Luau Island Party

A couple of weeks back I went on a mini-vacation, just to get away from it all. I decided that I was going to the beach….In Illinois.
My SiL, Beth and brother planned an epic Luau party. Here are pictures, links, descriptions and recipes to what we did for our Par-tay.

Kat dance pose

Essential Party Supplies

  • Accessories
  • Food
  • Music

Accessories

Believe it or not, it is very difficult to find Luau related party garb in September. However, true party planners never come up empty. After visiting several stores we got serious and ended up at a party supplies store. We hunted all over before finally getting desperate and asking gentleman sporting an officials vest—He was labeled as a Halloween Expert.

He also turned out to be a store expert and pointed us directly to the quarter aisle of luau supplies. We didn’t need much. We left the store with three sparkly leis in our favorite colors. We also grabbed a pack of shiny umbrellas to embellish our drinks. I brought some large colorful smoothie straws from home. They were purchased at salvage for $1.25.

Some things we didn’t find in the store is pictured above. Because money can’t buy a Hawaiian style skirt such as this! If you’re looking at cost or supplies needed: Staples and stapler, grocery sacks, and a binder clip for quick clasp of skirt. We’ll get to how you make it later.

Essentially, we purchased all of our accessories for under $10.

Food

island drink blenderI would call the drinks daiquiris, but truly, they were so much more than that. We added: very ripe bananas, frozen strawberries, mango, fresh pineapple, and tropical punch flavored white rum. Blend well and serve immediately with awesome umbrellas.island drinks

asparagus       Asparagus. Yes, I did just have this in my fridge and it needed to be cooked up. I love asparagus. If you cook it, I will eat it. This were laid out on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted in the oven until delightfully crispy.

waikiki chicken prebake

The very best and the highlight of supper was our Waikiki Beach Chicken and Tom’s Waikiki Beach Tofu (he’s vegetarian). Want to know the original recipe that Beth based the above on? Here is the original Waikiki Beach Chicken recipe.
We loved it! Here are some of our recommendations: We backed off the sugar in the sauce to 3/4 cup instead of a whole cup. You could back down to a half cup. We liked ours on the salty side, no worries, a dash of soy sauce and overnight the flavors mellowed so it was even better! We used boneless skinless chicken waikiki beach chicken platebreasts and it did seem to take forever in the oven—This could have been because we were starving and are like small children waiting for Santa.

I don’t have much advice about the tofu version. Tom said it was delish though. If you have questions, please hit me up and I will consult the veggie-guru that is my brother.

Music

Why is music so important? Don’t ask such stupid questions. This will set the mood and help aid in the silliness that is a faux-Hawaiian. The more important question might be, Kat, what did you listen to? That is something I will answer. We used Spotify to keep our music rolling throughout the evening. No, they aren’t paying me money to use their name and yes, I wish someone was paying me for this drivel.

lilo and stitch ST spotify blogThe obvious first choice here, the soundtrack from Lilo & Stitch the Disney flick. Now, I don’t care if you like the movie or not. The music is sweet.
Beth and I wanted to get in the mood before the party got started. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride and a little Elvis. How can you go wrong?

luau mix spotify pic for blogTom was smartsies. He found this premade Hit Nation playlist on Spotify and it had nice nice tunes on it. Both playlists are, as you may have noticed, finite. We needed more music so we added some tracks from these selected artists: Beach Boys, I accidentally added and discovered Spike Jones and His City Slickers, and more songs from that dude that sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, I didn’t know either).
I am pretty sure I have discovered that next silly artist that my brother will get into. Spike Jones and His City Slickers have lots of weird and funny songs. Go ahead and listen to Water Lou (drip, drip, drip). I am sure that it is on….ah, there you are.

Tom also added some more awesome ambiance to our party by muting and playing this youtube video that shows 43 minutes of Hawaii landscapes and such. It was beautiful. If you need something to play in the background of your life, I highly suggest this.

Let me know, via comments, if you are interested in a step by step instructional blog on how to make a Hawaiian style “grass” skirt. Just to recap, we used grocery sacks (Kroger has brown!) that were fanned out or staggered then stapled together. If you are making one for a child or small adult you may want to add a second layer around to add more fluff. Cut slits almost to the stapled area (leave about two inches). Use a binder clip to pin it around the waist quickly. Do not try to go to the bathroom in these guys—you will want the quick removal aspect. T making skirt

Tom is cutting the slits in his grass skirt.

