Archive for the ‘Printables’ Category

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained Header

Looking for new crafts to keep kids entertained in these upcoming weeks? Today I’m sharing super easy craft projects for kids of any age. If you are looking for super cute paper crafts, diy science projects, or homemade craft activities made from kitchen ingredients, MomAdvice has you covered!

This week happens to be our Spring Break and, I have to say, this is quite an unusual for most families.

I wanted to gather some fun ideas for keeping the kids entertained, if you happen to be looking for a few great ideas for boredom busters.

While many of these crafts rely upon common household items, I do want to share a list of my favorite resources for purchasing craft supplies right now.

Where to Buy Affordable Craft Supplies Online

Where Can I Get Supplies Right Now For My Projects?

First, be sure you are signed up (or signed in) with your Rakuten account to get money back on all your purchases. 

If you haven’t signed up, this referral link should give you $10 to put towards your craft supplies. 

Haven’t heard of it?

Here is a whole post on why this is a great app for receiving cash back rewards, especially as we all have switched (mostly) to online ordering.

Once you have that set up, here are some of my favorite resources to check out!

Bluprint If you are looking for even more craft ideas, Bluprint is offering their classes for FREE through April 16th.

I have taken so many fun classes through this platform. In fact, that’s how I finally got the hang of food photography!

Oriental Trading Company- This is one of the most affordable sites for good deals on shopping for kids crafts.

They offer so much in bulk, which is perfect for bigger families or even splitting the cost on craft materials with a friend or neighbor.

Dollar Tree Did you know that you can order your arts & crafts supplies online from this budget-friendly dollar store? 

In fact, the store has even more offerings online than they care on their store shelves.

Etsy Did you know that you can shop Etsy for your craft supplies? Crafting has been a huge part of my job and one of my favorite discoveries is how affordable it is to buy my supplies in bulk from Etsy sellers.

To make sure that I receive my orders in time, I try to filter by results that are within my own country, just to reduce those long days waiting to do our projects.

Michael’s Of course, this has always been my go-to in town so this will continue to be my go-to online.

Be sure to download their app or subscribe to their email list to receive coupons to put towards your craft supplies.

JoAnn Fabrics Order online or take advantage of their curbside pick-up to grab your craft supplies.

Also, don’t forget to download their app so you can take advantage of additional coupon savings!

Now let’s get crafting!

We have arranged these projects by age groups today.

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained Header

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained

Arts & Crafts Ideas for Early Childhood

Bubble Snakes from MomAdvice.com How to Make Bubble Snakes from MomAdvice

You are going to be amazed at the difference in this solution versus what you buy at the store and the staying power of your bubble snake. Not only are making bubbles and bubble snakes fun, but they are also a lesson in science.

Boredom Busters / MomAdvice.com How to Make Recycled Crayons from Good Life Eats

These Easy Recycled Crayons are a fun project for to do. Plus, you’ll get the bonus of your art supplies getting dejunked and reorganized in the process.

3 Ingredient Cloud Dough from MomAdvice.com 3 Ingredient Cloud Dough from MomAdvice

Here is an easy 3-ingredient Cloud Dough recipe that you can make for your kids! This fluffy dough is a great sensory activity for kids and is so fun to play with that even adults want to get on the action.

 

Boredom Busters / MomAdvice.com Amazon Alexa Games for Kids from Living in a Happy Place

20+ fun and learning games kids can play with Alexa! Get a free printable list.

DIY Chalkboard Door from MomAdvice.com DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door from MomAdvice

Here is an easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door that I created to entertain the kids! Give your kids some chalk and the chance to create their own welcome sign for your guests outdoors! The best part is the hours of enjoyment they get and the lack of dirt showing on my outdoor door in the backyard.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Nerf Gun Games with Target Printable from Crafting with Kids

Learn how to create your own nerf wars with targets made from household items.

Homemade Playdough Recipe from MomAdvice.com Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe from MomAdvice

Homemade playdough lasts forever and can be created in whatever vibrant shades your heart desires. This homemade playdough recipe is an easy one to create from items you already have in your pantry and homemade playdough with a big stack of cookie cutters? Well, that just equals hours of fun in our house.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Fizzy Dinosaur Egg Play from Simple Everyday Mom

These fizzy dinosaur eggs are a fun dinosaur STEM project that your kids will want to do over and over again.

 

Shower Curtain Art Canvas from MomAdvice.com Shower Curtain Art Canvas from MomAdvice

A day stuck inside is the perfect opportunity to break out one of my dollar store activities for our kids. I bought a shower liner ($1) and had the kids decorate the shower curtain with whatever their heart’s delight was. I don’t know about you, but my children like to go through a million pieces of paper a day so this was the perfect canvas for their artistic souls.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Soccer Fun Cootie Catcher from Rock Your Homeschool

Now, your soccer fans can enjoy awesome indoor fun with this free printable soccer cootie catcher!

 

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies from MomAdvice.com DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice

You can create the cutest craft to celebrate spring! We are making DIY pom pom bunnies from a few common items you probably have in your craft supplies and recycling drink containers.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Easy Salt Dough Recipe for Kids from Unsophisticook

This simple and easy salt dough recipe is the perfect rainy day activity… Kids will master valuable kitchen skills while learning how to make salt dough, and then spend hours playing with it! 

 

Rainbow Science Experiments from MomAdvice.com 3 Easy Rainbow Experiments from MomAdvice

These rainbow experiments are not only fun, but also educational. We know we are guaranteed spectacular rainbows with these 3 fun activities.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Lego Challenge: 30 Days of Play Calendar from That Brick Life

Keep the kids busy with this 30 day LEGO Challenge!

 

Sidewalk Chalk Paint DIY from MomAdvice.com How to Make Chalk Paint from MomAdvice

This is my favorite homemade sidewalk chalk paint recipe. Making DIY sidewalk chalk paint couldn’t be easier and many of the supplies are likely lurking right in your cupboard.

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas for Tweens

DIY Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice

Who doesn’t love a crazy chemical reaction? Since we have older kids, we have found it takes a lot to wow them so I wanted to create some science fun that they had never seen before. Grab your safety glasses and dive into a fun science experiment with us as we make Elephant Toothpaste and learn a heck of a lot of science in the process.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com 10 Patterns Perfect for Kids to Embroider from Swoodson Says

Help kids learn how to hand embroidery with one of these simple patterns for kids to stitch!

