Pinterest Picks: Dinner Party Time!

It’s almost the weekend! Is anyone attending or hosting a dinner party or fun gathering with friends and family this weekend?

Even though the stores are already advertising for Christmas, outside it is still fall, and fall is the season of the ultimate fall dinner party: Thanksgiving. To gather some ideas for a fun dinner party, I searched Pinterest and here are a few of my favorite pins and ideas. I also started a new board called Dinner Party Time! for those interested in following as I continue to find more dinner party ideas.

I love decorating with pumpkins, especially unique looking pumpkins. A pumpkin can also make the perfect chalkboard for your party. You can use your chalkboard pumpkin for your menu or drink list. All you need is some chalkboard paint and chalk.

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Leftover small pumpkins from your Halloween displays can also make great centerpieces.

Beautiful for the Thanksgiving holidays or a fall dinner party

Speaking of chalkboard paint, I love the idea of using chalkboards to label each of your appetizers or desserts. Just be sure the chalkboard paint is food safe! You can also use slate dinner pieces. Slate is a natural chalkboard. In this photo, they painted the table runner with chalkboard paint.

BEER-TASTING PARTY - Host a pub-inspired beer-tasting party complete with cheese pairings, soft pretzels, burgers and, of course, a variety of craft beers.

The last few pictures are for a themed-dinner party. With the explosion of craft breweries, you can gather up your friends and invite them over for a craft brew party. Each guest brings a growler or bullet with their favorite local beer and then you can kick back and enjoy good food and good company for the evening.

We Set A Place For You/Fall FeatureCraft Beer and Cheese Pairingsmint love social club: {party inspiration: craft beer tasting party}

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Christmas Candy: Meet Mason Jar

Mason jars have many practical uses. Outside of canning, they are popping up in wedding and home decor. I love them because they’re an easy and inexpensive way to display just about anything. This year, I incorporated a few jars into our holiday decor.

My parents recently gave us canned peaches and canned salsa in mason jars. After we finished eating the contents of the jars, I cleaned and saved them to use a candy jars.

I chose to use wrapped candy, but you can use other candies such as gumdrops or ribbon candy. To keep the unwrapped candy fresh, just add lids.

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The mason jars I have are all different sizes and shapes. The different sizes and shapes worked out well for my display because I have different quantities and sizes of candy.

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I hope everyone is all ready for Christmas. One more day! I’m hoping for a white Christmas. How about you?

Organized Bliss

The pantry is finally finished. When you open the door, it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for. I love it!

Before I started working on our pantry this was my inspiration.

Dream pantrypantry pantry

And now our pantry looks like this, the top view:

And the bottom:

We have a lot more food in our pantry than the first inspiration photo and we also have a mix of boxes and vacuumed sealed containers. But for us, this works.

Before our pantry looked like this:

It was chaos. I also had trouble with the cans on the bottom shelf. They took up a lot of real estate and you couldn’t really see what was there. We decided to solve that problem by looking for something that we could put under the bottom of the pre-existing pantry shelves. We found this stacking shelf system at the Container Store and it works perfectly.

I also took our organizing one step further and labeled the majority of our containers. And because I am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, I have all the serving sizes and PointsPlus values written under the name of each product. For the baking and cooking products, I just labeled them with their name.

So our pantry is finally organized and hopefully it will stay this way for a long time. I love opening the door and finding everything I need without digging around. And because we used vacuumed sealed containers to store much of our food, we don’t have to worry about food going stale quickly. It’s a win-win!

Making a House a Home

One of my favorite boards on my Pinterest page is my Making a House a Home board. I use this board to pin pictures that I would enjoy seeing incorporated in our home.

For example, I love these wall letters and they gave me the idea that I could incorporate something like this in our kitchen. Once we finish the crown molding project, I want to hang the word “Yum” on the wall.

wall letters

Below is another pin from my board. I love the pillows on this couch, and since we just added a new couch to our living room, I decided to do my own interpretation of bright pillows on a dark couch.

Love the couch

I took our existing pillows and added a few more.

I also appreciate the look of a clean, well-organized pantry and I’m working on getting ours there.

Dream pantry

A few months, ago I started collecting OXO vacuumed-sealed containers.

These are the best storage containers!

And I started incorporating the containers in our pantry.

Recently, I found a 12 pack of the OXO containers at Sam’s Club. They’re kind of a pain to clean because you have to hand wash them, but I’m slowly getting them all cleaned and into our pantry.

I’ve added about half of the 12 into the pantry and had to do a little reorganizing. It looks a little like a hot mess right now. But I’m on my way to a better organized pantry and our food will last longer in the vacuumed sealed containers. No more wasted snacks!

Just focus on the top shelf for now. Doesn’t it look nice? 🙂

Another picture I’ve pinned to my Making a House a Home board is the antique-looking wooden wall quotes.

For the playroom.

I found a similar one that doesn’t have quotes on it, but I love the idea of incorporating wine into our kitchen decor, so this will hang above the entrance to our dining room once the crown molding is finished.

What is your own favorite Pinterest board? How do you find inspiration to make your house feel like a home?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Updates on the slate tile floor and kitchen pantry

Over the past few months our dining room floor has sat idle, waiting for grout. The cold weather made it difficult to open the windows and let the room air out during the grouting process, so we patiently waited for it warm up again. Spring is officially here and since they are calling for nice weather this weekend, we took the opportunity to get the floor ready to grout.

