I’ve been sick these past few+ days with some sort of flu or cold or whatever is “going around”. Sick as in I couldn’t go to work, couldn’t attend the annual neighborhood Christmas party and essentially just found myself lying on the couch for hours watching Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathons. This week so far has been a total frustrating fail for me. I kind of felt like this guy-agghhh!

Sea Salt Caramel Bites SnowmanNo big DIY projects, no blogging, no nothing, other than trips back and forth from the couch to the fridge to the pantry to open yet another can of soup or box of crackers. Coach would leave saying “my poor darlin'” and come home hours later with me still in the exact same position on the couch and say “really??”-lol-he’s not used to seeing me doing nothing, and I mean nothing-not a paint brush or sandpaper in sight-for days. But, you know, it hasn’t been all that bad. This little forced break given me an opportunity to step back and take stock of what I’m doing with this blog and the barn shop and start implementing a plan moving forward that doesn’t result in me being so run down and exhausted that I end up lying on the couch watching endless Castle reruns and stocking up on kleenex tissues whilst staring at a large, dark green evergreen in the corner of my family room.

Blank Christmas TreeThe house is not even close to being decorated, because I just didn’t have the energy to open up all of the giant bins and sort them out, never mind actually placing the items somewhere decoratively. Coach and I finally got a tree Monday night (good thing I’m not part of any of those blogging holiday house tours…) & it finally has lights but no ornaments.

Lighted Christmas TreeBUT, today marks a new day and newly inspired (and sugared up : ) by our annual work cookie swap which took place yesterday,

Cookie Swap Platter WrappedI’m on the mend and ready to add some holiday spirit to our home : ) In the meantime, I figured I’d share this yummy recipe for Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites I used for the cookie swap. (And I assured my co-workers that I did not breathe on them and repeatedly washed and disinfected my hands before handling!) The original recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Pecan BonBons

Salted Caramel Pecan Pretzel BonBons by Baker By Naturewas via BakerByNature...but mine didn’t come out exactly as the photo (aren’t these gorgeous?!?), but they were still pretty tasty, if not a bit extra chewy! Here’s the how-to:

1. Assemble ingredients: Bag of caramels, bag of pecan 1/2’s, bag of mini pretzels (these I did not have in my pantry),

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites Ingredients from Walgreenssome melting chocolate, sea salt, holiday sprinkles (these I had on hand). I didn’t have any of the main three ingredients at home, so I ran over to Walgreens since that is the closest store to my home, and I figured they would have the basic snack bags the recipe required. Which they did, which made me happy, so I didn’t have to trek all the way to the grocery store. And they had more kleenex and cough drops too, which made me healthy (sort of). And that is why they are at the corner of Happy & Healthy. So that was a win.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Or a small one depending on the # of bites you wish to make. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make small batches as you go.

3. Place the number of mini-pretzels equivalent to the number of bites you wish to make. 12 makes a dozen. 24 makes 2 dozen. Simple math.

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites on Parchment Paper

4. Unwrap the caramels…meh, not fun. When my kids were little and I needed unwrapped caramels, I used to have them race to see who could open them all the fastest-worked every time!

Unwrapped CaramelsBut the only “little one” I have around me these days is a Frenchie named Bartlet,

Bartland unwrapping caramels is near-impossible without opposable thumbs, unless you want caramels with drool and bite marks. Place an unwrapped caramel on top of each mini-pretzel. The recipe mentioned above called for chocolate mixed with coconut oil and vanilla, so I skipped that step by buying caramels that were coconut and vanilla flavored. Right?!?

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites Caramels on Pretzels

5. Place in oven and bake just until they soften. Now the original instructions said 7-8 minutes, JUST TO SOFTEN. But, I left mine in a bit too long (I swear I was watching them, but then I got distracted and…they over-melted. So I scrambled to put the caramel back onto the pretzel by taking a small knife and scooping it back up.

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites Over Melted Caramel

6. Quickly place a pecan 1/2 on each one. These look pretty messy because I was placing pecans and scooping up oozing caramel lava as I went along.

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Scooping Melted Caramel Over Pecan

If you melt them correctly, you won’t have this problem. Lightly sprinkle each with sea salt. Good thing sea salt is a thing right now, because I have this giant cannister full that will probably last me forever!

Sea Salt

 

 

7. While they cool, you melt the bag of chocolate in the microwave according to the directions. These are the bags of Wilton Candy Melts you can get at your local crafts store. They have many flavors and colors, but I happen to like my chocolate dark, especially when mixed with salted caramel.

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Wilton Candy Melts Dark Cocoa

I always use a heavy bowl and cook in the microwave on high, the first go round for 30 seconds, then take it out and stir.

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Melting Chocolate Disks

Then every 15 seconds until the chocolate is drippy and all the little disks are melted.

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Melting ChocolateDO NOT OVERCOOK. OR YOU WILL HAVE A BIG SCORCHED BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE.

8. I dipped the bottom of the cooled pretzel in the chocolate, then flipped them over on the parchment to let them dry.

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Dipping Base in Chocolate9. Once dry, I flipped them back over, reheated the chocolate just enough to melt,

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Drippy Chocolate

then drizzled it over the top,

Sea Salt Caramel Bites Drizzling with Chocolateadding a few holiday sprinkles.

