Hosting Thanksgiving has changed so much since having kids! Now I order the Turkey and Ham, buy some desserts and make a few sides. The idea of a “purchased” meal used to appal me and I love it now!!
Cooking and prepping used to be what made it feel like the holidays for me but now it’s spending time with the family and resting that makes it feel special. I wonder if ‘ll return to all the details one day when the kids are grown. Ha!
I’m happy to let someone else make a delicious and juicy turkey for us (We have been using Whole Foods) and that Honey Baked Ham is unmatched.
Just like a wedding, I think of what makes events most memorable
A signature drink upon arrival
An Appetizer Spread with lots of contrasting options
“Party Favor” leftovers for tomorrow and a coffee for the road
Spend your time HERE!
Here is our menu:
Ham & champagne mustard
Appetizers (bacon wrapped dates, cheeses-goat, manchego, brie, Rosemary Marcona almonds, rolled prosciutto, variety of crackers/crips breads, nuts, olives, goat cheese, fig spread, grapes) Trader Joes is the easiest place to pick up all kinds of exciting apps. Check out the frozen section to add a hot one you can do quickly in the toaster oven.
Alcoholic drinks (old fashioned: Makers Mark, amarena cherries from TJs, bitters, oranges for rind garnish)
Non alcoholic drinks (coke, apple juice)
Swiss Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce Natural
Canned Cranberry Sauce
So basic and it hits all the marks for us!
Here are the guidelines I use for portions
1-1.5 lbs Turkey per person
5 lbs potatoes for 10-12 people
1.5 lbs green beans makes 6-8 servings //I buy 2 bags of frozen French green beans/2 cups sour cream/onion/cornflake crumbs/ shredded Swiss
Stuffing 16 cups 14 oz=11 serv
Ok, so now I’m going to share the most incredible green bean casserole you have ever eaten. You really must add this to your repertoire. Its a great winter side all around.
Melt 2 tbsp. butter; stir in flour, salt, pepper, sugar and onion Add sour cream gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens; fold in beans. Pour into buttered 1-1/2 qt. casserole. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top, then the crumbs mixed with butter. Bake at 400º for 1/2 hour. Serves 6.
I grate the onion on a hand held cheese grater.
French style green beans can be the ones that are long and sliced in half lenghthwise. This makes them soak up the flavors more but you can use any kind of green bean. I get frozen long ones and just let them thaw and drain before adding them to the mixture.
I get the grated "gruyere" at Trader Joes. It's basically Swiss.
Some big grocery stores sell cornflake crumbs in a small box but I just get the organic corn flakes from Trader Joes and pulse them in the food processor. SO integral to this recipe! The crunch is so so good.
I make this a day ahead, pull it out in the late morning to get to room temp and bake it before serving the meal.
By Alta Garretson
Christina J Warren http://happyorelse.com/
Capers / lemon / smoked salmon / cream cheese
Crackers/ Cheese/ Proscutto
Cranberry Sauce Natural
Canned Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin pie X2
Pecan pie x 1
To Go Coffee Cups
Tupperware to send leftovers home
Crock pot to keep potatoes warm
Turkey Gravy Boat
Up to a week before do the grocery shopping
Pick up the ham
Pick up any pies and rolls
prep the green bean casserole
set the table
pull out all the plates, cutlery, serving dishes etc.
Pick up the turkey
cook the green bean casserole, potatoes, stuffing, gravy
Pull out a huge Chartucerrie board and spread everything out with cute, small spreaders. Have some festive cocktail napkins, good glassware for drinks and ways to identify each person’s drink.
As with all entertaining, its most fun when you’re having fun! If that means you make it a potluck or buy premade stuff then do it and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! XO
I got to be a part of a wonderful girls trip while I was pregnant with our youngest (who is now almost 2) and one of the women took charge of the menu. We rented a beautiful home in Palm Springs and this woman, Heather, prepared a gluten free menu to suit many of the ladies on the trip and it was sensational!! She shared this recipe with us and told me I was welcome to share it with you. Our whole family has been enjoying them for years and LOVE them! Thank you, Heather!
Anyone can enjoy this recipe. They are grain free and packed with portein! You can make these ahead and they are even good cold as a quick protein snack or breakfast on the go! Serve them warm with butter and syrup or agave nectar.
The most important thing about making these is the technique and I will walk you through. Its all done in a blender. I use a Vitamin we bought at Costco years ago.
