Posts Tagged ‘Entertaining at Home’

Word of the Week: Entertain



to have as a guest; provide food, lodging for; show hospitality to.
I’d like you all to think about the last time you entertained someone at your home. Or, if you have never tried yet, what are you waiting for?
Entertaining is opening your home to someone and making them feel welcome. That is the simplest and easiest definition. It is making memories with your friends and family. I can guarantee they won’t remember what your house looked like, probably not what they ate. What they will remember is how you made them feel.
So the next time you entertain, think about that definition of simply making people feel welcome in your home. Then go out there and make a great memory!
Happy Entertaining!

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linda-mccormickI just returned from the Entertaining at Home National Sales Conference in Milwaukee. It was a trip with several firsts for me – first major league baseball game, first taste of deep fried cheese curds (did not expect to become completely addicted to them!), first GermanFest, first spy-themed costume party, and my first sales-achievement award.

All those firsts were fun and exciting but not what I’ll remember most when I look back on the trip. What gave me the best memories were not the things, but the people.

I know I’ve said it before, but it truly is all about the relationships. Here were hundreds of independent consultants who have nothing to gain in their personal sales from helping each other out, but they were sharing all their best tips and ideas with others. They open their arms and make newcomers feel welcome while reaching out in warmth to old friends.

The warmth and generosity went well beyond the consultants right up to the corporate staff and encompassed the company founders, who are most definitely “the real deal.” (Thanks again, Bill and Robin, for sharing the taxi!).

When you entertain – even if it is just your immediate family, keep the relationships at the forefront. There are dozens of things you can do to enhance the entertaining experience but at the heart of it all is the relationships.

That warmth of heart and kindness of spirit are what people will remember. Focus on that and you will undoubtedly be the host others love to be around!

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You’ve taken the plunge, set a date for a party, invited guests and are getting ready for the event. Take a few minutes to create a timeline. It will save you a lot of time and frustration and help you from looking frazzled in front of your guests.
Start by writing down your menu. In detail. What foods can be purchased and made ahead of time? What needs to be purchased and made the day before? The day of the party? What decorations will be needed? Will you be making any decorations or will you be shopping for them? When will you do this? Where will the centerpieces come from? What cleaning tasks need to be accomplished?
Get it all down on paper and then divide the menu, cleaning and decorating tasks into specific steps for at least the seven days leading up to your party. When you break it into set tasks, entertaining can be very simple.
You absolutely do not need to do everything yourself. Children are great helpers. They can certainly roll silverware in napkins, create welcome signs, tie ribbons, make place cards. They can serve as door greeters, coat takers and a very enthusiastic welcome committee to guests.
Find the barbecue king and ask him to man the grill. Aunt Bev would be thrilled to bring her favorite salad – so let her. Look for ways to involve others while lightening your load. If friends volunteer to help, let them! And should anyone volunteer to stay and help clean up, accept their generous offer and send them home with a doggie bag as thanks for their efforts.
I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting family members involved in the party prep process. Share your comments here!

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red wagonAs we head into the warm, wonderful days of summer, think about hosting an outdoor open house. Most people love to be outside in the fresh air and what better way to connect with family and friends than at an outdoor party!

Here are a few quick tips to make your outdoor celebration run more smoothly:

• Position ice-filled coolers, buckets or even large planters filled with small bottles of water and your choice of beverages in several locations. Make sure guests are always in easy reach of hydration.

• Fill a basket, sand-bucket or other fun container with outdoor necessities like bug-spray, sunscreen, and hand wipes.

• If you don’t have a lot of shade, bring out a basket of assorted  ball caps and wide-brimmed straw hats. You don’t want sunburned guests when you entertain.

• Have citronella candles and umbrellas at the ready to protect guests from an evening attack of mosquitoes or an unexpected downpour.

• If you don’t have outdoor speakers, bring out a CD player or radio. Make sure the music is loud enough for guests to enjoy, but not loud enough to disturb the neighbors.

• Make sure hot foods are hot and cold foods are cold. In the heat, it is very easy for food to spoil quickly. Put hot dishes in servers that can be warmed by sterno or votives or set on warmed bricks. Put cold foods on ice. Use dip chillers or create bowls of ice by placing water in a bowl to cover the bottom and freeze. Add more water, place a smaller bowl inside so water comes up sides and freeze. Once frozen, remove the ice bowl from the larger bowl. Use the smaller bowl inside of the ice bowl to serve. Make sure you place ice bowls over a pan or somewhere they can drip.  Or fill festive containers with ice and nestle your bowls inside, like the red wagon shown here.

•  Guests are generally good to clean up after themselves if you provide a place for it. Have garbage cans handy and have a dishpan or container to handle dirty utensils and dishes.

Invite some guests over this weekend, relax, enjoy and take the party outdoors! If you have any outdoor entertaining tips to share, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment, subscribe to my newsletter or contact me directly.

Happy Entertaining!

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