Girls' Weekend 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Another Girls' Weekend is officially in the books.  We Harris Sisters get together- just us girls- every summer and spend a fun-filled weekend catching up and enjoying each other's company.  This year, we did just that last weekend. 

This time we met in Asheville, NC.  We got ourselves a sweet little cabin in the woods for the weekend and enjoyed Asheville's annual Food and Wine Festival. 

Over the course of the weekend, we also spent hours and hours talking about everything under the sun.  In fact, here's a little list of some of our hot topics:

  • Tax Free Weekend (or lack thereof)
  • Shutterbugs (as in, "I'm a bit of a...)
  • Mims
  • The Outsiders
  • Gang Signs
  • Video Games (I'm sure there was more to this topic, but I'm clueless.)
  • Sweet Wine
  • Grease (the movie, and yes, John Travolta did sing his parts)
  • Ryan Reynolds (Hey girl...)
  • Family Trees
  • House of Cards
  • Bubble Wands (missing ones, in particular)
  • Pinterest
  • Hummus and Bean Sprouts
  • Broadway Shows
  • (Because of) Bears
  • Party Plates (gotta find us some of these before the next food and wine event)
  • Birkenstocks
  • Bruises, Bee Stings, and Bug Bites (Oh my!)
  • T-shirt Alterations
  • Survivor
  • Vegas Acts
  • Back to School
  • Stinky Rental Cars
  • Dog Cartoons
  • Subarus
  • Hipsters (I'm still not clear on what or who this group is?!?!?)
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (We Harris Sisters have an important cause that is near and dear to our hearts that we will all be participating in in October- Relay for Life- in support of cancer research.)
  • How to Make a Fire (without an actual lighter or proper kindling, but somehow we did it)
  • Orange in the New Black
If most of this makes no sense to you, fear not.  It probably didn't make much sense to us either, but that's the fun of Girls' Weekend.  Aren't sisters just the best?

We also squeezed in a little time for blog planning, and upon departure of our cabin we left the owner a note that they were sadly missing both scissors and lighters.  While we were at it, we should have just requested a hatchet and a blowtorch too.  :)  In any case, it was a fantastic weekend.  Once a year just isn't enough!!

Polka Dot Pig Party

Friday, August 22, 2014

We recently celebrated Jaxon's 6th birthday. And he wanted to have a pig party theme. He has always loved pigs. We THINK the fascination began early when he saw his very first in theater movie: Toy Story 3 and fell in love with Hamm.  

Anyhoot, let me tell you, it's not all that easy to plan a pig themed party that is not related to or the farm or the movie that his favorite pig was in or even a specific pig (most of the cartoon ones are girls: Peppa, Olivia, Mrs. Piggy, etc.). He JUST wanted pigs.

So this is what I came up with. First, I sent out invitations that incorporated the cover artwork of "If You Give a Pig a Party." That way, I was able to incorporate some other colors besides pink for a boy's party! I thought polka dots might be a nice choice.

For the menu, I planned pig party cupcakes, polka dot popcorn, and "mud pies" (Oreo Dirt Cake) to eat and "mud puddles" (YooHoo), pink "piggie" punch (Pink Party Punch), and water to drink.

I decorated with polka dots using these free printables:

Free Drink Label Printable by Paper and Pigtails. (Link also includes other Polka Dot Party Printables.)

Pro Tip: Do not cut the vertical cutting lines shown. This will ensure that the labels will fit all the way around whatever bottle you're wrapping. (Better to overlap in the back than to come up short with a gap because you cut on those lines!)

I "invited" Jaxon's stuffed animal pig collection to the party and made sure that they had party hats to wear using the Free Party Hat Printable from Fun Stuff to Do. (Link also includes other Polka Dot Party Printables.)

All other party supplies, including polka dot party plates, pig crazy straws, pig pinata, and pig and polka dot mylar balloons were purchased online from

Pig Pinata (Note: this pinata appears small, but it is huge! It held about 5 big bags of candy!)

Sidebar: We always let the birthday boy "wear" whatever part of the pinata is left after it's all said and done. Maybe that's just a weird family tradition that we started, but it sure makes for some memorable birthday photos:

Pig Crazy Straws and Polka Dot Plates (I paired this with colorful plastic cutlery and cups.)

Pig and Polka Dot Mylar Balloons

I had a few pig themed games planned, but I'm coming to the realization that they're getting too old for party games. Once all of the cousins and friends have arrived, they just want to play! I did manage to gather them together for a rousing game of "Stinky Pig," which is played the same way as Hot Potato. 

You press his belly and he starts to hum a song. While he's humming, the players pass him around the circle. But, oh no! Stinky Pig has flatulence and will stop humming long enough to fart. :-) The player holding Stinky Pig when he farts is out of the game and play continues until only one player is left. This game's a real winner. 

We purchased this game when we visited the Old Mill Toy Shoppe on our trip to Pigeon Forge this year.

Well that wraps another party for this year. We've got another one coming in less than a month so I'd better get planning!

