Posts Tagged ‘Entertaining’
Marshmallow Shooters & Shields
My dissertation was submitted and I had nothing better to do than sit and wait (right, and if you believe that I have an entire “to-do” list you can complete for me!). So, over Thanksgiving I decided to start working on some Christmas gifts – many of which I had purchased supplies for LAST year! This year’s “fun” gift was family sets of marshmallow shooters with shields!
Supplies (for one shooter):
12-inch length of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (sprinkler/plumping pipe)
One – 1/2 inch end cap
Two – 1/2 inch elbows
One – 1/2 inch T joint
Craft glue (I like Tacky Glue)
Cut the PVC pipe into three pieces 2” long, and two pieces 3” long. My original intent was to cut these by hand with a small saw…luckily, I ran into my neighbor at Lowe’s and when she found out what I was up to, she volunteered her husband and his nice, FAST table saw (we bartered 3 shooters in the deal!). What was I thinking??? I did cut one piece by hand, and it took me as long to make one cut as it did for T.H. to do about 20!
It is also important to get two smooth edges (one for each end, since invariably big and little people pick them up and “shoot” out of either end). Even though the table saw made pretty smooth cuts, I still used the sand paper to “finish” off the edges a bit.
Lay out as shown in the picture below.
Starting with the mouthpiece end (top right in picture), use a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam applicator, to brush a SMALL amount of craft glue around the edge of the connecting end (of course, if you put the glue on the wrong end, just flip it around – if it is smooth enough!). You may need to add a few drops of water to the glue to get it to be “brushing” consistency. Insert the PVC piece into the elbow and wipe away any excess glue. Repeat process for each PVC piece and connector. I let the shooters dry overnight before putting them away to start on the next project – the body armor.
*The PVC pipe comes in 5’ lengths – with careful measuring/cutting, I was able to get enough “little” pieces to make 5 shooters out of each length – if your pieces aren’t exactly 2” or 3” it is no big deal!
*You do not want to do the pipe cutting inside – we made a real mess on my neighbors’ patio!
*I made 18 of these shooters for less than $20, including a new bottle of Tacky Glue
*Play rules include “No aiming at heads” – Marshmallows travel at high speeds when shot!
*After the initial gift giving/opening, these shooters have been consigned to outside play only (see picture below – marshmallow stuck on INSIDE of living room window, found FIVE days after Christmas!)
*I think these would be fabulous fun for a sleepover, couples wedding shower, family reunion, etc. You would certainly “break the ice” quickly!
Supplies for One Shield:
½ yard fabric (all one color, or assorted scraps – I used flannel, mainly because that was the only pink camouflage I could find)
½ yard of 3/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
12” of 7/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
1/2 yard of Heavy-duty interfacing
Embellishments – optional (e.g., buttons, silk flowers)
Since I made enough of these to outfit an army (or at least a large squad!), I started by cutting out a number of solid color pieces for the backing. Then after cutting out an assortment of full pieces from the coordinating fabrics, I cut them into smaller pieces and did some mixing-matching – this means your finished front piece will be a bit smaller than the backing (because of the seams) – just trim to match (I’m all about making these projects fun and easy – not precise and perfect!).
All seams were about ¼” (give or take!). Sew the two small pieces together – iron the seam and sew on a piece of the 3/8” ribbon (I used a zigzag stitch for this). Sew the top piece to the bottom and repeat ironing and ribbon. If you’re going to add buttons, an initial, or any other embellishment, now is the time!
Baste the interfacing to the inside of the solid back piece (or, if you were smart and actually bought iron-on interfacing, iron that stuff on!). Flip it over and on the outside, place 7/8”
ribbon for “grips”. See picture below for placement (I forgot to take the picture of the back as I was making these, so just used an extra piece of the interfacing … do NOT sew your grips onto the interfacing – because then they would be INSIDE the finished shield!).
Stitch ribbon in place on each end (where the pins are in place).
