5 Cheap Summer Must-Dos

Hey There!

Happy summer solstice!

It seems crazy to me that summer doesn’t start until this far into June. That’s probably because as a kid I considered the start of summer when my mother let me (finally) start going barefoot!

Since summer is officially here, I wanted to share with you some of my summer must-dos!

1. Sit out on the porch and watch fireflies.

 

Call them fireflies or lightning bugs, either way, nothing says summer to me like sitting in the dark surrounded by the still, warm summer air watching those tiny lights go bobbing through the darkness. There’s something so magical about it – like you are getting to watch a fairy dance.

2. Get ice cream at a local ice cream joint.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Ice cream

I know your area has one, and if it doesn’t you can head my way to try one of ours! Locals know the place for the best ice cream. Once you find it, everything else just falls a little shy of the mark. Memories are made sitting in booths, licking ice cream cones. Some of my favorite places in the Tri-state area are:

Pack’s Dairy Corner – Winchester, VA

There are a few Pack’s around, but my favorite is the little frozen custard stand on Route 50. It’s soft serve, and they have a phenomenal waffle cone. Order Mama and I’s favorite – chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles in a waffle cone and thank us later!

Nutter’s – Shepherdstown, WV

Nutter’s is the ice cream go-to for all of the Shepherd University kids. It’s on a side street in historic Sharpsburg, Maryland and has Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream. The best part? The prices! Serving their college market well, they give you a big serving of your favorite sweet treat for a reasonable price!

Mikie’s – Greencastle, PA

Mikie’s also has some awesome food to go with your ice cream. My favorite is a chicken tenders platter with curly fries while Mama loves their pizza burgers. Mikey’s is a neat place because not only do they have ice cream and food, they also have an arcade and a gift shop! Something for the entire family!

Antietam Dairy – Waynesboro, PA

Farm fresh, creamy, delicious ice cream. Here you will find something unique that both The Fellow and my Father love – grapenut ice cream. Yupp – like the cereal. While you’d think this wouldn’t be appealing, it is an absolute must try. Now, I will say that Antietam Dairy’s isn’t quiiiite as good as Daddy’s homemade ice cream, but it’s as close as you can get for sale to the public!

3. Have a campfire (and eat a s’more).

Moonshine in a Teacup| Campfire

You know I’m all about a good s’more, and nowadays with Pinterest there are so many other yummy campfire treats to whip up! There’s something I truly love about waking up in the morning with the smell of campfire smoke in my hair. I truly believe that some of the strongest bonds are formed by firelight.

4. Watch a parade.Moonshine in a Teacup| Parade

Seriously, it’s not summer without a little bit of celebration. It’s American summer at its finest watching the kids in their band uniforms, firetrucks, 4-H groups, and pageant queens ride by as you wave and cheer. Go ahead, run, and grab one of those Tootsie Rolls they just tossed while you’re at it. You know you want to.

5. Read a good book.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Summer Reading

Be it on the porch, by the pool, or on the beach, summer is for relaxing and doing some light fun reading. Head to your local library or order something online and fall into a magical world. Summer is also the perfect time to get the kids involved in a summer reading program!

Bonus 6. Star gaze.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Stargaze

Just as summer starts to wind down and the air gets the tiniest bit of a chill to it is when I love to star gaze best. It’s the most magical time of the year  for me.  I like to lay out in a hammock and try to pick out constellations.  If you can get a hold of a star-gazing book, the history/stories behind the stars are truly fascinating. If you get a chance, check out a planetarium, and then star gaze at home!

Let me know your favorite summer activities!

 

 

 

 

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JG’s Amazing Scone Recipe!

Hey There!

Remember my amazing woodland tea-themed wedding reception? Well, I’m so excited to get to use some of my tea things again this Thursday!

We’re having a tea party at work to celebrate moving into our new building. It’s been super exciting to move all of our separate corporate locations into one amazing space, and we’re having a Uni-tea party!

While helping out with this party, one of the girls gifted me with her scone recipe so we can bulk-batch some scrummy scones for everyone to enjoy.

I’ve made over 100 scones for this event and sampled quiiiite a few.

Guys, this is the best scone I’ve ever had. I gave one to The Fellow, and he tried to so hard to be loyal and say he liked other scones I’ve made, but he couldn’t hide how much he loved them. He finally admitted, “You make good scones, and they’ve tasted similar, but they’ve never had this texture.”

Moonshine in a Teacup| JG's amazing scone recipe

The best part about this recipe? She said I can share it with you!

