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6

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Posted by Hallee on Nov 14, 2010 in Hallee's Galley, Recipes, sauces & spreads

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

My children love ranch dressing.  I keep a jar in my refrigerator to put in Kaylee’s lunches with carrot sticks, a snack for the boys with cucumber slices, or for salads at dinner time.  I played with the spices and seasonings until I got it just right for my family.  The measurements below are very conservative.  Taste the dressing when it’s mixed together and add more as you need to.

INGREDIENTS:

⅓ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup plain yogurt
⅓ cup buttermilk
¼ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp dried dill

SUPPLIES:

measuring cups/spoons
bowl
whisk
glass jar in which to store it

DIRECTIONS:

Measure all ingredients into a bowl.

Whisk until smooth.

YIELD:

1 cup

NUTRITION: ~*~
Low in sodium
No Trans Fats
NUTRITION FACTS:
~*~
NOTES:

You can use sour cream in lieu of plain yogurt, but it’s a heavier flavor to me.

You can use less buttermilk to thicken it up to make a dip.

I would love to hear any feedback about this recipe. Did you make it? Did you enjoy it? Did you make any adjustments to it?

Hallee


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2

reCap Caps

Posted by Hallee on Dec 11, 2013 in Life

I got a *TON* of inquiries about the lid on my mason jar in my Powdered Laundry Detergent post. This is just one of those super simple, completely clever inventions that I wish I’d come up with myself.

They’re called reCap caps.  This is NOT a paid or otherwise advertisement for Recap.  I’m sure that they don’t have a clue who Hallee the Homemaker is, and that link is not an affiliate link. This is just a “I found this really cool thing and I want to tell you about it” post.

They come in two sizes – regular or wide mouth – and they fit on top of your mason jar.

I use them for almost anything that I’m going to pour out of a mason jar – like my raw milk, which comes in half gallon mason jars; Easy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, which I store in pint-sized jars; laundry detergent; etc. I even gave a friend a gift of some Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer in a pint-sized jar and gave her a recap lid with it.

creamer20131208_112808powdered laundry soap recap lidmilk

The lid seals so you can shake up what you have in there (nice with the ranch dressing!) and you can wash and reuse them.

 

Hallee


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2

Hard to Imagine

Posted by Hallee on Jul 17, 2013 in Parenting

I’d always feared that I would come against a giant and my faith would waiver. But, 7 years ago today, I faced a true test of my faith. Instead of faltering, instead of being afraid, instead of not trusting, my faith in God, my trust in God, and my peace grew. I blogged about it 3 years ago on the piece I wrote titled Peace That Passes Understanding.

scott birthday

The last few years have brought interesting challenges as we learn how to parent this AMAZING child. Watching him blossom with Gregg’s return from such a lengthy stay in Afghanistan, watching him flourish as we shifted our parenting and learned how amazing that little brain of his is and how it processes information has been nothing but a joy.

scott  7th birthdayNow Scott is seven.  He’s 3 weeks away from starting first grade.  He reads, maneuvers through operating the computer without help, and has very distinct likes and dislikes.  His favorite meal is roasted chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice served with sliced cucumbers and homemade ranch dressing.  He likes red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and plain sugar cookies.  He won’t eat turkey bacon, but will eat his weight in beef bacon.  He LOVES Angry Birds and Despicable Me and Legos.  He knows what day it is and that Turbo is releasing today.

Sitting in the NICU, learning medical terms and seeing tubes and wires and listening to machines, it’s hard to imagine that one day that little tiny red skinned body is going to be flying through the air and splashing into the pool.  You get reports of all the doom and gloom and possible things that can be wrong in the future, and you don’t realize that one day you’ll hear that child giggle uproariously while burying his little brother under a pile of couch pillows.  You get woken up every three hours for years and don’t even imagine that one day, he’ll go to bed and sleep all night long.

