One of my favorite things about the winter months is that on cold days you have I perfect excuse to stay indoors and just hang out with my family. We don’t have too many of those days here in southern CA so when it happens, I’m ALL IN. Staying cozy and enjoying some family time is my favorite way to enjoy a cold day. And to make sure we’re ready when the rare cold day happens, I put together a cozy winter gift basket for my family.
I came up with the idea of creating a family winter gift basket when I found myself pleading with my kiddos (they are 11 and 17) to come snuggle with me by the fire. I always seemed way more excited about that idea them they did. So, to get my kids excited about about a little cozy family day, I put together a little basket with things to do like playing card games to pass the time. With all the supplies we need on hand it’s much more likely that I’ll get everyone excited about a cozy day inside together.
This would also make a great gift to give to a family or a couple you know as a housewarming gift. You can mix up the items you include in your winter gift basket depending on if you’re making for yourself, or giving it as a gift.
Here’s what I put in my family winter gift basket:
This post has been sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Today, I’m talking about how to make cold brew ice cubes, and three other ways to simplify your busy day.
I don’t know about you, but my days seem to fly by. Between kids, work, and all of the “extra” stuff that needs to be tackled on a daily basis, I often feel pretty frazzled trying to get everything done. Over the past few months, I’ve made it a point to find a few ways to simplify my day-to-day and it’s really helped me feel more like I’m running the day vs. the day is running me.
I wanted to share with you four ways I’ve been simplifying my day. Maybe you could use a little help in this area, too. Now that fall is here, the days are going to get a lot more hectic as the holiday season approaches. Hopefully these ideas will help you conquer it all!
I start my day at around 6:00 am which means by the afternoon I’m pretty much dragging. I love a great cup of cold brew as an afternoon pick me up but never seem to take the time to make it (which means I don’t often get to enjoy it). One thing I’ve been doing lately is pre-making cold brew and cold brew ice cubes which means a delicious cup of cold brew is ready for me whenever I fancy. I won’t say this has been a life-changer (because that sounds a little over-the-top), but if you enjoy cold brew coffee like me, you’ll want to start doing this for sure!
I love having cold brew ice cubes on hand to pop into a glass to keep my cold brew, well, cold. As the cube melts, it doesn’t dilute the coffee.
The new-to-shelves Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Original Blend coffee packs (original), which you can find on the coffee aisle at any Target, have helped simplify this process. And, it’s really simple to make (which is right up my alley). If you’re not familiar with Cold brew, it’s a brewing method where the coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for around 8-12 hours. The colder temperature brings out the rich, smooth flavor and it does not have that bitter or acidic tastes you might have experience with other types of iced coffee.
How to make Dunkin’ Donuts Cold brew:
Put 2 Coffee Filter packs (1 pouch) into a pitcher
Fill the pitcher with 4 cups of cold water
Steep it in the fridge overnight, or for 8–12 hours
When it’s done steeping, remove the filters and add 3 more cups of cold water
And now, simply, enjoy!
How to make cold brew ice cubes:
Once your cold brew is ready, fill up an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Place the pitcher with the remaining cold brew, back into the refrigerator.
The next time you’re ready for a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, grab a glass, add a cold brew ice cube, and pour your cold brew on top.
Having cold brew and cold brew ice cubes on hand is a simple way to make your day a little easier to manage.
3 additional ways I’ve simplified my days:
I make my kiddos lunches the night before right after I clean up the dinner dishes. This only adds about 10 minutes to my evening routine but feels so much easier than rushing to get it done in the morning.
I map out what we will be having for dinner the Sunday before the work/school week starts and write it on the chalkboard in our kitchen. This cuts down on curious minds asking me “what’s for dinner?” and gives me a game plan to follow in the evenings after work. I’ve found by eliminating that daily decision of “what to make for dinner” has me feeling less overwhelmed on a daily basis.
I’ve delegated breakfast. This one is a game changer. We tend to always cook at least one big breakfast on the weekends so I’ve started making extra of whatever it is (waffles, pancakes, breakfast burritos) and then I freeze them. That way in the morning, it’s easy for my husband to quickly heat up a delicious breakfast for our girls while I help them get ready for the day. We keep fresh fruit in bowl in the fridge and have those washed, sliced, and prepped on the weekend as well. It’s a simple thing to do on a weekend and helps us all have smoother mornings during the week.
What do you think? Will any of these ideas help you simplify your busy days? Do you have any other tips or tricks to share? I’m all ears so drop them in the comments!
The next time you’re at Target, be sure to pick up a box of Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew to try for yourself. I think you’ll love it! (Use this Cartwheel Offer).
Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)
So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.
I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.
The planning dilemma I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US. However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)
I have been compensated by ZonePerfect® for this post; however I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. #Ad #ZonePerfectRevitalize
Summertime is supposed to be filled with warm, lazy days and fun cocktails, right? That’s not at all what I’m feeling at the moment. How about you friend? So far my first couple of weeks have been filled with rushing kids around to their activities, working long hours, and trying to pencil in on the calendar all of the fun things we want to do and all of the parties I want to host. Oh and writing content for my new DIY Marketing site. There just never seems to be enough time in the day (or the season!). Do you feel this way? Tell me I’m not alone.