Heather’s GF Pecan Pancakes
Start with the Pecans
Flour 1.5 cups pecan pieces (This means blend them so that they are all finely chopped but be sure not to “cream” them into pecan butter. You might need to blend half, pull them out, blend the other half and then put them all back. Especially if you make a double batch!
Add 3 eggs, 1 ripe banana (you can defrost a ripe peeled and frozen one in a pinch), 1 (ish) tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp honey, 1⁄2 baking soda, 1⁄4 salt and blend until just incorporated.
A griddle is best so you can cook many at once. These cook slowly!
Heat the pan or griddle to medium/low heat. You’ll have to do a test pancake to get your temperature right.
Greace your pan or griddle. I like to use spray Coconut oil from Trader Joes. Coconut oil has a high boiling point.
spoon out the pancake batter. You can see the texture from the images above. Give them some time to firm up.
Flipping these is the most delicate part. You will get so much satisfaction after mastering it! These are not like regular pancakes. Because they have no flour, they are jiggly and lack form so you have to quickly swipe the spatula under the pancake to keep the circular shape and do a quick flip.
The pancakes can burn quite easily so check on them and keep the heat on the lower side.
Now you’ve got the hang of it and you are ready to make tons. Enjoy!!
Choosing gifts for my husband is very challenging for me! I usually wait until the last minute to look for one and end up either getting something that doesn’t feel heartfelt or nothing at all. So when my favorite photo printing company asked to join them in their Father’s Day campaign, I was excited to find a meaningful gift my hubsband will love! P.S. He does not do social media so he won’t see this LOL.
When I saw the brass and wood display box I thought it was perfect! Its a frame he can put on his desk at work and he can change out the photos periodically. It can hold up to 50, 5X5 square prints. I love that it is free of glass. The display box comes in two options: Walnut and Birch (shown here). The minimal style fits beautifully with many decor styles. The brass has a lovely sheen and is the perfect hue, being just cool and warm enough.
Now that I have it in person, I want to give it as a gift to many people in our lives! I’m such a set it and forget it person so it’s really satisfying to find a perfect gift that works for so many people! Plus I can send a new set of prints for subsequent holidays or just because. Ok I also want one for our home. Ha!
Use CODE: CW15 for 15% off your purchase from now until Friday, June 8!
This discount applies to ALL Artifact Uprising items/photo books/prints etc. across the entire site!
Years ago, we ordered our wedding album from Artifact Uprising because we wanted the best and its perfect! Their quality is unmatched! I also love their company culture. They use recycled and sustainable materials and provide jobs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
You can order prints right from your Instagram account! It took me minutes.
You can visit Artifact Uprising to see all their beautiful prints styles, frames, photobooks, gifts and more. You can see our exact brass and wood display box HERE.
This Post is in Partnership with Thrive Market One thing that makes our house run smoothly is keeping the pantries stocked with items from food to toiletries. Its important to me to have the highest quality ingredients at the ready. Shopping for all our favorite items in one place really helps to cut down on shopping trips and keeps us prepared for things like cookie baking. We also love getting the best prices and knowing that all the items are non GMO.
Many of you asked for a list of some of our favorite products at Thrive Market and here are some of them and each one is linked:
So, Thrive Market’s prices are already up to 50% off. And now they’re giving you an EXTRA 25% off your first order + free 30 day trial!” Try it HERE.
If you normally spend $100 at the grocery store, it would be around $50 – $75 on Thrive Market because of their already low prices. And now they’re giving you an extra 25% off!
No code is necessary. Shop around and the discount will be applied at checkout.
For more details on Thrive Market, scroll down to the end of this post!
I have been hearing about Thrive Market for years and so happy we decided to try it out! Recently I have been working to streamline our grocery shopping and this online store makes it easy. We tried out our first order with some of our favorite on-the-go kid snacks we know and love.
Thrive Market offers organic foods, nontoxic home and personal care products for 25-50% off what you would normally pay. You can shop from the app or your computer and even search by special diet like, “Paleo,” “Vegan” or “Gluten Free” and it comes right to your door. Thrive Market is on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone.
With your membership you have
-Access to 4,000+ organic and non-GMO products. Food, snacks, vitamins, supplements, personal care products, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, safe and nontoxic beauty products, kitchen staples, homegoods, organic baby food, kids products and much, much more and it’s all shipped straight to your door.
-25-50% savings on every purchase
-Free shipping on every order over $49!
-An opportunity to make a difference: For every membership purchased, Thrive Market gives a free membership to a low-income family to help make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone.
