Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to: Have the Best Birthday Party Etiquette

Live for today, Plan for tomorrow, Party tonight! – Author Unknown

I love birthday parties! I love having them and I love attending them. As a girl who has had 24 bangin’ birthdays I’ve got some tips for you on being the perfect party guest. Just follow the conga line to the word P-A-R-T-Y!

P- Present
A- Acknowledge

R- Relieve

T- Thank you

Y- Yackety yack

Present: Congratulations you made the “close friends who get invited to my birthday” list! Now you get to find a nice birthday gift. If you have the cash to spend you should shoot for the $25 range. Try and remember what the birthday girl/boy likes. Do you remember them saying they really liked the color indigo blue? Did she say she liked beads for making funky bracelets? If your budget is in the $10 range then you might want to pick up some flowers (every girl loves em’) or chocolates (every boy loves to eat em’)

Acknowledge: Okay Miss. Popular I’m talking to you! You walk in the door and everyone attacks you like Pooh Bear to honey. As hard as it is to escape the mob you need to acknowledge why you’re there and go find the birthday girl/boy pronto! Greet them with “Happy Birthday!” Hand them their gift and give them an honest compliment on the house, their outfit or the yummy food.

Relieve: So there is 30 guests and only one person cutting birthday cake, scooping ice cream and handing out slices. Be a great guest and relieve some of the stress of the birthday girl. Offer to hand out slices of the yummy apple cake. Did you see someone accidentally spill punch on the leather sectional sofa? Haven’t you been coming to this house since you were 5 years old and know where the rags are? Hop to the helping with the mess and be called a great guest!

Thank you: Whenever you leave a birthday party, be sure to thank the Birthday Girl/Boy and the Birthday Mom. After they went through all the work of cleaning their home, preparing food, finding a cake and organizing games it’s nice for them to hear that you enjoyed the party.

*Why do you say thank you to the Birthday Mom, you ask? Here’s the dealy yo: Your friend’s mom has probably worked her tail off all day to make this party happen. Nobody else will think to thank them and it will mean the world to them when you do. You are such a nice kid!

Yackety Yack: Unfortunately some people don’t read Chica Irvina’s blog and don’t know how to be good guests. They don’t help relieve party stress, they don’t say hello and thank you and they need your help! Maybe they are in a funk tonight and just not themselves…who knows. If you see someone at the party who looks a little sad and lonesome on the leather sofa then pour yourself a tall cup of spiced apple cider and go yackety yack with the lonesome one. Chances are that there will be a time when you won’t have anyone to talk to at a party. A good guests helps all the other guests to have a good time.

What do you think?

Am I right on about birthday party etiquette or did I fall down in my stilettos one too many times this weekend? Let me know by emailing me at Irvina@FurnitureFromHome.com

I would like to graciously thank


for sponsoring today’s blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

You don't know what it's like to have a bestfriend, until you have a sister....

I saw my nieces who are 8 and 11 yesterday. They are my two favorite girls. One is super smart and engages easily in conversation. The other gives really tight hugs and is always asking you to play. Oddly these two girls with great personalities annoy each other. Some would say, “Their sisters. They’ll grow out of it.” I wish I could give them a simple recipe to accept each other the way they are. I think life is too short to make the mistake of hurting the person who will one day be the best friend you’ll ever have.

It’s not like I’m some far off idealist. I know what I’m talking about. I have four sisters. Three older and one younger. My older sisters love to tell me the stories about when my baby sister Walesa was born and how I took on the role of her big sister. I would translate her baby gibberish to, “She says she wants a peanut butter sandwich. No jelly.” I would pour a whole box of cheerios on her high chair and say, “She told me she wanted some….a whole lot of them…she’s really hungry.” When she would try and stand up on the swing in our backyard she would cautiously watch for my discriminating eye as she did it. The moment I would see her I’d yell, “Sit down!” and she would immediately comply. We had the perfect relationship. We all knew who was boss…ME!

