Tag Archives: parties

Gifts for Tweens Are Hard

17 Jul

I have a ton of tween nieces.  All fabulous.  They are so hard to shop for.  The cutesy stuff no longer applies and the stuff they want often comes with that picture of an apple on it; and I wouldn’t dare try to buy clothes for them.  I decided a bath wrap was kind of spa-ish (I saw lots of ideas for spa baskets…but no one ever really uses that stuff) and functional.  I like functional.
Tween gifts Bath wrap tutorial

I found a bunch of tutorials, but this one made the most sense to me.  This one inspired the ruffle.  As always, I followed it loosely.  Many tutorials call for terry cloth, but I like the large and super plush towels that Costco & Sams club sell.  Plus, they are huge!  I cut off about a third of this towel.

My favorite part is the ruffle…although it killed two of my sewing machine needles.  I free-motioned her name to personalize it.  I think tweens are probably over appliqué.  I kind of want one now.

Healthy Chicken Salad & Refreshing Mango Dressing

12 Jun

My husband has dubbed our house the “House of Horrors” over the past few days.  All five of the kids have been sick…the really yucky kind!  All that “horror” has left me craving something healthy and refreshing.  Go figure.

I was looking for a mango dressing on Pinterest, but ended up making my own…with inspiration from the ones I found. IMG_2699

Then I took what I could find and made this salad.  I never put walnuts in my salad, but since my freezer has a few bags my dad picked off the tree, I was excited to use them.  I think it might be a new salad staple.

mango dressing chicken salad

The kids who were feeling good enough to eat again loved it and even had seconds.  Winner! Winner!  I added the feta and chicken individually.

The Chicken Salad:

diced apples

diced tomatos

walnuts

(as soon as the avocados are ripe, it will go here)

Feta

Chopped chicken breast

Disclaimer:

I don’t measure much when it comes to making things without a recipe.  Even then, it’s hit and miss.  So, know that the “recipe” here may need to be adjusted to your liking.

The Mango Dressing:

2 cups chopped mango (I just used frozen)

1/2 T chopped garlic

2 T apple cider vinegar

1 T honey

2 T olive oil

4 T apple juice

1/2 tsp ground pepper

You could probably reduce or eliminate the oil and apple juice if your fruit is not frozen.  My mango was frozen, so it was really thick.

Just throw it in the blender hit go!

IMG_2703

Hoping for healthier days!

Chicken Fruit Vegetable Wheat Bread Thing Recipe

28 Feb

I don’t even know what you call this.  But, my kids requested it for lunch after we had it for dinner, so I figured it was blog worthy.Now, I am no pro in the kitchen.  I can’t taste something and tell you what’s inside.  I call my sisters in the middle of new recipes all the time for translation.  But, since I’m married to a pretty healthy eater (who totally imposes his healthy views on his family…sheesh!), figuring out  something that’s a step above the taste of cardboard gets me pretty excited.  And for the record, we (the kids and I) do enjoy cookies, french fries, candies and pastries whenever we get the chance.

There’s a “topping” and a “spread” and the bread.  I really wanted to make bagels for the first time for this, but I didn’t have the time, so I bought (well, my sister picked it up from Costco for me) the bread.  Although I did make bagels that night and I am in LOVE.  But, this bread is awesome anyway, I love it.For the “topping,” I just chopped up apples, cucumbers & threw in Craisins.  You could change this up depending on your crowd…more veggies, more fruits, whatever!I cooked some chicken breast in my super awesome oil core electric skillet.  It keeps it really moist.  If I didn’t do that, I’d probably boil it so that it doesn’t dry out.  Just dice it up.Then, I tossed it all together.For the “spread,” I just combined some cream cheese, ranch powder & some milk.  I creamed it together as best I could.I toasted the bread.  You don’t have to, but it does help keep the bread firm so that it can hold all the toppings.

Swipe on a little of the spread, scoop on your toppings and that’s it!  Kid’s love it!  Hubby loves it!  I love it!  It’s easy!  I’m happy!Pretend not to notice the paper plate.  It was an “I don’t wanna do dishes” kind of night.

Here’s the breakdown:

Makes about 10-12.  In my house, that’s about 4-6 servings.  It just depends on your eaters.

Toppings:

1  apple

1/2 Cucumber

3/4 C of Craisins

2 Chicken Breasts (I added nothing to the breasts)

Spread:

Approx 4 oz (a block is 8 oz) of cream cheese

1/3 packet of a powdered Ranch sauce

About 1/4 C of milk.  Add milk slowly until you reach a peanut butter-like consistency.  I used powdered milk because it was all I had, but I bet whole milk would taste great…or even heavy cream!!

Any bread will do.

If you do make it, I’d like to know what you think.  Or at least what my kids could call it in place of, “that thing you made with the sauce and the bread and the stuff on top.”

Enjoy!

