Spring and summer are some of the best times to entertain and show hospitality. As the warm weather comes, you can move your party outside and enjoy warm evenings together. Casual barbecue dinners, sitting in the sunshine sipping lemonade with friends or more elegant dining on the patio with votive candles a-twinkling make this my favorite time of the year for hospitality!
But, the best kind of entertaining happens when we aren’t frazzled when guests arrive. Gourmet cooking might be your passion, but for the rest of us, I humbly offer these easy ideas that are perfect for the warmer weather that’s ahead of us!
1. Simple Chips and Salsa: Find pretty linen napkins that you love. Line a basket with the colorful cloth, fill to the brim with warm tortilla chips and serve with my dad’s amazing salsa recipe here.
2. Soda Floats: In the summer, make root beer floats and serve them with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a fun striped straw.
3. Movie Night: Initiate a movie night. This is especially great for families with little kids. The kids sit and watch the movie and munch popcorn while the grown ups gab in the kitchen.
4. Game Night: Invite some couples over for some favorite board games and serve simple brownie ice cream sundaes. You can use muffin tins to bake individual brownies in. While they are still warm, push the middle down to form a small indent for ice cream.
5. Pizza Night: Make your own pizza night. Make or buy pizza dough, and let everyone make their own pizza. The toppings are endless: pepper, onion, mushrooms, pepperoni, etc…
6. Coffee Double Date: Dessert and coffee with friends. (Or if you are in the north, iced coffee with friends!)
7. Cheese and Fruit Tray: Make an artisanal cheese and fruit platter. Serve ice tea in stemware and you’ve got an easy table assortment that everyone will pick at while you talk.
8. Use your crock pot. Crock pot meals take the last minute pressure off you as a hostess, and is usually forgiving if guests are late.
9. Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Keep chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer so you can pull them out in a pinch when company drops in unexpectedly.
10. Soup and Salad: Have a soup and salad get together. Ask each family to bring a different soup. You provide the salad and rolls. Easy.
11. Play Date: Have a young moms play date. Ask the moms to bring snacks for their own kids since they usually have a preference as to what they eat, and you focus on the adult snack. Child proof your house so the moms can relax.
12. Casual Brunch: Have friends over for a casual brunch. Homemade waffles topped with fresh fruit, sausage, orange juice and coffee.
13. Grill Out: Invite friends over for burgers on the grill. Make a platter of toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, pickles, bacon, etc. In the warm weather, sit outside and place a candle on your table for atmosphere as the sun goes down. Grill corn on the cob. Delish.
14. Share a slice of your life: When Rebekah came home from her missions trip, we had several couples over for snacks and to view her trip pictures. We shared stories and enjoyed Christian fellowship.
15. Last Minute Meet Up: Initiate a meet-up at the park, beach or local attraction with other moms with young kids. Pack your own lunches, spread a blanket and enjoy the company.
16. Pretty Presentation, but all Pre-Made. You can find so many delish goodies at places like Trader Joe’s. Again, use your ninja display skills to make something simple look elegant. Crackers topped with mild brie cheese and fruit jam, heat and serve hors d’oeuvres, store bought bruschetta on french bread, brie and cranberry wrapped in phyllo dough.
17. Beach Trip: If you like near the ocean, pack up the kids and a lunch and meet friends for a fun days of sand and sun. (the kids play beautifully at the beach and moms can talk!)
18. Taco Bar: Make your own tacos with all the fixings. Easy and inexpensive and kids love to make these.
19. Baked Potato Bar: Purchase large baked potatoes, bake and serve with lots of toppings including sour cream, cheese, chives, bacon, chili, or whatever you love.
20. Potluck BBQ: Everyone brings their own meat to grill and something to share: baked beans, potato salad, strawberry summer salad, or whatever you love. If you have a large party, ask them to bring their own lawn chairs as well. You provide drinks, plates, meat for your family and something sweet for dessert. Easy way to entertain a crowd.
When you have kids over, consider putting out bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes or other age appropriate toys that they can enjoy while the adults chat. It makes it easier for the parents and more interesting for the kids.
What are your favorite ways to entertain in the warm weather? Feel free to share in the comments!