That was all until the dark and gloomy morning at our dining room table when my sister learned to talk. Not that she didn’t have the cutest baby voice in the world, it was what she said that morning that shattered our relationship of two years. My mom had just given us both bowls of rice crispies. We were told to add a spoon full of sugar and stir and my mom walked back into the kitchen. I told my little sister, “I’m not stirring my sugar. I’m leaving it on top. You can taste more sugar that way.” My little sister then did the unfathomable, she yelled, “Mommy! Irvina isn’t stirring the sugar into her rice crispies she just letting it sit on top!” All I could think was, “Backstabber!” How could she? After all I’ve done for her! Did she forget that I was always the one who did the James Bond operation to sneak her out of her crib to go peek on our parents dinner parties downstairs? Did she forget that whenever our mother lost her in the mall that I was the only one who could ever find her? (No one had the sharp eye that I had to find her little white Keds.) Did she forget hat I was the one who told her “back up and cover your eyes” when our dad showed us how to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a nail? And what about the time that there was only one more glass of milk for chocolate milk and I had “chocolate water” so she could have chocolate milk. Yes, that bowl of rice crispies marked a turning point in our relationship.

Over twenty years have passed since the morning in the dining room, and if I put emotions aside I would realize that I am blessed. I am blessed that I have four women in my life that aren’t afraid to tell me when I am in the wrong and eating too much sugar. No one quite like my sisters. Of course while growing up my little sister and I fought and at times couldn’t stand to be in the same with each other. The age difference with the older ones left me feeling distant at times. I remember being annoyed that my mom let my older sisters correct my etiquette at the dinner table. But, now more than ever I appreciate having all four of my sisters. Each one of us with different personalities, tastes, values and beliefs.

I have friends who tell me, “You’re like a sister to me.” As nice a gesture as that is to hear I don’t know if a lot of people would put the time into a friendship as the amount of time it takes to have a sister. I mean how many friends do you have who have completely forgiven you after you have hurt them for years? How many of your friends still call to hang out with you when the two of you have nothing in common? How many of your friends totally accept you for the way you are and your differences and don’t try to change you? How many of your friends really understand your mother? Maybe I’m the odd one out, but I don’t know many of my friends that would or have done that for me. Except for my sisters.

It makes me sad to know that at one time we were able to all sit on the same leather sectional sofa and watch a movie without making an appointment to do so. Now, flights have to be arranged, vacation days need to be requested and husbands need to watch children in order for quality sister time to take place. I feel foolish for having taken my sisters for granted. Yet, I’m glad that at least now I know what it really means to be a friend, it’s being a sister.

I would like to thank

FurnitureFromHome.com for sponsoring today’s blogs.

Please check out their beautiful new site

with beautiful leather sectional sofas, bedroom sets and office furniture.

Happy Shopping!




Monday, March 05, 2007

Breakfast Monday- Sunday the easy and healthy way!

A blog brought to you by Irvina at FurnitureFromHome.com

Not having a healthy breakfast in the morning can bring down your day the way a bad date can bring down your Friday night. You NEED to eat breakfast! I hear your whining, “I don’t have time.” “I’m not hungry in the morning.” Well Chica Irvina to the rescue. I ‘m giving you my favorite, lite, sacred, delicious, 20 minutes or less ( except for Saturday) recipes. Go forth and feed yourself dang it!

If you still feel like a kitty that won’t jump boat then remember these things:

1. People who eat breakfast are healthier and weigh less than people who don’t

2. People who eat breakfast are more alert at work and get better grades at school

3. People who eat breakfast get to try Irvina’s yummy breakfast recipes!


Groovy banalime-applinach-oothie!

The 70’s were trippy, the Beattles rocked it out,

but Groovy Banalime-applinach-oothies are the best drink from this century…no doubt!

The grooviest smoothie around. Not only does it taste “Grade A” A-MAZING it is also good for your brain, your eyes and your bones. Studies have shown that spinach improves learning capacity and motor skills, provides iron for energy, prevents cancer cells from forming. Trust me after you try this smoothie you’ll consider Jamba Juice tap water.

You need:

1 banana

½ of a lime (with the rind)

4 apples

1 bunch of spinach

2 cups of water


How to:

Chop everything before hand (the lime should be chopped really small) and then dump the apples first, then the spinach, then the rest into the blender.

Serves you, sister, mom, dad and left overs for a after school snack!



Amigas is Spanish for friends! This recipe has one rule:

When you make these for breakfast you have to call an old friend within 24 hours and say, “Hola Amiga, que pasa?” Nothing like breakfast to bring friends together!

