December 14, 2013 at 11:53 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: appreciation, business christmas parties, Christmas party idea's, dirty Santa gift idea's, dud, Fun, gift idea's, office party, office party idea's, thank you
At this time of year there are many parties going on with lots of family, friends and yes, that dreaded office party. Well, I wanted to make a change from dreaded to AWESOME with the office Christmas Party. We have a family owed carpet and rug cleaning company and we do an office party every year. I am forever trying to make it fun and enjoyable. We have done dinner and Tanglewood, lunch at the Tavern and the candle light tea in Winston to mention a few. This year we have a young group of guys who may have thought that the office party would be a dud so I had to come up with a new party plan.
Our ice breaker was a “beer tasting” that went over well. I went to Total Wine and bought several strange beers. I took pictures of the descriptions with my phone and read them aloud while trying each beer. I covered the lables on the bottles with red paper so no one knew what they were getting. I don’t like beer so I have fun picking the cool looking bottles and I had a little help from the staff at Total Wine. It was fun to watch the faces of our guys as they tried the beers.
Next, I gave out small gifts.This gift was several fast food gift cards that you could keep or…….give to homeless people on the street corners. I hope to instill the joy of giving. The feeling you get when you give is unexplainable and makes you want to do it again and again. I gave the dates of our employees a small hot chocolate gift.
Our dinner menu was: Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Cheese and Sage, A Baked Potato bar, Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Salad and Bread! I made candied pecans and a vinaigrette dressing for the salad. Dessert consist of Strawberry Cheese Cake and one of our employees, Joel, made a Apple Cobbler. I put an ornament on everyone’s napkin that they could take home.
After dinner we did a Dirty Santa exchange. All the presents were already under the tree because I didn’t want anyone to bring anything! I Googled “good dirty Santa gifts” and came up with: itunes, Starbucks…the normal items but I wanted to get some different gifts. I did do itunes and a Starbucks hot chocolate with mugs but also our gifts were: wine with stemless wine glasses, Jersey Mikes, Movie tickets with Godiva chocolate, brownie in a mug, Juice Shop Certificates, Hickory Farms gift set, a gift card to a local beer store to make up your own 6 pack and Bailey’s and a pound of coffee. All gifts cost between 15-20 dollars. It was a blast. Everyone, including dates got a gift.
I googled office games and came up with this: wrap a cool present several times and play a game by using music. Sorta like hot potato but if the music stops you unwrap one layer of the wrapping paper. The person who opens the last layer of paper gets the present. I bought a “Catch Phrase” game that was gender neutral.
I was at the stereo turning the music up and down. Not looking at the people passing the gift. Becca, one of our employees girlfriend won.
This was a fun game because you didn’t have to be and employee to win. Everyone was on equal ground!
We also gave small bonuses with a “Thank You” card to let everyone know how much we appreciated them. I made a small speech stating our great appreciation of their hard work and how important they are to us. I think if people feel appreciated they will work hard for you and feel like a team!
Our last gift of the night was a gift card to a popular restaurant in town.
If we as employers make our employee feel appreciated it builds team mentality. If I feel appreciated, I will work even harder for the cause. My reason for posting this party is not to make myself or our company look good but to help others have party idea’s and to help companies see that we need to appreciate our employee’s. After all, they are the face of our business. we truly couldn’t do it without them!
November 22, 2013 at 8:17 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: bacon, chicken, dinners, Family, Fun, mushrooms, pinterest, Recipes
Do you have those nights when you can’t figure out what to do for dinner? Or one of those weeks when you didn’t have time to plan your meals very well? Well, I do! When this happens I turn to my friend Pinterest. I first look at all of my own food pins and then others. In just a few minutes I have my dinner planned.