And sitting here typing while he and his brother play some silly game on an iPod and he’s telling me that he wants chocolate chip waffles for his birthday breakfast, it’s hard to imagine that one day he’ll graduate from high school.  One day he’ll have a career.  One day he’ll be the spiritual head of a family.

Seven years seems to have gone by in an instant, but the changes and improvements and growing has been on such a scale that it feels like it should have taken a decade.

Happy seventh birthday, my oldest son.  I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you this year.

scott 7 birthday

 

Hallee


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8

Menu Monday 07 JAN 13

Posted by Hallee on Jan 7, 2013 in Hallee's Galley, menus & menu planning

Menu Monday

Menu for the week of 07 January 2013

I hope you had a happy new year!  I took a much needed 2-week blogging break.  But, I didn’t stop working!  My next book will publish February 14th!  I can’t wait to tell you about it.  For now, it’s a big surprise.  You don’t want to miss anything about it, though, so make sure you sign up for my newsletter.  Readers of my newsletter will get notification about the book before anyone else!  The sign-up is in my sidebar.  (And anyone who signs up before midnight tonight is entered to win all four of my books in ebook form, or one in paperback!)

Welcome to my weekly menu! The “rules” of our household diet can be found in the tab above labeled Hallee’s Galley and further explained in Our Diet.

I usually serve leftovers for lunch the next day, or we’ll save them during the week to graze lunch on the weekends. We try to have a few meals a week vegetarian (see my post on eating meat) and eat fish at least one meal a week. One meal a week is usually a “Dinner Out” meal.

Almost all of the breads are homemade using fresh milled flour. I’ll continue to link to my recipes as I post them. Our daily bread is Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.  This week, I discovered a new roll recipe – using buttermilk!  I’m looking forward to sharing that with you!

Here’s the menu for my family for the week of January 7th. As far as desserts go, we are currently working through Yummy Yellow Cake with Delectable Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  When that is gone, I intend to make Gregg some of his favorite pudding — tapioca!


Monday:

 

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Heat Free Chili, Old Fashioned Cornbread, garden salad with Honey French Dressing

Tuesday:

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Muffins, High Protein Breakfast Smoothie

Dinner:

Spinach Lasagna, French Bread, garden salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Wednesday:

Breakfast:

Oatmeal with dried fruit & nuts, toast

Dinner:

Black Beans over Perfect Brown Rice, fried cabbage (recipe to follow), green peas, Old Fashioned Cornbread, garden salad

Thursday:

Breakfast:

scrambled eggs, toast

Dinner:

Chicken Fajitas (recipe to follow) with Whole Wheat Tortillas, Black Bean Refried Beans, Spanish Rice (recipe to follow)

Friday:

Breakfast:

Quick & Easy Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls (recipe to follow)

Dinner:

baked cod, Family Fit Fried Potatoes, steamed broccoli, Coastal Cole Slaw, Hurry Up Hush Puppies

Saturday:

Breakfast:

Ma-Maw Lucille’s Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits, turkey sausage gravy (recipe to follow)

Dinner:

dinner out

Sunday:

Breakfast:

Dinner:

dinner with our church’s small group

Hallee


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12

Food Battles

Posted by Hallee on Oct 16, 2012 in Parenting, Raising boys

My mom told me, years ago when Kaylee was just a baby, that there were two areas that a child felt like they had control: eating and sleeping.  With everything else, they could not control you or your responses, but for some reason, they feel like they can control food and sleeping.

I think because those two things are important to us.  And, we communicate that those two things are important.

When Kaylee was nearing 2-years-old, during dinner time one night, she looked at me and dumped her plate onto the floor — then laughed.  Since the meal was something brand new and strongly seasoned, I made her a new plate, washing spices off meat, and making sure that the food I put on it was something she would eat.  She looked at me, picked up her plate, and dumped it.  I realized then that she was testing me.

I got her out of her high chair, told her that she couldn’t have anything else to eat.  About an hour later, she cried that she was hungry, and I reminded her that she could have a big breakfast in the morning.

