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Easter Brunch Breakdown

It’s time for my Easter Brunch Breakdown.

These posts help me plan and adjust our brunch each year. I find it tremendously helpful to have records of what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully, if you find yourself hosting a brunch, these posts might help you as well.

I stumbled across this favorite quote: Chance favors the prepared mind (Louis Pasteur) a few times over the weekend.  Should have applied the wisdom of it a bit more.

However, in fairness to myself, the health of my husband’s grandpa left lots of questions about whether we’d be hosting as the holiday approached. It meant I held off doing things. Thankfully, his health improved and we carried on with Easter.

Dare I say that I might be slowing down a bit? I found it harder than previous years to stay up late getting things ready. And then, were it not for my husband, I’d have overslept more than I already did.  Must start earlier next year!

Excuse the blurry photos, lack of sleep surely gets the blame for these poor photos (and lack of photos in general).

The Menu:

A mismatched throw together of trying to capture all the favorites plus adding in a few new dishes. Not everything worked or turned out well. 

Muffin choices: blueberry, chocolate chip, triple berry white chocolate, pumpkin, pumpkin chocolate chip, cappuccino muffins*

Cinnamon rolls (from a local restaurant)

Fruit: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries

Fruit dip (my quick recipe: 1 package cream cheese plus one jar marshmallow fluff)

Caramelized bacon twists, regular bacon

Sausage pinwheels, regular sausage

Ham and cheese Quiche

Sausage puff

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Regular hash browns

Brisket

Rolls

Dessert choices: chocolate covered strawberries, banana bread, carrot cakes, lemon curd in pastry shells, strawberry mousse in pastry shells, peeps swimming in jello, various candies, cherry/apple/blueberry pie bars

*the cappuccino muffins and the cherry/apple/blueberry pie bars did not turn out so weren’t on our table

Menu Items I Wanted To Make But Ran Out Of Time:

peanut butter and jelly cookies

a veggie Quiche of some sort

vegetable side dish (thinking maybe a big salad for next year?)

truffle type dessert or other table decoration dessert

Menu Hits:

Caramelized bacon twists, fresh fruit, Guatemalan banana bread (my g. nieces loved this!), the brisket, and the sausage puff.

Menu Misses:

lots of muffins left (may need to shake up the offerings for next year), fruit dip (don’t think people knew it was fruit dip), and the ham/cheese Quiche (another one to scale back perhaps)

Menu Maybes:

Cinnamon rolls (I bought these from a local restaurant and bought too many, they freeze well at least), sausage pinwheels (tradition but I always have so many leftover and they don’t keep!), oven roasted potatoes (I liked the ones I didn’t burn but rosemary is a hate it or love it thing)

Items To Remove From Menu:

cappuccino muffins, cherry pie bars (I love the idea of these but they did not turn out “pretty” enough to serve on a brunch table…maybe adapt them into a muffin?), hash browns (unless I return to my basic hash brown bake recipe)

Thoughts about Easter Brunch 2018: 

We had a smaller crowd and the weather was cold. I’ve noticed people don’t go back for seconds as often when they can’t mill about as much (our house is well-suited to indoor/outdoor events, not so much for indoor only events).  Everyone who was there did seem to enjoy the food and themselves. And of course, like my mother, I have to cook enough “to feed an army”

Oversleeping made for a bit of a rough start, usually I have things set up as our guests are arriving and they don’t have to wait.  Also, my timing seemed off this year with getting things prepared early enough/kept hot. Burnt more than I should have (ugh!).  Sleep is important, next year I need to do more in advance and have better plans.

Should also perhaps put a bit more effort into the setup/decorations next year (and hope for better weather!). Do you host any big family events like Easter brunch? What are your helpful hints?

My Spring Break Brainstorming

Spring break looks a bit different when the kids become teenagers. My boys would be fine if we did not a thing all week-long. They’d be happy simply staying up late, sleeping in late, and playing video games and watching television (read YouTube) non-stop.

However, it’s my spring break next week as well and I want to spend some time with them doing a few other things.  I thought it would be fun to simply write a post on my spring break brainstorming of activities.

Lots of these will be food related, teenage boys = almost everything agreeable must be food related! These ideas are mine but I’m sure the boys will have a few of their own as well.

