supper club soup containers by loralee lewis
Winter Supper Club ~ Our Very First One

The idea for our very first Supper Club came to us soon after we moved into our new house. We moved in to our home on Dec. 23 and still had so much to do to get it like we wanted it. We let our wish to be in by Christmas override the fact that not everything was “complete”. But, all of the essentials were in place…and so we moved in with about 2 months of work left to do. Because we still had so much to finish, we only moved in our necessary furniture and waited to bring in the rest. That meant our house was a little bit empty! 🙂 Empty rooms made me think that it would be a great time to have a party! And so, our Supper Club was born…

supper club winter theme for teens decorated cookies

By this time, it was the beginning of January. My daughter and I decided a winter theme would be appropriate and pretty easy to pull together. We also knew we wanted to serve something warm and that we would not be able to make the food ourselves because our range had not even arrived. 🙂 I tell you that so that you know that I fully believe in not stressing about everything being absolutely perfect before you host parties.

supper club soup containers by loralee lewis

We put a temporary stove in our kitchen until ours came in, and so I ordered 2 types of soup from Zoe’s and platters of sandwiches from Chicken Salad Chick. The soups we chose were Chicken and Orzo and Tomato Basil. For the sandwiches, we chose 3 varieties. I kept the soup warm on the stove, and then we transferred it to the customized containers from Loralee Lewis. We had around 20 girls for Supper Club, and so having paper plates and soup containers worked well for it. Loralee designed dinner plates and dessert plates to coordinate with the soup containers that I requested.

supper club soup containers from loralee lewis

If you look really closely, you can see Loralee’s special touch…notice how she put the words to the song “What a Wonderful World” in a circle on the inside portion of the plate. She thinks of everything. Just for fun, Loralee also included labels for the cups that read, “Just Sippin’ Pretty with my Girls”.

supper club drink cup labels sippin pretty

Next, we decided on how to decorate to make the party feel wintry but welcoming. Because we had not moved our dining room table in yet, I set up folding tables in our vacant dining room. I rented gold Chavari chairs for seating and used my white tablecloths to cover the tables.

supper club table with white balloon garland centerpiece

For table centerpieces, we made white balloon garlands and then added fairy lights through the garland.

supper club tablesetting in white with gold chavari chairs

I loved having the balloon garlands with lights- it gave off just enough pretty light and had a perfect glow to it. You could also add different colored lights for a different effect.

supper club table setting with white balloon garland and lights

We also added balloon garlands around the fireplace and doors. The best part about the decorations was that the girls came over early to help! Some came over the day before Supper Club and some came a couple of hours before- it was the biggest help and made it all even more fun!

supper club girls helping decorate the fireplace

I had this vision of lighting clear balls with battery lights and hanging them inside of the fireplace to mimic the feel of a fire. The girls went right to work on it and made it look so cute and pretty. We added a furry rug in front of the fireplace so that they could sit if they wanted (remember we had not moved in all of our furniture). It was a great spot for them to take photos and to just hang out.

supper club fireplace with clear ornaments with lights and balloon garland
supper-club-fireplace with lights and ornaments

For dessert, we served winter-themed cookies. Macarons from Mac Lab were so cute! I custom-ordered snowmen faces on them, and we loved how they turned out! We also had hot chocolate to go with the cookies.

supper club winter snowman macarons

I also ordered cookies from Bambella Cookies that coordinated with the paper designs by Loralee. The cookies were so pretty and perfect that it made it hard to eat them.

supper club decorated cookies with mittens

I asked one of the girls to help me display the macarons on a plate of sprinkles, and this is how she did it- isn’t that so pretty and creative? I love the unique way that she placed them on the platter!

supper club snowman macarons in triangle
supper club snowman macarons on plates

The timeframe for each Supper Club is an hour and a half. I like to schedule them for 6:30-8:00. Occasionally we adjust that time, but it has proven to be a convenient time for most everyone. We host them as often as possible, and we typically host about 6 times during the school year.

supper club girls at dinner table

We have tried different ways of arranging the seating- sometimes the girls draw numbers and sit at the table that matches that number. One time we had place cards at each seat…that was everyone’s least favorite seating arrangement. 🙂

supper club girls at dinner table together

The photo below makes me laugh that we had a ladder in the background! We definitely didn’t let a little construction stop us from getting everyone together and having fun!

supper club girls at table 3

I like to have an activity for the girls or something unique at each Supper Club. For this first one, we had a white mug for everyone and made Sharpie mugs. The idea was to make their own hot chocolate mug to be able to keep and enjoy at home. I found most of the white mugs at Target…

supper club shelves with white mugs

I had a large supply of Sharpie Paint Pens and the girls could create their own designs. After they finished, I saved them to put in the oven and let set. I did the oven part of the activity the next day and my daughter delivered them when they were ready. I followed these directions for Sharpie Paint Pen Mugs. These girls have some impressive artistic skills…

supper club sharpie paint pen mugs

We had such a wonderful time at our first Supper Club that it became a tradition to get this group together as often as possible. I have shared more Supper Club parties that we have hosted throughout my blog. Check out the different themes and ideas- and I hope you find one that inspires you to get a group together for a meal and lots of fun!

supper club cookie decorated with a winter mitten

Cheers xo,

Lydia

supper club fondue night fun do sign
Supper Club ~ Hosting a Fondue Night

Hosting a Supper Club is always a fun way to gather friends and enjoy a meal together. My daughter and I began hosting a Supper Club together for her friends, and it has become one of our favorite activities. We have lots of ideas and themes for Supper Clubs here at The Party Wagon. This Supper Club night was especially fun with fondue as the theme!

Fondue Supper Club for winter with icicle lights and silver fondue pots
supper club fondue night fun do sign

This Supper Club was hosted in January and so we went with a wintry theme. The warmth of fondue felt like a perfect meal to enjoy on a really cold night. We hung icicle lights along the walls in the dining room and snowflake lights on the tables. The lights on the tables are battery-operated so that they can be used without needing an electrical outlet.

supper club tablesetting with fondue pots as centerpiece chaffing dishes in line

As you can see in the photos, I used paper plates on top of a charger. I knew the girls might need to be able to move their plates closer as they were dipping their fondue sticks into the cheese, and so I decided to make it easier to manage with paper plates. It added a casual feel to the dinner, which is also one of my goals when we host these get-togethers. I like for each dinner to feel special without feeling overly-formal or stuffy. Relaxed fun is what I’m going for, with a few out-of-the ordinary details thrown in to make it special.

supper club table and room decor with lights and fondue

For the color scheme, we wanted to use shades of blue to go with the wintry theme. Fondue is a Swiss creation, and so I wanted to create a snowy feel with white tablecloths. I bunched sheer fabric around the tables to mimic snow drifts. Fireside is usually where Swiss families would enjoy fondue during the winter, and so I aimed to give that effect of warmth from the glow of lights.

supper club chafing dishes as fondue pots in center of table

To add a youthful feel to the party, I used a polka dot center runner of fabric. I went with dots because I kept thinking of Swiss dot fabric, but I wanted a more visual pattern. I also think it would be so fun to use Swiss folk art designs for this theme. I couldn’t find what I needed that would arrive in time for the party, and so I stuck with what was available locally. Nordic/alpine sweaters often have blues, pinks, and greens in them, and so we added those colors in small doses with the details.

fondue dipping sticks wooden skewers with straw flags and ribbon

I asked Loralee Lewis if she would design straw flags to be used on fondue sticks. I wanted each guest to have her own set of fondue sticks, and so I added the names to the skewers with straw flags. I then bundled a set of 3 wooden skewers with a ribbon and had them ready for the girls to use with their fondue. They turned out perfectly!

supper club fondue skewers with names and ribbon

I actually loved how pretty they all looked stacked on a plate, and so I placed them on the serving table just like this. The girls enjoyed finding their bundle of skewers in place of typical utensils.

supper club stack of wooden skewers with names for fondue

It was a little hard to take photos in the dim light, but I love the glow!

supper club cheese fondue and friends

The fondue was an activity all in itself, but we added in one special activity for the girls to do before they went home for the night. Each guest was asked to randomly choose an envelope. Inside each envelope was a name of one of the girls with a message explaining to “spread kindness like confetti” by doing random acts of kindness for your secret person through the month. When we met back at Supper Club again the next month, each girl revealed their secret person with a small gift. We made a game out of it by having each girl try to guess who they thought their secret person was before the gifts were given. It was a fun way to help remind them to think of others and to remember to be kind to each other.

supper club activity throw kindness like confetti
supper club fondue night with friends
supper club fondue night with friends big

I actually didn’t get a photo of our dessert, but it was a huge hit (which is why I didn’t get photos!). They loved it! At our kitchen table and kitchen island, I plugged in electric fondue pots and melted chocolate. We served a platter full of fruits, pretzels, chips, and marshmallows. Hint: It would be such a fun idea for a Valentine’s Day party!

