Monday, January 29, 2018


I received a lot of questions and positive feedback this weekend about the alphabet cookies I made for a 1st birthday party. I thought it would be fun to giveaway a set of the alphabet cookie cutters! They are from Sweet Sugarbelle and really are adorable.
To enter, head over to Instagram,like our page and leave a comment telling us what your favorite cookie is! It's that simple! Winner will be announced on Friday! Good luck!

I will be back later this week with some more fun things.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday's Favs

This year, I am going to add a few new post ideas to the blog. Each Friday I will give you a run down of a few of my favorite things that I am using,eating,making and doing. I am doing this simply to share some things I like with you and am not sponsored by any of the companies whose products I am sharing. I will try to include all the information I can so if it is something that appeals to you then you will be able to find it!

I've found that over the years,raising a family and taking care of a home tends to monopolize most of my time. Last year, I made it a point to take some time for just me and it has been great both physically and mentally. I don't own a scale, so I'm not in any kind of fitness frenzy,but rather I am enjoying feeling fit,healthy and occasionally,well rested. I have incorporated more exercise into my daily routine as well as healthier snacks. Five days a week,after the kids go off to school, I take a long walk with our dog Gigi. I then spend 30 minutes following a yoga program on tv,followed by working out for 10-15 minutes with weights. After, I like to make myself a protein shake. This is the one I am currently using and I love it. I add a little cocoa powder,a heaping spoonful of peanut butter,almond milk and some ice. Occasionally, I will throw in some flax seed as well.
I also found this at our local BJs and I love snacking on it. Nuts and chocolate,what's not to love?
It's been a bit rough walking lately because we have had a heck of a cold front, however, on the days when the cold air lets up,I love to get out and walk with my sidekick,Gigi. She is always up for an adventure! We saw this little woodpecker on our walk this morning..not a great shot,but it's there if you look carefully.

My hubby bought me a new pair of kicks for Christmas, and they are the perfect sneaker for exercising and walking. They are Nike Zooms. Technically,they are a running shoe, but I'm not a technical or running type of girl.Ha!

I've also found some great products this week. I picked up this  deodorant at Target. I'm always reading about how aluminum in deodorant is bad for you and this one is aluminum free. The smell is nice and more importantly,it works.

I've been in need of a new case for my makeup as well as some new makeup. I picked up this cute little case from PurseN. They are having a sale at the moment,and I think this case was under $20.
I have always been a fan of Clinique,and  love this lip gloss, It is from the Marimekko collection and this color is Bubbly Pop...sounds a bit teenage, but it is a very nice shade.

This time of year, I often find myself thinking of spring. With that in mind,I picked up these great produce bags from Crate & Barrel for my trips to the farmer's market. They come in a pack of 5,and are washable as well. Practical and environmentally friendly.Win-win! They were about $11/pack.

As many of you already know,I love my garden! Growing my own fruits and veggies is one of my favorite things ,and when I took a look at my lemon tree this week,I could not have been happier! A few tiny lemons that I hope make it to maturity. This particular plant has lemons with a pink flesh. Fingers crossed that they survive..lemon trees can lose a lot of these little lemons easily.

Though I was expecting this amaryllis to blossom around Christmas and it did not, I was pleasantly surprised this week. Gorgeous bloom that just makes me smile.

 I am always surprised by the talents of my boys. When my son came home this week with his artwork,I was impressed with his skills. He has created many beautiful works of art for us, and while this is based on Mario Bros., he still did a great job on it! Made me smile.

Well, those are some of my favorite items/things for this week. I hope you have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Quinoa Vegetable Salad

I try to eat well throughout the year, and I know that at the beginning of every year, many people try to do the same,so I thought I'd share this easy,healthy recipe today.
   For this salad I used tri color quinoa , but regular quinoa can be used..Quinoa is a healthy grain that is a wonderful source of protein. The quinoa and vegetables can easily be made a few days ahead,and assembled when you are ready to serve. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have.Today, I sauteed the veggies, but you can roast them if you prefer. This is a great recipe to add to a buffet table or to serve at a luncheon.

1 c, quinoa,rinsed
1-1/2-2 c. chicken stock( I prefer homemade,but in a pinch,store-bought is fine)
1 small onion ,diced
1-2 carrots,peeled and diced
1 large zucchini,diced
1 bell pepper,chopped(I used half of a red and half of a yellow)
olive oil
baby arugula
freshly grated parmesan

   In a medium sauce pan, heat the chicken stock and add the quinoa. Boil until the "little tails" of the grain become visible and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
If you are roasting your veggies, place them on a baking sheet,drizzle with olive oil and roast at 375 degrees until slightly brown,set aside and cool. If you are sauteing the veggies, place 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pan,a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute them on a low-medium heat until tender-crisp.
Combine the veggies,quinoa,some baby arugula,and crispy chips ,if desired. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

  If you want to get a little fancy as I did above, just spread the quinoa on a serving dish, layer the vegetables on top, sprinkle arugula or the greens of your choice around the edges and add some crackers for color. I used beet and sweet potato chips that I found at Trader Joe's, love them!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Christmas Recap

2018! I always love the thought of a fresh start,whether it be the typical purging of the home after Christmas,  the beginning of a new fitness regimen or even just a blank calendar waiting to be filled with important events,appointments and celebrations. It fills my heart with hope and excitement!
   As the new year begins, one can't help but reflect on the year before,so with that in mind,today I am sharing some things from December,rather than the entire year. Lots of pics to share, so here we go...

