My Beautiful Christmas Tree by the Sea

“Yes, a Christmas tree is something we cannot do without. Because a tree with all the trimmings… Up the mountain, follow me! I’ll find one soon, you’ll see! You’ll see I’ll find the perfect Christmas tree!” – Stan Berenstain

Last week I shared my Holiday Decorating Tips, & promised I’d share with all of you my newest tree… my Tree by the Sea.

This tree was inspired by Dave & my trip to South Carolina this past spring. On our trip we visited many gift shops (LOL, of course) and I fell in love with all the ocean themed holiday ornaments! Sea turtles, mermaids, starfish, jellyfish, and so much more. I could have spent thousands on these little beauties. Right then & there I decided I was going to start purchasing our ornaments for our new tree!

I don’t have a lot of ornaments, so I purchased this super cute black plastic ornamental tree! Let me know what you think. Do you have a special tree dedicated to a specific theme? If so, share with me in the comments below!

If you missed my How-to Host the Best Holiday Cookie Exchange, click HERE!

Seashell, seashell, by the seashore…

I’ve always love the holidays. As a child I have so many wonderful memories of my grandmother and mother writing out Christmas cards, baking holiday cookies, and of course our Christmas dinner with all the fixings. Christmas is the most magical time of the year. It’s when family & friends come together from near and far… it’s not just for the fun, but more importantly the togetherness. It’s when we have a special opportunity to make loved ones feel special and share in the holiday cheer.

These are my newest ornaments, and I can’t wait to add these onto this years tree!

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE, Share , and definitely comment. Let me know what your favorite bird is. Do you have a recipe to share?

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Happy Day,
Jean

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Candied Winter Squash with a not so sweet alternative!

“Growing food was the first activity that gave us enough prosperity to stay in one place, form complex social groups, tell our stories, and build our cities.” ― Barbara Kingsolver

Unique Heirloom Turban Squash!

Fall is full of wonderful delights to cook with…. really all the season’s are, but fall is for comfort food. This recipe for sure falls into that category! You can make this a super sweet dish or a savory side to go with any meal.

I will be using Sweet Dumpling squash for this recipe, however you can use any winter squash.
Other options include: Acorn, butternut, delicata, turban, & more.

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:

2 Winter Squash- I am using Sweet Dumpling for this recipe

4 TBSP Butter, divided

½ cup brown sugar, packed- divided

Non-stick cooking spray

The finished product… soooo yum!!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Wash your squash of any debris and dirt.

3. With a sharp butchers knife, carefully cut squash in half stem to bottom end. If there is a stem on the squash, break it off before attempting to cut it.

Pro Tip: For those who don’t want such a sweet dish, simply omit the brown sugar and add ½ tsp each salt & pepper in its place.

4. Scoop all the seeds out and discard. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray evenly across the bottom; Place cut side up in a 9” x 13” x 2” baking dish.

5. In each squash cavity, place 1 TBSP of butter and 2 TBSP brown sugar; cover and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Once a knife goes into the squash without any resistance it is done. Do not poke all the way through.

6. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes uncovered; With hot pads on, take each squash and pour butter brown sugar mixture into a large bowl; then with a spoon carefully scoop out the meat; mix together with butter brown sugar until thoroughly mixed.

Here is a video on how to scoop the cooked flesh from your squash!

If you enjoyed this post & thought this was a super yummy recipe leave me a comment.
…. and of course please LIKE, Follow & Share.

You can purchase my wonderful cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats again! Click this link to purchase: https://fordragonfliesandme.com/purchase-my-cookbook…/

Be sure to check out my Facebook page & follow me there for daily inspirations, lovely photos, & of course all kinds of great home & garden tips! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

It’s Time to Decorate for the Holidays: How-to decorate your home so it feels like a holiday wonderland!

“Christmas is forever, not for just one day. For loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away.” –Norman Wesley Brooks

I love to decorate for the holidays. I love the smell of our fresh evergreen Christmas tree… I love to create all my winter porch pots, which will be a topic coming up shortly! My friends have often said my home looks like Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan. This, to say the least, is quite a compliment which humbles me greatly. I simply do what I love and what makes me happy!

That my friends is what decorating is all about… YOU!!! Not what others think. Not to please others. Your home and it’s décor speaks of who you are, what you love, and even your life experiences & travels. Home is where the heart is.

