5 Tips for Entertaining Last Minute Guests During the Holidays

Thank you Edwards® Desserts for sponsoring this post. Head to the frozen desserts aisle of your grocery store to pick up your favorite Edwards pie and make entertaining a breeze!

Okay, so yes, it’s only October. But let’s face it – these days, the holiday season begins the second after the last trick or treater rings the doorbell on Halloween night. And even though it can feel long and drawn out and chaotic and busy, I genuinely love the hustle and bustle of this season. I love the nonstop activities, the decor and music and lights, the overall excitement in the air, and even the last minute entertaining. I thrive on it.

That said, I also admittedly tend to feel overwhelmed in November and December, despite my fondness for the chaos. Around Thanksgiving and the December holidays especially, so many friends and family members from out of town are in the area, and we often have people stop by unexpectedly or call to make last minute plans to visit. We absolutely love having friends over, especially this time of year, and I adore entertaining (even if it’s unplanned), but it can be stressful if I’m not prepared. Thankfully, I have found that if I follow a few simple guidelines, it makes the experience of last minute holiday entertaining enjoyable instead of anxiety inducing. And I’m going to share some of my tips with you today!

1. Use decor you already have for a table setting. If I’m hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I go all out with my tablescapes. But even when we’re just having last minute guests stop by and we’re serving snacks, dessert, or even just drinks, I like to make the table look pretty. This time of year I usually pull gourds from other areas of my house and arrange them on the table. It takes just a couple of minutes, and it makes things feel fun and festive.

2. Welcome with a warm drink. We always have the coffee pot loaded and ready to turn on this time of year, and have a decaf stash ready too. I hit the start button and brew as soon as a guest arrives. I also keep fresh apple cider on hand, and heat it in a pot with cinnamon sticks when friends come over. (A few splashes of brandy make it especially fun!) Hot drinks are a symbol of the season and also make people instantly feel comfortable.

3. Keep Edwards Desserts on hand. This is a last minute holiday entertaining must for me! Everyone loves desserts, and Edwards Desserts makes absolutely delicious pies that are thaw-and-serve (so easy) but taste homemade. I have tried all of the varieties, but my favorites are Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie and Edwards Key Lime Pie, and I have either one or both of them in my freezer at all times during the holiday season. Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie is decadent layers of of chocolate and vanilla crème that are topped with chocolate drizzle, little chocolate chip, and whipped crème rosettes. And the chocolate cookie crumb crust is to-die-for. Edwards Key Lime Pie is a summer favorite of mine too, but I like to have it on hand during the holidays as well to change things up. The key lime filling (which is made with real Key West lime juice; yes please!) sits on a delicious vanilla cookie crumb crust and is topped with whipped crème rosettes. When a guest calls to say they’re stopping by, I just pull them out and thaw (or serve frozen, which is just as good!). They also make for a delightful ending to Thanksgiving dinner, and are perfect to bring to holiday parties and gatherings. Whether I’m serving alongside savory snacks or alone as a treat with coffee, I always serve Edwards.

4. Have a holiday play list ready to go. My husband makes so much fun of my affinity for nonstop holiday music, but I stand proud, guys. I mean, I’m not obnoxious about it; I give it plenty of time before I dive in, and between now and mid (cough cough, early) November, I have a regular old playlist ready to go. But once Thanksgiving is a week or two (or four) away, all bets are off (and the jingle bells are on). If we’re going to be doing last minute entertaining, I am prepared when it comes to music, and that holiday play list begins the minutes guests arrive. You have to ambience, right?

5. Keep things simple. I realize this isn’t a specific, concrete tip, but I genuinely feel it’s the most important one. I tend to go overboard with planning and (as I mentioned earlier) can get overwhelmed with last minute plans, even when I love the excitement of them. This time of year, I really try to stick with the four things above when last minute guests are coming over, and let the rest go. The holidays should be a time for enjoying the company of loved ones, and sometimes simple (but prepared!) is best.

Do you have any tips for last minute holiday entertaining? Who else is a fan of Edwards Desserts? Oh, and make sure you enter the super cool contest Edwards Desserts is hosting, for the chance to to receive a limited-edition, dessert-inspired prize pack. One lucky winner will also be a guest at a sweet holiday celebration in their hometown! So fun!

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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thank you for stepping up for these dogs and givin…

thank you for stepping up for these dogs and giving them a chance. regardless of bad breeding or whatever, you are giving them a chance and once again standing up for the underdog
BAD RAP Blog

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You Can Help Fight the Puppy Mill Problem

American Humane - puppy mill rescue

As American Humane reports on another dramatic puppy mill rescue—89 dogs living in a 10 x 60 foot trailer and 166 dogs living in a small house in Washington state, many of whom were severely ill—we are reminded that puppy mills are still a major problem in the U.S.

