MiMi-a great name for grandma

A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Mother’s Day Controversy

May 9, 2021 – The 107th Mother’s Day ~

Have there OFFICIALLY been 107 Mother’s Days?  There is some controversy over this date.  This, of course, led to some research on my part.  According to our history, 1914 is the the year that President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May to be a national holiday to honor mothers.  So I consider this fact to NOT be a Mother’s Day controversy…what do you think?

Other days celebrating “mothers” have been recognized before this.  Ann Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers’ Friendship Day to foster reconciliation between families of the North and the South after the Civil War.  She cared for wounded soldiers on both sides during the war and  felt strongly about bringing peace to all involved.  The first Mothers’ Friendship Day was held in 1865 and became an annual event for several years after that.  In fact, this is what inspired what we now know as Mother’s Day.

Sooo….Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 BUT people realized long before then that mother’s deserved some respect…AM I RIGHT???

Hold up…did you catch the typos in the earlier paragraph???

Are you finding yourself stating, “Mimi needs to correct her grammar.”  Did you notice that darn apostrophe is in the wrong place…not once but TWICE in the opening paragraphs?  Well, it is indeed correct just how it is!  For all of you grammar nerds like me…Sorry!  In fact, this is what has become yet another Mother’s Day controversy.  Crazy right?  When the friendship days were first created, they were more of a celebration for soldiers and their moms in an effort to instill peace.  Therefore, it was not a day honoring individual moms, but instead moms as a whole with their sons.

I am actually sitting here stunned right now that in my mid 50’s I am just hearing of all of this.  I recently started researching Mother’s Day controversy stemming from posts I have seen on social media over the last few years.  None of which had anything to do with:

  • Who actually created Mother’s Day?
  • Where does that crazy apostrophe belong?
  • What is the right way to celebrate this wonderful holiday?
  • Is Mother’s Day too commercialized?

Personally, I have always found the biggest controversy to be finding how to share time with my mother, mother-in-law and my kids (obviously as their mother) all in the same day.  When I was a kid, we all lived so close to most of our family members making this process much easier.

The Move From Singular Possessive to Plural Possessive ~

The big move of that devilish apostrophe from Mothers’ Day to Mother‘s Day took place in 1908.  Anna Jarvis (daughter to above mentioned Ann Reeves Jarvis) held a memorial to honor her mother and all mothers.    This is technically the first official celebration of Mother’s Day.  After several years of this annual celebration, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day.

The Controversy Continues ~

As the years progressed, Anna Jarvis became increasingly frustrated at how Mother’s Day was being celebrated.  According to Anna, the holiday was becoming too commercialized.  She spent the rest of her life trying to get the holiday removed from the national calendar.

It is so sad that such a special day is plagued with so much controversy.  However, we are not going to let this get in the way of showing moms all around the world how very much they are appreciated, right?  How you choose to celebrate is obviously up to you….simplistic or extravagant.  Keep in mind, the most important thing is just to convey love and thoughtfulness.  Let’s look at some fun ideas!

Mother’s Day Ideas ~

  • Brunch – Break out the china, pull out the tablecloths and add in some candles.  It can be matchy matchy or all mis-matched.  The idea is to bring together a fun meal with a special table setting.  And…don’t you dare let mom make that meal….come on it’s Mother’s Day!  If the children are small, let them make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apple slices.  If it is an adult planning then maybe go a little more sophisticated.   Regardless of the menu, any mom is sure to appreciate the special attention!
  • Household Chores –  Every mom loves a break from house cleaning.  Whether you take it on the fly and just clean the morning of or you create a coupon book for mom with different duties, offering to help clean is something every mom loves!
  • Gardening and Flowers – We have spent several Mother’s Days once my children have gotten older with them helping me till the garden and plant the veggies and flowers.  I love the help and especially love the special time with the kiddos.  You can go a step further and purchase some of the garden goodies for her.
  • Free Day – From sunup to sundown, let mom just relax.  Does she love to lounge in bed or does she prefer time in the sun?  Know what she likes and make sure she is content there all day long with snacks, drinks, books and a cozy blanket.
  • Reading – Speaking of books, does she have a favorite author?  Is she on a reading social media site (like Good Reads) where she saves books she would like to read?  Look at that list and surprise her with one or two of her desired books.
  • Hiking – Is mom the outdoors type?  Plan a fun day of hiking and a picnic!
  • Casino Time – Maybe mom loves to gamble.  Offer to drive her to and from the closest casino.  As an extra bonus, add in a little extra cash for her to have fun with!  For heaven’s sakes, let her have fun!  This would be one of my mom’s favorite gifts for sure!
  • Shopping & Lunch – Need I really say more about how much fun this can be for both mom and daughter?
  • Home Made Cards – My children loved making their own cards when they were smaller.  What is important here is that you do this ahead of time so they have plenty of time to create the “perfect” card.  There is no card out there that can be purchased that is more personal than a hand made one!
  • Pet Spa – What mom wouldn’t love a break from bathing the family pet?  Either wash the pets for her or just help out…you may be surprised at how much fun you can have together.

There are truly so many ideas for this special day.  Personally, I love the gifts that are hand made or “time spent with my kids” gifts.

Also, there are some really unique ideas from Stampington & Company that you need to check out.  They have free projects, that do also include links to purchase any of the items you don’t already have.  Use the links in green below to find some really creative ideas.

