Maple Sugaring Starter Kit from Blain’s Farm and Fleet

Being from the Northeast and close to New England, maple sugar is a love of mine. I used to get little packages of pure maple candy when on vacation and I savored that treat. The way the sugar just melts and dissolves in your mouth….mmmmmm.

I received an email from Blains Farm and Fleet and this is what I saw (click on link). How fun! Aside from the kit, there are other related goodies.


This kit looks like so much fun, although I suspect there is a learning curve and a bit of work involved. But you just might have someone on your gift list who would love this fresh idea.

Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Starter Kit

$90.00 for Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Kit


Even if I could take on this hobby, one important factor is missing…


We only have one tree in our backyard.

I guess there will not be a brunch at our house to celebrate my first batch of homemade maple syrup!


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).

And Another Birthday…


Happy Birthday Wee One!

This time we  celebrated my daughter’s birthday and she is all things pink, purple, sweets and treats.

I made a Giant Sugar Cookie using Wilton’s recipe because we have already “been there, done that” with birthday cake this month. Then I topped it with my Butter Frosting and some store-bought decorations, which are a family favorite – including me. Biting into that sugared decoration that has become slightly soft from the moisture in the frosting takes me back to my kid days. Delish!

Traditional Butter Frosting

4 tblsp soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tblsp milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla

With a mixer. combine all ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Start with 1 tblsp of milk and add more for consistency if needed. Tint as desired and frost away!

Birthday Cake Cheesecake from Wisconsin Cheeseman

Looing for a fun gift idea for a birthday?

How about this delicious looking Birthday Cake Cheesecake from the Wisconsin Cheeseman. It is sure to put a smile on your giftee’s face!

$32.99 for Birthday Cake Cheesecake

Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Our January is filled with lots of celebrations so we have many reasons to eat decadently and I get a chance to try a variety of recipes since we do not want to eat the same dessert for each “moment”. That would just be plain boring.

And kooky.

We have 3 birthdays (out of a family of 5) this month so we started the string of birthdays with a Chocolate-Cherry Cake that is a family recipe. It was moist and the chocolate was not too rich…it was delish!

Follow the links below for the cake recipe and for the cherry frosting – the combo was meant to be!

Why, you could even say that it is a “perfect pair”…



Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Maraschino Cherry Frosting

Snowflake Cookie from Yankee Candle

Snowflake Cookie™

$13.99 for “Snowflake Cookie” large tumbler


Last year I gave this candle to my mother but I coveted it.


I almost did not give it to her because I wanted to keep it, but I did the right thing and gave it as intended.

But I never stopped thinking about it so this year I picked one up for myself when Yankee Candle had one of their holiday deals going on.

As I start to de-decorate from the holidays and replace my décor with winter themes, I brought out this candle today and I love it.

It smells like a cookie but it is light and cozy, not heavily perfumed and overpowering.

I knew that I needed to share this with you because it could make a wonderful “winter” gift if you are in need of finding just the right thing now.

And to make it an even better gift, it is on sale!

My guess is that it will not be around long so do not hesitate – you may even want to pick up a few and tuck them away as fabulous “token” gifts for next year’s holiday season!

Winter Gifts on Sale from Bath and Body

If you are in need of some winter “token” gifts, here are some fun winter scents on sale!


Alpine Fresh Gentle Foaming Hand Soap Bundle - Soap/Sanitizer - Bath & Body Works

$12.50 for the set of 5, Alpine Fresh Foaming Soap Bundle


Holiday Favorites 5-Pack PocketBac Sanitizers - Soap/Sanitizer - Bath & Body Works

$5.00 for set of 5, Holiday Favorites Pocketbac Sanitizers


Here is the link for these items and many more…

Braided Trivets in a Basket from The Braided Rug Place

Here’s a fun gift idea…a basket of braided trivets!

They have a nice selection for all season, décor and holidays – check out their website below to see more and pricing!

