Happy First-Snow!

It started snowing this morning at work and my inner child is jumping with excitement!

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I quickly sketched out this drawing at my desk.  I created snow flakes using white out tape ( does anyone still remember white out pens !?!  That would have been perfect, but inspiration makes MacGyver’s of us all.)catherine-painting

I put together an easy holiday greeting card and stationary with this sketch. Feel free to share it with friends and family this season, but please keep it to personal use only.  Greeting card link.  Stationary Link.

Happy First Snow, Kansas City!

yay-snow

Letters to Rudolph – Letter Station How-To

Tomorrow, is December 1st!post-52964-despicable-me-im-so-happy-gif-hivx

I’m so excited for all the wintery things: sweaters, lights, snow and Christmas!!

During this time of the year, we get families with small children that come through the showroom; due to the climate, these kiddos usually hang out with me while the adults do some shopping. In previous years, I just print out some coloring pages or put out some McD toys for their collective playing pleasure. This year, I’ve decided to be extra creative by devised a small letter writing station to Rudolph!20161130_151816

Here’s my set-up:

Santa and his elves are going into major OT, but they’re not the only ones working hard. Reindeer have been training none stop for their once-a-year trip around the globe.  They deserve some love too!

This project really is super simple and there isn’t a ‘right’ way to do it. Grab some paper and let a child’s endless imagination do the rest!  Since my letter station will be in the showroom, I had to stream line the activity – can’t have the kids here all day!

Here’s what I used for my Letter station:

  1. cute Christmas themed stationary ( I found mine online by searching for “Rudolph Letter Template” )
  2. origami envelop skillz ( jk, this tutorial was very easy! )
  3. cup of pencils/markers/pens
  4. not shown: stickers for stamps

I also created an “origin story” on the table for inspiration.  (Rudolph might be a bit OOC, though… ).
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Pre-printed the letter pages with the mailing address and fold lines on the back; just in case I’m not around to help with folding.  The Address reads, ” To: Rudolph Reindeer 1234 Dashing Way (get it? ) North Pole 82N114W (these are the coordinates for the “north pole”! I think…)

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To finish off my letter station, I upcycled a left-over “Love with Food” box into a mailbox!  Its Red and has a reclosable tab for easy “Letter Retrieval” ^^ .  The front has a plastic pouch which A. hides the logo, and B. It’s a great place to store a sample, in case I’m not around!

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Here’s how to make an easy mailbox:

  1. find a tab closed cardboard box 20161129_163023
  2. rotate box to find a single wall side and cut out a small rectangle. (picking a single wall side just makes it easier to cut out the rectangle)20161129_163032
  3. Optional: decorate the box for festive cheer!20161130_151936

If you can’t find a tab-closed box, just decorate a used tissue box (the top opening is the mail entrance and exit. )

The concept is all about getting kids to hand-write letters. Add Rudolph to your list when writing letters to Santa ( and maybe a letter to the elves, too? )  Its a great opportunity for kids to practice writing encouraging messages.

Let me know how it turns out. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thanksgiving: My No-Brainer Menu

Thanksgiving is 10 days away, I haven’t started shopping yet, but here’s my game plan.  Does this post look familiar? Why yes, it does look remarkably similar to my previous Thanksgiving Post ;P)

I included a few helpful links at the bottom to help with inspiration!

Links to the recipe that I will be using ^^ ( in case anyone needs a last-minute menu ! ) You’ll notice, many of these links are from Martha Stewart.  The MSL empire built my culinary foundations, so that’s where I like to search for recipes.

My Thanksgiving Dinner Plan.


Appetizers
 ( AKA, what I’m eating while I’m cooking)

Main Dishes:

  • Old Fashion Turkey
    • I used fresh herbs last year, with veggies in the drip pan.  It was so good! This year, I’m going to try “Flipping the Bird” !
  • Lamb shoulder Chops
    • Apparently my dad  doesn’t like turkey – which I thought was his favorite part of the meal!  …Still trying to wrap my head around the years of deceit, LOL.

Sides:

Dessert:

  • Croquembouche:
    • Pastry Shells, filled with Whipped Cream
    • one day, the novelty of constructing a tower of concentric circles with creme puffs will get old; but until I’m making one every chance I get ^^
  • Chocolate Pecan Pie
    • the recipe calls for Sorghum syrup, which can be hard to find, I use molasses syrup in a pinch.

…and, that’s a Wrap!

