Shamrock’s for St. Patty’s Day

Here are a few shamrock goodies for St. Patty’s Day from Sturbridge Yankee – you can find all of them at their link:

http://www.sturbridgeyankee.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=shamrock

 

Shamrock Thermometer

$19.95 for Shamrock Thermometer

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Shamrock Jute Trivet

$9.95 for Shamrock Jute Trivet

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Irish Lace Shortbread Pan

$39.95 for Irish Lace Shortbread Pan

 

Green Sequin Sneakers…for Sneakin’ Up on Leprechauns

Here’s a super fun gift idea for St. Patrick’s Day!

http://www.catalogfavorites.com/itemdy00.aspx?T1=V1010+8

$29.95 for Kelly-Green Sequin Sneakers

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All right…so are ya wonderin’ if I managed to redeem myself and if I came up with a gift idea for my husband? (A few days ago I had no idea what I was going to give him as a token gift for Valentin’es Day.)

He somehow got wind of my lack of gift ideas (probably because he is a loyal blog follower). I asked him if he was nervous and he said that he wasn’t…but I think I saw a worry line.

Well, my husband has to work on Valentine’s Day so it finally occurred to me to treat him to a lunch filled with all of the decadence that he normally does not lunch on.

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A BIG sandwich called The B.O.S.S (Big Oversized Sub Sandwich – that is one of his faves and it is also fitting because he is a boss) – and lots of sides were packed away and sent to work with him. I was quite pleased with myself, and almost as important as that was that I think he was happy too…

I also decorated our windows with paper hearts and treated the wee ones to smiley face donuts for breakfast, complete with a crafty puffball critter. They noticed the hearts on the window right away and were quite tickled. About half of the hearts have disappeared because a wee one took them to make their own cards and a toddler just took them. The crafty critters were not a well made craft because they were held together only by glue and I have made many modifications throughout the morning with tape. The toddler’s critter is missing most of its add-ons, but hearts were happy and a moment was made…it is just like perfect!

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Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies

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Yahhhh…you won’t want to miss this one!

Click on the link below for my recipe site and be on your way to these fabulous treats today…

Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies

Gourmet Peanut Butter Sampler from Uncommon Goods

I love peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter and on and on. This peanut butter sampler would make a fabulously different gift to surprise someone with. You can give it as one gift or break it up as party favors, host/hostess gifts, grab bags or token gifts!

 

Peanut Butter Sampler

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/peanut-butter-sampler

$40.00 for Peanut Butter Sampler (flavors include:

Happy Trails Mix: Flaxseed, chocolate chips, raisins, split peanuts

White Chocolate Pretzel: Pretzel pieces, white chocolate chips

Snickerdoodle: Snickerdoodle popcorn

Chocolate Toffee: Milk chocolate, bits of toffee, rice crispies

Keep Smunchy: Honey roasted peanuts

Chocolate Coconut: Dark chocolate, shredded coconut, almonds

Exclusively at UncommonGoods.

 

Spice It Up for Valentine’s Day with The Spice House

How about a gift of spice for Valentine’s Day? If you like it hot, here is a great gift box to turn up the heat!

Spice House Hot Seasonings Assortment Gift Box

http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/some-like-it-hot-gift-box#content

$22.95 for 4 jar Spice Gift Box – “Some Like it Hot” (includes: Hot Chili Powder, Vulcan’s Fire Salt, Very Hot Cajun Seasoning and Black & Red Spice)

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If that much heat is more than you were looking for, check out their website for all of their fabulous gift boxes. There are plenty to give someone a little “sugar” or something in between sugar and spice!

click here: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices-by-category/gift-boxes#content

Little Passports Valentine’s Day Lunch Idea

http://www.littlepassports.com/blog/2015/02/valentines-day-bento-box/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Image+-+http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littlepassports.com%2Fblog%2F2015%2F02%2Fvalentines-day-bento-box%2F&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littlepassports.com%2Fblog%2F2015%2F02%2Fvalentines-day-bento-box%2F&utm_campaign=2.5.15-+Valentines+Day+Bento+Box

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First of all, this is adorable.

Second….that is NOT how my kids get lunch.

