Celebrate your Sister and Everything She Means to You

“Sisters make the best friends in the world.” —Marilyn Monroe

Sisters are our best friends, our confidants, and the ladies we can get downright crazy with. We depend on them and we cherish them. There’s even a national holiday which falls on the first Sunday in August known as National Sisters Day, specifically set aside to celebrate your relationship with your sister or sisters. To make the day fun and memorable, we’re sharing some ideas on how you can spend the day with your sis and let her know that she is appreciated and loved.

Have an old-fashioned sleepover– Fill the evening with all those fun activities you did when you were kids. You’ll of course need all your favorite snack foods & your favorite pajamas (even better get matching pj’s), but add an adult twist to the festivities with a nice bottle of wine, margaritas, or martinis. You can spend your special time together reminiscing, looking through old photos, listening to music, or watching movies you loved growing up.

Girl’s night special dinner– This special evening deserves a splurge, so choose a nice, upscale restaurant to treat yourselves at. Order whatever you want and don’t worry about calories or cost. Just enjoy an extra special dinner together and don’t forget to have dessert!

Have a makeover & photo shoot day – Do each other’s nails, hair and make-up and get all dressed up in your Sunday best. Take lots of pictures throughout the makeover to chronicle all the fun, and a final portrait that you can frame and cherish forever

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Take a real trip down memory lane – Hop in the car and take a drive to places you treasured when growing up. This could be the house you grew up in, past hang-outs, your favorite shopping spots, or even visit your old school. The great thing about happy memories is that they are all unique to the individual so the possibilities are endless.

Exchange special gifts – This may seem like an easy enough thing to do, but we suggest making it unique by making the gift something that will bring back memories. Was there a favorite candy that she enjoyed as a kid? How about a record or CD she wore out years ago? Put some thought into what may be a faded memory and bring it back to life with your thoughtful gift.

Just spend time together – It really doesn’t matter what activities are on the agenda on this special day. Even if’s it’s just a morning cup of coffee or a quick lunch, the most important thing is that you are together and celebrating the special bond you have

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Don’t live close to each other? We know that not all sisters live in the same town or city but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the day. Hop on a call or have a Zoom happy hour to spend time catching up. You can even send flowers, a gift, or even a thoughtful card to show your appreciation and love for your sister.

However you decide to spend National Sisters Day, we’re confident you’ll do it perfectly! To all you sisters out there… have a wonderful day!

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Great ways to celebrate Christmas in July

As we hit the halfway point of the summer, you may be looking for a fun alternative to your usual backyard barbecue or neighborhood get together.  Most festivals have been canceled and many other venues are still closed so creativity is essential in keeping the summer interesting.

It is believed that Christmas in July started in 1933 at an all-girls’ camp in Brevard, North Carolina called ‘Keystone Camp’. It was one of the camp co-founders, Fannie Holt who came up with the idea during a particularly hot summer as a way to bring cool thoughts to the campers. The festivities included carolers, gifts, a Christmas tree, and even snow made from cotton. 87 years later, it has become somewhat of a national holiday in many areas of the world. Especially in countries in the southern hemisphere where December 25th lands smack dab in the middle of their summer season.

Here in the U.S., it’s become a great way to add an extra celebration to the summer season, as well as put you in ‘chill mode’ during these hot steamy days. There are so many things you can do to celebrate Christmas in July, and we’re sharing some spectacular ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

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Put up a tree. If you have an artificial tree, you just need to bring it out and set it up. If your December Christmas includes a real Fir or Balsam, improvise with a wall tree or better yet, decorate a tree in your yard outside. Instead of your standard holiday bulbs and ornaments, use a fun summery motif like pink flamingos, palm trees, beach balls, Santa in swim trunks, and so on.

Cookies

Make Christmas Cookies. We found tons of great ideas for cute and tasty Christmas in July cookies that will bring your celebration to the next level. Sugar cookies decorated to look like flip flops, Hawaiian shirts, surfboards, and coconuts will make your holiday event super sweet!

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Have a snowball fight. It’s going to be pretty hard to find snow this time of year but there is a summer version of the snowball fight that can be just as, if not more fun. Tropical colors are great but if you want to get as close to the real thing as possible, white balloons can be purchased at many online retailers. Not only are you getting some exercise but you’ll also stay refreshed on a hot summer day. Fill them up, divide into teams, and start throwing.

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Have a Christmas movie night. Pop some corn, make some chocolate shakes (instead of hot chocolate), Put on your Christmas matching family pajamas, and settle in for your favorite holiday movies. All the popular titles are always available on Netflix or other streaming platforms and if you really want to get into that feel-good spirit, the Hallmark Channel is showing Christmas movies through the end of July. A great twist on this is to set up an outdoor theater with chaise lounges or lawn chairs so you can enjoy nature and the warm summer weather.

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Throw a holiday dinner party. Instead of the usual turkey with all the fixings, plan a dinner that revolves around summer fare. A watermelon snowman, reindeer sliders, and a Christmas tree cheese and fruit board are just a few ideas for your menu. And don’t forget the beverages… set up a North Pole drink station to keep everyone cool.

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Coordinate a gift exchange. Everyone loves presents, and the holidays are still several months away so a gift exchange is a great way to stay in the giving spirit. Especially this year when people may be feeling a bit down in the dumps, finding the perfect pick-me-up for someone can make all the difference in the world.

And these ideas are just to get you started! The sky’s the limit on what you can do for your mid-year cheer celebration.  From a neighborhood Christmas parade to an actual visit from Santa, how you deck the halls is all in what you imagine.

Ho-Ho-Ho!

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Dog hiding Fireworks

Keeping your dogs safe and calm during fireworks

The 4th of July is upon us. That means family, fun, and fireworks. If you have a dog however, the fireworks part of the holiday can be a very stressful time for both you and your fur baby.

Veterinarians will tell you that July 3rd is usually one of the heaviest traffic days in their offices, with people coming in to get drugs to help calm their dogs. This is also the busiest time of the year for animal shelters, as more dogs are found wandering loose and frightened on July 4th than any other day of the year.

So what can you do? Most of the time, there simply is no way to completely calm a dog that is afraid of the loud bangs and booms associated with fireworks.  But if you prepare a bit in advance, as well as follow some simple tips during the fireworks themselves,  you can make the holiday a lot less stressful for both of you.

dog-5236559_6401. Get your dog plenty of exercise early in the day. They will be worn out and feel much calmer than if they had been inactive all day.

2. Keep your dog indoors during any fireworks, and if possible, with a human companion. You are your dogs best friend and the biggest source of comfort they have in life. Just the act of being there with them can dramatically lower the stress level.

snuggle-4717388_6403. Give your dogs a comfortable, secure place where they can feel safe. If they like a crate, make sure one is accessible and perhaps even cover it with a blanket. If they prefer to hide in a bathtub or under the bed, make sure the doors to those rooms are open. Remember, dogs are den dwellers and prefer small, enclosed areas.

4. Whenever possible, keep windows and blinds closed. Sometimes even the visual of the fireworks can disorient a dog.

5. Turn on the TV or some music for them. The sounds from what you are playing will help drown out the commotion that’s happening outside.

dog-610069_6406. Create a diversion. A frozen Kong or other long lasting treat is fun and will distract them from the activity outdoors as they focus on the special gift you gave them.

7. Act normal. Dogs can sense when something is off. Remain calm and happy even before the show so they don’t suspect that something is up.

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8. Keep them watered. When dogs are panicked, they pant a lot which is how they sweat. Make sure they have plenty of water to keep them cool and hydrated.

9Introduce a scent. Many natural and herbal retailers sell dog calming scents in a variety of forms. Read the reviews of the product you are considering before you purchase.

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10. Be understanding. The worst thing you can do is scold your dog for being afraid or force him/her from their secure spot. Let them ride it out their own way and things will return to normal much quicker.

The most important thing to remember is that during the 4th of July, dogs have a tendency to become escape artists. Make sure your dog has a collar with tags on, or better yet, have them micro-chipped. Should they pull a Houdini, your chances of getting them back dramatically increase.

Hopefully these tips will help the whole family avoid some unneeded stress and you can spend the holiday enjoying everything that comes along with it.

Happy 4th of July!

 

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4 Summer Cocktails You Need to Try

Summer is here in full force which means its patio and picnic time.  Sure you can have beer and wine on-hand for your fun summer activities and get togethers, but there’s something about an icy, fruity cocktail during the warm summer months that just makes the mood perfect! Refreshing and delicious, these cocktail recipes will be the perfect addition to any event you have planned.