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bite DecoratedCoconut is optional as well.

Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bites by Country Design Home

10. Allow to dry, then store in the fridge or a cool, dry place. Like my family room. Because we don’t turn the heat past 55. Sweaters, folks!! Unless I’m sick, in which case I got to turn it up to 60-lol! Then you share the goodies with friends and family, because you can’t eat all of them yourself. Or could you….have a sweet Thursday everyone! Susan

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SOcial MEdia is all about ENGAGEMENT, and we want to do more than find new followers, we want to grow our engagement!

The more we comment, like, and share each other’s posts, the more engaged we become and that makes the SOcial MEdia “algorithms” happy!
 This week we are growing and engaging with
Facebook!

#SoMe2- Social Media Link Party~ Linky Party~ Social Party

  Do you want to GROW your Social Media channels and GROW your engagement?

This is the party for you! 

The more you put in to this SOcial MEdia link party, the more you will get out!

Don’t link and run: share-comment-pin-like and tell your friends!

 #SoMe2 is a SOcial MEdia link party, we link up 2 items every Tuesday @ 7:00 (est)

#SoMe2-hostess~ Social Media Party

We are pleased to meet this weeks feature and Co-Host!

Meet Sue from “Little Shack on the Hill”

 photo SueattheShack_zps04ba167f.jpg

Bio: Hi! I’m Sue from the Little Shack on the Hill!  Wife, mom to 5, Nana Sue to 3 (with #4 on the way!) and now living full time in our RV. The Little Shack is still our home base, but retirement has taken us on a new path.  Come visit me and join in the fun of cooking, crafting and trying to fit it all into a small space!

Check out our awesome weekly feature.

 Everyone who enters the Rafflecopter below each week will have a chance to win a spot as our featured blogger. We will feature your blog, and links to your social media. Your links will be inserted into the Rafflecopter for that week – gaining you more followers.

So be sure to enter to win the weekly featured blogger spot!

Note: Please be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form accurately. Entries are verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  ~Party Rules~   1) Please follow your hosts and featured blogger. DON’T link and RUN! ~ No one likes Party Poopers!   2) Please add the ~#SoMe2~ button to your sidebar or link page.   3) Tweet about the party! More partiers = more followers! All you have to do is click the “tweet” button Tweet it button  4) Use our hashtag #SoMe2 when tagging or posting so we can find each other! You will automatically be entered into our email reminder list by entering a link. You may remove yourself from the list by using the unsubscribe option. facebook-banner 1) Link up your main Facebook Page 2) Follow All the Hostesses and Featured Blogger(First 6 links) 3) Follow 2 people before your link, if you already follow them, find 2 new people to follow

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1) Link up 1 recent Facebook post –

(Go to your Facebook page, click on the time stamp right below your page name on the individual post, copy the URL, and paste that URL into link party.)

2) Share, like and comment on All the Hostesses and Featured Blogger(the first 6 links).

3) Share, like and comment on the 2 links in front of yours. One of hostesses will make sure the last two links get comments.

 

I want to let you know that we will be taking a break from SoMe2 so we can focus of our holiday baking, shopping, wrapping and families instead of our laptops!  party-reminder
Thanks for joining our SOcial MEdia link party! See you next week – same time, same place!
DeDe,  Kim,  Sarah V.,  Sarah C.,  & Susan

 SoMe2-party-graphic

 

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Recently, I had heard of a contest sponsored by Black & Decker called Your Big Finish!

Black & Decker Your Big FinishTheir goal is to get America to finish what they started-“It’s All For Done…And Done For All”! You know all of those projects you have started along the way that are in different stages of completion…like my Hall of Shame...and my mom’s thrifty kitchen makeover? Well, those were not eligible because they are still (unbelievably) in the works. BUT, there is one finished project that I am super proud of…my HI! Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign.

Rusty Bedspring Marquee SignSo I thought, sure why not enter it? Well, I did, and guess what? My mug is now plastered on a billboard in Times Square!

Black & Decker Times Square Billboard  Times SquareWhat?!?! Now, since I don’t live in NYC, I have no way of actually seeing my face in lights  (ugh, I hope it’s not high def so you can see all those wrinkles), but I am told that it is on the CNN billboard on the corner of 46th and 47th street. So, if anyone happens to be in Manhattan between now and December 27th, could you take a peek? Just look for the giant HI! that is rotating along with the 100’s of other featured projects. You can check out some of the others here (you’ll note that the Times Square featured projects have a little green street sign in the top right corner : )

Black & Decker Project Page

Like my friend Sarah, from Little Red Brick House’s beautiful Fireplace Makeover.

Little Red Brick House Fireplace MakeoverIn the meantime, if you would like to see the now famous Rusty Bedspring Marquee Light in person, it’s hanging in the shop at the Barn at Todd Farm. But right now it says JOY.