-Exclusive access to special deals, new product launches, weekly free gifts, blogs, video recipes, and more!
–NEW Thrive Market now offers Fresh Meat and Seafood! These are the highest quality meats at the most affordable prices. Their beef is 100% grass-fed, free range and antibiotic free. Their chicken is certified free range and organic from small family farms. Their seafood has earned The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program’s stamp of approval, which states that our business is choosing seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean!
What Makes Thrive Market Stand Out
More than 70% of the Thrive Market catalog CANNOT be found on Amazon!
Largest retailer in the country that sells exclusively non-gmo groceries
All packaging, boxes, and inserts are made from recycled paper and are recyclable. Thrive Market is 100% carbon-neutral and certified through carbonfund.org. Our certification covers national shipping, packaging materials, warehouse utilities, and even the commutes of our team.
This has been such a wonderful summer! Since Grant has been in his first year of preschool this year, this summer feels like our first real summer vacation, and we have been loving it — but somehow it’s already coming to a close.
We’ve made the most of our summer with a road trip to Las Vegas with family, visits to Great Grandma and the grandparents. Swim lessons, Ninja class and playdates have kept us busy too! In addition to our travel and classes, Chris and I have been working on some finishing touches to our home. I finally tackled a fireplace refresh, we planted white iceberg roses in front and added a couple potted plants by the front door.
We love using our Amex EveryDay Cardfor our purchases. My favorite benefit has been applying Membership Rewards points to eligible purchases I make on my card *. I’ve really enjoyed sharing our experience with this card as an American Express Ambassador.
Our final projects for summer will be furnishing the dining room and adding some more plants outside in between lots of trips to the beach! I am sad to see it come to an end, but have a lot of excitement for the holidays! Hope you are loving your summer!
We continue to enjoy our American Express EveryDay Card! Not only is American Express a great credit card company, but it’s also a great financial partner who is always adding new features and tools to help us stay on top of our financial life.
MyCredit Guide shares the VantageScore®credit score by TransUnion®and your TransUnion credit report– and accessing it doesn’t hurt your credit score!
Personally, I like to keep an eye on my credit report to ensure there haven’t been any fraud issues, and I try to check it every few months!
Visit www.AmericanExpress.com/MyCreditGuide for terms and to learn more about your own score!
We’re excited to be getting ready for summer around here! Living by the beach, we’re sure to stock up on sunscreen, fun beach towels, swimsuits, cover ups, sand toys and hats – and I like to have extras for taking our guests to the beach as well. Shopping for all of it is so fun! By using our Amex EveryDay Cardfor all these purchases we also get to enjoy the Membership Rewards points!
A really great feature is that once you make 20 or more purchases on the Card in a billing period, you’ll earn 20% extra points on those purchases*! So, instead of just 2X points on US supermarket purchases (on up to $6000 in purchases per year), you could get 2.4x…so your points can add up even faster.
I’m excited to finally put these points to work! We personally LOVE applying points to eligible charges on our statement*, but here are other ways to use them:
– Use Pay with Points at select merchants*
– Redeem for retail, restaurant, entertainment or American Express Gift Cards*
– Use points for some or all of your eligible travel at amextravel.com*
– Transfer points to a participating loyalty program*
– Shop for experiences and products*
We love to freshen up the house, our wardrobes and our finances every spring! It’s a great time to tidy and donate things we no longer love or use. Organizing revitalizes me not only while I’m doing it, but also when I can enjoy the benefits of the work I’ve done.
Springtime is also a great time to take a look at our finances. We look for ways we can save money/cut expenses and ways to gain benefits from our spending. The more we’ve been using our Amex EveryDay Card, the more we’re accruing points, which we hope to use this summer (more on that next time).
In addition to the welcome offers I’ve talked about below, here are a few benefits that our family really loves:
Earn 2x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases*
Earn 1x points for every eligible dollar you spend*
Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases*
Just about every day, you can find me in workout clothes playing, straightening up and running errands with the kids until the nap time shower. We go grocery shopping, get car washes, gas and make an occasional stop for home decor!
I try to make most of our purchases on and I’ve partnered with American Express to share our experiences with the Amex EveryDay Card I just opened. I’ll be updating this post with more information on how this credit card works for and rewards us in the coming months!
