!
1 cup pumpkin puree
⅜ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 packages prepared pie crust (make sure to bring this to room temperature)
In a mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and heavy cream. Set aside. Unroll your room temperature pie crusts. Using a 2½ inch biscuit cutter or the opening of a drinking glass as your guide, cut out your circles. Remember, however many you can cut out of your first pie crust, you will want to try to do the same amount on the next pie crust to create your toppers. The amount you can get will depend on your circle size that you are punching out.
Place your first half of your circles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Add in about a tablespoon pie filling, then place a dough circle on top. Press together with your fingers to seal them. Then use your fork to seal and create a pretty edge to the pie.
Whisk one egg in a small bowl and then brush on top of the dough.
Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a big glass of milk or a dollop of whipped cream for a sweet treat!
here are a few of our most popular fall projects on the site right now!
This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
Are you looking for a way to escape the back-to-school chaos?
Lucky for you, I have the perfect thriller and cocktail to escape with this fall.
Today I’m sharing about the new twisty thriller from T.M. Logan called, “Lies,” and I’m pairing it with a new Candy Apple Martini recipe to sip while you are indulging in this suspenseful read
If you haven’t yet heard of T.M. Logan it is because he is making his debut this month with, “Lies.” Logan is a seasoned writer who has worked as a national newspaper journalist. This is why, perhaps, this book does not seem like a debut at all.
In this story, our lead character, Joe Lynch, is driving home from work with his young son. He happens to see his wife’s car ahead of him and decides to follow her and ends up witnessing a secret rendezvous with another man. This encounter threatens to tear the two families apart and Joe finds that he is being set up for a murder that he never committed.
If you are a fan of Peter Swanson’s writing, I have a feeling you are going to absolutely love this thriller. Logan expertly weaves the plot of this story so well that you will find yourself questioning just who is innocent and who is guilty.
Even more than that though, we all know that a satisfying thriller has a twisty conclusion that we don’t see coming and Logan not only keeps the reader on their toes throughout the story, but he also manages to add smart twists that even a seasoned thriller reader just won’t expect.
Logan really goes to great lengths to help us explore the question, can we ever really trust those closest to us? I absolutely loved this thriller and finished it in a single day. It was the perfect way to unwind from the craziness of back-to-school season.
I know as moms it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves, particularly during this time of year. The thing is, more than ever it is important to incorporate self-care activities that fill your cup too. Reading, for me, has always been my self-care outlet.
In busy seasons, I gravitate more towards the thriller genre because these tend to be fast page-turners and offer a much-needed escape during difficult parenting seasons.
I wanted to pair this book with a fall cocktail so today’s recipe is for a Caramel Apple Martini that you can sip while furiously flipping those pages.
This drink is a combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, vodka, and cranberry juice. These flavors, once shaken together in a martini shaker or mason jar, taste just like a delicious candy apple.
To fancy this drink up, dip the rim in water and then dip it in a little cinnamon and sugar mixed together. It can then be garnished with a fresh apple to bring it all together.
I can’t think of a better pairing than a great thriller and a delicious martini.
A delicious combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, cranberry juice, and vodka make the perfect martini that tastes just like a candy apple. Dip the rim in cinnamon & sugar and garnish with an apple, to add those special finishing touches.
This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
Looking for your next Girls’ Night In idea? I have come up with the perfect recipe for a fun night with your gal pals and created a deliciously dangerous Rosé Strawberry Wine Pop recipe that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.
I mean, wine in a popsicle?
As Ina Garten would say, “How bad could that be?”
This treat takes about ten minutes to make and is the perfect accompaniment to a fun night in watching the movie, Book Club now available on Blu-Ray. If you haven’t seen it, you are in for a treat. You can purchase your copy of the movie and make plans to watch it at home this weekend. The release happens to include hilarious bonus content, like the making of the film, deleted scenes, and more! Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than with my girlfriends, a pile of wine pops, and a ridiculously funny movie.
My girlfriend has the sweetest set-up for a movie night so when I proposed a girls’ night in, she graciously offered to have it in her theatre room so we could really get that movie experience.
Let’s all acknowledge that any mom that would offer up her home on a school night is a real gem of a friend.
Book Club is about four lifelong friends that end up having their life turn upside down when their book club starts reading the infamous, Fifty Shades of Grey, and they begin to rekindle their own relationships with their old flames.
