Friday, August 29, 2014

Tailgating and Party Ideas for the Big Game!

Football fans, the season is here!  Here in East Tennessee, our Vols play their first game of the season this weekend, so that means there will be a lot of tailgates decked out in orange and white.  Here are a few ideas I shared on our local morning news show this morning, and maybe they'll inspire you, too!

I already posted my Big Orange Gameday Salsa recipe this week, which you can find here if you missed it.  It's a great way to add a punch of orange to your table.  Serve it up in small cups along with mini bags of chips to make it easy for your friends to enjoy!

I bought these bags at Hobby Lobby and just added black poster board circles so I could chalk them up with some team spirit!

And since it's all about football, how about these football cones to hold some fresh fruits and berries?  Place them in a bucket of popcorn for a great edible display!

To make these, just melt some milk chocolate almond bark, dip the tops of the cones, then place them on wax paper to harden. 

Once they're set, use a clean artist's brush dipped in melted white chocolate to paint on the laces!

And remember this chocolate chip cheese ball recipe I shared a while back?  Just form it into a football and paint some white chocolate on the top for a perfect game day dessert!

And keep friends refreshed by serving up some sweet tea in a cute football cup!  Make these yourself by adding strips of white Duck tape to a plain clear cup or mason jar!  (Inspired by these I found on Pinterest!)

If you like the cute grass table runner like the one I have here, you can find it here on Amazon.  Awesome deal and they come 2 in a pack!  I only had to use one for this table. They can stretch or bunch up according to your preference!  The papers, ribbons, and fabric all came from Hobby Lobby.

Here are a few more items that may come in handy for your tailgating party (these are affiliate links):

I hope these ideas inspire you!  Here's a clip from my segment on our Local 8 morning show live from Neyland Stadium this morning!  Thanks to the crew there for having me once again.  It's always a fun time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big Orange Gameday Salsa

It's almost football time here in Tennessee, and we take this time of year seriously.  This town gets painted orange as the season draws near.  We're getting ready for the Vols' first game coming up this weekend, and our local channel 8 morning show has asked me to be a part of their pep rally show live at Neyland Stadium this Friday morning.  I'll be sharing a few tailgating ideas, and one of them is my fresh and yummy Big Orange Gameday Salsa.

Even if you're not a Vol fan (bless your heart), I think you'll like this sweet, flavorful twist on traditional salsa, especially because it's so easy to make!

Here's what you'll need:

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large yellow pepper, diced
1 can white corn, drained
1 4-oz jar of pimentos, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Start by combining the first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan and bringing them to a boil.  Then remove from heat, and let the liquid cool completely.  

Slightly purée the mandarin oranges in a food processor or blender, then combine them with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.  When the liquid mixture has cooled, pour it into the bowl and stir ingredients well.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving.

This makes about 5 cups of salsa.  Serve with your favorite tortilla chips as a yummy and colorful addition to your party table!

I'll share more of my tailgating ideas soon!  Are you ready for some football?

Monday, August 25, 2014

School Music Room Makeover

I recently shared this little sneak-peek of our school's music room makeover with my fabulous Facebook followers, and from just this little pic, so many of you commented, texted and emailed the sweetest compliments.  And I just wanted to say--I'm so glad you like it!  I finally took the time to get the rest of the pics together and I'm really excited to share them today.

When my friend, the music teacher, asked me if I had any ideas for updating this room, I took a look at the blank canvas we had and to work with and started dreaming of bold.

Large graphics and color-blocked walls can be very appealing elements for kids' spaces, so that became our plan.  Since the room has no natural light coming in, I wanted to choose a light wall color for the majority of the room, so we went with a very pale gray (Sherwin William's Passive) for three of the walls, with a nice, rich purple (Sherwin William's Concord Grape) for a couple of accent walls.  

A custom piano-key wall covering is the first thing that greets you when you enter the room so there's no mistaking the theme.

The front of the room is now covered with a stream of swirling notes, made from black vinyl cut into decals. (See below for source for the graphics in this room.)  I love how the notes look like they're tumbling right out of the piano.

The large black sign is also a custom piece inspired by a line from the old hymn , "Come Thou Fount of Every Blesssing", by Robert Robinson.  Both the black background and the letters are made from a special plastic material.  The letters were router-cut and mounted for a 3-D result.

This was a simple, uncomplicated design plan, but I think it makes a huge difference in the room.  I'm very happy with how it all turned out.  My friend now has a place in which to work that inspires her, and as a result, the kids in our school (including my own), will benefit even more from her talent and teaching!  

I think even Bach and Mozart approve.  Trust me--those faces are screaming ecstatic.  I hope you like it, too!

The graphics in this room were designed, produced, and provided by High Resolutions, Inc.  They ship to anywhere and offer a huge range of products and services.  Click here to visit their site and contact them if you'd like to to know more about how they can help you with custom graphics like these.