Hosting a Harry and David Blogger Dinner in my Backyard

When my blogger friends came to dinner in my home last night, Harry and David made my life much easier in preparing the meal, with their varieties of yummy relishes and chutneys, and easy ways of making entertaining more do-able.

But … last night was like a dream.

My husband and I hosted in our backyard some of our favorite food bloggers, who came to town for a Harry and David blogging event. You may have read my post, here, on how our fears of entertaining can really rob us of some amazing experiences in life.

I’m glad I didn’t let them get in my way, because when we say NO we really miss out.

Last night, I’m glad I said YES.

It was surreal, actually, when Paul drove up with a suburban full of my friends who live all over the USA! Blogging has really changed my life.

(Maria, Rebecca, Amy, Jenna, Heidi, Jessica, Lori, me, Kristen, Rachel, and Bridget)

These women are all passionate about food, writing, photography, their families … life! That is what I love about them, and I know they cook and entertain well, so it was a wee bit intimidating for me.

This is where Minor and Jeannie come in.

(Minor and Jeannie plating the salads, with Heidi from Foodie Crush)

For Christmas this last year Jeannie gave me the “gift of time.”

A gift with no monetary value, but offering her and Minor’s services to our family in the way of “serving” at a dinner party. That they’d come and be our sous chefs, help prepare, serve, and … clean up! They did a fantastic job.

One of my favorite parts of entertaining is the “after dinner” glow. When we just sit around and talk. This time Minor and Jeannie joined in. Minor was the first cardiologist to start practicing in the Rogue Valley. Jeannie has traveled to over 100 countries, and shared her love of Brazil.

It was very cool for my friends to meet them.

And to meet my family, who made this evening a joint effort in all the work they did around the house to prepare. You know how it is when you host an event, it’s not like drop-in-guests, you actually get projects and things you’ve been neglecting to get done – done! And I can’t say enough about my husband, he is the ultimate handy-man, picked up all the bloggers, makes sure the music is just right, turns on all the party lights, keeps an eye on our doggie, Haggis, makes sure everyone has drinks, strikes up interesting conversation … he really helps keep the night flowing! Thank you, Paulie! :)

So where does the easy entertaining come in? Harry and David made my life much easier for this dinner, and I’ll be sharing some yummy recipes with you later, but to start off, with the weather being a crazy hot here in Southern Oregon, I served 2 fresh platters of fruit and veggies.

The bloggers oohed and awed over the Peach Relish with Candied Ginger. Delicious on a bite of cracker with goat cheese – and then plop on top a big fat blackberry. Yum!

After we went on a little garden tour, we started off gathering on our back patio.

(I love this picture, with Josh from Two Peas and Their Pod in the background, reading to their little pea, Caleb. Too sweet!)

Enjoyed good food, wine (H&D carries outstanding local wines!), and each other, before heading over to the table for dinner.

There were more surprises at dinner, but we’ll save those for later.

And what’s with those gorgeous red tomatoes hanging from the trellis?

How did I tie this theme in with the table setting (again, easy entertaining!)?

Stay tune for all the details … drop cloths, grasses, Dollar Tree, tomatoes, napkin swags … easy!

After my husband and I dropped the bloggers off at their hotel, we came home and walked out onto the back patio. The candles were still burning, the music lightly playing, but everyone was gone …

I had to pinch myself this morning … was it for real, or was it a dream?

Here’s another lesson I learned about easy entertaining. If you have kids, you’ll appreciate this post.

(A portion of the meal and wine was provided by Harry and David. Most photos in this post were taken by my daughter, Abby.)

   

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45 Responses to “Hosting a Harry and David Blogger Dinner in my Backyard”

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    1
    Curtis & Sherrie — August 16, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    See I told you it would be great event!!!! And you would have a wonderful time!! I am so glad that and your husband had such an enJOYable evening! But I really want to know about those tomatoes on that arbor!! LOL
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

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    2
    Kirstin — August 16, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    Looks like such a great time! Way to go…those gals are very lucky!!!

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    fabiola@notjustbaked — August 16, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    I am so happy this was a wonderful night. I seriously smiled the whole time reading this post. I just love this!

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    4
    Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta — August 16, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    Your yard and garden are amazing, can’t wait to hear more about the tomatoes and dinner! What fun bloggers too, I can totally imagine the amazing conversation and camaraderie, definitely a pinch-worthy moment! Posts like this make me so excited for having an actual house someday and learning to be a hostess from a pro <– that would be you :)

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    karolina {confetti+cookies} — August 16, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    Can’t wait for all the details! The photo with all lights at the dinner table looks amazing!

