Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope your weekend treated you well and that you were able to relax and recharge your batteries to face a new week!!!  My boys took off on a guys’ ski weekend so my girls and I enjoyed a nice, quiet girls’ weekend with lots of  take-out food and movie time on the couch by the fire!

Last week I shared my new obsession with my Instant Pot on my Instagram and Facebook stories. I did apologize in advance for the inevitable influx of Instant Pot mania!!  I thought I’d share the first recipe I made because it was so easy and a big hit in our house!

Now, I love to cook and I cook A LOT, but there’s something about starting out with an instant pot that is SO intimidating!!  I was so stressed.  I’m here to tell you… don’t be!!!

I spent the entire day last Sunday taking down all of our Christmas decorations and cleaning my house. I usually wait until New Years’ Day to do this, however, we woke up to our upstairs bathroom leaking down two floors with an overflowing toilet!!!  That was wicked fun! NOT!  After we ripped the kids out of bed and the five of us scrambled around trying to contain and clean up the mess, I figured that I would continue on and get everything done.

We have my parents to dinner most Sunday nights, but I hadn’t given dinner much thought that day. I didn’t even get to the grocery store until 5pm and I started preparing dinner late after checking and re checking recipes on Pinterest and seeing how quickly they supposedly cooked, but I was still skeptical.  It just didn’t seem possible that I could feed seven people a home-cooked meal in just half an hour.  Well, let me tell you, it’s TOTALLY possible!  My sister has had her Instant Pot for months and every time she would send me a picture of something she made, with the short amount of time it took to make it, I couldn’t believe it.

A favorite dinner in our house is chicken pot pie.  Well, except for my son…he’s not a fan!  The girls have been asking for it so I decided to look and see if there were any instant pot recipes for it.  I usually make Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which has homemade biscuits on top.

I found a couple different options on Pinterest and decided to use one and change it up a bit!  The recipe called for a 16 oz. tube of refrigerator biscuits. You can find the recipe here.  My family hates peas (which I love) so I always substitute with corn in a pot pie.  I used about half of a 16 oz. bag of frozen corn.  We also love potatoes and celery in pot pies so I used about a cup and a half of mini golden potatoes cut into quarters and diced up three celery stalks.

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Author: Winona Rogers

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cubed

1 (16 oz.) tube refrigerated biscuits

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup frozen peas

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp basil

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Flatten biscuits and cut into strips.  My daughter, Ellie,  did this job and I had her cut each strip in half.  I actually think they could have been cut again, too.  They cooked perfectly like dumplings, but some were larger than I would have liked.

Pour 1 tsp olive oil, chicken and spices into pot.  I did not spray first with cooking spray but I highly recommend doing this to make clean-up easier!  I used more olive oil because I also added the potatoes to sauté at this point.

Turn instant pot to saute, with the lid off, until chicken seems cooked or slightly browned, stirring frequently. Don’t overcook, remember that it still has cooking time to go!  Turn pot off by pressing cancel.

Add chicken broth, water, and veggies to instant pot and mix well. Stir in biscuits. Seal lid of instant pot and close the steam valve.

Set instant pot to manual ( some pots are different, I set mine to pressure cook) and adjust the time to 5 minutes.  It takes about 5-10 minutes for pot to come to temp. and then it will cook for 5 minutes.  Once cooking cycle finishes press cancel and release steam valve.  Stand back, that baby shoots like crazy!!! In the future I will probably set my instant pot on my stovetop so that when I release the steam valve I can turn on my exhaust fan. My cookbook shelf was above where I cooked this meal and I was afraid of warping the pages from all of the steam!!

Voila! That’s it, you’re done.  Open lid and serve your delicious, comfort food that took no time at all to prepare!!!

Isn’t that picture perfect?  Looks like you slaved all day!  Let me know if you try this recipe and share your thoughts!!!  Have a great week!