Now, the recipe she gave does involve additional items like white chocolate and a lemon glaze. However, for this round, I opted for just plain scones since I’m also providing a Devonshire cream.

I’m going to start you out with the plain version just like I made. We’ll get crazy with it in a later post.

Without further ado – JG’s Amazing Scones!

JG's Amazing Scones

JG's Amazing Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/3 C Sugar + a little extra for glazing
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 3/4 C Heavy Whipping Cream + a little extra for glazing

Instructions

  1. Heat Oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Rub in butter and vanilla until it resembles crumbs.
  4. Add Heavy Whipping cream and form into a ball.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
  6. Pat out lightly into a flattened disc. Cut out scones using a biscuit cutter.
  7. Brush extra heavy whipping cream over top of scones and then sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake for 9-11 min. or until corners turn golden.

Notes

Alternate Directions: Form dough into a rough log and slice or cut into triangles.

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Moonshine in a Teacup| JG's amazing scone recipe

Extra tip:

You can scrunch back together the leftover pieces from cutting out your scones and cut additional ones, but these won’t raise as high.

Moonshine in a Teacup| JG's amazing scone recipe

Let me know if you try this and whom you share them with!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Bun!

Hey There!

If you read the past few posts, you’ll remember that I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch. You may also have noticed that I like to cut a few corners when serving a group.

Each time when I was setting something on the table, my cousin kept asking, “Ooh, are those homemade?” Well, kinda? It seems definitions of “homemade” vary. For me, if I didn’t sift the cocoa powder for the brownies myself, it’s not homemade.

That conversation got me thinking about a book I used to love as a kid – Everything on a Waffle . It had recipes sprinkled throughout, and one of them was for homemade cinnamon rolls!

This also is the first of my Baking Through Literature series. Don’t worry, you’ll get some Anne of Green Gables Recipes soon!

Moonshine in a Teacup|Cinnamon Rolls

Since I served cinnamon buns at my brunch, I had a hankering for some homemade ones and thought I’d share with you!

This recipe was intended for kids with adult supervision, so we can handle it, right?!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Buns!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Buns!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C Warm Water
  • 1/2 C apls 1t Sugar
  • 2t Yeast
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 3 C Flour
  • 1t Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Butter (1 Stick)
  • Additional 2 T melted butter
  • Cinnamon/Sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 C warm water, 1t sugar and 2t yeast.
  2. Let stand for 10 min to activate the yeast.
  3. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and the remaining sugar and add to bowl with the yeast mixture.
  4. Add an additional 1/2 C Flour and mix.
  5. Turn out dough onto floured surface and work in the stick of butter.
  6. Continue to knead and add flour as needed for roughly 10 min.
  7. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in size.
  8. Punch down dough and using your hands roll into a long log before rolling out flat.
  9. Melt the additional 2T of butter and spread over dough.
  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar until coated.
  11. Roll up longways (into a narrow tube)and slice into 1" wide discs.
  12. Set on a cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat) and let rise a second time.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour.

Notes

Icing: The books calls for 1/4 C butter, 2 C sugar and a few drops of milk, but I'm going to stick to an easy powdered sugar icing instead. This is really an eye it up scenario, so pour some powdered sugar into a bowl and add a tiny bit of water or milk to start. Mix and add tiny bits of water or milk as you go to thin it down to icing consistency.

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I made these the other day, and The Fellow took them in to work. They were a hit!
What are your favorite made-from-scratch baked goods? Let me know in the comments!

WV: Fallout 76 – Exploring the Map

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Hey There!

So, this is kind of a strange post for me. I’m going to be sharing some awesome background on the new Fallout 76 video game!

Now, as you probably can guess, I’ve never been a video game person – even playing Mario is stressful – seriously. I’m terrible at it. My exposure to video games as a kid was basically, occasionally playing the full-size Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom arcade game my brother bought at an auction in our basement.

The Fellow plays video games which means that I end up watching the games while he plays. His list of games includes the last few Fallouts.

 

As soon as the trailer for Fallout 76 hit, my social feeds went crazy. Friends from all over West Virginia were posting about it and listing the WV landmarks they were catching in the trailer. At the same time, I saw an out-of-state friend misidentify The Greenbrier resort as the White House. I figured if you’re going to be (virtually) in WV, you may as well know where you’re standing.