This project is definitely the “Bee’s Knees” for a Mother’s Day Gift! Check it out here!  (ok, I really love this one because bees are my fave!)

You're The Bee's Knees— Mother's Day Tag & Charm Project

 

This Mother’s Day floral bouquet project is sure to be a hit…check it out!  One of the things I love most about this project is that they used holiday clearance items (like a Christmas tree form) to redefine their use.  It is so very creative.

A Mother€'s Day Floral Bouquet Project by Catherine Garmany

I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE these very special soldered ornaments. You MUST see these!  What is so wonderful about these is that you can use special sentiments OR you can use special photos!

Inspired by Mom Soldered Ornaments Project by Catherine Garmany

These are just a few of their unique crafting ideas.  Be sure to check out their website yourself here…Check out everything Stampington & Company has to offer here!!!  Be sure to peruse their website, but click on DIY Inspiration ➡ Free Projects➡ Search Bar (and type in Mother’s Day) for more great Mother’s Day crafting ideas.

I still haven’t figured out the more current Mother’s Day controversy of spending this awesome day with both my mother and my mother-in-law…but I will continue to work on that!  In the meantime, maybe this year will be difficult to figure out that dilemma after my kid’s see the current personal “spa day” I did on myself and my hair.  I’m thinking this year a day at my favorite hair salon may just be that perfect gift for me…*HINT HINT*

P.S.  Are you wondering about the woman in the cover pic?  That’s my mom….she’s as cool now as she was when I was a kid!

Much love ~

Mimi

Pita Bread Stuffed Grilled Cheese

Scoop it, dip it, stuff it…yep, I’m talking pita bread here!  What a fun and versatile bread.  My personal favorite is stuffing it with lots of goodies, so what could be better than some hot oozy cheese!  Pita bread stuffed grilled cheese…BLT (actually BST (spinach) and/or Caprese Style.  You have got to read on for this delightful recipe that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

BLT or Caprese Style? ~

We took it a step further and offered options.  I prepared all of the ingredients ahead of time and displayed on cutting boards and in bowls.  With this method, each person got to personalize their pita bread stuffed grilled cheese.  Of course, you do not have to always do it this way, but it is definitely a fun option.

BLT (BLS for Spinach) ~

Ingredients ~
  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Cheese – mozzarella, pepper jack, provolone – shredded
  • Spinach – chopped
  • Onions – diced
  • Tomatoes – chopped
  • Seasonings
    • Garlic powder/salt
    • Everything But the Bagel
    • Onion Powder
    • Italian Seasoning
  • Butter or Olive Oil
Directions ~
  1. Brown bacon and crumble once cooled.
  2. Chop spinach
  3. Dice onion
  4. Place all ingredients in separate dish or lay out on cutting board
  5. Have each person choose their ingredients and put in medium size bowl.  Stir until well blended.
  6. Slice pita bread so that it opens to a pocket.  *It is better to have ones that are NOT already split in the middle for easier grilling.
  7. Stuff pita bread filling to the back and moving forward until stuffed plump.
  8. Cover both sides of pita with butter or olive oil. *I buttered one side, added preferred spice and then placed on griddle.  I then buttered the other side while it was on the griddle.
  9. Cook until desired doneness and serve!
*Notice the small bowl to the right.  This is the bowl we used to mix the individual ingredient choices.

You can offer choices of condiments for dipping as well.  Options such as ranch dressing or sour cream pair well with the BLT pita bread stuffed grilled cheese.

Most of the family chose this style but DEFINITELY used different ingredients.  Max had bacon and mozzarella only with no spices. Uncle Eli stuffed his with bacon, onion, spinach, mozzarella balls and pepper jack cheese.  He then seasoned the outside with the Everything But The Bagel seasoning.    Lauren chose bacon, spinach, tomatoes, mozarella and pepper jack cheese and then seasoned with garlic.

As you can see, each person’s individual tastes took a big part in making these a success!

Caprese Style ~

Ingredients ~
  • Spinach – chopped
  • Mozarella balls
  • Mozarella – shredded
  • Fresh Basil – chopped
  • Tomatoes – chopped
  • Balsamic reduction
Directions ~
  1. Chop spinach.
  2. Chop fresh basil.
  3. Chop tomatoes.
  4. Slice pita bread so that it opens to a pocket.  *It is better to have ones that are NOT already split in the middle for easier grilling.
  5. Stuff pita bread filling to the back and moving forward until stuffed plump.
  6. Cover both sides of pita with butter or olive oil. *I buttered one side, added preferred spice and then placed on griddle.  I then buttered the other side while it was on the griddle.
  7. Cook until desired doneness and serve!

As you can see, the steps are the same.  Only the ingredients are different.  I drizzled mine with a balsamic reduction and it was FAB!  *I actually keep the Alessi brand of Balsamic Reduction on hand for many different recipes – delish!

I’m going to be honest here, we made these for dinner just last night!  The funny part is I made one again for brunch this morning!  I kid you not…I am obsessed!  They just add a different element from the traditional grilled cheese.

Now, I’m including links to some of the ingredients I mentioned.  You, of course, can get them at the store.  I am including these more for you to have a visual.

I seriously LOVE this sxxx…Alessi Balsamic Reduction! I have it in the fridge at all times.  In the summer, I love to throw together a quick spinach, mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil salad.  I also use it in a lot of appetizers!

