Monday, April 23, 2012

Go Green! Party Planning Tips for The Clueless Chick

In honor of Earth Day, here are a few of our favorite Go Green Party Planning Tips for The Clueless Chick:

      Choose a time of day that requires the least amount of energy such as mid-day when you will not need to turn on all of the lights in your home and can open windows for a cool breeze

      Choose a theme that challenges guest to “Go Green”. Offer a prize to the guest who was most creative in their effort to go green

      Choose a location that does not have a negative impact on the environment and is centrally located so guests do not have to travel far, or are able to carpool/take public transportation

      Choose a paperless invitation option, if you need to send a formal invitation, choose the highest Post-Consumer Recycled content you can find.


      Use your gifts for the guest of honor as decorations
      Clothesline filled with baby clothes for a baby shower
      Use the crystal vase from their registry wrapped with a large bow as a table centerpiece
      Create a kitchen utensil arrangements for a cooking shower


      Make your favors do double duty as decorations
      Cookie cutter used as a napkin ring
      Small bud vases with a single flower
      A Candy Buffet that allows guests to make their own favor bag (a bit overdone but still fun)
      Light weight favors hung from a clothesline with cute clothespins
      Skip favors all together


      Create a fun activity with items you already have around the house such as playing musical chairs at a kid’s birthday party


      Avoid serving food that requires additional packaging
      Serve a menu of locally grown foods

      Skip the bottled water, put ice water in a large jug or drink dispenser
      Purchase drinks in large containers as opposed to individual servings

Paper Products
      Get biodegradable disposable items (napkins, plates, etc)
      Set up recycling and compost station and tell a few key guest about it so that they can help point other guests in the right direct
      Invest in serving dishes and skip the plastic disposable ones
      Using real dishes and flatware will encourage people to only use 1 set and will significantly reduce waste
      In the summer time use mason jars to serve lemonade/iced tea

      Ask guests to skip wrapping paper/gift bags/tissue paper and wrap their gifts in the Sunday funny pages or a reusable shopping bag
      Save gift wrapping, bags, etc. to be reused

Let's plan an environmentally friendly Party!!  And yes, this is a sneak peek at Party Planning Tips for The Clueless Chick :-)

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gift Baskets

Movie Theme Teacher Appreciation Goodie Bag

All of you Chicks who have little ones in day care know that there really is no way to sufficiently thank your child's teacher for everything they do all day every day.  One of the ways we try to thank our teachers at my little one's Bright Horizons is by having Teacher Appreciation Month every April.  In addition to cooking the teachers lunch and bringing in snacks once a week, we have dress-up days, a celebratory dinner at the end of the week, and my favorite - a goodie bag week where the parents bring in small gifts each day to thank the teachers.  These gifts usually include, pictures of your little ones, handmade cards, candles and lotion, gift certificates to a local restaurant or movie theater, etc.

In keeping with this year's Movie theme, I created these adorable popcorn bucket gift baskets filled with sweet and savory treats, popcorn and popcorn cups, pampering goodies and a restaurant gift card.  They are of course adorned with yellow ribbon to give it that buttered popcorn feel and cute favor tags which say "The Oscar for Best Teacher goes to...".  In true Clueless Chick fashion, this Chick's motto for goodie bag week is "Go BIG or go home!". I sure hope the teachers like their gifts!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!

Who doesn't love a good Grilled Cheese Sandwich?!?  Whether you are pregnant and having serious cravings for comfort food, you are looking for something simple to cook with your little ones, or you are just a kid at heart - a Grilled Cheese Sandwich is just what the doctor ordered!!

The only 3 things you must have to make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich are: 1. Bread, 2. Cheese, 3. A Grill.  Other than that, your imagination is your only limit.  Here are a few Clueless Chick favorites:

Grilled Brie
Who says a Grilled Cheese Sandwich can't be open-face?  Simply add a slice of Brie and your favorite fruit to a thinly sliced Baguette and you've got yourself and AMAZING bite-size Grilled Cheese Sandwich! 
Tip: Lightly grill your baguette on one side, then flip and add your cheese and fruit for an extra crunchy treat.  If you are going to use preserves in lieu of fresh fruit, spread the preserves on the grilled side of the baguette and add your Brie on top. For an added treat, place a small slice of Prosciutto under the Brie. 

