Tag Archives: hospitality

Help Yourself Hospitality–Breakfast

A lot of women get up and make delicious breakfasts for their company.

I get up.

Years of living with cancer has changed my view on life
and my definition of hospitality.
I’ve learned to accept my limitations.

If my guests haven’t stayed overnight in my home before,
I casually let them know that if I haven’t slept well,
I won’t be up early.
(Sometimes, I need to sleep until 8 or 9am)

They’re shown where everything is in the kitchen,
the bathroom and the linen closet,
so if I can’t meet their needs,
they can

Help Themselves.

Mornings come too quickly.

Especially during the holidays.

Especially if you’ve been up talking with relatives,
drinking decaf,
watching holiday movies,
wrapping presents,
or reading a good book.

It’s hard to be up-and-at-’em early in the morning,
with a house full of early-rising old,
I mean experienced, people.

I like to have things out and ready, so if I’m not out in the kitchen,
my guests feel comfortable

Helping Themselves.

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I start with one jar of regular rolled oats, for those healthy on-a-diet kinda’ guests.

Add one jar of Trader Joe’s low-fat vanilla and almond granola.

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Add one tub of instant oatmeal packets of various flavors.

I try to find ones that are low in sugar,
but it can be a challenge.

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Take jars from your craft room, wash, and fill in with healthy mix-ins for the cereals.

(L to R) I have dried cranberries, dried apricots, raisins and slivered almonds.

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Display on a tray with a doily and you’re almost ready for breakfast.

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These three jars are always on my counter filled with cold cereal.

I was tired of having so many opened boxes in the pantry,
spilling and getting stale,
so this was a pleasing solution for all of us.

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This is another standard on my kitchen counter.

In our early years of marriage,
someone wisely advised it’s cheaper to eat healthy,
than to pay for a doctor.

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The bread basket is another company staple.

I fill it with good breads, bagels and English muffins,
so my company has a lot of options for

Helping Themselves

in the morning.

Cancer has taken much from me,
but I won’t allow it to take hospitality.

I’m healthier and stronger today
and have learned to PACE not PUSH.

But, there are three meals in a day,
I know I can’t give them each100%,
so I choose where to put my energy.

I help myself
by allowing my guests to

Help Themselves to Breakfast.

I Served Cold Cereal for Our Company Holiday Party

 

A strange American holiday tradition is Chex Mix.

It’s not enough that we eat cold cereal for breakfast, 160 bowls  or 101 pounds per year per person, according to Cerealizing America.

We coat it with butter, Season-All salt and Worcestershire Sauce (how DO you say that anyway?) and it’s a snack.

We mix it with butter and melted marshmallows, squish it in a pan with our bare, buttered hands,  and it’s a desert.

Crumble it up and throw it on a casserole and it’s dinner. 

String it on yarn and it’s an edible craft.

We Americans love us some cold cereal.

We also love us some Chex Mix. 

It’s a salty tradition that balances out all the sugar we devour during the holidays.  And it’s healthy, right? Right?

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We go big or go home, as Jon,  my teenage son, would say. It’s easier to dump everything into lotsa bowls, then just crank the batches through the microwave. 

Since you just need 10 cups of stuff, I don’t always follow the recipe.  I love adding Bugles and Goldfish Crackers.  This year I added tiny Triscuits and little rye crackers. I use mixed nuts, cashews, or dry roasted peanuts, depending on sales.

We make enough for drop-by company or impromptu movie nights and store it in Ziplocs in fridge or freezer.

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This recipe came in a little cellophane wrapper in a box of Chex cereal, and is almost as old as my marriage.  We’re all still happily together. The online recipe is a bit different, although they claim it’s the original.

Plastic Chex Bowl 40th Anniversary with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

I saved box-tops and sent for this treasure in 1990, a microwave safe bowl designed in honor of Peanuts’ 40th Anniversary.  I used it every year until I burned a hole right through the bottom. I found this beautiful memory  in Tracy’s Etsy shop, Upscale Yard Sale.

When my sister-in-law, Nita, gave me the turquoise Pyrex bowl in the first picture above,  a new tradition was born.

This year I needed a new tradition for serving my salty cold cereal for a holiday work party hosted in my home. I’ve used mini take-out boxes in the past, but I wanted something reusable.

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I guess I’ve been buying these things for awhile. The flatter ones are Sandbakkel molds, a Norwegian cookie I should make, but never have, and some are mini Jello molds.

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Those of you that like rusty, chippy things are drooling with jealousy now.