If you have not yet tried Anything But the Bagel Seasoning, do yourself a favor and do so!  Try this test…pull up Pinterest, type in Anything But the Bagel Seasoning and look at the results.  One would think you would get a lot of results with just the seasoning…but NOOO…you get all kinds of recipes using the seasoning.  I’m telling you, this seasoning is awesome for so many things!

Did you love the cutting board in the pics as much as I do? Check out the link here for own charcuterie cutting/serving board!   This board is so versatile and fun!

 

 

Rum and Coke Mini Desserts

As a child, we had dessert every night after dinner.  Some were simple, like Jell-O with whipped cream while others were more intricate desserts.  I loved when mom made Coca Cola cake with chocolate fudgey icing.  It was so delicious!

However, I don’t remember mom adding those cute little rum bottles on top….hmmmm!?!  Well, it may not be a family dessert, but these rum and Coke mini desserts are definitely one to add to your entertaining menu!

I used a variety of glasses to make the presentation more exciting.  Get creative!  When I presented this fancy dessert, it definitely made a great impression.  Seriously, doesn’t this picture make you want to dig in?  If you answered yes, then hold on….because they aren’t even finished yet!

But first, check out some of these fun serving ideas…

Use some footed dessert bowls like these…

These are so beautiful with the scalloped edges…

Step 1 – Cake Ingredients ~

  • 1 Cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 Cup Cooking Oil
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Baking Directions ~

Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare a 9″ X 13″ cake pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, flour and salt in large mixing bowl and set aside.  In a saucepan, mix Coke, cooking oil, butter and cocoa.  Bring this mixture to a boil.  Pour the Coke mixture over the flour mixture and beat well.  Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla and combine thoroughly.

Pour cake mixture into 9 X 13 pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Insert a toothpick to check for doneness)

*** TIP ~

Substitute vinegar and milk for buttermilk if you do not have buttermilk on hand.  Put 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar in measuring cup and then pour 1/2 cup milk on top of it.  Mix and let sit a minute.

*** TIP ~

If you do not want to make the cake from scratch, you can use a chocolate cake mix instead.  Use the following ingredients for this easier method:

  • 1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Coke

Mix thoroughly and bake for 25 minutes.  Insert toothpick to check for doneness.

Step 2 – Instructions After Baking ~

Whichever cake method you choose to use, let it cool completely after baking.  Set your desired serving dishes out for easier preparation.  Cut the cake into 1″ cubes and place 4 to 6 cubes into each glass, depending on the size of the serveware you are using.

Step 3 – Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients ~

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese – Softened
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter – Softened
  • 3 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Rum
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Pinch Kosher Salt

Step 4 – Cream Cheese Frosting Directions ~

Beat cream cheese, buter and sugar in Kitchen Aid stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer until fluffy.  Add cream, rum, vanilla and salt.  Beat until a stiff peak forms.

Step 5 – Layering Frosting on Rum & Coke Mini Desserts ~

Place a heaping tablespoon or two (depending on size of serving dish) of cream cheese rum frosting on top of chocolate squares.  Repeat with another layer of chocolate squares and frosting.  *If you are making these yummy desserts ahead of time, place in refrigerator at this point.

Step 6 – Final Steps ~

Drizzle caramel syrup over top of each dessert and then top with mini bottle (1.7 ounces) of your favorite rum.  Please note, you may not want to use the entire bottle of rum if the glass is a smaller size (like martini glass pictured in this article).  If the rum is too excessive, it will overpower the delicious flavor of all the ingredients.  Therefore, I chose to keep the lid on the mini bottle and let each person add to their desired taste.

********************************************************************************************************************

*** NOTE ***

If you want to make you Coca Cola cake “family friendly,” top it with this fudgey icing instead:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 1/3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a saucepan, cook butter, cocoa and milk until butter melts.  Add in remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Spread on cake.

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Don’t Forget to Save/Pin this Recipe!!!

I kid you not, this rum and Coke mini dessert recipe is one you want to add to your recipe favorites.  In fact, be sure to pin this on your Pinterest board as well for easy access!

 

Freshen Up Your Home!

Do you have a specific decor style?  I don’t!  That’s part of my problem….I love so many different styles!  I change my mind often because there are SO many beautiful things out there to decorate with.  Do you have the same problem?  Or are you content with your style but looking for some new piece(s) to freshen up your home?

I am LOVING this new website I recently discovered…Antique Farm House.  Not only do I love their products, but their website is so user friendly.  You can shop by room, sale event, department or style.  How’s that for helping you narrow things down quickly!  If you are thinking, “This post isn’t for me…I’m not an antique farm house girl,” think again!

Their style and shipping is similar to Decor Steals, which I posted about last year.  I have added several of their awesome pieces to my home and am in love with their products.  Be sure to look back at my earlier blog on home decor by clicking right here!!!  You need to pay attention to their shipping notes, which they clearly post…and remember…good things come to those who wait.  It is not an overnight shipping but it does come in a timely manner!

Mixing Decor Styles ~

I am not an interior designer, but I do love decorating!  Because of this, I read many articles (I also love reading 😉).  While I am sure some will disagree, there are many articles out there that state that some of the most beautiful and inviting homes actually mix different home decor styles.  There you have it….don’t be afraid to try new things!

