Patricia Sheridan’s Breakfast With … Donny Osmond

June 30, 2014
By Patricia Sheridan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For the past four years, Donny Osmond and his wife, Debbie, have been thinking about launching a home furnishings line. They finally did it during the winter Las Vegas Furniture Market. Working since he was 5, the 56-year-old has no intention of retiring. A teen idol who went on to wow television audiences with the “Donny and Marie” variety show, he is once again co-starring with his younger sister at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. He and Debbie have five children and six grandchildren.

Was getting into the home furnishings business your idea or Debbie’s?

It was one that actually evolved by itself. The nice thing about it is once all the children are raised, this gives us an opportunity of being together and traveling the world together. The way it is now, Debbie decided to stay home and raise the kids. It’s been very difficult, I won’t lie to you, for me to go out on the road and be away from my wife and children. But when I came home, it was just like a breath of fresh air, the way Debbie decorated. That is why we adopted the phase “Making Home and Family Number One.” It’s our mantra, so to speak. It eventually evolved to the point where it was, “Honey, we could do this the rest of our lives together.”

And have a reason for traveling.

Absolutely. I will give you a perfect example. We were in London last June and we were walking down Regent Street. We walked past this store, and there was this beautiful lamp, chandelier. It was a lighting store and it was funny because we both stopped and said, “Wow, that is really cool.” I took a picture of it on my phone, and the system we have come up with is that it immediately goes to a drop box for our design team. They take it to the manufacturing teams. So the communication is immediate.

Has Las Vegas influenced your idea of design?

That’s a very good question. I think it has, because my taste is because of my surroundings. I’m not a very bling-y person, but I like to walk around with flashing lights around me all the time [laughs]. I carry a spotlight with me wherever I go. We are coming out with a line of spotlights [laughing].

Is show business addictive? Can you ever imagine walking away?

I never will. I’ll always be on stage. I’ve been doing this since I was 5.

So is the home furnishings line a sort of retirement plan like when the hips go?

Uh, no, I’m not changing my business at all. I don’t even want to call it a side project because it means a lot to us. If I said it was kind of a side thing then it would be, “Oh, whatever happens to it happens to it.” We are not approaching it that way. This is a huge part of our lives now. I’m never going to stop singing.

When you look back at your long career and your life, are you content or restless?

Not anymore, no. Everything is just adding upon what I have done in my career. I am so blessed. I mean, I am so content. There is always an aspiration. There is always a mountain you want to climb and a goal. You never want to get to the point where you are satisfied with everything and you stop. Then you might as well just turn around and die. There is always another plateau. Launching this company, there is always a new design. Watching the trends, that is what is exciting. What can we create? And that’s part of show business. For instance, the show we are doing right now at the Flamingo is completely different than when we launched it six years ago. So, I’m constantly in a creative mode.

Will you use the same techniques to keep the collection fresh as you use to keep your act new?

Let’s approach it this way: People’s attention span is that of a gnat nowadays. They want something new and fresh all the time. We see it in the design industry. The color palette is changing all the time, but I love that. Our living room is beautiful. We have some very nice furniture in there, but the rest of the house is like — let’s live in it! It’s not a showpiece. Let’s have fun as a family in our home. My grandkids come over. If you want to jump on the couch, go right ahead. I love the way Debbie has put this together. It’s neutral with splashes of color.

When you first got the opportunity to do Vegas this time around, having a family of your own, did you have any reservations?

I’ve been playing Vegas since I was 7. You know, you can find anything you want anywhere nowadays, just get online. It’s all about how you raise your children, how you conduct your life at home. We have certain values and standards that we stick to, but free agency belongs to everybody. If you teach children correct principles, wise decisions will follow. You have to be selective with what you see.

Do your children have an influence on the designs you select for Donny Osmond Home?

It’s her taste [Debbie’s].

So she is the designer and you are the name.

Well, that’s an interesting way to look at it, but there’s a little bit more communication than that. It’s not just two separate roles. It’s a partnership.

Not a little country, a little rock ‘n … sorry, I tried to stop myself.

[Laughing] I saw you were holding yourself back and it finally came out.

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9 Tips for Great Dinnertime Conversations

 

April son at dinnertime for DOH post oct 31 2013For many years, our dinner conversations sounded something like this:

Please chew with your mouths closed.

I don’t yike dis.

Five more bites.

What’s for dessert?

You’re not getting dessert unless you eat your food.

My juice spilled!

Why did you put your cup so close to the edge?

I didn’t. Someone else touched it.

I’m going to frow up.

No, you’re not. Just eat. Eat. And please pick up all those noodles you just spilled on the ground. And those peas.

But this isn’t my faborite.

Can everybody please just EAT?!

Oh, those crazy dinner hours seemed to stretch on forever, and sometimes I honestly wondered how that time spent flinging food all over the kitchen could possibly contribute to my children’s success on their SATs.

But we made it through, and now that the spills and whines have subsided, we can actually sit around the table together and talk.