Buttermilk Scones

Happy Friday everyone and here’s to the weekend!  I hope you’re all adjusting to being back in action after the craziness of the holidays!  With this being the first weekend post-holidays, I’m sure most of you are looking forward to regrouping and getting your act together!  Hopefully some extra rest and time with family or friends is in your plans!

I wanted to share our family’s favorite scone recipe with you all because they are such a yummy, warm and comforting thing to make during the winter months! If any of you have never made scones, or eaten them for that matter, I hope this recipe will change that!  They are easy to make and loved by all of us!

I first fell in love with scones when we moved to Seattle 25 years ago.  Before then I’m not sure if I’d ever heard of a scone.  In Seattle you could get a fresh-baked scone on just about every corner.  One of our favorite little stops was a small take-out espresso shop on Pike street, below my husband’s office building, called Monorail Espresso.  Not only are their espresso drinks top-notch, but their scones are TO.DIE.FOR! My favorites were raspberry and maple!

In 1996 we left Seattle to move back home to upstate New York.  I was VERY pregnant with our son, Sam, and we were driving cross-country.  We couldn’t leave town without coffee and scones from Monorail.  That was our last stop before hitting the road.  Our good friends met us there to say good-bye, and they took our picture holding a  ‘NEW YORK or BUST’ sign they’d made us out of a torn-apart box! We drove across the entire country with this in the window of our Subaru!

Anyway… that was a LONG time ago and through the years I’ve made scones so many times for my family.  We like pumpkin scones, maple scones, lemon-blueberry scones, strawberry-rhubarb scones, you name it, we love ’em! Today I’ll share a basic recipe with you that I make the most and could be adapted to your liking.  I found it on Food Network and it’s from 1997.

Original recipe here:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/buttermilk-scones-recipe-1969170

 

Buttermilk Scones

Food Network TV

Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup buttermilk ( I just use regular milk and add a capful of vinegar to the measuring cup for a few minutes before using)

1/2 cup currants (optional)

1 tbsp. heavy cream for brushing

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl or in your food processor.  Dice cold butter into cubes and add to dry ingredients. Crumb together with fingers, two knives or a pastry blender if you have one. Or pulse 8-10 times in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk and again, mix gently with knives, fingers or pastry blender until it is just combined.  If using food processor pulse until just combined but not over mixed.

Dump dough onto floured countertop.  The original recipe makes 16 smaller scones, so if that’s what you’d like divide the dough into two at this point.  I just make 8 bigger scones so I keep it as one. Gently combine into a ball then flour and roll out into a circle, not too thin!  Using a knife or pizza cutter cut disc into 8.  I also make them a lot just shaping the dough by hand without a rolling pin.  You could also use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutters if you’d rather have round or shaped scones!

Place two inches apart onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. If you want to you can brush the tops with heavy cream (or half and half or egg wash, whatever you have in your fridge). I usually sprinkle white or brown sugar on also.  Half of us like plain scones and the others like chocolate chips so I wait and sprinkle these on last.  If you want you can add the currants, or raisins or chocolate chips (or berries) right into the dough at the end before rolling out.

Oops!!!

 

 

Don’t be intimidated by all of the pictures!  I just wanted you to see each step as I go along!  Honestly, you should make these for your family this weekend, they will love you for it!  It’s just such a cozy way to start a winter weekend morning!

To make your morning easier you can make the dough the night before and wrap the disc in plastic and refrigerate.  Just roll out in the morning and bake.

Let me know if you make these and if your people become scone lovers!!!  Thanks so much for visiting the blog and HAPPY WEEKEND!!!

We still have the sign!

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope the flip of your calendars into this new year finds you all well and in anticipation of great things to come!  I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!  Why is it that I am 48 years old and still manage to forget that every year the holidays wipe me out???

I look forward to it all year long and then, BAM!!!  I give it my all, and truly enjoy every minute of it, but then I need a serious nap!  This year I came down with a nasty stomach bug between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Fortunately I was pretty ahead of my game in the holiday prep department.

