A year of self care reading

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2021 marks the year I turn 29. 29 years on this earth, and it feels like I’m only beginning to get anything figured out.

The goal I have for this 29th year is to do everything possible to enter my 30’s as healthy as possible.

A huge part of that is taking care of my mental health. As someone who struggles with anxiety, the last few years especially, I have put a huge focus on my mental health.

I have always loved reading and writing, but in my early 20’s I barely read at all. Now that I am focusing so steadily on my mental health and self care, I have gotten back into reading and have found a love for self improvement type books. This is how the idea for “A year of self care reading” was born!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, I’d LOVE for you to join me on this year-long reading adventure!

I am going to read & reflect on at least one book a month in 2021. There are SO many great books out there and I cannot wait to get started, but also do not want to overwhelm myself. If I commit to some crazy, one book a week schedule I’ll 100% get stressed and quit. (Enneagram 7w8, BLUEEEE/yellow personality. If you follow those things, you know my struggles)

Since there are so many books out there, I’m also not saying this plan of mine won’t change. You can follow me on Instagram @shorthairsandlongnaps as I’ll probably be keeping updates on this in my stories and such. (Plus I’d love to connect with you! Especially if this reading list is something you want to do with me!)

I have a kindle, which I LOVE! But for this I want to read at least half of the books in a physical book form. I think I’ll see if any of my choices are included in my KindleUnlimited subscription (which if you’re a fan of reading, you should try it out!)

Let’s get on with the books now!

So up first, these are the books, as of right now, I plan on reading. Again, this might change and I’m also going to include some honorable mentions in case you’d like to read more or want to skip one on this main list.

12 books – one for each month of 2021

1. Switch on your brain: the key to peak happiness, thinking, and health by Dr. Caroline Leaf

This book showed up on my radar when a fellow oils instgrammer kept posting it in her morning routine. I’ve been thinking of it ever since, even seeing one of my Facebook friends post about reading it, so I figured we’d start with this book.

Also, I feel like my brain really needs switched on hahaha

This author also has a book coming out in March called your mental mess. Sounds like another promising title for myself, honestly.

2. I thought it was just me (but it isn’t) – Brene Brown

Brene Brown quotes are generously peppered throughout the positive pages I follow on Instagram. Some of her words really resonate with me and I cannot wait to dig into her books.

The reason I’m choosing this one in particular to start with, out of her other options, is the title speaks to me. As someone who deals with anxiety and has dealt with postpartum depression, imposter syndrome is a real thing. Whether or not this book touches on it, I have no clue. But I just feel like this might be a great book to have in my 2021 arsenal. Mental health struggles often feel very lonely and I often find myself feeling like no one understands what I’m going through. That’s a very false statement, but it’s the nature of the beast.

3. You are a badass – how to stop doubting your greatness and living an awesome life – Jen Scincero

Another influencer found book from insta. I follow some top notch people on my blog gram. I highly suggest detoxing your social media platforms and following very inspiring people. I don’t even go on my personal Instagram regularly because the people and pages aren’t my speed anymore. Love and light, baby.

ANYYYYYWAY, this book. I saw a picture of one of the pages, read it and knew I needed to consume this book. And I cannot wait to do so. Let’s all stop doubting our greatness because we are all destined for it.

4. A year of yes – how to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person by Shonda Rimes

The author of this book is the creator of Greys Anatomy, which I have to admit I haven’t watched, but this is her story of saying yes to things she’d normally say no too.

I don’t know that it’s so much a self help book, but I like the positive energy that comes from the title and the story I’ve read in the description on Amazon. So we’ll give this a go.

5. Get out of your head: stopping the spiral of toxic thoughts by Jennie Allen

As a person who struggles with anxiety and finds myself dwelling on mistakes and the past, the title of this book was just like one of those cookies from Alice in Wonderland with an “eat me” sticker on. Swap “eat me” with “read me” and I’m in my own little wonderland.

This book seems to be a religion based book, as there is mention of God, so if that’s not your speed you can swap it out with one of the honorable mentions I’m including at the end.

6. Empty out the negative by Joel Osteen

Okay, this is another religion based book. My apologies if that’s not your thing. Again, there’s honorable mentions going to be listed below.

On that note, I’ve been mistyped as very religious my whole life, when in reality I don’t know anything about religion really. I’m still not even sure who I’m supposed to be praying to? God? Jesus? Is there a secretary Angel that screens calls? I don’t know. But I do know that 2020 has had me clinging to worship music for dear life and it makes me feel better when I’m anxious.

This book description touches on holding onto bitterness and jealousy, which lets get rid of all that jazz this year! We hold no space for old, unhealed negativity in 2021.

7. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

This book has mixed reviews, mostly by diehard fans of her first book, it seems. I have not read any of her work, so I have nothing to judge this book on, besides the cover. Which I’m obsessed with. It’s the most beautiful book cover I’ve ever seen in my life.

This book is geared towards women empowerment and I am HERE FOR IT. I cannot wait to read this book.

8. Atomic Habits: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones by James Clear

Mannnnn, this one is really speaking to me. One of my biggest realizations the last few years is how many negative coping mechanisms and toxic habits I’ve adopted. Let’s break those bad habits in the new year!

9. Make your bed – little things that can change your life….and maybe the world by Admiral William H. McRaven

I’m going to say right now, I hate the title of this book because I hate making my bed. I’ve made my bed almost 0% of my life. Like why are we making the bed just to go to sleep later? But I appreciate the motive behind it. I also feel like it is a very productive habit to have and that probably sets a great tone for the rest of the day. Which is why it made its way onto this list. I’m interested to see what other “little things” it will suggest to change my life.

10. Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb

Therapy has changed my life. I truly know without a shadow of a doubt I would not be doing as well as I am today without crawling my broken self into counseling. That being said, I’m a fan of this title. The description on amazon has me truly excited to read this book.

This book is written by a therapist and from what I understand is about her experiences as a therapist and also her own person therapy journey. Very interesting.

If you haven’t yet tried therapy, I highly recommend it. Worst case scenario is you don’t like it, so just stop going. But it is truly amazing, life changing and more than just talking. You leave with validation, coping skills and weight lifted off your chest.

11. The body keeps score – brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma by Bessel Von Der Kolk, M.D.

Do a little research on trauma. It’s not always a huge catastrophe of an experience. Even people with great childhoods and “normal” lives experience trauma, but never seek help because they either don’t realize it or believe that they have not had it bad enough, etc etc. Bullying, death, frequent moves and many other normal life experiences are examples of trauma we experience and it has more impact that you (and I) ever realized.

I cannot wait to read this book.

Even if you don’t feel like you’ve experienced trauma, education on the matter is good for everyone, in my uneducated opinion anyway.

12. You’re not enough (and that’s okay) escaping the toxic culture of self love by Allie Beth Stuckey

This is a definite read for this year, because as we embark on this healing journey through books, this sounds like a good reality check that healing isn’t linear. It’s hard. It’s not one of those things that you just decide upon and it happens overnight.

Sometimes we feel like we’re failing because we don’t fit into a box that someone else has made for us. That’s a problem a lot of people need to work on because it’s setting you up for failure from the get go.

This seems to be another Christian based book but I am ready for it. I can’t wait to see this authors perspective and read her story.

So there you have it. A year of self care, self improvement and self love reading. I can’t wait to go on this journey with you in the year 2021. There is so much power within ourselves and we just need to unlock it, step into our full potential and be 100% our authentic selves.

2021 is a year of improvement for me. The last 3 years have been messy, to put it lightly. And I’m ready to see what 2021 has in store for me. If you want to follow along, join me on Instagram. Message me and let me know you’re there for the year of good reading!

Now, onto some honorable mentions. This will be great for those of you who want to skip the religion based books or if you simply want to read more.

Honorable mentions:

1. The self-care prescription by Robyn L. Gobin

2. Good vibes, good life – a real world guide to achieving a greater life by Vex King

3. Super attractor: methods for manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein

4. Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Berne Brown

5. The subtle art of not giving a f*ck: a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson preorder

6. Present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for simpler more soulful way of living by Shauna Niequist

7. Didn’t see that coming: putting your life back together when your world falls apart by Rachel Hollis

8. You can heal your life by Louise Hay

9. It didn’t start with you: how inherited family trauma shapes who were are and how it ends with you by Mark Wolynn

Also some goals are to get better with my journaling. I have the mindfulness journal and want to be more intentional with using it. I feel like writing things down is a great way to release things instead of keeping them in this brain.