The message is pretty simple… their next chapter is the best chapter.
I feel like turning 40 has, truly, been a next chapter in my life. This year has been a real exploration in trying new things in my career, I am finally embracing the importance of self-care, I’m okay letting people see the unpolished version of me, and I have learned that there is nothing more important than our family and friends.
I am such a work in progress though and I acknowledge that I have a lot to still work through. I am thankful though that I have such a powerhouse group of ladies who love and support me no matter what. I, truly, can’t imagine my life without my friends. When the chips have been down for our family, they are the ones that take the mess of my life and lift me up with their encouragement. I never have to be anything, but this messy person.
That is what I appreciated about this charming film and how great it is to be part of a book club of girlfriends. I can attest that while we talk about books in our book club, we also talk about so much more as we support, encourage, and enjoy each other’s company.
Book Club is beautifully cast with four Hollywood icons (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, & Mary Steenburgen) that have forged a believable friendship, with heart and humor, that any girl would want in her life…especially as she segues into the next chapter.
I hope you can pick up this incredible film that is now available to own on Blu-ray!
Now, let’s talk about this incredible wine pop idea! When I heard that stores were carrying rosé pops, I just knew that I could make an inexpensive version of this treat at home.
Honestly, this is an excellent way to use up any strawberries that are nearing their expiration in your fridge, as they are blended in the blender with a touch of lime (to break up the sweet), a little simple syrup, and an inexpensive bottle of rosé. In fact, I found a decent bottle for under $5 at our local market, making these cocktail treats really affordable.
The one thing you will need to buy is ice pop holders and I think they are a smart investment, not just for wine pops, but for making healthy treats for the kiddos too. This set comes with a little funnel that makes pouring your blended ingredients in the pop holders a real cinch.
The most time-consuming aspect is waiting for them to freeze. Be sure to give them a good four hours in the freezer to harden up for distributing to all your gal pals.
I hope this treat inspires you to have a fun girls’ night in too!
In a saucepan, whisk sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Slice strawberries and add them to your blender.
Add your lime juice, Rosé Wine, and simple syrup. Blend well.
Once blended, skim the foam off the top.
Using the provided funnel, pour the mixture into the ice pop holder to the marked line. Seal tight and and place on a cookie sheet (this will protect your freezer from any possible leaking). Repeat the process until you have used up all your mixture (should yield approximately eight ice pops).
Freeze for four hours.
This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
It’s time to bring on those meal prep ideas for packing lunches for back-to-school. I’m sharing 7 tips to nail your meal prep game for your kids and YOU. I’m excited to be partnering again with the Florida Department of Citrus for the back-to-school season and showing you some fun new strategies for lunch preparation.
It seems surreal to me that we are already talking about back-to-school, but we are just one week away from sending our kids off to school again. It is with this big occasion in mind that I look forward to getting back into our healthy eating routines and finding new ways to minimize stress during our busy weeks.
One of the ways I do that is through our meal prep routines.
Let’s talk about 5 really great strategies for meal prepping that can help you this year.
Find New Ways to Use Up What’s Already in Your Fridge
Meal planning can save you tons of money at the grocery store, but I have the tendency to get excited about new meals without using up what we already have in our fridge.
Make a plan, but acknowledge ways that you can use up items that may be nearing their expiration date. I love frittatas, for example, because they can be whipped up from whatever you have lurking in your crisper drawer and from your weeknight meal leftovers. Today’s frittata, for example, was made from cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and feta…all items leftover our salad nights this week. Ask your kids to help you come up with combos and give them the opportunity to brunch it up at school.
I paired this frittata with orange juice to round out the meal. Keep in mind that the recommended daily intake of Florida OJ is eight ounces for adults and four to six ounces for kids! The best part is that every glass of Florida Orange Juice provides the amazing 5. In fact, you have taste, vitamin C, folate, potassium and no added sugar in just one glass.
Consider the Snack Pack Trend
We caught a commercial for, “protein packs,” that you could purchase for your lunches that had meat, cheese, and nuts in them. Even though my husband can’t cook, even he was laughing at how ridiculous it was that people couldn’t put these together themselves.
Snacks packs aren’t a new concept, but they ARE a perfect concept if you have a kid that is a snacker or if you happen to be a snacker yourself.