Before we could start the next step of finishing the floor, we needed to fix a few broken tiles and re-set the tiles that came loose after we set them.

We walked around the floor trying to feel if anything rocked or squirmed under our feet. If we found a tile that was either broken or loose, we marked it with painters/masking tape. The tape served as a way to find the tiles we planned to repair so we wouldn’t spend time walking on every tile each time we fixed one.

After we were sure we found all the tiles to repair, we slowly lifted the loose tiles to make sure we didn’t break anything. Then we used a hammer and chisel to remove the mortar from the concrete. For the broken tiles, they were set a little better so we had to use the chisel to pry them off of the floor. Some tiles were set so well we had to lightly hit them with the hammer a few times to loosen them from the floor. Then we used the chisel and hammer to remove the remaining mortar and tile.

For the broken tiles, we had to replace them with new tiles and throw away the old ones.

We saved a few tiles when we first laid the floor just in case we needed them down the road. We used three of the tiles today and now we have 2 or 3 left if we need them. Once we picked out new tiles from our reserve and cleaned up the dust and mortar pieces, we started replacing the tiles. Before we put the mortar down, we taped off the surrounding tiles to prevent excess mortar splattering on the faces of the clean tiles. Then we spread the thin-set mortar.

For a few of the tiles, we added extra mortar to the low spots to make sure they set.

Then we laid all the tiles and made sure to press them into the mortar to get a strong contact between the mortar and the tile.

It took a few hours to remove the old mortar and set the tiles and during that time, Zoey paid us a few visits. She’s not allowed in the dining room, but she kept coming to supervise and even crossed the threshold to test her limits and run to the open window. She is mischievous!

Now that the broken and loose tiles are repaired, we are ready to fully prep for grout. Our next steps are to seal the tiles again and then wait 24 hours for the tiles we fixed to set up. Then, we grout! Once the grout is finished, we will seal the floor two more times. After we seal, and the floor dries, we can replace the base board. And then, our dining room is finished!

The floor project has gone well so far and although we’re not quite finished, I have a few lessons learned to share with anyone thinking about a DIY slate floor:

1. Do not rush a tile floor. It takes time to do all the associated steps.

2. Make sure you press all the tiles firmly into the mortar. If they are not in the mortar, they will come loose a few days after you are finished.

3. Always take the time to prep the floor before you put tile down. A clean floor is better for the mortar.

4. Make sure you can open the windows when you lay the thin set mortar. It will help keep the overwhelming smell down.

And that’s where we are with the floor. It’s almost ready to grout, we just need to wait for the tiles to set, clean the entire floor and seal it one more time.

More updates to come!

In other news, I also worked on the kitchen pantry this week. I acquired more Target gift cards and used them to buy OXO containers. I also reorganized the pantry and it went from this:

To this:

I still need a few more OXO containers for some of my baking supplies and snacks, but it has definitely come a long way from before. There were so many boxes of cans stacked on the floor and now they are easily accessible on the bottom shelf. I also reorganized our food into categories. I tried to keep the breakfast products somewhat together, the baking supplies in one area, the cans on one shelf and the snacks together. Now I can see exactly how many of items we have. And with our snacks in vacuüm sealed containers, they will last longer and I won’t have to throw away stale bags of chips!

That’s all for now! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Give Thanks

The dining room table is back in the dining room, the food is in the crockpots and we are ready for Thanksgiving! As promised here a few pictures of our Thanksgiving table:


What are you thankful for this year? We are thankful for family, friends and beautiful weather for safe travels. Hope you enjoy your dinner and time with family! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Candy corn

Has anyone noticed the insane amount of Halloween candy in stores? This year it seemed extremely early that the Halloween candy started creeping its way into stores (no pun intended). Was it just me, or did it start showing up at the end of August? Seeing holiday decorations and candy early always makes me anxious to start decorating for that holiday, but I always try to withstand the urge to start decorating over a month ahead of time. It keeps me from getting tired of the decorations before the holiday arrives. But this year, I gave in and started decorating for Halloween a little early.

Now that it’s pretty much a month from Halloween, I decided to try a fun centerpiece idea I found on Pinterest.

Feed the Flames

To make my version of this fun candy corn centerpiece, I used our Crate and Barrel vases and our candles from Ikea …

…And added some candy corn I bought at Target to make my interpretation:

I arranged them on our dining room table with a wire pumpkin I found at Michael’s last year for a fun fall table display. They look really nice with our Vera Bradley Yellow Bird placemats.

I’m still not sure I’m crazy about the garland, but I’m going to wait a bit and see if it grows on me. Or I will leave there until I find an alternative that I like better.

So on another note, lately Zoey has been very helpful around the house. She really enjoys redecorating our fall displays. Evidently, our fall leaves are also fun toys. Some of our friends came for a visit recently and they found a few leaves Zoey sampled from the stairway garland. The other day, I caught her in action.

And to end my short Fall-themed post, if I had smell-o-vision for my blog, it would smell like the delicious apple crisp I made on Monday. So for all you pumpkin spice latte drinkers out there, this is the perfect Fall dessert (other than pumpkin pie) to enjoy with your Fall beverage of choice. For me, it’s a carmel macchiato, because I’ve never been a big pumpkin spice latte drinker. So grab a dish of apple crisp (with vanilla ice cream, of course), curl up with a blanket and your pumpkin spice latte and enjoy the rest of the week!