Monday, August 16, 2010

Tips for the Gracious Southern Host

We are quite the entertainers. Since the very beginning of our marriage, we've always had people in our home. It began in our little one bedroom apartment, continued to our first house - a small garden home in Montgomery - and lives on today. During football season, our house is the place to be to watch the game or all the games on Saturday night. During the summer, the pool is full of kids and toys and grass clippings. In the Spring and Winter, there are still plenty of excuses to have a group over to grill and play in the yard.

Over the years, I've learned a lot about entertaining. Yesterday I tried out a new strategy, and it left me thinking that I should write a post about entertaining - Blair style. Not necessarily the same tips you might find in Southern Living, but they are no doubt useful to average ordinary Southern entertainer.

Disposable items are a must. Anything that comes in disposable form must be purchased for your event. This includes, but may not be limited to, plates, cups, forks, spoons. Last fall, I was introduced to the crock pot liner. Who in the world thought of this product, I couldn't say. But they are no less of a genius than Albert Einstein. I mean, who enjoys scrubbing the remnants of Velveeta cheese dip out of their crock pot after a long Saturday of football? Not me. Even if you soak the pot all night in hot soapy water (which is usually my fave thing to do) there's always that burnt crusty part at the top that is difficult to remove. I just think the secret to enjoying having people over is to be able to throw nearly everything away when they leave and reducing your clean-up time by nearly half.

Stock up on toilet paper. This is one thing that amazes me about having people over - the significant use of toilet paper. On a typical day of swimming, we'll go through nearly two rolls in our down stairs bathroom. One of my worst fears (not only for entertaining but just everyday life) is running out of TP. Who wants to be the sitting there left wondering what to do? A gracious host always has extras under the cabinet. I like to take a roll and put it on the back of the toilet just so no one even has to reach for it. That's just how gracious I am.

Always scoop dog poop prior to guest arrival. This was something discussed just yesterday at our home after several guests arrived. I turned to Scott and said, "Did you scoop the poop?" Neither one of us had done it yet, but that's just one of those little touches that shows your guests how much you care about them and their children that are running barefoot through the yard. Who wants to step in a Buddy Bomb in the grass??? No me. Not a six-year-old little girl. Not a 38 year old man. Just sayin' - it always helps to remove all dog poopie from your yard before the guests get there. Southern etiquette does not permit the scooping of poop in front of guests.

Lock your little girl's room - especially if you've just spent hours cleaning and reorganizing a only matter of days ago. I tried this for the first time yesterday, and I must admit, it made all the difference in the world. There's nothing worse than four little girls sneaking off to your child's room to play. Because when four little girls decide to play, they consequently pull out every play dress, article of clothing, baby doll, makeup, legos, crayons, etc, etc, and so on. Many a late afternoon, I've walked up to Madalyn's room to check on the girls and found what appeared to be the remnants of a tropical storm in the floor. Literally like a work of nature had come through and left a trail of devastation. Unbelievable what little girls can do when left unattended. So, yesterday, amidst screaming anger from my daughter, I locked the door so that no girls could enter. When all my guests left, I unlocked the door and actually smiled. I must admit, though I knew the door was locked, I was still expecting to see it in disarray. That one act alone saved me a good 45 minutes of cleanup time.

You know, there's no fine china around here. No crystal. Heck - there's rarely a real plate or glass in use around here. But we know how to put on a good time. Our shindigs won't make the pages of Southern Living, but I think they are memorable none the less. And any time you're in the area, feel free to stop by. Just watch your step in the back yard in case we've forgotten to scoop, and please throw your plate and fork in the big blue trash can when you're done eating. Thanks!

1 comment:

Joy Portis said...

My kind of entertaining for sure! I'm going to try the locked door! Nothing is more frustrating than organizing and its destroyed in a matter of minutes!