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I'm Nicole. I am a wife, mother, shop owner on Mackinac Island, and lover of handmade. The little things and little moments inspire me. Follow me on my blog as I write about shop news, my travels, island life and motherhood.
Nicole
xo.

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little luxuries

Another season is wrapping up! I cannot believe that we have just two weekends left until we close our doors for the 2021 season. 
 I had an incredible staff this summer. I was able to have two interns from CMU, plus my manager is a recent graduate from CMU. These girls all came from their Fashion + Merchandising program - they were so talented, sharing fresh and inspiring ideas. If you came to the island this summer, you would have noticed their beautiful window displays! 
My other employees were also all very talented and all had amazing, go-getter attitudes! I was so appreciative of how hard they all worked - and how they all worked so well together.  Living together and working together can get challenging, but these girls became the best of friends, always showing up to work with a smile and a fresh perspective! 
We recently had the Jenna Kator Retreat on the island - three of my employees who attend college came up just to work the weekend. It was fun to have them back in the shop and to all be together again!
Having summer employees is always hard, because you only have them for such a short amount of time before they have to leave to head back to college again. I’m always sad to see them go, but I always enjoying seeing the growth in them over the summer.
With the season quickly closing, I just wanted to reflect on the amazing season with our 2021 employees. I’m thankful for them and their hard work this year!
Xo,
Nicole 
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October 14, 2021

October Update

October is almost over and I can’t believe that another season has come and gone. In the past 10+ years that I have lived and worked on Mackinac Island, this was one of the busiest seasons that I have seen. 
It was a really fun season! Highlights of the season include having the Lilac Festival back this year, enjoying the Grand Hotel’s new pool facilities with the boys, spending time going on family walks and bike rides, visits to Fort Mackinac + Windemere Point, plus night’s outside having s’mores and playing in the backyard! 
I think I always say this, but I cannot believe how quickly the season flew by! The boys have been back in school for almost two months now and we are getting settled back into the fall / school routine. 
I’m sad that I won’t be commuting over to the island much this winter, but I am excited for more time working on home projects, starting to order for the 2022 season (already!!) and spending more time together with the family. 
I hope this fall you are falling into a routine that brings you joy and works for you and your family!
Xo,
Nicole 
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With the chillier temperatures in the air and it getting darker earlier, I have been wanting to find the perfect soup for dinner. After searching Pinterest, I found a recipe for Italian Wedding Soup and decided to give it a try!

This recipe is from The Cozy Cook and is a great soup for when you want to be warmed up and have a cozy meal at home. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Meatballs

  • 1/2lb. ground beef, 80% lean
  • 1/2lb. ground pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, homemade is best
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated into a powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt & freshly ground pepper

Soup

  • 1 ¼ cups carrots, diced
  • 1 ¼ cups yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ cup celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth,
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt/pepper
  • ¾ cup acini de pepe pasta, , uncooked
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach

To Garnish

  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Stove Top Method

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients, don’t overwork the meat, we want tender meatballs.
  • Roll the meat into 1-inch balls.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches for 2-3 minutes. The inside of the meatball will finish cooking in the soup.
  • Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and season with salt and pepperif desired.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the meatballs and pasta.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Stir in the spinach.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

Crock Pot Method

  • Gently combine the meatball ingredients. Don't overwork the meat.
  • Roll the meat into 1-inch balls.
  • This Crock Pot allows you to brown the meatballs on the stove top first. I recommend this as the brown bits left on the bottom of the pot transfer lots of flavor into the soup.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and browned meatballs.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • Add the acini de pepe and cook on low for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the Spinach.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and serve!

I hope you decide to give this a try and like it as much as our family did!

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Do you love to listen to podcasts? During my commute to the island, I love listening to a podcast! It really helps set my mood for the day!
A new podcast that I recently found is Emily P. Freeman’s, The Next Right Thing.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the BIG things. But listening to this podcast, I’ve been reminded of just breaking it down and working to focus on the little steps that make up the bigger decisions.
Tell me, what’s your favorite podcast? I’d love to know and give it a listen! 
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Summer passed by in the whirlwind! I cannot believe that it is already September! We had the best summer spending every spare minute enjoying our favorite parts of Mackinac.

Here are some of our summer highlights: 

🏊🏻‍♀️Swimming at the Grand Hotel’s pool and swimming in the Great Lakes.

🚲Biking around the Island and all over Mackinac!

🧺Dinner picnics at Marquette Park and British Landing. 

🌅Sunset Sip n’ Sails under the Mackinac Bridge. 

🫖Lunch at the Tea Room.

🌊I went paddle boarding for the first time!

🍋The boys sold homemade lemonade at a stand in the front yard. 

🔦We played flashlight tag at night!

🎨The boys attended art classes at Watercolor Cafe. 

🔥We spent nights outside having s’mores and hot dogs.

🍦Ate way too much ice cream at Sadie’s and I drank a lot of chai tea from Lucky Bean.

This summer was one of the busiest summers I have experienced in the 10+ years that I’ve lived and worked on Mackinac. 

Overall, it was an incredible summer. I loved every minute that I got to spend with the boys! The staff that I had this summer was also truly amazing. They worked so hard, despite the many challenges that come each and every day!  

Another summer is in the books - while I’m sad that the busy season is over, we still have so much to look forward to this fall! 

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