Savvy Search Our Blog

Friday, July 30, 2010

A hunting we will go!

It is time to start packing if you are planning to attend this year’s World’s Longest Yard Sale. It now extends from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama. It is August 5th - 8th.  This is a party decorator’s Mecca. See One man’s junk is a party decorator’s treasure for additional information. 

This trip is along back country roads. This means no public rest stops or fast food places. There are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Bathrooms: Unless you adapt well to port-a-potties, keep the drinking to a minimum (Especially caffeinated beverages—sorry Shelley I promise you will survive without your Coke Zero). Fire stations and churches are great places to find clean bathrooms. Make sure to seek out a bathroom before leaving each small town. You never know how far it is to the next one. 

Tell me, again, why I’m doing this with a potty training 2 year old? Oh well, at least he’s a boy and peeing on a tree is still an option. With my luck he will come home and pee on my furniture like the dog. 

I am having a flash back to the year my then nine year old got out of the car to pee on a tree in front of people, leaving the car door open. The three year old got out after him and started playing with the merchandise. I was blissfully unaware until a particularly uppity woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me. Are those your children?” For a brief second I considered saying, “No” and walking away. Instead I said “Pull your pants up and get back in that car!”—a phrase I never thought I would have to say.

2. Life in the Slow Lane: Traffic moves VERY slowly, 10 mph through small towns. You won’t be able to get anywhere in a hurry. Slow down and enjoy the scenery. It is also a great time to meet some interesting people.

3. Food: There are very few fast food places. The local diners will have a long wait to get seated. Pack a cooler of sandwiches and munchies. When you happen upon a great food vender selling funnel cakes or frozen bananas, enjoy the treat. You will walk/sweat off any extra calories. Make sure to hydrate extra well when you stop for the evening, even if you are not thirsty.

4. Cell phones: Cell reception is very spotty. Keep that in mind. If you need to check in at home, make your calls before leaving the town center.

5. GPS: Satellite reception is also spotty. Do not rely on your GPS as your only navigator. Bring a map. You may download one here.

6. More Tips: Make sure to check out our Savvy Tips page for much more advice, including a packing checklist.

I am so excited. I LOVE this trip and look forward to it all year, cuz that’s how I roll. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to School Parties

BTo all of our readers, HELLO!  I am so sorry for the lack of posts, but I want to share with you why.  We all are swamped with summer camps, vacations, and now getting ready for school to start.  I have to share with you why there was such a huge hiatus...

My family just spent 10 days in the fabulous Egypt!  We had such a great time!  The history in Egypt is amazing.  To think that these structures were built over 4,000 years ago is so hard to wrap your head around.  While DH and I listened intently to the guide, ours boys drew in the sand and asked every 5 minutes "when do we get to ride the camels?"  I'm hoping one day soon that it will sink in where they were and what they actually got to witness, but don't worry...I'm not holding my breath LOL.  I'm sure it will always be the trip where they rode camels and saw real mummies!

Well, now that we are back to the normal grind of swimming pools, play dates, back-to-school shopping (Jo, did you get your penny paper?) and getting ready for school to start, I'm here to see how you are doing!

The end of July/beginning of August (depending on when your school starts) is a mixed blessing for most school children. The carefree days of summer are coming to end, but the thought of a new school year is exciting.

Make the end of summer vacation more fun for your child with a back-to-school celebration.

Why have a back-to-school party?
There are many reasons!  If your summer is anything like ours, our summer vacations overlap with our friends.  For example, during our 10 day trip to Egypt, our best friends left for their vacation.  Now we are back, and they are gone for another week.  Having a back-to-school party allows for all of us to get together and exchange vacation stories (i.e.  "Joey was spit on by a camel.  How was your time on the beach?").  It also helps the kids get in the mind set of school, while reconnecting with friends they may not have seen much over the summer.  In our case, we are switching schools this year.  This was a pure academic decision, so some of my boys' friends are still at the old school.  This way, they can also connect with friends that they won't see on the first day of school!

Today we will talk about invitation ideas:

Here are some creative ideas:
  • Report card style
    Make a invitation that resembles an old report card. Use any previous school report cards as a reference or create your own design. Fill in school subject with party information, replacing the adjacent grades if necessary. These party invitation ideas should look like a report card with slight modifications when finished.
  • Mini chalkboard. Get mini chalkboards and chalk as invitations.  On the edge of the board, write “Back To School Party” with a permanent marker.  Type up party details on a piece of paper and insert it in with the chalkboard.  With chalk, write “You’re Invited!” in the center of the board.
  • Homework assignment style (your first assignment of the school year is to come to this party and have a great time)
  • large red apple, yellow school bus, or #2 pencil cutouts
  • buy inexpensive notebooks or note pads and write invitation on cover or front page
  • tape or tie a fun pencil to invitation 
Stay tuned for more ideas!  Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep us updated on any great back-to-school sales you come across!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer time, and the livin' is easy

Quick side note...we have a family blog, and for the first year I blogged, all my titles were either song names, or lyrics.  I guess I'm in the mind set...

I can't believe that next week will be the 2nd full week of July.  Where is the summer going?  Oh wait, now I remember: family visitors, summer camp, and next week family vacation.  This is Jo's and my first summer blogging, and heard about the "summer effect" and WOW time does get away from us, doesn't it?

