Yesterday was A’s birthday. I got home from volunteering at the thrift store at about 4:30 and immediately set about assembling a meatloaf and getting it in the oven, since it needed to cook for >1 hour. A. went for a run at about 6:15, with plans for me to meet him at the nearby market to buy beer for a get-together. At about 6:20…the power inexplicably went out. THANKFULLY, the meatloaf was done! So my rushing around earlier paid off. Unfortunately, though, that meant that A’s birthday dinner consisted of meatloaf and potato chips, since I wasn’t able to cook the rest of the stuff. Oh well.

Tonight is the real celebration. We’re having some friends over, and I’ve been planning/working on the menu for awhile, with a lot of help and inspiration from Pinterest. We’re having:

Our friends are bringing appetizers. One recently got a mozzarella making kit and is bringing homemade mozzarella cheese! I’m looking forward to that. I often refuse when people ask if they can bring anything to an event I’m hosting, because I’ve usually put a lot of thought into what I’m making and have chosen things that “go” together. My worry is that someone will bring something that just doesn’t fit with the rest of the meal! But cheese goes with everything (and I’m also trying to relax a little bit about having people over), so I acquiesced.

My tip for entertaining is to start planning early. Now, there is definitely something to be said for spur-of-the-moment hospitality, and I hope to get to do that sometimes, too. I have a lot of respect for people who don’t feel the need for their home to be perfect in order to invite guests in, but I still have the urge to clean and de-clutter well in advance. But it’s a lot less stressful for a planned party if you do things ahead of time. I made the menu last week and picked up most of the ingredients I would need while doing my regular weekly grocery shopping on Sunday. I cleaned the bathroom and dusted yesterday morning, and picked up the fruits and veggies yesterday afternoon. As I mentioned, A. and I bought the beer last night. Then, this morning, I baked the cupcakes, assembled the fruit kabobs, and made pesto for the veggie pizza. So this afternoon all I have left to do is assemble the pizzas and the salad (including making dressing) and piddle around the apartment obsessively straightening things up! (The piddling is an essential part of the LL Entertaining Checklist.)

The crazy thing is…we’re only having 4 people over! I am in awe of people who can throw large dinner parties seemingly at the drop of a hat. But I figure if I practice with small groups, I’ll get my routine down and be able to expand in time. And I think the more I do it, the less I will obsess over having everything perfect.

But for tonight, at least, I think we’ll have ourselves a little slice of perfection. :-)

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman