10/22/08

Yes, They're Coming! Luncheon Part I

It all started with an idea in my head, and then I acted on it.

It’s time to get the neighbor ladies together. I think I’ll have a fall luncheon!

Pick a date
I came up with a date, put it on the calendar, whipped up a quick invite on the computer, and then I walked around my neighborhood and handed them out. I scheduled the day off from work, I pulled out my trusty notebook and made notes of who I invited, and then as they called to RSVP, I put a big red “Y” by their name.


Yes, they’re coming!

Plan ahead
I had 3 weeks to plan ahead and to think about what I wanted to serve. Simple is best – and serving something that I was familiar with is what I chose. And of course I used the power of delegation!


Menu & delegation
I made my mouthwatering, fresh-tasting Carrot Orange Soup. My neighbor to my left, Mary, brought a gorgeous Ceasar salad – and my neighbor on my right, Ellie, brought amazing fig appetizers. Pumpkin Pie a la Easy was served for dessert! (Recipes to follow)

Set table in a jiff
Standard white dishes which I always use, and brown tablecloths, worked perfectly with fall colors, pumpkins, candles, flowers and napkins. And guess what? My table only seats 8, so I added a table onto the end. I do that often – extend out the table. Not all the chairs matched, but that’s okay.


I bought paper napkins – on sale! And I pulled out of my cupboard the tiny orange candles that I bought last summer on the clearance aisle. I think they were about 20 cents each.


I cut fresh flowers from a fall bouquet that I had had in my house for over a week and put the whole table together, in less than 10 minutes!


When you use the same dishes, glasses and stemware – and you have it organized and put away from the last party – it’s so easy to pull out and complete a table setting for another party in a jiff!


The aprons
I took my daughter out of school for the afternoon and we had fun picking out which aprons we wanted to wear, and of course I picked my favorite Reluctant Entertainer, all starched up and ready to put on! (Thank you Cindy L. – my friend Cindy borrowed some of my tablecloths and aprons and she returned them in MUCH better shape than when she took them – perfectly starched.)


The conversation
On the invitation I asked each person to bring a picture of their home from when they bought it. Not everyone remembered, but from the ones who did we saw drastic changes with home improvements! It was really fun and generated interesting conversation.


Serving and entertainment
My daughter Abby, and her friend Megan who is homeschooled and lives down the street, joined me in helping with last minute details before the guests arrived, and then they served the guests as I dished up the food.

Abby volunteered to play her violin, which is always a real treat for the crowd! (By the way, I’ve never seen a violinist perform while wearing an apron, have you?)

Everyone joined in the conversation around the table, from old to young. It was wonderful to catch up with neighbors who you may not always see. We even had one lady who really isn’t a neighbor because she hasn’t moved into her house quite yet! But we included her anyway.


The results
We were all reminded of what a blessing life is – that we have so much – and that we can’t take it for granted, or each other!

I’m glad I went out of my way. Because if I had never acted on my idea, set the date, and planned ahead - the luncheon would never have happened. I caught glimpses into my neighbor’s lives that I did not know before. I felt more connected.

I would have missed out, and so would my daughter.

Yes, I’m glad they all came!

(Have you thought about inviting neighbors over for a meal? You can always do what I did and team up with a couple other ladies to share the meal preparation! )

By the way, the ladies that did not RSVP, I ended up calling.

Do you think it’s important to RSVP? Read my post on "RSVPing," here.

Coming up: Tasty Fall Recipes, True Confessions of a Party-Giver, Apple Pie in a Jar, Dinner for a Prince – and more!

25 comments:

linda said...

What a warm, welcoming heart you have Sandy. It is such a great example for others.

Your neighbor luncheon was such a wonderful way to reconnect. Many of my beloved neighbors have moved away recently and the neighborhood is just not the same. I need to plan something like this soon...it would be a great way to meet new people and to welcome them to the neighborhood.

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

What fun, Sandy!! I didn't realize when you said you had your neighbors over for lunch, that it was a luncheon! I love this idea - such a fantastic way for everyone to feel more connected and part of a real community.

Your table looked absolutely gorgeous. I love fall colors - so warm and inviting. And you're right, I've never seen a violinist playing her instrument while wearing an apron. Your Abby pulls it off with great class!

-Andrea

Classic MaMa said...

How beautiful! I must admit that this thought is kind of scary for me. I'm still a bit shy in our new neighborhood. I've only met four of my neighbors. You'll have to pray for me- that I get a bit more bold about meeting these people God placed me around.

Christy said...

Absolutely RSVP!!! I think it is so important and courteous and I wish that people would do it more than they do.

you are such an inspiration with the way you you entertain and are so hospitable and thoughtful. Luncheons like this make others feel important and significant and besides that, it's just fun for a group of women to be together! I love that you had your daughter play the violin.

I love to have people in our home. I just wish I could be a little more spontaneous about it and make more of an effort to do it on a regular basis.

The food looks and sounds yummy too:)

Carol said...