For some reason I have been super busy lately and not planning well but I love to cook and have those warm cozy dinners ready that make everyone smile. Our daughter and her husband who just moved back are staying with us while they search for their perfect home and I get to cook for them at least 4 nights a week. This makes my heart VERY happy! Our son-in-law loves good food and appreciates it. I like to come up with different sauces and dips for every meal. Last night we had a fajita and taco bar. The whole family came for dinner. It was one of those spontaneous dinners that bring us all together for food and fun. I made two special sauces and had lots to choose from to build your taco or fajita.
Last week from Pinterest I made this recipe: The only thing I added was a few pieces of bacon crumbled in the mushrooms! Awesome!
Smoother Chicken With Spinach
For the Creamed Spinach:
1 large bag of spinach leaves
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T red onion, minced
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauteed Mushrooms:
8 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 stick butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 C white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 pieces of cooked bacon crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Chicken:
4-5 boneless chicken breasts
8-10 slices Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 T garlic powder
1 T seasoned salt, like Lawry’s
1 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper on both sides of the chicken. Bake for 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the creamed spinach. Over medium-high heat, melt 2 T olive oil in a skillet. Add in the onions and saute 2-3 minutes. Add in the spinach and garlic. It will shrink ridiculously. When it’s cooked through, stir in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Continue cooking and stirring until the cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
For the mushrooms, melt butter and 2 T olive oil in a skillet. Put the mushrooms in and cook until browned all over. Add cooked bacon crumbles. Don’t season with salt until they are browned or they will never brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until most of the wine is cooked out.
Flip the chicken pieces over. Divide the spinach and mushrooms over the top of each breast. Lay two slices of cheese over each piece of chicken. Cook another 12-14 minutes or until cheese is browned and chicken is done.
This recipe was a hit! I have a few others to share next week. Making new recipes is so much fun for me and the last 5-6 have been hits!!
I encourage you to try something new this week. It is a lot of fun and your family will love the new experiences!
According to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
(CASA), children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.
November 5, 2013 at 11:17 am (Family, fun & food!)
Halloween is over but I have been too busy to post so you are getting Halloween today.
Our night started out with: Stomach Bile (aka…Curry Chicken), Maggots (aka….Rice), Foot Cakes (aka…Naan), Brain Matter (aka….Mango Chutney), Mummy Fingers (aka…hot dogs wrapped with dough), Spider Pizza, and lots of other goodies. One of my favorites was Nail Clipping…..which was really Macaroons. Some of the names made it hard for me to eat the food. I did not have any Stomach Bile!
I do all this craziness for my grandchildren because I love them so much and want to make holidays special. Amy told me that the kids were trying to figure out what each name of food meant and if they would eat it or not. It was the talk of their day! This is why I do it! Yay!
I think the Worms were the worst to look at and forget about eating them:
Not too many people tried the Worms but everyone was talking about them. I got this recipe from Pinterest and I must say it was a lot of work for such a small bowl of worms.
Our grandson Cohen came after school and helped me make the Bones….veggies up:
I also found that on Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool to use when planning anything.
I came up with the cute little Web’s…aka mustard and ketchup. Just put ketchup in a dish, draw a few circles with mustard and use a tooth pick from the center mustard spot to the outside of the dish.
When our family has parties we always have “adult drinks” and the kids know they cannot have any of the “adult drinks”. Because Halloween is a kid holiday in our house we had “kid drinks” and the adults could not have any or better yet the adults may have not wanted any. “Beetle Juice” with Worms of course! I made a punch and put gummy worms in it. 1 can white grape juice to 2 bottles of ginger ale and gummy worms. The kids loved it!
Our entire family came and my husbands family. Hunter sat at the bottom of our driveway and gave out candy with a fire pit burning, we walked around the neighborhood with most of the family getting candy with the kids. While the rest of the family chatted inside the house with Grandma Dot. It was a very fun evening that I hope the grandchildren will cherish forever!! I just have to work on topping that party next year! No pressure!!
Happy Fall from our group to yours!!!!!!
The next holiday is Thanksgiving and I will be posting some tips for keeping that Turkey moist!!
