Keep it Simple with Guest Mandy Ballard

Hi gang! Don’t forget to post on yesterday’s piece if you have a decoration idea to share. So many fabulous ones have already come in!

Today, we have a wonderful guest showing us some ways to keep it simple. Welcome my new friend Mandy Ballard:

Mandy is a follower of Jesus, the wife of one very wonderful man, and
the homeschooling mama of four little ones eight years old and under.

In her “spare” time she loves to shop at thrift stores, teach
kickboxing and weight lifting classes, bake sweets, have friends over
for dinner, and work on all sorts of DIY projects around her 116-year-
old home.

You can find Mandy writing each week about faith, family,
fitness, food, fashion, and more at her blog, Biblical Homemaking.

Keeping Hospitality Simple

Imagine inviting your friends over for dinner 30 minutes from now, or
even 2 hours from now.

Would you be breaking into a cold sweat? (I know there are times I
have!)

Hospitality should be natural and easy, right? These days, our must-
have-it-all-together culture has made entertaining much more difficult
than it should be.

What if I told you having people over could actually be simple?

I am, and it really can.

Being prepared for hospitality will make those spur-of-the-moment
invitations possible. Here are three ways to simplify your
hospitality:

1. Try to keep a clutter-free home.

Easier said than done right? I know! I have four small children under
8 years old. Hospitality seemed far from easy or simple when we
started inviting people over for dinner as a family with several
little ones.

Here’s what I’ve learned: having less “stuff” to clean in your main
entertaining rooms will make it easy to do a quick pickup before you
leave home, and keeping the living area and the kitchen semi-
presentable most of the time can make it easy to have others over on
short notice (and don’t even worry about the bedrooms and
closets!).

And don’t be afraid to cheat on your housework a little here or there:
wiping down the counters in the kitchen and a quick run of the vacuum
will make your house seem neat, even when it isn’t! And don’t worry
about the dishes in the sink- we’ve all seen them before, right? It
really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things, and worrying just
makes hospitality less fun.

2. Serve simple meals.

Our favorite last-minute meal to share with others is homemade subs:

French bread, lunch meat, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a side can be
picked up in quick stop at the store. Sandwiches are so simple, and so
filling.  Maybe you like to serve spaghetti, or something else-
find your favorite easy dish to make and use it as your go-to for
simple hosting.

Serving a simple dinner can actually put your guests at ease,
too. A few years ago, I invited our new neighbors over and I
decided to bring a home a take-and-bake pizza for dinner that night
instead of cooking.

After dinner, my sweet neighbor told me she felt so relieved we had
pizza because she wasn’t a cook and she’d been worried that I was
going to make a fancy dinner! The Lord knew exactly what I needed to
serve that night.

3. Relax and enjoy your time with others.

You’ve kept cleaning and serving simple, and now it’s time to relax.
Light a candle and put on some sweet worship
music. You might find you’re starting to enjoy yourself a little more!

Make your guests comfortable by welcoming them in, and if you’re still
working in the kitchen, invite the ladies to come and chat while you
work. Not being ready is okay, really!

No one expects or even wants perfection. If your friend invited
you to her pristine home and made the most delicious dinner ever, how
would you feel? :)

When your guests arrive, try to turn off the to-do list and just enjoy
being in their company! Listen to their stories, ask them questions,
and don’t worry about how everything looks and tastes. It’s not about
you, anyway, right?

Be a light to your friends by loving and focusing on them in
your time together.

Keep it simple, allow yourself to be imperfect (we all are!), and have
fun, and chances are, you will be the perfect hostess.

Thanks Mandy!

Now, to be entered in today’s giveaway, a $15 Bath & Body Works gift card for you to buy a candle for your home, leave a comment with what you have most enjoyed about the study or the book so far.

Have you snagged a new recipe, a decorating idea, a fresh perspective on some aspect of hospitality?

Do tell…

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