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Belly Up to the Bar

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I know what you are thinking… and by bar I mean taco bar, waffle bar, ice cream sundae bar, salad bar, and grilled cheese bar.

Feeding a crowd is hard. Feeding a bunch of kids who can be potentially a bit picky, even tougher.  Feeding 15 or so people quickly is almost impossible.

That is where a bar saves the day.  The concept is simple; pick a theme, food or holiday then design the meal as a “Build Your Own”.  This past weekend we had a group and had three meals that were build your own with options.

Check out these bars I have saved on my Pinterst board: (kasmithson) How to Feed a Crowd.  The links to each of these bars is located just below each picture.  Check them out.

Your Home Based Mom

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

We may have a hotdog bar this weekend.  I just have to get someone to come eat them!

By Stephanie Lynn

The taco bar above uses chip bags as bowls.

Celebrations at Home

The spud bar will be a winter meal for our Thursday night group.
Sunday night we had the best bar.  It was a grilled cheese bar.  Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, colby jack, and American cheeses.were the star along with three types of bread, carmelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, pancetta, homemade macaroni and cheese, and bacon were all options to put on the sandwiches.
The trick to a grilled cheese bar is to have one cook and not to assemble the sandwiches until the cook butters the bread and puts them on the grill.

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Here is my friend, Tina giving instructions before the feeding frenzy.  She manned the griddle until the bitter end.

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Before the hoard descended on the grilled cheese bar I was able to snap a couple of pictures.

The surprise ingredient was macaroni and cheese. It sounds odd but the kids loved it.  Oh, they loved the bacon, too.  The huge griddle came in handy.

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Monday morning (Labor Day) it was a waffle bar.  There were some hiccups… Mainly because this one was mine.  The smoke alarm went off a couple of times, and the breaker was thrown umm… twice.  Note to self.  Have a pile of waffles ready for the kids cooked ahead and ready to pop into a toaster.

The waffle bar consisted of  waffles, regular syrup, blueberry syrup, chocolate sauce, strawberry syrup, whipped cream, peanut butter, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon, rainbow sprinkles, and more bacon.

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Our late (after boating, tubing, and jet skiing) lunch was a sort of fajita bar.  I say sort of because there weren’t as many options.   It was definitely build your own.  We had chicken fajitas, guacamole, queso with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pinto beans, and my favorite cilantro rice.  I was way to pooped and overwhelmed to get any photos.  Sorry folks.

After diving in to the bar scene all weekend, I did learn a few things.

There are a couple of tricks to a build your own meal bar.

  • Organize your items so that they make sense when assembling.  Start with the plates, bowls, etc. and end with the silverware  and napkins so they don’t have to be carried from station to station.
  • Prepare as much ahead as possible.  Having things  made ahead made the meals more enjoyable for all.
  • Make sure that whatever you are serving can be assembled quickly.  Everyone is happy when you can keep ’em moving.
  • Have plenty of room for folks to move around.  Our bar is perfect inside for serving.  When the weather is nice, we will be serving outside.
  • Have a plan to keep the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold.

Have you ever had a “build your own” bar?  If you have, I would love to hear from you.  I will bet you have tried things I haven’t even thought about.

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

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Superwoman Is Not My Name

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At least once a week a comment is made to me about my hobby of restoring, re-purposing, and repainting furniture that makes me think people have a few misconceptions about me.  People have asked me how I have time to do this, usually followed by a comment that they would love to do something like this if they had the time.  Well, last night after I got the question about my time again, I decided that I wanted to dig into my vault of deep dark secrets.  Here is how I magically manufacture more time than the 24 hours a day others have. 🙂

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Source: http://www.raisingmiro.com

1.  I don’t watch a lot of television.  Please don’t hate me but I cannot talk with you about Downton Abbey, The Bachelor, House of Cards, or American Idol.  ( I did watch one episode of American Idol this season, but got bored.). I do watch The Voice, Biggest Loser, and The Blacklist (My really guilty pleasure).  Oh, and HGTV is on as background noise on the weekend. A lot of the shows are recorded and I can watch them when I choose and skip through the commercials.  Ain’t no body got time to watch denture cream commercials.  While watching television I usually am writing a blog or reading one of the 10 or so blogs that I read regularly- but not daily.

2.  I get up early and I am one of those people who usually wakes up “awake”  I clear my email , pray, usually do something homey like start laundry, pick up the stuff in the den, play with the dog and clear the counters before I leave for work in the mornings. Okay, I clean only if I am not running late!

3.  I eat lunch alone.  By choice.  I am really an introvert and need quiet time.  I use that 30 minutes to decompress, to think, read or take care of personal business.  It is my quiet time of the day.

4.  I have a housekeeper.  Yep.  Two times a month a wonderful lady comes to my house and changes the sheets, mops, dusts, cleans bathrooms and vacuums the house top to bottom.  This saint also cleans out my fridge and surprises me when she has time with things like organizing the pantry, the back porch, or cleaning up the linen closet.  Having a housekeeper is a luxury that I am willing to give up a lot to keep because the house being clean brings peace to my soul and someone else doing that two times a month means that I have time to do what I love.  She is able to get done in five hours what would take me all day because I would get distracted and she is just a speed demon.  The house does not stay spotless between the cleanings, but I know that under the clutter is a relatively clean home.

