Wednesday, February 16

How the Red Dinner looked

Drop-leaf pedestal table in the front room - red salt and pepper shakers from Heather for housewarming.
Well, it wasn't anything perfect or extravagant, or anything like I had first envisioned decorating for the Red Dinner party could be. These days, I just don't have a whole lot of time for a whole lot of detail, so I had to let my grand plans go and be satisfied with a few simple place settings and arrangements, all pulled together from things I had in my house. I thought about going out to buy some new things to use, because decorating with new things is always fun, but then decided to save my money and make do.

That saving money scheme is how I've already managed to put $1,000 away in my 'baby savings account' for furniture, supplies, fun things, etc. It will be fun to have money available to hopefully splurge on a few things for the baby room, but even with money saved specifically for something, I sometime still have a hard time spending it. :-)

Two tables in the front room on Sunday morning - the girls helped set and decorate.
So I went 'shopping' in my house, and these are the few things I came up with to decorate my Red Dinner tables for Valentine's Day. The loveseat is *still* over in the tv area, so I still had plenty of room to set up my drop-leaf pedestal table for four place settings. With that table, I can easily seat a dozen in my front room.

On my big table I used my everyday red tablecloth and dressed it up with one of the lace curtain panels I've had tucked away for quite some time.

The red pitcher in the center of the table is one of my favorite pieces that friend Amy gave me some time ago. Alas, somehow it got a crack down the side - no idea how/when that happened - but it's so pretty I still keep it for decoration. I also used a few other red glass pieces, as well as tin mini loaf pans as candy dishes. And the wooden puzzle pig that friend Emily gave me just for an item of interest. :-)

Oh, and the chairs at the head and foot of the table I painted just in time, because they went great. :-) On the right side of the table is my trunk that I used to seat two, and moved a desk chair around that side for the third place setting.

In the first photo of this post you can see these flowers placed on the wood stove. Scott brought this pretty red chrysanthemum plant home for me the other day, and I love it. He likes to buy me plants rather than cut flowers, because then they last, and I hope that I can keep it alive! The last time he brought plants home for me, he bought me two, and one lived and one died, so I think that's a good strategy.

Salad/snack fixings on the buffet line.
When we got home from snowshoeing everyone was very hungry, so I set out these fresh veggies and some dip on the end of the counter for people to munch on, as well as the chocolate heart sandwich cookies. As you can see from the empty cucumber and dip bowl, my guests were very appreciative. :-) Thanks to Jamie, who helped me put the last minute things together for the meal, and to mother-in-law Shirley, for doing the dishes before we even got home! That's always a nice surprise.

The kitchen buffet line.
This is how I serve meals when I have a lot of people over. Since the table didn't have enough space for all the food - and since there were two tables, anyway - I just put the desserts on the table and the rest of the food was served buffet style. I usually fill the long counter with serving dishes for the sides, and put the main course on the end of the 'U' and it seems to work pretty well.

Our menu was spaghetti with red meat sauce, cottage cheese/ red Jell-o salad, heart-shaped garlic bread, lettuce salad with red veggie toppings and red velvet cake, heart-shaped sandwich cookies and a chocolate cake that Melissa brought over. I also had conversation hearts, of course, and heart-shaped Junior Mints on the tables.

Melissa and Penny getting ready to enjoy the meal.
This is what my main table looked like when I had all the places set... at the last second Melissa and I squished in four place settings down each side because we didn't know if another pair of family members would show up. Turns out they didn't, and good thing, because 10 at that table wouldn't have left much elbow room.

If I ever have more than 12 sitting down to eat at once in the house, I'll take the library table from my sewing room and set it, as well. That would give six more places to sit, at least.

So those are my simple Valentine's decorations - I'd had visions of making a garland to hang on the beam that divides the upstairs of the house, or any of the number of other Valentine's ideas I'd seen on blogs, but we had snowshoeing to do! So I let the details go, kept the food and decorations simple, and was able to enjoy the day and our company.

Note to self, though: don't brown ground beef, put it in red sauce and leave it in the crock pot for several hours. I thought it would save time, which it did, but being in the crock pot and cooking so long gave the beef a different texture. Not bad, just different, and I don't think I'd do it again. In the future I would just brown it, then reheat when we were ready to eat the meal.

Lu enjoying the wood stove in the front room.

And just because this photo was also on my camera, here is Lucy the morning after our party in the front room. It doesn't look like it, but there were hot coals in the stove, and she likes to go over there and lie on the rug. I don't blame her, it's quite cozy by the stove.

Even though they're not coordinated and aren't an interior decorator's dream, I have three rugs there in the front room, going from the front door to the stove. They're good for when we have a multitude of boots and people going in and out, and then we always also have plenty of space to set our firewood when we bring it in from the front porch, especially when it's snowy and needs to drip off.

Oh! Another thing that happened since the Red Dinner is that on Valentine's Day Scott and I went to our first baby doctor appointment. It all went smoothly, and we got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. :-) I think that made it a lot more real to Scott, and at 20 weeks we'll have an ultrasound, so we have to wait nine weeks to see any images. Even then, we're not going to find out whether we're having a boy or a girl, so we'll have to be careful which images we get to see, especially since this doctor's office offers the 3D images.

We're also in the midst of combining checking accounts - which sounded like too much of a pain to do before now - and putting some long-term financial planning in place, so we need to get an overall view of our budget and incoming and outgoing funds and all that good stuff.... I'd put it off until now, but with a baby on the way, it's better done sooner than later. With just the two of us a budget wasn't that big of a deal, because we have plenty coming in to cover our basic expenses and bills, but I know adding a baby and its accompanying costs will likely change that...

For today, I need to get all the editorial for the paper ready and packaged up for Tracy, because I'd like to finish and proof it tomorrow, as I'll be out Friday for our trip to Jackson for the cutter races. I also have several interviews scheduled for Friday afternoon, so it will be a busy weekend. Poor Scott - seems like we can't go on any trips anymore where I don't try to combine them with the paper or interviews somehow. Since the cutter races run Saturday and Sunday, we've also taken Monday off for our drive back to town. It will be a nice mini vacation before we hit March, which is busy for the Roundup with our increase in advertising for bull sales.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed seeing the party photos since I couldn't be there with you.