Words can express how blessed I am to have these two boys in my life. Tonight we set out for the dirt roads, outside of the city. We were able to run, play, get dirty and best of all, watch the sun go down. It really does remind you that it's the little things in life that matter the most! This world is a beautiful place!
Who doesn't love a good dinner party? I for one am a super fan! I love getting everything ready, making sure the house is clean and the menu is prepped. But what I really love, is setting a table. Each is different, making each unique for the guests.
Whether you have attended and help many dinner parties over the years or you're new to the scene, here are a few GO-TO can not fail tips that I have accrued while planning for the easiest of guest to the those who make you nervous! Over the years planning for events and parties, I became known as the etiquette Specialist, whether true or not, I sure do have a few tricks up my sleeve!
The Pampered Mom's Go-To Tips for Hosting the Perfect Dinner Party
1. Start Early: Not necessarily that day, start days before. Write down your menu and grocery shop ahead of time, not the day of. That way if you have to order something special, you'll know for sure you'll have it on hand. When choosing the right menu, make sure your guests don't have any allergies you're unaware of. It's always a good rule of thumb when you're cooking for more than your family to have options. If you're serving shell fish, add a meat option. If you're serving a meal that required meat such as chicken, steak or pork, have something available to whip up in a moments notice if someone is vegetarian. You can't please them all, but they'll be impressed you were able to give them some variety!
2. Cleaning: You should consider doing all mild cleaning ahead of time. You're house should be about 80% clean before the day of so you're not running around with your head cut off. For me, I make sure that the house is kept, everything is in it's place the night before. I personally love to fine-tune, clean floors and bathrooms the day of, so that they look and smell fresh for all that attend. Also, you never know where your guests will end up. You think you don't need to clean that hall closet? Think again, your guests could think that's the bathroom door and open it up. I make sure each room in the house is cleaned and vacuumed. I also love placing fresh flowers throughout the house as well. This is a costly finish, but it makes a lasting impression! When I was little, my parents took me to a strings concert in Branson, Missouri called Shoji Tabuchi. It was magnificent, but you know what I remember most? The Bathrooms! Literally, they were the most amazing bathrooms I have ever been in. So you know what I do now? I put something special in ours that impress our guests. Each time is different, but lately I have been fond of this local sugar scrub I found here. I place it in a small glass dish with a small spoon and wa la! Easy and remembered!
3. Music: You really should have some idea of the mood of the dinner party before hand. Is it fun and casual, is it more posh and trendy? Whatever the mood you want to set, you should do so with the music you select. You never want guests to walk into your house and there is science. The week before start compiling music for the evening and create a playlist. Try it out the night before while you're cleaning and make sure the music isn't too loud during dinner!
4. Prepwork: The day of I actually prep the entire meal. It calls for a handful of basil, you bet I am placing that in a dish and labeling for the evening. I literally cut, chop, mix, blend everything before the night begins, that way, it's SUPER easy to through together. Thinking of trying a new dish? Not for a dinner party! Everything you decide should be tried before you serve to your guests. Seriously, that could be disaster! Especially with the way I cook! You will also want to set the table. I always set mine pretty formal looking. I just like the way it feels, I like my guests to feel pampered but honestly, it's just personal preference. Trust me, if we're doing a taco themed dinner party at the house, I will still be setting the dining room with my best fiesta dinnerware, with three glasses per setting and silverware and linen napkins ... because that's what I like! Why three glasses you ask? Because I always offer my guests water, a paired wine to go with dinner and I always finish it up with a champagne toast. I mean really, who doesn't love a little bubbly before dessert?!
5. It's in the Details: Seriously though, it's IN THE DETAILS! You can plan for weeks and still if you forget the little things ... your guests may forget the night. Not really, but you know what I am talking about. Give them something that will last, that will stay on their tongue a bit. For me, if I am serving a salad, you better believe that salad is ready to go, in individual bowls in the refrigerator ahead of time. Always chill plates and bowls that will be serving something cold, just as a rule of thumb! Butter? Make sure you whip your butter and place in individual tubs and chill, take out an hour before dinner. It's the little things. I know I mentioned flowers earlier, but something about fresh flowers on the tablescape creates a warm and inviting place. When all these details are in the air, don't forget to delegate. For me, I always make my husband the designated bartender and he is always in charge of the music. For me, I always rule by:: create the scene you want, and then add candles!
6. And lastly, as Ina Garten says, "Greet your guests at the door in socks, slippers, or barefoot - it sets a fun, chill vibe right away." Have fun, relax and enjoy the evening. You deserve it!
This blog has long served as my creative outlet. I was actually surprised on how little information about me and my family I have provided over these past 8 years. EIGHT years, can you believe it?!
Although this story isn't about me per-se, it is about a family member and has always made me step back and think ... this is truly a small world after all! Have you ever really had a moment, where all other coincidences seem so small in comparison?
