Happy Valentine’s Day to My Home

I’m in love with my home.

Yes, I have an actual Valentine, and I have four children who are my loves but my home also holds my heart.

It’s my hope that everyone could find a true love like this:

  • We love spending time together. There’s no place else I’d rather be than inside my home’s four walls with the ones I love.

  • My home holds everyone and everything I love under one roof. {disclaimer: my parents don’t live here but I love them just as much}

  • I’ve made mistakes with my home; too many to count. I’ve painted the wrong color, I’ve chosen the wrong chair, I’ve hosted the wrong parties. But still my house forgives and lets me continue to pull and tug at her windows and floors.

  • We’ve seen our share of therapy and made it through the tough times: plumbers for clogged toilets, roofers for loose shingles, glass repairmen, heating & air specialists, and sink hole fixers {to name but a few}.

  • We’ve shared all four seasons together…summer running through the sprinklers with the kids, carving pumpkins on the counter in the fall, hanging stockings on the mantel at Christmas and coloring eggs at the first sign of spring.

  • I may try to change my home from time to time {I know what’s best, right?}, but she loves me anyway despite my constant nagging and second-guessing.

  • Sometimes we watch some racy stuff together after the kids go to bed. Mostly HGTV shows like Fixer Upper and Beachfront Bargain Hunt.  There’s no jealousy involved; we’re just gathering ideas to try out on our own.

  • My home doesn’t seem to mind if we are hard on her. A height chart drawn right on the door casing? Done. Spray paint on the front of the house? No problem. That’s unconditional love right there.

  • There have been a few (thankfully not many) sad days at our house…mostly just fighting between siblings {sister runs around pinching brothers because she hates loves them so much}. Oh and the long nights of strep throat or tummy aches, how could I forget? Those things only make us closer.

 {imagine my surprise when I walked outside and saw this. scrub and scrub as they might, it has never quite come off. c’est la vie…} {imagine my surprise when I walked outside and saw this. scrub and scrub as they might, it has never quite come off. c’est la vie…}  {…and yes, they’re scrubbing in bike helmets; that’s a whole ‘nother story} {…and yes, they’re scrubbing in bike helmets; that’s a whole ‘nother story}

  • My home brings out the best in me. The best colors, patterns and fun sides all wrapped into one.

  • We’ve had fun together, from dinners with friends to birthday celebrations to sleepovers to the usual nights of homework & Disney Channel.

  • My home keeps us safe and warm and shielded from the daily grind of the universe. She’s got arms long enough to wave lovingly goodbye in the mornings, welcome us back in the afternoons & hold us tight all night long.

  • I plan on growing old right along with my home. We’ll just have to overlook each other’s wrinkles/cracks in drywall and gray hair/faded paint.

  • We’ve created a family and memories together that will last a lifetime. And we’ve got the scrapbooks & photo albums to prove it.

Thanks, home, for being you! I wouldn’t trade my {valentine} for anything. Your home can be your Valentine too.  All that’s required is love inside. And remember: don’t ever, ever go to bed mad! Even if we have to be separated someday, we will carry her with us wherever we go.

{after all, home is where the heart is}

 

Christmas Card Scrapbook

Ever wonder what to do with all the adorable photo Christmas cards you receive every year? I can’t bear to throw away friends’ and family’s cards, not only because I’m so sentimental (and a tiny bit of a hoarder) but also because I know how much time & effort (not to mention cash) is spent on them. I will admit though, I don’t always keep the cards that don’t have photos (sorry!), which is down to only about 10% of them. And I love to look back and see how much has changed: kids have grown, new babies have been added, hairstyles are different and in some cases spouses replaced! I’ve been saving them for over 20 years and there are some really good ones in my stash (definitely rehearsal-dinner-bribing-worthy!)! The cards themselves have improved a thousand percent. Remember when you’d have to print your photos and stick them either into or on top of the cards? That was a project of gigantic proportions that would take me days even with a small assembly line. Thank you, technology!