Supper Club Tips and Notes for Fondue

  1. Because I could not plug in as many fondue pots as needed for hosting close to 20 seated guests, I served fondue from chafing dishes. This was convenient and pretty- but please note that you must be extra careful with the flame coming into contact with anything on the table. The girls are old enough to handle the chafing dish set-up, but I still worried about it. For this reason, I recommend traditional fondue pots. I definitely would not recommend fondue for young kids without constant supervision. These girls handled it like pros, but I just want to be very transparent at the risks of using chafing dishes with table linens, crowded tables, etc. Also, if you use chafing dishes be sure to know how to extinguish Sterno flames properly (save the top of the Sterno can or use a flat, wide metal spatula to extinguish). Extinguish the flame before you pick up the dish for cleaning.
  2. When making fondue, use quality cheeses. I bought all of mine at Trader Joe’s.
  3. When melting the cheeses to serve, be sure to grate the cheese rather than chop the cheese. Grating keeps the cheese smooth. Which leads to the next tip…
  4. Toss the cheese with cornstarch to keep it from clumping together.
  5. Slowly, slowly melt the cheeses together. Add a little cheese at a time and melt it. If you pour in large amounts at a time, the cheese will stick together and be very difficult to manage.
  6. Stir the cheeses constantly when making the fondue.
  7. You can use substitute chicken broth or beer for the dry white wine that is used in the recipe.

Supper Club Fondue Recipe

1/3 cup Gruyere Cheese

1/3 cup Emmental Cheese

1/3 cup Monterey Jack Cheese (if you prefer more authentic Swiss flavor, use 1/2 cup Gruyere and 1/2 cup Emmental and omit the Jack cheese)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup dry white wine

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (optional)

Directions…

Grate the cheeses into a bowl and add the cornstarch. Toss to evenly coat.

In a saucepan, over low heat, simmer the wine and lemon juice.

Slowly add the cheeses (one small handful at a time) and stir constantly.

As you very slowly melt and stir the cheeses, continue to stir so that the cheese mixture will be smooth. Be patient on this step so that your cheese does not become a ball.

When cheese mixture is melted and smooth, stir in the mustard and the splash of Worcestershire Sauce.

Transfer fondue to a fondue pot and keep warm.

Prepare a platter of choices for dipping before cooking the fondue. When the cheeses are melted and ready for the fondue pot, you will be ready to eat! We served…

carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, grape tomatoes, red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, black olives, snow peas, red-skin potatoes

chicken bites

Granny Smith apples

bread, pretzels

I hope you enjoy a fondue party as much as we did! I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration
Quick & Easy New Year’s Eve Party Ideas
new year's eve party ideas disco ball decorations hanging from chandelier with ribbon

Starting fresh in a new year always feels exciting and worth celebrating, right? There is something special about the end of one moment in time and the immediate beginning of something all new. Although I love a big party, I also love quick and easy ideas to mark a special occasion! Here are some of my favorite quick and easy New Year’s Eve party ideas that I enjoy putting together for my family…

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration

Set the scene with disco ball ornaments. This is an easy New Year’s Eve party idea that can also be used for other parties (such as dance party ideas and pop-star party ideas) or re-used from year to year. The ornaments shown differ in size and have mirrored glass around them-but sequined versions are lighter and may be easier to find. Either way, they are festive and fun!

easy new years eve party ideas with disco ball chandelier

Group them together for impact and hang them from a chandelier with your choice of ribbon. Simply tie each individual ornament with a measured amount of ribbon so that the disco balls hang where you would like for them to hang (being sure not to go too low and risk being bumped constantly). The color of ribbon can coordinate with your party colors or you can opt for a monochromatic look and hang with silver or white ribbon.