Utilizing toothpicks, stack a slice of lunch meat, a grape tomato, and a cube of cheese for a delicious bite that is easy enough that your kids can do it (and make their own dang lunch!)
I paired these with fresh veggies, a little ranch, and roasted salted almonds.
Want to add some fruit? Consider an apple! Using an apple slicer like this, slice the apples and then pull them back together in their original shape around the core with a rubber band.
Did you know that for additional insurance you can brush the apple with some orange juice to really help your apple retain its crisp appearance and cut down on browning? Now that’s a #lunchhack
Kids Keeping it Basic? Prep That Too!
I had one child who refused to eat anything except a good old-fashioned PB&J. I admired that she knew what she liked and that she kept it simple for her mom. That said, even those simple tasks rob us of precious time to get ready in the morning so I started meal prepping even these simple sandwiches.
If your child’s favorite is this sandwich too, simply spread peanut butter on both slices of bread to create a wall to prevent the jelly from making your bread soggy. Smear your jelly on in the center of one slice of bread and then put the two slices together. By creating an assembly line of sandwiches for your week you only dirty up the kitchen once and get back a little more time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
Plan Around Your Own Guilty Pleasures
Have you thought about packing yourself a lunch? I have the tendency to get out of the habit of caring for myself when the back-to-school rush happens and find myself grabbing takeout or “forgetting to eat,” when I don’t have something convenient to grab.
Jot down what your takeout weaknesses are and start searching Pinterest for some great alternatives for your meal prep day.
I hope that today’s ideas inspire you to try something new this year with your meal prep. Self-care is just as important so be sure to take some time out for YOU too with a few of my favorite self-care tips. Thank you to the Florida Department of Citrus for letting me share about these tips with you! Be sure to make Florida OJ a part of your daily routines to help boost your immune system during this challenging mom season.
This blog was sponsored by Florida Department of Citrus. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!
Thanks to my sponsor St Martin’s Press, I’m sharing about Kristin Hannah’s newest page-turner!
I joined my first book club when my children were small and I remember both how rewarding it felt to use my brain again and the challenges of carving time out to read. The beauty in being a part of that group though was that it pushed me to read books that were outside of my typical genre.
Historical fiction, for example, had never been on my radar until I joined a club.
Ironically, it is now my favorite genre.
Have you thought about hosting a book club? I have had the pleasure of hosting a local group and an online group and today I wanted to share 7 tips and strategies I’ve found for hosting a successful book club.
7 Tips for Hosting a Successful Book Club
1. Create Your Book Club Circle
Book clubs can be an opportunity to cultivate existing friendships or an opportunity to widen your net. If you don’t have an existing set of close friends, this can be a great way to get to know people from other contexts of your life. Consider starting a group through your church, with your neighborhood friends, a mom’s group, with your coworkers, your gym buddies, or as a way to get to know other moms at your child’s school.
Keep in mind, this club does not need to be just women either because men can add another dynamic to your book club discussions. If you have couples that you love to spend time with, for example, consider asking if they might like to meet up monthly for dinner and a book chat. I know that some of my best book discussions have happened when enjoying an evening with friends.
2. Have an Organized Kickoff Meeting
The quickest way for a book club to fizzle out is to not have a plan and get your members involved. With everyone’s busy schedules, it can be difficult to get a committed group and keep them committed for an entire year (or more).
In the past, our mimosa kickoff usually starts in September, once the kids have headed back to school. With a little more time in our schedules (sort of), it gives us a chance to regroup and make book selections. I ask each member to come with a book in mind and a month that they would like to host our chat. Allowing each person to make a selection and host gives everyone a chance to feel a part of things and allows the group leader to just micromanage the logistics.
3. Pick Books That Can Sustain a Discussion
The best books that we have talked about have meat to them and naturally cultivate an incredible discussion. Books with shallow plots are probably better for your beach bag than your book club discussion.
Stumped for a book selection this year?
Can I make a great recommendation for you?
As I disclosed earlier, I am partnering with St. Martin’s Press to share about Kristin Hannah’s latest novel and I TRULY believe this is a perfect pick for your book club reading.
I , honestly, would read anything Kristin Hannah writes, but her last few books have been among my favorite. The Great Alone is a contemporary coming-of-age story that is set in the seventies in rural Alaska. In this story, a former POW father comes home from the Vietnam War completely mentally changed from his experiences there. His behavior and decision-making is wildly erratic and when a property becomes available in rural Alaska, he decides that they should seize the opportunity to live off the grid and make a different life for themselves.
