Category Archives: Entertaining FSL Style

2011 Holiday House Tour Continued

I figured I’d show you all around our house in all it’s tacky shimmering glory lol!  Here’s what the rest of Casa FSL is looking like these days…

Super Christmas-fied!

I added just a few touches to the kitchen…

The kids got at it before I snapped the picture, but you guys get the point right?  It was a snow globe attempt gone awry!  It looks more like a snow egg… whatev.

Silver reindeer and a rhinestone tree (what else did you expect?!) sittin on top of Simon.

Some snowmen soaps and a couple of silver and glitter votives sit by my sink to keep me happy while I wash the dishes.

Here’s our entryway area looking festive and a bit rustic. Please excuse the weird lighting.  I don’t know what’s up with it.

And a close up on a few little moments…

The gold glitter doesn’t stop there.  It’s in our bathroom also 🙂

And what bathroom is complete without feathers?!

Somebody stop me.  Really.

Our mancave downstairs already had the turquoise thing goin on, so I added some peacock feathers and disco balls to add some holiday jazzy-ness.

Merry Christmas to all of the Finding Silver Linings readers out there!  I hope you are all on the “Nice List” this year!!

xo

Mindy & Mr. FSL

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Gingerbread House Making With The Kiddos

Continuing on with yesterday’s gingerbread theme…

It’s becoming a little bit of a tradition around here.  For the past couple of years, we rally up the kids and decorate gingerbread houses.

 

Last year I learned that you need to assemble them about an hour or so before you plan on decorating them because the frosting holding it together needs to harden.  This year I remembered *insert smug grin here* .  It’s a rare thing that I remember something like that people.

Here are a few shots of the night.  Bitten, headless gingerbread men and all.

Um, I put the houses together.  Yeah.  Good thing I didn’t build our house that we live in, that’s all I’m sayin  😉

Here’s my 15 year old cousin’s iPhone, my best girl and my God daughter getting into some frosting action!

Mr. FSL looking exhausted ecstatic about all of this and our niece who actually was! LOL!

My cousin and her sugar induced smile.

Do you have any Christmastime traditions with the kids in your family?  Do you bite the heads off of your gingerbread men first? I wanna know.

Easy Caprese Bites

Tomato, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It tastes light and fresh.  This appetizer was one of the first to go at our party last week.  The best party appetizers you can eat with your fingers (plus, that means no forks to wash…1 less thing to clean right?!).

These couldn’t be easier, and look gorgeous just sitting there on a plate. The Christmas colors just happened to be a bonus.

You’ll need:

fresh mozzarella cheese in tiny balls or cut up into bite size pieces

grape tomatoes

fresh basil

toothpicks

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Wrap a basil leaf around a tomato and mozzarella ball. Hold together with a toothpick.

It’s complicated.

These would be fantastic drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil!

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What is your easiest party appetizer?  Share your recipe in the comment section!

Skinny Pizza Dip

Who doesn’t like pizza?  Really though.  I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like pizza. If you don’t, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Mr. FSL despises anything that is classified as a “dip”.  He thinks all dip is gross.  Especially if there’s any sour cream or cream cheese involved.  He actually makes this odd mock barf noise when those particular ingredients are mentioned out loud.  Not kidding.

I made three different hot dips in my new triple crockpot buffet thing-a-ma-bobber.  I made low fat  turkey taco dip (recipe here) and a full fat bacon and cheese dip (I’ll post that next week 😉 ).  I didn’t tell him what was in the pizza dip and he took it upon himself to test it.  He said verbatim “Woah! You need to make this again!  It’s awesome”.

I’ve eaten pizza dips before.  They are dangerously addicting.  I’m always the girl at the party with sauce around her lips when this stuff is around. Embarrassing.

I got my saucy little paws on the recipe so I can hoover it down without an audience to gross out make it for parties.  I doctored it up to make it lighter so I can eat twice as much.  I switched out the full fat version for low fat.  I don’t choose the non-fat version when it comes to dairy because it tastes weird to me and it tends to have a watery consistency.  Ew.

