top of page

Ready in 5

Does last-minute entertaining terrify you? Are you intimidated by exposing your home to others, unprepared? Do spontaneous gatherings fill you with anxiety?

I'll take you on a virtual view of my home during a couple last minute visits, and share some tips to help you always feel prepared for drop-in dinner guests!

“I’m on my way, I should be there in 20 minutes.”

It was almost lunchtime and I briefly checked my phone after a busy morning engrossed in business deadlines, plowing elbow deep through jewelry orders. The living room had become my workshop and piles of earrings, papers and packages were overflowing the desk, while the floor-turned-playground was strewn with children’s toys.

What? Not Now! How could this be? It wasn’t supposed to be today!

My friend’s text message sent me into a momentary panic—this lunch had been planned a month prior but I was so certain that it was for NEXT week that I had not even checked my calendar for today. I quickly scanned my schedule and there it was: lunch at 12:00 at my house. Today.

How had I gotten it wrong?!

This friend had never been to my home and we rarely saw each other so I had been looking forward to serving her a beautiful lunch and enjoying a special afternoon together.

But today my ordinarily tidy house was a mess, and the real dilemma was what on earth I was going to serve for lunch. I needed to go grocery shopping, and I wasn’t even sure what the kids and I were supposed to eat that day.

I shook my head and made peace with it.

It would have to be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. How embarrassing, I thought.

At least I could serve the best PB&J she had ever tasted! Until I opened the pantry and realized I was out of peanut butter. And bread.

Suddenly in the door of the freezer I spied a container that, wonder of wonders, was full of my delicious homemade chili stored away for a future meal!

Instantly, all was well. I became a whirlwind to match the spinning wheels in my mind. The chili went in a pot to heat on the stove. The oven went on, bowls and beaters came out and soon scratch-made cornbread was baking, mingling its sweet aroma with the rich and spicy chili.

China, napkins and utensils raced to the table and elegant serve ware came off the shelf. Tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream went into lovely bowls, and the soup stayed hot in an antique ironstone taurine. The table was lovely, the food would be satisfying, I had calmed down and all would be well.

My friend made it right on time, and thankfully, I did too.

This little scheduling mishap made us laugh and made me thankful for a few basic things that made last-minute entertaining doable.

Perhaps you would have called for takeout delivery without blinking, or canceled the whole thing in a panic? Whichever spectrum you may be on, here are some tips I discovered that day to be prepared for unexpected guests.

1. Cultivate an attitude of welcome and friendship.

2. Make peace with imperfection.