Braving harrowing and life-threatening conditions is what it is all about and thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the middle of it all as they attempt to carve a new life in the wild frontier.
Living off the grid is not all it is cracked up to be and neither is surviving the difficult Alaska winters. Hannah writes so eloquently about this impossible marriage and the honest struggle of a Vietnam veteran.
As you can see, from my description alone, this has so many elements for discussion. The plot brings on the challenges of PTSD in veterans, what it is like to live with a mentally ill family member, homesteading (and if YOU could survive it), and if you would stay with your partner if they were putting your family through a potentially life-threatening lifestyle.
When I say that books have to have meat for discussion, you can be assured that there would be MUCH to talk about with, The Great Alone.
Look for books like these where the description alone showcases what kinds of ideas you could discuss in your book chats.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Controversial Plots
One thing I have worried about is picking books that have controversial plots that might make people feel uncomfortable. What has surprised me though is that these are usually our very best discussions and that it is, truly, okay to have different viewpoints.
The way I lead these discussions though is that I ask that things are said with kindness and love, even if you don’t necessarily agree with one another. In an online discussion, I can swiftly delete comments that aren’t said with kindness, but that is a bit more tricky in an in-person book club.
Even in these tricky moments though, leading by asking everyone to be kind has always been a successful way to start a thoughtful conversation and I have never had any issues after stressing this importance.
It can be scary leading a controversial discussion, but I was surprised how it changed people’s viewpoints or hearing about someone’s personal story and why it made them feel differently than me. A recent discussion of a story on immigration, for example, lead to people sharing how it completely changed their viewpoint on the deportation process.
It makes me wish we had more kind and honest talks and how they could bring compassion to our discussions.
5. Prepare For Your Discussion
Discussion questions are so helpful to have, especially when first beginning your chats. I have found that selecting books with discussion questions already in place can be extremely helpful and relieve a lot of stress on leading a talk. The Great Alone, for example, already has a great discussion outlined for you.
I try to not limit our discussions to just outlined questions though. If it is a historical fiction book, for example, it helps to look up the true stories and images from that time in history. Reading or finding author interviews that explain why the author decided to write a book can also add a lot to a discussion.
6. Have Each Host/Hostess Decide How They Want to Host
I am happiest when I am entertaining our friends and family. It brings me great joy to share my table with them and feed them my food. Since this book is set mostly outdoors, I set up our outdoor table for a discussion.
It doesn’t have to be complicated though. This meat and cheese board, for example, is a fun way to share food with your book club friends without even cooking.
Sharing book club in the morning? Change the charcuterie board to a bagel board and load it with bagels and toppings.
The truth is, most people don’t love entertaining. It may bring them great stress, they may hate cooking, or they may be juggling a huge plate of craziness and can’t possibly add one more thing to their plates.
I GET IT.
Let each host/hostess decide how, where, and when works for them.
Food is not required to have a gathering.
Cooking is not required to have a gathering.
Opening YOUR home up is not required to have a gathering.
Allow each person to choose their style of hosting however or wherever they want to do it.
Book club should be fun and not stressful!
7. It’s All Too Much? Try an Online Club!
Painfully introverted? Haven’t found your people? Working full-time? New to town? Homeschooling? Single mom? Full plate?
Adding one more thing to your agenda can be an impossible task when you already have so much going on. Online book clubs can be an incredible option for someone that desires a book club, but just can’t make that happen in their day-to-day life.
This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own!
If you want to switch up your burger and fries game, today’s post is one you can’t miss, especially with a weekend of holiday grilling on the horizon. Today I’m partnering with Honeysuckle White to share their fun new burger combos AND I have a fun baked sweet potato fries recipe with a lemon-filled dipping sauce that I know you will flip for.
Honeysuckle White is now offering two fun and flavorful new turkey burger combos that are already prepared and ready to be thrown on your grill. Our family sampled them both and absolutely fell in love with them.
The first one is a Cranberry & Jalapeño that offers a fun combo of sweet and spicy that seem to really balance each other. They have kick to them, but a kick that was mild enough to be called a favorite by my daughter. The white cheddar cheese sprinkled throughout add a little bit of unexpected creaminess to the patty and helps cut down on the spicy factor.