Since retail pet stores mainly source their animals from these mills, they are fueling this cruel industry. Fortunately, many states are passing legislation banning sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits unless they are from a shelter.

You can help fight puppy mills, too:

  • Adopt, don’t shop. Visit your local shelter or connect with a rescue group to find your new best friend.
  • Support rescue-friendly pet stores. Help the stores that are part of the solution be more successful.
  • Speak up about problem stores. Write letters to your local paper and post your thoughts in social media.

Working with local authorities, American Humane determined that about 100 of the 255 dogs—which were mostly chihuahuas—were healthy enough to transported. These dogs went to five animal rescues in Western Washington.

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The Salukis

One week ago today, Jenna and I went to Pittsburgh to pick up some puppies at the airport. We found ourselves at some desolate warehouse place, but yes, they had our delivery from Albuquerque.

They loaded the shipping box into our van. Zoom, the old whippet, raised his head to watch the proceedings, and out of that crate rose of cacophony of primitive puppy barks.

The barker was the brindle named Streamer but called “Baz” at his breeder’s home. He had gone through enough moves and jostles, and to be face to face with that short-eared dog was the last straw.

Jenna quickly got both pups out of the crate. Streamer glowered at me from the passenger seat, but the other puppy, the cream and white Mango, stared up at me with abject suspicious. “You’re not gonna eat me, are you?” his eyes seemed to ask.

And I drove them home. Mango decided that I was his safety, and he began to follow me from room to room. Streamer, a hot-blooded Arabian stallion of a pup, decided to snap at the old whippet on the sofa, and he received a muzzle snap for his impudence..

Thus began my journey with an even more different sort of dog.  I should add that these are not normal AKC salukis, but they are a cross between a tazi with ancestors from Kazakhstan and Middle Eastern or “desert bred salukis.” Their sire is Tavi, a dog that has been featured on the Qurencia blog many times. Their mother is brindle and white, and thus controversial to the saluki purists. Both live with Shiri Hoshen in New Mexico, and this is the first litter produced between the two parents.

Mango is not ours. He will be going through a vaccine and titer regime over the next few months before he will be send to live with a good friend of this blog in Australia.

But right now, Mango is just learning about this foreign land, where the grass is green and spongy, and the rain drops from the sky regularly and make the air cool and crisp.

He is learning about wolf-like dogs with prick ears and intense eyes, and drop-eared almost Saluki-like things that carry things in their mouths. He will need much socialization to be made ready for that long trip Down Under.

But he has the softest, brownest eyes I’ve ever seen on a dog. He will be a great dog. I just hope to do him justice.

Streamer will be staying here, and I hope will be reformed into a nice high status dog.

/And so I will learn a new breed once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural History

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Thanks for the kind comments. A sobering reality c…

Thanks for the kind comments. A sobering reality check though: With the exception of these pups, we're not able to help much with this case. With nearly zero rescue resources available to semi-feral adult dogs,100 or more will be facing euthanasia in order for this high volume breeding operation to cease. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear when I wrote this. Trying to offer a realistic account without inciting panic can be a tricky balance.
BAD RAP Blog

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Asthma Treatments for Dogs

Pet asthma is a medical condition that’s easy to diagnose in dogs and there are several different asthma treatments for dogs that can control the symptoms of this disease.

Asthma in dogs is defined as the sudden narrowing of a dog’s airways that causes breathing difficulties. Asthma can be triggered when a pet inhales something it’s allergic to. When this happens, …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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Why Are So Many People Adopting Senior Dogs?

The word is out! While cute little puppies are hard to resist, more and more people are leaving shelters with senior dogs in tow—lovable, loyal, life-wise companions. Here’s why:

All the love without all the ….
Senior dogs already know how to cuddle—they also already know where NOT to go to the bathroom and what NOT to chew on.

Walks over workouts…
Senior dogs don’t have nearly as much energy to burn as puppies or even adult dogs, but they will help you get your steps in each day.

Built-in experience…
Unlike puppies, many senior dogs already know basic commands and basic courtesies of living in a house with people.

Plays well with all others…
Life experience and lower energy levels make older dogs great companions for all ages. They have the patience to take on toddlers and the temperament to soothe seniors.

Unconditional love and unending gratitude…
It’s easy to spoil a puppy, but senior dogs don’t take their second chances for granted. They know they’ve been saved and are forever grateful.

