Lemonade with blueberries and watermelon makes this iconic summer drink even more fun and refreshing! The good news is that this lemonade is easy to make and packs a big festive punch with friends and family!
I like to kick off summer by serving it on Memorial Day and then bring it out again on Independence Day. You can always turn it into a cocktail if you like- but it is really good as it is! My kids would drink it by the gallon if I would let them!
This star-spangled lemonade is easy to make- or you can always substitute your favorite store-bought lemonade! Here is the recipe…
You know how you sometimes meet someone and feel immediately impressed with their professionalism and polish? That describes how I felt about Anna Hartzog from the first introduction.
In September, Anna Hartzog sent me a message on Instagram introducing herself and her job at Hoffman Media. I was honored to hear from Anna who is the Senior Project Editor at Hoffman Media.
Anna oversees the production of Entertain and Celebrate magazine (formerly Celebrate magazine). I have been a fan of this beautiful magazine for many years…and was really excited when Anna asked if I would be interested in having a party featured in the magazine.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I had the opportunity to work with Anna and Lance on photos for a feature that she wrote about Parker Kennnedy Living’s Vintage Jewelry Wreaths. I was honored and humbled to take the photos for the magazine spread, and I developed so much admiration for Anna as I got to know her.
Anna was a dream to work with right from the start. Her polite and professional manner shined through her emails and direct messages. I was wowed by Anna’s kindness and patience as she answered questions and described her vision. Before Entertain and Celebrate hit news stands, Anna mailed me a copy of the magazine. Seeing the results of her hard work explained so much about Anna! The magazine was a reflection of her keen eye for visual content, her ability to organize and execute the vision, and her enthusiasm for bespoke celebrations and gifts.
Soon after, Anna reached out again about a party feature for a future edition. I was so impressed with Anna’s wonderful way of connecting. She is polite, proficient, and professional- and I really wanted to get to know her better! I asked Anna if I could interview her for my website and share her with all of you. I think we all enjoy what Anna and Hoffman Media deliver to us through their beautiful magazines, and so it only seemed fitting to get to know one of the smart minds behind the print. I happily headed to Birmingham to sit down with Anna and learn more!
You won’t be surprised to hear that Anna was an English minor at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi~ her major was Psychology which also makes perfect sense to me when you realize how well she relates with everyone. Early on, Anna honed her skills by teaching college and high school English and with large projects as a volunteer with the Junior League of Birmingham. Within the Jr. League, she found herself as the editor of a magazine that highlighted community programs and opportunities. It was as though all of these endeavors were leading Anna to her role as Sr. Project Editor at Hoffman Media.
As Senior Project Editor, Anna has many balls to juggle from preparing magazine copy and creating custom content for companies. Anna works with the recipe developers and photo stylists at HM to create the content that we enjoy as we flip page after page. She works alongside other project editors on each project, and each day at work brings a completely new set of opportunities. Anna says there is really no typical day while they prepare each issue or edition. Entertain & Celebrate is a specialty print that comes out 8 times a year. Anna and her team work around the calendar year to produce some of the most beautiful imagery and layout. (Other Hoffman Media publications include Bake from Scratch, Southern Lady, Victoria Magazine, and many more!) As you can see, Anna and all of those that work at Hoffman Media are dedicated to bringing us ideas and inspiration in the most gorgeous ways.
I asked Anna her thoughts on the addition of social media to the media landscape in our everyday lives. She told me that it has enhanced the reach to all areas in a positive way. It makes connections easier to continue and gives more access to inspiration.
When I asked Anna about her own personal preferences for entertaining and celebrating, here is what she had to say…
Do you prefer being a hostess or a guest at a party?
Anna~ “I prefer to host! I love to use nice things and enjoy china patterns and silver patterns. I worked at a silver store in college and was inspired to host parties and showers for friends.”
2. What is your favorite party style?
Anna~ “Fancy! My husband cooks and we always look for a reason to have people over and entertain.”
3. Favorite Silver Pattern?Frontenac
4. Favorite China?Herend
5. Favorite Hostess Gift?Wine, because it is perfect for right then or for later.
6. Cocktail Party or Cookout?Cocktail Party
7. Favorite Southern Vacation Spot?30A/ also Asheville and Nashville
8. Favorite Season?Summer- there is more freedom and more daylight
9. Favorite Holiday?Christmas
10. Favorite Dinner Recipe?Indian Butter Chicken in an Insta Pot
11. Favorite Dessert?Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberries
One of my favorite projects that Anna told me about is a cookbook that she made for her family. She gathered 60 of her grandmother’s recipes and 40 of other family members’ recipes and compiled them into one book. It took over 2 years to put it all together! I think this is especially sweet because Anna’s grandmother is who taught Anna how to cook. What a wonderful gift to have and to give. And, that feat alone pretty much sums up Anna’s dedication, gratefulness, and kindness all in one! Not to mention, it will make entertaining and celebrating more fun for all of the generations in her family!
Blue and white is a classic combination that is always a great go-to when designing a table scape or deciding on a party theme. I recently hosted a virtual “Blue and White Party” in my Instagram Stories in honor of healthcare workers. The sacrifices they make for us deserves so much more than I can ever give, but I wanted to show a small token of appreciation for what they do for each of us. Blue for their scrubs and white for their white coats just seemed fitting for this virtual celebration of our Health Heroes.
My daughter loves blue, and so I showed her what I was doing~ and she suggested adding some red to mimic the red cross that was on the ship Comfort that came to help those affected in New York. I loved that idea and so we went with it. I also added red with solid red napkins styled with blue and white chinoiserie bead napkin rings. The napkin rings are by Designs by Laurel Leigh
One of my favorite parts of this table setting is the blue and white runner in the middle of the table. I love the pattern and also love that it is casual but looks fancy. The runner is made of paper and is from Hester and Cook.
This table scape feels almost like a picnic with the seagrass placemats and the casual plates. But, it also feels special which always makes your family and/or guests feel special. I kept it simple but still made it feel a little more exciting when you all gather around the table.
Another of my favorite parts is the red ribbon design that we did on top of the runner. It was simple to create with a bolt of ribbon cut to fit the table. My daughter and I then cut two strips of ribbon to lay horizontally across the first ribbon. It created a red cross at each end of the table.
I added in gold touches with flatware and drink coasters~ and even added in a little bit of silver with. mini mint julep cups. I am a sucker for my new mini julep cups. I grouped them in the middle of the table on top of a cupcake stand. I also added a few here and there around the table. I loved that they were sporadic.
I wasn’t sure I could pull of a table setting the way that I would like without any flowers- but I actually loved the way it all turned out in the end. It was a creative challenge that makes you think outside the norm- and makes you appreciate the convenience of beautiful flowers year-round.
I decided to use American flags for the centerpiece- it felt very appropriate as our entire country (and world) works together to overcome this very strange moment in history.
There’s nothing like saluting the healthcare heroes who are working so hard to help us each and every day. I am honored to be able to show my appreciation in this small way. They are thought of each day and prayed for each day! They each deserve so much ~ a virtual champagne toast to each and every one.
This Easter is one for the literal history books as we all celebrated this holiday in a way we have never done before! With a shelter-in-place order throughout the US, we gathered around our tables with our immediate families and around our computer screens with our extended families and friends. Wanting to make the day extra special, we scoured our homes for ways to set our tables without a lot of the extras that we might have added under more normal circumstances. For me, it was nice to make the table look festive and happy- and our family of four seemed to appreciate the change of pace from the everyday.
The first thing I did was to “shop my house” and find colorful items that I thought would work well together and look like Easter. At first, I thought the table would end up looking more formal. It ended up being playful and whimsical. It was perfect for us- my kids seemed to enjoy it that it wasn’t “stuffy” but that I mixed in some of our nicer pieces (with a reminder to “go easy” on them).
I did not originally plan to use the plaid plates, but decided that it was the perfect way to break up the solid colors on the other plates. I also used glass bread plates and glass bowls on the tables for color and contrast.