new years eve party ideas disco ball chandelier with ribbon

New Year’s Eve Party Food Ideas

It is always fun to add a little sparkle everywhere on New Year’s Eve, and the drink and food ideas for your party are no exception! 🙂 When you are ready to pour the bubbly for your guests, treat them to a star-shaped cookie decorating the glass…

easy new years eve party ideas star cookie on champagne glass

To keep this New Year’s Eve party idea easy, only decorate the points of the star cookies. This also keeps it from being too sweet with the champagne. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Jenny Cookies, a dot of frosting on each tip, and a pink pearl sprinkle. The small star cookie cutter has been in my collection for awhile and so I don’t remember where I found it. If the sugar cookie is too large for the champagne flute, lay the cookie flat on top of the glass instead. Your guests will still love the thought!

new years eve party ideas star cookies on champagne glasses

If you are like I am and often have kids (or teens) around on New Year’s Eve, remember to have some kid-friendly items to serve as you celebrate the new year. This party idea is a hit throughout the year and works well for birthday parties and celebrations, too! It is so easy but so fun! Buy your favorite mini doughnuts and stack them on a cake stand. Add party hat picks to the doughnuts in random places and you are all ready to serve!

easy new years eve party ideas doughnuts with party hats and disco balls

Another of my favorite party ideas for easy kids’ party food is dipped pretzel rods. We name these “Sparklers” at New Year’s Eve parties- in honor of the only fireworks my parents would let us use as kids! 🙂

easy new years eve party ideas pretzel sparklers

See below for a quick video of how I make them…

I hope these simple, quick New Year’s Eve party ideas are helpful for making your celebrations a little more fun! If you are looking for a few more ideas to add to your list, see this disco party for more!

new year's eve disco ball drinks with blue straws

And, I wish you the best in the coming year!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies Party Ideas

A Milk and Cookies Party is one of the easiest and most fun ways to host a party during the holidays! These ideas can be adapted to be a cookie exchange or a “Sweet Shoppe” party- and it is suitable for a range of ages. I am sharing ideas below to help you celebrate the season and to be able to keep it as simple as milk and cookies…or you can always make it as elaborate as you want to make it!

milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies Party by Lydia Menzies at The Party Wagon

You could keep this get-together very low-key and simply and literally serve milk and cookies. Let the kids enjoy a game of Holiday Bingo, watch a holiday show or movie, or decorate sugar cookies. If you really want it to be a causal affair, invite your guests to wear their favorite holiday pajamas. I would suggest offering a few savory snack ideas to balance the sweet flavors that you have with the cookies. Serve milk in old-fashioned milk bottles with beautiful labels and paper straws for the prettiest presentation…

milk and cookies party milk bottles decorated for christmas

If you prefer to take the party up a notch, I would suggest preparing for a cookie exchange, setting up a cookie decorating station, and/or maybe even inviting Santa and Mrs. Claus to the party for photos. Encourage your guests to wear festive holiday attire and give everyone a chance to dress up in their Christmas best. Be prepared with aprons for the little ones if they are handling colored icing and candies. Teenage helpers dressed as elves could also add some fun to the get-together!

Whether you decide to go casual or fancy for your party, set the tone for your guests by having a small display of sweets ready when they arrive.

Sweet Shop Sign for milk and cookie holiday party

I especially like the Sweet Holiday paper collection by Loralee Lewis for dressing up the cookie table. The welcome sign has the cutest gingerbread kids depicted along with the gorgeous graphic design and shape. I placed the sign on a plate stand in the center of the table and then displayed beautiful cookies around the sign.

gingerbread decorated sugar cookies

Decorated cookies are always nice to have as a special treat for your guests or for individual party favors. For this party idea, I decided to order sugar cookies decorated as gingerbread men to match the cute gingerbread kids in the paper designs. It would be fun to have gingerbread cookies ready to decorate at the party. This would be the perfect activity for your guests. You could use sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies- whichever you prefer to make (or order). Use cupcake liners, candy cups, or muffin tins to help organize the cookie decorating materials. Roll out a strip of wrapping paper or craft paper to help protect the table and to make clean up easy. Add frosting to piping bags ahead of time- or use zip bags with a small hole snipped at one corner. Your guests will have fun trying their hand at decorating like the pros- and (if they are anything like I am) will have an even bigger appreciation for all cookie decorators! 🙂

