Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Easy Entertaining

This past weekend was Jude's dedication, and to celebrate, we had our immediate family over after the service for lunch. I wanted to share with you how I entertain for something like this because I feel like many people over estimate how complicated entertaining can be. Really, it's as complicated as you make it, but it can also be as simple as well.

When I planned this lunch, here is what I had to keep in mind:

First, I didn't want to have to do anything the day of as there just wasn't time. We needed to be out of the house by 7:45 in the morning, and everyone would be coming back with us, so there would be no time before guests arrived. I also wanted to sit down and enjoy the afternoon with my company, so little work the day of was key. This meant things needed to be able to be made in advance, or prepped the day before, and simply placed out on the table before enjoying.

Second, given everyone would be back around 11:30, I wanted something lighter that people could enjoy at their own pace. If they wanted to enjoy a coffee and something sweet first, they could. If they were hungry for lunch, there were plenty of options. 

Third, I wanted people to be able to move about as they wished, and that meant food people could just pick up and carry around on a small plate.

Here's what I ended up serving: 
- A simple cheese plate with a variety of breads, crackers and preserves for on top. 
- A meat plate with different pickles and olives and things. 
- Some easy vegetables and dip. 
- And then sweets - some homemade, some bought, but all delicious: Ina's Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs, Cream Puffs (bought), Chocolate Chip Cookie Wedges, Palmiers (with store bought pastry) and a simple bowl of strawberries. 
(And of course, for every party something is forgotten... In this case, the nuts for my nut bowl!)

Everything was assembled on trays the day before and then wrapped and refrigerated, or set out on the table. The only exception was the cheese. They stayed in the packages, but were placed on the plates before I served them. When I arrived home, I simply had to set the trays out and unwrap them, fill the milk and cream pitchers for coffee and add ice to the punch. It's so easy!

And even though the prep work was the day before, I didn't spend hours doing it. It was simply arranging things on plates. The most time consuming thing I did was bake! And if that's too much, you could easily come up with a gorgeous dessert plate with a variety of baked good from your favourite bakery.

When I serve food this way, I use our chairs in the living room as extra casual seating. This frees up the dining room and gives people plenty of room to walk around (and hang out by!) the food. Everyone comes and goes as they please, and I think that feels so much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Another trick from the Barefoot Contessa? Use Hydrangea or fig leaves to make platters look prettier. I just wiped the leaves down with dish water to clean them as food was touching them.

These cookies are super easy to make, and seriously, they are divine!

I worked with the flowers I could get my hands on - mostly from the grocery store. I made one arrangement for the living room and tucked other blooms around the house to brighten it up. A little arrangement in the family room where other were sitting, some little vases on the vanities in the bathroom, others by the sink and by the coffee and punch. Nothing complicated.

We were so thankful to have all our family come and support us. It means the world to us. And poor Jude, he was so tired by the time everyone left! 

So that's it! Try to keep things simple. A little effort in how you present things makes anything feel more special, even if it's just a bowl of strawberries! And do as much as you can ahead of time. No host wants to be so busy running around that they miss the party. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring

Happy first day of Spring.

The sun made a short appearance this morning, blessing us with a beautiful sunrise, and the sidewalks were clear enough to walk to the bus stop with the boys. The canal is officially open and I watched the first boat slowly roll through as I walked back home.

Warmer temperatures are promised later this week, and despite the white patches here and there, I saw some bulbs poking their way up through the ground. Spring is indeed here, and we couldn't be happier.

Soon enough the orchards will be in full bloom and Winter will be a faint memory.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

New Table in Living Room


I recently moved a table I wasn't using up into the living room to use as a side table by my reading chair. It was a table I had found years ago on Kijiji for a great price. Usually parlour tables similar to this one go for a couple hundred dollars, but if I can remember correctly, I think I paid $80!

I wasn't sure at first how I liked it, but it's practical in that it adds light and a place to set my coffee when I'm reading. 

It has pretty detailing, and I do like the contrast it adds to a very white room.

I moved an alabaster lamp and added a few books and a plant.

I also put my favourite candle at the moment there as well. It's a Magnolia Signature Candle in Linen. It's amazing!

And that's it. A small corner of the house spruced up a bit.

It's the perfect place to cozy up with a good book.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fresh Starts

Well, hello there. It's been too long.

I hope you've all been well. We have been. And while I would love to catch you up on these past months in great detail - Christmas holidays, the starting of a New Year and all that's in between, let's just skip that, and start fresh. Isn't that what Spring is all about anyway?

Starting fresh.

The calender says that there are merely 9 more days until Spring arrives, however the sudden plummet in temperature and the rooftops covered in snow seem to be saying something entirely different. I mean we've barely had a Winter! What's the point in starting now? Bring on Spring!

Either way, if it feels like it has arrived next Monday or not, Spring is indeed coming, and ready for it we will be.

One of the things I anticipate most about this season, and I'm sure that most of you feel the same way, is the opportunity to spend time refreshing my home. After months of being closed up tight, I look forward to opening the windows and airing the house out. I look forward to doing a much needed, deep clean. I look forward to going through closets and cabinets and drawers and ridding the house of the unneccessary. 

Starting fresh.

I decided to order a few tools to help me begin this process and I thought I would share them with you. I'm sure many of you knew Jenny Steffens Hobick and her lovely shop Everyday Occasions.

I've had my eye on these items for quite some time, and finally decided to purchase them. I'm so glad I did.

I purchased two sets of her clear cleaning bottles. One set for the bathroom, to hold shampoo etc. I purchase the largest bottles of my favourite shampoo and conditioner as it's more cost effective and less waste, but I don't love the giant bottles. This way I have smaller, more manageable bottles on the shelves that can be refilled as needed.

I will do the same thing with cleaning supplies. I purchased a set of basic cleaning bottles - glass cleaner, floor cleaner and a disinfectant spray.

And while organizing my home is important, a big part of that is also being more intentional with my time. I love her tablets! Clean and simple. This weekly organizer will not only help me, but it will help my husband know what's upcoming as well.

Then there are two of her other tablets - a grocery list and a daily goals list. One of the ways I would love to be more intentional with my time, is by creating a plan for my day. Writing down specific goals is proven to help you achieve those goals.

And finally, her set of canvas bags. Perfect for the market, or errands, and perfectly simple.

I was thankful for the excuse to head over the river to pick up my package at my US post box. She does ship to Canada, but it's quite a bit more expensive. While there I picked out a couple new accessories for Spring from J Crew.

And I visited Target! Oh how I've missed having Target in Canada.

I couldn't resist all these dollar items in that front section... you know the one by the entrance? I will use them on our kids table at Easter.

And as another reminder that Spring is on it's way, my Lilac branches I'm forcing are in bloom! Delicate little white blooms. I can't wait! I've never forced them before.

So, to fresh starts! I'm looking forward to sharing more with you soon. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram: @growersdaughter.

Have a lovely weekend,