I am going to share photos of my porch pots, home and trees I’ve had over the years. I hope they inspire you to create an inviting space that speaks of who you are, and what you love.

Happy Holidays Dragonfly Friends!

Pro Tip: Wrap empty boxes with festive paper and put those under any extra trees you may have OR use them as a cute stack and place an adorable gnome or other decoration on top for added interest in an empty corner!

I love my foyer & stairwell decorations!

These photos are of my front foyer. If you have one, it is wonderful to make it warm and welcoming. You can see I’ve switched the trees up. The snowman tree is what I currently use, and I just love how he welcomes all with a big smile & open arms!

I purchased this snowman tree a couple years ago at the end of the season, and I am soooo happy I did! I also started collecting my adorable little gnomes which climb the stairs. Each gnome represents one of my children, their partner if they have one, and of course my grandbabies! I line them in age order starting with the oldest at the top and move on down.

The other special thing I do is the stockings. Everyone one has one of those as well… as does Frankie & my two kitties Willow & Stormie. I always say the beauty is in the details!

Decorate with what makes you happy!

This year is going to be kinda sad for me though… I will be in the middle of moving and I honestly don’t even know if I will be able to put up a tree!!! Time will tell, but either way I am going to share what my home generally looks like!

My Favorite Trees…

My living room is home to what I refer to as my formal tree which is the only one we cut down every year. I also have a fun, whimsical artificial tree in my kitchen & dining room area. The Snowman tree is in my foyer, and then I still have one more! It is our newest and we call it our Tree by the Sea! That is going to be a post of it’s own!

Each year my kids & I go to a local tree farm and cut down our tree, haul it home, and decorate it! This is a tradition I’ve been doing for several years, and it is one I hope my kids will carry on with their families!

This was my tree in 2019 and it was done in burgundy, chocolates, & gold. I usually don’t use gold, but it made this tree look really elegant.

I love to use all types of ornaments. As you can see here, I was able to find gold as well as silver dragonflies! I was so thrilled!

Little birds along with beautiful ribbon and traditional bulbs add an altogether spectacular look to any tree!

This was my 2020 tree done is blues, clear, white, & silver! This is by far one of my favorite trees! Switching out your tree skirt to match adds that final touch!

Sparkly poinsettia’s, and glittery ribbon makes your tree sparkle! It is beautiful with or without the lights on!

Silver dragonflies sparkle in the twinkling lights of this tree!

This was my tree last year, 2021 done in red & whites!!! I had never done one like this, and it has become my very favorite.

Cute ornaments with little sayings are always a cute way to express yourself! I love to use different elements not just in the tree but throughout the house.

I was so excited when I found red & white pinstriped poinsettias for my tree!

Pro Tip: When storing your holiday décor, store items from each room in the same tote or totes. For example, put all your living room decorations in one tote, or as many as you need, but don’t mix with other rooms. Label each tote with a piece of paper on the inside facing out. 

I also decorate my dining room.

I have a small whimsical tree with felted mice and snowballs! The large window has lighted garland & ornaments which finishes the look. I decorate my hutch like a little woodland with trees, artificial snow, and other decorative elements!


I love to switch up the art for each season! Here are a few more pictures of my dining room!

Wall art sets the space in a home along with a beautiful center piece. I have often been told, beauty is in the details.

My living room fireplace mantel also gets a make over.

I have switched up the wall art, but generally the Nutcrackers have always adorned the mantel. Last year I was so excited to find the ceramic nutcrackers that now guard the fireplace at The Royal Oak Farmers Sunday Market!

It doesn’t stop there dragonfly friends! I even decorate my main floor bath!

I take my art and cover it with gift wrap for that extra touch! Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Decorate to make you happy!

Pro Tip: I always buy my following year’s decorations after the holiday! You can save up to 75% off all items, and that can equal big savings. I generally go and check out the items I may want and then hit the sales the very next day!!!

Pro Tip: Use clear plastic totes to store all your holiday décor in so you can easily see what is inside.

If you’d like to see more photo’s of my Holiday Décor, stop by & follow me on my Pinterest page!

As you can see, I go all out for the holidays. I love sharing with all of you, & I’d love to see pics of your holiday décor. Be sure to share some pics with me on my Facebook page. If you aren’t following me on Facebook, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Chicken Parmesan Made Easy!

“Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes.”
– Unknown

With the abundance of tomato’s we’ve had in the garden this summer, I’ve been able to make a few batches of my marinara sauce. That means we eat a lot of Italian dishes in our home. Believe me when I say no-one is complaining! I wanted to share this super yummy & easy Chicken Parmesan recipe with my favorite friends… yep, that is all of you!

Our Favorite Recipes

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts, tenderized about ½ inch thick
1 ½ cups Italian bread crumbs
1 ½ cup white all purpose flour
½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP’s whole white milk
1 cup Canola oil for frying
4 cups Marinara Sauce 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Click this link for my super easy Marinara Sauce recipe!
https://fordragonfliesandme.com/2022/09/21/marinara-sauce/

Tenderize chicken breasts to about ½ inch thickness. You don’t have to have a meat tenderizer. Watch Dave’s video demonstration with an every day kitchen item on Facebook !

1. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk until mixed thoroughly; in another bowl add flour, salt & pepper and mix; in a third bowl put bread crumbs.

While oil is heating, dip each chicken breast first in the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs; make sure each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated; place one or two pieces of chicken in heated oil making sure they do not overlap;

2. Put oil in a frying pan and bring to temperature on medium-high heat; you will know when the oil is hot enough when you put a drop of water in and it bubbles.

3. Fry on each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown- chicken will not be fully cooked; place paper towels onto a plate or cookie sheet; when chicken is done, remove and place chicken on paper towel to drain excess oil; repeat this process with new paper towels for each piece.

4. While the chicken is frying, put 2 cups of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish; spread until the bottom is evenly coated.

5. When chicken is done, place side by side in the baking dish; divide mozzarella cheese and spread evenly over each piece of chicken.

6. Bake covered for 30 minutes; uncover and broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

Serve with additional sauce and a delicious salad & garlic bread!

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like this one & more, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Daily Inspiration’s…

Beauty

Do you enjoy admiring beautiful things?
Would you like a plethora of ideas & inspirations at your finger tips?


If you said yes, then head on over to my Pinterest page and follow me there.

You won’t be disappointed!
Happy Day Dragonfly Friends,
Jean

What is a Community Supported Agriculture & How do I find one?

Ol’ man Simon, planted a diamond. Grew hisself a garden the likes of none. Sprouts all growin’ comin’ up glowin’ Fruit of jewels all shinin’ in the sun. Colors of the rainbow. See the sun and the rain grow sapphires and rubies on ivory vines, Grapes of jade, just ripenin’ in the shade, just ready for the squeezin’ into green jade wine.” -Shel Silverstein

As many of you may remember, my past life as an Organic Farmer was filled with busy days in the greenhouses, gardens, and with the animals. There is part of me that misses it all… yet there is another part of me that is simply grateful for the experience and lessons it taught me.

One of the things I loved most about my farm was our Community Supported Agriculture program AKA CSA. This is the time of year that many people begin looking for a CSA program for next year. That may seem strange to some… thinking about getting next summer’s produce, but from a farmer’s point of view, now’s the time.

I thought now would be a great time to share some tips on choosing a CSA, and what to look for when hunting down the perfect farm for you!

Many seed, greenhouse supply and agricultural companies offer substantial discounts to farmers for getting their orders in before the end of the year. This can mean substantial savings to farmers, especially beginning farmers. Not only that, but meat and dairy producers are looking at feed costs and amounts of livestock needed for the following season.

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Most farmers plan & place seed orders by the end of November. Plans for ordering next year’s Thanksgiving turkeys are being thought out right now as well. How many meat birds and laying hens will be needed to supply the demand the following year. Quantities of feed they’ll need to secure for their livestock is also a consideration. These are all important factors being considered by farmers as I write this. 

1. Types of CSA’s. Determine what you’re looking for before you go on the hunt. This will allow you to do custom Google searches. Here are a few of the more common types you may consider when starting your search.

There are many types of CSA’s including the typical veggies but some farms have what are referred to ‘add-on’s’. These can include fruit, flower, egg, meat, milk & dairy, and even coffee! Our farm offered a Spring, Summer, and Winter share with all of the above options with the exception of coffee.

2. Questions you will need to consider when deciding on the perfect CSA program for you. Does the farm meet your individual/family needs?

