I love fall. The crisp sunny days. The changing of leaves. Adhering to school schedules. Marking off to-do lists. Comfort foods for dinner. Early bedtimes. Every year it’s the same story. Fall arrives and suddenly our weeks are filled with family activities, birthday parties, dinner with friends and everything in between. It makes me crazy and brings me the greatest joy all at the same time.
What I love more than anything, especially in the fall, is hosting our friends for dinner. Before kids, I would spend days planning a menu and prepping a meal. Now that we have young kiddos, I just don’t have the extra time. So as our family has evolved, so has my approach to entertaining. I’ve simplified the process and now choose a menu with the least amount of prep or cook time and I make sure to have something everyone can eat.This allows me to be as present as possible with our friends, while still feeling like I’m hosting them well.
For us, this week is that first crazy week of fall. We started with school activities and to-do lists and are ending with hosting guests. Assuming lots of you are in the same situation as us—love to entertain, but need to make it work for a young family and a busy work season—let me share the no-fuss entertaining hacks that are saving me these days. If you have a moment, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for entertaining with ease, too!
My super simple approach to no-fuss entertaining
1. Schedule your events back to back
This has saved us time and money. Brett and I look at our schedule for the month and try to figure out when we can host back-to-back (or as close together as possible) events. The magic in this is being able to repurpose flowers and greenery and get more mileage out of menu items. Genius, right? Often, I will plan an entree soup for one event and serve it as an appetizer for another. This also saves me time on cleaning between the two events; just a few wipe downs of sticky fingers.
2. Make something you already know you’re good at
In January 2016, I told Brett I was going to make risotto every week for a year. I decided it was versatile enough for me to serve as a side or entrée and could be dressed up or down depending on the event. I have to say, over that year I really got it down. I could practically make it in my sleep, which meant that it was easy to tend to my risotto and be present with my guests once they arrived. The kids also liked to help stir (with adult supervision, of course).
3. Set out yard games for everyone to play
If you have kids and a yard, this one is essential. Take advantage of the crisp fall weather, and make your party an indoor/outdoor experience. This not only keeps the kids from destroying every room in the house, but it provides fun and interaction for everyone. Nothing like a rousing game of corn hole to work up an appetite, too.
Now it’s your turn. What entertaining hacks are saving your bacon this busy fall season?
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