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    6
    TidyMom — August 16, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    what a beautiful night you all must have had!!

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    Cassie — August 16, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    This looks absolutely stunning Sandy! I can’t wait to see the rest!

  8. #
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    linda t — August 16, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    Wow! What an amazing night!
    And may I just say, you look just like your daughter in the group photo ~ so beautiful!
    Can’t wait to hear more!

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    9
    carrian — August 16, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

    That must have been lovely. Glad you all got to be together.

  10. #
    10
    Kaye @House on Oak Street — August 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    What a fun, fun time! Everything looks beautiful, I know that the women were so blessed to be in your home!

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    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — August 16, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

    What a fun event!! Looks like it was a fun time for all. The table setting was gorgeous…I drooled all over my phone via Instagram. :)

    Heather

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    Andrea — August 16, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Looks like everyone had a deliciously good time! So fun!

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    Marnely Rodriguez — August 16, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

    What a fun event, I saw the tweets and instagram pics and they looked like a great time! Will need to check out H&D now!

  14. #
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    LoveFeast Table — August 16, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

    Looks like it was a special evening. And just so you know, we thoroughly enjoyed following along through Instagram!
    Chris Ann & Kristin

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    15
    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — August 16, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Last night was such a gift to my soul, you have no idea. Being in your home and spending time with your friends and family – my cup overflows, truly.

    The peach chutney – OH MY GOSH!! all of it, you are wonderful. <3 love you

  16. #
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    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — August 17, 2012 @ 5:16 am

    What an awesome gift…the gift of time. Love it. What a beautiful evening.

  17. #
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    Diane | An Extraordinary Day — August 17, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    What a wonderful pinch-me kind of time!! I have no doubt you were the hostess with the mostess!!! Everything looks marvelous and everyone looks so happy and relaxed. Yay for your family and friends too!! This is going to be a huge memory in your life’s album.

  18. #
    18
    Aggie — August 17, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    This post warms my heart Sandy. I wish I was there with you all!!! xoxo
    Everything turned out beautiful!

  19. #
    19
    Michelle — August 17, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    This sounds like so much fun!! Congrats on saying YES! :-)

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    Tickled Red — August 18, 2012 @ 4:20 am

    It looks like you had an amazing time love :D I love how your friends gave you the gift of time and you were able to share with everyone the people that influence you daily, that was so special. I’ve been having a blast keeping up with you guys. xoxo

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    nancy — August 19, 2012 @ 12:31 am

    I’m in total awe. I don’t know if you’ve heard but my Jenny has a tentative buyer for her house. I am so blessed to know that you have taken her under your wing this past year.

  22. #
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    bridget {bake at 350} — August 19, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    Sandy….I cannot tell you what a dream it was to be at your home. Everything was just completely lovely, from the food, to the setting, to the company. I loved meeting Minor and Jeannie so much…and I love that this was their gift to you.

    You are truly a gracious hostess….and an inspiration to me. Now, to do a total makeover of my backyard. ;)

  23. #
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    JulieD — August 19, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, Sandy!! All of those ladies including you are amazing. So exciting & fun!! xo

  24. #
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    Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 19, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    You pulled off (what would have intimidated the daylights out of me) a gorgeous, amazing, beautiful event! What a lucky group of ladies to have you throw a party like this for them!

  25. #
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    Jen @ Savory Simple — August 20, 2012 @ 4:28 am

    What a fun event! The photos are great.

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    Heidi @foodiecrush — August 20, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    You are the consumate hostess with the mostess. My heart is full of thanks for opening your gorg home to me and the other bloggers. XOXO

  27. #
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    Kim — August 21, 2012 @ 5:32 am

    What a beautiful event, Sandy! I recognize several of my favorite food bloggers in those photos- I bet it was a fun night! I can’t to hear more about the table setting…

  28. #
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    Rebecca (Foodie With Family) — August 23, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Sandy,
    You are a gift! Your whole family is a gift! I feel so grateful both to know you and to have had the chance to sup at your table. Thank you and thanks to Harry and David for the opportunity!

  29. #
    29
    Teresa — January 16, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    Wow! That looks like it was an amazing night and your patio/yard, etc….are just beautiful.
    Teresa

  30. #
    30
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife — August 1, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    Oh Sandy, what an amazing dinner party! Everything looks so beautiful and it looks like everyone had a wonderful time!

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