If you are mixing design styles though, be sure to create unity between the different styles with things such as color or linking the two with various pieces of each.  You can also use a beautiful piece of wall art to help combine your interests.  Make your home cohesive and beautiful while still showing off your own individual personality.

When my daughters and I are shopping, we many times will state, “Oh, this piece looks like so and so,” (filling in the so and so with whoever comes to mind).  Have you ever found yourself doing this?  Does it make you wonder what people say when they slide your name into that slot?  Do you fall into any of the decorating styles listed below?

Rustic Decor ~

This has to currently be one of my favorite decorating styles.  Judging from what is out in stores, I believe there are many others who feel the same way.  Check out some of these fun ideas for new additions to your cozy home!

Create interest and depth in your decor by staggering heights.  These beautiful round display pedestals by Antique Farm House are made of metal & composite wood! They are perfect for creating different heights!  The versatility is amazing as well.  They can be used to display your delicious foods or for fun decor as shown in the picture.

Round Display Pedestal, 12 Inch Diameter

This wall canvas full of a variety of pots and vases in soft, natural colors coordinates effortlessly with many styles!

Pots and Plants Botanical Art

The next one is one of my current favorites….the ideas for this are endless.  What would you use this repurposed brick mold display rack for? What room could it add some extra charm to?

Repurposed Brick Mold Display Rack

***I would love to hear back from all of you on fun ideas you have to use for this beautiful piece?  Flowers, Jars, Office Supplies, Candles???  Share them in the comments below…please!

Shabby Chic Decor ~

Have you ever purchased a new lamp and been just amazed at how much of a difference it makes in a room?  I have searched high and low at times for that perfect lamp to freshen up my home.

Could any chandelier be more rustic and elegant at the same time???

Wood Beaded Chandelier

Maybe you are looking for more of a statement piece like this turquoise beaded chandelier! WOW!

Turquoise Beaded Chandelier

Nestle this adorable bunny fluffle lamp with that stylish drum shade into any arrangement!

Adorable Bunny Fluffle Lamp

This set of 2 square footed pedestal risers are a must for your decorating needs!

Square Footed Pedestal Risers, Set of 2

Vintage Decor ~

Display this weathered Found Wood Wall Decor with 3 Forged Hooks for many different uses: purses, kitchen towels, bath towels, coats, aprons…the ideas are endless!

Found Wood Wall Decor With 3 Forged Hooks

Beautiful and timeless Reclaimed Wood Candle Holders – Be sure to order different sizes for that perfect balance!

Reclaimed Wood Candle Holder

Farmhouse Decor ~

These Folk Art Crows Water Fountain just make me SMILE!

Folk Art Crows Water FountainThese are crows you don’t mind having in your yard!  They come with pump and spash screen AND the beaks open and close with the flow of the water!  How perfect is that!

This generously sized Acanthus Leaf Wall Decor Set can be used to bookend a display or side by side to display their rustic beauty!

Acanthus Leaf Wall Decor, Set of 2STUNNING!

Beautiful pillows like these Striped Lumbar Pillows are the perfect touch to cozy up any room!

Striped Lumbar Pillow With Tassels And what’s even better is that they have fun striped blankets to coordinate!

These gorgeous Wide Stripe Room Darkening Curtain Panels bring beauty and class to any room!

Wide Stripe Room Darkening Curtain Panel, Set of 2

This Rustic Round Dining Table is AMAZING!!!

Rustic Round Pedestal Dining Table

This Loloi II Grand Canyon Area Rug is sure to be the perfect focal point…and it comes in 3 sizes!

Loloi II Grand Canyon Collection Camel/Beige Area Rug

You KNEW I couldn’t pass up sharing this beauty….🥰

Dog In Sunglasses Tee Shirt

Let your personality SHINE with this gorgeous Upscale Animal Pring Rug!

Upscale Animal Print Rug

This set of 8 Decorative Wire Handled Seashell Spoons are the absolute perfect touch to coffee or tea with friends!

Decorative Wire Handled Seashell Spoons, Set of 8

French County ~

Create a peaceful display with this stylish Dried Lavender Bundle.

Dried Lavender Bundle

You can never have enough decorating easels..this 23″ Elegant Metal Plate Display is perfect for plates, pictures, books and much more!

Elegant Metal Plate Display, 23 Inch

This unique Keepsake Key Wall Art made of canvas and wood can add the finishing touch!

Keepsake Key Wall Art

This Dark Leaping Rabbit on Stand is sure to add springtime charm to any decorating grouping!

Dark Leaping Rabbit on Stand

Industrial Decor ~

OK…this is just AWESOME…am I right??? A whimisical sign to freshen up any room!

Ask Your Dad Sign

This Metal Bucket Divided Caddy can be used for silverware when entertaining, flowers to add a special touch to any area, or office supplies on your desk!

Metal Bucket Divided Caddy

This Dark Tiered Tray can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, lving room….

Dark Tiered Tray

LOVING this Wheeled Rustic Laundry Basket…think out of the box…it can be used for SO MUCH MORE than laundry…blankets, toys displayed nicely in family room, etc.

Wheeled Rustic Laundry Basket

Bedding ~

We CAN’T forget bedding!! From Classic Ticking Stripe…

Classic Ticking Stripe Bedding Set

To French Country Toile….

3 Piece Reversible French Country Toile Quilt Set

To Bohemian Strip Quilting…and everything in between!

