Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries from Shari’s Berries


$29.99 for 20 Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries (white chocolate)


This idea all by itself is a fabulously fun way to send a little love for Valentine’s Day…or a baby shower, birthday party or “Just Because”.

But…because I have the “gift of gab” there is more to this post – a back story.

Last year when I started blogging one of my first recipes was for Nutella Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. I created this super easy treat because I like the idea of a chocolate-covered strawberry but trying to eat them is not pretty. The chocolate is hard and falls off when you bite into the strawberry. Then you have to coordinate putting a piece of the fallen chocolate with a bite of strawberry into your mouth.


I was planning to share that recipe, if you can call it that, for Valentine’s Day because there is the color red, there is chocolate and because it is a way to sneak in that tasty treat.

I also became obsessed with making chocolate-covered cherries over the winter holiday season and was going to add that recipe to my Valentine’s Day suggestions for gifts. But I was planning to tweak it a bit from the traditional treat. (Just to clarify, a chocolate-covered cherry works because the cherry is small enough to pop the whole treat into your mouth so that the hard chocolate doesn’t have a chance to fall anywhere other than where it is supposed to, your eagerly awaiting mouth.)


(it can be very gray here in Wisconsin – I will make a better picture someday, I promise!)

Then, today, a mailer came from Shari’s Berries and the above Ombre Cherries were featured. How fun (or Chow Fun as I like to say when I am being weird)!

The ombre cherries are made with white chocolate and it is tinted slightly a few times to make the “ombre” effect.

I had not thought of making ombre-colored cherries but I was considering trying white chocolate. I still think that good ole chocolate-chocolate would be my first preference but variety is the spice of life so I was up for the switch.

Until I get to whip up some of my own cherries and try this all out for myself to share with you, here are the recipes for my “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” and the recipe for “Chocolate-Covered Cherries” that I found at Taste of Home and liked the best – I tried a few. (Click on the words above for the recipes).


Gifts of Food, Music & More from “Menus and Music”

I was quite taken with the “Music and Menus” collection and thought that these would make great gifts. They have recipes with a music CD to match different types of gatherings and moments…very fun and different and so many to choose from!


$26.00 for Christmas Cookies – A collection of recipes for holiday baking and a music CD from the Nutcracker Ballet



$26.00 for Chocolate Bliss – A collection of chocolate recipes and a music CD



$12.00 for Bourbon Black Tea, 28 pyramid sachets


I love this idea, especially for a new baby gift. I have to admit that anything beyond meat and veggies that I could grill or roast was too taxing for me when I was home with new babies…and often even today…but I still love the idea!


$26.00 for Home With Baby – A collection of simple recipes and a soothing lullaby CD



$29.00 for Paris Cafes – A collection of recipes and a music CD from the Heart of Paris Cafes



$38.00 for Swinging French Jazz: Favorite Parisian Bistro Recipes and a Jazz music CD



$26.00 for Invitation to Tea – A collection of tea fare recipes and a relaxing chamber music CD



$26.00 for Cooking With the Blues – A collection of comfort food recipes and a soulful blues CD



$26.00 for Cocktail Hour – A collection of party appetizer recipes and a piano jazz music CD

Soft & Adorable No-Sew Fleece Blankets

The “make it” side of my blog is a bit light and I always have it in the back of my mind. I love crafting and making things but do not put much energy into it at the moment. But things that you can make as gifts are some of the most fabulous things to give.

I saw these No-Sew Fleece Blankets and thought I would share them with you. There are many styles online as you search around but these caught my eye!


Odds ‘n Ends from The Lighter Side


$12.98 for set of 2, Shotgun Shell LED Flashlight



$12.95 for Tic Tac Tome – Play against the book!



$56.98 for Daddy’s Project Diaper Bag…perfect for a baby shower!

or use the idea and create your own!

The Kissing Hand


This may just look like an ordinary hand to you (unless you are a palm reader, then you may see an extraordinary future ahead of me…or you may see that I am destined to have crumbs on my carpet forever…or you my see that I will never find a way to make my hereditary sideburns blend in – in that case, don’t tell me…) but this hand is special. It has kisses on it.

