Friday, July 16, 2010

Great Summer Salad Recipe..

I found this recipe on I love this salad and love their website.  This is a great summer  salad to take to a BBQ!    Hope you like it too!

Black Bean and Rice Salad

Bon App├ętit
August 1991

Yield: Serves 12

2 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 1-pound package long-grain rice

2 bay leaves

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained, rinsed

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium red onion, diced

1 medium bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

Lettuce leaves

Fresh cilantro sprigs

Bring chicken broth and water to boil in heavy large saucepan. Add rice and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Transfer rice to large bowl and fluff with fork. Mix in black beans, bell peppers, red onion, chopped cilantro, oil, orange juice, vinegar, cumin and chili powder. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Line platter with lettuce leaves. Mound salad on platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and serve.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Vacation, How to Keep the Kids Occupied....

Summer vacation is half way over, the kids are starting to get bored and parents are pulling out all the stops.  Here is a list of suggestions for activities you can do with your kids this summer. 
  1. Have a picnic in the park 
  2. Create a scavenger hunt
  3. Catch fireflies
  4. Put the sprinkler on let the kids play under it
  5. Make homemade ice pops using juice or yogurt and ice trays with toothpicks
  6. Make huge ice cream sundaes
  7. Have a sleep over
  8. Build a castle from boxes and paper towel rolls
  9. Visit a new playground each day/week
  10. Take  photos of different kinds of bugs or animals you see and make an album
  11. Do the same for flowers
  12. Build a tent fort
  13. Make fairy houses
  14. Go to the beach and collect shells
  15. Go to your local zoo
  16. Check your local paper for summer fairs or concerts
  17. Make silly sock puppets
  18. Fly a kite
  19. Ride your bikes in the park
  20. Go hiking
  21. Take a field trip to the local pet store to look at animals
  22. Ask if you can visit the fire station or post office (you may need to make an appointment)
  23. Do puzzles
  24. Make your own board game
  25. Have a weekly game night
  26. Watch a movie marathon
  27. Use sidewalk chalk to decorate the driveway or sidewalk
  28. Make collages from cut out photos in old magazines
  29. Put on your own play
  30. Run relay races
Feel free to add to this list...

Selling your crafts at home parties...

Most crafts that are well made sell best in person.  Many crafters sell at craft shows or fairs and others prefer to sell in a more personalized setting: the home party.  How does a home party work? Well it can be done in  several ways. 

The first is to have the hostess of the party to invite all her friends and family over for a set time.  You can then give them all a presentation about your work, play party games with some of your items as prizes and then let them mill around looking at your crafts and hopefully buying and setting up parties of their own.  It is great if you're comfortable with public speaking and being the center of attention.

If however, you're like me and would rather not be put on the spot in front of a group of people, then the open house party may be more to your liking.   Rather than have all the guests come for a set time, invite them for a range of time usually a 3 hour window is good.  This is a more relaxed atmosphere and allows you to mingle with the guests and talk about your crafts one on one.   This is a great way to let people see what you make without having them feel pressured to buy.  No one like to have a sale's person follow them around  there is no quicker way to turn them off to buying.  You can have a guest book for your guests to sign which you can later use for a mailing list. 

Which ever method you choose to use is up to you and they both work well. In both cases it is customary to give the hostess either a percentage of your sales and/or discounts on anything she buys from you. 

When setting up your show remember that presentation is key.  If your presentation does not look professional no one will take it seriously.  Have a sign with you business name, have on hand plenty of business cards, and set up your displays in multiple levels rather than just flat on a table.  Label all your items with prices people will often assume that if an item has not price tag then it must be out of their price range.  
Most of all relax and have fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taking Time for Yourself

Have you ever watched a young child doing arts and crafts? They are so peaceful and focused putting their "all" into their project. They don't worry about what others will think or say. Nor do they worry about what other things they need to accomplish that day. They are wiser than we give them credit for.

I am a very strong believer that everyone needs some sort of creative outlet in their lives. It gives your mind a chance to relax and just "be". The more hectic life gets the more you need your own "space" and time for yourself. Whether you create something of your own or share in the creativity of others (reading a book, watching movies, going to museums, etc.) you need to take time at least once a week to do so. When you have that downtime in your life, big problems you face at work or at home become easier to manage. You feel less overhwelmed. Stay-at-Home-Parents tend to do this less often than they should and many times feel harried by day to day life. One little hour a week can do wonders to your health and sanity! Whether you take it all at once or split it up really doesn't matter. Just find time for yourself! You are a much better person and are much more productive the rest of the time. You are no good to your family or boss if you don't.