Posts Tagged ‘Willow House’

I am going to beg forgiveness for today’s shameless plug of self-promotion, but I had to share this news with you! It is too good to keep to myself! Honest it is!

Willow House has made it possible to offer online shopping through our websites. That in itself is pretty cool. But the thing that has got me quite excited is our ability to offer you online outlet shopping.

I don’t know about you, but I love finding great items on clearance sales. It is an awesome feeling – and one you can experience time and again through our outlet center. You’ll find products from both Entertaining at Home and Southern Living at Home offered at deep discounts. You can place an order of any size and have it shipped direct to your home. Super convenient and easy to use, this is a fantastic resource for those of you wanting to get an affordable jump start to your holiday shopping!

To make this sweet deal even sweeter, weekly specials will be offered at crazy-good prices. You can check it out here: shanna.willowhouse.com

Like this week, you can get a set of these melamine measuring prep bowls for only $3.96. Can you say “perfect stocking stuffer,” anyone? Each bowl has two measures and these are perfect for about a hundred different uses in your kitchen from serving taco toppings to helping your baking go faster by being able to have everything premeasured and ready to roll.

This deep dish lasagna pan is cast iron finished with enamel and will last forever. My BFF has been known to refer to it as the “magic pan” because of its amazing abilities. Everyone I know who has it and uses it loves it.

One of my most favorite things on the planet is my set of 5-ply All Clad cookware I got about a year and a half ago.  This stuff is amazing! I kid you not! Even I can’t burn or scorch  anything in these pans.

Here is what the company description has to say about them: “With its unique 5-ply construction, our cookware combines the superior heat-conducting properties of pure aluminum and aluminum alloy at the core with 18/10 stainless steel interiors and exteriors for beauty and ease of cleanup. The result? Even and consistent heat through the bottoms and sides of pans-perfect for browning, braising, boiling, sauteeing, steaming-even flambeing! Stainless steel will retain its beauty and luster. Stay-cool stainless steel handles are permanently riveted to the pans. Stainless steel lid fits snugly. Ideal for gas, electric, or ceramic cooking surfaces. Saute pans have “helper” loops for easy lifting. Oven and dishwasher safe.”

That’s right, you can even put these in the oven. I love this particular stockpot for making soups and stews.

Just so today’s post isn’t completely about the online outlet, here is one of my favorite soup recipes.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

chicken broth (approx. 2 cans)

1 cup cooked potatoes, cut into chunks

1 cup celery, sliced

1 bag of frozen mixed veggies

3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

6 cups water

1 tsp. parsley

1/2 tsp onion flakes

1 can of refrigerator biscuits (do not use the flaky variety!)

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

salt and pepper to taste

In a stockpot, mix the chicken broth with the water, add in celery, potatoes, frozen veggies, chicken, parsley, onion flakes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Add in the refrigerator biscuits by pinching off a bite-sized piece at a time and dropping into the pot. Cover and let boil without peeking into the pot for about 15 minutes or until the biscuit dough is nearly cooked. Add in the cream of chicken soup and stir well to completely mix. Let simmer for about 5 minutes and serve!

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Anyone who has been to our home knows I like dishes. Well, maybe more than like. Love doesn’t seem like quite the right description either. Compulsive dish collector, obsessive, crazy about are terms I think Hubby has used to describe my passion for serving pieces.

He has no room to talk, though, because he is an enabler of my habit. Just this past weekend we were wandering around a department store when this bowl caught my eye.

And then I saw the rest of the matching bowls and all bets were off. I had to have them. I had to! The balance of my little world hung on bringing these beauties home with me. So Hubby packed them around the store while I fawned over approximately 257 other things that I liked. But none that I loved like these bowls.

These mixing bowls are, fasten your seat belts …. oven, microwave and dishwasher safe. I can mix, bake and reheat in these bowls til the cows come home. They have these great little measures inside.

Check out the big mixing bowl. How handy is that?