  1. Rainbow Sangria. A beautiful and colorful cocktail that not only looks pretty and tastes great, but as a bonus, you also get a full serving of nutritious fruit in every glass. We found this recipe at Delish.com.

Ingredients

 

1 1/2 Bottles Moscato – chilled

1/2 c. Triple Sec

Juice of 3 limes

1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 c. each blackberries & blueberries

6 kiwis, peeled and sliced

2 c. each diced pineapple, diced mango & halved strawberries

Directions

  • In a large pitcher, stir together white wine, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar until combined.
  • In tall glasses, layer blackberries, blueberries, kiwis, pineapple, mango, and strawberries.
  • Pour wine mixture over fruit and serve.
  1. Kentucky Lemonade. Nothing says summer like a refreshing glass of lemonade. This recipe takes this favorite hot weather staple and gives it a new twist. This recipe courtesy of The Chunky Chef is simple to make and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Kentucky Lemonade

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from approximately 6 lemons)

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2-2/3 cup Bourbon (depending on your tastes)

6 cups ginger ale

additional lemon slices (for garnish)

 

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water and heat over MED heat.  Heat until sugar dissolves into water and mixture is clear.  Simmer 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add lemon juice, mint leaves, and Bourbon, then let mixture cool.
  • Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher to remove solid particles and mint leaves.  Add ginger ale and stir to combine.  Add ice and lemon slices and serve cold.
  • To serve as pictured:  Add a bit of water, lemon juice or light corn syrup to a shallow plate.  To another shallow plate, add coarse white sugar.  Dip the open end of glasses onto the liquid plate, then onto the sugar plate to create the sugar rim.  Serve drink over ice cubes, garnish with a lemon slice and sprig of mint.

 

  1. Island Breeze Cocktail. If your summer plans don’t involve heading to a tropical island, this cocktail form Crazy for Crust is the next best thing. With just a few ingredients you can make it either as a single drink or as a punch if you need a big batch for a picnic. Minus the palm trees, it’s just like you’re really there!

Island Breeze

Ingredients

To make one cocktail:

1-2 ounces vodka

6 ounces pineapple juice

Splash of cranberry juice

Pineapple and a maraschino cherry for garnish optional

To make as a punch:

36 ounces pineapple juice

12 ounces vodka more or less depending on how strong you want it

1/2 cup cranberry juice

Up to 1L Sparkling water or diet lemon-lime soda as a filler

 

Instructions

  • Pour all ingredients over ice, stir, and enjoy!

 

  1. Strawberry Mojito. With fresh Strawberries at peak flavor this time of year, you’ll get the feeling that you’re right there in the patch picking handfuls of juicy berries. Add a little rum, mint, and a few other ingredients and you’ll have the coolest, most refreshing beverage you could ever imagine. Thank you to the folks at Allrecipes for this one!

Strawberry Mojito

Ingredients

2 tablespoons white sugar, for rimming

2 large limes, quartered

½ bunch mint leaves

7 eaches strawberries, quartered

1 cup white sugar

1 cup white rum

2 cups club soda

8 cups ice cubes

 

Instructions

  • Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sugar onto a small, shallow plate. Run one of the lime quarters around the rim of each cocktail glass, then dip the glasses into the sugar to rim; set aside.
  • Squeeze all of the lime quarters into a sturdy glass pitcher. Toss the juiced limes into the pitcher along with the mint, strawberries, and 1 cup of sugar. Crush the fruits together with a muddler to release the juices from the strawberries and the oil from the mint leaves. Stir in the rum and club soda until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the sugared glasses over ice cubes to serve.

 

They say we’re in for a hot summer, but we know you’ll keep cool with these tasty concoctions. We sure will! If you have other cocktail recipes we need to know about, feel free to tell us about them here or share them with our community over on Facebook.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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Father's Day

Fun and Unique Ways to Celebrate Dad!

Father’s Day is just around the corner, but the 2020 version might not be quite the same for some families. With the country slowly emerging from quarantine, many usual Father’s Day hot spots may not be operating this year. Baseball games have been put on hold, and restaurants can’t serve the large crowds they are accustomed to.

None of this means however that you can’t have a fantastic day with the special dad in your life. With a little planning and some imagination, you can make this the best Father’s Day yet! We’ve got 5 unique ideas to help you get those creative juices flowing.

