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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

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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With how busy this season is, I find that having staple, go-to meals is perfect for making sure that everyone eats as a decent hour and making sure that it’s easy for me!

Here are three hearty and healthy fall meals I keep on constant rotation in our home!

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells: This recipe is from Eat Yourself Skinny and can be found here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells

For The Filling:

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp pecorino cheese
  • 2 tsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese (for topping at the end)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Using a pastry bag (or a spoon), fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of filling.
  6. In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, spread about 3/4ths of the marinara in the bottom of the dish and arrange shells on top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove foil, sprinkle with additional pecorino cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until hot/bubbly and cheese is melted.
  8. Top with remaining sauce, serve and enjoy!

 

Mini Chicken Pot Pies: This recipe is from One Little Project and can be found here.

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped leftover chicken or 1 small fresh chicken breast, fully cooked.
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables peas, carrots, corn and green beans, defrosted
  • 1 package refrigerated biscuit dough

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Combine the chicken, mixed vegetables and cream of chicken soup in a medium bowl and stir well.
  • Separate each of the biscuits and place them into the compartments of a greased muffin tin.
  • Using your fingers, push down on the dough starting in the middle, then working the dough up the sides of each of the muffin compartments, as high as it will go.
  • Add the filling to each of the compartments (approximately 2 Tablespoons each).
  • Bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Notes

You can substitute the refrigerated biscuit dough for refrigerated crescent roll dough if you prefer. Just cut out circles or squares of the dough to put in the muffin tin. Biscuit dough gives it a salty and firm texture. Crescent roll dough will give it a sweeter and softer texture.

 

Chicken Noodle Casserole:

This recipe is from Kleinworth & Co. and can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 2 large chicken breasts- cooked & shredded about 2 cups of shredded chicken- leftovers are great for this or rotisserie chicken
  • 1 15.25 oz can whole kernel corn - drained
  • 1 15 oz can no salt sweet peas - drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 22.6 oz can cream of chicken condensed soup
  • 1 tbsp minced onions
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup french dried onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray- set aside
  • Cook noodles to package directions (usually boil for 6-8 minutes) drain & place in a large bowl
  • Add in cooked chicken, corn, peas, condensed soup, milk, minced onions, granulated garlic, cheese & bacon bits
  • Fold to combine & transfer to prepared baking dish
  • Top with french fried onions
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbling & hot throughout
  • **Note: per reader feedback I do not advise substituting the egg noodles with another kind, such as elbow macaroni. Those tend to soak up more of the moisture & leave the casserole dry.

 

Let me know what you think of these recipes and what recipes you keep on hand for the busy fall days!

Pictures are from their respective websites. 

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Grab Donuts from Cannon Ball: Cannon Ball is located at British Landing and is the halfway point when you are biking around the island. If you want to get a donut from Cannon Ball, be sure to get there early before they sell out!
Taste Caramel Apples from Sander’s: Don’t you remember growing up and eating tasty caramel apples? Relive those fall memories on Mackinac by visiting Sander’s for a delicious caramel covered apple!
Take a walk down Main Street to look at Halloween decor: This is one of our favorite things to do as a family! Take a walk from the Island House Hotel to Windemere Point looking at all the spooky decor!
Eat Lunch at Fort Mackinac’s Tea Room: The Tea Room is run by the Grand Hotel, so the food in delicious and the view of the leaves changing is spectacular!
Carve a pumpkin: We can’t wait to carve the pumpkins that will decorate the front doors at the shop! Stay tuned to see what the staff comes up with!
Hike to Fort Holmes: Many people never make it up to Fort Holmes, but the views from the top are incredible and it’s a lovely walk up there. On your fall stay, make time to head up there!
Visit Fort Mackinac: If you haven’t visited the Fort on past visits, do it this fall! It will be less crowded and you’ll learn so much history about Mackinac Island!
Jump in a Pile of Leaves: Look around Mackinac Island for a fun pile of leaves to jump in! You’ll probably be able to find a pile to jump in on your hike up to Fort Holmes.
 