Last year, I bought a hand-painted ostrich egg from Pippa Goetz and loved her Easter artwork so much. I decided to add another one this year and pre-ordered in January or February. The egg arrived and I unpacked it for Easter after I had “quarantined” the package for a while. This year’s egg is also a stunner…the chinoiserie scene that Pippa painted is so beautiful and happy. The colors are so vibrant- I kind of don’t want to put the eggs away after Easter. Notice the different pagodas on the different sides of the egg…
Other pieces that I love to use on tablescapes are the 2 matching artichoke bowls with lids. I use those a lot in place of flowers because the colors are so pretty and the design is so artistic. I also put my hydrangea arrangement in the center of the table. My son is allergic to flowers and could not have real flowers in our house for several years. I invested in a few beautiful arrangements from Boxwoods in Atlanta to mimic real ones as closely as I could.
After playing around with different plates and place settings, I finally decided on this one…cheerful, bright and whimsical.
I made each place setting a little different~ and I loved using my moss bunnies on the table. I bought the 2 larger ones several years ago at Appointments at Five in Athens, and the small moss bunny was a gift from PKL, The Cellar. They are perfect for adding in a feel of nature especially because I didn’t have flowers.
We have a chandelier that hangs over our breakfast table and I love to add decorations to it (here you can see New Year’s Eve ideas for hanging decorations). For Easter, I hung gingham fabric carrots on green ribbon and suspended them from the chandelier.
It all came together- imperfectly perfect for us for this different type of Easter. Although it was different, it was a sweet and simple day. It is an Easter I hope my kids always remember. They slept late and ate breakfast just before we watched our preacher live stream his sermon. He was alone inside the sanctuary of our church and stood on the stairs in the front. He preached his sermon and sent a message that we all learned from~ all 1000 viewers, I would bet. My daughter mentioned that if 1000 people were showing as watching the live stream, there could be 4 people per computer like we were. We were amazed at the number of us all together while we were all separated by this virus.
I look forward to celebrating in person with our community next year, but I am also grateful for the slow morning, the captive audience that our preacher had at our home while he spoke, and the feeling of togetherness that can’t accurately be described.
Our table was set to be served a simple meal while our hearts and minds were re-set to be mindful and grateful for all that we have.
We ended our day with a Zoom call with my parents, sister, and nieces. My oldest niece was heading into work as a physician’s’ assistant in a hospital in NYC. We ended up talking less about Corona and laughing more about the silly backgrounds that they were all putting on their screens. My parents were trying to keep up with it all and enjoyed every second of the silliness. I did, too. What an unusual way to celebrate Easter, but what a beautiful way to celebrate Easter.
Happy April FOO Day, Friends! April 1 was just begging to be re-named with these fun ideas for your home using foo (or fu) dogs!
I have to confess that it took awhile for foo dogs to grow on me. As a child, I always thought they looked too scary. Which, is really the point of them after all. They didn’t look like any dog I had ever wanted to pet. With the confusion of a dog that looked like a scary lion, I just didn’t take to them well.
Interestingly enough, my reaction as a child was exactly the emotion that foo dogs were meant to evoke. What is also interesting to me is that they originated in China, and the Chinese refer to them as lions. We Westerners came up with the name “Foo/Fu Dog”.
The purpose of a foo dog was to be a symbolic guardian. With each pair representing a male (typically holding a ball/globe) and a female (typically holding a pup), the pair guarded a home and the occupants inside of it. Originally, foo dogs were large, imposing figures for the outside of the home. As time passed, smaller versions were created for inside the home. And, the smaller versions are what won me over- especially the ones in beautiful colors.
For April FOO Day, I set the table for Foo, Party of Two. I really wanted to just have some fun with this table~ to make it pretty and different. On April 1, it feels like anything goes! I layered seagrass placemats (from Appointments at Five), white and gold dinner plates, and beautiful pink floral salad plates (from Parker Kennedy Living)
For table linens, I used my great-grandmother’s hand-embroidered table scarves. I layered one as a tablecloth and then added one between each plate and seagrass placemat.
I didn’t intend for the table scarves to be used as napkins but instead to be a layer to soften the look between the seagrass and the china. I wanted to add in the soft colors and hand-embroidery to complement the pattern on the china. For napkins, I wanted to have something that was sturdy and stronger, just like the premise behind the symbolism of the foo dog. And so, I chose a classic blue and white stripe~ with a blue and white chinoiserie napkin ring…
Don’t you just love the chinoiserie beaded napkin rings?? I think having the blue and white beads on blue and white napkins offers a really subtle detail. It isn’t as noticeable at first, and so it is a nice surprise to see~ and it’s a way of tying in the origin of the foo dog. The beautiful napkin rings are from Designs by Laurel Lee
To top off the place setting, I placed a turquoise foo dog in the center of the plate. What a fun and unexpected table guest! This particular foo dog is an antique piece from Parker Kennedy Living, but they have similar ones available.
For the center of the table, I added in the floral arrangement that I made from boxwoods and azaleas from our yard. I put the clippings in a glass and then placed the glass inside my square blue and white cache pot.
I really like the bright look of the gold flatware on the table- it plays off the gold in the plates and the cache pot.
The vintage turquoise glasses were the finishing touch and the perfect way to tie it all together. Wouldn’t this be a fun table to set for your friends and family?
No foolin’, I am wishing you a wonderful April Foo Day. I hope that you come back often for fun ideas to make your everyday life at home a bright and cheerful experience! To see more ideas for adding foo dogs to your home decor, stop by join the Foo Party on Instagram too!
It was an honor to be asked to participate in a fundraising event in our town called La Table. The idea behind the event is that each table has a host or hostess that chooses his or her own theme. The host/hostess invites friends to join him or her at the table!
I was thrilled to design a table for this year’s event. This is the 9th year that La Table has been hosted by Family Promise of Athens. Family Promise is a group that includes volunteers from churches in the area who provide temporary housing for displaced families. It’s an incredibly valuable organization and one that I am so happy to help.
The theme that I chose for my table was “Mint to Serve”- and I alluded to mint throughout the table decorations. My inspiration for the theme came from a gathering at The Southern C where B. Claire Events provided each person a chance to create their own floral arrangement in a mini mint julep cup. I fell in love with the mini julep cups and wanted to do something fun and pretty with them. In contrast to the mini julep cups, I borrowed an enormous silver urn to mimic the cup. The large urn was loaned to me from European Floral Design.
The blooming branches in the center urn and all of the cut flowers were also from European Floral Design. I described the color scheme and my ideas to Brett at EFD and she ordered the gorgeous flowers for me.
I was able to borrow large and medium sized mint julep cups from European Floral Design to mix in and around the table. I filled the cups with all of the beautiful ranunculus, tulips, roses, and berries. I wanted there to be an explosion of colorful flowers surrounded by mint plants. I added name cards on rough-edged paper with hand-written names.
I bought mint plants from Lowe’s and potted them in white planters from European Floral Design. Initially, I wanted about twice as many plants on the table, but I scaled it back to give us all room to have food! 🙂
At each place setting, I used my woven rattan chargers and topped them with gold and white dinner plates. On top of the dinner plates, I used antique Rose Medallion plates (bought from Appointments at Five). I added a mini mint julep cup filled with flowers and mint leaves on top of each Rose Medallion plate.
I was also lucky enough to have Lemondaisy Designs offer to send cocktail napkins to be a part of the table top. I thought the julep cup art on each cocktail napkin was perfect! The mint leaf garnish was the perfect touch to go with the green polka dots, too!
For table linens, I chose tablecloths and napkins from Lindroth Designs. I ordered the same pattern in 3 different colors so that I could play with the colors but keep it cohesive. I placed the green tablecloth over the round table and draped the other two tablecloths around the centerpiece.
The flowers were the same colors as the linens…
Because this was a fund-raiser, the tables were meant to be a bit over-the-top rather than traditional. The oversized centerpiece was to make a statement rather than to enjoy conversation over. That is part of the fun of this event- the tables are more extravagant than everyday life!
This was such a joy to put together. It was also so nice to enjoy with a table full of friends and a room full of giving hearts. Wishing you all a beautiful day and hopefully some inspiration to create colorful table settings for your friends and family!
This year, I am hosting a virtual Galentine’s Day celebration with all of you! I wish we could gather together in real life for a party, but this will work for now! Please consider this adorable card by Dixie Designs your Valentine card from me…
I am so excited to greet you with these incredible cake pops made by Pop Pedler. I can’t get over how beautiful they are. The flower details are so perfect.
