Gracious Guests and Helpful Hosts

We’re entering that time of year where people often spend more time celebrating various holidays with friends and family. While this should lead to enjoyment, it can often lead to disaster – which brings me to today’s Top 5 post.

Today’s Top 5 has a list for both guests and hosts to do (or to not do) in order to enjoy holidays more.

The lists were compiled after a reader asked if it was okay to host a potluck Thanksgiving. My answer: it absolutely is, provided that all expectations are clearly defined to your guests in the beginning.

Enjoy!

Guests Top 5:

  • Show up on time
  • Offer to bring something to share
  • Bring a hostess gift
  • Help clean up after the meal
  • Don’t overstay your welcome

Hosts Top 5:

  • Set out clear expectations of your guests
  • Have most items prepped before guests arrive
  • Have yourself fully dressed and ready to celebrate by the time guests arrive
  • Delegate tasks to your guests if help is offered
  • Always be gracious and welcoming to your guests

Halloween Burgers

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly meal or an easy way to entertain friends for Halloween, this is the recipe for you! I almost didn’t post it because it’s so simple, but sometimes the best ideas are easy.

For Halloween burgers, start with 80-20 Angus ground beef. Add in 2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce. Fun fact: I can’t pronounce this correctly to save my life. Also sprinkle in salt and pepper. I ended up finely dicing 1/2 of a small onion (1/4 of a large onion), as well, because my daughter requested it. We were cooking inside, which is why I love the 80-20 beef. The juices it gives off, with a little butter added, makes the best grilled buns!

Ok, so back to the meat. Form 4 patties and cook for about 6 minutes on the first side and another 5-6 on the second. I like well done ground beef.

To make these Halloween burgers and not just everyday burgers, I cut up Amercian cheese slices into jack-o’-lantern faces!

The kids got to decorate the burgers. I’m not an artist by any means, but my kids didn’t seem to care at all. Then I cut up veggies and placed them on a Halloween platter for the kids to further decorate their burgers.

Excuse their pajamas. They played in mud earlier. đŸ˜‰

I nearly didn’t put the veggies on the platter because it was just the four of us, but something has been on my heart lately.

So many blogs seem to promote honestly and realness. I love and appreciate that. However, I hope that, as this continues to gain popularity, we don’t let standards and expectations slip with it. Going beyond the basics is a good thing, in my opinion. Setting out the pretty plates or platters isn’t superfluous. It adds beauty to everyday life. While I am losing the need for perfection, I am gaining an appreciation of doing more than the minimum. Thank you for letting me share this with you!

Mass Thank You Notes

Today’s post is brought to you by a reader’s comment from this post. I thought it was such an important topic, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already touched on it!

A common trend to escape actually writing thank you notes is for the recipient of a gift to send a group email or send a thank you note to everyone from work/church/etc. This, though, defeats the purpose of the thank you note, which is to express genuine thanks specifically to a person or family. The most people you should include on a thank you note would be everyone who resides in a single home. So, sending one to Uncle John, Aunt Sue and cousins Mark and Maggie is acceptable. Sending one to all 15 members of the IT department is not.

One minor exception would be to send a group email expressing thanks before following up with a hand-written note.

Ideally, a thank you note is physical (not electronic); it is to one person or family; it is handwritten.

The note doesn’t need to be lengthy. Let the giver know how the gift will be used and that it is appreciated. I always suggest adding in that you appreciate that they attended/missed them and one other personal thing in the note.

Thank you for the topic suggestion!

Roasted Pork Loin

Today we get to continue our recipes series! I have a love of vintage recipes, and when I was at the store the other day, I saw a beautiful pork loin, which I thought would be perfect. This is an incredibly simple recipe, and I hope you love it! I tried to take step-by-step pictures to help!

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop 3 cloves of garlic.Next, get your salt and pepper ready. Then you’ll want to rinse off your pork loin and place in a cake pan.I’m using Garlic Olive Oil from Olive Paris because it’s my favorite! Also grab any dried herb that you like. I wanted rosemary from our garden, but the guys were pouring the decking for our pool, and I didn’t want to be “that person” who tripped and fell into wet cement.

Ok, now that your ingredients are ready, drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of oil on the pork loin.Then, sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and the herb of your choice. I went with tarragon!Bake for about an hour covered with foil. Our entire family loved it, which it why I only got the following shot of it fully cooked.Enjoy!

 

 

Nail Trends

When I was younger, I remember my granny telling me that one of her top compliments in her life came from her mother-in-law. My great-grandma told my granny that her nails looked very neat and clean. It was a simple statement, but as a child of the Depression, it made quite the impact on my granny. Even with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she always kept her nails well manicured, even if she didn’t paint them any longer.

As a girl she would tell me of the different trends she followed with her nails. In the 1930s and 1940s, the half-moon manicure was very popular, and when she was first on her own, this was the trend she loved. She said she would paint all of her nail other than the area where a half moon would be.  After researching this a bit, it seems the Hollywood crowd would wear their nails longer than my granny did, and they’d also leave the tip bare, other than clear polish.

My own mother also has beautiful nails, and when I was starting kindergarten (1991), I remember them most often as long and red – very fashionable for that time.

Now, though, it seems as though history is repeating itself as it so often does. The half-moon manicure is making a comeback! The next time I get a manicure, I think I’m actually going to attempt this trend as a nod to my granny. I’m going with red, though, for my mom.

Fun fact: There’s an old wives’ tale that states that the more nails you have that have half moons, the more attractive you are.