Friday, December 21


How is that for the worst blog title ever? Think of me singing it to the tune of "Bye Bye Birdie".

I thought I would finally announce the end of "simplemittens". I have been debating for weeks as to whether or not I would continue blogging and I think I've finally made up my mind that I'm done. Here are some of my reasons:
- I have become increasingly uncomfortable with having so many strangers having access to photos and names of my family.
- There is just too much room for assumption.
- I'm not willing to practice some of the ways most bloggers gain page views.
- I'm simply bored with it and it has become a chore.

I have over 1000 followers on Instagram under the name of simplemittens as well and I am working to deleting that account. I started a new private instagram account under the username" @amandapandacarr for friends and family access only.

I hope everyone understands. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email at


Friday, September 21


Lately, Ethum has been making up his own words.  I find it rather amusing...
Here are two recent quotes with his made-up words:

"The wind is 'grumping' our car. It smells terrible."

And on another occasion Ethum noticed some dry skin on my nose. He told me in a very concerned voice, "Oooooh, you have 'scribs' on your nose".

Have your children ever made-up words like that?

Thursday, September 20

Twice a Month Grocery Shopping (Part One)

Before you get scared and run away without even reading what follows- wait! Hear me out!
Several months ago, I started reading about once a month shopping and I thought it sounded pretty ideal. Then, reality set in and I remembered that I live in an apartment without adequate storage space for our clothing much less extra food and toilet paper. I didn't want to give up on the idea. These people were making claims of saving a lot time and money. I decided to figure out my own little apartment-friendly version of this- twice a month grocery shopping. One of the big ideas with this method is the less times you make your way into the grocery store, the less impulse purchases you will make. sidenote: I do not use coupons. I've found that my family doesn't use most things that offer coupons. If you do, you'll just have to work that into the plan.
The first thing you should do to prepare is clean out the fridge and pantry of any spoiled food or things you won't use (like that salad dressing you bought on a whim thats really gross but you just don't want to throw it out). You need all the space you can get.
Next, I make a list of all the basic things we use every week. Obviously, milk and other things don't keep for two weeks. In those cases, I just use it until it's gone or spoiled and then wait to buy until the next shopping trip. If I really need it, I'll send Dave for it after work or something... You aren't  trapped- I promise! There will be times that you forget something or the grocery is out of it, etc. You might have to make an extra mini-trip and thats okay.
I have two methods for gathering my recipes. The first is via my cookbooks...duh. And the the second is Pinterest. I keep a pin board with recipes that I'm going to make each week,  I don't have to go searching for it when it's time to get cooking.
My first step in menu planning is to account for two meals out. We usually go out to eat once a week (unless Dave is out of town). I make tacos and spaghetti once a week (which isn't really spaghetti because I don't even use spaghetti noodles). I buy 1 lb. of beef for both of those meals and divide in half. I often add beans to the beef for tacos. I can share 'recipes' for those later, but I really don't think I can even call them recipes. Okay, moving on... We now have six of our meals planned. Now, I flip through my cookbooks and recipe files and pick a few that will work for the next two weeks. I like to tab or bookmark the recipes like in the photo above. I write down everything I need for them and if the recipe will freeze well, I plan to double or triple. Boom! More meals, less planning. Doubling or tripling recipes can also save money. Say a recipe calls for ginger or heavy whip or whatever perishable ingredient that you don't use often. If you double/triple it, none of it will go bad. Does that make sense? I end up with a total of 14 dinners planned. To simplify, we now have two meals out, tacos twice, spaghetti twice, plus eight other recipes (maybe less if I'm doubling a few). Another tip: When I  find that I need multiples of something, I make tally marks next to that item on the list.
I include ingredients for snack-y things I can just whip up, and a few homemade breakfasts and desserts. I don't have kids in school yet, so I don't worry about lunch boxes. We mostly eat leftovers, soft-boiled eggs on toast, or peanut butter on Ezekiel bread for lunch (and fruit!).
The next part might sound tedious to you but I promise it will make your grocery shopping trip so much smoother. After the list is complete I re-write it in the order that I go through the store. It can be very confusing to go through a (very long) scattered grocery list while keeping up with the little ones. With this method everything is smooth sailing and it seriously shortens my trip. I don't have to continue stopping to look over my list and oops! I forgot tomatoes and I'm already at the other end of the store (bummer!).
I think that's everything I want to cover in part one. I hope this was more helpful than confusing. Please ask questions if you need to! You can always email me at

I'm going to start sharing my menus, favorite cookbooks, and other little time saving tidbits.

p.s. Credit goes to my friend, Jenny, for asking me to write about this. Good idea- keep 'em coming...

