Archive for April, 2009

Remembering Memorial Day

Contrary to popular belief, Memorial Day is not just the day the community swimming pool re-opens for the summer or that weekend set aside “by God” for camping and barbecuing. In fact, Memorial Day is the national holiday taken to observe and remember those who have died to serve our country.

Whether or not someone close to you has died on duty for our country, it goes without saying that any one of those men/women could have been your brother, sister, father, mother, grandfather or dear friend. If perhaps you choose to perceive you are genealogically-orphaned, than take into consideration that most every freedom granted to you under your country’s constitution has been the result of the fight of those we remember on May 25, 2009.

Although barbeques are the most popular way to spend the day celebrating with friends and family, it is possible to break-up the three day weekend for some charitable opportunities. A great way to spend an afternoon out of the holiday weekend is baking patriotically themed treats and delights. Cupcakes and cookies decorated with flags, stars, camouflage prints or military hats would look adorable in a bake sale with all funds raised going towards a local charity or to be used to purchase thank you gift baskets for a group of active officials.

To add pizzazz and appeal to the tables, embellish Patriotic Serving Trays/Platters with the baked goods or special treats. It will remind your customers of the cause and make your “work space” more decorative at the same time!

No matter how you commemorate our soldiers this year, make sure to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.

The Cinderella Wedding & Reality

Most girls envision their perfect wedding beginning at the “ripe age” of 10—the wedding gown, the fairytale venue, the never-before-seen-color scheme, the bridesmaid dresses, the most exotic flowers, etc. In dreams, however, budgets and fairy godmothers do not coexist. Wedding season has been here for some months and more than a few Bridezilla’s have popped in for some delightful visits. In an effort to soothe their wrath, I have taken it upon myself to point out a few alternative options that might help her meet her fairy godmother halfway.

A lifelong friend of mine is getting ready to hop on the marriage bandwagon this summer and I’ve been watching her stress about all of the different wedding expenses. I used to think weddings were only extremely expensive if the bride wanted a rather extravagant wedding. Newsflash: a small wedding reception can tear a hole in your wallet just as well.

Decorations are the venue’s special-occasion-wardrobe and although table linens may sound like an insignificant detail, it turns out they can easily bite off a rather large chunk of the wedding budget. The average cost of renting table linens is approximately $180/dozen and that does not include table skirting and the various table sizes (if applicable).

Linen Like Tablecloths and Guest Hand Towels are a magical substitute for the real thing. Linen Like is a soft, dense paper material that looks and feels like real cloth. If you don’t believe me, sample swatches of the material are available upon request.

A case of 24 white banquet size tablecloths is available for anywhere between $73.95 and $88.95—that’s half the cost of renting real linens! If the wedding color scheme is a tad edgier, cases of 12 tablecloths are available in special prints and colors for $84.95, a price that still does not begin to compare to what party rental locations have to offer.

A wedding is one of the most important days of person’s life and it is completely understandable that one might want to splurge for this special day. Let’s be practical, though: debt is not the most appealing way to start a marriage. Bargain hunting can be time consuming, but in these trying times, it’s worth it.

Mother’s Day Brunch

Although the celebration of Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May in the U.S. is fairly recent (established in the 20th Century), I’m sure a majority of people would agree that this holiday should’ve started ages ago. Being a mother entails a lot more than the birthing process, so for all of those individuals that feel a little left out when it comes to celebrating this holiday, don’t. Celebrate the special women in your life that have offered a nurturing hug, smile, advice or a home-cooked meal.

My co-worker, whether she likes it or not, always gets to hear about how much “I love that woman.” My mother, and I’m sure this applies to a lot of girls (or guys), was my first best friend and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. We bend over backwards sometimes for our girlfriends and buddies on their special days, why not make a triple-decker attempt to let our mothers know just how much we appreciate their love and attention.

A surprise Mother’s Day Brunch is an awesome way to give those ladies the royal treatment. Since brunch is a little later than breakfast, it gives them time to sleep in and it allows for a little extra time for decorating and preparations as well. With the current state of the economy, more and more people are entertaining at home these days, so when I say a special brunch, I don’t mean for anyone to declare bankruptcy the following week.

Start with a list of your mother’s closest friends and relatives and send either simple Floral Themed Invitations or create e-vites if you’d like to save a few bucks. Simple partyware is probably the best option economically as well as aesthetically. You can create fun centerpieces out of knick-knacks found around the house such as giant spools of ribbon:

Use thick spools of ribbon in colorful shades of pinks, blues, yellows and greens

Stack them from biggest to smallest (working from the bottom up)

Use Disposable Plastic Plates (dessert or luncheon size) at the very top ornamented with mommy’s favorite treats

You can have a breakfast food table, a luncheon food table and a dessert table

Mothers usually appreciate thoughtful gifts or get-togethers the most because they come from the heart and they show just how much you really know what she loves. This Mother’s Day, surprise her with a homemade card, perhaps laminated with your favorite photographs of the two of you. We know our mothers are special; let THEM know that they are.

Cinco De Mayo Fiesta Tips

Quite a bit of people tend to regard Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “5th of May”) as the celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Although over-the-top festivities with music, dancing and tons and tons of food go into the celebration similar to 4th of July, this holiday actually observes the victory of Mexico over the French in a historic battle.

Enough of the history lesson though. Being from a traditional Hispanic family, this holiday was always celebrated at home with piñatas, margaritas (for the adults, of course) and so many sinful dishes and desserts. Regardless of ethnic origin, this fun holiday is celebrated by many diverse groups of people across the United States just like St. Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year. This year, I encourage you all to pop in a Mariachi CD, grab a sombrero and deck your backyard with Fiesta Themed Party Supplies.

Those yummy margaritas are the perfect treat for your guests to enjoy while the Fiesta banquet is ready. To avoid a messy clean-up, use Disposable Margarita Glasses.

Don’t mess with my food,” is one of my personal rules and ask any of my close friends or relatives, but I take it very seriously. Amazing, mouthwatering food creates a whole other fiesta right in your mouth. Pair my mother’s simple salsa recipe with tortilla chips, quesadillas, enchiladas or tacos:

Hot Mexican Salsa

2 Large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 Cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 Cup celery, finely chopped

2 tbsp serrano chile, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp fresh green Anaheim chiles, finely chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Just a pinch of oregano

1 tbsp cumin powder

2 tbsp chopped, cilantro

1/2 tbsp salt or to taste

DIRECTIONS:-

1. Combine all of the ingredients, with the exception of cumin powder and cilantro in a saucepan. Boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally and let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the heat and add the cumin powder and chopped cilantro. Then mix well.

3. Cool and refrigerate.

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