Saturday, July 27, 2013

Indoor Picnic

It has been quite a long time since we've had guests over for dinner other than family.  Life happened.  Busyness happened.  Laziness happened.  And we got out of the habit. 

When I was growing up we had company over all the time.  Especially after church services.  My parents' house was always open to guests whether for a meal and conversation or extended visits. Mom and Dad both seemed to enjoy it, although the bulk of the work fell to Mom.

When my children were younger we had guests fairly often but as I mentioned above, things changed.  But now, with the full agreement and cooperation of my husband (of course!) we've decided that it is high time that our home is once again to be used to extend hospitality and fellowship.

My friend, Cheryl, and I, along with our daughters, met for coffee one morning for the express purpose of planning an evening for our families to get together.  Cheryl is a hostess extraordinaire but my husband had already decided that he wanted to gather in our home, so the "where" was set.  We chatted for, oh, 3 hours or so before we even got out our calendars!

I don't normally do themed "dinner parties" but since this is a jumpstart for me, I decided to do something a bit out-of-the-norm.  Amelia was here to help carry out my plans, so why not use her talents?  I didn't have to think long before the idea of an Indoor Picnic sprang to mind. 

Cheryl and I have had several conversations about our mutual dislike of outdoor summer activities so what could be more perfect than to bring the best parts of a picnic inside?

I only took a couple pictures of the serving table.  BAD BLOGGER!  I was just so excited that I completely forgot!  The serving table was covered with a red and white gingham tablecloth, layed out for people to serve themselves buffet style.  First in line for the food were these little ants that I found at a local educational supply store.  The drink station was also self-serve, complete with beehive shaped beverage urn, foam cooler, yellow straws, and lemon wedges and simple syrup for the tea.  I wouldn't typically use paper plates for dinner but I had found red paper plate holders that complemented the décor and theme so well that I couldn't resist.  But no pictures.  Ugh!

I set the dining table with red and white gingham placemats.  I made these from a tablecloth that was too small for the dining table but too large for the kitchen table.  Actually, I had 2 identical tablecloths that I made into 2 smaller tablecloths, 1 table runner, and 8 placemats... with a little left over for a craft project that I want to do for next 4th of July.

Each place setting had a place card.  I bought small metal frames and had my daughter spray paint them white.  After they were completely dry I added a "silk" flower to each.  The flowers were applied with hot glue, so they were easily pulled off for me to use the frames as place cards for another occasion.  I had an ancient pack of gingham letter stickers to begin each person's name.  I would like to have been able to do the whole name in gingham, but such is life!

The centerpieces were dwarf sunflowers.  I left them in their original containers, wrapped them with burlap, and tied a strip of yellow gingham fabric (frayed edges!) around with a loose knot.

After we ate dinner and had some great conversation, it was time for dessert.  S'mores Cupcake in a Jar.  I assembled these scrumptious beauties the day before (blog post coming soon!).  Cheryl's daughter, Kati, is the baker in their family so I asked her to pipe the top layer of marshmallow fluff on each of the cupcakes and she was more than happy to oblige.  Then the one and only party game began!  Everyone had the opportunity to torch their own.  Some opted out, some were excited to try a new thing, but we were all glad that there was hand protection from the flame!  Whew! 

It was delicious, if I do say so myself! You can find the recipe for S'mores Cupcakes in a Jar HERE. 

After a quick clean-up of the food, we retired to the living room (comfy seats).  More conversation.  More fellowship. More laughter. 

I had such a good time.  Everyone else seemed to enjoy the evening as well.  You can read a little more about the evening HERE on Cheryl's blog.  While you are there, check out some of her posts concerning hospitality.  You won't be disappointed!


  1. Ants can find a picnic no matter where it is! How cute. And, I am sure the work that went into the "extra" touches (which were so appropriate) was appreciated by all. Way to go Joanne, Amelia and Cheryl! Can't wait for the next time.

    1. Thank you so much, Aunt Betty! Amelia was a huge help and I will pass along your "stamp of approval".

  2. YOU, my dear friend, are the hostess extraordinaire! You rolled out the red carpet for us, made us feel at home, and--wow!--that theme was adorable!! (And, yes, an indoor picnic was perfect for the two of us...and probably for everyone else too, as it was so hot that night.)

    Thank you again...all of you! :D

    1. The red *gingham* carpet! haha You are so very welcome. We all had such an enjoyable evening. We were blessed!