Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yankee Candle, what were you thinking?

Photo courtesy of Yankee Candle
I try to support small businesses every chance I get but there are some Holiday traditions that I cannot go without. Every year I look forward to going into my local Yankee Candle shop. I find so many adorable holiday gifts. You can always count on them to have great sales and coupons. The smell of the store is amazing and they feature a new collection each season.

My Holiday Favorites
Some of my favorite picks this year include this adorable Christmas Bear Tart Warmer. He is roasting a marshmallow from atop his birch tree. This reminds me of our recent camping trip where we roasted marshmallows to a golden brown while our friends lit them on
Christmas Bears Tart Warmer
When the holidays come I miss a few things from growing up in NY. Family is number one on my list, followed by snow and lastly is the scents of the season. I miss real Christmas trees... not the ones bought at Walmart but the ones we used to cut down ourselves! They smelled so wonderful and I will never forget getting bundled up to make the long trek into the woods to cut down the perfect tree. This Balsam and Cedar Room Spray smells so close to the real thing. If you close your eyes and hold a mug of hot chocolate you just might be transported to a wonderful little memory!
Balsam and Cedar Room Spray
Geared up for some fun on the ice, this Snowman Tea Light Holder will melt your heart! He is definitely on my Christmas list this year! At only $12.99 he is a bargain that will bring much joy!
Top Hat Snowman Tea Light Holder
So here comes the "What were you thinking?!" part...
I think Yankee Candle may be running out of scent possibilities because they missed the mark on these unusual candles.

Is there a secret society of Brown Paper Package sniffers out there that I have never heard of? Anything is possible...
Brown Paper Packages Large Jar Candle
There is nothing on earth that smells better than puppy breath...I just love how new puppies smell. But kitten whiskers, really? We have a cat named Oreo and he has whiskers, lots of them. They don't smell like anything! Maybe because he is 12 years old and this candle says kitten whiskers! He is just too old to smell like kitten whiskers!
Whiskers On Kittens Large Jar Candle
Schnitzel with Noodles candle? Do I really have to blog about why this candle will be 75% off after the holidays? Who wants to smell this for 150 hours?
Schnitzel With Noodles Large Jar Candle
Yankee Candle, I love you! And even though you missed the mark on a few items this year, you will still be my first stop when I go to the mall. Maybe if I was good this year Santa Claus will bring me some Yankee Candle but not Brown Paper Packages, Whiskers on Kittens, or Schnitzel with

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Foodie Review: Burger King Gingerbread Cookie Shake

As most of my friends already know I am not a fan of fast food, prepackaged food, or preservative laden snacks. On extremely rare occasions I will make an exception. You know that once in a while craving you have for hot dogs and box macaroni and cheese like when you were a kid? I’m guilty!

It was “Black Thursday”. I’m one of those people who is angry that Black Friday is now Black Thursday, I may never get over it. It was late as I picked up Jess from work so we stopped at Burger King. I saw the Gingerbread Cookie shake on the menu and was a little leery about trying it but it looked so delicious! Sometimes gingerbread and things like spice cake can just be so overwhelming. But I was in need of something sweet as we were stuck in Black Thursday traffic. The shake was huge even though I ordered a medium. It had a layer of cool whip type topping and some gingerbread crumbles. I have to say it was the best store made shake I have ever had. It tasted like a gingerbread cheese cake with whipped topping! It was really smooth and thick.

Just looking at the fat, calorie and sugar content of the shake is enough to give you a heart attack. So I highly recommend sharing with someone you love, that way you save half the calories!  Stop by Burger King today for this yummy holiday treat as its only here for a limited time.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mason Jar Mania

So this morning I was on Facebook and a post from a friend came up that said, "OMG!!! My girl wants to get rid of ALL our cups and buy MASON JARS to drink out of because we're moving to Texas!!! Can someone else please tell her this is so wrong on many levels?"

Well, I'm sorry to say...I think it's awesome! I love mason jars! I love restaurants who serve beverages in them. I even love baking in them! I buy them every chance I get. It's the first thing I look for when I go to garage sales. I thought I would share some of my favorite mason jar finds on the internet.

