Which books are you must grabs for the summer reading list? What are the five best ways to style a scarf? Where are my spots for pimento cheese in the South? Find my favorite quick tips at Easy Pickins!
Every year in college, my grandfather sent me iced cookies for Valentine’s Day from our favorite (then small) cookie company – Cheryl’s. After he passed, my mother picked up the tradition…even when I moved more than 3,000 miles west to Vancouver, British Columbia. No matter where I was, she found a way to get cookies to my doorstep on this very special day.
As our daughter grows up, I am excited to begin the cookie tradition with her – but in a different way. I am on the search now for easy sugar cookie recipes we can start together (when she’s standing, of course)! Below are a few I have found to try with her and our neighbors. Do you have favorite recipes from your childhood? Any other traditions you share on Valentine’s Day with those you love? Tell me more in the comment section.
Happy day of LOVE,
Let’s have a real conversation about time. How often do you wake up and think “I just don’t have enough time to get everything done today?” (Here’s me raising my hand!) Immediately, the day becomes constricting and frantic. As a working mom, this feels especially true right now. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve implemented to bring more space to our day!
- Put away your phone. This is still requiring an intentional choice from me – my alarm is on my phone, and as such, it is too easy to check a couple emails or scroll Facebook first thing in the morning. These precious minutes – the first ones of my day – deserve more than technology. I now turn off my alarm, and leave my phone on the nightside table while preparing for the day ahead.
- Make the coffee at night. There is something ironically relaxing about the fresh aroma of coffee filling our kitchen each morning. We like to use freshly ground beans, so the night before I typically preset the coffee pot to finish brewing as we wake up. I love starting my day with a warm cup of coffee before our little one is awake!
- Pick an outfit the day before. Each night, I lay out a few items to choose from, so when my sleepy eyes pop out of the shower, I can easily choose and go – no fuss and no stress!
- Meal plan. It sounds simple, but making a few grab-and-go food items, or at least prepping and stocking your fridge and pantry with favorite go-tos, eliminates the thought process when you first wake up. Less thinking, more nourishment!
- Choose gratitude. Words are powerful. Just this week, I had an amazing conversation with a dear friend who reminded me how our day can shift when we choose to think “I have the time I need.” Each morning, I choose one thing for which I am grateful, and begin my day from there.
What are some ways you create a bit more space in your day? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section below.
In these chilly winter months, I’ve added delicious root vegetables and hearty greens to our nightly meals. I find such comfort (and immunity support) in adding more veggies to our grocery list. However, I wanted to find new ways to bring flavor to the same vegetables I enjoy week after week. Thankfully, this desire for tasty vegetables coincided perfectly with one of my goals for 2018: experiment with a new recipe once a week!
In looking for creative, flavorful and healthy recipes, I have researched several food blogs and celebrated chefs for idyllic takes on winter vegetables. My newest go-to chefs for all things healthy and delicious: Angela Liddon of “Oh She Glows” and Danielle Walker of “Against All Grain.”
Below are a few of my favorite methods for cooking Wilson staples (carrots, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes!) Click on the images to read more and share a link to your favorite recipe in the comment section below!
Photo credit: Simple Green Smoothies (click on the image for more information on the company!)
Around this time of year, I find myself waking up with a stuffy nose and sore throat. And now with a new little one in the house, we seem to be fighting off something almost weekly. For the last two years, my husband has kept this natural “concoction” in our fridge and it serves us well in cold and flu season!
For more all natural (and delicious) healing beverages, visit Simple Green Smoothies. Do you have any go-to recipes for this time of year? Share your favorites!
Your grocery list:
2 lemons (thoroughly cleaned)
2 small pieces of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cup raw honey (more or less depending on the size jar you use)
12 oz mason jar
Slice lemons and ginger into think strips.
Place the lemon and ginger slices in the mason jar, alternating layers of each.
Slowly, pour honey over the lemon and ginger. Allow the honey to sink down and around the lemon and ginger slices. Fill jar to the top with honey and seal tightly.
Store in the refrigerator. Over time, the mixture will start to turn into a loose jelly.
When you are in need of some soothing tea, scoop 2-3 tablespoons into a mug full of hot water—be sure to scoop whole pieces of ginger and lemon. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes and sip away.
Turkey and dumpling soup is a time honored tradition in my husband’s family, so this year we decided to tackle a recipe all on our own! Because our daughter has some food allergies, I spent time researching recipes online that could yield a delicious soup without dairy or soy. After developing his own broth in the crockpot (per this amazing recipe). my husband put the finishing touches on our first ever leftover turkey noodle soup.
And may I just say…..he nailed it.
Click here for the full recipe! Do you have a family recipe that keeps the aromas of the holidays in your home? Share some of your favorites in the comment section below.
