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Posts Tagged ‘Entertaining Ideas’

Right now is a fabulous time to stock up on basic entertaining pieces. With year-end and after Christmas sales going in most every store, you can find  pretty much everything you need to get started entertaining at ridiculously low prices.

Some of the finds you might look for are:

• Table linens – yes there are a lot of holiday patterns on sale, but if you look, you can also find some neutral whites or creams.

• Cloth napkins – if you want to impress your dinner guests, pick up a few. Just be prepared to go to the work of removing grease stains and keeping them pressed.

• Serving pieces – you can find bowls, platters, tiered trays, salad sets. Go for plain styles or patterns that can mix or match with pieces you may already own.

• Dishes – amid all the snowman and poinsettia patterned pieces, you’ll find some sets of plain white dishes. Pick up a box or two to make it easy to entertain. If you find them on a 50-75 percent discount, it won’t take too many parties before you are saving money by not buying paper plates. Not only that, but you’ll feel a bit like Emily Post when you set a beautiful table that your guests admire.

• Silverware sets – I’ve seen several in the past few weeks in with the holiday stuff. Grab a set or two if you are in need of more silverware.

• Extras – candles, placemats, chargers, bases for centerpieces, are all on sale with the holiday leftovers.

While you are at it, stock up for next Christmas on things like holiday napkins, wrapping paper (but only the good kind), greeting cards, ribbon, lights, and ornaments.

She Who Needs to Stock Up

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Last week, I traveled to Milwaukee for the first-ever Willow House National Conference.

To say it was amazing, fantastic, inspiring and fabulous doesn’t even do it justice.

Conference is a place to plug in and recharge, to network with great people who understand the concept of building relationships and helping one another, and to get great ideas to jump-start our businesses for the fall season.

While I was at conference, I noticed that what was offered by the corporate staff and other consultants was basically the same things we want to offer guests in our home.

A Warm Welcome

I don’t know about you, but I like to feel welcomed when I am visiting someone. A genuine smile and a warm hug or handshake goes a long way in making someone feel welcome. Even a  “hello, I’m so glad to see you,” when said honestly makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Acknowledge people in a way that says “I remember you, my friend.”

Servant Mentality

“Won’t you come in and make yourself at home?”

“How can I best assist you?”

“Is there anything I can offer you?”

All those questions, whether spoken or implied, mean that you are there to provide assistance and help to someone. I can’t tell you how many times I was offered care and support through similar words. When people come to your home, offer them no less. Let them know you are there in the moment to make them feel at home.

Encouragement and Acceptance

We all need encouragement and acceptance. Even if the words aren’t spoken, we need to know that other people accept us for who we are and support us in our pursuits. It is human nature. The people at conference have this down to an art. We can take a lesson from them. When people come to your home are they accepted and encouraged? Your job as a host is to make sure they are. A few words  spoken from the heart offering encouragement or acceptance can mean the world to someone.

Joy

These conference attendees know how to have fun. In class, at general session or even celebrating to a 1950s themed party, they celebrate, embrace joy and have a great time. When you  entertain guests, do you have a go-with-the-flow and enjoy the moment attitude or are you flustered and frustrated that things didn’t follow your perfect party plan? Learn to let go and enjoy the guests in your home at the moment they are there. They won’t remember if the bread got a little too toasty or the punch wasn’t the exact shade of pink you wanted or if the centerpiece candle refuses to stay lit. What they will remember is if you set the tone for a fun evening by surrendering your plans and just enjoying the evening and them.

Entertaining your Heart Out

Give it your best and then enjoy the results, whatever they may be. Laugh, hug, cry, smile, be present in the moment, dream for the future and celebrate what makes each person unique and special.

Happy Entertaining!

Shanna

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As we celebrate and enjoy the Winter Olympics, why not invite a few friends over and make it a party?

Encourage everyone to come dressed in their athletic wear. Hang streamers, put out balloons and prepare for an evening of fun and games.

Create a few games for guests to participate in on commercials breaks, like cookie stacking, hula-hooping or even something as simple as sit-ups. Have gold, bronze and silver awards for each contest (candy wrapped in foil or wrapping paper works well… or have the youngsters create medals out of card stock, markers, crayons and ribbon). You may even want to create three blocks of varying heights for the winners to stand on to accept their “medals.”

Serve food and beverages that have an international flair, like pot stickers, empanadas, tapas or barbecued pork sliders.

Be sure you have a cd of patriotic music handy, including the national anthem, to play during the award ceremony.

Have fun with this gathering and remember the only limit is your imagination!

Happy Entertaining!

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You’ve taken the plunge, set a date for a party, invited guests and are getting ready for the event. Take a few minutes to create a timeline. It will save you a lot of time and frustration and help you from looking frazzled in front of your guests.
Start by writing down your menu. In detail. What foods can be purchased and made ahead of time? What needs to be purchased and made the day before? The day of the party? What decorations will be needed? Will you be making any decorations or will you be shopping for them? When will you do this? Where will the centerpieces come from? What cleaning tasks need to be accomplished?
Get it all down on paper and then divide the menu, cleaning and decorating tasks into specific steps for at least the seven days leading up to your party. When you break it into set tasks, entertaining can be very simple.
You absolutely do not need to do everything yourself. Children are great helpers. They can certainly roll silverware in napkins, create welcome signs, tie ribbons, make place cards. They can serve as door greeters, coat takers and a very enthusiastic welcome committee to guests.
Find the barbecue king and ask him to man the grill. Aunt Bev would be thrilled to bring her favorite salad – so let her. Look for ways to involve others while lightening your load. If friends volunteer to help, let them! And should anyone volunteer to stay and help clean up, accept their generous offer and send them home with a doggie bag as thanks for their efforts.
I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting family members involved in the party prep process. Share your comments here!

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