1. Host a Winning Party For the Big Game

    Whether it’s the food, commercials, the half time performance, or the game itself, the Big Football game this weekend  has a little bit to offer everyone.

    If you find yourself hosting a party for the big event this year, check out some of these pointers to throw a Heisman-worthy event.

     1.    Decorations

    The options are never ending when it com

    es to decorating for the big game.  Consider table runners, table clothes, plates, and napkins, with footballs or the field design. Some stores even sell football shaped bowls, mugs, and cups that can be used as well.  Consider decorating in the colors of the team you are rooting for, or even in both teams’ colors. Guests can chose to sit on the side that best represents their team.

     2.    Games

    Games can make the Big Game even more fun,. If there will be kids at your party, consider making a football shaped piñata that’s filled with candy.  To make a piñata, check out this YouTube video. If you happen to live in warmer climates, venture outside for a friendly game of touch football.  But if you don’t want to miss the game or halftime show, play trivia with questions that all center around the past games. You could create categories such as Commercials, Half Time Performers, and Game Time and quiz guests’ knowledge in those areas.

    3.    Food

    Who doesn’t love the foods associated with parties?  You can find tons of great ideas for appetizers, main courses, and desserts online. Some of our favorites were Pig(skins) In a Blanket and Frank’s Redhot Buffalo Chicken Dip . If you plan on serving alcohol, we thought this list of beer ideas was brilliant from RealSimple.com. They suggest serving  “The Raven”  beer to represent the Baltimore Ravens, and the beer titled  “49er Red” to rep San Francisco.

    Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it! Hosting parties doesn’t have to be a lot of work, but they should always be a lot of fun.

    What are some creative things you decorating with, cooking, or playing at your  party?

     


  2. Simple Decorating Tips to Change Up the Look of YOUR Home

    It’s a new year, why not create a new look for your home? Sounds good, right? But for many folks, this is usually a time of year when they are focusing on paying off holiday bills and don’t have a whole lot of disposable income to re-design their homes.

    Here are some simple (and inexpensive) ways to change up the look and feel of your home without spending a fortune! A simple trip to Home Goods, Kohls, Target or Pier One should do the trick!

    1. Pile on the pillows! Pillows are a simple way to add a splash of bright color into your living or family rooms. Mix and match with different styles, colors and fabrics!
    2. Buy new bedding. To change the look and feel of your bedrooms, start by changing the bedding. A new comforter and pillows will make the entire room look different. Why not go bold and try experimenting with burgundy, red or magenta?
    3. Rearrange your furniture. By simply moving your furniture around you can create an entirely new room.
    4. Move your artwork. This is an easy and fun way to give a new look to your rooms! Also, add mirrors to create an open and roomy atmosphere.
    5. Try an accent color. If you are not ready to paint your entire house, why not start with just one accent wall? This adds dimension and creates a dramatic feel to any room.
    6. Add a few area rugs or accent rugs. Shopping for area rugs and accent rugs is a whole lot less expensive than replacing flooring or carpet. Lay the rugs out on the diagonal for a welcoming effect.
    7. Illuminate with lighting. Swap out lamps or buy new lamp shades to add some illuminating effects to any room.
    8. Time for new towels. Kitchen and bathroom towels come in many different styles and colors! Let your imagination run wild! You can theme your kitchen and your bathrooms just by incorporating new towels into the picture!

  3. Planting your January Garden!

    The weather is finally cooler in the Sunshine state! It’s time to get outside and enjoy these ‘Chamber of Commerce’ Florida days! Now is an excellent time to plant herbs and vegetables in the garden! Many herbs will thrive now that temperatures are cooler, including tarragon, thyme, dill, fennel, and any of the mints. If vegetables are more your thing, why not experiment by planting cool season crops including beets, cabbage, turnips, lettuce, and broccoli.

     

    There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying the fruits of your labor and using your fresh herbs and vegetables in preparing sumptuous stews, soups and other culinary delights! Here is an example of one of our favorite soup recipes!

     

    Winter Vegetable Soup recipe - This quick one-pot soup is perfect after a busy day.

    Everyday Food, November 2009

    For more recipe ideas visit http://www.marthastewart.com/food

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 bunch kale ( 3/4 pound), ribs cut away and discarded, leaves torn
    • 5 1/2 cups (43.5 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
    • 3 sprigs thyme
    • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)

    Directions

    1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant, 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add squash and kale and cook until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add broth, beans, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and kale are tender, about 12 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan, if desired.

  4. January is a GREAT month to…

    The holidays are behind us, and people are getting back into the reality of life; however, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! There are so many exciting this to do in in January! One of the many benefits of living in the sunshine state is the SUNSHINE! The weather is perfect for taking part in some of these exciting outdoor events!

    So, mark your calendars, grab your family and friends and enjoy all that January has to offer! Here is a sampling of just a few of the many events you can partake in!

    January 12 – 13, 2013: Time to get crafty! The 6th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival is here! It is one of the most popular festivals in the area!

    January 17 – 27, 2013: Popcorn, cotton candy and carnival rides await you at the Annual Manatee County Fair which will be taking place at the Manatee County Fairgrounds.

    January 19, 2013: Become a star gazer! Sidewalk Astronomy is hosted by the local “Deep Sky Observers” in the south parking lot of Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

    January 23 – 25, 2013: The Wings of Freedom Tour flies into the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.  Come check out all the old planes on display.

    January 25 – February 15, 2013: Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The Annual Circus Sarasota comes to town!

    January 26, 2013: Ahoy ye mates! Just a short drive from Sarasota to Tampa, the Annual Gasparilla Fest is happening. Watch the pirates as they take over the city!

    January 26 – 27, 2013: The 10th annual St. Armand’s Circle’s Winter Art Festival.

    To see a FULL calendar of January events, click the link below! See you around the town!

    http://www.escape-to-sarasota.com/january-sarasota-events.html