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.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dear Abby,

Dear Abby,

It's your birthday.  So, I'll be telling you, once more, the story of when you were born, because that's just how we do in this family.  Grammy is going to want to tell you, again, how she was the first one to find out that you were a redhead, and how totally surprised we all were about that.  Just like Grandmother likes to tell me all the details about the day I was born and how they stopped at McDonald's on the way to the hospital and it was the first time she had tried an Egg McMuffin.  It's all part of the story of how we began.  And the details are etched in our minds because those are the days that change us forever.

Sixteen years ago, we prayed you into the world amidst terrifying complications that threatened both your life and mine.  But God delivered you safely to us because He has a plan for you.  Your influence is needed in this world.

You have a responsibility, even at 16, to let your light shine.  Don't let those gorgeous locks and long lashes be the reason you stand out in a crowd. Let the love of Christ be the first thing they see.

Keep singing in your room to the top of your lungs because it keeps us entertained.  But, let your life song always be for Him.

Be dependable. Loyal.  A true friend.  An encourager.

Don't forget to tell your brother how much you love him because you know he's crazy about you.  And he'll never have a sidekick quite like you.  

And be sure to be extra-kind to your sisters, who are looking up to you every single day and want to be just like you.

Always listen to Dad.  The older you get, the more you will understand that a dad's words of wisdom are some of life greatest treasures.  And don't forget to laugh at his jokes.  He only says them because your smile is one of his favorite things ever.

And then there's me.  You know I'll always have a few words of advice.  Ok, maybe more than just a few.  And I know I'm one of those moms, who has something to say about pretty much everything.  And sometimes I say it to the world because that's what bloggers do.  But, remember this:  God has blessed you every time you obey your parents and take our advice.  Don't forget to turn around now and then and look back at the path you've walked.  "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Psalms 84:11).  You've already known this to be true.  And there are so many more good things in store for you if you'll keep your eyes on Him.

Sixteen years ago, you were so small you could've fit in my handbag, and now we wear each other's clothes.  You'll soon discover how fast time flies, and how we must make every moment of our lives count.  Not only for good causes, but for the cause of Christ and making Him known.  

Happy birthday, dear Abby.  You really are so dear to us!