My favorite tip for enjoying holiday parties

‘Tis the season for all of the holiday parties. People! Celebration! It’s the best of all the things! It can require a lot of time, though. Bringing a savory dish to one party, dessert to another, and picking up a bottle of wine for yet another. So here’s what I do to stay sane. Are you ready for this? Get excited.

I pick one or two things at the beginning of the month and that’s all I take to every gathering. Simple, right? Here’s why it works so great:

1. I have the ingredients in my house, and can avoid late night runs to the store because crap-I’m-out-of-cream-of-tartar-and-absolutely-need-it.

2. The second, third, fourth time I make a recipe? I rock it. I know it’s going to come together and be tasty and I just get it. You know?

3. Not often will you run into the same person at more than one party. You have your work party, your friends’ get together, your family reunions. And how often do people overlap? Rarely. So no one will know you brought the same thing to each party. Except you and me. And your secret is safe here. Promise.

Want some suggestions for what to make? Here are two of my favorites:

A cheese ball and crackers. It’s classic and delicious! I made Damn Delicious’s Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball because bacon and ranch. You’re welcome.

Cheese Ball

Bread. People will be so impressed. It’s so easy and so affordable to make homemade bread. Want to take it up a notch? Make some fancy butter to go with it.


If cooking isn’t your thing, not a single person will object to you bringing a bottle of wine. To save yourself 6 trips to the store for 6 different parties, go the store this moment and buy 6 bottles of something you love. They might even give you a discount!

I want to know: do you have any hacks for saving time and sanity around the holidays? Share them below!

The Easiest Thanksgiving Side Dish–Crockpot Carrots

Thanksgiving countdown: 19 days! Get excited! I love Thanksgiving. Food, family, more food. Are you hosting this year? Going somewhere? Bucking tradition and not doing anything at all?

If you’re doing a traditional-ish Thanksgiving dinner, I have an easy side dish for you.  You’ll need a Crock Pot, and I totally recommend the 6 quart Crock Pot I have. You can cook on high or low, set a timer for how long you need to cook the dish for, and then it auto switches to warm. PLUS! The lid locks on for ease of transporting.  I use this baby all the time, it cooks evenly, and it’s worth every, single penny.

Crock Pot

Enough of that. The recipe! This will feed quite a crowd–upwards of 20 people. Feel free to scale it back by half if you don’t have that many people attending your Thanksgiving.

Crockpot Cooked Carrots

Crockpot Cooked Carrots


  • 5 lbs carrots (either whole carrots, peeled and sliced, or baby carrots)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. Prep carrots and dump in Crock Pot
  2. Drizzle with syrup, and sprinkle on salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir to combine
  3. Set Crock Pot on low for 4-5 hours
  4. Once cooked, top with chopped parsley. Stir to combine
  5. Serve!

Happy Thanksgiving celebration to you and yours!

What else is on your menu? Comment below and inspire me!

In case you’re interested….how to make a lattice top for a pie and homemade whipped cream.

Saturday Small Talk

Happy Saturday, folks! What are you up to? We’re off to Grand Rapids for an early Thanksgiving celebration with one side of my family, and then to Kalamazoo for my Oma’s birthday on Sunday. It’ll be a great weekend full of family time!

Unrelated to it being the weekend: I’m on the hunt for a moisturizer that won’t make my sensitive, acne-prone skin break out. Send me your recommendations! Points for it being budget friendly and available at a drugstore.

Lake of the Clouds

Here’s some links for your Saturday morning browsing:

I made these black bean enchiladas last week, and they were total winners.

I loved these 5 things a mom learned when her kiddo started at a Montessori nursery school.

Two new, worthy-of-your-inbox newsletters to sign up for: Coffee+Crumbs and The Orange Slate.

Fall recipes galore!

How not to break the bank when you have a baby.

Our bathroom is completely devoid of storage. I love this ladder idea–though might DIY a less rustic looking one, add baskets for towels, toilet paper, and tissues. What do you think?

Enjoy your day!