Here’s how I made it…

2 packages of low fat cream cheese (if you’re like my husband, insert weird belchy noise here)

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

2 cups

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (16oz) jar of pizza sauce

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, olives, onion, olives, (whatever “topping” you like on your pizza)

1 Baguette sliced for dipping

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In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and the Italian seasoning.

Spread in the bottom of the crockpot.

Next, sprinkle 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 of the grated cheese over the cream cheese mixture.

Pour the jar of pizza sauce on top.

Sprinkle the remaining cheeses and any “toppings” on top.

Put the crockpot on high for about an hour, then switch to low heat for 3 hours to serve.

I’m a bad blogger.  I forgot to snap a finished photo.  You’re just going to have to take my fatkid word on this one.  It was demolished in like an hour flat.  All of it.  My husband said it tasted like a cross between bagel bites and pizza rolls.  I though it tasted more like Elio’s Pizza.  Either way, it is something you need to make.

Now.

Go ahead.

I’ll wait 😀

What’s your fave party dip?

Red Velvet Pudding Shots

I swear I’m not a lush.

Once I find something that is a hit at every party, I try every variation I can think of.  Here’s the latest incarnation of the pudding shot.

Red Velvet.

I was getting ready for our annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.  Pudding shots were a must.  I had pistachio and I had cookies & cream already mixed and poured.  Ready to roll.  I wanted something festive and all I had was vanilla pudding.  I grabbed this lovely bottle instead of the usual whipped cream vodka.

1 1/4 cups of Devil’s Food Cake flavored vodka

3/4 cup of whole milk

a packet of instant vanilla pudding mix

a lot of red food coloring

a tub of cool whip

Mix it all up!

Pour into squeezable shot cups.

Top with whipped cream & garnish!

Poof! Holiday cheer in a cup!

For The Kids’ Table On Thanksgiving

When I was little, Thanksgiving day would go something like this:

Wake up ridiculously early.

Watch the parade.

Unravel the 20 braids in my hair so it would look crimped and gross like fancy mermaid hair because that’s what people do on special occasions 😉  .

Go to my grandmother’s house and eat at the kid’s table I had to eat enough real food to get me to the next round which was ice cream sandwiches that were somehow in the magical shape of turkeys.

Watch the women sit around the kitchen table and talk.

Watch the men watching football.

Long story short, I wished I had something fun to do while the grow ups did grown up things.

If you didn’t know this about me already, I’m an art teacher. Here’s a fun and cute activity for the little guys at the kids’ table this year. It’s a Native American inspired vest.  I do this project with my kindergarteners and 1st graders. They love it, and it’s virtually fool-proof.

You will need:
A large brown paper bag ( the kind from the grocery store, not Bloomingdales)
Crayons
A hole puncher
Yarn
Scissors
A big piece of construction paper (optional)
Glue ( if you are using the optional paper above)

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Draw a “U” shape on the bottom of the bag.

Flip the bag over.  Draw a “V” shape at the bottom of front of the bag (where there is a seam).

Cut out the “U” and “V” shapes out.  (I add 2 strips of packaging tape to the shoulder area so they don’t tear).

 

Cut down the front seam.

Cut 2 arm holes out.

Punch holes along each side of the seam.

Decorate with crayon at any time.  I’d do all of the above steps before the kids get there if they are small and can’t use scissors.  Nothing’s worse than feeling like a “baby” when you’re 4.

I had my students draw on a large brown paper that was glued to the back of the vest (in case they made a non-fixable mistake…we only had exactly enough bags for 1 per student).

Cut small snips along the bottom edges to create fringe if you like.

Tie a piece of yarn to the top hole on each side of the vest and lace it up!

I’ll post a photo of me playing dress up tomorrow.

Cheesecake Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Pastry

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blogging around here.  If you follow me on Twitter, then you peeped this:

Our 2 month old computer got hacked.  We were without our anti-virus software for literally ONE DAY!  I won’t get into another sobbing about our computer drama post, but I wanted to apologize to the readers that check in every day and keep seeing the same jute wreath staring back at them.

