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Christmas Stovetop Potpourri

Citrus, cranberry, rosemary and cinnamon notes are perfect for the holiday season. They pair well together creating a fragrance that is a little bit sweet with a warm undertone. During this season we keep oranges in abundance for lunch and snacks, so I just recycle the peels in my potpourri.

An affordable and easy gift idea for teachers is simply gathering old organge peels along with cranberries and any other items you think would make for a great smelling potpourri, packaging them together and tying with a bow for gifting. This all natural fragrance won’t set off anyone’s allergies, and in my book qualifies as a handmade gift which in fact I happen to think are extra special.

We’ll have no problem putting together gift bags of homemade potpourri around here with all of the orange peels that we’ve accumulated.

DIY Winter Stovetop Potpourri
  • 6 Cuties peels
  • 2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 3- 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 10-12 cups of water
  1. Add water to a pot
  2. Place all ingredients in the water
  3. Bring water to a brisk boil
  4. Once water is boiling turn down to a simmer
  5. Be mindful of the water levels and refill as often as you like for continuous fragrance.










Holidays Living

Christmas Gifts Packaged with Love

Thank you to Blurb for sponsoring this post.

Remember back in the day when people carried photos in their wallets. Someone would ask about a child and the parent would pull out their wallet and shove photos of said child or family member into their hand. Those days are long gone, but what I’ve found is older family members still long for tangible photos of nieces, nephews, grandchildren etc.

Photo books make for great gifts. They mix a little of the old with the new while still capturing and sharing valuable memories. Blurb books has made the process of creating a thoughtful, handmade gift easier than ever.


Their easily downloaded software, BookWright provides pre-made templates if you aren’t creatively inclined. If you want to bring your vision to life, there is also the ability to freestyle the layout of your book.

If you need a little inspiration, Blurb offers an online bookstore, here you can browse through books to get ideas for your own creation.

To make the process easier, I suggest gathering at least 100 photos together before beginning. The software easily integrates with your social networks so you can easily pull them from Facebook, and other platforms. If you’re like me you’ll also have to pull them from your computer.

Once you have all of the photos uploaded let the fun begin. It took me about an hour to create our book which will go to grandparents as gifts. The user-friendly interface made it easier than ever to drag and drop photos.  I love that you also get error messages if you need to resize the photo to ensure it’s shown as clear as possible once the book is printed.

With a grandmother in Miami, it’s hard to see her reaction upon receipt but I wanted to make the package pretty for her. Wrapping paper, ribbons, and handwritten notes add just the right personal touch.

As much as we would love to be with our loved ones during the holidays, sometimes its just not possible. Thoughtful, handmade gifts that are wrapped with love can hold us over until we can see one another again.

What’s the best DIY gift you’ve ever made or given?! Do share.


Blurb photo book
Holidays Living

Blurb Photo Book: Gifting Memories for the Holidays

Thank you Blurb for sponsoring this post.

I’m one of those sappy moms, for my kids and yours too. I’ve been blogging for over 8 years, and during that span of time I’ve built lifelong friendships with people in the internet and watched their children grow like I’ve watched my own.

Say what you want about social media, but one of the great parts of it involves capturing and freezing memories and moments in your life. I’m all  for nostalgia, and I’ve been trying to do better about taking those moments out of my camera/phone and put them into tangible books that can be displayed in our home for other people to see.

I recently decided to do a through the years look at my children. I dug and found photos of them from years ago until now. Once I pinpointed a few of my faves from over the years, I went to Blurb and created a small square 7X7 photo book of memories to gift the grandparents this holiday season.

Blurb photo book

The process was fairly easy. The most challenging part of the process, hands down was selecting the photos. To create the book layout I utilized BookWright, Blurb’s free desktop software. The software integrated easily with my Dropbox, and social accounts making it easy to transfer photos into the software.

Once the images were in the software, the fun part involved playing around with the plethora of page and cover template options. I found this extremely helpful, especially if you are not creatively inclined. The templates made it easy to create a beautiful photo book out of your photographed memories.

Blurb photo book

There were a variety of paper options. I was extremely torn between going with the matte paper option and the lustre/glossy one. I finally decided to go with the lustre finish on premium paper. You can request a swatch kit to get a literal feel, and look at the available paper options. I highly recommend this if you plan on making multiple books.

I remember my mother having boxes of printed photos. I think we forget the satisfaction that comes with looking at printed photos. Looking at a printed photo will never get old, I was blown away at the quality of the book and the sharpness of my photo images.

Blurb Photo Book

Photo books make great gifts for grandparents, aunts or other family members that don’t get to see you or your family often…and seeing them on social media doesn’t count! Have you ever given a photo book as a gift?


Stocking Stuffers and Last Minute Gifts

This gift guide is sponsored by MomSelect and HP.

Time is winding down, says she who has not started Christmas shopping nor has a Christmas tree.  One of the last things I tend to pick up are stocking stuffers, and to be honest I end up spending way too much on those little trinkets. I tell you, dollar spot purchases start to add up.

This year, I’m sticking to a list and I am vowing to spend a little extra on a more expensive item that won’t just get tossed to the side and can be of use throughout the year.

Here’s a list of a few top stocking stuffers and last minute gifts for family and friends


  1. Amazon Firestick: As more and more people join the conversation surrounding cutting cable the Firestick offers a great option for cable less television.
  2. HP Sprocket 2-in-1: The perfect gift for the picture taker in your life.  This pocket sized blue tooth enabled photo printer takes and prints photos with inkless technology. Comes complete with a wrist strap, USB cable and sticky backed photo paper.
  3. Popsocket: I’ll admit I thought these were useless until I got one. Get these for an adult and they will love you forever, even splurge for the hook that attaches it to the car.
  4. Whitney English Day Designer: Whether someone you know is a die hard planner or not, keeping your thoughts and lists in a central place is life changing.
  5. Game of Phones: I think every family needs this. In a social media crazed world this game is tons of fun. Ironically its family time that includes using your smartphone.