The perfect holiday hostess gift with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and McCrea’s Candies

This conversation is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and McCrea’s Candies. It is my honor to share news with you from a company that I enjoy and support!

Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but mama told me never to arrive at a gathering without a gift. Even if that means that I stop by the grocery store to run in for a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, I’m not gonna show up without something. I can hear her saying it as I walk out the door and you know that I’ll always do whatever it is she tells me to do!

When I opened the box from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and McCrea’s Candies, I was stunned. It was so elegant. The products are packaged beautifully and almost too pretty to open. Of course, I said almost!

Other than flour and sugar, vanilla is my most used ingredient whenever I bake. I have tried many different brands, and I can tell you that this one is absolutely decadent. It is sweet and tasty and makes everything you bake smell amazing!

So, I’m thinking this gift would be perfect when you are heading over to the home of the woman who just loves to host. Give her a little something to bake with and a little something to enjoy and relax with!

Items included within the gift basket:

  • McCrea’s Black Lava Sea Salt Caramels (5.5 oz tube, $14.95) — Rich, creamy caramel with crystals of Hawaiian black sea salt. A moment in paradise.
  • McCrea’s Classic Vanilla Caramels (5.5 oz tube, $14.95) — McCrea’s original caramel generously infused with sweet, aromatic vanilla. For the purist
  • Nielsen- Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar (7.5 oz jar, $23) — A flavorful blend of gourmet baker’s sugar and the pinnacle of all vanillas, Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Use it in any recipe where vanilla and the sweetness of sugar are desired.
  • Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Coffee Extract (2 oz bottle, $9) — The rich, freshly brewed flavor is achieved through our careful distillation of premium coffee beans. This concentrated extract is easy to keep on hand, unlike ground coffee or beans, which rapidly lose their flavor.

From their websites:

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

Throughout its 110-year history, Nielsen-Massey has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products includes: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Alcohol Free Madagascar Pure Vanilla, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans. Nielsen-Massey Fairtrade products are certified by FLO-CERT.

Nielsen-Massey also offers a full line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are All-Natural, Allergen-Free, GMO-Free, and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

About McCrea’s Candies

McCrea’s Candies was founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea.  Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the sweet science of candy making after double layoffs.  Started in a home kitchen, McCrea’s Candies now offers a full line of mouthwatering caramels to retail outlets throughout North America.

Guess what?! Just in time for the holidays, they would love to send one of you a set! I love this part of my job! Be sure and enter below.

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Jackie - My mom is the hostess I would LOVE to spoil.
thank you!

Annette - My cousin is the hostess I’d love to spoil. She’s always volunteering her house for family events and does most of the cooking.

The season of calm

This conversation is sponsored by Grove Collaborative. It is my honor to share news with you from a company that I enjoy and support!

We’re in that magical and ridiculously busy stretch of the year where the calendar is overflowing with school plays, parent-teacher conferences, holiday parties, celebratory dinners, and family get-togethers.

For the most part it’s fun, but sometimes I just want to close the doors and hide.

In those moments, it’s especially important to me that our home feels like a retreat from all the busyness.

Scent is one of my favorite ways to create a calm, restorative atmosphere, so I’m thrilled that Mrs. Meyer’s is bringing back my favorite seasonal scents: peppermint, orange clove, and Iowa pine. 

Cheerful orange clove is a great stress reliever and crisp Iowa pine instantly puts me in the holiday spirit.

Now you can experience the magic of Mrs. Meyer’s for free with this Holiday Set from my friends at Grove Collaborative. Whoop!

When you place your first order of $20 using my link (click here), you’ll get:

  • Mrs. Meyer’a holiday hand soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s holiday dish soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s holiday multi surface spray
  • Grove Collaborative seasonal kitchen towel 

Existing customers using my link (click here) will get a free set of Grove walnut scrubber sponges. I love handing these sponges to the kids to use during cleaning. They really do a great job without being too rough.

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like to pray during everyday tasks like doing dishes or washing my hands. I pray over my kids or my husband’s job. I pray for my neighbors and my friends who are ill.  Just a few minutes in prayer can really bring me back to remembering what is important in this world. 

This Grove kitchen towel feels like such a treat to use, too. It’s perfect for streamlining a busy kitchen, since you can use it to dry dishes, drape it over bread dough while it’s rising, and even grab hot cookie sheets out of the oven. It also works like a charm with Mrs. Meyer’s multi-surface spray for whisking away messes on the stove or counter.

Another way that I bring order to my home this time of year is by using Grove Collaborative. Grove ships my favorite natural household products like laundry detergent, paper towels, and soaps to my doorstep on my schedule. No more rushing around stores and fighting crowds! It really helps me feel organized and on top of things which is essential during the holidays.

Once you submit your first Grove order using my link (click here), you’ll also be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, you’ll save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service — perfect if you’re trying to stretch your holiday budget!

I hope your holidays are wonderful and peaceful! I can’t believe they are already here upon us! Have a wonderful week!

All Hallows Eve – 2017

This year our crew consisted of Meg from Hercules (Julia), Shirley Temple (Mary Alice), and a clown (Riley). Riley basically just wanted any excuse to have his hair sprayed green.