  1. Do you want organic products or is that not relevant to you? Does Organic certification make a difference?
    Pro Tip: My personal note here is, that it is important to know your farmer/producer. Organic certification is not geared to small, family run farms and can be very cost prohibitive to them.
  2. Do you want home delivery? Do you want to pick up at your local farmers market?
  3. What are all the delivery options?
  4. Does the potential farm have multiple share size options to fit your individual/family size? For example: full or half share, senior or single options.
  5. Do you want to participate in a work share program if that’s an opportunity? This would entail doing labor on the farm or market location in exchange for the food or discount off the share.

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6. Do you want to help support a small-family run farm, or a large multi-member farm?
7. Does the farm allow installment, accept credit card, offer discounts for full pay or an early bird discount?
8. How many share members does the potential farm allow each season? When is the cut off date? 9. Does the farm have a web site to view their products, farm photo’s, etc.?
10. Does it have a Facebook page where members can communicate between each other and their farmers?
11. Are you picky eaters? Do you cook? Do you ‘want’ to cook?

12. Does the farm have ‘customizable’ share options? Will you be able to swap out things you don’t care for?
13. Is it a pre-pack (shares packed and ready for pick up) or a U-Pack (You get to choose between specific items for your share)?
14. Does the potential farm have an on site farm stand?
15. Does the farm allow for visits? does it have a ‘field day’ where members are invited to attend?

With regards to this last item, I’d like to defend some farmers stand on this… being I was a farmer for almost 15 years.
Farmer’s have families and lives outside of their business life and it’s not always convenient to have people ‘popping’ in. I always suggested to the ‘curious’ potential members if they allowed their clients or customers to just pop into their homes unannounced? Suddenly the reality of the request became a little bit more realistic.  Most farmers aren’t trying to ‘hide’ anything, it’s simply a matter of privacy and having a life of their own. Also, many people don’t understand the dangers on a farm, especially around equipment and with children.  Additional insurance is required when allowing people to come onto the farm. So please don’t judge a farmer harshly just because they don’t offer ‘unannounced pop-ins’.

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3. Sources to find CSA programs. Here are a few reliable sources to begin your research.

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://www.localdirt.com/

http://www.ecovian.com/csa

http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml

If you have the opportunity to visit the potential farm/er at a local farmers market they participate in, I suggest you go early in the morning. Most members try to pick up their shares earlier and this would give you an opportunity to see how the farmers relate to their members. You’d also have the chance to talk to other members, which the farmers usually love. The members will be able to give you an actual ‘review’ of how they like the share and the farm/er.  You would be able to see the produce available and the additional things they offer, like meat, eggs, flowers, etc.

Finding a Community Supported Agriculture program that will fit your families or individual needs can be a challenge, but if you go on the hunt prepared and understanding what you’re looking for, it won’t be so daunting.

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Wholesale Case Pricing for my Cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats And Treats!

Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats

My cookbook contains almost 1000 easy & delicious recipes gathered from the women at Bethany Mennonite Church in Michigan.

Wholesale pricing is available for either half case (10 books) or full case (22 books). Message me for more information.

Thanksgiving Day Menu, Here are my favorite recipes!

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
~Henry Van Dyke

The majestic colors of rust, scarlet and turmeric change the scenery as autumn’s coolness triggers the giants to slow down and lapse into their winter slumber.  Their summer green changes into something more rich, but also something that will soon be lost.  As death is sure, they begin their decent gliding down to blanket the ground in a beauty all too exquisite. When the boys were little, as quickly as they were raked into piles, they would run, jumping into them laughing as they tussled about in that lovely crunching sound made under their weight.

Autumn is a time for food! As the holidays quickly approach we begin preparing for that special feast, Thanksgiving dinner.

Each of us brings traditions, especially where the holiday menus are concerned. When the word Thanksgiving starts ringing around our home, it seems to evoke this happy, warm, fuzzy kinda feeling… ya know?

As you get to know me here and at For Dragonflies And Me, you’ll read much about my family in the kitchen. 

From seed-time to harvest, food is a part of all of our lives and I believe we should enjoy it to the fullest! I am never happier than when my boys come in from the cold and I hear these precious words.., “Oooohhhhh, mom, that smells so good!

