5 fall entertaining ideas

ONE.

I absolutely love the idea of a Soup Bar!! Release yourself of the guilt of not having time to make the soup from scratch though, and simply purchase it pre-made from your favorite restaurant or grocery store. Once they're poured into soup tureens, no one will ever know the difference!

I have a tureen nearly identical to the one on the far left (see top photo), which was handed down years ago from my mom...but I see them all the time at Goodwill, too!

Places like HomeGoods and Amazon are also great sources (here are some timeless white ones) without spending big bucks.

Why not substitute bowls for mugs or even tea cups? It's so much easier to hold and sip while chatting with friends, especially if there are too many folks over to sit comfortably at the table. You don't even have to put out spoons, if you didn't want to!


TWO.

Table scape is like the frosting of the dinner party...and I love out of the box table decor.

Leave it to Elle Decor to give us ideas on how to use typical fall items and turn them as far from kitchy as possible! Just love these! Head here for a gallery full of additional ideas!


THREE.

I love that autumn means earthy, hearty food. Listen to the girls over at Apartment 34 share the key to a gorgeously simple table such as this one!

Create a humble feast. For our happy hour we decided to create the charcuterie board of champions. But again the task required little else than a power shopping trip at Trader Joe’s and an epic 3-foot long wood board. Cured meats, crackers, cheese, olives, pickles, fresh berries & figs, dried fruit, nuts and our little trade secret – fresh flowers created a truly stunning display. Piling everything high makes your board so pretty you almost don’t want to dig in and mess it all up. Almost.
http://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/how-to-assemble-the-perfect-fall-cheese-board/

Head over to The Pioneer Woman as she guides us through her version of assembling the perfect fall cheese board!


FOUR.

Why not continue enjoying your backyard until it gets too chilly to do so! Like these ladies, I love bringing my indoor dining furniture outside for the evening. And seriously loving the greens and flowers just draped atop the plaid covered table.

How cute are these Champagne Pomegranate Cocktails? This Backyard Fall Campfire Party looks so seriously fun!


FIVE.

Speaking of plaid, I'm definitely going to remember this photo the next time I'm entertaining. These might be picnic blankets...but they may also be scarves! How many cozy plaid scarves do we have in our closets? Probably enough to cover a table with, right? Brilliant. Seriously fantastic. I just love it.


Do you have any fall entertaining ideas you'd like to share? Which of these is your favorite?

Take Joy,

Teresa

Slushy Blush Cocktails (recipe)

Since I've been sharing a lot about hospitality lately, I thought I'd share a quick little recipe for one of my favorite party drinks.

I'm a huge fan of doing as much as possible in advance of a party, so I love making these slushy cocktails in small mason jars a few days beforehand and place them in the freezer.

SLUSHY BLUSH RECIPE:

. 1 can frozen concentrated pink lemonade (thawed)
. 36oz pineapple juice (instead of mixing concentrate with water, use the juice)
. Vodka to taste.

. Combine into large mixing bowl, then with a ladle, spoon into individual jars (I used these from Walmart). Then place into the freezer. The alcohol doesn't freeze, but the juice does...making it slushy!

Serve in a basket or bucket with spoons or brightly colored paper straws!

That's it!!

Told ya it was easy!! They're a hit every time I serve them...bet they will be for you, too!

When (not if!!) you do have a little get together for some friends or neighbors, post your pics on Instagram and tag me on my hashtag #letspartylikegirls!! I can't wait to see your photos!!

TAKE JOY,

TERESA

Hosting Tips (to keep your sanity + make entertaining easy)

WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY TO MAKE SURE WE HAVEN'T JUST OPENED OUR HOMES, BUT WE HAVE OPENED OUR HEARTS? (an extension of last week's post: how to become the right kind of hostess)

Hosting Tips 

1. do things early

Do as much as you can the night before. I always try and cram too many tasks into a short amount of time, resulting in me becoming stressed and turning into a drill-sergeant as I bark orders to my family. Not my finest moment(s).

If you can't set the table early, at least stack your plates, serving dishes, napkins, and anything else you plan to use, on your buffet that morning, or the night before.

Use your crockpot! Even if you're making something which you may not typically use the slow cooker for (taco meat, for example), decide if it can be made early in the day and tossed into the crockpot to keep warm until dinnertime.

2. semi-homemade is fine!

I've given up on the idea that I can do everything on my own and from scratch. As much as I'd love to be Martha Stewart, even Martha isn't Martha! She has a TEAM to help her!

So it's MORE than ok to purchase something yummy in the deli or grocery store and transfer it to a favorite dish before folks arrive. Typically no one is the wiser, and even if they are...rarely do they care.

In fact, just last night I had ladies over for Petra (our prayer group). I set out wine, and a few little munchie-type snacks. Halfway through the night, a friend asked about the recipe for the cookies and guac.

My answer? "Haha weeeeell, the cookies are store bought dough I just slid into the oven before you arrived, and I added three extra avocados to the store bought guacamole...because the kids got into it and suddenly didn't look to be enough."

She looked at me relieved and said she was glad she asked, because she was feeling bad about her own hosting abilities. Uhhhh no, I assured her. I've had to give up on homemade everything a long time ago.

I do what I can, but a busy day and an afternoon full of kids, sports, and homework means pretty plates or bowls will have to make up for store bought anything.

3. be prepared

Keep a drawer or shelf with easy to grab items for when company stops by without much warning, or when your day goes awry and you don't have the time to prepare like you'd hoped!

In it, you could have a clean tablecloth (just toss it over the sticky, crumb covered table), fun napkins or a couple candlesticks and matches (so you don't have spend precious moments searching).

