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Author: caleb

Ten things you should always have in your fridge

  1. Eggs
  2. Real Butter-salted (not margarine!)
  3. Cheese 
    • my favs are:
      • Shredded Sharp Cheddar (not mild, sharp)
      • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (and not in the classic green shaker), get the good stuff!
      • Shredded Swiss
      • a hunk of Gruyere
      • Sharp Cheddar Slices (I can’t get enough of the Cracker Barrel slices, I am obsessed)
  4. Your favorite juice
    • maybe Orange Juice, or Cranberry Juice
  5. Bottle of Champagne
    • perfect for making mimosas, Cranberry Mimosas are my current fav
    • since you are adding juice the champagne doesn’t have to be super expensive
  6. Hummus
  7. Raw Veggies (your favorites) maybe:  carrots, celery, red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
    • use these with the hummus, or dice up and use in an omelet 
  8. Milk
  9. Bagels or English Muffins
  10. Garlic

Blushing Mimosa

Makes 1 glass.


  1. Fill 1/3 of glass (use a champagne flute) with chilled orange juice (no pulp).
  2. Add 1/3 of glass with chilled cranberry juice.
  3. (Your flute should now be 2/3 filled with an equal combination of both juices)
  4. Top off with Chilled Champagne.
  5. Float a few cranberries in glass or add an orange slice to the rim.

Caramel Apple Sangria


Caramel Apple Sangria

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 liter bottle of white wine
  • 8 cups fresh apple cider
  • 1 cup caramel vodka
  • 4-5 apples, chopped
  • 1/4 cup caramel syrup 


  1. Place chopped apples in the bottom of a large pitcher. 
  2. Drizzle the caramel syrup over top. 
  3. Add white wine, apple cider and vodka, then stir well to combine. 
  4. Refrigerate overnight before serving. 

Honey is so sweet!

Want a sweet idea for your wedding favors? What about local honey?  The bees at Cox Arboretum have been very “buzzy” making honey. These jars are available for purchase at Cox Arboretum

for $6.00 a jar. This is delicious, pure Ohio honey with a gorgeous light amber color.


Make your jars of honey do double-duty. Tie a tag around the honey and let the jar of honey become your place card (so guests know their table #) and it becomes their favor! You can get away

with one jar per couple/family.


To order your jars of honey, please call JoAnn at Cox Arboretum. The honey is for sale while supplies last. Perfect for a stocking stuffer or as a thank-you gift for your shower hostess or buy a few jars as prizes for the winners of your shower games.


Host a “Stock your Bar” Shower

This is a perfect co-ed shower. 

Invite your closest pals-guys and gals.


Ideas to put on your registry:

  • Red Wine Glasses
  • White Wine Glasses
  • Pilsner Glasses
  • Martini Glasses
  • Rocks Glasses
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Corkscrew/Wine Opener
  • Coasters
  • Fun Cocktail Napkins
  • Ice Bucket
  • Cheese board
  • Cheese Plane
  • Small Tongs
  • Cute crystal or pottery bowls for nuts, olive, garnishes, etc.
  • Beverage Dispenser
  • Crystal pitcher
  • Wine Rack
  • Bottle Opener


Etsy Ideas: 


 Food Ideas:

  • Cheese presentation, salami, crackers
  • BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
  • Sweet & Sour Meatballs
  • Salsa Bar (5 types of Salsa, blue corn chips and tradition chips)




 Party Ideas:

  • Wine Tasting-have guests vote on their favorite red and favorite white wine…then have these at your reception
  • Have your guests sign a cork with a fine tip sharpie at the party (on end of cork), after the party, hot glue the corks onto a wooden or metal initial letter of your new last name. When gluing corks be sure to position them so guests’ names show.


