St. Patrick’s Day Pretzel Shamrocks

Pretzel Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

How FUN are these??!!

When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to create some of these.

A few simple ingredients and two minutes in the oven make for a winner of a special holiday treat.

I had a bag of Rolos left over from Christmas, and I knew I could pull some green M&M’s out of the jar I keep full most all the time.  I had some pretzel sticks, but didn’t have mini pretzels, so that is all I had to buy.  The ones I picked up at Fresh Thyme were Gluten Free and made from rice flour, so a bit lighter color, but completely delish!

Here is the super simple “recipe.”  Do you have some friends or loved ones you’d like to share them with?

St. Patrick's Day Pretzel Shamrocks

  • Servings: as many as you like
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Mini Pretzels
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Rolo Chocolate Candies
  • Green M&M Candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Lay pretzels out in the shape of shamrocks on parchment paper lined baking sheet or stone.  Place a Rolo where all three pretzels meet.  Bake for 2 minutes for Rolo to soften.  Remove from oven, and press M&M in center of Rolo.  Cool completely and/or place in freezer to chill.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy DIY Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar


Easy DIY “Christmas Countdown” Advent Calendar.

I’ve been dreaming of making this since summer….
and I finally got busy and did it this week.

Just in time!

I was looking for a fun way for my granddaughter to count down the days until Christmas with a little surprise each day, so when I found this inexpensive Over the Door Shoe Organizer this summer, I knew just what I was going to do.

I used fabric paint to paint the numbers on each “shoe pouch” – just the right number for an advent calendar!

And it was so much fun shopping for little toys and art projects and treats and hair bows and socks and mittens to fill all 24 compartments.

I think the anticipation of Christmas is almost more fun than the day itself.  I love the whole month leading up to it.

A friend shared this Advent Calendar of Kindness recently on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist sharing it too.

Don’t let the stress of the materialism of the holiday ruin this special time.  Small gifts of anticipation and everyday acts of kindness can make all the difference!  It’s what we need more of.

Happy Holidays!!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Krautfest Rhyme

 


A Krautfest Rhyme.

Once upon a time
in a neighborhood by a lake,

a group of friends gathered.
There was saurkraut to make.

500 pounds of cabbage
was cleaned and quartered and chopped.

Then young and old, expert and new,
sliced it down – they couldn’t be stopped.

Once sliced it went
to the station to be weighed.

Salt was added.
It’s how you make homemade.

Into crocks and buckets
it went to be pound.

It starts the fermentation
and keeps it safe and sound.

No krautfest could ever
be quite complete

without hugs and laughs and games
and plenty of treats to eat.

There was a tub of apples
waiting for kids to bob.

While others were pressed into juice,
which many found to be a fun job.

After working and eating and drinking
away the day,

evening arrived,
and instruments were brought out to play.

Singing with friends,
(only some truly in tune)

is surely the best way
to end a krautfest afternoon.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks so much and mostest
to our amazing hosts and hostesses.

Love you Joyce and Rob and Nikole and Michael
for continuing the annual krautfest cycle!

If you would like to see previous years’ Krautfests, feel free to click HERE and HERE and HERE.  

S’More Cookie Bars

S’More Cookie Bars.

What S’more fun than S’mores?!

And what s’more perfect with hot cocoa or coffee than s’mores.

And what s’more delicious than campfire s’mores?

S’more cookie bars any time of year!

I love these adorable little cookie treats I learned from my daughter-in-law, Colleen, who first served them at a holiday cookie exchange she hosted a couple years ago.

They are simple.   They are fun. They are beautiful.  And best of all, they are SCRUMPTIOUS!

The teeny tiny miniature dehydrated marshmallows totally make them!  I purchased them locally at Make a Cake, a local, charming little cake and candy decorating shop, but they are also available online if you can’t find them near you.

Here is how to make them.

S'more Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

Directions:

After breaking all graham crackers and chocolate bars into rectangles, place one chocolate rectangle between two graham cracker rectangles forming a sandwich.

Melt Merckens milk chocolate one pound at a time in microwave.  Heat for 1 minute on high.  Stir well.  Heat 20-30 more seconds.  Stir well until smooth.

Dip each graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich into chocolate – coating 1/2 – 2/3 of cookie.   Let excess drip, and place on sheet of wax paper to cool and harden.  Dip 4-6, place on wax paper, and sprinkle with marshmallows.  Working in groups allows the marshmallows to stick to the melted chocolate before it cools to harden.  Continue until all are coated and sprinkled with marshmallows.  Allow to cool and harden.