We have entered the elementary school years and are in the process of adjusting to kindergarten. It is our 3rd week and little by little it is getting easier. A few years ago when we entered the preschool years I purchased a book called “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. It is about a little raccoon who needs to go school at night but he is worried. His mother kisses the palm of his hand (or paw, technically) so that he can use it to get a kiss from his momma when he misses her and feels sad while he is at school. The little raccoon feels better and is able to relax and play all day. That night (they are nocturnal ya know), as his momma takes him to school she starts to get sad because she will miss her little raccoon. So the little raccoon takes her hand (paw) and kisses it so that she can get a kiss from him while he is away at school. So adorable!

Last week I remembered that book as we were waiting for the school bell to ring announcing that it was time to enter school and my muffin would have a hard time separating from me. I kissed my little muffins hands, both of them so he did not have to worry that he could not remember which hand it was, and he kissed both of mine. It helped…for both of us.

Today,  it is Monday, and the start to the week so my little muffin asked if we could do the kissing hand and we did. We added a hug too.

My middle muffin has now started preschool, but it is her second year so she is not worried. I took both of my school muffins with me today to trek around to their schools. While waiting in the car for the school bell, I mentioned to my middle muffin that I could kiss her hand just like the story. She paused and then told me that she is not worried about school. I said that I knew she wasn’t, it was just to let her know that we could do that. All right, I guess she is ok with school. Good.

Then a few moments later she started feeling sad that she would miss her brother while he was at school. He asked her for her hand and then kissed her palm. She beamed. He told her to give him her other hand and he kissed that one too. She sat in the back of the car beaming because her brother had kissed her hands and she soaked it all in.

I had two thoughts…the first, of course, was that it was a hugely tender moving moment for this momma that her son had done this for his sister. It was such a loving act. It’s nice to see those periodically, especially going “top-down”.

The second, was that my daughter had no need for a kiss from momma on her hand because she was fine with going to school but that kiss from her brother made her day. Momma was “chopped liver”.

It isn’t the first time and surely won’t be the last!

This book is a great book if someone in your life needs a little extra lovin’ for the moment. I am sure you can purchase it many places. The Scholastic Book Club has it if your school participates. Here is it at Barnes and Noble – along with Chester the raccoon too!



The book is $11.36 and Chester the Raccoon is $14.00




Gift Ideas from Lakeside Collections


$14.95 for Big Dog Refillable Lighter



$14.95 for Stanley Tripod Flashlight


I was quite surprised when I started hearing my 80’s music being referred to as the “oldies” – that was what my parent’s music was called, so how could MY music be called the same thing?

That’s the funny thing about getting older – you get older and your stuff does too.


$13.95 per set, Hits of the Decades – 60’s, 70’s or 80’s



$8.95 per set of Infant Rattle Socks (Flowers or Sports)

Rose Quartz Guardian Pocket Angel from Pyramid Collection


$14.95 for Rose Quartz Pocket Angel

What a thoughtful and loving gift for someone special to let them know that there is always someone watching over them.

Soothe their Soul…and their Feet

I have been in the mood for coziness, relaxing and soothing lately.

I suspect I am craving it because it is NOT on the “to-do” list. I have been finishing the Road Trip Ramblings which, chronicled my recent Road Trip with my kids and I have been busy creating recipes for summer gifts because I am feeling the pressure that summer is “almost over”.

I also have a family birthday party to plan, am trying to figure out how to pickup the house so that it feels organized-before the season changes and I am overwhelmed by the change of clothes, decorations and school business again. I also really really want to sit and enjoy looking through the 2 foot pile of magazines and catalogs that has grown like a weed in the last 2 months and is my major source of inspiration for the gift ideas that I share with you. That stack was supposed to be part of the fun of running my blog, but it is outta hand now and it feels more like homework.

So, I really want to curl up on the couch with my iced coffee, some super cozy socks (because even though it is supposed to be summer, it really has not been that warm here in my world) and relaxing jazz playing in the background.

Know anyone on your gift list that feels the same way?

Then they just might be thrilled to get these gifts…it’s a “Perfect Pair”!


