A gorgeous tablescape, tried & true family recipes and an intimate gathering of friends. This pool-side “girls night out” is just what mom ordered.

Photography by Ellen Cannon

Last year I woke up with rainbow sprinkles in my morning latte. While the milk foam tasted a little sugary and looked like a colorful mess, I couldn’t think of a sweeter way to start my day. Mother’s Day- a day filled with beautifully scribbled cards, pancakes in bed (scroll down to find Mother’s recipe) and the sweetest snuggles. Being a mom of three young children, it is with great pride and privilege that I know of all these things first hand.
With that being said though, besides sweet cards, breakfast in bed and jewelry (remember this coming from a girl who designs and has her own jewelry line) what does mom really want for Mother’s Day? I’ll tell you- a night where she can guiltlessly enjoy a glass of wine and laugh with her friends without changing a diaper or cutting up someone else’s food before eating her own.

She wants to giggle about the pantry cookie incident with someone who can relate (did they really create a pyramid to get to the Oreos?) or be consoled and promised that potty training will in fact happen…one day. As moms we are constantly doing or thinking about others and every now and then we need to think about ourselves and fill up our own tanks. A girl’s night always fills up a tank.

With my passion for tablescapes and entertaining, I went ahead and set a table to celebrate the moms in my life. My friends are amazing moms and I was tickled to create a pretty excuse for us to all gather….sans diapers.

Pink. Keeping it feminine and girlie was a goal for this “Girls Only” party.

Don’t go overboard. I was bursting at the seams to use this Richard Ginori china but you do you. Do as much decorating/ setting as it makes your heart sing but stop when it doesn’t. Remember your friends will be more excited about the uninterrupted glass of wine and laughter, than the napkins and plates.

So with that go ahead and forward this email to your husband, brother or dad. Tell them to call a babysitter or start cleaning up the house, the girls are coming over.

Mom’s Night Out Ideas

*Keep it simple and make it a potluck. Everyone bring their favorite dish…maybe one that their sons or husbands would normally turn their noses up at (see Jane Holding’s Frozen Fruit Salad Recipe which for the record for Jane’s sake, no one turns their noses up to in my house but it is definitely a far cry from my husband’s heavy potato side)

*Do a progression take- out. COVID made sure all of our favorite haunts got the take-out thing down. Tell each mom which course they are in charge of and get everyone to pick up from a different place.

*Feeling guilty or like Dad might be overwhelmed with the idea of all the children by himself? Rent a jump house, invite all your couple friends over children included, order pizza and then once everyone is bouncing and pizza arrives, all moms go out to dinner. You won’t feel guilty anymore when you see the look on your children’s faces as the air inflates…TIP: You’ll buy yourself extra time if you have Bluebell individual ice cream cups in the freezer & rainbow sprinkles in the pantry.

Favorite recipes from the kitchens of some of my favorite Moms.

Mimi’s Pancakes

Made at least every Saturday or Sunday in our house (sometimes both) and perfect for Mother’s Day weekend. If my little family of 5 is feeling hungry, we usually double the recipe.

Wet Ingredients

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp oil

Dry Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately then add wet to dry without over mixing, let rise for 5 or so minutes. Spray griddle pan and pour! Extra Mom points if you make into shapes!

Jane’s Frozen Fruit Salad

The perfect May entertaining nibble/side/dessert and remember, sugar calories don’t count with your friends.

1 pint sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 banana
¼ cup chopped nuts
1 16oz can crushed pinapple drained
¼ cup maraschino cherries chopped
1/8 tsp salt

Mix sour cream and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Separate fruit salad into cupcake pans and freeze for at least 4 hours. They’re even better if you can freeze them overnight.

Howe Family Cheese Biscuits

(These are not like a rising biscuit, but more like a cookie)

½ lb sharp grated cheddar cheese
¼ lb butter
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper (add more if you like spice)
Halved Dates or pecans or both!

You can cream all by hand if you really want to but below is Mama’s quick Method. If you are choosing the quick method, be sure to keep your butter cold.

Grate cheese in food processor. Change blades to main chopping blade. Add cold butter (cut into small squares), flour, salt and red pepper to bowl. Pulse and mix until all ingredients begin to make a ball. Turn onto a large sheet of wax paper. Shape into a long tube and 1-2 inch diameter, wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

Once chilled, slice tube very thinly, wrap ½ pecan or date with cheese. On a greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper) put in 325 oven for 10 plus minutes (golden brown). Allow to cool on cookie sheet if you want them crisper.

Note: I guess I have a thing for cookie cutters but you can also roll out dough flat and cut into shapes according to holiday. Makes for a great nibble to serve with cocktails.