I Used Paper Napkins!

We are family! And family for sure doesn’t care if we use paper or cloth napkins!

Our out-of-town cousins were here from St. Louis and we threw a family BBQ. In St. Louis style this family knows how to pull out the stops for us when we visit their town. They are the essence of hospitality. So our family rallied together to create an evening we wouldn’t forget here in Oregon.

When setting the table (12 adults and 8 kids), I decided – in the 100-degree heat – to do it quickly. Paper napkins were handy – and they’d just have to do! The kids sat at the picnic table, and the adults at another table with a more formal setting.

Once again, our dinner was not about impressing. It was about celebrating the fact that the last time we had all been together was 10 years ago!

Our dinner consisted of delicious appetizers of homemade salsa and chips, and vegetable pizza and fresh celery sticks from our garden. Then our main course was BBQ chicken breasts and thighs, yummy scalloped potatoes, strawberry salad, fruit kabobs and dip, and baguette bread with garlic butter. (Recipes to follow - next post.)

What could top it off better than Texas sheet cake, ice cream and strawberries?

Reminiscing & Laughter.


Sisterly love.

Cousins reconnecting.

Music, torches, candles.



Tickling the ivory.

Chubby babies.

Cooling off.

Little boy energy.

Yes, we are family – and even though we have miles between us, we still have a bond that cannot be separated.

Thank you Scott, Rebecca, Andrew and Audrey – for pursuing our family, keeping in touch, visiting us and for awesome memories!

Oh, and do you think when they arrive home from their vacation that they will remember I used paper napkins?

I don’t think so!

How about you - do you find it okay to use paper napkins?

(Paper napkins from Target's clearance aisle. I usually like to use "cloth" because they are more "eco-friendly," especially if line-dried. Upcoming post: RECIPES from this dinner party!)


Wendy said...

That looks like such a fun day!
I almost always use paper, but I'm slowly making the change to cloth.

OKGardners said...

Looks like a fun time and NO ONE will remember the paper napkins!

Wish my siblings even TRIED to get together. One is 100 miles away and the other in Nashville, TN. (I'm in Okla City) I suggest and invite, but no one responds. So sad.
I'll keep trying though...
Last get-together was 2004.

Betty in OK

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have a Tuesday Morning near me that has the most amazing paper napkins. I have a few packages from there and then my daughter has purchased a couple packages of cut paper napkins from The Christmas Tree Place (or something like that) where she lives in New England. Trust me, they are works of art. :)

Otherwise, I have a large collection of linen napkins that all work together because they are white (although not the same size).

Sometimes a girl just has to have some fun. :)

Mrs. Mordecai said...

What a beautiful evening! I try to use cloth napkins when it's just us, but I don't have enough matching ones for guests. Someday I hope to! I think paper napkins are just fine.

Deborah said...

We usually use paper napkins at family get-togethers because there are so many kids, and cloth napkins would probably get lost or thrown away! What a great party!

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

I probably use paper napkins more often than not. And mine aren't usually nearly as pretty as the ones it looked like you used.

I admire the closeness of your extended family. That is truly a gift that you obviously treasure... which you should! What a blessing!!

GiBee said...

Yes, I think it's okay to use paper napkins. I do, however, prefer cloth napkins with more formal meals.

Have you seen the new paper napkins for entertaining? They are huge square, white, and thick like a towel or almost like a cloth napkin... very cool.

ComfyDenim said...

It is definitely okay to use paper napkins!! In our family - our get-to-gethers are much like the one you described here. Much mingling - much food - much fun -- and all of it done picnic style. Paper napkins are a must!!

And sandy, you're right!! We definitely lucked out on our guys. ;-))

Sue Cramer said...

Boy I wish I lived closer!!! :)

I mentioned you and your hubby today on my post!
Love ya,

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I have a special place in my heart for cloth. I enjoy using it, and find it makes a table especially beautiful and inviting. BUT, I am all about the paper napkins. I have three small children... bring on the paper!! ;)


~j~ said...

oh of course paper napkins!!! who can resisit there are so many cute ones to choose from.
Sounds and looks like a wonderful evening for your family and that pool looks incredible...
happy Tuesday to you Sandy!
love j

3CHEERS4MOM said...

These are great family memories. Boy, paper napkins have come a long way though, some of them are so cute. -Cheers, Amy

becky said...

I love paper napkins...they come in so many different designs, styles and colors these days. The other day I even spotted some with tassels! They were pink and green...and adorable! Some of my very favorite are "Caspari" brand...they must have an awesome designer!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hey Sandy, Loved the family photos at your BBQ. I know all about paper napkins. At Thanksgiving and Christmas I can have as many as 30 people for dinner so no way do I use cloth napkins. What I do though is use cloth napkins as the liners for bread baskets, etc. And like another poster said you can get the most beautiful paper napkins at Tuesday Morning. :) (Love Tuesday Morning stores)

nanatrish said...

You guys look like you are having so much fun! I love your table setting. Those paper napkins are great. You will probably always remember that family get together. What a special time!

Nadine said...

I love the paper napkins - nice colors. It's nice to spend time with family and enjoy each other. Looks like you all had a great time.

Grace said...

i appreciate family reunions now more than ever. (to think that i used to dread them is just shameful.) looks like ya'll had a blast! :)

Homesteader in Training said...

Paper napkins are great especially when you find such nice pretty ones. There are so many out there to choose from now that can match just about any theme.Plus easier clean up lol.
It looked like you had a fun time.

nel said...

Looks like you had so much fun catching up with your family.

There are so many gorgeous paper napkins around now, I am always buying more because of the pretty patterns.

Great post, lovely to drop by and meet you!

see you there! said...

It is sort of cloth inside, paper when eating outside for me. Buying paper napkins is fun for me because I use whatever is left from the package in collage art. Heck, I've been known to buy paper napkins Just For the art, LOL!


Tara said...

Looks like fun. I always use cloth but keep a stash of weird paper prints – leftovers from other folks holidays and parties, or even take-out – that we use if there are no clean cloth or there's an emergency.

Fuschia said...

Paper napkins? Uh, yeah! Hey, I'm in for paper plates ;)

Anonymous said...

So is there something other than paper? Ha! I collect paper napkins and everyone knows that. I received paper napkins as gifts. I have never used cloth. And yes, if more than 10 people, matching paper plates!! (but ALWAYS real service ware...plastic is the pits)

Myrna said...

Oh Sandy, yes, paper is ok. I rarely use cloth (I don't have a resident ironer anymore)But do stop by the discount paper store and stock up on pretty napkins on sale---so I don't use everyday paper napkins for company :-)
My sister's and I went with our parents to Indiana last fall for a family reunion. We stayed with my uncle Bob, we girls each have close in age cousins in his family---they were over all the time---and we even had a "sleepover" at my cousin Peggys'--it was a blast, and certainly did not seem like 10 years had past---we were so comfortable! How did our kids all grow up when we haven't aged? Hah!

Denise said...

I must confess I hardly ever use cloth napkins except at holidays! or special occasions like Easter dinner and thanksgiving.
Love reading all about your dinners and gatherings.

Tammy said...

Paper is definitely okay, especially outdoors! And they were so pretty. Looks like a really fun party. I look forward to the recipes!

Susie said...

I am all for paper napkins! In fact, I've been known with really close friends to use paper towels in a bind.

Love the family pictures! As always, you capture so much through the photos.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

When I entertain, I use cloth napkins unless we're eating outside, when I use paper. For everyday with the family, I'm lucky if I even get a napkin on the table. Do paper towels count? As my oldest brother used to say, "I don't need a napkin. I'm wearing jeans."

linda t said...

I am such a sucker for clearance paper napkins... especially if they have funky, fun colors.
Last summer when IKEA was clearancing out all their fun napkins and paper goods along with the matching vinyl table cloths, I really stocked up!!! They were literally a quarter for each item!
So I keep em all in my picnic baskets, ready for our weekly Home Group and dinner parties.
Looking forward to the recipes Sandy!

Miss G said...

This was a really good post! I use paper napkins all the time when entertaining at home but have had a harder time "getting over" using paper napkins and disposable plates/cups at my wedding. I mean yes, it's a very important event but that important event can have crystal and silver and have 50 people or it can have paper and everyone we love can come! What's important? Thanks for the reminder. Your posts are so great! kelly

Jen said...

We use them alot. I'm getting ready for tomorrow's celebration and already have purchased them...red and blue...paper napkins. It looks as if you had a great time...

Aubrey said...

I prefer cloth, but occasionally it's fun to dress up the table with some kind of funky paper napkins that I find somewhere (you know, the kind that you would never buy in cloth!)

Robin Sue said...

I love pretty paper napkins. They make great gifts too. Just found your site yesterday, a friend sent me here. Love your pictures, so alive and warm!

Kirstin said...

How awesome and fun looking! I think they make so many beautiful paper products now.

ValleyGirl said...

The only reason they MIGHT remember is because you've recorded it here for all eternity!! Looks like a wonderful time ~ I love your talent for photography! Or Paul's, whoever it was behind the shutter! These shots do such a great job of capturing not only events, but they really put the viewer in the midst of the emotions as well.

Oh, and the menu sounds AWESOME!! My mouth is watering!

Kelly said...


I think that it's totally a-okay to use paper napkins! Besides, I guarantee that I'll a.) spill on myself 25 times (25,000 to be more realistic...) and totally saturate the cloth napkins, and b.) feel horrible that you then have such a load to wash. :o)

Your menu sounds divine (we love veggie pizza!) and the joy radianting from the beautiful faces of your family is just contagious!

Oh yeah, and the chubby baby pic? Does it ever get any better than that? :o)

Have a beautiful 4th of July with your family, mama!

KarenB said...

I've tried really hard to stop using paper napkins. Like another poster, I even save napkins from fast food restaurants and use them when needed in my car or even at home. I have been collecting random cloth napkins for years in "my colors", from Thrift stores, gift stores and even the Crate and Barrel outlet I used to live by. My husband rarely uses a napkin (don't ask me how or why). So, I decided since I'm the only one at home that uses one, I'm using cloth. My kids are gone for the most part. I do buy paper for large groups, though. Great post and good question.
Karen B.