What Happens in Waxhaw…

Ends up on the blog. 🙂

I was invited to a potluck a few weeks ago in Waxhaw, NC.  First, what a beautiful place!  The land was extensive.  The homes were massive.  And the air was clean, crisp, and quiet.  It was like being in a horse farm country … but only 15 or so miles from Charlotte.  Lovely place!

Local Buggy

The potluck was organized by Kara Cozier, founder of Local Buggy.  You know I am a sucker for anything organizing. 🙂

From their website:

Local Buggy™ is a website created to simplify SignUps. Members have the ability to organize SignUps for any number of participants at the local and national level. We even have an international membership in the United Kingdom! Our system is designed to coordinate SignUps without the hard to follow chain of emails, confusing spreadsheets, countless phone calls, and calendar invitations.

It was love at first sight!  We had a SignUp for the potluck where each person knew what the other was bringing and what other supplies were needed.  This would be an awesome website to use for the holidays!  😉

We had a massive array of food.  I tried out a Pinterest recipe but thought it was a little too … buttery.

What a potluck! 🙂

These cupcakes were adorable! I ate so much that I couldn’t possibly hold another thing — so I didn’t get to try these. :/

I got to know some of the ladies while chatting over Buffalo Chicken Dip and wine.  I really hit it off with one lady, Juliane Kilcoyne.  She is the founder and owner of Blooming Events.  I was drooling over her creations!

Juliane can help bring your party ideas to life with her Event Planning Packages and beautiful party creations! 🙂

Blooming Events Party Favors & Invitations

From her website:

Blooming Events handles planning & design of all life’s milestones and accomplishments.

Whether it’s a party at home, a baby shower or a milestone birthday, the fun starts with Bloom. Each & every party is skillfully crafted to ensure the best guest experience possible. From site searches to menu planning and all decor & design, there isn’t an event we can’t create for you.
Hm….holiday parties anyone?  Baby showers?  🙂

Blooming Events Holiday Collection

Her creations are sold over at Etsy — be sure to drop by and check them out! 🙂

Feel free to leave some love for these wonderful ladies in the comments section. 🙂

Until next time…

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{Turkey Talk} Fancy Schmancy…

There are days that I dream of owning a house.  A house that can entertain and welcome.  The holidays are “one of those days”.  If I had a house that could accomodate families for Thanksgiving, then it would go a little something like this:

{1} Everyone would be invited.

Raymond and I are from the same town.  Well sorta.  Good thing?  We don’t have to pick which family we visit for the holidays.  Bad thing?  I don’t get to spend a lot of time with him.

Families tend to set the same times for lunches and gatherings.  Raymond hasn’t been to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner in years.  Why?  Because his family gets together at the same time we do.  Every year.

If we had a house big enough, then both families would be invited.  I hate having to choose between seeing the fam or seeing him. 🙂

{2} Dinner would be an experience.  

I would love to have menus printed.

Dinner would be served as courses.  Appetizers:  cheese plates.

First course: Butternut Squash Soup & Spinach Pear Salad.  Can you tell I have thought this through?

Main course: Turkey (of course) and a few side dishes.

Dessert:  French press coffee, coffee creamers.  Pumpkin Pie something.  Apple pie something.  Traditional.

Wine:  There would be several options to choose from.  Both mine & Raymond’s families are very Southern and very traditional.  That is code for “they don’t drink…much”

{3} Gratitude

The reason for the season.  We would talk about this.  Make a game out of it.

I love the idea of “Gratitude Journals”.  Send guests home with gratitude journals so they can make note of what they are thankful for year round.

{4} A little something extra.

Maybe a game of football in the backyard.

Maybe an impromptu photo booth.

{5} Decorations.

Place settings for each person.

Napkins held together with belt buckles.

Now I realize I am dreaming out loud.  All in hopes that one day we will be able to host and entertain our families on this day of Thanksgiving. 🙂

Do you like any of the ideas?  Which one is your favorite? 🙂

Until next time…

Foodie Friday {Crock Pot Mac-N-Cheese}…

So I might be a day late and dollar short but by golly I’m getting in a recipe post this week. 😉

My family has been planning the Thanksgiving menu over the past few days.  My aunt asked for my Crockpot Mac-N-Cheese recipe.  Inspiration for this post! 😉 Thanks Margaret!