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Fuel for the day. Start the day with breakfast in bed. Let dad sleep in while you prepare a meal full of his favorite foods. He’ll need the extra energy for the exciting events you have planned for the day and he’ll appreciate a little extra time in his pajamas!Go Kart

Start your engines. Go Kart Racing is a super fun way for the whole family to get outside and let some of pent-up energy out. Go Kart racing is growing in popularity and tracks are opening up in many communities. Make sure before you go, that you call in advance to find out about age, height and weight restrictions, and other requirements. If you don’t have a track in your area, bumper cars are a fun alternative.

Mini Golf

Tee Up. Dad’s love to golf so give him what he wants – with a twist. Go mini-golfing so the whole family can enjoy one another’s company. You’ll find out how good dad really is on the course when he has to putt his way through castles, wild animals, and clowns! Make sure you let him win thought- after all, it is his day!

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Up, up and away. One of the most unique ways to spend quality time with dad is by taking a hot air balloon ride. This activity isn’t for everyone, but for those that want to walk a little on the wild side, it’s something no one in your group will ever forget. There’s nothing like seeing the land below you from a bird’s eye view as you slowly drift through the sky. Keep in mind, this is a “weather permitting” activity, so make sure you have a plan-B ready to go in case Mother Nature decides not to cooperate.

Horseback Riding

Giddy-Up. For people who would rather keep both feet on the ground, a trail ride on horseback is a fun, relaxing way to spend the day. Many stables offer hour-long or half-day excursions through the countryside with either larger groups or private groups. Dad will love the experience, and it also allows kids to experience horses up close and personal, which they may otherwise not have the chance to do.

Fishing

Reel ‘em in. Fishing is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors as well as teach kids something new which could become a life-long passion. There’s nothing more exciting than casting your bait into a body of water and hooking your first fish. After you get some pictures for posterity, the release can be just as fun as you watch your new friend swim away. If you don’t have fishing rods and you don’t have anyone you can borrow some from, check into local trout farms. They have everything! Poles, bait, and even ponds full of fish!

 

Once your fun, activity day is over you can go home, fire up the grill and finish the day with a delicious family meal. Dad will always remember your amazing day together, and it will give you memories for years to come!

 

Tell us how you’re spending Father’s Day right here or on our Facebook page.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Staycation Ideas

Memorial Day, first and foremost, is the time we remember the heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s also an extra-long weekend where we spend quality time with family and friends to celebrate the official start of summer. Typically this holiday weekend is spent enjoying cookouts, parades, beach parties, and other celebrations that involve large gatherings. This year however, things will look dramatically different due to social distancing practices.

Although all our states are now open to one degree or another, everyone is still being encouraged to stay home whenever possible and limit the number of people we come in contact with. Because of this, folks are looking for ways to still enjoy the holiday weekend in a toned-down way.  We have some fabulous ideas, sure to keep the spirit of the weekend alive and well.

1. Sleep in. To make sure you are refreshed and ready to enjoy all your planned activities, you’ll need to be well-rested. Sleeping in – even an extra hour will assure that you are re-energized for all the fun.

2. Have a down-sized cookout: Memorial Day weekend just isn’t complete until you fire up the grill. You can set up yard games like cornhole or lawn Jenga and spend the day playing games, enjoying terrific food, and getting fresh air.

3. Go to a concert – virtually. The National Memorial Day Concert is being broadcast on PBS on Sunday night at 8pm EDT. The concert will stream from various locations around the country and feature performances and tributes honoring our veterans and troops. It features performances from artists such as Trace Adkins, CeCe Winans, Kelli O-Hara, and more.

 4. Build a campfire: Roast hot dogs and marshmallows, tell stories, and play campfire games for a good old fashioned summer tradition.

5. Do nothing. You read that right. Use the weekend to just relax, gather your thoughts, and enjoy the beautiful weather. There’s nothing we enjoy more than unplugging and taking as early afternoon nap in our favorite lawn chair or hammock.

6.Make your own paper poppies: After World War I, the red field poppy was one of the first plants to flourish in the battlefields of France & Belgium. The color also symbolized the bloodshed of the battles, after the publication of the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines. Today, paper poppies, which are all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, are distributed on Memorial Day weekend as a symbol of remembrance. This simple tutorial outlines how you can make your own poppies right at home. We love the idea of crafting them yourselves then donating money to your local VFW to continue supporting their mission.