Here’s our family’s traditional Thanksgiving Day Dinner Menu

Our Favorite Recipes

Grandma’s Famous Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients:
1 large head cabbage- about 6-8 pounds
1 ½ pound ground beef, raw
2 cups raw white rice
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 quarts tomato juice
Salt & Pepper
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. salt

Pro Tip:

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This recipe is not in my cookbook, but you can find my Cabbage Roll Casserole recipe. That’s what I make when I feel lazy!) 

Here is the link to that recipe blog Cabbage Roll Casserole https://wordpress.com/post/fordragonfliesandme.com/3090

1.Fill a large pot ¾ ways full with water, add ½ tsp. salt.

2.Take cabbage and carefully cut out the stem and cut into the cabbage to make it so the leaves will remove easily, but not to fall apart.

3.Place cabbage in a pot with stem end up facing you; turn heat on high and bring to a boil; once boiling turn down to medium. Cover and cook for about ½ hour to 45 minutes- till cabbage is cooked but not mushy.

4.While cabbage is cooking, combine all meat, rice, onion and 1 quart of tomato juice; mix until evenly distributed. Place aside until cabbage is ready.

5.Remove cabbage from the pot and place it in a sink of cold water. Taking one leaf at a time, cut out the center rib about 1/3 way up if necessary, being careful not to rip the leaf. Place ¼ cup of meat and rice mixture into the center of the leaf. Carefully roll up once and then fold each side in and then roll up one last time. Place in a roaster edge side down.

6. Sprinkle salt & pepper over each layer of roll and then pour enough tomato juice over to cover; repeat until the next layer is done making sure the rolls are covered with tomato juice. Tuck in the two bay leaves.

7.Cover and bake for 2 hours at 325 degrees.

Real Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

1- 9” deep dish unbaked pie crust
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup milk
1 egg white, stiffly beaten

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a blender, combine all ingredients, except egg white, and blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Pour into pie crust; add stiffly beaten egg white, folding in very carefully with spatula into pie. Small lumps are fine.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; lower to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Test for doneness with a toothpick to check the center for dryness. I use actual pumpkin that I can, so if you like a stronger flavor, this is a great recipe!

Cranberry Mousse, pg. 64

1- 6 oz. pkg. strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1- 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
1- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained, juice separated and reserved
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon peel
2 cups sour cream
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) – but so good with!

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add pineapple juice to gelatin. Stir in cranberries, lemon juice and lemon peel. Chill until thickened but not totally set- about 1-2 hours. Fold in sour cream, pineapple and nuts. Chill until set.

Vegetable Dressing, pg. 197

1- 1# loaf, day old bread
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup diced, cooked potatoes
1 cup diced, cooked carrots
1 cup dice, uncooked celery
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk

Break bread into cubes and mix with butter. Add milk to eggs. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into a well-greased 2 quart baking dish or stuff in the bird, any excess putting around the base of the bird. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 ½ hours if in a baking dish or until the bird is fully cooked. If using a bowl, stir several times while baking.

Did you think I forgot the main dish? We always get a farm raised turkey from a local farmer at the farmers market (now that I don’t raise my own).

Roasted Turkey
Preheat to 325 degrees.
1. Remove turkey from any packaging and remove giblets from the cavity.

2. Spray your roaster with non-stick butter flavored spray; Place turkey in an electric roaster or in a large roasting pan.

3. If you are stuffing the turkey, now is the time to do so- pack stuffing into the cavity of the turkey until it is almost full.

4. Spray turkey with non-stick butter flavored spray; sprinkle whatever seasonings you enjoy over the turkey. I use some Seasoned Garlic Salt, a bit of salt & pepper.
You can also use a poultry rub with great results!

Pro Tip: How long do you cook my turkey?

  • For 10- to 12-pound turkey, roast 3¼ hours to 3½ hours.
  • For 12- to 14-pound turkey, roast 3½ to 4 hours.
  • For 14- to 18-pound turkey, roast 4 to 4¼ hours.
  • For 18- to 20-pound turkey, roast 4¼ to 4¾ hours.

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

How-to Make a Holiday Living Wreath in 4 Easy Steps!

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
–Cicero

This year the holidays will be quite a bit different for me. Family traditions are very important, and instilling them in my children has become my mission as I’ve tried to create so many for them. To my dismay, our annual trip to cut down our holiday tree and decorate it together won’t be possible this year.  As I am in the middle of moving, I won’t be decorating my home in its normal holiday cheer.