Grab a Warm Drink from Lucky Bean: You already know my favorite drink is a Vanilla Chai Latte with Almond Milk! What is your go - to fall drink? 
 
Take an art class at Watercolor Cafe: Be sure to check out what fun art classes are happening this fall at Watercolor Cafe! 
 
Get the Best Apples from Friske Orchards, Found at Doud’s Market: We love Friske Orchards in Northern Michigan and we are proud to carry their fresh apples every fall! 
 
Pick up your favorite bottle of Witch’s Brew Wine at Little Luxuries: It is our secret wine blend enhanced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices that makes this a crowd pleaser and favorite of Leelanau Cellars' fans. Perfect for entertaining, this wine will explode with intense flavor when served warm but can also be served chilled as an ingredient in sangria.
Is there anything you would add to your fall bucket list of things you really want to do on the Island? Be sure to let us know!
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Once again, here we are at the beginning of a new school year! Tommy is going into Kindergarten this year and Louis is going into First Grade! They are so excited for a new school year!

I love back to school shopping - all the new pretty pens, paper and accessories! If you haven’t shopped our new Back to School collection on the website, click here to shop!

Here are a few items that I’ve grabbed for the boys as they head back to school:

Skoolzy Rainbow Counting Bears: Even though John isn’t going to school this year, I read great reviews about this toy that will facilitate learning for him! It will encourage color recognition and basic math for him all while he is just playing!

 

Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch BoxThis 5 compartment lunch box comes in three fun colors - blue, green and purple. It’s the perfect way to send a little of everything in just the right amount. It is BPA free and leak proof. It makes sending a variety of food so much easier - remember having to put 5 different Tupperware containers in your kid’s lunch last year? This will be such a time saver!

Clif Kid ZBar: I had to get the boys their favorite bar for the beginning of the school year! They LOVE these Clif Kid bars - especially the chocolate chip and brownie flavors! They are organic and NON-GMO and have just the right amount of sweetness in them!

Lunch Box Cards: One more thing I’m excited about for the new school year is sending little lunchbox notes to the boys! Write your message in the white rectangle and cover it with the scratch-off sticker provided. Scratching will reveal your hidden message! These tiny notes are the perfect size to slip into a lunch bag or pocket of someone special.

We all know that this school year is going to be way different than usual, but I want the boy’s to be excited about going back, so if I can do that with fun lunch time surprises, then that’s what I’ll do! Tell me, what are you doing to make sure your kid’s know that this year is still exciting and special?

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A summer day at the lake is the perfect way to spend a day off of work! Every summer, we take Sunday’s as our family day. This summer, we’ve been stealing away to my parent’s cottage on a small lake in Michigan for the perfect summer time with the boys, my parents and my brothers!
When we were there a few weeks ago, I realized that somehow I forgot my bathing suit! (Mom Brain!) My mom actually had a spare bathing suit she convinced me to try - it fit perfectly! The fun part is, it was her suit from the 1970s, but it was still in great condition and the style was so classic no one would ever know it was some 50 years old! Now, it’s my go-to summer suit when we are swimming at the cottage! So fun to see what has gone out of style come right back in!
Nicole Doud
While we were at the cottage this past weekend, my mom made one of everyone’s favorite recipes: Blueberry Muffins! We grew up with these muffins and now the boys love to eat them! My mouth is watering just thinking about them filled with fresh Michigan blueberries!
Ingredients:
1/2 rolled oats
1/2 cup orange juice (or water)
1 1/2 cups all purpose or unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Prepare muffin tin with either grease or baking cup liners.
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats and orange juice; stir well.
Add flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, coining oil and egg.
Mix together.
Stir in blueberries
Spoon into muffin tin, filling 2/3 full.
Blend 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over the batter.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 12 muffins.
MMM! I can’t wait for you to try this recipe and to hear if you liked it or not! Also, tell me, do you and your mom share any pieces of clothing that have gone in and out of style?
Xo,
Nicole

 

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