I started off the season with decor in mind. Picked up this adorable and useful rosemary tree at Trader Joe's.
I also ordered some amaryllis bulbs to add a splash of color around the house. This one bloomed a week before Christmas,but I still have three others I am waiting on! I never did this before,but now I realize it may take much longer than I had anticipated. Still, they will brighten my rooms while everything outside is covered in white.
One of my favorite new purchases this year was this list...isn't it adorable? I added the ribbon and greenery to the top. I purchased this from zoandjordan on Etsy. Love it!
My hubby and I also teamed up this year to make holiday signs for our Etsy shop. This was a fun project for us. Here are just a few of them...

Naturally, cookies played a big part of my life in December. The season started with some Elf on the Shelf cookies.

Then the rest of the month was all about the holiday cookie platters.

In the midst of all things Christmas,I made this birthday platter  for a sweet 2 year old!
Hope he and his friends enjoyed the sweets!

I also put together a few boxes of cookies,which make great gifts for teacher,hostesses and friends.

I just love these boxes from BRP Box Company.

    These little kits from It's Written on the Wall were fun to put together.. Her Etsy shop has so many great designs! I used them as advent calendar gifts for my boys, but they make great stocking stuffers or party favors as well.
Another cool thing I discovered this season was Becky Higgins' Stone Wrap. This gift wrap is made from limestone(hence the name) rather than trees. It feels a bit different,more of a dull finish, but it cuts like butter,is waterproof and does not tear at all when wrapping items with sharp corners. I love it! Wrapped many large gifts with no tears,wrinkles or problems. I highly recommend this, and she has a variety of patterns for all occasions. This is available online and at Jo-Ann Fabric Stores.

Such fun holiday patterns.

 Etsy is one of my favorite places for online shopping. I love the variety and unique gifts I am able to find. This was one that I thought was special. I bought this for one of my boys and filled it with art supplies and treats that he loves. It was a big hit. It is from Cufflinksgalore.
  Just as the holiday season came to a close, I had a request for a "smash cake" for a photo shoot for a one year old girl. The family braved a blizzard to pick up the cake and head to the photographer.They managed to make the trip safely and have the photos taken. I heard it was a success and am looking forward to seeing the pictures! Here is the cake!
We had a very nice holiday and I hope you and your family did as well. Now ,it is back to real life. I do miss the lights and the trees, but am looking forward to Valentine's Day and planning our spring garden.
   This year on the blog, I am going to change things a bit. I will continue to share photos of my creations as well as recipes, but also will be adding a bit more about life in general, gardening, projects, great books to read and products that I love and think you will too. Please stop by often and see what is new!

Have a sweet day!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Freezing Fresh Carrots

In the fall, I take a little time out of my regular schedule to prepare and freeze vegetables to use later in the winter. Today, I am working with carrots. I have grown quite a few in my garden and also purchased some at my local farmer's market. Since we are a family that loves roasted carrots,I try to stock up on the fresh ones and freeze them so I have them on hand whenever needed. It is really a simple process. Today,I am preparing a small batch ,but will prepare many more over the course of the next few weeks.

You will need:

Vegetable peeler
freezer bags
boiling water
Bowl with ice water

   As you can see, this is a dirty bunch of carrots. Cut off a small piece from each end,then peel each carrot.After peeling,wash them,then slice into the desired size.

Nice and clean.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, carefully drop in a bunch of the carrots for one minute. Immediately remove them with a strainer and place in a bowl of ice water(this will halt the cooking process). Remove them from the ice water and place in a colander to drain.

I like to blanch each color separately because the darker ones tend to bleed as you can see here. I now have purple water.I start with the lightest color and end with the darkest.
Once they have drained, spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze them for about 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and  place them in freezer bags that have been labeled and dated.

As you can see, the carrots retained their vibrant colors.They are now ready to freeze until needed. This is really an easy way to make sure you are eating fresh food all year long. Enjoy!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Herb Butter


 It may only be the end of October, but now is a great time to start preparing for the holidays. If you visit local farmer's markets or have a garden of your own, you may have noticed that they are filled with vegetables and beautiful herbs. I like to make and freeze herb butter now to use later on my Thanksgiving turkey as well as for other holiday and winter meals. It is easy to make,and will save you some time,as well as money since the price of herbs tends to increase closer to the holidays. Feel free to use whatever herbs you prefer,or even combine a few of your favorites. I like to use parsley,rosemary,thyme and sage.Sometimes I throw in minced garlic,salt,pepper and/or lemon zest as well. Not only can you use the butter in or on your turkey, it is a great shortcut for your stuffing,mashed potatoes or even a roast chicken.Store the butter in your freezer and thaw in the refrigerator a day before you need it. You can also let it sit on your counter for a few hours before using. Please keep in mind these are approximate can adjust them according to your own taste.

1/2 c. of fresh herbs(parsley,rosemary,thyme,basil,sage,chives,dill)
1 stick of unsalted butter

The first butter I made was rosemary because I have numerous  plants in my garden. It is one of my favorite herbs.

Chop the herbs. Place in a small bowl along with one stick of softened butter. Mix until the herbs are incorporated well throughout the butter.

-Wrap well in plastic or store in ramekins or mini storage containers ,then cover or seal with plastic wrap.

Once I roll the butter in the plastic, I like to use a Sharpie to label each one.
When they are all wrapped, they are ready to freeze. One less thing to worry about come holiday time! Check that off your To-Do list!
   Stop by often as I will be sharing more tips to make your holidays a bit easier! Enjoy your day!