The Extra Mile Special Touches with Guest Cindy Sigler Dagnan

I am blown away by the fabulous ideas and interactions going on here in the comment thread each day. Keep it up!

Yesterday there were many ideas for pampering our husbands and such sweet encouragement from women who had lost their husbands as to how not to take ours for granted.

However, I must say that I had to laugh when my own dear husband contacted me asking me to enter my own giveaway. Seems he’d really like me to get a copy of Sheila’s book!

Now today, we talk little extra-mile touches that make your family and guests feel special.

Today’s guest is my creative friend Cindy Sigler Dagnan.

Cindy  is a domestically impaired wife and mother of four. She is a writer and speaker who is a whiz at naming dust bunnies, but manages to incorporate enough little touches in her home that make all the difference.

Visit her on the web at or read her blog about spiritual legacies for your children at

From Cindy’s heart (and brain! Such clever ideas she has!):

I’m possibly the farthest thing from a Martha Stewart out there. I am the only person in my home ec class who got extra credit for not wearing my garment to class!

That said, I love the idea of my home being a place of welcome to my family. A place of refreshment for my friends. A retreat, a respite.

A place where things that I can do, little touches that say “you’re special” are evident, but don’t stress me out.

~ Line pantry and cabinet shelf edges w/ lace; line drawers w/ scented paper

~ Throw a towel in the dryer and give cozy warmth to someone whose bath or shower is just finished; keep bath salts, fizzies & bubbles in stock

~ In your guest room, turn down covers, leave a mint or fresh flower; on the bedside table, place a pitcher of water, a cup and a few current magazines or a good inspirational book; lay a set of towels on the end of the bed along with a fresh bar of soap

~ In the bathroom, keep a small basket filled w/ extra toothbrushes, sample bottles of shampoo, lotion, conditioner, mouthwash, etc. for any guests who may have forgotten something

~ When you make hot cocoa, add whipped cream, marshmallows, miniature chocolate chips and drape a candy cane over the side.

~ Float a few strawberries in a pitcher of lemonade

~ Dip the rim of glassware in water, dip in sugar and freeze lightly before serving lemonade or tea

~ Cut a tiny cross hatch in a decorative cupcake liner and poke a straw through to keep bugs and debris out of drinks you serve outdoors

~ A bowl of fresh lemons & limes atop a stack of coffee table books is inexpensive & elegant

~ Freeze cranberries in your ice cubes to add to water for a visual, flavorful treat.

~ Purchase shaped ice cube trays (we like stars) for a fun change. Add a dot of red or blue food coloring for a Fourth of July treat

~ Have a “You are Special” plate (ours is red) to celebrate special occasions. Keep a special book near the plate or write on the back in permanent markers. Ours has celebrated everything from finishing chemo treatments (my daddy), to birthdays, to first days of school, honor rolls, engagements, & job changes.

~ Keep a guestbook by your front door.

~ Save your Christmas cards and draw out several each week to pray for on family night.

~ Adopt a national or local leader to pray for. Send them a card or packet of drawings from your children once a month.

~ Be thoughtful even when you’re on the receiving end of hospitality. Bring a small hostess gift {cookbook; small floral bouquet; scented candle; a card with a candy bar or potpourri tart attached with tape}

~ Put tea lights or a bowl with floating candles at each place along with a place card

~ Keep your high chair after your family has outgrown it so you’ll have it on hand for small guests.

~ Use a picnic or card table to decorate a special table for children.

It doesn’t take much. In this case, your mother was right: a little goes a long way! Happy hospitality!

Today’s giveaway:

For all of you? Cindy has crafted a freebie for you over at her place. See for handouts for table centerpiece ideas and other little touches for your home. (click on “handouts” in the top navigation bar of her site)

And, since part of this week deals with pampering our husbands (today is the last day for this topic) one of you will receive a copy of her book Hot Chocolate For Couples: Practical Ways to Sweeten Your Love Life.

