Lemons: A Simple Way to Brighten Your Centerpieces

Have you ever walked past your dining table and noticed that your tablescape or table centerpiece is looking dull and boring. You want to freshen it up a bit but don’t have a lot of time. The solution: You need to buy some lemons! Lemons are inexpensive, bright, and easy to find in all grocery stores so why not add them to your tablescape? I even mix artificial lemons with real lemons in my arrangements because it creates a variation in the size of the lemons which creates a more realistic look.

Solution #1:

Lemons in a Jar

Place a clear jar on a cake stand and fill the jar with lemons. Next, add greenery and more lemons around the outside of the jar. This centerpiece will brighten any table. To shop this look just click on the highlighted words.

Solution #2:

Lemons in a Wire Basket

Place a wire basket on a cake stand and then fill with lemons and greenery. To shop this look just click on the highlighted words.

Solution #3:

Lemons and Greenery in a Pitcher

First place eucalyptus greenery and branches in skinny vase. Next put the skinny vase inside a large white wide mouthed pitcher or vase. By putting the vase inside the pitcher your greenery and branches will stand up stronger and straighter. If you are using a white vase instead of the wide mouthed pitcher you probably won’t need the skinny vase inside. Now put lemons into greenery, around mouth of pitcher and around base of pitcher. To shop this look just click on the highlighted words.

Solution #4:

Lemons Grouped Along a White Tablescape

First place a white focal point such as a bird cage in the center of a table runner. Next add white candlesticks of varying heights along the table runner. (I like using white or glass objects because it helps the lemons’ yellow color pop.) Now wind green garland around the candlesticks. Last add lemons in groups of 3 along the greenery. To shop this look just click on the highlighted words.

Solution #5:

Lemons and Greenery in a Basket

This one is super simple yet it makes a happy and fresh impact! Just put lemons and greenery in basket. To shop this look just click on the highlighted words.

Creating an inviting table is the first step in actually using your dining table on a regular basis. Tablescapes do not have to be complicated or expensive. Start by collecting basic table props that can be used for multiple seasons and holidays. I have a great starter list in my “47 Must Haves on Your Wedding Registry” post. Click the highlighted link to go to the printable list.

Quick AND Healthy Cauliflower Spanish Rice

This quick and healthy Cauliflower Spanish Rice is a great side dish! It goes with Mexican food or just chicken. On those nights you don’t have much time just pick up a rotisserie chicken and add it into the dish. All of the ingredients, except for the bell peppers, are either pantry items or freezer items.

  • 1 bag of cauliflower bits (Buy a couple of bags and toss them in your freezer. They freeze beautifully and are a staple at my house.)
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 can black beans (drained)

Saute cauliflower bits and bell pepper in olive oil until cauliflower bits start turning brown. Add tomatoes and black beans. Season dish with Uncle Chris’ Gourmet Steak Seasoning, ground cumin, and garlic powder to taste. Uncle Chris’ Gourmet Steak Seasoning is my favorite spice mixture because it is easy and adds wonderful flavor. It can be used on all meats and vegetables. If you have an avocado try dicing the avocado up and adding it to the top of the Cauliflower Spanish Rice.

To try Uncle Chris’ Gourmet Steak Seasoning click HERE.

Hope this quick and healthy Cauliflower Spanish Rice dish helps you gather your loved ones around Your Family Table: The Secret to a Healthy Family!

47 Must Haves on Your Wedding Registry

I have heard many brides talk about how creating a wedding registry can be an overwhelming task. How do you make smart choices and choose things that you will like years from now? How do you know what you will really use? How do you choose when you just can’t make up your mind?

If you are getting married or maybe you recently got married and are having some difficulty knowing what to do with the gifts you’ve received then use this list of 47 Must Haves to help you create a beautiful table for friends and family to gather around. I have included basic items that will work for multiple seasons and holidays and will work for both an everyday table and a special occasion. I have included links to shop these items so just click on the item name. Feel free to print this list out and use to register at the store of your choice.

