About Entertaining Family

Entertaining Family is for women and men who are looking for creative ways to spend time with family and friends, share gratitude, and savor the simple pleasures in life. Thanks for joining us. We hope you will come back again and again, and share your own stories.

About Mara

My career has been devoted to advocating on behalf of children and families. For the past 15 years, I have served high-impact nonprofit organizations that help young people and parents discover their greatest potential. This work has fueled my passion to document strategies that allow families to connect in meaningful ways. I’ve created Entertaining Family to share these ideas with you.

Before launching my career, I studied Renaissance and Baroque art while living abroad in Italy. Later, I earned my Master’s Degree in Art History. I am an aesthetics enthusiast who loves color, texture, pattern and light – you will see it play out in almost every post regardless of the topic. For me, life is about finding the beauty and joy in daily living. It is making art out of the ordinary and cultivating a creative life.

I live in the Riviera of the Midwest – that’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin if you didn’t know – in a 120-year-old home that I share with my husband, daughter, and fluffy cat.

About Jessica


Growing up, my home was a hub of activity for our family. My grandparents lived just a few doors down and the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins all lived within a few miles. My mother was (and still is!) the consummate hostess. From cooking to decorating, to making everyone feel welcome in her home and part of the family at her table, she delighted in gatherings of all shapes and sizes. Friends dropped by often, friends of friends accompanied them, and she would make a point to get to know them all and enlist their help with the cooking too! Many an unsuspecting guest found himself with a flour sack towel tied around the waist, shucking corn or slicing bread. This was her way and she learned it from her parents, whose kindness and inclusive spirit were hallmarks of their lives.

In my own home we live by the same spirit – welcoming friends and family to our table, enjoying great food, lively conversation and music. I learned from the best and carry on their tradition of entertaining to feed not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well.

I began my career at Marquette University working in University Advancement, and later as Director of Donor Relations for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation. From there I worked as as a professional writer for PR agencies, law firms, non-profits and corporations until my son was born and I began a new career as stay-at-home Mom.

When I’m not running to and fro being Super Mom to an energetic six year old boy, I enjoy writing, reading, tending my perennial flower gardens, and baking County and State Fair Blue Ribbon winning pies.

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