entertaining · Fall · Outside decor

Outdoor Decor For Fall

Happy Fall, Y’all!

We love being outside when we’re home. For that reason, I wanted to add some nice fall decor to enjoy out there. I’m not finished yet, but here is where we are so far.

I can’t wait to build a fire and have friends/family sitting with us around it!
This swing is my favorite piece of outdoor furniture! Who doesn’t love to swing? But it also lays down flat, creating the perfect place for a nap!
Blankets are ready for cool nights.
Here’s a peek at the front with my GIANT mum that has come back for several years now.

I look forward to entertaining outdoors this fall. Fires in the fire pit on cool evenings are just so cozy and inviting. I’m praying about planning an event so we can invite our neighbors over.

A simple menu of

  • Hot dogs
  • Donuts
  • Cider
  • Marshmallows to roast

would be so easy to pull together! What could you do simply that would pull people into your backyard or home? Popcorn? Pizza? Donuts from Dunkin or these easy homemade ones? Pray about it, then put it on your calendar! Use it to encourage others, pray for the hurting and be a blessing to your own family.

From my cozy backyard,

entertaining · pumpkin · snack

Snack On Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix!

We traveled to the northeast last weekend and saw some beautiful fall colors and scenery.

We stopped at an adorable Amish Bulk Food store where they had rows of adorable little pumpkins and gourds for sale, as well as giant multi-colored varieties.

It got me to thinking about pumpkin flavors, and then I remembered this Pumpkin Pie Crunch recipe. It’s Pumpkin-flavored Chex Mix.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This stuff is irresistible! It has no pumpkin added, only the pumpkin pie spices. It’s just sweet enough to offset the cinnamon and nutmeg and yummy enough to have you dreaming about it when you visit a pumpkin stand!

Here’s the simple recipe you can make in less than 30 minutes!

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz. nuts

1. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on high about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwaveable bowl, mix all cereals and nuts. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on high 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on waxed paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Whether you’re having guests over to watch football, are asked to bring a snack to an event, or are taking the family to the local pumpkin patch, why not mix up this Pumpkin Pie Crunch and smack your way through pumpkin heaven?

What fall events have you participated in so far?

Pumpkinly yours,

entertaining · hospitality

My Five Best Tips For Hosting a Dinner Party

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Hosting a group of people for dinner is something I love to do!

Laughter,

Good food,

Fellowship

are all enjoyed as we gather around the table.

We hosted a party of ten at our home this past weekend and it was such a blessing!  Here was my menu:

Beef Enchiladas
Chicken Enchiladas
Sweet Corn Cakes
Black Beans
Upside down German Chocolate cake
Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote

Cares are lifted as we talk, share and pray.  The burdens that were brought in are eased by the joy of coming together for a few hours, and it all happens around good food.  Hmmm, I think that is often the part that makes people afraid to host others – all the work and prep of the food.  Am I right?

I want to help with that and share with you my Five Best Tips for hosting a dinner party so you can enjoy your gathering as much as your guests!

  1. Prepare ahead as much as possible. In the menu I served this weekend, everything but the corn cakes were made ahead of time!
    1. Find a dessert you can make and freeze – Cake layers, cookies, brownies, pie crusts, biscotti – all freeze well and you’ll have one whole course of the meal done a week or more before the party!

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      Desserts made ahead of time are such a help!  This Upside-Down German Chocolate Cake is n’t pretty until you flip each piece over as you serve it, but it’s soooo good!
    2. I made Beef and Chicken Enchiladas at my recent party. I roasted the chicken and browned the hamburger several days beforehand and froze it in freezer bags.  I made the Enchilada sauce the day before.  The day of the party, all I had to do was layer the tortilla shells, meat sauce and cheese.49d48c02-32d4-4fd0-bfa6-7960691df327-16821-0000095519839c17_file8c9fea67-be38-4989-a635-b9e04aee9dfc-16821-00000957553b8d31_file
    3. Set the table the day before or early in the day.
    4. Get the coffee maker ready to perk.  The smell of coffee brewing as guests arrive is so welcoming.
  2. Keep it simpler by serving the food buffet style.  I let my guests choose where they would sit.  Their napkins and glass were at the table, but their silverware was at the end of the buffet line, ready to pick up.IMG_8590
  3. Let guests bring an item for the meal, if they offer.  At my recent party, I made the main dish, a couple sides and the dessert.  My guests brought a salad, chips and salsa, ice and beverages and ice cream.  That was a great help!
  4. Make your home cozy with candlelight.  Don’t burn the overhead lights – use lamps, high and low, strands of twinkly lights, and add jar candles around the rooms.
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  5. Don’t strive for a perfect home in which to entertain, just make sure it’s straightened up and the bathrooms are clean.  Having guests over is a good motivator to clear away clutter.  If need be, get a friend to come over and help you put things away.

Good food, a casual setting, and some good fun are all ingredients for a great time!  When you prepare these things early, you’ll enjoy the time with your guests, and that alone will make them feel truly welcome and glad you invited them over!

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What keeps you from hosting friends for dinner?

Why not refresh yourself and others by putting a dinner party on your upcoming calendar?

denise a

Brunch · entertaining · Hostess Goals · organization · Time management · Uncategorized

Tips For Hosting a Stress-Free Shower

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I love hosting showers! Babies and weddings are just fun events to celebrate! They are both gifts from God, and that alone makes them special!  This past Saturday I had the blessing of having a wedding shower in my home for a sweet young woman who has been a part of my Adult Bible Fellowship this year.  I had so much fun coming up with a menu and decorations to help her celebrate her upcoming fall wedding!

I thought I’d show you how I plan and work ahead of time to keep things from being too stressful the morning of the shower.

  1. Decide on a menu – I went with brunch and served:
    Egg and Sausage sliders
    Strawberry White Chocolate Scones –
    Crackers with Cheese Dip
    Fresh Fruit & Dip (Provided by a friend)
    Cappuccino Punch/Coffee/Water
  2. scones
    These are wonderful!!!

    Decide on a color scheme – I used pink and deep maroon flowers, the colors of the bride’s wedding.

  3. Begin to decorate the week before.  Here are some things I had done before Friday~
    Flower arrangements
    Mantle decorated
    Sketched on my chalkboards
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  4. Make/prep whatever food you can ahead of time.  My do-ahead’s included:
    Cooking the sausage for the sandwiches
    Cutting strawberries for the scones
    Putting all the dry ingredients for the scones in Ziploc bags, ready to mix
  5. Get out all the dishes/platters you’ll need ahead of time. The night before set the tables, label platters and places where the food will be placed.  I use sticky notes on the platters telling what food goes there.  Then the day of the shower, if someone wants to help, they know where to put things. or if I’m working alone, that keeps me from getting frazzled!
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  7. Cute chalkboard labels are great to label food platters
  8. Get the pitchers, utensils, plates and napkins ready.
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  10. The day of the shower, try to have the food ready for the oven, or finished, if possible  30-60 minutes before your guests arrive. Then you can have the kitchen clean and  you’ll be ready to greet your friends as they come.
    Also, accept help if others offer!  A friend from church did the fruit and the punch.  My daughter came an hour early and helped me finish plating food.  Oh,and having a husband who is so wonderful to do dishes is a super-duper blessing!!!!

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Working ahead is the best way to keep from being stressed.  A relaxed hostess can make her guests feel welcome because she really will be glad they came!

Happy showering!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · entertaining · hospitality · Hostess Goals

Serve the Gospel

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Wow.  I love being a hostess and having people in my home!  It’s just a blessing to throw open the door and invite them in.  I love sharing what I have cooked or baked.  It’s also fun to just share a steaming cup of coffee in ceramic mugs.  It’s fun setting out my pretty dishes, linen napkins and basket full of silverware so everyone can help themselves to a casual buffet-style meal. I also love setting the table for a sit-down brunch or dinner.  Either way, bowls full of steaming hot foods are shared while the conversation pours out easier than the full pitcher of tea.

Southerners are typically noted for entertaining.  We have books written on the subject and even magazines overflowing with recipes and tips for success, but for a follower of Christ, if one ingredient is missing we will have served that food in vain.  As a child of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must share the Gospel.  It must be as natural a part of our conversation as adding the bananas to the Banana Pudding.  Oh yes, it’s that important. Let me share why.

First, our home is really the easiest place in which to share the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  We’re on our own comfortable turf.  We have control over the conversation topic and we can steer that subject matter in a causal way to the Theme of Themes.

Secondly, the Gospel should flow from a believer’s heart in a way that serves others.  Because Christ served in humility by dying on the cross, we learn to serve others by sharing with them the Truth that will do far more for them than our fried chicken or Coconut Cake.

Lastly, our ultimate goal in opening our home must come from a heart that desires to bring every person who walks in our door to an understanding that Christ loves them and offers eternal life through a relationship with Him. The conversation may be brief, but it should be even more important than making sure everyone’s glasses stay full.

How to do that?

  • Look for an opportunity to share your own testimony of how you were saved.
  • Ask gentle questions .
    • How do you see God at work in your life right now?
    • Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
    • Do you believe in a heaven and hell?
    • How do you think a person goes to heaven?
  • Share with your guests something the Lord has taught you in His Word.
  • Open the door for them to return to do a Bible study with you.

This conversation should be as natural as you offering another biscuit.  Make it part of the table talk as you’re enjoying dessert and coffee. The more we do it, the easier it will become.

Even if your guests are all believers, share the Word together.  Ask what God is teaching them, what burdens they are bearing and how you can pray for them, then do it before they leave your home.

I’ve failed miserably at this over the years, but the Lord has been awakening in my heart the need to serve the Gospel each time my doors open to a guest.  It’s the most important Theme of any social gathering in my kitchen and I pray it is in yours, too.

How do you share the Gospel in your home?

Denise Signature 150 px