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Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe for Cozy Winter Days

21 Jan

Soup

On those cold days of winter, if you are working or need to be out of the house all day but want some homemade soup when you get home, try this tried and true homemade chicken soup recipe which is made in a slow cooker.  My slow cooker capacity is 7 quarts so if you have a smaller one you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

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Ingredients:

Put all the following into the slow cooker:

1   32-oz box chicken broth (I like the Kitchen Basics brand)

8 cups of cold water

3  chicken bouillon cubes (I use the Telma brand, found in the Kosher aisle)

1 whole chicken, small or medium sized

2   12oz. bags of small baby carrots  (or 3-4 cups of carrot slices)

8 large stalks celery, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

3/4 cups barley (not quick barley)

Set the slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high.  Be sure the temperature of the chicken is at least 165-degrees when you remove it.  I place it on a jelly roll pan and break it apart to cool.  When it’s cool enough to touch, I shred the chicken pieces and return them to the soup.  Now the important part – taste the soup!  You can salt to your taste but I rarely add more salt.

SoupOnce soup cools a bit, I ladle out servings in disposable containers, label them and freeze them.  I leave enough in a larger container to put in the fridge for the week.  The frozen servings are wonderful to use in the future on a cold day when you just want one serving of homemade soup. If you prefer white rice, brown rice or noodles instead of barley, I’d recommend cooking them separately and then just adding after the soup is done.

Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Renee

 

Why Order Save the Date Cards?

17 Jan

Wedding Ring

Did you or any of your friends get engaged this holiday season?  According to new data released by the social media site Elite Daily,  Christmas Eve is the most popular day to get engaged, followed by Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Facebook compiled data from more than 2.5 million users in an effort to uncover some of the patterns — if any — associated with modern engagements.  They also found that one-third of people get engaged between November and December, and the average age of newly engaged couples is 24.

So if the big question was popped, and if she said “yes!” then the next step is figuring out the perfect date and location for the wedding.  And, of course, it’s the right time to put together the guest list so you know that the possible locations you are considering will accommodate the number of guests comfortably.

Save the Date Cards

Maybe you are already in this process, determining where and when to plan that dream wedding.  If so, you might consider Save the Date cards.  These are cards that are sent to wedding guests well in advance.  They can be sent out normally 6-9 months before the event, and in advance of the invitation.  Sometimes the cards just have text on them and sometimes they have a photo of the bride and groom.  That’s just preference as both are wonderful options.

Why should you send out Save the Date cards? They are perfect to use if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, as they need time to plan their travel.  If you are planning the big day on a holiday weekend, such as 4th of July, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, then a Save the Date is strongly recommended so your guests will actually “save the date” and not make other plans.

Why plan so far ahead?  Airline tickets are normally less expensive the earlier they are purchased so your guests will have time and details available to book travel if needed.  Also, if you can reserve a hotel ballroom and asking for a special rate for accommodations for your guests, then they will also be able to reserve a hotel room(s) in advance. On your Save the Date cards, if you have created a wedding website, you can list the address so your guests can find these details.

Save the Date cards are not, in any way, a substitute for a formal wedding invitation.  Normally on the save the dates, you would simply provide the wedding date, city of the wedding, and state that invitations will follow.  You would order one Save the Date per couple or family so that guest list is important to know at this point!

If you did create a wedding website, you are ahead of the curve. That’s a great place to, in addition to listing hotel information, list registry details, pictures of the bride and groom, provide tips of what to do when you’re in town, state whether the wedding is casual, semi-formal, black tie preferred, or black tie required, and other specifics.  If you don’t have that information available yet, no worries.  You can list that on accommodation cards when you send out the invitations 3-4 months before the wedding.

Happy wedding planning!

Best wishes,

Renee

 

 

2017 is a Great Time to Get Organized

7 Jan

Organizers and CalendarsDid you make any resolutions this year?  Two resolutions, Health and Organization –  as NBC News reported on data pulled from Google by iQuanti – are the most popular resolutions in 2017.

  • Get Healthy
    62,776,640 searches, a 13.77 percent increase over last year during the same time period, when it was searched 55,177,290 times.
  • Get Organized
    33,230,420 searches, dipping by 7.41 percent compared to last year’s tally of 35,888,700.

Getting healthy is a very popular theme at this time of year.  After a couple months of celebrations, parties and entertaining, it’s easy to add a few pounds to the scale.  So this is a great time to drop that weight so it doesn’t accumulate over time.  And it’s also the perfect time to not just lose a few pounds, but create a program for total fitness.  The trend to fitness and strength is everywhere as skinny isn’t the big thing – it’s all about being strong.

With new goals in place and the year starting off, for many, time management is a priority.  Year after year, getting organized is a popular resolution.  But what’s the best way to do that?  For some, it’s as easy as using a Google or Yahoo calendar which can also be viewed on a cel phone.  For others, seeing an old school paper reminder right in front of them is the key to success.

Organizers and CalendarsWe offer  calendars and activity pads that can be easily used to stay on schedule.  They are a good way to kick off 2017 and a perfect present for yourself and the ones you love.  You can easily stay organized with a schedule pad for individual activities, meal planning calendars, family schedule pads, grocery lists, team practice pads or chore charts.

For kids, organizing homework assignments, activities and other events are difficult too.  Many like to help their kids with the use of a scheduler that is themed especially with colorful designs and columns that are easy to use.  We offer many designs to select from such as emojis, baseball, soccer and more.  These make it much easier to stay organized.

Have a very happy and healthy 2017!

Best wishes,

Renee