I love a daiquiri, be it frozen or straight, strawberry or banana. It’s all good.http://ift.tt/2rKT64r
Friday, June 23, 2017
We don’t have parties often, but I love it when we do. Even though they can be expensive and a ton of work, it makes me so happy to have a houseful of friends and family. Even when they get hectic, it just makes my heart feel full. To help with some of the issues of the expense, I’m offering up some easy ideas for party planning on a budget.
10 Tips for Party Planning on a Budget 1. Skip paper invitation.
If all or most of your guests are online (and regularly check their email), a service like Evite is a great option for free invitations. Of course, an even more low tech option, while still being paperless, can be emails or phone calls.2. Make your own cake.
If the party is a birthday party or another event that will involve cake, consider skipping over a store bought cake and either make your own cake or go for something like cupcakes or pies if you’re working on party planning on a budget. Personally, I’m a big fan of cupcakes. They are individually sized and there is no pressure on someone to cut a cake perfectly. (Here’s my favorite frosting recipe.)
If you’re determined to have a theme to your party, explore your home looking for supplies and other items that you might already have that would lend themselves to party decorations or supplies.4. Throw a potluck.
If you want to have a meal but just can’t afford to invite all of your friends for a large meal, invite them to a potluck instead. It would be best if you provided the drinks and main dish (soups, grilled out meats, or something of that nature) and then had friends or family bring sides and desserts.5. Decorate with things you can reuse.
When we had a very large birthday party for Molly one year, we bought balloons to blow up ourselves as well as pink crepe paper. Those were our only single-use decorations.
I also picked up a “Happy Birthday” banner that could be reused as well as LED white Christmas lights to put on the trees and our porch in the backyard. Because they were LED, they were bright enough to light the dark backyard for all the kids that played outside throughout the party. Those lights were not cheap, but we enjoyed them for many years afterward, as well as for additional parties and gatherings.
If you have the kinds of friends who say, “What can I bring?” or “What can I do?” – let them help. Now, I will admit that I almost always decline those offers.
However, that said, I admire someone like my friend Amanda who trusts people enough that she had her sister-in-law (who is a friend of mine as well) and I make the cakes for her twin sons’ First Communion party. Other relatives also brought some other desserts.7. Avoid mealtimes for your party.
Food adds a large expense to party planning. While I think it’s nice to have some type of food at a party, having it at a meal time will either cost you a lot of money or will leave your guests disappointed when your party time that starts at noon includes only cake and punch. Have your party well after a meal time so you can get away with something like only cake and punch to save money on your party planning on a budget.8. Make food from scratch rather than packaged foods.
If you would like to feed people, as I often do, it’s much cheaper to make the food yourself rather than heading to the grocery store or club store to buy prepared foods.9. Skip party favors.
Who really needs party favors, right? The only time we’ve ever done party favors was the year that Molly had a princess birthday party at home and the girls got to each pick a tea cup to use at the party and then take home. However, we got them all for $1.00 or less per cup by visiting Goodwill.
Now, I’m not talking about something like a pizza party type of location if you’re trying to save money. I’m talking about something like a local park. Some parks will let you rent a shelter for free or a small cost and then party guests can do activities like playing on playground equipment, sports, trails, and other activities.What are some of your favorite budget savers when it comes to parties?
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Thursday, June 22, 2017
In our classic outdoor lounge space blog post, we gave you a guide for creating a look that’s elegant and timeless. This time, we thought we’d give you steps for creating an eclectic look. The vibe is funkier and laid…
Quesadillas have to be my favorite go-to food for lunch. They’re just so easy to make! Especially when you have tortillas and cheese in the fridge, which we almost always do.
One way to take a quesadilla from snack to a meal is to add some protein, like chicken, beef, or in this case shrimp.