Now, placing right sides together (after trimming the back piece to match the front piece), stitch the two pieces together, leaving a small opening so that you can stuff the pillow “shield”. Trim the seam, and then turn inside out. Stuff the shield and then top stitch to finish (and close the opening).
Once the “battle” got heated, we were laughing so hard I had tears running down my face! Too bad I forgot to make myself one!
Wishing you and yours a healthy, safe, and Happy New Year!
Yep, just checked the calendar and it is December 23. How did that happen? Are you ready? Do you need a quick appetizer? You just might have all of the ingredients on hand for this one, and it is quick and easy! If you have a food processor, it will be even quicker and easier!! This cheese ball is always a crowd favorite — as in, they-practically-lick-the-plate-clean favorite! We call it “Aunt Christine’s Cheese Ball” because I got the recipe from my sister about 20 years ago.
1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
½ tsp. season salt
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 green onions
1 package luncheon meat, thinly sliced (the cheap stuff!)
Finely chop the green onions. Chop the luncheon meat (I like to use Buddig beef), reserve half. Combine the remaining beef, onions and all other ingredients.
Refrigerate for a while so that it isn’t “sticky”; form into a ball and roll the ball in the remaining chopped beef. Serve with crackers.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a health, safe, and Happy New Year with friends and family.
I don’t know about where you live, but summer is “officially” here in May despite what the calendar says; and, because we live here (Visit Pensacola), summer means visitors. What better way to get these visitors ready to spend the day seeing the sights around our beautiful adopted hometown than with a yummy coffee cake for breakfast? Now, I know Marissa has bragged previously about find the Coffee Cake recipe to beat them all, but this old family favorite will never be replaced as far as I’m concerned…and, if those are surprise visitors, you don’t have to worry, chances are you’ll have all of these ingredients on hand! We’ve even called it “Poor Man’s Coffee Cake” because the ingredients are simple and bound to be found in your kitchen pantry.
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick margarine or butter
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
½ cup milk (I use 2%)
½ cup chopped nuts (I like to use pecans)
½ cup raisins
Beat together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and margarine until you have fine “crumbs” – RESERVE 1 cup of dry mixture. Into the remaining dry mixture (still in the mixing bowl), stir beaten egg, milk, baking soda and baking powder. Add nuts and raisins (optional, but make the cake so much better!).
Sprinkle half of the reserved dry mixture in bottom of lightly greased 8”x8” baking dish.
Spread the batter and then sprinkle the remaining reserved dry mixture over the top.
Bake 30-40 minutes at 350°, or until pick comes out clean.
And, if you don’t believe this is an old family favorite, take a look at this recipe card … tattered and stained — proof! :-)
My family is famous for cookie swaps. I think Jennifer is on her 8th? year of hosting her annual cookie exchange. Down South they are serious and take cookie swapping to a whole new level. It has evolved into it’s own living breathing cookie creature. The first year a couple of us got together to bake cookies. I think by year two we already decided that was too much work and we would just bring cookies to share. Then some people started packaging stuff a little more cute than usual and then she started having prizes for who’s was the most creative. Of course, the gauntlet had been thrown down! Now people plan months in advance for the best tasting cookie, most clever packaging and tackiest Christmas sweater (everyone decided they had to compete with mom’s sweaters) :o). Those are only a few of the highlights too! There is a gift exchange and more! It is a great time for friends to get together, share great recipes and eat good food. Unfortunately, I moved away a year and a half ago and this was my second year missing the cookie party. They gave me the option last year to send my cookies in to compete, but there was just too much going on!
This year I decided it was high time I continue the tradition on my own and I threw my first Christmas Cookie Swap. It was planned a little on the fly so I didn’t have time to incorporate all the things I wanted to, but there is always next year! I had a great turn out and there were AWESOME cookies. I love any excuse to hang out with my neighborhood ladies and today was no exception. A few of the highlights of my party:
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for most creative packaging/beautiful cookies (this was included in the invite) and because we all have a great sense of humor, a prize for “maybe next year!”