One of the big things that I neglected was working out.  My workouts are not only important to me for staying in shape, but it is the key to my sanity!  I swear that I solve all the world’s problems (in my head at least!) while running, doing crunches or lifting weights! I’m pretty sure I only worked out twice in December, even though my Apple Watch is saying I worked out seven times.  I’m going to go with that, sounds better!  My watch makes me feel like superwoman when I DO workout, but on days that I don’t it makes me want to throw it against the wall when it reminds me that I’m ‘behind where I usually am!!’ Anyone else relate? In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this post, it’s telling me to get up and walk around.  I’m going running, I swear!!

My goal for January is going to be closing 25 or more activity rings!!  Wish me luck, I’ll need it!  As it so happens, I’m writing this blog post and putting off the treadmill, but I AM eating an apple and getting a jumpstart on my water intake for the day!  I’m so good about drinking tons of water in the warmer months but terrible about it in the winter!!!  I’ve got my big water bottle back out on the counter today and my goal is to drink at least four of them a day. Yesterday was my first day back to working out in a long time and it felt so great!!!

SWEAT = SANITY!!!

 

My to-do lists are miles long right now, as they usually are this time of year!  I have taken down all of the holiday decor and scoured the house as I took down each area.  I’m always reluctant to put away all of my beautiful decorations, but I just love the clean simplicity of getting back to basics!

 

 

 

After my workout today my plan is to take down all the wreaths on my windows and clean each window as I go, they are disgusting!!  The thought of it makes me giddy, every time the sun comes out I cringe!

My mind is spinning with ideas for new blog posts.  There is so much to look forward to and I can’t wait to get started!  I can’t wait to share tons of recipes and kitchen adventures.  I finally joined the Instant Pot club.  My sister has been hooked for months and she told my husband to buy me one for Christmas.  Made my first meal last night and I’m hooked now, too!

Chicken and dumplings

 

Next on the instant pot list is chicken tortilla soup.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

So sorry for the totally random, rambling post!  Just trying to get back in the game and get this new year rolling!  I’d love for you to share with me some of the things you are looking forward to this year.  A new workout?  A great trip? Recipes? Projects?  Scroll down and let me know!

Happy New Year!  The possibilities are endless, make it happen…

 

Cranberry Citrus Simple Syrup

Happy Friday Everyone!  Today I thought I’d share a ‘simple’ recipe with you all that will help make your holidays a little more festive!  It’s the start of the weekend for most, and, if you’re a teacher, the start of vacation!  If you are parents, it’s the start of a couple of weeks at home with your kiddos!!

Soooo, on that note, I’d like to share a recipe for a festive, holiday simple syrup to enhance your cocktail experience! I made it last week and it’s easy, delicious and adds just that special touch!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 12oz. bag of fresh cranberries

2 clementines

1 lime

1 sprig fresh rosemary

In medium saucepan add sugar, water and cranberries. Zest the lime and both clementines into the mixture. Add the juice of the three fruits into the pan. Toss in the fresh rosemary and bring to boil over medium high heat.  As soon as it starts to boil and cranberries begin to pop, turn to low.  Let simmer while stirring often until it becomes a bright red color.  I left mine for probably a good ten or 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Strain the mixture and when completely cooled pour into a sealed container and refrigerate.  You can add to vodka, prosecco, champagne or whatever your cocktail of choice may be!  Kid friendly if added to seltzer for a festive kiddie cocktail!  I can see it making its way into a Moscow mule at some point also!!!

 

 

 

Go ahead and mix some up!  It’s easy and adds that extra special holiday touch! Let me know if you try it! Cheers!

 

My Holiday Home Tour

Hello all!  It is now just five days until Christmas and I am finally back from the dead!  I have had a nasty stomach bug and was pretty useless for the past week.  Thankfully I spent all day last Wednesday getting the bulk of my wrapping done and all day Thursday running all over the place getting tons of errands done before my oldest two came home from college.

