Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Barbecue: Dinner or Game Day Recipe

I will be forever grateful to my sister for sharing this mouth-watering recipe for Slow Cooker Barbecue with me. We had it for a belated Christmas meal with my side of the family, and everyone wanted seconds! I decided to try it out on my own a few weeks later and was pleased to see that it was just as easy to make as my sis told me it was.

This is great for a cozy winter dinner at home, or even served this Sunday for a Super Bowl party! And...bonus for you...I have my first-ever printable recipe here at the bottom of the post!

Slow Cooker Barbecue
adapted from allrecipes.com


1 (14 oz) can beef broth
3 pounds boneless pork ribs (I used 3 pound worth of pork sirloin roast)
1 (18 oz) bottle barbecue sauce (I used a little of both, to taste)
1 bottle of beer (optional)

1. Pour your can of beef broth into the slow cooker (reserve a bit if you won't be adding beer later) and add your pork tenderloin/pork butt/ribs. Cook on low for 6 hours.
2. Remove the pork and shred in a separate dish.

3. Return the shredded pork to your slow cooker and pour the bottle of beer over the pork (or the remaining beef broth).
4. Add a bottle of barbecue sauce. My sister swears by Sweet Baby Ray's, but I added a dash of Jack Daniels BBQ sauce as well. Cook another 2 to 3 hours on low.

Your barbecue will look like this when it's done (not pretty, but pretty darn tasty!):

We served ours on whole wheat rolls with spicy sweet potato fries. I'm normally more of a fan of Carolina-style barbecue, but this was a delicious meal. Even T had seconds, and he is Mr. Monsieur Le Picky.

They're great plain, or even with a little extra barbecue sauce on top!

Whichever way you choose to enjoy yours, this recipe leaves plenty for leftovers!

I'm testing out a new printable option today. Please bear with me...this is the first time I've tried this! I know it's not pretty, but I'll work on the designs as I learn more:
Slow Cooker Barbecue Recipe Serenity Now Blog

What's your favorite dish to serve on Super Bowl Sunday?

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Linking to Balancing Beauty and BedlamToday's Creative BlogHome Stories A to Z

Pillows by Dezign Giveaway Winner

The winner of the recent Decorative Pillow Giveaway from Pillows by Dezign was #21!

Nadir from Stitch Sense, you are the winner! Send me an email by Thursday at 5 pm ET to claim your prize.

Thanks to Pillows by Dezign for hosting such a fantastic Giveaway!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello Kitty Birthday Party (Party at Home)

I had so much fun sharing Natalie's Tinkerbell Ballet Birthday Party with you all that I decided to show you Michaela Byrd's Hello Kitty party that we threw for her 4th birthday two Saturdays ago. As much as I love Pinning photos of perfectly styled celebrations, we go for the budget route. If you are okay with simple party ideas that won't break the bank, then this post is for you!

Decorations, Food, and Activities:
I bought most of the decorations at The Party Store. To be completely and utterly honest with you, by January, I am usually a little worn out from the holiday hustle and bustle. Crafting mounds of matching party decorations that may or may not ever be used again didn't sound appealing to me, particularly as I was coming down with some sort of virus/sinus gunk/nastiness. So I opted for buying some adorable coordinating decorations and crafting a few of my own:

Because we hosted a morning party, food for the girls included homemade cupcakes with fun flower sprinkles (they coordinated with the party colors) ice cream, and juiceboxes, which I stored in a pink tub from Target's Dollar Spot. I stuck a tutu under the cupcake stand. I did make the cupcake toppers, and I'll share the tutorial later this week.

Goodie bags were small gift bags from the Dollar Spot filled with Hello Kitty crayons, pink and silver wrapped Dove chocolates, Hello Kitty stickers, and a Hello Kitty temporary tattoo. The other pink tub held Hello Kitty coloring books:

The dining room was turned into a little coloring station to keep the girls occupied while we waited for all the guests to arrive. I pulled a free Hello Kitty image from online and printed my own coloring pages through MS Publisher, adding a little "Thanks for coming to Michaela's party!" message at the top.

I made the tissue paper flower pom poms you see by following a Martha Stewart tutorial. The girls loved them!

We started the party with a game of "Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty" followed by "Quick Kitty," which was my own version of "Hot Potato." 

Each girl got to choose a Hello Kitty temporary tattoo when she was out of the Quick Kitty games. They love being "inked."

And I've never seen a kid freak out over a candle like this either. It was all I could do to get Michaela Byrd to blow out her candle, but she did enjoy the cupcake.

After cake and presents, we just let the girls play for awhile. I could have planned more games, but really most kids just want to play! We dug out some Barbies, Polly Pockets, and the dollhouses, and the girls played so nicely before it was time to go home.

The party was short, only an hour and a half: I've learned to tailor things to the kids. Two hours or more can drag on for little guests when you host at home, and we wanted to end things on a happy note. We keep the guest list small because it just makes everything easier when they start playing!

As I grow as a mother, I'm learning more and more that what really counts is that I make birthdays a special time for my girls. Putting parties together with the motives of trying to impress other moms or blog readers, or even just to "pack 'em in," is pointless and silly. Obviously, if our budget allowed for it, I might do more with decorations, food, or favors because I enjoy doing that sort of stuff. But more than anything, I want them to know how much I love them.

Michaela Byrd made my heart skip a beat when she came downstairs the morning of her party, saw the decorations and the cupcakes for the first time, and exclaimed, "Holy 'mackwal!'" 

It not be a "holy mackerel" moment for you, reader, but I'd say my work is done when I see the delight on my four year old's face! Nothing fills your heart with joy more than knowing that you've pleased a loved one.

What was your favorite birthday party growing up?

Linking to Today's Creative BlogHome Stories A to ZPositively SplendidTatertots and Jello

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

More Highlighted Links--Share Your Best Post!

Good morning, friends! If you're here to link up to Weekend Bloggy Reading, it's open for new links until 10 pm (ET) tonight. Please share your best post of the week with us...crafts, recipes, home decor, book reviews--all kinds of posts are welcome.

I also like to Feature bloggers who not only have great projects, but who also take the time to  link back to me within their post(s). I add many of these Features to my Pinterest page as well as Facebook, so there's some extra incentive to add a link back to this party.

Here are a few links from Weekend Bloggy Reading that caught my eye!

~Valentine's Ornaments via Ellementary Home

~Game Day Buffalo Wing Sandwich via Parties for Pennies

~LOVE Votive Candles via Setting for Four

~Valentine Mantel via Positively Splendid

~Tea Party Favors via Visual Meringue

~Valentine Cupcake Toppers via Sand and Sisal

~Jocelyn Top/Dress via Real Housewives of Riverton

~9 Ways to Fake an Immaculate Home via Organizing Made Fun

~TuTu Valentine Photo Idea via Northwest Lovelies

~Key to My Heart Pillow via Yankee Doodle Designs

Please, if you haven't already, take a few moments to link back to me within your post(s) and visit a few of the other links from the party if you linked up this weekend.

*It's BOTB Day over at Centsational Girl! Run, walk, or click over now to see what Kate and I rounded up for this week's installment of The Best of the Blogosphere.*

Did I feature you here today? If the answer is "yes," feel free to grab this button for your sidebar!
Featured At Serenity Now

How are you spending today? Enjoy your Sunday! 

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Highlighted Weekend Links-- Share Your Best Post!

Happy Saturday! Are you enjoying your weekend? Please pop in to link up YOUR best post of the week at my Weekend Bloggy Reading party.

All kinds of posts are welcome here: We have recipes, home remedies, room makeovers, crafts, fashion advice, book reviews, and more! The code for the button is near the end of this post.

There are a lot of fabulous posts this weekend! If you haven't yet, please be sure to visit some of the other links from the party and say a quick howdy to those who have taken the time to visit you. I'd also really appreciate it if you'd take the time to add a direct link back to me within your post(s)...I like to return the favor by Featuring the bloggers who follow through with good blogging etiquette!

Keep reading to see just a few of the posts that caught my eye so far.

~Closet Organizer for Her via Lookie What I Did

~China Hutch Makeover via My Crafty Home Life

~Homemade Sugar Hearts via Texas Cottage

~Play Doh Valentines with Printable via Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM

~Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie via Keeping Up with the Cyperts

~Animal Theme Party via Beauty in Bloom

~Bookcase Makeover via The Weekend Homemaker

So, what did you have up your sleeve this week? Come by and share it with us here! Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers' work too. Here's the button in case you'd rather use that than a text link back.
Weekend Bloggy Reading

I'm working at commenting as well as balancing my family and fun time this weekend...thanks for your patience! More Features coming tomorrow!

If I've featured you, feel free to snag this button for your blog:
Featured At Serenity Now

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