Archive for the ‘Occasions’ Category

Going To Dinner As A Guest Tonight

February 25th 2011

wine Going To Dinner As A Guest Tonight

If you have been invited as a dinner guest, there are certain protocols that need to be followed depending on the situation. You will either be invited as a dinner guest at a restaurant outing, or you will be invited as a dinner guest in someone’s home. If you have been invited as a dinner guest at a restaurant, you should get the exact time and location to meet your dinner host. In this instance, you won’t have to bring anything, but you should certainly RSVP as soon as possible, so that your host can reserve with the restaurant. You’ll want to ask about the attire, so that you don’t embarrass yourself, or the host showing up too casual, or too formal. Ask them about the food selections so that if there are foods that you don’t eat, you won’t make anyone feel discomfort when you arrive. If you are invited to the host home, RSVP so that they know how much food to prepare. Find out the attire of the dinner; some people do host formal dinners in their homes. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of wine, flowers, or some other gift to thank the host. Ask if they would like you to bring a dish, or a desert if the event is casual enough for that. Be prepared to help out in the kitchen if needed, and you should offer if the event is casual, and it isn’t being catered.

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How to Celebrate Your 25th Wedding Anniversary

August 5th 2010

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With the high divorce rate in the country, celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary is most definitely an achievement in and of itself. In the 25 years since your wedding day, you may have focused on the kids’ welfare, career concerns and bills payments. In the process, your marriage may have lost its spark – familiarity does breed contempt, after all.

Well, your silver wedding anniversary is the perfect occasion to reignite your romantic passions, rediscover each other in a new light and renew your wonder for the world at large. What better way to do so that to travel? Yes, indeed, traveling to exotic places and even just spending a night away from the usual corners of your bedroom can be the start of another 25 years of wedded bliss.

Revisit Your First Honeymoon

You may never be able to recapture the magic, enchantment and excitement of your first honeymoon for the simple reason that you and your spouse have changed in the 25 years since it happened. Still, nobody said that you cannot recreate it on your 25th wedding anniversary and make new memories to add to the old ones. You can retrace your steps by booking the same room in the same hotel, participating in the same activities and generally just being carefree honeymooners.

Go on a Second Honeymoon

Now, if revisiting your first honeymoon is not exactly your cup of tea for whatever reasons, you can always indulge in a second honeymoon. This time, you can go on your dream honeymoon that your budget during the first time around was not able to provide. Dig into your nest egg, if you have to, since a silver wedding anniversary comes but once in a lifetime and rarely in a sea of divorces.

You can go on a cruise, a tropical vacation, and even an adventure trip to recapture your youth. It’s your honeymoon, after all, and just as long as nobody is getting hurt, go for it.

Volunteer

On your 25th wedding anniversary, you may realize that blessings have come pouring into your life and it is time to give back. Well, you need not throw a party for the homeless shelter, contribute huge amounts of money to charities and donate tracts of land to the community although these are also excellent ideas. But if you want to combine travel with giving back to others, then we suggest enrolling in a volunteer vacation program.

Basically, it involves spending your vacation in a poor community – helping the women, men and children learn new skills, providing medical services and other things in your line of expertise. You may not be able to spend your silver wedding anniversary looking into each other’s eyes but you will definitely be able to see the world through the eyes of your fellowmen. In the process, you can become a better person, a better spouse and a better parent.

You can spend your 25th wedding anniversary in more meaningful ways with travel on your mind. Just choose which one takes your fancy but one thing is guaranteed – you will have a blast of a time with your spouse.

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Crack Open the Rainbow and Celebrate With a Colorful Birthday Party

June 3rd 2010

If you decide to have a colorful birthday party, use the rainbow as your color scheme. Pick colors from the artist’s palette for everything from invitations to decorations to food. Mark the location of the party with a brightly colored bouquet of balloons tied to the mailbox or tree out front of the party location. Encourage attendees to wear their best and brightest colored clothes to the event.

Send out invitations with every color in a box of 8 Crayola crayons. If it is a kid’s party send out invitations that the recipients can color and return to be included in a coloring contest. Award a small prize for the best and brightest coloring job. Send each kid home with a grab bag filled with brightly colored trinkets.

invitations

Decorate the party venue with red corvettes, blue moons, big yellow taxis, red apples, purple grapes, brown chocolate, purple Kool-Aid, rainbows, pink carnations, red roses, strawberry fields forever, green clover, yellow hay, pink elephants, yellow beans, silver bullets and gold rush.