To be entered to win the book, tell us a little extra touch you like to see or do when it comes to hospitality.

Remember, all winners will be announced the day after Easter and you may comment on all posts up until then to be entered in the random drawings.

NOTE: We are also interacting over at Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook.Click here to “like” the page & join us. Starting this weekend there will be giveaways there too based on info from the book!

photo credit

photo credit


  1. I don’t have many overnight guests, and the last time I did I was telecommuting and working 8 hours a day, so I’m sure the guests didn’t think I was a good host – they didn’t understand that when I said I had a job, I meant I had to sit in front of the computer and work all day, and I couldn’t stop for breaks. That left me a little nervous about having other overnight guests.

    I do love the idea of a basket of toiletries though.

    I appreciate knowing the sheets are clean, and having clean smelling towels when I am a guest.

  2. Wow! Tons of great ideas! I’m a nut for seasonal things…veggies, fruit, flowers etc. This time of year and throughout the summer my vases in our home are ever changing with whatever’s blooming…forsythia, azaleas, camellias & so on. Sprinkles of tealights (mixed w/ flowers) throughout the house (which is a constant in our home all the time – guests or no guests) also provide an added ‘homey’ touch. I try to make sure that if our guests arrive at dinner time that it’s ready (or soon to be ready) as nothing says welcome more than a home-cooked meal and conversation at the dinner table.

  3. I love the practical ideas…especially the one with the cupcake liner! Great idea! My step daughter will be visiting us for about a month and we are currently praying for her visit, preparing our hearts and will be soon preparing our home for her visit! I am so enjoying this study! Thank you so much!

  4. When we have guest speakers or singers coming to our church who will be staying overnight, I find out what their favorite snacks are. I like to prepare a nice basket of fruit and snacks for their hotel room. I also keep a file box with a list of favorite meals that I have prepared for guests and comments they have made. One particular guest loved my mashed potatoes that I had over-whipped–he asked how I had gotten them so “creamy.” lol. He wanted to tell his wife how to prepare them that way. From then on I had to make over-whipped mashed potatoes each time he came. Another guest raved about the BBQ ribs (an African American evangelist no less!). When taking our guests out to eat, we always offer at least 3 or 4 choices–Mexican, Chinese, Steakhouse, etc. We don’t choose….we let them choose.

  5. When I go to someones home and they have candles burning, I feel they lit them just for me! When I am an overnight guest in someones home and they show me where/how to get coffee in the morning, should I awaken before them, I am so happy! I love coffee in the morning. When we have guests in our home, we make it an unspoken policy to walk them to their cars and wave to them as they are leaving. Finally, I always offer a beverage to anyone (workmen, guests, children’s friends) who enters our house. We live in the desert and water is a must at all times!

  6. I think that extra touch for me is a really nice smelling room. I always try to have all my rooms smelling seasonal. It makes it feel really homey :)

  7. I LOVED these ideas! I am always trying to think of little things I can do for people when I come over or when they come to me. It reminds me of how everyday life was when I lived down south. The mid-west is great but, in the south….. in the south we just loved on everyone all of the time. You would NEVER go to someones home without a “coming” gift and the other way around. I took from my mother the idea of getting a little something special for people coming over or staying with us like their favorite coffee in a basket, bath treats, towels, candy or whatever!! I’m taking a few of these too:)

  8. I don’t have a guest room and I do have my best friend’s family in once in a while. I have tried offering them our bedroom, because otherwise they are on the air mattress in the living room. But I do have a great “hotel” style towel rack in my bathroom as there are always towels available. I do make sure that there is something little for their little girl and I really don’t mind the mess of having all of the toys out. But I hate having my guests in the living room, but I’ know my boys’ room’s are too small for much else.

