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Organizing: The Dining Room Cabinets

linensWelcome February!  It’s hard to believe the first month of 2016 is already gone!  Was organization on your list of goals for this new year? Back in 2014, I had a new year’s goal to undertake one organization project each month.  I was still working full time then, and I might have made it through organizing the coat closet, the master bedroom closet, and the boys’ bedroom closet. Then all those good intentions just sputtered and died.:(

CLOSET ORGANIZATION coat closet, master bedroom closet, boys bedroom closet

Along came 2015…. a year with a lot of traveling and a lot of parties.  All good things, but if you are like me, moving quickly from one project to the next, you may have a tendency to…um…not put things back where they belong. You wouldn’t ever be guilty of that would you? Well I was majorly guilty of it.  2015 was the year of cramming-things-in-drawers-and-cabinets to get them out of the way for the next thing that needed to be done. Sad, but true.

And now we have reached 2016, and I have reached the end of my rope with all the messy cabinets around here. The storage areas in the dining room have been driving me crazy, so January’s organization project has been to try to put them in some kind of logical order. I want to share the photos of this reorganization with you today, but I must warn you.  They are not pretty…not pretty at all.:(

Let’s start with the crime scenes:

An antique jelly cupboard from Savannah built in the 1800’s…

Innocent enough, right?

cupboardHere is the mess inside:

A top drawer of jumbled linens
(not too bad at this point.)

cupboard drawer beforeand a bottom shelf area with piled up dishes and stored gingerbread houses.

cupboard shelves before

Half of the dishes were missing because they were out on the table, and I had stolen a couple of the jars that normally hold the gingerbread houses.  So it is usually much worse than this.

Crime Scene #2:  the built in cupboard…

built in cabinet

and its inner contents:

(Except for the messy stacks of napkins, this one wasn’t too bad.)

cabinet shelves left before

But why did I have some napkins in there and some in the cupboard?

cabinet shelves right before

Finally the worst of the bunch:

Crime scene #3:  the island…

cabinetsIts drawers were pretty bad.

island left drawer before

island middle drawer before

island right drawer beforeAnd now below the surface…

island left shelf beforeisland middle shelf beforeMy third before-shot wasn’t in focus, so no photo here.
Trust me though.  It was bad.

Now to make it all better.  :) Besides general straightening up, the cabinets needed some logical order…some grouping that made sense.  I decided to group all the paper goods together, all the dishes together, and then go from there. You know you have to make a mess in order to clean up a mess.  So I totally emptied the jelly cupboard first and started over to make it the “paper goods place.”

Here is the new and improved interior:

Paper napkins, straws, balloons, and etc. go in the top drawer baskets.
(with a couple of random scoops thrown in because they didn’t fit anywhere else.)

cupboard drawer after

The bottom now holds paper cups, plates, bowls…
(and my most frequently used cookbooks.)

cupboard shelves afterand tubs of utensils, picks, and containers.

cupboard shelves storage containersBy getting all of the paper items out of the island drawers, I was able to free up space to put all the linens in them.

island left drawer afterisland middle drawer afterisland right drawer afterAnd that also left more room in the bottom space for the organization of all sorts of serving pieces and plates.

Cake stands,

island left shelf afterdinner plates,

island middle shelf after

and various types of metal-ware.

island right shelf after

Then finally, with the linens and cookbooks out of the built in cabinet, more space was left for glassware and dishes.

cabinet shelves left afterI wish the dinner plates could have also been stored in there, but the cabinet is not deep enough for them.  And even if it had been, there wasn’t enough space.

cabinet shelves right afterI still need to get the pumpkin plates out of the attic to add to the stash of dishes in the cabinet, and then this first organization project of 2016 will be finished.  My February project will involve some painting, so it will take a little longer to complete.  Fingers crossed that it will be ready to show you on the 1st of next month.  :)

Thank you for reading the post and sticking with me through the ugly photos.  Have you completed any organization projects so far this year, or do you have plans for some?  We would love to hear about them in the comments!

Until next time…

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Gabrielle - February 1, 2016 - 3:53 am

I thnk your mess is tidy! However, the reorganisation is a work of art.
Thank you Gabrielle! It mostly just needed to have some of the items relocated so that it made more sense. It needed logic! :)

Margaret - February 1, 2016 - 4:37 am

Your “mess” was not half as bad as mine. Yes I did start the New Year with a “huge” clear out. How freeing. Good on you for doing it too. Something about this New Year seems to have a lot of people doing the clear out thing.
Good for you for clearing out so much Margaret! It is freeing, isn’t it?! Now on to the next project. :)

Delma - February 1, 2016 - 6:43 am

Wow I was going to say you’re normal, one of us! But I see you organized so well. Guess I can achieve it too. I’ve been de-cluttering for the whole month on January! I have boxes on my family room’s floor filled with junk I need to get rid of. I just can’t seem to finish. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of this month!!! Yikes.
Yes, you can achieve it too Delma. Most definitely! If you have been working on it a month, I am sure you have made a lot of progress! I don’t know if organization ever ends. There always seems to be another space to work on as soon as you finish one. I just take it one space at a time.

Tricia - February 1, 2016 - 6:47 am

Hi Kelly, thanks for the “party in a drawer” photos…you have so many beautiful and fun items, it would be a pleasure to reorganize. It’s my day off. You’ve inspired me to consider spending the day reorganizing our linen/toiletries closet. It’s well overdue! Enjoy your day.
Thank you for reading Tricia! Glad the post could provide you some inspiration. I hope you accomplished your closet reorganization projects!

Shelley @ Calypso in the Country - February 1, 2016 - 8:07 am

I have some very similar “crime scenes” in my house right now. Between the holiday cleanup and the ongoing ‘recovery’ from our summer renovation, I have got to get back on track with my organization. Loved seeing your photos – all of them…and I want your napkin collection!
Thanks Shelley! I can see how a renovation followed by the busy holiday season would set anyone back on organization. I hope 2016 provides you the time to take care of it in your home. Glad you liked the napkins! I have gathered all of them over a number of years.

Sandy - February 1, 2016 - 8:12 am

I Have been purging and organizing! The most recent project was to find a home for a set of dishes I did not use, pack them up, and deliver them. They ended up at a re-use shop (non-profit) that serves women and children victimized by abuse. The 96 piece set of dishes will be available to women who may want it to use in their starting over home. Now on to the basement….ugh! I echo the sentiments of others who said your disorganization looked pretty good! This was an interesting post…motivating! Thanks, Kelly!
That is so wonderful about your set of dishes Sandy! I know someone will just love getting all of those pieces. Good luck with your basement project! That sounds like a big one to tackle.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life - February 1, 2016 - 8:15 am

Yes, my linen closet was a huge mess and as always I straighten the pantry. You did a fabulous job and it all looks so good.
Thank you Marty! I am sure your storage areas all look good. :)

Cheri - February 1, 2016 - 8:30 am

Well done and you accomplished that on the first day of Feb. Organization and cleaning out is ALWAYS my New Year’s resolution…never exercise and diet….tried that and it didn’t work.
Thank you Cheri. I am right there with you on not putting exercise and diet on the New Year’s resolution list. :) I can usually accomplish an organization project…but diet and exercise just don’t seem to hold the same attraction for me. LOL

Garden, Home and Party - February 1, 2016 - 8:40 am

I love the end result. I had to smile as I viewed the inside storage spaces…if you hadn’t shared with us that red is your favorite color, your cupboards would reveal that fact. I love organizational posts…they never fail to inspire me to take the time to organize storage in my home.
I love some of the patterned napkins, you have some very pretty props for entertaining. :-)
How funny Karen! I never even notice all the red now. :) I can’t resist pretty linens, so yes, there are a number of props to use. Thank you for the compliments on them!

