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What to Do When You're Snowed In

Posted on January 22, 2016 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

If you live in an area on the East Coast that's expecting a big snow storm, you've probably gotten stocked up on food and supplies. Now that you have the essentials, you might be wondering what you're going to do while you're snowed in for a few days. Here are some options to keep you busy during the storm.

1. Binge Watching

As long as the power stays on, snow days are a great time to get clear out your DVR or catch up on your favorite Netflix shows.

2. Plan Your Dream Vacation

 Let your imagination take you somewhere warmer while the snow rolls in by planning your dream vacation. Have some fun looking up different locations you're interested in and researching what sights and activities you'd see and do while there.

3. Get Crafty

If you're anything like me, you have countless Pinterest crafts and projects saved. Being snowed in gives you a great opportunity to tackle some of those projects! Test out some new recipes, take care of some home DIY projects, finish that quilt you've been meaning to sew, and more!

4. Get a Head Start on Spring Cleaning

We're most of the way through January already, and spring will be here before you know it! Get a head start on your spring cleaning by decluttering a closet or two, organizing some drawers, or finally going through your clothes and getting rid of what you don't wear anymore.

5. Read a Book

After a day of TV binge-watching, unplug by diving into a book. Or, you might be forced to unplug if you lose power. In that case, this is the perfect way to escape the cold for a while.

We hope all of you in the storm's way stay warm and safe!

What to Watch for Christmas

Posted on December 23, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

While watching TV probably isn't your top priority for the next couple days, you may find yourself with some downtime. Here are some holiday programs that will be airing from now through Christmas. All times are EST.

Wednesday, Dec. 23
I Love Lucy Christmas - 8:00 p.m. on CBS
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - 7:00 p.m. on NBC
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause - 7:30 p.m. on ABC Family
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 9:45 p.m. on ABC Family

Thursday, Dec. 24
A Christmas Story - 8:00 p.m. on TBS
It's a Wonderful Life - 8:00 p.m. on NBC
It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown - 8:00 p.m. on ABC
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol - 8:00 p.m. on CW
Elf - 8:45 p.m. on ABC Family
A Charlie Brown Christmas - 9:00 p.m. on ABC

Friday, Dec. 25
CMA Country Christmas - 8:00 p.m. on ABC

Family Favorite Gingerbread Cookies

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

One of our family's favorite Christmas tradition is making these soft, spicy, and delicious gingerbread cookies. If you need a treat to bring to a Christmas party, these are perfect! The recipe is easy to double if you need more.

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour - sifted1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground clove
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses

-Sift together the flour, spices, and baking soda
-In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy
-Add eggs and molasses to the butter and sugar and beat well
-Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until combined
-Separate dough into two sections and wrap in wax paper - chill overnight
-Roll out dough on a floured surface one section at a time
-Cut out your shapes and bake 8-10 minutes at 350*

What Are Drusy Quartz?

Posted on December 09, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

A rising trend in jewelry design is pieces using Drusy quartz. Drusy gems are incredibly unique, and they inspire jewelry creations that celebrate that uniqueness. It’s the perfect gemstone for those who want to make a statement of taste and originality with their jewelry pieces.

Drusy (pronounced like druzy) quartz refers to a growth of many tiny crystals on a natural surface of another mineral. These micro-crystalline facets give the gemstone a look that resembles sparkling sugar or snow. The drusy used for jewelry is formed inside the hollows of geodes. Most jewelry-grade drusy comes from Brazil or Indonesia. As the geodes are mined, they are tapped with a metal bar to see if they are hollow. The hollow geodes are cut in half to see if they have drusy linings, and it is then determined if they are suitable or not for jewelry.

Rated at 7 on Mohs scale of hardness, drusy quartz is perfect for almost any type of jewelry. The quality of the gemstone is determined by color, weight, clarity, size, and evenness of crystal coverage. Colors can range from bright white to pinks, yellows, and violets. Recently, drusy have been treated with a thin coat of metallic colors, which are increasingly more popular than untreated drusy, and it also makes them more durable.

Drusy quartz is associated with peace, tranquility, patience, intuition, and unconditional love.


This beautiful bracelet is available for $40 on Amazon Handmade

Homemade Mulling Spices

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

I know that some people may disagree and throw in a vote for pumpkin spice latte, but I believe that hot apple cider is the official drink of fall. If you've never made your own mulling spices, you should give it a try! It's super easy, and it would make a great post-Thanksgiving dinner drink for you and your guests to enjoy. Plus, you could jar up some of the spice for each of your guests to take home as a favor.