7. Have a neighborhood parade: Get the neighbors together and plan a parade for your street or block. Kids can decorate floats and show their handiwork while everyone watches from their respective driveways or yards. It’s a great way to lift people’s spirits and get outside for some fun.

8. Make care packages for soldiers: While you are enjoying your uber long holiday weekend, soldiers are on the front line protecting our country. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude hold several events during Memorial Day weekend and are ready and waiting to collect your donations to send to our men and women serving in the armed forces. You can also check with your local chapter of veteran’s affiliations to find out what items they need and how you can get your care package to an appreciative soldier.

9. Decorate in Red, White & Blue. Nothing shows patriotism more than displaying our national colors. Fly the American flag, make ‘Thank you’ signs  for your front yard, decorate your driveway in red, white & blue in chalk art, and deck your home out with other arts and crafts to show your support for the good old U.S.A. This weekend is a good time to thank our first responders, care givers, doctors and nurses.

10. Bake festive treats. Baking can bring families together and the results are always delicious. Whip up some yummy treats for the family and decorate them in red, white & blue for the theme of the weekend.

Your Memorial Day weekend may be a bit more low-key than what you are used to but that doesn’t mean you can’t make everlasting memories, have fun, and spend time remembering what the day is all about.

We’d love to hear about your plans for the holiday. Share them below or visit our page on Facebook and share them with our community.

 

Happy Memorial Day!

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Gardening: The Hottest Hobby Around

As many continue to follow stay at home orders, nurseries and greenhouses are reporting a huge uptick in sales. It seems that gardening has become a very popular hobby.

Aside from enjoying beautiful blooms, or the satisfaction that comes from growing your own veggies and fruits, gardening also has both physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.

The process of planning, creating, and planting gardens gives your brain stimulation and helps you forget about the stress you may have in your life. Gardening connects us to nature and allows us to focus on the entire process. Your finished product then continues to give back two-fold: It provides an ongoing outlet for stress relief as you maintain it, and the end result is a soothing environment that you can enjoy and decompress in for the entire season.

The physical aspects you gain from gardening have tremendous health benefits. To begin with, gardening releases serotonin and dopamine in our brains, otherwise known as the “feel good” chemicals.  A 2007 study showed that working with soil just makes us happier. A bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae triggers serotonin release, which in turn lifts mood and reduces anxiety. The human body also benefits from the vitamin D we get from the sun and the fresh air we inhale. These elements give you energy, build immunity, cleanse your senses, and help you sleep better.  Plus… you’ll find that you eat more fruits and vegetables because you have them right on hand. It’s surprising how much more delicious they really are when picked fresh!

The best thing about gardening is that you can have one regardless of where you live. Here are some popular methods for creating your very own garden getaway.

Apartment or Condo Living: You don’t have to have a huge back yard or acres of farmland to surround yourself with nature. Urban patio gardens, for instance, come to life with hanging planters, raised beds, and oversized pots. You can grow just about anything from flowers to vegetables in these receptacles so don’t be afraid to experiment

Small City Lots: If space is an issue, consider a leveled garden and using window boxes to maximize your growing area. You’d be surprised at how many varieties of botanicals, vegetables, and herbs don’t need a lot of room to flourish. Did you know you can turn an old dresser into a beautiful vertical garden? It’s the perfect way to repurpose an unwanted piece of furniture.

Subdivision Spaces: If you live in a subdivision, there is a good chance you have a Home Owners Association that has some guidelines you’ll have to follow. Find out what those are before you start planting because it’s common for HOA’s to limit gardening spaces to side or back yards only. With a little creativity however, that’s plenty of room to grow your garden paradise.

Wide Open Spaces: If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger property where the sky’s the limit you’ve got yourself a gardener’s paradise. Containers, levels, flower beds, hanging baskets, and more can all be worked into your creation. The possibilities are endless so use your imagination. Let both ideas you find online and your local garden center provide inspiration and don’t be afraid to try different things.

The weather is getting warmer so get out your gloves, shovels, and fertilizer and join the growing population of home gardeners. Your new space will be the perfect place to have your morning coffee or evening cocktail, spend family time, and eventually start entertaining again! It’s also the ideal place to just lounge in your pajamas!

 

Happy gardening!

 

We want to see your garden creations! Post your pictures here or visit our Facebook page and let’s see how you enjoy paradise!