Layer #1 of Your Table:

Layer #2 of Your Table:

Layer #3 of Your Table:

Layer #4 of Your Table:

If you use this list you will be able to create beautiful everyday and special occasion tables year round. I will be doing a multi-post series showing how to use these items in your tablescapes so please sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss those tablescape ideas! Click HERE.

Need Wedding Registry Ideas? Think Tablescapes

So you are getting married. Congratulations! You have found the love of your life and you are going to begin making a home with this special person. Now it is time to register for wedding gifts. This can be overwhelming. You want to make smart choices. How do you choose wisely? How do you choose items that you will actually still like 10 or 20 years down the road? It is important to have a plan with an end goal in mind so you don’t end up with a bunch of random items. Why not think “Tablescapes”? Focus on things you will use on your table. Creating a pretty table shows family and friends that they are welcome in your home and specifically welcome at your table.

Here are some general ideas for your table that might help you get started on a wedding registry with a purpose.

  • Choose a season of the year (winter, spring, summer, or fall) to focus on when choosing table and dining items. Focusing on a season will help you narrow down color choices for your tablecloths, placemats and napkins.
  • Add a statement item to your list that could be used as a centerpiece for your table such as a nice large vase, tall candlesticks, or quality, artificial topiaries.
  • Choose white, off white or clear glass for your everyday dinnerware. This makes your dinnerware much more versatile.

If you want to get more specific in your gift registry selections try thinking of your table decorations or tablescapes in 4 layers.

  • Layer #1: The bottom layer is made up of table cloths, table runners, place mats and/or chargers. You can use one of these or all three. I leave place mats and chargers on my table all the time. Hints:
    • If you don’t like to iron choose woven or natural fiber placemats.
    • A table runner is great because you can leave it on the table all the time without it looking too formal.
    • Table cloths do not need to cover the entire table. You can scrunch or gather your table cloths on the center of your table to create a casual look.
    • Choose solid colored table cloths. Add pattern with your napkins.
    • Gold chargers are a good beginning choice. They go with everything and can be dressed up or down.
  • Layer #2: The next layer is the main centerpiece. This gives you a center focal point to work around. Why not register for decorative items that can do double duty? Hints:
    • a lantern
    • a wreath
    • a cake stand
    • a basket
    • a tray
    • a favorite collection such as: pitchers, kitchen tins, or even rabbits for spring
Think Tablescapes for Your Wedding Registry
Not a baker? Add a cake stand to your gift registry anyway. It is the perfect way to add height to a centerpiece.

  • Layer #3: In this layer you need to think about how you want to branch off the main centerpiece. Do you want candles of varying heights, a runner of greenery, or smaller containers filled with flowers or fruit? Hints:
    • Use small mirrors under items in this layer to add sparkle to your table.
    • Quality artificial greenery such as magnolia leaves and penny eucalyptus can add a lot to this layer.
    • Glass votives work well in this layer.
    • Fill small glass containers with clear glass gems and top with a small candle.
  • Layer #4: Now you can add your plates, glasses, silverware, napkins, and napkin rings and place cards. Hints:
    • Don’t be afraid of pattern when choosing napkins. Choose a color palette that matches the season you are focusing on.
    • Keep water glasses clear. If you want to add some color do so in your wine glasses.
    • Definitely put napkin rings on your list. You can never have too many.

I hope this helps you feel more confident in your registry choices. For your convenience I have made a checklist of 47 Must Haves on Your Wedding Registry for you to refer to when registering for wedding gifts that focuses on each layer of your tablescape. Click HERE to go to the checklist.

Conversation Starters for Your Table

Conversation Starters for Your Family Table

In my blog post “7 Reasons to Gather Around Your Family Table” I wrote, “it creates a time for conversation”. That is true but how many of you parents ask your children questions that they respond to with a short “yes” or “no”. That can be very frustrating as a parent! To help start deeper discussions at your family’s table I have written “17 Conversation Starters for Your Table” available to anyone who signs up for my newsletter email list. Please click HERE to sign up.

About Me

Thank you for taking a minute to gather around to hear a little bit about my story. I am the mother of 3 girls. Our youngest is 16 so I am entering a new phase in my life and I am learning how to relate to my children as adults. It is exciting to watch them grow into happy young women who are finding their own passions.

Mealtime has always been an important time of the day in my family. Growing up we sat down at the family table together every night. (A shout-out of “Thanks” to my mother!) That was how mealtime was modeled for me so that is what I did with my children too. I thought that was what every family did until my daughters would mention things like, “Did you know other families don’t eat together every night like we do?”

Gathering around the table in the evenings allows my family to connect after a busy day. We share problems, concerns, highs and lows. When the girls were younger it was an opportunity to teach table manners and practice conversation skills. No phones are allowed. My oldest daughter shared with me recently that she felt our family table was the best thing I did as a parent. Wow! I will be sharing ideas on how to make a family table happen in our busy lives.

I usually have at least a centerpiece on my dining table. I try to make the dining table a nice place to gather. A seasonal centerpiece is my favorite because I don’t have to change it very often. I like to keep placemats with chargers at each chair so the table looks “ready”. I will be sharing my table tips and tablescapes in this blog.

A simple cook….that’s me! I try to make balanced meals that are on the low carb side. I generally serve a protein and one side dish. I’m not very good at following a recipe. I would rather see a list of ingredients and tweak it to fit my family’s tastes. Canned goods and frozen items are always on my grocery list. I will have a recipe section on the blog.

I spent almost 20 years teaching. My husband and I remodel houses. Blogging is new to me so thank you for your patience while I learn. I hope you will follow my blog and sign up for my newsletter.

Please gather around,


Some of the links on this website are affiliate links so if you choose to go through the links to make a purchase I will earn a commission. The decision to buy is completely up to you

Easy and Healthy Side Dish

Tomato Burst Salad

This tasty side dish takes only minutes to prepare and just 5 ingredients. It is low carb and full of nutrients. Try it and remember to gather around!

  1. Saute an onion. I prefer to use a sweet onion.
  2. Add a package of cherry tomatoes to the onion and cook until the tomatoes begin to burst.
  3. Let onions and tomatoes cool.
  4. Add mozzarella balls.
  5. Add a cut seedless cucumber.
  6. Add a balsamic dressing. I like to use a bottled honey balsamic such as Ken’s Steak House. Ken’s Steak House Balsamic with Honey Dressing 16 Oz (Pack of 3)

Summer Version: Don’t cook onions and tomatoes and use an Italian dressing.

How to Use Your Dining Space More Often

How many of you have a dining space that you only use for special occasions? Eating meals together regularly is the secret to healthier family relationships so why aren’t you using that space more often? We don’t have to wait for a special occasion. You can make everyday feel like a special occasion without too much effort.

Here are some things to try:

  • “Set” your table. The Art of the Table: A Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners, and Tableware. This doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need a place for each person to sit. Use real plates, silverware, and glasses if possible. You can even involve your children and teach them how to “set” a table. (website resource)
  • A lot of dining tables double as work spaces. If this is your situation keep a basket close to your table to put all the papers, books, etc. in so the table can be cleared for “setting”.
  • Sometimes it helps to serve the food “family style” where all the food is placed on the table before serving it. By putting the food on the table your family has to go to the table to get it. This does take more time and effort. I use more of a buffet style daily now that my family is used to gathering around the table.
  • Plan to gather around the table for at least 20 minutes. Set a meal timer, if necessary. Use this time to connect with your family. I will feature some conversation starters in a later post to help with this.
  • Make gathering around the table fun so your family wants to sit together. Remember, it isn’t just about the food. Leave a note under someone’s napkin such as: “Hope you had a fantastic day!” or give each person a joke or riddle to read out loud at the table.
  • Even on the nights that your family picks up food for dinner have everyone sit a the table to eat. Try to resist the urge to eat standing up or in front of the TV.
  • This sounds funny but turn on the light above your table in your dining space while you are making dinner. This will light up your table and “invite” your family to sit down.

These are just a few ideas. I will be posting about conversation starters and easy place setting ideas in the future. Please sign up for my newsletter to get “17 Conversation Starters for Your Table“.