For this contest, we had several terrific entries. I was amazed at the beauty that some of you ladies displayed in your homes. Every entry was precious in it’s own way. We loved to see some of the wonderful creativity of our terrific readers. We loved seeing your children get involved. I enjoyed seeing you take the time to bless your families. The part I do not love is judging. I want everyone to get a prize!
One, submitted by Eyvonne was described like this:
“My sons set this table! It was part of our “Young Gentlemen’s” course. It wasn’t set with our best dishes, our finest silver, or crystal goblets (actually, we don’t have any of that!). I was set with servants hearts and proud hands!”Eyvonne: There were nice, bold colors. It was so well done, I would love to tell you that the boys passed the course! The table looked great, but not “too” girly!Here are some of the other notes we received:
I’m sending you a picture of my table. Also, I’m sending you a picture of the “restaurant table” my daughter set up – complete with dessert “play dough lava cake”. She wasn’t doing it for any contest, she just wanted to treat Mom and Dad to a homemade restaurant meal. I hope you enjoy them. -Robin”I LOVED the lava cake! It was beautiful. You are blessed with a creative daughter. I love the smiles in the picture. Your daughter should be pleased with the fruits of her labor.
I wanted to write and tell you that I “set my table” the other night and the reactions from my family were AMAZING!!! I “plated” (as Paula Deen says) their food and had it ready when they came in from playing and I was shocked that they all (including DH) took notice, appreciated, and really seemed to enjoy it. Thanks for helping encourage me to bless our home. -Ginger”
Your pictures were terrific. I loved the way you put the sauce on the plate in a decorative way. I have never done that, and I know I will try that next time I serve something with sauce. Paula Deen would be pleased!
“I’m so glad that you had that message about setting the table. It does make a difference when you set the table with the good china. We try hard to make our Saturday evening meal our special family meal and we’ll pull out the good dishes and take extra time with the meal. It’s calming and makes everyone feel special. Even the cook 🙂 Thanks again – Linda”
Linda: You are so welcome! I enjoyed seeing the pictures from our readers. It helps me know you guys better! I am glad you have a set time of the week to use the nice dishes. That is a great idea to share!
More letters about the contest:
” Hi Malia- I stumbled across your web page just recently and I noticed this article and
was inspired as I thought about the last time I set the table “special” just for
us and I realized that that had been at Christmas, right after my youngest son
was born and we were feeding my in-laws and a set of missionaries. We had a
packed house, but the company was special and that’s what I had thought at the
time, even though my mother-in-law was here to help me supposedly, she fell
sick and spent all day on the couch. Anyway, I realized that even though that
“special” time, a holiday, my family is very special to me and I can try to do
just a little bit extra to show them that, especially now that my youngest can
sit in his high chair close to the table and join us. I don’t have any
pictures of this, my camera was hijacked by my husband for work. So I’ll try
to describe this as best I can. I also have to tell you a little about my
family. I am a mother with three kids, two boys and one girl, from ages 9
months to just barely 4 years old. This can be very hectic sometimes as the
baby is just starting to eat solid foods and trying to get food ready for the
little ones can strain a good mood really fast with the whining to get
everything perfect, but they are worth the try.
Our everyday dishes are white with ivy, but the kids don’t help with those, so
this setup gives them something different to us. I set the table with a
midnight blue silky tablecloth with matching napkins. Then I set down 4 silver
charger plates at each place. Then goes clear crystal plates for my husband
I, but the kids get to use clear plastic plates that look almost as fancy as
mom and dad’s, but aren’t as breakable. Mom and Dad get to use the crystal
goblets from their wedding and the kids get to use the plastic goblets that
look just like them. The goblets are also a great size for folding napkin fans
into if we’re feeling extra fancy. We just use the regular silverware since we
have anything else to use. Then we put the crystal candle holders with tall
cream taper candles in the center, but we don’t light them when the kids are at
the table, just to be safe. This also gives a chance for family dinner and a
small lesson in manners and how to be polite and take turns.
Angels watch over you.
P.S. As I was typing this my husband returned my camera, so I rushed over to
the kitchen to take a picture.
