A couple weekends ago, I planned a very full schedule. Friday night: arrived home from the youth camp where I’d spoken, went straight to Matthew’s company BBQ. Saturday: day in Boston with college friend Rebecca who had come from North Carolina to visit a mutual New Hampshire friend. Sunday: speak at a local church. Then crash, exhausted.
I’m sure there were gaps where more events could fit in … oh, and I found one! Saturday night: invite 9 people over for dinner, our friends the Thomases.
Knowing I would be pressed for time, I decided on a meal that would be simple to prepare. Inspired by one of the dinner at camp, I planned a Baked Potato Bar with a Brownie Bar for dessert. Matthew asked his sister for household help while I was away, so I texted Joanna a grocery list, and she picked up all the ingredients.
I baked the potatoes and brownies Saturday morning before leaving for Boston. All I would have to do when I got home was set out the condiments and toppings. And make some chili. And straighten up the house, because the kids had “unpacked” the suitcases from our trip all over the place. Okay, so I was cutting it close.
After an Italian lunch in Boston’s North End and cannoli at Modern Pastry, Rebecca decided she wanted to try a Duck Tour. I was able to order tickets from my iPhone, and we started walking the Freedom Trail toward the USS Constitution. We found out there had been a problem with our ticket order, and we would have to take a later tour to get enough seats. I knew it would REALLY push things for getting dinner ready, but I went for it rather than lose our tickets.
It definitely stressed Matthew out, but he took over valiantly. (Him: “You need to come home right now!” Me: “Um. I’m in the middle of Boston Harbor.”)
One of the Thomas boys came over early to help Matthew straighten up. By the time Rebecca and I and my kids rushed in from Boston, everyone was sitting around eating ice cream and popsicles. “Your husband serves the best appetizers!” said mom Monica Thomas.
They all jumped in to help set the table, make the chili, and set out the toppings: cheese, sour cream, bacon. (I forgot to get out the chives.) We had so much fun around the table.
After dinner, they helped clear plates and set out dessert: brownies, whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, walnuts, chocolate syrup.
When I left with Rebecca to drop her off with our friend, my amazing guests finished cleaning up before Matthew took them to Waterfire in downtown Providence. I came home to a spotless kitchen!
The whole thing was a blur, but it was a lot of fun. I felt like I was hosted in my home by my own guests. Thank you all so much…you’re welcome any time!
I’m sure you will be more organized and timely when you host guests at YOUR home, but if you ever know you’re going to be cutting it close:
- plan food that is easy to set out
- plan food that can be mostly prepared ahead of time
- don’t leave the house messy thinking you’ll have time to clean it later!
- invite gracious guests : )
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