We recently had a little dinner party with our dear pastor and his family. It was so wonderful to get to know them a bit better, and to share an evening with this family who so faithfully serves our church body. I was excited to finally feel up for entertaining again...it only took 4 months after Truett was born for me to get motivated to do so!
I try to find balance between keeping things simple, and making things feel just special enough to 'spoil' our company. There are times when friends are invited over for a bowl of soup, and we eat around our kitchen table...complete with paper napkins. Other times I feel inspired to set a lovely table in the dining room. Either way, we feel it's important to welcome others into our home. Brett and I want our kids to be hospitable and generous with others and we have found dinners in our home to be an excellent way to put these values to practice.
I have a couple of tried-and-true menus I like to serve to company. I also have a nice little plan now that turns a potentially stressful day into an enjoyable day at home. I do the cleaning several days beforehand, so all we're doing the day-of is picking up toys and straightening a few things. I've given up the idea that our home must be spotless and fresh whenever we invite people in. Real people do live here, and I have learned to embrace the fact that very few people will ever notice if the piano is a little dusty.
I do as much of the food-prep as possible the evening before after the kids go to bed. Sometimes Brett cooks with me, and it's really fun to share that time with him in the kitchen. The morning of the dinner I set the table. Maren and I typically do any necessary baking together, which is always entertaining. She loves to help me in the kitchen, and she's almost to the age where she actually is helpful. *wink* In the afternoon while the kids are napping I'm able to finish up any of the cooking-prep. All that's left is to get dinner in the oven and to fill the glasses with ice and water before our friends arrive.
Our pastor and his wife have four kids. I wanted to be sure the kids felt a part of the conversation, so I put together a little box with some fun questions we could discuss during dinner. Maren was the youngest and the oldest was a seventh-grader, so I did my best to include topics that anyone could discuss. I passed the box around while we ate, and everyone received a question to answer. It was a fun way to learn more about each other, and the kids were eager to participate.
Do you enjoy hosting others for meals in your home? What are some things you do to make others feel welcome around your table?