To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I haven't posted a menu plan for a while, and I've been in a bit of a cooking slump. We've had lots on the schedule, so I've settled for frozen things and old standbys. Today, though, my oven is humming. We have a small family of three, and we like to cook once and eat twice, so I'll just post the recipes I'm making this week.

French Dip Sandwiches with  Rachael Ray's Oil and Vinegar Slaw. We'll top the sandwiches with some mozarella cheese, red onions, and slices of the beautiful alma peppers I have growing in profusion on my porch.

Paprika chicken with egg noodles and steamed broccoli

Weight Watchers Butternut Squash Salad with pork chops

Pumpkin muffins to use that can of pumpkin that's been sitting in my pantry forever.

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday, Munchkin!

Her actual birthday's still 19 days away, but thanks to other weekend commitments in the coming month, the party was today. It was a beautiful day for it, and we couldn't have asked for nicer girls. They were all so polite and well-behaved. One of them even said, "Wow, Mrs. Lowe, you did a lot of work for this party!"  I just love her! The pennant banner above was easy to make using scrapbook paper, an alphabet stencil, a marker, and some ribbon. I could have bought one, but this one's more special.

The munchkin opened her present from mama and daddy early after mama and Auntie finished decorating the cake. Since the theme of the party was "An Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social," we had some fun with the cake.

My poor photography doesn't do the cake justice. It was adorable! Tasted good, too. Again, we could have bought one, but then I we wouldn't have had the satisfaction of seeing (and tasting) something we did ourselves. Besides, sis-in-law and enjoyed making it together. I thought it looked great on my vintage milk glass cake pedestal.

I found some cute ideas on the internet using Starbucks Frappucino bottles, and adapted them for our party. It was really tough to drink all of those Frappucinos. (Ahem.) The round portion of the bottle label was free to print from the website Eat Drink Chic, and you can edit the words yourself.  I attached them to the bottles with clear packing tape. I ordered the straws here:  Pink Polka Dot Drinking Straws.

Our party started with chalk on the front drive. As the girls arrived, I had them draw their dream ice cream sundae. We had some quite interesting and large pictures to enjoy!

Next, we enjoyed an ice cream cone relay. The girls divided into two teams which they named "Ice Cream" and "Sprinkles." They took turns balancing a styrofoam ball on a waffle cone while they ran down around an obstacle and came back. We played for the best two out of three, and the winners got to be first in line for the food.

The girls really enjoyed playing a version of Duck, Duck, Goose that we renamed Banana, Banana, Banana, Split.

The girls created their own ice cream sundaes. I used some of my vintage Lu-ray pastels to hold the toppings.

All of the topping labels were found at Eat Drink Chic.

Since I'm a complete ribbon junkie, it was easy to use ribbon I had to create this ribbon topiary for the table. (Click here for instructions.)

There might have been just a little too much sugar at this party...

Of course, presents were next!

I found a bunch of ice cream cone containers of bubbles, so I let the girls take them outside and go crazy with them after the presents.

I send the girls home with gift cards from a local ice cream shop. I put each one in a glassine envelope and used a little wooden ice cream spoon as a tag. The printable tags that say "Thanks for Coming" are from Eat Drink Chic.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Accomplishments

I did it! I accomplished enough to feel like I'm not behind, and at the same time, I had a lovely, enjoyable holiday weekend. In addition to the usual laundry, grocery shopping, and playing for church, I got a couple of clutter spots cleaned up, did some shopping for myself, caught up on some work for my piano studio, and spent most of Monday blissfully crafting in preparation for the munchkin's 9th birthday party next weekend.

We're having an ice cream-themed party for just a few girls, and I'm having a great time planning all the little details. I've found lots of inspiration on the internet. Here are a few photos that have sparked ideas:

Amy Moss at Eat Drink Chic

One Charming Party

I did a practice run on this cake last weekend. It turned out great! I'm not so good at piping that pretty edging, but my sister-in-law is, and she's coming up from Florida. Woo-hoo!