1.The New River Gorge Bridge

Fayetteville, Fayette County

Fallout76 New Rive Gorge Bridge

You might’ve seen this on the WV State quarter. It’s without a doubt one of the most memorable landmarks in the state. Construction began in 1974, and for a time it was the longest single-span arch bridge. It now is the fourth longest. Bridge Day (which is always on the third Saturday in October) is West Virginia’s largest one-day festival and draws tourists from all over the world.  Bridge Day activities include BASE jumping, music, ziplining, food, and more!

2.The Capitol Building

Charleston, Kanawha County

Fallout76 Capitol Building

The capital of WV shifted several times between Wheeling and Charleston before citizens finally voted Charleston as the official and final capital. There have been three different  Charleston capitol buildings. The first was leveled by a fire in 1921, and a temporary building was hastily raised to replace it. The third and current capitol building was designed by the architect Cass Gilbert.

Construction began on this building in 1924, and Gilbert liked his design of the West Virginia capitol’s interior so well that he reused part of the design for the United States Supreme Court building. You really can’t tell from the screen shot/video, but that dome is gilded in 23 and ½ karat gold leaf applied to the copper and lead roof in tiny 3 and 3/8 inch squares. Also, the 293-foot gold dome is five feet higher than the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

3.Watoga Estates

Pocahontas County

Watoga WV

OK, so Watoga Estates may be a fictional place. (If not, let me know!) BUT Watoga State Park is a real place! In fact, Watoga State Park is the largest of West Virginia’s state parks at just a bit over 10,100 acres! You’ll have plenty of outdoor activities to entertain you if you rent an onsite cabin (which are open year-round) such as hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, an observation tower, and a museum for those rainy days you may want to stay inside.

4.Woodburn Hall

Morgantown, Monongalia County

Fallout76 Woodburn Hall

While I picked quaint, artistic Sheperd University for my college experience, there’s no denying the overwhelming love for WVU, both its sports and college experience. I went home to WV the other day and had aaaalmost forgotten how many WVU apparel items you’ll see in a WV group setting!

I know blue and gold are Vault-Tec colors, but I can’t help but be reminded of a WVU game when I see those blue and gold banners in the vault. My friends who went to WVU were going crazy when they saw WVU and Woodburn Hall in the trailer.

Fallout76 VaultTech Party.JPG

Woodburn Hall was completed in 1876 and is the best-known symbol of the university. Designed by Morgantown native architect Elmer F Jacobs, it is considered one of the finest examples of Second Empire architecture in the state of West Virginia.

As students are wont to do, they find a way to leave their mark. In Woodburn Hall, the place of choice is a small cupola room in the hall’s upper floors.  The hall has seen the inaugurations of university presidents and been the setting for the reception of US presidents, but always most importantly, each new generation of Mountaineers.

5.The Greenbrier Resort

White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County

Fallout76 Greenbrier.JPG

The Greenbrier is the absolute best place I can think of for a post-apocalyptic game to be set. Why you ask? Well, despite being a 5-star luxury resort, The Greenbrier is home to one of the worst-kept secrets in WV. This secret is precisely why I think it’s so perfect for Fallout – The Greenbrier secret underground bunker, or vault if you would like. This bunker was built during the Cold War to serve as an emergency shelter for the U.S. Congress. It’s since been declassified, and code name “Project Greek Island” has become more common knowledge.

Bonus: 6. Camden Park

Huntington, Wayne County

camdon park.jpg

I love old amusement parks and have a thing for old carousels. That’s why I’m so excited to learn more about Camden Park. This old trolley park has immediately gone to the top of my “Must-Do” list.

Camden Park was established in 1902 as a picnic spot by the Camden Interstate Railway Company. It is one of only thirteen trolley parks that remain open in the United States. Its location was unique as it was on the trolley line between Huntington and other cities, so passengers could stop, picnic, and enjoy rides before heading to their next destination.

Its attractions include the Big Dipper – a wooden roller coaster, the Little Dipper (You guessed it – a miniature wooden roller coaster), the Camden Princess (a customized Zamperla Rockin’ Tug), the Carousel, and swan-shaped paddleboats among other rides!

The park is typically open six days a week from late May to early August, with a more limited schedule in late August, and select dates in September and October.

I’ve been to some of the places on this list, and I’m so excited to see them shared with thousands of online players. I’ve heard rumors that the Mothman may be featured, and I can’t wait to watch The Fellow play.

As with all things, when I hear WV is going to be highlighted by a nationally-reaching medium, I tense up. (I’m looking at you, Bones. What is with those accents?!) But I have high hopes that Bethesda Games will do my West Virginia proud.