$29.95 for Cozy Lounge Socks from NorthStyle

Don’t your feet just drool looking at those socks?


$15.98 for “Smooth Jazz at Midnight” CD

Since my relaxing moments usually can’t happen until everyone in my world has gone to sleep, a CD about music at midnight seemed fitting…

I’ve Said it Before…Corn Bags…Ahhhh!

Last night, as I was lying in bed with my corn bag over my face, I knew that I needed to remind you that these are WONDERFUL gifts.


I know why parents like summer camps and why they look forward to school starting.

And we have yet to start kindergarten, but I think God gives you these moments so that you do not focus on the emotional aspects of children leaving the nest.

It was a day of young children with way too much energy and the day continued along those lines. A new bike for my oldest because he finally figured out how to work the pedals. My middle child still couldn’t figure it out so I told her we would practice on her brother’s bike and then I would know what bike to get her. A toddler that had no interest in his sibling’s new venture, only an interest in “heading out” on his own.

An afternoon of practicing bike riding and a middle child finally “getting it” led to two children switching bikes. Ya know how that goes with siblings! They did well but I already planned on getting two bikes so I knew what I needed to do.


Exhausted from a “fun-filled day of three young kids with too much energy”, I ordered another bike online for evening pickup. It would be much easier to go after bedtime to get the bike than bring everyone back to the store the next day. I did not need a repeat of my morning.

When all were in bed I went on my mission. I picked myself up two iced coffees from McDonald’s, as long as I was out, and continued on for the bike. I probably would have enjoyed both of the iced coffees right then but one was actually to save for the morning.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. The kind where your head hurts. I still had most of my evening chores to complete but I just couldn’t. I knew the best thing for me was to get to bed so I could handle whatever the next day would bring. But as I hopped into bed, my head hurt and I knew I would not be able to sleep.

Two words…

Corn bag.

I got up and heated one then headed back to bed. The second I put that corn bag on my face I knew I would be all right. Ahhhhh….

When I woke up at some point in the middle of the night, my head was so much better and I felt human again. Thank you corn bags, you have saved me for the last twenty years.

Here is a sampling of my corn bags. Different sizes for different needs…the little ones are great for kids. I keep them in the freezer and they are handy for bumps and bruises. I even heated them, ever so slightly (really – be careful!) when my newborns had gas-ey bellies and they couldn’t get comfortable. Just a tiny bit of warmth seemed to ease their little bodies as I held them.




(Various pricing depending on size)


I also saw a site for making your own:


Women’s Over-the-Shoulder Bag from Ogio


$40.00 for Ogio Shoulder Bag – Brooklyn Style

– I also saw that other retailers sell these bags, just do an online search for “Ogio women’s shoulder bag” –


I picked out one of these over-the-shoulder bags a few years ago for my birthday because I wanted to replace the shoulder bag that I had been using.

I love it!

When I had my first baby, I quickly realized that having a pocketbook that sat on one shoulder was NOT helpful. During all of the ups and downs and bending over that I now had to do my pocketbook kept falling off of my shoulder. Holding it on the crook of my elbow was way too fashionable, and still very much in the way, for my new role.

At that time I found an Eddie Bauer bag that I loved because it crossed over my shoulder and hung around my body. It held my pocketbook type things but also a bottle, diaper and a toy or two. It was just the right size, not too big and not too small. Once I settled into momma-hood and realized that I did not need to take the house with me when I went somewhere, I was able to ditch the diaper bag quite often and just use my new “pocketbook”.

After years of momma-hood, my bag was showing some wear and I started craving a little fashion instead of my sporty bag. I searched online and found this bag in a great bright teal color. Wow…could I switch from my black bag to a bright color? I went for it and loved it!

I still need full use of both hands as well as my shoulders, back, feet, butt and any other available body part as I shuffle my young crew around and cannot imagine NOT having my over-the-shoulder bags.

This would make a FABULOUS baby shower gift or a birthday gift for a mom or anyone who has busy hands as they maneuver their day.