The next night, I made certain that the meal I prepared was something she would enjoy eating.  She looked at me, dumped the plate, and laughed.  I reprimanded her, got her out of her seat, and explained that she would not have anything else until the next day.  The next night, she did the same thing, and I reacted the same way.

After that, she never challenged food.  She’s taste and try and let us know if she didn’t like it, but it was never an out-and-out challenge.

The type of “simple” meal Scott LOVES.

I discovered that the boys did the same thing at about the same age.  And with them, it took about 3 days of no dinner and a lot of bedtime whining to win the battle.

During all of the recent conversations we’ve had with psychologists about our son Scott, we’ve discovered that this is also something psychologists try to convey to parents: If you let them control you with food or sleep, then you are being controlled by your children…and don’t think they’ won’t use that against you.

We have never really given in to the control issue.  When my kids don’t eat…they don’t eat.  That’s not always been easy.  Now that Scott is older and we realize how many issues he has, I think if we could go back and KNOW about his issues, we would have maybe catered to his eating.  He doesn’t like his food to touch — so, when I serve a casserole, he spends half the meal “cleaning” off the meats and vegetables before he’ll eat them, if he eats them at all.  Soups are almost always out of the question, because everything is all mingled together.  Sandwiches get deconstructed and eaten separately.  Even pizza is eaten in layers.

But, because I didn’t know about all of his OCD tendencies, and because I didn’t know he’d have so many issues, I have NEVER catered to him when it comes to food.  There are no food battles in my house.  At dinner time, if you don’t like what is served, you can eat extra salad, or don’t eat at all.  Because I make all of my dressings homemade, and because I purposefully make the Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing without the mayonnaise and just make it with buttermilk and Greek yogurt, my kids can consume as much of it as they want at the table and I don’t care.  If after dinner they’re hungry because they didn’t eat, they’re welcome to get fruit out of the fruit bowl and drink as much water as they want.  If dessert is available, they do not get to eat it.  That is about the only “punishment” that comes from not eating.

Discussing meals and meal time with one of the psychologists, he said to us, “You’ve done half of my work for me.  I usually spend several weeks trying to teach parents how to handle food and sleep issues.  We have no problems there and I’m not really sure where to begin.”

I think Scott wants to battle us with food, but that experience at about 2-years of age has taught him that it would do no good.  So, instead, he makes do with what he is served – either eating it, deconstructing it before eating it, or eating what’s on his plate that he is willing to eat.

I will admit that there’s this “mommy” side of me that wants to roast him a plain chicken thigh, cook some brown rice in some Turkey Stock, and steam him some broccoli every night to go with his salad and homemade bread – because that is his favorite meal and he’d eat it every single night if I let him.  It’s not like it’s chicken nuggets and French fries – a meal that a friend of mine  feels “forced” to feed her daughter daily.  But, even though it’s about as healthy of a meal as I could make him, that would do nothing to teach him about coping with the “real world”, would do nothing to expand his pallet, and would make meals away from home extremely stressful.

Instead, I cook what I would cook if he was with me or not.  And, he can choose to eat it, cope with eating it, deconstruct it, or not eat it.  And, honestly, with most meals, I never know for sure which way he’ll go.

 

Hallee


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-

Menu Monday 15 OCT 2012

Posted by Hallee on Oct 15, 2012 in menus & menu planning

Menu Monday

Menu for the week of 15 October 2012

The “rules” of our household diet can be found in the tab above labeled Hallee’s Galley and further explained in Our Diet.

I usually serve leftovers for lunch the next day, or we’ll save them during the week to graze lunch on the weekends. One meal a week, we eat whatever we want. This is usually our “Dinner Out” meal.

