Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

5 Things To Keep On Hand For Last Minute Entertaining

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There is nothing I love more than when friends and family stop by at a moment’s notice.  
 
Whether it’s catching up with a neighbor or an impromptu girls’ night, I savor these moments.   The key to being prepared for unexpected company is to have a few easy tricks. 
 
It’s not about stressing over how clean your house is or the fact that you may still be in your workout clothes from the morning.  It’s about enjoying friends and family and the time you spend with them.
 
Your guests will only be as relaxed as you are, so don’t fret over the things you can’t control.
 
Here are five of my tried and true tricks to keep on hand for last-minute entertaining:
 
1. Keep a delicious dip in your freezer and crackers in the pantry. This way, all you have to do is pull out of the freezer and heat in the oven. Not only will your home smell amazing, but you don’t have to fuss with any dishes or prep work.  
Here is my family’s favorite  dip recipe, courtesy of the Junior League of Birmingham’s Food For Thought cookbook.  FYI- it freezes wonderfully, too. 
 
Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled,
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers 
 
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Swiss chases, and green onions; mix well. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with bacon and crackers. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and serve with crackers or Fritos.
 
2. Have cloth napkins pressed and ready. No thought or effort required – It is as simple as pulling them out and displaying with your hors d’oeuvre of choice and wine. 
 
 

Or setting a table for a more formal, sit down dinner

 
 
3. Light a nice candle – I love a good candle and am constantly changing out the one in my kitchen.  Find one that speaks to you and enjoy it.  
 
 
4. Keep a good supply of simple, clear vases of different sizes tucked away for entertaining. These are great for filling with grocery store flowers or branches from your yard for a last minute arrangement.   Sprawling branches make such a beautiful, effortless statement, and according to my youngest, flowers make your house look cleaner.  Who knew!
 
 
Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography

 

Dana Wolter Interiors, Graham Yelton Photography
 
5. Slow down and give your guests your undivided attention. Put down the cell phones, send the children off to play or to do homework, and make your guests feel like you have time for them (no matter what fire you might be in the middle of putting out). Be present and enjoy your visit!

 

With the holidays approaching, I hope some of these tips will help ease the stress of the season. I’d love to hear your tried and true hospitality tricks.

 
Cheers to living (and entertaining) well,
 
Dana
 

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Decorating For The Holidays

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I think I am finally ready for Christmas as my house is decorated and my to-do list is ALMOST complete.  I guess that is a good thing since Christmas is only two days away!

While I love all of the pretty things you see this time of year, I am really trying to simplify my life to remember why I am celebrating.   Less is more in my book these days.

Here are some pictures of a few of the decorations found around my home:

 

ann is busy making a moss wreath

this year's christmas tree after it fell over TWICE!

keeping it simple-

boxwood wreaths decorate the front door

And for my three favorite decorations of all……

Merry Christmas from our family to yours

 

I am taking a few days off after Christmas, so this will be my last post until 2012.   Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your family.   

Dana

Lunch With A Friend

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I had the nicest lunch on Friday with Paula Coldiron from the lifestyle blog, Two Ellie

paula and her family

 If you have not read it, check Two Ellie out as it is a good one!   Paula is a stay at home mom and has made quite a name for herself in the blog world.  I am honored to call her a friend as she is as kind and genuine as she comes across in her writing.  Here are a few pictures from her recent posts:

collage from a recent Christmas post

wreath from her own home

the cooper bag

 

i ADORE this piece she posted from jarbo wear

 

When you have a minute, look at Paula’s blog and let me know what you think.  Have a good one-

Dana

How Are You Going to Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table?

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The menu is planned and the guest list is complete.   But how you are going to set your table this Thanksgiving season?

The beautiful gourds available this time of year make it easy to arrange a STUNNING tablescape while still watching your pocketbook  The palette of creams, grays, and blues are gorgeous and set an unexpected yet welcoming tone:

 

Remember my blog post “Falling for Gourds” back in September?  Check it out here for some fall arrangements that I came up with this season!  Here’s one idea below.  Wouldn’t a table be gorgeous with a few of these across it?

flowers soften everything -- by Dana Wolter

The shapes and various sizes of the gourds can inspire creativity and beauty.  Notice above that the flower “vase” holding the lily is actually a gourd scooped out.  How cute would they be as place holders with names handwritten in gold paint pen across the front?

I love taking lifestyle expert Jenny Steffens Hobick ‘s idea of using small pumpkins as candleholders and building upon this idea.  Perhaps elevating the largest gourd and mixing some different size candles would be a great way to add even more dimension to a table arrangement.

check out the candle-holder detail by Jenny Steffens Hobick

Of course, you can go in a totally different direction with glitter, gold, and silver.  Notice how they played with height and texture, mixing shiny and smooth with the courser greenery and gourds.  Very festive!

from tatertotsandjello.com

It’s always a good memory-maker for me to involve my children in decorating for the holidays.  I love the bonding time and learning what their little minds can create.  Here’s one adorable idea that could keep the kids busy for a while:

from funfamilycrafts.com

However you decide to decorate your table this holiday, make it your own.  Your table decor does not have to be perfect, it just needs to be a reflection of you and your family.

Falling for Gourds

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Summer is to flowers as fall is to…gourds!  Take inspiration from the colors and shapes of the season’s harvest to add that extra something to your home.

I love the grays, blues, and creamy white color of the season’s mix.    Here are a few arrangements I’ve been playing with recently:

For a few tips on how to create these arrangements, watch my segment on NBC – 13 Daytime Alabama:

Dana Wolter, Floral Arrangements….

Happy Father’s Day to Some of the Best Dads I Know

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My husband, daughters, and I met my family at my parent’s cabin to celebrate Father’s Day.  I am one of five children, so to arrange for all of us to be in the same place at the same time, is not always an easy feat.

on the way there

only 30 minutes outside of birmingham but feels like a million miles away

 

We lounged around

and swam.

even though the water was muddy

 

We made homemade ice cream.

We danced and sang

and hung by our toes.

We played with our cousins

as well as with our siblings.

two of my girls

 

 Happy Father’s Day, not only to my sweet dad,

my dad with my nephew

 

and to some of the other dads in my family,

but to the fathers in your family as well.

Summer Is Officially Here

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With the school year ending and Memorial Day around the corner, the markings of summer are here.

fox valley mom

 

better homes and garden

 

better homes and garden

 

decorpad

Hope all of you have a wonderful, relaxing holiday weekend-

Dana