If you've been following along, I've been planning a house party. I started with the realization that I need to get over my excuses and just do it. Then I talked about the planning process. Today you get to see how it went! And it went...FABULOUSLY!
I had my party set for 11 AM. To some people that might be early, but to me my day is half over at that point. I had planned a lunch menu and still had a good deal of straightening up to get to, so after a healthy breakfast I got started.
I gave myself a 9:00 deadline on cleaning because I knew two people were going to show up early and I still had food to prepare. I got the living room and dining room vacuumed. The kids helped me clean off the table and chairs and move the chairs into the living room. I found a pretty new table cloth I had never used and that inspired me to get out some of my fancy serving dishes that I never use.
I set the table with real dishes and mugs. I don't like buying paper plates. It seems like whenever I buy them "just in case" we go through them in a week because they are there. That always seems like a waste of money to me, so I went with regular dishes. I did put out plastic silverware, mainly because the dishwasher hadn't finished running and all the good stuff was hung up in there. I wash the plastic stuff and reuse it until it falls apart, though.
At 9, I started prepping the food. Frances was a big help here and I discovered I could get two things done at once with her as my sous chef. She made a nice chicken salad spread while I put together a spinach and artichoke dip and got some Little Smokies in a BBQ sauce/grape jelly sauce. I also made mini quiches with bacon, mushrooms, and spinach. Ken had helped me make some fried mushrooms and fried cheese sticks as well. Once everything was in the oven, I jumped in the shower and got myself ready.
Julie showed up and helped make chicken salad sandwiches with her fresh bread she brought me. She also helped me prep the table and corral the kids (hers and mine), while Heather set up her jewelry displays. I made some fruit and yogurt parfaits and mixed the Russian tea. We were just getting the last few things on the table when the guests started to arrive, so it was very well timed.
We had a nice lunch and played some jewelry games in the living room, while the kids ate their own food in the dining room and then played with toys. The games were fun and trying on jewelry is something we all enjoyed. Plus it was just nice to sit around and chat!
All in all, I think the party was a huge success! I was proud of my house and the food turned out delicious. Getting ready to have people over can be stressful, but the actual house party is quite a treat.
If I can pass along a few tips, I would say:
- Write down your menu and guest list. You may think you can keep those things in your head, but something often gets forgotten. Plus, if someone arrives early and offers to help, they can help set out food from your list.
- Have your dishwasher empty. Most people will want to help clean up just a little bit. There's nothing wrong with letting them stack their own plates in the dishwasher.
- Have some plastic containers ready to go. If there are lots of leftovers, offer them out!
- Don't be so concerned with being a hostess that you forget to have fun and enjoy yourself.
- After everyone leaves, take a moment to just sit and breath before you start the big cleanup. You deserve it!