TWOsday Recipes

Hi, y’all! I hesitate to even call what I’m sharing today “recipes.” I wanted to share some easy go-to ideas for your events. Each recipe has only TWO ingredients!

First, my favorite sweet dip is what I call Marshmallow Fruit Dip. Simply combine a 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme with an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese. Whip it together by hand or in a stand mixer. This is a hit with my kids! They love dipping grapes and strawberries into it.My next delicious duo is Chili-Cheese Dip. Combine an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese with a 10-ounce can of chili (no beans). Heat on the stove until the cheese has melted. Bake in a cast iron skillet in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Another savory dip is the Classic Cheese Dip. For a 16-ounce brick of processed cheese (Velveeta), add two 10-ounce cans of tomatoes with chiles (Ro-Tel). I always just put mine in the crock pot. This is also perfect with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Finally, my last recipe is for making sugar molds! This is the easiest way to fancy up a tea party. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of water for every 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend both items in a food processor until all sugar is evenly wet. Spoon into mold, making sure to pack the sugar down well.

Invert onto a cookie sheet by placing the cookie sheet upside down on the mold and then turning both over. Gently remove the mold and let the sugar molds rest for at least 30 minutes.

Get these flower-shaped molds for only $1.99!


Or try the heart-shaped molds, if that’s more your style.
***Edited to add a new recipe!***

Lime-Sherbet Punch. Anyone else always pronounce it “sherbert?” I think it drives my husband crazy. Anyhow, I usually do a quart of slightly softened lime sherbet (but you can use raspberry or orange to change the color!) to a 2-liter of ginger ale. Now, we’re flexing on the two-ingredient rule, but if you’re having a 1950’s themed Christmas, add in some maraschino cheeries for color! Really, though, you only need the sherbet and the ginger ale.

The Joy of Reading

I’m a huge fan of reading. In fact, I receive questions from readers often asking for recommendations. Each week I’ll have a post dedicated to what I’m reading. Sometimes it’s books about etiquette. Sometimes it’s fictions. Currently, it’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a Savannah Story. I’ve read this before, but, like most books, I find myself almost homesick for the places and people. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, though, is different because it’s non-fiction, meaning that the people and places are real. I can’t express how much I want to go to Savannah, Georgia and meet some of the characters. There’s not a perfect soul among them, but it’s often the imperfections we fall in love with.

My kids, thankfully, also love to read. Well, my son, who is four, loves being read to. My daughter, who is in kindergarten, has started reading fairly well on her own. From the time I was pregnant, we’d read stories to them. The first book I vividly remember reading to my pregnant belly was a Berenstain Bears book, a childhood favorite of my own.

Each Thursday we go as a family to our local library to find new treasures.

We’re very fortunate to have a phenomenal librarian and library staff. Each employee is wonderful with kids and adults and offer fantastic suggestions. The Berenstain Bears continue to be a favorite of both of my kids. However, as they’ve aged, they’ve added new favorites, as well. My daughter loves everything My Little Pony. My son tends to favor Paw Patrol. We’ve read Ramona Quimby books (one of my top picks as a kid), the Pinkalicious series and lots of others, well.

Even as a child I knew the power a book held. It allowed you to travel to places that don’t actually exist. You were able to see from the viewpoint of people who lives hundreds of years ago or who lived in different parts of the world. I remember lying on my bed looking at the back of my Berenstain Bears books thinking of which one I wished I had. I had two favorites in particular.

By now y’all likely know of my love of holidays, so I doubt it comes as much of a surprise that one of my favorites was The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin. It tells of the meaning behind Thanksgiving and how we sometimes forget to be grateful for the little things in life.

My absolute, without-a-doubt, top pick of all time is The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear (First Time Books(R)).

To this day, I get giddy when my kids and I curl up to read this book. It had the most beautiful cover, and I remember empathisizing strongly with Sister Bear. No matter what issue the Bear family faced, everything was always put back together by the end, which I appreciated as a child.

I strongly feel that reading grows our empathy and helps us to be a better person and citizen. We see the world from a different perspective, and we learn that our way isn’t the only way. I look forward to sharing what I’m reading with y’all, as well as some reading goals I’ve set for myself! I hope you’ll share with me, too!