You’ll Need:

1 large skillet

1 wooden spoon

4 corn tortilla’s

7 eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Salsa to serve on the side

Serves: Family of 4 Cook Time: 15 minutes

How to:

1. Tear the corn tortilla’s into pieces that are a little bigger than a postage stamp

2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet

3. Add the cut tortillas to the skillet and brown them until they are crunchy like tortilla chips. Remove from skillet.

4. Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook until they turn a caramel color

5. Add salt, pepper, tortillas and beaten eggs to the skillet

6. Toss until eggs are fully cooked. Serve with salsa to taste.

7. Don’t forget to grab your cell phone on the way out the door!


Have Apple Halves!

Have an apple,

Have a seat,

Have some peanut butter,

And stay up beat!

Don’t forget breakfast,

Not hungry today?

Have an apple anyway!

Eating breakfast when you’re not hungry or in a hurry is like hanging out with your friends when you’re bummed out. You don’t really want to, but in the end you feel better and are glad you did. If you’re not hungry then grab something small and healthy like an apple with some peanut butter.

You need:

4 apples

½ cup of natural peanut butter

1 knife

1 chopping board

How to:

1. )Take one apple cut it in half

2.) Take those halves and cut them in half,

3.) Take the half, halves and halve them again

4.) And then you “have” your apple halves J

5.) Serve with all natural peanut butter, like Laura Schudder’s

*DON’T* Eat peanut butter brands like Jiffy, Skippy or Bonny…if it ends in a “Y” you should ask, “Why” does this cost so little? Because it’s made with partially hydrogenated oils that will hurt your precious little bodies. Trust me on this one!

*DIDJA KNOW?* That the skin of an apple prevents cancer? Yeah, the apple skin contains 4 milligrams of quercetin, an anti-oxident that prevents oxygen molecules from damaging cells. This can prevent cell changes that can lead to cancer. They found out that men who had the highest intake of quercetin lowered their risk of heart disease by 20%. Now go tell your daddy that!


1 “Eggcelelent” girl!

This one person omelette made with basil and tomatoes is named after me. Yes, I am calling myself “eggcellent!” Mostly because the omelette looks like me. The tomatoes are my red lips, the basil is my green eyes. Wrap it up and you’ve got “1 Eggcelent girl!”

You need:

1 egg

1 fresh basil leaf

1 tomato wedge

1 dash of salt

1 dash of pepper

2 table spoons of olive oil

2 table spoons of grated parmasean cheese

1 skillet

1 spatula

1 fork

How to:

1. Beat eggs, paramsean cheese, salt and pepper with a fork

2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat

3. Pour in egg mixture

4. Just as the eggs start cooking add the tomato, smile side up, tear the basil leaves in half to make two eyes.

5. Say, “Have a nice day in my tummy “Eggcellent girl”


Pro-Teen shake!

This shake got me through my teen years. Between school starting at 7:45 a.m (thanks Newport Mesa school board) after school cheer practice, pep rallies, charity work, family and dreaded geometry, I needed something to keep me balanced. Blessed as I am I had a sweet, little Mexican lady who I like to call “mom” who would hand me one of these while I straightened my hair. It’s delish!

You need:

1 banana

1/3 cup of peanut butter

1 raw egg

2 cups milk

1/3 cup wheat germ


How to:

Blend it up girly!

Serves: 2 teenage girls and 1 mom


Lickity Liscious Lemon and poppy seed scones!

After a long week of school or work , it’s time to have some fun in the kitchen! Make these scones with girlfriends, mom or take some over to your dad’s house.

You need:

3 cups all purpose flour (organic)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (organi)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel (organic)
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (or more) whole milk

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, lemon peel, and salt

3. Add butter and using clean hands mix it all (okay so you’re freaked out by using your hands, but I’m 24 and cannot afford a food processor, God gave me hands for my 20’s I’m sure)

4. Whisk egg and lemon juice in medium bowl to blend.

5. Add to flour mixture. Keep mixin with those hands until moist clumps form. Add 1/3 cup milk. Mix just until dough comes together, adding more milk if dough seems dry.

6. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into 8-inch round. Cut round into 8 wedges.

7. Transfer scones to large baking sheet; brush with milk. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

8. Bake until scones are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

9. They’ll keep baking if you don’t take them off of the sheet. So move it sistah!


Make some Rest!

Nothing like Sunday to make some rest,

To wake up leisurely,

To wear a green dress,

To go into church,

To be calm and pray,

To eat brunch with friends

While you laugh by the bay.