Try and always have some San Pellegrino or sparkling juice chilling in the fridge. And a cute glass or straw (most of my glasses are from Goodwill and straws are from Target).

And psst...I totally use bedsheets for tablecloths and wrapping paper for a table runner much of the time. Don't feel you need to spend money on a gorgeous table cloth.

4. greet

Greet your guests. Personally. Don't just yell, "Come on in! I'm in the kitchen!"

Take their coats and purses and either get them a drink, or show your guests where you've set out lemonade, wine, or whatever beverages you're serving.

Invite them into the space where everyone is gathering or where you're cooking so they can begin enjoying the evening, rather than being unsure where they should be.

5. leave it

Leave the dishes. Leave the mess...until AFTER everyone has gone. Where you spend your time while they're visiting is showing everyone what is actually of the most importance.

Feel free and clear the dishes when folks are finished eating and still chatting around the table, but drop them in the kitchen and come straight back.

Which is most important...a clean kitchen and full dishwasher...or the people sitting across the table from you?

6. accept help

Do #5 unless this happens. If someone asks to help...say YES!

If your guests want to assist as you finish preparing the meal or help you clean the kitchen afterward, don't be afraid to take them up on it!

Many hands make light work, right? You're not leaving your guests in the next room. Instead, you're engaging with them and having conversation while you complete your tasks and allow them to serve you as you had just served them.


Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully.

Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.

That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
— 1 PETER 4:7-11 . THE MESSAGE

Take Joy,

Teresa

 

How to become the right kind of hostess (+ what I was doing wrong)

I have always thought of myself as a good hostess. I’ve adored it since I was young, likely because hospitality is my mom’s great love, as well. It was around me often and I like a little sponge, I began learning without realizing I was.

The cooking, the decorating, the little details. I love it.  In fact, one of my most favorite things in the entire world is to have people over and entertain.

Sometimes though, I need to remember how to be the right kind of hostess.

BUT MARTHA WAS DISTRACTED BY ALL THE PREPARATIONS THAT HAD TO BE MADE. SHE CAME TO HIM AND ASKED, “LORD, DON’T YOU CARE THAT MY SISTER HAS LEFT ME TO DO THE WORK BY MYSELF? TELL HER TO HELP ME!”
— LUKE 10:40

Do you know this story?

Jesus was visiting Martha's home in Bethany (with as many as 70 people joining him, yikes!). Martha therefore, was running around like a chicken with her head cut off as she prepared meals and made sure everyone was comfortable and taken care of.

Her sister Mary however, sat at the feet of Jesus...just soaking Him in.

I don't need to close my eyes to visualize Martha sweating and being completely overwhelmed. If she's anything like me, she became increasingly aggravated as she looked over her shoulder into the other room where Mary sat serenely gazing up at Christ.

A few years back, Ben gave me an honest little chat about my heart. We don't have family in town so we had friends over for Thanksgiving brunch and more friends over for dinner. It was a busy and full holiday...I ended up being in the kitchen all day, spending fewer time with our guests than I should have. It was very fun but a far cry from the relaxing Thanksgiving I desired.

My sweet husband kindly took me aside at one point and told me I was being like Martha. He told me to forget about all the details that most people wouldn't notice anyway and stop stressing myself (and my family) out. To just enjoy the day. How humbling to have the person who knows me the best and loves me so much, take my hand and tell me that I'm taking some of the fun out of the day because the family is walking on pins and needles because I've turned into a drill sergeant.

That's not what I want! That's not what it means to be a good hostess!

In the years since that conversation with Ben, I’m more intentional on my attitude and level of perfection (aka it’s never going to be perfect and that’s ok). I work incredibly hard now making sure I don’t turn into that drill sergeant and therefore making my family dread having people over.

Mary had it right and I’m trying to become more like her.

“MARTHA, MARTHA,” THE LORD ANSWERED, “YOU ARE WORRIED AND UPSET ABOUT MANY THINGS, BUT FEW THINGS ARE NEEDED—OR INDEED ONLY ONE. MARY HAS CHOSEN WHAT IS BETTER, AND IT WILL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER.”
— LUKE 10:41-42

Just like Jesus' response to Martha, Ben had graciously put me in my place and given me a great reminder of what's important.

It's not that Martha was wrong in her serving and hosting. It's that she forgot the REASON she was doing it and concentrated too fully on the tasks.

I heard recently about a woman who was so very loved by all she had in her home. Her house was small and worn and yet no one noticed because the way she loved them as she hosted.

When guests came, she would remove her apron and come to the door to greet them. After taking coats and getting them something to drink, she'd invite them to the kitchen as she continued to prepare the meal. She scurried around as she engaged in conversation and once the meal was over, she'd relax with them and chat. Never did she begin to clean the kitchen or put things away until her beloved guests had left.

She made THEM feel like the most important things of the evening, not having a clean dining room or kitchen.

It was the HEART of hosting that pleased, not the ACT of it.

Hearing this story was so convicting, because often one of our kids open the door while I yell a Hi! Come on in!” from the kitchen.

SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY.
— ROMANS 12:13

Practice and failing, asking forgiveness...and trying again. Let us continue on with a HEART for hospitality, so Christ may use us in a way that loves others well.

WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY TO MAKE SURE WE HAVEN'T JUST OPENED OUR HOMES, BUT WE HAVE OPENED OUR HEARTS?

Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
— 1 PETER 4:9

I’LL POST SOME OF MY FAVORITE HOSTING TIPS ON FRIDAY…so swing back by later in the week!

Take Joy,

Teresa