Category Archives: Entertaining

What is your happiness?

This was my weekend to spend with Kristian and we had alot planned for the weekend.  A family birthday party on Saturday and a family brunch Sunday.  My oldest brothers girlfriend’s birthday was last Thursday and he wanted to have a family brunch to celebrate; he asked for my mother and myself to prepare the meal –  me doing a breakfast casserole, shrimp and grits, and a small Red Velvet Cheesecake for her to have for her own personal pleasure – and my parents prepared hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, bacon, baked tilapia, chicken drummettes, and two versions of breakfast rice.  My parents love to entertain as much as I do and we take pride in having plenty for everyone to eat and making sure that we have a complete spread for everyone to enjoy. 

Saturday….Kristian and I went to the grocery store(s) early and made our way back home to hang out and chill until we needed to go the birthday party.  I knew that I had to make cheesecakes (in addition to the Red Velvet Cheesecake, I was also making two Strawberry/Chocolate cheesecakes  – one small for my mother and a larger one for the house) that night and I wanted to put the breakfast casseroles together so that I only had to bake them Sunday morning.  While I worked on my pricing worksheet (I’d have to talk about that later); Kristian got into the cleaning mood.  She started out straightening up my coffee table.  When she finished she went into her room….and an hour later I was overjoyed to see that she had cleaned her room!!!  Oh joy of joys, my baby girl cleaned her room…I mean REALLY cleaned her room…and I didn’t have to threaten or conjole her into it. 

Kristian has not received an allowance in quite awhile because she has not done her job – clean her room.  The room usually gets straightened up when I can’t take it anymore and wind up cleaning it myself – because of this she wouldn’t get her allowance.   We’ve discussed her allowance many times and she always gets excited about the prospect, but she never felt the need to actually do the work required to get her allowance.  So my first spot of happiness began when I walked into “my babydolls” room and see that she had made up the bed, cleaned out her chair, put her clothes away, cleaned off her toilettries (Kristian has begun to collect perfumes like I’ve begun collecting glass perfume bottles) table.  Happiness pure and simple is seeing  your offspring clean up the pigstye that is their room clean without telling them to clean it or else and them not expecting anything in return.  🙂 Kristian was completly surprised when I presented her with her $1 allowance.     

I started making the cheesecakes – which required me to make chocolate cakes first – and completely forgot about the birthday party until my mother called to ask if we wanted to ride to the event with them.  I was in the middle of making cheesecakes…the cheesecakes baking time is a total of 115 minutes.  I was just starting the process…I couldn’t leave.  I missed the party. 😦

Sunday we got up and went to church.  Another spot of pure happiness…our pastor has been speaking about relationships and the messages have been so enlightening and uplifting.  Happiness. 🙂  When we got home I placed the preped casseroles in the oven and finished up my cheesecakes and Kristian cleaned Tiny (the hamster) cage without my help.  HAPPINESS!!!  She cleaned the cage and vacuumed around the stand and the area where she had worked too.  HAPPINESS!!!

Happiness is hanging out with your family and eating great food.     Brunch was a bounty of wonderful and loved ones.  Crossaints with honey butter smeared on top.  MMMMmmmm!

Stan had left for Chicago Sunday morning to do a site visit for Chicago Public Schools on Monday, so he wasn’t around and he was missed by all.  But he’s bringing me back some Apple Hibiscus tea from Argo Teas and Garrett’s Popcorn, so I guess the seperation was worth it.  Apple Hibiscus tea and Garrett’s Popcorn…HAPPINESS.  🙂 

Happiness is registering for RomCon at the discounted price with an extra $20 discount to boot.  YEP FOLKS…I’m going to Denver in August to hang out with other lovers of Romance novels and Romance authors.  It is going to be awesome!  I’m not ashamed of my Romance novel love, these wonderful books have come such a long way from the original Harlequin novels your mother read.  And this year I’m going to two events to celebrate them – Lori Fosters Author Readers Weekend in Cincinnati and the Borders sponsored RomCon in Denver.  HAPPINESS! 