Thursday, August 30


I made this recipe before we went on our hike earlier this month. David kept telling me how much he loved it, which if you know him at all, is kind of big deal. I adapted the recipe from here to make it a little more budget friendly (less Gruyere and add a few shallots).

Potato Basil Fritatta
serves 8-10

8 T. butter, divided
4 peeled and diced red potatoes
2-3 shallots, finely diced
8 eggs
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 lb. Gruyere, grated
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/3 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 T. of butter in a 10 in. omelet pan or skillet over med-high heat. Add potatoes and shallots and fry until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Melt remaining 5 T. butter, set aside. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, stir in cheeses, melted butter, salt, pepper and butter. Sprinkle flour and baking powder and stir into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture over potatoes and shallots and place pan in over. Bake until browned and puffed, 50- 60 minutes. Fritatta should be rounded and firm in center; knife inserted into center should come out clean.

Best served any time of day, really!


Monday, August 20

The Name Game.

I'm not going to pretend to possess the ability to keep exciting things to myself. I've already made a list of possible boy names... (still working on girl names)
Boy names:
Alec (think uh-leck, not al-lick)

And a brief explanation of how we came up with our other two boys' names... Ethum- before Dave and I were even married, I was up one night reading Exodus and there is a place called Etham, meaning solid, enduring. I knew I wanted to use it as a name right then, so it stuck. Ethum's middle name is Asher which is also a biblical name that means blessed, happy. Our younger son's name is Leland Avre (like Avery). We mostly use his second name but he was named after his great-grandpa, Leland. Avre is the name of a river in France and I discovered it in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot'. Once again, I wasn't pregnant yet, but the name stuck.

We're pretty set on a certain combination but I thought it would be fun if you guys would put a few names together in the comments- Would ya?
Also, I would love to hear any fun stories of how you decided on your kiddo's name (or how your parents chose your name).


Saturday, May 26


1)bubble babies. 2)outfit planning 3) mint. 4)wrong turn to jersey. 5)first plane rides. 6)the fruits of nancy's labor. 7)co-hosting my niece's tea party. 8)cousin "twins". 9)new shoes. 10&11)lunch at the wedge in OKC. 12)coming home to fun mail from friends.

Tidbits from our trip:

Monday, May 7


1) anniversary orchid. four blooms for our four year. he's so thoughful :)
2) notes to a pen pal.
3) after bath naked play.
4) chasing away the rainy day blues.

4) homemade california burgers
5) our drive to philadelphia.
6) shoes.
7) he's just as excited about those coffee beans as we are ;)

9) new rug love.
10) men bein' men.
11) amazing new to me yogurt.
12) the face of a yogurt lover.

ps. do you want to know why all you've been seeing an overload of iphone photos? well, I started fiddling with my camera setting and now everything is completely out of wack... I'm still trying to 'fix' it. silly me.

Thursday, May 3


A few quotes from Ethum (our three year old).

- me: ethum, you're handsome
  e:  no.
  me- you look terrible? 
  e-  yep

- out of nowhere... "it's your father's wife".

- another out of nowhere... "I don't understand what you're talking about". 
  10 minutes later...
  e- you're crazy
  me- why?
  e- ...don't worry about it

...he's basically a teenager.
 and yep, his underwear are on backwards...


Tuesday, April 24


1) making a minor dent in my vintage fabric stash.
2) a new wall-hanging for my boys (inspired by this book.)
3) banana-sour cream pancakes with lemon zest.
4) Red Jacket apple-strawberry juice. Yum!

5) flowers from a tree at the park.
6) popcorn for dinner... twice.
7) amazing thrift find.
8) a rare occasion.

9) the product of a 'happy' sink.
10) I tried marmite for the first time and loved it.
11) plum preserves.
12) a homemade preschool project.

A few things:
- chocolate ice cream and pretzel sticks are a dangerous combo- I'm addicted.
- does Gotye remind anyone else of Phil Collins?
- scented trash bags were the worst idea I've ever had.
- is anyone looking for vintage fabric? my mother-in-law has some great stuff in her shop.

I have a few DIYs in the works that are perfect for mother's day- see ya soon!