To set the mood for the party, flamin-gals directed your path for you as you arrived…
With this spritely lady busying herself right by the front door!
This bashful beauty welcomes you to fill your drink with choices of pink lemonade or a pink grapefruit cocktail…
And, of course, sparkling water is always available…choose your glass bottle with these whimsically wonderful fondant flamingos made by Sachiko at Mimi Cafe Union…
OR, help yourself to one of these adorable hand-painted mini bottles of champagne. I ordered these just for us for our Flamingal- and Sarah T. Moore Designs painted them just like I was hoping! So cute and fun!!
For dessert (because none of us could bear to actually eat the beautiful flamingo cake pop and saved it to take home), we have chocolate cake and vanilla cake…decorated in shades of pink!
We all like to flamingle, and so why not host a Flamin-GAL for your next Galentine’s Day theme? I think the theme adds a little sun to February – and you can re-use your decorations in the spring and summer. Not to mention, flamingo pink works perfectly for Galentine’s Day!
Supper Club ideas are always fun for Valentine’s Day- and Galentine’s Day! Host your girlfriends for a fun night of conversation- and what could be a better theme than candy conversation hearts? This is the fun we put together for my daughter and her friends…
My grandmother’s sofa, that I had recovered in hot pink fabric, served as the focal point- and the perfect place to attach conversation heart balloons. The girls love to have a place to take photos, and this turned out to be a comfy and creative photo booth.
For the color scheme, I used the colors that you find in bags and boxes of Candy Conversation Hearts and added red like the lettering on the candy. I bought flowers in coordinating colors at the grocery store (Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Kroger are my go-to grocery store flowers). I used clear vases to arrange the flowers and lined them down the tables. I also used lots of candles on the tables in between the flowers. When I host parties with lots of young people, I typically only use battery-operated candles for safety reasons.
I sprinkled candy hearts down the middle of each table to tie in the theme- and I also ordered cookies shaped like conversation heart candy. The cookies are from Bambella Cookies, and they always exceed my expectations. Tara is so talented and so dependable.
I loved having pastels and brights mixed at this party. They complemented each other well, and it was nice to brighten up a February day and night with pops of color.
Because we were celebrating Galentine’s Day, I hung balloon letters that spelled out “Gal Pals” in the dining room. I used string lights to light the room and then attached the balloon letters to the cord of the lights.
My daughter has always liked gum ball machines, and so I asked Tara if she could design a gum ball machine cookie with candy hearts inside instead of gum balls. She added the cute “I Chews You” to top it off! I love how they turned out (as you will see because I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them) :).
I love it when the theme also makes a great part of the decorations!
More cookie designs from Bambella Cookies- the candy conversation heart balloon bouquets are so cute!
I put the cookies on a layer of candy hearts to serve them…
I also ordered candy kabobs with tiny hearts on them for the girls. They were cute lollipops that I grouped together in a clear candy jar…
These were definitely a hit- and they make perfect take-home treats!
For other cookie designs, Bambella Cookies and I came up with cute sayings that would be fun for Galentine’s Day.
For dinner, my daughter wanted to have fried chicken…and so we served fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and fruit. To make it really simple, I ordered the fried chicken from Publix and put it in our oven to keep it warm.
The girls love sparkling apple cider, and so I bought disposable champagne flutes from Hobby Lobby to use for serving. Before the party, my daughter and a friend dipped the rims of each glass in vanilla frosting and then dipped them into sprinkles. This was definitely a fun little bonus and looked so pretty and colorful.
My daughter also wanted to make and serve her Edible Cookie Dough. There was no shortage of sweets at the dessert table for this Galentine’s Day Supper Club!
In order to make the cookie dough as pretty as possible when we served it, we scooped it into printed candy cups and added a gold mini spoon tied with a ribbon.
Here is another look at some of the cookies made by Bambella Cookies because I just loved each one! 🙂
For decorations, I re-used the white balloon garland that I made for the Winter Supper Club and added heart balloons…
And, for party favors, I couldn’t resist the cutest Conversation Candy Heart Soaps from Sun Basil Soap… I tied bows in colors to coordinate with the party and stacked them on a cupcake stand for a pretty presentation.
