Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies

Monday, October 8th, 2018

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.

Want to make it even easier? Can I recommend this handy gadget?

It’s amazing for making lunchbox sandwiches too! I promise, you will get a lot out of it!

shop seasonal pie cutters HERE (SO many fun ones!!)

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!

Don’t want to make pie at all?

I feel you.

Check out these ideas for decorating those store-bought pies!

Speaking of more fun fall projects, scroll below the recipe for a few of my ABSOLUTE FAVES!!

Pumpkin Hand Pies Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
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!
Ingredients
  • 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)
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon and sugar to garnish
  • Optional: This handy tool and decorative pie cutters
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. 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.
  3. Place your first half of your circles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. 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.
  5. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and then brush on top of the dough.
  6. 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!

autumn burlap wreath tutorial

doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking necessary!)

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

how to make glow in the dark jell-o

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

no-sew blanket scarf tutorial

this post contains affiliate links!

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies from MomAdvice.com

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DIY Game Day Bar Cart

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Entertaining is my thing. There’s nothing I love more than getting friends and family together for a great time.

And with a certain important game day party coming up, I knew just what I wanted to assemble to show off for my guests — a game day bar cart!

My favorite bar cart in our home is actually a tool cart transformed into this super functional and fun bar cart, so you can make your own too!

For my cart design, I decided to keep parts of the original surface paired with a metallic shade, but you can personalize this to your own taste and color scheme.

Just follow along with step two on the inside of your bar cart and apply your choice of paint if you so choose.

DIY Bar Cart Made from a Tool Cart Tutorial



Supplies Needed

Metal Tool Cart (check here or here or here to pick your favorite)
2 cans Krylon Colormaster in Metallic Gold (indoor) Spray Paint
1 can Rust-Oleum Hammered Brown Spray Paint
1 Spray Paint Trigger (should be in the same aisle as the spray paint)
Sandpaper
Painter’s Tape (to tape off your wheels)
Gloves

Directions

1. Begin by removing all of the parts and lining them up on cardboard or a drop cloth for painting. You will want the trays on this piece to be upside down since we are only spray painting the exterior of the tray. This will not only save you time spray painting, but the cart already has a nice finish on it that is easy to wipe and clean.

2. Rough up the exterior with medium-grit sandpaper. This will help our gold paint adhere to this smooth surface better.

3. Apply the trigger handle to your spray paint can. If you haven’t used one of these before it is a life-changing spray painting tool that offers even coverage and saves your poor trigger finger for long projects.

Begin by shaking your can for 1-2 minutes and periodically during use. Hold the can 10” – 12” from your surface, and spray in sweeping motions from side to side with a slight overlap.

Apply multiple thin coats, wait one minute between each.

You can add a top coat, if you like, with a clear topcoat, but it does dull the metallic sheen from this paint.

I chose to leave it without the clear coat, because I like the roughness and loveliness of the sheen of this paint.

I did find that this does adhere a bit unevenly to the surface, but creates more of the hammered metal look that I was going for.

4. Remove the trigger handle and now place it on your hammered metal spray paint that we are using for the handles and wheels on our bar cart.

Using the same technique, hold the can 10” – 12” from your surface, and spray in sweeping motions from side to side with a slight overlap.

Allow these to dry fully and then flip to the other side to spray paint the flip-side of these.

5. Tape off your wheels as best as you can and spray paint these with the same spray paint.

Allow them to dry and then flip to the other side and spray paint the flip-side.

When you remove the tape, if any of the paint has gotten on the wheel, just use your sandpaper to rough up the wheel to remove the paint.

6. Assemble after your cart, and all of its parts, are fully dry.

Keep your spray paint handy for final touch-ups and use a piece of cardboard to block and protect the areas around where you need to touch-up.

Allow this to fully dry before loading it with your drinks.

DIY Game Day Bar Cart from MomAdvice.com

DIY Game Day Bar Cart from MomAdvice.com

Once everything is assembled and dried, you can add your beverages of choice!

I decided to add my favorite beers to the top shelf for easy access, along with garnishes and drink tools.

On the bottom shelf I have glasses and liquors that can be wheeled around as needed.

Feel free to add any additional decorations like small treats, a chalkboard sign to message for guests or paper creations sporting the colors of your favorite team. Most of all, have fun!

Need More Game Day Party Tips?

Keep decorations simple for your game day party

Faux grass can act as a tablecloth for your table and a simple pennant banner can be created with your team’s favorite colors.