 

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Hey There!

You ever find something so delectable you want to eat it every day? I’ve found a repeat recipe that I am excited to share with you! I’m calling it my Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce because it’s it’s so easy it’s not playing fair.

What I love about this recipe I (besides that fact that it’s ridiculously simple to make) is that it’s also incredibly versatile, and the quantities can be easily adjusted.

The first time I whipped this up was for our Mother’s Day Brunch. I had baked brownies in tiny bundt pans and piped some peanut butter sauce over them.

They were a hit! The next day my cousin messaged me asking for the recipe. Unfortunately, the first time I made it I was winging it, so I didn’t have measurements for her.

Recently, I made Mama’s birthday cake, and I got a second opportunity to experiment with the sauce. This time I poured it over the cake to give it a velvety peanut butter-dripped glaze. I paid a bit more attention to the proportions this time.

Moonshine in a Teacup|Dirty PB Sauce

Since it’s finally getting warmer, we’re eating more ice cream, and I’m a sucker for vanilla with toppings – like peanut butter. This time around I tested my measurements and can finally share them with you!

Moonshine in a Teacup|Dirty PB Sauce

Are you ready for the quickest, easiest recipe that you’ve ever seen?

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Honey

Instructions

  1. Measure both Peanut Butter and Honey out into a microwavable safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir.
  4. Pour or pipe as desired.
  5. *Increase proportions as needed for larger quantities, maintaining the same ratios.
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What is your favorite peanut butter dessert? Let’s compare favorites in the comments below!

WV: Almost Heaven BBQ Bash

Hey There!

I wanted to give you all a heads up about an upcoming West Virginia Event – The Almost Heaven BBQ Bash. You’ll forgive me if I tell you it should be a crazy good time!

I needed forgiveness for that sentence because this BBQ festival is being held in a place that (strangely) holds some awesome memories for me – the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.

Yupp. You read that right. BBQ at an insane asylum.

Moonshineinateacup| Trans-Allegheny lunatic asylum

Now, if I were you right about now I’d be wondering how an insane asylum is on my list of fun memories, and I can’t blame you.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) is one of the first WV trips I went on. Way back in high school, my WV Tourism and Hospitality class went on a field trip to TALA. We went on both the historical and the supernatural tours.

Moonshineinateacup| Trans-Allegheny lunatic asylum

After that first visit, I was hooked. I went back with friends a few times for their Halloween festivities. (They put on a truly terrifying haunted house and a “Witches Ball” which is basically a metal concert on the front lawn). I even went on an overnight ghost hunt as a first date! (Ya know those early warning signs in relationships you should listen to? Yea, I was never good at reading those . . . )

Moonshineinateacup| Trans-Allegheny lunatic asylum
Don’t mind me. I was just chatting with a resident ghost.

I love old buildings, and there’s something phenomenal about standing in a place that has spanned years before your life and feeling the energy of that space. It’s breathtaking. But this energy is well, different. The grounds total 666 acres and since TALA operated from 1864 to 1994, it has a lot of dark history. From civil war soldiers to lobotomies, it’s no surprise that ghost hunters from all over have come to meet the former patients.

I’ll let you make up your own mind if you believe in spirits, but either way you should head over to Weston, WV for a beautiful scenic drive to some delicious BBQ, and if you’re in the mood for some history or a haunting check out the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, since you’re in the neighborhood.

 

 

Kickball Update

Hey There!

If you recall from my summer update, The Fellow and I joined a local kickball team with some others from work. I promised you stories, and now I have them!

Now, I hate to say it, but I haven’t been doing much exercising lately. It’s been a year since I’ve really run, and I literally cannot recall the last time I kicked a ball. However, The Fellow wanted to play, so play we did.

20180529_181628 (1)

Honestly, I’m not doing half bad! I have some power behind my kicks even if my reflexes are a bit slow. Often, I laughingly say that I’m “weak as a newborn kitten” (I have nerve damage and other shoulder/arm issues from an accident years ago, so sometimes I’m not the most help with lifting and carrying), but regardless, it’s never nice to be underestimated.

In two separate games, I’ve surprised the opposing team, and boy does that feel great!

At the first game, on my first kick, the guys shouted, “Move it in” (which to be fair is a thing most teams do when they see what they assume will be a weak kicker – usually female). From a purely strategic view, it makes total sense. By the last time I kicked, they yelled, “Alright – look alive.”  When we lined up for the end of game high fives, one guy told me, “Nice kicking!” as our hands slapped.