- Each guest brought 4 – 6 cookies per person attending pre-packaged for easy “grab and go” as well as enough printed recipes for each guest to take home with them (I made it clear if people did not RSVP by a certain date they would not be able to attend and emailed the number of guests out a few days before)
- Guests were also encouraged to bring their “leftovers” on a tray for the ladies to snack on during the party
I had a small amount of meats, cheese, olives, and crackers to snack on as well as mimosas, coffee, wine, etc.
Things I will be prepared for next year:
Cute name tags, probably designed to look like recipe cards
A “theme” such as tacky sweater or maybe even holiday cocktail…we all have those dresses we have to wear to holiday parties, why not get an extra use out of them!
Next year I will probably switch and do it late on a Sunday afternoon like they do back home; I just think it would be easier
I am so blessed with so many amazing friends. I love my neighborhood and I am so thankful I have these woman to support me and my family in the good times and the not so good times. Thank you everyone for helping me make my Christmas even more special this year!
I am including some of my favorite pictures from the party and it was so hard to choose! I plan, it time allows, to post my favorite three recipes over the next week or so. There were so many fantastic cookies!
Mamma Mia! Looking for a fun, inexpensive thing to do with your kids on a Friday night? Or even a great party idea to have friends over? How about make-your-own personal pizzas? Been there, done that, you say? Well, don’t just have everyone stand around and put some toppings onto some dough. Instead, turn your kitchen into a pizzeria straight from Little Italy! While visiting Grandma over Thanksgiving weekend, she set up a fun evening for the whole family.
Things she had ready to go:
chef’s hats (I know I don’t have these on hand, so here is a make-your-own version)
felt Italian style mustaches
picnic style vinyl tablecloth
packaged, refrigerated pizza dough
rolling pin (also a necessary part of the costume) :)
small can tomato sauce
traditional Italian music, candles, etc. would also do a lot to make it a fun night
With the kids all decked out in their Italian gear, we sang silly sounding Italian songs (okay, just made them up as went along), talked in Italian accents (my son’s is sounding less and less like Russian the more practice he gets), tossed pizza dough in the air (don’t be afraid to eat dough that landed on the floor…come on, just dust it off! or clean your floor first!), and had a LOT of laughs. The pizza turned out fantastic and the kids gobbled it up like there was no tomorrow. And let me tell you, my kids don’t usually jump on food like this when they usually can get it as a special treat at a fast food place. They BOTH said it was the best pizza they ever had.
That’s what happens when all that love and laughter goes into it!
When we decided at Threaded Together to each do a piece of the Thanksgiving table, I was assigned placemats. I automatically thought about having the kids do turkey handprints or something similar on construction paper. What we decided to do was cut out turkey feathers and a turkey body. I let the kids put together each turkey and then we glued them to the whole sheet of construction paper. Laminate them and you have fun placemats for Thanksgiving!
A few days ago as I was reading some craft blogs, I saw a suggestion where you should let the kids make the placemats on Thanksgiving day. I wish I could remember the site! What a great way for the kids to stay entertained and out of your hair while you get Thanksgiving dinner together!
Cheesy, I know, but I couldn’t help myself…it is Halloween season, after all! Today we will be highlighting my most recent entertaining extravaganza (this morning!)….Mummy’s Bruch!!! (list of setup and design details shown at the end of the post)
A group of my girl friends, mostly from the neighborhood, are always looking for an excuse to get together and have a good time. Last month, to celebrate our children’s return to school we went out to eat at a local brunchery. Inspired, we decided to make it a monthly ordeal, but to host it at our own houses. This month was our first, and I volunteered to start the partying at my place!
There are two things we KPB girls (yes, we have a name for ourselves) take very seriously in life: 1) our food and 2) our alcohol. Both must be present in abundance whenever we get together…the majority of us are military wives! Most of our children are all in school so this was a Mummies only meeting.
I began my planning by putting together a menu of the foods I wanted people to try the most. I knew I would need some things sweet, some savory, some heavy and some light to make everyone happy and keep the food interesting. After making the menu I tried to figure out how I was going to lay my house out to hold all the women. Today there were 13 of us, but there can easily be 30 or more depending on how many of us are able to show up!