3 Piece Bohemian Stripe Quilt Set

Whether you are preparing to redecorate an entire room,  just add a couple of fun new pieces, or buy a unique gift, you need to check out Antique Farm House to help freshen up your home!

Happy Shopping!

P.S. ~ *Don’t forget to share your fun ideas for the repurposed brick mold display rack!  Can’t wait to see everyone’s thoughts!

Mimi

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

What a tantalizing soup to serve with salad and a sandwich or just a crusty piece of bread!!!  Make it lunch or dinner….just MAKE it!   Blend the sweet delicate flavor of leeks with potatoes to create this creamy soup.  Velvety potato leek soup will quickly become a family favorite!

Have you cooked with leeks before?  They are a member of the onion family and look like a very large green onion.  Leeks add a mild yet sweet flavor to any dish.  You will, however, need to take time to clean them as dirt and grit get caught in the layers easily.  It is best to clean them by cutting off the end and then slice in half length-wise from root to top.  Pull the layers of the onions apart and run each under the water to clean thoroughly.

Velvety Potato Leek Soup Ingredients ~

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 2 Medium Leeks (sliced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced)
  • 3 Green Onions (diced)
  • 5 Russet Potatoes (peeled & sliced or cubed)
  • 32 Ounce Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions ~

Melt stick of butter in stock pan. Add sliced leeks, green onions, garlic and onion to pan.  Saute over medium heat until vegetables are translucent (be careful not to brown).

Add potatoes, thyme and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are softened (about 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of potatoes).

Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend about 3/4 of the soup until it is pureed.  *You can puree the whole batch, but I prefer to leave a small portion of it a bit chunky.  If you are using a food processor, ladel portions at a time to the processor depending upon the size of your processor bowl.

Return puree to pot and add heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over low heat until heated through.

Garnishments ~

  • crumbled bacon, bacon and more bacon!!!
  • shredded gruyere, parmesan or cheese of your choice
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • chives
  • cracked black pepper

Notes ~

You can omit the heavy cream or substitute half and half for a more low-fat version of velvety potato leek soup.  The soup will still have a creamy texture to it as the pureeing process creates a creamy a nice cream consistency.

Slice or dice the potatoes to your preference.  Whichever method you choose, you will not want them to be real thick or it will take longer for the potatoes to soften while cooking.  The picture belows shows slices, but I actually prefer dicing the potatoes.  Small chunks of potatoes give a nice texture for that 1/4 of the soup I do not puree.

Don’t let the idea of pureeing turn you away.  This soup is super easy to make and is well worth that extra step.  I love my Ninja.  Get your Ninja Mega Kitchen System Here!

  • Includes: 1500-Watt Motor Base, 72-Oz. Total Crushing Pitcher, 8 Cup Food Processor Bowl, Dough Blade, (2) 16-Oz. Nutri Ninja Cups with To-Go-Lids

As mentioned earlier, you can also use an immersion blender instead.  Check out the immersion hand blender here!

  • Hand-held immersion blender for mixing soups, sauces, smoothies, and more

Both of these gadgets have numerous benefits, you only need to decide which one works best for you!  In fact, maybe you already have one of these.  MAYBE, you have it tucked away and haven’t used it in a while.  Do me a favor, get it out and use it for this amazing recipe!

Serve this luscious soup with a leafy green salad or a side of pasta salad.  Add  some crusty bread that is great for dipping for a hearty and cozy dinner.  What’s even better is that this fun idea is coming to you right before St. Patrick’s Day.  Afterall, it is also called Irish Potato Leek soup!  Enjoy!

Happy Cooking ~

Mimi (Shelly)

 

 

Pulled Pork Table Nachos

Do you want to WOW your guests?  This recipe is just the ticket for you!  Eli got creative in the kitchen using leftover smoked pork.  The end result was this fun dish of pulled pork table nachos that were simply out of this world!

What are table nachos?  Spread foil across the kitchen island or table and start creating.   See for yourself…

The chef at work building delicious pulled pork bbq table nachos!

Smoked Pork Shoulder/Butt ~

The first step to this awesome recipe is the smoked pork shoulder/butt.  Pappy smoked this the day before and we used the leftovers for the nachos.

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 15 pound pork shoulder butt
  • Tony Cachere’s creole seasoning
  • Stick of butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt butter and mix with 2 tablespoons creole seasoning.
  • Inject butter mixture all over the pork shoulder/butt.
  • Let marinate several hours or overnight.
  • Cut diagonal lines through the fat cap on top of pork shoulder/butt.  Next, season liberally with salt, pepper and more creole seasoning, being sure to get seasoning down in the cuts.

  • Smoke at 275 degrees until internal temperature of 195 degrees (about 12-14 hours) if your pork is 12 to 15 pounds.  Mix cherry and apple wood chips for a subtle fruit taste.
  • Remove meat from grill with about 2 hours left to cook and wrap entirely in foil.
  • When meat has reached desired doneness, remove foil and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before shredding.

Now Back to the Pulled Pork Table Nachos ~

Directions & Tips:

You can, of course, make these delicious nachos without having made your own smoked pork shoulder/butt on the grill.   Other options of shredded pork is purchasing already prepared pork or you can also make your own in the oven or crock pot.   Substituting chicken or beef on your nachos would be great as well!

