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Coffee Break with Liz and Kate » Archive

Liz’s rant: The shelf elf

I wrote about this last Christmas, and since it is the season, let’s re-address it. Looking for a way to keep your kids in line year-round? Here’s a little trick you may want to consider (Liz says with a tinge of sarcasm): Get a shelf elf. That’s right. A shelf elf. Every night, when the kids go to bed, move the elf to a different spot in the house, making it appear that the elf sneaks off to the North Pole to report to Santa while your little angel sleeps, and returns to “spy” on another area of your home. When the kid gets into trouble, you present their options, for example: either take a time-out or go tell the shelf elf what you’ve done, so he can go tattle to the big … read this

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Liz’s rant: The play on words

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve about had it with someone, somewhere, who’s decided that classic pronunciations of words should be changed – and that words once known as nouns should now be known as verbs. For example: Let’s take the country of Chile. As far as I’m concerned, Chile is pronounced just like that warm winter stew we all know and love – you know: chilly. But apparently the earthquake shook up things enough that all of a sudden it’s become known as Chil-ay. Rhymes with Oil of Olay. And it drives me crazy. Tied for getting on my nerves the most is another phenomena: nouns that become verbs – or verbs that are used for things that they shouldn’t be. Prime example: I hate it when someone refers to “growing … Read entire article »

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Get your party on: 12/5-12/11

Let’s get things started with a real splash this week! On Dec. 5, we celebrate Bathtub Party Day, so grab your rubber duckie and some bubbles and hop in the tub. I can see where this one could get a little out of hand, simply because a party typically involves more than one person. So if I were you, I’d proceed with a bit of caution, keeping in mind the naughty and nice lists, as we discussed last week. Unfortunately, we immediately move into more of a trickle zone. What we have here after Dec. 5 is a serious lack of luster where all things holiday are concerned. I just don’t get it. No Hoodie Hoo Day, no Wear Different Colored Socks Day, or even a She’s Funny … Read entire article »

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Kate’s Escapades – Picture Perfect
(Simple tips for taking a great family portrait)

It’s that time again. The annual event  that often strikes fear and doubt into even the most confident and pulled-together of parents. Of course, I’m talking about family holiday portrait time. Luckily for you, through many years of trial and error with my own family, I’ve come up with some easy tips for surviving family portrait day. And as a bonus, you may even get a photo that you’ll be happy to send out to your friends and family. If you’re super duper lucky, you’ll like the results so much that you’ll even be brave enough to display your new portrait on your own fireplace mantel. Here are my tried and true tips for taking a great family portrait: 1. Select your clothing It IS important to coordinate the clothing. Having a … Read entire article »

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Liz’s rant: You’ll shoot your eye out!

Can you guess how our family kicked off the Christmas season? If you think it involved A Christmas Story, you’d be right! Except that we didn’t watch the movie. On Sunday afternoon, Colton and I, along with Mom, Dad, my brothers, sister-in-law and nephew, hit the road and headed to Actors Theatre in Louisville for the stage version of the story I consider a staple of the season – a classic Christmas story (ergo the name?) that’s a must-watch at least a dozen times between Turkey Day and Christmas. We were convinced that it would be a great afternoon, leaving us with plenty of Christmas spirit and even more to talk about. It didn’t hurt that our tickets were on the first, second and third rows, either. Most of us were … Read entire article »

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Craftdown to Christmas, week 4

Just when I’m ready to give up faith in humanity, you guys pull through with another splendid idea for the Christmas season. I knew I could count on you guys. This week’s fare features both edible and non-edible goodies. I recommend making the eats first, so you have something to munch on while completing the other project. A glass of that Cranberry Wine could be a nice touch, too. Anyway, on to the craftdown. My cousin Susan submitted this great idea for personalizing Christmas cards. Her idea reminds me of Sandra Lee’s cooking show – both of these fine ladies know the art of taking store-bought goods and making them their own. Thanks, Susan! Low Cost Christmas Cards To me a Christmas card without glitter is just not worth sending. Fancy glittered boxed … Read entire article »

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Liz’s rant: Shop ’til ya drop

OK, people – it’s time to get serious. We’re T-minus 27 days until Christmas and I’ve not yet begun to shop. How many of you can relate? Maybe we should call it what it is for me. Procrastination. Avoiding the inevitable as long as possible. Because as my kids get older, I find it increasingly harder to stay within a reasonable budget. Which means I tend to put off spending the money. What if they change their minds on what they want? What if I find something on sale for a better price next week? Don’tcha just hate the what-ifs of life sometimes? Anywho, I started thinking about what the “big ticket” items were when I was a child versus the “big ticket” items of the 21st Century. My, how times have … Read entire article »

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Get your party on: 11/28-12/4