DIY String Art Tutorial from MomAdvice.com DIY String Art Tutorial with Heart Template from MomAdvice

With tiny nails, embroidery floss, and our free heart pattern, you have everything you need for your first string art project. Learn how to make your own heart shapes with this easy diy project for you or for your kids.

 

Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice

I have crafted up a watermelon boat that you can share with your kids for your family night together. This fun food craft can be created together, adding your own personal pirate touches, or you can create it to surprise the kids for your family night.

DIY Dream Catcher from MomAdvice.com DIY Dream Catcher from MomAdvice

Here is a DIY dream catcher that is a fun way to capture dreams and wished. This was an easy one hour project that really gave me and the kids some time to bond and talk about our wishes for the upcoming year. 

How to Make the DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe With These Fun Slime Ingredients Header DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice

Looking for a new DIY recipe for making Fluffy Slime? Making slime is a lot of fun and a great way to teach your children how to measure ingredients.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Lego Coding Activity from Brain Power Boy

Use LEGO bricks to learn to code! Easy to pull together activity to get them learning coding while being offline.

 

3-ingredient-star-cakes from MomAdvice.com Mini Star Cakes from MomAdvice

Check out these mini star cakes that you can prepare out of just 3 items from your pantry. These cakes are easy enough that your kid can put these together and impressive enough to share with your friends.

 

Pom Pom Flower Bouquets from MomAdvice.com Pom Pom Flower Bouquets from MomAdvice

What could be more fun than a bouquet of pom pom posies that you can enjoy all year long? You won’t believe how easy it is to make pom pom flowers for a special someone in your life. And it is a great way to use up scraps of yarn!

 

Book Series for Kids who Love Harry Potter from MomAdvice.com Book Series for Kids who Love Harry Potter from MomAdvice

I know I’m not alone in navigating the challenge of a tween who loves books and can read at a higher grade level than she’s in – or ready for. So just in case you have a kid who loves Harry Potter (but has already read them all or isn’t ready for the next book in the series) in your life, I’ve got a few other series that might keep your bookworm busy.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.om Harry Potter Brain Breaks for Fantastic Fun from Rock Your Homeschool

Your Harry Potter fans can enjoy magical fun with these special brain breaks. Includes prompts for hands-on activities & to get kids up & moving!

Coffee Filter Flowers from MomAdvice.com DIY Coffee Filter Posies from MomAdvice

I have been dying to make coffee filter flowers and wanted to share with you just how easy and inexpensive it is to make these for a fun table centerpiece or just a few posies on your nightstand to brighten up your room.

 

How to Make a Minecraft Steve Costume from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Minecraft Steve Costume from MomAdvice 

Got a Minecraft fan? Here is a fun Minecraft Costume you can create for your very own little Minecraft-addict. DIY Minecraft costumes are fun to make with your kids and give you a chance to spend time together.

 

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas for Teens

DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com DIY Succulent Terrarium from MomAdvice

Succulents are my kind of plants because they are so low maintenance and they don’t require a lot of water. Here is an easy DIY showing you how to make a succulent terrarium as budget-friendly as possible.

DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial from MomAdvice

Learn how to make book page flowers out of old books to brighten someone’s day. These book flower bouquets are beautiful to display or to give as a treat to someone else!

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice

I am such a fan of fabric dying and we wanted to show you a way that you can customize your style. This is a fun way to customize your gym shoes or to refresh an old pair of sneakers.

 

DIY Watercolor + Digital Art from MomAdvice.com DIY Watercolor and Digital Art from MomAdvice

Does your child love to watercolor? Have them create their own water color and teach them how to transform into their own digital print that they can share with someone they love. You can also snag this free DIY Watercolor Printable that we made for you for Spring! 

 

DIY Slowcooker pumpkin spice candles from MomAdvice.com DIY Slow Cooker Candles from MomAdvice

Learn how to make your own DIY candles in your crockpot or slow cooker. Did you know you can make pumpkin spice scented candles at home with just wax, a wick, and essential oils? This easy tutorial will have you make large batches of candles in no time. Just switch up your oils for a different scent!

 

How to Knit an Easy Warmer Headband from MomAdvice.com How to Knit an Ear Warmer Headband from MomAdvice

Learn how to knit this chunky cable knit headband. This is the perfect beginner pattern to lean how to cable. The best part? No cable needles required! Use this free knitting pattern to make these this gorgeous knitted craft, perfect to stash away for people in need! 

 

DIY Book Tote with free printable designs from MomAdvice.com DIY Book Tote with Free Designs from MomAdvice

A good book bag is essential, isn’t it?  Here are some awesome book totes for you to take along using a simple set of canvas tote bags and our free set of printables. Simply print and iron on your own canvas tote bags for a fun craft day! These also make for such a great gift for the book lovers in your life – there’s a grown-up quote, a floral heart and an adorable gal or guy fox to choose from.

DIY Vintage Book Page Art from MomAdvice.com DIY Vintage Book Page Art from MomAdvice

Make some beautiful Springtime art to hang in your home, use for cardmaking or crafts. 

 

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas For Any Age

Create a Family Cookbook from MomAdvice.com Create a Family Cookbook with your Kids from MomAdvice

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

How to Find & Write Pen Pals from MomAdvice.com How to Find and Write Pen Pals from MomAdvice

Pen Pals are a beautiful thing in a digital age where pen, paper, the process of writing, and waiting are so hard in our fast moving culture. Here is our experience with finding and writing pen pals that I hope will inspire you to find a pen pal of your own for your child.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com 150 Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix from Homeschool Hideout

Create a separate profile on Netflix for these upcoming homeschool days. Name it “School” and add ONLY educational materials to this profile.

 

DIY Herb Garden & Markers from MomAdvice.com DIY Herb Garden & Markers from MomAdvice

Gardening is a hobby that is great to share with children. The herbs are small and easy for them to take care of. You can make extra and drop them off as gifts to neighbors!

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com How to Regrow Vegetable Scraps from Simple Bites

Check out this earth-friendly craft for turning kitchen compost scraps into pretty spring greens.

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. This post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

How to Make Car S'mores from MomAdvice.com How to Make Car S’mores from MomAdvice

Have you ever ate a car s’more? No? Well, in my opinion, you haven’t lived until you have tried this fun food activity together. I guarantee that your kids will flip for this and I am betting that years from now my kids will be talking about that one time when their crazy mom let them make s’mores in the car.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Cardboard Tube Bird Feeders from Glitter on a Dime

Recycle those toilet paper and paper towel tubes into easy bird feeders.