So, now that 4th of July is over, what else do you have planned?  My family (Shelley) lives overseas, and we just had one of my very best friends and her husband visit sans kids.  It was SO much fun.  I was very thankful my kids were in day camp, and that our babysitter wasn't on holiday yet.  This is one reason I have been slightly absent from the blog.  Thank goodness I have Jo as a sister to pick up my slack (I'm guessing this sentence will come and bite me back one day...don't worry Jo, it's probably the lack of sleeping that is impairing my judgment LOL).

During the past 10 days we did A LOT of BBQing.  I know that we may be beating a dead horse, but it is the summer, and in between all our vacations and outings, I believe you are also BBQing.  I'm going to share with you some of our favorites that we stuffed ourselves with over the past 10 days (and yes, Mags, my diet suffered considerably.  How much did you gain?).  Don't forget to go back and visit where we talked about my FAVORITE rib recipe and of course, what BBQ is complete without margaritas?

Besides the aforementioned, we had burgers, steaks, shredded pork sandwiches, and tried some new beverage recipes.

The great thing about having this new blog and great friends, is that I get to try new recipes and have people who are completely honest to let me know if we should share it with you all!  We tried the below burgers and they were FAN.TAS.TIC!


Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ Burgers

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes (canned)
1 T chipotle sauce (See link to your left)
2 T white vinegar
2 lbs ground meat (beef, pork or turkey)
1/4 cup minced garlic (save your arm, and buy the jarred stuff)
1 t chipotle pepper or 1 T chipotle sauce
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
2 t kosher salt
2 red onions, sliced

1.  For sauce, in a saucepan, combine raspberry jam, barbecue sauce, crushed tomaotes, chipotle sauce and white vinegar.  Cook over medium to low heat until reduced by half.  In a large bowl, combine your meat of choice with garlic chipotle pepper, cumin, coriander and salt.  Shape into patties.

2.  Grill burgers to desired doneness (I like medium...Jo likes burnt).  Turn only once (flipping your burgers more than that causes tough patties).  Serve burgers on buns with sauce and onions.


Another confession, I only grill rib-eye steak and I always marinade!  Try this marinade next time you grill, and I promise you won't be disappointed...

In a zip lock bag, combine 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup red wine, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 t coarse-ground pepper, 1/2 t of salt, 1/2 t of Dijon mustard and a dash of lemon pepper.  Depending on how many steaks you grill you may need to double or more.  Seal the bag, and shake to combine.  Add your steaks and refrigerate at least an hour.  I always place our steaks in the fridge in the morning, for dinner time.

Savvy Tip:  If you have leftovers, slice the steak, and heat up on the stove with bell peppers and onions (use the frozen bags) and have fajitas the next day for lunch or dinner (or breakfast LOL)!

Shredded Pork 


7 pound pork shoulder roast trimmed of any excess skin and fat (I use a pork tenderloin so I don't have to trim it) 
3 T chili powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 t freshly ground pepper 
1 large onion, sliced
4 minced garlic cloves
3 cups (separated) of your favorite BBQ sauce

1.  In a small bowl, combine chili powder, salt, and freshly ground pepper.  Rub mixture all over pork roast until thoroughly coated.  Place sliced onion and minced garlic cloves in bottom of a slow cooker, then add roast and 1 cup barbecue sauce.  Pour water over roast until covered, about 4 cups.

2.  Cover slow cooker and cook pork on high until very tender and meat falls off bone, about 6 hours.  Carefully remove pork from slow cooker and reserve on a platter. Strain cooking liquid into sink, reserve onion; return pork and onion to slow cooker; shred meat with a fork and add 2 more cups of barbeque sauce.  Cook on high until heated, about 8 minutes.
Savvy Tips:  Use disposable crock pot liner.  Use pork tenderloin.  Liberally sprinkle all sides of meat with chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Use jarred garlic.  I like sweet barbecue sauce, so when I don't make my own, I try and find one with brown sugar in it.


Before you all think all I drink is margaritas (sometimes I drink strawberry margaritas), I'm going to share this super refreshing raspberry tea recipe!

5 cups water
6 raspberry tea bags
1 6oz can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
Ice cubes
Limes slice (optional)
fresh raspberries (optional)

1.  In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add tea bags.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Remove and discard tea bags.  Cool tea.  Transfer to a pitcher.  Cover and chill for a couple hours.

2.  Stir limeade concentrate into teas.  Fill glasses with ice, and garnish with fresh fruit.

Savvy Tip:  Up until last month, I RELIGIOUSLY used my Mr. Coffee Iced-Tea maker.  This is a MUST if you miss the great sweet tea of the south (which my DH and I do).  Putting it away one day, I drop and cracked the plastic pitcher.  So, if you don't have the maker, follow the above directions.  If you are fortunate to own the iced-tea maker, or are now inspired to purchase one (see the link to the left), just add the raspberry tea bags to the maker, and it brews your tea in minutes.  (Jo, my b-day is coming up, want to get me a replacement pitcher? LOL...or maybe Mikey can!)

Stay tuned, as we are going to post about my favorite party of the year, my family's Christmas in July party, back-to-school and more!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sunday Mom

I am excited to announce that has launched the Fall Children’s Worship Program. We like to bring all the fun, excitement, and attention to detail from our parties to church each week. You can also find free, printable Bible puzzles, Bible stories, and other ideas for teaching children about the love of God. Now that you have come down from your 4th of July junk food high and you have a little time between packing the kids for camp and swimming lessons, take a minute to check it out. Be careful not to squeal with excitement—you’ll wake the baby and that will mean the end of “me time”.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...