My mother would be proud of me…I decided today was finally the day to bust out the good silver!!! That’s right! Those boxes came out of the closet and were used (the silver, not the boxes) for the FIRST time since I have had them. Probably the first time in 20 years!!! Why you ask? Well, why the heck not? All they have been doing is sitting and wasting space in my closet. You know what I do to things that waste space in my closet? My family does! I THROW THEM AWAY! Obviously, that was not an option here, so I figure I better use them! They were so gross and tarnished and I was NOT looking forward to polishing them…hence the reason why they have been in their containers for so long! How do I do it? Where do I start? Do I need to have hazmat on speed dial?
Well, when I moved into my house the people we bought it from actually left a container of silver polish in a cabinet. I have stopped myself from throwing it away a million times because “you never know when I’ll need it.” And I finally needed it! I prepared myself for a long night of scrubbing and polishing and sweating, and bleeding and aggravated skin. Guess what though? I polished ALL of my pieces in under an hour! It was so stinking easy and actually remarkably FUN! I know, right? But seeing the age disappear from the silver pitcher before my very eyes was amazing. They shined up like I had just bought them yesterday! Needless to say, I highly recommend Wright’s Silver Cream.
Before polishing the silver, I had no plans to do a theme at all. I was simply going to make some yummy (mummy) food and put it out to eat. However, after I had all these beautiful pieces lying around I thought, “October! I HAVE to do a haunted style brunch set up!” It was so fun! I spent very little money making it all happen. I bought the candies webs, bugs, etc. at the Dollar Tree, and since it was brunch, I had most of the items on hand to make the food I was making. So below I will entail all that I did and How to Throw a Mummy Brunch!
1) “Haunted” silver platters and bowls. The perfect touch to make the room look like one on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney. Don’t have silver? The Dollar Tree carries a plastic type of silver looking stuff (sorry, I really don’t know how to describe it) that really would do just fine. I would have had no problem using it!
2) Cobwebs on the wall, tables, staircase, and hanging from the chandeliers. I only purchased one bag at the Dollar Tree and STILL had leftover!
4) Wine glasses. I have had my eyes on these glasses since I spotted them this summer. They are tall, big, thick and pretty darn sturdy glasses. Why so special? DOLLAR TREE! I had thought about buying the throw away champagne flutes to have fun with them, but those were sold two in a pack for a dollar. So instead, I spent 16 dollars buying the 16 brand new glasses I have wanted for a while. Now what to do with my miss-matched Waterford glasses that I never use because I don’t ever want anyone to break them!!!?
5) Three bags of small plastic creepy crawlies (Dollar Tree):
- The long skinny ones were placed in napkin rings with long black paper napkins
- Medium sized ones were tossed around the tables with the foil eyeball chocolates
- Small ones were rings. These I used to “label” the wine glasses. These rings are so small they always have slits so you can break them apart in the back. It was a super easy, cheap thing I came across on accident to wrap around the wine glass stems.
I know this seems like an advertisement for the Dollar Tree, but really, I have become a DT addict! I never knew I could find so many things there that I need, for my entertaining needs especially!
6) Table cloths that match my normal rooms. These really made the silver POP! I found the BEST tablecloths at Bed Bath and Beyond. They feel soft and look nice, but they are totally stain resistant! When you spill something on it, the water literally beads up and doesn’t soak in. Any food that was spilled, I had NO problem wiping up with a sponge. I am SO excited to have these now! And they are made out of recycled plastic bottles. Good for the environment too!!!