Almost all of the breads are homemade using fresh milled flour. I’ll continue to link to my recipes as I post them. Our daily bread is Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Here’s the menu for my family for the week of October 15th.  I cannot believe that October is already half gone! As far as desserts go, I’m going to make a batch of pumpkin bread for a friend.  I also have children complaining about the empty cookie jar, so I’m going to make a batch of Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of my best selling novel, Topaz Heat, and this bracelet from Cathy’s Creations!  The giveaway ends this Friday, October 19th, at 5PM EST.  You can click here to get to the giveaway post.  There are 9 different ways you can enter.


Monday:

 

Breakfast:

Homemade English Muffin Sandwiches (recipe to follow)

Dinner:

Heat-Free Chili, Old Fashioned Cornbread, garden salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Tuesday:

Breakfast:

scrambled eggs, turkey sausage

Dinner:

Dinner Out — this is our annual Men & Women group dinner at church.  The Men’s Group is providing steaks – we have been asked to bring sides or desserts.  I am bringing:

Amazing Au Gratin Potatoes

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake (recipe to follow)

Wednesday:

Breakfast:

Old Fashioned Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Dinner:

Grilled Tilapia, Brown Rice Pilaf, Coastal Cole Slaw, Ma-Maw Lucille’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Thursday:

Breakfast:

Ma-Maw Lucille’s Buttermilk Biscuits, beef bacon country gravy

Dinner:

Roast Beef, roasted potatoes & carrots, green beans, Whole Wheat Pull-Apart Yeast Rolls

Friday:

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon

Dinner:

Hallee’s Heavenly Homemade Pizza, Garden Salad

Saturday:

Breakfast:

cold cereal

Dinner:

dinner out

Sunday:

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Dinner with our small group

Hallee


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1

Menu Monday 20 FEB 2012

Posted by Hallee on Feb 20, 2012 in Hallee's Galley, menus & menu planning

Menu Monday

Menu for the week of 20 February 2012

The “rules” of our household diet can be found in the tab above labeled Hallee’s Galley and further explained in Our Diet.

I usually serve leftovers for lunch the next day, or we’ll save them during the week to graze lunch on the weekends. One meal a week, we eat whatever we want. This is usually our “Dinner Out” meal.

Almost all of the breads are homemade using fresh milled flour. I’ll continue to link to my recipes as I post them. Our daily bread is Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Here’s the menu for my family for the week of February 20th. As far as desserts go, I intended to make a fresh cherry pie in honor of Presidents’ Day, but I have a certain 5-year-old who recently learned how to use a cherry pitter, and who found the bag of cherries.  So, that’s out.  I may still make a Cherry Pie and serve it when we have company coming for dinner on Tuesday.

Gregg and I are also taking a little weekend trip alone to celebrate my 40th birthday (which isn’t until next week).  We’ll be leaving Friday evening and not returning until Sunday afternoon.


Monday:

 

Breakfast:

Dinner:

I cook dinner for Glenn Eden Youth Center volunteers on Monday night.  This week, I’m making:

Beef Stew (recipe to follow), Cheddar Biscuits (recipe to follow), garden salad with Easy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Tuesday:

Breakfast:

breakfast with the church youth group

Dinner:

We have company coming for dinner.  I’m making:

Chicken Pot Pie, French Bread, garden salad

Wednesday:

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Stuffed Grape Leaves, Hummus bi Tahini, falafel, Greek salad, Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Thursday:

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Italian Ground Beef Skillet, garden salad, French Bread

Friday:

Breakfast:

scrambled eggs, turkey bacon

Dinner:

rotisserie chicken, Perfect Brown Rice, green beans, garden salad

Saturday:

Breakfast:

at the hotel

Dinner:

dinner out

Sunday:

Breakfast:

at the hotel

Dinner:

We host a church small group in our home on Sunday nights.  I typically prepare a soup, and the group members bring the bread, salad, and dessert.  This week I’ll be making a re-do from last week, because we had to cancel due to sickness last week:

Heat-Free Chili

Hallee


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4

Menu Monday 09 JAN 12

Posted by Hallee on Jan 9, 2012 in Hallee's Galley, menus & menu planning

Menu Monday

Menu for the week of 09 January 2012

The “rules” of our household diet can be found in the tab above labeled Hallee’s Galley and further explained in Our Diet.