To kick things off, I’m talking about the new $0 balance transfer fees** offer of this Card. We use our credit cards for both convenience and benefits. We pay off our card balances every month and have been able to enjoy airline miles, cash back and more over the years. But if you are currently carrying a balance on another credit card and want to switch to American Express, you can transfer the balance to this Amex EveryDay Card without paying a balance transfer fee on transfers made in the first 60 days of account opening…and a 0% into APR** on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then it varies between14.49-25.,49%) might make it easier to pay off faster.
Top to bottom, left to right. Donkey tail succulent, cactus succulent, string of pearls succulent, fern.
My Relationship with Plants
Whenever I’d visit my highschool friend over the years in different cities and homes, I would always be in awe of her enchanting and inviting spaces which always had houseplants. We never really had plants or pets for that matter growing up. I’m guessing mostly because we moved so often so when I became “an adult” I got a cat and years later I started my love affair with plants.
The past six years we have lived in 6 homes. The last 3 have been within driving distance so those plants have traveled with us. Regardless, plants make me feel like I’ve lived in my home for a long time. They transform any space and give it life!
**Please note that some houseplants in this article are poisonous/toxic to people and or pets so please research each of the plants before you bring them home. I am not an expert on this matter but there is a lot of literature online.
Benefits of plants
Plants increase Oxygen Levels
Remove VOCs (toxins)from the air:
“VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). via BayerAdvanced.com The site also states they “release water and improve health.”
Shopping for plants
The best way I’ve found to shop for a plant is to have a specific spot in mind. How much light does this area get? How tall can a plant grow in this area? What style or feeling do I want here?
Plant health. You have to start out with a plant at its optimum health. The soil should feel damp, all the leaves should look vibrant. No brown spots, dry leaves, little white fuzz (see bugs below). If you start out under optimum conditions and something doesn’t look right after a few weeks at home you’ll most likely know its either a water or light problem that’s easy to adjust.
The Plants of our Home
These gorgeous dark green leafed plants can grow to be huge and I consider them quite hardy!
The one on the shelf is from when we were living in LA around 4 years ago. It was a Home Depot find and it was much shorter. She survived a few moves and even survived living under a deck on the back patio during the kitchen remodel at our current home. Thank you, plant!
The one in a basket on the floor of the family room is from a fancy nursery. I wanted a medium size and didn’t feel like waiting it out for a Home Depot find. It was around $40!!!! I had the kids, it was around dinner time, you know. Ha!
I just read that if a leaf falls off (from Gardening Know How), you can cut a slit in the node which will allow for a new leaf to come in quicker! I’m gong to try this!
These love bright light but keep out of any direct sunlight that can scorch the leaves. Keep the leaves clean
These like to stay moist especially during their growing season (summer). In the off season they may only need water once or twice a month. If they get too much water, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. If too dry, you will see the whole plant look a bit droopy.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
We have two in our home.
The one in the kitchen is from Costco and had about 6 large leaves when we got it. It cost around $35. It was SUPER healthy when I picked it out and continued to thrive in three different locations in our home.
2. The fiddle leaf fig in the living room is from Home Depot. It didn’t have a price tag but when I spotted the full, medium tree-like plant amidst a bunch of random houseplants I snagged it (2 kids in the cart) and ran to the checkout. It rang up for $95! In response to my shock, the very kind saleslady took off 20% for a “funky leaf” of which this plant had a couple.
This plant was more finicky and did NOT like to be moved. I knew this because after a week in a new location, the leaves would start to brown so I quickly moved her back to the original spot and she forgave me! Ha!
They say to fertile these from spring to fall.
Fiddle leaf figs LOVE bright, indirect light and lots of it! They will also grow toward the light so you can rotate your plant if its starting to head in one direction.
This plant likes to be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. So since I like to water weekly the amount of water for each of our plants is about 3 cups of water. I add more in the winter months if the heater has been on and it’s been dryer in the house.
If they get too much water, the new leaves will brown and fall. If too little water, the bottom older leaves get brown and fall off.
This one is from Ikea. These plants can survive a LOT of neglect! Oh my goodness ours has been so good to us! Snake plants like indirect light and I give Just a little water each week. Our tiny plant gets like a 1/4 cup of water if that. They actually like to dry out a bit between waterings.
This one at the bottom of our kitchen shelves was from Home Depot a few years ago. It has gone from full to sparse and from medium green to lighter green. These work great in bathrooms and kitchen where there is more moisture.
Clip off dead leaves to keep your fern happy.
They don’t need a ton of light but they do need at least a few hours of indirect light a day.
Ferns like to stay MOIST! I water it weekly and give it enough water for the soil to just feel damp. These plants DO NOT like to dry out between waterings.