This is a story of my Grandma Joy, my Mom's mother, and how a hat with a small town logo dug up
a long history of two families and their personal story. The photos below is of my Grandmother Joy, sent to my bestie, C, from her cousins, which she later sent to me.
There are probably many renditions of this very story, but I will tell it how I remember and what I know to be true.
When I was around 8 years old, I was put on an All-Star softball team. This consisted of girls from all over the town, on different teams, chosen to be on this select team to compete for State. I had known C, she and I went to school together the year before, and we were going to be in school together now until we finished HS. We also knew each other through Softball, which if you had played for any amount of time, you knew who everyone was. On this specific day, we were practicing, C as catcher, and myself directly in front of her in center field. The day in age where no matter how long you practiced, parents still stayed the entire time to watch and help [where did these days go??] Her father sat on the bleachers and close by was my mom and dad. J, her father was wearing a ball cap with the words, Wyaconda written visibly on the crown. You, like probably 99% of all other people would walk by and probably not even notice OR think to yourself, what the heck is Wyaconda? I am not sure who first said something, my mom or dad, but either way, one of them noticed J's hat and instantly had a connection. You see, my mother's side of the family was from Wyaconda, Missouri, a small, rural town in the Northeast part of the state. A town that would go virtually unnoticed if accidently left off the map. HOWEVER, there are a few people who do know this small town and how interesting that our families were both familiar?!
The rest of the story goes something like this ...
When my grandmother was out of High School, my now grandfather, then her fiancé, left for the Navy, leaving her behind. She moved back to her hometown, Wyaconda and began teaching in a one-room school house. Interestingly enough, back then, the teacher would live with another family during the school year. Insert C's great-grandparents. My grandmother lived with her family while teaching and living in the same area. Get that small world feeling yet? How about when her great-grandparents had a child, a daughter, they named her Joy, after my grandmother. Chills.
Now, through the power of technology and ease of sending information through family members, our "Joys" still talk and send letters. Photos of the times they lived together and shared memories are evident in photos through both sides of the family. Last Summer while visiting with my mom and Aunts, flipping through photo boxes and albums, we ran across photos of C's family. It's amazing to me how C and I found each other, and how we share this unique story.
To this day I have always thought of C as family, but this, this makes it real. I never had a sister of my own, but our friendship feels like one to me.
Okay, I admit, when people ask me how old Bayler is, I instinctively keep saying Five. My subconscious keeps telling me he's too little to grow up so fast .. but ultimately, he is getting older. *sigh*
I am so proud of Bayler and everything that he has concurred in his six years of life. He's come out of his shell so much this year and turned into the sweetest little man. For his birthday this year, we thought it was fitting to have a BIG HERO SIX Party ... he LOVES Baymax! Have you seen this movie?! It really is the cutest! We held the par-tay at an inflatable bounce house biz and so many of his good friends were able to make it.
Here's our little party in a nut shell ... hope you enjoy browsing as much as we enjoyed putting it together! Happy Birthday Bayler!
We still have the Fourth on our minds here in the Imhoff Household, but I couldn't help but share this super easy dessert that I make YEAR ROUND! Obviously these ones below are made for the Fourth of July, but just by changing the recipe, you can adapt this sweet treat for just about any holiday or season!
For Summer :: Peach
Fall :: Apples
Winter :: Cranberry or Cherry
Spring :: Mixed Berry [shown below]
2 parts bisquick
1 part sugar
1 part melted butter
* mix together *
Add Fresh Fruit to any dish and sprinkle with sugar to get the juices flowing, cover with crisp in patches or shapes. For Apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar instead!
This is what my morning looks like today ... yours?
Most of the Summer mornings I am awaken by kids running around the house saying "time to get up." But this morning ... I opened my eyes and nothing. Both babies were still asleep and as I left their rooms after checking on them, I slipped back into the kitchen, made some coffee and grabbed some home inspiration magazines.
This will probably never happen again this Summer ... but I am so grateful for this moment! :)
Words cannot describe how happy I am that we come back to Missouri every year for the Fourth of July. There is something about "coming home" and being surrounded by family and friends on my favorite holiday that melts my heart!
There is this tree-lined driveway across from Ryan's Grandma's house [where we stay] and I always try to snap a few photos while we're there. I LOVED the lighting, I love how sweet these two were that day and I am in awe how Braeden can pick up my camera and take a few photos as well!
My sweet, sweet boys.
Happy Birthday America!
This year we decided to shoot off our own fireworks, it was Epic! The kids thought this was seriously the coolest 4th yet!
Hi! I'm Natalie "aka :: The Pampered Mom", thanks for stopping by Team Imhoff! When people ask me how I landed on "The Pampered Mom" I always tell them ... because like anyone who's pampered I have everything I need with just my husband and my two boys by my side. I am pampered by Love!
Who am I?! A Wife, Mom, Designer, Event Stylist, Photographer, Organizer, Hostess, Lover of Southern Entertaining & a Mompreneur