For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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Birthday Parties Garden Style with Pretty Posy Favors & Pepper Steak Made Great!

I don't think it is any big surprise when I say that being in the garden is very special for me.  All my life we had a garden and it just is part of who I am.  The wonders of nature in the garden are by far too many to number.  I often say how special it is for me to be in the garden with my children, the experiences that I am able to share with them is priceless.  When they see their first woolly bear caterpillar, or pill bug or even better the first Praying Mantis, now that is a wonder for sure!  The garden is a special place for so many things, so what about hosting a birthday party~ not just for an adult but also a child.  Here are some 'Child' Friendly Garden Birthday Party idea's & tips...
*Help your child make home made garden themed Invitations.  How about a standard 4 x 5 1/2 piece of card stock.  Pick up those wonderful 10 for $1 seed packs and put the seed pack on the front for the 'picture'. 
*The Menu!  Let your child have fun! Depending on the age of the child let them help create the menu!  A very cute 'Sandwich' idea is to start with sub buns for your sandwich.  Cut each section about 4" and make as you want.  Set the sandwiches up down the center of the table in a wiggly way to look like a caterpillar. Even cuter, put chocholate cookie crumbs under it to make it appear as though it is crawling through the dirt~ too cute! You can use any color licorice to lay on the table slightly under the sections to represent the 'many' legs; using toothpicks, put round gummies or black olives for two eyes. Two stick pretzels can be the antenna's; use any other soft candies on toothpicks to poke along the tops of the sandwiches to represent 'polka-dot' backs.  The ideas are endless, use your imagination.
*Watermelons aren't just yummy, they can be beautiful centerpieces as well.  Most of us have seen how melons can be cut to represent a handled basket, hollowed out and then filled with a beautiful & delicious fruit salad.   The long oval shaped melons work best.
*Punch is the funnest drink for a party! Try making 'real' lemonade!  It is very simple- use 3 parts water to 1 part lemon juice, add 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of liquid! Cut lemon's & limes in slices and let them swirl around to make it extra special.  If you have a 'color' theme to your party, add a few drops of food coloring to make your lemonade your color!  You can use any large container to hold your punch!  Use jelly jars for your glasses with umbrella straws!
*Of course the Cake, or how about Cupcakes!  How much more fun, then these can actually turn into a Game!  Have a cupcake decorating activity!  Let each guest decorate their own cupcakes- so much more special!
*Party Games~ how about 'Pin the Bumblebee on the Daisy', play a game of bingo with flower pictures~ use small rubber stamps or stickers that would fit on a 1" square and use for your Bingo instead of letters!  How about a Scavenger hunt looking for all Garden stuff! 
*Posy Pots!  here is a great favor!  Here is what you will need!
Organic Potting mix, 1 Quart Zip Lock baggies, Sunflower or Marigold seeds, pretty card stock , tulle, raffia, and a small clay pot.  Fill the baggie with enough potting mix to fill the pot then place filled bag inside the pot. Take the card stock and make a small packet to put 2-3 seeds in, seal. Place seed packet on top of dirt bag in pot.  Gather tulle around the outside of the pot, and tie with raffia.  Cut out a 4" x 4" piece of card stock for a gift tag and using a rubber stamp or sticker of the type of flower seed you chose, place it on the square, punch a hole in the corner, write planting instructions on back and attach to raffia bow. Such fun for everyone!

Many people often wonder what they can do with Round Stead other than stew meat, here is a great way to make a typically tough piece of meat great!

Pepper Steak

2 lbs. beef round steak sliced into 1/2 inch strips from Garden Gate
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 garlic gloves, pressed and divided
2 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large Portabello mushroom                                                                                          
2 medium onions coarsely chopped from Garden Gate
2 tsp Seasoning Salt
1 cup beef broth
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp curry powder                                                                                     Chicken broth as needed

1.  In a skillet over medium heat, brown steak strips with oil and half the garlic.
2. Add peppers and onions; cook until tender.  Stir in mushrooms, Matt's Mix and remaining garlic.  Stir in beef broth.  Reduce heat to low an simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Sprinkle with curry powder and continue simmering one hour.
4. Add chicken broth as needed to prevent sticking and over browning.

Happy Day,
Jean

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