Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Make a list! This is my list for a simple girls happy hour/dinner I hosted Monday night.

It seems like too much work to have people over, but it really shouldn’t be that way. I’m always glad that I entertained afterwards.

Reasons why you might not entertain at home:

Raise your hand if you can’t keep your home as clean as you would like.

Raise your hand if you have husbands, kids, and pets.

Raise your hand if you have renovation projects that you would like to start or have started.

See, we all raised our hands and are all in the same boat!  Your home is never going to be perfect because life isn’t perfect.

I prefer to entertain at home in the spring, summer, or fall because I have a decent patio.  Maybe you don’t have a nice outdoor space, but you have a cozy living room.  Maybe you have a big dining room table.  Whatever space you have, I think you can make it work.

When you host people, you don’t have to do it all.  I think most people prefer to bring something to help you out.  I know I don’t like to show up empty handed and I will usually bring something even if the host tells me not to!

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting older, but I don’t enjoy going to restaurants as much as I enjoy going to someone’s home these days.  Restaurants are so noisy and I often feel that the amount I pay is just too much.  A cocktail for $10 when mine is better?  Ha!

When you invite someone into your home, they get to see the true you.  It always makes me feel good when I go to someone else’s home that isn’t perfect either.  Is that wrong of me to say?  We all have our piles of papers we don’t know what to do with and we all have nagging home repairs that need to be done.  

I read a really inspiring book called “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist.  Pick it up and let me know what you think!  If you’re like me, you will want to have people over just like Shauna.  She might only serve soup and bread but it’s the act of gathering people around a table.  I think we have a notion that we have to be “fancy” when we have people over, but you really can just serve a normal meal and it will probably be special to your guests.  

Here are some ideas for you:

Use paper plates, napkins, plastic forks, and cups.  Make things easy for guests to serve themselves.  Set up a drink stand or a cute bar cart.  Make it so you can enjoy yourself and people prefer to help themselves, anyway.  

You could buy the hardest part of a meal and supplement with food you or the guests make. For example you could order pizza, but make a salad and dessert. You can order fried chicken and do sides. You can grab bbq for the main and do homemade sides.

Ask your friend(s) to bring drinks, paper products, dessert, a side, etc.  Most will probably ask what they can bring, anyway!

Please don’t try shopping the day of.  If you can do the shopping part the day before, you will be much more relaxed.  

A taco bar – easy!  You could even get the good chips and salsa from a restaurant.  Make your taco meat and keep it warm in a crockpot.  Have bowls of cheese, lettuce, sour cream, beans, etc.


A baked potato bar – Bake a mess of potatoes and keep warm in a crockpot.  Or, individually wrap in foil and it’s one less thing to wash.  Have bowls of cheese, sour cream, chili, chives, etc.  If you feel that you need something else, you could do my little Hawaiian bun, ham, and swiss sliders or a big salad.


A pasta bar (cook 2-3 types of noodles and marinara and alfredo sauce) – Provide salad and garlic bread, too, or ask people to bring these.

A hot dog bar – cook them standing up in a crockpot and provide the buns and condiments along with beans, mac and cheese.

A low country boil – I’m not sure how to do this, but it sounds like fun!  Go to my favorite Pinterest for recipes!

School cafeteria food – I have actually done this and it was a hoot!  You can buy the cafeteria type divided trays and have things like “buttered corn”, “chicken on bun” ,”side salad”, “jello”.  You could even print out a school menu.

Your favorite Pioneer Woman Recipe party – Mel of The Larson Lingo has done this.  You could exchange this for another popular Food Network star.

Brunch!  I love this.  Have everyone come around 11 and follow it with a hike (or not).  We have hosted a spring brunch on the patio with just one other family followed by a hike at a nearby park.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m more social before 8 p.m. anyway!

Lunch – Foods that we serve for lunch can oftentimes be lower maintenance.  I love this idea.  A lady in my book club had her hubby grill a bunch of chicken and then slice it up.  She had a make your own salad for our entree.  She had bowls of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, croutons, pine nuts, and a few dressings.  It was delicious!  You could also do make your own sandwiches.  

I recently hosted my department for a patio happy hour. I provided Mexican beer with limes and my low cal Jalapeño margaritas, guacamole and chips. Someone brought veggies and hummus and others brought sweet things.  It was perfect!

Have I convinced you?  Go ahead and start simply with just one other couple or one other family.  Get a date on your calendar.  You can always say you’ll call back later with details.



9 thoughts on “Entertaining at Home – Why you should entertain even if your space isn’t perfect

  1. I love to host small, intimate gatherings. It is easier to visit and talk with everyone than when you’re at a restaurant and stuck in a seat! Hosting happy hour is a favorite! Great, inspiring ideas Amy!


    1. Thank you! I agree! I do best with just one other couple usually. I love appetizers so happy hour is perfect for me, too.
      Do you like to read? Just heard there is a sequel to “I don’t know how she does it” called “How hard can it be?” by Allison Pearson about Kate turning fifty and everything that goes along with it. It sounds like a fun summer read.


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