P.S. it doesn’t take a whole lot of money or time to do it differently either. We got most of our “fancy” dishes
at Big Lots for a $1 a piece, the plates, chargers and napkins too. My husband came home for lunch and asked what the occasion was.”
Holly: Thank you for the fantastic word picture and the actual pictures you took. I know your story will inspire others, too. You are right, it does not take much money to make the table nice, but it does take a little thought and some effort.
“I don’t know if you will get this message. But, I wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your newsletters. I dont’ get the opportunity to visit the actual site too often, but I so enjoy it when I do. I almost always use our “regular” dishes with glasses and the only desert dishes we have on a daily basis and like you discovered a couple years ago that it is a blessing to do this, but it’s a nice blessing to have the kids do the dinner dishes and clean up. OUr kids are 11, 8, 7, 2, and 1 so the chores were divided according to age and ability. All three older kids clear the table – with the two younger doing most of it while the oldest puts the food in storage containers and into the fridge. Then the 8 yo puts the dishwasher safe dishes into the dishwasher and any “minor” dishes she can easily wash into the drain. Then the oldest does the “bigger” items — pots/pans, baked on stuff etc. While the 7 year old wipes the table and vacuums the dining room. The 2 yo at this time is mostly in charge of tossing some trash at best as she usually throws the dishes into the sink since she can’t reach just yet. As they age we alter and move around the various tasks.
Anyway, thank you for the reminder that our families are such a blessing and we can bless them by preparing a nice table to serve their meals on. It may be mundane, but it speaks volumes of the love and care we have for them. – Liz
PS I made a nice dinner the other night as our big kids were out with their honorary aunt and I put flowers on the table and my husband didn’t even notice. HA!!!”
Thank you for writing and sharing. I love to hear your kitchen clean up routine. It seems like we are always tweaking our dinner routine depending on the schedule, and who is available to clean. Right now, most of it falls to Sarah (10) and Anne Mary (8). I really need to get better at delegating to David (3) since by his age his sisters were well on their way to helping with dinner cleaning. I know what you mean about our husbands not always noticing the “little” things we do. I have learned after all these years of marriage if I want him to notice something, and he is missing it, I just sweetly point it out. Then I get to hear him ooh and aah over it, and I am not sulking. My husband does things all day at work that I never see and I never praise him for it! This is a good reminder for me to try to watch more for the little things and be appreciative.
“ We could not afford to go out for dinner for Valentines Day so my daughters and I fixed up a cozy private dinner in our bedroom for just my husband and I. Lots of candles, decorations on the closet door, silk flowers from my nephew’s wedding, and a special meal. My daughter, Jessica, 19 also made hearts on wire to add to the flower arangement. She put beads and sparklies on them. I also put candles and hearts I punched out of paper with my paper punch I use for scrapbooking on the table that I use for scrapbooking that was behind us (oh we put some punched out hearts on the card table too), and the girls made dangling hearts for the table and for the closet doors, and put some crepe paper up too. This was our dessert, dd Rachel made the cupcakes and dd Jessica made the rose out of pink paper without a pattern because they wanted a flower to go on the dessert tray. I still have the rose on my bookcase. I also left the hearts hanging on my closet… they looked so lovely.
My husband liked this so much that we do it occasionally, not quite as fancy as this night. He just recently asked if we could have a date night again in our bedroom.
Ooohhhh, I forgot I also had soft romantic music playing.
I have also started having special lunches with each of my kids in my bedroom once a week. We do make that special also, and decorate the card table, sometimes. Then we spend the afternoon together. I clear my schedule and from lunch ’til dad comes home at 4pm we do whatever that child wants, just him (her) and I in my bedroom. We have mostly played computer games, board games and watched a movie, and of course had a good chat. And lots of FUN! We call it Mom and Me Time. – Debbie”
My girls had such a hard time choosing the winner this time. The LOVED all the entries. I was so glad I was not the judge. They ended up choosing Debbie’s as the winner. I think they were touched by your daughters and you going to such a great effort to make a special night on a tight budget. We have certainly been there!
Thank you all so much for sending us your entries. I was truly inspired and blessed by them!