11/2/08

Confessions of a Party-Giver - Part III

Okay, it’s time to tell you the things that you’ve always wondered about me giving a party. Right? I mean, does everything always flow smoothly?

No, but I’ve learned to definitely go with the flow!

Last month when I had my Fall Neighbor Luncheon (check out Part I, here!), and I posted my Tasty Fall Recipes (Part II, here!), I decided to share with you some of the things that normally aren’t brought up in my posts when I share my experiences!

… my confessions!

I used paper napkins!


I splattered the carrot mixture all over my walls and cupboards when I put the lid too tight on my blender – oops! After doing it three times, I finally figured out that because of the heat, it needed air!

I only cleaned one bathroom, as I figured all of the ladies could use this one.

I did vacuum my whole house, because it only took a few minutes and gave it a fresh feel.

I did not dust or even tidy up the living room. It’s a “living room” right?

I dropped an egg on the floor while making the dessert in the morning.

After I set the table, put the chairs around – a guest called and said she would not be able to make it. I pulled her “setting” away and rearranged the table and chairs.


I took a shower, but I did not have time to wash my hair (now on day 3?) Ratting and spraying always works!

I thought about what I wanted to wear the night before, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to think about such things in the morning!
I do better with a plan.

I grabbed miscellaneous stuff off of the kitchen counter (gel pens, cookbooks, mail, party invitations, pencil sharpener, Abby’s birthday cards …) and I threw it in a basket and put in the laundry room. NOT because I needed my kitchen to be perfect-looking, but because my kitchen is small, and I needed several cleaned areas to serve the salad (12 dishes), dish up the soup (12 dishes), and the dessert (12 dishes).

I had all the dishes pulled from the hutch that I would need for soup, salad, and dessert!
I was thinking ahead!

I shut my bedroom door. My bed was made, but it was just a little chaotic, or unorganized. I would have been fine if someone opened the door, as I’m beyond the point of anything like that horrifying me.
I am who I am!

The soup I served seemed too cool for my liking, and although I was tempted to apologize that it wasn't piping hot ...
I chose to NOT apologize for my error!

After the first course was served, I took a minute to rinse and put those dishes in the dishwasher. It was full so I started the dishwasher right then! I like to get a head-start on the dishes. It only took a few minutes away from my guests, and besides there were a lot of ladies to keep the conversations going without me!


I saw my daughter lick her finger while serving up the dessert - oops!

I've learned that having "helpers" in the kitchen makes me more relaxed as a hostess. Besides we had a great time!

I didn't serve coffee with my Pumpkin Pie al la Easy, because we drink espresso in our home, and I didn't think this generation of ladies would appreciate it.

I wrapped up the luncheon at 1:30, because I had other things that I wanted to get done that day, since I took the day off from work.

I let the guests help me clear the table – they all pitched in!


Mission accomplished!

It was a successful luncheon and the flow was due to my being relaxed, being organized, and having little helpers.

And no – things were not perfect.

But they were perfect enough for me to enjoy these ladies and want to do it again.

And I can’t wait until next time!

Have you learned to “go with the flow” with a group setting in your home?

(Fun with Megan and Abby)

36 comments:

Sandy Toes said...

I think if you enjoy entertaining..you do have to let things go or it will not work or you will be so stressed! Things just happen...great post!
-sandy toes

p.s. I dropped a raw egg on my floor last week, too! yuck!

Lucy said...

Kudos!! I try not to stress and pretty much go w/the flow. Organization is key, learning along the way.. ;)

Tammy said...

This is so good for me to read- thank you for giving us permission not to be perfect!!!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Good advice, thank you.

Homesteader in Training said...

Gee I Don't know why I don't have a personal story right off the top of my head but my friend was watching our kids one night and thought she'd make spaghetti. So she and my daughter rolled meatballs and prepared the sauce and my two sons anxiously awaited supper. As they sat down to eat my friend realized she never made the spaghetti lol. Explain that to a 3 year old who's hungry ha ha! It's nice to hear your confessions. I's have quite a long list lol.
Hugs.

Stacey said...

I am so with you on cleaning only the important bathroom and closing a door if necessary. We have to remember that people are not coming to grade us - they just want to be together. :)

Jen said...

I do go with the flow..I hosted a chili Supper Friday night to 11 people.....of course chili is easy...but entertaining is sometimes hard. I get frustrated at times when things dont go my way and then dissapointed...I need to learn to go with the flow more often..

see you there! said...

Great to have a peek behind the scenes. I'm pretty much go with the flow and a great deal of our "entertaining" is spontanious. Someone drops by, its close to dinner time, we just say "want to stay for dinner?". Usually it is easy to drop another potato in the pot or toss an extra big salad and stretch what was on the menu.

Darla

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Awesome post. I stress so much about every little thing when I have company of any kind. It's nice to
know that I'm not the only one who has bad things happen before company comes - I always think that other women have it much more together than me.

Tracy said...

Nothing is ever perfect when I entertain, but so few people are willing to have you into their homes these days that people don't care. They do care that you went out of your way to make them feel special.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

How wonderful!!! I love the confesssions ;)

Betsy said...

Such good points! I find that I'm much more relaxed and realistic about these things than I was in my 20's (when I thought the entire house had to be spring-cleaned before someone came over!) :)

Betts said...

I did the same thing with carrot soup and didn't figure it out the first time either.

I go with the flow better than my husband does. We had a Boxing Day party (Dec. 26) last year, and I wanted to use quality paper plates and napkins. He didn't want to until I explained that he then could wash the dinner and dessert plates of almost 20 guests when they were gone.

Monkey Giggles said...

I have learned that things ALWAYS work out. And the junk I fret over no one ever notices. Going with the flow is the only way to go. Thank you for the reminder.

Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing that your "behind the scenes" looks a lot like everyone else's behind the scenes.


The next time you drop an egg, scoop up as much as you can. Then, sprinkle salt on the remaining egg. Makes cleaning it up so much easier.

Tamara said...

I'm always so encouraged by your honesty and transparency!

We're hosting our families for the holidays this year, for the first time. We're excited and nervous, but this perspective helps to take the pressure off!

linda t said...

Great post Sandy!
You gave sooo many of your readers permission to "lighten up" and "go with the flow"!
Thanks for the reminder Sandy!

Discursivelyhappy said...

Wow, that is one full dishwasher. You will have to post next time how to get the dishwasher that full! :-)

I love the not apologizing for the error. I work on this one daily as most the time we are the only ones noticing the "error's" so why bring it up, right?

And the not washing hair but spray and tease, I will have to remember that one, I usually pull out one of my favorite hats! :-)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

A couple of weeks ago, I had planned to have guests over for dinner but our plans changed to a late lunch at the last minute.

Fortunately, I had prepared the two casseroles ahead of time (one chicken based, the other beef)and all they needed was heating in the oven, the dessert was ready, and all I needed was a vegetable so the change it time was do-able.

What my guests didn't see when they arrived was the remainder of the dirty dishes in a cardboard box in the garage. The silverware was already soaking in a big bowl to make it easier to wash (I don't have a dishwasher).

My daughter often throws unwashed dishes in the oven although every time she does this, she remembers the time I did same and then forgot they were in there when I preheated the oven. Fortunately, nothing was plastic. :)

Bev said...

Such great advice - a blending of preparing, going with the flow, being yourself, concentrating on what's really important and not - thanks for the wonderful reminders. You always, always encourage me. oxox

Amber said...

Thanks for your genuine & transparent behind the scenes look at your luncheon! :) So often as guests, things look great on the outside and it's easy to forget that entertaining rarely goes off without a hitch for the hostess. I'm sure the ladies loved the chance to visit over a delicious fall lunch!

ellen b. said...

hee, hee, confession is good for the soul! One of my funniest memories of entertaining was having my in-laws over for dinner. Our little eating area faced the kitchen. When I took the pie out of the oven with them watching I dumped it upside down on the floor. I scooped it up and we ate it anyway :0)

Melanie said...

I agree w/you about not apologizing for soup not quite hot, etc. When you apologize, it puts your guests in an awkward position.
Thanks for sharing the reality of hospitality!

OKGardners said...

I love your laid-back attitude. Each one of us should attempt to be that relaxed when serving others.

I wish I had a local friend like you! Seens everyone is TOO BUSY and TOO RUSHED.

Betty in Oklahoma

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Sandy, I want to know how you were able to wrap things up at 1:30--ie encourage guests to leave graciously.

This is sometimes a problem for me, although a good problem, as it means that people are still having a good time!

I know you must have an experienced perspective on this!

Laurie said...

Looks like fun! I used to be the type where everything had to be perfect and spotless etc. But over the years and after enough parties I have learned that it is much more fun to relax and not be so neurotic about everything... Thanks for being so transparent!!!

Elizabeth G. said...

Sandy, you are really inspiring. Reading your posts makes me feel more brave to invite people over (which fills me with nerves!). I made your sloppy joe recipe last week. It was sooo good. Everyone loved it. So easy, too! Now, I want to copy your Fall luncheon recipes.

Thank you again tons for that post about how to get out of one's doldrums. It helped me more than I can express!

What do you do for a living? You said something about working..? I was wondering if you help people entertain professionally.

God bless you!!
Elizabeth

Ms. Tee said...

That is so great! I have to relax in this area. Our office is a *catch-all* room right now, and I panic when people open the door. I need to just relax! :)

I laughed when I read that you cleaned one bathroom that they'd be using - I've done that many times! :)

50s Housewife said...

I'm with Meredith...how did you "wrap things up"? We had a family over for an impromptu casual dinner not too long ago and they stayed until 11:00 (on a school night too)! We even started putting the kids to bed and that didn't work...

~nanashouse~ said...

I just purchased some beautiful paper napkins from Hallmark for our Thanksgiving season. As it turns out we will be serving a Community Dinner at our church on Thanksgiving Day. Good thing there is a season to be thankful. I will set my table with these pretty napkins for another meal! Thank you for your idea of keeping all your napkins pressed and ready to go. Now I am looking for such a place to put all my pretty napkins. I must admit~~it has become a habit of mine to collect pretty napkins :-)

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

I just found your blog through the Inspired room! what a fabulous find! you blog is amazing and just the perfect one to find before the holidays too! I plan on stopping in often now!!

Im having my own first ever ....GIVE-AWAY!!...so stop in and say hi if you get a sec, and thanks for having such great information for us at our fingertips!!

~ Hugs ~ Cynthia

mikki roo said...

I just found your site and already bookmarked it... I love you! Thanks for all the tips on entertaining, and for once not worrying about everything being perfect.

mikki roo said...

p.s. I found you thru the Inspired Room as well :)

~j~ said...

if you enjoy blessing people through food and conversation you most definitely have to go with the flow, i have had fun recalling some of the more comical moments of the minutes preceding or during a gathering that still bring smiles to my face!
thanks for sharing your party bloopers :))
xo
julia

Blushing hostess said...

Ina Garten remarked once that you should expect the have things go wrong, it is the way you solve the issue that matters, not the issue itself. I find an astute, creative, thinking hostess has the easiest and best time. I've held on to her remarks through hundreds of parties now and I always think to myself these two things: Initate to solve something before it happens. And define the moment, or the moment will define the hostess! Lovely blog!

Kirstin said...

I love the pictures of you and the girls...your hair looks great!! Yah, it's much easier to just go with the flow, then fret over everything being perfect!!