Category Archives: Holidays

The Halloween Candy

Candy 003bb

This is just a simple way to display the office candy or treats. It is very easy to do and requires little to no extra purchases.

Here’s What you need:

  • candy (your choice)
  • vase or glass container (ideally you want it to be clear so everyone can what’s in it)
  • decor (if you like, though not required)

Here’s What You Do:

  • place the goodies in the container
  • decorate with ribbon or other themed decorations
  • enjoy!

I love ideas like this one because it’s not specifically tied to one holiday or time of the year. This works year-round and is very easy to do. Even the kiddos can help!

The Last Minute Valentine’s Day Idea

Valentines Brownie 016

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Here’s hoping this day you are surround by love and joy.

This post is a great idea for a quick last minute dessert or gift idea for the brownie lovers in your life. I choose to use a brownie mix because I hadn’t had any in a long time. You can use a cake mix, cookie mix, or whatever baked good you choose. The point is you are making something sweet for your sweetie(s)!

Here’s What You Need:

  • brownie (cookie or cake) mixture and the ingredients listed on the box
  • icing of your choice (I went with butter cream icing for the photos)
  • sprinkles or small candy (something colorful)

Here’s What You Do:

  • follow the directions on the mixture (make sure to let your baked good cool)
  • add icing (be generous with the icing!)
  • add toppings for decoration
  • enjoy!

Valentines Brownie 022

The Anniversary!

Hannah and Harley proudly celebrates its one year anniversary as a blog today!

It’s fitting the anniversary is today, the day before Valentine’s Day. I think my first post was intentionally not on Valentine’s Day, but I can’t be sure. As people prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day and seeing as today is important for Hannah and Harley, I thought I’d share some photos of the furry, four-legged, love of my life and a few things he’s taught me along the way. Enjoy the photos. Most are snapshots with my phone.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Harley:

  • He’s a beagle.
  • He loves to roll in the grass even though he’s got really bad allergies.
  • He likes to wear sweaters in the cold weather. His favorite sweater is the green one.
  • He’ll do anything for a treat!
  • He recently learned to how “shake.”

Here’s What You Need to Know About Having A Dog (in case you were wondering):

  • Owning a dog = love.
  • There will always be laughter and love in the home with a dog around.
  • A little hug goes a long way.
  • Long walks are good for everyone (as long as it’s not 10 degrees outside.)
  • Treats aren’t just for dogs. Finding the little things in life make all the difference in the world.
  • Snuggles are awesome. Blankets too!
  • All you need is love.

In celebration!

This is month Hannah and Harley will celebrate its one year anniversary as a blog! For those who are already following us, thank you! You are already entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card to Starbucks! (Make sure your email is up-to-date and accurate. That’s how I will notify the winner.) Actually, because you are a loyal reader you are already entered into the drawing twice!  From now through the end of the month those who start following this blog will receive one entry for the gift card. Good luck! :) To follow Hannah and Harley, enter your email in the space provided called “Follow Blog Via Email.” Yes, it’s that easy. If you already have a WordPress account, simply click the follow button.

The Songs of Summer

summer

Do you ever feel like you are in a losing battle? I think I’m in one right now because Mother Nature has kicked it up a few notches. Actually, I wish she would turn it up a few notches. She’s really turned it down, and I mean down! The temperature as I type is a crisp and cold 11 degrees in Northeast Arkansas. In an effort to stay warm and not focus on the cold outside I’ve decided to list my favorite summer songs for you.

I love summertime. It’s warm…..OK it’s really hot, but I love it! The days last longer and time seems a bit slower. I could go on and on about why I love summer, but that’s another posting. Below you will find my top 10 favorite summer songs. Here’s hoping it helps take your mind off of the cold weather.

10. Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft, 1972: I was at a picnic the first time I heard this song and I always think of that picnic and flowing summer dresses every time I hear that song.

9. Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx, 1988: I like his songs and his voice.

8. All Summer Long by Kidd Rock, 2008: What’s not to like about this song? The lyrics tell a great story and has an intelligent mash up from two other great songs — Werewolves in London and Sweet Home Alabama.

7. Summer Love by Justin Timberlake, 2007: It’s a fun song to listen to in your car with the radio up and the windows down.

6. Long Hot Summer Day by Turnpike Troubadours, 2012: I fell in love with this song the first time I heard. Full disclosure here: the first time I heard it was a 30-second snippet at St. Louis Cardinals game this summer. It’s one of Matt Carpenter’s walk out songs. Does it really get much better than a great summer-themed song at baseball game? I think not!

5. Cruel Summer by Bananarama, 1983: It’s great 80s song. Plus it’s fun. There’s something telling about a song that lasts decades and is still enjoyable.

4. Boys of Summer by Don Henley, 1984: I love a good story and this song is one.

3. Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams, 1985: What is it about 1985? There’s really a lot of great stuff from this year including this song and Back to the Future! (Yep, I did it. I managed a Back to the Future reference in a post about summer songs. I’m that good. Ha!) Released in June of that year, the song written by Adams and Jimmy Vallance, tells a story of nostalgia and love.

2. Summer Nights by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, 1978: I discovered Grease and Grease 2 in junior high at a sleepover. Within a few weeks of that sleepover I knew the words to “Summer Nights” and all of the other songs. Admittedly, I can still sing  the words by heart to this song and “Cool Rider.”

1. Summertime by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (A.K.A Will Smith), 1991: Nothing conjures a better summertime story that this tune to me. Smith’s soothing voice is just what I need to imagine the smell of fresh cut grass and the calming warmth of the sun.

Those are my favorite summer songs. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite summer songs. Please stay warm and cozy in the crazy cold.

PS: The photos are from Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida. I took them this summer while on vacation.

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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!