Archive for May, 2009

A Centerpiece To Dazzle Any Guest

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Wedding season is on its way and having been the mother-of-the-bride last year, I know the stress and frazzles that go into planning a wedding. In these tough economic times, money is a real issue and so I thought that I would share some of the ideas that helped me in planning.

For the bride and mother-of-the-bride, who wish to really budget carefully, beauty and elegance does not have to be forfeited. A lovely sit-down reception can still be had for pennies if one is careful. Just as an example, I’d like to share an idea for a centerpiece that I designed and used. Guests complemented us on the table decorations and thought that we had spent much more than we did.

First, if you have a Hobby Lobby or a Michael’s near you, that helps! Their coupons in the paper or online are a lifesaver for the planning bride. My relationship with the clerks grew to a first-name-basis! My coupon use became a joke for them and they laughed when they saw me coming. I am certain that I saw them making signs to each other indicating that I was crazy. I wasn’t crazy – I was just cheap! For example, for our 25 reception tables, my centerpiece required a silver charger. That meant twenty-five silver chargers at $1.87 each. As I said, I am cheap – ok, thrify to sound better – and so everytime that I went into town, I stopped at Hobby Lobby and purchased one charger with one 40% off coupon. What would have cost me a total of $46.75, came to $28. Doing that for nearly everything that I purchased at Hobby Lobby wound up saving me a fortune. I printed coupons off of the internet and used them religiously. The centerpiece that I describe below, cost $5.67 each to make.

The following are the items for a lovely centerpiece.
-Tulle in either white or a coordinating wedding color
-One colored charger per table (silver, gold, red, black,etc at Hobby Lobby)
-1 paper doily per table (Dollar Store)
-One tall votive candle holder per table (Hobby Lobby)
-3 feet of pearl garland per table (Hobby Lobby)
-1 piece of ivy per table (Michael’s)
-1 coordingating flower or grapes or other accent piece (Michael’s)
-1 miniature flower pot per table, spraypainted the same color as the candles to be used (Michael’s)
-1 votive candle in coordinating color (Michael’s)
optional: large cloth napkin of a coordinating color

For each table, place a large square of doubled tulle in the center and turn edges under to form a loose, puffy circle. If using white tulle or if you wish to use two wedding colors, place large napkin of a coordinating color in center of table and place tulle on top of napkin. Place charger in center of tulle. Place doily in center of charger. Put tall votive candle holder onto the charger and to the right of center. Put a candle into the minature flower pot and put both into the candle holder. The flower pot makes it easier to clean the candle holder of candle remnants. Lay ivy around the base of the candle holder and around top edge of charger. Place flower or grapes or other accent piece to the left of the candle holder and in front, nestled in the ivy. Pile the pearl garland in the center right of the charger and drape it over the edge and onto the tulle or let spill to the table. Light the candle and take pictures!! Below are photos that you can click to enlarge. Good luck!

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May Is For Mothers – and Children and Dads and Grandparents and…

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

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She looked accusingly at me with those big, brown, second-grade eyes. I knew what she was thinking. My daughter thought I was totally wasting her time trying to explain why subtraction was a necessity of life. She got addition. She had that down pat but in her young mind, if you knew how to add things, why in the world would you want to take them away?

Slices of apple were strewn on the table; browning remnants of my explanation of “whole” and “part”. She was obviously bored. “Cooking!” I thought. My daughter loved to help me cook. I got out the chocolate chips and measured out one cup.

“OK. I’m going to make some cookies. My recipe calls for two cups of chocolate chips but I only have one cup. How many more cups of chocolate chips do I need to buy at the store?”

She perked up with a know-it-all look and matter-of-factly explained, “Enough to make the cookies!”

This month we honor a job that outshines most others – Motherhood. Proverbs 31 tells us about the wife and mother of noble character and that her children and her husband call her blessed. She is no small, wilting flower either. She sews and spins, cooks, buys real estate, runs a business, cares for the poor and needy, provides clothing and warmth for her household, tends to the affairs of her family, is never idle and is always faithful. Whew!! I know I do all of those things! (right) Don’t you? Ok, well actually, the joke in my home has always been that if the smoke alarm goes off, dinner is ready. In my defense, our smoke alarm is very sensitive!

I am an “empty-nester”, between teenagers and grandchildren. I have such wonderful memories of our children growing up and I hope they do too. I want to encourage you, this month and in this time of economic downturn, to slow down the pace of your life to make some memories. Moms – and Dads too - let your children see you cooking for them, encouraging them to help you read recipes, chop veggies, stir broths and knead doughs. Give them the chance to say to each other, “Do you remember walking into the house after school and it smelled like hot, chocolate chip cookies or freshly baked bread? Remember how Mom would let us have the end off of the hot bread all slathered with real butter? Yum.”

If you haven’t done much cooking, make the effort to try at least one new recipe a week and practice the art. Artists know that artwork is 1% talent and 99% knowledge and hard work. The same goes for cooking. Practice makes perfect and even then there are flubs! Look at your table as a big canvas and then paint it with all of the colors that are your dinnerware and your culinary creations! Sit around the table and laugh – and remember that time does fly when you are having fun. Happy Mother’s Day!

Peach tree in bloom

Peach tree in bloom