Grilled Pimiento
What could be better, or more simply southern, than lightly grilled Pimiento Cheese on two pieces of Thin Sliced White Bread?  Nothing.  
Tip: Be careful not to smash the sandwich with your spatula when grilling because the pimiento cheese will run.  This sandwich is also delicious with a thin slice of turkey.

Ham and Swiss on Rye-Pumpernickel Swirl
For a perfectly hearty Grilled Cheese, add Black Forest Ham, Swiss Cheese and Stone Ground Mustard to Rye-Pumpernickel Swirl.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!
Tip: Place 1 slice of Swiss on either side of your ham to ensure a perfectly meltilious sandwich.  Spread your Stone Ground Mustard on the top slice of bread for before adding it to your sandwich.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Tips for The Clueless Chick:
  • Prep your cooking surface with a thin layer of oil (preferably a flavored olive oil)
  • Brush melted butter on each side of the bread that will touch the grill
  • Always grill your sandwich on Low to Low/Medium to allow the cheese to melt and avoid burning your bread
  • When grilling an open-face sandwich, lightly grill the top side of the bread, flip and add your cheese, etc.
  • Always lightly toast your English Muffins before grilling
  • Do not smash your sandwich down unless necessary to avoid an ooy gooy mess
  • Allow your sandwich to cool for a minute or two before cutting
  • Serve grilled cheese with your favorite soup
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with meat can also be served cold
  • There is no such thing as too much Cheese on a Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

What are The Clueless Chicks Favorite Grilled Cheese Supplies?
  • Bread:
    • Sourdough
    • Baguette
    • Rye
    • White
    • Whole Grain
    • English Muffin
  • Cheese:
    • Swiss
    • Provolone
    • Jalapeno Jack
    • Sharp Cheddar
    • White Cheddar
    • Brie
    • Pimiento 
  • Meat/Protein:
    • Roasted Turkey
    • Black Forest Ham
    • Roast Beef
    • Bacon
    • Tuna
  • Fruits/Veggies:
    • Red Grapes
    • Green Apples
    • Tomatoes
    • Onions
    • Avocado 
    • Cabbage
  • Condiments:
    • Stone Ground Mustard
    • Yellow Mustard
    • Mayonnaise
    • Horseradish Sauce
    • Tabasco Sauce
Your imagination is truly your only limit.  So let's get grillin'!

For additional information on Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, check out these fun resources:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Signs of Learning!

If you are looking for something fun and educational to do with your little one, check out Signs of Learning a Raleigh based American Sign Language (ASL) school for babies and small children.  Yes, babies!  If you have never seen a baby use ASL it is an amazing and adorable sight.  

So check out their latest Class Schedule and like their Facebook Page for updates.  You can register for everything from a free informational session to Sing & Sign Playtime!  If you aren't in the Raleigh area, they also have great self-directed teaching aids.  Jess is an amazing teacher, you and your little one will just love her!

Pregnancy Tip for The Clueless Chick: if you are pregnant this is the perfect opportunity to learn a few signs before your bundle of joy arrives!

Personal Note:  As someone who was once fluent in ASL, I have signed to my little ones since the day they were born and they LOVE it!  Signing has helped my little ones communicate before they could talk and learn to spell.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homemade Easter Play-Doh

If you've never tried to make your own Play-Doh, you should!  It is super easy and requires just a few ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
food coloring

Complete instructions can be found on the Instructables website.

  • To achieve these pastel colors I divided each batch into quarters and added the following drops of food coloring:
    • Blue and Green = 2 drops food coloring
    • Yellow = 3 drops food coloring
    • Pink = 5 drops food coloring
  • Create a toddler friendly Easter Treat:
    • Divide each color into eights 
    • Roll each piece into a small ball and place inside a plastic egg (the cuter the better!)
    • Wrap each egg in a small bag adorned with a favor tag or simply fill an Easter basket with your homemade Play-Doh eggs