Outrageous Patriotic Haul Under $20

Planning on having a get together this Memorial Day or Independence Day? Don’t break the bank and still have money left over to burn! If you make a purchase with our affiliate links in this post we earn a small commission to keep things running at no extra charge to you!

I’m a shopper. I scoured Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Target and Dollar Tree to see what I could pull together for $20: DOLLAR TREE is the place to go! I got what I needed and a few things I didn’t. My favorite purchase was under $5.00: Three patriotic glass jars and a box of 4 votive candles. Awesome!

If you want to spruce it up a bit, use these bandanas as napkins that come 2 per pack!

The featured image shows just what was $20. I will probably spend a little more for some extras. And yes, you need to buy now so you get the best selection.

Most of these items I will be able to reuse for Memorial Day and Fourth of July – YEAH! #beinspired

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Make the Perfect Summertime Water

Summer is coming and I’m ready! For a simple,cold, refreshing glass of water you won’t be able to put down, try using lemon and mint! It’s perfect for a get together or backyard barbecue.

Use 1 to 2 gallons of cold water with a few cups of ice;2 sliced lemons and a few sprigs of sweet mint and you’re done! I like to stuff a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint into each glass for extra flavor.

Refreshing, delicious and impressive looking! #beinspired You can purchase this recommended pitcher through our affiliate link. We do earn a small commission to keep things going. Enjoy!

Hiware 64 Ounces Glass Pitcher with Stainless Steel Lid, Water Carafe with Handle, Good Beverage Pitcher for Homemade Juice and Iced Tea

Cooking vs. Catering

I survived the Ultimate Kitchen Challenge and have a new found appreciation for catering.

It would be fair to say that not only did I make 600 Bruschetta and Lemon cookies but, served them as well. Luckily, everything was delicious and everyone was satisfied with my creations. However, large scale food prep, while on my own is definitely a lot of work. I did get some sleep but for the most part worked 36 hours preparing for the event and suffered complete exhaustion for a couple days following.

I have a new respect for those who cater large events. Even with a team of people it is a lot of work.

Lesson learned: Accept a challenge but, enlist the help of others.

The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge

I’m FREAKING OUT! I have been given a challenge that will require a miracle to pull off. I’m focusing on the positive and will do my best. Failure is not an option. I feel like I am on a reality cooking show that I must not lose at any cost. If I screw up, I will let everyone down; including  myself.

The first challenge is to make Mozzerella Strawberrry Bruschetta from page 98 in Giada de Laurentiis’ new book Giada’s Italy. That shouldn’t be a big deal right? Well it is because I have to make 600 servings. That’s right 600! And one little important detail not to be overlooked is Giada herself will be present. Now, if that isn’t nerve racking I don’t know what is. The one good thing is I tested the recipe in my own kitchen last week and it was a success. However, today I was thrown a curve ball.

Look out! In addition to the bruschetta, pasta pomodoro will also need to be made. So, 600 bruschetta and pasta?!? Ok. No problem. At least the sauce is a pre-made Giada sauce we sell at Williams Sonoma. Whew! Now I’m relieved. Just heating noodles and sauce – I’ve got this. But wait, what about the 300 lemon ricotta cookies? I better start making those tomorrow.

The plan is to make the cookies on Wednesday, prep all of the ingredients for the brushetta Thursday and Friday I will assemble and serve. Let’s hope all goes well and I don’t have one of those EPIC KITCHEN FAILS. Since I will be busy prepping for the Giada booksigning event I will be off the grid for a few days. Wish me luck!

All About The Kids

I love Easter weekend! Spring is in the air and the kids are so excited to decorate eggs, go on Easter egg hunts and of course, the suspense of the Easter Bunny drives them wild.

Even though my kids are grown, I will never grow up when it comes to Easter. I take part in all of the traditional activities: I dye eggs, decorate, bake and make a basket. It’s a feeling of happiness and renewal.

If you think you’re too old to do all these things, you’re not. Step out of the “adult” world, let go and find that inner child that still exists somewhere deep inside. Enjoy!