Best Pencil Sharpener Ever

White desk with bright office supplies.Ok. You guys might think this post is crazy. Like, Sharon, you can’t possibly love a pencil sharpener this much. But it’s legit. My love is real. So much so that I want to share my love of an inanimate object with you. So much so that I sought Classroom Friendly Supplies out to do a review for them, at my request. They sent me a sleek, chic black pencil sharpener so my photos would be cuter but I have had a blue one for about 6 months. It’s kind of like part of the family now. And it’s the best pencil sharpener ever.

White and bright office space.With school starting and homework routines being set, my mom decided that my boys needed a really good pencil sharpener. I give her all the credit. She researched online, read reviews and spent time on this. It seems a good, manual pencil sharpener is hard to find. But then she came across this one by Classroom Friendly Supplies. It showed up at our house and the boys immediately started sharpening all of their pencils. I had no idea they would take to the sharpener the way I did.

Best manual pencil sharpener ever. I use only pencil for my editorial calendar and blog planning. The first time I used the pencil sharpener my world changed. I usually grab whatever dull pencil is lying around, left out by the boys. But a nice sharp pencil really does something for my productivity. We don’t have an office area set up at the house (thank you to Lauren for letting me borrow her workspace for these photos!) so the pencil sharpener sits on one of the counters in our kitchen where we keep the homework supplies. I couldn’t take a picture of it here because it is literally sitting next to a jar of mayo (unopened but still, ew gross – a result of pantry cabinet overflow) and a big jug of cranberry juice. No one wants to see that. This pencil sharpener needs to shine!

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. The pencil sharpener comes with a clamp so that it stays put when you are using it but we just hold it steady with our hands since we move it all around the house to where ever we need it. It comes in other colors as well, and they also have a discount if you buy 3 of them. And you should totally buy these for your kids teachers. They will totally want one.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Isn’t she pretty?

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Recently I thought we killed ours. My kids sharpen far more pencils with it than they really need to. I was devastated. The price is not outrageous (they are $25 each) but I really didn’t want to spend another chunk of money on a pencil sharpener around the holidays). But as I was looking at the site, I came across their videos to troubleshoot problems. You guys!  It turns out that there was just lead stuck in the sharpener! I was able to take it apart, following their instructions on the video, and fix it!  World saved! This is a hearty little machine. It’s going to last you a nice, long time.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. You see how the front part of the pencil sharpener, the metal part, is away from the body? Well, that holds the pencil and feeds it in to the blade for you as you crank. It’s so smooth and makes the nicest point. Yes, I’m a nerd and love this pencil sharpener.

The best pencil sharpener ever. For real. It's manual and it's perfect. And yes, I think it's odd that I love a pencil sharpener this much also...The shavings go right in to this little drawer that you can empty right in to the trashcan. It. is. the. best. ever. I am sure that the people on your holiday gift list don’t realize that they want this pencil sharpener. But they totally do! Or surprise them with it as a back to school present. This is THE only pencil sharpener you should ever have.

*I asked Classroom Friendly Supplies to send me a black pencil sharpener for my photos because I need you to know about this amazing product. And they did. Because they are awesome. And they are available for all your pencil sharpener needs.

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Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe : Holiday Entertaining

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! I’m so excited the holidays are here!  I just love to share my family recipes and traditions with you. As you know, my style is not complicated and the recipes are tasty but simple. This Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe couldn’t be easier. But, gosh dang it, these are GOOD. Anyone who has ever had them has raved about the flavor. And then when they are given the recipe they are blown away by how easy they are.

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! Aside from the walnuts, you probably have all of the ingredients at your house already. Sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. That’s it. And a little bit of water.

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! Mix it all together on the stove and let it melt together. Stir often so the sugar doesn’t burn. I think most things take on more flavor when they are a little overdone. Not sugar though, man. That just gets nasty.

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! Once the mixture has cooked for a few minutes, you add in your walnuts and mix to stir. Then spread them out on a cookie sheet so they can dry. I’m going to be honest, because I’m no expert and I own my mistakes (all of them… you guys, that perm was NOT a good idea), I didn’t cook the sugar mixture quite long enough when I made them for this post. One thing you should know about me is I’m a skimmer. I read recipes through beforehand and then when it counts, when I’m actually making a recipe, I skim and miss valuable information. Like when it said cook until the water dissolves which would have made this mixture a little more caramel-y and harden up nicer. It didn’t ruin them. They still tasted amazing. It just meant that they didn’t harden up as nicely as usual and because the mixture didn’t cook down enough, there was some extra sauce on my nuts…yeah, I know how that sounds and I hope you got a good chuckle out of it. When I say harden, I don’t mean these will be break your teeth hard. I just mean that the sugar mixture won’t be tacky, and kind of candied but the walnut won’t be any more crunchy than it is on it’s own.

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! These Cinnamon Walnuts totally remind me of my grandmother. I’m not sure where she got the recipe from but these were always waiting for us at her house when we came to visit around the holidays.  And my mom also made them every year. You could always find these out on her sweets table on Christmas day alongside her fudge, the cinnamon candy, the best caramel corn ever and my fave candied orange peels. And now, my mother in law makes them around the holidays. It’s so fun to see my families share what they love with each other.

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe. Perfect for holiday entertaining and Christmas parties. But of course, delicious any time of the year! These would make a great gift for the neighbors, teachers or even a hostess gift when you are making the rounds this holiday season. They are also great to keep on hand in case friends and family drop by unannounced (you know how they do) at this time of year. Store them in an air-tight container, out of sight, or else you will eat them all. I guarantee. I finally had to throw the rest of them away (I gave away a bunch too!) because I think my pants are starting to not fit anymore…Tis the season!

Cinnamon Walnuts Recipe : Holiday Entertaining

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole walnuts or walnut halves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 TBSP water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except vanilla and walnuts.
  2. Cook on low heat until mixture dissolves and it cooks down a bit (about 7 minutes total).
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add walnuts and stir to coat.
  6. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet to dry.
  7. Eat up.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/cinnamon-walnuts-recipe-holiday-entertaining/

Tiny Prints for Custom Entertaining

We made custom Tiny Prints napkins with our event hashtag on them. So fun! #LorimarSleepover #sponThis post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. Because they are an awesome company that likes to work with bloggers and that, in turn, allows me to put on some really fun events for bloggers.

You guys! How fun are these napkins!? So I just got back from a trip I got to plan with 7 other bloggers. It included wine tasting and a sleepover. Fun, right?! More on the trip in the next week or so but I wanted to hurry and share these fantastic custom items with you before the holidays are completely over. If you aren’t hosting parties full of friends that love their social media the way bloggers do, then maybe you don’t need custom napkins with your event hashtag on them. But we did. And they were awesome! Tiny Prints has tons of colors and designs to choose from, you can write just about anything and they arrived pretty fast! They certainly won’t make it by Thanksgiving (although you may be able to rush the order for more money) but there is still a chance for your Christmas entertaining. They also have themed napkins which are great for other things like baby showers and events that take place during other times of the year.

You HAVE to do custom recipe napkins for your next party! These by Tiny Prints are awesome! #LorimarSleepover #sponMy favorite napkins, though, were the custom recipe napkins (there are two styles of glasses available for the design)! Aren’t those fun! These would be perfect for sharing the recipe for your signature cocktail at your party. Our tasting was put together in conjunction with Lorimar Winery so I worked with them to share one of their fun wine cocktails with the girls for our special dinner. (image above via @afabulousfete).

Loving these custom recipe napkins from Tiny Prints that we used for our #LorimarSleepover blogger event! #sponHaving custom napkins was a total treat and made for a very fun event.  Since we didn’t have a lot to do in the way of decorating for this event, these napkins were a fun, little touch.  Anything custom makes it feel that much more special.

Gift bag items for the gals at our #LorimarSleepover event. Dying over the custom acrylic block we did using @laurenv 's writing through Tiny Prints! #sponTiny Prints also went above and beyond with items for the girl’s gift bags! (photo styled by Lauren). That darling little notebook in the bottom left of the photo would make a fantastic gift idea. Since we didn’t know who each person would be on the trip at the time of ordering, we had Lauren write their names, but through the website, you can fully customize these notebooks for the recipient. And of course we had to find a way to work in more of Lauren’s amazing writing. We uploaded this image she created to the Tiny Prints website and made these awesome acrylic blocks for the girls. While these would look cute on a bar cart, or styled in the kitchen, you could also customize these with party details, like a menu or social media info if you are hosting an event that requires that. Of course, they are intended to be used with photographs, but that is the beauty of Tiny Prints! You can customize almost everything to suit your needs!

Thank you, Tiny Prints, for being part of our fun blogger event!

And a big thank you to The Flair Exchange and Melissa Creates for providing additional items for the gals!

