Happy Easter weekend friends! I hope it is blessed and filled with special family time for you all. Here’s your nudge to let go of all the things you think Easter “should” look like and just do a few simple things while focusing on enjoying the time with your loved ones (it’s something I’m still trying to learn…).
There’s some fun stuff happening behind the scenes here (home-wise!) that I’m excited to share with you if it works out. Right now I’m in the dreaming mode, not daring to hope it may be a possibility. This is when I want to hold tight and push through to see what I can make happen – worrying the whole time of course – so my mantra the past few days has been “let go and let God.” If it’s meant to be, it will be!
On to this week’s three things and links I think you’ll love! (As always, some of the links I provide are affiliate links and I receive a small percentage if you buy through them – at no cost to you. Thanks for your support.)
A special party (& feeding a crowd menu idea). We celebrated our daughter’s 21st birthday last weekend with 30 people, a simple meal, a chocolatey cake and a champagne toast! It was fun and she totally deserved it, she’s such an awesome young woman.
I wanted to share the menu we decided on, since it was super easy and everyone loved it. I was feeling nervous about serving that many (will there be enough food, easy to eat, not too complicated, etc.) and have to say that this menu was really easy to do:
- Pulled Pork Sliders on Pretzel rolls: made with the large packages of pork sirloin from Costco and Costco’s yummy pretzel rolls. To make the pulled pork I used slow cookers the day before, pouring salsa verde over the top along with some basic spice rub and let them cook about 6 hours on high. We shredded them, adding the meat to a large roasting pan which I then reheated in the hour before serving. The salsa verde adds moisture to the sirloin, but doesn’t add a strong southwestern flavor, just an overall good flavor. It was super easy! (Note: you can use traditional pork shoulder for this, but I like leaner sirloin better.)
- Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce to top the sliders: thank goodness for the canning pantry I brought with me!
- Tortilla chips (for the gluten-free crowd)
- Cumin Lime Cabbage slaw: I bought 4 packages of preshredded cabbage and carrots (yay for convenience!), added a couple of chopped sweet onions and poured a double recipe of this vinaigrette over it all. This was a good amount of slaw with some leftover (always better than running out in my book!).
- Baby Carrots and Celery with Hummus: all purchased from Costco. Yes, I normally make hummus, but this is the time we’re all allowed to go with the prepared version, right?
- Cake and ice cream, of course: I made a basic chocolate cake, but layered it with caramel topping (left over from something), frosted it with this amazing chocolate silk frosting and sprinkled chopped chocolate toffee bits all over it. Yum.
This simple menu is a great option for large crowds and I’ll definitely do it again.
The traps that saved our apples from apple maggots. I’m not sure I’ve shared with you before, but now is a good time to use apple maggot traps like these in your apple trees, if you have any. These are the exact model I used successfully in our trees for years and they really do work to keep the apple maggot population down.
There are 2 main apple pests, the coddling moth and apple maggots. There are natural traps for each, but I don’t mind the coddling moths much because they limit their damage to the core that we don’t eat. It’s the apple maggots that destroy almost all of the flesh with their tiny tunnels. The first couple of years I grew apples, we could hardly eat any of them!
Then I used these red spheres that you coat with the sticky coating included and hang in the trees right as they’re budding. I left them up all season (and beyond…#lazygardener) and we enjoyed our apples for the first time! A lure was recommended then (which you can still buy if you want) but I read that these have been proven to work without it and I believe it because they did for me after I ran out!
I will always use these if I have apples again – have any of you tried them, too? (PS, this is a great deal on the spheres – I originally paid about $15 for three and they aren’t easy to clean, so it’s nice you can just throw these away!)
Five more books read. Well, that’s an eclectic bunch this time around, isn’t it? I’m officially at 14 books read towards my goal of 40 books this year, so I’m right on track. I’d love to read closer to 50, though! Here’s what I read in March and the first half of April and a few thoughts on them:
Spend Your Days, Tsh Oxenreider. This was a part of the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle (which a number of you bought, too, AND which is being offered as an ‘evergreen bundle’ since it was so popular- go here to grab one if you’re interested) and was a super quick read. It challenged me to really think about what I’m investing my time in and not just let life happen to me.
Born Standing Up, Steve Martin. Brian and I listened to this on a car trip and it was really a fun listen. Steve Martin reads it and you’ll simply NOT believe what he did as a kid in the 1950s – no parent I know would let their 10 year old ride a bike to Disneyland and sell flyers all day. Of course, no 10 year old I know would want to stand all day selling flyers, either! There is an incredible set of circumstances that leads from one thing to another for him, which makes it pretty interesting.
Hands Free Life, Rachel Macy Stafford. This was an audible deal of the day I found through that dangerous ebook deal newsletter I told you about. I had read a lot about this book (and her first, Hands Free Mama) on blogs and found it very challenging while affirming the right things in life. However, I also found it hard to listen to at my life stage – the author uses her kids and parenting examples for everything and it just made me sad about all the things I didn’t do. But that’s just me, I’m sure.
The Adrenal Reset Diet, Dr. Alan Christianson. I read this for the “balance hormones” part in the subtitle and got quite a bit of good information from it, mainly that carbs aren’t the enemy. The author recommends “carb cycling” where you gradually increase your carbs through the day with your dinner holding the most (which come mainly from vegetables and just 1/2 cup of grains). He also thinks “phytic acid is harmless” and actually helpful for your adrenal AND lower colon cancer risk (since foods with phytic acids are some of the best sources of insoluble fiber). Interesting stuff (oh, and his website is where I first heard about The Potato Hack!).
Beauty: a Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Robin McKinley. This is an older book that I borrowed from the library to listen to during our trip to Arizona. I was in the mood for a light fiction and my daughter recommended it. It was quick and sweet – exactly what I was looking for. I enjoyed this story that’s pretty different from the Disney version.
Links To Check Out:
How to make store bought drapes look custom.
A new easy bread to try.
A solution for splatter-free frying? (my least-favorite part of frying or sautéing)
30 uses for hydrogen peroxide you’ll want to know about.
In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money in restaurants and bars than at grocery stores. #sad
A guide to cooking every asparagus from straggly to chunky.
This living floral grapevine wreath is so beautiful.
Do you microwave your tea? (shhh, I always have!)
Free printable showing the optimal soil temperatures for sowing seeds.
Like these links? I’m always pinning these and lots more – follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas!
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