What books are you reading right now? I always love suggestions!

 

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Cutesy vs. Classy

I am blessed to be a contributor for our local paper where I answer readers’ questions on a weekly basis. In addition to this, I am finishing up this semseter’s Junior Cotillion and Cotillion courses, so I also receive questions there. I’ve noticed a “trend” (pun intended) of people leaning toward cutesy instead of classy. The difference, though, is very stark, in my opinion.

I remember when I was younger my mom asked me, “Do you want people to notice you or your clothes?” It changed my way of thinking. Now, this post is not implying that all trends are bad. I don’t believe that for one second. This post, though, is a gentle reminder that all trends aren’t for everyone.

If a trend detracts from you, it doesn’t work for you. I have forever wanted to be someone who wore maxi dresses well. I’m 5′ 3″ with hips. They just don’t work for me. There are several other trends, however, that do work well.

My goal in teaching my students etiquette is to encourage class over cute. We all work too hard to have a trend remembered instead of us.

Spring Evenings

One of my favorite things about spring is the longer evenings. Yes, I know we don’t really “gain” or “lose” an hour during time changes. However, it being light outside at 8pm is wonderful to me. I got in a bad habit during the winter of rarely going outside, even on mild days.

One of my goals for spring is to venture outside more often and to spend that time as a family. What we do together doesn’t have to be complicated. My goal is to just spend more time outdoors as a family. This past weekend my husband and I enjoyed sitting outside together playing cribbage while our kids picked me the perfect wildflower (weeds) bouquet.I love raising children to be givers. They were both so proud of this bouquet and enjoyed finding more “flowers” to add to it.

Earlier in the day, the kids and I made a delicious batch of double fudge brownies from scratch. They are heavenly. If you don’t brown your butter before making brownies, let me encourage you to start doing so!

To go with it, we made a batch of homemade hot fudge!

This is the easiest, most delicious hot fudge I’ve ever eaten. It’s slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s version . However, I added about two or three tablespoons of sweet milk (regular cow’s milk) to thin it just enough for my preference. Also, I did it on the stove instead of the microwave. It just always seems more “homemade” that way. Yes, I know it’s just sweetened condensed milk with chocolate chips and in no actual way “truly” homemade. Let me enjoy my moment. 🙂

We warmed our brownies slightly, added Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla (a must) on top and poured on our hot fudge. Then the kids decorated theirs with sprinkles while Garrett and I topped ours with raspberries. Such a perfect dessert. I hope you get an opportunity to try this! It’s a great solution for an easy dessert when you have last-minute guests. Enjoy!

Hello, Spring!

I’ve had a few readers request for me to talk about my family’s life, which I’m thrilled to get to do. I think my famils is the foundation for who I am and why etiquette and traditions are so important to me. I also believe that, as a mother, I understand the struggles other parents share with trying to teach etiquette to their kids. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it’s also truly worth the effort.

Pear blossoms

I absolutely love spring. Actually, I love all seasons, as there is just so many possibilities that each season holds. I thrive on anticipation. Spring brings warm days, picnics, new growth, promises and so many more “good” things. I struggle, though, with sharing any difficulties I experience because I feel as though I never want to be a disappointment to my readers. However, I’ve resolved to be completely authentically real. So, each month I plan to share areas of etiquette I’ve either struggled to understand or implement. I hope this will give you hope.

I’ve mentioned in the past I have a *slight* Pottery Barn addiction. I get frustrated with how the world seems to glorify failure. I’ve read a lot of good articles recently on it, as I’ve attempted to understand why it’s become so popular lately. In my opinion, it goes beyond the idea of us all being human and making mistakes. I don’t believe that mistakes doom us to simply giving up trying. My goal in sharing my struggles is for us to share ideas on how to help each other.

Outdoor eating is one of my favorite things about warmer weather!

In no way do I believe that life should look like a Pottery Barn magazine all of the time. I also disagree with the idea that we should all give up trying. So, here’s to sharing what makes us real while continuing to try our best. There will be a lot of grace along the way.