When we’re hosting a casual get together like this week’s Sunday Funday menu, I try to keep everything quick, easy and straightforward. These sausage stuffed mushrooms and parmesan crisps are so easy – worth every second of effort and they’ll make your guests feel like you really, really went all out for them.
So the saying goes, “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” I love spending our Sunday’s with friends and family. It’s such an enjoyable way to round out the week and get one last recharge in before the chaos of a new week.
Keeping Sunday entertaining easy and simple is so important, not just for you as a hostess but for your guests. You want to make them feel comfortable and like they’re getting their last dose of relaxation in before their week, too. I am loving this menu for a great Sunday lunch.
I’m all about casual entertaining (okay, china and a beautifully set table 100% has its place and I’m super into that, too). Keeping things casual sends a signal to your guests that they can just relax, be themselves, be comfortable. A simple menu packs a punch when all the flavors go from one dish to the next – it’s like a good playlist or a great story. Putting together this menu, I thought about each flavor in the dishes working together. I’m not a big fan of say, cheese and crackers for an appetizer and ground beef tacos for the main dish – a little jarring for my taste.
Stay casual by picking a palette – keep the colors in the same family and stack up your dishes and utensils for an easy grab. A stack of dishes to me is a little bit more like, “hey thanks for joining us for our usual dinner.” What’s better than having your friends join you for an every day kind of meal?
I have a sick stash of mason jars around the house and use them for everything – smoothies, flowers, and here, utensils. I always throw utensils in a mason jar. What could be more casual?
I’ve gotta share my not-so-guilty pleasure with you guys. Podcasts. I’m so completely hooked. One of my favorites is Gretchen Rubin‘s Happier Podcast. (You might know her from the book Happiness Project.)
Starting to listen to Happier has made me practice self awareness, recognizing my personality (totally a rebel, spot on, Gretchen!) and basically hack myself to be more productive.
One thing I’ve started in 2018 is a Sunday routine. I’ve been referring it to a routine or habits rather than “rules” because, as you can imagine (even without taking the personality quiz yourself), if I’m calling myself a rebel, rules are not a thing for me. I’m like, yeah, no thanks. RULES. Psh.
But this new Sunday Habit Routine thingy is totally working. In fact, I’m finding it challenging to fall asleep because I’m so prepared for Monday, I have nothing to stress about as I fall asleep.
I wanted to share my new routine with you because maybe it will help keep those Sunday Blues at bay and anxiety away. This routine is really helping my Monday anxiety and even throughout the week. Being a little more self aware is helping me recognize triggers and how I can stay ahead of it.
Each year, people make resolutions – big ones, little ones, easy ones, hard ones and ones they never even work on. I’ve never been big on resolutions. Why? Because I hate to fail. I really hate it. I hate it so much I might even be a little scared of it.
There’s that saying “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” So this year, I’m making all sorts of resolutions. Ones that scare me a little, and ones that I know I can stick to. Some of my resolutions, if I just make it a little easier for myself or lower the bar just a tad, I know I can crush it.
Hang in there with me, I promise these random stamps are about to make sense!
This year, Hubby and I actually worked on our resolutions together so we can hold each other accountable but also work towards the same goals. It’s funny though, whenever we make lists of dreams or goals, we have so much over lap – we are truly two peas in a pod.
Here are our resolutions:
- Finances. Since I left my job in April 2016, we’ve not been doing as great a job at saving money as we want to. Mid-2017 we started to get back on track and reminded each other of the big savings goals we have. One is to be able to fix the upstairs of our house – it’s a home built in the 1930s and needs some work. A closet in our bedroom would be clutch.
- Routine. I have my nighttime routine down pat (more on that to come!) but we both really want to get into a morning routine together. Reading up on entrepreneurs and their success, it always seems to hinge on that morning routine. Getting up before most, accomplishing a workout, a healthy breakfast and prioritizing the day will help us get on track.
- Explore More. Running your own businesses comes with a lot of responsibilities, especially to stay home. While we haven’t been able to travel as much as we like, I think sometimes we forget that we are in a great place for staycations. With Philadelphia only a few hours away and NYC only an hour train ride away, we want to get out and explore more this year. The key to us actually doing this is going to be putting it on our joint calendar!
- Learn New Things. Hubby wants to take a few classes to help him better his business. I want to take a photography class. Oh and sign up for that adult learning French class once and for all!
- Read More. When I was commuting 3+ hours a day, I was reading 3+ hours a day. Instead of putting this expectation on myself to read several books per week, I am aiming to read one book a month. I’m trying to get the Hubster to read 1 book…in 2018 (lol).
- Celebrate Others. Cue my stamps! Okay, so I love cards and I love the special effort someone gives you to send you a card and not just for your birthday. A handwritten note shows someone has taken the time to think of you, write your name and address, place a stamp on the envelope and tuck it into the mail. How many people actually take the time to think of someone else so intimately? I always have the best intentions of sending those cards I hoard, but I never do. To make it easier and more excuse-proof, I’m keeping stamps in the car! I don’t have to purchase one every time I send a card, and I keep a stack of birthday and event cards in our office
- Unplug. As business owners, this is so. hard. to. do. But we’re both trying. It’s our goal now to spend 1 hour per week together without our phones. For example, going for a hike with our dog and leaving our phones behind (minus Hubby’s smartwatch that can place a call…just in case).
