Pioneer Woman Dinner Party Potluck

Pioneer Woman Dinner Party Potluck

I absolutely LOVE when our home is filled with family and friends. Like few things bring me more joy. Just looking around at every seat in our home filled with people I love- it’s wonderful.

While we have family dinner pretty regularly, having friends over feels different. We’ve done holiday parties- but they can be work. Good work, but work nonetheless.

I make all the food, clean the house from top to bottom and drag out matching dishes.

Well, I decided enough is enough.  My friends don’t need perfect.  We just want to get together and enjoy each other. So I vowed to make it happen this year.

I scheduled a potluck (so I didn’t have to cook ALLLLL the food) and picked a theme: Pioneer Woman recipes! Everyone LOVED trying new things and the food was delicious!

I made some chicken spaghetti, olive bread, carnitas pizza (which was one of the faves of the night), malted chocolate chip cookies and cherry limeade.  Friends made loaded potatoes, mac and cheese, strawberry oatmeal bars, blueberry tarts and peach dumplings (two other faves!). It was a DELICIOUS meal….but it was also just SO FUN to all be together, let our kids play and enjoy the company.\

Side note: seriously, my friend Staci’s peach dumplings were AMAZING. Make them! 


We sort of split up into three areas for the meal: our dining room, kitchen and we set up a table in the living room (moving our coffee table)….and it was great.  The kids played outside (yes, in the cold….we loaned out lots of jackets and gloves) before dinner and even after in the dark (flashlights are fun toys, it turns out!). And we just loved each other.


Not to harp on this, but I didn’t do much more than a little cooking, setting up the table and vacuuming. I didn’t scrub toilets.  I didn’t clean ceiling fans.

No one cared. We had fun anyway (maybe more fun because it wasn’t “perfect”).

We sort of verbally committed to doing it again in April.  I think we may have a brunch theme next time.  Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?  I’m committed to us keeping this up. Not a flash in the pan. Let’s open our homes, serve each other and invite each other in.


It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be fancy.  We can all bring dishes, in our comfy clothes and messy houses and just BE together.

Weekend Recap: Christmas Parties!

Weekend Recap: Christmas Parties!

We had a full weekend of Christmas parties.  It’s a fun time to celebrate with friends for sure!

Friday evening was my work group party.  This was our second year to have this party and it was even more fun than last year.

I took the most fun date with me.  He wore his A Christmas Story hat.  You can’t see it because #blurrypic but the underside of the bill is Flick who got his tongue stuck to the pole! ha!

We ate a delicious meal (lesson learned…last year we had it catered and it wasn’t that great.  This year, we all brought potluck and it was GREAT.  We have some good cooks in the office.)

Then we played.  Chad brought a vintage video game console thing and we played fun games all night. 

We also karaoked.  Man did we sing. We just had like 4-5 microphones connected and kept the hits coming, passing the mics around.  It’s SO fun.  

We got home pretty late (even though we were the first ones to leave since Ty had to work….it’s AWESOME to have coworkers you want to spend time with).

Saturday was a day of party prep.  I cooked and cleaned (and took a little break to hang with dad while mom got a massage).

On Sunday after church, we had our 5th annual cookie swap Christmas party!

I set out tons of yummy food that I love cooking.  Everyone always makes a big deal about the fuss it must be to cook it all.  It really isn’t.  I choose easy make-ahead recipes and just preheat it all before the party.

These BBQ  cups were the hit of the party. SO easy. Puff pastry, storebought BBQ, and cheese baked in muffin tins.

We invite our friends and their kiddos over.  They all bring cookies to share and trade. Sweet Ian was double fisting cookies the minute he walked in the door!  

I love seeing these babies!  This was Claire and Sadie meeting for the first time!

We all spread out over the house and eat and talk.   

It’s SUCH a huge blessing to have a house full of friends and family.  I told them yesterday that growing up my parents always invited people over. If we had a BBQ and a neighbor was outside, they got an invite to come eat ribs. On holidays, some of my dad’s workers would come over and share in the day with us.  When dad built my house, I know he would have wanted it to be a place where we could open our home to others. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

We have another Christmas party tonight with all my Wizard of Oz people from this summer. I can hardly wait!

How was your weekend?  Any fun parties?


On Our TV…

We are watching Lie to Me every night. It is a show on Fox about a deception detective who reads people’s nonverbals and facial expressions to solve mysteries, crimes, and other interesting things. Its a drama/suspense show…but its based on real communication science (which is why I LOVE it!).

We started watching it because I was using it as an example in class for my nonverbal chapter I was teaching. I heard the show was a good example of that, so we screened a couple episodes looking for the perfect one. And we were hooked.

We are watching the first two seasons on Netflix (they are out on DVD) and we are totally addicted to it at the moment. Not sure what we will do when we finish Season 2. Anyway…if you are in a TV slump, or are looking for something new…check out Lie to Me. New episodes come on Fox on Mondays…and there are some online episodes here and here…and you can get it from Netflix (DVD or streaming) or Blockbuster.

I highly recommend it! What shows are you watching now?