Monday, February 20, 2017

February Supper Club (& How It All Got Started)

One of the most common questions I'm asked anytime I post about Supper Club is "how does your Supper Club work?" So today I'm going to share about how we got started...
How it All Got Started
I've always been a people gatherer. Bringing people together (especially fun people) is a passion of mine and it always has been. In high school I loved hosting my best guy friends on the football team over for pancakes on game day mornings. In college I led bible studies for my sorority. On winter breaks I hosted annual pasta parties back home with my best high school friends. I've always been the party and vacation planner of all my friend groups -- and I love it.

After graduation I moved to Charlotte where I knew NO ONE -- and so the pursuit began for some solid girlfriends. Lucky for me, I made some pretty incredible friends right away through my new job. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have met my husband! I also joined a bible study and made a few more friends there. And I made friends with their friends. Then Matt and I moved to a new neighborhood and made a few more friends. And so I was feeling pretty good about all these wonderful groups of people in our life and we found ourselves planning vacations with these friends, hosting them over for dinner, going out for drinks together and more.

And then I had a baby.

Shortly after Caroline was born I quickly recognized how much less time I had in my life for hanging with friends. Things changed so much after a little person came along and began monopolizing all my time not spent at work. Then my friends started having babies too and it seemed like getting together was nearly impossible. And honestly, it was a bit lonely. I missed my friends. And I definitely missed late nights of funny, inappropriate conversations over too many glasses of wine. My biggest challenge was making time for each group of friends -- work friends, bible study friends, neighbor friends, etc. It was difficult to keep up with them all regularly and still have time for my family.

Then one night I told Matt I was going to start a Supper Club -- and he loved it and encouraged me to do it. And it's honestly been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 

So I approached each friend separately and asked if she would be interested in joining a supper club. Through these discussions I learned that I wasn't alone in feeling like regular fellowship with gal pals was certainly missing. And although some of the girls did not know each other well, there was a resounding "YES!" from them all to kick off the club. And so I did...

How It Works
Once I rallied enough girls together we flushed out the organization and the process: 

ORGANIZATION: At the beginning of the year each member selects a month she would like to host Supper Club in her home. We have liked using Sign-Up Genius to plan out the year because it's first come, first serve for grabbing a month and the website automatically sends reminders to the host when her turn is coming up.

We also agreed on the third Thursday of every month at 7 pm so the timing is consistent and the girls could plan accordingly (several of the girls have husbands who travel and need to secure babysitters for the night).

We have 11 girls in the club which leaves one month open each year. The past few years we've used this month for a girls night out. However, this year we're trading our open month in for a girl's beach weekend!

HOSTING: A few weeks before the next Supper Club the hostess sends out an evite so she can collect RSVPs and plan for the night. The fun part about hosting is you can literally do whatever you want -- create an ultimate salad bar, require pajama attire, make a large pot of chili, go fancy, celebrate babies, throw a party under the stars, grab takeout, celebrate birthdays, etc. The only rule is the hostess provides all of the food and each guest brings a bottle of wine. It's that easy!

If you aren't in a Supper Club, don't be afraid to start your own! I can speak for our entire group when I say that this club has been a blessing to each of us. So many friendships have evolved over the years -- from weddings to birthdays, we've celebrated countless events together, welcomed 11 babies (and have a handful more on the way), started a weekly play group for the kids to get together, share a group text that dings all day with mom questions or funny stories, been there for each other in the toughest of times and many of our husbands even get together on a weekly basis for beers and trivia. 

***
February Supper Club
This month I hosted Supper Club! I kept things as simple as possible with a crockpot meal and prepped far in advance because Matt had an event the same night. Thankfully, my bestie Mel came straight from work to help with the kiddos and last minute dinner prep. 
For the tablescape I threw a lightly shimmered tablecloth down and ran a $3 roll of pretty gold dot wrapping paper (from Target dollar spot) down the center of the table. Then I crammed as many gorgeous tulips as I could into 3 of my coffee mugs and set out some gold votives. Easy.
For fun, I sprinkled some fun TableTopics across the table. In typical fashion we were too busy chatting away about everything that we didn't really get through too many of the cards but they were still fun!
 