“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
This is the premise of my favorite personal development book, The One Thing. It goes beyond your run-of-the-mill goal setting and provides an in depth review of the facets of your life and how to enjoy each to the fullest. The main idea? Set up your dominoes!
So often, we attack life – chasing after one piece at a time, and ending up exhausted by the end of the week. As a new mom, a wife and an employee who simply can’t shut off, this has never been more true. In 2018, I am putting resolutions aside and focusing on my one thing, summed up in one word: flourish. The idea of “setting up dominoes” eases the self-imposed strain of chasing one big task and, instead, creates inspired daily opportunities…all the while getting you closer to that big big goal!
In 2018, I long to see our roots grow in our new city. I want to be a person who sees those around me flourish in their lives. To create this possibility, I spent most of yesterday and today sifting through the amazing resources made available (for free!) here – all tied to the guidelines of The One Thing.
When I take time to sit with the information in front of me, I can more easily digest what’s ahead. What used to be daunting New Years Resolutions now appear as inspiring and achievable goals. Some are quite simple: practicing new cooking techniques on a from-scratch meal at least once a week. Others require more intentionality and thought, like hosting a community dinner in our home once a month.
At the end of the day, all of my goals build on one another and make for an exciting 2018! What are some of your hopes for the New Year? How do you go about identifying these goals and then setting them? Share your tips with me in the comment section below.
Happy New Year!
Every Christmas morning, after seeing what Santa dropped off the night before, my sister and I galavanted up the road to my grandparents’ house for Christmas breakfast and presents! Of course, my sister and I eagerly anticipated opening up our perfectly wrapped gifts from Gaga and Georgie, but more than anything, we looked forward to our stockings.
My grandmother spent so much time on those stockings – filing them to the brim with oranges, chocolate bars, two comic books, a bottle of perfume, and sparkly trinkets. She was so diligent and methodical in what she chose, so opening that stocking felt like a little glimpse into how she loved us..carefully selecting things she thought would make us smile. Stockings were never the afterthought for her – they were the best part of Christmas.
Below are a few options you can choose to create your own magical stocking. What else will you include this year? Tell me more in the comment section below!
Every year, I receive a few magazines as a gift from my family. Mixed in with my monthly delivery of Fast Company and Forbes is a smattering of Garden and Gun, Southern Living, and the like. In preparing for dinner with a few friends, I thought it might be a delightful challenge to create a meal pulling recipes from each publication I love! Inspired by the crisp and festive pages of Southern Living, I decided to peruse various sites to find both new and time honored classics to create an idyllic southern holiday gathering.
Click on the images to review the full recipe! What would you include in a perfect evening with friends? Share your festive favorites with me in the comment section below, and let me know what you think of my personal selections!
Toasting you from the Carolinas,
Starting with a sip…of Grinch Punch!
Moving onto appetizers…a cranberry-cheddar cheeseball.
Adding in greens with a Christmas Salad.
Complementing the meal with sweet tea brined ham!
December is upon us! How did it happen? I feel like I put away our Halloween costumes last night. Well…perhaps I did, because, as a new mom, organization is not at the top of my priority list. I prefer to spend all the free time I can muster with my 6 month old baby girl and do my best to simplify the rest of life.
Here at National, our team has worked diligently to do the same for you by compiling some of our favorite products into an easy-to-navigate Holiday Gift Guide! A few of my favorites are listed below. Simply click on the image to see more information. Peruse our entire gift guide here, and take the hustle and bustle out of your holiday season!
The most wonderful time of the year…family gathering from far and wide, savory aromas filling the air, and the crisp air cooling off the last of fall. It’s Thanksgiving week in the Carolinas, and my husband and I have packed up our tiny family to make the trek to Blowing Rock – an annual tradition.
In our food bag, of course, are the ingredients for a Swann staple – Georgie biscuits. The most important component – White Lily Flour…the only brand he’d use for his famous biscuits.
For more than 30 years, my grandfather made these very biscuits every Monday morning for all National employees. (In full transparency, I may have eaten them every Saturday with his famous grits and eggs, too!) He also made them for all family Thanksgivings, and taught my sister and me his craft to pass on to our children.
Enjoy this recipe, and let me know your twists on the classic southern buttermilk biscuit!
Have a beautiful holiday, friends.
- 2 cups White Lily Enriched Bleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening (never skip the Crisco).
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (make sure it’s the real thing).
- 1/4 cup butter, melted (added for flavor and texture)
Steps to the best biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 475°F.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender (or a fork as we were taught) until crumbs are the size of peas. Mix in just enough buttermilk until the dough has left the sides of the bowl.
- Place dough onto lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Roll out the dough until it is about a 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to get the size that you want (we always used a water glass for the perfect shape). Place on baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and brush with butter if you like!