Décor Ideas:

  • Corks, corks and more corks
  • Fill vase with corks, add rice lights with battery pack to the vase
  • Spray paint empty wine bottles, fill with baby’s breath or dry tall twists for centerpieces
  • Fill rose bowl with corks and then nestle an LED candle in center of corks


Fun Twist:

  • Consider monogramming your gift of glassware for the couple with their last name initial
  • The couple could preview their signature drinks for their reception to the shower attendees
  • Ask each attendee to bring their favorite liquor, wine or mixer to build the couple’s bar
  • To make it a little more interesting…assign each attendee a letter…they have to bring something that begins with that letter.  They can find a brand or a type that starts with their assigned letter.  What makes it fun is that they have to get very creative on some of the letters. 


Ideas by Letter:

  • A=Absolute, Amaretto, Apple Jack
  • B=Buckeye Vodka, Belle of Dayton, Bacardi, Beefeaters, Bookers, Bombay, Bourbon
  • C=Chardonnay, Chianti, Chambord, Captain Morgan
  • D=Dos Equis
  • E=Everclear
  • F=Fireball
  • G=Gin, Godiva Liquor, Grey Goose
  • H=Hennessy
  • I=Irish Mist, Irish Whiskey
  • J=Jim Bean, Jack Daniels, Jagemeister, Jose Cuervo, Johnnie Walker, Jameson
  • K=Kahlua, Kinky
  • L=Long Island Ice Tea, Laxardo
  • M=Malibu, Midori, Maker’s Mark, Moscato, Mudslide
  • N=Nolet’s Gin
  • O=Ouzo, Old Grand dad, Ole Smokey
  • P=Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Peach Moscato
  • Q=Q Tonic, Quincy
  • R=Rum, Riesling
  • S=Seltzer, Smirnoff, Seagrams, Skyy
  • T=Triple Sec, Tequila, Tonic Water, Tullamore Dew
  • U=UV Peach, UV Blue
  • V=Vodka, Vermuth, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Vox, Viniq
  • W=Wild Turkey, Woodbridge
  • X=X-rated
  • Y=Yuengling
  • Z=Zinfandel

2 Fall Sangria Recipes

Here are 2 yummy Fall Sangria Recipes.


Bourbon Apple Sangria

Yield: Makes 4 to 5 drinks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes


1 large red delicious apple, sliced thinly

1 large granny smith apple, sliced thinly

1 large yellow apple, sliced thinly

1 cup apple juice

1/4 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2-12 oz. bottles of hard cider beer



Directions: Place apples, apple juice, bourbon, and lemon juice into a pitcher. Stir. Sangria always tastes better when mixed and placed in the fridge 30 minutes to several hours before serving. Add hard cider beer into pitcher just before serving. Pour sangria into ice filled glasses.


Fall Sangria Recipe:

6 Gala Apples (sliced)

3 Pears (sliced)

750 ml Cinnamon Whiskey

1 bottle Pinot Grigio

64 oz. bottled apple cider

1 liter club soda

Cinnamon sticks


This works well in a large self-serve beverage dispenser. Mix all together, and place in fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

Throw A Mexican Fiesta!

Décor Ideas:

  • Fun, Bright Colors:  Yellow, Lime Green, Raspberry, Royal Blue, & Orange.
  • Mexican blankets make a great table runner.
  • Piñatas make an easy, wonderful centerpiece.  For a twist, spray paint them a solid color.  Gold looks great!
  • Oversized margarita glasses, fill with lemons/limes (real or fake), add a straw.
  • Sombreros make a very easy centerpiece!
  • Local Fiesta Décor can be found at Special Occasion Party Supply on Stroop Road. Check out their website for coupons:


Fiesta Menu Idea from Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events:

Build-your-Own Taco Bar:

  • Soft shells & hard shells
  • Oven Roasted Turkey
  • Smoked Pulled Beef Brisket
  • Grilled Peppers & Onions



  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded sharp cheddar
  • diced onions
  • diced olives
  • sour cream
  • Chef Rick’s Guacamole
  • Salsa Verde
  • Medium Salsa
  • Mango Salsa
  • Homemade Turkey Enchiladas
  • Cilantro & Lime Yellow Rice
  • Savory Black Beans


Drink Recipe:

Brock’s Easy Margarita on the Rocks Recipe:

(Used at Mike & Melanie’s Wedding Reception at The Boonshoft Museum)

  • 6 oz. limeade concentrate
  • 4 oz. tequila
  • 2 ounce triple sec
  • 2 ounces water
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge
  • Margarita salt for rim of cup


  1. Rub rim of cup with lime so salt will stick
  2. Combine limeade, tequila, triple sec and water into shaker, shake
  3. Pour over ice
  4. Serve with lime wedge

Anniversary Gift Ideas (items you can find in/and around the Dayton, Ohio Area!)