October 16, 2013 at 8:55 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: fall, Family, Fun, halloween, hot dogs, kid friendly, kids, pumpkin, Recipes
Can you believe it is Fall already? Where did summer go? You know the old saying about “the older you get, the faster time goes by”? Well, mark my words, it does!!!
It is time to start thinking about our Halloween Bash! I love to rename foods and make weird foods on Halloween! The grand kids love it! Caleb, our oldest grandson is 11 years old so I only have a little time before he becomes 18 and goes away to college. Although, Caleb will still love coming when he is older because we all have such fun together.
Last years costumes:
Caleb was a homeless guy, Kealee and Joy were peacocks and Cohen was Iron man. I was a gypsy.
I am putting together the menu for the Halloween Bash this year and these are the choices:
Mummy Fingers (hot dogs wrapped in pizza dough)
Spider Pizza (make spiders out of black olives and put on pizza)
Worms (make from straws)
Bile Stew (curry chicken)
We will have a few other things too but I have not decided it all yet. The Bile Stew is for the adults but the kids will eat it too.
I will make a menu for the kids and they can have some or all of the yucky sounding foods.
Last year we had ‘Stomach Juices” which was really Pumpkin Thai Soup. The meatballs were cooked cow eyes.
You to can do these fun things for your family! It is things that they will always remember about being at nana and umpa’s or about Halloween when they were little. We were never big fans of Halloween when our kids were small so I had to be creative about it. We always went to my mother-in-laws house for dinner and it was fun for our kids. I wanted to continue that tradition with my grandchildren but with a little twist. I am sure that Caleb will come over with no costume and I will figure something out for him before we go out that he loves. It is a little crazy but that is what makes it so fun!
Family is only here for a short time and time slips by fast so enjoy every minute of what time we have!
I hope I can inspire you to make memories and have fun with your family. In this crazy, fast paced, chaotic life that we live take the time to enjoy the children!
Recipe for the Pumpkin Thai Soup:
Pumpkin Thai Soup:
1 can Libby’s Pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream (1/2 more if you like a loose soup)
1 ½ teaspoon coriander
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons curry
½ teaspoon red chili pepper
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
In sauce pan add all ingredients and mix well. Cook until hot. Serve hot or cold. If you want it to be more spicy, add more red chili pepper.
October 11, 2013 at 9:18 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: back porch, fall decor, gourds, lanterns, pumpkins, screen porch
I almost forgot to put up pictures of the back porch. When we were looking to build this house I knew I wanted a pool and a screened in back porch. Well the pool is 2 doors down and a neighborhood pool, but I have a pool non the less. And the porch is all mine. On most days so is the pool. Anyway, I love my back porch! I sit out there and have coffee as I read, write or just enjoy nature. So of course it has to have some fall decor too!
I went simple and all natural. I used fresh pumpkins, and mason jars with a some cut herbs from my garden and a few stems from my pampas grass plants.
For the coffee table I used a lantern. Most probably think a lantern is for Christmas but not this one….
I filled it with gourdes and wrapped it with burlap and ribbon. Easy as pie to do and it looks good too. If you have a lantern, you should try this.
My porch now feels like fall too!!!! I can enjoy all the beauty of the outside with my coffee and feel all fallish!
For the front porch I used my painted pumpkins, scarecrows and my plants that I planted in April. I have switched out a few summer plant and added mums.
Decorating is easier than you’d think and even the simplest things add beauty and a festive feel for your home. Try something and send me pictures.
October 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: baby announcement, crafts, paper, shutterfly, twine
We have been so blessed as a family this year! Our little Elijah was born in September and he is as cute as a button! And we have another grand baby coming in April!!! We are so excited and blessed!!
Our daughter Amanda wanted to send an announcement to our family and friends to let them know that she is expecting. She is so creative I thought you may enjoy her idea. She wanted something cute but not too expensive to make and something that was not too time consuming.
First we went to Michael’s craft store and picked up a few things:
Paper that was 4×6
Some “abc” letters and numbers…
She chose a plain paper and polka dot letters. We had some twine at here to use.