Words out, I’m a Jew! Actually “half-a-jew” which means I try to practice the Sabbath day. I’m so hyper during the week that I need a day to “chill-lax.” A day when I don’t cook if I don’t want to, a day where I visit with friends at leisure, write down a rhyme or two, read a chapter or so, bike ride by the beach, pay a visit to my sister and help her rearrange her leather sectional sofa for a more inviting atmosphere or just go home and sit on my own leather sofa set and get paint on everything else in my living room, but the canvas. We all need to learn how to “make some rest.”

I hope you all liked my idea’s for

“Breakfast! Monday through Sunday the easy way!”

Don’t forget to get on the internet and search for all of your bedroom sets from my company


it’ll be good for you ;)

Big Smiles!


J x o J xo J

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys

Happy Monday!

I would like to take a moment in time to thank


for sponsoring this pretty, witty and crafty blog.

Thank you,FurnitureFromHome.com for making a job for me that is fun, relaxing and beautiful….just like the sofa sets you carry….and now for our

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys!

So I know my nieces like getting creative pictures of our family that I have taken. (Remember Cutie Patootie Photo Purses? –Big Hit!) Well I have come to feel that my nephews might like something creative from Aunt Nini also. Even if they don’t appreciate it now, they will probably like it later in life. The challenge was keeping it “masculine” “big boy tough” looking. What I ended up with is putting photos on canvas. Leaving space for a frame and making the frame using a “Crackle” finish. Adding a leather trim (of course to coordinate with the leather sofas they will have in their study when their 50 years old. Aunt Nini’s always thinkin’) To top it off I added their name at the bottom with wooden star accents. What do you know? It looks like quite a cute token of memorablila. You too can make one yourself! My recipe concoction is below!

You need:

Photo images stretched on Canvas

Delta Ceramcoat – Crackle

Delta Ceramcoat- Navy Blue

Delta Ceramcoat- Barn Red

Delta Ceramcoat- Magnolia White

Delta Ceramcoat- Gloss sealant

Delta Ceramcoat- Satin Interior Finish

½ inch paint brush

20-0 size, tiny brush for writing

1 ½ yards of leather fabric (can be found in the ribbon section)

Cowboy font

¼ inch of crafting tape

1 jar of Rubber Cement

Needle and thread

1.) Take some very cute photos, (the ones I shot are pretty super duper cute, if I do say so myself ) and have them put on canvas and stretched. The picture should be 5x7 in size, the canvas should be 8x10 in size (the differences in size is going to give you a 3 inch border all the way around )….This costs a pretty penny of $50 each. For my bargain hunting babes out there, you can use a piece of 8x10 wood and rubber cement the 5x7 picture to it, that process is $10 each. (*Remember, what you pay for is what you get. The canvas route is going to look more professional and the picture will be protected from nicks and scrapes. Just a warning*)

2.) Take ¼ inch tape and border it all along the image of the picture. This is so you have a clean line of paint that does not get on your image.

3.) Using the ½ inch paint brush paint on the color that you want to show up in the “cracks.” Let this color dry completely.

*The first coat of color you put on will not be the main color.

4.) Using the same washed out brush. Apply Crackle all over 1st layer of paint. Let dry until tacky.

5.) Using the same washed out brush. Apply second coat of contrasting color. The cracks will form in the direction of your brush strokes. Apply your second coat of contrasting color (this will be your main color) Watch the cracks form in just minutes. It’s so cool! Allow the canvas to dry completely.

5.) Using the ½ inch brush apply the Satin Interior Varnish. Apply 2 coats.

6.) Remove tape from picture borders.

7.) Using the cowboy font as a reference, write the boys name on the picture below.

Sketching in pencil is a good idea. Using the tiny brush 20/0 paint in the letters with the Magnolia white paint.

8.) Using the ribbon fabric, cut two, 7 inch pieces and two– 5 inch pieces. Border the picture. Attaching the leather with Rubber Cement. Allow to dry over night

9.) Using needle and thread, attach stars on each side of the painted name.

10.) Sit back on your leather sectional sofa, call your girlfriends and tell them how you now know how to use crackle paint, leather and pictures to make one very cute

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys! Of course you’ll tell them to check out Aunt Nini’s crafts at http://furniturefromhome.blogspot.com/

It’s been fun ladies! I’m off to create a life worth of memories! If you have any ideas or comments to share please contact me at Irvina@furniturefromhome.com

Happy crafting chicas!



AKA “Aunt Nini”