For the last few years I’ve been saving and organizing the cards into mini Christmas card scrapbooks. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, takes up very little room and you’ll have all your cards in one place. The cover of the mini book will announce the year of the project.  Below is my step-by-step how-to.

What You’ll Need:

-White cardstock paper for the front cover

-Cardstock paper in your choice of color for the back cover (I used green)

-Two large book rings

-Hole punch (I used 2 holes of a 3-hole punch, but a single-hole punch works too)

For the front, print out the cover I made by clicking here: Christmas Card Scrapbook Printable. Cut around the edges right up to the red color. Then cut the piece of cardstock for the back cover the same size. {Note about the front cover printable: for mine I printed the years on there but for the printable I did a tree design. For yours, you can either write the year on the cover or a sticker with a black Sharpie, or I will even make you a new one if you email me.

Christmas Card Scrapbook

If you have a laminating machine, laminate both front and back covers with fairly thick laminate.  If not, take the covers to Office Depot and ask to have them laminated (it’s very inexpensive). Afterwards, trim both down with scissors to the size of the red area front cover printable.

Stack all your Christmas cards in the order you want them to appear in your little book, then punch two holes in each. I do save Christmas letters and I fold them right up and punch holes just like the cards. Depending on the shape and size of the card, they will be turned different ways, and stick out above or below the covers. This is okay because in the end it makes the book look more interesting!

Punch two holes in the front and back covers. For fold over cards, go right ahead and punch holes through both pieces. Insert the rings into all the cards and covers and you’re done! Mine hold about 60 cards, which is a lot but will still work. You will just need to insert the front half of the book on the left side of the open rings face down, and the second half of the book on the right of the open rings face up,  close the rings then bring the book together. Make sure to lock the rings in place or you’ll be playing 52-card pickup.

Store your creation with all your other Christmas decorations. The rings are sturdy enough to even hang on hooks, which is the perfect way to store them.

So far I have 5 years’worth of these colorful little treasures. During the Christmas season I lay out the past year’s on the cocktail table. They are a great conversation starter.

Tune in next year to see if aunt Bertha is still wearing the same tacky Christmas sweater!

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The Kids’ Table at Thanksgiving

I come from a large extended family, and we’ve always had big gatherings for holidays. One thing you could always count on: there would be a Kids’ Table. For many years, of course, there was no question as to which table I would belong. I was oh so young and after all, it was the most fun table.  My cousins and I, including Cody who you’ve met on my blog, could talk about what we wanted, throw table manners to the wind, and eat 5 of my grandmother’s homemade rolls without anyone saying “you’re gonna spoil your dinner!”.  Never mind that the table itself was always some type of temporary folding table that came out of hiding when needed (along with matching folding chairs), or that we had mismatched plates and glasses (the adults got the fine china). It was our “fancy” table! Sometimes there was a token adult or two present, those that straggled in late or perhaps came unannounced (trust me, they were happy about their lucky last-minute good fortune).

Thanksgiving Kids' Table
Kids' Table Thanksgiving
{kids will feel extra special if you include their crafts on the table, as I did with my son’s mason jar ring pumpkin. All of the adorable melamine plates are from Pottery Barn.}

This isn’t to say we didn’t do our fair share of spying on the Adult Table. What were they talking about (whatever it was seemed kind of boring)? Did they have different drinks and food? Why is everything on their table so neat? The Adult Table consisted of, well, adults: my parents, aunts & uncles, and at either end, my grandparents. My grandmother rarely sat down though, as she always felt she had to serve us, constantly check the rolls in the oven, and keep cooking seconds, thirds & desserts. Now having four kids myself, I completely understand her plight. Her food was the best we’d ever tasted and we always wanted more, more, more!

