dinner party tips

Fall Cocktails

Rosemary Sangria
Rosemary Sangria

Cranberry & Rosemary Sangria with Blueberry Garnish

For fall entertaining, substitute white wine for red in your favorite sangria recipe and a dash of cranberry juice. Try a sprig of rosemary and a decorative toothpick with blueberries as garnishes. For the fruit, add you favorites or try apples with fresh cranberries.

Decorating Tip: Natural Tree Decorations

natural tree ornaments
natural tree ornaments

I wanted to share these tips from Renae Wortz at Mom Colored Glasses with natural decorations you can make at home. They are eco-friendly and fun party activities.

Trim a Natural and Fragrant Christmas Tree with these Easy DIY Ornaments

Cut-out Cinnamon “Cookie” Ornaments

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of salt

1/2 cup of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil (you can find this in the baking section of the grocery store)

1 cup of water

Christmas cookie cutters

Ribbon (for ornament hanger)

Miscellaneous craft supplies (optional)

First, mix all the dry ingredients together with a spoon.

Add the cinnamon oil and then the water, pouring in a little at a time. You want it to be similar to the consistency of cut-out sugar cookie dough – well-formed, not crumbly but not too tacky to the touch. You will want to taste the dough because it smells so good, but TRUST ME! While it is non-toxic, it does not taste very good! Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours.

Due to an especially crafty urge, a smattering of the Christmas spirit and the fact that my two-year-old was taking a lengthy snooze, I decided to create a few more ornaments while waiting for the dough to firm-up in the fridge.

I recently came across this idea on (none other than) Martha Stewart’s website for making dried orange slice ornaments. Eureka! Natural and Yummy-Smelling!  All you do is slice up a few oranges into 1/4-inch rounds and bake them in a 175 degree oven for 4 hours. I sliced up a few and popped them in the oven. That was easy!

While looking for a snack (since I still had time to kill) I came upon this bag of fresh cranberries waiting to be made into delicious cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. Hmmmmm, maybe I can make an ornament with them…

How about a cranberry wreath ornament! After searching for some wire in my messy craft supply closet, I cut a piece about 12 inches long and began threading cranberries onto the wire.

This was surprisingly easy!  In less than two minutes I filled the piece of wire with cranberries leaving 1 1/2 inch tails at either end. I then formed a circle with the wire, twisted the wire tails together to secure and added a bow and hanger. Ta-da!

After an hour of crafting, kitchen-cleaning and snacking, I’m back to the cut-outs. Roll out the “cookie” dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness and then cut out Christmas shapes using the cookie cutters.

Now, poke a hole at the top of each “cookie” for adding a ribbon hanger. I used a cake decorating tip which worked great.

Bake the ornaments at 250 degrees for 1-2 hours, until they are firm to the touch.  After cooling completely, slip a ribbon through the ornament and hang it on your Christmas tree!

I’m picturing a fresh spruce tree, covered with cinnamon stars, citrus slices, cranberry wreaths, popcorn garlands and maybe some vintage Christmas postcards made into ornaments….hmmmm, and how about a burlap tree skirt? The perfect all natural and wonderfully fragranced Christmas tree!

I had a fun afternoon making these fragrant ornaments (my house already smells wonderful!)….and will also feel good about how I decorate my Christmas tree this year. Here’s to a “greener” Christmas!

Read the whole article here: http://momcoloredglasses.com/healthy-living/green-lifestyle/trim-a-natural-and-fragrant-christmas-tree-with-these-easy-diy-ornaments/ 

Thanksgiving Table Scape Tips

Check out these useful tips from www.sheknows.com for Thanksgiving table scape tips on a budget by Heather Barnett.



Tired of using the same ragged cornucopia you put on the Thanksgiving table when your son was 5? If it's time to update your holiday tablescape, don't blow your budget on a centerpiece you'll only use once a year. Try these modern ideas to give your Thanksgiving dinner those final touches without breaking the bank.

Thanksgiving tablescape

You want your Thanksgiving tablescape to look festive and fun, but man are those Thanksgiving pieces expensive. Instead of buying a high-end centerpiece, try these beautiful (and cheap) ways to decorate.

Fancy tablecloth and linens

You may want to splurge a bit on the tablecloth and linens so they last, but don’t buy a Thanksgiving-themed set. That means you can only use it at Thanksgiving.

Instead, go for plain designs in fall colors that you can reuse all year. Browns are great because they can be used for elegant place settings any time of year. You can even choose slightly more decorative linen napkins that have simple plaids, stripes or embellishments.

Find the complete article here.