milk and cookies gingerbread men on banner and cookies

If you are hosting a cookie exchange party, I think it is a great idea to have some special, decorated cookies for the kids to eat while they trade cookies with each other. For a cookie exchange, invite each guest to bake and bring a few dozen cookies to share. On a large table or kitchen island, set out each set of cookies with the recipe beside the cookies. Be sure to have a bakery box, gable box, or cookie tin available for each guest to fill with a variety of cookies to take home. A cookie exchange is great because it serves as an activity and a party favor, all in one! 🙂 If the party is not too large, you can also offer the recipe for each cookie that was made with the name of the guest who contributed the recipe. This is a fun way to share your favorite family recipes! I always love leaving a party with a new favorite recipe to try (and, as a side note, Loralee’s Sweet Shoppe Collection includes a set of recipe cards that can be used just for this reason). Another little tip…consider having photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and let the little ones chat with them during the party. A fireside chat and photo opportunity can make for really cute memories! In the past, I have also asked my children’s music teachers if they will play the piano and lead a sing-a-long at parties. This is so much fun for everyone and is a great way to end a party on a literal high note!

sweet shop milk and cookies party display

If you prefer to host a party that includes more than cookies, a Holiday Sweet Shoppe theme is really cute and fun! You can still incorporate many of the ideas above, but add in a variety of treats that you will serve. Just remember that you may want to also serve light sandwiches or finger foods and water for the children to enjoy along with the sweets.

milk and cookies party with cupcakes

A Sweet Shoppe theme opens up the dessert table to a host of ideas. Cupcakes are always a hit and look extra cute with adorable gingerbread boys and girls. I love serving cupcakes with toppers because they are easy to make or buy and look so pretty with a cupcake wrapper and rosette topper. Minimal effort with maximum effect! And, then cookies ordered from Bambella Cookies always fall into that category for me, too! 🙂

milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign
milk and cookies with decorated cookies and glass bottles

Another easy way to add a sweet treat to your Sweet Shoppe party without a lot of fuss, is to order doughnuts and embellish them. I ordered these doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts and added wreath icing toppers made by A Party Made Perfect. Place them on a festive plate, add a colorful napkin, and let them shine! Your guests will love these!

milk and cookies and doughnuts with wreaths

Aren’t those so pretty? I love the simplicity of the pink iced doughnut topped with the pretty green royal icing wreath…

pink doughnuts with green icing wreaths
milk and cookies with donuts and royal icing green wreaths
milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign

So, whether you prefer milk and cookies, a cookie exchange, or a full sweet shop idea for a party, you can use these ideas as a guideline for hosting the holiday party that fits best for you and your family! I look forward to sharing some recipes that I could recommend for holiday parties soon. Check back as I add more ways to celebrate the everyday with you! In the meantime, enjoy these Christmas party ideasGingerbread House Party Ideas, Cabin Christmas, Penguin Christmas Party Ideas, and Christmas Craft Party Ideas too!

Also, here is where to find the beautiful Sweet Holiday Collection from Loralee Lewis

To order cookies from Bambella Cookies, you can find Tara here.

To order royal icing wreaths from A Party Made Perfect, you can contact Jennifer here.

thanksgiving table decorations and place settings
Thanksgiving Table Decoration Ideas

Thanksgiving table decoration ideas that are easy to create are my favorites. I had a chance to set our Thanksgiving table for the first time this past year as my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. In the past, Thanksgiving lunch has been at my parents’ house or my aunt and uncle’s house. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we would celebrate with my mom-in-law at her house. This time, we invited everyone to our house for a big ole’ feast. All of the moms in our families are great cooks, and so they offered to bring their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes so that all of the family and the family-favorites would be together under one roof! We were in charge of cooking the turkey and a few sides- which left plenty of time for me to set the tables and get the house ready.

thanksgiving table setting with green and white plates
thanksgiving table with turkey salt and pepper shakers
thanksgiving table decoration ideas

When our family arrived, we had light appetizers to enjoy while everyone trickled in- and I prepared a punch bowl with a Thanksgiving cocktail…

Thanksgiving appetizers and turkey napkins

For the cranberry cocktail, I served it in a brass punch bowl so that everyone could serve themselves. I had the bar cart ready to serve when they arrived and added the ice ring to the bowl last so that it looked its best.

cranberry cocktail served in a brass bowl with ice ring

I wanted to add foliage or flowers around the house, and so I put cabbage in my Majolica pots and set them out. This was such an easy way to add greenery – and I could plant the cabbage later. 🙂 . I like to decorate with food items for Thanksgiving to go along with the idea of a bounty of a harvest.