Kids' Table Thanksgiving

Just being a part of the Kids’ Table is fun, but here are some ideas to make it even more fun:

  • Use craft paper as a table runner, set out crayons or markers, and let kids go to town drawing or playing tic-tac-toe. They can also use the paper to write what they are thankful for (not a bad idea for the Adult Table too!).
  • Set the table with holiday-themed plates (paper or not), napkins & cups.
  • Download a crossword puzzle app such as Crossword Hobbyist, then design one around relatives & special places…this provides hours of fun!
  • Use a website like Really Color to turn family photos into coloring pages.
  • Have kids write down what they are thankful for on slips of paper and place them in a jar. Read them aloud in front of the whole family later.
  • Set up a cookie or cupcake decorating bar.

{spray paint leaves from the yard (that the kids can collect) in gold, write names with a Sharpie & you’ve got a unique place card!


My grandmother’s passing left one lonely open seat at the table. Who would fill it? Since I was the oldest grandchild, I was the natural choice. My dad approached it like something akin to a presidential election. “There’s something we need to talk about,” he said, in a serious voice, long before the holidays that year. Normally this type of preface would throw me into a tailspin but I held it together. “Do you want to move to the Adult Table on Christmas Eve? We have room now and you’re the natural choice. But…you know you can never go back to the Kids’ Table if that’s what you decide.” Once made, the choice would be set in stone.

I’ll admit it was tempting for a second. I’d finally be let in on those adult conversations! But really it wasn’t a hard decision for me. I would forever remain at the Kids’ Table, where it’s okay to fall backwards in your chair, stick asparagus up your nose and set the table on fire (those things actually happened once, along with many other shenanigans).  My cousins and I often gather for a “Kids’ Table Reunion”, along with our children. The only difference is now we have two Kids’ Tables…one for the kids and another for the adults!

{our ever-changing chalkboard, next to the kitchen}
{so many cute turkey options are available!}

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours, at whatever table you’re sitting!

November Style Picks

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]I’m on a mission to save Thanksgiving decor. It’s sandwiched in between Halloween & Christmas and doesn’t get the “thanks” it deserves. I love the no-pressure feeling of Thanksgiving…there are no gifts involved, and to me this holiday has always had a more laid-back attitude. And there’s just something about putting leopard and orange together that makes me happy. Grab a few of these feel-good items and don’t forget to “gobble” before you “ho ho ho”!

Orange Table Runner

Home Sweet Home Welcome Mat

Decorative Pumpkins

Leopard Poncho

Yankee Candle-Spiced Pumpkin

Gobble Gobble Napkins

Thanksgiving Cups

Thankful Tray

Leopard Mask

Get Cozy Pillow

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

 
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The Lynwood Theater

A Halloween Tale

It doesn’t take much to scare a child (or me!). When you look back on it sometimes the stories are downright funny. Cousin Cody is back with a little tale mixed with fright, nostalgia and childhood.

Cody, circa late 1970s. I mean, how cute was he!?!

“I’ve always said I come from a long line of fat, crazy women, just because it sounds like a good Greek comedy.
And even though my mom isn’t fat, she definitely did a few crazy/funny things as I was growing up.
For some odd reason she thought it was a good idea to take me to see the slasher flick Halloween on its release date in 1978…when I was eight. I had never seen a scary movie before even though my mom never really censored what I watched, except for Saturday Night Fever. The scene where John Travolta goes to the topless bar. That promptly got a hand over
my eyes and a quick exit from the Lynwood Theatre in Grundy, Virginia.

The Lynwood Theater

The Lynwood in her hayday, in 1950s small-town Grundy, Virginia

The Lynwood was a special place. Adele worked the ticket booth and she knew everyone in town on a first name basis. Grundy is a little like Mayberry in that sense. The theatre had the best popcorn you ever put in your mouth..real butter, none of that butter-flavored grease. They had vanilla and cherry Cokes, fresh-squeezed lemonade, hand-dipped ice cream and
milkshakes. I ALWAYS got popcorn, a vanilla Coke, and my favorite candy, a Chunky Bar.
Chunkys, for those not in the know, are chocolate with peanuts and raisins. YUMMY!