Once in a great while maybe, but not on a regular basis. According to the little blurb about the mom who designed this fabulous lunch, she does this all the time and has a little “cookbook” of sorts with ideas for these Bento box type meals. Lucky kids. I want a lunch like that all of the time!

Hey…this could also be a great idea to surprise a grownup in your life – the possibilities are endless!

Little Passports is also a super fun idea, a great way for children to learn about different parts of the world and you can select packages based on age ranges.

To learn more about Little Passports and the mom behind this healthy and fun Valentine’s Day lunch, click on the link above.

White Chocolate Bark

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Today, I needed to escape the pressures of working on my website and one of my happy places is in the kitchen. I am not sure why but White Chocolate Bark became the desired project so I set about creating flavors combinations.

Delish!

Click on the link below to be taken to my recipe blog for the scoop and how to make it.

White Chocolate Bark

 

Dollar Shave Club & Manly Man Goodies

Check out these super cool gift ideas for any male on your gift list…

Quality Razors

https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/?localization=en_US

A monthly or bi-monthly subscription for shaving supplies – what a treat!

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Or…if you like a soft fuzzy face, how about a Beard Pack to soften the scruffies!

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/beard-pack

$40.00 for Beard Pack

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And if your giftee would love some extra lovin’ to get spiffied up, how about the Working Man’s Kit?

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/working-mans-hygiene-kit

$50 for Working Man’s Hygiene Kit

Love these!!

Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries from Shari’s Berries

http://products.berries.com/chocolate/20-HandDipped-Ombre-Cherries-30166173?sk=sharies+berries&ref=SSSorganicmsfbrand&prid=sbseomb&trackingpgroup=productsearch&viewpos=1

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

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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.

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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.)

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(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).

A Twist on Tradition from Pro Plants

Be Mine Ombre Trio

http://products.proplants.com/-30171945?REF=PPPFRE15JAN21PPNOBXHB2ACTPPFSA&trackingpgroup=PFCRET&CustId=21494106&PRID=FGVPP12CPP&sd=TRUE&VER=ACTP&cvosrc=..

$23.99 discounted price for New Ombre Bulb Trio from ProPlants

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Valentine’s Day is coming!

The gift ideas are crossing my path now so I am happy to pass on any fabulous ideas that I see and I love the tradition of chocolate, flowers and dinner for this holiday. However, I am on board with spreadin’ the love to anyone that you enjoy celebrating it with (it’s not just for “lovers” ya know), and sometimes the best person to love is yourself.

I really liked the modern take on the tradition of giving flowers in these beautiful ombre styled hyacinths – fabulously fun and a nice change from roses.

Surprise someone (or yourself, but you probably won’t be surprised) with this arrangement and spread the love!

Snowflake Cookie from Yankee Candle

Snowflake Cookie™

http://www.yankeecandle.com/product/snowflake-cookie/_/R-1275342

$13.99 for “Snowflake Cookie” large tumbler

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

Badly.

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!

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

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

All Season

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TNB-1126 Spring Trivets in a Basket by Susan Burd

Spring

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TNB-025A Pinecone Trivets in a Basket

Pinecones

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http://store.thebraidedrugplace.net/catalog/search?keyword=trivets

$46.00 each, for a set of braided rug trivets

Stock Up on Gift Trimmings from Current

One of my favorite things to do after the holidays is to head out to the stores and scour them for fabulous sales. This past-time has changed through the years since Internet shopping has increased and retailers have stopped carrying as much inventory.

I managed to peek around a little these last few days as I needed to shop for diapers or just get out of the house but the shelves are bare and there is very little inventory available. There is much more inventory online but that is not as much fun.

Current Catalog, one of my favorite sites, is having their great sale for stocking up on wrapping paper, cards and gift-related items.

Take a peek and get ahead on next year!

http://www.currentcatalog.com/

Don’t Forget Your Bayberry Candle!

It’s tradition in our home to burn a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve.

Legend says that lighting a new bayberry candle on Christmas Eve will bring health, wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

Grab one for yourself and for a friend too!

