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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

What's Cooking Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

 This is not your regular pot pie. This is my EASY take on pot pie. 



What you'll need: 
butter
an onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
tablespoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of stock
1/4 cup cream
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 package Grands biscuits
an egg beaten with some water (egg wash) 
salt, pepper, fresh herbs (I had rosemary and tarragon)

Preheat oven to 400. 

In a large oven-safe skillet heat some oil and butter. Add in garlic, onions, carrots, salt and pepper and herbs. Saute for about 5 minutes. 


Toss in some flour, mix around then add in the broth and cream. 

Add chicken and mix, 4-5 minutes. 


Add in peas and corn and mix, roughly a minute. 

Top with 8 biscuits and brush each with egg wash. 


Bake on middle rack, uncovered, about 25 minutes (my oven is moody and needed 27 to be perfect). 


So easy and delicious. Enjoy!! 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

There Is A Difference Between Right and Wrong

There is a difference between right and wrong. Period. 

I debated long and hard about posting something about this topic and decided if I could open even just one person's eyes to what I'm about to say, then it's worth it. 

One week ago, our nation's Capitol was attacked. Yes, attacked. By domestic terrorists and white supremacists. I am not talking about people who peacefully walked down Pennsylvania Avenue hoping to have election results overturned into their favor (which is an entire other issue). I am talking about the people who broke down the doors of the Capitol, who smashed in windows, who brought climbing gear to heave themselves over a wall, who were looking to capture and hang government officials, and who were there to do something that is blatantly illegal. 

We sat and watched the coverage of this all day. We saw the people. You can't 'fake' what was shown on live television or the videos from inside. You just can't. It wasn't a movie or a television show. There was no script. It happened. It actually happened. I still can't believe it happened, but it did. And we saw the people who were involved. Their faces. And their clothes. 

When you see someone in a "Camp Auschwitz" shirt or someone with a "White Power" flag or someone wearing "6MNE" (6 million not enough) or someone waving a Confederate flag, you have to take a step back. You have to REALLY look at what is happening around you. And you have to understand that THEY. ARE. WRONG. Period. 

Allow me to go a ways back in time as to why January 6th had such an impact on me personally. 

I am Jewish. I was raised in a Jewish home by Jewish parents. I went to a Yeshivah until 8th grade. I had a Bat Mitzvah. I can read and write Hebrew. I can even read from the Torah. My family cofounded a Holocaust museum. My father's best friend was a survivor. I am proud of my religion, my heritage, and my culture. 

I grew up listening to my ancestors tell us about the Holocaust, their experiences and horror stories, about living in Europe in a time where they weren't welcomed, about persecution just because of who they were, what they had to do to escape to America, to get to a place where they would be welcomed and accepted. 

My father raised me to be loud and proud of who I am and being Jewish. However, I was also taught to hide it when I needed to hide it. Because, as he told me, there will likely be times in your life when you'll need to hide it. And sadly, he was right.

I didn't experience any persecution or mistreatment for being Jewish until I was in high school. The first boy who ever asked me out on a date was so sweet and so kind. I was so excited. My mom even took me to the Limited to buy a new outfit just for my first 'real' date. I got to wear makeup and since he was 16, he could drive and would pick me up. I sat and waited and waited and waited. He never showed up. He didn't answer his phone when I called. I cried. I cried so hard. The next day at school, I saw him and asked him what happened. He looked at me and said, "Well, I told my dad I was going to take you out on a date and he reminded me we don't associate with your kind. With Jews." I lost it. I couldn't believe it. How dare he?! How dare his parents raise him to think that way?! I was shocked. I was hurt. I was in disbelief. I was crushed.

In college, my roommate told me the first day she wasn't going to accept me because I was a Jew. "I ain't never seen one of yous before." was what she told me. We never spoke. We shared a room for a few months and never discussed anything. I eventually moved to another building because it was too much to handle. 

While student teaching, my cooperating teacher told me I should celebrate "your holiday" over the weekend because during the week it was my responsibility to be at school every day, not celebrating at synagogue. She actually tried to fail me for missing that day of teaching, Yom Kippur. She then proceeded to refer to me as a kike to several staff members. Thankfully, they stood up for me. 

A few years into my teaching career, I had a principal who referred to me as the "dirty kike" teacher to a parent. How do you go into work, every day, knowing your superior thinks so little of you simply because of your culture? How do you continue to teach in a building knowing the administration is a bigot? I won't lie, it was immensely difficult and took a toll. 

Each of these experiences, plus countless more, made a lasting impact on me. I remember every single detail of those moments. What I was wearing, how I felt, their facial expressions, the lack of empathy in their eyes, no remorse for their words or actions. There comes a point in your life when experiences continuously add up over time teaching you the same lesson. White supremacy is wrong. 