Downtown Grundy Virginia

Downtown Grundy with the Lynwood marquee

Anyway, Halloween (the movie and the evening) was a traumatizing experience. From the opening scene where Michael Myers, aged six, chops up his sister like an Asian chef at Benihana to the end where he disappears after being pumped full of lead (what kind of psychiatrist carries a gun???). It was SO traumatizing that I’ve never seen any of the sequels nor have I ever watched the original again, until last night. I’ve never seen a Jason movie, a Freddy Krueger movie, not even Jaws (I’m not getting in any lake or ocean anyway…it’s just a big toilet for fish. Give me a pool with enough chlorine to kill a T-Rex any day.). The cavernous feel of the Lynwood itself didn’t help much.

Hitchcock is more my style. Give me Rope or Rear Window any day over a slasher flick. After the movie, Mom and I went home. At that time we lived in this old, four-story house in the Cowtown section of Grundy (a “suburb” of downtown…like a mile away). It was big and dark and always scared the heck out of me. So we get home and Mom tells me to get out and turn on this outside light we had in the back of the house. I immediately told her she could get out andturn “the darn light on herself”. She did, sheepishly. Then she opened the door to the house which had NO lights on. She told me to go on in and my response was “un-unh, you first.” She pushed me in and I screamed like I too was a Benihana victim which made her go jump back in the car!

So much for protective parents!

My mom finally came into the house and turned on the lights. It was the same old house and it was safe. No Michael Myers, no Freddy or Jason. But you better believe I locked my bedroom door that night and checked all the other doors and windows to make sure they were locked and I left a light on in the closet, just to be sure.

Lynwood Theater

The Lynwood may be shuttered, but her memories live on. 

Now I really want a vanilla coke!

-Cody

Clothespin Halloween Bats

4 Halloween Crafts for Your Goblins

It doesn’t matter the holiday, kids always want to do crafts. So do I. Your goblins will love these 4 easy and oh-so-spooky Halloween projects!

1. Haunted Popsicle Stick House

Popsicle Stick Haunted House

Happily Ever After

Materials:

Directions:

1. Roof: To start, line up 20 popsicle sticks and glue five sticks in perpendicular fashion to
provide support. Repeat to make the other side of the roof. Support beams may be placed for
added decoration.

2. Front: To make the front of the house use ten popsicle sticks with two glued in perpendicular
fashion to provide support. Cut another ten sticks to size to allow space for a doorway. (I
recommend using heavy duty scissors because you’d likely break your regular scissors.) Two
sticks can be used for door framing.

3. Back: Similarly to make the back use ten popsicle sticks. cut the sticks to size to make the
window. to provide support use three sticks (two at the edges and one in the middle) glued in
perpendicular fashion. Add small popsicle sticks (or you can cut regular popsicle sticks) to make
the frame of the window.

4. Sides: Use ten uncut regular length popsicle sticks and glue two in perpendicular fashion to
provide support. if you prefer sides with windows, cut the middle four popsicle sticks to
desired window size. As above, add small popsicle sticks (or you can cut regular popsicle sticks)
to make the frame of the window.

5. Put the sides, the front, and back together one at a time and glue the edges. Hold until the
glue dries. Finally place the roof on and glue in place, and we are done!

There is a lot of room for creativity in this project, by adding all kinds of decorations or even little candy pumpkins. The less perfect it is, the more haunted it looks. Win, win!

Popsicle Stick Haunted House

Happily Ever After

2. Clothespin Button Bats

Clothespin Halloween Bats

I Heart Crafty Things

Materials:

Directions:

1. Start by adding a line of tacky glue down the front of your clothespin. Then add buttons onto
the glue. Try not to let the buttons hang over the ends of the clothespin or they won’t be able to
stand up properly.