Homemade Mulling Spices
You'll Need:
-4 cinnamon sticks chopped up a bit
-3 Tbsp diced dried orange peel
-1/4 cup whole allspice
-1/4 cup whole cloves
-8 whole nutmeg chopped a bit
-8 whole star anise

Place all of the ingredients in a mason jar, put the lid on, and shake until it is well-mixed. If you're giving as a gift, add a label with the ingredients and the following instructions for spiced apple cider:

How to Make Spiced Cider
You'll Need:
-2 Tbsp mulling spices
-4 cups apple cider (store bought is ok)
-Small muslin sack with drawstring or mesh strainer
-Medium sauce pan

Measure the apple cider and pour it into a sauce pan. Either put the spices in the muslin sack and into the cider, or just put the spices straight into the cider (you'll just have to strain them out at the end). 
Turn on the stove and let simmer for at least 5 minutes. Remove the muslin sack with tongs or strain out the spices. 
If you want to make this a dessert drink, add a little bit of caramel sauce and whipped cream - delicious!

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my home for the first time, and when I think about everything I have to cook, I start to get a little overwhelmed! While I definitely want everything to taste excellent, I also don’t want to spend hours on every dish. So, I’ve done a little research and compiled some easy yet delicious side dishes that your guests will rave about. I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

 

Slow-Cooker Cream Corn
(a family favorite of mine that we’ve dubbed “Cardiac Corn”.) While this isn’t the healthiest option, it’s a delicious and creamy sweet corn recipe. It’s made in a slow cooker, which frees up oven and stove top space - an added bonus.

creamed-corn-2

Ingredients:
3 bags (12oz each) frozen whole kernel corn
12 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Spread corn over bottom of 3-4 quart slow cooker. Top with cream cheese cubes. In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients & pour over corn and cream cheese
Cover – cook on high heat setting for 2-3 hours
Stir well before serving

Skinny Green Bean Casserole.
Green bean casserole is my husband’s favorite, but after that cream corn, I felt like it would be a good idea to make a healthier version of the classic. I promise it’s just as delicious!

greenBeanCasserole_620

Ingredients:
1 14oz bag frozen whole green beans, or 4 cups fresh
1 8oz package of mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
Sauce:
1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (or low fat sour cream)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 packet Stevia
Topping:
1 Tbsp. minced dried onions
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large skillet, sauté the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in ½ cup water, stirring occasionally until the water is completely evaporated. Remove from pan and place in a medium bowl.
If using frozen green beans, thaw in the microwave. If using fresh, cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until tender & drain. Add green beans to bowl with mushrooms and onion and let cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Add to green bean mixture and toss until well coated. Pour into prepared baking dish.
Mix topping in a small bowl and spread evenly over top. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
I like this one because it's done on the stovetop and requires minimal ingredients. And, who doesn't love mashed potatoes?!?

mashedpotatoes

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup butter, cut into small pieces
8 medium (about 4lbs) russet potatoes
15 cloves (about 1 head) garlic, peeled
Coarse Salt

Directions:
Peel potatoes and chop into smaller pieces. In a 5-quart saucepan, combine potatoes and garlic cloves; cover with water by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat & simmer until potatoes are easily pierced – 25 to 30 minutes
Drain. Return garlic and potatoes to pan. Stir over medium-high heat until dry; 1-2 minutes
In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil & pour over potatoes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Mash until smooth and creamy.

Which classic Thanksgiving side dish is your favorite? 

DIY Thanksgiving Table Decor

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year and want to make the event a little more special? By creating a lovely table setting, you'll turn a normal meal into a festive experience for everyone. Here are some easy DIY ideas to create a beautiful tablescape for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Gold always adds an elegant touch to decor. Plus, plastic pumpkins are probably on post-Halloween sale right now if you don't have any on hand. Just spray the pumpkins and a few pine cones with metallic gold spray pant and arrange on a burlap table runner for a simple and classy look. Gold charger plates and napkin rings add a nice touch, but are not necessary. Through in a few candles and you're set!

For a rustic look try wood, burlap, and jute. Pine cones, which are quite the versatile decor element, look nice with this combination, too. Use natural colored napkins and tie silver wear with jute twine. The nice thing about this look is that it doesn't need to be perfect! Use tree stumps as candle holders, or even as hot plates for your serving dishes. This look is perfect to spruce up a more laid back event.  

If you have children, get them involved in the process! Adhere some colored feathers to a pine cone (again - so many uses!) and attached an orange felt nose and eyes for an adorable place setting. Your guests will appreciate the charming touch, and your kids will love being part of the preparation! 

Centerpieces can be made easily with natural materials you may already have on hand. Things like popcorn kernels, nuts, and dried beans make great vase fillers. Small pumpkins can be used to spell out festive words. Fall leaves are also excellent additions to Thanksgiving centerpieces.

We hope these ideas are enough to get your creative juices flowing and come up with a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape!

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