Disclaimer: I have no idea where this recipe originated from.  My grandmother wrote it down for me on a piece of paper which I then copied  into my recipe binder. 😉 

Crock Pot Mac-N-Cheese

  • 8 oz macaroni noodles (cooked & drained)
    • I like the “shells” noodles
  • 1.5 cups of milk
    • I prefer skim
  • 1 Lg Can Evaporated Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Spray Crock Pot with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT 1/2 cup of cheese.
  3. Pour into greased Crock Pot.
  4. Top with remaining cheese
  5. Cook on low for 3 -4 hours.
  6. Watch it carefully that last hour as it has a tendency to dry out and burn … quickly.

This has been a staple at the Thanksgiving Dinner table for a few years now.  🙂

Are you geting ready for Thanksgiving?  Share some of your favorite recipes! 🙂

Until next time…

{Guest Post} Keep Your Energy Tank Full…

I have a special treat for you today! 🙂 Guest post by my friend, Lisa Woodie.  Lisa and I met a few months back at several networking events.  We really hit it off with our conversations about beer (yes we both like beer), cooking, and how to eat better.  We talked a little business too but the other stuff was more important. 😉

Lisa Woodie, Owner & Chef
Homemade Fresh

Lisa is the owner and chef behind Homemade Fresh Chef Services.  She helps individuals, couples and families eat healthier meals with heat-and-eat convenience. She provides meal packages, catering for personal and business events, and cooking classes that are educational and fun. All meals are personalized based on each client’s tastes, preferences and dietary requirements. Her scratch-made recipes focus on using fresh, high quality ingredients. Whether you need help this holiday season or all year round, Homemade Fresh is the healthy, convenient, affordable solution!

Maybe she could make something for our Thanksgiving Day feast? 😉

Without further ado…

‘Tis the Season to Keep Your Energy Tank Full

 The holidays are approaching quickly, and for many people that means your schedule will get even busier. You’ll have less time to plan and prepare meals and snacks. So you’ll probably rely more on take-out, restaurant and quick convenience meals from the supermarket. You may visit the drive-through and vending machine more frequently. You may skip some meals altogether. It may be harder to find time to exercise. Then suddenly, it’s the end of the year and you are exhausted and a few pounds heavier. How can you prevent this?

As your schedule gets busier, you’ll need more energy. And the scenario I described above will deplete your energy tank. Your body is like a car, and you need a tank full of good fuel to keep your engine running smoothly and your energy level up. Here’s one way to help you get through the holiday season (and the whole year!) with more energy and productivity. As a bonus, it could make you healthier too!

Don’t Skip Meals, Especially Breakfast

The old adage is true:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your brain, your energy level and your metabolism. In the morning your fuel tank is low, so you need to refuel with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein and good carbohydrates (like eggs and fresh fruit). This will jump-start your metabolism and give you sustained energy. Beware of caffeine and sweets because those can put you on an energy rollercoaster with dramatic highs and lows. When you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode which dramatically slows your metabolism, makes you store fat, and depletes your energy. To maximize your energy and productivity, eat three balanced meals (lean meat, vegetables,  whole grains) daily along with a healthy afternoon snack. Examples of good snacks are a handful of nuts, string cheese, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or carrots with hummus. Follow this plan every day and you may be surprised at how great you feel.

———————

So the moral of this story?  Lisa rocks — she is an amazing chef — and never skip breakfast!

I have a hard time getting motivated to eat breakfast.  I like to start each day with a cup of yummy java and then I either dive into a book or work.  If Raymond doesn’t make me breakfast, then I either don’t eat (gasp!) or I eat a bowl of grits (blech!).

I’m trying to make breakfast the most balanced meal of the day! 🙂

Feel free to leave some love for Lisa in the comments section. 🙂 Got any questions?  Ask away!

Until next time…

Turkey Talk {Easy Peasy}…

Thanksgiving.  The long lost forgotten holiday.

Every year … every single year … I have the same conversation with Raymond about Thanksgiving.  It goes something like this, “If we had a large enough house to comfortably accomodate everyone, I would love it if Thanksgiving went a little something like this…”

The thing is Thanksgiving is rushed and forgotten.  Both in scope of the holiday and the actual day.  Food is scarfed down then dessert is pulled out while others are still eating turkey.  Next is a nap and football then people start to head home.  It’s the “Eat & Run” mentality.  I dream of something much different that is more about the experience of the day and less about the actual “Gobble till you Wobble”.

I plan to write several posts about Turkey Day and different ways to go about planning it.

