National Etiquette Week

This past week was the National Etiquette Week. So I wanted to chat about etiquette.

I was beginning to think that etiquette was a thing of the past. And, truth be told, any trip out and about would likely verify my suspicions.

But then I’m seeing a resurgence of etiquette schools/training and most definitely the resurgence of the Emily Post Institute. All of which tell me that I’m in good company to want to see good manners come back in style.

“Good manners reflect something from inside–an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.”  –  Emily Post

I’m in favor of good manner for exactly the reason that Emily Post verbalizes in her quote ~ they are a “sense of consideration for others.” I can’t imagine where our culture is headed if we fail to show consideration to others.

Today, my beloved husband accompanied me to the grocery store, the grocery store of my choice. Now that may not seem wildly romantic to you, but it was great news to me. I don’t like shopping at Wal-mart, and one of the brand grocery stores near us has rude associates. So this trip meant a clean store, nice people, help taking my groceries to the car as normal service.

Yes, at this store groceries cost a little more, but I was basically there for the sales anyway. My husband was impressed. Five associates greeted us. It was clean. The bagger didn’t ask to help us take our groceries out; he assumed that was part of his job. AND they had umbrellas out the door for us to use because it was raining. They had a sense of consideration for others.

Manners are always impressive. Well, you are right. Bad manners are impressive too.

Bu does anyone really want to make a bad impression? I suppose there are those who don’t care, but I believe most want to treat others with care and respect.

If you are a mom, join me in a crusade to bring manners back into vogue.

What manner do you find to be the hardest to teach your children?

And we’d all love to hear if you have a great way to get manners ingrained in the kids.

6 Tips for Spontaneous Entertaining

Are you like me? Do you love entertaining? I do!

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Is your family like my family? Do they like to do things spontaneously?

We like both – entertaining and being spontaneous; therefore, we like to entertain spontaneously. And that can present some problems. But I like to keep things at the ready for just those times when the urge hits us to enjoy some time with friends.

Let me give you 6 things that I do to ease the stress and make entertaining on the spur of the moment possible.

1) Always have paper products ready. I like the real deal when it comes to my tableware, but I learned a long time ago that I like people too. I also realized that the kind of tableware that is used effects how people feel. Paper plates make people feel really comfortable.

2) If you are going with the very comfortable paper product tableware, then corral the plastic forks, spoons, knives in a container ready all the time. You can pick up a “picnic caddy” in almost any style and material. Get one that matches a favorite tablecloth.

3) Keep the part of your home that you entertain in, at least picked up and uncluttered. Guests rarely venture all over your house. They will probably only venture to your kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom. Before you panic, your kitchen is usually clean; dirty dishes can be in the dishwasher or even in the oven (unless, of course, you are using it). The bathroom may need a touch up. It should be enough to simply wipe down on the surfaces. Your living room should be a quick pick up and the dining room is always cleaned up from the last meal. Don’t let the look of your home keep you from spending time with your friends. And there’s always the backyard.

4) Involve the whole family with any clean up or set up. Your kids will be learning to be good hosts and hostesses.

5) Have a go-to game that can be played with adults and kids alike. In our experiences, we had the pleasure of coming across some games that most people had never played nor even heard of for that matter. The novelty was entertainment enough.

6) Have go-to menus that you use and keep the ingredients on hand. Yes it is possible! Remember you don’t have to serve a 7-course meal. Believe it or not, you can just serve dessert. Maybe you have some ideas for a dessert with ingredients that you would always have on hand. Please share with us a favorite of yours.

Being with friends and family is delightful. Don’t get hindered by fear of what people will think. Remember that people come to see you not your house, and they come to enjoy the conversation not criticize the cooking.

Changes that Will Improve Our Manners

Every day punctuates that good manners are on the wane. So, it goes without saying that for a mom who wants her kids to grow up seeing and then using good manners, she is not getting much help from the culture.

Moms, it’s all up to us! We can’t be expecting much help here.

 Thank you

One of the areas of manners that is so lacking today is the area of thank you notes. Verbal thank you’s are good; written thank you’s are excellent.

The first question to ask might be, ‘How are you doing in this area?’

The next question to ask, if you are not doing so well, is ‘Why?’

My guess is that you find it time consuming or burdensome to locate those illusive thank you cards and stamps. You might also extol the problem of not having the time to sit down and write one.

Let’s tackle those objections in reverse order:

1) If someone took the time (they didn’t think they had) to do or buy something nice for us, then the very least we can do is find the time to say thank you.

2) Corral those supplies so that it’s not a chore to locate the “Gratitude Gear.” I suggest a spot right where you would be sitting to do the writing. Then make it a fun or decorative part of the space. If you are trying to encourage the little ones, then a portable silverware caddy might be just the trick ~ paper in one side and markers, pens, pencils, crayons, stickers, etc. in the the other slots. If you are trying to encourage the adults abiding under the same roof, a decorative letter size container fits the bill. You can find one of these containers anywhere. The obvious solution would just be to keep a nice assortment of cards and stamps at a desk, or the bill paying center.

Remember to have a variety of styles to choose from. The guys in my house really don’t like to use the ones with flowers on them. Who knew?

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Don’t tuck the cards away because they are seldom used. Reverse the thinking. Put them in a prominent place so that they will be used and you’ll know when you are out of them.