antique majolica pot with cabbage plant inside

For that same reason, I chose pepper plants to use as the centerpiece for the dining table. I put them in my dough bowl and added pumpkins and ornamental corn. I loved the flowing, nonchalant grouping of the pepper plants and pumpkins paired with the more formal look of the roses and hydrangeas.

thanksgiving table decorations and place settings

I have never been a big fan of orange roses until recently. My friend, Lance (who is so talented with flower arranging), won me over with his beautiful use of them. After seeing how pretty they look arranged, I decided to try them to add in the traditional orange for Thanksgiving. I paired them with lime green hydrangeas, and I loved how they turned out…

blue and white porcelain vase with orange roses and limelight hydrangeas
green majolica plates paired with orange roses and hydrangeas on thanksgiving table
Thanksgiving table setting with green white and orange

I have always enjoyed the history of why we celebrate Thanksgiving- the positive sides of the celebration…surviving the harsh conditions, growing and thriving in spite of all of the setbacks, coming together in unity and friendship, the teaching and learning that was an integral part of the journey. For this table, I wanted to have small touches of history and harvest and that is how the idea of the antique dough bowl with plants, corn, and pumpkins came to be. A little bit of a rustic look coupled with more formal touches represented the history and the present day. I went with the same idea for the dishes- using antique plates (made in England) paired with present-day white plates (designed in New England).

thanksgiving table centerpiece with pepper plants pumpkins corn in dough bowl

Name cards are also a nice touch to add to a table so that everyone knows which place is just for them. It eliminates the sometimes awkward moments of trying to seat everyone at the same time- it takes the guess work out of “where should I sit” for your guests and makes the table feel a little more special. I also like to add more than one set of salt and pepper shakers to the table for convenience for guests. Below you can see the two small turkeys…they are perfect for adding a whimsical touch that also makes the table feel warm and welcoming rather than formal and stuffy. You can also see that I tied a plaid, silk ribbon around each napkin to add the colors that I wanted to add. This is always a pretty and simple way to tie in the colors of any table setting or party.

thanksgiving fall table setting with turkey shakers

Here are my y suggestions for creating a look you love for your own Thanksgiving table…

  1. Start with a tablecloth and build from there. I knew I wanted a tablecloth with a white background with green because I wanted the overall look to be light and colorful. Decide if you want light and bright or darker and moody.
  2. Choose a charger that coordinates and gives you a different texture or color. I chose brown rattan because I like how they grounded the table and kept it from feeling overly formal. The brown also coordinated well with the dough bowl in the center of the table and the chairs all around the table.
  3. Choose the plates that you want to use and layer them to add interest to the table. I decided to only go with a salad and dinner plate because I liked the design of the green plate and wanted it to be what we noticed first in the place settings.
  4. Coordinate the napkins. Again, I liked the lighter shade of brown for the napkins and I really loved the green border. I wanted to have the napkins monogrammed, but opted for tying a ribbon around them instead. The ribbon added color and interest.
  5. Decide on the centerpieces and be creative when choosing plants or blooms. Remember to add fruits, veggies, herbs for different colors and textures. Or, if you are doing a more formal centerpiece, add something such as berries or small branches in seasonal colors to counterbalance the formality.
  6. Choose glasses that coordinate or blend well. Stemmed glasses often look the prettiest.
  7. Add silverware/utensils- if you have different types, choose the best color or material that suits your table. Some of the types that look great on a table are silver, gold, bamboo, Mother of Pearl.
  8. Make place cards or be creative with name cards. You can put them in fruit with a skewer or add them to a napkin ring. Simple or a little extra- either way shows your thoughtfulness.
  9. Add personality to the table with mismatched or miniature salt and pepper shakers. Or, add an interesting salt bowl or butter dish. It is okay, and often more fun, to have a few conversation starters at the Thanksgiving table.
  10. Make sure everyone has enough space at their place setting and can sit and chat comfortably.

