Author: Emily


Holiday Binder: Thanksgiving Prep Checklist

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It’s October folks! While we’re certainly not trying to rush through fall to get to winter, we’re starting to think ahead to preparing for “the holidays.”  A couple weeks ago, I posted a template for starting a Holiday Binder for your family to streamline your Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. I also promised you a more detailed guide to preparing for Thanksgiving weeks in advance to avoid the last minute mayhem that can come with hosting Thanksgiving in your home. (I’ll also be posting a Christmas Prep Checklist early-mid November so stay tuned!) 

Click here for our Sincerely Doris Jane Holiday Binder – For Post!

A few tips and suggestions before you get started:

  • I like to use plastic page sleeves for each page to protect pages while I’m cooking. This also allows you to check things off with a dry erase marker as you complete them and provides a pocket for handwritten recipe cards.
  • What is a “set-up space?” (see 6 weeks to go) Whether it’s holiday prep or preparing for a vacation, I like to designate a corner of a room, or a whole room to gathering all my supplies, checklists or any packing that needs to be done. I like to be able to put things in this space as I think of them and then shut the door behind me to keep my toddler away.
  • Give yourself an extra page sleeve to start holding your coupons as you find them.
  • Use extra pages to make notes and reminders for the following year as things come up.

So tell us, did I miss anything? Has this been helpful to you? Comment below and tell us how you stay organized during what can be a crazy time of year, but doesn’t have to be.

Home Sweet Home

5 Fall Favorites for Your Home

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      Now that it’s finally starting to cool off here in Ohio, we’re finally ready to embrace the fall season that seemed to start months ago on social media. Fall was my favorite season before it was all #fallyall and pumpkin spice lattes (which I actually hate, am I the only one? ick.) I’ve always loved the crisp air and changing leaves and carving pumpkins. AND October is my birthday month, so what’s not to love, right?

     Aside from all the outdoor opportunities that come along with a chill in the air is the chance to decorate indoors for a cozy, bowl-of-chili-and-college-football feeling. Speaking of college football, while my husband’s been rooted to the couch every Saturday (and Sunday, if I’m being honest) I’ve been shopping….and shopping small/local, which you guys know is where we always find the best stuff. So let’s get down to (small) business here shall we? Here’s my top 5 fall favorites for your home:

  1. A cozy candle from Flores Lane’s NYC line will bring autumn goodness into your
    home. Bye bye pumpkin spice candle, helloooo warm fall scents like bayberry, basil, grapefruit, tobacco and sandalwood.

    photo cred:
  2. Sara’s House has these adorable vintage paper placemats (remember the Santa placemats we were going nuts over last winter? These are the fall version) and these terracotta pumpkin lanterns would be the perfect centerpiece or accent to your kitchen or dining room. and how cute are those teeny little pumpkins!
  3. Handmade wall decor from Designs by Dor is the perfect way to bring a little handmade flair to your home. We love these two wall signs … now all you have to do is decide which one to order! 
  4. Miller Street Boutique is a beautiful little boutique in Fairfield, OH that has a little bit of everything. The antique touches perfectly complement the gift items, boutique clothing and, of course, home decor.
  5. DIY Lemon & Rosemary Stovetop Potpourri from Rachel Schultz is another great way to make your whole house smell heavenly without the open flame (in case you have curious little counter climbers like I do.) 

….and of course a couple great big mums and a couple pumpkins on the front porch to greet your guests. What’s your favorite way to decorate for fall?


Holiday Binder: Getting Started

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     I’m a list maker. I always have been. Packing lists, cleaning lists, grocery lists, to do lists. You name it – it’s probably on a post it or in a notebook somewhere in my house. It’s truly the only way I keep my life in order. Without a list and my planner I’d be wandering around in circles in my kitchen asking myself what it was I came in there for. I have binders and folders and itineraries for just about everything we do.

