September 26, 2011

Safari Sleepover

It's Monday, and I survived the sleepover!   It was certainly a fun time for the girls.  We made camo binoculars out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper, ate some safari foods, and watched Nim's Island while eating popcorn from the homemade popcorn bags.  One of our leaders shared a devotional about children in Africa and how we can help them from here, and the girls asked some wonderful questions. 

Here are some photographs of the decorations and treats.

I covered a plastic white tray with leftover zebra-print wrapping paper and cheeta duct tape (yes, patterened duct tape!!), and wove an animal-print ribbon through the cake pedestal.   For a take-home treat, I made little candy bags (tutorial here) with trail mix and animal-patterned cardstock.

And as for the decorations... well, take a look:

Faux waterfall made from tulle

Some of the circle party streamers

All-in-all, it was a huge success!  : )

~ Sarah

September 23, 2011

Homemade Popcorn Bags Using Wrapping Paper

The day of the Safari Sleepover is here!

I was up late last night making sure everything was ready and packed, and going over my to-do list again and again.  Nevertheless, I can say with a large degree of certainty that something will be forgotten, but I can say with an even larger degree of certainty that it won't matter much.  Things have a way of proceeding despite a forgotten detail.  :)

Well, no matter what decoration or activity I managed to forget, at least the movie at the end of the night will be in theme.  Last year, I made popcorn bags for a movie night I was having with the girls, and have been making 'in theme' popcorn bags ever since.  I thought I'd share a tutorial on how I make them, as they are easy, and certainly a nifty little touch.  (Sorry... I can't do tutorials without lots of pictures... comment if something isn't clear!)

I found my supplies at Party City... zebra print wrapping paper, and leopard-print gift bags.  It's certainly cheaper to make them all out of wrapping paper, but I wanted a little bit of variety so I made an exception.  ;)

I cut the wrapping paper into 10 x 15" pieces.  The shorter side will be your bag height (less 2 1/2" for the bottom).

Next,  fold a strip at the bottom of the bag 1 1/2" wide.  Once you've creased the fold, open it back up.

Fold the bag edges so that the front of the bag is 5" wide.  The edges should overlap quite a bit.

Fold both edges back on themselves, leaving a 1" fold, then fold them back over themselves again, making a 'zig-zag' on each side

(This is what your bag should look like when both sides are folded properly...)

Pressing the bag flat, tape along the top where both sides meet.

The bottom of the bag is the trickiest part.   Using the crease you folded in the beginning, fold the sides, press the corners, and then fold the top and bottom in (exactly as if you were wrapping a present.)  Tape them together.

It's a bit difficult to see, but this is the inside of the bag.  (I used tape inside, as well.)

To fold the bags so that they store more easily, press the top edges together, and slowly work your way towards the bottom, smoothing the paper as you go (as though you're ironing it.)

The bottom should fold naturally. Press the bottom to crease the folds properly.

That's it!  You're done!  It took me about an hour and a half to make 15, but I took my time, watched a movie, took breaks, etc.  It really isn't very time-consuming if you commit yourself to the task (which I rarely do.)  For the gift bags, I just removed the handles (and saved them for a future project... I'm sure I'll use them at some point.)  Here are all the finished popcorn bags:

Don't they look fabulous??  I tell ya, we are going to be movie-ing in styyyyyyyyle tonight.  :)

~ Sarah

PS:  If you are having trouble getting the bottom to work for you (believe me, it's tricky at first) you can use this idea instead.  Fold the bottom over on itself twice, then tape.  This is a much faster method, but the bags don't stand up, and children inevitably get popcorn everywhere (not that my dog minds this problem...)  :)

September 21, 2011

Circle Party Streamers

Hey there!

Well, since no one guessed what the theme of the girls' sleepover on Friday is, I'll have to tell you.  It's Themba (pronounced TIM-buh) Safari, which literally means Hope Safari!!!   I'm not the sort of person to do things half-way, so you can just imagine the fun decorations I started plotting for this event the moment the theme was announced.  I think it's going to be awesome.

I was parusing the internet the other day and spotted a really neat streamer idea.  Unfortunately, I didn't save the link, and I can't find the original idea via Google today so I can't give credit to my inspiration.  :(   It's a simple idea, and although a bit time-consuming, certainly not as much so as some of my decorations in the past.  And I think it looks pretty cool.

Using this large hole punch (it cuts something like 1.5" circles), I cut out piles of green, yellow, white, black, and brown circles.  Then, using a stapler, I combined the circles in whatever way spoke to me at that particular moment.

The result?  Some REALLY neat streamers that are perfect for my jungle theme!   

What do you think??

~ Sarah

September 20, 2011

Delicious Turkey Sandwich

Isn't it a wonderful time of year?  There's something so magical about Autumn... lovely colors bursting everywhere you look, scrumptuous foods appearing everywhere you go... and everything is laced with cinnamon, cider, pumpkin, cloves and apples.  Perhaps Autumn is not like this where you live, and I am deeply sorry for you, but only a cynical person can hate Autumn in northeastern PA, I think.