How would a menu fit into such a birthday party? Start with a big bowl of fruit, crispy vegetables, cheese popcorn and multi colored M&M’s. The colors may clash but no one will notice. For cold drinks include different flavors of soda, juice and Hawaiian punch. If adults are at the party include Mai Tai’s, scorpion bowls and pina coladas with colored stirrers. Make different colored ice cubes for the punch bowl and the cold drinks.

mm1 Crack Open the Rainbow and Celebrate With a Colorful Birthday Party

Nothing says a colorful birthday party by setting the table with red table cloths, yellow napkins and plates and orange cups. Don’t forget brightly colored disks to be used for coasters, colored straws for the kids and the big kids. Cover the serving trays with different colored deli paper. Toss handfuls of confetti on the tables and maybe even the floor, stick balloons of different colors to the walls and ceilings, toss streamers at the guests as they enter the room.

Most food and condiments have a lot of color to them but accentuate the colors with their arrangement on the table. Arrange the mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and relish in containers that look like a paint box. If you serve food that involves sauce or gravy put them in small paint buckets. I am relating painting with color schemes here. Corn on the cob piled on a platter will be like setting the sun on the table.

For entertainment play songs with colors in the title. Ask everyone to insert different colors as much as possible into the conversation. (“Boy did I have a crappy brown day today.”) Play charades but have the participants act out their favorite color. (“Hang loose with chartreuse” might be an interesting charade.). Movie trivia might be guessing movies with colors in the title. A cool kid’s game might be a scavenger hunt where they will have to find a red sneaker, a red headed kid, a green apple or a handful of green clover.

Possibilities of a colorful birthday party are endless and with a little colorful forethought, it will be successful.

Posted by admin under Children & Decorations & Hostessing & Occasions | 2 Comments »

A 1st Birthday Party Only Comes Once in a Lifetime

May 30th 2010

I don’t remember my 1st birthday party but I’m sure I had a good time. I remember my nephew and niece’s first birthday party and I know I had a good time. My nephew tried to take a big bite out his cake by putting his face right into the cake after his number one candle was removed. My niece took two handfuls of frosting and rubbed it into her hair. Whipped, vanilla frosting gave her hair a lovely sheen.

1birthdaycake A 1st Birthday Party Only Comes Once in a Lifetime

A 1st birthday party is more for the parents than the child, I think. It is a wonderful milestone to see your child reach their first birthday and why not share the day and celebrate with family and friends even though the one year old has no clue why so many people are in the house. Watching a one year old open presents is a lot of fun. They might tear through one or two gifts and then they will be onto something else like following mom around or playing with the other kids. Or they may have no interest in presents at all and the gifts will stay unopened in the corner of the room. And that will be the last time that child has no interest in presents.

A 1st birthday will be a busy day for the wee little one. They may not get their nap and become a little cranky before the day is out. They will most likely wear most of their cake and ice cream and a cup of soda may be generously applied to the child sitting next to them. The patience of the child will be tested as he or she is passed from guest to guest as they wish a happy birthday to their favorite one year old.

Since parents and their kids will be in attendance at the 1st birthday party, it will be a bit of a brag fest for the parents. They will most likely spend time trying to outdo each other with tales of their extremely talented child who is able to perform tasks of a much older child. But no one can explain why that same talented and intelligent child is sitting in the middle of the room picking their nose and wiping snots on their clothes.

Getting the kids to play a game will be a challenge. Dodge ball is probably out of the question as some kids will just run right into the ball or try to catch it, removing the challenge of the game. A piñata is a dangerous game anyway but putting a stick in the hands of a one year old whom stands about knee high can be a real danger to dad if they swing that stick at the closest thing to them and dad is the closest thing.

A 1st birthday party is worth ever picture taken and the extra work getting cake crumbs out of the carpet. It is a mile stone for the child and the parent who only has 17 more birthdays to go.

Posted by admin under Children & Occasions | 5 Comments »

Have a Healthy Valentine’s Day

February 10th 2010

heart Have a Healthy Valentines DayInstead of braving the crowds out at the finest restaurants, try making dinner at home. You know that it’s not a romantic to be in a huge crowd of people all trying to woo their spouse at the same time.

Long waits and rushed service makes this day one of the worst to eat out on anyhow. At home you have complete control over what goes into your special meal.

Instead of wine or alcoholic cocktails buy a flavored sparkling water. Make a mock-tail using organic juices and fresh herbs. Try a mock mojito using lime sparkling water, lime juice, and fresh mint. It’s just as good as the original.

Start out with a low calorie shrimp cocktail. You can  buy some pre-cooked frozen ones, and it’s as simple as thawing them out in the fridge. Fancy it up by placing them around the rim of a Noritake Kona footed bowl. Add a dollop of cocktail sauce and your appetizer is ready to go.

Get some bagged field greens and top with dried cranberries, goat cheese, and slivered almonds. This makes a beautiful salad and really dresses up your table. Serve with a low fat balsamic dressing and a whole wheat dinner roll.

Pasta always has a part in a romantic meal. In stores it’s becoming easier to find whole wheat pasta. At my local Whole Foods store they have a low fat whole wheat cheese ravioli that’s amazing. Warm up a bottle of organic marinara. Toss in some veggies to make this another pretty plate. You can even use a frozen bag of California mix that contains broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Of course, any fresh veggies you have on hand will work. The veggies add great nutrition and fill you up, so try to have extra veggies whenever you can.

You can cheat a little on dessert and get a couple of individual flour-less chocolate cakes. Trader Joe’s has them. They aren’t expensive and you can pop them in the oven at any time during your meal. My favorite option is fresh berries. They are a special treat in the winter. Fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries make a colorful dessert all by themselves. Add a spoonful of whipped cream and elevate them to a perfect Valentine treat. Make it from scratch and add a few drop of vanilla extract.

After a candle lit dinner at home, you may find yourself staying in more often for special occasions. It will save you money and keep you healthier all through the year!

Posted by Myriam under Holiday Entertaining & Hostessing & Occasions & Winter Entertaining | No Comments »

Make Your Super Bowl Party Extra Special

January 24th 2010

football Make Your Super Bowl Party Extra SpecialI’m not a sports fan, but even I am waiting to find out if the New Orleans Saints are going to the Super Bowl. I lived in New Orleans for 12 years and everyone loves an underdog.

Now that I’ve told you just about everything I know about sports, let me talk party food to you. That’s something I really have a knack for. If the Saints do make their way to the big game, make your party center around the food of New Orleans. Have a big slow cooker full of gumbo and another of jambalaya. This way, your guests will be eating the best food of all the Super Bowl parties on your block.

Most large supermarkets have frozen crawfish which adds an exotic touch outside of Louisiana. Use it in the dishes above or in a dip in place of crab. Also, change up the spices a little. You can try some of Emeril’s Essence, which is also available nationwide. Add a little cayenne or Tabasco to spice it up a bit. You can also do it all the easy way with Zatarain’s Mixes. It’s really all up to you.

If the Saints let us down, you can still do better than a table of chips and pre-made dips. Get out your little dipper Crockpot and make a fondue instead of the usual nacho cheese. Even if you use cheddar and beer in it, it’s still a step above. Have lightly toasted bread hunks, steamed veggies, and you can still have a few tortilla chips out for the die hard junk food fans. Turn a plain old bean dip into something special by adding some goat cheese in place of the usual Monterrey jack and puree some chipolte chilies in adobe sauce to replace the jalapenos.

Create a make your own sandwich buffet. Use your Sengware platters to put out an array of thin sliced meats and cheeses. Have and array of interesting rolls – ciabata, oat, whole grain, sunflower and more. Have a few unusual cheeses, including goat cheese, so the vegetarians have something yummy too. Put out smoked mustards, basil aoili, and even steak sauce, they all make a sandwich more interesting.

Have cute mini cupcakes in place of a big cake. You can make them easily at home and even healthy them up with whole wheat pastry flour if you want to. Make sure to put out a fruit tray so your friends can keep their new year’s resolutions at least a little longer.

Posted by Myriam under Hostessing & Occasions & Party Food | No Comments »

Tips on Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions Part 2

December 31st 2009

toddlerdraw3 Tips on Keeping Your New Years Resolutions Part 2Hopefully you’ve gotten a specific goal in your mind and have found someone you can share your goal with. If not you may want to read part 1. If you haven’t found someone that you feel like you can share your resolution with, you can probably find a group on the internet that can help you. It really helps to talk about your successes and setbacks with someone along the way.

I love sparkpeople for this. It’s free and you can track your food and get information on various health goals. Plus they have groups you can join for just about any interest you have. Many even have challenges that you can join to give you some motivation. They are groups that are focused on debt reduction and much more. Check it out and see if they have a group to support your resolution.

Now that you have a detailed map written down, make a list of small rewards you can give yourself each time you obtain a mini goal. The trick is to select things that support your goal. If you lost 2 pounds, don’t reward yourself with a high calorie treat. Same goes with shopping as a reward to sticking to your budget. Try rewarding yourself with some time to read a book or take a nice warm bath. If it’s a beautiful day take a walk outside with your dog. Make a date with a friend to hang out or something that you don’t get to do as often as you’d like.

In addition to rewards you need to be prepared to forgive yourself if you have a setback. Don’t let one moment of weakness take your resolution away. One slip does not mean you should stop. Just get up the next day, look at your resolution road map and remember why you chose to do this. Then get back in there and give it your best. You can do anything you set your mind to!

Posted by Myriam under Occasions | No Comments »

The Season of Giving

December 22nd 2009

bow The Season of GivingIt’s easy to keep your head down, hold your breath, and just get through the holidays to the other side. Sometimes the season just doesn’t seem as much fun as it did when we were kids. We let our obligations remove us from the enjoyment.