The size of your flag sign is up to you but Amanda cut her paper in half due to the size of her letters and the length of the whole sign. Then she cut the angles on the edges. It is best to make one flag and use it as a template for the others so they are all the same size. We used a hot glue gun to attach the letters.
She wanted to hold her sign so you can’t make it too long. Her colors were sage,gray blue and pale yellow.
And then we have it…..
Now she just has to get a picture of her and Hunter together. Here were a few pictures they didn’t choose.
Here is the announcement:
We are so excited and happy to be adding another gift from God to our family. Mike and I were just two and now we have grown into 13.5! God is good!!!!
October 7, 2013 at 9:51 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: fall, muffins, pumpkin, pumpkin muffins
It’s that time of year for PUMPKIN everything! If you love pumpkin of course.
Everyone at our house loves pumpkin and it is a good thing since I have made these muffins 3 times. I made a double batch on Friday because I have a friend who had a birthday and she loves pumpkin everything too!
Happy Birthday Kayla!!!
Pumpkin Muffins w/ Streusel Topping
1 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
1 1/4 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Oil
Whisk together dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium bowl. In another medium sized bowl whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Do not overmix, once it seems just combined, STOP. Let rest while you make the crumbly topping.
1/2 C. Flour
1/3 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Chopped Nuts
3 TBS Butter, cut into small pieces or soften
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with your fork. Try to work the flour and sugar into the butter. It will eventually all combine and you’ll have a crumble topping!
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray or line with cupcake liners.
I hope you enjoy the muffins and the wonder smell of fall throughout your house.
For more fall decorating and cooking tips checkout : http://thecleanerandcook.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/fall-is-in-the-air/
October 4, 2013 at 8:48 am (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: beef, Crock pot dinners, Italian soup
With the cooler air coming in I wanted to make some soup in my crock pot and home made bread for dinner. The stew I made from what I had on hand so you don’t have to use the same veggies that I did, use whatever you would like, just use the same amounts. The bread recipe I used was from Pinterest. I made the bread the day before because of time. Here is the site with the recipe: http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/rosemary-olive-oil-bread
The bread is easy to make and awesome!!!!
Crock Pot Italian Beef Stew
1.5-2 pounds of beef - cube into bite size pieces
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 can of corn - drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
½ bag frozen veggies
4 potatoes washed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 can beef broth
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
3 bay leaves
Put everything in the crock pot, stir and cook all day. Dinner is ready when you get home.
This is a easy week night or weekend meal! Good for those days where you are not at home due to soccer games, work or just for a warm meal in your belly on a cool evening!
For more cooking, cleaning and decor ideas check out: http://thecleanerandcook.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/fall-is-in-the-air/
September 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm (Family, fun & food!)
Tags: burlap, fall decor, gourds, halloween, natural, pumpkins, ribbon, simple, table arrangements, thanksgiving
While trying to figure out what to do in the kitchen on the breakfast table I decide to use fresh gourds and pumpkins since I did the dining room with artificial pumpkins. Since I already had the burlap from the dining room table I started with that again.
I again started layering. I need height so I put the candle in then I felt that it looked flat and blah and flat!
It needed some height and dimension. I had these small logs that I used last Thanksgiving so I decided to revamp them by using ribbon and burlap.
I then used the logs to add height to my arrangement.
While out shopping I picked up a few cute fall items for this table. My goal with this table was to natural and cute. I knew my grandchildren would play with this arrangement when I wasn’t looking and sure enough Cohen was playing with the pumpkins when he came to visit the other day. I do teach the kids not to mess with certain things but this table after all was in the breakfast room where they eat most every time they are here and that is why I made it simple.
I also added the smaller 4 inch burlap through the gourd and pumpkins. My last final touch was the raffia.
The indian corn adds some color and another layer of texture….
So goodbye to blah! I think it turned out well other than the fact that the candle looks crooked in this picture which I fixed.