A Quiet Easter

Easter 2020

Well, much like everyone else, we had a very quiet Easter! It wasn’t bad, though. In a way it was nice to have such a relaxed day — no one had to leave, so we could eat whenever we wanted. Of course, the Easter bunny still brought the kids baskets of candy. Usually he brings a few extras, but this year… well, candy was what he could swing, LOL…

Easter 2020

The weather was pretty nice. The sun was in and out, but it wasn’t freezing cold and it didn’t rain. We set up an egg hunt for the kids in the yard, but instead of candy in the eggs we put clues and set them on a mini treasure hunt. The prize at the end was a jumbo Reese’s egg! It was silly, but fun.

Dinner was delicious. I made a roast turkey breast, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, and cheddar-olive bread (I’ll be posting the recipe for this tomorrow). Everything was delicious and I still have turkey left over. I think I’ll make a pot of creamy turkey & rice soup.

Easter 2020
Easter 2020
Easter 2020

Laura and I had make double-chocolate cupcakes on Saturday, so we decorated a few with jelly beans and had those for dessert. They were just from an Aldi box mix, but wow — they had a delicious, rich chocolate flavor!

Easter 2020

Truly, it didn’t feel like a holiday, but it was still a nice day together! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

Is it just me, or does Thanksgiving seem exceptionally early this year? No matter, it is happening in a matter of days! I have an extra day to prepare to prepare this week. Laura is home sick from school today, which means – of course – I am home with her instead of at work. I’ve been taking advantage of the time to get a few things done well in advance.

This year for the first time since Drew and I have been together, we will not be with relatives — it will just be the five of us! For many years we either went to my mother-in-law’s house or my parents’ house. Several years ago I took over cooking the meal and everyone usually comes here. But this year, my mother-in-law is spending the week in N. Carolina with Drew’s brother, wife, and her family. My dad had eye surgery today so they are staying put in Massachusetts. Dare I say I am kind of looking forward to a quiet day?

I do love me some Thanksgiving, so of course I will still be preparing a traditional dinner! Here’s what my menu looks like this year: 

Appetizers:
Holiday cheeseball with crackers and salami
Crab rangoon
Sliced tomatoes with basil, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic drizzle
Stuffed mushrooms

Main & Sides:
Roast turkey with pan gravy
Sausage and cranberry stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Asparagus
Green beans, wax bean, and carrot medley
Cranberry sauce
Olive & rosemary bread

Desserts:
Apple pie with crumb topping
Magic pecan pie

This should be more than enough food for us. Unfortunately, the smallest turkey I was able to find at the sale price I wanted, was just under 14-lbs. I usually do a 12-lb turkey for seven of us, but that just means more leftovers! I’m switching up my timeline too. Usually we eat around 1 or so. But this year I think we will eat around 3:30-4:00 so we’re not totally full of appetizers.

I also fully intend to spend the entire day in my pyjamas. 

Today I made the stuffing and the cheeseball. (I’ve been meaning to share the recipe for this cheeseball for years… maybe its time has finally come!) I also cleaned out the fridge and organized it a bit. Tomorrow I will prepare the turkey with the dry brine/dry rub/whatever you choose to call it, and make the pecan pie. I am going to do the mashed potatoes in my Instant Pot (they come out perfect in there) so I may or may not do those early. And the bread I will make in my bread machine on Thanksgiving so it is super fresh and warm!

What’s on your menu this year? I hope you’ll share in the comments — I love reading about everyone’s family traditions!

I’m Not Usually A Gambler, But…

I’m one of those annoying people who generally plays things safe, especially when it comes to money. If I don’t know what exactly I’m getting, I don’t usually get it. But, as they say, there is always an exception to the rule… 

This morning Noah and I went to Michaels to get him a white t-shirt for tie-dying at camp, since they were on sale today. When we walked in, front and center, I saw these:

Michaels grab bag score

Now, in the past I’ve been able to resist the urge to try my luck at one of these grab bags. But today, something was calling me to them. I knew it would be summer stuff from the 4th of July. And maybe it’s because we were just recently at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my friend’s son, but I realized that now would be a great time to take a chance on some patriotic-themed decor. After all, Jake is hopefully starting his Eagle project soon, and he is well on his way as far as advancements are concerned, so I’m not being premature thinking ahead. It’s pretty standard to use red, white, and blue in the decorations and table settings.

I tried to peek inside the best I could and in two boxes I noticed things I definitely was interested in. Noah convinced me to take a change and buy both of them. After I unpacked it all, I was absolutely thrilled with the contents! Here it all is, combined into one box.

