Links I Love: January 17, 2015

Links I Love

It was a busy week in the Whirrett household! Andy was in charge of a basketball tournament this weekend, so he spent some late nights at school getting ready. I started four new piano students this week in addition to my current eight. Nathan had his 9 month check-up (a couple weeks behind schedule). He’s 20 pounds, 8 ounces, and in the 67th percentile for weight…and 30th percentile for height. The temperature finally made it above freezing so Nathan and I bundled up for a walk in the snow. I’ve been baking lots of bread and pinning the following.

I love Shelly’s idea to make these easy freezer friendly mini strombolis. This makes a meal easy to prepare when you can pull out as many as you need. I love good freezer ideas like these!

Ruth shared a recipe for cheesy bloomin’ olive bread. It looks similar to a recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I love olives so this looks like a delicious appetizer to me.

Andrea honestly shared 2 simple healthier habits that she is working on this year. I love this because anyone can take two baby steps towards good health. My two habits? I’m baking my own bread (to avoid preservatives) and reading labels more carefully to start high fructose corn syrup from our diets.

Edie gave 5 ways to bring the magic back to your kitchen. It’s a great list! I already start early and stock up, but thanks to Edie, I’m going to try wearing an apron more!

Alison listed 6 popular phrases that are not allowed in their home. I wasn’t allowed to speak these phrases (or similar ones) growing up and my children won’t be allowed to either. Language has great power. As parents, it is our task to make sure our children understand this.

Jon Acuff has a great list of 4 ways to read more books in 2015. I’m determined to read more this year as well. These points are good ones!

Lisa-Jo has a powerful list of resolutions (of a sort) for the upcoming year. She always writes so well! We’re not “just” moms and we do need to encourage one another to end these Mommy wars.

Finally, Hearther shared why I want our kids to see me struggle. I agree. Good parenting advice!

How was your week? What did you read and pin this week?

Links I Love: Appetizer Edition

Links I Love Appetizer Edition of Joyfully Thriving

I’m ready to start doing some baking again. I realized that several of the recipes on my list fall into the appetizer genre. I could make a whole meal of appetizers. When we get together with friends, we often do an appetizer style meal. Here are some of the new appetizers that I want to try.

Joy the Baker gave a very simple combination of salty and sweet with chocolate dipped potato chips. It gives you a bit of something sweet with your appetizers. It’s also fun twist on putting out a dish of plain potato chips!

Tara of Unsophisticook shared her recipe for easy pepperoni rolls – using string cheese, pepperoni and crescent rolls. They do look simple and tasty! She also shared 4 ingredient mini chicken pot pies. This one starts with biscuits and like a tasty appetizer and / or meal.

Kirsten Oliphant shared a recipe for cheesy potato empanadas. I haven’t had empanadas in much too long. They are a yummy Tex-Mex tradition that I miss. That moves this recipe to the top of my list.

Don’t Waste the Crumbs created a recipe for healthy hot pockets. It’s really a mini calzone type recipe that can be made and frozen ahead of time. This would be another recipe that could be a meal option.

Yay for appetizers! I can’t wait to give some of these recipes a try. What are your favorite appetizers?

Top 10 Links Collection

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I shared the most popular posts from Joyfully Thriving the other day in the form of a Top 10 post. Many of my other favorite blogs have done the same. It’s where I got the idea to do so last year – and this. In case you don’t read all of them, here’s a collection of the top 10 posts at some of the blogs I read. It’s a good way to discover some new content, too! There are some other lists post thrown in for good measure.

Kristen of the Frugal Girl shared her Top 10 Frugal Posts. My favorite was her article on “Because $90,000 Clearly Isn’t Enough.” Go read it. It’s a good one.

The Latina Homemaker was a new discovery of mine and I love reading what Jesenia has to share. You can view her Top 10 Most Read Posts here. 

Cleverly Simple shared her Top 10 list here. Lynette’s made some major changes with her site this year to make it a better fit for her and her family. I’m enjoying seeing her process even as I reflect on changes I am contemplating here.