The Wedding Shower

31 Jan

After the fun we had at the jewelry party, it was time to focus on the shower.  We had a “Tea Party” theme.  The bride’s sister who lives thousands of miles away flew in the night before the shower.Everyone did their part to make things pretty.My  little sister did all of the names on doilies by hand.  It was a really elegant touch.My SIL used her handy-dandy cricut to cut out all those adorable boxes.  To make it even better, they were filled with chocolate covered macadamia nut clusters smothered in caramel.We played some games and ate.Look at all these hand-made prizes!  Lucky for us, even if we didn’t win, we still got a prize at the end.Fresh baked bread was filled with different sandwich fillings.  We had three “flavors” to choose from.  It was delish!This flavor of lemonade was new to all of us.  It was a big hit.Spinach salad and these cream filled strawberries on the side completed the meal.  It’s great having a pastry chef in the family!  She stuffed them with a mix of cream cheese, powdered sugar and a little vanilla.  They were topped with graham cracker crumbs.After we ate, it was time for gifts.  The bride received a beautiful heirloom pearl necklace from her sister who had been keeping it safe for 14 years since her own wedding!  It was a really sweet surprise.She also brought a gift from her son who used his own money to buy his favorite aunty some comfy PJs.We all chipped in while my SIL worked her magic and made this beautiful pearl set (She’s wearing all three pieces) for her.  I wish I had a link to her online store, but IT’S NOT UP YET!!!  (no pressure Ky…but HURRY UP!).My other sister found a great idea to make a basket of “Dates For A Year” since my brother and his bride lived in two separate countries and didn’t get to “go on dates” much.  We thought it was a good idea from the beginning, but seeing everyone fill it up was so fun and creative!  For January, they went box car racing.  Other dates they will have to look forward to are driving around the island sight seeing with gift cards to various stops around the island.  A day at the park with a frisbee and a Jamba Juice gift card.  A hammock to take to a beach park and hang out.A DVD for “The Bucket List” with a “worksheet” to fill out their own bucket list.An envelope with two five dollar bills.  They go to a mall or superstore and each spend five dollars on the other person that is an expression of love and creativity.  I wish I could remember them all.  She was really excited about it.  I think we all were!  My mom also gave her the beautiful simple frame.I almost forgot.  My oldest sister made these refreshing fruit popscicles.  She used an ice tray as a mold.  They look so pretty too!It was a super fun day with the most important women in our life.  We were so anxious for the big day!

That night, we packaged all this beautiful rock candy that my sister made to look like sea glass.  So cool!  Can’t wait for the wedding!!!

The Jewelry Party Before the Wedding

27 Jan

Yesterday, a few days ago, I mentioned a fabulous event at the bottom of this post.  The event I was referring to is my brother’s wedding.  It was full of fabulousness and beauty.  Almost a week before the wedding and the same day we got to meet his lovely bride for the first time, we had a “Jewelry Night” with all her new SIL’s and the older nieces.  I guess it can sort of be counted as her bachelorette party.It was a time to break her in to us.  Her new overwhelming family.It was also a time to make some bling for the wedding.My super talented SIL (gray shirt) who makes and sells jewelry set everything up and taught us how to make a few pieces.Other than the fact that the poor bride-to-be (red shirt) had major jet lag (we think she’s a trooper for coming anyway), it was a lot of fun.I didn’t get pics of all the finished pieces, darn it!  But here’s one I took on my phone (I really dislike blogging with iPhone pics) that I sent in a text message.Maybe my SIL is reading this post and has some pics she’ll shoot over to me 😛

In my next post, I’ll tell you all about the shower.  Here’s a sneak peak:

It’s Ladies Night!

11 Aug


I haven’t done this in a LONG TIME!  It was a quilt night!As always, we talked too much before we got started.  This was one of the more productive nights.  Some times, I don’t get ANYTHING done because we’re just talking so much.  It was so fun to hang with these girls and all their cool ideas and fun fabric.  I love these girls because they are creative, sweet, fiercely loyal, genuine and super fun.  One thing they are NOT is cooperative when having their picture taken.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

Inexpensive Spoons That Are Not BENDY!

5 Aug

When I was cooking dinner, I left my cheap Wal Mart spoon sitting against the hot pot and it looks like it should’ve melted, but it didn’t. Then I was reminded of a time when I first bought these cheap FOUR FOR A DOLLAR spoons.  I bought them to use as part of the party favors for my daughter’s baking themed birthday party. We baked a bazillion cookies and in the process of taking pans in and out of the oven, I must’ve left the spoon on one of the pans.  Anyway, it made it through the entire “bake” and came out with NO BURNS!  My sister and I both expected to pick up a soft BENDY spoon, but it was perfect!  They are really hard too.  So when you’re stirring a dense dough or a big pot of anything, the spoon moves where you move it.  See all the spoons we used that day! It’s not BENDY.  So, at four for a buck, I highly recommend these super inexpensive spoons.  They’d be great to accessorize gifts for Christmas or kitchen themed wedding showers too.  And the best part, if you’re trying to be more diligent about doing  your part to not purchase items made in China, if you do pick these up, your buck stays IN THE USA BABY!

p.s.  The clip from Friends where Pheobe introduces the word, “bendy” is one of my favorites, but keep in mind, it’s not exactly G-rated.