 

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice

Have you ever wanted to create your own DIY Outdoor Home Theater? We have had this on our bucket list for years and this summer we decided to finally put together our very own DIY outdoor movie night together with our kids and are sharing it with you! There is something truly magical about watching a movie together under the stars and I love that you can do this right in the comfort of your very own backyard.

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Here are some other fun craft ideas from MomAdvice.com: The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

 

 

Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com Chunky Knit Blanket with Free Pattern

 

 

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com DIY Yarn Pom Pom Wreath 

 

 

Crafting with vinyl from MomAdvice.com Crafting with Vinyl Records

 

DIY Bike Makeovers MomAdvicce.com

DIY Bicycle Makeover Ideas

Happy Crafting!

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Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Header

Are you looking for some new ways to divide the daily chores and house cleaning? This weekly cleaning schedule teaches kids to participate in household chores and helps them learn valuable life skills. Use these free printable chore charts to motivate your kids to participate in achieving a clean home and learn how we have taught our kids to help at all ages of life.

Before I launch into our household routines, I just want to acknowledge that we are all in VERY different places, both mentally and physically, since this pandemic has descended up on our world.

For me, I have been very consumed by worry for our family’s health, a growing concern for my sister who works in healthcare, and about our extended family members.

This pandemic, in fact, became so all-consuming that I reached out to my physician for some anxiety medication and have found a heightened sense of insecurity with my own safety being out in our world.

Although this week is better, I do find myself hitting big waves of grief, anger over others not doing what they are supposed to, and frustration with communication from politicians.

I do believe these waves will continue, especially as more and more people around me have been diagnosed or as jobs are lost and financial struggles have increased.

What I do know is that, FOR ME, I was also feeling really unprepared with everyone being here all day, the endless food preparation, and our home feeling more and more chaotic.

Can you relate?

My husband said it would be incredibly helpful if I would start making a list of all the things that need to be done around our house and begin to split these duties.

Chore Tickets download my chore and tech tickets for younger kids

When the kids were young, I was big on the weekly chore chart and even made these punchable tickets for tackling chores and reducing screen time.

When I started to have health problems, we decided to hire a cleaning service to help me with our weekly cleaning tasks.

Anyone who has had the privilege of hiring a cleaning service knows that a lot of preparation is required before the cleaning.

I would, honestly, spend an entire day prepping for their arrival and welcomed this as part of our bi-weekly routine. #whiteladyproblems

Hiring them was more about the accountability than just the help with the harder physical tasks of cleaning.

I fully acknowledged, without this visit, our house would start falling apart.

Now that we are all home together (and practicing social distancing), I needed to figure out chore lists that would give my kids responsibilities and divide up tasks evenly so that all the chores did not fall on me.

Family

For the record, my kids are 17 and 14 so they are more than capable of pitching in to assist. I don’t have to worry as much about kid chore charts or making sure they are age appropriate chores, they really are becoming mini-adults.

What I DID have to do though was teach them how to do these tasks so that we could all enjoy our space.

If anything comes out of this awful time it is that my kids are learning some very valuable life lessons about caring for a home, preparing food, and working more as a family unit.

I am sure these are all things that we could have been doing before, but having the space to do them has really helped our family a lot.

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Printable Example examples of tasks for my 17 year-old

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Chore Chart examples of tasks for my 14 year-old

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Example Chart examples of tasks my husband is assisting me with

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) examples of tasks I’m doing each week

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts)

Make a List of Tasks That Need to Be Done

I started with a lined sheet of paper and wrote down every chore that I would like to see happen throughout the week.

Chores around the house were jotted down, as well as more general tasks like laundry, menu planning, changing the air filters, checking our water softener, moving the cars around, and grocery shopping.

Divide Routine Tasks So They Don’t Fall on One Family Member

Instead of telling one kid that they need to clean out the kitty litter box, for example, each family member is rotating a day on that single task.

This means that we all get a turn cleaning up our cat’s poo-poo.

How fun is that? Hahaha!

Figure Out How You Can Do These Tasks In Tandem Together

The idea of working as a family unit is that no one person is responsible for everything.

Instead of just one person working in the living room, for example, each person is assigned a task in that room or a task that is on that level in the home.

To tackle cleaned bathrooms, for example, we have the family divided working in our two bathrooms and doing one or two elements of that routine.

One person is quick vacuuming the floors, swiping sinks, and emptying trash.

Another person is cleaning the tubs, washing the throw rugs, and restocking bathroom supplies.

We do have to work together to nail the order down of task completion, but this system is already proving to be really effective in not weighing one person down.

To make this happen, I also did have to purchase some more cleaning equipment (welcome to your new cleaning caddy, kids!)  so that we all had the tools that we needed. 

If you are looking for a good online source, this is the site that I would recommend for doorstep delivery. (affiliate link, but should give you a free 5-piece cleaning set to get started!)

Daily Tasks During Quarantine

Try to Make Daily Standing Routines

While practicing our social distancing, I’m trying not to fall into a complete slump with personal hygiene, getting dressed, and moving. We made a list of things that are important to us (like, a daily walk!) that help keep us moving and help us manage our day better.

This was inspired by this incredible guidance on how to reduce anxiety while we are quarantined.

It really is incredible how much this helps.

I also will say that limiting myself to a coffee hour and a virtual New York Time subscription has allowed me to feel informed and not consumed.

These don’t have to be productive routines, just routines that you know will work well for your mental and physical health right now.

Don’t Be Afraid to Rotate Tasks

Even though I have tried to make things as evenly as possible, in our home, I have offered that the kids can switch roles monthly so that they don’t get stuck doing the same tasks over and over again.

If your kids are liking their habits though, don’t switch it up unless it is necessary.

Allow Room for Rest

I don’t want to clean on the weekends and feel like we ALL deserve to put our feet up on the weekend. That means that our routines are just outlined for Monday-Friday. This gives us Saturday and Sunday with the freedom to allow for rest and relaxation.

Once again, you do NOT need to be doing chore charts if you don’t care about this right now.

YOU DO YOU.

For me, establishing routines (even if it is just 15 minutes a day) makes me feel normal and helps give flow and purpose to this time.

I hope this helps inspire you to create your own routines that help you feel a little more like yourself too.

Sending loads of love and protection over each of your families. 