Add some fun football trophies to decorate around the food to pull your table theme together.

Have guests make their own food

Make creating your own food fun for your guests by creating a sub or Panini sandwich station from an assortment breads, cheeses, cold cuts, and a variety of toppings for your guests.

Each person can customize their own sandwich with their favorite additions.

Don’t forget to add a few gourmet flavors like pesto, Gouda cheese, apple slices, smoked bacon or prosciutto, & brie to your toppings bar.

These gourmet toppings will take your ordinary sandwiches into extraordinary ones and each guest can create their own unique combination.

The same idea can be applied to a fun slider bar, soup topping bar, hot dog bar, or baked potato bar.

snag my slow cooker pumpkin chili recipe

Host a soup cookoff

Have guests bring a pot of their favorite soup to share for a soup cook-off.

Have guests place votes on their favorite and present the winner with one of your fun football trophies from your table display to take home as the champion.

Not only will this be a fun way to sample some new soup recipes, but it will also relieve you of having to create as many dishes for your big game day party.

Round out the meal

Round out your soup & sandwich menu with an easy cheese platter, dips, a vegetable tray, and a fruit tray. Make the easy dips to go with your favorite crackers, but save some time in the kitchen and visit the deli in your store to pick up a simple fruit or vegetable platter to add on the side to save time spent chopping in the kitchen.

Invest in some inexpensive plastic containers for game day leftovers and send goodie bags home with your guests so they can enjoy the leftovers all weekend long.

Don’t forget to give the guests that stick around to help clean up afterwards a Most Valuable Player award for their assistance with the kitchen clean-up.

Love this DIY project? Here are a few others I think you will enjoy!

rosé strawberry wine pops recipe

slow cooker pumpkin candles

diy thumbtack pumpkins

diy ottoman serving tray

fall burlap wreath

painting pumpkins with acrylic paints

How do you celebrate game days at your house? I’d love to hear your tips for entertaining!

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DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

These gold pumpkins are the perfect craft for autumn, even if you aren’t crafty. You will love these DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins for your home!

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to decorate the holiday table that are festive while staying easy on the budget. The gold trend has really been catching my eye this year so I wanted to create something beautiful and gold that anyone can do, no matter what your craft level.

Today’s tutorial is for a decorative thumbtack pumpkin that requires just two items for a fun and festive touch to your table.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins Tutorial

Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkin Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

700 (or more!) gold or silver thumbtacks– these can be purchased in a package of 300 at your local dollar store

Small Faux Styrofoam Pumpkin (look for one with a fun stem detail like the glittered stem on this one)

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Going along one of the ridges of the pumpkin, begin inserting thumbtacks, starting at the very top and working your way down. You will want to make sure that they overlap just a bit to create a feathered effect on your pumpkin. You do not need to go to the very bottom, just enough to cover it so that if the pumpkin is placed on a pedestal or candlestick holder that you can’t see the plastic bottom. This row helps to anchor your ridge as you place the thumbtacks in.
  2. Right next to that row, again overlapping from the side and down the row, begin placing thumbtacks in the same way, repeating this process until you have covered the entire ridge. Once the ridge is filled, just check and make sure there aren’t any holes in any places and fill, as necessary, with additional thumbtacks.
  3. Begin in the next ridge, just as you did with the first, giving just a little room between those ridges so you can still see that pumpkin shape. Now repeat this process again and again, until you have filled the entire pumpkin. This small pumpkin took 700 thumbtacks, but you may need more or less depending on how tightly you are overlapping your thumbtacks.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Isn’t this absolutely beautiful? Who would ever have guessed that it costs around $5 to make! I made two of them and wanted to show you a fun way to dress up your holiday table with these.

I spray painted two other faux pumpkins and then roughed them up with a little sandpaper. I filled a glass bottle with branches from our backyard to center these and then purchased these faux logs from my local craft store in two different heights to place my gold pumpkins on. I love all the variations on height and the different textures in this budget-friendly centerpiece.

I hope you find this idea easy and inspiring! Use your own creativity to create a few beautiful pumpkins of your own.

Speaking of autumn crafts…here are a few tutorials you might enjoy!

how to make a blanket scarf how to make a blanket scarf

Painted Pumpkins painted pumpkins tutorial

woodland art download FREE autumn printables

cabled earwarmer pattern cabled ear warmers (free pattern)

easy burlap wreath easy burlap wreath tutorial

Fall Burlap Wreath fall burlap wreath tutorial

how to paint laminate painted laminate fireplace to cozy up by

she shed make a she shed (best investment EVER!)

doughnut-hole-ghost-cake doughnut hole ghost cake

This post contains affiliate links!