  1.  Spread foil across the table or kitchen island…covering a large area.
  2. Layer the chips across the foil.  ***Pro Tip***- Eli used several types of chips which added a fun variation of flavors.  You can be creative and use your family favorites, but I do think a variation is key.  The chips we used were:

(I have included the link above for you to check them out, but if you have an off-price retailer near you such as Marshall’s, you  can find them there for much cheaper!)

  • Corn tortilla chips of your choice
  • Fritos Scoops

3.  Top the chips with the pulled pork.  Be sure to layer this heavily over the entirety of the chip spread.

4.  Squirt the desired amount of barbecue sauce over the pulled pork.  One of our family favorites is Sweet Ray’s, but obviously you can use your favorite brand.

 

5.  Layer 1 can each of black beans and whole kernel corn.

6.  Top with melted cheese.   We love to make our own nacho cheese sauce with Veleeta, Rotel and diced green chiles.  It’s a crowd pleasing dip that you can cook over the stove or make in a crockpot.  ***See that recipe below.

7.  Finalize your nachos with garnishments for everyone to choose as they desire.  You can put in small bowls placed around the chips or layer directly on the foil around the nachos.  Garnishment ideas:

  • jalapeno peppers
  • tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • avocado slices
  • diced onions
  • black olives

Ring the dinner bell and let everyone graze!

Ingredients for Nacho Cheese Sauce ~

  • One 32-ounce package Original,  Mexican, or Quesos Blanco Velveeta Cheese

Velveeta Original Cheese

Velveeta Mexican Cheese

Velveeta Queso Blanco Cheese

  • Two 10-ounce cans of Rotel or One 14.5-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • One 4-ounce can green chiles

Cook over low heat while stirring often or add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low until melted.

Serving Options ~

It is always so much more fun to add festive tableware to any gathering.  I recently discovered Antique Farm House.  Their products are BEAUTIFUL!  I am loving these ideas…

Loving these stoneware pattern plates by Antique Farm House!

Mixing and matching the sizes and designs would be fun and festive!

 

Separate your condiment choices in this beautiful sectioned ceramic bowl by Antique Farm House

Use 2 or 3 long wood cutting boards from Antique Farm House to display your condiments and sauces!

While having great recipes is always key to any gathering, the finishing touches bring it all together for a memorable night.  Whether you are planning ahead for Cinco De Mayo or just doing Taco Tuesday, be sure to add these pulled pork table nachos to your next entertaining night!

Come back and tell me how your’s turned out!

Mimi (Shelly)

Tooth Fairy Fun

So your baby lost their first tooth?  (or getting ready to?)  This is a bittersweet moment for sure!!!  Usually there is a lot of hype leading up to the big event once the tooth gives it’s first wiggle.  Feelings of excitement and fear for the child.  Feelings of nostalgia for the parents.  Regardless of all the different emotions, it is time to dig in and decide on how your family will spread tooth fairy fun!

Of course, the first thought is to go with the traditional route of how the tooth fairy visited you when you were a child.  This is a perfect way to hand down family traditions.  Or maybe you have decided to switch it up a bit.  You’ve seen some fun new ideas you would like to try.   Whatever you decide to do, just remember that you have 19 more teeth to go!

This doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same thing with each tooth.  I’m only suggesting that you remember that the tooth fairy fun you have with the first tooth will set the stage for the following ones.  Honestly, my biggest memory of those days was trying to make sure I had enough cash on hand for when it finally happened.

The Going Rate for the Tooth Fairy ~

Have you found yourself wondering, “What exactly is the going rate for teeth these days?”  You are not alone.  There are so many articles at your fingertips of what the popular price is for that little gem.  In fact, a new findings were just released by Delta Dental for 2020.  Read the Delta Dental current report here regarding the all time high giving for the tooth fairy!   The beauty of tooth fairy fun is that in the end, you get to decide how you want to move forward…You are the Boss!

Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas ~

With Addi recently losing her first tooth (actually first 2 teeth in the same day!), I had fun looking at some current trends.  As you are deciding what your family is going to do, check out these great ideas:

Fairy Antics ~

This AMAZING post by BuzzFeed is one of the best I have seen!  Here are some of the ideas they share:

You can also choose to put something other than money under their pillow as well.  These specialty pressed fairy pennies are something that all children will cherish for years to come.  Adorable Tooth Fairy Pressed Pennies…check them out!

Tooth Storage ~

Make or purchase a tooth pillow.  This is not only cute, but makes losing that tooth almost impossible.  If you have ever lost a tooth under the pillow you will understand this!  It’s VERY hard to not wake the child when you are frantically routing around under the pillow to find that small little tooth.  (Did I mention how SMALL those teeth are? 😬)

Tooth Fairy Books ~

As mentioned earlier, this event brings on many emotions.  Having some great books on hand is essential to helping your little one feel more of the excitement and less of the anxiety.

The Night Before the Tooth Fairy

Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth

How to Catch the Tooth Fairy

The options are endless!  What is important is that you find a way to make this time-honored tradition a fun experience.  I will leave you with this funny youtube video by 3sAnimals.com of some very clever ideas in helping to get that little rascal out!  You will definitely find yourself laughing!  Let me know if you have any fun ideas or pictures to share!

Very clever tooth pulling videos on YouTube!

With Love ~

Mimi

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids – Round 2

The jury is still out on which book club subscription is The Best for kids.  In fact, what I am quickly learning is that there are many different positives to what each company has to offer.  My hope is that by detailing each one as my grandkids and I personally try them out, that you can then choose which one is the perfect one for YOUR family.  Basically, what is perfect for one family may not be perfect for the other.  However, I am positive there IS a perfect one for each and every one of you.   With all of that being said, please read on about our thoughts on sampling book clubs for kids – round 2!

Bookroo ~

This is the subscription we are currently subscribed to.  I chose the Picture Book Club for ages 3 to 6 as this choice perfectly fit the ages of my grandchildren.  We recently received our first shipment and were very excited to explore what books we had been sent.

WINNIE~

Bookroo includes a leaflet with the featured book for each month.  Winnie ~ The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh was this month’s selection.  I had NO clue there was a real bear who inspired this furry little guy that has been a part of almost every child’s life at some point.   Sally M. Walker is the author of this delightful story set during the time of WWII.

Addi and Max eagerly climbed up to listen to this tale of a bear named Winnie whose journey began through adoption by a vet on his way to WWII.  It is a wonderful story that I believe will become a favorite over time.  I shortened some of the paragraphs while reading to them as some were a bit long for their comprehension.  Even though we skimmed some pages, the kids were engrossed with the adventures of this cute little bear.

**SPOILER ALERTS** ~

A couple of fun facts about Winnie the Pooh that you may or may not have already known:

  • Winnie the Pooh is a GIRL
  • Christopher Robin really did exist
  • Winnie the Pooh was an American black bear
  • Christopher Robin’s father, A. A. Milne, was the original author of Winnie the Pooh

OLD MACDONALD HAD A TRUCK ~

What a fun twist to an old favorite!!!  Old MacDonald is on his farm….with an excavator, a front loader, a bulldozer….and more!  Lots of fun construction equipment in this story!

With a puuush push here, and a puuush push there, here a push, there a push, everywhere a puuuush push!  The kids love singing along to the new lyrics this story introduces.

Bookroo recommendation ~

We LOVED the selection of books so much that we are going to keep this subscription for another month before sampling another book club subscription.  The quality of books are fantastic and the selection was well rounded.  I think a key component to a great book for kids (next to the story itself) is the illustrations.  Both of these books were filled with fun pictures that made the book more enticing to read.

I am very happy to add these to Mimi’s book basket and later to the bookshelf.  Yes, I keep a basket of current books in a basket in the living room for easy access.  It is amazing how quickly the kids run to that basket to select which book they want to read.  When it gets full or a new holiday comes along, the older books go to the bookshelf and the basket gets filled with a new fun selection.

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~

The first subscription book club we had was Owl Posts for Kids.  It was also a great book club that the kids looked forward to.  Read about Owl Post Books and other kid’s book subscription boxes we are going to sample here!!!  We received books from them for about 6 months.  There are several posts that I shared on the various books and crafts we received.  You can check out the fun we had with them below!

Check out the books and crafts received by Owl Post Books here!

We are looking forward to trying to help your family choose the perfect book club for you.  Reading is such an integral part of learning and family time.  Book club subscriptions make that family time much easier.  Please share your experiences in the comments at the bottom of this post or your thoughts on Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~ Part 2!

 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day…All Year Long!

The holiday of love….a sentiment we all need much more of in our lives!  A day we go out of our way to let our loved ones know how special they are.   It doesn’t have to be monumental acts, just small intentional acts of love shown more often throughout the year.  So if it all makes us feel so good, why shouldn’t we focus on these activities more often.  Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day…all year long!

I follow a great blog, Messy Joyful Journey, and her recent post had several amazing ideas that I want to share with you as well.  (Check out Messy Joyful Journey blog here…you will love it!).

Love Note Journals ~

Oh…my…gosh!  I absolutely love this idea!  Journaling of any type is always a good thing.  In fact, I wrote earlier about Memory Journals.  Do you remember that post?  Read more about Memory Journals by clicking here!  These are journals you write to to your kids over the years.

A Love note journal is shared with your spouse or partner.  It is the writing back and forth between the two of you over the years.  You are going to love this love note journal post by Messy Joyful Journey…check it out here!  How wonderful to have a beautiful journal filled with special messages to pick up and read any time you need an extra dose of love!

Cook Together ~

Do you both love to cook?  Then why not plan more nights of cooking together?  It can be as simple or as complicated as you want, just do it together.  There are some fun cookbooks out there like this one ➡➡➡Get your own copy of Date Night Dinners right here!!!

If you don’t like to cook, then order in but create a fun setting with candles and eat in the living room!  Or order several items and do a taste test, while blindfolded!!!

Pottery Adventures ~

We ALL LOVE that scene from Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, am I right?  (Please don’t tell me you have never seen it!!!)  So, why, if we all LOVE it have we not planned a pottery night with our loved one?  It may not be quite as romantic as that scene in the movie, but it will still be something fun and different.  Then you can head home and watch the movie together!

Dance Together ~

I’m not talking about the typical type of dancing you may already do together.  Learn a new type of dance…take classes together.  Sorry, but I have to reference another movie.  Have you watched Shall We Dance with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon?    In fact, there are numerous movies out there where couples learn different style of dancing…and it’s just romantic!

Speaking of dancing…when is the last time that the two of you danced in the rain????

Adventure Challenger – Couples Edition ~

Another fantastic idea shared by Carrie from Messy Joyful Journey.  You need to add some new and different excitement to your life?  Then look no further…well maybe click one more time right here➡➡➡More fun from Messy Joyful Journey…click here and scroll down a bit to read more about the Adventure Challenge!  A book full of mystery date adventures….need I say more?