I haven’t published a blog post in quite some time now and have been pretty non-existent on social media, too.  I ran into another friend a couple of days ago who told me that she, too, has been enjoying my gift guide posts and has purchased several items that I recommended. I am glad I got those posts out before the BIG BAD BUG hit me!!

I had a handful of blog posts planned in the past couple of weeks that just never came to fruition.  I have been concentrating on holiday prep and I also have been crafting like crazy getting holiday orders done!

As I have been fairly house bound as of late, I have been truly enjoying my festive, holiday house and all of the decorations that I have collected through the years. I’ve been listening to lots of Christmas music, burning all my delightful, fragrant candles, and smiling a lot at the various holiday ads on tv.

I’d like to share a little glimpse of the decorations that I love!

 

 

 

And no, I do not already have my table set!  I just put it together for this blog post!  We are having 23 for Christmas dinner this year so we will have SEVERAL tables to set!  How lucky and blessed are we?  I hope you all are finding the time to enjoy all the different holiday things that may make you smile!

I had a huge smile on my face this morning watching all the little ones walking to their last day of school before the break.  I remember that frantic feeling as a mom of elementary school-aged kids, with all the classroom holiday parties to attend and teacher gifts to purchase and the internal panic of knowing they were going to be home from today on and wondering how I was going to get everything done! Godspeed to all you Moms out there…YOU CAN DO IT!!!  Coffee and wine…those are my words of wisdom!!!

Coming soon I have a couple of holiday recipe posts to share, including some yummy cocktail ideas!!!  Have a great day everyone!

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide Update…My Latest Faves!!!

Happy Monday Everyone! There are fifteen days until Christmas so I’m guessing that MOST of you have at least STARTED your shopping?  Lately I have been sharing lots of gift buying ideas and I have heard from many of you that they are ACTUALLY helping you with your shopping this year! I’m so excited!

I find myself jotting notes down all the time when I think of things I particularly love, or that others ask me about, so that my old lady brain remembers to write about them for you all! If you haven’t read my previous posts containing gift buying guides then I encourage you to do so if you are struggling with ideas!!

First and foremost, I have been dying to share this very special necklace with you all, as it is a HUGE part of the inspiration I received for starting my blog in the first place! I received it as a birthday gift from my friend, Kelly.  Not only is Kelly an amazing gift giver, but she is THE person who encouraged me to start a blog!!! A year ago I didn’t really know what a blog was.  Kelly got me hooked on following a couple of bloggers and I became very intrigued!

https://amzn.to/2EarVJo

Not only has Kelly been my biggest cheerleader in this blogging adventure, but, as the summer progressed and I began writing and seriously thinking about putting myself out there into the blogging world, we brainstormed for ideas and, ultimately, for a name to identify me and my content.  That’s where Kelly’s husband, Tim, came into play!  One day he just casually threw ‘Pershing Road’ out there and I was sold. Alas, I received this beautiful necklace and I just love it so much!

You all know my love of monogramming by now, if you have been reading my blog or following me on Instagram or Facebook.  I truly think that personalized gifts just have that extra special feel to them! My next gift idea is one I have shared with you before on Instagram. I bought it plain and then personalized it with my monogram.  There are many sites that sell these bags. I bought mine right from the manufacturer because I have the ability to personalize myself, but if you would like to give one as a gift with someone’s name or initials I will also link some sites that do that!

https://www.ebags.com/product/cb-station/weekender-bag/318080?productid=10452309&lastsearchterm=cb+station+weekender

The is the CB Station canvas weekender bag and I love it!  It’s such a classic-looking, sturdy bag. I ordered mine from ebags.com, where they offer twelve different color combinations. Mine was $59 but some color choices are more.