Click here to download my blank chore chart

Click here to download a blank daily schedule chart

Tech-Chore Tickets Free Printable Click here to download our printable chore or tech time tickets

Click here to read how we did our chore charts when our kids were small

Looking for more help around the house? Check out these articles!

how to successfully menu plan

how to make diy swiffer pads

how to clean and stock your refrigerator

How have your cleaning routines changed now that you are all home together? 

The Grace Year Book Club Questions and Reading Guide

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

  The Grace Year Bookmark Printable

Are you looking for great book club questions for The Grace Year? Look no further than this FREE reading guide that has everything you need to host a great book chat with a thoughtful discussion. We have linked to all of the materials you need to host a book club of your own! 

It was an incredible honor to host our first book chat of 2020 to discuss, The Grace Year. 

We had our highest attendance and participation and even got a surprise appearance by Kim Liggett who raffled off signed copies of her book to our participants. 

The best part about hosting these online is that you can pick up and join in on the chat whenever it is convenient for you. I also leave all events open so even if you read this book months from now, you can still participate and read the book club questions and responses from our members. 

I also wanted to provide our local readers with a reading guide that they can use that has everything they need to host a Grace Year Book Club.

You can print our free reading guide, free bookmarks for attendees, read our author interview, and learn more about this incredible book with all of the resources I have gathered for you.

A big thank you to all of our attendees and to Kim for her generosity and participation in our discussion.

The Grace Year Book Club Questions and Reading Guide

Download The Grace Year Reading Guide

 

Hosting a Book Club? Check out these other posts for supplemental materials!

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark download our free bookmarks

The Grace Year Book Club Interview With Kim Liggett read my interview with kim liggett about the grace year

January Book Club Pick; The Grace Year by Kim Liggett learn more about the grace year and why it is the perfect 2020 book club selection

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections join our free online book club today

Happy Reading!

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

The Grace Year Book Club: Free Printable Bookmark

Friday, January 24th, 2020

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

Join us for our MomAdvice Book Club as we dig into, The Grace Year by Kim Liggett. Download your free printable bookmark and tie it off with a little red ribbon. This dystopian young adult thriller explores the topic of girls on the edge of womanhood with themes that hit all the right Handmaid’s Tale notes.

The MomAdvice Book Club has started with a bang and the 2020 Book Club announcement yielded over three hundred additional members who have joined the free club.

Our January selection is, “The Grace Year,” by Kim Liggett and I have heard from so many of you how much you have enjoyed this month’s pick. 

For many, I have heard that it has been a long time until a book kept you up until way past your bedtime.  The conversations of exhausted women, who just couldn’t stop flipping those pages, has been just the kind of exhausting story that this bookworm loves hearing about.

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

Here are some of my favorite comments that were posted in our book club group this month! 

“This book took me back to my early childhood experiences with reading; it took me back to the magic of why I fell in love with books; it completely swept me away, had me staying up to read just one more chapter—just one more chapter; it had me sitting outside of Starbucks flipping page after page, because I just couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. It was an amazing experience, powerful, dark, thought-provoking, and I loved every minute of it! So much ‘meat’ to pull off the bone with this one. I am really looking forward to the January 31st book talk. Thank you for making this the January read.”

“I’m normally in bed by 10, but Oh. My. Goodness. The Grace Year had me up till 3:30! The best book I’ve read since The Nightingale ❤❤. Can’t wait till our discussion!”

“I have read several good and some really good books recently but none that kept me up past bedtime or had me grabbing my Kindle on the way out the door just in case I had any waiting time where I could be reading. Besides that this was a page turner, I loved so many of the messages and things that got me thinking. A real plus when an entertaining story has substance too and isn’t just a fun read for the sake of fun! Thanks, Amy, for this pick!”

“I just finished The Grace Year last night and highly recommend for anyone who loved The Hunger Games!”

“I was up until 2am! Which is not me at all…but I just couldn’t stop reading!”

This is just a snippet of the commentary that was happening around this book. 

Was it everyone’s cup of tea?

Of course not! 

We all have such different tastes in books and that is why I picked so many different genres and books with very different pacing. Some are more character driven, some more plot driven, some slow burns, some fast page-turners…honestly, there is something for everyone this year.

Coming fresh off the holidays, I wanted something that you could devour quickly and that I thought would spur a delicious conversation.

Also in record numbers are the RSVP’s to this month’s book discussion.

137, to be exact, and still counting! 

I am thrilled to see that so many of you have connected with this month’s book and I can’t wait to talk with you about it.

On top of our book club discussion, I will be revealing the responses from a Q&A with Kim Liggett about her book and why she wanted to bring this story to life.

Following the conversation, her answers will be posted here and the Q&A that I’ve developed so you can replicate this one in your own local book clubs.

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

What is The Grace Year About?

In case you didn’t catch my announcement about our January pick, I’ll give you a quick synopsis (with no spoilers). 

No one actually speaks of the grace year, but this is a rite of passage for all the girls in Garner County.

In this dystopian environment, the men believe that women are able to drive them mad with jealousy because of a powerful aphrodisiac that is emitted from their skin.

Their power to lure grown men,  is why they must be sent to the forest to release their magic into the wild.

To save the men of the county, teenage girls are sent to the forest, to release this, so they can return to their town purified and ready for marriage.

When does their skin emit a powerful aphrodisiac with this potent essence?

Well, unfortunately their sixteenth year releases it and they then must become the grace year girls.

Most girls are resigned to their fate, but there is one girl who thinks this ritual takes her away from a better life.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James quickly realizes though that these girls aren’t just resigned to their coming-of-age duties…they are out to stop anyone who gets in their way.

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

As a gift to you, I wanted to share a printable bookmark that was designed just for you by a very talented designer (designer- M.J. from Pars Caeli).

We used the quote, “Your eyes are wide open, but you see nothing,” which was a sentence that stood out to me. Not only is it thoughtful for the plot of this book, but I believe it is  something that we are dealing with in the reality of these modern days.

Please print out this free download, cut it to your desired size, hole punch it, and loop some scarlet ribbon through it. 

I hope you love these freebie as much as I love sharing it.

My goal is to make the book club even more interactive this year and I hope this is just one way I can show my appreciation for your participation.

Click HERE to Download The Grace Year Bookmark 

Love this post? Here are a few others you might love!

January Book Club Pick: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett learn more about our january book club selection (and why you should read it)

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections get the full list of titles for this year’s book club discussions

The Best Books of 2019 from MomAdvice.com not enough books? don’t miss my list of the 20 best books of 2019 for your stack!

Happy reading, friends!