Best of all, they are pretty and match my kitchen perfectly. Just like the 362 other dishes taking up space in my cupboards.

When you are purchasing mixing or serving pieces, look for items that give you value and versatility. Are they microwave, dishwasher and oven safe? Are they good quality? Will they stand up to your family using them? Can you picture at least three ways they will enhance your collection?

Here is a link to a collection of top-notch pieces that provide a lot of versatility for the value.

Happy Entertaining!

From the Dish Collector

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My Wednesday Shout-out this week goes to Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living at Home.

She spoke at the Willow House conference a few weeks ago and shared a phrase that has stuck in my head and my heart:

“Live Generously, Love Wastefully”

Isn’t that fabulous?

How many of us truly live generously or love wastefully? I know I’d like to be one who tries.

Think about it… living generously. That would mean to live unselfishly, to live abundantly in the spirit of giving. Wow!

One of Websters definitions for “wastefully” is grossly extravagant. I also think wasteful means having so much of something  that you can afford to use it with abandon. What a thought – to have so much love you could afford to lavish it on others with abandon.

So my hope for you all today is that you will find ways to “live generously, love wastefully” each and every day.

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My Wednesday Shout-Out is going to a great company that is all heart – Willow House!

(It doesn’t hurt that I am an independent design consultant with them either – but my opinion is as unbiased as I can make it!).

The brand-new company is officially launching today and I wanted to say congratulations to everyone affiliated with Willow House. Not only do they offer a fabulous opportunity for those looking for a way to start their own business, great host programs and top-notch product, what sets this company apart is the people.

The corporate office is filled with talented, creative, innovative thinkers, who, above all else, care.  And for that I truly thank them.

Thank you Bill and Robin for providing innovation through differentiation. Thank you to each and every person at corporate for your encouragement, your support and your dedication to Willow House.

I’m so glad to be at home with Willow House!

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I absolutely promise this is the last post I’ll make (at least this week) about the Willow House Conference. Really, I promise!

But I had to share this thought about synergy. Have you ever been in a group that is excited about something and you can just feel the energy in the air? It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Websters defines synergy as “the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

Do you have any idea how much synergy is created by a group of 1,500 people (98% of them sleep-deprived, caffeine loaded, excited beyond reason women)? A whole lot. So much, in fact, if you could capture it, you could power a small city.

These women (and few men) were so pumped up, so thrilled, so anxious to jump into the new business model announced last week, the room wasn’t enough to keep it contained. It spilled out in text messages, in phone calls, and onto the poor sales people and waitstaff with the misfortune of working within walking distance of the conference center.

It was awesome! Not only do I love seeing that excitement, I love being in the midst of it all and feeling the energy. It is like having the ability to take your worn-down battery and plug it into the energizer bunny. Wow! You are recharged and ready to go faster, better and longer than you’ve ever gone before.

Synergy is a fabulous thing. If you’ve never experienced it, I highly encourage you to get yourself into the place you can.

My thanks to Bill and Robin Shaw and all the staff at Willow House for making the event possible. For giving us stepping stones to reach for the stars and a road map for the journey ahead. For being visionaries, for being innovative and for believing in us! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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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.


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!


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Can't we all use a little recombobulation from time to time?

Word of the Week: Discombobulate



–verb (used with object), -lat·ed, -lat·ing.

to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate: The speaker was completely discombobulated by the hecklers.
I just returned from the first-ever Willow House conference and let me tell you, I’m plenty discombobulated. My head is filled to overflowing with information. But the nice folks at the Milwaukee airport tried to help all of us conference-dazed consultants out by offering a recombobulation area. I thought it was pretty nice of them to be so thoughtful.
Seriously, though, I loved this sign that hung just past the security check point in Milwaukee. What a fun way to give people a place to get their shoes back on, their belts back in place and their belongings gathered.
I think, maybe, I need a recombobulation area at home. Do you think Hubby would go for a sign like that hanging above my office door?

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