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.