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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Friday, April 18, 2014

guest post- arianna knows best

Today Arianna, from Arianna Knows Best, is making a guest appearance at Morning Glories and Moonflowers!  She has some delightful ideas for throwing a fab dinner party so please read on...

A Table Set for Success: How to Throw a Great Dinner Party!

   With messes that seem to pop up out of nowhere and little ones who need constant entertaining, family time is undoubtedly fun time. I spent the weekend with my sister and her family in Philadelphia a month ago, and now that the ground is finally thawing, it's about time that they came up to visit us in New York! Over the years we've learned a lot about hosting family gatherings and fun dinner parties—between my friends and my sister I’ve picked up some tips that make for an easier, enjoyable environment for all. Here are a few of our tried and true methods for you to try!

1. Dress for success!

A normal family dinner party involves at least five little ones and a handful of aunt and uncles present. I’ve used that as a great opportunity for a mini photoshoot! The kids don't like it, but we always ask that everyone dress nicely: it’s rare for Grandma and Grandpa to see everyone looking snazzy! Of course the blazers and shoes can come off after the photo shoots, but I've always thought that coming nicely dressed sets a nice atmosphere. After pictures are taken, bring a change of clothes for the kids or for yourself so that you worry less about spilling on your silk blouse and focus more on snagging a piece of cherry pie!

2. Accommodate all dietary needs!

There will be times that people coming to your dinner party have special dietary requirements.  I've taken extra care and reached out prior to party time to ask if there are any allergies or needs I should be aware of. My kids are going through a pretty picky phase at the moment, so I've stocked up on easy to “heat and eat” finger foods such as chicken fingers and bagel pizzas.  A good option when there are multiple food intolerances is to get your guests to bring dishes and make it a big potluck. This way, everyone can be sure their own needs are met while offering something new for others to experience. This is also a good chance to swap recipes!

3. Take care of Fido!

My husband, kids, and I all adore Brodie, our big, goofy Yellow Lab, but he tends to get overly excited around new people. My brother-in-law’s sister just had a baby and was uncomfortable with the idea of a big dog around her newborn, so in order to keep things less hectic, we arranged to have Brodie stay with a dog sitter for the evening. We don't usually like leaving him home alone for long periods of time, so this was a great option for us so he could come along for the weekend away. Also, with the chance that some of your guests are allergic or not “dog people”, knowing they are comfortable somewhere else ensures you can be comfortable as well.

4. Time's a-tickin'!

Most importantly when planning a big get-together, your time management skills should be front and center. Living with two small ones usually means one or two “unexpected surprises” before guests arrive. To save on time the day of, make as many dishes as possible and refrigerate them the day before so there is limited prep time. I’m famous for being over prepared, also known as making way too much food, so I usually put out little disposable take out containers for leftovers so I’m not chasing down my pricey tupperware weeks after the party.

Thanks, Arianna!  I especially love the ideas of encouraging guests to dress up for a photoshoot, leaving family pets with a pet sitter to limit stress and storing leftovers in take out containers.  I've lost way too many tupperware containers by letting people borrow them.  They never do seem to find their way home...

*If you're interested in making a guest appearance on my blog or perhaps doing a blog swap please contact me (Lori!) at toosillysisters@cox.net.*

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at http://ariannaknowsbest.blogspot.com/ !


Jeanne said...

Great post and good ideas!

Robin Beck said...

Great post -Arianna coved all the bases ~Well done!