Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Year in Review: 2013

As 2013 winds down I thought I’d share a quick year-end review. This year has truly flown by. I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s true. It was a lovely year for which I am grateful. I was fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling and was able to create some really great memories that I will speak of for years to come.

I am very excited that I was able to start this blog this year too. It’s been a wonderful challenge creating posts and images that go along with it. I wanted to re-post my favorites and well as your favorites from the year. Enjoy.

May you have a safe and Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

This was the very first post from Hannah and Harley.

This was the very first post from Hannah and Harley. There’s always something special about the first of anything.

This post is favorite simply because it started an early interest into researching the benefits of essential oils. An interest that will most likely get a lot more attention in 2014.

This post is a favorite simply because it started an early interest into researching the benefits of essential oils. An interest that will most likely get a lot more attention in 2014.

This is my favorite image from this summer. From June to mid-July of this year I was in a different city each weekend. It was a great experience, but I looked up and it was almost August. Thank goodness for photography. Without these images I may have forgotten the entire summer.

This is my favorite image from this summer. From June to mid-July of this year I was in a different city each weekend. It was a great experience, but I looked up and it was almost August. Thank goodness for photography. Without these images I may have forgotten the entire summer.

The Berry Salad, a simple mixture of berries, was by far the most successful new recipe I tried this year. I've made it countless times since this post. It's delicious and healthy!

The Berry Salad, a simple mixture of berries, was by far the most successful new recipe I tried this year. I’ve made it countless times since this post. It’s delicious and healthy!

The marquee says it all. This was actually a contest. Who ever submitted the winning marquee suggestion won a free combo.

The marquee says it all. This was actually a contest. Who ever submitted the winning marquee suggestion won a free combo. This is one of many photos I took over the weekend Arkansas State University played Auburn. An experience more appreciated now because in less than two weeks, Auburn will be playing Florida State in the national championship. Very cool.

Believe it or not this post about baked carrots is the most popular post from this year. It's the most shared pin from Hannah and Harley on Pinterest. It just keeps popping up randomly. Its success is most likely due to its simplicity.

Believe it or not this post about baked carrots is the most popular post from this year. It’s the most shared pin from Hannah and Harley on Pinterest. It just keeps popping up randomly. Its success is most likely due to its simplicity.

This is my personal favorite post from 2013. I don't think I've had so much fun writing something since college. I had forgotten what it was like to write for fun.

This is my personal favorite post from 2013. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun writing something since college. I had forgotten what it was like to write for fun. Hopefully I will get a few chances to write for fun.

This was the most shared post on facebook. For clairty, this post was about my mom so I'm pretty sure the facebook shares were from folks that knew my mom.

This was the most shared post on Facebook. For clarity, this post was about my mom so I’m pretty sure the Facebook shares were from folks that knew my mom.

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Survival Package

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

Don’t let the name of this post fool you. It’s sounds neat, but it’s really more of a thank you package. As part of our Christmas card  this year we handed out “survival packages” at the office. The package included the following:

  • a handful of peppermints – because you (or someone near) may need a breath of fresh air
  • a handful of Kisses, Rolos, or both – because everyone needs chocolate in their lives
  • a package of Advil – for those everyday headaches even — or especially — this time of year
  • a pack of Kleenex – because you are human and sneeze or may need to wipe something off
  • hand sanitizer – because it’s just handy to have around
  • a package of Swiss Miss hot chocolate – because life needs a little of flavor from time to time.

These types of kits are very easy to create. The ones we created at work couldn’t be gender or themed specific because of the variety of people we gave these to. The kits are great for themed or gender ideas. For example, if you have an all ladies book club to give you can create a fingernail themed kit with polish, file, remover, clippers, cuticle cutters, toe separators, etc. You get the idea. For men it’s the same way you can create a shaving kit, food related kit, sports kit. That list goes on and on as well.

These are really good if you are on a budget as well. There are a few things you should keep in mind. Listed below are some tips I provided based on my experience gathering everything for our survival package.