Turkey Day Made Easy 

{1} Cater. Cater. Cater.

Raymond and his family have purchased The Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving Meal every year since his grandmother passed away.  That lady sure could cook, and apparently the only elder that could or would.  Since then — no homemade anything.  With that said, they love the Cracker Barrel option.  Easy, affordable, and delicious.  Call your nearest Cracker Barrel to place your order.

Buy your turkey from Bojangles.  They sell AWESOME deep fried Turkeys.  We ran out of turkey last year at my family’s gathering.  It was hmm-mmm-mmm good!  Place your order at your nearest Bojangles.

Cater dessert.  We all know tons of bakeries that would greatly appreciate the business this time of year.  Call up and ask what their speciality is.  Buy the speciality and something more traditional (like pumpkin pie).

{2} Remember the reason for the holiday

To give thanks.  To be thankful.  To be grateful.  To reflect.

Be sure to incorporate this into the day.

The easy way?  After you eat, go around the table and ask everyone what they are thankful for.

{3} Easy Peasy Decorating

Resist the urge to break out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.  Easier said than done as I’m pinning away for my future Christmas decor ideas.

Some candles, pumpkins, dried corn & beans, and an old window.  Voila!  Instant charm! 🙂

Do you feel like Thanksgiving is the long lost forgotten holiday?

Until next time…

{Goodwill} Donate For Good Electronics Drive…

Tomorrow is a great day!  A great day to donate your unused electronics.

  • What is accepted?
    • Cords
    • Power supplies
    • Laptops
    • Computer monitors
    • Keyboards
    • Computer mouse
    • Hard drives
    • Computer towers
    • Printers
    • Fax machines
    • Gaming stations

Anything electronic that you no longer want!  Drop by Park Rd Shopping Center tomorrow (Saturday, November 3rd) to donate your items and help out Goodwill & Keep NC Beautiful! 🙂

9am-12noon

For more deets:  http://goodwillsp.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/donate-for-good/

{Stuck On You} Organizing Planners…

A few months ago I came across an ad in a local publication about Stuck On You Labels.  I went to their website to check out their products, and wrote a blog post about their adorable kid’s clothes labels.

Not too long after that I received a shipment from Stuck On You full of goodies! 🙂  All personalized nonetheless!

Love the personalized stationary!

I love the Daily To-Do List!  I’m an old fashion kinda gal and still like to write out my To-Do list with pen and paper.  The design and quality of the paper feel much more substantial than the typical lined notebook paper.  Not to mention, if it is pretty then I am more likely to use it and stick with it.

Look at those lists! So pretty & organized!

The Weekly Planner is where I am recording the time log for my 168 Hours Project.  The printable calendar from 168 Hours website would have worked fine, but again, I like the design and quality of the paper.  I’m a bit of a paper snob; just ask the guy at Office Depot.  He was more than attune to the fact that I had to have THICK paper for my blog planner. 😛

I plan to fill that bad boy up!

The Shopping Planner is used for my list of errands.  See the thing is — without a list I will forget everything.  I leave nothing to memory — I write everything down.  I recently used the Shopping Planner to map out my errands while shopping for decoration ideas.  I pulled out the trusty Holiday Binder to grab some inspiration.

The Holiday Binder got a makeover. 🙂
Love that Shopping Planner!

I have a different method for grocery shopping which is what the Shopping Planner is intended for.  If I wrote out my grocery lists, then I would definitely turn to this planner. 😉

Great planner for keeping track of your shopping and errands list

Now about the sports bag.  I.LOVE.IT!  The size is what had me sold.  There are days when I need to cart around enough stuff that it won’t fit in my purse but it’s too small a load for an overnight bag.  Enter Sports Bag.  And I love the owls! 😉  You can choose whichever design you prefer.  I have an affinity towards birds. 😉

Sports Kid’s Bag

So … the kitchen labels are awesome!  They are SO cute that I cannot wait to put them on my flour, sugar, and what-not jars.  However, they are still in the package on the kitchen counter. :/ *wonk*wonk*  I like things to be clean and fresh before changing or adding to the design.  I would like to wash the containers before adhering said adorable labels.  🙂

Be sure to check out their selection of Christmas goodies as well!  If I was a gift giver, I would definitely buy a few of these goodies. 🙂

Until next time…

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. Stuck On You sent me the items to try. I accept complimentary organizing related products for product reviews. The products I don’t like usually don’t make it on the blog, so if you see a product here, you know I like it!