Linda - February 1, 2016 - 8:42 am

Well done looks beautiful!!
Thank you so much Linda. :)

Nancy - February 1, 2016 - 8:55 am

I did this very thing on Saturday afternoon! My husband and I went out to breakfast and then hit Ikea for a good hour, just brainstorming about various storage ideas (what a good husband he is to do that with me, happily). Then I came home and emptied out a cabinet my dad had made my mom years ago to hold her sewing supplies (which I was using for my girls’ childhood toys, mostly – Breyer horses, plastic doggies, an Erector set, games). I also emptied out the five utility shelves in my furnace room which have been holding most of my dishes and decorative plates. Without giving you the blow-by-blow, the dishes are now in the cabinet my dad made and the boxes of Lego and Breyer horses are in the furnace room. I’d like to purge my Christmas things but that may wait until summer, lol.
How lucky you are to have an Ikea close by! It sounds like you made great progress with your organization. Brainstorming helps! I totally understand waiting until summer to go through all the Christmas items. That is usually a big job!

Anita - February 1, 2016 - 8:57 am

Organizing is a good thing and the cupboards and drawers in the before pictures were looking great to me but the after are mighty fine! I’m thinking I should tackle Christmas mess this week in the basement.
Thanks for the compliments on the organization Anita! Best wishes for your work on the Christmas things. I hope that it isn’t too big of a project for you.

Angela - February 1, 2016 - 9:05 am

Kelly this post is so funny to me because I often want to ask all bloggers, who entertain and throw themed parties…”where do you store all this stuff?” Now I know. I am in the process of reading…. the life-changing magic of tidying up. So far I have one box to donate and three small bags for Salvation Army. I am really enjoying it because I have a tendensy to buy a lot of nick nacks that in a few months don’t really do anything for me so it is helping me scale back and only buy things that I really love. Going through my table cloths was a real challenge though. haha
I store a lot of it in the cabinets you see, but I also store many seasonal things in tubs in the attic. So do you recommend the book? It looks like it would be an interesting read. I might have to check it out. I find it much easier to throw away things than my husband does. Congrats that you were able to make it through your table cloths!

Ann - February 1, 2016 - 9:18 am

I can take some of those red dishes and napkins off your hands.
Thanks for the offer Ann, but I think I better keep them. LOL They come in quite handy around here! :)

Patty - February 1, 2016 - 9:31 am

I cleaned and organized the basement. I am not done yet because something (health) came up in fact I am taking my hubby to the same Town your son is in for their hospital. I got rid of a lot of things and organized what is left. I have one more section to finish and then I will have boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes and linens to donate.
I hope your husband is doing better. You’ve done a lot Patty if you have almost finished cleaning the basement! It feels so good to get rid of things. Sounds like you have accomplished quite a bit! Good luck with finishing the basement. :)

Robyn - February 1, 2016 - 10:06 am

So inspiring being this is my first official week a a retiree!!! Thank you !!! BTW… I love your blog and your house!!! So BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
CONGRATULATIONS Robyn! Enjoy your retirement…every.single.minute of it. :)

Gwen - February 1, 2016 - 10:07 am

Excellent choice of projects. Thank you for the before shots. Gives me hope :) I plan to empty out the bottom of my china cabinets and you have totally inspired me to get at it! Just love your posts.
Go for it Gwen! I’m glad I could give you some inspiration for what can be done. :)

DEBBI - February 1, 2016 - 10:08 am

Too funny Debbi! :)

Shelley - February 1, 2016 - 10:31 am

Looks amazing! I am an organizer by nature-it’s therapy to me not work. However, I never thought about putting platters and serving trays upright against the back of the cupboard like you did. Genius!! Thanks for the idea.
Aw thanks Shelley. Organizing is therapy? I think it is the “immediate gratification” that makes it so fulfilling. :) Glad to share the platter idea with you. Have fun with your therapy!

Louvina - February 1, 2016 - 10:58 am

Oh wow! What fun! I felt like I was right there snooping in your cabinets!! I am so inspired to tear out and organize!! I zoomed in on your precious cookbook collection to see the titles. What a good job you did!! I have so many messy areas I need to tackle– working on getting my bedding and linens all washed, ironed and looking picture ready!! Also trying to make my new laundry room/ craft room set up to my liking. Been looking for a special wall hanging and working on my lighthouse collection to use in there. Also cleaning for BD party this weekend– 26 coming for Chinese Buffet celebrating Chinese New Year!! Busy! Busy! Just like you!! :) Thx for allowing us to see in all those secret places you house your special treasures!! Happy GH day tomorrow!! 6 more weeks ’til Spring!! :)
Oh yes, you were snooping around my cabinets! LOL If you are working on a craft room, that is MAJOR Louvina. Mine took a lot of thinking to get it like I wanted. Sounds like you have a busy week and a fun weekend planned! Enjoy the time with your friends. :)
6 weeks until spring? Noooo….I want some snow this year! I guess we are going to have to travel north to find some. :(

Leslie Anne - February 1, 2016 - 11:29 am

Just this morning, I opened a cabinet door and had bags of half-eaten chips fall all over my feet! I pulled everything out, and put it on top of the counters to organize later today! It seems like when company comes, I always make a sweep around the house and shove things in drawers and cabinets, only to have them explode after everyone has gone home! When will I learn?
(don’t answer that!)
Shh…don’t tell. Our pantry is my February project because, like you, I know all about the avalanche of food packages. Potato chip bags do seem to be the worst behaved of them all! I’m sure you have that cabinet all cleaned up and organized by now Leslie Anne. :)

kathy - February 1, 2016 - 12:27 pm

Oh, Kelly! You are so organized! Even what you think is messy is organized. But, I still love you!
Well I am glad you do Kathy. :) The island was messy, but the others not so much. It was more the fact that it just didn’t make sense with some things here and some there, and I couldn’t remember which cabinet housed what. It needed some LOGIC. :) (Math teachers must have that, right?)

Peggy - February 1, 2016 - 12:34 pm

I would love to organize and my cabinets and drawers look MUCH worse than yours do in the before pictures! However, I babysit my 18 month old grandson during the week and we are much too busy reading and playing and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to do much organizing! Weekends have been too busy for organizing also! But, I will get to it eventually I hope! It’s a disaster behind closed drawers and closet doors and it is getting on my nerves!
I don’t know how you get ANYTHING at all done with an 18 month old toddling around! I remember those days…not much done with the house, but I knew the baby days would not last long. You should enjoy them while you can. :) I make such a mess when trying to organize, and I spread it all out, so it would be impossible to do with small children around. Nap times might have allowed organization of one or two drawers at time, but usually that was when I could get laundry done. Enjoy that baby. The mess can wait.

marianne - February 1, 2016 - 12:59 pm

Streamling and simplifying is the name of the game for me. . This year I add a numbering system to the already labeled boxes to make retrieval easier for Christmas 2016. This is an example, box #1 of 12, label reads: Christmas lighted greenery, pinecones and bows. Having all the boxes with labels on the ends and number make it much more manageable to obtaining only the boxes needed to decorate a space. Seems that now this project of sorting and stowing all the holiday decor leaves my home denuded.
Hi Marianne! Your Christmas decor boxes sound much like mine. My numbers follow the order in which I decorate rooms, and like yours, mine are also labeled with the contents for Christmas. Then I have boxes labeled with the months for the rest of the year. Our February one is down right now until the end of the month when it goes back up to the attic, and the March one comes down then. I am hoping that my husband will build me some more shelves up in the attic this year so that I can better store all the boxes. Good luck with your projects!