  • Know your audience. Is it a mixture of ages? Is your group all men or all women?
  • Create a list. You will need to know what you are going to put in the kit before you ever purchase a single item. This include the final package. You need to what you are going to put the kit in. We started with plastic container, moved to a glass container, and decided on cellophane bags wrapped with ribbon. It was shipped in a USPS small flat rate box.
  • Know how you are going to distribute these items. Are you mailing or shipping anything? There’s a cost there too. Make sure you include shipping in your budget. We choose to USPS flat rate small boxes. Are you going to hand deliver these kits? Think about the gas it will take to get from place to another and all over town.
  • Be willing to adjust your list based on availability, cost, and ease of purchase. Initially, we wanted to include band-aids and dental floss in the kits. The floss was too expensive. We considered for a brief moment the floss sticks , but who wants to use it knowing someone else may or may not have touched the floss sticks. Pass. We didn’t use band-aids for presentation reasons.
  • Buy in bulk. Unless you are creating less than five of these kits the cost of purchasing everything not in bulk will get expensive quick. Buying as many items as you can in bulk will assist in keeping the costs down. The peppermints, Kisses, Rolos, Advil, and hot chocolate were all purchased in bulk. I’m not saying go to your local warehouse store and buy it all there in 20-pound bags. No. Let’s say you want to include Hershey bars. Instead of buying 20 at the checkout line in individually wrapped bars for a $1 go to the candy aisle and price check the multi-pack. That’s what I mean by buy in bulk.
  • Price check. Everything. Do the math. You may think it’s a great idea to include a newly released cookbook from your favorite chef in the kit, but if that cookbook is $15.99 and you’ve got 20 kits to gather that’s $319.80 already spent. Research everything. I spent about 30 minutes looking up prices and availability on the items we choose before I presented it for approval from co-workers and bosses. That help me set my budget and know what I could purchase.
  • Check out the dollar stores around you. It most likely won’t be name brand items, but you will be able to find more than you expected in these stores. I purchased the hand sanitizer and cellophane bags from The Dollar Tree and spent less $40. Browse the aisles you may even be inspired.
  • Have fun. If you have fun then other people have fun. Fun spreads. Share the fun!

The 12 Days of Christmas: Cold Brew Coffee Set

Cold Brew Set

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

This is idea is great for the coffee lover.  It can be easily changed to accommodate the tastes of anyone.

First, if you don’t know what cold brew coffee is or how to make it you should look it up. It’s not what you may think it is. Yes, it’s coffee. No, it’s not a brewed pot of coffee put in the fridge for a few hours. For more information you can read one of my posts on how to make it and it’s benefits here. In a nutshell, cold brew coffee uses grounds soaked in water at room temperature for about 20-24 hours. The grounds are then removed from the water and it’s ready to drink. Mix it with milk or drink it straight with ice. There are plenty of options to try.

OK, now to the gift set. I choose to use a frappuccino 4-pack for the bottles and the carry case that’s available with it. You don’t have to use this if you don’t want to. You can use mason or jelly jars to complete the set. I do recommend leaving one container empty with coffee grounds in it and instructions on how to make cold brew.

If you have other ideas as to how package this I’d love to see it!

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Spicy Pretzels

Spicy Pretzels

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

You can tell the time by when I eat pretzels at work. It’s usually 3 p.m. I love pretzels so when a co-worker suggested this idea for the 12 Days of Christmas I was all about it. It certainly helped that he raved about how good these spicy pretzels tasted.

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 – 1 ounce package of dry ranch dressing salad dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 – 15 ounce package of mini twist pretzels

Here’s What You Do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees
  • In a medium bowl, mix vegetable oil, dry ranch dressing mix, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper.
  • Place the pretzels in a medium baking dish.
  • Cover the pretzels with mixture.
  • Bake the coated pretzels, uncovered, in the oven for 2 hours stirring
  • occasionally. (I stirred well every 30 minutes.)

The recipe came from www.allrecipes.com. You can find it here. I followed it exactly.

Spicy Pretzels

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Easy Way to Wrap a Wine Bottle

The Easy Way to Wrap a Wine Bottle

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

Are there any wine lovers on your list? If so, this is a great (and very easy) way to wrap a bottle. All you need are some Christmas socks and the wine you are gifting. It’s better to have longer socks like knee-high for complete coverage over the wine bottle. Place the wine bottle inside the sock, add a gift tag, and you are done! Yes, it is that easy. The great thing about this idea is that it can be gender and holiday neutral if you like. It’s great for birthdays, weddings, or wedding showers. Hold on to the other sock and give it someone else if you like. If you are much more crafty than I you can make a bow using the additional sock.

The 12 Days of Christmas: The Christmas Candy Flower Pot

The Christmas Candy Flower Pot from www.hannahandharley.com

The Christmas Candy Flower Pot

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

This was a such a cute idea I decided to do it again for Christmas. You can find my original post here on The Halloween Candy Flower Pot. I did the exact same thing here except it’s Christmas themed. The Halloween Candy Flower Pot was such a success even my local UPS guy enjoyed a few Tootsie Pops. He’s welcome to these as well.

Here’s What You Need:

A flower pot, a bucket, vase (You choose. The bucket you see is the very same bucket from the Halloween post with wrapping around it. There’s no need to purchase anything new if you can help it.)

Candy (Suckers are much easier to use, but any individually wrapped candy will work. Think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Trust me when I say Rolos are too small.) The suckers I used for this post are candy cane flavored Tootsie Pops and they taste much better than they sound.

Styrofoam  ball. (Make sure it will fit the base of your choosing.)

Here’s What You Do:

Place the Styrofoam ball in the base.

Start from either the top of the ball or the bottom (your choice) and work your way up or down placing the candy in the ball. (You could randomly place the candy in the ball, but you might end up with gaps.) I started from the bottom and made layers working my way up. I tried to make sure there were no gaps.

Enjoy! :)

PS: I took the photo using the night scene setting on my camera. I used an 18-70 mm (for tech folks it was a 3.5-5.6 aperture) lens with the camera’s pop up flash. As I pushed the shutter button I moved the lens in and out to create movement. The flash stops what’s still and gives you the idea of movement with everything else. You should take as many photos as possible to make sure you get the effect you want. I took at least 50 photos. Seriously.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Cleon’s Salsa!

Cleon's Salsa 024

I am very excited to bring to you the second annual 12 Days of Christmas. This project began last year as a last-minute gift idea guide and because it was so successful it started this very blog you are reading now! I will feature 12 different holiday gift ideas and/or recipes with instructions. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hannah and Harley.

This salsa recipe is very easy to make and will make a gift for the salsa lover in your life. You can find the original recipe here. I had to tweak the recipe to meet my needs.

If you’ve watched the news or the live in the South you probably heard the name Cleon. Cleon is the winter storm that has stalled, delayed, or cancelled countless activities across many parts of the country.  My little corner of Northeast Arkansas was no different. Over the weekend we got at least two inches of sleet and freezing rain. This is a dangerous combination that makes travel long and slow and at times unnecessary. By Sunday afternoon traveling was a long and slow process, but possible. I purchased everything I could to make salsa as well as some gifts and Christmas decor. You will find a few substitutions to my salsa compared to the original recipe above. By the end of a long, cold, icy weekend the shelves of the local store weren’t bare (thankfully), but it wasn’t stocked like a usual Sunday afternoon either. Hence, the name: Cleon’s Salsa. I would have followed the recipe exactly were it not for the storm. Thanks Cleon.

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can of original Hot Ro-Tel
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • cilantro (just enough for taste)
  • one small red onion chopped
  • blender for mixing
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (or to taste if you like)
  • chips

Here’s What You Do:

  • Add everything except the Ro-tel into the blender
  • Mix everything together using the pulse option (just long enough to mix well)
  • Add Ro-Tel and stir
  • Let it sit in the fridge overnight. It will taste better the next day.

This made about 32 ounces of salsa. So if you have several salsa lovers on your gift list you can give more than one container depending upon the size you choose.

Cleon's Salsa

Cleon’s Salsa