Appetizers, casseroles, and delicious desserts all your guests will enjoy.

Party Themes

Looking to invite your friends over for a night of fun, these themed parties will entertain them till the party is over.


Creative ideas for instilling your children with memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Looking to redecorate or need some inspiration. These are my favorite looks.

Gifts from the heart

Nothing is more personal than when you make a gift and share it with your loved ones. Here are some creative ideas.

Look for love

My thoughts on love and why you should always look for it. You never know when or where it will show up.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Favorite Things Party Theme

Last night I went to a "My Favorite Things" party.  It is now one of my favorite party themes.  (see other party themes I've recommended in the past.)

The hostess was inspired by the idea posted on the adorable blog Bushel and a Peck.  Thirty guests were invited and asked to bring their favorite appetizer or dessert as well as their favorite item (under $5) wrapped for 5 people.  I went to my favorite store, SurLaTable and picked up cookie cutters in the shape of a bat, a pumpkin, a christmas tree and a heart. Just in time for the holidays! I included my Very Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever with it.

When we arrived, each guest wrote her name on 5 pieces of precut decorated paper and put them in the bowl.  We enjoyed Italian Cream Sodas and everybody's apps and desserts.   I learned so many new recipes I am excited to try, especially some bite-sized goodies like pigs-in-a-blanket and banana bread bites.  Everyone was handed a bag with their custom designed label (designed by me!) as we took our seats. One at a time, each lady would introduce herself and explain what her favorite item was.  Then she would pick out 5 names from the bowl and hand those 5 people her favorite thing.  At the end of the evening, everyone left with 5 different items.

The top 5 creative items I remembered were:
1. A Finch Bird Seed Kit
2. Homemade creme brulee
3. HairWraps for when you get out of the shower.
4. Trader Joes Recycle Bags
5. A month supply of Styrofoam Cups with straws.

Candles, lotions, cleaning supplies, and candy kits were the most popular items shared.

A favorite things party is a fabulous way to share time with friends and learn a little something new about them.

In the meantime, what ideas do you have for a favorite things party? What would you share?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Find the "Elf on the Shelf" Tradition

Although this is a Christmas tradition, I recommend getting this adorable book NOW because they do sell out.  Plus it makes a great gift.

Elf on the Shelf is based on a tradition Carol Aebersold began with her family in the 1970s. This cleverly rhymed children's book explains that Santa knows who is naughty and/or nice because he sends a scout elf to every home. During the holiday season, the Elf on the shelf watches children by day and reports to Santa each night. When children awake, the Elf on the shelf has returned from the North Pole and can be found hiding in a different location. This activity allows The Elf on the Shelf to become a delightful hide-and-seek game. Each collection comes with its very own scout elf, a hardbound children's book, and a keepsake box for easy storage. In addition, each shipment is marked for “Special Delivery” from Santa's workshop.

Here are 30 things you can do with your elf on the shelf.  Capture every memory like this mom did.

1. Marshmallow fight – marshmallows everywhere
2. Pillow fight – feathers everywhere
3. Nerf gun fight – darts everywhere
4. Laundry fight – clothes everywhere
5. Lipstick on mirror message
6. Unroll toilet paper roll on the floor, around Christmas tree, etc.
7. Caught sneaking candy
8. Hang child’s unmentionables on the Christmas tree

9. Hang from chandelier or ceiling fan
10. Make faces on school pictures with a marker
11. Take a spin in toy car/remote control car
12. Play board game with stuffed animal friends or action figures
13. Tea party with stuffed animal friends
14. Draw picture
15. Color in coloring book
16. Dump toybox
17. Create a block tower
18. Hide rocks in shoes
19. Sit in shoe, holding shoe laces as if going on a sleigh ride
20. Turn everyone shoes into superhero shoes
21. Plant magic seeds with directions to water once a day. On 3rd day something will grow. Secretly plant lollipops on 3rd day.
22. Make cookies – flour everywhere (Use this Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever!)
23. Make Reindeer poop and have the elf standing in it.
24. Turn toilet water blue
25. Turn milk blue
26. Make paper airplanes and fly them around the house
27. Type /write an amazing letter of all the wonderful qualities your Elf has witnessed of your child.

28. Change all clock times
29. Unscrew all the light blubs

30.Nothing. If your elf didn’t move overnight then perhaps their behavior contributed to their elf not moving.
Looking for more ideas - Check out 102 ways to hide your elf.
If you have an Elf on the Shelf, what did you name it and how do your kids find him?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Raspberry Pretzel Casserole Dessert

Traditionally our bunko group has a Thanksgiving Potluck every November.  This year I made the Raspberry Pretzel Casserole Dessert to bring.  However, it didn't quite make it to the party because the jello hadn't firmly set in time.  It tasted fabulous when I got home though.  Make sure you make this the morning of your event if not the night before to be safe.  Here's how to make it:

2 1/2 cups of pretzels, crushed into crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar

8oz cream cheese
12oz of Cool Whip
1 cup sugar

1 6oz box of raspberry Jello 
2 c boiling water
1 bag of frozen raspberries

In a food processor, blend all the crust ingredients until fine.  Firmly press into a lightly sprayed 9x13 casserole dish.  Bake at 350˚ for 10 minutes. Let Cool.

In a food processor, blend the center ingredients until creamy.  Layer on top of the cooled crust making sure to block any holes that the jello mixture might seep through.  Seal it completely. Let chill.

Add 2 cups boiling water to the Jello mix and stir until completely dissolved.  Add 1 bag of frozen raspberries.  Let sit in fridge for 1/2 hour to cool and slightly firm up.  Then pour mixture ontop of cream cheese center.

Let stand for at least 4 hours before serving.

Looking for other fabulous casseroles to make once a week or to bring to a party? See the 30daysof...casseroles photo album with links to fabulous recipes. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

30daysof...the Vow

The Vow is an inspiring love story I can watch over and over! And I vow to keep a box of kleenex nearby. These are 30 things i learned from the story.

1 Always wear my seatbelt
2 Say yes when a cute guy gets the nerve to spontaneously ask you out*
3 The Chicago Art School is a place I must visit
4 I want to go into a bakery often enough to where I have a usual.
5 Vows mean everything
6 Big weddings are overrated
7 People are self serving
8 Follow your passion
9 Love like jesus loves
10 Always read the book first
11 Learn peoples tickle spots
12 Go skinnydipping once a month. With someone.
13 Don't try to change others.
14 You can only change yourself
15 Humans are not meant to be vegetarians
16 New date idea - feed eachother a box of chocolate and take pictures of the others expression
17 Love is everything
18 Write your own vows
19 Journal at least once a month
20 You can get pregnant by having sex in a car
21 The truth will always come out
22 Hats are my favorite accessory
23 Focus on what people do right in a relationship not on what they do wrong
24 There is little law in art
25 There is little art in law
26 Talk to eachother nicely
27 Parents should never let their kids walk out and lose contact
28 Family isnt always related by blood
29 If you can't laugh together than what is the point of being together.
30 Everyone in a relationship should feel what it is be gotton.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Suessical the Musical

Sometimes I can't help rhyming and after seeing this play, this poem just popped into my head.

Saw Suessical the Musical
It was such a joy
About a big faithful elephant
and a thinking little boy
Gertrude is spectacular
with her one little plume
As the Cat and the Hat
makes JoJo fume

There are bunches o hunches
That glow in the dark
And that Maizy - WOW
She sure has a spark!
Birds, fish & kangaroos
All living above the land of the whos

The cast is just brilliant,
They have talent galore
it's everything you expect
from a cat show and more

This week, next week
Come see this show
It's definately one
of the places to go!

- Tricia Cohn

Get tickets at

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey Music

Just finished the books that all my friends have been raving about and let me tell you, I'm exhausted!  Well at least my finger is, flipping through the endless accounts of their sexual escapades.  As an avid reader who loves deep heavy topics such as A New Earth and A Million Little Pieces, and books like The Help, the time I spent reading these books was pure entertainment. And since I am an adventurous kind of lady, I will definately be applying some techniques to my marriage and file the Fifty Shades of Grey in my Self Help and How To section of my library.
In the meantime, I have composed an Imix of the music from the 50 Shades of Grey.


Download the artwork and burn a CD for your friend for her birthday!