2. Cut out bat wings from your black cardstock paper. To make my wings I folded by black
cardstock in half and drew half of a wing along the folded edge. Then when I cut it out, I
unfolded my paper and had two full wings.

3. Add a line of glue down the center of your bat wings and glue it onto the back of your
clothespin. Once your glue is dry you can play with your bats.

Idea: These look great (and scary!) hanging from curtains!

3. Bubble Paint Monsters

Bubble Paint Monsters

Made to Be a Momma

Directions:

1. Add about 2 tablespoons of paint into a small plastic cup with 2 tablespoons of dish soap to
each color. Then add 1/2 cup of water to each color. The measurements don’t have to be exact.

2.Once your paint mixture is completely mixed together, carefully blow into the paint to create
bubbles. You know…the kind of bubbles we all blew in our milk and then got scolded about.
This step is not for small children. Make sure your children know how to properly blow into the
straw without accidentally getting the paint mixture in their mouth. If your children are too
little, you can blow the bubbles for them.

3.If you are using a piece of cardstock you can just lay the piece of paper carefully on top of the bubbles.                                  If you use a canvas, pick up the bubbles with a straw and push them around on the
canvas. Be careful not to move the bubbles around too much. You want to be able to get that
pretty bubble look on your art piece.

4. Once your artwork has completely dried, decorate it! We made our little splashes of color
into friendly monsters. Draw legs and arms and add googly eyes or whatever you have in hand.

Idea: Once Halloween is over you can remove the eyes and have year-round, because it looks like a beautiful water color!

4. Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe

Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe

Project Kid

I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite and the easiest!

Materials:

Directions:

1. Wash and dry the pumpkins (if real)

.
2. On five of the pumpkins, paint “X” with either white or black paint. On the other five, paint
“O” in the other color. You can paint the stem too if there is one! Allow to dry.

3. With painter’s tape (my favorite is Frog Tape), make a Tic Tac Toe board on the floor/counter and have fun!

Have a spooky time making these with your little goblins!

Fly Your Wings to Disney World

My cousin Cody is back, as promised, with a little story about Disney World through our eyes. First, here’s a photo of us so you can get into the decade.

 

Martha & Cody: Christmas 1972

           “As kids growing up in the small towns of Grundy & Bristol, Virginia, Martha and I were bored a lot. I remember we’d play Disney World in her basement. Now you may ask, “How do you play Disney World?” Well, it takes a lot of imagination, which we both had, since we are both only children. Martha’s favorite ride was the Eastern Airlines “If You Had Wings” and mine was a tie between the “Carousel of Progress” and the “Hall of Presidents” (I was kind of a boring kid myself). Disclaimer: Do not ever confuse Walt Disney World with Disneyland. They just aren’t the same!

Martha & I would take a scooter and turn it backwards so we could push each other around. We added one of those round snow sleds so we had a place to sit. Then we’d push each other through a maze we created to resemble (in our minds) the Eastern Airlines ride. Of course you had to go to Disney enough to know the songs. Back then it was easier to do a trip than it is now and hundreds (maybe even thousands) fewer strollers to contend with. “If you had wings, had wings, had wings.” If you never got to experience this Disney ride here is a video you can watch: Eastern Airlines ride.

Winnie the Pooh & Martha @ Disney circa 1975 (overlook the brush-like pigtails)

Vintage Eastern Airlines/Disney Ad

“Now is the time, now is the best time, now is the best time of your life. Love every day; live every minute. Open your eyes and watch how you win it.” If you’ve seen the Carousel of Progress, that song is etched in the recesses of your mind. Disney used to pass out free copies of the sheet music for the tune if you asked, but Martha and I knew every word and sang it as loud as possible. I’m sure her mom thought we were crazy (and loud!), but now Martha has 4 kids so it’s payback time! Here’s a link to a video of that ride: Carousel ride. Even though the song has changed it’s still a great watch. We’d pretend we were the (slightly creepy) animatronic characters from the ride and sing. It was wonderful!