1st Year:  Paper

  • Paper Tickets to a Dayton Dragon’s Game, a show at the Schuster Center/ Victoria Theater, or to a Movie, personalized stationary, subscription to favorite magazine


2nd Year:  Cotton

  • Egyptian Cotton Sheets (high thread count), Cotton Candy Machine, Hammock


3rd Year:  Leather

  • Belt, Wallet, Purse, ice skates, shoes


4th Year:  Fruit/Flowers

  • Fruit Bouquet (try Edible Arrangements in Kettering), shirt or scarf with floral pattern, floral brooch, Laura’s cookies (from Dorothy Lane Market) shaped like flowers


5th Year:  Wood

  • Custom Cutting board or wooden coasters with your last name or last name initial, Ohio shaped cutting board (SussmanWoodworking on Etsy), Wooden necklaces (SheWearsTruth on Etsy)


6th Year:  Candy/Sugar

  • Delicious Candy from Esther Price or Winans Chocolates, Get a bag of  Custom Color M-n-M’s from Special Occasion Party Supply in Kettering (guys:  hint, pick your wedding colors)
  • Custom Color butter glaze popcorn from What’s Popping in Kettering (special order colors have to be ordered 1 week in advance and must be ordered in 10 lb. bags)


7th Year:  Copper

  • Wind chime, bird bath, lawn sculpture


8th Year:  Bronze/Brass

  • wine stopper, cufflinks, necklaces, bracelets with custom maps (DaisyMaeDesignsShop on Etsy) “Made in Ohio”, Ohio Pride, “Coordinates of where you Met” bracelets (SixOneFourDesign on Etsy)


9th Year:  Willow/Pottery


10th Year:  Tin

  • Movie “Tin Cup”, plus golfing gear, gift certificate for day of golf
  • Movie “Pushing Tin”, plus 2 airline tickets to your favorite destination
  • Camping trip:  don’t forget your tin plate/cup with your camping gear


11th Year:  Steel

  • Handcuffs…hmmm 


12th Year:  Silk

  • Silk scarf, necktie, bowtie, robe


13th Year:  Lace


14th Year:  “Animal”

  • Animal print nightie (grrr), Trip to the Cincinnati, Columbus or Toledo Zoo, Trip to the Newport Aquarium, tickets to the Bengals


15th Year:  Crystal

  • 2 crystal champagne flutes & a bottle of Cristal


20th Year:  China


25th Year:  Silver


30th Year:  Pearl


35th Year:  Coral


40th Year:  Ruby


45th Year:  Sapphire


50th Year:  Gold


60th Year:  Diamond

  • You made it…now she needs a big diamond ring!

Host a “Mean Girls” Themed Party

It’s time for a “Mean Girls” Movie Themed Bridal Shower (or Girls’ Night In):



Ideally October 3rd.

Aaron Samuels asks Cady What day it was, and she replied, “It’s October 3rd.”

Making October 3rd, the unofficial, official Mean Girls Movie Day.



Because you love the movie and are obsessed with it



“We wear Pinktinis”

1 Bottled of Pink Moscato

6 cups of Pink Lemonade

1/4 cup Strawberry Vodka

Lemon Slices


  1. Mix, this serves well from a drink dispenser.
  2. Don’t forget the Martini Glasses rimmed in pink sugar.
  3. To rim the glass:  Use lemon wedge and wipe around rim, dip down onto pink sugar crystal on a paper plate.
  4. Have glasses ready and lined up on table next to beverage dispenser so guests can serve themselves.


Dress Code?

I’m thinking you’ve got to go with pink!

or you could have guests come dressed as their fav character


Army pants and flip flops anyone?

