My Friday Five

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed a great feast and festivities with your families like we did! I was too busy stuffing my face and chatting to take any pictures, but here’s my Friday Five for the week.

1. Family Pics – we got our family pictures taken a few weeks ago after rescheduling from a perfect fall day due to Carter having a scraped up face. Our retake day was one of the coldest days we’ve had so far, but we still managed to get a few outside pictures.


If you’re in the Des Moines area, Janae Patrice Photography is awesome to work with! Now to order holiday cards! (P.S. Tiny Prints has 30% off + 10% off this weekend! Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY)

2. LEGO Fun – Last weekend we took a trip to Kansas City. It’s only a three hour drive from Des Moines and we’ve been wanting to take Carter to the LEGO Discovery Center there for a while. He really wants to go to LEGOLAND, but we had to settle for a closer option for now!

LEGO Discover Center - Kansas City

3. Personalization Heaven – We stayed on the Plaza in Kansas City, and as I was checking out a few stores I ran across HMK, which is an amazing store for personalized gifts. Really, where has it been all my life?! Unfortunately they don’t have online ordering, but I got lots of great ideas browsing through their store. Right now they only have locations in Kansas City, Dallas area, and Denver.


4. Pumpkin Love – I made these mini marbled pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap crust to take for the Thanksgiving dessert table. Post to come next week on my adaptation of this recipe. I also made my Best Chex Mix Ever (obviously!).


5. Gifts for the Wine Lover – This week’s gift guide was for the wine lover on your list. Check out both Buy and DIY options.

Best Gifts for the Wine Lover  DIY Gifts for the Wine Lover

Speaking of shopping, I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper. I prefer buying from the comfort of my couch in my pj’s. I need to get on it though, so far I’ve bought nothing and I haven’t started on my handmade gifts either. Good thing I’m off work until Monday!

Enjoy your weekend!

Linked Up At: Five on Friday; High Five for Friday

Best Gifts for the Wine Lover

My round up of Best Gifts for the Wine Lover covers must-haves, wish list items, unique finds, personalized and DIY gifts any wine lover would love to receive!

Best Gifts for the Wine Lover

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m a wine lover. Many of these gift ideas are things I either own or WANT to own. Don’t kid yourself, part of my reason for doing gift guides is to drop not so subtle hints! I’m always looking for new things, so if you have items you love that aren’t on my list, leave me a comment and let me know!

Some links may be affiliate links and other trusted retailers.

1. Wine Cellar Sign (

2. Personalized Wine Bottle Chiller (

3. Oster Rechargeable Wine Opener and Chiller (

4. Wine Pairing Towel (

5. Wine Cork Coasters or Trivet Kits( – turn your corks into useful household items or your gift recipient can use their own corks with special memories.

6. Wine Fridge – I found two I like and had good ratings, but weren’t outrageous in price. NewAir 28 Bottle and Culinair 16 Bottle (

7. Personalized Wine Tasting Ktichen Towel (

8. Pottery Barn Classic Stemware – these are my favorite wine glasses. They have a great size bowl and have a good stem height. Personally I’m not a fan of stemless wine glasses. To each their own though!

9. Corkcicle – keep your wine chilled from the inside out. Hello summer patio!

Best Gifts for the Wine Lover

10. Anniversary Wine Box (

11. Musical Scale Wine Glasses ( – unique glasses for the wine enthusiast who also loves music.

12. Wine Club – The gift that keeps on giving all year! Try Gold Medal Wine Club for a reasonable and well reviewed club. If I had wish list wine club, I’d enroll in one from Cakebread Cellars which has some of my favorite wines… someday!

13. Personalized Wine Tags (

14. Wine Wipes ( for the red wine lovers in your life. Wipe lips and teeth and get rid of telltale “red wine lips”.

15. Rabbit Aerating Pourer ( We have this and love it. Great stocking stuffer!

16. Wine Wars Trivia Game (

17. Rabbit Cork Screw ( So easy to use. Never break off a cork again!

18. Wine Bottle Cutter Kit ( Make new things from your old wine bottles – glasses, vases, lighting, the options are endless!

DIY Gifts for the Wine Lover

It wouldn’t be a proper gift guide from me, if I didn’t include some DIY gifts. You’ll recognize some as mine and some are favorites from other blogs.

1. Wine Tasting Party Chalk Table Runner (pinterest) Turn a black table runner into a backdrop for a wine tasting party.

2. Custom Burlap Wine Bags (Sophisticated Yellow)

3. Wine Cork Holder Shadow Box (Sometime Homemade)

4. Chalkboard Base Wine Glasses (All Things Major)

5. Wine Cork Ball/Ornament (Sometimes Homemade)

6. Sweater Wine Bottle Holder (Sometimes Homemade)

7. Wine Barrel Inspired Tray (Lil Blue Boo)

8. Etched Monogram Glasses (Sometimes Homemade) I originally made these with mason jars, but the tutorial will work well on wine glasses too!

Soft Gingersnaps

These Soft Gingersnap cookies are a family favorite recipe from my Grandma Edna. If you don’t think you like gingersnaps, this recipe will prove you wrong.