On to the good stuff…

I posted a few of the many drool-worthy dessert recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest a few days ago. Sunday we had a few friends over for a dinner party, and it was time to whip up a new dessert.

Here’s the original recipe:

Ingredients:
-3 cans pillsbury butter crescent rolls
-2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup butter (melted)
-Cinnamon & sugar

Instructions:
Unrolled and spread 1 & 1/2 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

 

If you’ve read any of my posts about attempting to test out a new recipe, then you know that some things have been changed.  I forgot my shopping list at home (again!) but I pretty much knew the ingredients I needed, so I winged it.

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

1 package puffed pastry dough sheets ( I grabbed the wrong thing at the store)

1 pkg low-fat cream cheese

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 coconut extract (we had no vanilla)

1/8 c butter (melted)

cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling

 

Heat the oven to 350F.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and extract in a bowl.  I didn’t soften the cream cheese, so it looked like this at first:

Just keep stirring until it looks nice and smooth  like this:

Place the puffed pastry sheet in an ungreased glass baking dish.

Spoon your cream cheese mixture onto the pastry sheet.  Don’t spread it too close to the edges, because it will creep out during the baking process.

Next,  place (or in my case fold) the puffed pastry sheet over the bottom sheet and mixture.  I sliced the dough into squares.

At this point, I should have pinched the edges closed with a fork (like sealing together 2 pie crusts or ravioli).

Coat the tops of each square with melted butter, cinnamon & sugar.

Bake for  20 – 25  minutes.  Your house will smell amazing!

It’s funny how people look at me when they don’t know that I blog about food.  Their facial expressions when I whip out the big boy Nikon, and start snapping shots of their dessert is priceless!

Serve warm & try not to eat them all! Good luck, I ate THREE!

Ed The Bassmaster

I apparently have been living under a rock.  I have never heard of Ed The Bassmaster until last night.  We went out for dinner & a drink Saturday night with a few friends.  We all came back to Casa FSL after.  We were doing my husband’s faaaavorite entertainment activity.  Ever.  We watched funny videos on Youtube on our big screen.  Usually there’s 1 or 2 videos that will stir up a laugh.  We found this channel by accident.  We got sucked into watching so many videos, that before we knew it we were all laughing until tears were rolling down our cheeks FOR 2 HOURS!!!  Video after video was playing and we were laughing harder and harder!!

He does so many different characters he’s like a one man Saturday Night Live.

He also reminds me a bit of Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat, Da Ali G Show) because he satys in character and pranks people.   Ed  has THE BEST poker face I’ve ever seen!  He pranks like The Jerky Boys.  Ah-Mazing.

Here are 2 hilarious videos.  You have to watch the whole clip and then go on his Youtube channel and have at least an hour to spare. 

My First Craft Show

My aunt makes gorgeous jewelry and was going to be a vendor at the local Fall Festival. Along with a few other women, she was going in on renting a space for their tent.  She asked me to join in, but I didn’t have enough items for all 3 days.  I agreed to do an afternoon and just bring what I had (which wasn’t much) and set up a small table.

At the last minute, the other ladies backed out leaving my aunt stuck paying for the whole thing, so I went all in.  I locked myself in my craft room (which I started calling “The Lab”) for a week and a half and made a lot more headbands, brooches, pins, etc.  I studied a few boards on Pinterest and researched a bit on how to set up a craft fair booth.  I even made a D-I-Y cake stand for part of my display (keep your eyes peeled for that tutorial soon!).

The night before, I set up a mock table in  my dining room so I could save time the next day.

I had to figure out how to display lots and lots of headbands using minimal table space and without crushing them.  Not easy.  I could have gone to Michael’s Craft Store and spent a fortune on cookie cutter, boring display pieces, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune or have a display that looked like anyone else’s.  So I did what I do best.  I looked around my house for things I could use creatively. I used my plain cylinder vases by putting hard headbands into them. I liked the way they fanned out around the vase.  I also placed a decorative branch in each vase and clipped hair pins and clips onto the branches.