- Bloody Mary’s
- Bloody Mummy Mimosa’s: 2 bottles champagne mixed with almost one full carton OJ and a splash of pomegranate juice in each individual glass
- Brainy Bellinis: 1 bottle Prosecco mixed with 2/3 cup white peach puree
- Coffee with the option of Bailey’s or a fall tasting creamer (cinnamon, caramel, etc), also make sure you have regular milk and sugar out for it
- Sparkling water
- OJ, Cranberry Juice, etc
- Cheese and crackers (I had a goat cheese, smoked gouda, pepper jack, and rosemary)
- Garlic Olives (these were torn up…I try to always have something out that people can just pop)
- Fruit and fruit dip (strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes)
- pull the grapes off the stems before you put them on the platter…people will be more likely to eat them
- fruit dip: one small container of marshmallow fluff and one package of cream cheese (8 oz?) – put them in a bowl and beat the heck out of it on high until it’s nice and creamy…YUM
- Brunch Strata (made a perfect amount…two or three more people and there would have been no leftovers)
- Pumpkin Scones/Bread served with sweet potato butter
- Tomato Basil Tart – a tradition of my mom’s…I’ll have to post another day
- Maple Bacon Cupcakes
On a side note….Garrett, from Vanilla Garlic comment on my Maple Bacon Cupcake last night.. His taste buds must have been tingling because I received a text from my sister who is aware of my little bloggy blog crush. Literally while I was in the middle of baking the same dish for my brunch: “Vanilla garlic left a comment on your bacon cupcake post!!! I know u r swooning right now lol!” My response: “Please catch me while I fall!” :)
- Monkey Bread brought by a friend of mine, but her recipe is pretty similar to mine – again, I’ll have to reserve another day of posting for this one, even though it is super easy and quick.
Well, I fear this post has already turned into a novel. I’ll let you go now and leave you to your own mummification. Don’t forget…use the junk you’ve got sitting in a closet. What’s the point in having the beautiful extras in life if you aren’t ever going to use them? ANY occasion can be made special enough to dust the china off for!
Today I threw a baby shower for a great friend of mine. The dad of the baby is a helicopter pilot and many of the baby’s things are related to planes and helos. I decided to stick with it and made the baby shower helicopter themed (well, I didn’t do much “theme-ing”, but what I DID do was helos). I thought I would have no trouble finding things to aid in my party planning, but it was quite difficult! Time to get to work! I made the invitation from scratch. Here it is below where I have, of course, replaced the personal information:
I used the same helicopter to design the cake as well and used basic buttercream icing:
I did not feel like doing the typical baby shower games like Smell the Baby Poop or Guess that Baby Food. Instead I opted for a craftier avenue to travel down. I bought various sizes of white onesies from 0 months to 18 months. I had the guests make their own onesies for the new baby-to-be. It took a little encouragement for some of the guests and I probably could have used more than two irons to iron letters on, but I was still pretty happy with the outcome. Also, one set of letters – all of the black ones – DID NOT work. I managed to buy a bum package and we all found it out the hard way. A few words of advice: Test it out in advance. I had intended to do this by making a shirt for the mom, but only managed to try it about 5 minutes before the shower began! Find out how long it will take to iron the letters on, etc. My materials for this project were:
various sized onesies
iron on letters and patches
cardboard to stick between the onesie so markers will not bleed through to the back (make sure the cardboard is free of all markings and colors, we also had issues with that bleeding onto the onesie if using the cardboard while ironing)
youth t-shirts. My baby shower was kid friendly, so I also had white shirts for all of the kid guests to use the fabric markers and decorate. We kept them away from the iron on items.
ironing board and iron (have at least one iron for every two to three people).
Some of the sayings we used were BYOB (bring your own bottle). Navy Baby. The baby’s last name. ”Mini (name of dad)”. A picture of a chick then the words “dig me”. Other ideas – Naps Are For Sissies. Bootie Kicker. Little Prince(ss). Drooling Zone.
Finally, the treat for the guests was a bag of candy with a ribbon tied around it. Attached to the ribbon were two cookie cutters – a helicopter and an airplane. I didn’t get a picture of them, unfortunately, but if you look hard enough you can see them in the back corner of the table here:
I had tons of fun planning and celebrating the future birth of my friend’s son. It is such a great way to welcome a new baby to the world!