In another game, I caught a seriously hard-kicked ball. (Right?! Kicking, catching, running, and not falling. I’m pretty proud of myself over here.) When walking off the field, the guy who had kicked it said, “Nice catch!” I didn’t think anything more about it until the end of the game when we went around for high fives, and he repeated it again.

I was telling The Fellow about it in the car, when he told me, “Yea, he said it twice because he was impressed. I overheard him telling his teammates that he was just going to slam it as hard as he could, and he figured no one would be able to catch it.”

Yupp, I’m one proud sister over here.

20180529_181651

The Fellow, bless his heart, hasn’t been doing quite as well. We were pretty sore after the first game, and in the second game on his very first kick he pulled something in his leg and went out for the game. He hobbled home and spent two days with ice, elevation, and a cane and another week with a limp!

What are your proud girl power moments? Let’s celebrate them in the comments!

Strawberry Pretzel

Hey There!

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I know we did. The Fellow and I hosted what was supposed to be about a 10-person cookout. Final count – we had a house full of 23 friends and family. I’m really getting my hostess game for large groups down to a science!

Nothing makes me happier than having our cottage full of friends, family, and love.

Now, hostessing means serving delicious food, and I’m a dessert gal all the way. I’m a baker, not a cooker. If I could have you over and only serve baked goods, I would. (Dessert dinner, anyone?)Luckily, in the summer The Fellow handles that portion for me by grilling, so I can focus on my favorite part – the sweet treats!

It’s finally warming up and to quote Tom Petty: “I feel summer creepin’ in” and summer means strawberries. I figured what better way to kick off summer than with an old family strawberry favorite – Strawberry Pretzel.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Strawberry Pretzel

For me, this recipe will never quite taste how I remember it as a child because it’s missing one all-important ingredient – strawberries grown in Pappy’s garden.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Strawberries

Strawberries were such a huge part of my summers growing up. Pappy would toss strawberries to us in the pool as he gardened. We would eat them in green-print CorningWare bowls sprinkled with sugar, and Strawberry Pretzel was served in Grammy’s old Pyrex dish for Sunday dessert.

Fixing this dish was so nostalgic for me, and I’m excited to share it with you. I hope your family loves it as much as mine did.

It looks intimidating with all the layers, but I promise it’s easy! Since it’s been around forever, I’m sure there are all kinds of places you can find this recipe, but I’m going to give you my Grammy’s recipe – just how it came to me.

Strawberry Pretzel

Strawberry Pretzel

Ingredients

  • 2 C. Crushed Pretzels (not too salty or fine)
  • 3/4 C. Melted Margarine or Butter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese - softened
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (C's note - softened/refrigerated Cool Whip, not frozen)
  • 2 - 3 oz. Pkg. Strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 - 10 oz. Pkg. Frozen Strawberries (or 1 qt. sliced fresh strawberries)
  • 1 C. + 3 T. Sugar
  • 2 C. Boiling Water

Instructions

  1. Mix pretzels, butter, and 3 T. sugar and press into a 13x9 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 min.
  2. Blend cream cheese with 1 C. sugar.
  3. Fold in Cool Whip
  4. Spoon over cooled crust.
  5. Dissolve Jell-O in 2 C. boiling water.
  6. Stir in berries.
  7. Refrigerate for 10 min.
  8. Spoon Jell-O mixture over cream cheese.
  9. Refrigerate until set.
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What are your summer traditional foods? Let me know so I can check them out! If you make this Strawberry Pretzel, leave me a comment or snap a pic and tag me in it on Instagram! I’m excited to see it!

My Style Struggle

Hey There!

I skimmed over this topic a few times in recent posts, but I really need to update my wardrobe. Most of my pieces no longer fit after my weight gain last year, and the pieces I have are cheap and unflattering. This time around I am working to buy nice quality pieces that can be mixed and matched and will serve me for a longer time.

I’m looking for brands that I love that I can return to. It seems like every time I need a new pair of jeans I have to start the terrible struggle over again – finding something that fits my curves, finding a fabric l like and the color of denim I like, etc. It’s exhausting!

The more I think about it and browse, the more I find that I’m running into 3 problems:

1. I hate the idea of investing so much money into clothes that I’m hoping won’t fit soon as I’d like to lose weight.

2. I really hate trying on clothes (and online shopping is a complete nightmare!).

3. I’m struggling with my personal style.

Since we’re cozied up with our tea, chatting, I wondered if you’d give me your advice on style!

