...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Every once in a while I like to surprise my family with a ‘fancy’ dinner. The food isn’t necessarily anything different than what we typically have but I break out the good china, set the table, light candles and dim the lights. It’s special and the boys love it. Now that we have a dining light {Nevermind the fact that we don’t have proper dining chairs yet. We’re still using outdoor chairs as placeholders until we find what we want.}, I thought it would be fun to share a simple and sparkly tablescape that’s typical of these rare occasions.

I opted out of a tablecloth. With kids, it’s just one more thing I have to clean. And it always ends up being accidentally pulled around – along with everything else on it. The centerpiece is a round glass vase filled with store bought roses. I haphazardly arranged some votives and tea lights around the vase. The candles are the boys’ favorite part. Layne displays some pyro tendencies {you should see him at a bonfire!} so we have to keep a close eye on him.

The plates were a wedding gift. We don’t have upscale silverware. I just used our everyday utensils here. FYI – To remember which side of the plate the utensils go, years ago I came up with this helpful cheat: ‘fork’ has four letters in it and so does ‘left’ so forks go on the left. ‘Spoon’ and ‘knife’ have five letters in them and so does ‘right’ so spoons and knives go on the right. Anything beyond forks, spoons and knives…I have no idea. UPDATE: Apparently, I haven’t nailed down a good cheat about spoons going on the outside. Dulp. Good thing my family doesn’t notice.

Since we’re in full fledged holiday season, I placed capiz ornaments on top of the salad plates as a subtle nod to Christmas. Hmmmm. Now there’s an idea! Maybe we’ll have a ‘fancy’ dinner the night we decorate our Christmas tree {we usually buy a live one the first or second week in December} and I’ll put ornaments to be hung on the tree on the plates. That would be fun.

The boys get a kick out of sipping water from wine glasses. They turn into these dainty creatures and are sooooooo careful. That’s not to say the glasses shouldn’t be afraid. Everett is the most accident prone kid I know.

I think the roses are Leonidas. They’re the same flowers HH and I used in our fall wedding many, many moons ago. Good memories.

I try to bring in one warm wood element to tie into the oak table. This night it’s a woven votive holder.

I’m really wishing I had some gold glitter to toss into the vase’s water for a little more sparkle.

Can you spot the trellis shadows from the new pendant light? Uh. Maze. Balls.

So, yeah, we fake that we’re high society sometimes and make dinnertime fancy. But the dinner conversation still usually includes the words ‘poop’ and ‘booger.’ Do you ever have fancy dining night at your house?

Source list:

round glass vase – Goodwill

roses – local grocery store

two light green candleholders – West Elm found at a Pottery Barn outlet

woven candleholder – West Elm found at a Pottery Barn outlet

tea lights – IKEA

capiz ornaments – thrift find

wine glasses – vintage family heirloom

china – JCPenney

cloth napkins – Wayfair

silverware – wedding gift

Hoyne pendant – Crate & Barrel

Btw, check out the other purpose of our dining room {i.e., mudroom} over on Wayfair today! See the post here.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Did I miss where you got that light? LOVE IT!


Crate & Barrel light seen here…



I use the same 4 and 5 letter trick for forks and knives too! Except I would put the spoon on the outside of the knife (and knives always face inwards! u got that too). Generally you eat from the outside inwards. So salad forks and soup spoons would be outside of the fork and knife used for the main course.

Dessert spoons and forks go above the plate, horizontally.


I dont even know! hahaha. But if my mother read this, she would be proud

I love to do that too for my family! How fun! I love your photography with the close-ups of the flowers and candles. We would love to have you join our Home for the Holidays Link Party. I am hosting tablescapes until Sunday. xo Kristin
Here is the link: http://bliss-athome.com/2012/11/29/its-time-link-up-your-holiday-tablescapes/

I love your tablescape (and your mudroom is generally looking amazing!). I totally thought the ornaments were golf balls when I first saw the pictures! I was thinking how awesome/brave for a mom of boys to have golf balls as a tablcscape decoration!