These are a few of my favorite things…

12-inch toast tongs (not 6 inches, mind you – size does matter with toast tongs)

corn bags

Republic of Tea

home-baked goodies

fuzzy socks

holiday music CD’s (yes, I still use CD’s)

flavored olive oils

wooden spoons

aprons

holiday-themed magazines

coffee mugs

Burt’s Bees Original scented lip balm

colored Sharpie markers – did you know they have metallics?

journals and note pads

seasonal foaming hand soaps

Yankee candles, the big jar – especially when they are buy two, get two free

seasonal dish towels

 

 

Scandinavian Almond Cake

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I have not been very forthcoming with the gift ideas this month.

I know.

For all those of you who were planning to rely solely on my gallery of gift ideas to complete your shopping needs, I do apologize. What’s the point in having a blog for gift ideas only to drop the ball at the busiest shopping/creating/baking/planning time of the year? It’s just questionable I tell ya.

Alas, it is one of those holiday seasons where sickness has plagued us in so many ways and I have tended to my family and immediate duties instead of my fabulous pile of gift ideas and trying out my folder full of recipes for the season. Sad, just sad.

Frequently I pull out my folders to peruse all of my “best intentions” only to set it aside and go “clean-up on aisle 5”.

Some day…some day…

Here and there, I squeak in a moment when I can but my plans were quite lofty, as they sometimes are.

But maybe this cake will make you feel better about things. It did for me.

It was a gift. Well, the cake pan and recipe were a gift. But getting to bake the cake was a gift too I suppose since I quite thoroughly enjoyed the moment. And eating it was a gift too.

Don’t you just love gifts that keep on giving?

I am guessing that you probably do not have this long boat-shaped pan, as I did not until now, so you could make it in a loaf pan I would assume.

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It is simple and it can be for breakfast, dessert, tea time or the moments that you sneak a treat just because you can. Like going into the garage to eat a couple of cherry cookies (because I can keep food in the garage now that it is cold and because no one can see me eating cherry cookies, or any cookies if I sneak into the garage).

Scandinavian Almond Cake

Goodies for Gifts

A potpourri of sickness has descended upon us and that has put a damper on my holiday prep. But I was determined to make some goodies to give as gifts.

The chocolate-covered cherries that I posted about recently have been a fun treat and I have made a few batches. I tried both recipes and found that I preferred one the best. I have a few tweaks to try but in the meantime, they are delicious!

Here is the recipe that I liked the best. The other recipe uses corn syrup which made the centers a bit chewy and tough, although it was easier to work with.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chocolate-covered-cherries

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I also followed a recipe from McCormick for Spiced Nuts. Here is that link…

http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Appetizer/Spiced-Nuts

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).

http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870578/apt-9-rhonda-ruched-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Apt 9 Rhonda Ruched Wallet

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http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870371/apt-9-bobby-bow-clutch-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Bobby Bow Clutch Wallet

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http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870350/apt-9-brit-bow-clutch-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Brit Bow Clutch Wallet

Beauty Balms from Avon

These could make a great stocking stuffer!

https://www.avon.com/product/52482/mark-fix-me-up-multi-benefit-scented-balm-trio

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

Wolferman’s Festive House of Treats

I love the packaging for this gift!

The breakfast treats ain’t bad either…

http://www.wolfermans.com/w/gourmet-bakery-gifts/boxes/50058

$29.95 for Festive House of Treats (25% discounted price)

Flower Ear Muffs from Old Durham Road

http://www.olddurhamroad.com/product/4931/Scarves_Wraps

$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.

http://www.plowhearth.com/mitten-tree-with-heart-finial.htm

$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”…

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/action-adventure-selfie-quikpod/1042963967?Keyword=quikpod

$19.99 for Quikpod Selfie Action Adventure Handle

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

$19.99 for Selfie Snap

Wrap it Thoughtfully with minted.com

With personalized wrapping paper from “minted.com” you are not only giving a thoughtful gift but wrapping it thoughtfully too!

My fave is the Sugar & Spice Recipe wrapping paper – surprise someone with their own recipe on wrapping paper…

http://www.minted.com/product/wrapping-paper/MIN-KN6-CWR/sugar-spice?ccId=141457&org=photo

$15.00 for 5 sheets (more are available)

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You can also get papers to add photos or names etc.  and there are many options for the holidays or even just winter – see here for all of the options (birthdays and other holidays too…)

http://www.minted.com/wrapping-paper?it_category=n_holiday&it_id=c5i1gw&us=new+visitor

 

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