Monday, November 14, 2011

What's in a Name?

guest post by Amy H.

What's In A Name?

There is just something personal and special about hearing or seeing your name.

When inviting others to our home, I like to think of different ways to communicate to them personally, "I am expecting you! I am excited that you're here! You're special and have a special place in our home!" Often it's in little details that don't take much time, but hopefully offer a warm welcome. Here are a few ways to welcome guests, by name!

As I was on my way home one day I found this easel out by a curb with a free sign. I quickly pulled over and loaded it up! After a coat of white paint it found a spot on our front porch. Day to day it has a welcome friends message, but when we are expecting guests my children often write a personal message on the white board. Do your children already have a similar easel? This could easily be made with a board and chalk board paint or an inexpensive white board.

Did you know that you can use dry erase markers or chalkboard ink pens on most plates? Our dishes are simple and I keep one on a little easel inside our front entry. It's a perfect place to write Bible verses, holiday or seasonal messages, and to welcome guests! When you're ready to change it, just wash it clean and write a new message!

Cups are another place for guests names. It's so nice to not be wondering whose cup is whose! With a little chalkboard paint on inexpensive plastic cups you are always ready for guests! I used painters tape to mark off my painting area and then followed the directions on the chalkboard paint, giving the cups 2 coats. After the second coat I promptly removed the tape and allowed the cups to dry for a week. Then, per directions, I colored over them completely with chalk. These cups do need to be washed by hand. As a warning, the paint could be scraped off; however, I used my set all summer and didn't have any trouble. Also, condensation on the cups may cause your chalk to run but we could still make out the names. That said, we really enjoyed using them as did our guests! They're re-usable, inexpensive, and won't break.

Place cards are another way of personally welcoming guests. I also think that place cards are helpful in letting guests know where to sit. My children often get to invite our guests to the table while I am finishing up last minute preparation in the kitchen. At times I've noticed our guests awkwardly wondering where to sit. With place cards they can confidently find their place! A 4x6 plain index card folds perfectly into a place card. We often stamp them with stamps to suit the "theme" of our table and then my children color them in and write the names on the cards. For Thanksgiving last year we made turkey place cards with my children's fingerprints (my pinkie made the body of the turkey, each of them used a different color ink pad and made the feathers). Prior to the meal we set out the cards with pens so we could write inside and communicate our thankfulness for each person. Not only did these serve as place cards, but were a keepsake and an encouragement for everyone.

How do you personally welcome your guests?