If you have a senior dog in your home, remember that older dogs love dinner time as much as any hungry puppy, but they need fewer calories and less fat to match their lower metabolism and reduced activity levels. Be sure to look for a senior dog food that is formulated to meet their needs. As dogs get older they may lose some of their sense of smell, so the enticing aroma of wet dog food for senior dogs may also be a good choice to help them empty their bowl.

 

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You stepped up and are doing your best. Com…

You stepped up and are doing your best. Commendable by any measure.
BAD RAP Blog

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Why did mankind not domesticate the African wild dog?

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Man originated in Africa. The whole lineage of apes from which we and all the other human species descended was in Africa, a sister lineage to the apes that gave us the chimpanzee and the bonobo.

But man’s first domestic animal was not of Africa at all. The large pack-hunting wolf roamed the great expanses of Eurasia, and it was only when certain Eurasian hunters began to incorporate wolves into their societies that we began the process of domestication.

For nearly two million years, human ancestors and the ancestors of the wild dog lived throughout Africa.  There was never an attempt to bring these dogs to heel, and there was never attempt to reach out to that species.

The question remains of why African wild dogs were never domesticated, and part of the answer lies in their nervous nature. I am reminded of Martin Clunes’s A Man and His Dogs.  Clunes ended his two part documentary with a visit to Tony Fitzjohn’s African wild dog project, and at one point, Clunes is asked to pick up a tranquilized African wild dog, while making certain that the jaws are positioned well away from his body.  These dogs react and react quickly.

These dogs live as quite persecuted mesopredators in an intact African ecosystem that includes lions and spotted hyenas.  Yes, this animal that kills large game with a greater success rate than any other African predator is totally the underdog in a land so dominated by the great maned cat and the spotted bone-crusher.

Their lives must be spent hunting down quarry and then bolting down meat as fast as they can before the big predators show up to steal it.

The current thinking is the first African wild dog ancestor to appear in Africa was Lycaon sekowei. This species lived in Africa from 1.9 to 1 million years ago, which is roughly the same time frame in which the first human ancestors began to consume meat readily.  It was very likely that a major source of meat consumed by these ancestors came from scavenging.  Homo habilis has been des cribed as a very serious scavenger, as was Homo erectus.

Both Homo habilis and erectus were contemporaries of Lycaon sekowei, and one really thinks about it, these early humans would have been very interested in the comings and goings of the great predators. Of all the predators to drive off kills, it is obvious that a pack of wild dogs would be easier to drive off than just about any other predators that were evident in Africa at the time.

So for at least 1.9 million years, African wild dogs evolved knowing that humans of any sort were bad news.  They may have inherited an instinct towards antipathy toward humans, and thus, there never was any chance for us to develop relationships such as those that have been observed with wolves and hunter-gatherer people.

I think this played a a much bigger role in reason why man never tried to domesticate African wild dogs. One should also keep in mind that wolves in Eurasia were also mesopredators in that ecosystem. Darcy Morey and Rujana Jeger point out that Pleistocene wolves functioned as mesopredators in which their numbers were likely limited by cave lions, archaic spotted  hyenas, and various forms of machariodont. They were probably under as much competition from these predators as the ancestral African wild dogs were under from the guild of super predators on their continent.

What was different, though, is the ancestral wolves never evolved in an enviroment which scavenging from various human species was a constant threat, so they could develop behaviors towards humans that were not always characterized by extreme caution and fear.

We were just novel enough for wolves to consider us something other than nasty scavengers, and thus, we could have the ability to develop a hunting symbiosis as is described in Mark Derr’s book and also Pierotti and Fogg’s.

It should also be noted that African wild dogs do not have flexible societies. In wolf societies, there are wolves that manage to reproduce without forming a pair bond, simply because when prey is abundant, it is possible for wolves other than the main breeding female to whelp and rear puppies. These females have no established mates, and they breed with male wolves that have left their natal packs and live on the edges of the territories of established packs. In the early years of the Yellowstone reintroduction, many packs let these females raise their pups that were sired by the wanderers, and one famous wolf (302M) wound up doing this most of his life, siring many, many puppies.  I think that what humans did in their initial relationships with wolves was to allow more wolves to reproduce in this fashion, which opens up the door for more selective breeding than one would get from wolves that are more pair-bonded.

In African wild dogs, one female has the pups. If another female has puppies, hers are confiscated by the main breeding female and usually starve to death.

The wolf had the right social flexibility and the right natural history for humans form relationships with them, which the African wild dog was lacking.

 

 

 

 

 

Natural History

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Win $5,000, 1,000 pounds of food + more for your favorite shelter! #RememberMeThursday

“All of the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” A time to take the words of Saint Francis of Assisi to heart, Remember Me Thursday is a day to light the…



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DogTipper

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