Having read the book we made some changes, did well at some concepts and struggled with others. Here's the skinny...
What we did well:
- The morning of the party arrived blustery and cold. We had planned on making ribs and the bar-b-que fixings, but changed over to a simpler menu. I made my Slow Cooker Beef Stew, bought greens for a salad and mixed up a batch of 5 Minute Artisan Bread. This change was wonderful because it (a) allowed more time to tidy the house, which needed tidying and (b) was easy and worry free.
|(click to enlarge. then right click and save as. print as a 4x6" photo)|
- I purchased a $10 table cloth from TJ Maxx which covered our battered kitchen table and made me feel very grown-up indeed.
- We had the table already set when our guests arrived so we could focus on being present with them, catching up and being relaxed.
- Ahead of time I designed and printed simple place cards and let Ella (6) write the names of our family and our guests on them. It was a fun and meaningful touch.
What needs improvement:
- I should have run the tablecloth in the dryer with a steam ball after taking it from the package. It was very wrinkled. Not a big deal, but good to remember for next time.
- I apologized for the salad not having fancy salad fixings.
- I realized we need a fancy water pitcher. And by fancy I don't mean crystal, I only mean NOT plastic. Next on my small to-buy list.
- I should have offered more varied side dish options, like red grapes and cheeses. This would have made the fact that our guests' kids didn't care for the stew less noticable and also would have given them other healthy options to eat instead of avoiding dinner all together....they could have snacked on bread, grapes and cheese.
- We ran out of eating utensils for dessert. Again, not a big deal, but maybe we should invest in some inexpensive additional forks/spoons.
Overall I was very happy with our progress. I was especially grateful for my choice of menu. It was warm, comforting and not stressful to prepare. When I realized that a bay leaf had remained in the pot I simply declared whoever found it the winner of the night.
Hello new relaxed attitude!
*beef stew photo by blogchef.net