I’ve always remembered by putting them in alphabetical order- fork, knife, spoon!


so lovely, I am inspired to try that this weekend! I especially love the flowers, they are beautiful.


Your posts are so inspiring! I love your mudroom setup for Wayfair. Do you mind sharing where you got those nice big hooks and the starburst mirror?


It’s beautiful. And so special. We always use forks and knives and spoons, I think it’s a very European habit. I did not miss it when I was in the USA though. ;) I am also a home economics teacher and we teach the children in 5th grade how to set the table with all the cutlery correctly.
What I really like is how you decorate the table with the candles and flowers. I, too, had similar roses in my wedding bouquet!


Love it! I would like to add something I learned from a pharmaceutical salesrep – that if you make a b and a d with your hands, the left hand is the b, and the right hand is the d – this also tells you where your Bread and Drink will be. Bread plate on your left, drink on your right. Not that we go often, but if we go to a fancy steakhouse for dinner, I remember this trick for finding my water. :)


So pretty! I like to break out the china as often as possible (in order to reassure my husband they were worth getting for our wedding, ha). We have ours displayed on the top shelf in our open shelving kitchen, so we have to use them often anyway or they get dirty. :)


I dream of the day when no one will mention poop at our table!

Beautiful setting – I’m inspired to do it soon!


I have a great way to remember what goes where with silverware. It’s ALPHABETICALl! F-fork, K-knife, S-spoon. (and when reading you go left to right of course, so F, K, S).

I was soooo (as in way too) excited to discover that trick as I always forget and then my fancier than me mother-in-law asks me to set the table for nice dinners at her house and I have to whisper to my husband for help, never again! insert evil laugh here, the alphabet to the rescue, at least with those 3 utensils, you add in extras and well “google it” comes to mind. ;)


I love that you do this, it’s so sweet. I’ll have to do this with my kids soon. Although when you said the wine glasses are a family heirloom I did cringe a little. But I would still have to let my husband use them if they belonged to me, and he breaks EVERYTHING, so your kids can’t be any worse.
And the shadows from new light are fantastic! I love it!


How fun!! Great tradition- I’m sure you’ll boys will have memories of it.


*your :) oops!


You’re such a good momma fir doing fun things like this.


This is what I was going to suggest… the alphabetical order is a good cheat trick that I use, too.


Very pretty…

In addition to alpha order, just remember FOrKS for forks, the O represents the round plate, knives and spoons.


I remember well the night a six year old guest took a bite out of the crystal goblet! Thankfully, no harm done but a scare all around.


Love it. What a sweet idea! And I’d love some old wedding deets and photos sometime ;) hint hint!


Oooooh, good cheat!


I was taught
fancy dinners = set from the outside in. i.e. salad/starter, main, dessert, coffee/cheese ect.
Family dinners = chuck her in the middle and fight for a fork!
Gorgeous setting, how nice is it to be able to use the ‘good’ stuff’ with flowers and everything!!


I love the ambiance in the room! So cute that you do that. Love that woven candle holder!


any new scentsy scents you like lately? I have a burner and am always interested scents that have been tried and liked.


Beautiful! I love the roses! I always remember the order for setting the table by remembering that you set from left to right in alphabetical order…. Fork, Knife, Spoon. Ta da!


haven’t read comments, so I apologize if this is a repeat. 2 ways I remember spoon/knife replacement. You start from the outside & work your way in with utensils, since the soup course coms first, the spoon goes on the outside. Second, for me at leat I remember to point the blade of the knife tucked into to plate.


everyone’s alphabetical ideas are handy, but i like this better: work from right to left and say to yourself, “spoon and knife are man and wife, the fork stands alone.” that will be fun for the kids, too, when they learn how to set the table.


Adorable setting!
The cheat I am teaching my son is that the knife protects the spoon from the fork. He seems to like it. :)