Dana - February 1, 2016 - 1:00 pm

This is very timely and helpful for me. I have been purging and organizing and as space opens up, peace flows in. We have a living room/dining room combination. The bottom half of our hutch (behind its closed doors) has been used to store toys for many years. Since my youngest is a teenager, I finally cleared it out and am now happily debating on how to best use the space. Thank you for your ideas and inspiration. I really like to read and view photos related to decluttering and organizing. Along with cleaning, of course, it sets the foundation for decorating and celebrating.
I know what you mean about the peace flowing in when the space opens up, Dana. It is just less stressful, so definitely more peaceful. :) Sounds like you are making good progress with your organization! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.

Julia - February 1, 2016 - 1:30 pm

I have been doing some organization with my dishes and linens too. Sorting them and getting rid of a few so that hopefully 2016 will be less cluttered! Your cabinets look great!
Julia, thank you for the compliments on the cabinets. Good for you getting your organization and decluttering done! Yes, hopefully 2016 will be less cluttered!

Kaye Ann - February 1, 2016 - 3:11 pm

We all have “crime scenes” and I won’t abhor you with mine. But you do inspire me to do something about them. I still work full time so my clean/organizing happens on Friday nights and Saturdays. I never catch up, only maintain. ONE DAY!
Working full time just kills project time. You are right. You are doing good to maintain. When I was teaching, I always always felt like I was playing catch up. The weekends might let you catch up, but I never felt like I could get ahead with anything when working. (And I always brought home so much work to do at night and on the weekends too. :( ) Yes, one day you will get your projects done. :)

Gina - February 1, 2016 - 3:46 pm

I always love a good “organizing” post!! I can honestly say organizing is one of my favorite things to do! 😀 Your spaces weren’t too bad to begin with, but they look great now. I think you are so right about our organizing being logical and making sense. I love the idea of one space for your paper products. Mine aren’t together so now I want to go group them. 😉 And your antique cabinet is so beautiful by the way!! My son kinda “forced my hand” by buying me a cubby shelf for Christmas so I had to move a hutch to my living room to make a space for it. Now I am trying to figure out where to store some of the dishes and where to move the piece that was already in the living room. Oy! Decisions, decisions! 😉 Thanks for the inspiration. :)
Wow, you love organizing Gina?! I bet there are people who would gladly pay you to come organize their closets and cabinets! :) Thank you for your kind words about ours. It sounds like you have major domino action going on in your living room! Best of luck with all your decisions.

Mary - February 1, 2016 - 4:52 pm

Your organized cabinets and drawers look fantastic. I can so relate to your having a party then stashing for the next!! I’m constantly moving, grouping, and reorganizing but just need that one storage cabinet that will make the difference. Haven’t found it yet. I have the place and dimensions, guess I’ll hire a carpenter and have it built. Your dishes and linens are beautiful, when’s the next party? Thanks for the inspiration! Have a great week.
Thank you Mary. :) Finding just the right piece of furniture can be a challenge. I totally understand about hiring someone to make it to your specifications. Good luck with it! Our next party will probably be Valentine’s weekend…not quite sure yet.
Kelly - February 1, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Your organization looks great! But, I have to admit that your “messy” photos didn’t look terrible at all to me. I won’t show you my cabinets!! Guess I’d better get organizing!
Thanks Debbie! The spaces mostly needed reorganizing in terms of what would logically go where. Good luck with your organization projects! :)

Dawn - February 1, 2016 - 8:05 pm


Your stashing style is exactly like mine. I move from one project to the next and from one Holiday to the next so quickly while trying to keep up with the kid and grade papers that nothing is quite as organized as I’d like. I have hope though…one day, when I retire, I shall organize one room and one piece of furniture at a time just like you. Thanks for the sharing and for the inspiration.

Teaching just doesn’t allow time for anything “extra” in anyone’s schedule; does it? There is always so much to bring home with you, and that interferes with keeping up with everyday life. Yes, when you retire you will be able to do all those projects that you have on your to-do list. :)

DiAnne - February 1, 2016 - 9:21 pm

I love organization although I have to work on it. We lived in our house a good 10 years before I realized the coat closet just off the kitchen, coming in from the garage would make the greatest place to store extra dishes and serving pieces. Before it was just a mess of coats and shoes that were rarely worn. I had a carpenter come in and pur shelves in there and I use it use it has worked so much better. Sometimes it is just rethinking what you have to make things work better.
You are so right DiAnne! Sometimes rethinking what you have makes the best thing for reorganization. Love what you did with your coat closet. Very smart!

Cindy T - February 1, 2016 - 10:21 pm

Very impressive! My problem is I don’t know where to start, very overwhelming! Your cabinets look great! You’ve given me inspiration..
I know exactly what you mean about not knowing where to start. I had to really think about how to go about organizing the cabinets. I knew putting items together in storage that normally go together would make the most sense (for example all the linens together, all the paper goods together, etc.) Then I had to think about which cabinet was best suited for each of the “collections.” Once I determined that, I had to determine which cabinet to start with. That is why I often just pull everything out, lay it all on the table, and then go from there. With one entirely empty space, it is usually easy to go from there (at least for me it is.)
Glad you could find some inspiration in the post! :)

Claire @A PREPPY PERSPECTIVE - February 2, 2016 - 5:15 pm

Hi Kelly! You’re so right January went off so fast! And YES organization is at the top of our list too. Unfortunately we first have to do a lot of building work in our home so I can get a little frustrated with my organizing ‘options (ahhh, open shelves with a toddler! ^^).But we keep going! :-) Congratulations for the great work! It looks beautiful!
I don’t know how in the world you can handle open shelves with a toddler! Goodness! Thank you for the compliments on the organization. There is plenty more of it needed around here. Good thing I am retired! :)

Becky in 'Bama - February 5, 2016 - 10:13 am

Kelly: when I look at your drawers and cabinets, I realize just what a spartan life I live. I have two sets of cloth napkins that I never use, and two sets of dishes (one is the everyday china from my bridal showers/teas 40 years ago). I have no words when I look at all the stuff you have. Yep. Spartan. That’s me. p.s. – you did a great job of organizing but I’d never let you see MY messy drawers. LOL :)

Decorating The Porch for Winter and Valentine’s Day

winter chalkboard and hot cocoa barHere we are… already at the end of January, and I have yet to see even one single solitary snowflake, but has that stopped me from decorating with snow in mind?

Absolutely not.

sled centerpiece for winter partyAnd I’m not likely to see any snow around here anytime soon.
Our highs next week are to be in the 70’s!