I like to salute Autumn constantly while it's here, so I even look for Autumn-ish recipes to make for dinner, and I thought I would share a recipe I made for dinner last night.  I was inspired on our camping trip (see Iron Chef Camper) by my dear friend's lunch recipe.  Seriously, it was the most amazing sandwich I've ever had.  I can't remember everything that was on it, but I made a noble attempt with what I definitely recall.  She named it something like Thanksgiving on a sandwich.  Perfect for autumn!

What I used:
  1. Rye bread
  2. fresh turkey
  3. sharp provalone cheese
  4. granny smith apples
  5. honey mustard (or delicatessan mustard)
Toast the bread, then spread with your choice of mustard.  I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I made one of each and Jayson and I split them both.  (If forced to decide, I preferred the honey mustard, but only a tiny bit more... they're both delicious.)

Melt the cheese and heat the turkey in a skillet, then spread on each sandwich.

Add thin apple slices to each sandwich.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished sandwiches, but they were amazing!  We've added this to our 'must have frequently' recipe rotation.  I highly recommend it!

What Autumn recipes do you enjoy / recommend??

~ Sarah

(Shout out to Amy!! <3)

September 19, 2011

Sleepover Plans

Hey, everyone!

Well, according to the LwYH calendar, it's Autumn, and the weather certainly agrees with me.  It was like someone flipped a switch, and overnight we went from summery, hot days to cool, breezy, crisp air.  I love it.  : )

I've also been a little quiet lately, which you may or may not have noticed.  I'm busy planning a sleepover for my girls' group at church.  I don't pick the themes, as they are selected by the national directors and their staff, but I DO run with them. 

Any guesses what this year's theme might be?  These are some of the decorations and essentials I picked up this weekend.

Happy Autumn!  <3

~ Sarah

September 13, 2011

Strawberry-Coconut-Banana Tres Leches Trifle

Hello.  My name is Sarah, and I'm addicted to Pampered Chef.
This is not my trifle, but it's prettier
than mine, so I borrowed it.
If you've been to a PC party, you may recognize their quarterly recipe/idea mini catalog, "Season's Best" (or, if you read my post last week... the Chocolate Banana Cream Trifle, also from the Season's Best minilog.)  This recipe is several seasons old, but that's given me time to 'tweak' it (and you know I've tweaked.)  It's absolutely, positively yum.
As before, I can't give you the exact recipe, but I'll tell you what the layers are.

Layer one:  Lady fingers (or pound cake) soaked in a mixture of sour cream, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
Layer two:  Fresh strawberries and bananas
Layer three: A mixture of pudding (I prefer banana cream), whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut milk.
Top:  Whipped cream and a lovely strawberry garnish.

A-MAY-ZING recipe!!  I highly recommend it!  :)

Have you made this recipe before??  What changes have you made to improve it?

~ Sarah

September 9, 2011

Pictures of the Pennsylvania Flood, 2011

Hey there!

I am very thankful today for many things... I am thankful for the high ground that my house is built on, I am thankful for the levies and dams that helped to keep some places I love dry, I'm thankful that the water is receding, and most of all, I'm thankful for God's protection surrounding my friends and family, even those that needed to evacuate.  Homes can be rebuilt or dried off, even replaced, but not people.

Unfortunately, other places around me are not so 'thankful' today... there was devastating flooding in many parts of NEPA.  My heart and prayers are still going out to those people who have a great deal of cleaning and repairing to do (and that's after they've been released to return to their homes.) 

Last night, my husband and I took some photos of the flooding from a plane.  I thought I'd share them today.

On the left is Nicholson, and on the right is Hop Bottom. 


On the left, Deer Park Lumber.  On the right, Shadowbrook Resort.
Both near Tunkhannock.

Here is the flooding in Tunkhannock around the bypass.  You can see how far it extends on both sides of the river.

Falls Bridge:

Wyoming Valley (we couldn't get closer because of the airspace around WV Airport)

Misc. flooding pictures:

Thanks for visiting... please keep PA in your prayers.
~ Sarah

September 8, 2011

Chocolate Banana Cream Trifle

Oooooh.... doesn't the name just make your ears perk up? 

I tried this Pampered Chef recipe at a party a couple of weeks ago, and made it for a family gathering on Labor Day.  I can't post the actual recipe here, as it's in the Season's Best catalog (which the consultants sell).  But I'll tell you what the layers are, just to whet your appetite.  ;)

Layer 1: Graham Crackers
Layer 2: Bananas
Layer 3: Chocolate ganache
Layer 4: Banana pudding / cool whip

Just writing about it is making me hungry for Chocolate Banana Cream Trifle!  It's fairly easy (though, as with many PC recipes, you do use a number of dishes), and what's more, it looks positively beautiful

~ Sarah