It was such a fun night of watching these girls enjoy themselves. Supper Clubs for teens are a joy to me- I love seeing each girl and always look forward to the next time they are all together!
I hope you find ideas that encourage you to host a dinner or create a Supper Club! I am happy to help if you ever have questions!
An outdoor garden party and dinner is a beautiful way to celebrate a special occasion! Cheri Leavy, co-founder of The Southern C, took this candlelight garden party to the next level with all of the details and delicious food! I was honored to be a part of it!
This dinner party was in honor of Sallie Holder, who is a dynamic lady that I have been fortunate to get to know through The Southern C. Sallie is a special person with a way of connecting the dots between your innate skills and your goals. As Cheri says, she helps you take flight like a butterfly.
Images of butterflies were used throughout the party details and added a perfect and thoughtful touch. Thankfully, Danielle Hulsey was there to photograph the party to share all of the fun of the night. She captured the night beautifully…
Cheri was thoughtful to include fellow TSC members in every aspect of setting the table- from the plates by R. Wood to the napkins by Lisa Ellis. Flowers were sourced locally from Three Porch Farms.
Butterflies were placed in discreet places around the party table- from the occasional butterfly on a chair to each glass having an edible butterfly perched on the rim.
And, the place settings were topped off with butterfly place cards handwritten with each guest’s name~ you can see them below on top of the napkins…
Butterflies in all colors were scattered down the center of the table to continue the vibe. What a gorgeous way to incorporate a thread of a detail- it feels both subtle and straightforward at the same time.
Cheri even decorated her bike with flowers and butterflies. It adds a sense of whimsy and light-hearted fun and makes for a great conversation piece and photo opportunity!
The guests arrived before sunset and we were able to enjoy the lovely weather and gorgeous view of the table that had been so perfectly prepared.
Cheri has wonderful helpers that were there to help keep the party running smoothly. Maggie Jordan and Becca Gemes were so attentive and helpful. Don’t you love their matching lavender aprons? Another TSC member, Libbie Summers, designed these classic and stylish aprons. The aprons offer a polished and cohesive look which I love!
Below is the hostess and the guest of honor! Cheri and Sallie had a second to take it all in before everyone was seated around the fabulous table.
While Becca and Maggie (and Cheri’s husband, Vance) were taking care of all of the finishing touches, we were all invited inside for cocktails and appetizers.
It was such a nice way to have a chance to chat with everyone and to catch up with those that we don’t get to see often enough.
As the sun set and the candles were lit, Cheri and Vance were ready to serve a fabulous dinner catered by Peter Dale of The National.
I can honestly tell you, it doesn’t get much better than being served dinner prepared by Peter Dale! 🙂 The meal was served family style and added to the warmth and family-feel of the group gathered around the table.
There was lots of chatter and lots of laughter around the table. Cheri is an impeccable hostess who knows how to create a community of sharing and interacting.
Cheri so kindly honored Sallie Holder for her talents and time (Sallie spent the day offering classes on business building) and then took the time to have each of us connect around the table.
It was such a beautiful party filled with meaning and motivation- so reflective of the host and the guest of honor!
The delicious meal was capped off with a stunning cake created by a local Athenian, Emilee Hain of Keelime Culinary. Cheri entrusted me with this part of the night, and I was honored to be in charge of dessert! 🙂
Emilee is an incredible chef and baker and has made many cakes for me. I ordered caramel cake with a lavender buttercream frosting, and I am pretty sure we all would have happily had seconds and thirds!
It was delicious! Emilee covered the cake in food-safe flowers, and I added butterflies flitting around it.
The photo below sums up the feel of the entire night. Cheers to a beautiful gathering full of thoughtfulness, creativity, delight, and warmth. It was a perfect way to celebrate a special moment!
I am grateful to be a part of The Southern C and a friend of Sallie Holder. I highly recommend both and I am always happy to chat further if you have questions for me about either!
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…
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.
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.
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”.
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.
For table centerpieces, we made white balloon garlands and then added fairy lights through the garland.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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…
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…
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!
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…
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!
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 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…
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!
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!
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! 🙂
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!
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!
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…
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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!
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.
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! 🙂
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!
Aren’t those so pretty? I love the simplicity of the pink iced doughnut topped with the pretty green royal icing wreath…