Sticking with my "easy" theme, I picked up a log of goat cheese, a round of boursin cheese and crackers from Trader Joes for an appetizer.
Caroline desperately wanted to hang "with the ladies" as she kept saying, so I let her party with us through dessert with only a few ear muffs along the way. Once Matt got home he scooped her up and put her to bed. But the very first question she asked when she woke up the next morning was "are the ladies still here?!" 
You're welcome, Lisa.
For dinner I served Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup that I slow cooked all day in the crockpot (adding the tortellini and the spinach in the last hour of cooking). Alongside the soup I served fresh bread I picked up from the Teeter and warmed in the oven for a few minutes. Then Mel sliced it for me while I put a screaming toddler to bed. Thanks Mel!
For dessert I whipped up some homemade ice cream sandwiches! I kid. I kid. I unwrapped a box of M&M ice cream sandwiches and arranged them on a plate.
And finally, may I introduce the cutest little new member to our Supper Club? To the right we have 6 days new -- baby Belle! She is pure sugar and enjoyed her first party with the ladies.

As is standard, my Supper Club ran late into the night, many bottles of wine were drank, dinner was devoured and I kicked the last 3 usual suspects out just before 11 pm and collapsed into bed. Another successful Supper Club in the books!

My Previous Supper Club Dinners
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Toddler Talk

The things that come out of Caroline's mouth these days are so unpredictable and hilarious. A few things I want to catalog...
While handing my camera to me...
Caroline: Mommy? Can you take a smile with me?

In the car on the way to school while listening to our favorite CD...
Caroline: Mommy, can you please turn up the singing?
Caroline teaching Thomas how to make "soup"
Because even a lunch of just french fries is a win these days...
Mommy: Thomas, eat your french fries and you can have your rice krispy treat.
Caroline: Thomas, eat your french fries and you can have your rice krispy treat.
 
While chaperoning me using the potty (because all moms know you can't pee alone once you have kids!)...
Caroline: (Hands me one square of toilet paper and rubs my back) Great job mommy! You get a sticker! 
The newest night-night routine addition is Caroline reads Thomas a book. This activity was established by Caroline so her rule is she gets to pick the book and only she gets to read and only she gets to sit in the reading chair...(bossy big sister? yep)
Caroline: Come on, Thomas! I am going to read to you!
Thomas: ....
Caroline: (turns first page)
Thomas: nope!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Our Valentine's Day

We had a great Valentine's Day! Well, besides an emergency eye doctor appointment for Thomas after pink eye suspicion it was great! But I guess you can say we had a great Valentine's Day morning!
On our way out the door Matt requested that Caroline and I wait outside because he and Thomas had a little surprise for us...
 Yeah girl, I get it -- he makes me that happy too!
Thomas couldn't decide if he wanted to give me my rose or if he wanted to mutilate it, so he did both.
The kiddos were pumped to bring their goodies to their friends and teachers at school. We recycled last year's treat idea again this year since they were such a hit. Bonus points that they were low effort on our part too.
After nap time I got a call from Thomas's teacher informing me that they suspected he had pink eye! His eyes were completely crusted shut and he was miserable. So I raced to daycare to pick him up and take him to an emergency eye doctor appointment (skipped the pediatrician all together). Thankfullyyyyyyyyyyyy, it's just some sort of non-contagious conjunctivitis that requires some eye drops for the next week or so! Hallelujah. But the poor guy was pretty fussy the rest of the day and allllll night long. It was a rough night for everyone!
Thankfully, we had exchanged gifts at home over the weekend. Matt and I can't ever save our gifts once we have them in our possession so this is pretty standard for us. Caroline received a few new Pookie books to add to her collection (these are favorite bedtime books because I've always called her "pookie") and Thomas added the Barnyard Dance book to his Sandra Boynton collection and a Trucks book

Matt was really excited about the gifts I gave him, especially the board game for at-home date nights! He surprised me with a super cute dress he picked out from my favorite boutique and a sweet card with an additional surprise inside for a night out with a few of my mama friends -- already planned by the husbands!
I also whipped up our Valentine tradition steak dinner at home last Sunday night after the kids went to bed. I knew for certain that there was no way I'd pull this off on a Tuesday night. And I was right -- we had egg sandwiches for dinner last night.

And that was a wrap on Valentine's Day!
 
See our previous Valentine's Days here:
2016 Valentine's Day
2015 Valentine's Day
2014 Valentine's Day
2013 Valentine's Day
2012 Valentine's Day
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