Martha & friends Angie & Vannessa @ Disney circa 1975

The Tea Cups in 1975

Martha’s fashionable mom stepped into the photo circa 1975

I miss being a kid and having fun with my cousins (although Martha & I were more like brother & sister). I miss not having a care in the world, climbing trees, drinking water from the spring behind my house and trying to stay balanced on a snow disk while Martha pushed that scooter around. Why don’t adults play more? That’s just sad.

Check out these videos and remember being a kid. And play! Now really is the best time.” ~Cody

Therapedic Weighted Blanket

The Weighted Blanket Craze

Most of us have heard of the weighted blanket craze and how they are supposed to help relieve anxiety and depression as well as offering a more comfortable night’s sleep. I wanted to see for myself and when I saw this gorgeous navy from Therapedic I was sold. The softness is overwhelming!

Therapedic Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets help provide a deeper sleep (who couldn’t use that?) and they allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. They have a warm, comforting pressure that makes you feel like you are being gently hugged all night as you lull off to a blissful night’s sleep. The added weight in the blanket helps keep you steady and give you support to sleep peacefully, comfortable and relaxed.

Therapedic Weighted Blanket

This weighted blanket is reversible, allowing soft, soothing touch on either side—most blankets only have one “good” side! The exterior shell is removable and machine washable, for clean comfort night after night. The inner blanket is what contains the weights that are a combination of glass pellets and polyester fill. The quilted design of the inner blanket keeps the pellets evenly distributed and avoids over-weighting one side or the other.

The best way to choose a weighted blanket is to calculate about 10% of your own natural body weight. Thus, if you weigh 120 lbs, you would sleep best with a 12 lb. weighted blanket. This works best. You are less likely to lose your weighted blanket in the middle of the night, like you would with a general quilt or comforter.

Therapedic Weighted Blanket

I could not be happier with my weighted blanket. Over the last several nights, I have slept so much better, awake feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. Life is stressful this time of year, with Covid-19, the political climate, and taking care of my family (homeschooling a high schooler!). I don’t want a restless night of sleep to hinder me from being able to be the best ME I can be each day. Click here to get one of your own!

Therapedic Weighted Blanket

I highly recommend purchasing Therapedic’s weighted blanket for a great night’s sleep, napping on a porch swing or just a cozy blanket while reading your favorite book. Even my puppers Daisy and Buddy love it! And a pet’s seal of approval is good enough for me.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Therapedic; however, all opinions are my own. I only recommend products that I love and would use myself!

Wilde Mushroom Pate

Wilde Mushroom Pate

Just because I don’t cook a lot (hubby does most of it), that doesn’t mean I don’t know how. I’ve got some yummy dishes under my belt when I set my mind to it. I mean, my grandmother’s maiden name was Cook, after all, and she sure was the quentessential southern one at that.  My cousin, William Cody R. Miller (feel free to call him Cody!), got all those cooking genes. I’m telling you he can throw together a party for 20 from what you have in your pantry, and that’s even when you haven’t shopped in two weeks!

He’s seriously funny & talented and I want to share him with you. We grew up more like brother & sister than cousins. So he’s going to be joining me to provide some recipes (both southern & gourmet), stories from our childhood, a monthly anonymous advice column, some humor & more. I can guarantee you will enjoy him!

“Hey everyone! I’m excited to be here! For my first post, I thought I’d share with you one of my (and Martha’s) favorite hors d’oeuvres, “Wilde Mushroom Pate.” I like to give my recipes names after famous authors. Oscar Wilde was a playwright and author of the hilarious The Importance of Being Earnest.

About 15 years ago, we hosted our first “Kids’ Table Reunion” with ALL our cousins. We must have had 20 in attendance at Smith Mountain Lake.  Martha & I put together a COOKbook, which contained a bunch of family recipes and this one was featured. It’s simple and delicious!