Here is the journal I have!

If you don’t have a kindle, I highly recommend one! This is the one I have and love.

I also really love the free kindle app on my phone, so you can try that out first and you can try kindle Unlimited for free as well with the link below!

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Let’s work on ourselves in 2021!

4 Reasons you need a Kindle and KindleUnlimited

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Hello fellow book loving friend! If you’re new around here, my name is Stephanie and MANNNNN do I love a good book.

I really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly love a real book. The beauty of the pages, the sound of turning a page, the weight of it in my hands, the smell of the paper. It’s so good. It’s so comforting to pick up a great book on a rainy day and leave the world behind to go somewhere else.

But I am here to tell you why you need an ereader. There’s no denying I’m team real book. I mean gaze back up to read my description of holding a book and you’ll see I’m a fan.

Honestly I was ferociously against ereaders for a VERY long time. Refused the even think about owning one. But then my late 20’s hit, home ownership became a thing, motherhood happened and suddenly ereaders were on my radar.

Here is my list of ways my kindle (and the free kindle app) has changed my life and maybe (probably definitely) will change yours, too.

1. Reading on the go

Maybe you’re always channeling your inner Rory Gilmore and you carry a book with you everywhere you go, but I do not. When I am at appointments or find myself in a situation where I have free time, I try to open my kindle app or use my kindle if I’ve brought that along.

I feel much better when I’ve read a book vs scrolled social media in my spare time. We’re so inclined to thumb surf Facebook and Instagram, but I find it more beneficial for my brain if I choose a book to fill the spaces instead.

2. Reading with the lights off

HELLO. If this isn’t life changing in itself, I don’t know what is. Especially in the winter! You can read in bed without getting out of your cozy warmness to turn off the overhead light. I don’t have a light by my bed, so this is huge for me.

I also read books on my kindle app to my son at bedtime or naptime. This is another great life hack for me, because his light is off. I also use the kindle unlimited app a lot for this time in particular. There is a ton of kids books included in this subscription, it pays for itself just at bedtime alone. Plus, it’s so quick to swap books. Seconds and I’ve downloaded the next title and we’re off to reading again.

3. Tracks your reading

I love this feature of reading on my kindle and the kindle app. It tracks your stats on GoodReads. You can set a Reading Challenge, you can see how many days in a row and weeks you’ve consistently read.

I love this info. I’ve seen reviews of people not liking it, but I personally love it and almost find it motivating to make sure I read at least one book to my son or a couple chapters of my own book.

4. You don’t have to store books

This is honestly my number one favorite reason I love my kindle & kindle unlimited. Kindle is obviously digital. Your books you purchase are floating in cyber space in “the cloud” and this results in more space in your home. Clutter drive me bananas. I have a lot of it and I am purging, purging, purging.

I feel like some books deserve a space in your home. Like the Harry Potter series, my beloved Nora Roberts trilogies, cook books and some reference type books. But when it comes to the books I’m consuming on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis, I’m really loving not having a house full of books.

Unless you have a library straight out of beauty and the beast, this is probably very appealing to you as well.

BONUS 5. KindleUnlimited – unlimited books for approximately $10 a month

I can’t recall how much a month this subscription actually is, but I can say that I tried it out for my free trial and never once looked back or regretted the decision to join. It’s around $10 I believe. Which that’s around the price of one book and you can read an unlimited amount of books with this subscription.

It pays for itself in kids books alone, but there are also so many books I’ve read and plan on reading that are included.

Not every book out there is on the subscription, but there is a TON of options.

There’s cookbooks, essential oil education books, children’s books, self development books, romance novels and more. You name it, the genre is probably available.

So this is a short, breezy post about the benefits of a kindle and kindle unlimited. I’ll link my kindle below. It is perfect for me and I absolutely love it. Very lightweight and the charge lasts FOREVER. I also use the free kindle app on my iPhone DAILY. So if you wanted to try that out before buying a kindle, I highly recommend. That is what I usually use when reading to my son at nap time.

You can also try out the kindle unlimited app for free by signing up through this link below! Give it a try! Like I said, I started with the free trial and just never looked back. I love it so much.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

11 Gift ideas for your toddler

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Christmas lists, or shopping lists in general, have always been something I enjoy. So it doesn’t surprise me that this is my second year creating “gift guides” for the blog.