I try to keep reminding myself that my mantra has always been “keep it simple.” I mean, the name of this blog does means a lot to me. Do you all have a tendency to overthink and over-plan? I’m totally guilty of this at times, but I’m working to keep myself focused and in check with how much I schedule and to better manage my expectations. Honestly, I think I need to cut myself a break once in awhile. We can put so much pressure on ourselves. I’m trying to stay focused on what’s important and what needs to get done.
One thing that’s helping me get through these long days is having the perfect snack always on hand. I discovered these ZonePerfect® Revitalize for Mental Focus bars recently in the lunchbox aisle at Target. And I have started keeping them on hand always! I have a couple in my desk drawer, in my purse, in my work bag. YUM. I’d keep them in my car but it’s like 115 out here and I’m certain they’d melt.
ZonePerfect Revitalize bars help me stay mentally sharp and focused throughout my busy day and the flavors make them taste like a delicious treat (hello Salted Carmel Latte, Strawberry Shortcake, and Hot Chocolate Marshmallow!) My current favorite is the Salted Carmel Latte and it even has 11g of protein. They also have green tea extract that has caffeine levels equivalent to a ½ cup of coffee and Choline which is a nutrient that supports brain health. They are the perfect snacking solutions for active and busy lifestyles. You can find out more about this product here.
What fun things do you have planned for the summer? Any entertaining plans in the works? I hope you’ll resist scheduling too much and remember that it’s okay to keep things simple. That’s really my main reason for creating this space. I want to encourage you that simple can be gorgeous, fun, and memorable. Pick a few elements for your party and do them well. The rest, can be basic. Honestly. Focusing on a few things rather than “everything” will help you feel less overwhelmed and hopefully bring you more joy. Whether that’s summer activities or details for your backyard dinner party.
If you want a little reminder, print out this sign and put it on your desk, or pin it up on your fridge. Cheers to staying focused, and getting it all done friends!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.
I spend a lot of my “free” time (late nights after work and after family time) crafting. But ironically, I also really always want to be sleeping. I know, the struggle right?! I find that the older I get, the more I truly value a good night’s sleep. But yet, I just can’t seem to let go of burning the midnight oil–I guess I still love DIY projects more. I recently made a few DIY sleep masks which seem to be the perfect representation of my current struggle–sleep vs. crafting.
I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and tune out the world around me. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.
They are pretty simple to make (you know I don’t like a ton of steps). I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but basically you just create an iron on transfer and apply it to a blank sleep mask. So easy!
Crafting is really a way to turn my creative juices on and have a little “me” time. Mostly happening late at night, but I also set aside one Sunday a month to tackle projects to share with you here. (Stay tuned for the DIY of these sleep masks coming this week!) I often get asked how I manage this blog and also work full time. Well, this is it. I just carve out time to be creative and get things done. No big secrets over here! Those all-day Sundays set aside for creating are really important to me because they allow me to create for the weeks ahead.
I kick those days off with a delicious carafe of coffee which keeps me going. I’m really enjoying Folgers Simply Gourmet coffee (I picked it up at Walmart). It’s made with natural flavors and I appreciate that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not a big creamer fan so having a hint of vanilla feels like such a treat.
Whether I’m enjoying some crafting time or just lounging in bed on the weekend, I love a warm cup of coffee to keep me company. Folgers Simple Gourmet also comes in Natural Cinnamon, Natural Chocolate, and Natural Caramel (you can see them, here). I think I’ll make it a goal to try all of the flavors :)
What does your “me” time look like? Are you a reader, a crafter, a binge watcher? Tell me in the comments!
Summer is speeding our way. I want to say “bring it on” but honestly, I start thinking of how much time I have left to “get ready.” You know all of those boxes that need checking before you can fully embrace summer and “check out” a bit yourself? For me it’s things like making sure I’ve planned summer trips (have you ever tried booking a beach campsite in southern California? You have to plan six months ahead–no joke), get kids’ activities and camps ironed out, coordinate dates for a family vacation, find bathing suits for yourself + two growing daughters, uh-hem… get into shape. The list goes on. But boy do I LOVE summertime. This summer should be extra special because I’ll be taking some extended time off of work to hang with my girls. I. Cannot. Wait.
Here’s a few things I’m currently dreaming of for this summer.
Wait for it…..boozy pops!
Can you even believe these boozy popsicles? I am ALL about the frozen drinks when it’s 100+ degrees outside. I recently discovered these pops and got super giddy. Looks like they are not yet available in the US (can we petition or something?!) so I might have to try my hand at a DIY version. Don’t they just sound wonderful? Boozy pops sound like the perfect summer cocktail to me! (more…)