easing into hosting again

by | May 28, 2021 | Decorating, Dining Room, My House | 9 comments

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions are honest and my own.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed in recent weeks is getting together with friends and family again!  We were able to have dinner with some friends on our trip to PA and we had a small get-together with family during our vacation in Isle of Palms.  It got me thinking that it’s time to start easing back into hosting at home.  I don’t know about you, but I have gotten out of the habit of hospitality.  Not just having people over to our house, but seeking out opportunities to spend time with others.  Actually in person, not just over Zoom!  With the US opening up a bit more and restrictions easing, it’s a good time to seek out those opportunities again in ways that are welcoming, yet respectful to the comfort levels of each individual.

So, the idea I had for hosting a little dinner with friends is to set up a table inside with plates, glasses for drinks, some fresh, seasonal sides, etc.  Everyone can serve up, put their food on a tray, pick up a piece of chicken off the grill, and then we can picnic in the yard.  It’s a way to dine alfresco without having to haul everything outside or if you don’t have a great outdoor eating area.  (We have a deck, but it is in need of replacing and the railings are getting iffier by the year.)  Setting up a few folding chairs will allow us to enjoy the fellowship of friends and the late spring weather.  (Although, it was 40 and rainy yesterday, so we had the fireplace on!)

For the table, I mostly used pieces from Walmart Home that I’ve had for a few years and I added in some new summery linens.  I always enjoy browsing through the home & garden departments in my local Walmart store and online.  I just never know what I’m going to find that might spark an idea.

summer buffet table with Walmart | miss mustard seed

One of the new additions is this blue and white checked tablecloth.  I selected a square one, so I could use it on my round dining table, our round patio table on the deck, or could use it as an accent on our rectangular kitchen table.  Since I don’t use tablecloths very often, I like to buy pieces that will be versatile and aren’t specifically sized for only one table.

summer buffet table with Walmart | blue white checked tablecloth | miss mustard seed

I also bought a set of six matching napkins to create silverware bundles.  It makes it easy for guests to grab it and go instead of having to pick out each piece.  I simply tied the bundles with a little bit of grosgrain ribbon and lined them up on a platter.

summer buffet table with Walmart | silverware bundles | miss mustard seed

For plates, I used the jadeite-like plates from the Pioneer Woman collection and also put out the matching bowls for fruit or a salad.  It’s nice to give people the option of using a smaller bowl or plate for sides.  Some people like to pile everyone on one plate and other people, even adults, don’t like their sides touching!

summer buffet table with Walmart | Pioneer Woman jade plates | miss mustard seed

I love the fluted detail on these bowls.  They are just so pretty and they are nice and deep – a great size for salads, soups, cereal, etc.

summer buffet table with Walmart | pioneer woman jade bowls | miss mustard seed

A woven tray could be used to carry pieces outside, but I used it (THIS ONE) under the salad bowl just to add a little texture and warmth to the table.

summer buffet table with Walmart | miss mustard seed

Some fresh flowers in a few small jars make the simple table setting look a bit more festive and special.

The key to this pretty table, though, is using a few pretty pieces that coordinate well and leave it at that.  Just let it be simple and easy, which suits early summer, anyway.

It’s easy to overcomplicate hosting, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had people over.  In my experience, people rarely care about the decorating, dishes, and food being perfect.  They just want to enjoy the time with you and your family, so don’t let perfectionism prevent that.

What are your thoughts on easing back into hosting?  Or have you been doing it for a while?  Any helpful tips to share about entertaining outside?


PS – The Pioneer Woman had a live shop-a-long event yesterday to share some of her newest products, so I popped on to check it out.  I didn’t know she had clothes in addition to her housewares.  I actually ended up buying a pair of capri pull-on jeggings, which I’ve been looking for, in the hopes they’ll be good for summer.  These look like they have a nice shape and would be comfy.  I’ll let you know how they work!
pioneer woman pull-on jeggings | miss mustard seed


  1. Kay

    There are many people on the Walmart site that are complaining about these dinnerware pieces breaking while sitting on the shelf or when placed in a dishrack after handwashing. The color is very “old fashioned” like Jadeite, but too bad they break so easily.

    • Marian Parsons

      I’ve had my pieces for at least two years now and not one has broken. I don’t use them as my everyday dishes, though.

  2. Laura O'Barr

    I have some of the “jadeite” pieces and love them! I haven’t had any of them break. Fingers crossed!

  3. Cheri

    Love that tablecloth! It’s been awhile since I popped over to Walmart- might be time to take a look!

  4. Julie

    I went into the local Walmart this past week for the first time since Covid began. I found the most perfect galvanized watering can with aged looking red wooden handle inserts – it will be used for cut flowers. I bout sixteen yards of real ticking fabric to remake the cushions for porch wicker, and some quilt batting by the yard for two porch quilts I have been working on. Oh, and touch up paint for the wrought iron. I had a wonderful time and so happy with my purchases! I was so excited when I found the ticking – I may have even screamed out loud. 😬

  5. Babs

    The last time I had a formal dinner party was March 2020. The thought of starting up again is exhausting. I think I will start off with simple, small gatherings with wine and cheese on the patio now that the weather is nice. Not entertaining is easy…but I miss connecting with people on an intimate level. So thankful that this nightmare is winding down.

  6. Vicki

    You have such wonderful style! Please let me know the fit of the jegging. Do they run true-to-size or small? I would assume there will be some shrinkage with the fabric content. Thanks!

  7. Kris

    Oddly enough, I had more people over last year than I have had in a long time. In “normal” times my friends and I tend to meet up in restaurants, but since that wasn’t an option, we ended up hosting bonfire evenings in our back yards. Mostly it’s been a bring-your-own-food although I’ve done desserts a few times. It did inspire me to try to make my patio more inviting this year–I purchased cushions for my furniture, an outdoor rug, and a cute little lantern. I’m sure you, Marian, could have done something phenomenal but I’m pleased with my efforts. Your serving setup is so pretty although I’d worry about the plates breaking with people going in and out of doors …

  8. ellen patton

    I had friends over for dinner on Sunday for the first time in 15 months and it felt so good!!



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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