tips: hosting Sunday dinner (or brunch)

Growing up, my Aunt Karen always had our entire extended family over for lunch after church.  It was one of life's consistencies.  Everyone sat shoulder-to-shoulder, but no one ever seemed to mind. My brothers and I always ended up sitting together on the piano bench pulled up to the end of her long farmhouse table. 

Since we bought our house, I've been dreaming of having a big Sunday lunch of my own.  We've had a couple family grill feasts over the summer, but this past Sunday I tackled my first solo meal. 

We invited our small group for a meal, because they are like our Indy family.  Most of them hadn't seen the house since helping us move (thanks guys!).  For our meal after church, I decided to serve brunch food, with some extra sides provided by the guests:

zucchini chocolate chip muffins
cheese danishes
sausage & mushroom egg casserole

During the process, I learned a few things:

  1. Pick dishes that are best made the night before.  This is absolute perfection in my book.  I started by whipping up the egg casserole and popping it in the fridge, then moved on to the muffins and danishes. Letting them sit overnight makes all three taste better.
  2. Kitchen clean-up should happen before you go to bed.  I woke up and just had to turn on the oven for the egg casserole.  There is nothing fun about having a sink full of dishes when people are coming over.
  3. If people offer to bring something - let them, but try to offer specific ideas.  I was too vague and didn't think of specific suggestions.  This probably made it confusing for my guests to know what to bring.  (For future reference: granola, yogurt & berries, grapes, or juice would have been perfect suggestions.)
  4. Buy flowers, light candles, open windows, and turn on the lights.  These are my rituals when people are visiting.  It's not just to welcome them - it makes me feel ready for a party too.
  5. Wear a cute top or necklace.  When you're sitting down most of the time, who cares if you have on a new skirt?  Focus on what will be visible.  
  6. Have everything out for easy access.  In the morning we spread out glasses, dishes, silverware, coffee mugs, pitchers for water.   Have a pot of coffee ready to start brewing.  I loved using "real" dishes and silverware, but if you're lacking a dishwasher I fully support paper products!
  7.  Only sweep the floors where it is absolutely necessary.  (...but always clean the bathrooms).  I needed to sweep in the kitchen, but decided to let the dining room and living room go.  By moderating my need for perfection, I was less worried with keeping my house clean, and more concerned about being present with the people I love.

 p.s. I wish I had taken a picture of my mom's egg casserole recipe!  It was a rich, filling centerpiece for the meal.  Soooo good!


Meaghan said...

Great ideas & yummy food! Any recipes you share would definitely be enjoyed :)

Katie @ Nap Time in Naptown said...

#5 is golden wisdom. That is so true and yet I've never really thought about it.

I think your house is so beautiful. Maybe slightly stalkerish of me, but I love seeing photos of it. Our house is 1930s too and I just love old homes.

P.S. I second the request for recipes. :)

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