Valentines table settingMaybe the groundhog will see his shadow, and we’ll get 6 more weeks of winter.
February is usually when we get our snow anyway.:)

Valentines tablescape on porchThe porch table is quite ready for it.  I love the sled from an after-Christmas-sale at our Hallmark store.  It had Merry Christmas painted on it, but my husband sanded it off for me with his new sander.  The sled makes a great winter centerpiece to hold a soup tureen and thermos.

hot cocoa bar chalkboardAnd the porch buffet is ready for snow too.  It has almost everything needed for a hot cocoa bar…hot milk in the thermoses, hot water in the percolator, various flavors of cocoa mix, marshmallows, mugs and spoons.

It just needs some squirty whipped cream.:)

hot cocoa bar for Valentines day and winter partyEven the porch seating is calling for snow.  I stole some of the “snow” throw pillows off our daughter’s bed and mixed them with a few sweater knit pillows.

winter porch wicker

wicker swingThe red plates on the wall from Christmas still work well for Valentine’s Day.

wall arrangement on porchThis weekend is going to be sunny and warm.  I guess I can still enjoy the porch – even if it is dressed for snow.:)

winter porchAnd guess what! I have a surprise for you.
Yes, I really do.:)

Talk of the House winter porch decoratingI am doing a guest post about my favorite color over at Design Chic!  It’s like a double dose of Talk of the House for you today, and I am sure you can guess my favorite color, right?:)So just click here, to see if you are correct.

And one last thing before we go.  I have to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who left such super sweet comments on the last post about my father-in-law’s birthday party.  I was truly touched!  Unfortunately, 5 minutes before I hit the publish button, my father-in-law had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital once again.  He is doing much better now, but let’s just say that Tuesday was a scary day for all of us.

So here’s to a healthy happy weekend for everyone.:)

See you over at Design Chic!

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martha - January 29, 2016 - 7:22 am

Hope your father-in-law is still getting better. He is a blessed man to have you in his life.
Love the winter/snowman theme. Here in NC we did get blasted with snow last week, but many winters we never even see a flake. I still like to pretend it might snow. Actually, I think that may be the best kind of snow…pretend.

Cheri - January 29, 2016 - 8:07 am

Kelly, first of all I hope your FIL is doing better…prayers are with your family. Second, you are the first person that I have ever heard of that red is their favorite color…it is mine also.

Shelley @ Calypso in the Country - January 29, 2016 - 8:12 am

I hope your father in law is feeling better! Your porch is beautiful as always. You are so lucky you live in a climate where you can use it most of the year. We had 27 inches of snow in NJ last week so we won’t be seeing our deck for awhile. Heading over to Design Chic now…another of my favorite blogs!
Enjoy your weekend!

Garden, Home and Party - January 29, 2016 - 8:30 am

I can totally relate—we have to drive to the mountains (2 hours or so) to see snow. But that doesn’t stop me from decorating as though it could snow any minute during the winter. Ha! :-)
I’m sorry you father in law had another health scare. I hope he makes a quick recovery and can enjoy some time without rushing to the hospital.
I’m headed over to Design Chic—a regular stop, but it will be fun to see what colors you talk about! 😉

Suzanne - January 29, 2016 - 8:31 am

Hope your father in law is doing well…keeping you all in my prayers. I’m sure you might have answered this question before, but I’m kind of new to your blog… what kind of pencil/chalk do you use to write on your chalkboards. Your penmanship is perfect … love it!
Thanks for your prayers Suzanne. My father in law came home from the hospital over the weekend. :)
I am glad you like the chalkboards. To best answer your question about what I write with, I am going to send you to a couple of posts I did a few years ago on lettering. I think you will find the answers there. and this one about mostly chalkboard lettering:
Hope these help!

Marianne in Mo. - January 29, 2016 - 9:12 am

Wishing your father in law a quick rebound from his latest scare. Sure is stressful for us, and more so for them.
Here in Mo. our weather is up and down almost every day. Not a lot of snow for us so far luckily, but the rains can stay away.
I love your winter setup, and that sled is so cute! I bet it’s hard to decorate in winter mode when your weather is so nice.
Headed over now to see your guest post! Have a great weekend!

Design Chic - January 29, 2016 - 10:15 am

Your porch is amazing, Kelly and need a seat at the dining table, then later on the swing…stunning!! Hope your father in law is better! Thank you so much for joining us at Design Chic today – we LOVE having you!!
Thank YOU for the invitation. It was nice to get out of “the house” for awhile. :)
My father in law was able to come home over the weekend, so things are looking up around here.
Hope your week is going well. Looking forward to the new book!

Nancy - January 29, 2016 - 10:47 am

Everything you post is always a joy to see, Kelly. I also appreciate your sweet spirit and hospitality to others. You inspire me to want to be better about having people over. The invitation, the food, and even the presentation are all part of a gift you give to others. I hope your father-in-law continues to improve and can soon return home.

Katrina - January 29, 2016 - 11:17 am

Prayers for your father-In-law. More proof that is a blessing to be able to celebrate good times with the people we love. Your snowy porch is so cute. That sled is precious. If I had known that you didn’t get any snow I would have given you a few of the 16 inches ( no exaggeration) that fell in my yard! It was so beautiful! Even with the temps in the 40’s and 50’s this week, we still have atleast 7 inches and school was missed for 6 days. Enjoy your pretty porch and send that sweet FIL some chocolate. The green eyed stomach bug made a visit to our house at about 8:00 last night and I don’t think there is any need for the ugly details. Stay healthy, sweet Kelly!
Yuck! Stomach bugs are the worst! I do hope you and all your family are over it by now.
Please send me some of your snow. I don’t believe we are going to get any this year…just like last year. :( No, I do not want 16 inches because our state would absolutely not know what to do with it, but some would be nice.
Take care and stay away from germs. :)

Cristina - January 29, 2016 - 12:07 pm

What a gorgeous, gorgeous porch! I love all the red touches, the sled is the cutest. I only wish I have a porch and perhaps, less snow! I hope your father in law is feeling much better now!
Thank you Cristina. My father in law came home from the hospital over the weekend and is doing much better. I hope you get a porch one day, and please send some of your snow down to Georgia. I would love to see a light blanket of white here before winter is gone. :)

Dana - January 29, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Praying for your father in law. Your porch is delightful.

Talia - January 29, 2016 - 1:18 pm

Saying prayers for a speedy recovery for your father-in-law. Your snow porch is adorable and the sled -swoon! We’ve just survived storm Jonas and I am happy to report – no snow is forcasted for the weekend – ysy!

Lori - January 29, 2016 - 1:53 pm

Many prayers for your father-in-law. I loved the birthday party you threw for him, and I am so glad that his health issue held off so he could enjoy it. I hope he recovers soon, and I will keep him and your family in my prayers. Your porch is my favorite “virtual” place to hang out. I have been trying to figure a way to do a screened porch on my house and still keep a covered outdoor patio as well, but I don’t think I can. However, that is just more verification that I need to just build a house and get what I want!! Our weather here is in the 70’s as well, but we have severe storms AND snow within a day of each other coming in on Monday. Enjoy your gorgeous weather and porch for me!!

Nan, Odessa, DE - January 29, 2016 - 2:36 pm

Get better wishes to your FIL! As Commission Reagan says on Blue Bloods, “family is what makes us strong”.

Like your sled and snowmen!!!! I wanna shop with you.

Always waiting for your next post so I will enjoy this extra one at Design Chic.

