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. 😉

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!

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.

 

Authentically Real

Y’all may or may not recall this post where I talk about my love of Pottery Barn (as well as why I have stepped back from it). Clearly Pottery Barn isn’t the problem. The products are designs I truly love. The problem was my need for it and the “perfect life” it represented.

I get asked all too often if we dress in Sunday best for dinner at our house.

No, we don’t. Knowing which fork to use doesn’t make you a good person. Feeding others with what you have, does.

My kids love the dirt and mud. They ride in their battery-powered Jeep giggling and yelling. They trapse mud through the house in an effort to get to the bathtub. Our house is pier and beam and, thus, moves. My stomach is no where near where I want it to be. Neither are my hips. Neither are the bags under my eyes.

I forget to call or text friends back. I get overwhelmed. We are so very real and so very far from perfection. However, I walk the line where I refuse to glorify failure and false expectations of being perfect. I refuse to glorify not doing our best. I will never accept any person in my family not trying his or her best self. And still…perfection will never be obtained.

This has been hard for me to accept and to understand in today’s society where success is measured in the amount of time you spend simply being busy. Even when we’re with our family, we’re often not really there. This is what I will not accept for myself. While I will never be THE best, I can be my best. And that’s enough.

So, I hope you will find this blog authentically real and motivating. I never want anyone to feel defeated by different etiquette rules. As always, thank you for reading and for your support. 🙂

Granny’s Easy Peach Cobbler

My granny was known for her sweet tooth. There was never a day in her home that we weren’t offered dessert after every meal. This was the lady who added sugar to my bowl of Lucky Charms. 😉 And she oozed sweetness. There will never be another one like her, and I’m thankful to have several of her “recipes.” I use that term loosely because she rarely measured, but today I’m very happy to share the first recipe of hers I remember making.

My granny loved peaches. In fact, the jarred vanilla peaches from Atwoods were some of her favorites. She always had canned peaches at home, and it was from this very simple ingredient that she was able to create a favorite dessert of mine – easy peach cobbler.

Photo Credit: Google Images

In a 9×13 pan, melt a stick of butter in a 350 degree oven. While it’s melting, combine 1 cup of flour, 1/2 teapsoon of baking powder, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk and a dash of salt. After the butter has melted, pour the flour mixture on top of the butter. Add two cans (16 ounces each) of sliced peaches in syrup on top. As if that weren’t sweet enough, sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon before baking in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. Delicious every time.

I’m thrilled to share receipes with you, and I can’t wait to hear from each of you about your favorite recipe. Please feel free to share them at etiquettebyemily@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading!