Snow Day!

February 1st 2010

snowman Snow Day!Parties come in all sizes from giant to just your own little family. A snow day is a perfect opportunity to have a family party to celebrate the day off school and work.

Bundle up and get outside and enjoy the white stuff. Find a nearby hill and take the whole family sledding. Make sure everyone is bundled up tight, and you might want to bring an extra pair of  mittens along for the youngest of your tribe.  Make sure to bring a thermos full of hot chocolate just in case it gets too cold.

Once you walk back home make sure to decorate your yard with some snow sculptures. You could make a few traditional snowmen or really get creative. Who knows, you may have a modern art piece that the whole neighbor will miss once the temperature starts to rise.

Don’t forget to make some snow angels while you’re at it. Once you stand back up go ahead start a snowball fight. You might even be able to get some of your neighbors involved. Just make sure to call a truce before anyone gets too worn out.

When you come in make everyone’s favorite snowy afternoon lunch – tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Make some homemade croutons and they can go straight form the oven into the steaming bowls of soup. Really, any soup is the perfect way to warm up. My friend loves to make a huge slow cooker of vegetable soup in the coldest weather and eat from it almost everyday.

Keeping the kids busy will prevent them for the dreaded boredom. A perfect activity is baking. Kids of almost tan age can help with cookies or decorating cupcakes. Older kids may even be able to invent new cookies. Make a basic sugar cookie dough and get out all your extras like nuts, chocolate chips, even cocoa and crushed peppermint sticks.

After they eat more than a few cookies, you may find your whole family sacked out in the living room. The end to a perfect snow day.

Posted by Myriam under Children & Party Food & Winter Entertaining | No Comments »

Be a Calm Holiday Hostess

November 20th 2009

dinnerware peppermint candy 1 Be a Calm Holiday HostessThe holiday season is starting and you may already be stressed out. It seems that the holiday season starts earlier every year. My parents said that because the end of the year just seemed to sneak up on them. Now, it’s from going into Lowe’s and seeing Christmas decorations up. And that’s before Halloween even starts!

The stores are marking down prices now to get the jump on Black Friday sales. The congestion in Costco makes my weekly errand something I won’t do on the weekend anymore. I hate being bumped into, but even worse is when someone actually hits you with a cart!

The hard part is really enjoying the holidays instead of letting them sap your energy. In the midst of taking care of everyone else, you really must take some time for yourself. A 5 minute coffee break isn’t going to do the trick. In fact, now is the perfect time to limit your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine, sugar, or even alcohol can actually make you more stressed out. They may seem to give you a burst of quick energy, but you will pay the price of being even more exhausted later.

Try cleaning up your house a little each day instead of in a marathon the day before your big holiday party. Make a batch of holiday cookie dough each week, and freeze most of the dough to easily bake an assortment for visitors. Depending on the type of cookie, you can even roll them out and put between sheets of wax paper. That way you don’t have to make 5 batches of different cookies at one time.

Stock up on cream, coffee, tea, and cocoa. This way you won’t run out. More people will just be dropping by to visit. Sharing time with close friends is the best way to get the holiday spirit.

Take a half an hour or so each morning, to do whatever your favorite things are. Simply read the paper with a nice mug of tea, or take a walk. Getting fresh air and exercise is a perfect way to de-stress yourself. It doesn’t hurt to start the day at your calmest. In fact, it can make you more tolerant of the stresses that may surround you during the day.

It goes without saying that getting the proper amount of sleep can make a world of difference. Running around can cause you to eat too many fast food meals. Make sure you have salads prepared ahead of time to take to work. Make slow cooker soups and stews, so you can have dinner waiting for you. There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal after a long, tiring day. Pull out your good Noritake dinnerware. Serve yourself up a bowl of comforting slow cooker baked potato soup. You may find these new good habits outlast the holidays.

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

Plan a Relaxing Day with Friends

November 2nd 2009

dinnerware fallpath1 Plan a Relaxing Day with Friends

As you’re taking down your Halloween decorations and preparing for the winter holidays, take a day out to have some relaxing time with friends. One of my favorite things to do is have a bunch of people meet at my house to go on a walk. It’s nice to slow down the pace and go outside to take in the beauty of the season.

Make sure to dress for the weather, and tell everyone to wear comfy shoes. If you aren’t near trees or nature, plan a road trip to find some. This time of the year is perfect for catching the last of the fall leaves in all their beautiful color. Enjoying a cool afternoon breeze, and perhaps the chance to pull out your favorite wool scarf, are great reasons to get outside. If it’s very cold, plan a short walk. Or make everyone steaming hot coffee in insulated cups to take along with them. You can enjoy the season and your friends even on a simple walk around the block.

If you have a backyard, you could use your fire pit to make a nice warm place to hang out there. Or if the weather really gets tough you can light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy your friends inside. Just remember to not stress out about the details, this is a day for everyone to kick back.

Make a few things ahead of time and you won’t have to disappear into the kitchen. You can actually relax at your own relaxing weekend party! In the morning, before your guests arrive, heat up a big crockpot of chili. You can use your favorite recipe, or make this easy sweet potato black bean chili from scratch. You’ll have to put the beans on the night before, but after that it takes almost no work.

Go ahead and fill up a few small bowls with garnishes. Then you can just pull them out of the fridge when you get back from your walk. Use sour cream, shredded cheese, scallions, jalapenos, minced cilantro, black olives, and a few different kinds of salsas. Set up bowls and soup spoons by the crockpot before you leave for the walk. It’s just one less thing for you to think about when you get home.

In another slow cooker make a nice hot drink for your friends. A hot toddy is always nice, or give  hot buttered rum a try. If you have kids involved, or just want to have an alcohol-free day make up some hot chocolate.

It’s always a treat to spend some downtime with the people you care about. After a beautiful, relaxing walk with your friends, sit down to a simple meal. You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to appreciate everything in your life.

Posted by Myriam under Fall Entertaining & Hostessing | No Comments »