Monday, April 9



Oats have a bad rap and I am here to change that for good. I have loved oatmeal my entire life, but up until last year, the only oatmeal I ever ate was seasoned with loads of cinnamon and came in a little packet.   Over the past few months I have been obsessing over oats. I literally wake up excited to eat oats and still crave them throughout the day. Now, I am not assuming that you will feel that way after you try my recipes, but then again, maybe you will ;)
I have created five recipes on the fly. This wasn't a "challenge" I made for myself, it just happened naturally. I  did not purchase any ingredients specifically for making oats, I used what I had and that's it. That being said, hopefully you will have most everything of hand, as well.

Quick Oats:
Boil 2 cups water and then add 1 cup quick-oats (or multi-grain hot cereal). Stir for around 5 minutes, until it is nice and thick (less thick if you prefer).  Remove from heat and add a dab each of butter and coconut oil. This will be the base for the following recipes.

Prepare base, divide among two bowls and top each with the following...

Strawberries and Cream Oats:
 Add a splash of cream (or half & half). Top with 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of raw sugar (optional).

Maple Oats:
 Add a tablespoon butter, a drizzle of pure maple syrup, and a sprinkle of maple sugar (optional).

Banana-Whipped Cream Oats:
Whipped Cream: Combine a 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Whip, using a hand-mixer for about 3 minutes, until very thick and fluffy. 
Add a 1/2 cup sliced bananas and a large dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Coconut-Chocolate Chip Oats:
Add a handful of bittersweet chocolate chips and a generous sprinkling of sweetened coconut shreds

Granola Oats:
Add a 1/2 cup sliced bananas, a handful dried cranberries, and a drizzle of honey.

yep. I did just write this post but I tend to have new 'standard meals' everytime we move. 
Are you the same way?

happy breakfast!

Tuesday, April 3


1) incredible, vacant shop sign. 
2) a sunday "baking" project with E.
3) a little flower from my little gentlemen.
 4) banana-nut bread. < link
5) new $5 walmart rug.

Thursday, March 22


1) breakfast. 2) saturday morning. 3) beauty.
4)  a haircut for ethum. 5) sanity.

(still playing catch-up)


Monday, March 19


I haven't done one of these in awhile, but I've saved up a few gems in my notebook...

"Thank you God for beef."

As we're saying the Lord's Prayer, "give us this day, our daily bread... no, bread and butter."

"This is America."

One day, Ethum was watching a car being towed in the parking lot of our apartments and I asked him to get off the kitchen table and he replied, "no, I'm watching Mater". (any other moms watch Cars a million times yet?)

"Mom, that's the point."

Thursday, March 15


1) knuffle bunny. 2) typical ethum play. 3) sweetness.
4) garlic chicken prep. 5) breakfast.
6) braid-bun/top-knot. (for the record, I totally made this up myself 
before I saw it pinterest, or anywhere else for that matter. yep.)


Thursday, February 2


note: we are parked... in case you were wondering.

Well, well, well. Hmmmm. This is exactly how I feel, lots of huffs and puffs. I'm so stressed out that I'm doing that deep exhale thing every thirty minutes or so because it actually feels like weight is being lifted.
Things have gone a bit topsy turvy since we got here. The corporate house they had waiting for us is still occupied by another family that was supposed to move out two weeks ago. My husband's new position is based out a Canton, Pennsylvania. We have spent that past few days driving to neighboring towns trying to decide what is best for our family right now and we have settled on Williamsport. It's the biggest town around here yet has population of about 40,000. Thats a big change from Houston, but I think I will be happy here. The local grocer has a large natural foods section (in lieu of Whole Foods) and the closest thing to a mall is the brand new Kohl's right off the highway (hello online shopping). Theres not even a Target here but that only means I will be forced to support the little local stores in town, which really is a good thing. Theres a housing shortage here due the to oil boom in the last few years (which is why we're here too).  I found an amazing apartment that was built in the late 1800's and we are waiting to here back from them. I hope it works out- its amazing! Say a little prayer for us :)

Oh yeah, we celebrated Ethum's 3rd birthday in the car by letting him eat candy all day. ha.ha.

Sorry for the ramble jamble. I didn't even edit these photos. bad, bad blogger. I hope things get back to normal soon!


Monday, January 30


We're here! We're in Pennsylvania! We drove into Williamsport last night and we're still trying to figure out where we're going to live... ahhh the hotel life- not as fun as you'd think. ha.ha. I am very grateful for the company Dave is working for. They are really taking care of us (or trying to). There have been a few kinks, but overall I don't have much to complain about. Ethum and Avre did way better than I thought they would (yay for that!). The poor little guys both have a cold now. womp wooomp.
On the drive up, the boys and I stayed at my in-laws house, in Oklahoma City, for two days while Dave finished packing our house in Houston. Here's a few pretty pictures I managed to shoot while we were there...