Your hands are free for business and you can load it with the necessities – yours and your children’s – and you can easily dig around in it to grab all of those things. With compartments for cell phones, Burt’s Bees lip balm, Rudolph lip balm, headache medicine (don’t leave home without it), matchbox cars, crayons and paper, your business cards, address book (I am old school), hand lotion and sanitizer, Band-Aids and an extra pair of kid socks…just to name a few things it can hold…your giftee won’t need anything else!!

They will be thanking you for saving them!


Home Bistro and Dinewise Meals

This is a great gift for someone who could use some delicious meals made easy. If you cannot personally deliver a home cooked meal, why not send them a few of these?

$14.99 – $17.69 for microwave-able Gourmet Meals


Unique Baby Bottle Drying Racks from Target

Baby shower or new baby on your gift list?

How cute are these drying racks for bottles and accessories!


$12.00 on sale, for Boon Grass Bottle Drying Rack

$24.99 for Boon Grass, Stem & Twig Drying Set Bundle

$15.99 for Winter Grass Boon Bottle drying Rack

Shopping Spree of Gift Ideas


$24.99 for “Patisserie” Cake Carrier from World Market

This cake carrier was showcased in the Country Living September 2013 magazine. Make a special cake (like one of the ones in my “Food Gifts/Recipe” categories) and gift it with the carrier…yum



$29.95 – $39.95 for Personalized Lunch Boxes from Frecklebox

Another fun idea for a kid’s birthday or early age graduation gift. I love the throwback to the metal lunchboxes, which is what I used as a kid. Maybe it isn’t “cool” these days but it has their name on it and a chalkboard inside…seems “cool” to me, but then I may be outta touch! 🙂



$11.95 for 1 lb of Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle from Sweet Energy

Peanut Brittle Lovers can go to a whole new level of awe and appreciation for this gift!



$18.00 for Princess Story Time Bracelet and Wooden Keepsake Box from femail creations



$31.50 clearance price for Tower of Time Handprint Frames- 5 Years from femail creations


I saw the next two Sea Salt Companies and their gift ideas in the Cooking Light November 2013 magazine…



Check out these fun Sea Salts from Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co.

$32.00 for Gift Set Trio with Bamboo Tray (includes ORIGINAL SITKA FLAKE, ALDER SMOKED FLAKE, and WILD BLUEBERRY FLAKE salts)

$12.00 for Wild Blueberry Flake Sea Salt, 4 oz.

$12.00 for Sitka Spruce Tip Flake Sea Salt, 4 oz.

$10.00 for Alder Smoked Flake salt, 4 oz.



$11.95 – $13.95 for Jacobsen Salt Co. Oregon Sea Salts

Check out the above website for the whole list of their products and how they are made…they would make a great gift!

“Night Night, Sleep Tight” Children’s CD from christianbook.com


$6.99 2 CD set


We have quite a few children’s CD’s for sleepy time but this 2 CD set is the one that all three of my muffins preferred.

I think I will have to get each one of them a CD set for their “Treasure Boxes” for when and if they have little muffins of their own.

(I am feeling sappy because I finally took down the last of the gates separating rooms in our house today. It was more of a safety issue with them getting hurt running through it than it was a helpful option to keep my toddler safe. I am not ready to let him grow up…he’s “the baby”!)

I Spy With My Little Eye…

…some fun and unique gifts for New Babies, Graduations, Birthdays and Mother’s Day from Current!


Need a New Baby gift? I love these…

Baby’s First & Second Year Calendars


$7.99 each or $13.99 for both years

(Go for both years! I actually managed to do a calendar for each of my three kids. I am sure there are differences in what I actually kept track of for each baby but it will give them something to tease me about at Thanksgiving Dinner when they are all adults.) 🙂



$12.99 for Flip Flop Jewelry Organizer

That would make a fun Graduation gift!



How about some Personalized Note Cards?

They also offer matching envelopes, note pads, sticky notes etc. You could create a fun gift “basket” by adding colored gel pens and putting them in a trendy file folder box for High School Graduates off to college or in a handy storage container for Birthdays, Mother’s Day or those College Graduates who are now free from keeping homework papers organized!


$12.99 for Set of 24 Personalized Note Cards – Many more styles available online

And as long as you are ordering, you may as well pick up this giant load of tissue paper! It’s a great deal 🙂


$6.99 for 80-Sheet Tissue Paper


Uncommon Goods

My organized and creative sides like to give you posts on gift ideas that go together in “tidy neatly wrapped packages with color coordinated bows” that are based on a gift theme and look, oh so pretty.

My practical side keeps an eye on those two other sides because it could mean that I will bombard you with too many posts. Or maybe those two sides would send you all over the web shopping at many sites just to make one gift package.

With those checks and balances in place, the practical side of me won out in this post.

Since I wanted to share a whole bunch of gift ideas from one source, “Uncommon Goods”, all of my sides finally agreed to throw it all at you in one post.

The items from this source have neat stories on the creators of the items…check out their story…


Ok, now for the fabulous gift ideas! There are some gifts here that are just perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays…oh heck, just put your thinking cap on. A “light bulb” is sure to appear over your head at least once!

Get ready…here they come!


I love big bags that I can dump everything in and then swish my hand around for never-ending minutes to find what I need.

The colors got me!

Probably because our outside world is so blah still while I am waiting for spring!

$35.00 for Sari Shoulder Bag



This was one of my biggest obsessions when my muffins were crawling…their little knees! I thought there should be a product like this and had considered creating my own…but they would have been more “utilitarian”, like using cut up socks or something…these are much cuter.

$20.00 for Crawling Knee Pads



I have seen these types of adorable socks around but these are so different and sooooo cute!

Western boots and sandals? Love ’em!

$24.00 – $30.00 for Baby Socks



What a fun token gift for the baker or the kids in your world!

$15.00 for Cupcake Planter Kit



This just screams, “For the Sophisticated Man Foodie!”

Ok, maybe not “screams” since sophisticated people do not scream.

Do they?

I scream. I always thought I was sophisticated. At least that I had the option to be. Hmmmm…

$34.95 for Himalayan Salt BBQ Plank



Totally frivolous! But just perfect for someone you know, I can feel it.

$125.00 for Stone Drink Dispenser



$60.00 for Flavors of America salt Collection


Peek here for more Salt Collection options…




$65.00 for Row Boat Salad Bowl With Serving Utensils



What a wonderful trip down memory lane…

$12.00 for Ticket Stub Diary / $15.00 for Travel Stub Diary



If I lived in the city and biked all over (which is how I picture I would be) this messenger bike bag would be a great gift. It “velcros” to the bike and then has a shoulder strap to tote it around when you get off the bike. There are even pockets for your water etc to keep it handy while on the bike. Clever!

$48.00 for Bike Tote with Shoulder Strap for Grabbing and Going



And since I would have the clever tote on my bike I would also need this Six Pack Holder for the crossbars as I was on my way to all of the social gatherings I would be attending. Water, iced tea or grown-up drinks would travel around with me in style!

$69.00 for Six Pack Bike Bag That Slips Over the Crossbar and Secures With Velcro




Love these!

$40.00 for Beard Pack / $50 for Working Man’s Hygiene Kit



$13.00 for each Choose Your City Glass



The Canon Bookends crack me up.

$65.00 for each Set of Bookends


Ok, you can go now.

But come back soon! I have sooooo many more ideas to share with you 🙂

Hearthsong Clearance Sale for Kids

$14.99 for Cottage Storage Boxes


$19.99 for Stable Play Set


$9.99 for Patty Cake Cupcake Sensory Toy


All can be found at:


Coconut Cake On the Brain

I have had cake on the brain lately. Probably because I am gearing up for Easter dinner and dessert as well as a play date the following week. That menu will revolve around the Easter theme in some capacity as well because I am fitting in one more reason to eat cake.

I try not to keep baked goods around or I WILL eat them. I am already coming off of a winter holiday season of eating baked goods…mmmm…

Ok, back to cake.

There are many baked treats I would like to make but only a short menu to fill so it is stressful trying to figure out who the “winners” will be.

One contender is Coconut Cake.

And I believe that Coconut Cake that tastes like coconut and frosting that tastes like coconut is the bomb.