Picnic Anyone? ~

Rain or shine…pack up a picnic basket, spread out that blanket and share some good food and wine!  Setting the scene is important.  Otherwise, it’s just another day!  In fact, this is a fun idea that you should definitely do more than once a year!  Put together a basket you already have or go all out on a romantic fancy one with all the fixins’!

The Perfect Picnic Basket for Two is right here!!!

Camp Together ~

Don’t get too crazy on me until you have read the whole section here!  Maybe you don’t have much (or any) camping gear.  If that is the case, then camp in your backyard.  This allows easy access to things you need!  Once again, these ideas are not supposed to break the bank.  The whole intention is to step out of your comfort zone and add some variety to your life with your mate!

You will need a tent, but you can truly get one very inexpensive.  Who knows?  You may love it and find yourselves planning more camping dates!

Tent for 2 – Easy Setup – Get yours here!!!

Maybe you have some great ideas to add?!?!  Please share them in the comments below…I would love to add them to this post!  Let’s face it, it’s 2021…the year we have all decided has GOT to be better than last!  So spread the love and celebrate Valentine’s Day…ALL YEAR LONG!

 

Zany Bookmark DIY Fun

You need to try these little gems!  Kids not only like to get Valentines, but they love to give them as well!  They will be filled with such pride as they help with everything from the design to the fun tassel finish.  Everyone will love being a part of this zany bookmark DIY fun!

Items Needed:

  • Photographs
  • Scissors
  • String, Yarn, Ribbon, Embroidery Floss
  • Thermal Laminating Pouches
    • (you can use contact paper, but this post is about laminating.  I have not used the contact paper, but have read articles about it)
  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Optional – Laminating Machine
  • Optional – Print Shop Program

Cut Out Photo Bookmark ~

The most fun to making this one is the photo session itself.  Have the children pose in funny ways with their hands up in the air.  Tell them to pretend they are hanging on to a tree limb or rope.  They can put both hands up or just one.  Encourage them to hold their legs in various ways as if they are suspended in the air.  It is also fun to have them make silly expressions.  This makes the final product so much more fun!

Traditional Style Bookmark ~

You can have just as much fun creating the more traditional style of bookmark.  I love to use The Printshop program to create fun backgrounds and wording.  We had fun with the Valentine sayings and created this one saying “Bee Mine” with a little yellow bee fluttering across the top of the heart.

Once your photo session is over or you have selected from photos you have already taken, you will need to print them.  You can also have them printed at your nearest photo store if you prefer.  I like to print them myself so I can play with the sizing of the photograph. *If you are doing the detailed cutout type, you will want to be sure they are printed large enough to cut a hole in for the tassel.   I love to use my print shop program for that.

Print out all photos you are wanting to use first, then laminate them.  By doing this you can fit as many pictures as possible into the laminating pouch to alleviate excess waste.  I love having a laminating machine.  It comes in handy for so many different projects and they are very inexpensive.  Get your own laminating machine here for only $21.99.

Of course, you will need laminating sheets as well.  I love the pouches.  I found mine at the local craft store, but they do have them online as well.  Get a pack of 100 thermal laminating pouches for only $14.10!!!  I have discovered that buying the larger packs is way more cost efficient.  Plus, it is always good to have them on hand whenever you need them.

         

Once they are laminated, the cutting process can begin.  The children can help with this step as well, however, if they are younger you may want to do the more detailed cutting.  If you have chosen to make the more traditional square ones, you can have the children cut those out with more ease.

Of course, you can spread the love and add your favorite furry friend to the bookmarks as well!

Making Tassels ~

This is where that used toilet paper roll comes in.  Cut the toilet paper roll in half for easier tassel making.  Start wrapping your yarn or embroidery thread around the roll.  Continue wrapping until you get to the desired size.  I wrap mine about 15 to 20 times.  This is another fun activity for the kids to get involved in.

Gently ease the wrapped yarn off of the roll.  Tie a small piece of the same colored yarn (or get artsy and use a different color) around the wrapped yarn about 1/4″ down from the top and tie tightly.  This creates the top of the tassel.  Then cut horizontally across the looped bottom portion to create the dangling tassel part.

As you can see, the yarn creates a poofier (is that even a word???) tassel, while embroidery floss makes a more sleek tassel.  I suggest experimenting with both to see which style you prefer more.

The sky is the limit with this zany bookmark DIY fun…from the photos, to the sayings, to the tassels.  If you don’t have a program to create fun artwork, use old greeting cards or images from magazines.  You can also use various sizes of sticker letters.  Paper House Productions has tons of fun stickers….you really need to check them out!  Check out the HUGE variety of stickers from Paper House Productions here!!!   Here are some fun sayings you can use:

  • You are my fav❤rite person!
  • No bones about it, you are top dog!
  • You are beary special!
  • Bee mine!
  • You’re toadally awesome!
  • Hugs!
  • You’re a purrrfect friend!
  • You shine!
  • Sending you hogs & kisses!
  • I’m so hoppy you are my friend!
  • You have my heart Valentine!
  • Valentine you are out of this world!
  • You’re #1 in my book!
  • I’ve got my eye on you Valentine!
  • You are so cool Valentine!

Go gather your materials and get started on the fun….Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Hugs~

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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