There is a difference between right and wrong. Some things are just wrong. Cheating on a test? Wrong. Stealing? Wrong. Refusing to accept someone because of their heritage? Wrong. 
Yes, right and wrong can be all about perception. And I have had friends who have tried to debate with me on this very topic. That I am taking it personal or I'm just reading into things or that these people didn't know any better. That's making excuses for their ignorance. And, they're WRONG. Plain and simple. 

White supremacy, the belief that white people are superior to other races and should therefore dominate society, to exclude other racial or ethnic groups, and the inability to accept people who are different, is WRONG.

I see someone demonstrating their support of white supremacy and/or NOT denouncing it? HARD STOP. 

We cannot let history repeat itself as long as we learn and grow from history. What has happened in the past should be a guiding light as to what to look for in our future.  

How we act in response to this event in history will decide what happens next. Staying complacent will further breed this to happen again, but being worse next time. We need to learn. We need to grow. We need to teach. We need to listen. We need change. We need to lead our children by example. A right example. An example of love and acceptance and open minds. 

While I strive each and every day to teach my child to love and accept everyone, I will teach him that those who do not accept him or want to hurt him, he does not have to love and accept. Because there is right and there is wrong. Plain and simple. 

Hopefully we, and he, can teach them what love and acceptance is and help the next generation so we no longer continue this ruthless cycle of hate. 




If you disagree with me on what I have to say, that's fine. This is my blog and my space for me to speak my mind. While normally it's about clothes and playgrounds and gifting and low-key things, sometimes I take on serious topics. 
Just know, we can all use some education on what led to what happened on January 6th. And if you hate someone just because of their culture, heritage, or skin color, it might be time to take a step back and take a hard look in the mirror at WHY you feel that way and why you cannot accept them.  

Saturday, November 14, 2020

NayNay's Holiday Gift Guide

Happy holidays! 


Now this might seem like a lot, as it has seemed like A LOT to me while putting it together over the last few weeks, but I tried to section it out to make it easier for you to browse. Here's my 2020 Holiday Gift Guide!

FUN FAB FINDS

$100 Probably the sweetest gift idea. It's a small wooden box with a screen inside and a heart on the exterior. When you have a message, the heart spins. The modern take on the love note. 

$130 A "smart mug" that has an app to help keep your beverage hot for as long as you want. Million dollar idea I wish was mine. Has been on my wishlist for a few years now. 

$100 A portable phone charger, laptop charger, car jumping contraption all in one. Apparently whenever someone receives this as a gift they claim its the gift they never knew they needed. 

$25 A stemless wine glass that keeps your wine cold even longer. And the unicorn color is a must for any gal in your life. 

$50 for 3 months. Do you know an avid reader? This is the gift for them. They can pick and choose their own books (and add on if they want) for 3 months. Fabulous quality hardcover books of the hottest books of the moment. Plus the link gives you $10 off!

$15 The top 100 most iconic movies of all times. Scratch off each one once you've seen it. Perfect for any movie buff you know. Or a great family gift to start a movie night tradition. 

$16 Pick your favorite city and snag this etched glass of your favorite city, complete with a grid of the city and city's name. 

$20 Stick them in the microwave before putting them on for some added warmth. 

$50+ Etsy for the win. How fabulous to have a custom painting of your home, whether it's your first home or forever home. We have 2 of these (our first and forever) and they hang in our family room. A perfect sentimental gift. 

$48 for two. Do you or someone you know lose their keys? Remote? Mind? It won't happen again with this! 

Great gift for a family that's spread out. Start with the gift recipient in the center and surround it with loved ones' locations. A map of hearts that's truly touching. OR take your favorite places your family has traveled together and forma  heart of those maps.


TEENS ARE TOUGH

$119, on sale from $199. Doesn't every teenager want to put something on their ears to block out the world? I mean, I did when I was a teenager... 

$20 While it might not seem like a fun holiday gift, it's a great tool for teens and adults to have on hand. A simple alarm keychain as a precaution for those situations none of us want to be in. Comes in a set of 6. 

$100 Hello great gift idea! Let your teenager become his or her very own DJ! Simply connect it to this smartphone and they can mix and remix their own beats! 

$50 We have this and LUUUV it. Deep tissue or soft and gentle, this took massages your neck, back, and shoulders. Even has a car charging port to use in the car. 

$40 This clips onto anything, a backpack, a bike, you name it. They can use it inside, outside, wherever they want. 

$40 Does your teen like games? This will surely be a huge hit for them as your entire family! The most popular game to play in our household for game night as well as when we have friends over. Start them young with the junior edition too.

$40 All 8 movies in one collectors box. While I know you can pretty much stream every movie via Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, I think there's something special about a classic boxed set. 


