Bankrate: What kind of entertaining?
Martina McBride: I definitely plan what I'm going to serve. Spontaneous things are fun too, but definitely, it's more relaxing if you plan ahead. Cocktail parties are a lot of fun because they're a little bit shorter, and (there's) not so much cooking involved and (they're) less formal. I've got some good recipes like party sandwiches; a big pot of chicken gumbo where people can just help and serve themselves; dips like hummus that I might serve with cut-up pita bread; or chutney that you pour over cream cheese and things like that, nothing extravagant but really simple foods.
Bankrate: Your home in Nashville is decorated beautifully yet there are some very "earthy" looks to it as well.
Martina McBride: I'd say our dining room is warm but dressy. Our master bedroom has a portrait of an angel that I found at an antiques show in Nashville. There are paisley velvet window treatments in the sitting room. They're not so expensive when you call them curtains. But when you call them window treatments, somehow, they get more expensive (laughs).
Bankrate: I heard you moved from a small three-bedroom place to this sprawling home. How did you do that financially?
Martina McBride: When I first walked in the door of this house, it just felt really warm, like the house reached out and gave me a big hug. I said to John, "How can we make this happen?" And he said we would have to work a lot more shows, get a big loan from the bank and get a big advance from the record company. So I said, "Basically, we need to work really hard and go way into debt." And he said yeah. And I said, "OK, let's do that. That sounds like a good idea." I wasn't afraid of hard work ... never have been. When we first moved in, we only had enough furniture to fill about a third of the house. And a lot of the rooms were empty for a very long time.
Bankrate: Apart from family, what's the most important thing you've accomplished?
Martina McBride: I guess just building a successful career one step at a time. It took a long time for me to be taken seriously as a singer, artist and producer. There were some really hard times. But I'm glad I had to prove myself because it makes it that much sweeter.