You can also find them on amazon.com. They call them the ‘Sunshine Satchel.’

https://amzn.to/2QtkFji

There are also some Etsy sites that offer them personalized. The personalization and shipping are extra on the site below but I think it’s worth it!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/649900365/monogram-weekender-bag-personalized?ref=pla_similar_listing_top-3

Now for another beauty product that I really feel the need to share with you!  You may all remember the lash/brow enhancement serum that I shared in a recent post?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Rapidlash-Eyelash-Enhancing-Serum-0-1/dp/B00GWTQSI6

I mentioned that my esthetician asked if I got lash extensions and/or my brows tinted.  Today I got my teeth cleaned and my hygienist went on and on about my long eyelashes, too! Even though both my lashes and eyebrows are growing like gangbusters, and my brows have gotten much thicker, I am finding that some brow hairs are turning grey!  Aye, Yai Yai!!!  Middle age stinks I tell ya’!  These little grey fellas tend to ‘go rogue,’ if you know what I mean?  They’ve got a direction all their own!!

I wanted to find something that didn’t make me look like many females I see with that ‘painted on’ brow look!  I don’t wear much make-up as it is, so if I attempted that look it would have really stood out! (Think Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest!)

Those are SOME brows!

 

Enter my youngest, Grace, to the rescue! She introduced me to ‘Gimme Brow,’ a volumizing eyebrow gel that has a slight tint to it that grabs onto the hairs and tames them into place.  It comes with a tiny little brush and I think it’s virtually mess and mistake proof!  It’s water-resistant and very natural looking.

https://www.ulta.com/gimme-brow-volumizing-eyebrow-gel?productId=xlsImpprod14191015&sku=2529256&cmpid=PS_Non!google!Product_Listing_Ads&cagpspn=pla&CATCI=aud-297352281988:pla-195116003550&CAAGID=24669606870&CAWELAID=330000200001380741&catargetid=330000200000766262&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAurjgBRCqARIsAD09sg-v1zp4dgmnUPFjgVXljo2OlA5221iBoboTpWE9tXgGfMBjCNHW3SoaAt5KEALw_wcB

 

Above is the link to purchase from Ulta, where I purchased mine.  It is also available at Sephora.  Amazon.com also sells it, (https://amzn.to/2SzlmE2) but I encourage you to pop into either Ulta or Sephora and have them test it on you to choose the correct shade!  I took my mom to Ulta and they did a great job! Trust me, you will love this product!  It is very natural looking and so easy to apply!

Last, but certainly not least, I have a delightful item for the foodies on your list!!!  Again, I was introduced to this little gem by my friend Kelly.  She is always the hostess with the mostest and she serves this frequently at her gatherings and we all devour it like hounds!!!

https://amzn.to/2Ef3mLv

This magical glaze is similar to pepper jelly and I read somewhere that the dip recipe that comes along with the bottle is a tailgate favorite in the south.  I recently had a holiday get-together and this stuff was polished off and the dish was practically licked clean!  The recipe involves cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo and bacon…’nuff said!!! AED machine sold separately!!!  It would also be fabulous as a glaze on ham or other meats and I’m planning on using a bit on my roasted Brussel sprouts!

 

So there you go, some more ideas to consider as your shopping progresses this holiday season!  Hopefully the links I provided will work for you, because if you’re anything like me, you will be doing a lot of shopping from the comfort of home! I truly hope you are all enjoying the season and please let me know if my posts are helpful to you!

Favorite Finds To Add To Your Holiday Shopping Lists

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! December is officially here and, if you weren’t feeling it before, you’re sure to be feeling the hustle and bustle of the holiday season all around you now.

My weekend started out with a super fun wreath making party on Friday night. You know I love a DIY project! A friend of mine started this tradition a while back and it’s so fun and a great way to get into the holiday spirit!  A bunch of friends hanging out surrounded by fresh smelling greenery and gabbing the night away!  Each and every wreath turns out unique and beautiful and it’s so neat driving around our quaint little town seeing them on each other’s doors!

I love how my front door looks with my new wreath!