Ball Canning Jars Mason Jar Stickers from my Etsy shop:

Daisy Cut Mason Jar Lids from Enchanted Frog Events on Etsy:

Ball Mason Jar Cookies from Ruthie's Cookies on Etsy:

Pint Size Ball Mason Jar Soap Dispenser from The Lucky Cowgirl on Etsy:

Mason Jar Tags, Set of 8 from Lazy Day Cottage on Etsy:

Vintage Mason Jar Sewing Kit from Magnolia Room Crafts on Etsy:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Awesome Camping Trip at Hontoon Island!

This week we went on a camping trip with a few friends to Hontoon Island State Park in Deland, Florida. The island is located on the St. Johns River in Volusia County and can only be accessed by private boat or ferry. We were surprised to find out that we were the only ones who reserved a tent site. We had the entire island to ourselves which was great, but a little scary at night. 

Along with all of the camping gear and food we also brought our miniature dachshund dog, Harley and our cat, Oreo. Yes, I did say cat. This was his first trip camping and he did great! Oreo, now called "the amazing camping cat", walked on a leash, sat by the fire, and watched us fish on the river bank. I don't think they ever wanted to leave.

The first night was a little chilly so we were well prepared with warm coats and sweaters. 

Tip: These little hand warmers are great for chilly nights. They can be found in the camping section of sporting goods stores or online but I bought ours at Walmart.

The key to cooking while camping is to be organized. Sams had a huge 110 qt. cooler for sale for $87.98 which may seem like a lot of money for a cooler but to us it was more than worth it. This cooler has wheels and was easily pulled on a dirt and gravel road to the campsite. The neatest feature was the extending arms so you didn't have to crouch down to pull it. It kept the food cold for the entire trip. If you are interested in buying one yourself, you can find it here.

Yes, that is our cat sitting in a laundry basket by the fire!
The best idea we had was to buy ratcheting straps. If you don’t have a set of these I highly suggest spending the money to buy a good brand of heavy duty ratcheting straps. We bought ours at walmart for about 20.00. After the cooler was packed we put the folding chairs, tent, hammock, etc. on top and then wrapped the straps around the entire cooler. The ratchet action allows you to tighten everything down better then you ever could by hand or with bungee cords. It was great not having to carry all of that ourselves.

Cooking by the fire was our most favorite thing. Jess was in her element making some fantastic meals. Our friends Carla and Kris caught a catfish and brought it back for dinner. I gutted it and Jess filleted it. From what everyone else said, the fish tasted a little muddy being from a river. I don't really know because I don't eat seafood. What a great experience!

Camping does not have to mean franks and beans anymore! Did you know there is a whole new trend in camping making gourmet food? I don't know if what we made was considered gourmet but it was delicious and full of flavor. We did the standard roasted marshmallow s'mores which quenched the campers sweet tooth perfectly!

The sweet tooth never stopped because the next day Jess made apple crisp. She crumbled up the leftover graham crackers from the s'mores and mixed them up with some cinnamon, butter, and sugar. We could barely wait for the apple crisp especially when the cinnamon scent started to fill the campsite! It only took a few minutes for the crumb mixture to get nice and crunchy. Meanwhile in another pan the apples, some cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup were getting warm and soft. This was the easiest camping dessert ever and hit the spot when it was cold outside. 

We also made some enormous, monster burgers that barely fit on the bun! Jess's special blend of seasonings made the most delicious hamburgers ever! Her secret ingredients are ground cumin and Worcestershire sauce. If I tell you any more she will kill me. ;)

During the day we went to the main part of the island that had a children's playground. Harley loves slides and every time she sees them she just runs up the stairs and slides down. However, Oreo was not as excited but at least he can mark it off his bucket list.

The night was pitch black and very scary. We were at the farthest campsite, closest to the wooded area. We heard all kinds of animals. Raccoon and armadillos came right into the campsite and were not scared at all. I left my favorite pair of sandals outside the tent for when I got up in the middle of the night. Well, all I can say is don't do that because you will wake up to one sandal. And that is if you're lucky! Animals love the salt from your sweat and will eat and lick your shoes. I guess they didn't have time to eat it right then because it took I have one sad sandal left. Harley was a great watch dog and barked at anything coming too close!

I highly recommend a family camping trip. It is such a wonderful experience and it goes to show you that you don't have to leave the animals at home. We are already planning our next camping trip in February and welcome all of your tips and comments.