At about this time every year I start thinking about preparation for the holidays. I know what you’re thinking – lady, it’s barely September. Hold your sleighbell-slingin’ horses…but we all know once the pools close and the kids go back to school it’ll be November before we have a chance to blink.

My husband and I entertain a lot around the holidays. Whether it’s having both of our families over for Thanksgiving every year or having friends over for Christmas parties we keep ourselves rather busy. However, with all that fun comes a good deal of preparation in the weeks prior. Lots of grocery shopping and coupon watching and trying to find specific recipes in the unsorted mess I call a recipe box.

     So this year I decided to try to simplify things a bit and put everything into one place. Enter … the Holiday Binder. A place to put everything you need to keep yourself organized and make your holiday prep a piece of cake … pumpkin pie.

Click the link below for our printable table of contents page.

We’ll be posting our Thanksgiving section in a couple weeks. 

What you’ll need:
– Sincerely, Doris Jane’s table of contents printable
– Dividers (we like the kind with a pocket for stashing original recipe cards)
– Recipes printed on 1 sheet (print them in a Word doc to make them easy to read)
– Sheet protectors (to keep those recipes clean)
– 1 2″ binder
– Sharpie
– Family recipes
– Calendar / Planner
The holidays don’t have to be hectic. Let us help you control the chaos and follow along as we build our holiday binder over the next couples months! We’re excited to hear how you’ve adjusted this to fit your family!
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Local Guide: Fresh Picked Apples

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This time of year my mind seems to wander in two different directions. Half of me is soaking in the last of the summer sun while the other half longs for cooler weather, scarves and changing leaves. When it comes to fall comfort food, apple recipes are some of my favorites. I know, I know, it’s only August, but I just can’t help but let my mind creep forward a little while I relish these last few weeks of summer.

We’ll have an autumn apple recipe lineup for you in a about a month, but in the meantime we thought we’d give you a little guide to where to snag the best fresh picked apples (and where to pick your own, too!)

  • McGlasson Farms – Fresh and locally grown produce including apples!
  • Brumbaugh Fruit Farm – This place has everything! Loaded with activities for kids of all ages and a market and bakery make this the perfect family friendly fall destination.
  • Iron’s Fruit Farm – Not only can you get your fresh picked apples in their produce market, but they even provide wonderful recipes for your fresh produce on their website.
  • Tuken’s Farm Market – Apple picking days are coming up soon! Click the link for more info!
  • Lebanon Country Applefest – Not only can you buy fresh apples in bulk at the Country Applefest, you can also get just about every kind of baked, fried or cider apple treat you can think of.
  • Shaw Farms –  Shaw Farms gets the Fall Festival party started early! Visit between mid september – end of October for fresh apples, pumpkins and fun for the whole family.
Local Travel

“Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

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“Bloom in the garden where He has planted you

…radiate the beauty and fragrance of His providence” 

Saint Francis de Sales

There’s something about going back to your hometown. Ease, simplicity, comfort. Something about knowing the back roads, shortcuts and local favorites that makes you immediately feel welcome and at rest. Both of us have had the “move away” itch from time to time. For me, it was Nashville, Tennessee – for Jess, it was New York City. Yet, something kept us right here in Ohio. Even when Music City and The Big Apple tug at us from time to time, we’ve never been able to pull up our roots, pack our bags and go.

Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to feel the need to compete. Fashion, travel, parenting, home renovations, fitness … no matter the topic, we’ve all felt the pressure to do more, be more, go more, spend more. Social media can make you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, truly happy, right where you are, with what you have, with who you have. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve found myself playing the “I wish ….” game from time to time … perfection, wealth, beauty, “success.” Jess and I have talked about this plenty of times, but we’ve always come to the conclusion that we are happiest with simplicity and familiarity. For us that means living “in the garden where He planted us.”

We’re hometown girls and that’s okay. 

