8 Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween Tablescapes 

Halloween Tablescape

I LOVE creating tablescapes in my home. I approach each one as a separate design, a stand alone that tells a story, represents a theme. This allows me to use a variety of themes & colors in my home during various holidays. Good Housekeeping has created 8 fabulous tablescapes for you to use in YOUR home. Just remember, tablescapes are not just for tables. You can use these designs on any surface in your home. In fact, you can use ALL these designs on the surfaces in your home! Hmmmm…

Halloween Tablescapes

Autumn Apple Tea

Celebrate with your friends as the kids head back to school. Show them (& you) how special they are with this fun & fabulous party. The table is simple but elegant with a bit of whimsy. The menu is easy to prepare. You can prepare some items the night before and finish the preparations the morning of the party. This event can be hosted on a weekday because it is simple to prepare. Now, send the kids to school, call your friends and Celebrate!

Continue reading “Autumn Apple Tea”

Girlfriends Fall Party

Celebrate with your friends as the kids head back to school. Show them (& you) how special they are with this fun & fabulous party. The table is simple but elegant with a bit of whimsy. The menu is easy to prepare. You can prepare some items the night before and finish the preparations the morning of the party. This event can be hosted on a weekday because it is simple to prepare.

Now, send the kids to school, call your friends and Celebrate!

Continue reading “Girlfriends Fall Party”

Christmas Countdown C -9


Holiday Buffet

During the holidays, most women have too much to do and too little time in which to do it.  Our hectic schedules make it next to impossible for us to get together with friends.  One way to solve this is to host an open house that features a buffet.  You might hold your open house on a Saturday, allowing your friends to stop in for a bite to eat between their errands.  Or you might choose to invite couples and families to your open house. 

Schedule the open house just before the fifteenth of December.  People get busier as it gets closer to Christmas. By scheduling your open house earlier in the month, your guests will not have to choose between invitations.

Decorate your home for your open house.  This helps set the tone for the party and gets everyone into the holiday mood.

Create a menu that saves you time and keeps your stress to a minimum.   A suggested menu with recipes follows.  The suggested dishes can be prepared ahead and cooked just before your guests arrive.  The menu also contains pre-made items that save you from spending all your time in the kitchen.  Remember, a successful party is not determined by the number of hours you spend in the kitchen.

To set up your buffet, you will need a long table for the food, a smaller side table for beverages and a third area for dessert.  If you do not have room for three separate tables, then place the desserts on the buffet table with the rest of the food.  It is more important to have a separate area for the beverages in order to ease congestion around the buffet table.

You may prepare your tables the morning of your open house.  This will save you time later in the day.   Cover your tables with tablecloths.  Choose a simple centerpiece for each table.  An arrangement of candles and small poinsettias works well.  The centerpiece should not be large since you need every inch of table space for food.

Put out your serving dishes and determine what you plan to serve on each dish.  Place a note on each serving piece to remind you, or to inform someone else, just what goes on that dish.  This will save you time and worry when you begin setting out food.   In addition, you should prepare folded mini-cards to labels each dish on the table.  This will let guest know what everything is on the table and save you from having to answer the same question over and over.

Lay out your table to the appetizers are on one end or one side of the table and the food for the main course is on the other.  Guests have a tendency to hover around the appetizers.  Set up a traffic pattern around your buffet table that makes it easy for people to serve themselves.

An open house allows you to invite more guests than you could for a formal dinner.  Unfortunately, most of us do not have enough dinnerware or flatware to serve everyone at once.  Rather than make guests wait while you run a load of dishes through the dishwasher, simply use disposable items for your buffet.  Yes, I am sure there are some people who will roll their eyes at your paper plates.  That is their problem.  Your goal is to hold a wonderful event and enjoy yourself at the same time.  Ease your stress.  Use disposable.

The suggested buffet menu has only 2 dishes that require cooking.  Each dish may be baked just before your guests arrive allowing you to serve them hot out of the oven.  Cheeses may be set out earlier, allowing them to soften slightly for easier cutting.  Prepare your beverage table, set out other food items, and lay out desserts.  As the pasta cooks, go take a bath and get ready for the party.

Just before people begin to arrive, turn on Christmas music, light the candles and set out the entrees.  Check your list and your table one last time.  Take a deep breath, pour yourself something to drink and prepare to attend your party.



Cheese platter

Assorted crackers

Assorted nuts

Tortilla Chips

Spinach dip

Dill dip

Vegetable platter


Baked Spaghetti

Pasta Marinara

Tossed Salad

Hard rolls


Cookie platter

Assorted breads

Tray of chocolates

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -14 Tip

Today you are 2 weeks out from Thanksgiving. You should have things under control. Take a few minutes to review the information I have sent you up to this point. Make certain you haven’t overlooked anything. If you still need to take care of a task, PUT IT ON YOUR LIST!

Today I want to tell you about slow cookers. These handy devices save me HOURS in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. In fact, they’re the reason we stock up on turkeys & all the trimmings. Thanksgiving prep is so easy for me that I am willing to repeat the process multiple times throughout the year.I have 3 slow cookers: small, medium & large. When it’s only the 3 of us for Thanksgiving, I use the large for dressing, the medium for potatoes & the small for green beans. Slow cookers are one of the things you want to borrow from friends & relatives. Even if you must pick them up the day before, believe me, it’s worth it. On Thanksgiving morning, I have the turkey, dressing, potatoes & green beans cooking in time to begin watching football at 9 here on the West Coast!

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -15 Tip

One year, I hosted a series of Christmas teas. I don’t own a set of formal dishes so I borrowed some from a friend. Just that simple. If you don’t have something you need for your celebration, ask around to see where you might borrow the needed items. Perhaps relatives or friends that are coming to your house would lend you what you need. Remember, people LIKE to contribute to an event. They want to be a part of it, not just spectators. Check with people before you spend ANY money!

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -16 Tip

Nothing worse than preparing to set your table, only to discover your linen tablecloth is stained, worn or missing! Take time now to make sure you have all the items you need to set your table, set up your bar, serve your guest… you get the idea.

I want to share an idea that may shock you. Get ready! If you have a large crowd coming for dinner, you might consider using disposable dinnerware. I know you want a lovely table but this saves you HOURS in the kitchen when the meal is over. This also helps if you don’t have enough dishes, silverware, etc. for everyone. You can also set a beautiful table with disposable dishes, napkins, tablecloths. I have done this to create a Thanksgiving themed table. You have to decide what works best for you. This is your event & you should do things the way you want, the way that makes life easier.

Still want a nice table setting but don’t have what you need to make this happen? More in the next challenge!

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -17 Tip

You should have already asked your family for help. If you find you need more assistance with something, you can ask a family member again. However, this doesn’t just apply to those people that live with you. If you have an aunt that makes great pies, you might ask her if she would be willing to bring 1-2 pies to the dinner. You can ask other family members to bring a special dish to your dinner. As I have said before, Thanksgiving is a family event. Make the meal a family project. How wonderful to have a serving table filled with special dishes made by other guests at your dinner!

Now, about my comment yesterday about your lists & running into your guests. People often ask “Is there anything I can bring?” And too often, our immediate answer is “Oh, no, that’s all right!” No it isn’t! People want to be a part of your event. If they ask about bring something, let them! Pull out your list, see what you need & assign them a task or dish. It can be something as simple as ice or dinner rolls but everyone gets to participate. And don’t feel guilty. If they didn’t want to help, they shouldn’t have asked. And be sure to make note who is taking care of that item on your list. You are going to need to know who it taking care of each item later.