The Grace Year Book Club Free Printable Bookmark

 

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The 2020 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE PRINTABLE)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

2020 MomAdvice Reading Challenge

 

 

Are you reading for your next book challenge? Set a goal to switch up your reading this year with our 2020 reading challenge worksheet. These 24 prompts will help you expand your reading this year.

I hope you caught our MomAdvice 2020 Book Club selections that were announced this week! I am so excited to share these next twelve books with you and thrilled about the new additions we are making to help create a more interactive reading experience for you.

I have heard that many of you have really benefited from these reading challenge worksheet so today I am sharing a year in reading challenge that should help you reach your reading goals and challenge you to read more books this year.

What is a Reading Challenge?

Typically, reading challenges are lists that offer prompts for selecting books throughout the year.

Reading challenges can offer advanced reader goals (reading books over 800 pages, classics, 52 books for each week of the year, 50 book challenges, or advanced nonfiction topics), fun exploratory ways of reading (i.e.- reading a book that starts with each letter in the alphabet, reading that is set to one theme (only books by women, books written by people of color, or books about/by the LGBTQ+ community), or they can offer broad challenges that tackle a wide diverse range of topics (like books being made into movies, a book in your tbr pile, something you missed on your 2019 reading challenge, summer reading/ beach reads, or a book that challenges your viewpoint).

What is the Goal of the MomAdvice Reading Challenge?

My goal each year is to create a reading experience that helps you branch out of your comfort genres and helps you to expand a previously held viewpoint about the world and the people in it.

I love to push people to look differently at previously held ideas about topics and that is what you will find in our 2020 worksheet.

With categories like settings in rural places, stories on mental illness, nontraditional family stories, a exploration on a religion you aren’t familiar with, immigrant stories, book set during wartime, and a book that challenges your own viewpoint, I REALLY believe that this can expand your view of the world and the people in it.

Do You Have Any Suggestions on Books I Should Pick for the MomAdvice Reading Challenge Categories?

I thought you would never ask! 

Here is what I will be reading for this year’s challenge!

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FREE READING CHALLENGE PRINTABLE WORKSHEET

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge

Recommended by a favorite online source/podcast- A Curse So Dark and Lonely (recommended by Currently Reading)

Being adapted for film- News of the World

Set in a rural location- The Line That Held Us

A memoir or journal- Inheritance

One you meant to read in 2019- The Silent Patient

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge Book Options

With a beautiful cover- Wilder Girls

A 2019 GoodReads selection that did not win- This Is How You Lose the Time War

About mental illness- The Great Pretender

With a dysfunctional family- Wild Game

A MomAdvice Book Club pick- I read and loved them all! Join the club!

A political book- Becoming

Recommended by a Librarian- Help a girl out if you are a librarian!

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge Book Options

Written by someone younger thank you-  Normal People

About music or a musician- A Visit from the Goon Squad

Written by a woman of color- With the Fire On High

Set around a holiday- Mr. Dickens & His Carol

On addiction- Marlena

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge Book Options

A novel set during a war- The World That We Knew

One you haven’t read by a favorite author- The Silent Sister

About a religion or culture you are unfamiliar with- The Book of Lost Saints

On an immigrant experience- Behold the Dreamers

One that challenges your own viewpoint- In the Dreamhouse

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge Book Options

About a news headline topic- Long Bright River

MomAdvice 2020 Reading Challenge Book Options

About an artist- Cooking for Picasso

Don’t miss these other great reads on MomAdvice:

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections 2020 MomAdvice Book Club Selections (join our free club!)

9 cozy books for winter reading

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

quick reads to reach those reading goals quick reads to reach those reading goals

53 historical fiction novels to escape with 53 historical fiction novels to escape with

GRAB YOUR FREE PRINTABLE READING CHALLENGE WORKSHEET

Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

You can also sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter with the latest book news!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

GRAB YOUR FREE PRINTABLE READING CHALLENGE WORKSHEET HERE

2020 MomAdvice Reading Challenge

How to Make a Homeless Care Package (Free Printable Supplies List)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. Today’s post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless.

Creating a homeless care package (also known as a Blessing Bag) can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for those in need.

Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless bags, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.

After all, homeless gift bags are a great idea to help teach your children kindness.

These homeless packs have been replicated by so many people and are the perfect activity for volunteer organizations you may be part of.

By involving others, you can alleviate some of the expenses by asking everyone to bring the materials to craft these bags.

Distribute the list and allow each attendee to bring travel size items, food, socks or bags to help the homeless in your area.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

I also appreciate that these homeless care packages can be prepared for your local shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help.

I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.

Over the past couple of years, I have also had the opportunity to work at our local food bank and food pantry. What many people don’t realize is that many of these items cannot be purchased using food stamps.

Items that are not food (like toothpaste, paper products, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc…) are not eligible and that is why these items are often in high demand at church community pantries.

It is why these are the items that I choose to donate to our shelter each year.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.

That is his heart.

That is why I love him.

If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair.

We have to lead our children by our example.

I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.

My kids assisted in every aspect of this project.

My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.

Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package

Feed Their Needs

One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies.

Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first.

Simple items like shampoo, a razor, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are all great items to keep on hand.

Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, beef jerky, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags.

If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Provide Warmth

We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal for homeless people.

I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items

I need for warmth.

Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags.

Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.

Feed Their Souls

I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs.

You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources.

We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town.

A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.

If these are not enough ideas, I encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through the comments on this post.

Many people regularly volunteer at their shelters and food banks and have some great ideas to help.

Please also know, that we are real people (sometimes that doesn’t seem that way on the website, am I right?) and we did OUR personal best to put these together so we appreciate your KIND words on this post and definitely encourage you to share your own must-have items in a care package while being respectful of others in these comment threads.

How Do I Order My Homeless Care Package Supplies in Bulk?

Did you know that you can purchase items from Dollar Tree IN BULK.

Looking to save even more? Consider using this incredible rebates app to get cash back on ALL your holiday purchases.

We were able to place a bulk order with Dollar Tree and pick up the items we needed for these kits from our local store.

Don’t have room in your car?

No worries!

They can ship all the items directly to you.

How cool is that?

What Our Readers Suggest Adding to Your Hygiene Kits for the Homeless

I love seeing what contributions YOU recommend for these packs! Here are some of my favorites you shared!

“My husband and I travel a lot when he’s working on contract.

I save all the little complimentary shampoos, conditions, soaps, etc and when I have quite a few saved, I sew up pretty drawstring bags, divide the items I’ve save between the bags and then donate them to our local women’s shelter.