MEN AIN'T EASY

$195 (on sale from $249) The be-all-end-all headphones everyone wants. 

$65 Yours, mine, and ours. Doesn't get more amusing than that. Ha ha. 

$32 A set of two beer glasses to keep in the freezer so he can always have that ice cold beer like at the bar when going to the bar isn't feasible. 

$25 A 3-in-1 charging station for your phone, air pods, and smart watch. 

$100 or $279 Depending on what your guy wants or needs, a SmartWatch and fitness tracker can earn you bonus points throughout the new year! 

$40 Take your wedding song, his favorite song, or a song that means a lot to him and have it made on a faux record to frame. A perfect gift for any music lover!

$100 My husband swears by his and we've given it as a gift numerous times. If your guy doesn't have one yet, snag this baby while you can. It's pliers, screwdriver, pocketknife, and more. 

$89 I bought these for my husband for his 30th and he's now 42. Still has them. Still awesome. Worth every penny. 


KEEPING KIDS HAPPY

$80 Yeah, it's pricey. It goes on sale sometimes. But it's worth it. One of those gifts they can grow with and add on additional games and features. 

$129 NOW, this one is not for BIG KIDS. This is for kids 10 and under. Snag one and keep it in your basement or even on your porch to occupy the kids all winter and even all year! 

$17 (on sale, usually $24) These are a go to for keeping busy, for when the power goes out, for road trips or even just time in traffic. We keep a few in the car, a few at home, and they get used A LOT. 

$175+ Again, a pricey purchase, but it converts to a full size bed so it's great for company or sleepovers without buying furniture! Super fun and cozy and good for kids of all sizes, not just littles.

$120 For kids older than 7, this scooter lets them zoom around, but not TOO fast, without having to pedal. Where were these when we were kids?! 

$70 For the younger kids, this has been the most used outdoor toy in our home. 

$53 Set of 100 from Picasso Tiles (same as MagnaTiles but half the price) to keep kids of all ages happy and entertained. We first got them for my son when he was 2 and watching his creativity grow to now (he's almost 5) and loves them just as much as when he first got them! 

$13 Everyone needs a 1984 toy in their life in 2020. 

$30 & $12 This kit is HUGE and has 1500 pieces in it. PLENTY for any kid, or kids. Plus, this book gives guides for building basics with any Lego set. LOVE this, it's under our tree for my son. 

$79 (on sale from $199) A huge hit for kids and a fun find for under the tree. 


Whew! That was a lot but I hope it helps you and your holiday shopping!

And in case you didn't know, I make a small commission when you shop off of the links above. Thank you for supporting my little fun side gig and keeping me addicted to shopping deals for you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Shop Small Part 4: Homemade and Edible

I love supporting small businesses, especially those owned by those I know. 

This year, I am separating them into four categories to share with you all more easily. 

Part 1: Health and Wellness
Part 2: Clothing, Jewelry, and Accessories. 
Part 3: Kids and Family 
Part 4: Homemade and Edible 

I will share their business and link it to their website, a few tidbits and insight into them, and some top picks for holiday gifts. 

Welcome to Part 4: Homemade & Edible

MAKE FOOD LOVELY


Emily Love Leserman
IG: Makefoodlovely
FB: Make Food Lovely
www.makefoodlovely.com- coming soon!!

When my oldest son was about a year old, I read an article that said that if you cut food into interesting shapes and make sure there are lots of bright colors on a plate, that kids are less likely to be picky eaters and will always be more interested in trying new foods. Well, I’m happy to say that three years later my son‘s favorite foods are: milk, white rice, and air. 

Obviously, it didn’t really work to expand his palate: but it did give me a new skill. 

In June, one of my very dear friends announced that he was moving to Colorado to start a new job at Colorado Children’s Hospital (I’m a pediatric audiologist in my real life). We all got together in the midst of a pandemic, to say goodbye. I thought it would be cute if I brought little cheese boxes for everyone. So, I got these little mini cupcake boxes and filled them with goodies. We met at a winery, and everyone absolutely loved these boxes. They all told me how much they would pay for one of the boxes if they were at a winery ordering something like this. It gave me pause, and made me realize that this was something people may be interested in: especially because I could make everything in boxes that would be a socially distance snack. That way people could continue to share food, albeit in driveways, around fire pits, or at a winery and/or park.

Over the next two weeks I looked into what was required in regards to licensing, becoming a qualified food operator, insurance, establishing LLC, etc: and I realized that this is something I really wanted to do. About a month later: Make Food Lovely LLC was born

Next week, on November 16th,  I celebrate my three month anniversary of being open. I cannot believe how much this business has grown, from the original idea I had. I have expanded the business to public and private parties (where it’s essentially like paint night where you create your own food board), gift cards for the holidays, grazing tables for larger events, and a few pop-ups.

