Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Family Pasta Making, Smoked Ham & Asian Dishes

Homemade pasta making around the kitchen island bar, smoking a ham outside on the porch, and being treated to Asian specialties. These were just several of the fun and tasty food-based activities and meals we enjoyed together, while our sons were home over the holidays.

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Eldest son’s girl was also here for two weeks, and R was determined to show off every aspect of our family’s traditions here in Pittsburgh! On the first day everyone was home, we attended a frigid Steelers game, followed by gourmet pizzas while decorating the live Christmas tree.

Another evening, we visited Phipps Conservatory’s annual Magical Flower & Light Show. Afterwards was barbeque and craft beers at a favorite local brewery. Because of the pandemic — and with three of us coming down with bad colds (omicron?) — that was the only night we ate dinner out.

Instead, everyone helped out making snacks and meals together. Many times, that included sipping on special cocktails, craft brews or wines. We all worked together in the kitchen to prepare both Christmas Eve and Day dinners. Hubby made his mini crab cakes to accompany beef fondue on New Year’s Eve, and then apple cinnamon waffles for brunch the next day. And V prepared not one, but three Asian meals!

But, special dishes and family meal making activities shouldn’t be limited to just the holidays. These days, anytime we can gather with family and friends is an occasion to celebrate, right? Hoping you find inspiration here to eat, drink and make merry all year long!

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Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Fold a Heart-Shape Napkin for Valentines Day

Looking for a quick and easy way to set a Valentines Day table without investing in specialty holiday dishes? Then, learn how to make a draped, heart-shape napkin.

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It’s one of 20 different Napkin Folds for All Seasons, Holidays & Occasions that I’ve included in numerous tablescapes over the past few years. I’m a big proponent of using napkin folds to enhance a setting and raise the bar in terms of table styling. Not only that, but if you already have the fabric napkins, there is no additional cost.

Another major benefit is that fabric napkins are reusable and easy to store — taking up little space. And, they aren’t breakable like dishes and glassware. That’s a big part of the appeal for me. As a life-long dish addict, I have an extensive tableware collection, and am maxed out on storage space. Incorporating unique folds (or by changing the napkin color and pattern) allows me to continually update the styling of table settings.

Since sharing the Romance & Red Roses Reign on Sweetheart Table, I’ve had numerous requests on how I folded the soft draped heart. Let me show you how to do the moderate difficulty heart-shape napkin in five illustrated steps.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

Puttin’ on the Ritz for Romantic Table

As part of this year’s Valentines Tablescape Blog Hop, I’ve pulled out my West Elm Dapper Animal plates to set a romantic table.

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Depicted on the whimsical plates are either a gentleman owl sporting a monocle and top hat, or lady penguin wearing a dazzling diamond necklace. It’s perfect Puttin’ on the Ritz attire for an evening out on the town to celebrate Valentines Day.

Originally, I purchased six plates for a New Year’s Eve dinner party. To ring in 2022 with our sons and eldest’s girl, I used them to serve five a meal of surf (crab cakes) and turf (filet mignon fondue), while sipping champagne.

It was the first time we’ve all been together for New Year’s Eve in a very long time. As a result, the ‘kids’ had never seen the plates before. That’s when it dawned on me that I was only getting use of the awesome dishes once a year! Right then and there, I decided to build a romantic table setting around them for Valentines Day.

Please pull up a virtual seat at my Puttin’ on the Ritz little soiree — formal attire is not required!

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Scottie Dog Christmas Ornament Tree

Scottie Dog Christmas Ornament Tree

Taking a few minutes to share the Scottie dog Christmas ornament tree that’s set up in a corner of one of the guest bedrooms.

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It was the last of my holiday decorating; completed just in time for our sons arrival home this past weekend.

Do you have pet themed ornaments decorating your Christmas tree?

After losing our first Sweet Scottie Dog Fibber McGee, two Decembers ago, my dog theme holiday decorations have been mostly packed away.

Last season, I was in a boot and using a scooter because of foot surgery. So that really limited the amount of Christmas decorating I could do. However, thanks to Mr. Buzz, our home was festively decorated with the more “essential” indoor and outdoor elements. Although the live tree was decorated in the family room, the other three artificial theme trees stayed in storage.

Now, with a new puppy celebrating his first birthday and enlivening our home this season, it was a real joy decorating the small tree again with Scottie dog Christmas ornaments.

Think of it as this year’s holiday card from me to you!

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Add Christmas Cookie Cutter Cheer to Kitchen

Add Christmas Cookie Cutter Cheer to Kitchen

Dashing to send off a post today as I continue to deck the halls, craft, bake and prepare to celebrate the holidays. Happily, the shopping, wrapping and cards are finished. How about you?

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When I first began collecting large Christmas cookie cutters, the plan was to decorate whimsical cookies — wrapped in cellophane bags — as table favors. Instead, for several consecutive years, I gave duplicates as Christmas gifts to family and friends. I imagined they (or one day I) would bake giant cutouts for a cookie decorating activity with kids or grandkids.

Fast forward, and I’ve finally gotten to a decorating idea that’s been in my noggin for several years — hanging the oversized holiday cookie cutters on my upper kitchen cabinets.

Not that it was a difficult project to do. But, it did mean finding extra time to get organized and put them together. Last year, I was wearing a giant boot and getting around on crutches, so there was no climbing on a stepstool to hang them!

Let me show you my Christmas cookie cutter collection, and how festive they look decorating the kitchen.

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Bringing Home the Christmas Tree Holiday Table

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree Holiday Table

Setting a holiday table for family and friends is one of my favorite things, especially when it’s part of the annual Christmas Tablescape Hop!

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Even last year — while recovering from foot surgery and using a knee scooter — I styled the Enchanting Winter Woodland Tablescape for Christmas.

Today, I’m joining 20 talented bloggers to share festive table settings and centerpieces. Our large group is organized by hostess extraordinaire, Rita of Panoply.

My holiday table, centerpiece and decorated chandelier were all inspired by a visit to Dollar Tree. While there to pickup fall crafting supplies, I realized the store was already stocked with Christmas items. One woman had filled an entire shopping cart, and was well on her way to stuffing a second, lol!

That’s when I noticed all the items depicting a vintage red pickup truck touting a Christmas tree. For under $11, I’ve styled a nostalgic holiday table theme with my existing seasonal tableware and decorations.

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