How I Entertain Without Losing My Everloving Mind

For years Shane and I had a New Year’s resolution to invite someone/a family over for dinner once each month.

We would start the year off great and make it happen a couple of times and like most New Year’s resolutions it was null by March.

We had great intentions and our heart were in the right place…

BUT

I would overdo it. Every. Single. Time.

What was intended to build relationships turned into something overwhelming, stressful, and expensive.

Don’t get me wrong…

I love to entertain.

I love to cook a good, hearty, and colorful meal.

I love to feel the warmth of joyful hearts gathered in my home.

I love to set a beautiful table, in a clean house, and play soft music in the background.

Truly, I was trained by the best… my mother is an entertaining genius.
(She should really have her own television show and line of cookware. If you have eaten there… Can I get an AMEN?!?!?)

However, for me, by the time the guests arrived I was in a full body sweat (I have issues), completely exhausted, and Shane and I were usually in a tiff.

It is embarrassing to admit, but we lived in the same house for 5 years and never once shared a meal with one of our neighbors.

It hurts my heart to think of all the opportunities we missed to know people better, hear their stories, and share a little bit of life together.

In the last few months I have realized I can still enjoy entertaining and have a home full of joyful hearts without stressing about serving a gourmet meal, setting a fancy tablescape, or even putting away the towering pile of laundry that always seems to be looming in the front room.

Today I want to let you off the hook.
Here is my secret…

We always have pizza on Friday, it’s our thing (ok, it’s a lot of people’s thing) but it is my break from cooking at the end of the week… so we have started inviting people for Pizza Friday.

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It takes all the stress away from trying to impress.

I usually opt for take and bake pizza so that I can be in control of timing and the flow of the evening.

I pair that bad boy with a bag of take and toss salad and VOILA… Dinner is served!

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For dessert I grab a pre-made angel food cake and a carton of strawberries.

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It really doesn’t get much easier than this.
(I think Payton could even host one of these lovely dining experiences all on his own.)

The food might not be organic, fancy, or worthy of donning the cover of a magazine… but if that is what really matters than maybe you should get a job as a chef or a food magazine-covershoot-photographer. (I’m sure that’s a real job… look it up.)

When I have people in my home I want them to feel comfortable, enjoy their time, and leave with a full belly. It might sound selfish but I would even like to have a conversation with them rather than becoming the kitchen wench and if I am stressed out, overwhelmed, and sweaty I am not going to be able to connect.

In order to keep the kitchen wench at bay I have to compromise and for me the compromise is in the fuss.

As much as I would love the applause of a grandiose dinner experience, I more deeply want to know and love my guests well.

Having guests over is not about me and I have to remind myself of that, like every time.

For me, for this season, or maybe forever… I have to put my pride aside in order to leave room for life to happen.

***This week I have yet another challenge for you***

Would you be so brave as to invite someone over for Pizza Friday?
Would you be so brave as to serve pre-chopped salad doused in perfectly portioned packets of dressing and toppings?
And how about that store bought dessert?

Could you put your pride aside and connect?

In the words of the great Queen Elsa… “Let it Go! Let it Go!”

Will you leave room in your home, heart, and head for the people you are gathering around your table?

Let’s connect deeply and love well.

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7 thoughts on “How I Entertain Without Losing My Everloving Mind

  1. Shout out to Mom Seigmund!!! She is truly a goddess in the kitchen and home decor department! Her home is warm, inviting and safe.
    Don’t let Christen fool you…her home is exactly that too. Safe. Warm. Inviting. Full of love. And a breath of fresh air. I love it!
    I’m guilty though of the stress and fuss. I grew up with a mom who should have her own cookware too. She would stay in the kitchen the whole night basically, cooking and then cleaning it all up spotless. And then get mad at me for not helping her! I didn’t want to miss the party mom! Duh! So it scared me to death to entertain. I never did it for years. But then as I got older, I really wanted to take what I had learned from her and host family gatherings, holiday celebrations and friends. I love fancy. I love dishes and wine goblets. I wanted to make sure it was fun for me too. It is time consuming, it can be stressful, and I don’t do it as often as I would like, but I’ve learned to let those dishes go, prepare make ahead meals and take time to enjoy the wine! Just like my favorite chef Ina Gardner 🙂

  2. I think you wrote this just for me huh? I love how Gof can use others to talk to me. I need to learn from you on this one. Thanks for opening my eyes

  3. I loved my pizza dinner this summer!!! It really is all about who you are sharing a slice with, isn’t it? I’m having a birthday party this weekend and I’m picking up food & bringing a couple bags of pistachios. Others are bringing drinks & desserts. DONE!!!! We are all so excited to be together! Yeah, this is what life is all about!! Love you guys! Have a great birthday weekend, Brady!

  4. I hosted book club this past Saturday. The chicken & eggplant Parmesan I bought at my favorite Italian deli was great! So were the cannoli and tiramisu! It was a beautiful night of great food, a good book and wonderful friends. Loved it!!!