Wouldn't you love it if you could easily invite friends or family over to your home for an impromptu celebration and pull it off easily? You totally can!     First of all... it's a mindset. And like the choo-choo train... if you think you can... YOU CAN!     Honestly... this isn't rocket science.  It's more about the want-to than ANYTHING else. If you want to freely open your home for celebrating around the table you have to decide that you can do it and then prepare. Mindset and preparation will make you a hospitality rock star.  … [Read more...]

  I love the American flag and all things red, white, and blue. Right down to my dining table.     Yet, this patriotic tablescape almost didn't happen. This summer my focus changed from the blog to my personal health and wellness.  I'm making some strides, although it seems that it's two steps forward and one step back.  But, I decided to not stress over it.  Instead, I'm giving myself grace to let go of a few things.  I'm good at pushing through... not at receiving grace... especially from myself.     So, even though I love decorating for the 4th of … [Read more...]

  The weather is beautiful and the beach is whispering, "Come!" Seize the moment with 9 EASY tips for a simple beach picnic that will be the perfect setting for fun and memories.   While standing in line at the checkout counter I opened up a popular magazine.  My eye was drawn to pictures of people picnicking in a meadow. There were heaps of food and beverages and pillows and lanterns and so much more.  So much goodness that by the time the picnic was set up I'd be too exhausted to enjoy it.  Summer is the time for a simple picnic on the beach. Don't become overwhelmed with trying to make it … [Read more...]

  Ideas and takeaway tips to help you set a pretty gold pastel Easter table or any table that's colorful and celebrative.      What is it about a few sunny days and their power to flood the soul with joy and inspire creativity? I didn't realize how much I NEEDED sunshine.  There is no doubt that Jesus is our source of JOY... but SUNSHINE after winter's heavy gray shroud hanging low and heavy for MONTHS really pushes up my joy meter.  Does it do that for you, too? I can't really say for sure... but as I was dreaming about my Easter table... and yes I DO do that... I just KNEW that … [Read more...]

  Make Easter dinner a SNAP! Serve up this No Bake! Deliciously Easy Lemony Bird's Nest Dessert.         Between church and dinner and the egg hunt, there's so much to prepare for on Easter Day. Make it easy on yourself and fun this year with this yummy Easter treat topped off with everybody's favorite... Peeps!  Plus, everything can be gathered and prepared in advance for easy serving. I can guarantee that your guests will LOVE this light springtime dessert. But the best part is that it makes life EASY for you on a super busy day. It's a double … [Read more...]

  Inspiration to set a pretty but simple moss green St. Patrick's Day table and thoughts on why I enjoy celebrating this Irish holiday.     Do you love to rearrange your furniture with the seasons or on a whim?  I have many friends who do that, but that's not my style.  I work hard to find a permanent furniture placement and instead of changing up my room arrangements I change up my decor with the seasons.  If you've been hanging around here for any time, I'm sure you've noticed my love for seasonal home decor... especially on the table.     One of my favorite … [Read more...]

  The PERFECT easy to make ice skating centerpiece for your impromptu Winter Olympics party.     Are you following the Olympics? Growing up in Michigan, I started ice skating when I was a little girl.  There wasn't anything better than the freedom of skating as fast as I could at our local ice arena.  And then my dad signed me up for figure skating lessons.  JOY!  That meant that I could be on the ice nearly every single day!     As a mitten state girl, I enjoy winter sports, but between the weather and my schedule and life, I'm not doing them so much anymore. … [Read more...]

  Don't skip Valentine's Day because retailers and the media make it all about romance and roses.  Instead, make it about fun and love.  Here are some easy ideas to help you set a simple Valentine table that's perfect for friends, family, and even lovers, too.    I almost didn't use any red for my Valentine's Day tablescape this year. When I envisioned my simple Valentine table, the one thing I wanted to be cautious of was the overuse of red.  Don't get me wrong... I like red... but this year it just felt like too much for me.     Why was one of my favorite colors... … [Read more...]