Menu Collections:
Epicurious
Martha Stewart – Lots of Turkey Ideas!
Food Network

Stay on Schedule Articles:
7 Things To Do Now – Martha Stewart
Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving – WhatsCookingAmerica
Thanksgiving Countdown Planner – FoodNetwork

I’m using an Excel file to stay organized while I preparing large dinner.  I will share it if anyone is interested; its not pretty, but all the columns and formulas are there.

guacamole recipe

very quick post – I’m just too excited !

I formalized my very own guacamole recipe ^^

ingredients:
4 average ripe avocados
1/3 of a head of garlic
1/4th cup regular white vinegar (my special ingredient!)
salt and pepper

Here’s a taco pic (guacamole doesn’t last long enough to photograph  ^^)

image

Why is white vinegar my special ingredient?

1. It keeps the guacamole fresh!
Anyone else ever cry over brown guacamole? Well “no more!” I say.  White vinegar has less sugar than lemon/lime juice so the color of your guacamole will stay nice and green (if you’re making it in advance,  keep it on the fridge covered. The periphery of the guacamole may turn slightly brown, if so just stir it before serving!)

2.No flavor loss. White vinegar mixes with the avocados to produce bright sweet flavor notes (the garlic is here to give the guacamole a spicy finish)

This recipe is kinda perfect for me in 2 ways.

1. it’s just sweet enough to offset any occasional bitterness from the avocados.

2. I can adjust the saltiness to match the chips/tostadas I’m using without skewing the flavor profile. (have salty chips ? use less salt in the guacamole)

that’s all folks! Let me know what you think about this recipe or better yet tell me,
“how do you prep your guacamole?”

guacamole recipe

very quick post – I’m just too excited !

I formalized my very own guacamole recipe ^^

ingredients:
4 average ripe avocados
1/3 of a head of garlic
1/4th cup regular white vinegar (my special ingredient!)
salt and pepper

Here’s a taco pic (guacamole doesn’t last long enough to photograph  ^^)

image

Why is white vinegar my special ingredient?

1. It keeps the guacamole fresh!
Anyone else ever cry over brown guacamole? Well “no more!” I say.  White vinegar has less sugar than lemon/lime juice so the color of your guacamole will stay nice and green (if you’re making it in advance,  keep it on the fridge covered. The periphery of the guacamole may turn slightly brown, if so just stir it before serving!)

2.No flavor loss. White vinegar mixes with the avocados to produce bright sweet flavor notes (the garlic is here to give the guacamole a spicy finish)

This recipe is kinda perfect for me in 2 ways.

1. it’s just sweet enough to offset any occasional bitterness from the avocados.

2. I can adjust the saltiness to match the chips/tostadas I’m using without skewing the flavor profile. (have salty chips ? use less salt in the guacamole)

that’s all folks! Let me know what you think about this recipe or better yet tell me,
“how do you prep your guacamole?”

Printables for Mother’s Day

Wow it’s been a long time since I last posted! ( hope you’ve been keeping up via Instagram 😉 )  So many fun things are happening in the garden – so make sure to double tap your favs!

I thought I’d share a few awesome Mother’s Day cards I found online this week ( since Mother’s Day is quite literally right around the corner).  I’ve also linked the design for a custom card I designed for my Mom!

Enjoy!

Printable Cards from the Interwebs (all pics belong their amazing creators! ) Links are in the Description:

and Here’s mine:

我love你 card

you can download the File here

This Card is a lovable mix of Chinese and English (#Chinglish ! ) The text reads ” I love you"half in chinese and half in english.  Definately a throw back to  to my childhood!

Honestly, the dual language develops from a place of desperation.  I wish I could say most of the stories involve times when my siblings and I wanted to explain something important to our parents but couldn’t think of the words in Chinese; how ever it was usually about food! hehehe  Growing up in a mostly Italian-American Catholic school community my parents heard a lot of ” 我要spaghetti !” I’m sure we had some really profound moments too ( as most children do ) but my parents like to remember the petty, everyday, hilarity that ensues over the You Family ” No Speak English ” House Rule. ( which, is a story for another day 😉 )

Happy Mother’d Day Weekend Internet!

 

Royals Win the World Series

The Royals just won the World Series!!!! I am so excited and proud and buzzing with the need to celebrate.

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I’m sharing a Free Printable with the internet so everyone can celebrate with me!!!  Link to the file is below:

Royals 2015 Pennants

(FYI – I don’t really get baseball, but the excitement in KC is totally contagious!)

How are you celebrating “the win” ?