First marinate raw shrimp in a little lime juice and chili pepper. Then sauté the shrimp and add it to your jack-cheese quesadilla along with red onion and cilantro. Serve with some sliced avocado, sour cream, maybe another squeeze of lime juice, and you’re set!http://ift.tt/1uVwQnW
Have you ever wondered how easy it is to make homemade rose water? In the past, I’ve purchased rose water but it can be expensive. If you have roses you can make your own rose water, and it’s so easy to do too.
Some of the links in this posts are my affiliate links. When you buy through them I can make a little money at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support in this way. See my disclosure page for more information.
Making homemade rose water at home is pretty simple. I was surprised at how easy it really was and wondered why I ever had purchased it? Since we’ve been growing roses at our current home for about 20 years in the spring and summer I have a nice supply of roses on hand.
But it never occurred to me to make DIY rose water until I had a bunch of roses that needed to be trimmed before a few days of rain arrived.
I thought it would be best to get the huge blooms off the rose bush before they filled with water and broke the stems or the petals were knocked off all over the ground. I didn’t want to have to clean up a huge rose petal mess.
But I didn’t want to just throw those beautiful roses into the compost. I put some in a vase to enjoy and the rest were used to make this homemade rose water.
I made a video to show you how easy it is to make your own homemade rose water. View it below or scroll down for the basic written instructions.Homemade Rose Water, Step by Step
✳︎ Start with organic roses. When making products from flowers it’s important to use organic flowers. You don’t want to have those pesticides or herbicides ending up in your homemade beauty products so be safe and use organically grown flowers.
We grow our own roses organically and treat them with natural pest deterrents. Our roses aren’t perfect but they thrive and look good in general. They aren’t perfect but then again what in nature really is and if everything was perfect how boring would that be?!
✳︎ Remove the rose petals from the stem. You can do this one at a time or you can grab the full head of the rose and twist a little at the base of the bloom and most of the petals will come off. We tried both ways.
Some roses were easy to remove all at once, others it was easier to do it one petal at a time. Use whichever method works best for the roses you have.
✳︎ Wash the Petals. Once the rose petals are removed you want to wash them. We found a few bugs and a little dirt on the rose petals. Put them into a bowl with water or in a colander and rinse them well. Then drain.
✳︎ Simmer the Rose Petals. Once the petals are nice and clean place them in a large pot and cover them with distilled water. You just want enough water to cover the petals. You don’t want too much water as it can dilute your rose water. The petals will float a little that’s ok.
You’ll want to simmer the rose petals on low until the color is gone from the petals. They will look pale and a little droopy. I let mine go about 15 minutes. Then remove them from the burner and let them sit to cool a little.
✳︎ Strain at Rose Petals. Once the rose water has cooled, strain the rose petals out of the water. I like to scoop the rose petals out and then as I’m pouring the rose water into a clean canning jar I strain it through a tight mesh colander.Storing your Homemade Rose Water
Once your rose water is cool place a lid on your jar and store the rose water in the refrigerator. I place mine in the back of the refrigerator to keep it cold and to help it last longer.
You can use rose water as a toner. I place a small amount of rose water in a bottle and soak a cotton ball with it. Rub on your face like you would use a toner. You can dilute the rose water 3 parts water and 1 part rose water if the straight rose water is too astringent for your skin.
You can use rose water to set makeup. Place your homemade rose water into a spray bottle and spray a little on your face to set your makeup.
Add it to your bath. Add a cup or two to your bath for a rose scented bath to soak in.
Use Homemade Rose Water to freshen your skin. In the hot days of summer, you can use your rose water to spray on your skin to freshen it. Plus the lovely rose smell is a great bonus.
What do you think? Is making homemade rose water on your list of things to do now that you know how easy it really is to make? I hope so. If you give it a try be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.
When you make your own DIY rose water you can save money and be pampered at the same time!http://ift.tt/2tynjos
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
For years, iceberg lettuce got a real thrashing from chefs who thought of it as tasteless and nothing but texture. What’s wrong with great texture?