I put the stretchy headbands on various Marilyn Monroe & Audrey Hepburn themed books…

I made price tags, wrote down my inventory, snapped some pics of the general set up so I can remember what I did, got $100 in change, gathered my bags & business cards and put the items into labeled ziplock bags. 

Since the fair was 3 days long, all vendors had to set up and take down their booths each day.  So, I packed everything into my huge suitcase (and a big tupperware bin) so I could wheel the heavy stuff to and from my car.

I didn’t have time or cash to buy a new tablecloth, so I used our old silver velvet duvet cover, lol!  We had to supply our own lights as well, so I stole the snazzy ones off of our night stands. 

I used one of our snack trays as my “check out stand”.  I used our silver sparkly umbrella stand to showcase the feather headbands and accessories. 

From the vases and books that I decorate with, to our bedroom decor, our  house was left looking like the Grinch came & stole everything for 3 days!

ME:

 I was ready to go! 

The funny thing is, most people stopped to inquire about the lamps! 

This set up was a bit busy, so as the day went by, I condensed and moved things around. 

I went from the butterfly bobby pins , rosebud pins, & ladybug pins on a paper plate (sorry about the blurry pic) to using my metal containers that used to house my herb garden and mousse cups that a co-worker gave me.

Here are a few of my best seller items, in case you were curious.

Chloe baby headbands

Elizabeth hair clips & baby bands

And here are some happy customers! 

 

Liz baby band

Rose bud bobby pinDanity ClipTu-Tu Ballerina baby band

Bella stretchy headbandHot Pink Jolee baby band

If you  or someone you know would like to look as adorable as these ladies above, click here to be sent to Finding Silver Linings Boutique 😉  You can customize ANY piece you see into a clip, a brooch, a bobby pin, a baby headband, a stretchy headband, hard headband, shoe clip, purse pin, etc.  It will be hand-made by moi.  Just do it 😀

*End of shameless advertisement paragraph*

 

Did you ever have a booth at a fair?  What kind?  Would you ever do it again?  Let’s chat.

Pudding Shots!

 I’ve been wanting to do this post for months and thought I lost the photos I took during the last computer melt down.  (Happy to report our computer is up and running!!) Well, it turned out that I have them stored on my memory card!  YAY!

Without further delay, I give you the best party recipe known to man…

Hello class,  today we will be learning how to make pudding shots.

Start by gathering your ingredients.  This recipe will make about 30 shots.  You will need :

1 1/2 cups of whipped cream vodka

1/2 cup milk

1 packet of pudding mix

1 tub of cool whip

canned whipped cream for garnish

any other garnishes you might want

SQUEEZABLE paper shot cups

***If you are making pistachio, only use 1 1/4 cup vodka and add 1/4 cup of Amaretto  (garnish with whipped cream & crushed pistachio nuts) **

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Make room in your fridge for the tray. Set up the cups on a baking sheet or tray.  Be sure to do this first or the pudding will set up in the big bowl and you’ll make a huge mess.  Trust me, I’ve done that.

Mix the milk, pudding packet, and vodka together in a bowl. Make sure it’s nice and smooth.Then, add in the cool whip.  Stir until blended well.

Pour into cups using a tablespoon, or if you’re me, a wonton spoon.  This part can get kind of messy.

 Fill each cup almost to the top.

Lick the bowl and spoon thoroughly.  This step is very important 😉 .  Up until this point I was only making pistachio pudding shots (they were the only flavor pudding shot that I ever tried).  After I lapped up every drop from the bowl, I found myself in the supermarket buying more cool whip to make more.  I had a genius moment of tipsiness and reached for the oreo and coconut pudding mixes.   Variety is the spice of life! 

Pop into the fridge.  They should be ready fairly quickly (like 25 minutes or so) but you can keep them in the fridge for a day if you need to.

Right before serving, top each cup with a squirt of whipped cream and your garnish of choice.

I used  Oreo pudding and garnished them with crushed oreos. This was the first flavor to get gobbled up.  They were amazing.

And I made the pistachio which I forgot to photograph (bad blogger!).

I also made coconut cream topped with toasted coconut,  which were my favorite.