Now that you have the adult table set, remember to make a special table for the kids, too! All of the “kids” at the kids’ table at our house ranged in age from 13-25 and so I set more of a “young adult table”. I wanted it to be casual, comfortable, and pretty. I also thought a more minimal approach would be a good idea. 🙂

thanksgiving table set with white

I kept the centerpiece simply with a pretty orchid and bowls of acorns. The tabletop is mirrored and I added a gold confetti charger and then the white plates with green cabbage leaf plates. I topped the plates with pumpkin mugs or pumpkin bowls to use with the seafood soup we served.

minimal thanksgiving table decorations
white pumpkin mug
thanksgiving-table-setting-ideas

I hope you have found inspiration in some of these ideas! I enjoy mixing and matching and finding a pretty balance in all of the choices. Most importantly, I love how Thanksgiving brings us together to catch up, reminisce, enjoy a meal, and celebrate togetherness. It is one of my favorite holidays! Happy Thanksgiving!

For more Thanksgiving inspo…see this for rustic Thanksgiving ideas, this one for woodsy, organic Thanksgiving ideas, this for whimsical Thanksgiving ideas. Here you can find cute Thanksgiving craft ideas. And, here are some of my older recipes that I make at Thanksgiving plus a recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Enjoy!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

tailgate with plaid tablecloth hydrangeas in a retro plaid cooler and cheese tray
Tailgate Food Ideas
tailgate with plaid tablecloth hydrangeas in a retro plaid cooler and cheese tray

Football Season has always been synonymous with Fall at my house. Growing up, my mom and dad took us to college football games every Saturday. My dad played football in high school and received a football scholarship to Auburn University…and so I grew up knowing and loving football! We had season tickets which basically equated to a load of my childhood memories created with my parents, sister, and family friends. SEC Football is full of excitement- from making the drive to the game and passing all of the other fans on the way…we’d shake our orange and blue shakers at them…friendly car horns would say hello…and lots of exchanges of “War Eagle” and “Go Tigers”. Now, as an adult and a mom, I am amazed that my mother packed up a tailgate spread each Fall Saturday and loaded us in the car for the hour and a half trip. I am going to share some of the tips and recipes that I’ve learned from my mom along with ideas from some of my favorite blogging friends– with hopes it helps you plan your tailgate parties that you host at home or at the games!

  1. GRAZING BOARDS
large cheese board with fruit and crackers

My mom always had crackers and cheese to stave off any overly-hungry kids (or adults). The typical crackers and cheese dish from my childhood has definitely grown with more options available in our grocery stores. Cheese boards and grazing boards (also known as charcuterie boards) have become all the rage for good reason. You can stack a platter full of delicious options and feed a crowd for what feels like days. After you decide on a variety of cheese and crackers, add in fruits, vegetables, and even deli meats. Group larger, like foods together to start and then add smaller items to fill in where needed. This makes for a pretty presentation and an easy way to see what you may want to replenish (if you have extra).

My mom also always had dips for us eat- you can add them to the cheese board or let them stand out on their own. Below, I am showing you one of my favorite recipes from my friend at Bird’s Party

2. FOOTBALL CHEESE DIP (click for recipe)

football shaped cheese dip on wooden board with crackers pretzels and vegetables

For game days, my mom kept it simple by adding in our favorite chips or salty snacks. Sometimes she would combine them to make a party mix, which is always a hit. Snack mixes or party mixes make great tailgate food ideas because you end up with a big batch to feed a crowd- and there is something for everyone in the mixes! Below, I am adding one of my favorite tailgate snack mixes from my blogging friend at An Affair from the Heart...I think I like this one a little extra because it has my childhood favorite~ Bugles! Did anyone else love Bugles?

3. TOUCHDOWN SNACK MIX (click for recipe)

snack mix for parties with bugles goldfish chex cereal

And, this next recipe reminds me so much of my childhood. I just bought a bag of these crackers to make this and it made me reminisce a little. I used to love it when my mom made these- and they are very simple!

4. RANCH AND DILL OYSTER CRACKERS (click for recipe)

oyster crackers with dried ranch dressing and dill

Another part of my mom’s tailgate formula for success was to have sandwiches cut in half and placed on a platter. She often rotated between pimento cheese sandwiches and cream cheese and pineapple sandwiches. That second combo was such an odd one to me when I was a kid (it still seems a little different to me as an adult), but I loved it. I have always wondered if that was more common than I realize! Now, sliders are a popular choice and they are simple to make, too! Below, I am sharing my friend Courtney’s (Pizzazzerie) recipe for chicken sliders…

5. CHICKEN SLIDERS . (click for recipe)

tailgate-food-ideas-sliders-pizzazzerie

If you like to offer traditional tailgate fare with a twist, check out this brat recipe from Cheese Curd in Paradise, another food blogging friend…

6. WISCONSIN BEER BRATS (click for recipe)

wisconsin beer brats

For those of you who like to add a veggie sandwich option to your menu should try out this Po’ Boy from my friend, Molly, at Easy Cooking with Molly.

