Month: December 2014

Potpourri in a Jar: Homemade Holiday Host/Hostess Gift

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. If you’re attending New Year’s Eve or Day festivities and looking for a last minute host or hostess gift, try this recipe for homemade potpourri. It’s easy, economical, and fun!

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1 orange, quartered

1/2 cup cranberries

3 cinnamon sticks

1 apple, cut into slices

3 springs of pine (look for these in your yard!)


Put all ingredients into a mason jar, then fill the jar with water. That’s it! If you want to get fancy, you can decorate the jar with some ribbon or put a label on the lid. We made multiple jars to take to our family Christmas gatherings and used “Merry Christmas” labels on the lids.

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All the recipient has to do is dump the jar into a saucepan, bring to a boil on the stove top, and then simmer on low to fill the air with the fragrant smells of oranges, cranberries, apples, cinnamon, and pine. As the water boils off, more water can be added. We found this could be used about three times.

Wishing you all a happy, safe, and blessed 2015 from The Chipper Writer!

Kale Avocado Wrap Inspired by Anna Gannon


I found this recipe from Anna Gannon for kale avocado wraps on MindBodyGreen. It’s presented as a lunch recipe, but I made it for dinner one night, along with some Annie’s macaroni and cheese. The sandwich filled my husband up, which is impressive, especially for a meatless meal. Avocado is a wonderful meaty fruit that serves well as a meat substitute. I did, of course, tweak the recipe just a bit, due to what was already in my fridge. The recipe below is for 1 wrap.


1 cup shredded kale (I used fresh kale from our garden; kale gets sweeter after a hard frost and our kale is the last thing standing in our garden this year!)

1 tbsp olive oil (I love California Olive Ranch)

2 tbsp lime juice (or you can use the juice of 1 lime)

1/8 tsp salt (I like Himalayan pink salt)

1 tbsp hummus

1/2 sliced avocado (I used organic)

2 tbsp feta cheese

Wrap (the recipe calls for spinach wraps but I used Flatout Multi-Grain with Flax)


Mix kale, olive oil, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Set aside for the second step.


Shredded kale from our garden!


The kale mixture

Spread the hummus on the wrap.


Add the sliced avocado.


Spoon feta cheese over avocado.


Add the kale mixture.


Roll it up and enjoy! It’s a quick meal to whip up around the holidays when you’re short on time. It’s also a nutritious option to help offset all the Christmas cookies I’m eating (ahem). Enjoy!

7 Things to Do for Yourself as a Mom (Plus 1 Bonus)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and weekend. My latest post at the parenting blog I write for FE Media is called “7 Things to Do for Yourself as a Mom.” Click the photo to read.


At the end of the post I mention that my list is “by no means complete.” Another self-care activity I enjoy is writing in my journal. I like to free write. I set a timer for 15 minutes and write by hand with the goal of not stopping my pen. I write as fast as I can, whatever comes into my mind.

Recently I learned a new journaling technique I want to share with you. I first heard of it from Monica Cost, a corporate consultant, author of the parenting blog Mom-wise at FE Media, and author of the book The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to Live an Authentic Life with Awesome Emotional Sensations

Monica book


The process works like this: every night before I go to sleep, I write down three things:

1. Something that went well

2. Something I want to accomplish tomorrow

3. Something I’m looking forward to in the future

For example, here’s the list I made the night of November 22:

1. Something that went well: turned in my mom blog post 2 days early

2. Something I want to accomplish tomorrow: write draft of blog post

3. Something I’m looking forward to in the future: watching NFL football

Review your list in the morning. I’ve found since I started doing this, I’m looking for the positives in my day instead of dwelling on negative things that inevitably happen. I’m also accomplishing more. When I write down one thing I want to do that day, and then get it done, I receive an endorphin rush and this usually leads to getting a few more things finished. The third benefit I’ve seen is once the event I’m looking forward to in the future arrives, I’m able to slow down and be present in that moment I’ve been anticipating rather than it flying by in a rush.

If you try this technique, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d also love to know what you do to relax and recharge, especially during this busy holiday season.