It's ALWAYS a kitchen party & EVERYONE's invited!
Welcome to Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe!
Thanks for visiting! Just like our happy little stores, we take pride in making this page a place you leave happier than when you arrived! We have been in business for 22 years now, starting as a small kitchen shoppe in Lexington VA and now have expanded to 2 other locations in Roanoke VA and Richmond VA. We pride ourselves on staying ahead of cooking, baking, bar and food trends. Meeting our customers needs is always forefront, whether it's that impossible to find gadget, hostess gift, entertaining/bar items or just a good ole fashion high five! We are owned by Chef Sarah Nicholas and have a BEYOND FABULOUS team that knows it all when speaking "kitchen".
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If we're being honest, many of us pre-screen for playdates. We're looking not only for kids that will be a good influence on our children, but parents who are interesting. After all, if the kids hit it off, you will be seeing a lot more of one another.
And since everyone is overly-polite in the beginning, here are a few tips to get you off to a good start:
A good host knows that offering refreshments is polite, if not expected. Not to mention that if some children get too hungry, their heads have been known to spin 360 degrees.
New friends never want to appear too demanding, or assume you will be serving food. In which case, they're too polite to mention any gluten or peanut allergies. So, have a spread on your table that offers a nice selection of snacks, so they have options.
Clean and Simple
To avoid potential messes that your new friends may agonize over, keep the food mess-free. Save the spaghetti marinara, and opt for finger foods they can grab and go. Besides, playing with friends is their priority, and plates and silverware are too fussy.
Health is Wealth
More than ever, parents are conscious of what they're feeding their children, so avoid a dozen doughnuts and a 2-liter of soda. You don't have a break the bank to provide fun, healthy options. Besides, serving quality food will make everyone feel they deserve any sugary treats you may serve.
Before I share a few recipe ideas, here are a couple of non-food-related tips:
Ready to Go
Have some things in mind for the kids before the playdate begins, so if they get off to an awkward start, you can trot out a slime kit or kinetic sand. You may even want to save a brand new toy for the occasion, so even your child's eyes will light up. Avoid anything that may make too much a mess, such as paint or permanent markers. Some children have a wilder temperament, and if you don't know about it, you'll be repainting your walls. If it's hot out, have a kiddie pool and an extra pair of swim trunks ready to go.
Space to Play
You want to give the kids space to play without adult intervention, but you want them close enough so that you can hear what they're up to. Keep the food and drinks (where the adults will be hunkered down) within ear shot of the children. After all, we all know it's worth popping our heads in if it gets too quiet.
Regardless of all the branding we see with wine being called "Mom Juice" (been there, saw the painted wine glass), don't assume that the other parents will want to imbibe. Then again, don't assume they won't! Rather than liquor, offer something lighter for the day, like a chilled white wine. If all goes well, everyone can get out of their heads a bit and bond by swapping stories about their children. Have a nice playlist in the background and sit in some natural sunlight, and your playdate becomes officially cool!
The More the Merrier
Why invite one parent, when you can invite a few? Make it an intimate little group and connect new friends. Lord knows none of us have enough time to host multiple playdates, so consolidation puts more time back into your life. And who knows? Maybe you'll be invited to a great playdate by a guest who followed your lead!
Remember, playdates are never just about the kids. You can make it fun for all!
Happy Independence Day, from Ladles & Linens!
Hours: Roanoke: 10a-1p & Carytown: 10a-3p
In the meantime, enjoy a couple of last-minute tips to make the most of your holiday!
In case you haven't noticed, it's hot outside. Cakes and pies are grand, but firing up the oven on a sweltering day? Not so much. Show your loved ones that you're too cool for British rule with an Americana parfait! Zero cooking, refreshingly cool, and you can wow your guests with homemade whipped cream! Ditch the whisk (again, too hot) and try this handy cream whipper! One taste and people will know your cream wasn’t store-bought.
Enjoy fireworks without floaties – keep pesky bugs out of your drink with these silicone drink covers.
As a nation of immigrants, it's sometimes tough to find a food that originated in America. People's go-to are hot dogs and hamburgers, but they are in fact German foods, from Frankfurt and Hamburg, respectively. How to Americanize these dishes? Slather them in BBQ sauce of course! Take your grilling next level with a Himalayan Salt Block. Filled with minerals, it infuses food with a subtler and more complex flavor than regular table salt. And it can take the heat!
Have a happy fourth!
Sarah-Gordon Goddard knows her way around a party. Her Instagram stories bring you into her home, where she takes the mystique out of gorgeously-plated dishes and shares snippets of lively dinner parties. And the backdrop is always changing. Known as The Millennial Antiques Dealer, her home (featured below) showcases a rotating collection of beautiful things until they are sold to admiring followers of The Goddard Collective.
In fact, Sarah-Gordon takes Goddard Collective Instagram followers along with her on antiques road trips. We get a first look at her uncovered treasures, though my favorite part is the journey - all the winding country roads and quaint cafes along the way.
She recently hosted a summer soiree, mixing up old friends and new, so we could walk away with new girlfriends. She served wine and shook up bourbon cocktails with her sleek Viski cocktail shaker.
In keeping with the summer theme, dinner was light and seasonal; a kale salad topped with fresh salmon and drizzled with a tangy lemon-tahini dressing. She served optional chick peas and cranberries in positively summery Le Cadeaux plateware, pictured below and in the top photo of this post.
Salad was served with elegant silver bud servers, available at Ladles and Linens.
Conversations overlapped as we enjoyed our delicious meal. This curated group of ladies had interesting careers, yet many had aspirations to be entrepreneurs, with their side hustles already taking off!
As we roamed her home to take in the newest art pieces, bronzed lamps and vintage wine racks, we grazed on snacks in the kitchen. I fell in love with her dog Petey, and her summery flamingo tea towel!
And of course, Sarah-Gordon wouldn't let us leave without a bit of decadence, to balance out our guilt-free dinner. We were treated to individual lava cakes, dusted with powdered sugar and topped with fresh raspberries. We would've licked our plates clean, had social norms not prevented us.
It was a lovely night. Upon leaving, I stepped onto Sarah-Gordon's porch, adorned with plants billowing out of antique urns. With my belly full, crickets chirping and moon rising, it was the perfect way to kick off summer.
Sarah-Gordon, AKA The Millennial Antiques Dealer, is pictured above, left.
Tip: Attending any pool parties or al fresco dinners this season? This cheeky flamingo dish is such a standout host gift, they'll think of you whenever they pull it out.