I recently bought this one from Lowe’s. It was around $15. Extremely healthy and full. Their growing season is spring/summer.
Filtered indirect light is their favorite
They love high humidity! Keep the soil damp and spray the leaves with water occasionally.
Donkey Tail pictured in tiny terra cotta pot from Micheales on kitchen shelf
String of Pearls shown dripping down kitchen open shelving
Succulents LOVE LOTS of sunlight! If they feel starved, you’ll notice them stretching toward the light.
These plants like to their roots to get soaked then dry. Check out this site for more.
TIPS & TRICKS
Give yourself a head start! Buy medium sized plants. Pay more but instantly have a look close to the one you desire in your home. These will also more likely be heartier and could recover from a little setback while you are getting to know your plant.
Water plants the same day/time each week so you remember. Water every single one so you stay up on it.
Find plants with different heights/lengths to add interest. Think fiddle leaf figs and a string of pearls.
Always trim dead leaves or branches.
Check to see if a plant is poisionous to children or pets and consider this when placing them in the home.
Plants at all heights. Have some plants on the floor, on a shelf, hanging.
Mix plants in your home.
Place them in what I call the “Design Triangle” as in place three together, at three places spaced out in a space.
Mix high maintenance and low maintenance. Try to have few high maintenance ones!
If you are going on a long trip, consider having someone water your plants or leaving them outside in a safe place.
Get a few fake plants. Succulents are some of the best imitations these days. They look great in the kitchen or on a shelf.
Use peel and stick rubber pads or cork pads on the bottoms of your containers to protect surfaces.
OK EW! So I saw some white fuzzy stuff on one of the fiddle leaf figs shortly after buying some new succulents (which can be rumored to carry them). It looks like someone rubbed against a leaf with a white fuzzy shirt so “bugs” didn’t really come to mind but when I looked it up they were called Really bugs. There are many ways to deal with them and I decided to start with the least invasive-Give your plant a shower.
Physically remove the bugs by either putting the plant in the shower or what I did was put them outside and hose them down with some pressure. As soon as they drained I brought them inside so as not to contract any other bugs. Amazingly, this did the trick!
My rubber plant also showed a type of pod thing underneath a leaf which is another sign of mealy bugs and I removed that with a qtip dipped in alcohol.
Check ALL your plants! These can “travel” on ants which I do remember seeing a few tiny ones around this time as well! AH!
If these two methods do not work, please keep searching because there are further steps you can take.
SO, you can survive these and get back to life with your beautiful plants!
**Other plants I want to try: Money Tree. Palms
Here are some nice fake plants you can order online:
If you know me, I’ve been talking about baskets form Homegoods for a long time! They are the best. Such an eclectic variety and the best selection seems to be on Tuesdays when they restock the store.
Think about the style goals you have. Bohemian-look for fringe, belly baskets, rattan weaving. Contemporary-maybe black, clean lines. Farmhouse-Whites and rustic flair. You can change the vessel and completely transform your look.
Here are some you can purchase online:
Liners/Make Any Basket a Plant Container
Usually indoors, near the indoor plants is stand with a bunch of these clear, plastic disks. I like the “heavy duty” ones that are a little thicker for the larger plants. The little ones are great to cut and place inside our outside your terra cotta (those orangey inexpensive ones). That way you can keep your plant in the container it came in, just buy a larger pot and sit the plant in the liner. No need to repot.
These liners are perfect to turn any basket into a vessel for your plant too! Just place it in the bottom of the basket and put the plant in! Great to protect your floors and baskets while allowing for great drainage for your plant.
Turn an object into a planter
If you want to make a tea cup or some other object that doesn’t have a drainage option, you can create one. Garden shops sell these little charcoal pellets you can place at the bottom of the vessel then put your plant with dirt in on top. I imagine little rocks could do the trick too.
Keep plants healthy
Use a spray bottle of water or a damp paper towel to wipe leaves. Keeping them free of dust allows for the most photosynthesis to take place.
Some plants love a holiday! We went out of town for two weeks and put all the plants on a patio under a deck where they got great light and had them watered by a friend like once per week. When we came back they were SUPER healthy and going through a growth spurt!
I add a little top soil with miracle grow maybe once a year. Talk to your plants and let them know you appreciate them! Ha!
I hope this gets you excited about making your home more beautiful with plants!
Be easy on yourself, even the most avid plant experts lose a plant now and again. Keep your enthusiasm and try again. Have fun!
If you are looking for sources for items in our home, please check HERE.