Category Archives: Entertaining

Getting Ready for a Party – Setting Up

Although I still have a mighty cough, everything else is converging toward the positive.

2-1/2 dozen supermarket roses for less than $25.

2-1/2 dozen supermarket roses for less than $25.

First of all, my grocery shopping for the party is finished including two and a half dozen pink roses.  My color scheme for this Christmas is blue/green/silver but I thought a warm color other than red would complete the look.

Some pink candles would be festive.

Some pink candles would be festive.

I’ll be using pink roses, pink candles, and pink napkins.

Pink table linens will look gorgeous with out white china decorated with a cobalt rim.

Pink table linens will look gorgeous with our white china decorated with a cobalt rim.

Second, my boss told me not to come in today.  So, woo-hoo, I have another whole day to decorate and cook for our party.

Annapolis Blue china by Lenox

Annapolis Blue china by Lenox

Third, tonight is our final Christmas cantata.  I’ll be conducting the choir and acting as worship leader and when it’s over I can relax for the rest of the weekend. There’s just one small riff that I hope I can drill into Charlie’s brain (he’s the accompanist) before we perform.

Merry Christmas, Friends.

Do you have a favorite seasonal song?

Christmas Week Deliveries

When we came home from church Sunday and a box had been delivered by the post office to our door.

We don't need another box.

We don’t need another box.

Unfortunately it wasn’t our name nor address on it so Charlie redelivered it.

Charlie will need to drag the new piece of toilet upstairs to the master bathroom.

Charlie will need to drag the new piece of toilet upstairs to the master bathroom.

We are expecting some deliveries this week which have nothing to do with Christmas.

Tank on the left -- we need one more.

Tank on the left — we need one more.

We should be getting one more toilet tank — we have already received two bowls and a tank.

I'm imagining the double vanity will come in two enormous boxes at least 72 inches long.

I’m imagining the double vanity will come in two enormous boxes at least 72 inches long.

And a solicited email two weeks ago confirmed that the master bathroom vanity would be shipped the week of December 21st. Today.  (I’m not counting on it.)

All that trim needs to go to the Cottage for the holidays.

All that trim needs to go to the Cottage for the holidays.

We are not planning to do any renovating this week. But I’ll be busy today making my grocery list for the party we have planned for the day after Christmas.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Do you?

Stay Focused

Yesterday was supposed to be a great day of tidying and cleaning but it turned out to be a day I stayed in bed most of the morning just trying to snap out of all the aches and pains of a full-on cold.

I love a well-made cup of coffee.

I love a well-made cup of coffee.

Charlie took mercy on me and served me toast and coffee in bed which improved my sense of wellness quite a bit.

The pieces of toilet came in a box inside a box of form-fitting foam.

The pieces of toilet came in a box inside a box of form-fitting foam.

Three of four boxes of toilets were delivered on Friday which had to be inspected within 48 hours of delivery. The last box is slated to be delivered Monday.

The toilets were well packed and difficult to loosen from their foam nests.

The toilets were well packed and difficult to loosen from their foam nests.

It took all Charlie’s strength to wrangle the inner boxes from the foam they were packed in. We examined the porcelain carefully for chips and cracks and found none.

We're storing the toilet in the conservatory shower until installation.

We’re storing the toilet in the conservatory shower until installation.

One toilet is in the conservatory bathroom awaiting installation.  The tank part of the second toilet is in the master bathroom awaiting its mate.

Not sure what Charlie is looking for -- maybe he's resting from lifting the piano twice.

Not sure what Charlie is looking for — maybe he’s resting from lifting the piano twice.

We also worked together to roll out the dining room rug.  I rolled the rug; Charlie lifted the piano. Seems fair, right?

We decided to mount the tree in the living room window facing the front of the house.

We decided to mount the tree in the living room window facing the front of the house.

Charlie had already wrapped the tree in lights while I was in my feverish stupor.

Wrapped and ready to go under the tree.

Wrapped and ready to go under the tree.

And we put the presents under the tree.

What present would you like to get this year?

‘Twas The Saturday Before Christmas

All week Charlie and I have been working on the bathrooms. Once upon a time I considered which one to we should finish first but in reality they’re being finished simultaneously.

This was the conservatory a week ago.

This was the conservatory a week ago.

We've already made this progress -- twice.

We’ve already made this progress — twice.

Today is the last Saturday before Christmas so in addition to working on the bathrooms we’re getting the house decorated and ready for guests.

The Christmas tree is in its stand in the living room but it's too dark to get a photo.

The Christmas tree is in its stand in the living room but it’s too dark to get a photo.

I have a grand plan as I usually do for the things I’d like to accomplish:

  • Seal the master bathroom floor. (Thanks to Charlie this has already been done.)
  • Paint the round window jambs and trim.

    The round window trim is waiting for a few coats of Mosaic White semi-gloss.

    The round window trim (in the corner) is waiting for a few coats of Mosaic White semi-gloss.

  • Lay out the dining room rug and set up the table.

    Decide on a direction for the rug and bring in the furniture.

    Decide on a direction for the rug and bring in the furniture.

  • Put away all tools, paint, supplies.

    Little piles of leftover tile need a more permanent home.

    Little piles of leftover tile need a more permanent home.

Then I have a plan for Charlie:

  • Place the lights on the Christmas tree.

    We've discarded all partially working and non-working strings of lights and we still have oodles.

    We’ve discarded all partially working and non-working strings of lights and we still have oodles.

  • Move all gifts under the tree.

    One box was delivered open so we kind of guessed the use of the unusual contents.

    One box was delivered open so we kind of guessed the use of the unusual contents.

  • Sweep the porches.

    Time to make the porches more welcoming with a bit of sweeping.

    Time to make the porches more welcoming with a bit of sweeping.

  • Put away all tools, paint, supplies.

    Clear off the windowseat and return the cushions which have been sitting on the living room sofa for months.

    Clear off the windowseat and return the cushions which have been sitting on the living room sofa for months.

And together we have accepted an invitation in the afternoon to hear a private chamber music concert which is going to cut our working day short.

All the kitchen counters need to be cleared off so serious cooking can begin.

All the kitchen counters need to be cleared off so serious cooking can begin.

Deck the Halls!

What last minute project are you working on? Relaxing instead?

Believe It or Not . . .

Today the tile setters for the bathroom tile are scheduled to start.

UPDATE: The tilers showed up this morning — 2 crews of 2 men each (one crew for each bathroom) and a supervisor.  Woo hoo!! So excited.  Hope to have some pictures tomorrow. 

I hope the tillers start in the conservatory bathroom laying down the white basketweave tile.

I hope the tillers start in the conservatory bathroom laying down the white basketweave tile.

I can hardly believe it.

So happy not to need to report.

So happy not to need to report.

I had been called for Federal jury duty for the month of May but I was not chosen to be a juror. This week I have been called to serve for county jury duty.  Happily last night’s daily call-in released me from this obligation as well. I cannot be called again for a year.

The inside of the invitation gives all the details.

The inside of the invitation gives all the details.

I spent some time designing the printed invitations for our Boxing Day party.

An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.

An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.

The sepia tone instantly ages the print.

The sepia tone instantly ages the print.

Using the Windows editor I colored to sepia-tone the old Boxing Day print which I wanted to use on the front.

The words to Good King Wenceslas is on the back of the card.

The words to Good King Wenceslas are on the back of the card.

Then with Publisher I laid out a folded card which uses a regular-sized 8.5″ by 11″ piece of paper.  However I used a heavier than usual cream-colored bond paper for the printing.

I printed 25 invitations.

I printed 25 invitations.

Only thing left to is fold them and hand them out.  I’ll also create a similar invitation for emailing.

Do you have a favorite party theme? Or do you like to change things up?

Saint Stephen’s Feast

Charlie and I almost always have a holiday party at this time of year.  We’ve had many New Year’s Eve celebrations (also here).

Party tables always include flowers, candles, and food.

Party tables always include flowers, candles, and food.

One year we had a Twelfth Night Party in early January instead. And we’ve held a party just for the joy of it early in the month of December.

The mantel will need some Christmas style, too.

The mantel will need some Christmas style, too.

This year, since Christmas is on Friday, the day after Christmas seems like a perfect day for an open house. The day after Christmas, December 26th, is known Boxing Day or the Feast of St. Stephen.

An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.

An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.

Like many traditions we can only surmise the origin of Boxing Day which likely began in England during the Middle Ages. Some historians say the holiday developed because servants, having worked on Christmas Day, were presented with gift boxes as they went to spend their day off with family.

Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

Another theory is that alms boxes placed in churches were opened and the contents distributed to the poor on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen. St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.

At last year's New Year's Eve party we ignored the unfinished parts of the house.

At last year’s New Year’s Eve party we ignored the unfinished parts of the house.

As with all parties I’ll need to get the invitations out, plan a menu, and get the house ready. Since December is a busy time for parties I’m going to try to get the invitations designed and printed forthwith.

We have many, many dishes that I love to pull out for parties.

We have many, many dishes that I love to pull out for parties.

I have created a tentative menu featuring the ham I’ll be getting from my employer.

Menu:

I’m working on the guest list which always includes my choir, my Facebook friends (I only have 23), and other special people.

Got party plans?

Thanksgiving Menu

Last year for Thanksgiving we had a before-noon open house with a brunch menu for any friends that wanted to stop by.

I'll be looking for my Red Wing stag to use as a centerpiece. I've stashed it away for safe-keeping.

I’ll be looking for my Red Wing stag to use as a centerpiece. I’ve stashed it away for safe-keeping.

This year we planning a sit-down mid-afternoon dinner for 6 or 8 people. Last Christmas we had dinner for 6 and it was just about perfect.

Last Thanksgiving we had a breakfast buffet open house at The Glade.

Last Thanksgiving we had a breakfast buffet open house at The Glade.

If it becomes more people than that then we’ll serve and eat buffet-style.

We can use the kitchen island as a buffet station for both hot and cold foods.

We can use the kitchen island as a buffet station for both hot and cold foods.

If we serve a buffet we’ll set it up in the kitchen and eat at the dining room table.

I think I'll use my

I think I’ll use my “Annapolis Blue” china by Lenox.

I get a turkey from work around the 18th of November so turkey will definitely be on the menu. I like to make plenty of side dishes so I won’t have to actually cook for the rest of the weekend.

Here’s the menu:

  • Turkey with dressing and cranberry sauce

    I'll definitely be making cranberry relish from scratch.

    I’ll definitely be making cranberry relish from scratch.

  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Cauliflower with cheese sauce
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Peas and carrots
  • Good bread
  • Pumpkin custard with whipped cream

I’ll probably need some light hors d’oeuvres before dinner starts.  I don’t want anyone to come to table unhungry.

I'll make pumpkin pie without crust and serve them in custard cups with whipped cream.

I’ll make pumpkin pie without crust and serve them in custard cups with whipped cream.

My next steps are to invite people, then to make a comprehensive grocery list and check the local flyers for good sales.

The dining room will need to be cleaned among other things.

The dining room will need to be cleaned among other things.

I’m going to take D’Arcy’s advice and focus on the dining room. This should be fun.

A special thanks on this Veteran’s Day to all who have served our country to ensure our freedom.

What’re your favorite light hors d’oeuvres?