 

 

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Love Mom

Unique Ways To Celebrate Mom

This year, with many of us still under ‘stay at home’ orders, we will have to find a different way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Instead of a traditional brunch at a restaurant, or spending the day browsing our favorite shops, we have to get creative in the way we go about pampering the most important woman in our lives.

Fortunately, there are a lot of really great things you can still do to show mom how much you love her, and make sure she has the day she deserves.

Brunch

Brunch – To Go. While many restaurants are still closed to in-house dining, there are lots of them that are offering curbside pickup and special Mother’s Day menus. We love this idea because you don’t have to worry about crowded dining rooms or long wait times. Another bonus is that you don’t have to pick just one restaurant to eat at. Look into what your local establishments are offering and then pick up items from several different places. Bring it all home, and create your own personalized buffet that is tailor-made to your tastes! You’re supporting the small businesses that really need it, and feeding everyone exactly what they want at the same time. Don’t forget your local bakeries for baked goods to round out the meal.

Have a Virtual Family Visit. When you can’t be together physically, the next best thing is an online face-to-face reunion. Make sure in advance that everyone has the right software downloaded so they are ready at the designated call time. A fun idea is to make sure everyone is set with a bottle of champagne (or sparkling juice for the young ones) so you can toast mom! Each attendee can take the opportunity to give a little speech, and when everyone has had their turn, one big “prost” to the woman of the hour! Spend the rest of the time reminiscing and telling stories. There really is nothing better!

Plan Mother’s Day – Part 2. Since you may not have the opportunity to actually spend May 10th with mom, a great idea is to make a promise to do it right once things return to normal. Send her an invitation with the date TBD and some pretty flowers promising to have a special day that’s all about her when you can safely get together.

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Buy Her Some Pajamas. Of course we’re partial to pajamas, but who isn’t? With so much time being spent at home, mom might as well be comfy. Pick out an extra special pair of jammies and have them delivered right to her door. You could also send some tea or wine so she can cuddle up and pamper herself on this special day. Don’t know what she’d like? Send her a virtual gift card!

Walk

Take a walk. If you are in the position where you get to actually see your mom on Mother’s Day, why not make it a healthy event? Most parks and walking trails are open, and the fresh air plus Vitamin D are just what the doctor ordered. Put your walking shoes on and take in the scenery.  Spend this special time together catching up, telling stories, and just enjoying each other’s company. Remember, the biggest gift you can give your mom is you!

Crafts

Channel your inner artist. Creating a personalized gift is a wonderful way to show how much you care. With thousands of ideas right at your fingertips, you’re sure to find something that will get your creative juices flowing.  A quick Pinterest search and a few clicks of the mouse will yield directions for painted flower pots, homemade soy candles, and hand-woven wall hangings- just to name a few. The sky’s the limit on this idea, and with so much time on our hands these days you might even be able to make several gifts!

There are tons of other things you can do to celebrate your mom, and we’re confident you’ll make her special day memorable. Regardless of how you spend it, the most important thing is that this year, more than ever, the most important woman in your life, knows just how amazing she is and how much she means to you!

Have special plans to celebrate Mom this year? We’d love to hear about what your plans are. Post your ideas below, or head over to our Facebook page and share it with us there.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

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Throwing a Formal Family Pajama Dinner Party

Running out of ideas to keep your family entertained while we stay at home? We’ve got a great idea! Throw a dinner party – in pajamas!

Gone (for now anyway), are the days of eat-and-run, or the family fending for themselves at dinnertime. The great tradition of family mealtime is back in style. Families are bonding, learning more about one another, and communicating face-to-face.

Keeping things interesting however, may pose a bit of a challenge. Instead of just sitting down to supper, we suggest you mix it up a bit and create a full-blown event. Here are some ideas that you can use to pull together a formal family dinner in pajamas.

Invite

Plan it. To get started, just like any other party, you have to plan the event. Make invitations with date, time, and location (i.e.: cocktails in the living room at 6pm followed by dinner in the dining room at 7pm) and present them to the family members in your home. You could include RSVP cards that need to be returned by a certain day just to make it even more fun!

Sushi-Banner home page

Dress code. Just because this is a formal pajama dinner party, does not mean that your guests can arrive wearing just any old PJs. Make sure they slip on their very best pair for the occasion. Gals can do their hair and makeup (yes, even the little ones can participate) while guys should shave- if needed, splash on a little cologne, and even style their hair. Add accessories like jewelry, ties, and top hats to really take it up a notch!