OUTDOOR THINGS: 

  • Walking at local nature center trails
  • Yardwork 
  • Maybe a day trip somewhere (so I guess that would be a “in the car” thing)
  • Sculpture garden at Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery
  • Walking around Plaza
  • I think the Royals home opener falls during our Spring break? Need to check.

FOOD PLACES TO GO:

  • Steak and Shake
  • Art gallery or plaza and lunch at Winsteads (one of G’s favorite restaurants)
  • New local business that serves cookie dough like ice cream
  • Snow cones! (one J’s favorite things, he’d go in the winter if they were open)
  • Culvers
  • IHop

INDOOR THINGS:

  • Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery (There’s a display I really want to see and think the boys would also enjoy)
  • A Walk Down Memory Lane in a Toys R US before they close for good
  • Maybe indoor swimming
  • Movies (I’m adding a separate heading with all the movies we need to see)
  • Bowling and/or laser tag (with friends)
  • Top Golf and/or visit an arcade somewhere

AT HOME THINGS:

  • Movies
  • Sort Through Books (Planning to sell/donate some books to Half-Price Books)
  • Read
  • Clean out some cabinets (This is for me, not something for the boys…)
  • Board games
  • Video games
  • Cooking (I do need to use some of the week to prepare for Easter Brunch)

Do I think we’ll do all of these things? Nope. It’s nice to have a few ideas for how we might spend our days though.

My plan for tonight is to ask the boys their input for ideas on what they want to do during the week. I also plan to make a few “guidelines” so it won’t be complete chaos around here when Easter arrives.

Do you get a spring break? How do you spend your time during breaks?

 

 

 

Friday Night Five: Progress Update On My 18 For 2018

I’m a bit late with my Five on Friday post since I worked all day.  Really, I wasn’t sure I’d put one together but everyone’s kind of doing their own thing tonight leaving me time to do this.

Rachel who blogs over at Living Better One Day At A Time wrote an update on her 2018 goals (she’s doing one monthly, not sure I’ll be that disciplined about things) so I thought I’d steal her idea for this post.

However, in keeping with the Five on Friday theme, I’m sharing just five of my 18 where I’ve made progress.

Five Of My 18 With Positive Progress:

ONE: Read (at least) 18 Books…

Seems I should absolutely start with this one as it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss after all. (Aside: We had pajama day at work…and I had to stop after work to get gas…in my pajamas! I drew the line at going to get the pizza we ordered though…sent the husband)

I’ve read 10 books so far this year! Completed four books from my list of books I want to read in 2018 as well. Currently, I’m working through my fifth book from this list.  Tracking it all (and sometimes writing brief reviews) over on Goodreads.

TWO: Buy Fresh Flowers For The Table Once A Month 

Right now, tulips are drooping in the two vases (my attempt to fix the drooping…didn’t work). Staying intentional about this one.

THREE: Complete A Sugar-Free Challenge

In current progress. Decided to give up refined sugar for the duration of lent. Did you know it’s in just about everything? Annoying. And I’ve done well with this but certainly, have not been perfect. Also, I decided to not be too vigilant if we go out to dinner, just get things that seem reasonably healthy.

I broke last Friday and ate the chocolate cake and cherry ice cream but went back to the challenge the very next day so I’m proud of myself for not simply giving up on it.

Discovering lots of sugar-free treat recipes using honey and maple syrup (mostly honey) to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

FOUR: Guard My Heart From Negativity And Drama

A vague one here, I know.  However, I’ve made a start. One place I find a lot of it is Facebook so I’ve given myself a new “rule” for the site.  When I pop on there, I count. Once I hit 3 negative or overly dramatic posts (whether from friends or news sites or other places), I log off of it. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been on there a lot less.   My morning go-to site’s now Pocket Camp: Animal Crossing. A more pleasant start to my day!

FIVE: Get Rid Of 18 Things We Don’t Love/Use Each Month

While I didn’t count, I’m almost sure we met this goal in both January and February. We’re lucky to have the charity pick up people call us and then, pick up our donations about once a month. In both January and February, I set out at least two bags of items. I think it was two bags in January and then, three bags in February. Mostly clothes with a few random household items plus some games (we went through and made sure they were complete) from the boys’ rooms.

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There are a few items where I definitely need to improve though: the getting ready for next Christmas one (I’m a lot of talk, little action), any item with the word “clean” in it (old habits…), and the vacation planning.

I’m hopeful with improving weather, the outdoor activity related items should start to pick up and/or happen soon.