  Create beautiful memories around a festive Christmas brunch table. Here are a few ideas to help you quickly and easily plan for a special morning gathering.     How was your Christmas? Christmas can be a challenge on so many levels, but I hope you had moments of peace and joy amidst the celebration and quiet. My happiest Christmas memories as a child are those that were made around the table and sharing it with friends and family. Whether you have the family over on Christmas morning for a late brunch, or it's just a few around the table, these ideas will help you make your … [Read more...]

  Need a coffee table but don't have one? This DIY modern farmhouse tray is a cheap and easy solution with style.   In my home, I'm the beneficiary of a nightly ritual that will make most wives jealous...     My husband prepares a cup of cocoa or chai for me every evening before bedtime. He's been doing this for most of our married life and I love it.  It's a very special way to end the evening. Since we've been living in this postage stamp of an apartment my choice is to sit at the table or on my little loveseat.  Usually, I choose the loveseat.  But, it's risky for … [Read more...]

  Learn how to create a budget Thanksgiving table setting with dollar store items and more that is simple and elegant, plus a fun DIY pumpkin centerpiece project.   It was just the two of us that Thanksgiving. As usual, since we moved to the Southtowns of Buffalo, there was snow and lots of it.     There was no way I was going to get in the car and drive 8 hours for dinner.  So I set the table as elegantly as possible and roasted a turkey. Tim and I were having a blast in the kitchen together, making a week's worth of stuffing, potatoes, Far East Celery, two kinds of … [Read more...]

  It persuaded me just a little with its $7 clearance price tag. That small red tag pushed me from simple infatuation to head over heels in love. With a tablecloth.     Which is why this lovely dark blue and white tablecloth with the huge gingham checks jumped into my hands and came home with me. I couldn't wait to put it on my little table.     Do you know the difference between the hugely popular buffalo plaid and gingham? I didn't. Want to know? Lean in... Buffalo plaid is a larger square plaid of two colors... one is always black and … [Read more...]

  Inspiration and tips for hosting a super easy to pull off sunflower themed tea or luncheon.     One of my favorite things about blogging is that I have an excuse to do the things I love and share them with you. More than anything I would love for you to be able to join me for a little breakfast tea where we could swap stories and get to know each other.  But, since that's not to be, today I set the table for an early fall morning tea and I'm pretending that you are sitting here with me. It's a beautiful mostly sunny day.  The trees have a little bit of color, but here in the … [Read more...]

  This has been the summer of flowers.     It all started when my little grocery store started carrying locally grown flowers in the spring.  I almost did flips when I saw ranunculus. In the most beautiful colors, ever.  So, of course, I purchased some, and arranged them, and took their picture... over and over again. As spring became summer,  there was a constant flow of flowers each week into my store. And when I could, I purchased a bouquet and arranged it, and took more pictures.  For the past month, there's been a steady flow of sunflowers in every … [Read more...]

  Do you cringe at the idea of inviting people to your home? My friend Melissa Michaels, of The Inspired Room, has just published a new book that will help you overcome your hospitality fears and inspire you to send your first invitation for a simple gathering. Simple Gatherings, 50 Ways to Inspire Connections offers a refreshing perspective on opening our hearts and homes to guests. I truly believe that it's what's in our hearts and minds that make our attempts at hospitality successful. Melissa uses this Bible verse as the basis for her efforts... "Serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13. … [Read more...]

  How do you like to eat fresh picked blueberries? When it's blueberry season our family's favorite blueberry food, aside from blueberry buckle coffee cake, is blueberry pancakes.  Or at least it was until I decided to make blueberry waffles.     The thing is, the stove in our apartment has the most uneven burners ever.  Everything slides to one side of the pan. Making pancakes on the stove is sheer craziness.  So when Tim suggested we make pancakes for our Sunday brunch I got all twitchy... until I remembered I have a waffle iron. My waffle iron was purchased a while back for … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had an old friend come to town and want to meet up with you and friends she hasn't seen in a year or two or ten? You're happy to make all the arrangements. Lunch at a great restaurant is a good option.  It seems so much easier, but, there's the noise of the other diners, the interruptions of the servers, and who knows what else. Why not go all old-style and host a small gathering or luncheon at your home?     So much more is in your control and the peace and comfort of your home tops everything the restaurant has to offer.  You don't have to worry about staying … [Read more...]