Here are a few ideas…

TNB-1120 Winter Trivets in a Basket by Susan Burd

Winter Trivets


TNB-328 All Season Trivets in a Basket by Susan Burd

All Season


TNB-1126 Spring Trivets in a Basket by Susan Burd



TNB-025A Pinecone Trivets in a Basket



$46.00 each, for a set of braided rug trivets

Fit & Fresh Lunch Totes

While shopping at TJ Maxx, I saw a rack of fabulous looking lunch totes. Most came with plastic containers and thin-sized ice paks and I thought that they would make great gifts, especially since we’re all done with eating out and back to bringing our skinny lunches around with us…(aren’t we?).

I found the brand name at Amazon and other sources, as well as at Fit & Fresh’s site. Search the internet to see what you can find in addition to these below.

From Amazon:

$13.22 for Fit & Fresh Ladies Retro Insulated Lunch Bag with Reusable Ice Pack, Magnetic Snap, Black & White Damask (other solids ad prints available)


$24.60 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Sporty Lunch Bag Kit with Lunch on The Go Reusable Container Set, Black


$13.67 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Classic Roll Top Insulated Lunch Bag with Ice Pack, Light Brown


$25.21 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Big Phil Lunch Bag Kit with Lunch on The Go Reusable Container Set, Brown


From Fit & Fresh:

Kyoto Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Bryant Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Vienna Insulated Lunch Bag with Lunch on the Go (Patterned Lids)

Hyannis Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Portsmouth Insulated Lunch Bag with Lunch on the Go (Patterned Lids)

The 'Everything' Clear Lunch Tote with Insulated Drawstring Bag

All can be found here:

various pricing from $10.00 – $19.99 for those styles shown above, other styles and prices available


Polka Dot Clutches from Kohls

These sassy little clutches would make a fabulous gift for the holidays. And at $11.99 each, you could pick one up for yourself.

Unless you are a guy.

But if you are a guy and you really want one, then you could get one too.

Who wouldn’t want these polka dots! (They have other styles too but I am partial to dots…and stripes).

$11.99 for Apt 9 Rhonda Ruched Wallet


$11.99 for Bobby Bow Clutch Wallet


$11.99 for Brit Bow Clutch Wallet

Beauty Balms from Avon

These could make a great stocking stuffer!

$18.00 for FIX ME UP – Scented Balm Trio to cure all of your beauty ills!

Flower Ear Muffs from Old Durham Road

$19.95 for Flower Ear Muffs

These are super fun and unique – know someone on your gift list who needs to keep their ears toasty? Treat them to these stylish ear muffs!

Mitten Tree from Plow & Hearth

I picked up one of these trees somewhere last year and I love it. No more mittens, hats, coats and snow pants scattered all over the floor, hopefully in a sunbeam, to dry. I fit every last piece of snowy wet gear (and wet summer sprinkler gear too) on it and it takes up little space and our stuff gets dry on all sides, not just the side facing up from the floor.

This version looked fun, especially for gift-giving because it has interchangeable finials available for an extra $9.95.

$39.95 for Mitten Tree

$9.95 for Seasonal Finials

For Selfie Lover’s from Bed Bath and Beyond

I personally think that the charm of the selfie is the distorted pic that comes from trying to hold your hand out far enough to fit your face (and anyone else) while pushing the button calmly so that your pic isn’t blurry. But then, I am old school and I also rarely take selfies so what do I know!

For those serious selfie lover’s on your gift list, give them a “handle”…

$19.99 for Quikpod Selfie Action Adventure Handle


And, not quite as fun as a long handle but this remote control for a selfie would work too…

$19.99 for Selfie Snap

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

Gift Ideas from Ginny’s

$19.95 for Cutting Board Tablet Holder


$14.95 for Chalkboard Jar


$69.95 for West Bend 5-qt. Versatility Slow Cooker with travel bag


$16.95 for 5-pc. Novelty Knife Set


Jelly Belly Gifts, Big & Small

The Jelly Belly Factory is part of our world and it is a fun little tour, complete with train ride and jelly beans. I have no affiliation with them other than enjoying their goodies, so this is not a “pitch post”!

There are so many fun gift ideas here for the fall and winter holidays, as well as birthdays and parties. Whether you need a token gift for co-workers, school, friends and family or a bigger basket of goodies, you can find it here.