Purple bra, white tank top?


Prize for best costume!


Favors for guests/Prizes for Best Costume?

  • Santa Hats (seasonal item-so you have to plan ahead for these, available at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  • Peppermint Foot Cream
  • Tiaras (you can order from Oriental Trading)
  • Their own copy of the movie
  • Taco Bell gift cards
  • Check out these adorable buttons, inexpensive, so cute. They are shipping from Texas, so allow enough time for her to make them and ship them.


My Favorite is…


Movie & Snacks?

Of course you have to do a screening of the movie.

Don’t forget popcorn & candy.

  • Have a candy buffet with all pink candies and treats.
  • From the Dayton area: Call over to What’s Popping at Towne & Country Shopping Center and order butter glazed popcorn in pink.  Give them 5 days notice and you have to order at least the 10 lb. bag for a custom order color. 937-535-2676
  • Go see my friends over at Special Occasions Party 937-293-3300 on Stroop Road in Kettering
  • They have  pink plates & pink napkins. You can also purchase the individual colors of M-n-M’s and Jelly Belly jellybeans in of course PINK! Check out their website for coupons!


Maybe a “Make your Own Cheese Fries” Station:

French Fries with toppings:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • shredded swiss cheese
  • melty queso
  • bacon crumbles
  • chilli
  • diced onions
  • red pepper flakes
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard


Caesar Salad anyone?  A cake filled with rainbows?



  • Pink linens
  • Pink Napkins
  • Centerpiece Idea:  Framed Photo/Quote from the movie, Tiara
  • OhHeyStickerCo on Etsy. Adorable stickers with quotes for the movie.
  • Spray paint a pumpkin pink, add stickers or add “animal ear headband” or make ears and add to
  • “jack-o-lantern…mouse, cat, etc.
    • Why a pumpkin?  It’s October, it’s fall, they are readily available, there was a Halloween scene in the movie, plus you can turn them into the sexy Halloween animals (make one a sexy black kitty, one a sexy gray mouse, one a sexy white bunny) 



You always need at least 1 game at a shower.

Fill the Blanks with these Mean Girls Quotes:

1.  “Gretchen, stop trying to make _______ happen.”

2.  “Everyone in Africa can read ___________.”

3.  “There’s a 30% chance it’s already __________.”

4.  “Is _________ a carb?”

5.  “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and __________.”

6.  “I’m not a regular mom.   I’m a _____________ mom.”

7.  “I saw Cady Heron wearing ___________ pants and flip flops.”

8.  “Your face smells like _______________.”

9.  “I wish I could bake a ___________ filled with ___________ and smiles.”

10.  “On Wednesday we wear __________.”

11.  “That’s why her _________is so big, it’s full of secrets.”

12.  “Your mom’s ___________ hair.”

13.  “We should just stab _______.”

14.  “I mean that’s just like the rules of _________________.”

15.  “Oh my God, ___________ _____________ I love your work.”

16.  “My father, the ______________ of toaster streudel…”

17.  “You can’t ____________ with us.”

18.  “I don’t hate you because you’re __________, you’re ___________ because I hate you.”

19.  “I’m a ___________, duh.”

20.  “Yeah, moderately priced _________ are my calling.”

21.  “I was half a _________ when I met him.”

22.  “The ___________does not exist.”

23.  “I really want to lose ________ pounds.”

24.  “You could try _________________.”

25.  “You go , __________ ______________.”

Bonus:  What the new word Cady accidentally created when she was nervous and talking with Aaron? _____________

It’s time to register for… The Kitchen–Part One

You might be asking yourself…who is Traci and why does she know anything about what to put on my registry.  Bridal & Registry was my life for what seemed like a million years, about a million years ago. I was the Bridal Director for all 70 Elder-Beerman Department Stores, so of course I had to give them a shout out!

So knowing all of this and training the home teams and consultants in each store was a huge part of my job…loved it.  And they say…write about what you know, so here goes.



You might say…”But I don’t think I am going to bake.”  Well, even if you are just going to heat up pizza rolls, you need some bakeware.


