We absolutely love entertaining! But, the entire time we have lived here we have been
under major reconstruction. This fact would leave many of you to assume that we don’t
do much entertaining here.
Nope. It’s not true.
Even with ceilings ripped up, no flooring and a single room available to hang out in for
months and months, we have always entertained. We had big dinners with friends when our living room was our bedroom, and practically our whole church over for a surprise party for a friend when we had just gotten the flooring into the living room! Here’s proof, this was within the first week we moved in:
So, we are old hats at entertaining in the middle of remodeling and can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that you:
a) can and b) absolutely totally without a shadow of a doubt should
Today we are going to share with you a little bit on why we think it is super important, and a few tips to actually pull it off without ripping your hair out.
The Why Behind it All
It Helps Keep You Motivated
Knowing that someone other than you and your family will be in your space, helps you to stay motivated to keep going on days when maybe you don’t feel like it. If we know that in 2 days, we are having friends over, who will be excited to see all the new things we have knocked out since they were last over, we are often more apt to keep working rather than choose to just lounge around the house in the evenings.
It Helps Keep The House Clean
Let’s be honest, there is nothing like having people over to kick a lazy house cleaners tush in gear. This can be especially helpful if you are deep into projects, or are still unable to unpack whole rooms etc. It can be very easy to write off cleaning those areas when you know that you aren’t finished in those rooms. Knowing people are coming over can help motivate you to break out the shop vac and get those cobwebs and dirt up in areas that are often ignored.
It Helps Keep The Yard Maintained
Once again that extra hurumph can be so motivating to really whip your yard and entertaining areas into shape. When the house was really bad we would often entertain almost exclusively in the backyard around a campfire and the BBQ.
It Keeps You Sane
Nothing will drive you crazy faster than always working on your house and never playing. It’s also totally encouraging to have friends come over that saw the place originally, and hear how great it is starting to look. It is easy to not see the progress you are making when you are in the middle of the project 24/7.
Having a beer and playing a board game all night (we recommend Settlers of Catan) with friends over good food will do you a heck of a lot more good than hating your house because you can’t have friends over until its finished will.
Hopefully by now you are convinced that this entertaining business is a good deal. Let’s get down to the actual, “staying sane part”.
Pulling It Off Without Ripping Out Your Hair or Killing Your Spouse
Relax. They don’t care.
The absolute hardest thing that I had to overcome was the expectations that I had for myself. Expectations of what I needed to have in order to be seen as a good hostess. In a perfect world we would all have perfectly clean and decorated homes, the pie would come out just right and you would always have enough to go around. But life doesn’t always work that way. The important thing to remember is that, PEOPLE DON’T CARE!
They really, really, really don’t.
We had friends over to this house the first week we moved in. It was crazy and weird and I almost had a melt down in the middle of it because I wasn’t used to entertaining in an unfinished place where I couldn’t find anything. Kevin had to sweetly take me aside and
tell me to calm down and enjoy our guests and forget about the house before I completely ruined the evening.
It’s a hard thing to learn, we are raised in such a perfectionist culture that it’s difficult to let that stuff go. But you have to, or you’ll just plain make yourself and everyone around you miserable. Remember though that very few people are willing to open their homes to
those around them, this alone makes a huge impression.
Let people know that they are the most important thing and they will flock to your home. They don’t care if the flooring is crappy or if they have to stand because there aren’t enough chairs or if you run out of hotdogs before the night is over. But, they will take their cues from you. If you are embarrassed about your home, then they will be uncomfortable. If you are open with the fact that you are in progress, they will love you all the more for it.
If the house is crazy town, have people over for a BBQ instead of a fancy dinner. Most folks totally understand bring your own chair events and this can really help if say your dining room table is broken in 4 pieces and leaning against a wall.
Pick Simple Dishes
People love good food almost as much as they love good company, so try to make sure that the food is good. Try to pick dishes that don’t require a ton of last minute preparations that will tie you up and leave your guests alone and you in the kitchen.
If you really want to do something that takes last minute prep be sure to bring your guests in with you and put them to work helping. That way you can visit while you work.
Don’t be afraid to delegate lots of tasks if they do exist , because people love to help. If you are frying things for example, it can be overwhelming and time consuming, so try teaching your guests to do it and take turns.
Realize that with complicated dishes you are much more likely to burn out quicker. It is better to choose simpler dishes that you can easily sustain and have friends over more often then to wait for long periods of time between hanging out in order to make the
perfect complicated dish.
Use Plastic or Get a Dishwasher
If you don’t have a dishwasher it is much simpler to use paper and plastic products, then to do 20 plates and 50 pieces of silverware all by yourself once your guests have all left. If you are remodeling and have the chance to install a dishwasher, definitely take it. It is
one of the best entertaining tools you will ever invest in. It is not very expensive and is easy to hook up yourself, even if it wasn’t installed before. Check out our post here on how we installed ours.
Ask People To Bring Something
If you’re hosting a group of friends, it is totally appropriate to ask your guests to bring something along with them. Chips, drinks, side dishes, and desserts are all great options for guests to bring. If you are hosting a couple or a small dinner party, things like bread
or wine are traditionally more acceptable, but if you know them quite well, anything you would like them to bring is just fine.
Prep, prep, prep
Actually entertaining is the easy part, prep is where the hard work is at. Having your dinner prepped is incredibly important to having a simple and smooth entertaining process. Make sure that you aren’t stressed out last minute about every detail. It’s okay to have something still on the burner for last minute but be sure not to have everything on the burner for last minute.
Cleaning should ideally be completed by the day before in order to cause the least stress possible. Pushing it to the last minute adds undue stress even though you can accomplish it, it often leads to burn out and frustrations.
Roll With The Punches
Something Will go wrong inevitably….. How you respond to the problem is much more important than the problem itself. Be gracious with yourself, with your spouse, and with your family when things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. If something goes
terribly wrong remember you can always eliminate certain things. Every meal doesn’t need an appetizer, entrée, a soup, salad, and a dessert.
Keep some back up items on hand in case these things happen. Things like instant pudding, frozen whipped topping, frozen garlic bread, and frozen vegetables can all help in a last minute crisis.
Hope those help some of you to break out of a rut and get some friends over to your place. It’s really quite easy and people really love coming to your home regardless of its progress!
I’m sure there are lots of other things I have forgotten here. Chime in with what you like to do when you have friends over in the middle of all your projects!