My son will be 3 by the time Christmas Day arrives, and this year is probably the funnest it’s been to shop for him. I compiled a little list of ideas I have for him.

I am not buying him all these things, just including all my thoughts in case it’ll help anyone out.

If you have any ideas that I might have missed, let me know in the comments!

1. A wooden slingshot with wool balls – $15.50

Photo from handcraftedbuffalo‘s Etsy shop

HOW CUTE IS THIS?! I know I’ll be miserable if this once I get pelted with one of the balls, or the dog tries to eat one, but it’s such a cute idea and great for hand eye coordination. Plus, I love all the colors! It’s also very reasonably priced and I love nonplastic items!

This item is no longer available, but if you search  sling shots on Etsy, similar options come up

2. Wooden Initial coin bank – $49.95

Again, how adorable! My son is obsessed with “coins” and this is such a cute coin bank for a little guy or girl. You can even add their name to it if you’d like! This is such a great gift that is also an item they can keep forever.

Coin Bank

3. A wooden balance board – $69.99

There are also a bunch of options available on Etsy if Amazon isn’t your jam. But I love this! This curved piece of wood actually is such a versatile “toy” to have for your kiddos and is a great way to encourage activity and movement, especially in the winter months.

4. Bouncy Ride-on Animal – $25

Again, another great way to be active indoors even in the wintertime. My friend has one of these at her house, so I already knows my son enjoys this particular toy.

There are also soooo many different options besides just a brown horse. They have a super cute shark, a unicorn, bulls, etc.

5. Toddler Safe Scissors – $

Motor skills and a screen-free activity! I usually have a decent amount of scraps from getting my own mail ready for my downline, so I plan to give him mostly that kind of stuff to snip away.

6. Scissor skills and tape skills books

Okay, so for moments I’m feeling a little extra, these will be fun to have when I don’t have scraps for him.

7. Melissa and Doug cleaning set – $20

My son LOVES to help sweep the floor and I’m not complaining! But here he can have his own, cute little set instead of toting mine around. (Which he’ll probably still want to do anyway)

8. Dot markers

Such a fun screen-free activity. My son loves colors and I like the activity books that are out there for these dot markers

9. Dot Marker Books

Blippi. My son LOVES Blippi a painful amount hahah. But there are a ton of great blippi coloring books on Amazon, including this dot marker book!

A couple other options if blippi isn’t your kiddos jam. All three of these are on the list for my son this year

10. Car mat with trucks

I also blame blippi for the obsession with backhoes and excavators, but this is on my sons list this year.

11. Play kitchen

Love choosing wooden options as often as I can and this cute kitchen is what play set dreams are made of! Can’t wait to see what gets whipped up in “the kitchen”.

So, there you have it. 11 ideas for the toddler in your life! I feel like this is a very gender neutral list, but I personally hate labeling toys as boy or girl this or that.

Boys can cook and clean and girls drive cars and use power tools.

What’s on your kids Christmas list this year? Let me know in the comments section.

Also, let’s connect on Instagram! @shorthairsandlongnaps

6 Halloween books to read to your toddler

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Also, this is not a sponsored post. The opinions are 100% mine and I was not paid to write them.

When kindles and other ereaders came on the scene, I was like NOPE! Never! I love the heft of a book, the turn of the page & coziness of reading a real book.

Fast forward to today and I am the complete opposite. I love, love, LOVE my kindle and my kindle app on my phone! But what I really want to talk about in this post is Kindle Unlimited!

I started out with the free trial of Kindle Unlimited when first getting my kindle and I’ve never looked back! I’ll write up a post on the details of that another day, but today I want to chat Fall and Halloween books for your kiddos!

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans
Try Kindle Unlimited and get your first month free. All books mentioned are included in Kindle Unlimited, but I’ll add links to buy the books if that’s your preference.

The kindle app on my phone is a life saver at bedtime. Lights are off, blankets are on, diffuser is diffusing, sound machine is raining & my phone screen is providing all the reading material!

We read 1-3 books at bedtime and they’re all from kindle unlimited! It just makes it so seamless and easy. The lights being off and not having to shuffle around the room for books is a game changer for me. I don’t know about your kids, but any sudden movement and my son will be jumping on the bed or sprinting around the room, so being able to swipe and tap for the next read, without welcoming an intermission, is a win in my book.

