Monday, May 16, 2011

Hostess in (enter) Training

Way back when my girls were a toddler and an infant, I would moan to most anyone who would listen about the state of my house, how tedious I found the house-hold chores, how worried I was that I would never be able to "get anything done" ever again.  Well intentioned people would say "don't worry about the house-work, they're only young once" and I would grimly think "I stopped worrying about the house-work when they were born.  I just want everyone to have clean underwear."

Oh wait, I was JUST whining about that very same thing to my friend H. last week !

Mr. Q and I would sink on the couch at night in a tired stupor and watch those shows on HGTV and laugh at all the people who said they needed a house built for "entertaining."  "WHO in the HELL has the time or energy to entertain" we would ask each other, while wondering if there was something wrong with us.  No, nothing was wrong with us, we were just still figuring out how to do everything, that's all.

Now that I reflect on it, it has gotten a teensy bit easier now that I have a little girl and an almost big girl.  The change came in stages.  First I found that I was able to make dinner (not a complicated one, mind you, just an easy one).  Then "the stuff" of babyhood started disappearing: bottles, bibs, burp cloths, plastic cups, etc.  They were replaced, for sure, with other toys and stuff, but these girls I have now are quite capable of helping to tidy up because there is a place for every specific thing.  Even the bi-weekly "big tidy up before the cleaning lady comes" doesn't take quite as long as it used to.  The bottom line is that our family (and definitely Mr. Q and I) function better when the house is tidy, so we tidy up almost every day to keep it that way.

Now that I've been cooking for about 3 years, I've also become rather proficient at certain dishes.  I have also developed the ability to roughly get all the food on the table at about the same time.  Our tiny kitchen does present some challenges, but I've figured out how to manage.

With both of these developments, I wanted to try and start having people over for dinner or, heck, just to hang out more often.  Since I guard our family time so viciously, we tend to be a little hermit like at times, and I thought these efforts would be a nice antidote to that tendency.

My first foray, a meeting for a group I'm involved with, went pretty well.  There were about 10 people coming over at night for a meeting and refreshments afterwards.  I served several things, including a veggie dip that I made from a mix, a warm chicken salad from scratch, a candy called "Alabama Turtles", and peanut butter cookies from a mix.  I also served prosecco, of course !  I set the table with one of my vintage tablecloths (I collect them - post coming soon) and a mix of serving dishes that included contemporary pieces that were wedding presents, vintage thrift store finds, and my favorite, my grandmother's antique dessert plates.  Mr. Q obviously helped me get ready (best husband ever) and I was so proud of myself.  Thankyouverymuch.

The table
The sweet section.  Note the "Alabama Turtles"
on the upper right hand plate.

The veggie section

My second foray didn't go so well. Ramona came down with one of her high fevers of 102, (please note, dear friend June, that I handled this one all by my big girl self !) and I had to cancel on our dinner guests by leaving a voice mail message ! As I'm typing this, I'm also realizing that I never called our intended guests to apologize again in person. Gah !

In between the 2nd and 3rd forays, we hosted a playgroup for my mother's group, the Milk Moms. But I almost don't count that because they are wonderful friends and I didn't provide any snacks. It was BYOS (bring your own snacks). In fact, I think the house was tidier when they left because they all picked up !

My third and fourth forays are coming up. The third foray will be a dinner for my three friends from college who live in the area and I'll be cooking some of my tried and true (from scratch) dinner recipes. The fourth foray will be an open house for the TEN little girls and their moms who live on our street. We have a new neighbor who is 18 months and since we have this proliferation of little girls on our street, I thought it would be fun to get them together. The menu for the open house will be a repeat of the menu from the first.

Gosh, at this rate, Mr. Q and I might even go a bit crazy and start ENTER-TrAINING !

Question: Do you have people over regularly ?  Is it easy for you ?  Tell me about it !


Elaine said...

No need to call! You were tied up with making sure a sick kid was going to be fine.

The screened in porch is almost complete, and with that will come a new round of entertaining.

I love having people over!

herself said...

I love having people over too - which reminds me - you're overdue an invitation.

Stacy said...

I laugh at those shows, too! Kitchens for entertaining? You mean there are people that don't keep mail, library books and school stuff on their kitchen table? And they have enough dishes clean at one time?! Crazy talk, I tell you.

Sounds like you are an excellent hostess :) I'm curious about Alabama turtles, though. I'm off to Google right now ;)


janel said...

I think my family falls into the "hermit" category on the weekends. I love cooking and prepping stuff but seem to do it just for family/inlaws. I am also deficient in "entertainment" ware. Never seem to have the right stuff. I marvel at people that can just whip up stuff and make it all look great!

Anonymous said...

I have to figure out how to do it without getting so stressed about it that I can't enjoy it. A friend said to just trust that your friends are there to see you and enjoy your company and not to critique your house and food. I haven't learned to do that quite yet.

Marya said...

I am still trying to get my "grid" together. My house is constantly a disaster.

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