Cody Miller

{here I am, whipping up army-sized meals for our cousins’ reunion!}

Wilde Mushroom Pate

Wilde Mushroom Pate

  • 1 lb. of mushrooms (you can use any kind of dried or fresh mushrooms. I prefer a mix)
  • 2 cans of beef consume
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 baguettes
  • Butter
  1. In a pot, combine mushrooms and consume. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
  3. While this is going, take a baguette (or two) and slice into 1/2 inch rounds, butter and put them under broiler under they’re crisp on the edges.
  4. When liquid has reduced, add cream cheese and stir it into the mushrooms, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Salt & pepper to taste.
  6. When completely incorporated, serve on baguette rounds and enjoy!

Wilde Mushroom Pate

This can be served hot or cold and will impress guests at any event, whether casual or fancy. You can also make it ahead and reheat in a crock for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

See you next time, with a funny Disney story!”

-Cody (contact me at codyrmiller@yahoo.com)

 

 

 

 

Style the Perfect Bar

Style the Perfect Bar

You’re the perfect hostess, but wouldn’t you love to enjoy the party too? One way to do that is to leave (some of) the bartending duties to the guests themselves. Don’t feel guilty…giving guests a little job breaks the ice for them and frees you up at the same time.Style the Perfect Bar

It’s nice to serve each arriving guest their first cocktail or refreshment the moment they enter (perhaps a signature cocktail), show them the food table, make an introduction or two and then let them pour refills from a self-serve bar for subsequent drinks.

Style the Perfect Bar

Here’s a quick how-to on setting up a well-stocked self-serve bar:

The Bar Itself

You don’t need a large restaurant-style bar to serve up a stylish one. Consider the above photo: this mimosa bar was staged on a small kids’ table.

Style the Perfect Bar

You may only have a tiny bit of space. No problem; all you really need are the drink itself, cups, napkins and perhaps a few stirrers. Ice can be kept below in a tub or cooler. You’d be surprised how much “bar” you can fit onto a little bit of surface!

Style the Perfect Bar

Sometimes all you need is a bucket of ice, insert the bottles and set the glasses nearby!

Style the Perfect Bar

Ideas for bars: small tables, bar carts, dressers, armoires, buckets, how about a vintage ironing board covered in a tablecloth?

The Location

People will always be able to locate the bar….there’s some type of “party radar” for it…so put it out of the main flow of the party. Many will tend to gather there, so you don’t need to make it so central that it clogs up the flow of the party. Depending on the number of guests you have, you may even need two bars (people don’t like to wait in long lines for a drink!). If you’re hosting an indoor/outdoor party, be sure to locate one bar outside.

Style the Perfect Bar

The Liquids

The basic, absolutely-necessary alcohol list:

The basic, absolutely-necessary mixer list:

  • Club Soda
  • Tonic
  • Coke
  • Diet Coke
  • 7-Up or Sprite
  • Ginger Ale
  • Orange Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Low-Cal Flavored Mixers (our pick: Be Mixed)

Some nice extras to have:

Figuring out how much to buy is always tricky. But now there are online tools you can use! For example this one from Evite allows you to take into account number of guests, duration of party and types of alcohol served.  Evite Drink Calculator

Style the Perfect Bar

 The Extras

There’s all kinds of garnishes & tools you will want to have, if not on the bar, then nearby (you certainly don’t need everything on this list). Click to see my picks:

Style the Perfect Bar

Style the Perfect Bar

 The Finishing Touches

Finish off your bar with some flowers (nothing fancy; I like to stick some in an old wine bottle or mason jar. Pick some up at the grocery store or cut last minute from your yard). You could also lay a couple of big sunflowers on your bar. A string of pom pom fringe looped around bottles is a cute touch too.

Style the Perfect Bar

Style the Perfect Bar

Above all, have fun with whatever you do, and your guests will too!
Happy Party!