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Girls’ Night In: Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

rosé strawberry wine pops recipe from momadvice.com This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

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.

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rose-strawberry-wine-pops-recipe-9

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.

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

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!

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

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!

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 ice pops
 
Share these Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops for a fun girls night in and pair it with the Book Club Movie, now available on Blu-Ray
Ingredients
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries
  • 3 cups Rosé Wine
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Ice Pop Bags
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, whisk sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. Slice strawberries and add them to your blender.
  3. Add your lime juice, Rosé Wine, and simple syrup. Blend well.
  4. Once blended, skim the foam off the top.
  5. 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).
  6. Freeze for four hours.

This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

 

 

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7 Tips for Hosting a Successful Book Club

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

7 tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com 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.

7 Tips for Hosting a Success Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for Hosting a Success Book Club from MomAdvice.com

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

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

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.

You can join the free MomAdvice Book Club and be a part of a monthly discussion all year long!

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone is available in stores now and is highly recommended for your next book club chat!

To learn more:

Visit Macmillan.com

Like Kristin Hannah on Facebook

Follow St. Martin’s Press on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Do you have a tip for hosting a successful book club? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks to my sponsor St Martin’s Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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5 Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority Around the Holidays

Monday, December 18th, 2017

5 Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority Around the Holidays

This blog was sponsored by Florida Department of Citrus. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

The holidays, while lovely, can be a stressful time of year. I don’t know about you, but each day has been filled with a running to-do list, a million activities, and a lot of food preparation.

Oh, and science fair.

For the love.

I will confess that I have NEVER had an issue with self-care, but I will also confess that my idea of self-care has evolved so much over the years.

Today I wanted to share with you 5 ways I make self-care a priority around the holidays and I would love to hear how you make self-care a priority in your life.

Take a “Sick Day” Once a Week

An epiphany came to me the last time I got sick. I spent an entire day at home sleeping, but wished that I was able to have a day like that when I was well and could really enjoy it. I decided to implement a once-a-week “sick day,” where I allow myself to enjoy a day just for me.

On this day, I rarely get out of my pajamas, I read all day, watch my favorite shows, don’t check email, take a nap, and indulge in crafty classes to allow space for creativity. In the evening, I do not do housework or make dinner (thank you, loads of leftovers!).

It is my FAVORITE day of the week and, believe me, if anyone interferes with mom’s “sick day,” it has to be moved to another day. I crave this day to myself.

5 Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority Around the Holidays 5 Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority Around the Holidays

Indulge in a Rewarding Soak

Is anybody else crazy about magnesium and all of its benefits on the body? Adding an Epsom soak to my daily routines has been incredibly beneficial to my body AND to my mental health. Did you know that stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem?

The holidays can be a particularly stressful time on our bodies and contribute towards deficiencies.

In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium (source).

I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like me around the holidays!

To get the benefits add two cups of Epsom salts to your bath and soak for 15-20 minutes in warm water. While you are doing this, combine it with other healthy habits:

Meditate- Add an app like Headspace to your phone and use this time to deeply breathe and meditate. They have a ten-day free beginner program that you can use to give meditation a try. This is the perfect time to give it a spin!

Add a Smart Beverage to Your Routine- Coffee can dehydrate the body so try replenishing it with a glass of Florida Orange Juice. While you soaking in your magnesium, you can also be enjoying a glass of Florida Orange Juice. Every glass (the recommended daily intake of Florida OJ is eight ounces for adults) of Florida Orange Juice has the Amazing Five. In just one glass you have Taste, Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium and No Added Sugar. Fancy it up with a slice of orange and serve in a pretty glass to add to the experience.

Read a Book- When people ask me how I’m able to read so many books, I have to say that these soaks have been where I have done some of my best reading. A book tray has been a smart investment for this bookworm and it feels like I’m really escaping when I can dive into a little fiction.

5 Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority Around the Holidays

Add Small Indulgences to Your Daily Routines

Wrapping, cooking, organizing, and cleaning are things we are all doing to prepare for the holidays. There is no reason that these routines can’t be coupled with small indulgences though, that can make the experience a little more pleasurable. I love to upgrade my boring routine to-do list items with something that brings me joy.

Wrapping gifts?

Why not belly-laugh to ELF while you are wrapping!

DIY Orange Sugar Scrub

Doing dishes?

