Monday, May 14, 2018

Play Ball!...Brack's 13th Birthday Party

Brack is really into baseball, so it was an easy choice for a birthday party theme. I stopped planning things for kids to do during parties a long time ago. I have found they just like to get outside and play. And, really, besides being a lot easier, that's what I'd rather them do, anyway! 

So I used "baseball" as a theme for the invitations and food. I decided last minute to set things up inside. Now that the kids are all older, they don't have to be watched constantly as they play, and I didn't want to have to fight with our dogs to stay out of the food! So - I removed the chairs in my dining room and set up the food table there.

A white tablecloth anchors the table. The blue is actually a roll of wrapping paper from Dollar Tree. I made the cute little pennant banner from card stock. 


Of course you think of hotdogs when you think about baseball games! I cooked these in the oven on a sheet pan. Much easier when you're making three of four dozen at a time! Then I had a friend help me stuff the buns and wrap them in hotdog foil sheets. I buy a box of these every few years. I think they come in a box of 500. I love the way they kind of "steam" the buns. Mustard, catsup, and onion round out the 'dogs.

What's more American than baseball? Red, white, and blue was a natural color choice. Red napkins from Dollar Tree contrast with the blue wrapping paper table runner. The white food trays came from Amazon years ago. I ordered a big box for a party and still have plenty. I always have clear plastic flatware on hand in these silver pails. I just have to set them out!

Gerald loaned me a few of Brack and Jewell's old gloves and balls for decoration.

Who doesn't love sunflower seeds at the ballpark?

I found this cute mini wooden bat on Amazon. All of Brack's friends signed it with a black Sharpie marker. It's a cute decoration for his bedroom now, plus a fun reminder of his party.

I figured the kids would eat these up! But alas, me and my friend, Shannon, were the only ones brave enough!

Nachos are a ball park standard. I struggled with whether to add Rotel, but in the end, I didn't. Plain cheese is what they have at our ball field.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks...Can you believe my local Walmart only had a "bag" of Cracker Jacks? Seriously? Cracker Jacks MUST be eaten from the box. I found these at Dollar Tree. However, did you know that your "prize" is now something that you scan with your iPhone for a "special treat"? Seriously? Where's my tattoo? Where are my corny jokes? Alas, times are changing.

Homemade lemon cupcakes with cream cheese icing were for dessert. Yummy!

One of the biggest "hits" (hee, hee! get it?) were these parched peanuts. The adults especially liked these. We ate them outside and threw the shells on the ground for the birds.

I didn't have the time to pull out my photo lighting for pics, so please excuse the darker images. We actually had about two hours to set everything up since Jewell had a baton recital in Montgomery that morning. 

I added some balloons to my chandelier to liven things up a little.

My kids have such a diverse group of friends between homeschool, church, TKD, dance, baseball, cheer, etc. But all the kids get along so well!

After a long afternoon of play, the boys came in to cool off while Brack opened his gifts.

Here are some of the boys taking a "hostage" during their Nerf war. I have learned that all boys love Nerf, so I always tell kids to bring their Nerf guns. I have found a source for cheap Nerf knockoff bullets (Brack says they're better than the original!), and I always order about 400. I tell the kids not to worry with bringing ammo. We have plenty for everyone, then they all get to take some home. I do this in lieu of party favor bags.

Here is Brack and his bestie, Josh, coming up out of the woods. Our little "men" stand taller than Shannon and me both! It's so bittersweet as we watch them growing up! Happy birthday, sweet boy!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

50's Diner Tablescape...Brack's 13th Birthday Dinner

Huge milestone this "baby" turned 13. I now have two teenagers in the house! Time has surely flown by. As is our custom, the birthday person gets to choose their meal. Brack (as he does nine times out of ten) chose burgers and fries. I decided to design a 50's diner tablescape. It was so colorful and lots of fun! Let me walk you through it...

I began with a white tablecloth. Then I layered this classic red and white check runner. It's actually large enough to cover the whole table top, so I just folded it in half. I made it years ago for Gerald's birthday and the blue plate special tablescape I created for him.

I borrowed this "jukebox" from a friend. It works when you plug you iPod or phone into it. It was a little large for the center of the table, so during dinner, we moved it to the end so we could see each other and talk.

I ran to my parents and raided their records. Mama still had several from when we were little. I was specifically looking for "Puff the Magic Dragon", but couldn't find it. Boo...

I thought the records would make cute chargers!

I added a few 45's on each side of the jukebox.

I sewed these napkins a few years ago for a family Valentine's Day dinner. You can see the details here. I love looking back even a couple of years ago at my tablescapes. They've grown a lot since then!

Anyway - the cheery cherry print reminded me of the 50's and the blue picked up the blue in the jukebox.

The flatware is a relatively new purchase, and one I don't think you've seen. I picked up six place settings of this for $4.50 while thrifting last summer. I have no idea of the maker or pattern names.

The glasses are "Gibraltar" by Libbey in dusty blue. Thrift store find. $5 for six of these. I have the matching stems. 

The salt and pepper shakers came from Dollar Tree. Just like you see in diners! Of course we had to have straws. I keep these on my kitchen counter in this glass vase from Dollar Tree. The white verbena was cut from a pot outside my garage. These little bud vases also came from - you guessed it - Dollar Tree. I already had all of them.

Aerial view...the red food baskets came from Dollar Tree a few years ago, but they usually have them on hand. I get the wax paper liners at a local wholesale restaurant warehouse. We use them under fish sometimes. I used a white plate (chop plate by Johnson Brothers) between the record and the basket to fill space and add some color. White is a color!

The mustard and catsup bottles came from Dollar Tree as well.

Another side view...

One more aerial view...

Of course we needed coffee cups for a diner table! These are "Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff.

I made everyone's burgers to order. Mine had red onion and avocado. Since it was all about Brack that night, I smeared the buns (all four sides) with Kerry Gold Irish butter (his favorite) and toasted them before assembling. Homemade fries rounded out his requests.

For dessert we had mint chocolate chip milkshakes, a favorite of both kids! I bought the milkshake glasses several years ago. (We eat a LOT of ice cream!)

The tablescape was fun, the food was great, and it was all about Brack! We enjoyed a slower evening together as a family. They are few and far between these days! I hope you'll take time to celebrate your family!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Elegant Spring Tablesetting

Gerald and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on April 29th. We are so incredibly busy, that when we found ourselves with one (and only one) free evening this week, we decided we'd rather spend it at home with the kids. So I pulled together a tablescape and a meal from what we had on hand. I love it! It's so fresh and springy, but elegant enough for an impromptu, yet special, anniversary dinner. 

I started with a white linen tablecloth.

I added these lime green placemats from Dollar Tree. They're a little casual, but with a charger on top, they're mostly covered. They add just a little pop of color.

Next I  layered the gold chargers I recently got at Dollar Tree. The simple beaded design around the edge gives it a little distinction.

Next came the plates I found at a thrift store a couple years ago. They are "Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff and cost .50 cents each. I started to use my white everyday dishes, but they are round just like everything else. These squared-off edges broke things up a little.

These lime green with white trim salad plates are "Rise" by Rachel Ray. I love them and use them a lot. Spring, summer, at Christmas with red dishes...they are so versatile. 

I found these sweet little bread and butter plates while thrifting recently. They are "Lorelei" by Onieda. .25 cents each. I almost felt guilty...

These amber stems are some of my favorite. They are "Jamestown" by Fostoria. The amber repeats the gold accents elsewhere on the table.

You see this flatware a lot. It is "Abigail" by Hampton Silversmiths. It came from Target right after we married. Not too fancy, but the gold adds a little extra touch. I made the napkins last year, but hadn't used them yet. I found the fabric on clearance at my local Walmart and knew I could use it. It was just a couple of yards, but I got eight napkins for about $5.

The frosted gold votive candle holders came from Dollar Tree. I think they are so elegant. I use them all the time.

I've often told you how I use greenery from my yard or a potted plant instead of cut flowers. I just feel like I get my money's worth by buying something I can use again. Not to mention, I'm a little intimidated by flower arranging. I did attend a class at church last night taught by Haley Scott (daughter of my Miss Manners cohort, Nancy Itson). She gave a lot of great tips on transforming "grocery store" bouquets. You may see a few more cut flowers in the future. This is called Mexican heather, and I had bought it for my deck - I just hadn't gotten around to potting it yet! How's that for perfect timing?!

As I said, I just looked to see what we had on hand for dinner. I always have chicken tenders in the freezer and rice in the pantry. I had tomatoes and sweet potato patties (one of Jewell's favorites) on hand. I did stop and pick up the asparagus.

Dessert was a fresh strawberry mousse. I'll share more about that later, but for now, I want you to notice the bowls I served it in. I'm sure that these were not expensive, although they look like a million bucks. They belonged to my grandmother (my daddy's mama) and were what she referred to as her "ice cream bowls". My grandparents were already gone by the time Gerald and I married, but once we picked our date, my aunt reminded me that it was also my grandparents' anniversary. I love knowing we share the same anniversary. It makes me feel closer to them! I knew I wanted to honor them that night by using these bowls.

Here's a bird's eye view. Isn't it pretty? Green and gold with purple accents against crisp white. I'm so happy with this last minute tablescape. It turned out to be a wonderful evening at home with Gerald and the kids. Much better than going out! I hope you'll take time to make a special meal and tablescape for your family soon!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spring Veggies...April 2018 Seasonal Hutch Decor

I know it's May 1, but April was an extremely busy month, and it got away before I could share my April hutch decor. I choose "Spring Veggies" for my theme. As usual, I have my white everyday pattern, "White Satin" by Nikko on display in my hutch. I also collect white teapots and creamers which are added throughout.

This vintage soup tureen (stamped 1957 on the bottom) cost me a whopping $2.50! I got it when one of my favorite thrift stores ran a 50% off everything over $1 sale one weekend. On the back, it says "beans" and has a different motif, so you will probably see this again. 

This sweet little relish dish was .50 cents. The wicker plate it sits in has seen better days, but when I took them apart, it looked lonely! It is also a vintage piece. The moss covered eggs came from Hobby Lobby last year.

The spring veggies salad plates are also vintage. They came from a different thrift store than the soup tureen, and although I can't prove it, they seem to match perfectly - as if they had been made to go together. I got all eight plates for $5. I placed one of my cabbage plates behind it for a peek of color. 

These carrots came from Hobby Lobby last year after Easter. I paid maybe a $1.50 per bundle. They are made of burlap and raffia.

This precious daisy gravy boat was also a thrift store find. The cabbage plates behind are by Bordallo.

The cute little covered lettuce bowl was a gift from Karla Boling. She had made it for her mother, years ago. When her parents passed away, Karla gave me several things from her mother's collection that she knew I would cherish. Isn't it cute?

This little vignette sat on my kitchen table all month. These green plates came from the thrift store. Nothing special - made in China, but I liked them. The little carrots are from Michael's this season. I used my 40% off coupon.

These little rabbit farmers are some of my favorite Easter decorations. I bought them eons ago at Big Lots, of all places. They're not cracked. They're supposed to look that way. Aren't they pretty? They look so vintage, and I love the colors.

I pulled a couple of teacups from my "White Satin" by Nikko pattern. A couple of handmade green napkins completes the setting. It's all nestled in a white metal tray from IKEA.

I once read that a tablescape vignette should have different heights and textures. I think this one hit all the marks.

Up top you can see a few miscellaneous items. The green platter was $2.25 at a thrift store. The lettuce bowl was $1. There are a couple of "Dress Me Up" platters from Southern Living at Home that I bought years ago. I like that I can change out the ribbon on them. The yellow platter gives a splash of color. It belonged to Sister Winnie May.

I'll be taking all this down today to make room for May. What's the theme? You'll just have to check back in and see!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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I wouldn't want you to miss one crazy thing!