Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Outdoor Oasis, Appetizer Party, and a Happy Mama.

Thank you Kohl's for this #Sponsored post. As always, all opinions stated are that of my own.

One thing that I learned growing up is that good company is needed for the soul.  It's something that enriches our lives and reminds us of how important it is to keep meaningful relationships going—whether it be friends, family, or both. Preferably both.  Top it off with delicious food and you have yourself what I like to call a home run.

Ever since we moved into our home four years ago, my goal has been to not only find the time to fill our homes with family, friends, and good old fashioned food, but to also find my niche in entertaining. To be honest with you, since becoming a mother, it has been one of those "hobbies" of mine that fell to the back burner. Finding the time to not only entertain and plan, but also to cook and set up, was at times exhausting when trying to still maintain our normal day-to-day with two young children.

Instead, what I have learned is to relax, take it down a notch, lower my crazy expectations that I have set for myself, and to figure out how to make it work, and more importantly—how to make it easier on myself.

When it comes to summertime, we find ourselves spending most of our time outdoors. From lunchtime to dinnertime to all the time in between. That is as long as it's not storming/100 degrees out. If not, then we are outside. So when our family or friends decide to come over around this time of year, we always try to plan something quick and easy, but if nothing else then something where we can find ourselves outdoors conversing in good company.

One thing that I have fallen in love with is the idea of an appetizer party. An appetizer party is always fun and something that I enjoy to do because it means that we can make the platters ahead of time {less time wasted cooking while our guests are here}, it's a much easier set up, and I'm not bursting out of my pants by the end of the night {sometimes}. And when I say easy clean up, I also mean kid-proof clean up. We used to do the glass plates and glass cups outside and I quickly learned that that was just plain silly.

Insert here the solution: Sonoma Outdoor Mason Jars with Straws   and Sonoma Outdoor 8-pc. Wine & Plate Party Set   . They are kid-proof, bright and durable, and so easy to clean up. For the placemats, I went with the bright and vibrant Fiesta Zigzag placemat  . They completed the set-up and I could not be more pleased. Not to mention I could actually let me little michievious duo actually run free and touch this and touch that and not worry.

Of course I could not leave them hanging at the party, so they got themselves their own little table {Step2 Sit & Play Jr. Picnic Table } and matching set up {without the wine glasses of course}. Might I add these two have been obsessed with their table since it arrived last week. It came with five pieces and it was literally snap this in, snap that in, and you're done. I set it up myself guys and that's big. It will be able to get through many summers I am sure, and I am already in the hunt for a little umbrella for their table.

I know it isn't anything fancy and over-the-top, but that is exactly why I love it. I love that I can be simple but fun at the same time and that it takes an entire load of worry off my chest. Plus the food tastes so much better when it's on pretty plates.

For more inspiration, checkout Sonoma Outdoors at Kohl's.

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