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May 2009
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July 2009

June 2009

Summer Wine Tasting

I've been thinking about having a white wine tasting next month.  I would like to have it on our back deck.  Ladies only.  My inspiration came from a butterfly bottle stopper I bought for my shop.  The green jewels reminded me of green grapes which reminded me of white wine.  The butterfly is perfect for summer decorations.  I put together a little inspiration board for the occasion.


I haven't decided if we should taste more specific wines this time like all Chardonnay or all from California.  Before everyone just brought a variety of reds.  We may do that again just with whites.  I will have a cheese tray again.  The cheeses from Whole Foods were delicious and the people were so helpful matching them up to the red wine.  My friend Bonnie has offered to make shrimp pasta which will go wonderfully.  She also found chocolates specifically to taste with certain types of wine. 

What am I forgetting?  Do you have any tips or ideas for a white wine tasting?  I'd love to hear them!

(Images:  green grapes from wikipedia, butterfly stopper coming soon to Hostess Jo, butterflies and moss centerpiece from, white wine image from, cheese tray fromwikipedia, shrimp pasta from, bottlesfrom, butterfly place card from

Faux Firecrackers

Here is an easy craft idea for your July 4th table.  Bonus-you don't have to worry about injuries with these firecrackers AND you can use them as party favors!


You'll need:

  • Mailing tubes and plugs in assorted sizes (; 800-PAPER-01)
  • Red, white and blue construction paper or scrapbook paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Silver tassels
  • Star-shaped paper punch
  • Assorted ribbons and rickrack

1. Cover a tube in construction paper, using glue to secure, alternating colors and designs.

2. Use scissors or a knife to carefully make a small slot in one plug. Thread silver tassels through opening and tie in a knot to secure.

3. Decorate by gluing star-shaped cutouts and ribbons on tubes as desired. 

4. To use as party favors fill with red, white and blue M&Ms or other festive candies. 

5. Group various sizes and designs together on a plate or tray and sprinkle tray with patriotic confetti.

(photo from

The Well-Rounded Tomato

We have our very first vegetable garden this year!  I'm so excited to eat fresh vegetables grown in our own backyard.  We already have squash coming out of our ears and the tomatoes are right behind them.  I feel like Forest Gump when he and Bubba were talking about all of the different ways to cook shrimp, but for us its squash and tomatoes.  Squash casserole, fried squash, boiled squash, sauteed squash....... 

So I've been looking for new squash and tomato recipes.  Here are a few unique tomato recipes I've found.  I'll be sharing some squash ones soon.

Hot Tomato Grits

I cannot wait to try this one.  It sounds delicious.  I've had tomato gravy but never tomato grits.


Tomato Watermelon Sorbet

This one is so unexpected.  Probably really good though.


Fresh Peach Basil Vinaigrette

This one is different too.  Sounds tasty.  Perfect for summer.


What do you think of these recipes?  I'd love to hear of your unique tomato recipes.

(photos and recipes from and

Gift Wrap for Dad

What a clever way to wrap Dad's gift this year! 


Recycle his old bow ties use them as present bows.  Bow ties will fit on many small gifts.  I bet you could do this with regular neck ties too.  Especially on a wine bottle.  This would also be great for birthdays.  The tie wrapping could also double as part of the gift!

(photo from

Lime Coolers

I stumbled upon these little lovelies and just had to share them with you. 

Lime Ice Cubes


How perfect are these for summer?  Add refreshing citrus flavor to any beverage or cocktail and keep them cool.  I was thinking you could also use lemons, cucumber or oranges. 


Makes 42 ice cubes

  • 2  medium limes
  • 1  qt. cold water
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lime juice

1. Cut each lime into 1/4-inch-thick slices; cut each slice into 4 wedges.

2. Stir together 1 qt. cold water and 1/4 cup lime juice. Fill each compartment of 3 ice cube trays evenly with lime juice mixture. Place 1 lime wedge in each ice cube compartment. Freeze 8 hours or until firm.

(photo and recipe from

Going Coastal

I don't know about you, but my mind has been on everything coastal lately.  Here is a party idea that if you are lucky enough to live on or near a coast is perfect for you.  Even if you don't live near the coast you can recreate this in your own backyard! 


A lobster boil is a fun, casual (or formal) way to get friends together and enjoy this fabulous seafood with a nice glass of Chardonnay and get a little messy!  Simple sides complete the feast.  Be sure to have plenty of handi-wipes for your guests.  Oh and don't forget the bibs!


I headed straight to Coastal Living to get the how to on doing your own lobster boil.  You can find some great tips for yours here.

(images: lobster soup tureen available on, lobster feast from Coastal Living, coastal table setting from Pottery Barn, white wine from, lobster crackers available at Williams Sonoma, lobster platter available at