PS what is your closest town/city if you are going to see 70?
Just curious, not a stalker! LOL
Thanks so much Nan! We are smack dab in the middle of Georgia, and our predicted high today is 79.

Julia - January 29, 2016 - 3:49 pm

Sending prayers for your father in law and for your family. And even if there is no snow I love your porch all decked out in red and white for winter, and Valentine’s day!

I loved your post on your father-in-law’s 90th birthday party – it gave me great ideas for some upcoming birthdays. My oldest daughter actually has a birthday this year. She was born on leap year day – February 29th and this is her 9th (actual) birthday!

Louvina - January 29, 2016 - 3:51 pm

It truly was a double treat seeing both your post and the guest post! Enjoyed it so much! The hot chocolate bar was wonderful and I loved the sled on the table. I think I could bundle up and sit out there on your porch in the coldest weather. Making pot of chili and apple pie today. Sincerely wishing Mr. Walter is on the mend and back home again soon. I know he has sweet memories of seeing the family and friends on his birthday on Sunday. I truly enjoyed how you shared your favorite color and followed up with Valentine’s part 1 and 2– perfect!

Carol Ann - January 29, 2016 - 3:53 pm

Kelly, love thee sleigh on your table…so cute. May I ask where you purchased your wicker porch swing? It looks so comfy and is a better alternative for my house than a wooden swing. I would love to buy one to have this summer. I am retiring as an educator in June of this year and would love to add a porch swing to my porch.
Thank you Carol Ann. We purchased that swing over 25 years ago from a store that is no longer in business. Hayneedle has several that are similar, so I would check them out. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! :)

Tricia - January 29, 2016 - 4:35 pm

Hi Kelly. I will say a prayer for your father-in-law and hope he gets home soon.

I am writing from a beautiful, wintery wonderland here in Nova Scotia. It’s gorgeous outside. Your hot chocolate bar would be very welcome here today. The sled on the table is a brilliant idea and who but you would think to sand it to make it useable throughout the season! Happy to head over to Design Chic to read your post. Wishing you a happy, good news kind of weekend.

Gina - January 29, 2016 - 4:44 pm

Your porch is cozy and inviting as always!! Love the use of the sleigh. I have a an old decorative one in my attic with a scene painted on it. Now I know what to do with it!! Out comes the sander. 😉 Thank goodness we are going to see much warmer temperatures too!! Snow is overrated! <— Says the woman whose poor husband has been walking for over a week because we couldn't even get a 4 wheel drive up our road. 😛 Loved your feature on Design Chic! I have added snippets of red around my home. :) I'm sorry about your father-in-law. I know that roller coaster well from a few years ago with my mother-in-law. I'm glad he's doing better now. Praying for all of you!

Rosemary - January 29, 2016 - 4:53 pm

What a difficult time Kelly. So sorry to hear Walter has been unwell again. This must be such a worry and stressful time for you and all of your family. Hope he’s feeling much better now and that he’s receiving excellent medical care.
As always your home look wonderful …I especially love the cushions. Isn’t it wonderful how red seems to work for so many occasions :)
Take care …

Sherry Myers - January 29, 2016 - 5:42 pm

Perfect porch! At least with warmer temperatures, you can actually enjoy your lovely creativity! It’s such an inviting space. Of course, the red is gorgeous, but I love how the color of the table and your seating makes the red pop. It is magazine worthy! Thanks for sharing, Kelly. I am headed to see more!!! Love, love it. I will be praying for your dear father-in-law. May God bless all of you. I hope your weekend is pleasant.

Lanita Anderson - January 29, 2016 - 9:48 pm

Love your porch all decorated for winter! The table and sunroom furniture look great, but I think my favorite has to be the hot chocolate station! Love the snowman and all of the great ideas and accessories for hot chocolate. Thanks for sharing….always enjoy your posts and your “red” decorating! Happy Weekend!

Cindy T - January 30, 2016 - 6:53 am

Prayers for Walter and your family..he looks like he is a sweet gentleman. Love your porch with all the red and snow touches..,these are a few of my favorite things!

Schotzy - January 30, 2016 - 2:57 pm

At first I wondered.. ok, where is the porch.. then I got it.. how wonderful to have a marvelous indoor porch…and I absolutely love the treat table…. so cosy and inviting!!!

DiAnne - January 31, 2016 - 10:54 am

The little sled is adorable in your centerpiece and I bet your husband loved getting rid of the words with his new sander. Men can become quite helpful with projects with a new power tool. The porch is inviting and beautiful. I hope your father in law’s health improves.
Have a great week!
Thank you so much DiAnne. My father in law came home over the weekend.
I need to learn to use those power tools so that I do not have to rely on my husband’s skills. I wonder if I could build some furniture….hmmm….:)

kathy - January 31, 2016 - 12:04 pm

Prayers said for your father-in-law, Kelly! I am so glad you had the wonderful birthday celebration for him. I love your snowy/wintery porch with the cute chalkboard and the sled centerpiece but I do not want that groundhog to see his shadow. I am through with snow and winter and ready for springtime and the beach!
Thanks Kathy. My father in law made it home from the hospital over the weekend and seems to be doing well. We appreciate the prayers sooooo much. :)
I thought it was going to be cloudy here today, but no…it is sunny…and the groundhog has seen his shadow here. :) We have no chance of snow for sure through the 15th. I guess we will have to drive to the mountains in order to see some.
Have a terrific Tuesday!

A Favorite Things Sort-of-Surprise Birthday Party

Favorite Things 90th Birthday Party flowers and tractorAbout 2 weeks ago, we were at a birthday party for one of our nephews, and my sister-in-law whispered to me that we should be planning something special for our father-in-law’s upcoming 90th birthday.  To be honest, I had no idea he was turning 90.  I thought he was in his mid-eighties, but I totally agreed that 90 deserved a BIG party.  So I began to look for ideas for this party and a place to host it.  Keep in mind this is the man who has farmed for his entire life and was in and out of the hospital for most of the past year.

Favorite Things Party foyer display

I know you don’t have to have a theme for a party, but it certainly makes it easier to make choices when you have a specific direction.  After a bit of looking, (and ruling out a LOT of ideas) I came across several “Favorite Things” parties, and the idea seemed perfect for the occasion.  So I made a list of about 30 favorite things questions – everything from favorite song to favorite car to favorite sandwich – and my husband interviewed his dad to get the answers.

Favorite Things 90th Birthday Party

We set the date for Sunday afternoon, and after we knew we could get him up the 5 front porch steps, we decided to host it here.  His dad knew I was going to make “something” with all his favorites (obviously from all the questions:)) and he knew we were going to have a birthday party here with the immediate family members.  What we didn’t tell him (nor his wife because we were afraid she would spill the beans) was that we were also inviting a number of extended family members and about 25 of his friends for this party too.

When he told my husband that his favorite color was brown, I thought…No way! and I said, Then why in the world do you always buy red trucks??  His reply was, Well okay.  I like brown for clothes and red for trucks. So the color scheme for the party became brown and red, and it was used on all the paper goods and flower arrangements I made for the event.


I am not really a big fan of roses, but I needed red flowers.  Tulips and roses were the only red ones available here, and tulips seemed too much like springtime to me.  So roses had to be the choice.