I usually serve leftovers for lunch the next day, or we’ll save them during the week to graze lunch on the weekends. One meal a week, we eat whatever we want. This is usually our “Dinner Out” meal.

Almost all of the breads are homemade using fresh milled flour. I’ll continue to link to my recipes as I post them. Our daily bread is Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Here’s the menu for my family for the week of January 9th. As far as desserts go, Scott has been begging for pudding, and I have an abundance of bananas, so I think I’m going to make some banana pudding with homemade Whole Wheat Vanilla Wafers!


Monday:

 

Breakfast:

I’ve been reading about “omelets” in ziplock bags.  You mix the eggs and the veggies and seal them up then plop them in boiling water.  I have no desire to eat anything boiled in a plastic Zip Lock bag (reasons and research coming when I write the blog post about it) so I’m going to attempt the same thing using small canning jars.  Hopefully, it will work!

Dinner:

Turkey Noodle Soup, Crusty Whole Wheat Cheese Bread, garden salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Tuesday:

Breakfast:

breakfast with church youth group

Dinner:

Vegetarian Fajitas, Homemade Refried Black Beans, Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

Wednesday:

Breakfast:

Perfect Baked Oatmeal with apples, toast

Dinner:

baked chicken legs, Brown Rice Pilaf (recipe to follow), steamed broccoli, fruit salad

Thursday:

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Black Beans, Perfect Brown Rice, roasted butternut squash (recipe to follow), garden peas, Old Fashioned Cornbread

Friday:

Breakfast:

scrambled eggs, homemade English muffins (recipe to follow)

Dinner:

date night!

Saturday:

Breakfast:

cold cereal, fresh fruit

Dinner:

Family Game Night
Hot Wings (recipe to follow), Family Fit Fried Potatoes, fresh celery and carrots, homemade Blue Cheese dressing (recipe to follow)

Sunday:

Breakfast:

cream of wheat, cinnamon apple sauce, whole wheat toast

Dinner:

Small groups in our home.  I provide a soup and everyone else provides sandwiches, salads, breads.

We’ll be having Lamb & Fennel Stew.

Hallee


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1

Menu Monday 05 DEC 2011

Posted by Hallee on Dec 5, 2011 in Hallee's Galley, menus & menu planning

Menu Monday

Menu for the week of 05 December 2011

The “rules” of our household diet can be found in the tab above labeled Hallee’s Galley and further explained in Our Diet.

I usually serve leftovers for lunch the next day, or we’ll save them during the week to graze lunch on the weekends. One meal a week, we eat whatever we want. This is usually our “Dinner Out” meal.

Almost all of the breads are homemade using fresh milled flour. I’ll continue to link to my recipes as I post them. Our daily bread is Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Here’s the menu for my family for the week of December 5th. As far as desserts go, I’m making Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies (but I’m going to experiment with juicing a beet to use for the red dye instead of commercial dye) for a birthday present for a work colleague of Gregg’s, and making Stacy’s Pumpkin Roll for a birthday present for the kids’ horseback riding instructor.  I’ll probably be nice and make double to share with the family.  :-)


Monday:

Breakfast:

turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, juice (fresh made carrot, apple, spinach or kale, ginger, pear juice)

Dinner:

ground lamb in Whole Wheat Pita Bread, Hummus bi Tahini, Greek salad, Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:

Breakfast:

breakfast out with the church youth group

Dinner:

Family Game Night

Dinner: Hebrew National Hot Dogs, potato chips, fruit salad, Vegetarian Baked Beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes, beef bacon, juice (fresh made carrot, apple, spinach or kale, ginger, pear juice)

Dinner:

Crockpot Chicken Stew (recipe to follow), herb Buttermilk Biscuits, garden salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Thursday:

Breakfast:

cheese & mushroom omelets, toast, juice (fresh squeezed orange/grapefruit juice)

Dinner:

Christmas party – dinner out

Friday:

Breakfast:

corned beef hash, Maple Muffins

Dinner:

We are hosting our small groups Christmas party at church.  I’ll be making lasagna – both Spinach Lasagna and traditional lasagna.  Other families are bringing dessert, salads, and breads.