Living Locurto
A Little Loveliness

Amy Atlas at Sweet Designs
Amy Atlas at Sweet Designs
I'm seeing beautiful tablescapes, lots of vintage-style elements, custom labels, grosgrain ribbon, pretty paper straws, and everywhere a pennant banner. I'm incorporating all of these elements into the munchkin's party. I can't wait to share the pictures!

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Big Kitchen Reveal!

Or, I should say, the Small Kitchen Reveal because it is a small kitchen. It packs a big punch, though! We love the results of our kitchen renovation! If you want to see just how much it has changed, click here to see the before pictures. We had the ceiling scraped of its popcorn finish and redone, the overhead florescent lighting changed to cans, added new pendant lights, put in a beautiful tile backsplash, and installed new cabinets, countertop, and appliances. The only thing we left untouched was the floor.

As you can tell, I'm neither a professional photographer or designer! Apparently, not much of a housekeeper either. See the dishes left in the sink? Just keepin' it real, folks.

We're missing one knob on the base cab for the sink. We accidentally ordered one too few. No worries - it'll be done soon.

One of my very favorite things is the new microwave drawer. You press a button, and it opens like a CD drawer. Putting it here allowed us to have an actual hood over the stove which creates a great focal point for the room.

We added a little wine fridge under the bar. It's a great spot for it!

Now, credit where credit is due. The kitchen's design and installation were done by Smith Woodworks and Design of Augusta, GA. I've linked to their facebook page because it showcases their other great work. They gave me a time-frame of 3 weeks, and I laughed to myself at the impossibility that it would actually happen. Folks, they did it in 3 weeks and 2 days, in spite of Joel suffering a very bad ankle sprain in the middle of the job. He was right here, crutches, swollen ankle and all, working away. In fact, the whole family worked in my kitchen. Smith Woodworks and Design is a great family-owned company with a super work ethic and a strong commitment to doing things right. If you live in this area and you're planning to redo your kitchen, be sure to check them out. (I'm receiving no compensation whatsoever for that endorsement.)

We are very pleased with our kitchen!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Accomplishment No. 1

Ah...Labor Day weekend...when everyone kicks back and relaxes.

Uh, not in this house. Hubby is working all weekend, and I've got piles of clutter to deal with, a creative birthday party to pull off by next weekend, and a wedding to play piano for the following weekend. Meanwhile, I have all sorts of emails in my inbox excitedly announcing Labor Day sales. I'd love to do some shopping for the munchkin, not to mention myself. The writing is on the wall that by Tuesday morning, I'm going to feel frustrated that I didn't manage to accomplish everything I thought I would by the end of the weekend. So, to make myself feel better, I'm going to document what I do manage to accomplish - above and beyond the normal things like weekend grocery buying, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.

Accomplishment Number One:  the munchkin's Halloween costume is done. Woo-Hoo!

Last year, I ordered her a costume off of the internet in August. It was one of the smartest things I did all year. It's an absolutely certainty that without advanced planning, I'd push the costume right up to the last minute and end up with some half-baked thing that looked like we didn't try very hard. Halloween is a big deal around here. We have a neighborhood party, one of our friends has a backyard party every year, the school has a costume parade and a carnival, and to top it off, it's hubby's birthday. We need a good costume. I used to think I could save money if I made something myself, and I had fantasies once that I'd craft adorable and creative ensembles like this one:

But, let's get real. It would cost me just as much to make that as to buy something. And, crafting in October? Not likely. I'm a musician. I need to be Christmas shopping in October because I'll have extra rehearsals and playing responsibilities at Christmas. (Although, if you'd like to craft this costume, here are the instructions. Go for it!)

So, drumroll is the munchkin's choice for Halloween 2011 - Girls Hot Pink Flapper.

She picked it out this morning. The reviews indicated that it runs a little longer than the picture on the model shows, which is a bit of a relief.  I'll try to put some 1920s-style finger waves in her hair. So as long as it doesn't turn off super chilly here in Georgia (necessitating a fake fur stole to complete the look), I can say

Halloween Costume:  
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