 

I am brand new to the blogging world, just starting out and ‘flying by the seat of my pants,’ you might say!  Except for my family, I’m never sure if anyone is going to read my content, or even care to.  In order to have a blog you really have to put yourself out there, and being the private person that I am, this can be pretty nerve-wracking!  So, the best feeling in the world is when readers leave comments on my posts, either just acknowledging that they’ve read it or letting me know that they found it interesting or helpful!

In the past couple of weeks I have received  many compliments and quite a number of readers have told me they’ve enjoyed my posts on gift ideas. This makes me so happy!  I am constantly jotting down notes on items that I love and think others would like, too! So, guess what?  I’ve got another list of ideas for you!  I can’t help sharing when something is just that good!  Here we go:

 

I shared this tray in an instagram post this weekend because it is beautiful, inexpensive and it makes me happy!  It is a sturdy, fairly heavy tray that can be used in so many ways!  I actually bought it for my bathroom vanity to put my containers of make-up brushes and hair doodads on, but I now have it in my kitchen by my coffee station. I think it’s such a great gift!  If I was traveling for the holidays I would for sure give this to my hostess as a thank you. You could add a cheese knife set to it or cocktail adornments for party time!

Better Homes and Gardens Bhg Marble Tray $19.94

 

 

Bunny Eyez Reading Glasses

 

I saw these when Hoda Kotb featured them on the ‘Today Show’ this summer and I love them so much! The website (bunnyeyez.com) offers a variety of styles, and they help you decide on the best style for your face shape.  They now offer ‘Guyz’ styles too and sunglasses(Sunnyz) with or without lens power.  They are so cool!  You can wear them as you would normally wear your readers, or you can tilt the frames downward if you are trying to see your screen while looking up for regular vision.  The sides also bend down, ‘opera glass’ style, so that you can still read while lying on your side or you can use them while at the hairdresser and still see your phone or read your magazine!

The regular readers, offered in different styles, are $27. The Guyz styles are also $27.  The Sunnyz, like I said, are offered with or without reading lenses, and run $40-$45. I would not buy these for the people I know that lose their readers several times a day, but for the more responsible people on your list these would make such a great gift! I love my pink ones the most, but I am sure to carry the tortoise ones when we go out since my husband looks kind of funny in restaurants when he has to borrow them!

 

Marleylilly Monogrammed Plaid Tote

 

My plaid obsession of the week!  I LOVE THIS BAG!  This website(marleylilly.com) is fabulous!  Adorable gift ideas and their prices are so affordable!  Their motto is “IF IT’S NOT MOVING, MONOGRAM IT!” Amen to that!  They currently have a list up of $20 and under stocking stuffers for the preppy people on your shopping list. Shipping is quick, too! ( I may or may not have also ordered myself a plaid monogrammed baseball hat!)

 

Feetures Athletic Socks

These are the ONLY running socks I will wear!  I was introduced to them several years ago at a specialty running store, fell in love, and the rest is history!  They come in a few different styles, no cushioning to light to extra cushioning.  I have some of each type and love them all. Each pair has a left and a right and they feature lycra bands built-in that hug your feet and give you added support and helps to avoid that sock movement that causes blisters.  My sister doesn’t like them and the way they form to your feet but I can’t wear anything else!  I encourage you to try them if you are a runner or active at all and like extra support! They can be found in most stores that sell running shoes.  I’ve gotten them at Fleet Feet Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Athleta. Amazon carries some styles, too.

 

Northern Nights Wrinkle Defense 100% Cotton Sheet Set

My friend Julie introduced me to these sheets years ago, another great discovery that I learned about while chatting away on a long run!  She is a QVC enthusiast, as is my Mom, and she swore by them!  I do see some of their styles on amazon, also!  They are super sturdy, soft and really wrinkle free!!!  I have had many other sheets that I didn’t like half as much that are more expensive and need to be ironed around the edges because they wrinkle so much. Not these babies!  I wash in bleach and hot water every Sunday and they last forever!  They come in many different thread counts and a few different materials. Check them out and sweet dreams!