Now, onto the book recommendations! The good stuff! These are all included on Kindle Unlimited as of today! (10/25/2020) I’m unsure of the inner workings of the rotations of books but I’ll do some research on that.

1. Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell

Pumpkin Jack

This is a really wonderful read! It is probably my favorite that we’ve cycled through and my son has requested it multiple times now. It goes through the life cycle of the pumpkin, with a festive flair, and is just a warm your heart kind of book.

Short enough to not bore anyone, long enough for a bedtime story and a hint of education. A must for your week of Halloween reading list!

2. That Monster on the Block by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

That Monster on the Block

This isn’t necessarily a Halloween book, but monsters and Halloween go hand in hand. It’s a really cute story about monsters who get a new neighbor, with a really great message about inclusion and not to judge a book by its cover.

3. When the clock strikes on Halloween by Lisa Ferland

When the Clock Strikes on Halloween

Very, very short and quick read. For us personally, it’s one to have on a night you read 3 or 4 because it’s short and easy, but it’s definitely cute and my son chuckled throughout the story.

4. At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

At the Old Haunted House

This one is SO cute! Little kid-friendly spooky with a side of counting. The illustrations are wonderfully done and it’s just such a cute book to read this coming week!

5. A Silly Milly Fall – by Sheri Wall

A Silly Milly Fall: Halloween and Thanksgiving with a Really Big Dog! (The Silly Milly the Dane Collection)

SOOOO cute. I love dogs, my son loves dogs, who doesn’t love dogs?! This is the cutest Great Dane who takes you through Halloween and Thanksgiving. A delightful, easy read that is perfect for this week! Especially because we’re obviously at the end of October and it touches on what we’re heading into for November! So fun.

6. The Witches Cat by Sonica Ellis

The Witch’s Cat

This book is SO sweet. It’s not directly Halloween related, but it’s a witches cat, sooo….it makes the list.

It’s a great little mini lesson on being yourself and having some confidence. I love Pepper. I’m not a cat person, but it makes me want a little black cat named Pepper.

There are so many great options available on Kindle Unlimited that I didn’t stick in this post! And the great thing about reading bedtime stories on your kindle app is if you need a new one quick, simply click and it downloads in seconds!

Also, I just want to add that I am not advocating for 100% digital books. There will always be magic in between the pages of the real deal and there are great memories to be had reading from real pages.

BUT….this is my current favorite easy button at bedtime and I hope someone else finds this helpful.

Download the free app! (all I know is iPhone)

Or grab yourself a kindle!

If you have kindle unlimited, let me know your favorite books you’ve read!

If you don’t have kindle unlimited, let me know your favorite books you’ve read! Ha! I love them all.

After The Premium Starter Kit: Amazon Must-Haves

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Amazon and Young Living Essential Oils. Between the two, I spend more time than I care to admit browsing both platforms everyday.

Get your Premium Starter Kit here

There is always something new to look up, a review to read, a new oil to add to my Essential Rewards (ER) order, etc.

But in this post, I’m going to tell you my must have Amazon items that compliment your Premium Starter Kit (PSK).


1. Carrier Oil – There are so many great carrier oils out there. We won’t dig into the nitty gritty of carrier oils right now, that’s for another day, but this is the best for rollers. (In my opinion)



2. Roller Bottles – ROLLERS! Get allllllllll the rollers, but read reviews because there are some majorly crappy ones out there.

My favorite are the Root and Petal rollers. The lids are so pretty and colorful and I’ve never had a single problem with them. I’ve ordered over 10 boxes, so I feel like an expert on them

3. Dropper Tops – Dropper tops, especially these cute colorful ones, are a great thing to have to compliment your oils. If you grab a thicker oil like vetiver or if you give an empty oil bottle a new life as a diffuser bomb, having a dropper top on it is a must.

4. Labels – Please label your rollers, or you’ll end up with a pile of unlabeled rollers that you can’t, for the life of you, remember what oils you used or what you made them for. (Speaking from experience, people.)

5. 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle – THIEVES CLEANER, BABY! Rip that packet open as soon as your kit comes, dump the contents in your glass spray bottle, fill with distilled water and clean all the things with the most amazing smelling, non-toxic household cleaner.