Finally, we were too tired and full to eat any of the cheesecake Sunday, but that was not the case last night.  I sliced into that beautiful creation and took a few pics.  Kristian had he piece and sung its praises loud and clear.  I just love when a new dessert comes together wonderfully.  Look at this cheesecake – layers of strawberry cheesecake and chocolate cake – nothing but pure happiness.   

Can a person expire from too much happiness?  What’s your happiness?

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“Girlfriends Night” was a success!

I awoke at 4am but forced myself to stay in the bed until 5:30…it was torture.  But when I got up, it was off to the races!  I needed to complete the items for the gift bags, go to the store for final groceries, pick up a few things for the table set up, and pick up the table and chairs that my mother let me use.

The gift bags that I made for everyone this year included wood and glass boxes that I stained and polyurethaned & placed a felt insert of each girls favorite color on the bottom to be used as bedside jewelry boxes for everyday jewelry – like rings or watches.  I added homemade truffles (the easy Oreo ones – thank you Kraft), chocolate and caramel covered pretzel rods, homemade granola, and an assortment of homemade cookies (a chocolate filled caramel creme, cranberry and pecan shortbread, and christmas shaped sugar cookies).  I had made the granola, one of the batches of cookies, and the caramel pretzels already so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  I put the felt inserts into the bottom of the boxes while a batch of the sugar cookies were in the oven.  Made the cheese grits and placed in a glass Pyrex dish to cool and set to be cut into cakes for dinner.  This was all done before 7:30 am.

When I got to Stan’s on Friday, I knew I needed to pick up my china (the green and gray set), the table (I was going to use a plastic resin patio table) and a few other things for my table decor.  As I’m pulling out my china I realize that some the coffee cups were missing as well as a few of the dessert saucers.  I look on the patio for the table and it’s not there either.  What the What!!!  I started to panic!  This year I had done a lot of prep work ahead of time to alleviate the need for panicking, but dag-on if a monkey wrench wasn’t thrown into the game to cause it anyway.  Luckily my mother, who had already graciously allowed me to use some of her chairs (actually she had just bought new ones and I got to use the old ones) came to the rescue by allowing me to use her round table that was the same size as the plastic I had intended to use.  The misplacement of the china pieces was another thing all together.  I had clients (four to be exact), so I had to concentrate on them, but boy was I steaming in my mind.  I had to use the green set, because my table scheme was green and black.  I couldn’t use the white or blue china.  I had to use the green set!  I expressed my frustration to Stan about the missing items, I mean if they’re missing I can’t go to Wal-Mart or Target and get replacements.  Sure I can go online to find replacements, but not the day before my event.  Then after much meditation and breathing decided to leave the saucers and coffee cups at the house and take everything else.  I made up my mind to go to my spot – Goodwill with hopes of finding some good pieces that I could use as replacements.  When I left the house I gave myself a time budget of 2 hours to go to grocery, Goodwill, Big Lots, & The Dollar General (they were having a sale on Tide and I couldn’t let that deal slip by regardless of the dinner party).  I ended up being 10 minutes over my budgeted time, but I think that was good AND I found some great cups and plates to use for dessert and coffee/tea and four tea light holders that I only paid $10 for.  I couldn’t find a green candle that wasn’t scented to save my life.  I slowly realized my dream table scape was being changed up before it even had a chance to spark.