Add a jar of this diy orange scrub (recipe below) to your agenda and give your hands a little pampering.

Cleaning the house?

Snag an audiobook from your library, strap on some wireless headphones and your fanny pack (this is TOTALLY what I do) and listen to a great book while you clean.

Pairing something that’s pleasurable with something that is not makes tasks like these much more bearable!

Marco Polo App

Make Time for People

This is the season where we can get really swept away with spending and shopping. It has a tendency to pull us away from the heart of what the season is about and into a frenzy of bad spending. In fact, an alarming number of shoppers are still trying to pay off their debt from holiday shopping last year. Instead of giving so much, what if we all just spent more time on each other.

Don’t have time? I have the perfect solution!

The Marco Polo app, shared with me by my sister, is my new favorite way to communicate with the people I love. It’s essentially a video walkie talkie that allows you to send a video back and forth to talk to each other, but doesn’t require you to hop on FaceTime or Skype at the same time. When schedules are impossible to coordinate, this can be an amazing solution for a busy mom.

I now talk and see my sister and best friend every day and even have virtual wine dates with my girlfriends in town. You can even do big group video chats if you can’t schedule a coffee together! How cool is that?

I consider time with good friends and family to be an essential part of my self-care, especially as a work-at-home mom.

Focus on people, not presents!

Rethink Your Idea of Self-Care

The last thing that I want to say is that self-care is much more than these acts.  I linked to this article in my notebook and I still am thinking about it. Self-care is setting healthy limitations that require self-discipline, setting healthy boundaries in relationships, not loading our calendar up so we get run down, and ridding our life of things that are negative or drain us.
Self-care means going to bed on time, giving yourself unscheduled spaces during the day, not going overboard on the food and drinks of the season, and saying no (even if we have to experience FOMO).

Did you notice that everything in this list is FREE? Self-care isn’t a treat yo’self experience that costs a lot, it is making time and space for things that help you feel emotionally and physically balanced! 

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 fun season!
DIY Orange Sugar Scrub from MomAdvice.com

DIY Orange Sugar Scrub
Recipe type: Beauty
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This DIY Orange Sugar Scrub is a wonderful self-care treat for your hands and body! Thank you to Florida Department of Citrus for sponsoring this fun DIY!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • ½ cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Essential Oil (like this)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, heat the coconut oil over low heat, until it is melted.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, melted coconut oil, and a teaspoon of orange essential oil until fully combined.
  3. Scoop into a mason jar (the one in the picture has been doubled) and store with an airtight lid.
  4. When using, scoop a small amount into your hands, scrub gently (allowing the sugar to exfoliate), rinse, and pat dry.

This blog was sponsored by Florida Department of Citrus. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

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DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Monday, November 6th, 2017

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

What could be more fun than decorating for the holiday season? For this month’s holiday project, I wanted to share with you a fun DIY project for creating festive yarn trees that you can create to decorate a ledge, table, or mantle in your home.  You will only need a few affordable supplies from your craft shop to create this craft.

Don’t think of these as only a decoration for Christmas. These are beautiful to display all holiday season long, especially in a nice warm neutral yarn!

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Supplies List

2-    3-7/8 x 8-7/8  inch  Styrofoam floral cones

2- 3-7/8 x 11-7/8 inch  Styrofoam floral cones

4 glass candlestick holders (optional)

2 skeins of  inexpensive yarn (in your favorite color)

Small & Large Clover Pom-Pom Makers (unless making pom-poms by hand)

Hot glue gun

Glue Sticks

Straight Pins

Scissors

3.75 mm straight yarn needles

2-4.00 mm double-pointed needles

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Instructions for Making Your Yarn Trees

1. For each of the smaller trees, you will need approximately 73-75 small pom poms. I am in love with my pom-pom maker for making these and have provided a picture tutorial above, if you would like to use these too.  Make sure to give your pom-poms a nice trim, to even up any uneven spots.

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

2. Once you have made all of your pom-poms, it is time to assemble them to your tree-form. Grab your hot glue gun and apply a dab of glue in the center of the pom-pom (where you have tied the string to gather everything.  Apply the pom-poms to the tree, starting at the bottom and working your way around the tree. Try not to line these up all evenly, but stagger them in each row to make it look more like a real tree!

3. Continue adding pom-poms until you get to the top of the tree, making sure all of the tree-form is completely covered.

4. Make a large pom-pom in a contrasting color and secure it with hot glue, in the center again, and add it to the top of the tree as your star.