7. VEGGIE PO’ BOY (click for recipe)

veggie po boy sandwich

Side salads were also always on the menu for a tailgate when I was growing up. It differed depending on my mom’s choice of the week, but I mostly remember red potato salad being a go-to . My favorite side salad to make for my family is Chick Pea Salad. Everyone seems to like it, and it is healthy and fresh. I make this recipe for lots of occasions -it’s a great one for summer get-togethers, too.

8. CHICKPEA SALAD WITH MOZZARELLA BALLS (recipe below)

overhead view of individual servings of chick pea salad with tomatoes cucumbers black olives and cheese

Chickpea Salad Recipe

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cans of chickpeas (15 oz.) rinsed and drained

2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 can of small black olives, rinsed and drained

1 package of grape tomatoes, sliced into halves

1 small package of mini mozzarella balls, gently separated

1/4 cup of chopped, fresh parsley

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese for topping/garnish

Fresh ground pepper for garnish

Instructions~

Whisk together oil, vinegar, and salt in large bowl.

Combine chickpeas and next five ingredients in the large bowl.

Toss ingredients with oil mixture in the bowl.

When ready to serve, garnish with freshly ground pepper and shredded Parmesan cheese.

You can serve in one large bowl or serve individually in small cups or bowls.

Serves 6-8

If you would like to serve a Chickpea Salad with more fall flavors and colors, try this one by my blogging friend, Gloria, at Homemade and Yummy…

9. CHICKPEA SALAD WITH APPLES AND PUMPKIN SEEDS (click for recipe)

chickpea salad with apples and pumpkin seeds

Now that we have ideas for the bulk of the tailgate food, we can talk about dessert and drink ideas…

Sweets such as brownies, or other easy to slice desserts, are always a great choice. They may seem over-used, but you can dress up brownies in cute ways if you want…see these football shaped brownies by Bird’s Party…

10. FOOTBALL BROWNIES (click for recipe)

brownies shaped like footballs with white icing for the seams

Or, you can do like I did here and bake chocolate chip brownies or muffins from a mix (I use Ghirardelli) and add a cupcake topper…

11. CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS OR BROWNIES

chocolate chip brownie muffins with powdered sugar on top and a football cupcake topper

For drinks, I like to make a signature cocktail for those that enjoy a specialty drink. Making a drink to go along with the team colors adds to the spirit of the day. Here I made a red and black cocktail for Bulldawg Illustrated and The Southern Coterie…

12. TEAM SPIRIT COCKTAIL

signature cocktail for the university of georgia

If you prefer to stick with beer, Bird makes a mean FRUITY Beer Cocktail for something different…

13. FRUITY BEER COCKTAIL (click for recipe)

fruity beer cocktail with football coaster diy

For non-alcoholic drinks, I like to have a stock of water- flat water, sparkling water, and also a selection of BODYARMOR. My daughter got us hooked on BODYARMOR for flavored water – and we had a chance to sample several flavors when BODYARMOR asked if they could send us a variety of their drinks. I am especially happy with the natural ingredients of the products- along with the electrolytes when needed. Some of those college football games in the south get really hot and active- even for the spectators! Lol Load up a cooler or display the drinks in a spirited way and keep everyone properly hydrated!

14. BODYARMOR (click for flavor choices)

football player holding helmet full of bodyarmor sports drinks

Luckily, we live within walking distance of some of the best match-ups of SEC games. We get to enjoy the excitement of game days and the tailgate food that is part of the tradition. Some people love football simply for the tailgate, and so it is fun to provide a pre-game meal that feeds a hungry crowd. I hope you use these recipes at your tailgate parties and beyond. And, if you would like more football party inspiration, click on these football birthday party ideas, football tailgate birthday party ideas, and pee wee football party ideas.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your game days and parties!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

Disclaimer: I received BodyArmor drinks to review but the opinions and words are all my own. I actually agreed to try more flavors of BODYARMOR because it was already a staple in our home, and I knew we liked it! For us, it is our favorite choice of hydrating drinks.