What a wonderful idea having a luncheon for your neighbors! It's also great that you involved your daughter & her friend, I'm sure they'll have a special memory of the day.
RSVP, YES, it's very important! I rank it right up there with writing thank you notes!
Carol ~ in Oklahoma

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

What a grand thing to do, Sandy. Truly, that is a wonderful gift to give and receive...better knowing your neighbors. Thanks for stepping us through it.

Your daughter could not have learned more important things that that afternoon. Way to school her!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

What a wonderful luncheon...wish I lived in your neighborhood! :)
Carrie

Jen said...

Yes RSVPing is very important and people dont take this serious enough. I love the fall luncheon for your neighbors...such a great way to fellowship...

Betts said...

What a terrific idea. I meet friends for lunch out once in a blue moon, but for some reason I never thought of a luncheon here.

RSVP'ing is of utmost importance! So many seem to take that to mean "call if you can come". You should call no matter what and without delay.

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

I so wish I had the guts to do that. But, most of my neighbors aren't very friendly (wish I would have known that prior to moving in). How wonderful of you and it surely sounds like an absolutely lovely afternoon.

BTW...I'm having a little give away, feel free to pop by my blog if you're interested.

Christine Lynn said...

And this is what life is all about,...opening ourselves up and inviting others in, not closing the doors and keeping them out! I love it! We haven't done the luncheon yet but we have coffee cake and coffee once a month in our neighborhood for the stay at home moms, and sometimes the not so stay at home moms sneak out of work to join us!...lol You have inspired me to throw a little lunch party here...I think a Fall luncheon is what we need here! =O)

Rhonda said...

Once again...I am filled with admiration.

Yes, I do feel that RSVP'ing is important. I've been on the non-receiving end when people haven't replied. Not fun.

sarah @ a beach cottage said...

Hi Sandy

just sat down to catch up with you (brought a nice piece of cake with me and some tea!)

what a great idea, a wonderful way to connect with the neighbours, hmmm I think I might try this, there are a couple of neighbours who have just had babies and I am sure they could use a nice luncheon, good planning I guess is the key and keeping it simple of course like you said

your table looks stunning, isn't it amazing how you can creat a table easily and quickly from stuff you just have already around your home, I love that, I'm enjoying making up our table so much! the fall colours are just the best and the flowers tie it in beautifully

oh and the RSVP thing, so important in my opinion

great post and great inspiration as usual

Sarah

Nadine said...

What a wonderful idea. I love the table - it looked lovely. The soup sounded very interesting and the color was great.

I do love aprons and I have taught young people to cook and the importance of a good apron.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

This looks like such a special, lovely luncheon! Everything was so beautiful, one would never guess how simple it really was to do! I love the addition of the little mini candles at each place setting, and the idea of using what you have. Your daughter's "concert" must have been wonderful as well!

I have been meaning to get the ladies on our block together, and this is a great idea!!

I do believe the RSVP is very important, and is a huge pet peeve of mine when others don't respond. RSVP ,in short, means respond. Whether you plan to come or not! I wish more people knew this -- it's very discouraging to have to call for missed RSVP's!

Thanks for the inspiration today :)

duchess said...

What a great thing you did. I just love your ability to just jump right in & go with it.
I'm new to my neighborhood & am just too nervous to actually get something like this together.
Maybe I just need to pray about it & then my nerves won't be a problem (I hope).
Thanks for the inspiration.
(The girls are so cute.)

Jennifer F. said...

Wow!! This post is so inspiring. I'll be linking to it.

Just found you via Meredith and am excited to read more from your blog!

Grace said...

you're such a fabulous person, sandy! this page is being bookmarked and will no doubt be referred to often. :)

Heidi said...

sandy - i have to chuckle about your RSVP question...i'm hosting a dinner for my dad's 60th on saturday night - i invited about 120 people and have had the best RSVP response i've ever had. it's those last 10 or 12 that i'm trying to find out if they are coming because that means one more or possibly two more full tables ! a big difference! YES! so important to rsvp - and my mom always said "you do it and you do it promptly!" :)

Tracey said...

Hi Sandy,

I'm thrilled Meredith sent us over here. I haven't been blogging much the last few months and lost track of a few favorites--like yours!

RSVP within 48 hours of receiving an invite is my goal, same day if possible.

Jo said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate autumn and see those that live in your neighborhood.

It is simply following proper etiquette to RSVP to the host and hostess. I make it a point of responding and when I am hosting a gathering, I base my menu content, seating, tableware and beverages on my RSVP list.

Sandy Toes said...

I have something for you!

Robin said...

Sandy, I'm so sorry I posted that giveaway after the fact...I feel so silly! That's what I get for blogging late at night when my brain is tired! Hope I didn't cause you any problems! I enjoy your blog so much.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Sandy, I missed your 2 year giveaway, but big congrats on the milestone! Your luncheon looks & sounds wonderful, I know your guests enjoyed themselves, since you are such a sweet hostess!

Juliana said...

I love the idea! Thanks for sharing! :o)