I am thrilled to be a part of the blog hop again this week. If you are hopping over from Kristi’s blog, The Pickled Rose I want to welcome you! Wasn’t her post, stunning. It was hard for me to pick my favorite photo, but I decided to share this one:
I know right? Gorg!!!
And the host of this party is the extremely talented Sarah, from Sarah Sophia Productions
Her blog and Instagram feed are full of beautiful, colorful inspiration!
Whenever I am asked to share a tablescape, I get really excited. I can’t wait to get started. It is by far my favorite thing to design!
I remember when I was younger, I was told that I had my mother’s gift of hospitality! That was such a big compliment to me. My earliest memories of dinner around the table always had to do with my mom, making it beautiful & welcoming whether it was for just the 4 of us or for a big dinner party…
I can almost hear our guests telling my mom what a beautiful table she set.
The best china…
The prettiest tablecloth…
music in the background…
and mom never forgot to leave a gift at the table setting for our guests…
But what I remember most about my mom’s table is my mom. Even to this day if you get an invite to my parent’s house for dinner, you will leave feeling more loved, and more valued. She makes it a point to encourage each and every dinner guest.
My mom taught me that hospitality is not about how beautiful you can make your house, but how beautiful you can make each guest feel.
And of course, mom can cook! She is Italian so she always overcooks and overfills each plate. You also never leave her table hungry.
I can remember my first dinner party in our first home, I was only 24 years old and I really didn’t know how to cook anything other than my mom’s lasagna. It was simple & delicious. Everyone should have an easy lasagna recipe up their sleeve!
You can find mine here.
Ok, back to my first dinner party…
I spent so much time setting the table that I forgot to check the lasagna…I burnt it :(. Our friends were arriving any moment, so I got out a cookbook I got for my wedding shower, and I made “Tarragon Chicken” because I had also received a spice rack at my shower so I had that spice and I had chicken.
Before they arrived, we made sure the music was playing on a cassette tape I had made labeled “dinner party music” Seriously, for all you young moms, that’s what we did in the ’90s!!! We had candles lit, cheese, and crackers on the coffee table & wine chilled.
They came on time, I remember looking at my husband and saying, “I hope they enjoy themselves, and the food is good.” Fast forward 30 min. We all go to the table they gave me compliments just like my mom received when she had guests. I said thank you coolly, but inside I was jumping for joy. I was already thinking about calling my mom to let her know how perfect the night was…
The dish looked delicious…
We all seemed to take the first bite together…
& we all seemed to cough all together…
Guys, it was terrible! Seriously, one of the most disgusting things I ever put in my mouth. I immediately said that I was so sorry, I wanted to cry…
I remember my husband saying, “it’s not so bad” & “the salad and bread are so good”…
There was nothing else to make. I’m sure I spent the entire grocery bill on the lasagna and if I recall the chicken was the only meat in the house.
We all just laughed.
And ate a lot of salad.
I made brownies and ice-cream for dessert and we all had big helpings of that.
I learned 2 things that night. The first, being, never serve guests something you have never tried yourself before, or cooked before. Second, it is never about the food, or the decor, it is always about true hospitality.
You know what?
I had never forgotten that dinner party almost 25 years ago. Not because I succeeded like Martha Stewart. I remember it being one of the most fun nights of my life. We, of course, love to all talk about that dinner now and how terrible it was and how embarrassed I was, but also because it is when as a young wife I learned that hospitality is not about being perfect, but instead, being humble, loving and gracious.
When I plan a dinner party now, I think of what it actually means to sit around my table. Of course, I want to serve them a good meal, but more importantly, I want them to have fun, to feel loved, to feel special and to know that we are friends.
My very first blog post ever (almost 3 years ago), I wrote about the significance of sitting around the table. And how the table and having dinner parties was actually God’s idea & it is in the Bible! I’m not kidding. Isn’t that a fascinating thought? You can read about that here.
I didn’t have any extra money to spend on decor this year, but I did have a gift card from my birthday to Marshalls, so I used it on the white stockings and flocked trees on my table, but besides that, this room was decorated with items I already had!
Remember how I told you that I am on a “minimalist kick”? well, last year this room was filled with garland and a lot of bright colors. And actually, if you came to my house last week, you would have seen it decorated that way.
It was so cozy, but all the “stuff” was driving me crazy! So, I packed it all up, except our colorful stockings, those I will never get rid of, I just put them on my other mantel, and I just sparsely decorated this room this year with a more neutral tone. I love it.
A super fun tip for this table:
I used a throw blanket for the tablecloth & I used a scarf from the Gap for the table runner!!
Aren’t these place cards from Pottery Barn adorable? My friend, Linda sent them to me in the mail today, just when I was setting my table!
The font “Autumn in November” to make the place cards on my computer.
I am loving my little-flocked trees from King of Christmas!
I also added some conversation cards to my Christmas Tablescape this year. We made them for our Thanksgiving tablescape and everyone loved them so I wanted to share them with you!
You can get the PDF of this printable here.
Just print them off and cut them out and then put them in a basket or a cup. I like to have my guest pass the basket and pick a question! Instead of me just giving them questions, it seems more random that way.
I also have a really delicious KETO MAC & CHEESE recipe for you today!
This recipe is really good, it is amazing how the cauliflower really takes the place of the noodles.
And let’s face it, cheese makes every dish better!
- 16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower florets (steamed)
- 2 bags of shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ C heavy cream
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 1¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp parsley
- 1½ tsp of "camp mix"
- 3 tsp of garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Put all of the ingredients into a crockpot...mix as best you can. Cook on high for 3 hours stirring occasionally! When finished broil for 1 min for a crispy top layer.
- You can also cook this in the oven on 400* first: in a saucepan combine cream, cream cheese, and spices, then put in a casserole dish for 15-20 min. Covered. Remove cover and broil for 1 min.
- I have tried cooking it both ways; I prefer the crockpot!
Next of on this Blog hop is Sue & Terri from their beautiful blog Wool and Vine
Here is a Pin for you to save all of this info for later!
More stops on this blog tour: