Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How To Plan a Company Picnic Everyone Will Enjoy!

August 21, 2012: It is that time of year again when all the work the HR Departments put into the annual COMPANY PICNIC get the “I do not like these people when I have to work with them every day, why would I go spend a day off with them?” reaction as only a few show up.
The planners of the North-Central Region of WesBanco have the answer and have given me permission to show how to do it. Granted not every company has a Shinnston, West Virginia but look around at the facilities in the area as they did. 
WesBanco rented the pavilions at Shinnston’s Ferguson Memorial Park for their company picnic on August 19, 2012.  The large pavilion had registration and tables for the food that was catered and a grill was brought in for the burgers and hot dogs. It was a beautiful day for a picnic – blue skies with a perfect temperature and a slight breeze for perfection.
Some employees hearing the West Fork River Rail-Trail was nearby - actually bordering the Park - brought their bicycles to go for a ride to work up an appetite before dinner was served. Walkers could use the walking trail that rings the Park. 

A Bouncy House and the snow cone truck were on the rise above the parking area (and there was a line for snow cones).

One of the busiest places was down at the Bocce Court where a WesBanco Corn Hole Tournament was taking place.

There were even trophies for the winners!

They used two of the small pavilions for other activities. One was set up for sand art for all ages and children activities such as temporary tattoos and duck pond. The other was a popular Bingo pavilion.

Some decided a dip in the zero-grade pool with water slide was the activity of choice.

The WesBanco team had something for everyone of every age group! It was not the old sit around looking at each other and listening to speeches and being bored to death to eat a so-so picnic dinner.

So listen up Picnic Planners everywhere. There is hope. Find a park like Ferguson Park and caterers as good as Casey’s and you too will hear only words such as “It was a great picnic!”

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Scoop: The past reborn, Again.

Olde Town Slidell, LA has had its battles in returning back to its pre-Katrina state, but slowly it is not only coming back but coming back better than before with neat cafe's and art galleries mixed in with antique and craft stores.  And of course there is the night scene too.  But one light blue building with its large picture window remained empty, with memories of Katrina painted on the exterior showing the level of the serge from Lake Pontchartrain and the destruction of all the equipment that the building contained. 

Lots of great memories were made in that building, celebrations of birthdays from children to grands, little league and much more.  I would imagine that there is not a local in Slidell that doesn't have a fond memory of a time spent there.  But it is time to celebrate again with another rebirth.  The much loved Olde Town Soda Shop has once again come alive after being wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in Aug. of 2005.

As of the beginning of August the place is alive with customers enjoying the sweet delights of Frank Jackson. This time around, Jackson has teamed up with Morris Hawkins and ACER (Addictions Counseling and Educational Resources) and what a team this has created.  Not only will the town be sweetened with the delights of Jackson, but the shop will be used as a job training site for clients that have been through the ACER program, introducing them back into the work place and establishing work ethics.

What a WIN - WIN for this town, these men and the positive approach to assist individuals.  I could not wait to get a scoop and to share this scoop with all of you.

Come on down the weather is just right for a Soda Shop delight, make some memories!

B&B's are a better way to stay, so while visiting Southeastern Louisiana, stay at Woodridge Bed and Breakfast - play hard, sleep well!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Foodies love New Orleans in September

Time is drawing near to a fairly new tradition in New Orleans... 'We Live to Eat' Restaurant week is the week of September 10 - 16.  Many of the areas most loved restaurants are participating with 2 course lunches at $20 and 3 course dinners at $35.  Restaurants such as the famous 5 star Commanders Palace, and Galatoires; to the well known Court of Two Sisters and Pat O'Briens in the French Quarter.  You can't miss this opportunity to let your taste buds savor the flavors of some of New Orleans best.

For a complete list of participating restaurants go to: http://www.welivetoeatnola.com/restaurant-week/  - the list along with websites are listed at the bottom.  Each restaurant will feature a special menu for the week.

Bon Appetit

B&B's are a better way to stay, so while visiting Southeastern Louisiana, stay at Woodridge Bed and Breakfast - play hard, sleep well!

Recipe - Lime Ginger Syrup

In the heat of the summer, fruit, especially the local stuff like cantalopes, watermelons, peaches and berries is so fresh and sweet that it doesn't need a lot of adornment.  I like to toss my cut-up fresh fruit with a light and simple ginger-lime syrup that can be put together quickly.  Here's the recipe:
Five limes, brought to room temperature
1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 cup water
I do this all into a big measuring cup that can go in the microwave - a 2 or 4 cup measure works best. Use one with a wide mouth so you can juice the limes right over the top and catch all the juice inside.
Juice all five limes, add the sugar, ginger and water and give it a stir.  Zap it in the microwave for 90 seconds to dissolve the sugar and stir again.  Cool before tossing with fruit.
Here's a kitchen tip for juicing lemons and limes that I recently learned.  If you use one of the hand press juicers like the one pictured above, it's easier to get the juice out if you slit the citrus lengthwise, 3 or 4 slits, before you cut it in half and place it in the juicer.  I use a lot of lime juice in the summer (Chilled Strawberry SoupChilled Peach Soup) and this makes the squeezing easier.  Always let the citrus come to room temperature and roll it around on your counter a bit to get the most juice out of it.  Enjoy!

Jeanne & Jim at the Thomas Shepherd Inn B&B in Shepherdstown, WV