3rd Annual Garden Party

In June, the ladies of our clan gathered for our 3rd annual garden party.  My dear mom hosted this year’s event.  Our garden lunch was light and refreshing, accompanied by mimosas and strawberry lemonade.  Featured foods included cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, scones, sugared grapes, fresh vegetables with dip, smoked salmon dip with crackers, and blueberry tart.

garden lunch

Part of the garden party adventure is discovering precious items and different varieties of plants and flowers at the hostess’ garden.  Of course, every garden party needs a garden fairy.

garden fairy

Or three!  Eva and Ruthie were happy to fill in with their fairy wings and sweet smiles.


Ladies brought perennials and a few annuals to share with other guests.


This year we also completed an innovative craft project.  Solar lanterns!

Boy, did we have fun with the wire and beads.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

solar lanterns

One guest, who holds a fascination with toads, decided to hold her discovery captive inside her lantern.  She was eventually persuaded to release him.


We had such a good time at this year’s event!  We always enjoy a reason to don summer hats and sun dresses.

Special thanks to my sister-in-law Jolene for her craft idea.  We loved it!

Solar Lantern Project

Mason Jar with Band
Solar Light
E-6000 Craft Adhesive (use to secure solar light to jar band)
Wire (to form ring around neck and create lantern handle – we used 18 gauge galvanized steel and some used copper, which was found to be more pliable)
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Cutter
Glass Beads for Inside Jar (reflect light at night)
Beads for Wire
Pencil to Twist Wire


Panetini, Fig & Cheese


Have you ever felt a deep desire to acquire some snacks that would delight your palate and joyfully meld with a bottle of wine? My dearest friend Mo was coming for a visit last fall and I felt the need to gather the appropriate sustenance for an evening of laughs and good conversation. My perusing at the local grocer led me to these three very delightful guests to join our little soiree.

The first new friend is this delightful toast – Panetini. Oven Baked Italian Toast. Baked twice in the tradition of Old World Italy. This is all noted on the package. Having traveled to Italy on our honeymoon, I get just a wee bit nostalgic about anything Italian-related. Seriously. What’s not to love about Italy or Italian food? I honestly can’t think of anything.

Garlic? Parmesan? Yes! Yes! I like those too..

Fig Spread

The second guest is this Fig Spread. Oh the JOY! Fig! Sweet. Perfect. Delicious.

Did I mention the JOY?

No particular connotation of country here.

Except for the fact that it was made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

The third to make its acquaintance is this delicious Dubliner cheese. Imported straight from Ireland. Ahh…Ireland. Mo and I had been for a visit back in 2001. She’s been to Italy too. Not with me the little bugger but I guess sometimes husbands trump best friends. Sometimes.

All three together. OH. MY. Oh me! Oh my! I could die. It tastes like a bit of heaven.

{and please accept my apologies for the slight Dr.Seuss-ian excursion above}

This trio speaks to my soul. They say “Ang, we are good together.” And so, I am forced to put them in my belly. (After all, if food talks to you, you should listen to it.)


For the celebration with Mo, we enjoyed the Rosso & Bianco Pinot Grigio from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. It was a perfect choice to accompany the Panetini, Fig and Cheese. Please click here for tasting profile and winemaker’s notes.


On my most recent Panetini, Fig & Cheese adventure I engaged this very lovely Evolution white.

I’ll admit it. I am a sucker for pretty packaging. This bottle drew me in. Then, it sucked me in. Then it told me, solely based on its looks, that it would taste good. So I bought it.

Great work on the marketing, my friends at Sokol Blosser Winery.

Just look at the cork.

evolution cork

They included life-saving directions! *smiles* *winks* *bursts with admiration at the ingenuity*

I am also happy to report my affirmation of cracker, sweet preserves and cheese as a winning combination were confirmed when we had dinner at our neighbors a few weeks ago. Jan graciously served crackers with pear preserves and cheese. I could barely contain my excitement. My insides were shouting with infinite glee.

If you need a little pick me up, or you need to pick up something to share with a friend, I can just hear the Panetini, Fig Spread and Dubliner cheese saying “Pick Me!”.


Crockpot Action

I did not always feel this disorganized.  I am not sure of the exact moment when it happened but somehow I believe that the word ‘kids’ was definitely involved.  It has become a never-ending struggle to balance all of the things I should be doing with all of the things I want to be doing.  Lucky for me, I live in the Age of Pinterest.  It is here, in the digital age that I can pin ideas to boards for inspiration of all kinds, from caring for apples trees to zebra photography.  It is here, in My Pinterest World that I keep seeing pins for Crockpot recipes.  I had actually pinned a few to my food board.  Last week I decided that passively pinning crock pot meals was simply not good enough.  I endeavored to take action on one of my pins and do what the pin suggested.  I read over this post and printed off the grocery list.  I had many of the items already residing in my pantry which made me feel fortunate and as if I might actually have some things together at the Anderson household.  This was only a fleeting thought as I navigated through a mine field of Legos and My Little Ponies to safely reach my pantry.  (In case you were wondering, I made it!)

The tag line that caught my eye on the pin?

“Spend 1 hour in the kitchen preparing 5 meals for the Crockpot and you only have to clean up 1 mess!! Recipes for: Garlic Honey Chicken, Beef Burritos, Chicken Fajitas, Hawaiian Chicken, and Teriyaki Pork Chops.”

So, I got the goods, made the meals and it was all as easy as the pin suggested.  (Yee-haw!)

To have five meals resting in my freezer was a bit like winning free dinner for five nights.  Okay, it wasn’t exactly free but it gave me freedom from trying to figure out what to make for dinner five times.  Five times!

The tip for placing the Ziploc bag inside the blender to mix the marinade was exactly what a girl like me needed.  Genius.

Because our tater tots are three and five, they don’t consume a whole lot of dinner which gives us the added benefit of leftovers.

Would you like to give your freezer and your family five easy dinners?  Click Here for the Printable Recipes & Grocery List

You are the next contestant on I Can Use My Crockpot! 

Special thanks and promotional consideration to Janell at Saving You Dinero