 

The Stationery Studio Personalized Note Pads

I love these note pad sets!  I gave them as teacher gifts years back when my kids were little and their teachers loved them, too!  The website(thestationerystudio.com) offers so many different items, as well as personalized stationery in any style you can imagine.  They have a fast turn-around time and there are several affordable offers going on now!  I encourage you to check it out!

 

So there you go, a long rant from me, again, on some ideas to hopefully help your holiday shopping experience!  Let me know if you decide to purchase any of these products and what you think about them!  Happy shopping!

 

How I Make Holiday Gift-Wrapping Fun!

Now that all of that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is over, there are many packages arriving on  my front porch each day! It’s time to start wrapping because I hate the look of our tree with no gifts underneath! In years past I would wait until all of my shopping was done before I started to wrap anything, I don’t know why!  It would stress me out so much and I would be cramming it in the last few days and nights before Christmas.  This year I am much more organized with my shopping, so I want to get the majority of the wrapping done before I start all of my holiday baking because then things get really crazy around here. I do A LOT of baking for the holidays!!

I do all of my wrapping in the dining room. I keep my bins of wrapping supplies in there for easy access. First, I remove everything from the big farmhouse table.

No, I do not wrap on a white linen tablecloth, I just put it on for picture purposes!  I lay out all of my wrapping supplies so they are handy and easy to grab.  I put all of my ribbon together, gift tags in one place, pens for writing out gift tags, cutting supplies and tape so the whole process runs fairly smoothly. Then, I fire up my Amazon Echo and ask Alexa to crank some Michael Bublé and Pentatonix holiday tunes while I pour a nice glass of chardonnay and wrap the night away!

There are so many aspects of the holiday season that can cause stress on us, so as I’ve grown older I try my best to find joy in each little thing.  My children are grown now, but to those of you still in the throes of sleep-deprived nights, tantrum-filled days, multiple class holiday parties and celebrations, I encourage you to embrace every bit of it! Take every picture you can as long as they’ll let you, because believe me, the day will come when they won’t let you anymore and that is truly heartbreaking! Make every event and tradition a special one!

Happy gift wrapping to you all!!!  Rock on and enjoy the moment!

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Family

I’ve been making many lists and checking them twice, trying to organize my shopping for my people! I would say that I am actually about 75% done with my Christmas shopping, and it’s not even December yet. Yay me!!  I enjoy going out on a few different occasions to shop in stores and listen to the carols and see all the beautiful, festive, seasonal decorations. However, if I’m being honest, I really love sitting in my jammies with the fire going and sipping my coffee out of a Christmas mug and watching the ‘Today Show’ (if it’s the morning) or sipping a glass of wine and watching a Christmas movie (if it’s the evening) and ordering away on my laptop!

I follow a lot of bloggers that have been sharing their gift picks online and I can say that I’ve actually gotten a lot of great ideas!  Soooo, I figured I’d share some of my gift picks with you in the hopes that it may help you, too!

Here are a couple of ideas I have in mind for my husband:

 

L.L. Bean Wicked Good Scuffs

 

These are his favorite slippers and our dog, who rarely chews anything other than his own toys, just had them for a snack!

 

 

 

Ace Hardware Work Gloves

 

Wells Lamont Men’s Cowhide Leather Heavy Duty Work Gloves. He wears the heck out of these and I get him a new pair every year!

 

 

L.L. Bean Rangeley Paddling Shorts

He paddleboards most mornings in the summer and these are quick-drying, have SPF and a waterproof cellphone pocket!

 

 

For the teen/young adult son:

 

Yeti Cooler

 

L.L. Bean Sherpa-Lined Scotch Plaid Flannel

Timberland Boots

 

For the teen/young-adult daughter:

 

IT cosmetics ‘It’s your top 5’ collection

This set is offered on so many sights at great discounts and they are all full-size products!