It was a beautiful night with our annual tradition of chili and cornbread, friends and neighbors, kids running in every direction, and wonderful memories.

Nate decided to go with our neighbor at the last minute after all. He dressed as an every original Rugby player.

It’s hard to believe this is Julia’s last year in high school. It’s hard to believe that this might be our last time all dressing up together. The funniest part is, we didn’t even start dressing up for All Hallows Eve until we moved to Arizona. I grew up not participating in Halloween activities, so I just figured that is how my own family would work. And now, I’m gonna miss it.

Julia did an amazing job putting her costume together out of her closet. She always amazes me at her thoughtful designs that turn out perfectly!

A few weeks ago, Julia took Riley shopping at thrift stores for a costume. When they got back, he told me how much fun he had. They came back with one bottle of green hair spray and no costume. It took four days to wash out and it made me smile every single day. Worth it.

I wish I had gotten a better picture of Mary Alice. But it was late and she is two, so you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

And I can’t leave out Julia’s dear friend Julia. Can you believe this makeup? It is absolutely incredible! Awesome job, Julia!

I love this little tradition of ours. It always makes for a special evening!

Sebastian Seven Months Old

Dearest Sebastian,  you are almost eight months old and you are still such a wonder to me.

I’m so amazed and glad and surprised that you are here. Your childhood is already filled with so much love.

You are making memories for Riley and Mary Alice that I treasure. When you smile at them, their entire world lights up.

Julia and Nate love holding you at night as you drift off to dream.

Nate’s strong arms lift your stroller and car seat any time he is around.

Riley loves to tell people about your blue eyes. What a sweet and special gift God has given Riley in having a brother with the same color eyes.

Now let’s talk about your hair. In grand Eschbach fashion, you have amazing hair. Julia has hair that can be straight or take curl effortlessly. Nate’s curls are legendary. Riley has red hair that stops traffic. Mary Alice has hair that rivals Shirley Temple. And now you. You have a full head of hair that people can’t believe. They are pretty sure I’m wrong when I tell them you are seven months old.

You are gracious about sharing the spotlight with your older siblings and your gentle smile melts me every day.

I love you, Sebastian.

Modesty and Style on a Budget

This conversation is sponsored by Uptown Cheapskate! Our family has shopped there since its opening day and I’m thrilled to share a little bit about them with you! 

{Entire outfit from Uptown Cheapskate}

Growing up, I was never really a shopper. I knew what I liked and what I was looking for, and that was about it. My mom was so great about getting me cute clothes, I’m pretty sure I took it completely for granted. When my best friend and I went shopping, I’d just copy her outfit.

Fast forward twenty years and now I have my own teenagers who love to shop and have great taste. The first time I took Julia shopping as a tween, I remember calling mom from the dressing room. I had been finished for 45 minutes, and she still had a pile to try on. She knows exactly what she likes and is so good at not settling. She looks for quality, modesty, and how it really fits on her.

{Dress from Uptown Cheapskate}

Thank goodness she didn’t inherit a ‘grab a pair of jeans that looks like they will fit and run’ gene from me.

Nate has always been a fashionable gentleman is very particular about what he likes. He likes to find a store that has exactly the style he likes and be able to shop and pay within ten minutes.

They both know that spending a lot of money on clothes is not an option, so they have to be creative with their budget.

{Shirt from Uptown Cheapskate}

The Uptown Cheapskate here in Scottsdale is next door to Kid to Kid. We’ve been shopping at Kid to Kid for years, and we were so curious to see Uptown Cheapskate when it opened. It is perfect for our family! I take Riley, Mary Alice, and Sebastian to Kid to Kid and Julia and Nate shop at Uptown Cheapskate.

From Uptown Cheapskate: 

Uptown Cheapskate buys what you loved yesterday and sells what you want today. Bring in your gently used clothes, shoes, bags and accessories for cash on the spot, and snag amazing deals on the brands you love. At Uptown, you’ll find new and gently used clothes from brands like Coach, Michael Kors, Express, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters and more at a fraction of retail prices.

They always find great clothes and shoes within their budget. We were there a few weeks ago and found two pairs of jeans, two shirts, and a dress for less than $50.00.

After they’ve outgrown their outfits, we take them back to resell. The best part? If they don’t buy the clothes you bring in, you have the option to take them back home or to donate them to a charity that comes by the store to pick them up. This store donates to a women’s shelter. I love that I can drop everything off, and if they don’t buy it for any reason, I know the clothes are going to a great home.

Anyways, you know how I like sharing the places I love in my town with you. If you are local, they have a gift certificate they’d love to give to one of you! Just enter below…


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Isabella - Wish they had one of these here in Texas !

Allie - We need to check this place out!

Sara Blake - We love Uptown! I’m honestly kind of boring, I don’t have a favorite designer. I shop more on style and budget!

Ashley Whipple - I just drove past an uptown cheapskate in Chandler and I was thinking I needed to stop in. I’m constantly needing new clothes these days. It’s a good problem to have, but it can be expensive!

Allison Waken - Oh I need to go check them out for my super fast growing boys! And I always love a new place to shop for me!

Diana - I would love to check out this store! I rarely shop for myself but my fave designer for handbags is Michael Kors and my fave designer for dresses is Nicole Miller 🙂