Beth dance pose

 

K&T drinks poseK&B drinks pose

Now, go and enjoy your own luau party!!    We did some hula dancing tutorials on youtube, but ultimately were too full and just laid around the rest of the night. It was great fun!!

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Day 321: Onigiri {Recipe Revealed!!}

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First time trying to make onigiri! I have honestly never eaten them so I doubt mine taste very authentic, but we thought they were tasty.

I did a lot of internet research and found out that most of the rice we use in the states is long grain. Sushi or rice balls (onigiri) takes short grain glutenous rice. Take a closer look at rice.

I had some friends tell me you can do it with other kinds of rice but I trusted the internet pros for my first time. I can jack with the recipe more when I am comfortable.

There is a lot to preparing the rice. Washing, resting, soaking, cooking, and more resting. These are the instructions I followed: At Just Hungry blog.

There is a weirdness (typo) where she talks about temps to cook rice. I am legit and make my rice on the stove top.
So here is the clarification:
I boiled high, once the rice started bubbling (boiling), I started a timer for 1 minute, lowered to medium heat for 5 minutes, then lowered to simmer for 10 minutes. I put on my tight light after I reduced to medium heat and had to stuff my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t lift the lid.

Also, let it be known that I added 4 tablespoons of a dried vegetables packet to my rice. It soaked with the rice for an hour. I don’t know the proper name of it because I got it at an international food store.

I did let the rice cool with a towel on top of it for 15 minutes. It still burnt my fingers when I began working with it. More fluffing sufficiently cooled it.

My fillings were drained can of tuna mixed with pepper and mayo, and crispy crumbled up turkey bacon.

I laid out my fillings, nori wrap (cut into smaller pieces), pot of rice, plate for the finished product, and a shallow bowl with salt and cool water in it.
I washed my hands and got to work. By the time I was nearly finished I had figured out (through trial and error) how to make the triangle shapes. This picture helped somewhat.

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Thank you, resource.
Here was another helpful link on how to make the onigiri. Pay particular attention to coating your hands with salt water or frequently cleaning them to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to you.
Just Bento also has a fantastic FAQ page.

As you can imagine there was much squealing and dancing when I finished. I was literally holding my breath through most of the rice cooking.
The hubster was skeptical of a meal not consisting of plain old meat n’ taters, but he was a champ and ate three onigiri. He preferred the turkey filling and I loved the tuna.

2013 Memory Jar

What is it?
Write down memorable happy moments that happen throughout the year and put them in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, open the jar and enjoy getting misty eyed as you read through the highlights.

What do I need?
•An empty jar
•Paper
•Pen or pencil
Optional: Frilly things to make your jar pretty and fancy paper or gift tags.
Do I have to use a jar?: No. Empty pasta sauce jars, canning jars, peanut butter jars (make sure you get all the oils out), pickle jars, piggy banks, shoe boxes, big mailing envelopes, a journal, photo album, write it down and take a picture (file on your computer), etc. There are many possibilities, so have fun with it.

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How do you do it?
For Kit and I, it is completely impractical to sit down every day or the end of every week and write memorable moments.
We started ours today (Feb. 1st) and wrote down every awesome thing that happened in January. Kit remembers every, but I cheated and flipped through my journal.
We made a goal to write at least two good things–he wrote three and I wrote six.

That’s it! Write, fold and cram into the jar. It took us 10 minutes (which included me collection supplies)–it was soooooo easy.

Extra Tips
We both wrote on slips of notebook paper independently and had one overlapping event (we got a goat!).
If you have a large family, or want to have a discussion with your family then you will likely get fewer duplicates.

•I cut up extra slips of notebook paper and threw those in the jar (unfolded) along with a pencil. If the moment strikes we can unscrew the lid and keep a memory.

•I highly suggest discussion if you have small children. If they are having trouble just help them think of one good thing. Don’t chastise if it is a material happiness that first comes to mind.

•Kit and I are both really good at letting date sensitive events just slide on by (Bills….omg). So I have set a reminder on my phone to pop up on Feb 28th and March 1st.

•Here are two links to keeping a memory jar. Also called Scrapbook Jars; some people make them quite fancy. Maybe a year is too extreme, consider a Month of Gratitude, like this blogger.

Have you ever tried this?
• Waste of time/worth it?
• Suggestions for newbies like me?