The funny thing, however, is that sometimes after we’ve gone through all the effort of preparing a nice meal, setting the table, and creating a quiet, TV-free space in the day for us to bond as a family, we just stare at each other as we eat–without really knowing what to talk about.  (I think we were all stunned by the silence.)

After this happened three or four times without any improvement, I turned to our Power of Moms Facebook community for ideas, and our “table talk” has now become a favorite part of my day.  Here are some conversation topics you might like to try in your family.

  • The “Would You Rather” Game: Family members take turns asking each other questions starting with that phrase.  For example, “Would you rather be the President of the United States or a lion tamer?” or “Would you rather eat liver or three cans of green beans?”  Kind of fun, don’t you think?
  • Historical Events: Some families keep a calendar near the dinner table listing major historical events that happened on each day of the year.  They find the current day on that calendar, discuss the details of the event that happened, and give their children the opportunity to ask questions, share their opinions, etc.
  • Special Family Events: This is similar to the one above, but instead of focusing on worldhistory, you focus on your family history.  You could have a calendar listing the birthdays of your ancestors, when each child first walked, when you and your spouse got engaged, or when you went on a big family trip.  You could also add to this calendar whenever something funny or meaningful happens.  (It’s so nice to know that special moments will be reviewed at some point in the future, and it’s wonderful to help our children connect with those who came before.)

ancestors photo for DOH article oct 29 2013

  • Religion and Spirituality: The dinner hour can be a choice time to read from sacred text, discuss spiritual topics, or reflect on the question, “How did you see God in your life today?”  On our refrigerator, we have a “prayer list,” where we write the names of friends or family members who need extra help or strength in their lives.  Dinnertime is a great opportunity to review that list, discuss how each person is doing, and talk about how we’ve seen our prayers answered.
  • Math and Logic: If your children are a little older, they might enjoy some verbal quizzes involving math or logic. I love www.folj.com.
  • Joke of the Day: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it works for children of all ages, and there are tons of joke websites, joke books, etc. that could provide lots of fun memories.

Agent P's Top Secret Joke Book

  • Warm Fuzzies: You can purchase a simple glass jar and a bag of colorful pom-poms, and assign each child his or her own color.  Then at dinnertime, each person describes a “warm fuzzy” from his or her day (a time when he or she did something nice for someone else).

warm fuzzies bags

  • Current Events/World Cultures: The fabulous book, Growing Up Global, has tons of excellent ideas to discuss geography, various cultures, and current events with our families.  I’m still in the market for a large map that we can laminate and put on our table.  Wouldn’t it be fun to talk about a few different countries each week–and let our children share what they have been learning in their own studies?

map on Shawni's wall

This map is hanging on Shawni’s wall (from www.71toes.com). I love the idea of “showing our children the world” during meal time.

  • LOTS of Good Questions: Most mothers agree that the question, “How was your day?” is destined to fail.  But if we take a little time to get creative with our questions, some powerful, memorable conversations will follow. To make this simple for you, we’ve put together a PDF with 35 unique conversation starters.  If you’d like, you can print it out, tape it inside a cupboard, put it into a sheet protector, or cut it into strips and put them into a small jar at the center of your table.

family dinnertime conversation starters

Download your Family Dinnertime Conversation Starters here.

Our family doesn’t always have dinner discussions like the ones outlined above.  Last night, for example, my children had plenty of their own exciting things to say.  We heard about my daughter’s sixth grade graduation and about a friend who was struggling.  We talked about our summer plans, and my four-year-old reminded us how many months are left until he turns five.  We laughed at my husband’s jokes, decided we really wanted s’mores for dessert, and flipped through a couple of book catalogs that had arrived in the mail.

Nothing fancy, nothing scripted.  But it was sweet.

Family time is priceless, and even though it’s often messy, noisy, and frustrating, there is great power in having deliberate conversations with those we love the most. It’s just nice to be ready with something meaningful when the opportunity presents itself.

Here’s to building wonderful memories around the table!

QUESTION: Do you have any fun dinner conversation starters you’d like to share?

CHALLENGE: Pick one of the ideas above (or identify one of your own), and make tonight’sdinner conversation into a binding family experience.

By April Perry, Power of Moms

Vintage Revivals’ Sliding Door DIY

HowToDIYALightweightSlidingBarnDoorvintagerevivals

Mandi, of Vintage Revivals, just shared her killer tutorial to make a lightweight sliding barn door. These are so trendy right now, plus such a space safer where doors might make it tight. I’m totally inspired to make my own. I’m dying over her leather cross, too.

This woman is genius. Make sure to check out her thorough tutorial so you can make one, too.

Feature Friday: Yellow Brick Home

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Kim and Scott, of Yellow Brick Home, are currently renovating their new home. That doesn’t mean we can’t all still be drooling over their previous condo that has such a cool vibe. I can’t wait to see what they do in their new place. So much talent!

Want to be featured? Share your space with us on Pinterest. Can’t wait to get a peek into your home!