5.  My children are grown and I am not a grandmother.  (One day… I hope) My weekends do not revolve around sporting events, birthday parties, and sleepovers any longer.  I miss those days more than you will ever know, but it means that my free time really is mine.  People who have known me a long time often say that they had no idea that I had an artistic side.  The reason is simple; when I had kids at home I was a mom first and foremost.

6.  I do not enjoy cooking.  If I cook, it is something quick, simple and easy. Often out of a box. There is no spending the day in the kitchen for me.  That would be torture.  Thankfully, my husband is fine with that (most of the time) and pitches in or fends for himself if there is not a plan for supper.  He also goes to the grocery store for us about half the time.

7.  I usually have at least three projects going on at once when I am set up and working.  I try to group projects together that are going to be painted the same color- like my glazed cream color that is so popular.  While paint is drying, I can be collecting wood from the hoard for the next project and spray painting hardware.  By the time I get the second coat of paint on I am ready to move on with the other projects too.  As long as everything that makes dust is done first I can really move.  I make sure that sanding, and cutting are done at the same time and that there is no wet paint when sawdust in flying around.  I have about an 85% success rate with the keeping sawdust out of wet paint.

8.  My husband is a HUGE help.  He is a talented carpenter and can fix or build just about anything that I think up.  He supports my crazy ideas and helps them happen.  He also provides me with the voice of calm and reason when needed.  Together we get more done, and faster than either of us could do alone.

9.  We have the right tools.  Things go a lot easier and quicker if you have the tool to do the job.  Our arsenal is pretty impressive.  We are adding a drill press this week and I am excited.  We have a table saw, two drills, biscuit joiner,  three different sanders. a compound miter saw, jig saw, circular saw, grinder air nailers, two air compressors and a paint sprayer just to name a few.  I am not bragging.  I remember when we did not have all the tools we have now, or money to buy those things, and it was much harder to get work done.  It has taken us years to collect as Christmas presents, shopping estate sales, and saving up money to buy what we wanted in order to get what we have now.

10.  At least two days a week I leave the office at 3:30 pm.  I force myself to do that because I have learned that I am a much better employee and boss if I take time for me.  It means that I work really late at least one day a week, but it is worth it to me to go home when the sun is still shining.

I am no superwoman.  I get tired, I get really grumpy, I am perpetually frustrated that I cannot finish a project as quickly as I want.  I am terrible at sending letters and cards, I sometimes forget to call people back and I get so focused on what I am doing sometimes that I neglect my family.  I am glad that they still love me and accept me warts and all. I am also pretty lonely right now. My girlfriends are a distance away and I am learning that I am not very good at making friends in a new environment. I am working on that.

If you are able to successfully manage a family, job, your social life, and your creative side then my hat is off to you.  I would love to hear how you do it and I know that others would, too.

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I thought you might enjoy seeing me at the end of the day, hair frizzed, with dollar store readers on!

Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy day to read my post.

Blessings,

Karen

Dump Cake

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Because we are only in the country on the weekends and I am lazy, I have found things that can stay at Star Hill so we can whip something up if guests show up. Who wants to gussy up and run into town just because someone is on their way for supper? Not this girl.
Cake mixes are cheap and easy to keep on hand. My one hint is to keep them in a sealed container to keep out the critters. I keep them in gallon sized ziploc bags. I found out years ago that a cake mix can be turned into other desserts if the need arises. A sort of fancy but super quick dessert is a dump cake. I keep the ingredients on hand at Star Hill because we never know when company is going to show up unexpectedly. We love company so of course I want them to have something yummy to remember their visit. The dessert is served hot, so no prior cooking, cooling and icing required if you need something cooked in a hurry that tastes like you worked hard.

Dump Cake

1 can cherry pie filling
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 to 3/4 stick of butter
1/4 cup pecans if you have them.
Dump the cake mix into a bowl then cut the cold butter into the cake mix. I have a pastry cutter but two knives works fine. Should look like granola crumbles not cookie dough when ready
Spray an 8X 12 glass casserole pan well with Pam
Dump in the cake mix
Spoon the cherry pie filling into the pan in small dollops then cut it into the cake mix, do the same with the pineapple
Bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly
Serve with ice cream or cool whip

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Moving is Hard Work

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I have decided that any move, even a virtual one is hard work. After struggling with Blogger for six months I have made the incredibly difficult decision to move to WordPress. I hope that this works as well as it seems it will, but only time will tell.
I am going to keep my Blogger site alive and kicking until I figure out how well this works and I get everything moved here.

It is no secret that I am not very Tech Savvy, and my lack of skills with Blogger really showed up.

During the next six months I have several projects planned including a rubbish rescue that needs to be redone, The City House master bedroom needs lipstick and makeup, we have some pretty big projects planned at Star Hill, the Southern kids are coming to visit us in Texas, and OH YEAH… there is going to be a wedding this summer. The Southern Belle and her Beaux are getting hitched! Woo Hoo!

For my early Christmas present I got an awesome new camera… man do I need help learning to use it. Hubby even got me a super sized lens, but it is still in the box until I am a little more comfortable with the standard lens.