  9. When my husband starting teaching the youth at our small church (HS Kids) we decided to have it at our house instead of our church so I could cook dinner for the kids. They loved it and for some it was the only meal for the day. All of our “kids” have grown and have moved on. When I see them in town now, they talk about the good times around the table we had and how blessed they were. I’m so thankful that we were able to serve the young people of our community. I feel after reading all of these wonderful ideas I want to have a reunion with all of our “kids”. Thanks Gals!

  10. I have designated one drawer in the dresser of our guest room for overnight guests. I made a crafty tag that says “guest drawer” and it hangs on the drawer knob. That way they can “unpack” af few essentials and keep them handy (like in a hotel room).

  11. wow all the ideas are wonderful…
    When i know someone is coming over I like to make a batch of cookies (mind you i don’t always make them from scratch, young kids don’t give me all that much time! so store bought cookie dough is great sometimes!) I love the smell of fresh cookies and the smell of coffee brewing. I like having fresh flowers on the tables (I split one bouquet into three small vases and distribute them around the living room/kitchen). I make sure I have an ottoman ready for my pregnant guests and a warm blanket just in case. The weather has been gorgeous and I love having the door open to our screen door. I make my own sweet tea with infused flavors ;-)
    If i have overnight guests I like making sure they have their own space bathroom included I will set up the room/bathroom for their comfort. I really love the idea of a toiletry basket so neat!
    Before going to bed I get my bread machine out and whip up the ingredients then set the timer for the bread machine for the morning, I do the same with the coffee machine.that way my guests and myself wake up to the smell and taste of fresh bread and coffee! I love being relaxed and whatever makes my guests relaxed, makes me relaxed ;-)

  12. Since I am not a morning person, I REALLY appreciate when someone prepares breakfast for me. Especially if it is my favorite things like pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs!!!!!! So since I appreciate it so much I would return the favor to my guest. But right now we rarely have guest because we don’t have the room for them right now, but once the kids get older and start out on their own, maybe then we can have guest! :)

  13. The special touch I really like is the turning down of the bed and the soft fluffy pillows. Those things make me feel welcomed & comfortable.

  14. I have step grandchildren that are the same age as my young children. I love buying them all their favorite drink and snack that they know is in the bottom of my fridge…it’s the first thing they do anytime they visit b/c they know it is alwasy stocked. :)

  15. My children are tweens now, but I’ve kept some of their toys and favorite books from early childhood. I love being able to pull out Little People or Thomas trains and some books out when we have little ones in our home.

    No space for a guest room yet, but I love all these ideas.

  16. When we are having guests, I make the kind of food they like to eat and also make sure to have their favorite beverages available. For the first time this last Christmas, I had drawer(s) available in the bathroom so they could put their toiletries away instead of having them setting out on the counter or in their suitcase. I also had extras of toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, shampoo, and conditioner, just in case they forgot something.

  17. I have clean sheets and toiletries basket for guests. Also try to have food on hand they like and coffee set to go off by timer in the mornings.


  19. Neither my husband or I drink coffee, but we bring out a coffee pot and coffee, sugar, creamer, cups, and such for guests to have coffee in the morning. Also, we try to have items on hand that we know our guests like, like particular beverages, foods, a fan for sleeping, etc. And of course nice clean sheets, new soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other toiletries readily available. I like the ideas of having a basket of toiletries in the bathroom and a water pitcher on the nightstand!

  20. I love having candles that are the smells of spices and vanilla lit through out the house. Just makes the house smell homey.

  21. I love making my guests feel extra special. I enjoy preparing their room with fresh linens, current magazines, books, flowers and a small pitcher of water. In the guest bathroom I include essentials like extra lotion bottles, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a hairdryer, nightlite etc. I want my guests to feel comfortable and blessed by their time spent in my home. I feel this is another way to teach my small children to be “other centered”.

  22. I love all these ideas! As a food allergy sufferer, I find out my guests’ favorite foods and drinks. I stock my pantry with those when they come to visit. I love when people do it for me when I visit.

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