Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mo ice peese

What? You don't speak toddler? For those of you who need a translation that's Charlie speak for "more rice please" which is a common phrase around our house. I've read in plenty of places that when you're trying to get your toddler to try new foods to always include something they love on the plate too. It used to be mashed potatoes in our house but since my mom taught me a new way to make rice, it's now rice. We eat it all the time as a side dish, which I'm OK with given that we use brown rice with black lentils and couscous in it. So for all you mom's looking for a new side dish that the kids should love, here it is (and shhh it's actually not bad for them!)

I use Rice Select Royal Blend rice with flaxseed and the specific kind I get is Texmati Light Brown Rice with whole wheat pearl couscous, brown flaxseed and black lentils. It comes in a clear container found in the rice section. They make other types but after comparing and trying others, this one has the most flavor, texture and nutritional value.

  1. Measure out the amount of rice you plan to prepare (for us it's 1 cup)
  2. Measure out the required amount of water (for us it's 1 pint) listed on the package instructions and add 1-2 cubes of chicken bouillon. Or if you use the Better Than Bouillon then it's 1 tsp.
  3. In a sauce pan, melt 1 TBS butter
  4. Gently sautee the rice in the butter (just a few minutes)
  5. Add the water/bouillon mixture and bring to a boil
  6. Reduce heat and cook (covered) the required time (as indicated on the package)
It's literally that simple. The butter and chicken bouillon give it a wonderful taste and no other seasoning is required. It's SO delicious!

Bon Apetit!

Creative Memories

And no, I'm not talking about the scrapbooking brand called Creative Memories. I'm referring to a few neat and creative ways to make memories. We went to a wedding not long ago and then I also helped give a baby shower this weekend. Each had some fun, unique ideas that can be morphed in to any type of event.

At the wedding, in lieu of the typical picture frame/matting you sign, they had a tree printed with their initials in the center. Each person then used their thumb print as a leaf and they had various colored ink pads to choose from. We all signed our names beside our finger print.

They also had their name and wedding date printed at the bottom. A very unique way to remember the day. Although we all joked that really the groom wanted all of our finger prints for the national database since he's a Border Patrol Agent.

In the end it looked like this. (sorry my iPhone wasn't taking the best pictures that night)

I also had the pleasure of helping host a baby shower for a friend this past weekend. I stole this idea from a previous baby shower I attended earlier this year. It can so easily be tailored for a wedding shower too. It's called the Blessing Tree.

I took a simple bucket from the yard and put floral foam in the bottom so the branches would sit in something.
Then I just stuck the branches I found in the yard in the bucket and put some moss around the edge to hide the foam. I made a quick bow that matched the color scheme and viola! (please disregard the cat food sitting beside it. oops!)
It was that simple to make! I also found some pre-punched cards at Hobby Lobby. We took pink and orange ribbon and added it to the cards so they could hang on the tree. We even took a little stamp of baby feet and added them to the cards to spruce them up a bit. In the end, it looked like this:

 And while we were decorating, why not use some seasonal items!? I took some basic small pumpkins and painted them to add additional decorations. Some I spray painted white, some I painted pink and others I left their natural color. Once they were dry, a quick clear coat of acrylic spray paint was all they needed to be pretty and shiny. 

But if you were giving a wedding shower, party or even just decorating your house for fall, painting pumpkins is an easy way to take advantage of a seasonal item and make it your own. How cute would bronze and gold pumpkins be on a table for Thanksgiving? Super cute.

So those are some simple yet easy creative ideas I just wanted to share in case you were looking for something unique!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Just like old times"

I'm sad this post is so late but due to unforeseen work issues, it is what it is.  I didn't want it to be skipped because it was so much fun. Three weeks ago (can you believe it's been that long girls?) I was able to sneak away and drive to Raleigh for a night. If you don't know, I'm originally from Zebulon (a suburb of Raleigh) but I also lived in Raleigh for 12 years and its been over a year since I've been back. Technically it was under the premise of visiting my corporate office for the afternoon so they could indeed see that I do exist as a human and not a voice over the phone. While I was already there, I decided to stay the night. And while I was spending the night, I might as well go shopping the next day. After all, my yard sale cash was burning a hole in my pocket!

So off I went for the 3 hour drive. Can I just say I'm so glad I don't have to be in an office every day by a certain time? I'd be late every day. I arrived around noon and worked in our office until 5pm and then was off to Jaime's house. Jaime and I met at a wedding for a mutual friend about 9 or 10 years ago. I'll spare the details but she likes to say she felt sorry for me (since I went through a divorce shortly after) and used our dogs as an excuse to hang out. Really it's because I was so cool and she wanted to hang out with a cool kid.

Anyhoozle, when I arrived she immediately put me to work. Not joking. I even have a scar on my toe to prove it from trying to move a piano which rolled over my toe. While we caught up, I rearranged her dining room (and maybe worked on a few other areas). Then it was time for dinner! This was what I was excited about. A chance to have dinner "with the girls".

The attendees were Jaime, Megan (also met her at the same wedding - wow, that was a good wedding!) and Jaime's sister, Mandy. When we went to pick up Megan and after I got the  new house tour, she volunteered to drive in her convertible since it was such a nice night. And the night just got better...

As we were getting in the car, I said "aw, just like old times!" because these were two of the girls I hung out with most when I was working and living in Raleigh.

Then it was off to pick up Mandy. Once again, got the house tour and while I was there spent 5 minutes sharing how I'd rearrange her living room (solicited! I'm not some wacko that just barges in and tells you what's wrong with your house).

We headed to North Hills to a restaurant called Mura, a yummy Japanese sushi bar. I've been there once before and loved it. We all had a chance to catch up - me about life in South Carolina, Jaime about the kids, Megan about the new house and work, Mandy about joining eharmony (OK that may have taken us on a major tangent). At one point our waiter may have become embarrassed (ahem, Megan) and throughout dinner if someone said "just like old times" we all had to take a sip (of whatever we had).

After two cocktails and a belly full of edamame and sushi, we headed back to Megan's where we talked for hours (minus Mandy who went home because she had a long run the next morning with her running group). We decided that Mandy looked like Thelma from the movie Thelma & Louise in the back of the convertible...

I laughed the hardest when Megan couldn't stop hiccuping (apparently she hiccups if she eats too much) and when Megan told Jaime to cut her story short (Jaime is notoriously long winded).

There's just something to be said for having a night out with some of your best girlfriends that have known you intimately through your worst and best times. Miss you girls!

 And for those of you wondering about the shopping the next day, yes, I blew all of my money along with a little more. My favorite stop - DSW (discount shoe warehouse). Can. Not. Wait. until they come to Columbia! I also got to stop by and say Hi to my friend, Blythe and see her gorgeous remodel. For all of those I missed in Raleigh - and there were many - I'll be back soon!