They are ready within 20-30 minutes to enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  If you are local, I made these to share at the Berry Vine Gifts Christmas in the Woods Open House, which starts today, Friday, November 17th (10-6).  It also runs through the weekend, Saturday, November 18th (10-6) and Sunday, November 19th (12-4).  Come munch on one with a cup of cocoa while you browse the beautiful holiday handmade crafts, antique furniture, and gifts in this one-of-a-kind shoppe (including my art and Colleen’s rustic pallet signs!) 

S’Mores Cookies

S’Mores Cookies.

It’s been a tough week.
Have you been feeling it too?

It’s time to have some fun!

And what s’more fun than homemade cookies?

Especially when they are loaded with milk chocolate and graham crackers and tiny bits of marshmallow yumminess?

It was s’more fun to take my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe and give it a s’mores twist.

Are you going to make s’more?
Hope you think they are s’more fun and delicious!

S'Mores Cookies

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
6 1.55 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bars, coarsely chopped
6 honey graham crackers, coarsely chopped
1 cup mini dehydrated marshmallows

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in 4 of the coarsely chopped Hershey’s bars, 4 of the coarsely chopped graham  crackers, and 3/4 cup of the mini dehydrated marshmallows.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Decorate tops of cookies with reserved candy, graham crackers, and marshmallows.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-6 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

S’more Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet

Grass Flip Flops – Don’t let the grass grow under your feet

Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet.

After getting a total kick out of these grass flip flops I spotted in a gift shop in Sedona   and seeing where someone who lives in the desert southwest might enjoy these, they reminded me of this saying Grandma used to say.

“Don’t let the grass grow under your feet!”

Some of her other favorites included, “Make hay while the sun shines,” and “Work before pleasure.”

I can still hear her saying these in my head, and it makes me smile.

Grandma only went to school until fourth grade before she had to stay home and take care of her brothers after the passing of her mother.    At the age of nine, she also did the cooking and cleaning and laundry (long before automatic washers and dryers, microwaves, and vacuum cleaners) while her dad worked in the coal mine.

Can we even image any of our children at the age of 9 doing this today?  Not that I would recommend it!

Though she lacked formal education, she had more common sense and a stronger work ethic than anyone I’ve known.  There is nothing she wouldn’t try doing – including electrical work!

She taught me many things.  Things you don’t learn in school.

She taught me the important “stuff!”

But most of all she loved me with a love I still feel today.

My grandma has been gone for over 20 years, but she is still my guiding light in so many ways every day.  Now that I am a grandma, I can only hope that I will have the same impact on my grandchild(ren).

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pittsburgh’s Picklesburgh 2017 is a Big Dill

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill! #Picklesburgh2017

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill!

Though I reside in a little town called Mars, our "big city" is Pittsburgh.  Just 30 minutes from Mars (hard to believe eh?!), Pittsburgh is really where all the "action" is.

This past weekend (July 28-29, 2017), one of Pittsburgh's 446 bridges (the Roberto Clemente or 6th Street Bridge) was closed down to automobile traffic and opened up for a dill-lightfully dill-licious celebration of all things pickle!  Picklesburgh 2017.

So what to do at "life in between?"  Why visit Picklesburgh of course!

Why Pickles?

Pittsburgh has a particularly popular pickle-loving history beginning almost 150 years ago when the H. J. Heinz Factory was built.  I remember going on a Heinz factory tour as a grade school field trip and receiving one of the now iconic pickle pins.  (My granddaughter now has one in her Grandma Memory Jar from our visit to Picklesburgh this past weekend.)

Picklesburgh celebrates EVERYthing pickled!  You could find pickle-flavored sodas, pickle beer and moonshine, and pickle-flavored cocktails.

Dill-acacies included pierogies with pickles, pickled funnel cakes, pickle-flavored custard, and deep-fried, bacon-wrapped pickles on a stick.  There were pickles and dip and grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles.  There was pickle fudge and pickle peanut butter cookies.

There were pickle balloons – small and large – including a giant flying Heinz pickle balloon, custom built by a team that also crafts balloons for Disney and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

There were pickling food demonstrations

And pickle samples from local farm-to-table shop small vendors like Epic Pickles

and the Pittsburgh Pickle Company,

where I bought one of each flavor!

And if you don't have one yet, who could live without a dill pickle talk-to-text Linabag?

It sure was a dill-leriously dill-lectable way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Thanks Picklesburgh!  Next year, I may just try that Pickle-flavored Italian Ice……

Maybe….

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Who has more fun than Grandmas?

g-and-c

Who has more fun than Grandmas?

Playing dress up
with tutus and bows
and lipstick kisses
in the morning.

Trips to the grocery store
in the afternoon
being caught singing in the aisles
about cucumbers and strawberries and tomatoes and cream.