Don’t try to do everything and don’t try to do more than you really can. We are all Martha Stewart wannabes, but remember that you don’t have a staff of people like she does.

Hanging out with your friends can help drag you back into the holiday spirit. Often the holidays become more about marking things off a list than really giving of yourself. Talk to your friends about volunteering together for the holidays. You could serve food at a mission or soup kitchen. They always need extra help around the holidays. Another option is to help out a food pantry by scheduling some time there. This year the food pantries have been hit hard serving more people than expected.

Of course, you can always donate money if time is not an option. The purpose of this is to get that spirit of loving your neighbors and helping those who need it, anyway you can.

If you are handy you could look into Habitat for humanity or another organization that helps elderly people do painting and repairs on their houses. Or maybe you want to start something that can last all year. Check out idealist.org for hundreds of opportunities you can search for by location and type of skills required. Another wonderful source is Volunteermatch.org.

You and your friends can also adopt a family to bring presents and Christmas dinner to. Children who would go without if you don’t help. Most of us have so much in our lives and it only makes it better when we share it with others.

Posted by Myriam under Holiday Entertaining & Occasions | No Comments »

Secret Santa Party

December 16th 2009

santa cat Secret Santa PartyShow your friends that you’re thinking of them this holiday season without breaking the bank. It’s nice to buy presents for everyone if you can afford it, but there are ways to spend less money and still have a ton of fun.

The traditional secret Santa requires a little planning but it’s not too late. Each person only buys one present and everyone leaves with something just for them. I like secret Santa because you can match people together and all but assure that everyone’s holiday will be a little happier. Of course you can also leave it up to fate and have people draw form a bag (or you can download a program that duplicates it right on your computer).

Either way you can send out email to let people know who they are buying for. It’s best to have a price range. Usually under 20 dollars, but if someone is making something make sure they take their time into account too. In fact if your friends are crafty you could have a completely handmade exchange.

You can arrange your party around an exchange theme if you want. Exchange ornaments, liquors, funny shirts, anything that you think all of your friends would like. This year I’m focusing on handmade items for my friends. Check out instructables.com or http://blog.craftzine.com/ for great crafty ideas.

Have everyone bring their favorite holiday dish for a nice buffet spread and put out on your bright red Pimento sengware dinnerware to create the perfect table. Ahead of time mix a nice drink with a bottle of sparkling wine and Chambord in a pitcher for a festive red drink. Also grab some lime sparking water and add some cranberry juice for your non-alcoholic alternative that’s just as pretty.

Send out an evite about your little soirée and give all the pertinent details to your friends. No matter how you decide to exchange gifts you will all enjoy celebrating the holidays together.

Posted by Myriam under Gifts & Holiday Entertaining & Occasions & Winter Entertaining | No Comments »

Food and Cooking Holiday Gifts

December 9th 2009

gift Food and Cooking Holiday GiftsI love to give gifts and try to sprinkle them in all during the year. Buying gifts can be one of the hardest tasks during the holidays if you didn’t plan far enough ahead. One of the things I do is start filling up my gift closet the day after Christmas to prepare for next year. (And all the birthdays in between!) It also spreads the cost across the whole year. I don’t know about you but I have to buy for 4 birthdays in early January in addition to Christmas presents.

But it’s December now, and you can’t go back in time and have all your shopping done. Avoid breaking the bank with some of these inexpensive gift ideas.

Gifts from and for the kitchen are always welcome. Think about your friend and what they love to have in their kitchen. A collection of hot sauces for a chili pepper lover, fresh herb seeds or a few herb plants for the locavore in your life, or even a slow cooker for someone that’s having trouble fitting cooking into their schedule. An inexpensive slow cooker and/or rice cooker can really help out a spread-thin Mom everyday to cook for her whole family.

Don’t forget that a tin of holiday cookies or gingerbread can bring the holiday smells into a house that might otherwise go without. This is especially welcomed by elderly relatives or neighbors, students, and new parents. If you know that someone really likes your special muffins or another signature dish of yours, make a nice recipe card for them and include it in a basket of the ingredients to make the dish.

If you have a sick relative or even just an overwhelmed friend, you could fill their freezer with individual homemade microwave dinners. Make some extra for your freezer too and you’ll be assured to start the new year off eating right.

If you have a friend that was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, a great gluten free baking book like ‘Babycakes’ would be a huge help. A basket full of gluten-free holiday goodies would go pretty far too! It can be really hard to avoid wheat during the holidays, so you’ll really be giving them the holiday they didn’t think they would have this year.

The old stand by of coupons for one of their favorite home-cooked meals is still a perfect gift. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a gift supports the person’s lifestyle and hopefully makes it just a little bit easier.

Posted by Myriam under Gifts & Holiday Entertaining & Occasions | No Comments »

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