50 Shades of Grey CD COVER

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kick your habits into A Million Little Pieces

I just finished reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and it has inspired me more than ever to kick my bad habits and follow through with resolutions.
A Million Little Pieces is a story of James and his life as a drug and alcohol addict. I was shocked to learn this topic would interest me as usually I've been judgmental with regard to people and their "weakness" to substance abuse. Especially if they came from a good loving family such as James.
I was praying he would get through and "hold on" (page 194)
I was hoping he wouldn't blame others for his mistakes and bad habits (page 291)
I was clenching my fist hoping he could fight the fury inside of him (page 303) every time it arose.
This book awakened me to accept that addiction is a disease and many people don't receive the support or tools to fight it. His story provides insight to the reasons addicts appear cold-hearted, and selfish. It confirms that every child needs food, shelter, and a sense of safety and comfort during the first three years of life. (Christian Grey didn't receive this either and look how he turned out.)
It also references one of my favorite prayers - The Serenity Prayer
Even though we all feel alone (page 80) and throughout life feel depressed (page 148) all we can do is our best. Be smart, be strong, be proud, live honorably and with dignity, and just hold on.
If James can do it, then so can I.

What are some habits you want to break? Read this book and it will give you the power to overcome the bad habits you choose.


Friday, April 13, 2012 baskets

Feeling like a basket case because you were asked to put together a gift basket for a gift or fundraiser?  Well we know how you feel.  So here are 30 fabulous ideas to choose from and ease your mind. The secret to every basket's success is choosing a theme and collaborating with others so you minimize the cost and maximize the gift. The top five were our favorite baskets from the Wilson Charity Auction.

Spirits Around The World
Taste a sampling of world spirits without ever leaving your home. Fill a cooler with bottles of booze from each country. 
Tequila - Mexico
Vodka - Russia
Rum - Caribean
Whiskey - Ireland
Champagne - France
Saki - Japan
Jagermeister - Germany


Take Me Out To The Ball game

Seat Cushions
License Plate Frames
Beach Towels


Serenity Package / Spa Basket

Gift Certificates to a local spa
Massage Creams/ Oils
Fragranced Candles / Oils
Nail Care Set

Spoil Your Teacher
Give your special teacher this wonderful basket

Manicure/Pedicure Gift Certificate
Starbucks Gift Card 
Glue Sticks
Wall Mounting Tabs
Cricut Cartridge
Various School Supplies
An Apple
Movie Tickets

An Evening in the Orient
Only good fortune can come from this basket!

Asian Cookbook
Cooking Oils
Gift Cert to PF Changs & PickUp Sticks 
Assorted Teas
Sake Set
Fortune Cookies
Bed, Bath and Body works Japanese Blossom Hand Lotion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thin Mint© Ghiradelli© Brownies

If you like crunchy, chewy,  chocolate and will love these brownies.  I buy the big box of Triple Chocolate Ghiradelli Brownie Mix from Costco and keep on hand for last minute potlucks or dinner parties. 

two packages of the brownie mix and prepare as directed on box (add oil, egg, water)
1 sleeve of thin mints cookies (crushed into bitesize pieces)

Lightly spray a 9x13 pan.  Pour mixed batter into pan.  Top with crushed thin mints.  Bake according to the box directions.  These usually take 50 minutes to bake.

Enjoy. Great snack for St. Patricks Day.  Follow our pinterest for more GREEN inspiration and GIRL SCOUT COOKIE inspiration.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creamy Garlic Chicken, Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomatoe Lasagna

See picture on Pinterest.
It looks much prettier.

Inspired by Tasty Tidbits blogpost, I had to pin this on my Casserole Board on Pinterest with a little modification to suit my families taste.  What did I do different? I added GARLIC of course.

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA, divided
1/2 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 small jar  drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup milk
6 cloves of garlic ( I use the frozen cubes from Trader Joe's)
12 lasagna noodles, cooked or use the no BAKE. For a Gluten Free recipe, use GF Lasagna Noodles
1/4 cup of Freshly Chopped Basil (leave some for garnish)

HEAT oven to 350°F.
COMBINE chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, garlic, parmesan and tomatoes in one bowl. In another bowl, mix cream cheese and milk with mixer until well blended; stir in 1/2 of the basil.
Mix half of the cream cheese mixture with the chicken bowl and leave the remaining to coat layers.

Layer 1 - SPREAD half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish;
cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice.  

Layer 4 - Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and mozzarella; cover.
BAKE 25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

Garnish with fresh basil after removing from the oven.

Get in the habit of making a casserole every Monday Night for your family.  Need some inspiration and a great recipe....Check out this list - 30daysof...casseroles.