Saturday:

Breakfast:

cold cereal, fresh fruit, juice (fresh squeezed orange/grapefruit juice)

Dinner:

Gregg’s best friend will be nearby from Afghanistan.  We’ll hopefully sharing spending dinner with him.

Sunday:

Breakfast:

scrambled eggs, toast

Dinner:

baked chicken legs, Sour Cream Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, garden salad

Hallee


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4

Annual “Summer Starts Now” Luau Bash

Posted by Hallee on Jun 22, 2011 in Hallee's Galley, Parenting, Raising teens

On the last day of school, we had Kaylee’s “Annual Summer Starts Now Luau Bash”.  I don’t know how many girls ended up coming as they came and went all night, but at breakfast the next morning, we had eleven.

I decorated our Florida room with a lei garland intwined with white light strands.  Then, utilizing some fun decorations I found at The Dollar Tree, I hung a parrot, flamingo, and palm tree from the ceiling.  At the same store, I found some window clings and table decorations, and table skirts that had a lei feel to them.  From a mail-order catalog, I bought a palm tree that was a drink cooler.

All in all, I spent no more than $50 on the decorations.

I wish I had better pictures to show you, but a friend’s 9-year-old daughter took pictures for me while I was doing other things, and then I wanted to just leave Kaylee alone with her friends.  I only interrupted them when it was time to replenish food bowls.

I kept the island theme with the serving dishes:  surfboard shaped plates, straw hat for popcorn bowl, coconut shells for the salsa.

For drinks, I had a variety of natural sodas in the cooler as well as a punch I made with pineapple juice, white grape juice, and sparkling apple juice.  For an ice ring, I used a gelatin mold and froze strawberries and orange slices in the white grape juice.  It was beautiful when it was in the punch.  I also had lemon aid in the striped drink dispenser.

Food was simple: a vegetable tray with homemade ranch dressing, a fruit tray (Kaylee wasn’t happy with the lack of tropical fruit assortments – but, we’re Florida natives and Kentucky stores don’t offer the same fare this late in the spring), hot wings (pseudo homemade – cut chicken wings into buffalo style and baked them, then tossed them with Frank’s Buffalo Sauce), chicken kabobs with red onion, yellow & orange peppers, and fresh pineapple over brown rice, and a variety of finger foods like popcorn, M & M’s, tortilla chips with salsa.  I also made some pinwheels using roasted red pepper & basil tortillas, cream cheese, fresh basil, and fresh spinach.  They were a huge hit.

 

As the evening wore on, I brought out chocolate fondue (dark chocolate chips mixed with heavy cream) and served that with strawberries, fresh pineapple, and angel food cake.  Apparently, the girls tried all sorts of combinations and determined that popcorn chocolate fondue is a new party favorite.

We set up a table with an iPod player and a CD player.  The girls were in charge of their own music selections, which means the same three Justin Bieber songs pretty much played all night long.

It was an incredibly successful party, and was kept to a simple minimum.  I thought about and discarded “island” games, and thought they would just have more fun listening to music and being fourteen.

The next morning, I served chocolate chip waffles with chocolate whipped cream and beef bacon.  I also served a big pot of coffee in my coffee service set – the girls felt very grown up and very elegant drinking out of cups and saucers and using little spoons to stir their cream and sugar.

As the girls left throughout the day, they were all already talking about next year’s last day of school “Annual Summer Starts Now Luau Bash.”  It was a lot of fun to throw, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year as well.

 

Hallee


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