Spiced Pear Cocktail for Fall Entertaining

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.I don’t drink anything with pear any other time of the year except for fall. Don’t be fooled by my flip flops. We don’t really get fall weather. Well, we do but it comes and goes. One day it will be 70 (fall) and the next it will go up to 85. So we kind of just decide when to start enjoying fall-like things. Like the day when I cranked the air conditioner so eating an apple crisp didn’t feel wrong. Then the weather just skips to winter after the new year. So pear cocktails it is. And I totally wanted to call this one Gin(ger) and Juice.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.I’m totally in to fresh nutmeg this year. I can’t tell if the bottle of ground nutmeg I have is bad but it seems funky to me. The smell is slightly off. It should probably be thrown away (she says as she lazily looks up at the spice cupboard and continues typing…) but fresh nutmeg. That’s where it’s at. I’m going to start grating it on everything. And go research right now where you can find edible flowers near your home. You need them.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.It is a super simple cocktail with just a few good ingredients. Including spiced rum. Remember this cocktail from the summer. It made me realize just how much I enjoy spiced rum. And spiced rum is perfect for holiday cocktailing. You know, on account of the spices…And if you haven’t tried this holiday pear cocktail, you NEED to. It’s my fave.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.I love a good muddle, don’t you? This one calls for muddled ginger. Be sure to really smack the shit out of it. I didn’t get as much ginger flavor in my cocktail as I had been hoping. Which is crazy town since it’s raw ginger. I’m guessing I didn’t manhandle it enough.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.Then you simply add in the juice. Grate in a little fresh nutmeg for kicks.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.There are not any flowers IN this drink. But they look so pretty sitting on top. And the orange color is perfect for fall.

Fall cocktail idea : spiced ginger pearStrain the drink over a glass of ice. Can I gross you out for a minute? Take a look at that gnarly hot glue burn on my middle finger! Yuck, right? It was so bad. I did it on this craft. My hot glue gun and I broke up for a minute but we got back together. I can’t stay mad.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.Grate on a little bit more fresh nutmeg to make your nose happy.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.Top it off with an edible flower, because why not?

Spiced Pear Cocktail for fall entertaining.Then enjoy your beverage. This cocktail would be a great one for Thanksgiving. There aren’t a lot of ingredients and it doesn’t take too much time so you won’t be on cocktail duty all night. The only problem is I have to fight my youngest son for the pear juice. He loves the stuff.

Spiced Pear Cocktail for Fall Entertaining

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 6 oz. Pear Juice
  • 4 slices of fresh ginger
  • Fresh nutmeg for grating

Instructions

  1. Muddle the ginger and pear juice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add spiced rum, a few grates of fresh grated nutmeg and ice.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain in to a cocktail glass filled with ice.
  5. Top with fresh grated nutmeg.
  6. Edible flowers are optional.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/spiced-pear-cocktail-fall-entertaining/

 

3 Ways to Use Corn Husks in your Holiday Entertaining

Corn husks bring a harvest touch to your cheese plate. I love corn husks. I’m not really sure why. But I do know I love the color, I love the texture and they instantly make me think of fall. They are pretty dang versatile and can be used in tons of ways. Today I have 3 ways to use corn husks in your holiday entertaining.

3 ways to use corn husks in your holiday entertaining.You can find corn husks at your local supermarket in the Mexican foods aisle. They are usually by where the packaged spices are. There are a bunch in the bag, enough for several crafts.  They come stuck together so you have to pull them apart once you take them out of the package. They can be a bit gritty and dusty so give them a good shake over the trash before using. You can also quickly run them under water. If you soak them, they just become more pliable so you won’t damage them.

Tuck corn husks on to your serving platters. 1.  you are most likely going to have a cheese platter at your holiday parties. I mean, it’s cheese. People like cheese. You don’t want to disappoint the people, do you?  Sure you could just plop the cheese on a plate or platter but what is the fun in that. For this cheese plate I laid down some corn husks and then some leafy greens to add more color. By tucking them in the corner it also added a little bit more height which pleases the eye. And it kind of looks like this cheese plate is wearing a crown, doesn’t it? Crowns are fun.

Corn husk wrapped candles create a warm glow for your holiday entertaining. 2.  Candles provide great ambiance when you have people over. To make the candles more seasonal, just wrap the glass container with corn husks and trim them. I imagine these are highly flammable so make sure that the flame is not coming to the top of the vessel. I used kitchen twine to tie on the corn husks but you could use just about anything. How cool would a leather cord look? The answer is cool.

Use corn husks to wrap a candleholder to add a festive fall touch.And when the candle is lit, a glow shines through the corn husks and is super warm and inviting. Wrap all different sized candle holders and place them all down the center of the table. Super cheap, super simple and totally classy and holiday inspired.

Corn husk feathers add a lightened up fall element to a place setting. 3.  Corn husks can be easily cut and shaped so you can really do just about anything you want with them. I have even used a curling iron on them to curl them when making corn husk flowers…Here I made a feather for a place setting add-on. Since the corn husks have little ridges, writing on them didn’t really work but you could still use them as part of your place setting. I’ll be sharing this tutorial over on Babyshower.com later this month!

Corn Husk feathers for holiday place settings.You could even make these feathers in to a garland and hang it on your wall or from your mantle. Have you used corn husks before? How do you use them?