6. Empty Veggie Capsules – I use these so often! I love, love, love these as a way to use your vitality oils. Especially if you’re using the wonderful lavender vitality, lemon vitality and peppermint vitality trio. Also, try using raw honey as your carrier oil in your capsule.

7. Glass Tumbler – Another great way to use your vitality oils is by making a ningxia cocktail! This adorable glass tumbler is perfect for making your oily beverages. Toss in 2oz of ningxia, some sparkling water

So, do you have your starter kit? Let me know what your favorite PSK oil is and how you’re using it!

Lazy Cook’s Potato Soup

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DISCLAIMER: If you are here for a sophisticated recipe, with exact measurements and fancy cooking verbiage, you’re going to be disappointed.

I made this soup barefoot in my kitchen, blasting Ozzy Osbourne, and tripping over dogs.

But I promise, the soup is good. And the soup is EASY. Just don’t tell it’s mama that 😉

Bacon, eggs, potatoes, soup juice everywhere. It was a delicious massacre

So, first of all, I baked my bacon and used the instant pot to hard boil my eggs. I love a good easy button that makes life just a little easier.

Uncooked bacon, in aluminum foil lined baking dish

Bacon makes everything better. But baking bacon in the oven, and avoiding all the spatter, UGH. Devine. I line a baking dish with aluminum foil, place bacon in the dish, bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees. (Or until done) Then, for this particular recipe, set it on a paper towel lined plate until needed.

Here it is in all it’s beautiful, cooked glory. I miiiiiight have forgotten about it, so I truly don’t know how long I baked it for.

Uncooked eggs in instant pot

While your bacon is baking, throw as many eggs as you’d like in your instant pot! This is my favorite use of my instant pot. Totally life changing. If you want to read a few other reasons why you need an instant pot, check out this post Instant Pot Post

Set to pressure cook for four minutes. Wah-lah. Your work is done. You can let it pressure release itself, or do a quick release. It doesn’t matter. For this particular one, I was busy chopping, so it pressure released in its own.

Transfer your cooked eggies into a cold water bath so they can cool.

Little tato brush

Scrub your potatoes! Scrubbing potatoes is one of my least favorite tasks in making a dish, but I loooove potatoes! So, I have this little spud to help make it not so cumbersome.

I fill the sink with warm water, a capful of thieves fruit and veggie soak (because it makes my life easier) and go to town.

After they’re all clean, I chop them up! You can cut the potatoes however makes your heart sing, and then I place them in water to keep them from getting brown. (My dad taught me that. Do people do that?)

So, actually, I don’t know what I hate more. Washing potatoes or cutting onions. Probably still washing potatoes. I hate onions because they make my eyes buuurrrnnnnn, but if you open a bottle of thieves or clove, it keeps the tears away.

Potatoes chopped, onions cut, eggs are cool. So slice them up too! I like have everything cut before I start anything on the stove, because I’ll get flustered and forget something otherwise.

Sometimes, I even measure spices and liquids beforehand, too. Because your girl is a serious scatter brain.

Add butter and onion to a Dutch oven. I love recipes that start with butter and onion. After 5 or so minutes, add garlic.

Once that has cooked for a few minutes, add flour and stir together.

Clumpy

Next, add liquids, spices, cream cheese and potatoes

Bring to a boil on med/high, stirring every now and then to keep from sticking. Once cream cheese has melted and potatoes are soft, reduce heat.

Add your bacon and eggs, stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes.

It’s not pretty, but it’s gooooooooood
Thumbs up from my tiniest food critic

RECIPE:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2lbs diced tomatoes
      2 yellow onions, diced
      4 tablespoons garlic (adjust to your liking)
      4 cups stock (I used beef stock, use whatever you like or have on hand)
      1 block cream cheese – 8oz
      2 cups milk
      1/3 cup flour
      1 teaspoon chili powder
      Salt and pepper to taste
      1 lb bacon, cooked & chopped
      5-8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
      5 tablespoons butter
  • Directions:
    1. Cook bacon and hard boil eggs
      Wash and dice potatoes, chop onion and premeasure ingredients if you’re into making your life super easy
      Place butter and onion in Dutch oven over medium/high heat. Cook 5-10 minutes, until butter is melted and the onions have started to cook
      Add garlic, cook until fragrant. About 3-5 minutes
      Add flour, stir until combined
      Add stock & milk, one cup at a time. Stirring until starting to thicken
      Add potatoes, cream cheese and spices
      Bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender
      Reduce heat, add bacon and eggs and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes

    A socially distanced Halloween

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    I’m writing this post in August, because my brain is already kicking into all the festivities that are approaching. (Even though now it is almost Halloween and I’m only now getting it published)

    Last year was my first trick-or-treating experience as a parent and it was seriously amazing. Seeing my sons joy was a true highlight that I will never forget.