And in between…
there’s dancing and bouncing
and tickling and giggling
and cuddling and snuggling.

Nobody has more fun
than Grandmas!
(at least not this one) 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Smile

smile-perylene-green-watercolor

Smile…

I know that this may sound cliche,
but won’t you give it a try today?

When you see someone whose eyes are dim,
greet them with a wide, happy grin?

Show those dimples and pearly whites,
it may just be their day’s highlight.

A smile is contagious and fun to spread.
Just do it, you’ll see – full speed ahead!

It could be the cure that heals the blues,
maybe even the common cold and flu.

It’s easy, and it is free to give.
it can even be a kind forgive.

A simple smile can spread some light,
and be the way to make a day bright.

It’s a gesture, it’s a gift,
it can be a huge lift.

If everyone tried this once per day,
imagine how lovely… imagine how gay.

You can turn the world on with your smile
You can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

RIP Mary Tyler Moore – Your smile will be remembered

 

Krautfest 2016!

krautfest-2016

This past weekend was one of my favorites of the year!  Time for the annual Brugnoli Family and Friends Krautfest Party!

Those of you who have been hanging around here awhile, might remember Krautfest 2015 or even Krautfest 2014.

The festivities kicked off this past Saturday in the beautiful Autumn weather at  Conneaut Lake, PA with our dear “Oh Rob” welcoming guests and instructing newcomers on the sauerkraut-making process.

krautfest-2016-instructions

It starts with cutting….  800 lbs of cabbage cutting!

krautfest-2016-familes-that-chop-together-stay-together

The cut cabbage goes to the shredders, where experienced cutters teach newbies on equipment passed down through generations from grandparents…

krautfest-2016-experienced-shredders-teaching-the-new-guy

and taught to new generations – where Moms teach sons…

krautfest-2016-younger-generations-learn-shredding

and sisters show brothers….

krautfest-2016-big-sister-teaching-younger-brother

and families do together.

krautfest-families-that-shred-together-stay-together

It then gets measured,

krautfest-2016-measuring

and salted,

krautfes-2016-salting-and-meeting-new-friends

and pounded…

krautfest-2016-stompers

while friends and family chat,

krautfest-2016-telling-stories

and laugh,

krautfest-2016-old-friends-shredding-together-and-still-smiling

and hug.

krautfest-2016-hugs

Old friends meet up after decades.

krautfest-2016-old-friends-reuniting

and new relationships bloom.

krautfest-2016-new-couples-sharing

There is plenty of fun for kids of all ages!

krautfest-2016-high-jumping

From Jumbo Jenga…

krautfest-2016-jenga

to pick up sticks…

krautfest-2016-pick-up-sticks

krautfest-2016-noah

to lawn bowling,

krautfest-2016-lawn-bowling

and searching for bones and candy and money in hay.

krautfest-2016-bones-in-the-straw

There was pumpkin painting…

krautfest-2016-kids-pumpkin-painting

krautfest-2016-pumpkin-painting

krautfest-2016-pumpkin-painting-2

and t-shirt painting.

krautfest-2016-tshirts

krautfest-2016-tshirts-2

krautfest-2016-from-the-greenhouse-shirt-painting

There was apple picking…

krautfest-2016-picking-apples-to-press

and apple pressing.

krautfest-2016-apple-pressing-2

The kids loved learning how to turn apples into fresh apple juice!

krautfest-2016-teaching-the-kids-about-the-apple-press

and so did some of the parents and grandparents!

krautfest-2016-teaching-the-kids-about-the-apple-press-2

krautfest-2016-apple-pressing

There was lots of food.

krautfest-2016-food

I made Grandma’s halupki – another Krautfest tradition served up next to hot dogs and kraut and homemade pierogies and cheesy polenta and fresh smoked ham and lots of other yummies.

krautfest-2016-halupki

There was an entire dining room table filled with desserts.

krautfest-2016-dessert-table

and of course plenty of wine.

krautfest-2016-wine

There was tire swinging,

krautfest-2016-tire-swing

and bonfire-building.

krautfest-2016-lighting-the-bonfire

There was Marty (hubby – on the left) and Martin.

krautfest-2016-marty-and-martin

There were quiet moments from afar,

krautfest-2016-through-the-hydrangeas

and lots of singing and music after the sun went down and drew us indoors.

krautfest-2016-music

krautfest-2016-singing

krautfest-2016-music-2

Even dogs of all sizes made friends!

krautfest-2016-bear-and-olive

Can you imagine a better time?

conneaut-krautfest-2016-group-photo

Thank you Joyce and Oh Rob!  We love you!   We ALL do!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi