Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Hospitality for Valentine's Day

Judy is here again with an excellent hospitality post on the theme of a Sweetheart's Dinner.  I've scheduled the post for today so that you have time to use her ideas on Friday.

Sweetheart Dinner
Sometime last year a group of our friends decided to start a dinner club – a time to entertain each other in our homes – in a relaxing and casual way… our rules are simple: we meet every other month; the host couple provides everything; and we keep it simple.

This was our month to host and since Valentine’s Day is coming up we decided to go with a sweetheart theme [and let’s be honest, I had an assignment for this blog - ha.] I’d already changed the mantle up a bit to reflect the holiday [Fritz, the antelope, belongs to my brother and visited us for the Christmas holidays but he hasn’t quite made it back home yet, so I had to put him to work once again – ha.] I picked up the mirrored ‘LOVE’ sign at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago when it was 80% off – it has a teeny tiny chip on one letter, can you see it?

We did most of the arranging through a group text so I didn’t have an invite… but if I had, it would probably look something like this. This little ‘reminder’ was created on my phone with my new RhonnaDesigns app [Less than $2 U.S.] And, yes, we had dinner after church on Sunday – and spent the afternoon just visiting together –  It was just what worked out best for us this month.

Y’all know I enjoy putting together a pretty table and since our table only seats six comfortably we had to figure out a way to add some length – and I’m so happy to say that our drop leaf table that we’ve used as a buffet is the perfect width! My sweetie added some wood to the bottom to bring it up to the correct height. I love using things we already have!  Plus, using it freed up that area for more comfortable seating.

I picked up the table cloth at Target after Christmas for 75% off – since it was red,  gold, and white I knew I could use it for more than Christmas… and we used a folding table from World Market [bought during The World’s Longest Yard Sale] on the side to hold extra tea and dessert… [See it tucked in the corner in the back -]

I set up a little area with some hummus and pita chips… on a pedestal [cake stand] on a pedestal [cheese plate with dome] with some Valentine Art to welcome the gang –

On the table, I used gold chargers [that I had in the attic,] silver dandelion china [thrift store purchase – that I LOVE,] and little heart plates for salad plates [50c each at a deep discount store…]  I used paper napkins and regular flatware and glasses…

For the ‘centerpiece’ I used some of my milk glass collection with candles that have a silver and gold mercury glass feel to them…all stuff I had already. I added the larger candles from the Valentine’s box in the attic… 

Our menu was pretty easy – We had: Berried Treasure Salad [mixed baby greens + mandarin oranges + pineapple chunks + dried cranberries, + sugared walnuts = yum,] chicken cordon bleu [from Sam’s – just pop it in the oven!], bleu cheese fries [sprinkle bleu cheese and mozzarella over fries and broil until melted,] and roasted broccoli [drizzle frozen broccoli with olive oil and roast until crunchy -]…  I used milk glass pie plates and mixing bowls to serve in…

For dessert I made little cherry tarts [with a heart shaped pie press] and served them with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce – NOTE: the sauce I bought did not create the thin ribbons I’d anticipated across the plates - But it was delicious, so no one complained. Ha.

And you know me – I had to add a little activity into our time together – This would work well as an ice breaker – or, if you created two, it might be a fun game to pit each part of the couple against the other and compare their answers – We chose to fill it out as couples and take a photo holding it… This is easy to create; just get a frame with glass and cover the backing with scrapbook papers and embellishments – Add the questionnaire [printed on the computer] and insert in the glass – Use a dry erase marker to write on the glass. It wipes off easily between couples…

We had a wonderful time visiting, as we always do when we get together. It’s more about the friendships than the meal or the decorations, but I do enjoy gathering things together to decorate a bit. I’m afraid we let our busy lives [or even our very comfortable, stay at home with the tv and computer lives] get in the way of making time for friendships. We pulled together the Dinner Club as a way to intentionally get together.  I hope this inspires you to call [or text] some friends and celebrate a little something in your lives! Whether it’s a cozy movie night, a picnic in the park, a potluck with friends and family, or a simple after-church dinner, I encourage you to take the time to be with those you love.

Thank you so much Judy for all your wonderful hospitality posts.  I wish I lived nearer!

Using the comments below, do let us know what tips you have picked from Judy during this last year.  You can find her other posts here: Spring, Summer and Autumn.