What kind of projects and progress are you making in 2018?

 

 

What’s Going On Wednesday: Slow Week

I didn’t mention it in my Monday post but our calendar for this week is empty.

Monday:

we did nothing.  I went to the grocery store but we were all here and sitting at the table for dinner. Thought I’d followed the menu plan this week but a glance back at it and nope, not at all. Following the menus (mostly) but not the days.

We had our French Toast on Monday night. I tried to make myself a sugar-free version using a banana, almond milk, and the pumpernickel bread. Let’s not discuss that any further although I didn’t cave and eat the good stuff.

Tuesday:

Yesterday, again a slow day. My husband and I were both off work so I took him out to lunch with a gift card from my birthday. Then, we went to Wal-Mart to get oil for my car. Welcome to almost 20 years of marriage!

During the afternoon, my husband helped my oldest work on his parallel parking skills while J and I went for a walk around the block.

In the evening, we had chicken enchiladas (note to self: next time check for red sauce before you start cooking) and taco salads.

J’s binder broke during the school day so after we ate dinner, I made a run out to an office supply store get him a new one.

Wednesday, Today:

Did you know it’s International Hygge Day?   More information about it all on this enjoyable blog.

Are you recognizing it?  I’m making small attempts.

Heated up one of those pumpkin honey muffins for breakfast.

Pulled out the chocolate chip cookies (from the store, fundraiser deal) for the kids’ lunches. Been in my fuzzy socks all day except for the school run and to do a work-out video.

Made myself some peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies using this recipe.  And put them on a pretty plate.  I halved the recipe. Can’t decide if that’s a good thing since I couldn’t stop eating them or a bad thing because I already know I’ll need to make more.

Watched a movie (this is my husband’s fault, he turned it on and of course, left but I became interested: Akeelah and the Bee, good movie).

Lit the apple cider scented candle from Christmas.

Green beans and new potatoes simmering in the crock pot.

Kind of wishing it would go ahead and rain or thunderstorm soon. Looks like we’re getting by-passed just like yesterday. Cloudy skies but no rain.

Plan to work on a little craft project in a bit or maybe read.  Time to get back to my green tea (something I drink almost every day at about this time if I happen to be at home).

What kind of week are you having?

 

What’s Going On Wednesday: No Snow Day For Us

The snow talk started with the Sunday news.  More talk about it on Monday.  Even Tuesday morning, they were still optimistic.

MONDAY:

  • The grocery store seemed full and the patrons were acting nutty. The cashier asked me if Minnesota won the Superbowl. Um, what? No, they weren’t in it.  (Yep, it’s definitely going to snow, I thought to myself).
  • In the afternoon, I made the boys go get their dad’s birthday cards because the roads would most likely be bad later.
  • A cup of coffee at Mom’s Night Out (Actually, I had a smoked butterscotch latte, and no, you don’t want to see the nutrition stats on that one. Yikes!) because I had to get out since we’d probably be stuck at home on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

TUESDAY:

  • Made myself get up and run the rest of my small errand list because the snow eta was about 2p.m.  Grumbled to myself how I’d be picking up a teenager from school right in the middle of that.
  • Started a crisis cleaning of the house about noon since the kids would likely be home on a snow day today and I dislike cleaning around people.
  • Don’t care for drama but a little found its way into my day as I went to pick up my high school kid and he didn’t show.  Frustrated, went home, noticed he forgot his phone. Waited wondering when to panic when he finally did show.  Next time, please, borrow a phone and CALL ME. A simple misunderstanding, he thought I was working and I thought he needed a ride. Too much drama and stress for my day. Still no snow.
  • News now says IF it snows, it won’t start until 6p.m. or later but most likely it will go north of us.  And it did.

WEDNESDAY (today):

  • Everyone’s at work or school
  • My hot chocolate ingredients sit untouched (perhaps, I’ll make a batch this weekend) but we’ve been eating the cinnamon rolls all week. 
  • Looks like I’ll get to continue my crisis/deep cleaning of the house for tomorrow (Husband’s birthday so we’ll have some family over for cake)

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My oldest son says he’d settle for a late start at this point just he could sleep in one day.  Not me, I want a full on snow day with pretty blanket of white snow covering everything.  Just one. There’s another chance of snow this weekend but I’m not getting too excited (yet).

What about you? Do you like a little snow now and then?

 

 

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