Soft Gingersnap Cookies

Soft Gingersnaps


  • 2/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves (you can also do ½ tsp cloves and skip the cardamom)
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • extra sugar for rolling dough


Combine margarine, sugar, egg, and molasses, beat until smooth and light. Separately mix together dry ingredients and mix together with egg mixture.

Roll a piece of dough the size of a hickory nut in white sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet Bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes. Pull them out when they seem not quite done.  They will bake on the sheet a little more. Let cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then move to cooling racks.

If you’re not sure what size a hickory nut is (my grandma’s description), here’s a visual on how big I make mine. In my experience any size will work fine, just make them uniform and watch in baking.


While in the oven, cookies will puff up, but they will flatten out and get crinkled tops almost immediately after removing from the oven..


These cookies went fast at work! This is a great recipe for a cookie exchange or holiday bake sale since they’re not as common as sugar cookies or other holiday cookie staples.


Do you have any family favorite cookie recipes?

My Friday Five

Another blur of a week… I’m really looking forward to some time off next week over the Thanksgiving holiday to recharge!

1. Let it snow! Well, I’m never quite ready for the snow each year (and the cold that comes with it), but the few inches that fell over the weekend were so pretty.


2. #StressBaking continues. If I’m going to bake, it usually happens on Sundays. That way I can take my goods into the office leaving a lot less temptation at home. To get into the holiday spirit, I baked one of my family’s favorite cookies – soft gingersnaps – my grandma’s recipe. I’ll post the recipe in the next few days. (UPDATED: Here’s the link to the recipe).


3. Gifts for the Baker – I posted a round up of over 25 gifts perfect for the baker in your life. Some are on my wish list this year (hint, hint)

Best Gifts for the Baker

4. Midweek Surprise – I got my monthly Darby Smart To DIY For box* this week. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to do this one, but happy for the creative inspiration the monthly box provides.


5. Procrastination – every year I think I’ll be better at organizing my photos throughout the year, so that when it comes to making photo gifts for the holidays, I’ll be prepared. I’ve honed my system for archiving photos over the last few years, I just can’t seem to get to it until it’s crunch time. Just got an email the other day that I now get unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime*. Score! One less expense next year since I’m already a Prime member. Score!

Organizing and Archiving Digital Photos

Have a great weekend all!

*affiliate links.

Linked Up At: High Five for Friday; 5 on Friday

Best Gifts for The Baker

This round up of Best Gifts for The Baker covers must-haves, upgrades on basics, and personalized gifts any baking addict would love!

Gifts for the Baker

I’m certainly no professional, but I do like to bake. Many of these items I own and some are on my own wish list! Click on the underlined links to view product details. (*some links may be affiliate links and other trusted retailers). Check out my Pinterest board for even more gift ideas.

1. KitchenAid Mixer ( This is the holy grail for most bakers. I finally just bought one for myself as a birthday present a few weeks ago, and I love it! I chose the Artisan Series 5-Quart vs. the 6-Quart Bowl Lift after much deliberation. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with either.

Don’t forget the accessories! There are many. I hear must haves are the flex edge beater and having an additional bowl (preferably one bowl being glass.)

2. Prepara iPrep Stand and Stylus ( this is on my wish list. It fits most tablets. I use my iPad all the time for looking up recipes. No more having to wash my hands before touching it or getting flour all over it.

3. Cake Stand (Pottery Barn) This one is from Pottery Barn, but I just saw a few at HomeGoods the other day.

4. Round Biscuit/Cookie Cutters (Williams Sonoma) I love these with the handles, they remind me of making biscuits with my grandma.

5. Vanillas of the World (Williams Sonoma) For the baker who has everything.

6. Silicone Oven Guard Rack ( For anyone who has ever burned the top of their hand or fingers while baking.

7. Grid Cooling Racks (Sur la Table) Grids are the best, Cookies won’t fall through and will cool evenly.

8. Spring Form Pan ( This one is on my list, an upgrade in quality.

Several of the pans I have listed are top of the line. If you’re looking to upgrade, take a look at these! Same with other utensils, these are my favorites – spatulas are not all created equal!

Gifts for the Baker - Necessities

9. Farberware Cupcake Pan (

10. Cookie Scoop (

11. Nordicware Cookie Sheets (

12. KitchenAid Spatula (

13. Cookie Cutters (Williams Sonoma) if your gift is for the new baker, get basic shapes. If you are looking for something for the seasoned baker, try to find more unique options like this Custom Cookie Stamp and your State.

14. Even Dough Bands (Williams Sonoma) Pure genius. No more guessing on how thick you’ve rolled out your dough.

15. Silpat Mats ( Not just any silicone mat will do. This is the best. (Not pictured: Silicone Rolling Pin)

16. Dough Blender/Pastry Cutter (

17. Faberware Loaf Pan (

Personalized Gifts for the Baker

I’m a huge fan of personalized gifts, so I thought I’d throw in my round up of the Best Personalized Gifts for the Baker. Again, check out more on my Gifts for the Baker Pinterest board.

