Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies


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

$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.


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!

Dollar Shave Club & Manly Man Goodies

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

Quality Razors

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


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

$40.00 for Beard Pack


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

$50 for Working Man’s Hygiene Kit

Love these!!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial from The Popcorn Factory

When that picture greeted me in my email inbox, I just had to shake my head “yes”. The chocolate – maraschino cherry flavor combo gets me every time.

So, here I am passing on another treat for Valentines’ Day or Just Because – who cares why you order it, just get it already!

Clear Favorites Popcorn Canisters

$20.00 for Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Popcorn

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).

A Twist on Tradition from Pro Plants

Be Mine Ombre Trio

$23.99 discounted price for New Ombre Bulb Trio from ProPlants


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!

10th Ave. Soapworks

I know that you are thinking that I have lost my marbles (again) because this is a post about soap, not zucchini.


Did you know that a Loofah (those scratchy body puff thingys for the bath and shower) are actually vegetables, which means that they are grown in a garden? Me neither (or me either).

I always thought it was a sea sponge.

My husband caught a TV show that was spotlighting a Wisconsin company called “10th Ave. Soapworks”  that makes soap and we learned that interesting tidbit about the loofahs. Here is the link to the owner’s site and her fabulous footage of a loofah’s development. Yes, I probably should get out more but I really DO think this is fascinating! That’s the loofah up there in that picture, not a zucchini.  (

Ok, so my first thought was that I want to grow some in my non-existent garden and my second thought was that they would make a great craft to give as gifts.

My third thought was that I will not be getting to any crafts (or a garden) so why not look for the company and share what they have already made. It would undoubtedly make a much better gift than the ones I made.

So, I looked up the company and found some great gift ideas to share with you. Being from Wisconsin myself, it is always fun to see what your “neighbors” are up to!

The company is called “10th Avenue Soapworks” and here are some of their fabulous looking soaps to give as gifts! They even have some for your winter-time gifting needs.

All of these fabulous soaps and many more, along with other items, can be found here:

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$5.00 for Oatmeal Honey Loofah


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$13.00 for Wisconsin Sampler (Green & Gold, Dairyland, Apple Harvest, and Honey Ale–these four popular soaps that represent Wisconsin are packaged together in one convenient collection.)


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$5.00 for North Woods


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$5.00 for Snowfall


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$5.00 for Vanilla Cold Process


Seriously….go visit this site and do not leave without learning about the loofah – you can amaze someone today with your new knowledge! (All photos, even of the loofah, are courtesy of 10th Ave. Soapworks)

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

Chicken Soup for the Cold

Product Details

(photo from Amazon) :


We have a neighbor who takes care of us and I just don’t know what we would do without her, especially when we have colds. She brings us homemade chicken soup, with homemade noodles too. It is so comforting and delicious.

On the opposite spectrum are my childhood comforts in the packets of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. Some days, there is nothing like that little packet to make me feel better.

This is the season for colds and a wonderful gift for someone feeling under the weather is some chicken soup, whether it be homemade or store-bought. Add a box of tissues, a magazine or movie and some tea bags and it’s a wonderful “perk me up” for someone in need!

Stock your pantry the next time that you go grocery shopping and you will be ready whether you need it or a friend.


Soup and Soup Mugs Make a Perfect Pair!

Is there a better season to give the gift of soup? (to yourself, perhaps…)

You can find all sorts of fun soup mugs, so have fun looking around for the perfect gift. I love the big oversized mugs that at one point were called the “Friend’s” mug when they were made famous from that show and their coffee shop moments. (Yes, I loved that show.)

Every once in while I like to switch it up a bit and use a large shallow bowl. It makes me feel sophisticated.

And whether you give one or a whole set, it will warm someone’s heart….(get it?)!

Any way you serve it, a soup gift for this time of year is fun. Add a soup starter kit, your own homemade soup or grab some from a local sandwich shop or grocery store.

And don’t forget the dipping bread!

(All below are from Kohl’s)

$61.99 for Certified International Top Hat Snowman 4-pc. Soup Bowl Set

or, if you want a deeper bowl…

$53.99 for Certified International Top Hat Snowman 4-pc. Ice Cream Bowl Set

(Since it is technically called an Ice Cream Bowl, no sense fighting it – clean out your soup bowl and make a big ‘ole ice cream sundae!)


or how about soup-to-go?

$9.99 for CorningWare French White 20-oz. Mug with Vented Cover – available in 4 colors


Anniversary Gift

Happy Anniversary to me and my hubby!

I found these fabulous hats on a blog and thought that they would make a fun anniversary gift (yes, the blog is mine and no, I am not embarrassed by the “pitch”…)

$20.00 each for ’tis Himself or ’tis Herself Hats



Isn’t that sunbeam lovely!

’tis Himself has no interest in a public showing, so you got me in my ’tis Herself hat!

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!

Scandinavian Almond Cake


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.


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

Wolferman’s Festive House of Treats

I love the packaging for this gift!

The breakfast treats ain’t bad either…

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

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

Meaningful Gifts from the Days of Yore

This time of the year I look forward to slowing things down and putting energy into the fun things that connect me with the holidays and the season. Back “in the old days” folks didn’t have to remind themselves to do these things because it was just the usual way of life.

Here are some of the “gifts of time” for people that I remind myself to do…


Send a handwritten holiday card

Your friends and family love the pictures that you send of your kids and they will truly enjoy it even more if you add a hand written note. Just a couple of sentences about your weather, what’s going on in your neck of the woods or even sharing a memory shows that you were thinking of them specifically instead of just plopping down in front of the TV to mindlessly stuff envelopes. It takes a little more time and effort on your part, but it will mean a lot to someone. Have the kiddos sign the card and you just sent a bushel of love!

Make a phone call

In our techno world it is easy to forget that a text or an email is just not the same as picking up the phone to call someone and chat. Hearing your voice may be the best part of their day!

Stop in for a visit

And bring a treat! Grab a couple of drive-thru coffees and a baked good or bring something that you whipped up and stop to chat for a moment. Taking a moment to catch up with someone can be a better gift than anything from a store. It may even rejuvenate your spirit to continue ticking the errands off your to-do list!


Zum Bar Holiday Soaps by Indigo Wild

Fun names, great holiday smells and fresh gift ideas are what you will find at Indigo Wild!

Check out all of the wonderful holiday scents in these soaps and other super cool holiday gifts. It’s a fun place to browse…

Here are just a few things!


Give the gift of Frankincense & Myrrh –

$24.00 for Gift Box


$6.50 for Frankincense & Myrrh Wood Ball


$6.50 for Mazel Zum Soap


$9.50 for Jingle Zum, Zum Jolly and Frankincense & Myrrh Mini 3-Bar Box


$3.85 for Assorted Soap Shavings Zum Holiday Sachet


$7.00 for Aromatherapy Room & Body Spray Minty-Pine Frosty Zum Mist

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

Bouquets Garnis from Quelobjet

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shared this gift idea in their Food section and I thought it was a unique fun gift. A package of 8 Bouquets Garnis – savory herbs rolled up in bay leaves and wrapped – perfect for stews, soups and more. What a great stocking stuffer, host/hostess gift or token gift for foodies on your gift list!

Plus, I get to practice my French when I say it…

Merci beaucoup pour ecouter…(excuse my French – and my grammar…and my spelling – it’s been a while)!

$15.00 for pkg of 8 Bouquets Garnis from Quelobjet

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