Gobble Gobble Time!

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, you begin to consider many things: “What do I do first? How should I decorate? What should be on my menu? Dare I attempt the Turducken?” With that in mind we at CUE thought it might be nice to offer a few suggestions to help you get in the Thanksgiving spirit.

First, let’s start with a craft project.  A cute way to spice up your Thanksgiving table is to create a Turkey Bread Basket.

Turkey Breadbasket Centerpiece

Courtesy of Familyfun.go.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large wooden spoon
  • Tacky glue and a glue stick
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Flat wooden craft spoon
  • Red marker
  • Colorful printed wrapping paper or pages from old magazines
  • Waxed paper
  • Thin wooden skewers (sold in the kitchen/cooking section of most grocery and department stores)
  • Basket to serve as the turkey’s body (it should be large enough to fit a loaf of bread or dinner rolls)
  • Florists’ foam or Styrofoam block (sold at many large craft or department stores) large enough to wedge into the basket
  • Cloth dinner napkin
Instructions
  1. To create the turkey’s head, turn the large wooden spoon so that the back of the bowl becomes the face. Use tacky glue to stick on the googly eyes. Then cut out a yellow construction paper beak and glue it in place.
  2. For the turkey’s wattle, use the marker to color the flat wooden craft spoon red. Glue the wattle onto the face at an angle so that the top slightly overlaps the beak. You can use a pinch-style clothespin to hold the pieces in place until the glue dries.
  3. From the construction paper, help your kids cut out lots of colored feathers that measure about 10 inches long and 1 3/4 inches across at the widest point. Cut out the same number of feathers from the wrapping paper or magazine pages, then trim them so that they are slightly smaller than the solid-colored ones.
  4. Cover a flat work surface with waxed paper (this makes for easier cleanup after applying glue), and you’re ready to assemble the feathers. For each one, place a construction paper cutout on the waxed paper and set a wooden skewer atop it so that the blunt end is just below the top of the paper and the pointed end extends about 3 inches below it.
  5. Next, use a glue stick to coat the underside of a printed feather. Then press it, glued side down, onto the construction paper feather, sandwiching the skewer between the 2 layers.
  6. Wedge the foam block into the basket (trim it first if necessary). Push the spoon handle into one end of the block deep enough to secure it. Stick the feathers into the opposite end. Cover the block with the cloth napkin, and the turkey basket is ready to fill with bread.

If you are  in the mood for a more elegant meal, then consider using a few leaves from your yard to create a subtle fall theme. Display autumn leaves beneath a sheer tablecloth and the dining room will look as brilliant as the trees in your front yard. First, place leaves between paper towels or waxed paper inside a phone book for a week to dry and smooth them. Next, if needed, use double-sided tape to attach foliage — in any grouping — to a standard white tablecloth. Then place a sheer cloth, such as organza, on top.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

You might also want to use a leaf or a sweet-gum-tree spur as a place card. Just tie a name tag with a bit of ribbon to the stem of your chosen item.

Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Finally, no Thanksgiving is complete without a bit o’ Pumpkin Pie. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Follow the recipe below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of 100% Pure Pumpkin or Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Libby's(R) Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

But remember, no matter what decor you choose or how many delicious treats you taste, Thanksgiving is ultimately about being grateful for the ones we care about and the meaning they bring to our lives. So, this Thanksgiving make sure to put a little extra TLC (Tender Loving Care) into each project or dish and it will certainly shine through to your loved ones!

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Celebrate the 4th in Style

Looking for last-minute party ideas for Sundays 4th of July celebration? Look no further because we at CUE have a few tips on simple table decorations, fun drinks, and playlist recommendations!

Easy, yet chic centerpieces.

Everything is coming together for Sunday’s bbq, you have all the food planned out and everyone is assigned to bring something, you have the tables planned out, but you forgot about centerpieces. Here is an easy, yet chic centerpiece idea to give even the kiddy tables a grown up look.

Run to your local Whole Foods or market and pick up several bouquets of white hydrangea. Prepare the flowers by cutting the stems, grab a few vases that you have around the house (or borrow a few from your friends and family… I love the eclectic look; wide mouth vases will work the best), fill them up with water and pop the flowers in. I really like the look of white hydrangea, and bring in pops of color by tying red or blue (or both) ribbon around the vase.