 

Apple Watch

 

Apple AirPods

 

For your parents:

 

L.L. Bean outdoor furniture

My siblings and I got a set of this all-weather furniture for our parents last year and they spent countless hours on their porch enjoying it!

 

 

Chatbooks

So easy to make by just uploading images from your phone! We have made so many of special holiday gatherings and family trips! (chatbooks.com)

 

Simple Canvas Prints

So easy to upload from your devices and they have great promotional price breaks, too! I have been making most of our photos into canvases in recent years, so much easier than framing! (simplecanvasprints.com)

 

For Teens and tweens:

 

Charge cords

I put these in everyone’s stockings last year. They are nice and long! No more people stealing my cords! (chargecords.com)

 

 

Video Games

 

L.L. Bean flannels

Everyone loves these!

 

 

For your Mother-in-law:

 

Hot Water Bottle

Boden USA Fun Hot Water Bottle (bodenusa.com)

 

 

Cozy Blanket

Nordstrom at Home Kennebunk Bliss Plush Throw (nordstrom.com)

 

For the person in charge of mountains of laundry:

R&b wire laundry cart

This baby has been a game changer in my laundry room! It sits up high, is on wheels and holds TONS of laundry! I also bought the hanging bar to go across the top for hanging up my ironing. You don’t have to bend over into your laundry basket anymore! (R&b wire products amazon.com)

 

 

For your furry companions:

 

L.L. Bean Happy Dog Toy Set

 

Our dog loves these! Super durable and hollow to stuff with treats.

 

 

L.L. Bean Plaid Holiday Bone

 

YETI Boomer 8 Dog Bowl

 

 

Just a few ideas that I hope will help you with your shopping during the crazy chaos we call the holidays!   In addition to these I also like to give as many gift cards to local establishments as possible!

Please share your go-to ideas with me! I’d love to hear whatever tips you may have!  Happy Shopping!

My Christmas Wishlist

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday week full of food, family and fun!  We were so lucky to have all of our kids home safe and sound and this momma slept contentedly every night knowing we were all together, at least for a short time!  I definitely ate and drank too much and didn’t work out enough, but that’s what the holidays are all about, am I right?  Today is a new day and time to get back on track!

I have been doing some holiday shopping here and there over the past couple of weeks.  Most of my favorite bloggers have been producing gift guides and wish lists galore which make it easier to think of gifts for all of my favorite people. Today I thought I would share a few of my faves that I have placed on my own wish list. Maybe I’ll find out if my own people are reading my blog???

KitchenAid Citrus Juicer Attachment

This hooks right onto your KitchenAid to juice your favorite citrus fruits!  Could have used this last week when making all of my clementine recipes!

 

Talbots Slippers

 

L’ange LeReve Flat Iron

Straightens and curls in no time at all!  Two tools in one!

There have been deals on this flat-iron online lately and there are many YouTube tutorials on how it works.

 

Chappy Wrap Plaid Throw

I couldn’t love the plaid on this throw more and they are the best blankets!  I need this on my couch NOW!!!

 

L. L. Bean Fair Isle Sweater

I wore sweaters like this all through my adolescent years and I love that this style is still so popular!

 

L.L. Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel Pajamas

I have had several pairs of these pajamas through the years and they are the best, so soft and comfy!

 

Bauble Bar Signet Ring

Another thing I wore for years while growing up, think its time for one with my married initials!

 

Tuckernuck Tortoiseshell Clutch

This clutch is so cute for girls night out or date night!  It is 30% off now at Tuckernuck but I found a less expensive version at Nordstrom, too!

Plaid flats

 

These J.Crew Factory flats are right up my alley!!! You could wear them with dresses, skirts, dress pants and jeans!

So there you go, a few of the things I’ve got my eye on for Christmas!  Most sites have amazing sales going on right now so if any of you have a middle-aged mom to buy for, maybe she would like these items also!