Can you believe the first of December is upon us already? Time flies may be a over-used cliche. Nevertheless, it’s true – especially when you have strange holidays to commemorate. That said, let’s jump right in. Ready to deck the halls or do a little baking, but you just can’t seem to find the time? Fear not. Stay Home Because You’re Well Day lands on Nov. 30. Think of all the things you could accomplish with a holiday like this. You could sleep in an extra hour, trim the tree, make a batch of cookies, do a little shopping, and still have time to create one of the crafts featured on our Craftdown to Christmas! Hopefully, Stay Home Because You’re Well Day will hold you through until the end of the week, … Read entire article »

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Craftdown 2010 Week 2 – Mosaic Block

Chances are if you’ve ever been to a craft show, you’ve seen the various uses for glass blocks. For several years now, crafters have typically tied them with fancy ribbons and bows, then filled them with Christmas lights. So here’s a little different take on the glass block. Use sea glass or stained glass pieces to make your own work of art! What you’ll need: Glass block – available at arts and crafts stores and home improvement stores NOTE: if you purchase a a solid block, make sure you or someone you know can drill a hole in it, so you can get lights inside! Sea glass or stained glass pieces – available at craft stores Glass glue Small strand of holiday lights (I used a strand of 15 for this 6-inch block) How to assemble: Lay glass … Read entire article »

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Get your party on: 11/21-11/27

Well, here we are. A few short days until Thanksgiving – and a bang-up list of holidays to explore (give me my dreams, ok?). Actually, things really don’t get going until Nov. 24 with Celebrate Your Unique Talents Day. Oh sure. I can celebrate my multiple talents all day long (and you could, too). But the trick on this day is to celebrate talents unique to each of us. Hmm. Maybe we could change this one to FIND Your Unique Talent Day. But no one asked me. Tie One On Day lands on Nov. 24, so if you’re planning on doing some Turkey Day Eve cooking, you may want to tie one on after your work in the kitchen is done. Flossing Day, Buy Nothing Day, Sinkie Day and Your Welcomegiving Day are … Read entire article »

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Christmas Craftdown 2010 – Week 1

Can you believe Christmas is less than 40 days away? Me, either. Where does the time go? Anywho, today we kick off the craftdown with a super simple dirt-cheap craft: beverage coasters. A great gift for neighbors or teachers or anyone who doesn’t like water rings on their furniture (that would be most of us, wouldn’t it?). They’re so easy and inexpensive that you can make multiple sets for all seasons, too! Here’s what you’ll need: Basic 4-inch white ceramic tiles (available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. I got mine for a whopping 6 cents each.) Scrapbooking paper ModPodge or glue/water mix Felt How to make ‘em: Cut out four-inch squares from the scrapbook paper and felt. Brush generous amount of ModPodge onto front of tile Position paper on tile, and cover with 2-3 coats of ModPodge, allowing each … Read entire article »

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – (2010)
movie review by Kate

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – (2010) Reel reviews for real people Plot: In this seventh and final installment of the beloved Harry Potter series, Harry faces new troubles; he must collect all of the Horcruxes that the evil Lord Voldemort has left behind. He has no idea where these are and he has to destroy them all, even without the faintest idea how to do so. (Rotten Tomatoes) Rating: PG-13  for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images Genre: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy Starring: Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane Director: David Yates Running Time: 2:30 Kate says -3 stars “Here’s the thing about trying to review a movie so anticipated/monumental/beloved/era-defining as Harry Potter and … Read entire article »

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Liz’s rant: Revisionist Pigs (and the big bad wolf)

Well, well, well. Just when you think the coast is clear, out comes a new version of the Three Little Pigs. Is nothing sacred? You remember the original story, I bet. Three pigs, three houses and a wolf. The wolf eats the pigs who didn’t have the wherewithall to built a decent house. Lesson learned? Don’t take shortcuts, don’t half-way do something, etc, etc, etc. At least that’s what I took away. Seriously, maybe that first little pig had it coming to him. Who builds a house out of straw? And don’t tell me he couldn’t find any other suitable material. One of the other pigs (the smarter one) used bricks for crying out loud. But apparently, the old version and the lessons it bestowed are simply not acceptable. Anyway, in the “revised” … Read entire article »

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Get your party on: 11/14-11/20

Greetings, partiers. Let’s jump right into the thick of it where all-things-holiday are concerned. Nov. 14 is Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day. So please. Lighten up a bit, celebrate these three rather lame holidays, and remember that a bicycle can’t stand on its own because it’s two-tired… ugh… Moving right along… Nov. 15 is I Love To Write Day. This is certainly one I can identify with, since I write for a living. As as all writers know, just because we do what we love and love what we do, there are days when the words just don’t flow. I think that’s easy enough to explain – writer’s block, lack of inspiration, or a cluttered mind stand in the way of all writers at one time or another. So … Read entire article »

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Cookbook winner

Congrats to Cheryl W. for being chosen as the winner of our cookbook giveaway – In the Kitchen with liz and Kate: Practically Painless Recipes. Cheryl, we’ll be sending you an email from with details of how to claim the prize. Thanks to all who entered by leaving comments. If you weren’t selected as the lucky winner, don’t stress, you can find out more about how to order your own copy by clicking here. … Read entire article »

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