Here is a close-up shot of all that cheese for you- YUM!
The other combo they offer are their Spinach & Kale turkey patties and these also pack another fun flavorful punch, with the greens folded right into the patty. If you struggle to get your kids to eat their veggies, this is the perfect patty for them. Pairing it with today’s sweet potato fries recipe (see below), you are sure to get a couple of servings in your child without them even noticing just how healthy they are eating.
Definitely, swing by your store and pick some of these delicious patties up for your next grilling weekend! I think they would be a fun surprise for your guests and Honeysuckle White has done all the work for you in the preparation of these delicious ingredient combos.
Sweet potato fries are my absolute favorite and one of our local burger joints inspired the dipping sauce to accompany them that I decided to recreate in my kitchen. This creamy lemon dipping sauce is tart and a fun match to the sweetness of the potatoes and is one of my favorite ways to indulge in a little fry dipping.
Not a big sweet potato fan?
I think this would be just as delicious with carrots as it is with the potatoes.
To make these fries ahead, before your guests arrive, peel and cut the potatoes into matchsticks and place in a bowl. Once you have cut all your potatoes, cover them with water and store in the fridge. Placed in a water bath, these cut potatoes can be stored up to twenty-four hours in the water.
This simple dipping sauce is made out of several pantry staples- mayo, garlic, salt, and the juice and zest from a lemon. I guarantee that this unexpected sauce will be a huge hit at your barbecue just because it is such an unexpected flavor pairing.
I can’t wait until our next cookout so we can share these delicious Cranberry & Jalapeño Turkey Burgers and Spinach & Kale Turkey Burgers with our guests. With all these new flavor combos, you are sure to wow your guests this year! Best of all? Although the flavor profile is elevated, the price is quite affordable to have a high-end burger night right in your own backyard.
This blog was sponsored by WBUR’s Circle Round. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!
It’s been no secret that I have a mad love affair with my record player. Although I have many beautiful and distinct memories of listening to music on it, my plastic record player was my original love.
The reason it held my heart was simple…it read me stories.
I had piles of books, complete with matching records, that I would flip through and listen to over and over again. The magical chime to turn the page conjures up so many memories of sprawling on my shag carpet and closing my eyes to imagine those stories coming to life. Even before I was able to master reading, I knew a good story when I heard one.
As you know, MomAdvice is ALL about books and storytelling. This is why it brings me immense pleasure to share with you about a new storytelling podcast that your kids will flip for.
In fact, I listened to a few when I heard about it because of the captivating storytellers that they secured to read these beautiful stories.
Have I intrigued you yet?
source: Circle Round
Circle Round is a storytelling podcast for kids ages 4-10, and comes from the WBUR producing team behind the popular podcasts Modern Love, Dear Sugars, and Kind World.
These episodes arenarrated by Rebecca Sheir and the original music is composed and performed by Eric Shimelonis (he introduces a different instrument for each episode!). This dynamic duo also happen to be a husband and wife creative team and the two partnered together to share their storytelling gifts with the world.
I know, as a parent on-the-go, it can be difficult to squeeze in a story hour, but these stories have been tailored to a length that works for a busy family’s lifestyle. Each episode is around 10-20 minutes in length, with a strong focus on offering global perspective by using voices that represent cultures from all over the world.
It’s such a fun way to share a different part of the world with them.
Even as an adult, I am thankful for books and their ability to transport and expose me to different parts of the world or cultures that I didn’t know about!
I also love that these podcasts focus on topics like kindness, persistence, and generosity.
In today’s world, I can’t imagine better themes for our kids.
source: Circle Round
The reason I was so intrigued to hear these stories for myself though are because of the amazing talent that they were able to secure for their shows. Circle Round stars some of today’s most exciting theater, film, and TV actors (e.g., Jason Alexander from Seinfeld, Kathryn Hahn from Transparent and Bad Moms!). These familiar voices make these stories even more fun and a joy to listen to as a parent.
Seriously, share this fun storytelling podcast with your kids and be sure to subscribe to get the updates. Circle Round alreadyhappens to be wrapping up its first season, offering thirty stories for you to share with your kids, so there is PLENTY to listen to!
Subscribe to Circle Round via iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app and download episodes!
This blog was sponsored by WBUR’s Circle Round. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!