    While we’ve toyed with other plans since college graduation, we’ve learned to accept that God’s plan for us didn’t involve a busy bustling city or the country music capital. No no, we were meant to stay right here and create a blooming, beautiful, “fragrant” life without leaving the state where we were born.

We were meant to let our lives blossom right where our roots began and that simplicity is what brings us true happiness. Our family is here, our traditions are here, and our hearts are here. And here we’ll stay. 

Be happy with your little corner of His garden, wherever that may be. For some of us it’s where we grew up, others have been transplanted and have nurtured a new garden. Wherever God has led you, create a beautiful life right where you are with the people who love you.

You’re comfortable. You’re happy. You’re home. Let that be enough.

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Weekend Plans: Summer Farm to Vase Workshop

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We are sooo excited to be invited to Morning Sun Flower Garden tomorrow evening for their Summer Farm to Vase Workshop ! We had such a great time interviewing Mindy and her staff at their shop, Two Little Buds,  in Hamilton, we were thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to check out where all these beautiful blooms begin and where all the hard work happens.



We’ll post plenty of photos here next week (and we can’t wait to share them with you!), but in the meantime we thought we’d repost our interview with the gals over at Two Little Buds in case you missed it a few months ago.

Check out our little visit with them here!


Homemade Pound Cake

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Grandma Jane ALWAYS had a pound cake in the fridge. Some of our fondest memories from our childhood involve running off the school bus and heading straight for their refrigerator for a slice of pound cake and a scoop of ice cream.

We recently found the BEST recipe for homemade pound cake (aka: butter cake) on Cookies and Cups and made it for our Memorial Day picnic. It certainly did not disappoint. Not only was it easy and relatively quick to make, it also just happens to be the perfect foundation for a mound of fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream topping.

Try it for yourself here!


Easy Summer Cookout Recipes

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This past winter seemed to never end, right? We had freezing temperatures well into April and just when the first tiny signs of spring peeked up from the frozen ground … they were blanketed with even more snow.

Finally after months and months of bundling up or hiding under an umbrella trying to dodge a spring downpour, it seems like we just might be on the sunny side of things. That, of course, calls for kids in the sprinkler, burgers on the grill and friends on your patio. Lucky for all of you, we love summer cookout food. Here’s just a couple of our easy go-to recipes:

“Doddy Burgers” – Em babysat two little girls (who are sadly not so little anymore) who’s Grandpa made the best burgers in town. They’ve been a staple ever since.

For each pound of ground beef:
· 1 egg
· ½ c. bread crumbs
· 2 teaspoons dried minced onions
· ½ t. Worchestershire sauce
· 1 Tablespoon bacon bits
· 1 T. Parmesean cheese
· ½ t. salt
· ¼ t.pepper

Emily’s Pesto Turkey Burgers – This recipe was a result of a trip to the grocery where Em, as usual, forgot half of what she went in for. Upon returning home and realizing she still needed to make dinner, she threw together what she had in her pantry and out came these tasty little turkey burgers.

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • half jar of pesto
  • teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 cups italian bread crumbs (add until burgers stick together)
  • 2 eggs
  • Grill until cooked through
    • In the winter/rain we make these in a skillet with a little olive oil and they get deliciously crunchy on the outside.

Watermelon & Feta – the perfect pairing of savory and sweet.

  • 1 large watermelon + 1 container of feta cheese
  • mix together

Aunt Jan’s Potato Salad – Nothing is better than Aunt Jan’s Potato Salad. So simple, but will draw you in for seconds … maybe thirds, too.

  • boil 1 lb potatoes until tender throughout
  • peel off skin after cooked
  • add mayo, hard boiled egg, celery, sugar and salt to taste.

5 Minute Pick Me Ups


We all want more time in the day. We have to do-lists that get all of our attention and a seriously neglected want-to list that seems to take the backseat at every turn. But here’s something else we all have, whether we’ll willing to admit it or not, five minutes. Everyone has five minutes. No matter how busy you think you are, we’re willing to bet if you really looked hard at your day, you could find just five minutes to slow down, look around you and treat yourself to a little bit of “me time.”