    Here’s a photo of my babyyyyyyy! Ugh. This pulls on my heartstrings.

    But anyway, last year was such a joy! With the state of the world, who knows what trick or treating will look like this year.

    -Insert festive, fall, pumpkin, candy covered brainstorming here.-

    So, these are just my plans complied in a blog post. If you’d like to see how they play out come October 30th-31st, make sure you’re following me on Instagram @shorthairsandlongnaps

    Also, I am 100% planning on celebrating Halloween Eve as well! And will be squeezing in as many pandemic approved themed events as there are!

    1. The Night Before Halloween


    This is one of my favorite children’s book series! Way back when, when I worked in childcare, these were always on my list to read whenever possible. They’re so cute, light and fun.

    2. Festive jams


    I feel like this goes without saying, but maybe there’s some people who don’t go full out festive any chance they get.

    But during a blah pandemic, it’s time for some festive Halloween pajamas! They even have so many FAMILY sets this year! LOVEEE!

    3. Scavenger hunt!

    My son is two, so I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do this, but it’s happening. Again, make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see what I come up with for this.

    My brief thoughts are clues throughout the house and then he finds a little bag of goodies!

    He’s obsessed with Jack Skellington, or the pumpkin king as he says, so maybe I’ll pretend Jack left him some notes and a gift.

    Or maybe the great pumpkin from Charlie Brown. How cute!

    Which would you choose? Let me know in the comments!

    5. Festive Menu!

    So, when I started this post, I wasn’t sure what Halloween would look like and planned to celebrate “Halloween Eve” as well. Truly I would celebrate two days regardless of a pandemic, but especially now more than ever, everything is just more fun when its extra special. Also, I love food and creating in the kitchen, so lets chat menu!

    October 30th – Halloween Eve (Which is actually our trick or treat night where we live)

    Breakfast – Spiderweb pancakes and Jack-o-lantern fruit bowls

    Lunch – Jack-o-lantern quesadillas 

    Dinner – Jack-o-lantern stuffed bell peppers

    October 31st – Halloween!

    Breakfast – Stuffed Mummy crescent “sandwich”

    Lunch – Monster face english muffin pizzas

    Dinner – Festive pizzas! 

    So, there it is. Five simple ideas for celebrating Halloween eve & Halloween at home. This post did not turn out how I imagined, but I hope one of the ideas might help you out! I will update this post with photos & recipes, but unfortunately, it will be after I make them. 

    Make sure you’re following me on instagram to see how our festive days go. @shorthairsandlongnaps

    The best chocolate chip cookies

    Let’s set the scene, shall we? To skip my rambling and head to the recipe, click here!

    We’re sitting around Monica’s round kitchen table, the smell of countless cookies fills the air & everyone’s feeling a little bloated. Maybe a little gassy if milk does you dirty like that. (There’s an oil for that, btw)

    Wrong episode, season, all the things. I know. There wasn’t a readily available gif from the episode in mention

    Ross just got back from the bathroom after almost vomiting from a less than thrilling batch of cookies. (He used some digize while he was in there, too)

    Again, I know

    Finally, we all realize that Phoebes grandmas recipe was on the bag of chocolate chips the whole time. Monica starts feverishly cleaning all her baking dishes, Ross runs to the store and grabs a package of the break and bake nestle tollhouse cookies (were those a thing at this point?) and Phoebe heads home to have a better chat with her dead Grandma.

    Have no fear, though! I have found the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have made it at least a dozen times and every time it’s amazing.

    You’ll definitely be the mom who makes the best chocolate chip cookies. Or dad, grandparent, neighbor, friend, spouse, gremlin, alien, yeti, accountant…..whatever you are. Your cookies will be the best.