I’ve also started adding toothpastes and toothbrushes that I purchase to the bags.

Many times women arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and this way they can be given their own personal care kit. I make each bag different so that they don’t feel like they are getting something that is assembly line, but something that was made just for them.”

“Many homeless also have dogs.

Perhaps you could add some things like treats, small pouches or pop-top cans of food, grooming supplies and toys.

And with the winter months coming, both owner and pet need to stay warm and dry…some large trash bags to put on the ground to keep from getting wet and even colder.

And I have seen fleece throws just recently at Walmart for like $2!”

“I currently make and deliver hot chocolate to a few homeless people I see on my way home from work (I work in downtown Chicago) and I pass out cold cans of pop in the summer.

I also make plates of food from leftovers after work luncheons and pass them out after work. (I don’t consider this stealing because I know that by 4:30 anything left in the kitchen will be thrown away.) I

know it isn’t not much, It won’t make a huge difference in the world, but it might make a world of difference to the person I’m helping.

Thanks for the list. I’m glad to see there are others out there who are concerned for the homeless and actually do something about it.

I hope the care package(s) I pass out, make the receiver(s) feel loved, thought of and cared for.”

“This is a wonderful idea! I got so excited when I saw this-I immediately began to think of other items that might be added, such a bar of soap or bottle of body wash, plastic glass and mug, plastic cutlery and plate, tissues, pen and notebook, small clock, personal wipes, instant oatmeal packets, instant soup packets, hot chocolate packets, instant noodle packets, towel, facecloth, thermal blanket, and in the summer, a sun hat, sunscreen, inexpensive umbrella and a fly swatter!

Many of these things can be found on sale, at Walmart, and the dollar store. They don’t have to be bought all at once and do lend themselves as a project for a family, like yourselves, or amongst a group of friends, a Sunday School class, a school class or a Brownie troop.”

“You might also check with your school district if they have children.

All our local schools have a homeless liaison who works to get food, clothing and housing for homeless families.”

“I regularly carry around coupon books from various restaurants, but this goes even further.”

“As truck drivers, my husband and I see many people standing on the exit ramps of the interstate highways.

We give ziplock bags with toiletries, (in a separate bag) and foods like you mentioned, plus single serve packages of oatmeal, grits, hot cocoa, ect. I add pack of sugar, jelly, peanut butter, plasticware, napkins, whatever we get from the take out and fast food restaurants.

I also pick up dollar store gloves, hats, socks, ect. We have added stamped postcards, Christmas cards and candy canes in season.

Notepads and pens are welcomed as are throws we get at thrift stores.

We were giving the gift books from the fast food places, but now they’ve gone to gift cards.

Chapstick is a good idea, as are deodorants, comb, sanitary items for the women, (yes, we see homeless women and children too).

We give small toys, stickers and tattoos for the kids. We stay in motels a lot and always ask housekeeping for extras.”

“I love this post. I am in the middle of coordinating a SOCKS party here in Nashville.

We are getting the big, thermal socks, and filling them with different items for the homeless.

We’ve been fortunate to have my dentist donate the toothpaste and floss, and McDonald’s donated 1,000 Cards for a free dollar menu item.

We also have tons of shampoo, conditioner, and soaps from hotels.

We’ll stuff it with snacks, hand warmers, and other items (many on your list).

We are getting together for our SOCK party and letting the kids stuff the socks and make the tags, which will say “I care”.

The kids are excited and I love what it’s teaching them. Thanks for inspiring others to give back!”

Aren’t my readers incredible? Just think of the possibilities with this one!

God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now.

My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place.

Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was.

I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.

If you would like to read more about it, I encourage you to read my book where I share how we recovered from this difficult financial period in our life.

Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver.

There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays.

Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started.

I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.” I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well!

We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!

Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages.

Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)! Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Looking for more great ways to give back? Here are a few other great ideas!

diy no sew hand warmers

cabled ear warmer pattern diy cabled ear warmers

diy chunky knit blanket pattern

How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

this post contains affiliate links.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

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Best Advent Calendars for Kids (FREE Printable!!)

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Looking for advent calendar for kids. This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season. Counting down to Christmas couldn’t be more fun (or more affordable!) Download our countdown to Christmas on the blog today!

I never did an advent calendar growing up so I, honestly, had to look up what the heck these were when other moms talked about them.

In honor of today’s trivia theme, do you know how the advent calendar originated?

As with many of our Christmas traditions, this one originated out of Germany. In the early 20th century, Gerhard Lang’s mother made him a calendar with 24 small candies attached to cardboard, one for each day before Christmas.

Lang grew up and opened Reichhold & Lang printing company where he printed the first Advent cardboard calendar with 24 little pictures. Then, just a few years later, the company printed the first calendar with the little doors that everyone loves to open. 

Just imagine what kind of craft celebrity Gerhard’s mom would have been on Pinterest.

That’s pretty much, an original viral project.

I am so excited to share this fun FREE printable advent calendar with you that our amazing contributor, M.J. designed for us!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

From our graphic designer, MJ at pars caeli

Advent calendars are just the cutest, right?

That is–until you have to fill/create/arrange them!

This year we’re going simple with our countdown to Christmas, and we want to make it easier for you, too, with a printable calendar.

This Advent Calendar needs just to be cut, folded, and glued.

Fist bump.

You can even have the kids create it.

The days leading up to Christmas are both magical and hectic!

We have Christmas performances and charitable shopping, Santa’s gifting and work parties galore.

I didn’t want our Advent countdown to be another process on the list so we put together something light and fun.

How to Make a Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar for Big Kids

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

How about Christmas trivia?!

We watch Jeopardy around our house (with three kids, twelve and under), and a countdown with trivia seemed like a natural way to learn more and to laugh together as we get nearer to the 25th.

We put together twenty-five trivial (some are pretty ridiculous) questions about Christmas traditions, songs, and movies for the whole family.

In fact, this calendar would be great to put next to the coffee pot at work or as a runner across the dinner table.

My kids have been talking about these questions more than I imagined (“what’s your favorite Christmas song?” and “remember that time we saw…”).

Our holiday experiences can be easy entryways to new conversations and insights.

Let’s make an advent calendar together!


Supplies Needed

Craft paper 

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar 

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Your Free Printable Advent Calendar

STEP ONE:

Print out the numbers and trivia questions.

Set the trivia questions aside for now.

To cut your numbers, slice the page first vertically and then horizontally, creating four pieces.

