Holiday Entertaining: Creating the Kid Table

I don't know about you, but I love to entertain - especially around the holidays. The one wild card: kids. How do you keep them entertained and seated for more than 5 minutes, so the adults can enjoy a conversation, a drink or even a meal (oh, the luxury of it all!)? After lots of trial and error, here is the formula I've come to know, trust and love. 

1. Get your kraft on
Take the worry out of kids destroying the table by covering it with kraft paper, which can be found almost anywhere these days, or on sites like Office Depot. Not only does it set me (as the hostess) at ease, but it provides serious entertainment for the kids. I've left it completely free with only washable (if they're not washable, this moms not buying them) markers or sometimes I jump start their coloring with a couple outlined shapes - both work and the kids love it! Here, I outlined the shape of a placemat and asked the kids to create their own design. I also outlined several leaves, from the yard, to give them a head start.

2. Creative craft
Beyond coloring, I like to include an easy craft that the kids can make on their own. Check out these cute snowmen made from pinecones we found in the yard. (I'll post the how to later this week.) I made one to give the kids an idea of how they could look, but they definitely got creative on their own. If crafting isn't your thing, no worries, stores like Michael's have you covered. They have a variety of inexpensive craft kits that come with everything - just open the box and your kids are away! Promise. Just don't forget the washable glue.

3. Set a friendly table
Now that the table is covered and the kids are entertained, it's time to focus on setting a kid friendly table. Personally, I don't want to worry about things getting broken - but I still want it to look nice. That means no paper plates for this girl, it is the holiday season after all! Melamine plates are my favorite. Here, I've used standard white plates, but I love the customizable plates (and mugs!) available from Shutterfly. Add an initial, a custom pattern, a saying or even an image - so many possibilities, I can only dream of how cute the table could look! Definitely going on my Christmas list this year. 
Another tip for table setting: I love using old jam jars as drinking glasses. Reduce, reuse, recycle - right!?!? These are my favorites.
They aren't precious, can be easily replaced (we get through a jar of jam every couple of weeks around here!) and they look cute too.  Bonus.

4. Kid centric food
It's no secret kids can be super picky when it comes to eating, mine especially! Wracking your brain trying to find something to please everyone, can be super stressful. After all, nothing can ruin a get together faster than an unhappy toddler! Trust me, I've been there. My rule: try including 3 things that most kids love and chances are they'll eat at least one.  Some of my go-to's are: turkey chilitomato soup, any kind of fruit, sliced veggies with dippy and of course, caramel brittle ice cream.

Entertaining is so much more fun when everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves, kids and hostess included. 
So go on, get out there and have some families over this holiday season! Happy entertaining. 

until next time, 

A Pictorial Party Recap

Providing a couple images from our party is the least I can do, seeing as you all so graciously listened to my prep ramblings for a whole week. I hope you enjoy!

The living room decked out with food and drinks!

The dining room and Mr. DD serving a tray of Whiskey Snowballs.

The Bar

Why do people always hang out in the kitchen?
Which, as a side note,  is definitely the worst room in our house!

Thanks to all our friends for joining us for our 2nd annual February cocktail party!

And a very special thanks to our London friends, who read about the party here on Designing Domesticity and flew over (from London, for 24 hours) to surprise us just hours before everything kicked off! I swear, we would of invited you if we thought you would of come - lesson learned! You're definitely on the invite list for next year! Black tie required.

Until next time,

Dining Room Centerpiece - the last of the prep!

Just a quick one today to show you my new dining room centerpiece and a little bit about what's in store for next week.

The centerpiece consists of white hydrangea, white tulips, pussy willow branches and green apples.

The green apples are submerged in the bowl (this is a great trick to help anchor your stems) as well as being tucked in amongst the flowers.

A closer look.

I love the bright green apples against the white - it really screams spring to me.
Shame it's snowing outside at the moment!

Well, that about sums it up for my party prep this week. I'll be sure to post a couple live party shots next week - I think I owe you that much after dedicating a whole week to party prep!

Next week, I'm also planning a cheap and cheerful vanity update and a $16 eBay chair makeover.
Hope to see you then.
Have a great weekend!

Until next time,

Prep, Prep and More Good Prep

Today is just one of those days when you are running around working on 3 or 4 projects at once - somehow managing to get very little done!

But it's all in the name of party prep, so I'll carry on.

Take a look at a couple of things I have managed to actually complete today.

Dining room buffet

Arrangement of pussy willow branches and a Japanese quince branch, anchored with limes.

Check out the quince branch - isn't it incredible? I found it at my local grocery - they've had them for about a week now and it really was love at first sight. I was so happy they were still there during today's trip to the market.

Another quick project

This large leaf platter has been with me for awhile and I was starting to tire of the green color.

So I hit it with a little Rub 'n Buff in Antique Gold (my new Best Friend - seriously, this stuff is good!)

I love the subtle new look and how the green still peeks through.
This whole project took 10 minutes, which included drying time.
So easy.

Foyer catch all

And finally...

I even managed to finish up a batch of Hilda's special. These are the best: make in advance, freeze them off, and broil from frozen only what you need. Genius. Perfect cocktail party app.

Until next time,

Creating a Welcoming Entry Piece

As you probably know by now, we are hosting our annual cocktail party this weekend, so I have been on the lookout for a special welcoming piece for our foyer.

I've scoured magazines, blogs, houzz, etc all in an attempt to get a bit of inspiration.

Unfortunately, it was all for not - as true inspiration struck while out shopping over the last two days.

Wanna see how it all came together?

I started with my basic materials - basket, bird, bird nest, moss, and hyacinthia.

I knew I wanted to incorporate a bird and my bird nest as they symbolize the coming of Spring and I settled on hyacinthia because they have the most amazing scent! And the purple works well with my outside planters and wreath.

I had a general layout in my mind, but it really only came together when I started placing the individual pieces in the basket. Dealing with all the various heights was the trickiest part - here you can see how I propped things up.

After fooling around with it for a bit, I realized the basket wasn't feeling full enough so I decided to incorporate a couple of moss balls I had. That's looking better.

I stuffed the remaining holes with burlap.

And finished off my adding moss to cover any remaining holes and the soil from the potted plants.

Now it's time for the glamour shots...

So, what do you think - is this little touch of Spring a welcoming addition to our foyer?

Until next time,