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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Muddy Buddies (My Version)

Have you heard of Muddy Buddies?  
I hadn't.  

My mother-in-law got the recipe off of a Chex cereal box long ago.  A few weeks before the Superbowl, my husband explained to me that Muddy Buddies were a tradition that I should keep.  He explained what they were, but I misunderstood his description.  They are supposed to be made with Chex or Crispix cereal.  I thought he said Chex Mix. 

I went to the store, and in the potato chip aisle, they had bags of Chex Mix in several different flavors buy one, get one free!  I picked the Caramel and Vanilla flavors.  When I got home, Tommy told me that I was just supposed to get the cereal.  So, we had Muddy Buddies with a twist.

The recipe for Muddy Buddies is HERE.  Try it, really.  Instead of the 9 cups of Chex cereal, I used 8 cups of Chex Mix.  I followed the rest of the recipe.  Tommy said he prefers the original, but I liked the added pretzels and such.  It kind of added a little salty flavor to the sweet.

I added the melted chocolate and stirred (this part took the longest).

Then, I put the powdered sugar in a gallon zip-top bag, and added the chocolate and cereal mixture.   Then, I just had to shake it up.  I had to add more sugar, but when it was done, I just poured it out on wax paper.  The recipe said to let the chocolate cool, or dry.  We were actually able to start snacking right away. 

I can tell you that these taste really good, and they really are ready in 15 minutes.  I started them after the game began, and they were ready before Half-time (I am a really last-minute person).  If you've never made them, this would be a great weekend snack or party food!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

About a month ago on Pinterest, I found some really cute Valentine's Day ideas.  I wanted to make this garland:

Isn't it adorable?

Then I found this one, which I thought was even better:

I happened to have some red felt, and so I got to work.  I followed the steps for the open hearts just like they appear.  For the solid hearts, I decided to combine them with the open hearts.  I used white embroidery floss and went to work stringing them.  For my garland, I decided to sew through the solid hearts from side to side, instead of top to bottom like the original. 

I used the white embroidery thread and strung my solid and open hearts in an alternating pattern.  I left an inch or two between each heart, and I tied a knot in the thread between each one, just in case they decided to slide around.  I did sew through the open hearts at a higher point, so my thread goes through the middle point as well. 

After I had the garland strung, I thought I would add white buttons for  embellishment.  I think the buttons finished it off nicely.  Well chosen details are important!  I tried using red and white embroidery floss to sew on the buttons, and I think I prefer the red.  You could try pink, too!  One note about sewing on the buttons--embroidery floss comes with six strands of thread all wound together.  I use the full six threads when I sew something, and it makes a really "full" looking seam in no time.  I only went through the button holes once on each heart, in an X shape, and I was done. 

I ended up giving two garlands as gifts, and they were well received.  I strung the one that I kept for myself on my computer at work, and the worst part is that I think I have to take it down after Valentine's.  I really liked this project.  Wouldn't it be a cute thing for your kids to wake up to on Valentine's day?

On a side note, my new job is going really well.  I have a great work environment, and it has actually been good for our photography business, too.  Unfortunately, it doesn't leave much time for blogging.  I hope you will bear with me as I try to do both, and let's enjoy the time we do have together here!

What special ideas do you have for your Valentine?

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Party Post

Well, I told you I would tell you all about our party.  We had it just before Christmas, but other than the food and my Christmas decorations, it wasn't really a holiday party.  You could plan a similar party for any time of the year, which is why this is a perfect time to share it with you.

A little history:

The first time we did a holiday party, I hosted an ornament exchange.  Lots of fun, but afterwards, I found out that a lot of older people don't put up Christmas trees, so the ornament exchange wasn't useful to them. Last year, we did a recipe exchange and made a little cookbook up for everyone.

This year, we had several people going through tough times.  I needed an idea that would keep the budget low, and I wanted to focus on bringing people together, and encouraging people.  I borrowed some of the ideas from the wonderful Ladies' Days hosted in the past by the church of Christ at Glen Springs Road.

This party is what I came up with.

Several friends pitched in, and we served a buffet lunch with chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad, pasta salad, a Jimmy Carter cheese ring, carrots and ranch, pickles, olives, a peanut butter cheese ball (recipe HERE), a cookie Christmas tree, the marshmallow snowmen from my last post, a cake, tea, and apple cider.

I really wanted to draw people together, and so I tried to design the activities for the party to focus on interacting with others, getting to know people better, and sharing.

Before the party, I had each woman write out one or two of their favorite Bible verses or inspirational sayings.  I typed them up and printed pages with enough copies of each verse/saying for every woman at the party.  When the ladies arrived, I had them use decorative scissors to cut their sayings into strips.  (Side note:  this was difficult for for some people that had never used decorative scissors or had trouble with their eyes.  Regular scissors were easier for them.)

After lunch, each lady decorated a jar (with a lid).  I put out fabric, scrapbook papers, ribbons, and glue guns for the decorating.

Then, the ladies exchanged copies of their sayings.  I wanted them to trade the sayings themselves, because I was trying to encourage interaction/sharing/togetherness.

After all of the crafty fun, we played two games.  The first was a purse scavenger hunt.  The ladies divided into teams of four, and they had 10 minutes to dig through their purses to find as many things on the list as possible.  I was impressed at how much fun everyone seemed to have looking for things.  I actually had my wonderful husband make the final list for the scavenger hunt, which you can find HERE.  You can go HERE for the list that we used as inspiration.

Earlier, I said that I had each guest fill out a questionnaire about herself before coming to the party.  I took those answers and made them into four line poems about each woman--without their name.  For the next game, everyone received a printout of the poems and had to guess who the subject of each poem was.  This ended up being really difficult for some, but funny as each woman tried to guess the answers--and tried to trick the other ladies in the room into revealing things about themselves to give away the answers.  THIS is the questionnaire that I asked everyone to complete.

We had some great prizes donated for the party.  Since they were bigger items, I used them as door prizes.  We printed up tickets, and everyone received one ticket for coming.  I gave more tickets to the game winners.  Then, we did a drawing for the prizes at the end.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we plan to have another party soon.  I hope you can use some of these ideas for your next gathering.