Friday, April 20, 2012

A Spring Wall and Entertaining on Fridays

We're having some friends over for dinner tonight, so I made our chalkboard wall all springy. If you are like me and you work full time, having folks over on Friday nights, or any work night for that matter,  can be a tad challenging.

Here are a few of my tips ...

1. Pick an easy menu. This is hard for me. Having people over is always an excuse for me to try out new and crazy fancy meals. Weeknights are just not the time. Remember, having people over to your home is less about wowing them with a super fancy meal and more about sharing time with them around your table. Tonight's menu? Honey Butter pork tenderloin, maple roasted brussels with bacon, take and bake rolls from TJ's and baked potatoes (from the crock pot).

2. Don't try and bake dessert and cook dinner after work. Unless you have time to bake the night before, keep dessert simple. Tonight we are having milkshakes, which will be both adorable and easy. Fresh fruit, or roasted pears with some homemade whipped cream is also a good option, or good old fashioned ice cream sundaes. Also, let's be honest, we need not fear the boxed brownies. They are awesome when you mix in enough dark chocolate chips.

3. Let your guests bring something! Eating is a group effort. If a guest offers to bring something, let them! Even if it's just drinks, it's one less thing for you to think about.

4. Tidy the house and set the table the night before. This is something I'm glad we've gotten in the habit of sticking with. There is nothing worse for a marriage than trying to clean the house, set a pretty table, cook dinner, and make dessert in less than 2 hours. Knock that stuff out early. Enough said.

5. Prep. Prep. Prep Ahead. Set out everything you need the night before. For example, last night I set out the empty bread basket prepped with a tea towel, an empty pitcher waiting for water, the pan for the pork is waiting on it's burner ready to go, my pan is lined and waiting for roastin' and toastin' brussels sprouts, and the crock pot was set out and plugged in with 4 potatoes anxiously awaiting to be cleaned and wrapped in foil. If you have veggies to dice or sauce to make, considering knocking that off your list early. Again, see point 1. Don't go nuts.

6. Get cute on casual Friday. Casual Friday is my one chance to wear a hoodie to work, but if we're having people over I try and get myself all ready in the morning. Wear what you will wear that night, curl your hair, do full makeup. You'll have less to get ready for when you get home.

7. Remember why you have people over in the first place.  Inviting friends and strangers into your home is important. It builds community and nourishes the spirit. When all is said and done, it's ok if your house isn't perfect, if you have flour all over your jeans, or if dinner isn't the fanciest thing ever. Stay at the table and linger. Lose yourself in a night of drinking wine and good conversation. Community is fed in those moments, not by a clean kitchen and full dishwasher.


allie said...

I love this. My job is in my home, so I have more time, but the rationale behind your tips is what really did it for me. I have to remind myself WHY we're having people over, and not get caught up in my house being messy or dinner not being Martha-esque. Thanks, Kara!

annie said...

Kara, this is such a good post, and so practical and helpful. Like you, I work outside the home during the week, and while I want to be able to have people over, the whole idea can seem a tad daunting (especially since some nights I can barely get dinner for two on the table). Your tips, though, are so easy to implement; I'm definitely book marking this! (And, of course, I love tip #7 most of all. That trumps everything, doesn't it?)

Mel said...

Kara - you are beautiful and you create the most simple, beautiful, things in your home =) I look forward to seeing you soon =) Love you dear - tell Jake that Jake says hello (as do Jesse and I)!