That is not easy to find.

My search a few years ago resulted in two separate recipes but combined, they are dreamy.



Here is the cake…
(I haven’t heard back from the creator of this cake if I could share it but since I am not taking credit for it and am providing the direct link, I think it should be ok. I found the recipe on an internet search and it is still there. I didn’t want you to miss out!).


It was soooo moist and delicious. Every mouthful to be savored!


And here is the coconut frosting that I used…


(I slightly tweaked the recipe just by omitting the vanilla extract. I didn’t want anything to interfere with the coconut flavor).

If you haven’t decided on your weekend dessert, give this a try – it will be a “winner”!

The Little Big Book for Grandmothers by Catalog Classics



With Mother’s Day around the corner you may be looking for ideas for a special grandma. Or maybe there is a new baby, which means a grandma became “new” again – how exciting!


These little packets come in sooooo many varieties of flowers and vegetable plants that they would make a really fun gift either with just one token package or you could build a customized gift package. I even discovered a gift box (shown below) that could make a very clever gift to deliver.

And isn’t it fun to deliver a clever gift?

There were a few different sites that offered SeedBallz, so feel free to google them and shop around.

Here are a few of my ideas…


$6.98 each



$7.54 to $7.89 for any single packet of SeedBallz

$24.99 for Garden Cookies SeedBallz



Mesclun Salad Mix (2 pack) for $7.54; Lettuce Mix and Spinach: $7.98 each



Edible Flowers Mix (2 pack) and Herb Mix (2 pack): $7.98 each 2 pack


Wildflower Mix (2 pack) and Black-Eyed Susan Mix (2 pack): $7.98 for each 2 pack



Seeds of Hope (2 pack) for $7.98 and Cosmos for $7.54 each

Best-Ever Carrot Cake from Better Homes and Gardens


Carrot cake is one of those cakes that I do not think about when I plan to make a cake but I really enjoy. I saw this recipe in a Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookbook and thought that the loaf style was a unique way to present the cake.

Storage Bins and Organizers

I believe in the beauty of utilitarian gifts. I want a new hose but I do not want to spend my money on one. And I REALLY want a fancy hose but I definitely will not spend my money on that. I will spend as little as possible and get a poor excuse for a hose. If someone were to gift me a fancy hose, I could appreciate it because I didn’t have to spend my money on it and they probably gave me one that was much better than I would have picked up for myself.

Sitting at my kitchen table this morning (alone because it never happens that I can stay asleep on the very rare days that my kids sleep in…but hey, I’m alone!) I looked around my house and had to chuckle.

It ALWAYS looks like a tornado has blown through our house. I cannot blame it all on the kids because the kitchen counters are just as bad. Although, much of that has to do with the kids in some fashion. When I take a picture of the kids I am aware that you may not even notice the subject of the frame surrounded by our “lifestyle”. It got me to thinking (I always think of my grandmother when I use that phrase) that a gift of bins and organizers can be a great treat.


There are all sorts of bins and organizers available to either blend in with someone’s décor or stand out as cute kid type or craft type, whatever they are in need of.

Lithopane Lights from Victorian Trading Company


$29.95 for Tulip Garden Light


$14.99 for Guardian Angel Nightlight

These pretty calming lights would make a unique gift for baptisms, confirmations, new babies or someone in need of a Guardian Angel.

Hint of Mint Fruit Salad from Taste of Home Magazine


Have I mentioned that I am soooo ready for spring to get here? I thought so. Well, this fruit salad with it’s minty notes is a yummy dish that makes me think spring is coming soon. You can vary it to use any fruits that you like. Ya know…”tweak it”!

Take it along to a baby shower or to your Easter Dinner…delicious!

Sunscreen Travel Kit from One Step Ahead



I usually stash a few trial size sunscreens in various places for those moments when I was not planning on bringing my little muffins out into the sunshine. My purse, the car, the stroller (yes I should have already sunscreened but…) and the picnic basket (again, yes, but…). This is a helpful and different gift for a baby shower or a wee ones birthday (when they are young enough to NOT realize that this was soooo NOT a fun birthday gift).

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