Special Post: Meet the Fumbleton Family!

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Who are the Fumbletons?
The Fumbletons’ Facebook Page Description says they,
     …are a quirky family who come into possession of a magical blue button that ends up solving all their problems… in the weirdest ways possible.

This interview was conducted by René Eniksre to allow followers to become acquainted with each quirky member of this family of four:
Individual biographies

Want to hear some exciting news?
I am working out the details to have a filmed interview with the family. I have a few questions lined up. In addition, I want to ask them your questions! Please leave your questions for Karen, Eugene, Alex or Priscilla in the comments below.

How do I keep track of the Fumbletons?
See the Facebook page.
The Official Website has tons of extras and blogs keeping you up to date on videos.

Who is the mastermind behind these crazy characters? Jess. You can learn more about her here.

Do you want a crash course in what the Fumbletons are really all about?

And here is Episode Two: Razor Trouble to get your feet wet:

Episode Three: Fruit Stains

Episode Four: Spinning Yarns

And the most recent video, Episode Five: Pencil Stains

Kat’s 24 Days of Christmas

I have been so excited to share this and I have forced myself not to post about my Christmas project until after Thanksgiving.
I know some people that were decorating trees a week before Turkey Day. Tsk tsk.

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What is an advent calendar? Essentially a countdown to Christmas. Usually this is done by opening small token or gifts.
There is chocolate advents, nativity figurines (one per day), or passages from scripture.

Recently it has become very widely popular to do activities as a family. I have coined the term (unless you care to challenge me!!) ADVENTIVITY.

Here is the KitKat Team’s 2012 Christmas Adventivity List

1. Go to local Christmas parade
2. Begin reading Visions of Sugar Plums (Evanovich) and writing Xmas cards.
3. Shop for soldier care package.
4. Drive to visit bro/sis and see holiday choral pops.
5. Decorate outside.

6. Buy and decorate tree.
7. Bake cookies and give to neighbors.
8. Finish writing and mailing Xmas cards.
9. Watch Xmas movie and eat popcorn.
10. String popcorn and cranberries (add to tree).

11. Lexington Horse Park Lights display.
12. Angel tree shopping.
13. Take family photos.
14. Collect and kiss under mistletoe.
15. Read more of book.

16. Make an acorn cap Christmas ornament. (Will post this craft)
17. Drive thru park Christmas lights display in Drown.
18. Make a happy Bacon ornament. (Simply Adorable!)
19. Go people watching at the mall.
20. Ice skating. (Our first time!)

21. Aquarium with friends (cashing in our wedding gift).
22. Bake cookies and eat them!
23. Watch an Xmas movie and eat popcorn.
24. Read Xmas story in the book of Luke.

Some things to keep in mind whilst planning:
Unless you’re doing this alone get your partner or family involved.

This helped me avoid activities that Kit dislikes->drinking hot chocolate. It will also get your family pumped up about doing activities. Depending on their maturity level allow children to plan too.
Perhaps have them make a list of their favorite things to do around Christmas then do your best to incorporate their ideas.

-Be realistic.

In a perfect world Kit would win the lottery on the 3rd of December and by the 5th we would be flying to Greece.
Seriously, don’t overload your schedule so that you dread starting the next activity. Keep it relatively easy to accomplish and keep it limited to a couple of hours maximum.

Don’t lose sight of your goal!

I know it’s a bit cheesy. When making your adventivity list think up a general goal. At the end of 24 days I want…
To have helped somebody else.
To have FUN.
To try something new.
To get into the Christmas spirit.
And for us to spend quality time together.

If putting baby JC back into the holiday then make that a goal and organize your events thusly.

Be flexible.
Get the creative juices flowing by copying a list that has already be made. Don’t be afraid to cut or add to the list to better fit your family or goals.
If something comes up and you have to reschedule an event don’t get down. Try to put it off to the next week when conditions are more favorable. Keep in mind this is supposed to be fun. And if you’re tearing your hair out then you need to reassess your approach.

I planned activities around our work. Knowing we’ll be more tired on certain days means we have really easy events on those days.

–Final thing to keep in mind. Share your ideas! I struggled and waded through tons of horribly designed municipal websites and pins about Christmas to find fun stuff within our budget.
If we keep sharing our fun lists then maybe it can be easier for those of us not so creative.

Next, I will share how I displayed my adventivity. There were so many ideas to choose from!