Cut up a head of iceberg for a classic wedge salad, add blue cheese dressing, smoky bacon, and a few cherry tomatoes, and even the worst kitchen snobs will change their minds!http://ift.tt/2rD3knm
Between feeding a family of five and working on home organization and DIY projects around the clock, I run a lot of errands. Given my location, I try to consolidate my trips whenever possible. I live 20-60 minutes from the majority of my favorite shopping sources so I will typically hit up HomeGoods, Home Depot and a couple grocery stores all in a single outing.
Over the years I have attempted to organize my trips and handbag with a variety of checklists and pouches. Expandable files for coupons, envelopes for receipts, a small card holder for store cards and folded stacks of ideas and lists. Each individual attempt has been OK, but when combined it just created a jumbled mess inside of my purse. Or things would get misplaced, and transferring the items between totes would cause some to become separated from others. And sometimes the pouches and lists would get left in the car and then I would end up in our other vehicle. Not the end of the world, but I really wanted to find a way to keep everything together in one harder-to-lose organizer.
Maybe my situation is unique and not everyone will have the same needs as I do, I know many of you rely upon on your device when out and about, I am just not 100% there yet. That said, I did want to share because I sure do love my current setup and it really has helped to make my outings much easier to manage.
To assemble my shopping assistant, I began with a standard mini-binder from Container Store, which can also be found at Amazon, Target or any office supply store. Back when Staples offered a plethora of amazing Martha Stewart for Avery items, I picked up some secure-top page protectors and divider tabs. Although their offerings have since dwindled, Avery continues to offer a lot of similar options (again at Amazon, Target and office supply stores). I use page protectors/pockets to hold coupons and receipts, business card pages for store cards/gift cards, and added pages in the back for keeping track of my shopping lists. Let's take a closer look.
I continue to utilize my meal planning printables every week for coming up with our weekly meals and grocery shopping list. It typically lives inside of my pantry door throughout the week for the family to easily reference (in one of these clear sign holders), but when I leave for my shopping trip I use a clip to attach the list to the inside cover of the binder.
Although I use my phone for coupons every trip, I also receive a number of offers in the mail or print some from emails and websites or clip coupons from the newspaper and even the backs of receipts. I use one pouch to hold coupons for groceries and another for everything else (like haircuts, clothing, oil changes/auto maintenance, etc...).
Each pouch was labeled with my label maker and my favorite clear/gold tape.
When it comes to receipts, I generally only hold on to any that relate to my business and possible return items. I also like to keep my grocery receipts to check against our budget each month (and then they are recycled). I log my business expenses weekly and then permanently file away those specific receipts. Due to our location, I generally find myself over-purchasing for projects to be sure I have options and to prevent any last minute delays and trips. That also means I may have to manage quite a few returns and need to keep track of those receipts.
Business card sheet protectors were the ideal solution for all of my store loyalty cards and gift cards.
Because I may shop for project and home good materials at different times and locations than I will for our groceries, I keep those items on a separate list from our weekly meal planner. It is easier to utilize a separate printable to list the item and any specific details as a project progresses, or when multiple projects are taking place at once. And I love mini-tape measures because they are ridiculously helpful out on shopping trips to the hardware store or when measuring for bins and baskets (I find the small tape measures at craft stores, here is a similar one).
I have two free versions of this Shopping List printable for you, both designed to fit a mini binder! One to account for the center binder rings, and another that just allows the list to be centered on each page. The printable is designed to print on 5.5" x 8.5" paper, duplexed.
On occasion, I am out looking for an item that works with a specific paint color or I have inspiration pics clipped from catalogs/magazines. A small pocket on the back cover was added to organize those smaller items.
I also use a spare pocket to hold a calculator and pen as both come in handy at times.
All of these items tuck away nice and neat and the binder is still able to close flat without trouble. And best of all, I am able to carry this mini-binder in the majority of my handbags and totes. And if not, it is still portable on its own.