Here’s how the other moms care for their guests:
Did I say entertain? No, we’re not going to sing or juggle for you – though I would be willing to juggle for guests on request. Just ask.
I’m talking about providing hospitality. We thought you might like to know what it’s like to be guest in our home, and rather than invite all of you at once – my house is a little small for that – I’m just going to tell you about it. Sorry if that sounds less than hospitable, but even we have our limitations. I like to keep it under 60, ya know?
I’ve blogged about entertaining in a small home, but we can start again here if you’d like: If you were a guest in our home during nice weather (which is 11.75 months out of the year if you’re not averse to a warm day), we might start by inviting you to sit on the deck and chat. This serves multiple purposes:
- You and I can enjoy the breeze and the view and a glass of ice water.
- The remainder of my household can frantically finish the last-minute cleanup.
When it’s time for dinner, we try to fit everyone around the table if possible. This works if we are only entertaining one smallish family. We can squeeze about 14 if we try, plus a highchair in the wings. A toddler or two can sit on laps if necessary. It’s cozy, but we like to sit together.
But if that just isn’t going to work, we improvise. Older children can sit on the sofa. Our living area is one big room, so we can all see each other and talk. There’s a small lego table that reverses to a smooth tabletop to seat 4 little ones. There are 3 tall stools that people often pull up around the table. In the house, in a pinch, we can seat nearly 30.
If the weather is nice, we can also sit on the deck: last year we were finally able to buy wrought iron tables and chairs to seat about the same number outside. Between the house and the deck, including sofa and other chairs, we can now seat over 40.
No matter how it’s done, seating is usually informal. We may have our own place when it’s just the 12 of us but when company joins us all bets are off!
Serving is nearly always buffet style. It’s simply not practical to pass the potatoes to 20, 30, or 40 people. Some of us would never get to eat. Our kitchen island lends itself well to serving buffet style, and I love it this way.
We don’t have special dishes, but I do like to use real dishes if we can – up to about 20 people. Ditto for real flatware: I try to keep plenty of inexpensive forks and spoons at WalMart rather than offer plastic ware. We use these even when we have to resort to paper plates, which might not be such a great idea. I strongly suspect that we lose a lot of real metal forks when certain short people throw their paper plate in the trash. It’s a good thing I buy the cheap ones.
Food. Hmm. I have to confess that I’m in a rut lately. I can hardly think of what to cook for my own family, let alone company. Did you ever have one of those days in which you look at the clock twice each hour and wonder aloud what’s for dinner? And then your child says, “I know! Let’s have food!” Possibly insinuating that chocolate chip cookies just don’t sound good for dinner AGAIN, though I can’t imagine why.
But don’t worry. We always think of something and we will feed you well. Just ignore the last-minute panic in the kitchen and let’s chat a little longer. Can I refill your glass?
Upcoming topics to be tackled by the 4 Moms:
- Dec. 23 – Questions for the Four Moms: Got a question? Get it in now!
- Dec. 30 – Teaching children to do their chores: If you’re doing it all yourself, then you missed your promotion.