Now to the party…Appetizers and drinks were to begin at 6pm and I have a strict rule that I adhere to that states: “I do not get dressed until my guest begin to arrive.  I have drinks and appetizers ready, when the first guest arrives I show here where everything is, pour her a drink, then head off to get dressed.  Whoever is there first opens the door for the rest of the guests and sets them up.”  This allows them to mingle without looking for me to lead the conversation and I get a chance to prep until the last-minute without getting my clothes sweaty. 🙂  Imagine my angst when one of my guest called me at 5:20 and said she was approximately 10  minutes away.  I know, I know that should not have been an issue, but I hadn’t done my final vacuum yet.  I still needed to stuff my chicken breast.  Who arrives to a dinner party 30 minutes early?  I could stand 10 or 15 minutes, but come on guys…30 minutes is a huge chunk of time.  I stopped what I was doing, grabbed the vacuum cleaner and began the final swipe of the carpet.  I finished up just as the knock on the door announced her arrival.  

So, on to the menu…

Girlfriends Dinner Menu

Appetizer: Warm Spinach & Broccoli Dip w/Pita Chips (homemade)

Sharp Cheddar cheese with Bacon 

Soup: Pear & Broccoli Soup

Salad: Simple Waldorf Salad (made with Romaine lettuce, celery, apples, bacon, small tortilla strips, bleu cheese, and Poppy-seed Dressing)

Main Course: Dirty Rice Stuffed Chicken Breast, Toasted Cheese Grit Cakes w/Shrimp Gravy, Sautéed Green Beans w/Shallots & Garlic, & Homemade Sweet Potato Rolls   


Dessert: Pecan Pie Cheesecake w/Caramel Sauce

Drinks: Gallo Family White Zinfindel / Coffee or Tea for Dessert 

Everything went according to plan with the exception of the omission of the bacon from the salad (I remembered it once everyone’s plates were clean. :()  I like to make everyone’s plates for each course and serving them to them while they sit and converse.  It is all part of the experience and I truly love to do it.  The dinner party was awesome…we laughed our butts off & we were loud at times but it was great.  No male bashing, just a lot of love flowing around and as always some of us even learned some things.  It’s the way of things when a group of women get together.

My guest started heading out early this year, 11:30; but a few hung around to help with the clearing of dishes.  My sister looked at the “borrowed” chairs and asked where I got them.  I told her that I needed to get rid of them and she enthusiastically asked for them and I enthusiastically gave them to her.  With a little strategy we got all four chairs into her two-door Focus (her husband had the bigger car).  I came back into the house and finished up loading the dishwasher to capacity and washed up all of the pots and pans; then looked at the counter-top and realized I still had another load  of dishes that would have to be done the next day…it was 12:30 and I had been up close to 24 hours.

It amazed me that we used this many glasses


Only plates and glasses left

I got all of the pots and pans cleaned

Another successful dinner party.  I can’t wait until next years party…I will have a much bigger house with the possibility of serving 10 instead of 8.  I need to start thinking about next years menu.

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Me & my girls

It’s that time of the year again…when I invite my girlfriends over to a night of great conversation, awesome food, and a lot little bit of drinks.  This group gets together at least once a year.  I don’t always see or talk to each of them throughout the year, and some of us only see each other on this special night, whereas some of us get together on occassion.  But when we get together it’s like we have never been apart.

Last weekend I decided I was going to get a head start on meal preparations and not wait until the day of to make all of the items for dinner.  I had great plans for Saturday, but I didn’t get anything accomplised because for one, I slept in; then started moving around slowly; then I went to the store for the ingredients for dinner; and then got caught up with my parents at Hobby Lobby. 

I’ve been trying to find a tree topper that has not been successful at all.  I really had plans to take pictures of my tree and other decorations around the house, but the fact that I couldn’t find a tree topper was throwing me off.   I actually went to Hobby Lobby to get the boxes that I’m going to give out along with the other food gifts.  I ended up getting the boxes, some more ornaments for my tree (I had the darndest time finding a place to put them on the tree), more ribbon (I took it back on Monday), another glass perfume bottle (I guess I’m collecting them now since I keep buying them and I’ve received a few as gifts), an ornament that I thought would look perfect as a tree topper, and finally a tree topper that my parents convinced me would look fabulous on my tree (but ended up looking like a toupe on the tree and I took it back on Monday as well).  Because my book club had our Christmas dinner that evening and I just didn’t have time to do anything to aid my dinner party.