Joy Sign in the Barn at Todd FarmBecause that’s a little of what I am feeling right now : ) Thanks to Black & Decker for sponsoring this contest and allowing everyday folks the opportunity for their 15 minutes of fame. And for encouraging all of us procrastinators to finish what we started!! You, too can enter for the chance to have your photo plastered on a billboard in Times Square, but also for some great prizes like some new Black & Decker tools and a grand prize of $10,000!! (which I could then use to buy the new cordless drill that I have been coveting-Santa, are you reading this?!?) Have a great finish to your Friday everyone!! xoxo Susan

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My new favorite “country” read! Because I AM a little bit country (but mostly a lot suburbia), I love getting country style magazines in the mail.

Country Woman MagazineFlipping through the pages of Country Woman Magazine takes me to that happy place where can I dream about owning a farm in the country. Big ol’ front porch, a couple of dogs, maybe a horse…

Country Woman Magazine Logowhich I probably never will, but it is fun to dream…Every month the cover girl for this mag is a real person who makes the country their home. Some are famous…hello Country Music Legend Dolly Parton…

Dolly Parton

and some are just women (like you and me) who decided to abandon their city life and make a new life in real country style. Meet Susan Gibbs,

Susan Gibbs Juniper Moon Farmwho was a TV exec but now makes her home in rural Virginia breeding sheep at Juniper Moon Farm.

Inside the glossy pages of Country Woman Magazine, you’ll find all sort of DIY projects…these two are super cute for the holidays. A cookie sheet tray to make into a Santa Style Checker Board and

Cookie Sheet Checkerboard DIY Country Woman Magazine

… and these DIY Peppermint Candy Candle Holders.

Peppermint DIY Candle Holders

Of course, no country-inspired magazine would be complete without recipes. Loads of yummy, scrumptious recipes. This Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle...yum.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle Country Woman Magazine

How about these super cute Meringue Santa Hat cookies for your cookie swap??

Meringue Santa Hats Country Woman Magazine

And where are you going to make all of these amazing goodies? In some of the most inspired country kitchens you will ever see! Can you imagine baking in this beautiful space?

Country Woman Magazine Farmhouse KitchenSo, if you are a country woman at heart, or just want to have a glimpse of what living in the country is all about, check out Country Woman Magazine, and tell them Sue from Country Design Home sent you!! Have a down-home, country-style Thursday everyone! xoxo Susan

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Welcome to #SoMe2 – Week #63
Today we are sharing our Google+ pages and posts. This is a great platform that is worth a little time and effort. Not only is G+ a way to share your posts and updates but sharing helps your SEO If you are not on G+ I encourage you to set up an account, them come back here and network.
SOcial MEdia is all about ENGAGEMENT, and we want to do more than find new followers, we want to grow our engagement!
The more we comment, like, and share each other’s posts, the more engaged we become and that makes the SOcial MEdia “algorithms” happy!
Each week we will link a different Social Media platform and post from that platform.
This week we are growing and engaging with Google+!
SoMe2-party-graphic

 

If you want to GROW your Social Media channels and GROW your engagement.
This is the party for you!
The more you put in to this SOcial MEdia link party, the more you will get out!
Don’t link and run- share-comment-pin-like and tell your friends!
#SoMe2 is a SOcial MEdia link party where we link up 2 items every Tuesday @ 7:00 (est)
Meet Your Hostesses for the Google+ Party!!
Hostesses


Meet this week’s Featured Blogger! Amanda from The Anti-Mom Blog
AmandaAntiMomBlog
Blogger: Amanda Steinberg from The Anti Mom Blog
Bio: Tackling every day life with two kids under the age of 3,a husband and a crazy family, it can completely consume you! Along with trying to figure out the balance between being a mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, blogger and friend, I wanted to also stay true to ‘me’. The Anti Mom Blog’s philosophy is that being a mom shouldn’t be your only identity, it should enhance the already awesome one you have! I wanted to give other mom’s and mommies-to-be a place to come and learn the truth of everyday parenthood and give them a laugh or two along the way!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Party Rules~

1) Please follow your hosts and featured blogger. DON’T link and RUN! ~ No one likes Party Poopers!
2) Please add the ~SoMe2~ button to your sidebar or link page.
3) Tweet about the party! More partiers = more followers! All you have to do is click the “tweet” button
Tweet it button
4) Use our hashtag #some2 when tagging or posting so we can find each other!
You will automatically be entered into our email reminder list by entering a link. You may remove yourself from the list by using the unsubscribe option.
google-plus-banner

1) Link up your main Google+ Page

2) Follow your Hosts and featured blogger (the first 6 in the link up)

3) Follow 2 people before your link, if you already follow them, find 2 new people to follow


google-plus-post-banner

1) Link up 1 recent Google+ post –

(Go to your Google+ profile, top right hand side of post, click on options menu,

click on link to post, right click and copy, paste that URL into link party.)

2) Share, 1+ and comment on your Hosts and featured bloggers posts.

3) Share, 1+ and comment on the 2 links in front of yours.

This way everyone receives Google+ Love! Our Hostesses will make sure the last 2 links have comments.



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Inspired. Vintage. Rustic. DIY Design.

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Vintage. Rustic. Country Design...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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