Michaels Grab Bag Score

Now, let’s do a little show & tell, shall we? Remember, I paid $8 for everything! First up, this cute basic tee-shirt. It could probably benefit from a fun saying on it, so I can make that with my Silhouette. 
(Value: $9.99)

Michaels Grab Bag Score

Next, 9 bunches of silk flowers — 4 of the daisies with stars on the petals (price tag says $3.99), and 5 bunches of red/white/blue silks (price tag says $8.99). 
(Value: $60.91) 

Michaels grab bag score

Then, there are these vases. I think these, combined with the silk flowers, are going to make perfect centerpieces! The 7 small bottles (one got cut off from the picture because I was rushing) were priced at $6.99 and the large striped bottle (which I absolutely LOVE) is $9.99.
(Value: $58.92)

Michaels grab bag score

Then there are two of these metal signs, $24.99 each . Maybe I’ll give one to my mom! 
(Value: $49.98)

Michaels grab bag score

I absolutely adore this sign! I remember seeing in in the store and thinking hard about it. It is actually burlap and very rustic looking. It will be so cute next summer!
(Value: $24.99)

Michaels grab bag score

OK, I’ve saved the best for last. It was seeing these two trays that made my heart skip a beat. I almost bought them last week, but even with a coupon couldn’t quite justify it. I love the quilt patterns painted on (I may actually crochet a throw based on the design of the smaller tray — that wouldn’t be too hard if I did squares) and Drew loves wood signs. We actually were able to have lunch with him today and so I showed him and asked what he thought. He really liked them too, and thought of covering the design with epoxy or something to preserve it in case there is a spill. The smaller tray was $19.99 and the larger one was $25.99.
(Value: $45.98)
Michaels grab bag score

So, drumroll please? …. I got over $250 worth of stuff for $8! Now, I would never pay full-price of course, that’s just not how I am. But even if it was, say, 60% off, that’s still over $100. I think I really lucked out! 

Unique, Handmade Valentine’s Day Card + A Free Printable!

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I realize than many people dislike Valentine’s Day, but I am not one of them. I’m all about the love, the chocolate, the hearts, the flowers, and especially the cards! I think one of the reasons a lot of people don’t like this holiday is because of the perceived pressure to spend, spend, spend. I totally get that, and I’m here to tell you that really, the best Valentine gift for your sweetie is one from the heart. A simple, handmade Valentine with a heartfelt sentiment will no doubt be appreciated beyond an expensive dinner in a restaurant or pricey jewelry. Read on to find out how I made this unique bouquet card for Valentine’s Day

When ProFlowers invited me to participate in their DIY challenge to create a beautiful handmade card, I was definitely up for it! I wanted to put a little bit of a twist on my card, and I have to say — I’m quite pleased with my project!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

The selection of Valentine’s Day flowers at ProFlowers is full of beautiful choices. It was not easy picking something to work with — my head was spinning with dozens of ideas! But I ultimately hose a bouquet of 18 long-stemmed red roses because I wanted something classic. Because I absolutely love roses anytime of year, but especially on Valentine’s Day, I decided to make the flowers part of my card. ProFlowers has some really cute vases to go with their Valentine bouquets, and I absolutely fell in love with the Rustic Heart vase. Not only does it fit right into my home decor, but I immediately knew how I could personalize it.

The first thing I tackled was the vase. It looks like a heart carved into a birch tree, so it seemed obvious to make sure my husband’s and my initials were on there! I cut them them out of silver vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo, but you could easily use stickers or even a paint pen!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

Next was to create the card. As I arranged the roses in the vase, Shakespeare popped into my head. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!  There was my inspiration! I made a simple folded card out of cardstock and scrapbooking paper. Then, I lettered the beginning of the sonnet. 

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The rest of the “card” is hanging off the roses themselves. I cut tags out of black cardstock and ran a silver paint marker around the edges.

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

Then I wrote out one through eighteen on one side of the tag. I used my favorite oblique holder, a Zebra G nib, and Dr. P.H. Martin’s Bleedproof White ink, my favorite white!

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

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On the other side I wrote down why I love my husband. I tried to include a mix of silly and sappy reasons. I knew that I would enjoy finding each hand-lettered tag and spending time reading over every one of them.

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Then I looped baker’s twine through the holes and attached each tag to one of the roses.

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

ProFlowers Valentine Card Challenge

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If you’d like to recreate this bouquet card but don’t have calligraphy skills, don’t worry! You can write the numbers in cursive and then thicken the downstrokes to create “faux calligraphy.” Or, you could print out these free tags on cardstock, cut them out, and write your own messages on the back! 

Free Printable Number Tags

Download your free tags here!
Numbers one-nine and numbers ten-eighteen.

I hope you’ll give a homemade card or gift a try. If you do, please make sure to share a photo or a description of your project with me! I want to hear all about how you are going to make it a handmade Valentine’s Day this year!

In order to facilitate this post, ProFlowers provided me with a free floral bouquet and vase. I received no further compensation. All opinions are my own.