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Set the mood. Candlelight, a pretty table cloth, creative folded napkins, mood music, and fresh-cut flowers on the table are all perfect for setting the right ambiance. Make the family feel like they are going out to a fancy meal at a special place.

Cooking

Create the perfect menu. Think about everything from the cocktail (or kiddie cocktail) hour with appetizers, to the dinner itself. Try to make a meal that isn’t part of your normal routine but will appeal to everyone. If you have picky eaters, then ‘dress up’ their favorites to give the food a fancy feel. Don’t forget an extra special dessert!

Dancing family

Dancing anyone? What’s a formal dinner party without a little dancing afterward? The best way to do this is to have a variety of music that everyone can relate to. Get cheek to cheek for a song or two, and then kick it into high gear and shake your booty. After-dinner dancing will also burn off some of those extra calories you may have consumed.

 

Take a family picture. As things slowly return to normal, you’ll definitely want a lasting memory of your evening. Get everyone posed, set the timer and say cheeeeeese.

Although the majority of us eagerly await the return to normalcy, the silver lining that has come from all of this is that families have been able to reconnect. We hope that after this is over, families will continue to plan, and set aside time to partake in unique bonding activities. It’s the best way to build close-knit relationships that can be passed down to the next generation.

Stay well, healthy, and safe

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How to Host a Virtual Happy Hour

Working at home all day definitely has its perks. We don’t have to deal with traffic, you don’t have to rush around in the morning, and best of all we can work in our pajamas (that’s our favorite part)!

You might, however, be feeling a bit isolated, and missing your co-workers and friends as we practice our social distancing. A virtual happy hour may be just what you need to give your day some structure and create a lifeline between you and your loved ones.

So how do you host a virtual happy hour? It’s really pretty simple and an upside is that it’s a lot less expensive than going to a restaurant or bar!

Pick your platform. You’re going to need a chat platform to host your event and which one you use will depend on your guests. Zoom is the most popular option because you can send invites to anyone and its super easy to use. The one drawback is that if you don’t have a paid version, the free version only allows for a 40-minute group session which probably isn’t enough time to get truly happy . Facebook, Skype, and Google Hangouts are fine alternatives as long as everyone is comfortable with the interface you pick.

Margaritia Virtual HH

Have a theme. Although it’s not a must for your virtual happy hour, a theme can make the event that much more fun. Try a margarita night, a whiskey tasting, wine with the gals, or a pajama party. Make sure to dress for the event too. Wine night… get dolled up (make-up and all) and put on some of ‘going out’ clothes just like you would if you were meeting somewhere. Pajama theme… get comfy and have fun!

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Make it a real party. Send out invites, share the theme and request RSVPs. We also love the idea of having a “happy hour for a cause” where at the end, instead of tipping a bartender, attendees can donate to your chosen charitable cause or nonprofit through Paypal or Facebook.

Manage your guest list. There are 2 things you want to consider when deciding who will attend your shindig. First, make sure the attendees are compatible especially if you have different circles of friends. Happy hour is all about the conversation so you don’t want someone feeling left out because they don’t mesh with other guests. You’ll also want to limit the number of people joining in. A nice size group is around 10 people. This way you won’t have people talking over one another and the conversation can flow naturally.

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Choose the ambiance. If you’re going to virtually hang out with your friends, you want to be able to see and hear them and you want them to see and hear you. Make sure to pick a well-lit area to place your laptop or mobile device and chose a location where background noise (think barking dogs or children playing) won’t get in the way of your conversations.

Keep the conversation light. It will be very easy to get on the topic of Coronavirus but try not to let that happen. This is all about the fun and escaping from the daily grind. It’s likely been a while since everyone has seen each other so use this time to catch up on what’s happening with everyone. You can talk about new recipes you’ve tried, movies you’ve watched, or books you’ve read. It may help to tell everyone in advance that there are topics you’d like to avoid so you can fully embrace the time together with your besties.

Choose the next host. Before you all sign off, ask if anyone would like to organize the next get together. Having something to look forward to makes everything we are all going through just a little more bearable.

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You’re not alone if you can’t wait for life to get back to normal and hopefully it will sooner than later. In the meantime, a virtual gathering is the best way to stay connected. You don’t have to limit them to happy hour either. Try a morning coffee clutch, an afternoon brunch, a dinner party or even a movie night. We need each other and together we’ll get through this.

 

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