You’ll then cut those four piece vertically, to make equal-sized pieces of paper.

STEP TWO:

Each number paper has light gray dotted lines to show where they should be folded.

With a ruler or straight edge, fold crisply along that line as indicated in two places.

Once you’ve made the folds, bend them the opposite direction to create a folded piece with the number on the front and a flap on the top.

STEP THREE:

Take the trivia questions back out.

Cut those along the dotted edges. Glue the questions into the inside of the numbered papers.

These are not numbered so they can go in any day.

We put ours in randomly.

There’s a question for every day from December 1 through the 25.

STEP FOUR:

Refold the bottom and then the top flap of the numbered rectangle over top of the trivia question (we don’t want anyone peeking until the right day!).

You’ll want to seal the flap shut.

You can do this with glue or tape.

We opted to cut up some adhesive labels into tiny strips so that we could peel back the flaps without destroying the calendar.

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

That’s it!

Attach the questions to a ribbon and hang on the side of your fridge.

Or tape them to a pantry door in the shape of a tree!

Or (super simple) keep calendar days in a bowl on your dinner table, and pull one out every day.

You might find yourselves amazed by how many presents you’d get if you received all of them from the 12 Days of Christmas or laughing about what the word mistletoe really means!!

(Oh, I’ve said too much. You have to wait to open that day!)

Happy Christmas countdown from our family to yours!!

Wishing you a simply joyful holiday.

Xoxo,

MJ

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ACCESS THE PRINTABLES!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for more DIY Advent Calendar Ideas? Here are a few others that I’m loving!

Adorable Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar– This fun advent calendar is made from something everyone has on hand – toilet paper tubes! Fill it up with small toys, your favorite candy or cute socks! A fun way to upcycle and create fun memories at the same time!

Use What You Have Advent Calendar– Turn your muffin tins into creative advent calendars with this fun holiday bucket list idea.

Christmas Book Advent Calendar – Each book is wrapped with a number for the kids to open each night before bed. No need to purchase new books every year, only if the age out. Making reusable number gift tags to put on the books each year keeps this a great green alternative.

Christmas Tree Ornament Advent– This mini tree makes counting down super fun! Simply hang an ornament every day!

DIY Paper Advent Calendar– Create an easy DIY paper advent calendar with free printable templates for the boxes! This handmade advent calendar is a fun Christmas papercraft and lovely holiday gift idea for kids and teens.

No Time to DIY an Advent Calendar? Here are some of the Best Advent Calendars for Kids!

If you don’t have time to make an advent calendar, here are some MomAdvice Advent Calendar favorites!

Toy advent calendars can be so fun because they feature 24 fun things to look forward to as you welcome in the holiday.

So many advent calendars are featuring sets that include adorable fun trinkets, magnetic ornaments, or mini figures. Find a set with features and surprises that your kids will never expect.

Advent calendars are such a fun bonus surprise gift under the Christmas tree, aren’t they?

Little People Advent Calendar

Crayola Christmas Countdown

Paw Patrol Advent Calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

LEGO City Advent Calendar

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable

Love this post? Here are some of my favorite Christmas posts on the site!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love 100 unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your list

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages unique gift ideas for kids of ALL ages

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls christmas tree cinnamon rolls for christmas morning

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE Printable!!)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE Printable!!)

It has been a dream of mine to put together a reading challenge for you and this is FINALLY my year to make it happen! This challenge is a 52-week challenge to help motivate and inspire you to tackle your reading goals.

I am so thankful for what reading has brought to my life.  I had such a good chat with my dad on the phone yesterday and, through our conversation, I brought up a bit of my own disappointment in myself for not finishing that college degree.

As silly as it seems, sometimes I wish I could say that I completed something that I had initially walked away from. It isn’t even a field I’m interested in anymore, but it is that sense of completion.

He said, “Amy, you have something way better than a degree. You read. Reading helps shape your viewpoints, it helps you travel, and it gives you so much knowledge to continue growing and learning. So many people don’t have that.”

Even as an adult, who wouldn’t want to hear that from her dad?

Books are my education and my addiction. There are so many books that have challenged my views on life and made me a better person. Challenges, like the one I am sharing today, are intended to push and stretch you even further. 

Can you imagine how differently you will view the world after a touching memoir from someone you never knew about, a book on poverty, a book about a religion you are unfamiliar with, a new look at race, or a political memoir? I can’t wait to reflect back on how much this year’s challenge has shaped my new viewpoints!

I’ll try to have a printable diploma for you at the end of this year to hang on your wall. If you read 52 books, you should have that and a printable medal too! Ha!

Not only am I sharing my reading challenge with you, but I am also sharing how I plan to tackle this challenge for myself this year! Of course, do not feel pressured AT ALL to select the same books, but just as ideas if you are looking for a little inspiration in any of these categories!

The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE Printable!!)

My Picks for the 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge

1. A book about travel- The Geography of Bliss

2. A book that’s more than 500 pages- Illuminae

3. A GoodReads Choice Award Winner (from any year)- A Tale from Time Being

4. A memoir from someone you have never heard of- Alligator Candy

5. A book recommended by a library- Nine Women, One Dress

6. A book you own, but haven’t read- Rebecca

7. An audiobook- The Sound of Gravel

8. A book that’s becoming a film- The Zookeeper’s Wife

9. A book about a culture/religion you are unfamiliar with- Pull Me Under

10. A book that takes place in your state or town- A Girl Named Zippy

11. A book that you loved as a child- Anne of Green Gables (truth be told, I never finished it, but I think I will now!)

12. A book that will help you be a better person-  An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

13. A book on mental illness- The Bell Jar

14. A political memoir- The Speechwriter

15. A book that challenges a viewpoint- Consequence

16. A PEN/Faulkner Award Nominee or Winner (from any year)- Delicious Foods

17. A book about marriage- Commonwealth

18. A classic novel- Jane Eyre

19. A book written by a comedian- The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

20. A book written by a woman- Another Brooklyn

21. A book written by an author under the age of 30- Homegoing

22. A YA Novel- The Sun is Also a Star

23. A book you meant to read in 2016, but never got to- Lilac Girls

24. A sci-fi/fantasy book- Version Control

25. A book about time travel- Kindred

26. A book that takes place during a war- Mischling

27. A book set in a place you wish you could live- Four Seasons in Rome

28. A book by a debut author- Sweetgirl

29. A story that takes place in a bookstore- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

30. A book published this year- Juliet’s Answer

31. A thriller- Her Every Fear

32. The first book in a new series- Red Queen

33. A true crime book- The Stranger Beside Me

34. A book you can read in a day- The Vegetarian

35. A historical fiction novel- Darktown

36. A book recommended on a podcast- Spill Simmer Falter Wither

37. A book of short stories- American Housewife

38. A Southern Gothic book- The Heaven of Mercury

39. A book from the NPR Book Concierge (any year)- Eleanor & Hick

40. A book recommended by an authorLong Man

41. A book about financial hardship- The Short & Tragic Life of Robert Peace

42. A Dystopian novel- The Handmaid’s Tale

43. A book with an unlikable narrator- A Pleasure & a Calling

44. A book recommended by a blogger- The Passage

45. A book written by an author that wasn’t alive in your lifetime- Persuasion

46. A National Book Awards Finalist (from any year)- News of the World

47. A book on race- Born a Crime

48. A book about art- The Mirror Thief

49. A book from your TBR (to be read) stack- Brutal Youth

50. A MomAdvice Book Club selection- Carrying Albert Home

51. A nonfiction book- The Latter Days

52. A book you will be proud to share you finally read this year- Evicted

Get Your Free 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge Download !

The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE Printable!!)

The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge Printable

designed by MJ from pars caeli!!

The 2017 MomAdvice Reading Challenge (FREE Printable!!)

Start your engines, friends! I hope this helps you reach your reading goals- xo

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

 

 

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles + Printable Tag

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles with Printable Tag

One of my favorite things in my arsenal of kitchen tools is my slow cooker, and I’m excited to share with you a new way to use it – to make DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles for gifts! By using small paint cans and wrapping the with our cute printable tag, it’s a sweet way to thank your hostess for her hard work.

Making candles sounds like something an advanced crafter might tackle, but it is one of the easiest projects I have ever done, thanks to my slow cooker. I purchased the supplies in bulk online for this project, but you could also try this on a smaller scale and purchase the supplies for these at your local craft store.

How to Make Slow Cooker Citronella Candles

Slow Cooker Citronella Candles supplies

Supplies Needed

Making Slow Cooker Citronella Candles

Directions

1. Measure and weigh out 14 ounces of soy wax flakes for each paint can in a glass measuring cup (be sure to tare your scale). It should fill the can almost to the top, and we will be adding more flakes after the first round melts down and creates more space inside the can. Repeat the measuring with all of the other candles you plan to prepare.

2. Add an inch or two of water to your slow cooker to create a water bath for your candles. Nestle the paint cans inside the slow cooker, place a lid on top, and turn it on HIGH for two hours. As the wax melts down, feel free to add more wax in your can to the desired height.

3. Once the two hours has passed, open the lid and add 15-20 drops of Citronella to each candle (approximately 1 ml of oil). Using a bamboo skewer, stir each candle after adding the oil.  Turn your slow cooker off, then add your candle wick in the center of each candle. Take a pencil and wrap the top of the wick to the middle of it and allow it to help stand the candle up in the center.  Leave the candles in the slow cooker until the wax begins to harden. Remove the paint cans to prevent any rusting that could be created inside your water bath, drying your can well with a dish towel.  Allow the candles to fully harden on your countertop.

4. The next day, trim your wicks and attach our printable for an adorable hostess gift for your next summer barbecue.

Slow Cooker Citronella candles printable tag

To complete the candle, grab my FREE “Thanks For Letting Us Bug You Printable” (click link and save to your computer) to tie on each candle as a thank you for a fun-filled evening.

DIY Slow Cooker Citronella Candles

How easy is that? I now have five gifts to share for a summer filled with family, friends, and delicious food. And if candle-making isn’t your thing, check out these neon paint-dipped spoons that also make great gifts!

Love this tutorial? Be sure to visit my tutorial for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles for the holiday season!

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DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes For Father’s Day

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Create quick & easy grilling seasoning mixes with these recipes and printable labels for a perfect gift for a grill-loving dad!

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes for Father's Day with printable labels

Father’s Day is just around the corner and our Dads love grilling so I thought making grilling seasoning mixes would be a fun gift for your favorite dads!  I’m sharing two easy DIY grilling spice mixes that you can make and package up with fun printable labels for the perfect gift to share with a special Dad in your life.

DIY grilling seasoning mixes

The beauty in this project is that it is easy to create one or many gifts with just one assembly line of ingredients. To really make your dollars stretch on this project, buy your spices in bulk or purchase the generic brands of spices to keep the gift frugal, but still thoughtful.

The thing that I know I love about my Dad is that he is just the kind of guy that appreciates small and thoughtful gestures. These spice mixes are just the ticket for a gift that your Dad really can use.

diy_grilling_seasoning_mixes

If you are pinched for time, but still want the taste of freshly ground pepper in your recipes, utilize your food processor and pulse your peppercorns until they are ground or just run your food processor with them in there for a couple of minutes.  If you don’t have a food processor, a coffee grinder can also work to save you some time.

All-Purpose Spice Mix

All Purpose Spice Mix

The first spice mix we are going to make is an easy all-purpose grill seasoning. This can be rubbed onto any meat before grilling. The red pepper flake and ground pepper add a lot of kick to this spice rub so if you prefer a mix with less spice, feel free to scale back those two spices. Remember to utilize your food processor to help blend your pepper and save you time!

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes For Father's Day
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
An easy all-purpose grill seasoning that can be rubbed onto any meat before grilling.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.
  2. You can double or triple this recipe for your jar.

 Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning

Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning

The second spice mix will make dad’s burgers extra special. If your Dad really likes to show-off on the grill, this burger seasoning spice mix is just what he needs to take his burgers to another level.

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes #grillmaster
Although the red might look spicy, it is actually paprika that adds a lot of warmth and flavor to your ground beef and just a hint of kick from the cayenne pepper. You may never want your burgers another way!

Dad’s Secret Burger Seasoning
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ½ cup
 
A spice mix for burgers that adds warmth and flavor to your ground beef with just a hint of kick from cayenne pepper.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 c.) paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 7½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.

DIY_Grilling_Seasoning_Mixes-11 DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes #grillmaster

We have created these beautiful printable grill seasoning jar labels for your Dad that makes them truly gift-worthy. I hope you love this fun food craft as much as I love sharing it with you!

Grab your FREE printable BBQ labels here (just click that link to open and then download).

What’s in your secret spice mix? Any dry rubs that you love to mix up for grill season?

 

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