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Monday, July 22, 2013

A Dinner Party at Sista's

Sista hosted a dinner party this weekend.  I begged asked her to send me some photos so I could share them with you.  She has a beautiful home in Connecticut which I have written about here, here and here.  Sista loves to entertain and does so beautifully with the help of her mister and their two handsome sons. 


When my Mister and I decided that we wanted to live in a 200 year-old house, we knew that one of the many concessions we would make is living close to the road.  For this reason, for the last ten years we have oriented our living to the back of the house.  When we entertain we are either on the uncovered back porch, or in the back field – which of course is problematic when it rains.

This weekend we invited my NY-based sister-in-law, her family and their good friends to dinner. The weatherman guaranteed severe thunderstorms followed by cooler air finally giving us a break from the heat wave that was so well publicized this past week (you’re probably rolling your eyes if you live in Texas).

So…. the question on my mind was… where to dine?  The dining room felt too formal and too hot, the kitchen felt too informal and too hot, and anywhere outside potentially too wet and too hot.  Then I had an idea.  We could eat on the front covered porch (located at the front of the house, close to the road).  When I told the sista my idea…. she immediately summoned  asked me to do a blog – so here it is!

One of the things I learned early on in my entertaining days was to keep several large boards of various sizes in our basement that I can use as a tabletop to enlarge an existing table to the size that I need.  We were ten for dinner, so I selected one that was 4x6.  (I once used two boards together on our dining room table to sit a whopping 20 for Thanksgiving.)

I pulled out a bedspread that I had bought from a hippie at the Goshen Fair a few years ago thinking I would use someday as a tablecloth – and it seemed that the day had finally arrived!   With a busy tablecloth, I needed some solid plates, and was happy to rediscover on the very highest shelf in the pantry cobalt blue chargers that I bought about 20 years ago from Pottery Barn. I’m embarrassed to tell you the kind of scrubbing that was required to make them presentable, let alone sanitary. 

I had fun roaming around the house picking out some knickknacks to which I haven’t paid much attention since I placed them on bookshelves or tables years ago.  Featuring them on the table gave them new life.

Most everything in my house is either from TJ Maxx, or yard and estate sales.  The water pitcher however is from Pottery Barn.

The color scheme screamed for sunflowers so I was excited to find some nice ones at Stop & Shop.  For the table, I cut the stems short and placed them in small silver cream and sugar holders.  For the buffet I kept the stems long and placed them in an old enamel pitcher that I found at a flea market a few years back.  As it has a leak, I placed a vase inside. 

I was happy to finally use these folding rattan chairs. I picked them up at an estate sale for $10 each and have enthusiastically defended my purchase to my Mister ever since.

I’d love to tell you that I folded these paper napkins origami style, but the truth is I bought them already folded at TJ Maxx – who knew?  I used the silverware as weights in case the thunderstorms brought wind.

The table seemed complete with the chandelier that my neighbor had bought with me at a flea market and later gifted to me - never used.  To supplement the candlelight I nagged   asked  my mister to throw up a few Christmas lights.

Like the sista’s mister, my mister is the chef in the family.  Apparently his genes were passed down to my #2 who pretty much has been cooking all our meals this summer. He took the helm as the Chef for the party.  I love that boy.

We served butter-flied leg of lamb, grilled vegetable skewers and Christopher’s famous, roasted potatoes avec lardon (bacon always seems to be included with Chef Chris).

When children ten and under are included in the party, we can pretty much always count on a “show”.  Annabel (8) and Manon (5) transformed the landing into a stage.  What we were not expecting is that my college bound son would jump into the act for a well-rehearsed modern day Patty Cake with Annabel.

For dessert, we served “red, white and blueberry shortcake” in mason jars – who doesn’t love anything in a Mason jar?  After buying baking the biscuits, I used the jar to cut the tops and bottoms of the biscuits, leaving the bottom in the mason jar, and reserving the tops and the discarded pieces to layer.  I also prepared the strawberries and blueberries in advance so that all I had to do was whip the cream and layer the strawberries, cream and biscuit pieces and top.  It only took about 5 minutes to prepare the ten.  With a few more minutes and a few less glasses of wine they probably would have looked a little better.

Manon did not seem to care.

So that is my dinner party on the front porch.  The ironic thing is we did not get a single drop of rain!  I might do this again some day.


Thank you, dear Sista for a peak into your beautiful dinner party!
Hopefully I'll be at the next one!

George Clooney making the rounds.

Crazy Wiley enjoying happy hour.

Mr. Max in his favorite place... his mommy's lap.
Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

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  1. Okay I am a little confused. This was your sista's blog and she wrote about her dinner party? No matter - can I be an adopted sista!? sandie

  2. What a fabulous idea! Love the idea of adding a piece of plywood to make a bigger table. If we moved the party out front my neighbors would surely think we were nuts...hmm...just might have to do it! LOL And, who doesn't love a boy that can cook??? I married one, and couldn't be happier.

  3. So cute! The hippie in me loves that tablecloth! And the mason jar desserts look amazing!

  4. Loved all the décor and almost laughed til I cried at the statement that a few more minutes and a few less wines would have made the dessert better.

  5. Wow Katie! Everything looks fabulous! The sunflowers are perfect for a summer alfresco meal and I love the chandelier right in the middle of table! Great idea!

  6. Cuz, beautiful table. I love the wine glasses.

  7. Beautiful space for a dinner party! Thanks for sharing.


J McLaughlin

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