Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Hospitality: Family Reunion

This season Judy is sharing with us her idea for a family party.  For those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving maybe this will give you some ideas. 

We love to get together with family and friends during the fall – the weather here in the south is usually JUST RIGHT – cooler, but not too cool to enjoy being outside in God’s creation.  Back in the summer I began to plan a fall gathering – knowing I wanted to host it in an outdoor setting – some of my extended family [cousins] had been talking for months about getting together, but no one was taking the lead, so I decided, why not? – We reserved a cabin in a nearby town [many of us have moved away from ‘home’ anyway] and sent out the invitation:

I knew a cabin would work if the weather didn’t cooperate – We have a BIG family – my mom had NINE sisters – so we didn’t know how many of the cousins might be able to attend… This cabin provided plenty of indoor and outdoor space. You can see we planned a weekend of it for those who wanted to visit and be together a bit more.

 As the time I got closer I began to make my list to be sure everything was covered – You can see a bit of how my crazy mind works and how I break down the tasks by days, chores, etc.

I set up a nice little welcome spot [thanks to my SWEET  hubs who helps me make my ideas happen] with a hay bale, old suitcase, chalkboard [hint: I did not write on this chalkboard – instead, created the ‘welcome’ on the computer, saved it as a jpeg and had Staples print it as an engineer print, then stuck it on my chalkboard  -- much easier], mums, pumpkins, and a favorite photo of the sisters in a little wooden frame I got at Michaels [for 80% off.]

 I wanted the main table to reflect our family so I scanned some old photos of ‘the sisters’ as we’ve always called them, had them enlarged at Staples [so inexpensive] and put them in frames from the Dollar Tree – I kept the glass in with clear tape, but wanted them to have sort of ‘floating’ look – LOVE that we had beautiful view of the river!

Of course it looked much different once everyone brought their pot-luck dishes to share – We had SO MANY delicious dishes -  chicken and dumplings, pinto beans and cornbread, sausage dressing, collard greens, corn casserole, and of course, bbq pork, and fried chicken – all the southern favorites!

 We also had a little area for coffee / hot chocolate [thanks to my brother and sister-in-law], and tables set up for the deserts and drinks –

Some of us opted to sit around the fire pit while we visited and ate –

And others sat at the picnic tables provided –inside and outside the screened in porch. [It really WAS a great cabin!]

I had a thankful tree [something we’ve always done in one form or another within our immediate family] where everyone was encouraged to write things they were grateful for on leaves [provided] and tape them to the tree – You can see it to the left, on the edge of the porch – It was pretty full by the end of the day – oh, and that’s cotton that I ‘gleaned’ from a harvested field on the way over. [Mama and her sisters often share about how they picked cotton for spending money when they were

I also had a craft for those who wanted to do it – I printed out family quotes and provided wooden slates [re-purposed from old blinds] and modpodge to glue them on.  I think they turned out cute – This one is hanging in one of my cousin’s home already –

Oh, and of course we had had a photo op – LOVE how my sweetie made the frame appear to be floating in the air [the magic of fishing line thrown over a VERY tall tree limb!] And we LOVE technology that allowed relatives vacationing far away to still visit a bit and be a part!

This is a frame that I picked up at a thrift store years ago – I use it often for fun photos – for this gathering I printed out a little sign and taped it in the corner –

We tried to get individual photos of all who attended – but I’m sure we missed a few –

And a note – this was planned months ago [I had to reserve the cabin that far in advance to be sure we had it in the fall] with no thought that our mother wouldn’t be here with us. But my sister, brother, and I decided we wanted to go ahead with it and loved visiting with family and hearing stories about our mother who’d passed away just a few weeks prior. We had a pretty good attendance and realized we don’t do it often enough. – Back in the day many of us gathered almost every Sunday afternoon out at my Mama Moland’s house and we all have sweet memories…

With the holidays coming up – I encourage you to take the time to gather together with family and friends. Do a pot luck and let them share in the preparation - and cherish the moment.

Thank you so much Judy for sharing your ideas and the precious time you spent with your family.

Do share your family parties - Thanksgiving or Christmas - with us by using the linky below.