Shelly at Frugal Family Home shared her Top 10 Recipes of 2014. I’ve added a couple of these to my to-make list! She also shared her 10 Most Popular Money Saving articles. Both lists are worth a read!

Along a different line, Edie from Life in Grace shared her 7 Favorite Life Lessons from the Year. It’s a powerful list. Read it carefully.

Mandi of Life Your Way shared her Top 10 Reads of 2014. I stopped counting at 40 when Nathan was born (oops!) but will do better this next year. I’ve added several books to my list, thanks to Mandi.

Crystal of Money Saving Mom also shared her Top 10 Best Books she read this year. I find reading lists so interesting – and personal. Once again, I added books to my list after reading Crystal’s summaries.

There’s plenty to read here so enjoy!

Pumpkin Recipe Links I Love

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I love all things pumpkin. I bake pumpkin bread and muffins year round, but lately I’ve seen an influx of pumpkin recipes. Honestly? I want to try most of them! Here are some of the ones on my “pumpkin to make” list.

Coupon Cutting Mom shared her recipe for Pumpkin Butter Cake. I made two new pumpkin recipes last year and only liked one. I’m pretty sure this was the one I liked. I guess I should make it again to see if it is the one I’m remembering.

I’ve never had Starbucks scones but I know people rave about them – especially the pumpkin ones. Iowa Girl Eats shared her recipe for Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. I like scones and I like pumpkin, so what’s not to like about the two combined?

The Recipe Critic shared a recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles stuffed with cream cheese. Doesn’t that sounds delicious?

Cooking Classy make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Is that too much pumpkin? Should I even attempt to mess with a classic cinnamon roll or is this a fun fall twist? I can’t decide but I am intrigued.

I “met” Kirsten through the recent 31 day series and discovered her recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Frosting. Chocolate and pumpkin is an ideal combination in my book so I know I want to try this cake.

My friend / cousin / former fellow teacher, Cathy, used to make Pumpkin Fluff with her students before Thanksgiving. It’s a simple recipe and can be quite healthy if you use low fat options. Here is a Pumpkin Fluff recipe as shared by Recipe Diaries.

Finally, Love Bakes Good Cakes shared a recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t bake a lot of cupcakes because they tend to be more time-intensive. Still, this combination with a cream cheese frosting might just convince me to bake a pan of cupcakes!

I can’t decide which one to make first. What do you think? You can see more of the pumpkin goodies I’ve pinned on my Pinterest board about pumpkins. Follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’m pinning. 

Follow Kristen Whirrett (Joyfully Thriving)’s board Pretty & Delicious Pumpkins on Pinterest.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea Links

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I’m working on my menu for Thanksgiving week. As I’ve already mentioned a time or two (because I’m quite excited about it), my family is coming for Thanksgiving. Some will be arriving in time for dinner on Tuesday of that week, and everyone heads out after lunch on Saturday. I have some of the meals and desserts planned, but I’m still working on others.

I’ve already baked my pumpkin chocolate chip bread in mini muffin form and they are waiting in the freezer. My oldest nephew loves these muffins! I also plan to make my frosted pumpkin cookies for a dessert at one lunch. I’ve been known to eat these cookies for breakfast, too. They are really that good!

We’re doing one Thanksgiving with Andy’s family (and mine) on Thanksgiving Day and another the following day when my parents arrive. I am planning to make these refrigerator mashed potatoes for one of those meals because you can make them ahead of time and reheat them in the slow cooker. That’s a win on both accounts!  I’m also making these homemade crescent rolls because I can make them ahead of time and freeze them until the big day. They really are the best crescent rolls you’ll ever eat!

Here are a couple other recipe ideas I’m pondering for my menu plan.

Averie Cooks shared a recipe for chocolate brownies filled with a pumpkin cream cheese. The chocolate ganache on top looks wonderful, too. I’m also looking at her recipe for soft pumpkin chocolate chip bars. I’ve made them already and they are very good but not as fudge-like as I anticipated. Maybe I should try the pumpkin brownies this time.

