Making Family Get-Togethers Easy and Affordable 101
- Don’t be afraid to share the spotlight with other cooks in the family. When your guests ask you if they can bring anything; say YES! Letting your guest know what to bring; salad, dessert, appetizer is a good thing. This lightens your load, gives your wallet a break and gives you less time in the kitchen.
- Store bought is NOT a bad thing. Not everything has to be made from scratch. If the guests know you, they already know how great of a cook you are. So, take a break from the homemade items that take a long time to prepare or that are expensive to make and hit the market. Homemade baked beans are excellent; but Bush’s® has some great stuff out there and it is so much cheaper than doing it from scratch.
- NO DIRTY DISHES! Paper plates, napkins, plastic cups and eating utensils are fine. The best part of this is that you can purchase so many different colors and designs to create the look you want.
- BYOD! Bring your own drinks. Let people know ahead of time that there will only be water and tea available (or whatever you choose). This gives them time to shop for their own beverages and bring it with them. (I recommend this for the big parties)
- Clean the house during the week! When I know I am having a get-together; I make a list of what needs to be done with the housework and divide it into the days prior to the party. For example; on Monday I may clean my carpet and mop my floors, on Wednesday I may clean the bathrooms and get the extra towels ready, on Friday I may dust and vacuum. This way, on the day of the party the only thing I need to do is a final sweep and vacuum and I am ready.
- Prep your foods the day before! Making what you can a day or two in advance is a great time saver. Two days prior you can get your veggies ready for the veggie platter. The day prior you can make your salads, the dessert and make sure that you have everything else you are going to need for the big day.
- RELAX! You have delegated the menu items, your home is clean, the food is on the grill (or for smaller get-togethers; get a bucket of KFC), relax and enjoy the day!
Note: If you are one to entertain a lot; here is something to remember: SHOP CLEARANCE! That’s right; as each holiday or season passes, stores have items marked down considerably. Take advantage of purchasing tablecloths, napkins, plates, decorations, serving dishes out of season and save a bundle. I found winter holiday linen tablecloths for $2 each in January. In the early fall; I found bright, vibrant spring and summer plates and napkins for ¼ (or less) of what I would pay in season.