- Giving Back. I’ve been searching for a non profit that aligns with my own goals and beliefs and interests. It’s my goal in 2018 that we both dedicate time and/or monetary support for non profits that we believe in. And if I don’t find one? I’ll start my own.
Tell me your resolutions & how you plan to get after it! I would love to hear them and add to my own list!
Christmas Eve has always been a special holiday to me. I love our family traditions, especially when we share “oplatek” at my grandparents’ house. It’s a Polish tradition, one rooted in the idea of breaking bread with your family at the end of advent. If you want to read more about this tradition, check out this article on NPR.
This year is our second year hosting Christmas Eve in our home. I’ve been planning our menu for weeks (and weeks), which we’ve settled on being cocktail party food. With about 15 people joining us, it will be an easy way to pace our celebration over the course of six hours.
We’ll have a mix of cold and hot appetizers, each hour featuring a small hot dish that serves as the centerpiece. We’re planning on mini quesadillas with scratch made tortillas, mini beef wellington, lamb lollipops, stuffed mushrooms, falafel, chicken skewers and pumpkin soup. It sounds like a lot, but we’ll be serving small portions so everyone can enjoy and graze throughout the day.
Because I’ll be in and out of cooking throughout Christmas Eve, I’ve opted for a simple jeans and tunic outfit. I just picked up these step hem jeans from Nordstrom that are to die for. They have so much stretch, are so super comfy, but also keep their tailored shape. Plus that have the step hem and I’m a total sucker for a raw step hem!
The sparkles on this Free People are the perfect holiday touch! This top really does run large – I would go down at least one size if not two! I do like things to be oversized, especially with jeans, but wish I had sized down.
We’ll be busy and I really want to be able to sit and enjoy our time with family and friends, especially my grandmother and uncle who will be visiting from Michigan. This outfit will be comfortable enough to move around all day and head out to “midnight” mass (why is it at 10PM now?!).
I’d love to hear about your Christmas Eve traditions!
This November marked 3 years with our home and I can’t believe it. Time has gone by so quickly! Each year, we’ve layered our Christmas decorations – especially our ornament collection – and added a little here and there.
When we first bought our home, I couldn’t wait to dress it up in holiday trimmings and have all our friends and family gather with us.
Each year, I add to our Christmas ornament collection by a few (dozen…don’t tell on me). I’ve been aspiring to dress our tree the way my mom did hers every year – completely dripping with an eclectic mix of ornaments.
When Al and I travel, we’ve begun a tradition of collecting an ornament from our trip. It’s a fun way to remember our adventures without filling our home with unnecessary things. I could sit and stare at our tree for hours – it’s really my absolute favorite feature of our holiday decorations.
Christmas Eve-Eve has become one of my absolute favorite holiday traditions. Each year, my cousins and I have made a point to get together for Christmas, especially since we don’t all end up in the same places for the holiday celebrations.
There are few things I love more than a good book. Receiving a great book as a gift is definitely on the top of my list – it’s thoughtful, and when it’s a book the gifter themselves truly loves, it’s a little piece of them that they are gifting to you.
A good book doesn’t have to mean the next best novel, a good book is recognizing that it is one you know the recipient will love. Also, not for nothing, but it’s a great last minute gift, either with Amazon Prime or running out to your local bookstore.
There’s something about a well-stocked cookie jar full of homemade goodness that makes a house so inviting and warm. Basically, our cookie jar is a way for me to lure my nephews into thinking I’m the coolest aunt. I’m not above bribery, let’s be real.
These cookies are my go-to, especially around the holidays. A chocolate chip cookie is a safe bet for a homemade gift, perfect for a hostess, a neighbor, or a little special extra for a family to enjoy. I promise, they’re quick and easy, soft and chewy, and worth every second of effort.
PS – A cookie jar, full of these, is a perfect gift!
Whenever we host a gathering, I like to think about how I can set the mood and music is always a part of that planning. Putting together a great playlist is a wonderful way to set the tone for your celebration and only takes a little bit of uninterrupted thinking. With just a week until Christmas Eve, I’ve started to put together the music we’ll play for our guests during our celebration.
When I put together a playlist there are a three things I like to consider:
- What time of day is the gathering? If it’s day-to-evening like our Christmas Eve celebration will be, I start a playlist with up-beat music and shift into low key music for dinner and after.
- How long do I expect to be entertaining? I try to include as many songs as I can to cover the time we’ve invited our guests..
- Who will be joining us? Hubby and I love country music, but not all of our guests do. I try to make sure I include music I know everyone will enjoy.
Here is our Christmas playlist you can subscribe to on Spotify – I’ll be editing and adding music to it over the next week. I’m always rearranging my playlists as I listen to see if I like the way the songs transition. I know. A little crazy.