Harry Potter fans will enjoy the crazy flavors and “nod” to the candy in the series. Lots of other characters and larger quantities of bulk size individually wrapped small packages too that would be great when you a lot of a little!

I have provided individual links right to the gifts I am displaying here.

Here is their main site to just browse…and drool…

$6.99 for TABASCO® Dark Chocolate Covered Jelly Beans – 4.15 oz Gift Box


$8.99 for Pumpkin Pie Jelly Beans, 16 oz. resealable bag


$5.99 for 7.5 oz. bag of Giant Candy Corn! Woo-hoo


$5.99 for Jelly Belly Autumn Mix Gift Bag, 7.5 oz

flavors: Orange Sherbet, Chocolate Pudding, Peach, Red Apple, Raspberry, Pomegranate, Toasted Marshmallow, Top Banana


$5.99 for Sugar Plums, 5.75 oz. gift bag – available holiday season only


$9.99 for Jelly Belly Countdown Calendar


$5.99 for Holiday Favorites Jelly Belly Box, 4.25 oz.

flavors: Hot Chocolate, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, Candy Cane, Egg Nog


Fire and Wood Stove Gifts from Plow and Hearth

$49.95 – $99.95 for Resin Wood Burlap Sack Holder (small or large)

This looked like a fun gift for those who enjoy their fires. Add a box of Fatwood for $14.95 and you have a fabulous gift and …a Perfect Pair!


$19.95 for Suede Hearth Utility Gloves


Click here for the large assortment of woodstove “Steamers”…

$79.95 for the above Adirondack Chair and Fire Pit Wood Stove Steamer (I am from the Adirondack area so this one caught my eye…there are many more though!)

Gift Ideas from Signals Catalog

$39.95 for Porcelain Books Accent Lamp


$35.00 for Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia


$79.95 for Piano Server


$16.95 for “Romaine Calm and Carrot On” Apron


$99.95 for Bride’s Tree Ornaments Collection – 12 symbolic ornaments to ensure happiness, according to old German tradition


$39.95 for Moonglow Necklace, personalize with the moon as it was when you were born or on a special day


$11.95 for Now You May Speak Coffee Mug

Doodad Gifts from Miles Kimball

For those of us who remember phones with a cord, this is a fun gift to outfit the new technology!

$12.99 for Retro Handset


$9.99 for Magnetic Tape…tell me that this is not a great stocking stuffer or token gift for the winter holidays!

“Pumpkin” Themed Gifts from Country Door

$19.95 for Pumpkin Pie Slices-Petit Fours from Swiss Colony at Country Door


$19.95 for 12 Spiced Pumpkins from Swiss Colony at Country Door

$29.95 for 24 Spiced Pumpkins


I have one of these in bright orange and love it. I use it for my cooking oils – it would make a great gift!

$17.99 for Rachael Ray Cruet in Pumpkin Orange (or other colors)


$49.99 for set of 3 Calabash Canisters


$29.99 for set of 4 Calabash Salad Plates


$27.99 for Calabash Serving Platter



$24.99 for Calabash Serving Bowl

For these Calabash items and others, see their site:


Copper Tumblers, Pitcher & Mugs from Napastyle

Yes, I do seem to be on a bit of a “copper” kick! These would make wonderful holiday or wedding gifts…even an anniversary.

$99.00 for Bottega Copper Tumblers, set of 4


$69.00 for set of 2 Hammered Mugs or $129.00 for set of 4

$119.00 for Hammered Copper Pitcher




Copper Kettle & Mugs from Plow & Hearth

I just love the look of these!

$79.95 for Handmade Copper Kettle


$39.95 for Copper Mugs, set of 2

Little Books of Law on Fun Topics from For Counsel

Who wouldn’t want to learn some of the legal “mumbo jumbo” regarding their favorite hobby? These books with interesting “scoop” would make a great gift for someone on your gift list.

Visit the site below for these titles and more topics.


$19.95 each for these titles



$29.95 each for these titles


Not-So-Ordinary Gifts from Victorian Trading Co.

$19.95 for Rosebud Earphones


$14.95 for “The Book of the Bizarre”

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