Popular blogger and lifestyle influencer Monika Hibbs shares her favourite recipes and crafts to bring thoughtful touches to all of life's moments--big or small.
Monika Hibbs has found joy in planning gatherings since she was a little girl, but it's not just the hallmark occasions she spends time thinking about. Over the years, she has learned just how important it is to slow down and savour life's simple, everyday moments, in addition to the holidays and milestones.
In Gather at Home, Monika Hibbs shares her favourite relaxed and easy ways to make your everyday moments and seasonal celebrations special. Use Monika's collection of over 100 simple recipes, crafts, and do-it-yourself projects, conveniently divided by season, to turn your Friday family games night, Mother's Day brunch, holiday dinner, or outdoor evening barbecue into something memorable, and to create other effortless moments that your friends and family will cherish for years to come. You'll find breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert ideas to fit the mood of every season, as well as crafts and do-it-yourself projects you can easily get the kids involved with. Draw inspiration from the lush photography, and add Monika's extra-special touches to make every moment a well-crafted one that will show your family and friends just how much you care.
About the author
MONIKA HIBBS is the founder and creative director of the blog Monika Hibbs and one of Canada's most influential lifestyle trendsetters. Known for its gorgeous imagery and inspirational content, the award-winning blog provides a lush landscape rich with the latest trends in entertaining, home decor/interior design, beauty and fashion. Monika loves to entertain, and is always dreaming up her next event or finding new ways to make memories and build traditions for her family. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
Excerpt: Gather at Home: Over 100 Simple Recipes, DIYs, and Inspiration for a Year of Occasions (by (author) Monika Hibbs)
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve found such satisfaction in setting the table for every meal. In addition to putting out the dishes, I would make sure there were fresh flowers on the table, light a candle, and put on music. Growing up in a Polish family, these little touches weren’t only important to us, they were essential. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and life milestones were never missed. They were always elevated in the most beautiful ways, and they are the childhood moments that I remember the most.
My mom taught me that I should always have something on the table when welcoming someone into my home—even if it was just a simple salad or pierogies pulled from the freezer. She delighted in welcoming her guests. She would always offer them a drink, even if only an ice-cold glass of water. From watching her, I learned that simple gestures make guests feel important and noticed. Her thoughtfulness and attention to detail amazed me as a young girl, and the vibrant memories that came out of each gathering are still with me today.
Childhood memories as simple as Sunday morning breakfasts tug on my heartstrings. When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to pass on these fond memories from my childhood to my family. My husband, Troy, and I believe in fostering a strong sense of love, connection, and belonging in our home. What better way to build those elements than by gathering regularly around a table with our three children, Liam, Lillya, and Blake? Whether the five of us come together for
an everyday gathering or we invite guests over for a special occasion; whether the table is round or square, short or long, creating a sense of unity is what our hearts long for.
This means there’s rarely a moment when I’m not thinking about or planning the next gathering or celebration. I’m always the one to bring my closest family and friends together to mark major holidays and milestones, but often you’ll find me planning something much simpler: a party to kick off the weekend or an effortless afternoon lunch after church. It doesn’t matter if I’m having family over to celebrate a holiday or hosting a few friends for appetizers and drinks, I always want my guests to feel welcomed, comfortable, and excited the minute they walk through the door.
I want each occasion to feel exceptional, and I accomplish that by putting thought into every detail—though the preparations don’t always have to be extravagant and time consuming to have a lasting effect. If I can create even a few feel-good, meaningful memories that my loved ones will look back on with a sense of longing, then I have done my job.
One of my favourite celebrations to date is the special long-table meal we hosted in our backyard after the church dedication of our little Lillya Grace. I dreamt up the day when we started building our home. I imagined the laughter, smiles, and good company. When the day finally came, I cannot tell you how many times my eyes welled up with tears when I looked around the table to take in our rich heritage of family and friends. At one point I walked to the back of the yard to take a photo and paused, realizing that gathering together the people you love to savour all of life’s moments is actually part of what life is all about. The sun was warm and bright, the music carried on the wind, accompanied by laughter and bright conversation, and all of it was set against a beautiful landscape of carefully curated food and decorations. This moment. The culmination of arranging all these pieces to create another evocative memory is my ultimate love language, I thought to myself. If you welcome people into your home, you create space for all to feel loved and foster a sense of belonging. Our garden parties, last-minute weekend gatherings, birthday parties, pizza nights, and backyard bonfires—no matter what we plan—are meant to bring people together and build a loving community.
With this book, I want to share my favourite ways to make your everyday moments and seasonal celebrations meaningful through a collection of simple and delicious recipes, fun do-it-yourself (DIY) tutorials, and helpful tips to inspire you to add the extra-special touches that will show your family and friends how much you care. Don’t feel intimidated by the idea of hosting a dinner, throwing a party for a friend, preparing a brunch for your family, or hosting a last-minute girls night. Open up your home with a big smile and a generous heart for the ones you welcome inside. Hosting and serving others is so fulfilling. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!
“Fresh, airy, bright, and beautiful! Everything I expected this book from Monika and her talented team to be!” —Jillian Harris, author of Fraiche Food, Full Hearts
“Gather at Home is a breath of fresh air. Monika has opened the door to her world of creating effortlessly beautiful recipes and projects to elevate every moment and occasion.” —Shea McGee, founder of Studio McGee
“Entertaining friends and family at home is a true art form and Monika makes it so simple—even for someone who has little time, like me. The book is thoughtfully laid out, divided by seasons so there is something suited to every time of year! The tips are practical and easy to follow, and the imagery is gorgeous. Monika makes the aspirational achievable.” —Jaclyn Johnson, founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate and author of WorkParty
“Monika’s passion for making simple things extraordinary is evident throughout the pages of Gather at Home. Her delicious recipes and creative DIY projects have come together as a colourful and flavourful reminder to savour everyday life.” —Lisa Bevere, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Messenger International
“Monika Hibbs’s first cookbook offers far more than simple how-tos of putting together a fabulous dish. . . . [she] gives even the most clumsy arts-and-crafter a cheat sheet on how to make, say, a bouquet of wild flowers look good, summertime pinwheels to thrill the kids and beeswax-covered food wrap to take eco-anxiety away.” —The Globe and Mail
“[The] emphasis on family is something Hibbs’s longtime followers and fans will be happy to see comes through prominently throughout the pages of Gather at Home.” —Vancouver Sun
“Vancouver-based food and lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs has long been known for her gorgeous, dreamy photos and trend-driven inspirational content. She brings this style to Gather at Home. . . . It contains 100 homey recipes plus ‘DIYs’ and ideas for a year of beautiful entertaining and gift-giving.” —Canada.com