1. Personalized Mixing Bowls (

2. Handwritten Recipe Tea Towels – these are a DIY gift I made my mom last year.

3. Personalized Kitchen Towels (Red Envelope)

4. Baking Charm Necklace (Belle Chic) pick your combo. Also try Etsy for more options.

5. Personalized Recipe Box with Embosser (Williams Sonoma) or here’s another version or a Custom Recipe Box ( without the separate embosser

6. Custom Cookie Jars ( so many options to choose from, including some with photos!

7. Cookie Tin ( wide variety of designs.

8. Monogram Utensil Crock (Lillian Vernon)

9. Custom Stoneware Mixing Bowls (Red Envelope)


Have I missed any of your favorites or wish list items?

Linked Up At: My Favorite Things

My Friday Five

Happy Friday. This week has been a looooooooong one.

1. Sweet Notes – It was my birthday this week. Todd and Carter both got me very sweet cards. I love that Carter signed both his first and last name, like I might not know which Carter calls me Mom. #lovethiskid


2. Celebrations – continuing on with the celebration theme, we met a new milestone at work and popped a bottle of Dom Perignon. It was given to us as a gift and what a mighty nice gift it was!dom

3. New Experiments – I tried a new recipe this week with my new KitchenAid mixer. I’ve been staring at the cover of Better Homes and Gardens this month with its Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Cake. It’s not quite cover worthy, but it was pretty tasty. My new mixer was a dream!


4. Never Gets Old – We had some friends over on Saturday who have kids the same age as Carter. We always have a good time together. I made some custom shrinky dinks for the kids to make. They loved watching them shrink up in the oven. What’s old is new again. You can buy the blank sheets at JoAnns or on Amazon.


5. Cruel Mother Nature – we had a 30 degree temperature drop overnight. Nearly 60 degrees on Sunday and then in the 20’s on Monday. Not quite ready for that!


We’re looking forward to a weekend at home, celebrating my nephew’s birthday and family pictures – still trying to decide what to wear. Have a good one!

Linked up at: 5 on Friday, High Five for Friday

My Friday Five

1. Daylight Savings Time Adjustment – this week’s daylight saving’s time change has really thrown me off. Hopefully I’m at the tail end of waking up way too early and tossing and turning. I forgot how dark it gets early now though. Winter is coming. It did produce a huge moon over the Iowa State Capitol this week though on my drive home. Too bad the streetlights got in the way.



2. Love Leaves – there’s not much more fun than little kids and leaf piles.



3. The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat – we bowled last weekend, and we quickly found out Carter is a sore loser. The bumpers helped him beat me, but he wasn’t happy that Todd beat him. Looks like we have some work to do in the sportsmanship department.


4. Oh Happy Day – Since the day we moved into our house, I’ve wanted a KitchenAid mixer. I kept thinking our kitchen was too small, and considering I have to store many of my kitchen essentials in our basement, maybe it is, BUT I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to buy this as an early birthday present – to ME! Now, what to bake first!?


5. Fall Fashion – trying to figure out what we’re going to wear for our family pictures next weekend. While I don’t like that the weather is getting colder, I do love fall layers.


I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with friends. I’m having a girls night out tonight and then we’re having some people over on Saturday night.

Linked Up At: 5 on Friday

Stylish Kitchen Overflow Storage

I’ve determined after 11 years of living in our house that being a hobby baker and small kitchens can be a tough combination. I can’t be the only person that has this issue. Hand raisers… anyone? Recently after rooting through my unorganized stash of kitchen supplies in the basement I decided to tackle my kitchen overflow storage issues.

A few months ago, I worked with Sauder and they let me select the very stylish Barrister Lane Bookcase. At the time, I used it to corral my craft supplies which has been working very well for me.

As I mentioned in my past post, my craft supplies were just one of my organizational challenges. As holiday baking season comes upon us, I got to thinking about how to better manage my baking and other kitchen essentials. I mostly needed a place to put baking pans (of all sizes), some small kitchen appliances, serving platters, cookie cutters, placemats, napkins, cookbooks and some other odds and ends.

While I’m still contending with the wood paneling in my basement (soon to be painted white), it’s possible to put this hodge podge of items together without it looking like basement storage shelves. The Barrister Lane Bookcase really helps pull it together, but I also used some storage boxes and baskets. I had kept some round nested boxes from Harry and David and I’m using that to store my cookie cutters.

My kitchen used to be red, so a lot of my serving pieces and a few small appliances are red. That went really well wit the assortment of boxes and baskets I had on hand.

I can’t wait to show of how great this storage unit looks once I get the wood paneling in the basement painted. I started the primer this weekend. You can look forward to a post on how to paint wood paneling in the near future.

Someday we’ll move into a house where I hopefully have a craft room AND a kitchen big enough to store all of my kitchen essentials. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy having it more organized. I am still seriously considering ordering a second bookshelf to use for toy storage.

A piece like this is so versatile. I love pieces that can serve multiple purposes or several looks. Check out my Pinterest board on restyling ideas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.