We also wanted to include old photos so family members dropped off snapshots of him that they had.  Our daughter and her boyfriend copied them all for me in black and white, and our daughter made a giant collage in the shape of a 90 on the family room mirror.  (And yes, I took out all the “snow decor” that was in most of the house, but it will be back.:))

90th birthday party photo collage

 I wanted to showcase lists of his favorite things, and clipboards from Office Depot worked out to be a great way to display them and other signs. I did create one large one (that only looked like a clipboard) from plywood wrapped in craft paper with an aluminum foil wrapped cardboard “clip.”

Favorite Things 90th Birthday party clipboardsWe swapped out the small table in the family room for the large one in the dining room so that the guest of honor could be near the serving table.  The menu was simple to come up with.  It was all of my father-in-law’s favorites.:) (And boy is he a chocoholic!)

90th birthday party tableBecause his favorites included 2 chocolate cakes and strawberry shortcake, we ended up with 3 cakes for the event. My sister-in-law purchased a 14 layer cake from our local bakery…

Favorite Things Party 14 layer cake

and I made a German Chocolate cake and a cream cheese pound cake (for the strawberry shortcake.)

Favorite Things PartyWe also served his favorite candies, cookies, fruits, nuts (roasted pecans prepared by my sister-in-law), cheese wafers (prepared by my mother) and sandwiches (which our daughter’s boyfriend helped me make.)

Favorite Things Birthday Party table

A hot chocolate bar was set up on the back porch, and his favorite cold drinks (chocolate milk and Orange Crush) and ice creams (strawberry and black walnut) were set up in the dining room.  We also had peanuts to pour into the Cokes as an added treat from his youth.

Favorite Things Party drinks

My brother’s wife had given me this box of personalized Coke bottles for my birthday back in August.  She ordered them directly from Coca-Cola.

personalized Coke bottles

I thought it was such a clever and sweet idea that I ordered some for my father-in-law’s party…a number of them with his full name (sorry, I edited out his last name for privacy reasons) and some with “a 90 year old.”

personalized Share a Coke bottles

At 3:00 the guest of honor, his wife, and the guests began to arrive…
All 56 guests came to wish the guest of honor Happy Birthday.:)

partyHere’s my sister (who happens to be his home health nurse) giving him a gift of “vitamins” (actually a jar full of chocolate candy.:))

guest of honor

And here is our very helpful niece with her precious daughter entertaining the birthday boy.

birthday photos

My father-in-law and everyone else seemed to enjoy the party, and a large number of them even stayed long after the end of the 3-5 drop in time. (That’s a sign of a good party to me.:))

Before each guest left, I tried to make sure they stopped by our old piano to pick up their little “goodie bag.”

Favorite Things 90th Birthday Party favor signRemember in my last post about our kitchen, I said I was baking 18 dozen cookies?
Well… it ended up being 20 dozen.

Favorite Things Party cookie party favorsI’ve got that Toll House cookie recipe memorized now.:)

Favorite Things 90th Birthday party cookie favors

Oh, and for some crazy reason you all said you would like to see the messy kitchen when I was baking those cookies, so at your request, here it is (cookie baking, list making, peaches in window, and all.:))

kitchenbaking cookies

I ran out of both waxed paper and parchment and had to resort to using plastic wrap on the counter.:(

cookie baking

So now you have seen the messy kitchen.:)

And that, my dear friends, was our Favorite Things Sort-of-Surprise Birthday Party for my 90 year old father-in-law.  I think we accomplished a lot for having only 2 weeks to pull it off.  Don’t you?


Before I leave you all today, I have to say thank you to some people.  There is no way I could have possibly done all of this without their help…

  • My husband for all his work in the yard and going with me to shop for everything we needed (and contacting folks to invite.)
  • My mother for baking a zillion cheese crisp wafers, washing a zillion strawberries, dishing up ice cream, and doing anything else she could to help.
  • My sister-in-law for her idea that started it all, for taking care of that cake that neither of us could bake, and for preparing all those pecans.
  • My niece Ashley, for repeatedly offering any help she could provide (even if she does live in South Carolina!) and taking care of all the balloons around here.
  • My daughter and her boyfriend who helped me prepare the food and house, and even fetched a runaway balloon down from our two story family room ceiling! (Sean, you are so smart.:))

It is always always a group effort around here.  And I thank you for allowing me to share our home, our food, our events, and our life with you in the posts.  Thank you for reading!

Until next time…


Amy O'Quinn - January 26, 2016 - 11:41 am

Oh, Kelly! What a wonderful tribute and celebration for your father-in-law. I know he felt very special and extremely loved on. I think doing a theme based on HIS favorite things was perfect, and you all pulled it off extraordinarily well. Both my husband and I come from farming families, so I know your FIL has always been a hard-working man–a true unsung hero. Happy Birthday to him! And thanks for sharing your fabulous ideas and pics from the party! Well done! :)
Thank you Amy. He has definitely been a very hard working and VERY generous man all his life – and well loved by many. I wanted to do a “Loved for 90 years” party with hearts and all, but my husband vetoed that idea. LOL (Too girly!) I am glad you enjoyed the party ideas. Thank you for taking the time to comment. :)

Amy O'Quinn - January 26, 2016 - 11:43 am

And I meant to add…moments like these are ALWAYS worth the effort and mess! LOL

Pam - January 26, 2016 - 12:07 pm

So clever and honoring! I was wondering, based on my dad, is he a WW2 vet? Maybe he was just slightly too young….sorry if that’s too nosey.
Thank you Pam. No, you are not too nosey. :) It seems like I saw a photo of him going to sign up for some sort of military something and then heard they turned him down because of a health issue. So no, he is not a vet.

Peggy - January 26, 2016 - 12:38 pm

Miss Kelly, you are awesomeness personified! What a lovely birthday party!

Debbie from MountainMama - January 26, 2016 - 12:40 pm

What an amazing tribute you paid to your father in law – this is the sweetest party I have ever read of – you are truly a prize daughter in law!! I love all your super creative ideas! Amazing job, truly amazing!!

Stacey - January 26, 2016 - 12:42 pm

Kelly, you thought of everything! I know your father in law felt very special on this day.

I’m planning a big baby shower for Saturday and some of my ideas are similar to yours. Thankfully there are two other hostesses helping. :)

mari1017 - January 26, 2016 - 12:53 pm

This is truly one of the sweetest and best posts I’ve read on your blog! Happy 90th! Birthday to Walter – God Bless him ♥ And what a fabulous party for all. You really have the imagination and creativity to pull something like this off – and the help and love to do it! My mom will be 89 in July of this year, so I have almost two years to plan for hers LOL But I don’t think it will ever be as heart-warming and put together as this celebration! Kudos and thanks for sharing!!!

Devon - January 26, 2016 - 12:56 pm

Oh My………what an absolutely wonderful and thoughtful party!! I am blown away by all the creativity put into this amazing celebration, so much love in every detail. It is clear everyone involved had a wonderful and exciting time making this happen to such a special person, just look at his smile! i think your kitchen looks amazingly orderly for all that baking lol, i know mine would have stuff everywhere and flour all over the floor :) can’t decide which item is my favorite….the cakes, the individually wrapped cookies, the clipboard, the coke bottles……you had it covered girl!! so fun to read and see this post, thank you Kelly, and Happy Birthday Walter!!

Vicki - January 26, 2016 - 12:56 pm

What a wonderful family time! I know the guest of honor must have been thrilled!

I have a question about your huge glass jars. Do those have the rubber seals in them?
Thanks Vicki! None of the jars used for the party have a rubber seal. In fact, I had several of the jars ready a couple of days early. So I covered the contents with plastic wrap and then put the glass lid on top of that until time for the party. We normally eat things up here rather quickly and don’t have to worry about freshness, but I wanted to make sure those cookies stayed very fresh for our guests.
Good question. :)

Helen - January 26, 2016 - 1:00 pm

What a wonderful party – I love the idea! I love that someone from the deep south said that the Denver Broncos is his favorite football team (I am from CO)and to have them win on his birthday. Your kitchen is certainly cleaner than mine when I bake!

Kristy - January 26, 2016 - 1:08 pm

What a fantastic idea for a party! I’m going to tuck that idea away for future thoughts. 20 dozen cookies! Oh my!

Keith Newberry - January 26, 2016 - 1:12 pm

You are very talented!!! I’m sure everyone had a great time!!! My Dad is even in one of the pictures.. Nice job!!!
Thanks Keith! More hard-working here than talented. :)
Yes, your dad IS in one of the photos. We were just delighted that he came to the party! I hope he got enough to eat. :)

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life - January 26, 2016 - 1:15 pm

What a super special party and everything is so well done. You are amazing.

Nancy (from NE GA) - January 26, 2016 - 1:27 pm

Kelly, you are a genius! Loved it all. So very, very creative. And how wonderful for you and the rest of the family to do this for him!! What a great memory! - January 26, 2016 - 1:36 pm

What a wonderful party you gave for your father-in-law. I know that many special family memories were both celebrated and made that day! Hope you and your family can take time to rest now after all that hard work. And I must say that your “messy” kitchen didn’t look messy at all!

Donnamae - January 26, 2016 - 1:40 pm

Kelly….what a wonderful party! You sure did a lot for only 2 weeks notice! I just knew your kitchen would still be beautiful…even if it was being well used! Enjoy your day! 😉

Sharon - January 26, 2016 - 2:02 pm

Great party! Thanks for sharing. I may have to steal some of your ideas. My fil’s 90th is in May!

Gina - January 26, 2016 - 2:03 pm

What a wonderful wonderful (yes, I meant to do that 😉 ) party!! I can just imagine how special your father-in-law felt and what fun he had!! 😀 Kudos to all of you for pulling it off in such short notice. What a blessing that the good Lord carried him through this year’s health problems to celebrate a big milestone. I loved the “favorite things” idea and of course having all his favorite foods. I love the pictures of your messy kitchen too!! Well used. 😀 Thanks for sharing with us.

Shannan - January 26, 2016 - 2:05 pm

How wonderful!
I love surprise parties!
I love details!
I love red!
I love the Denver Broncos!
He must be one happy 90 year old!
Thanks for sharing, what a wonderful gift you gave to him and all those who came to celebrate!

Lynne - January 26, 2016 - 2:17 pm

Love love love!! That post, including your kitchen in the throes of cookie baking, screams love! Man, your ideas are always the best! I wish some of your creativity would rub off on me! I bet you were an amazing teacher because the great ones are always the creative ones!

Katrina - January 26, 2016 - 2:41 pm

Oh Kelly, what a great post! I just love this special party that you threw for your father in law. Your ideas as always are just precious. What a way to help your father in law feel so loved on this milestone birthday. Girl, you pulled off a lot in two weeks. Tell him Happy Birthday for me, keep on eating chocolate and I do hate his favorite football team is going to get beat by my favorite team in the Super Bowl! Haha!

Carol - January 26, 2016 - 3:04 pm

Kelly, thank you so much for sharing such a momentous family occasion! It is such a blessing to have so many of your family close by to celebrate together so often. Your home and ideas are such an inspiration and I always feel like I’m saying hello to a friend when I open your blog. Best wishes!

Cheri - January 26, 2016 - 4:09 pm

Kelly, I feel like I always say the same thing, but you have a gift for doing a party up right. You take the time with all the details and it always always looks so lovely and thoughtful. My B-day is in March…hint hint. I also want to thank you for sharing the “messy” kitchen…Kelly, that ain’t messy. Your parties and travel posts are what keep me coming and checking in every single day.

Jo Anne Hayon - January 26, 2016 - 5:06 pm

Such a wonderful idea! Walter has a very loving family!!

kate - January 26, 2016 - 5:08 pm

I was anxious to see what you were up to after last weeks teaser post and this did not disappoint. Your creativity provided such a special day for you father-in-law as well as your entire family and friends with wonderful memories.
P.S. As I am from CO. I was happy and surprised to see he is a Bronco fan – how did that happen?
I believe he is a big fan of Peyton Manning. Of course the game was on during the party so they could keep up with the score. :)

Ruth - January 26, 2016 - 5:16 pm

I’m with Cheri: That ain’t messy.

And I’m with all your commenters: Wonderful, creative party and a great post!

As difficult a vocation as it is, there’s something about the farming lifestyle that leads to a long, healthy existence. My father-in-law also was a farmer. He recently celebrated his 96th b’day! Kelly, you can plan on throwing your father-in-law a “Loved for Ninety-FIVE Years” party!

Kay Carver - January 26, 2016 - 5:21 pm

You are amazing, Kelly!! You’re are so creative. Thanks so much for sharing. I so enjoy your posts.

Donna - January 26, 2016 - 5:23 pm

Kelly, What a great job! We did a small party for my father in law’s 90th. Sadly many of his friends have passed, but not all. We had a fun day with lots of memories being discussed. Your party was so pulled together. Maybe you should be a party planner in retirement, giggles.

Garden, Home and Party - January 26, 2016 - 5:54 pm

This was wonderful and you’re right, with only 2 weeks of planning (and baking), I’m really impressed.
I still think you need to publish a book of ideas for parties. You always have the best props and food.
Happy Birthday to your dear father in law. I hope this year brings him good health.

The Tablescaper - January 26, 2016 - 5:55 pm


I’m totally impressed. I love to entertain but unfortunately with currently working full time, both my opportunities to entertain and to blog have been very limited. One of the problems with liking to entertain is that you get very high standards. I would love to host a party like this! It reminds me a bit of a party I hosted for my brother a couple of years back who rather unexpectedly took a job in Florida (we live in NY) and I threw a party together for him with 3 days notice! I catered it but all of the special touches were there. The theme was “I love NY”. Some people commented that shouldn’t it be about Florida. I said that we wanted him back in NY as soon as possible, so no way! I’m happy to say he is back living in New York.

Great party. Lucky man!

– Alma, The Tablescaper

Char - January 26, 2016 - 5:57 pm

Oh Kelly! I have to agree with everyone else! What a special party for a very special man. What a way to honor his life and the legacy he will some day leave behind to his family. Every little detail was perfect. I always say love is in the details! Looks like many happy memories were made that day. He’s a man after my own heart liking all that chocolate! 😉 Happy 90th Birthday to Walter!!

Nan, Odessa, DE - January 26, 2016 - 6:57 pm

Kelly, what a blessing the family of your father in law is.
Happy Birthday.
So relieved it wasn’t an engagment!!!!!
Thank you for sharing.

Cindy T - January 26, 2016 - 7:17 pm

Kelly..what a wonderful daughter-in-law you are! That was an enormous amount of work but it sounds like you had some great help! Loved the “messy” kitchen…now we know you ARE normal! Lol

Mary - January 26, 2016 - 7:25 pm

Wow, Kelly. You really know how to throw a party. Love all the details. Everything looks beautiful!

Marianne in Mo. - January 26, 2016 - 7:27 pm

You ALL did such a wonderful job, and I’m sure it made his day! To be so loved and honored by so many is a gift I think he will cherish the rest of his life.
And thanks for showing us the progress, but I must say, you are a tidy baker! I would have flour covering all the kitchen, and dishes piled up for some fairy to come and wash! 😉
Your father in law is a blessed man, and I wish him a Happy Birthday and many more!

Jan - January 26, 2016 - 7:50 pm

What a wonderful idea and party! So thoughtful and so special!
I’m sure it will be one of those cherished memories. You always do such a wonderful job of everything. Happy Birthday Walter!

Delma - January 26, 2016 - 9:23 pm

That was a very sweet thing to do for your dad-in-law. I feel we should make our loved ones feel special everyday of the year.

Karen C - January 26, 2016 - 10:02 pm

So sweet! Great party for a 90 year old …family is everything.
Love the theme. Happy Birthday Walter! ( your Messy kitchen still looks great)

Leslie Anne - January 26, 2016 - 10:21 pm

Well, you little messy piggy! Hahahaha! Even your cooking “mess” is very chic and beautiful!

What a charming party idea! I’m going to have to file this away for future use. I know your Father in Law is completely appreciative and blown away by your kindness. Congratulations on a great party.

Sandy in FWB - January 27, 2016 - 12:29 am

What a wonderful party! I loved everything. He looks great for 90 especially since you said he has been sick a bunch. I know that was a special time y’all will remember fondly.
I am putting this back for later to use as an idea.

Gabrielle - January 27, 2016 - 2:17 am

How wonderful Kelly. Always so creative. I love the “90” photos on the mirror-and the food looks absolutely magnificent! How lovely to have so much love and support from your family, pulling together to pull it all off! I am sure your father-in-law loved it all.

Rosemary - January 27, 2016 - 4:51 am

Hi Kelly! “Belated Happy Birthday” to your father in law and “well done!!” to you. I just love the theme as I’m sure everyone did. You really excel at hosting the most perfect family occasions and they always look like so much fun. Such a great way to celebrate 90 years … he sounds like a man whose really loved by his family and he certainly doesn’t look his age!! Hope his health is better now.

Patty in Michigan - January 27, 2016 - 5:51 am

Kelly, what an amazing show of love! You went over the top for this party. I loved every sweet personal touch. Great job! I bet he felt so loved. Hey, 90 years old wow! The Coke bottles are the best. Loved this. The table presentation was so beautiful too. I can’t say enough about your party. I want to give a birthday party now! Love!

Kim @ Vintage Pretties - January 27, 2016 - 7:30 am

Wow,that was an amazing party and you pulled it together in only 2 weeks! Well done!

Susan Webster - January 27, 2016 - 8:49 am

Kelley, I have emailed you before but had to let you know that I love love love what you did for your grandfather’s 90th. I have been trying to come up with some unique ideas for my parents 59th and am stealing your favorite foods table and the personalized cokes. Thank You So Much for sharing!!!

Arlene@Nanaland - January 27, 2016 - 1:16 pm

The Celebrations magazine should use these pictures for a party!! It was perfect in every way.

Claire @A PREPPY PERSPECTIVE - January 27, 2016 - 2:02 pm

Hi Kelly! So this is it! :-) Briliant! I love the idea! Your party was beautiful and so inviting! I’m sure the guest of honor truly loved it!

md white - January 27, 2016 - 4:17 pm

So sweet. You made me cry. Makes me miss my dad. Love the Coca Cola personalized bottles. I would have done that for my dad too! Happiest of Birthdays to Walter!

Bonnie - January 27, 2016 - 4:24 pm

A 90th birthday party–what a great celebration!! Thank you for sharing all your ideas for honoring your father-in-law. My mother will turn 90 in two years, so I’m looking forward to that. About 12 years ago at my father-in-law’s 90th birthday party, we played one ‘party game’, which turned out to be a big hit. At the end, when the party was breaking up, we had every take one of the helium filled balloons (90, plus a few) to the courtyard outside. My father-in-law (retired Army) counted off in military fashion, and everyone released those balloons at one time. Lots of fun!
Kelly, I always enjoy seeing how you combine colors, ideas, and hospitality to make folks feel welcomed and loved!

Louvina - January 27, 2016 - 6:32 pm

Truly enjoyed reading about the special birthday party. What a great turnout and great ideas! Looks like everyone had a wonderful time. Your FIL reminds me of my dad.:) Loved how you carried out the theme and glad you had a lot of help. The picture collage was very nice! Back from the beach– monsoon has set in which is unusual during our dry season. Getting ready for another decade birthday and the theme is Chinese New Year! My girls are doing all the planning so not sure what they have in mind but did overhear ” orange chicken”! :) Oh, thank you for the “sweet mess” picture! Still looked nice to me!

Tricia - January 27, 2016 - 8:20 pm

Kelly, how wonderful of you and your family to do this for your father-in-law. He must have been thrilled and so deserving of it all. My Dad farmed all his life – I know how hard a life it can be. I am proud to have been raised a farm girl! Your Father-in-law looks great for having had health issues and a 90th birthday! Good for him! Everything was special, the collage on the mirror, the sweets, the personalized cokes, cookies, family and friends. Always a joy to share your beautiful home and life.

Jeanne Bell - January 27, 2016 - 8:42 pm

The party looked really great and I’m sure your father-in-law appreciated it. Even when your kitchen is a mess…it still looks good. You truly are a décor/party goddess.
have a great day!

Ann - January 28, 2016 - 2:08 am

Kelly, what a thoughtful thing you did for your father-in-law. I know you will be rewarded for the deed. You can’t do wrong by honoring your elders. You are a talented lady. Your ideas are perfect for ever event. Thanks for sharing. (You are a wonderful daughter-in-law!) When you have rested, can you share your recipe for the cheese wafers and roasted pecans? No hurry.
Thank you for your very sweet words here Ann! The cheese wafers recipe is this one (minus the pecan halves)
For roasted pecans try this recipe: Just be sure to watch them in the oven because they can burn VERY easily.

DiAnne - January 28, 2016 - 10:25 am

How blessed this man is to have you for a daughter in law! Family is everything.

Nan, Odessa, DE - January 28, 2016 - 10:31 am

PS Was your mother-in-law surprised as well as the father-in-law? I just bet she had tons of fun at this lovely event, as well.
I think she was…unless someone had spilled the beans to her. They both said they were surprised.

Kathy - January 28, 2016 - 11:00 am

What a wonderful surprise for your father-in-law! I know he has to love you to pieces! Everything was wonderfully planned and carried out! And, you were so thoughtful to include all of his favorite things! (This was not at all what DiAnne and I guessed…but that will come later, we are sure!)
Much later! I need to save some money for that! :)

Lisa - February 1, 2016 - 9:19 am

Oh my goodness, Kelly, once again you’ve blown us all away. What a lucky man Walter is to have you as a daugter-in-law. So creative and thoughtful!
Thank you Lisa. He was more than deserving of such a party. He has been such a generous man all his life, and it was the least we could do to celebrate his 90th birthday. :) I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about the party. It was a very fun one to pull off!

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