Monday I woke up, determined to get some of the prep completed.  I was successful!  I made the soup, my homemade rolls, the dirty rice dressing for stuffing the chicken breast and the pecan pie for the cheesecake.  I’ve been staining and polyeurathaning the boxes all week and then last night I actually got down to making some of the cookies, granola, and covered pretzels that I will be giving away.  You see, I always give my girlfriends gift bags full of goodies.  This year I’ve decided to give more food stuffs beyond cookies and pretzels (the granola and truffles :)); in addition to the boxes (which I will show pictures of after their all done). 

Now it is the day before the event and I feel like I have so much to do and so little time.  I hate that feeling :(!  I still need to pick up a few things from the store, chicken breast, shrimp, coffee, creamer and wine.  I still haven’t decided on the cocktail for appetizers.  I’m going to Google it.  You can find anything on Google.  As soon as I leave work I’m going pick up some stuff and then head over to the house to begin doing hair. 

Wish me luck guys….I’ll post pictures as soon as I can.

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Getting ready for the holidays

This is probably one of the busiest weeks of the month for me and I believe that the next few weeks will only get busier.  There are only two weeks left until Christmas and I feel like it will be here tomorrow.  Here is a summary of what’s going on.  You tell me… can it get any busier.

This week the Young Voices of Indianapolis, which Kristian is a part of, has their annual Christmas concert.  Because of this there is a “dress” rehearsal today that is about 45 minutes earlier than usual.  I will be heading out soon to make sure that I pick her up and get her there on time; tomorrow is the actual concert.  I really want to get my hair cut this week; and the only time I have to get it done is of course…tomorrow.  I called my good friend and stylist to: 1) to see if she could get me cut in a short amount of time so that I can get my baby to the venue on time; and 2) to get a head count for her wedding (yes…this is another reason why I’m so busy this week) so that I can have an idea of how much salsa I need to make this weekend.  My girl promised that she could have me out in a record amount of time so I’m hopeful that I can “get ‘er done” tomorrow. 

I’m also trying to get invitations out for my annual “Girlfriends Get-Together”.  This is a wonderful Christmas dinner that I have every year for my close girlfriends.  I say they’re my close girlfriends and some people wonder about this considering a lot of the time we only get together on this one day a year.  Actually a few of us see or talk to each other throughout the year, it’s just that we don’t all see or talk to each other on a regular basis.  Having said all of that…when we finally all get together it’s like we’ve never been apart.  Anyway it is a much-anticipated affair where I cook an awesome five-course meal and give mini gifts to my girls, usually baked goods and other tidbits like hand lotion, gift certificates, or whatever I can find that can be useful.  I will post pictures of the event afterwards and you can tell me what you think.  If I don’t get out my invitations this week, I may end up doing the unthinkable….sending an email or evite.  The horror! 🙂

Friday, I’m going to try my darndest to finish up with clients early so that I can get to see my nieces dance performance.  She will be performing on Thursday and Friday, but with Kristian performing on Thursday; I’m shutting for Friday to see my niece perform.

Saturday my book club is having our Christmas dinner.  We decided on Buca de Beppo.  I love italian food, but I’ve learned to make it so well (thanks to some help from a former italian coworker) that it is hard for me to enjoy italian fare at a chain restaurant.  I’m hoping to get past my prejudices  and have a good time.  I’ll spend some of my time Saturday morning making some treats to give as gifts to my fellow readers. 

As I mentioned earlier a dear friend (and my stylist) is getting married this weekend.  I’ve known her since high school and she is a part of my “girlfriends”.  I promised her that I would make salsa for her reception as they are having mexican food at the reception.  Her fiance is a HUGE fan of mexican food, hence the mexican food.  The wedding is on Sunday and will be the finale to this busy week.    

After Sunday…it will start all over again, because my dinner party is next Saturday.  AAAAAHHHHHGGGG

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