Those of you that don’t like rusty, chippy things are saying, “EEWWW!  Why didn’t she just throw that garbage out?”

Rabbit Trail Alert — I’m thinking those little flowers on the upper left would look great nailed onto something, or added to knitting needle stems or….what would YOU do with them?

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I was gunna’ be all impressive and use my Geometry skillz to perfectly cut holes on each side of the tin cups.  But, I discovered a lined index card with a black line worked just fine.

The tiny green wire garland was bought to make something for my daughter’s dollhouse a few years ago, but obviously, I never got around to it. I had to climb up into the scary attic and find it in the Christmas stuff, because I’m crazy like that when I have a project burning a hole in my pocket.

They need to change Murphy’s Law to Mindy’s Law.  Of course, I had to hit my head on a nail in the attic.  Why did they use nails six inches too long to pound the roof on?  It’s like a torture chamber up there.

Then, after drilling 50 holes with my trusty Makita drill, I realized little bits of metal were still clinging around the edges.  I didn’t want my company to eat metal, so I took a small paring knife and cleaned out each hole.  I was glad I remembered to wash them, because I bought them all at the thrift store and garage sales. 

Then, I discovered the green trim was shedding little bits of stuff after I cut the ends.  I had to de-fluff the green stuff by running it through my fingers and shaking the stuff on the floor for the kids to clean up.

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I used festive cupcake papers, ya’ know the kind I don’t usually spend the money on because I’m so cheap frugal, and turned them inside out to line the tins.

They really needed something added for a decoration, but I was out of time.

What would you add?

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They were served in an old, rusty cast iron muffin pan.  ‘Cuz, when you invite your husband’s boss and team over for a party, you really wanna’ serve them in rusty, vintage stuff.

It’s a tradition as American as Chex Mix.

Black is Back

To me, white furniture looks a little…….

naked.

If I can say that word on a  Christian blog.

Like a lady  in public in her pantaloons or bloomers, it just isn’t right.

This little beauty below was found in a eclectic shop that sells vintage and antique items. I described the space in my foyer to the owner.

“I live in a split level where you walk into the house and there’s  a 4ft x 6ft foyer.  On your  right the first staircase goes down, the next staircase on the right goes up.  Imagine six people walking in the door, trying to get off coats and shoes without knocking each other up or down the stairs.”

I’m not a huge fan of the split level, especially when it has a tiny foyer.

A large oak mirror with hooks was hanging, but it needed something underneath for organizing and display. Something very narrow.  Something that wouldn’t get knocked down the stairs with the two children “accidentally” touching each other while trying to kick their shoes at each other off.

It also needed to be painted black and distressed.  By distressing your furniture ahead of time, it keeps you from being stressed and distressed when the kids scratch and dent it.  ‘Cuz, ya’ know they will.  It’s their job to ruin your stuff.  To test your patience and all that jazz. 

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As my kids would say “Perf!”  That’s teenage for “perfect” they inform me, as if I wasn’t cool enough to translate.  But, it’s more than “perf”, it’s “tote perf.”

Yea, it’s groovy, too, for those of you older than me and missing your high school journey.

Back to the shelf. It was narrow enough.  And cute enough.  Just too white.

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Not for long!

 

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Done.  So glad my favorite color is in style.  Makes it so much easier.  So glad my favorite medium, spray paint, is in style.  I was spray paint when spray paint wasn’t cool.  But, the new wave of coolness has dared me to paint even wood furniture, something I wouldn’t have done before.

A little sanding afterwards to take away the shiny “I just got spray painted look” and give it the distressed look,  and it was a done deal. I’d like to eventually find baskets so each kid can have one for hats or mail or keys or whatever else they don’t want to put away and it would end up “decorating” my foyer, or staircase or kitchen counter.

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I always wanted a foyer that was welcoming. I don’t consider a pile of stinky shoes welcoming, but my children do. 

To me it says “MESS!” 

To them it says, “Hey, take off your shoes and stay awhile.”

So, whether or not they take off your shoes, I hope our guests feel welcome when they walk into my split level home with the little foyer.

I just hope nobody falls down the stairs while looking at the vintage Christmas nativity stuff I displayed…

Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs

My heart had been overwhelmed with physical and spiritual trials.

I was crying  out to the Lord,
even when  I wasn’t even sure what to ask of Him.

Once, a little whisper came to my heart,
“Music.  You need music.”
The Voice reminded me of a verse I had memorized a few decades ago
about psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
I started listening to more Christian music, watching youtube videos,
and singing during the day.