Polka Dot Party Popcorn

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We served this candy coated popcorn for Jaxon's birthday party, and it was a hit! It was super simple to make and now that I've made it, I see that the possibilities are endless. Try black and orange sprinkles for Halloween popcorn or red and green sprinkles for Christmas popcorn.

As written, the multicolored sprinkles create a colorful effect perfect for a polka dot or rainbow birthday party. Enjoy!

Polka Dot Party Popcorn

10 cups popped popcorn (unpopped kernels removed)
12 oz. bag vanilla candy melts
multicolored candy sprinkles

  1. Add popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Line two medium baking sheets with wax paper.
  3. Melt candy melts in microwave according to package directions. Stir until smooth.
  4. Pour melted candy melts over popcorn and stir to combine.
  5. Turn out coated popcorn onto lined baking sheets in one layer.
  6. Sprinkle with candy sprinkles and allow to cool.
  7. Break apart and serve.
Note: I've found that the easiest way to remove unpopped kernels from popped popcorn is to empty the popcorn into a large bowl, top the bowl with a baking rack, and then turn the bowl upside down. The unpopped kernels should fall through the grid of the baking rack.

Pink Party Punch

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This is an old family recipe. Any time we ever had an occasion for punch, we used this one. And while I don't recall ever making it pink, the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it just about any color of the rainbow!

I've made it red and green for Christmas, and I've made orange and purple for Halloween. But pink was the color of choice for Jaxon's recent pig themed birthday party and I think there was less than 1/2 cup left. Always a hit!

Pink Party Punch

2 packages Pink Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid
2 cups sugar
46 oz. can pineapple juice
2 liter ginger ale for serving
Gallon sized container for mixing

  1. Pour pineapple juice into gallon sized container.
  2. Add contents of Kool-Aid packages and two cups of sugar.
  3. Fill container the rest of the way full with water. (You should have one gallon of punch mix in container.) Mix well until sugar is dissolved and Kool-Aid is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Mix equal parts punch mix and ginger ale in punch bowl for serving.
Notes: If desired, you can fill a bundt pan 1/3 full with punch mix and freeze. Before guests arrive, you can unmold this "ice" into your punch bowl to keep the punch cold.

Oreo Dirt Cake

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I've made this once before for Jaxon's Charlie Brown birthday party. (We called it Pigpen Pudding then.) I remembered that it was easy to make and that it was a hit, so I thought I'd pull out the recipe for his Pig Party this year and call it Mudpies.

I made individual servings in mini mason jars and they looked so cute! 

Oreo Dirt Cake

1 package Oreo cookies, crushed
12 oz container Cool Whip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2, 3.9 oz packages of instant chocolate pudding mix
3 cups cold milk

  1. Crush Oreo cookies and spread half the crumbs in the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. 
  2. Mix Cool Whip, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar. 
  3. Spread this mixture over the cookies. 
  4. Mix milk, pudding mix, and vanilla. 
  5. Pour pudding over mixture in the pan. 
  6. Top with remaining Oreos crumbs. 
  7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. This cake is best if made the day before you want to serve it.
Note: In lieu of serving in a 9" x 13" pan, I created individual servings in small Mason jars for this party.

Pig Party Cupcakes

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is a super easy "recipe." You'll spend a little extra time decorating them to look like pigs, but they turn out pretty cute. Jaxon enjoyed these recently when he asked for a pig-themed birthday party.

To make the cupcakes and frosting, follow the directions for Doctored Cake Mix Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Because you're making cupcakes, reduce baking time to 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Decorating the Cupcakes to Look Like Pigs

Red food coloring
Pink candy coating (two per cupcake)
Chocolate chips (two per cupcake, plus more to melt)

  1. Place 2-3 drops of red food coloring into the buttercream frosting. Mix together until frosting is pink.
  2. Place a tablespoon of chocolate chips into a Ziploc bag and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. Snip the end of the Ziploc bag.
  3. Count out enough pink candy coating pieces so that you have enough for one per cupcake.
  4. Use the melted chocolate to pipe two small "nostrils" on the flat side of each pink candy coating piece to create a pig snout. Set aside.
  5. Count out enough pink candy coating pieces so that you have enough for one per cupcake.
  6. Use a serrated knife to cut each in half to create "ears".
  7. Frost each cupcake and decorate with a piped pink candy piece (for pig snout), two chocolate chips (for eyes), and two pink candy coating halves (for ears).

Fried Green Tomatoes

Friday, August 15, 2014

On our recent trip to visit Harris Sister, Deanna, I snagged a few tomatoes.  We didn't do any planting this year, and the few volunteers that we had from last year were pretty puny.  I love nothing better in the Summertime than to pluck a tomato off the branch and fix a tomato sammich for lunch. But these particular tomatoes gave me another idea!

 So, for all of you fans of Southern cookin', I give you:

Fried Green Tomatoes

What you will need:

  • 4 Large tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 Cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Cups vegetable oil


  1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in medium-sized bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then, dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
  3. Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan). Heat over medium heat. Place tomato slices into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes; they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side.  Drain them on paper towels.