Monday, August 6, 2012

Great Times & Good Food

I realized today that it has been over a week since my last blog post.  I’m not entirely sure how I let that happen!  I guess things have just been a little busier than normal.  I’m back now, and promise to catch up on commenting and responding to comments as soon as possible.

So here’s part of what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been blogging:

At the beginning of the year my husband and I decided that this year we would do better about having people over to our house for dinner, games, snacks, movies, etc.  We’re both homebodies, so are much happier at home, and in this economy no one seems to be able to go out and do much any way.

We vowed to keep the house cleaner (it’s not that we’re slobs, it’s just that there’s a little bit of a difference between “clean” and “company clean”, at least at out house), and invite more people over.  We started off well and had a few people over during the early part of year.  Then things just kind of fizzled.  The house wasn’t perfect, people’s schedules didn’t match up well, someone could only come during the week which meant I wouldn’t be able to make an elaborate dinner, etc, etc. 

We talked about it again and realized those were all just excuses, and not even very good ones.  It seemed that we were constantly talking about inviting people over, or talking with other people about how we needed to get together, but never actually doing it.  We decided enough was enough.  Actions speak louder than words.

So we invited some very good friends (they’re actually more like family) over for dinner.  Because none of the five of us who are still working work exactly the same schedule, we had to plan it about a month in advance to find an evening when everyone was free.  We ended up having them over to dinner on a Wednesday night.  Instead of panicking that I’d have to make something relatively simple since I wouldn’t be getting off until 5:00 and they were coming at 6:00, we just went with it, and were glad we’d get to spend time with our friends.

I ended up making meatloaf, cheesy potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and green beans.  I put the meatloaf and casserole together the night before and my husband put them in the oven before I came home.  The macaroni and cheese was homemade, but we had frozen it earlier and just had to defrost it and warm it up.  The green beans were simple.  My husband made a delicious carrot cake since he was off that day. 

It wasn’t a gourmet meal, but the food was good.  At least everyone said it was.  And the company was great; we were able to sit around and talk for hours.  We caught up with our friends.  It was just like old times with them, when we all did a little better at making time to see each other more often.  It was heaven.

So what about you?  Do you invite people over for meals often?  Do you have any good ideas for helping things go smoothly?  Any tips on how to keep the house “company clean”? 


  1. Entertain by candlelight.....that way you can't see the details.

  2. Glad you're back. Our house has always been the social gathering spot since before we were married. When we were the first in my family to have kids (my family is the biggest part of our social circle) we were really the gathering spot. I have always been the biggest host of girls' night - which has sadly gone astray the last few years. However, we've never been big on making meals since we usually gather to drink and spend too much time talking to do more than snack. We typically have the rule that everyone brings over whatever they want to drink and also each person brings a dish. We may have a theme, but usually we end up with a great combo. Hummus and veggies or pita. Veggie trays. Cheese and crackers. Rotel with chips and guacamole. Differing types of pastas and salads or potato salad. And so many other yummies. Usually one person will be responsible for dessert, or maybe a couple of people will bring things. Also, around the holidays, it is so much fun to do a cookie exchange - or even have everyone come over with one recipe and actually cook together. This can get messy, but it's fun. Especially with wine or spiked cider.

    As far as keeping the house clean, here is my motto: The house should be organized and tidy, bathrooms should be clean, dishes should be done, but the floors and other things should be done afterward since if your guests and parties are anything like mine, they will be way dirtier when everyone leaves. Most people don't notice the cleanliness of the house as long as it is tidy. Mood lighting and candles also add to this. And having an iPod or computer set to a good Pandora station is a nice touch.

    1. My husband doesn't drink at all (rotten childhood experiences) so we usually have people over for meals, and we seem to have quite a few friends of the non-alcoholic persuasion (which leaves for wine for me). And I love to cook, so meals work out pretty well most of the time.

      I've never had a cookie exchange, but it sounds like fun. You've given me an idea for this holiday season. I did a recipe exchange last summer; asked everyone to bring their favorite dish and copies of the recipe. That turned out really well. We had so much food! And everyone seemed to have a good time.

      You're right about the house being organized (I'm still working on that!) and tidy. You guys have made me think I need to get some candles too.

  3. We rarely invite people over, and I think that's mainly because of me. My husband is very social and would have people over often if he could find the time (his job keeps him way too busy). I, on the other hand, like having my house as my sanctuary; it's my place to be myself and not worry about impressing others. (That probably makes me sound horrible. I assure you, I do have friends; I'm not anti-social at all.)

    Also, what you said about clean and company clean rings true here, too. Most of the time I'm embarrassed by the clutter, which seems to grow even though I do clean. I know my friends would understand--a cluttered house is pretty common among families with young kids--but it's just too much of an embarrassment for me..

    That being said, today my 26-year-old stepson will be coming over. He's almost like a stranger to me because I've only seen him a few times (he lives in NYC). I've cleaned and cleaned, and the house is more presentable now--but not perfect. I've decided that that's okay, though. See, I'm trying not to be so bad about welcoming people over!

    (Sorry for the rambling. I'm listening to the kids as they play, and that's always distracting.)

    Glad you're back!

    1. When I was really young my parents had people over all of the time,and it was really fun. Then when I was a little older, money was tighter and the furniture, etc was a little shabby, so we didn't have people over as much. I think we all missed it. When I had my first place (a studio apartment) I started having people over again. We had fun even though there was really no room. I've kept at it since then. I used to worry a lot about people noticing things that weren't perfect, but a newer friend said some really nice things about coming over a few months ago and that made me feel really good about it. We both enjoy having people over, so we're trying to do better about making it happen more often.

      I hope you had a good visit with your stepson.

  4. Oh, wow, we did so much of this when we were younger like you guys. We rarely have people over now, and I keep vowing to change that. Keep up the good work. Fellowship is so important. :)

    1. It really is important to spend time with the people you care about. I hope you're able to get back into it soon. :-)


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