Let the dishes and the laundry and e-mails wait. We promise the world won’t come crashing down around you. It’s Friday friends, and you deserve a little break, a treat, or, heavens, even just a few minutes to close your eyes and catch your breath.

What do we like to do to fill our five minutes? We thought you’d never ask …

1. Flip through old photos – vacations, loved ones at a younger age, a family pet you miss dearly. Take a little trip down memory lane and let your mind wander.

2. Get outside – listening to the birds or feeling the sun on your face is sure to put you in a better mood almost instantly.

3. Play with your dog – Was there ever a creature so loyal and loving as the family dog? Throw a ball, take a walk or just let them run and watch how much joy they find in such simple things.

4. Pick up your bible/devotional – We’re both reading “Jesus Calling” and it’s the perfect little 30 second pick me up.

5. Unplug – here’s one of our favorites. Close your laptop, turn off your wifi and hide your phone from yourself. We love to disconnect for a little while.

6. Paint your nails – isn’t it amazing what a fresh coat of polish can do to make you feel like you just did something special for yourself? Pick up a new color or dig out your old favorite and treat yourself to a 5 minute manicure.

7. Write – whether it’s journaling, poetry, letters to a friend, writing is a great way to let yourself daydream for a few minutes.

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to unwind?


5 Tips for Taking REALly Great Photos

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Children see beauty in just about everything. They are eye level with tiny details we tend to walk right by as adults. They notice shiny orange pennies dropped and forgotten in a parking lot. Playful shadows on a sunny day. Tiny flowers growing up through cracks in the sidewalk. Is this all because children are easily distracted, or are they simply less distracted? Free from cell phones, adult conversations and the rest of the world hurrying along around them.

By now we’re sure you’ve seen hundreds of Instagram accounts full of highly filtered and heavily photoshopped photos of places we’ve never seen before. Photos that compete with one another for brighter colors, simpler backgrounds and more beautiful landscapes. We started thinking, what if we simply captured what captures the eye of the little ones around us? What if we also learned to find pure and absolute joy in the simple things around us every day. At what age do we stop giggling about a wave lapping at our toes, or collecting a bouquet of fallen flowers while out for a walk with our dog?

Em’s son has taught us that maybe a great photo doesn’t require hours of editing behind a computer screen. Maybe it doesn’t need to have colors and contrast adjustments or all signs of blemish removed or altered backgrounds. Perhaps all we have to do is just slow down, pay attention and remember our 5 tips for taking REALly great photos.

  1. See the world from the eye of a child. Turn off your ringer and look around. High, low, above and under. Be on the lookout for a new perspective rather than always shooting down on what you’re seeing. You can even try putting your camera level with the ground.
  2. Let your childish curiosity guide you. Have you ever noticed how often something catches the eye of a toddler and off they go; wandering hurriedly toward their new discovery. Let yourself do just that and take photos along the way.
  3. Take a knee. Kneel or sit next to a child, especially when taking photos of them. You’ll be surprise how different your photos will look. The details you’ll catch, the expressions on their tiny faces, not only will you have a better point of view, you’re also likely to get a better background and maybe even catch breathtaking lighting.
  4. Never neglect your zoom. Use your zoom feature to your advantage. Zoom in super close and capture little things like the curls in your sons hair or the crinkle in your grandma’s nose when she laughs. Zoom out for a reminder of just how teeny your kids were once.
  5. Put down your phone/camera. We’ve all been there. Standing on the beach staring at a beautiful sunset through the lens of our camera or the screen of our phone, trying to get a picture that does justice to the colors. Sometimes it’s better to settle for the not-like-real-life photo and put the camera away and let the colors and beauty live in your memory.

Wishing you all curiosity, fun and fantastic photos …