This little side hustle brings me so much joy. I love the women I have met; who have supported me, or are doing the exact same thing within their own communities. My husband and I always say “we will stop when it stops being fun”. Well, I don’t see that happening for a very long time. I hope to be able to make lovely food for you all for years and years to come





Name: Jose Serrano
Business Name: Serrano Craft works
Website: https://m.facebook.com/serranocraftwork/
Why:
I have a ton of extremely artistic and talented women in my family, whom I’ve watched closely and there talented rubbed off on me. It’s very therapeutic to see something come together and know that you are the creator.






Name: Sarah May
Contact info: www.block21prints.com

Sarah creates original Lino cuts and uses them to hand print shirts, tea towels, hats, etc. She also turns her prints into stickers, washi tape, cards and a variety of other goods. Her work spreads positive messages which is something this world can definitely use right now.  

For my top three holiday choices from her shop I would say, her stickers, the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments, and her “Be a nice human”  tees and sweatshirts.






www.aweighcandlecompany.com

Each one of these hand crafted candles is made by Lauren Wenker, an active duty military wife. Lauren created Aweigh Candle Company in 2019. Her unique custom fragrance blends are hand poured in small batches, smell incredible, and are adorned with fun labels! The new 2020 holiday collection has launched! There are a variety of options: full-sized votives, sampler sets, wax melts, a gift set, a bonus bundle, and more! 

Lauren handles everything at Aweigh Candle Company.  She built the website, makes all of the products, the labels, takes all of the photos, ships the orders, answers all questions... you name it!  If you contact her, you will get her. This is a small business, run by one gal! 





Name - Jessica Kissane and Rishelle Notghi ( sisters)

Contact info/website -@dappleandgreycards 
dappleandgreycards.com 
dappleandgreycards@gmail.com

An overview of YOU and why you do what you do - 

Hi! My name is Jessica and I own dapple + grey with my sister Rishelle. She has a full-time job aside from our business as a graphic designer. She lived in Stamford for the past 12 years and finally moved back to the town we grew up in 2019. I stay at home with my 3-year-old twins. The idea for our business really came out of a place of me needing to find something to focus on as I had just experienced two miscarriages within a few months. Together, with my sisters design skills, and my experience in sales in marketing, we have made quite the team and a bigger business than I could have ever imagined. In Just over a year, we have over 100 designs for all occasions.

An overview of YOUR business and why you picked it -

We were taking part in a town-wide tag sale in 2019 and it was a last-minute idea to start selling some framed art. My sister had been working on some designs for her own apartment. When I threw out the idea that we could actually sell this stuff in 6 days at our sale she seemed to be on board so we went with it! And in just a few days we had a name (You can read more on our website about what our name means), a logo and about 20 designs or so. We worked day and night. Together we work on card ideas and networking opportunities with other businesses. Our cards are designed to be framed or to keep, not just your average throwaway card. Many of our cards have dedications on the back and some help raise money for organizations near and dear to our heart. We have loved meeting so many people in the community, customers who have now become friends. It always touches our heart when someone picks up a card and tells us why it spoke to them or why they are giving it to someone. This business has given me a purpose, other than being a mother, and has healed my heart. 






Name: Melissa Kolenda
FB Business page: Perfect Pieces of Dreams
Contact: Message through business page or personal page on FB.

I have always been creative and have had a love for crafts. My mom owned her own shop over 40 years ago, and passed that passion on to me. I love to create unique gifts for people and help their vision come to life. 

My business is making custom creations....anything from huge wall signs and wreaths, to personalized popsicle holders and personalized beach bags. I can personalize anything you want, but I really love when a customer sends me a picture of something they would love and I am able to create it with my own special touches. 

My top 3 holiday gifts are Personalized Ornaments, Elf Surveillance Cameras, and Personalized Elves. 





When Covid began, I dedicated my non-parenting time of quarantine to creating fluid art. I ended up becoming slightly [very] obsessed, and what began as selling my original artwork, has now transformed into a website with prints and gift items available in over 50 designs!

It has become truly therapeutic for me, not only to create the original pieces, but to share them with others to enjoy as well. To express myself in this creative process, and to then connect with others who are moved in some way by these pieces as well, has been an absolute joy in an otherwise grim year. For me, it's really about connection - me connecting to myself creatively, and then connecting with others in an authentic way.

My website is www.rockwellvibes.com, and I am on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok @rockwellvibes. 

I love that you asked for small business owners to pick their top 3 holiday gifts, and I had a lot of fun going through and selecting these as mine:



I hope you've all enjoyed these incredible small businesses and when you decide to do your holiday shopping that these move to the top of your list!