For breakfast, I’m considering making this baked pumpkin cream cheese french toast one morning. Or perhaps I make a recipe that I’ve already tried and know is delicious like the Pioneer Woman’s french breakfast puffs.

I’ll probably make a big pot of chili for one lunch because it’s easy to sit and simmer. Here is the chili recipe I use.

One dinner will be poppy seed chicken because we all enjoy it, plus it is easy to prepare for a big crowd. I already have the chicken cooked, diced and in the freezer so I can mix it up in a matter of minutes.

I’m still pondering other kid-friendly and easy prep ideas that we can all enjoy. Finally, I do know that I will be making this double chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice buttercream. Maybe in a layered cake format?

You can view some of my other Thanksgiving ideas and plans on my Pinterest board. Pinterest is such a helpful organizational tool for me!

Follow Kristen Whirrett (Joyfully Thriving)’s board Thanksgiving Ideas, Plans & Recipes on Pinterest.

Frugal SAHM Links I Love

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This collection of links is not just for Stay at Home Moms, but it is for all of us who need some inspiration to continue living frugally. Of course, I think SAHMs might need some extra encouragement so that is why I’ve gathered this specific list of articles to share today. That, and I am a new SAHM too.

The Humbled Homemaker shared Staying at Home with your kids when you can Barely Afford It. Please note that she is talking about the monetary implications with this article. I also appreciated how she shared that she utilizes her skills to earn supplemental income, while still staying at home with her children. My Mom is an organist who did just this.

Katie listed 101 Ways to Save $1.00 a Day. I liked this article because there are so many simple ideas on this list, but each and every dollar adds up. We can all gather some ideas from this list!

The Super Coupon Lady shared her Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Stay at Home Moms. I especially liked her reminders to shop used and barter for babysitting. You can be sure I’ll be doing that when our baby arrives!

Crystal at Money Saving Mom shared her advice when a reader asked Is it possible for us to live on $460 a week? Read her advice as well as many of the comments for encouragement on living with a tight budget.

Finally, Kimberlee shared a wonderful in-depth series about Living on Less than $28,000 a Year. She has 29 different articles in this series so there is plenty to ponder. If you only read one of these links I shared, make it this one!

What do you think? Do you have any encouragement for SAHMs? Are you one yourself or have you been? Feel free to add your advice in the comments below!

Recent Links I Loved

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Hello, everyone! Here we are at Saturday again. Aren’t weekends lovely? That’s all I want to say. Just that I truly enjoy the weekends and the change of pace that it brings. On that note, here are some links I love…just because.

Don’t Waste the Crumbs shared 25 food substitutions that will save you money. I make substitutions for buttermilk all the time, so I appreciated having a compilation of the most common food substitutions.

On a similar thought, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe shared how to make homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Since I can’t make poppy seed chicken without cream of chicken soup, I want to give this a try.

Joy the Baker shared her recipe for a single pancake. My husband isn’t a huge breakfast fan so I like the idea of being able to make myself just one pancake.

Wise Bread listed 13 ways you can cut grocery expenses today. This is a great summary list of how I try to save!

It’s fall and I need – and want – to do a big fall cleaning. Mandi is helping with this stress-free fall cleaning checklist.

Speaking of, Brown Sugar Toast shared the funny thing about stuff with some great points about adding and subtracting to our home with things.

I’m going to do some baking and decluttering this weekend, as a result of these links! What are your plans?

Food Links I Love

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We all have to eat, don’t we? That’s how I’ll explain the fact that I share links about food so often! :-) Here are a couple of the new recipes / food articles that I recently found interesting.

Edie wrote about her well-stocked pantry. I try to keep mine stopped but I hoard chocolate chips more than chicken stock. Read the article and you’ll see what I mean. I also like Edie’s big glass jars for flours and sugars.

I want to try Ruth’s recipe for easy tomato parmesan chicken. I love parmesan chicken so like the idea of making a recipe with these delicious flavors in the slow cooker. Plus, I have lots of homemade tomato sauce in my freezer right now!

The Brown Eyed Baker shared her diy recipe for homemade ranch seasoning. I like the idea that I could mix up the seasoning ahead of time before making my dressing.

I want to make Ree’s browned butter M&M cookies. Or maybe I’ll make her chocolate chunk cookies first. Both have the interesting step of browning butter. I’ve never made a cookie like that. Have you?

Wise Bread had two interesting articles that made me think. Read 10 foods with the most bang for your buck and 18 pantry foods that keep longer than you think. Do you have some of these items in your kitchen?

Finally, I want to make Frugal Girl Kristen’s Grandma’s cinnamon rolls mainly because of how they twist. Don’t they look delicious?

Thoughtful Parenting Links

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As a new Mom, I am learning to freely listen to advice – and do what works best for us. I’ve already had to stop reading some of the books and the facebook pages of well-intentioned Moms because what works for some, doesn’t work for others. Each baby (and Mom…and family) is unique, just as God created them. Still, I have been encouraged by some of the following links. Hopefully these links will encourage you – whatever stage of parenting (and life) you may find yourself living.

Mandi wrote so honestly about pumping and bottles, formula and shame. Nathan took formula in the NICU and in the beginning as we transitioned him to breastfeeding. While I pump and Nathan does take bottles while I teach, he is now a solidly breastfed baby – who can take formula in a pinch. My feelings on this topic have changed greatly since having a baby of my own because I never thought I’d use formula but it doesn’t faze me now. Through it all I’ve learned how important it is to give grace to fellow Moms. Mandi reminded me of this again.

Tim Elmore shared a positive shift among parents today. Every generation parents differently because of how they were raised and how they believe best. I was pleased to hear about this study saying that current Moms are ditching the helicopter style of previous parents and having larger families. What do you think? Is it true?

Young House Love told about blankets, bears and baby feet. They had a new baby a couple months ago and shared how they took Teddy’s adorable baby pictures.

I loved, loved, loved this post from Lisa-Jo that the parenting books were wrong (and other good news for Moms). There is no mathematics of motherhood. All Moms need to read this. Actually, I think Lisa-Jo should be required reading for all Moms! Check out her book Surprised by Motherhood. It’s incredible!

A short but important note from Crystal on ponytails, sweatshirts and a mother’s love. May we all remember this!

Ruth wrote about Mommy’s little helper and reminded me not to let perfect get in the way of better. Thinking back, I’m sure there were many times my Mom wanted to redo what we have done, but she didn’t. I need to remember this as Nathan grows older.

Finally, take a look at this article that questions can you grow your family on a shrinking income? We are proof that you can do this, but it’s nice to be encouraged by others who share that they are doing it, too!

I hope you encouraged in your parenting journey! Let’s remember to extend grace to one another.

Links I Love from Andrea

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Andrea is one blogger I have been following since I began blogging. Her popularity has grown by leaps and bounds while mine grows by inches and small steps. That’s okay, though. I enjoy Andrea because her down-to-earth approach is so similar to mine. If we lived closer than Michigan and Indiana, I have a feeling we’d be good friends. :-) Especially since we have baby boys that are only a month apart! I’ve shared lots of her posts before but here are some more of her posts that I love.

7 steps to super simple menu planning is just that. Super simple and something that all of us can use. I’m working at automating more of our menu plan, too.

I continue to get name brand laundry detergent for under $2, but if I ever cease to find those bargains, I’m going to try making Andrea’s DIY laundry detergent. I need to make her DIY garbage disposal cleaning tabs soon. What a great idea!

Have you ever asked yourself what’s your one thing? I did after reading Andrea’s post. I’m still mulling over the answer but it made me think. Do you know what your one thing is?

Scarcity: a good frugal living principle really made me think too. I can relate to Andrea in so many ways! Can you?

Andrea also has lots of good, homemade recipes for every day families. No special ingredients and they are quick to prepare. Her blueberry buckle is similar to mine, but you can browse all her recipes in her recipe box.

That’s just a bit of what I love from Andrea. You can read more about Andrea on her blog Andrea Dekker.