Items to Consider:

  • 2 cookie sheets (more if you like to make cookies…hint, Break-n-Bake cookies count!)
    • Hint:  Line cookie sheet with tin foil if baking something greasy like pizza rolls or heating up a piece of pizza
  • 12 cup muffin tin…”what, I have to make cupcakes?” 
    • No, but this is perfect for individual breakfast casseroles, muffins, and more.
    • Maybe you whip up your grandma’s zucchini bread recipe…bake it as muffins instead of a loaf of bread.
    • Maybe you grab a packet from the baking aisle of lemon poppy seed muffin mix…you see where I am heading with this, trust me you need a muffin tin.
      • Hint #1:  If you ever plan to make more than 12 cupcakes someday…you need 2.
      • Hint #2:  Spray with Pam or use liners for easier clean up and don’t overfill
  • Cake Pan…”seriously, I am never going to bake a cake!”-got it ok, leave this off the list but check out the Pyrex list below.
  • Jelly Roll Pan…”my head is going to explode, what is a jelly roll?” Ok calm down, this looks like a cookie sheet but has shallow sides. I am going to give you my mom’s Texas Sheet Cake Recipe…you will need this pan for that. It is also great for anything you might place on a cookie sheet that might spread or get ooey-gooey.


Janet’s Texas Sheet Cake Recipe:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Shift together, set aside

1 stick margarine

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

1 cup water

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup buttermilk

Bring to a boil, keep stirring, turn down heat and then add dry ingredients and stir.

Take off the heat, add 2 eggs and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla. 

Stir, pour into jelly roll pan, Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the frosting:

1 stick of margarine

1/3 cup milk


  1. 4 Tablespoons for Cocoa Powder
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  4. Stir and remove from heat.


When you take the sheet cake out of the oven, use a wooden spoon handle and poke holes all over the top of the cake, while the cake is warm and the frosting is warm, pour the frosting all over the top of the cake.  You want the frosting all over the top and to seep down into the holes.  The frosting will harden up, then when you bite into a piece you will have frosting goodness inside and on top!  Delicious.


Yep, this recipe is necessary…so add a jelly roll pan to your list.


  • Cooling Rack…multi use, of course to cool cookies, other baked goods, but in a pinch place in the jelly roll pan to elevate meat while baking so it doesn’t sit in the fat or get soggy on the bottom (ie: Chicken Cordon Blue, or other meat items with bread crumbs around the whole outside-you’ve seen them in the freezer section or even a roast.)
  • Utensils: Check out Oxo Good Grips.  Love them so much.  Own almost everything they make.
  • Need to Have: Tongs, rubber spatulas for scraping bowls, large spoons, slotted spoon, whisk, ladle, turner (flipper), chip clips, pizza cutter, ice cream scoop/spade, colander/strainer, hand held can opener, kitchen shears, measuring spoons, measuring cups, vegetable peeler, corkscrew, mixing bowl(s), plenty of large sized dish towels (cotton), tea kettle, salt & pepper set
  • Nice to Have: Pasta Scoop, strawberry huller, garlic press, jar opener, rolling pin, turkey baster, cheese grater, egg slicer
  • Pyrex:  glass
    • large measuring cup, mixing bowl set, 9″x12″ rectangular baking dish (perfect for lasagna or brownies), 8″x8″ square baking dish, Pyrex Portables (rectangular baking dish with carrier with hot/cold pack). This is the Check back for details on registering for small electrics, cookware, china/crystal/silver and how to set the table properly!


Keep calm and register on:

Places to register in and around Dayton, Ohio:

  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Elder-Beerman
  • JC Penney
  • Kohl’s
  • Macy’s
  • Target


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a fantastic local registry option. 

The Little Exchange, located in Oakwood.

Call to make an appointment (937-299-1561), select your registry items. 

Guests can shop in the store or on-line.


Be prepared to spend time in the store, they pack a ton in and there is SO much cuteness! The best part, all proceeds benefit Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Let us customize a menu for your party or event! 937.298.1234