    Recipe can be found Here

    I’m not going to type all the details out. They do a spectacular job of explaining their cookie to you.

    I will say, I use melted butter & sometimes swap vanilla for maple syrup. YUM. I’ve also used whole wheat flower and it was also fine. Very minimally changed the texture of the cookie.

    October Reading

    Affiliate links included in post. I make a small commission on purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.

    Are you looking for a good read for October? I’ve got some suggestions!

    Here are 5 book suggestions, 2 I’ve read and 3 that are on my list for this month!

    1. Practical Magic – By Alice Hoffman

    Practical Magic

    I started the movie but haven’t finished it, so I get the gist of what’s going to happen here, but before I watch the movie for real, I want to read the book.

    And THE COVER! It’s gorgeous! I’m definitely judging a book by its cover here. I have big expectations

    2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone – J.K Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (currently available on Kindle Unlimited 10/5/2020)

    I feel like everyone, any age, needs to read this book at least once.

    This is such a well known series, and while it’s not necessarily spooky or October specific, it gives all the magic and all the heartwarming vibes.

    3. Hocus Pocus and the brand new sequel – A.W. Jantha

    Hocus Pocus

    I bought this book a couple years ago when it first release but haven’t read it yet! This is the year, this is the October! My absolute FAVORITE October movie in book form. I am here for it!

    4. Dark Witch – The cousin O’Dywer trilogy – Nora Roberts

    Dark Witch

    Okay, hands down, this is my favorite October read. This trilogy is A MUST for everyone!

    Well, probably not everyone, because it gets super spicy….like have a fan, a glass of water, set yourself in front of the air conditioner in the middle of winter and make sure your significant other is near by, spicy.

    But it’s a page turner. I love Nora Roberts! I haven’t read by her I haven’t loved.

    I haven’t read this in a few years…..it’s definitely happening this month.

    Also, if you get the legit book, the pages have a worn, tattered edge and it’s just so cozy to me.

    5. In a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware

    In a dark, dark wood

    This is another one I started and didn’t finish. Apparently that’s a theme for me.

    I started it when it was included on Kindle Unlimited, but I don’t think it’s on there anymore. Bummer. But from what I am told, this is a heart pounder. So, I’ll probably be sleeping with the lights on, but it’s definitely on my October read list!

    Free Printable!

    I love a good graphic, a good accountability list, and anything festive. This is all those things in one!

    When it was saving, that first pumpkin decided it wanted to move, and who am I to tell him where he has to be. Sorry to all of you guys who that’s going to bother

    Are you going to read any of these books? What’s on your October reading list? Let me know in a comment! I’m always down for a good book recommendation.

    Let’s connect on the gram! @shorthairsandlongnaps

    And if you snap a cozy reading pic, TAG ME! I wanna see everyone’s books & I love seeing where people read. Is that weird? I don’t know. Maybe. But I love seeing if people love a good cup of coffee with their book, snuggled under a blanket. Or a glass of wine after the kids go to bed, with your dog snuggled by your feet.

    Anyway, happy October reading, friends!

    Soup Sunday

    Tis the season of all things spooky, all things cozy and all the soup!

    I love soup all year, but there is just something so comfy cozy about a yummy bowl of soup once fall rolls around.

    So, here we are! Soup Sunday’s! I will be making a soup every Sunday all through the fall and winter and have made a list for you to print if you’d like to join me.

    Tag me in your soups on Instagram! @shorthairsandlongnaps

    Some of these I have made, other will be new to me, but either way I’m READY!

    If you like a good slice of butter bread with your soup, here is a really easy, cheap and delicious white bread recipe that we LOVE.

    White bread recipe

    Now onto the soups!

    OCTOBER:

    *future months will be posted the week end of the following month. So November will be posted the last Sunday of October, so on and so forth

    10/4: Broccoli Cheese Soup

    10/11: Zuppa Tuscana

    10/18: Rosemary, Roasted Garlic & White Bean soup

    10/25: Cheeseburger Soup – recipe to come. I’m getting this out of a cookbook I have. It’s DELICIOUS!

    Here is a printable if you want the recipes printed. Will have the rest of the month next week!

    And again, don’t forget to tag me in your soups on Instagram! I can’t wait to see your cozy pots of soup!

    @shorthairsandlongnaps

    Happy Soup Sunday!

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