5. Finish by giving your tree a trim, especially at the top, to trim all of the yarn down to make it look more like a tree.

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

6. For an easy yarn-wrapped tree, begin by adding a dab of hot glue to the top of your taller tree-forms. Begin by applying your yarn in a swirled motion at the top. Add one more dab of glue at the top and begin wrapping your tree-form all the way around it until you are about a half-inch from the bottom.

7. Add one more dab of glue and then finish adding the yarn until you reach the bottom of the form. Clip the yarn and secure the end with a little hot glue.

8. Decorate this tree-form any way that you would like. If you are not a knitter, there are many varieties of ways you can decorate these yarn trees. You can top with a pom-pom in an alternating color, create a multi-colored pom-pom for topping, braid yarn to create a garland, or create some garland out of a contrasting color.

9. If you are a knitter, knit a 3-stitch i-cord using two 4.0 mm double-pointed needles  for a total of 32.5 inches. Using straight pins, secure the i-cord to the top of the tree and then wrap around and around, securing occasionally with pins, until the tree is completely wrapped in garland.

10. Top your tree with a simple knitted bow, if knitting an adornment. Using your 3.75 mm straight needles, cast on ten stitches. Knit the first row, then purl the next row. Repeat this pattern until it measures 6.5 inches in length. Cast the stitches off and then seam them in the center. Using more yarn, simply wrap the center of the bow and then knot the yarn behind. Secure the bow at the top with hot glue.

11. Attach all of the trees to inexpensive dollar-store candlestick holders. If you desire, you can spray paint these in your favorite color or just leave them plain, as I have shown.

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

I hope you love these little yarn trees as much as I do! It is definitely an inexpensive and fun way to dress up a corner of your home for the holidays!

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

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Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

DIY Vanilla Chai Tea Mix from MomAdvice.com

 

Are you as ready for fall as I am? As soon as the weather starts turning, I start thinking of all the things that I love about autumn. The crisp leaves, the cool air, my cozy slippers, flannel sheets, and warm drinks. In fact, sipping warm drinks with a good book is one of my all-time favorite fall activities.

My favorite warm drink is chai and I look forward to making this each and every year for our family. Is it your favorite too? I love to have homemade chai tea mix in a jar on hand for sipping or for sharing with a good friend.

I am sure you have seen that the drink mixes can be quite expensive, but mixing up a batch of this DIY Vanilla Chai mix for yourself can help to keep your pockets nice and warm with a little extra money. Most of the spices, dry creamer, and dry milk are already stocked in my pantry or can be found easily on the baking shelves at our local grocery store. The only additions I usually have to run out and get is the instant tea and powdered vanilla creamer. When I see a sale on these ingredients, I stock up so I don’t run out in the colder months. We tend to go through this mix rather quickly because it is such a hit over here.

To make the batch more smooth, instead of gritty, I process everything through my blender. I first mix all of the white ingredients in my blender (milk, sugar, creamer, vanilla creamer). I dump those in a plastic container and then I mix up all the brown ingredients (tea and spices). I pour this on top in the plastic container, seal the lid and give it a good shaking to incorporate or mix it up with a spoon. If you have a large food processor, you may be able to process it all together, but if you have a blender it is best to do this in divided batches.

DIY Vanilla Chai Mix in a Jar from MomAdvice.com

Not only is this drink mix wonderful for yourself, but mixing up a batch of this and tucking some of it in a mug would be a wonderful gift to give to someone special in your life. I often rely on this easy mix in a jar for a teacher or bus driver gift because it is always a hit. Who wouldn’t want a jar of that in their pantry?

If you are sharing this one with your kids, be sure to look for a mix like this.

You’ll have to trust me on that one since I have made that mistake a few times (*ahem*)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do- please let me know what you think!

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Mix up this easy recipe for Vanilla Chai to keep in your pantry to enjoy throughout the cooler months. This is also a great gift mix to share with family and friends.
Ingredients
  • Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder. Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.

Love this mix? Check out my hot cocoa mix with an ingredient that just might surprise you! You might also love this link to some of my favorite copycat DIY Starbucks Drinks or this great roundup of fall drinks– yum! What is your favorite autumn/winter drink? Do you have any recipes to share for your favorite drink mixes?

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial for Fall

Monday, August 21st, 2017

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

I’m back to crafting today (all the jazz hands!) and I’m SO excited to share a fun apple wreath tutorial to freshen up your front door for fall, but I’m even more excited to share with you a secret that I’ve been keeping for the past couple of months.

