Hi!
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

2020, the year of our new normal.
This year, masks became our new normal. Everyone created a Zoom login for countless online meetings. School constantly fluctuated between online learning and masked learning. We counted how many guests could be in the shop at once. We ate and cooked at home more than ever before. 
In February, we took a family trip to NYC and Andrew and I escaped to Mexico in March. Those trips were fun escapes before we realized that we would be spending more time at home than ever before! 
This year was an unexpected gift in a lot of ways. We had more family time than we would have ever expected. The boys started distanced learning, we relocated from Petoskey to Mackinac early and spent our days in the fresh, cool air all throughout the spring.
I learned to pivot to more of an online shop than ever before and you showed up LOVING all the fun options! I was excited to offer Surprise Boxes, Curated Boxes, Online Trunk Shows and more! It was so fun to box up your orders for yourself, for friends and for those you loved on the front lines.
I'm ending the year grateful for the boys, grateful for our health and grateful for you. 
Xo,
Nicole 
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December is here and truthfully I cannot believe the last month of 2020 is here. It's been a mix of emotions as we all can relate. Normally this month our family has holiday functions every weekend and school + community events on week days. This December, those functions are not happening, but our online businesses are keeping me busy. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! As much as the online business is so much different than in the store, it is fun being creative through social media! I enjoy explaining some of our products to you so you can better understand them. Ask me anything, I'm here to help! 
This Sunday is the Christmas tree lighting on Mackinac Island and it will be virtual so all of you can experience the joy of the perfectly lit tree on Main Street. 
Go to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau's facebook page to find the details to join in! 
Everyone has so many different holiday traditions. A few that our family has started since the boys have been little are Elf on the Shelf, gingerbread house making, a chocolate advent calendar, Christmas light drive, Christmas eve homemade pizza, and Christmas morning crepes. Check out my favorite crepe recipe here!
This month I will be sharing photos of our Christmas decor in our own home, photos of Mackinac Island and family recipes. The stores are open every Tuesday in December for island residents and December 26th - January 1st from 11am-3pm. 
I will continue sharing some of our favorite products through Instagram and Facebook and new items are still arriving. 
I hope you are able to spend this holiday season with loved ones and you can find peace and joy during this special time. 
Nicole
xo.
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Nicole Doud
Wow, what a ride it has been the last 8 months, with our 2020 season in the books. Back in late May, I wasn't sure if a season was even going to happen. So THANK YOU for showing up, THANK YOU for ordering online, and THANK YOU for supporting our small businesses as well as all of Mackinac Island. I truly cannot thank you enough.

Our three storefronts are closed up until next spring, 2021. It's hard to even think that far in advance right now as I have been taking the last 8 months day by day. Our inventory is completed, the stores are sparkling clean, my team has dispersed across the state of Michigan and out of state - back home they go, onto other adventures. I had a great team this season. Almost every employee was new which made the beginning a challenge, but we stuck together and learned from each other and made the best of this shortened, unpredictable season. I sure miss my team already! 

Now that the stores are closed up and our winter season is upon us, my focus is our online shops and planning for 2021.
Starting, Monday, November 2nd, stay tuned for some fun new things happening with us VIRTUALLY!  

My family is now in Petoskey for the winter season. I will commute to the island twice a week and Andrew, my husband commutes more often as his grocery store remains open year-round. Now with a more 'normal' schedule I get to spend more time with our boys, start home projects, organize and have more family fun! 

Thank you again for showing up this summer and fall. We would not be where we are without you! 

Nicole
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Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

Shot from Eat Yourself Skinny

I made and shared this recipe last year, but it’s SO good I had to share it again for fall. It’s the perfect fall recipe that the whole family will enjoy! 

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells from the blog Eat Yourself Skinny 

INGREDIENTS

20 jumbo pasta shells

For The Filling:

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 cup grated pecorino cheese

1 large egg white

2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced

Pinch salt and pepper

For The Marinara:

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup chicken broth

¾ cup crushed tomatoes

¾ cup pumpkin puree

2 Tbsp pecorino cheese

2 tsp. fresh sage, minced

½ tsp. basil

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup pecorino cheese (for topping at the end)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta shells according to the package instructions, until al dente, and drain. Rinse with cold water and arrange on a baking sheet to cool until ready to stuff.

To make the filling, mix together pumpkin, pecorino cheese, egg white, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl until all incorporated and set aside.

To make the marinara, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet and saute garlic until fragrant. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, pumpkin, pecorino cheese, sage, basil, nutmeg and salt mixing well until everything is combined. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to medium/low, cover and allow sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes. This is when you can stuff your shells.

Using a pastry bag (or a spoon), fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling.

In a 9" x 13" baking dish, spread about ¾ths of the marinara in the bottom of the dish and arrange shells on top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove foil, sprinkle with additional pecorino cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until hot/bubbly and cheese is melted.

Top with remaining sauce and serve!

This is a recipe that I loved making  every fall! I made it last week and the whole family loved it! Happy Fall, I hope you enjoy it! 

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Lavender Hill Farms

One of our favorite places to go as a family is Lavender Hill Farm, in Boyne City.  It is one of the largest lavender farms in the entire state of Michigan, boasting 25 varieties of lavender. 
Lavender Hill Farms
Doud Boys
They have walking trails that will take you through the fall foliage which we did with the boys just a few weeks ago. It was so beautiful to see all the leaves changing. The trail is longer than a mile, but you can turn around at any point you want and head back.
Lavender Hill FarmsLavender Hill Farms
Lavender Hill Farms
One of my favorite parts of Lavender Hill Farm is their boutique shop. It’s filled with so many lavender goodies, such as spa products or a lavender treat to eat! Almost all of the products are made by local artists and women owned companies. We love supporting local whenever we can! Their dried lavender bunches are some of my favorites. The purple color makes such a pretty display piece and the smell is so calming. They sell candles, spas, sachets, lavender lemonade and so much more! 
Lavender Hill Farms
I hope that you have a chance to make it to Lavender Hill Farm sometime soon! 

 

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