When it comes to fashion, I like pretty dresses, full skirts with pockets, and I love vintage fashion. Like . . . love it. If I could wear full out pin-up (corset and all) every day, I would.

I know. I know. Most of that isn’t practical for everyday wear; owning jeans is a necessity. As much as I love it, I struggle with buying vintage fashion as I’m worried about how it would be viewed.

Luckily, I work in a really accepting workplace. We have girls with purple hair and multiple nose piercings. The Fellow wears bowling shirts. Red lipstick days are my favorite because I get so many compliments, and everyone is supportive.

But we’re also on the first floor.

For me, the silhouettes of by-gone eras are captivating. I love the structured look of fitted dresses and the fun whimsical nature of a full skirt. I enjoy playing with pin curls and following pin-up dolls on social media, seeing their next outfit and how they accessorize. It’s everything I love.

Yet, I don’t know how to incorporate it into my life.

I feel like . . .

1. I really don’t want to open myself up to negative dialogue about my body or fashion. I know humans can be cruel, and I can just imagine what going out in full pin-up would look like.

2. I struggle with how that makes me look as a professional.

Since my dream of opening a tea shop is probably a thing of the future, I want to do well at work. I am already young, and I worry that wearing full skirts and frilly dresses draws attention to that fact and make me look unprofessional.

It may seem like such a trivial point, but as someone wiser than me once said, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” I spend a lot of time trying to improve myself, and I don’t want my clothing choices to undermine all that I’m doing.

But then again, I follow Reese Witherspoon on social media, and I love watching her pushing women everywhere to change the world, all while looking feminine and fabulous.

moonshine in a teacup

What are your thoughts? I need your advice!

How to Host a Stress-Free Brunch

Hey There!

Since Mother’s Day just passed, and I hosted 13 people for brunch that day I thought I’d share with you my tips on how to make it as stress-free as possible.

1. Tidy up your house the prior week.

I had gotten really behind on housework the week leading up to the brunch and did not have everything as tidy as I would’ve liked. That meant I was scrambling to clean, along with cook right up to the first knock on the front door. The food portion was the easy part.

2. Make a plan.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Make a Plan

It’s far better to over plan and nix a few things than to have no plan at all and forget things. When I started planning brunch, I originally wanted to make those cute succulent cupcakes on Pinterest. That was quickly crossed off the list. I wrote down the guest list, what I wanted to serve, what things I could make ahead, and the grocery list. As the old adage says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

3. Cut a few corners.

Or in my case, most of the corners. Don’t be afraid of box mixes or pop-open biscuits. When you’re cooking for a group, sometimes quick and simple is better so you can just relax and enjoy the time of fellowship.

4. Make what you can in advance.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Bread

Breads and biscuits will hold for a day or more. You can also make things ahead and freeze them (like I have done with my most recent batch of scones). I cooked my bacon in the oven probably 3 days out and kept it refrigerated.

5. Borrow, don’t buy.

I have a ton of stuff for hosting meals from our SCA adventures and the wedding. Honestly, they are a bit of a pain to store. If you don’t have something, check with a friend! There were a few things I borrowed like my mother’s coffee pot. Yupp. I don’t own one. Well, I do own a pour over pot, but for this many people, it was not going to work. I also borrowed her 2-tier pie rack to serve plates of cinnamon rolls.

6. If you do buy, buy cheap.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Juice

 I love the Dollar Tree. I had this carafe that I bought a while back at TJ Maxx, and when I was at the Dollar Tree recently I found the exact same one. For $1 I snagged two and had a mini juice bar!

7. Presentation is key.

See number 5. I have a ton of hosting stuff. The majority of that though is rustic wooden trenchers and baskets. When we have company, I pull out our long wooden trencher and fill it with snacks like pretzels and Wheat Thins. Biscuits and baked goods go in baskets lined with flour sack tea towels. It’s quick, easy, simple, and I think it’s pretty.

7. Figure out seating in advance.

I didn’t bring up extra seats on some bad advice until after people had started getting food and finding seating. I wish I would’ve gone with my gut and brought up extra chairs earlier. I also wish that I just owned folding chairs. Our families are so large when they are together that seating is always a struggle.

8. Relax.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Relax

Don’t make it obvious that you’ve done a  ton of work. Be gracious and enjoy your time with your guests. Dishes will wait to be cleaned, and if something doesn’t turn out quite right, it’s ok. It’s the company and the feelings they had on that day they will remember!
What are your best easy hosting tips? Help a girl out and let me know in the comments below!