Decorating is part of the charm of the holiday’s! The lights, holiday cooking & baking, and of course the greenery including both the tree & wreaths!

How fun would it be to create your own holiday living wreath?

I agree, it would be far easier to just  simply purchase a few artificial ones and call it done… but there is something extra special about the smell of pine wafting through the house. The texture and beauty live wreaths offer can’t be had with artificial ones. 

Easy 4 Step Directions!

Here’s a brief how-to & what you’ll need to create your very own beautiful living wreaths!

Pro Tip: Be sure to wear gloves when working with evergreen branches, the sap is super sticky & terribly troublesome to wash off!

Materials you will need:

~1- 14 inch concave metal wreath form, or larger if you’d like
~Binding or mossing wire
~1 to 2- 8 ounce bags of sheet moss
~Sharp garden shears
~4 to 6 plants- you’ll need to add more plants the bigger your wreath is.   
~Evergreen branches 1 or 2 varieties- I love to incorporate wispy balsam & juniper with the berries!
~Other foliage including rosehips, Queen Ann’s Lace, cattail, ornamental grasses with seed heads, eucalyptus, pine cones or holly.

Step 1: Place the moss on the wire wreath frame, using your wire to attach it securely. Be generous with the moss for a full look. Take your mossing wire and wrap it around the wreath frame at one end; wrap the wire around the moss in a circular motion, making sure it is taut; add more moss as necessary to give a balanced appearance.
Pro Tip: If choosing live plant varieties, take into consideration whether they need full sun or shade.

Photo Credit to Better Homes & Garden

Step 2: Start decorating your wreath with beautiful foliage. Once you have your moss attached to the wreath you can begin adding your seasonal foliage. Remember to keep things balanced by placing your greenery evenly spaced apart. Push the stem ends into the moss diagonally, almost in a 45 degree angle. 

Photo Credit to frontgate.com

Step 3: Make it your own! Once you have your greenery & foliage you can begin to add additional decorative elements like pine cones, dried orange slices, & rose hips. You can even add a few holiday ornaments to add a bit of pizzazz! 
Pro Tip: You can keep your living wreath fresher & lasting longer with a simple light dusting & mist the foliage with water once a week.

Step 4: Add the finishing touches! After you’ve adorned your wreath, make sure there are no gaps or odd empty spaces. If there are some either add more moss or adornment. Add a beautiful bow at the bottom or top of the wreath with wire for that final touch! 

This simple project makes a great gift or keep it for yourself. Once you decide where you are going to put it, I have a feeling you’ll want to make another one!

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE, Share , and definitely comment. Let me know what your favorite bird is. Do you have a recipe to share?

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Jean

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Dave’s Delish Bourbon Chicken

“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”― Thomas Wolfe

Last week I shared my Roasted Root Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze recipe and promised this one would be coming next… so here it is!!! You will not be disappointed!!! This is one of Dave’s recipe and our family just loves it served on a bed of Basmati rice with my veggies! Just in case you missed it, here is the link!

Farmers markets are abounding with fresh produce, farm fresh eggs, honey, maple syrup, flowers, and of course delicious grass fed meats. I like to get my meat from several farmers who participate at the markets I frequent. These delicious & meaty thighs were purchased from Vestergarrd Farms located in Ann Arbor, Michigan! They participate in the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, which is where we go most frequently due to it’s location.

Now lets get into this super yummy recipe you will all just love!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:
8 boneless chicken thighs

Marinade:
¼ cup Soy Sauce- I use Braggs
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup Jim Beam Bourbon
2 TBSP fresh minced red onion
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp herb garlic salt or regular garlic salt 
***You can use garlic powder in exchange for salt if you’d like
½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Farm raised meats are so wonderfully delicious & fresh. However if you purchase your meat from a grocer, you are still supporting local!

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a gallon size Ziploc bag combine all marinade ingredients; mix until well blended & set aside.

3. Take chicken thighs and cut into 1” strips leaving most of the skin on; put strips in the bag of marinade and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight if you want to plan ahead.

4. Pour both marinade and chicken strips into a 9” x 13” x 2” baking dish; cook uncovered for 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally.

This is delicious served on a bed of Basmati rice and my Roasted Root Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze.

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Added bonus: You can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Happy day,
Jean