 

It helped.  Music  sooths the soul.

 

Then, we received a phone call from a Chrisitan friend we hadn’t been in touch with for years.
When you get a phone call like that, it’s for a few reasons.
1.  Someone you have in common died.
2.  They need something from you.
3. The Lord is working through them.

 

We were thankful to learn that #1 wasn’t the reason, nobody died.
We thought it was #2.
A man going into the mission field was coming to our area,
needed to be picked up from the airport,
given a place to stay for a few days, then brought back to the airport.
We were busy, we were stressed, for a few minutes I doubted the Lord.
“Now, Lord?  Really? Now?”

 

But, I’ve learned.  The Lord makes no mistakes.

 

I repented of my questioning and agreed.
We’ve committed our home to the Lord for hospitality,
and He was just receiving our offering to Him.
To bring someone into our home at a time when our hearts
were battle-sore and weary was not a mistake. 

By faith we trusted. 
By faith we ventured to the airport late at night,
picked up a stranger, and brought him into our home,
trusting the Lord’s plans were for our good.

 

When hearts are one in Christ, there really are no strangers,
just brothers and sisters we haven’t met yet.

Remember my hungering cry for music to soothe my soul?

Remember my trusting by faith the Lord was working
something for good in my life?

 

 

The Lord knew what He was doing.

 

This brother had a guitar.
This brother loved to sing praises to the Lord.
This brother ministered to our battle-weary souls in a way youtube couldn’t
begin to touch.

 

It didn’t take long to figure out why the Lord called on us at a time
when our hearts were weary with well-doing.

It was #3  – The Lord was working through that
friend we hadn’t talked to you years.

 

He wanted to answer those wordless cries of my heart
and bless our family with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

 

Thank you, brother Tim.

May the Lord bless your service to Him, as you blessed us.

A Thanksgiving To Be Thankful For

This was a Thanksgiving of many firsts.
 Grace asked to be in charge of the entire meal.
Totally in charge. Not a bad goal for being only Sweet 16.
From menu planning, to list making, to recipe planning, cooking and serving,
our AMAZING GRACE handled it all.
Her menu –
Tangerine Glazed Turkey
Herb Encrusted Duck
Maple Ginger Carrots
Cheddar Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Rolls
Relish Trays
Another first was homemade stuffing.
Scott had to call my mom several times for coaching,
even though it is just bread chunks, gizzards, celery, onions and some seasoning.
It tasted amazing.
Sorry Stove Top, you may never be welcome in our home again.
Another first, I bought Scott an electric knife.
He was so happy, I probably won’t have to buy him a Christmas present.
The first disaster for the day.
We changed the name of the potatoes  to “Pepper Cheddar Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes”
 when the entire content of the pepper shaker and the lid were added to the potatoes.
Of course, when we asked who left the lid unscrewed….
“NOT ME!”
Grace let me set the table.
That’s my favorite part, anyway.
Scott included our guests in the family tradition of going around the table and expressing one thing you are thankful for. We acknowledged we all have MUCH to be thankful for.
friendship
the Lord Jesus Christ
good health
fellowship
neighbors
football
Grace cooking the meal
family
remission
Scott shared the verses the Lord put on his heart for the day:
 Psalm 95:1-2
 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Since I did all the dishes as she was cooking,  after dinner
we only had to clean up what was on the table.
 I mean, the men only had to clean up the table.
 Since three of the men in the house were guests, this was a daring call, but well received.
Guest Grandpa Pat was the first one in the kitchen and took care of the bulk of the dishes.
 Dave finished loading the dishwasher.
Keith dried.
I told him I would make sure his Mommy saw this picture.
She’ll be so proud of him.
Not sure if my son Jon actually helped, or if he was so fast, I just didn’t get his picture.
The women and children reclined downstairs to watch the classic “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
The men stayed upstairs and talked.  No football.  We don’t have TV reception or cable.
Thanksgiving without football is wonderful, sorry to rub it in to those of you who didn’t experience that.
Another first, thanks to the influence of our athletic guest, Keith – a Thanksgiving evening run.
Yes, Scott’s headband is pink.
Yes, we teased him.
No, he didn’t care.
He’s also wearing Snoopy Christmas socks.
Jon wants to cook next year.
I thought he was excited about all the new recipes Grace tried and wanted to rise to the occasion as she did.
No, he just loves the rule,
“If you cook,
you don’t clean up.”