This is a simple and very inexpensive way to class up your tables with some nice centerpieces.

*** Sample of a DIY hydrangea centerpiece that we constructed at a recent event.

Refreshing summer drink that is perfect for kids and adults!

One of my favorite easy 4th of July recipes is a festive drink, inspired by one by Martha Stewart (the photo here was my inspiration– it belongs to her!).

To make the garnish –which is perfect for the Fourth!– simply press a cookie cutter though a thin piece of watermelon rind. So pretty and fun!

Ingredients:
1 pt. fresh, ripe strawberries
3 cups seedless watermelon, diced
1 lime, juiced
2 liters. ginger ale

Instructions:
1. After cleaning your strawberries and watermelon, put them into the blender on high to make a purée.
2. Mix them with the ginger ale. You can serve this beverage as it stands with ice, or change it by doing any of the following:

* Freeze the berries and melon for a “smoothie” (this is a huge hit on a hot day!)
* Using one liter ginger ale and one liter champagne
* Adding berry vodka to the mix for the adults
* Add blueberries to float in the drink (red, white, blue)

Oh, yummm!

And now to get the party going, you need a playlist that gets your guests in the mood to celebrate.

A few weeks back, my roommate decided to throw a “Party in the USA” party, and I was in charge of creating the playlist. I decided to stick to the theme and only add songs that had America, USA, or the name of a state in the lyrics. It really hurt my brain to think that hard about music, but I took my task to heart, and this is what I came up with (I think it’s appropriate to bust it out again for this weekend).

American Woman
American Pie
American Baby
American Honky Tonk Bar Association
American Ride
R.O.C.K. in the USA
Don’t Stop Believin’
Sweet Home Alabama
Georgia
Empire State of Mind
California Girls
Hotel California
Pink House
Take Me Home, Country Roads
City of New Orleans
Beautiful America
Buffalo Soldier
Wakko’s 50 State Capitols (oh, yes, I threw that in there, thank you Animaniacs)
Small Town USA
Keep on Rockin’ In the Free World
Party in the USA
God Bless the USA
Living in America
Everyday America
Born in the USA
Surfin’ USA
American Saturday Night

That’s just the start of our playlist. Come up with more songs of your own. What are your must have songs for this weekend of celebrating?

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday weekend from the girls at CUE!

xoxo,

Emily

1st Presbyterian Church Pre-School Fundraiser

Who says you need an extravagant venue to hold an event? With the right planners, rentals, lighting, and bartenders, you can take an empty space and make it your own!

CUE helped plan and design a low key Pre-school Fundraiser located at 1st Presbyterian Church on 5th Avenue. Some may question how could we possibly hold an event in a Church where the guests wouldn’t be reminded of all the Sunday sermons they’ve missed? The simple answer is paying a great attention to detail in decor.

A silent auction was the best way to go in making this fundraiser function smoothly. The walls were all covered with bid sheets where guests would write their offer. A square bar was placed in the middle of the room and draped in grey table cloths. Yellow ribbon was purposely set along the borders and crisscrossed with another strand of ribbon creating a grid-like look. These grids symbolizes a grid of New York City’s streets. The unexpected color contrast between the grey cloth and yellow ribbon draws attention due to the pop of color it gives out.

Fresh branches with small buds growing out of them were placed in steel cylinders were positioned on the bar as well. The branches were picked up from stores located in the Flower District here in Manhattan. The branches moved the eye to bring attention to the floral garland strung from the chandelier in the center of the hall. The garland generated warmth to the room and brought things together creating a unification.

Decor is everything. Whether it might be the smallest detail to a big centerpiece, decor sets your event apart from the next. It sets the mood and is the first thing guests see when walking into your event. Just remember, it’s not about where you have it, it’s how you present it.

We would also like to give a big thanks to jewelry designer, Sarah Radford from Chic Gems, etc., for providing the beautiful jewelry that Danielle wore to the event.

xoxo,

Kiki