Let's have us a party!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

 I love to throw a good celebration and bless my family and friends. Here is my ,sort of checklist ,that I concoct when one is in the works. I hope it helps you ladies!
First, I pick a date or if it is a holiday weekend with a theme then that is super easy. I just had a farmhouse full for July 4th so I am going to go through my list and show you how that one got pulled off.
Make a list of the foods you wish to serve..the menu, if you will. On my planning sheet, which is just a yellow lined legal pad size, I put the foods down.
Cheese & craker platter with fresh fruit
*Spinach artichoke dip with baked pita chips
*Roasted tomato herb dip for fresh veggies or chips
Barbecued main meal:
*Hamburgers and hotdogs with rolls
*Macaroni and shrimp salad
Garden salad
Taco Salad
Roasted corn on the cob
*Lettuce , onion, tomato tray with ketchup, relish and mustard
Fruit salad
Crab meat salad
*Rasberry Iced tea
*Assorted childrens juices
*Iced water with lemon slices
*Diet sodas
*Lemon Blueberry Trifle
Rasberry cheesecake
Ice cream cups

Now, all those dishes with an asterisk are the ones I prepared. Everything else the guests that offered to bring something I just graciously took them up on their offers to bring a dish. Some things on the menu are the result of what the guests suggested. That's okay too, just make sure it fits with the theme or that they don't want to bring a salad when you already have one spoken for. It is much easier as the hostess, I have learned, to let folks bring something. I never like to show up empty handed to a party and if it is something the hostess really needs that is doubly a blessing!
A few days before I do the shopping and don't forget the paper goods if you will be using them. I do a quick run down of the house: clutter control, cleaning, laundry caught up--that means ironed, folded and put away! The children are assigned extra chores in the cleaning department. The day before I prepare all the foods that can be done this early . Slice the veggies, make the desserts, make the burger patties. Everything that can be done ahead is and it is a tremendous time saver! Extra tables are set out, patio furniture cleaned and ready. My husband, God bless him, takes care of yard prep with the help of my son. I get the flowers pretty, hung out my American flag and added a few decorations here and there. Now we have a pool so I made sure that extra towels were available in the baths. I do clean the bathrooms, but I just spot clean the floors as they see alot of traffic and after the party I always clean the baths and wash the floors. AND I am conscious throughout the day of changing out the hand towel, keeping it fresh and dry. It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine you could say:-)
Coffee pot is prepped too for those that want this beverage with dessert. After the main meal I put the food away ( I am blessed with a lovely screened gazebo) or cover it and leave on the main table for anyone who wants to graze. One thing I have also learned s not to be a slave in the kitchen neglecting your guests. There is no reason you can't sit down and relax and enjoy the company!
Clean up time I let anyone who offers help. I don't necessarly have folks put the food away, but anyone can grab a sponge and wash dishes or wipe dishes with a towel and it makes people feel good they are helping the hostess. I just clear a place on the table or counter and tell them to put the clean dishes there--no one knows your cupboards like you so this elimates confusion. Then when everyone is gone you can just put them away. I run the dishwasher after folks leave. I tell ya the older I get the more I just value fellowshipping with my family and friends so while the above is a guideline, if I feel like sitting before cleaning then I do it--and you should too!
Now go throw yourself a party!