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Monday, November 30, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: 5 Days to Go and a Fun Treat to Make with Kids

At this point I should be seriously worried. But no, I appear to be calm and moving very slowly. Progress was hampered this morning by a 3 hour doctor visit. Nevertheless, some preliminary groceries were purchased, and supplies for this week. It appears I must prepare dinner EVERY night and not just next Saturday. Ho hum, life goes on.

Today I also made an experimental snack that's the fun treat mentioned in the title. Frosted peppermint pretzels. Yum! I bought some of these at Whole Foods (I don't remember the brand), but they were expensive for the few that were in the bag. But so easy. Here's what you need:

Pretzels, white chocolate chips, peppermint candy.

Crush the peppermint. Melt the chips. Stir together. Dip in the pretzels and place on wax paper or parchment paper until the chips harden. That's it.

OK, it's really sticky and messy, so if kids are involved, don't say I didn't warn you. I wore latex gloves, and discovered that it was easiest to dip only one side of the pretzel, and then "frost" the other side with my fingertip. You don't want it too thick. Also, if the chips re-harden, you can re-melt them in the microwave again. To melt, I followed the instructions on the bag.

Changing the subject, I saw this on the news and just wanted to share:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: 6 Days to Go

So much to do! Today was decorate the tree day. Before we did that, though, we moved the furniture out of the room in preparation for the tables we rented. OK, sofa moved by the bay window in the kitchen. Turns out we really like it there. Pictures on another day. The chest that we use as a coffee table was moved to Roland's office.

Back to the tree. Roland put the star on the top. Then onto the lights. The past few years I've done the multi-colored lights, but this year we went back to the white lights to keep with the theme that will be emerging over the week.

I have a trick to putting the lights on the tree. Up and down instead of around and around. I tie the non-plug end to a top branch, then place the strand through the branches down to the bottom, then back up. When I got around to the back next to the window, I did a little zig-zagging since I wouldn't be able to get my ladder behind the tree. This technique is so much easier than winding around the tree and makes removal easier, too.

It looks better in person than in the picture, and the ornaments have been put on. Well, almost all of them. The last ones to go on this year will be gold ones, and I needed a break.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: Countdown

In one week, my husband and I are hosting a dinner party for one of his colleagues that is moving away, and yes, there will be 20 people. I've had parties for 20 and more, but never a seated dinner party. Oh, and with 3 weeks to plan.

So, we're down to the last week, and here's what I've done. Planned the menu, check. Ordered the cake, check. Ordered the rental tables, glassware, linens, etc, check. Planned the decorations, check. Now I'm down to the actual work.

Since it's Christmas, and that's what we celebrate, the decoration theme is ready made. I want to try to use items I already have, but I did head to Michaels yesterday to stock up on gold, glittery things to decorate the table with. The tree was purchased today, and it's a great looking one if I do say so myself. Pictures will be coming soon.

Many of the table decorations (the table will be 3 5' x 5' square tables put together for a giant 5 x 15 table) will be from nature. Armed with a can of gold spray paint, spray adhesive and gold glitter, I glued glitter on pine cones, and spray painted long sticks and more pine cones.

I have 8 vintage parfait glasses that I plan to use with 12" tapers. My initial plan was to use cranberries, but they are just too fat. Plan B was to buy some colored sand at Michaels, but I just didn't find what I wanted. Plan C: small beans spray painted gold. Split peas looked the smallest, and were the cheapest, so here is what they look like painted:

The green shows through the gold, and looks great! More pictures to come as the week progresses. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Jogging

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is so much in my life to be thankful for, but I'm especially thankful that my guys and I were able to run in the Marietta, Georgia Gobble Jog. You can see the beautiful weather that we had today, and with a start time of 9:30, we didn't even have to wake up too early.

My guys before the race

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The Etsy Bloggers Blog Carnival topic this time, is what do you do around this time of year, if anything, to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Well, y'all know I'm from the good ol' USA, so, yep, it's Thanksgiving! This is one holiday for my immediate family that tradition has been dictated by circumstances that we work around, so it can be different every year.

Last year, we had Roland's mom, and his siblings and their families, plus Laura's then boyfriend, now fiance, so it was quite the group!

We wanted to get together since Aaron, the young man in the gray t-shirt, was soon to be deployed to the Middle East. So they came from Virginia and Missouri and we all had a great time!

This year, we're celebrating twice. The first will be this Saturday when Laura and Thomas arrive from Kentucky, and Thomas' dad and his date come down from Tennessee. This will the day for cooking, and we do enjoy the traditional menu. You know, turkey, dressing, potatoes, and lots of pie!

They can only stay the weekend though, so on the actual holiday, Roland, Kyle and I will head to a local restaurant and enjoy someone else's cooking.

Maybe in some other post I'll tell you about our Thanksgivings when we lived in Prague. We still joke about the traditional Thanksgiving goose! What? You don't eat goose on Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meeting an Etsy Friend

That's me on the left, and Sarah, who runs the fabulous A Fine Distraction, on the right. We met yesterday for the first time in person. We've been chatting in the Etsy forum for over a year now (we're part of the Bittersweeets One a Day Challenge). I, of course, knew she was a fellow Georgian, but hadn't done the map math and it turns out we only live about 35 miles apart.

I could have titled this Road Trip: Sugar Hill, but meeting an Etsy friend is so much fun! I felt like we already really, REALLY knew each other, so the in person part was just a formality. Her neighborhood was hosting an Arts & Crafts event, so I took advantage of the perfect for a Sunday drive weather, and headed northeast to see her.

I even got to meet her little girls and her husband, and they are such a nice family. I'm quite certain it will not be another year before I see her again!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Good Cause

Coffee-mate is teaming up with Dress for Success to give Cups of Confidence!

Go here to learn more about Dress for Success and how you can raise money, without spending any of your own. Click on the "Send a Cup of Confidence" link at the top of Coffee-Mate's home page. Once there, you can select your favorite Coffee-mate flavor and add your words of encouragement to a Dress for Success client - no cost to you - up to $150,000 for Dress for Success. Make sure you enter your city and state. The affiliate with the most notes can win up to $5,000 for its local program. I wrote my note for the Atlanta, Georgia affiliate.

When you click on the "About the Cause" link, you will learn lots more about Dress for Success.

Thanks for taking a minute to support a good cause.