Westcott, our sponsor today, has launched a new Mini Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Pen.

A  hot glue pen, you say?

Yes!

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Let’s talk about the Mini Hot Glue Guns first. The Mini Hot Glue Gun comes in two versions, high temp (this baby reached up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and low temp (that can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit).  What makes these a little different are the smart features that I’ve always wished my glue gun had and I know you will appreciate too.

This has a non-stick tip (!!!) and the nozzle changes color from blue to red so you know when it is ready to use. No guessing and burning yourself checking it anymore! It also has been ergonomically designed to help your hands stay comfortable for all your crafting time.

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Since I have so much joint pain, I haven’t been crafting as much as I used to. This new Hot Glue Pen though is incredible and helps with your precision and accuracy when you are doing detailed projects. This one also turns colors to indicate when it is ready and it offers a finger trigger right on top to help you dispense glue in a more controlled way.

I have joked that our entire house is held together with a glue gun so I was MORE THAN HAPPY to spread the good news about these new products! You can read more over here and also check out their new site for Westcott Creativators.

How about we take these for a test drive and craft up a beautiful diy apple wreath for your home, to share with a teacher, or a fun wreath to hang to celebrate back to school?

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

14″ styrofoam wreath form (or your own preferred size)

60-80 mini foam apples (I used 80 on mine to make it full)

24-30 feet of Mesh Burlap

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen or Mini Hot Glue Gun (low temp is great for gluing together plastic and styrofoam)

Hot glue sticks

1-2 Pins to secure on the back

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

 Directions to Make an Apple Wreath

1. Begin by wrapping burlap around the styrofoam wreath form. Once the entire wreath is wrapped in burlap, secure with a couple of pins to keep the burlap tight.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

2. Heat up your Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen and wait for the tip to turn red, to indicate that it is hot and ready. Begin securing these foam apples all around your burlap wreath, taking your time holding each of these to the burlap until they are secure. Be sure to tilt them in different directions, covering the entire top of the wreath. You can then leave the wreath as is or you can add another layer on top in between the first layer apples. I loved the dimension of two levels on this wreath so I added an extra round of apples to finish my wreath.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

3. Finish by hanging your wreath on a door. I looped a little twine on the back through the holes in the burlap to finish this wreath!

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

I hope you have fun making a wreath of your own, for yourself or for your favorite teacher! This is such an easy craft to make and can be enjoyed throughout the fall season. Thank you to Westcott for all the hot glue gun fun! I’m so excited to work on future projects with this smartly designed craft tool!

 

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

DIY Easter Egg Tree

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

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

Can you believe that Easter is just around the corner? Today I wanted to show you a fun centerpiece for your table that I created with a few acrylic paints and a fun item I found in the candy aisle! I’m showing you how to make this adorable DIY Easter Egg Tree that could be a fun craft to make for your home or a great alternative to egg dying if you have older kiddos!

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

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

9″ styrofoam cone

1 package Whoppers Robin Eggs

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Lagoon, Coral, & Sunshine (or whatever colors match your home interior)

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

1 package sheet moss

1 1/2 Waverly Ribbon

Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Sticks

Scissors

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting and prepping moss (I used a large trash bag)

How to Make a DIY Easter Egg Tree

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by covering your styrofoam cone with your sheet moss and CAREFULLY securing it with hot glue.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

Keep in mind, these fibers do separate so you want to be careful where you put your fingers. Overlapping slightly, keep adding pieces of moss to the cone until you get to the top. I folded a small piece over to cover the tip of the cone and then worked my moss around it, much like I did with the scrappy fabric trees I made for the holidays.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

2. Give your candy eggs a good coat of paint. I selected paint colors that matched our home in coral, blue, and a sunshine yellow. Don’t worry if you don’t get every spot on the eggs painted because you can paint them once they are more secure. Give these about fifteen minutes to dry and then attach them with hot glue to your tree, carefully spacing the colors out as best as you can. I ended up painting 12 of each color to cover my mossy tree.

3. Once you have attached the eggs securely, now you can touch-up the paint to make sure they are covered fully.

4. Finish with a little ribbon and glue your bow to the top of your tree.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

The moss does have a tendency to shed so put a plate underneath to catch the debris and put this beauty on your dining table, an end table, or on your mantle. Isn’t that too cute?

I hope you have as much fun making this craft as we did! It’s been a true pleasure working with Waverly Inspirations this year and sharing the journey with you!

How about more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

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

 

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