Making Things a Little Easier

Yesterday I talked about how God values hospitality. Today I wanted to turn our focus toward a more practical nature and share some things I've learned to make hospitality easier.

Even though I love having people over, I still get stressed when we have unexpected guests, my dinner rolls turn out hard as rocks, or my plan to clean the house doesn't go as expected. Here are some tips that have helped me be a better hostess (and enjoy the process even more):

 

  • Don't stress about the little things! In the last 30 minutes before my guests arrive, I have a habit of glancing around my house and seeing a ton of things I think I need to take care of right then. But will anybody really care if the magazines are all perfectly straight? If I'm the only one who will use the microwave, does it matter if I wait to clean it until later? Not really, and yet my guests still seem to have a good time.

 

  • Develop "quick cleaning" strategies in your home. A lot of this is easier if you make it a habit to pick up clutter and do tasks like vacuuming on a regular basis. But sometimes that's just not possible. Some of my strategies include Lysol wipes for that fast swipe over bathroom surfaces, bins where books and toys can be hurriedly thrown into, and putting some items temporarily "away" in our bedroom where no one else will see them.
  • Simple is often better. Who says you have to cook a fancy meal? While sometimes I like to go all out in this area (mostly because I love to cook and try new things), some of the best meals my family has shared with others have been simple, like soup and fresh bread. I've come up with a few "go-to" recipes that don't take me much time to put together. And you know what? People often ask for my brownies and Amish Baked Oatmeal when they come over, which both take less than 10 minutes to mix up. (For anyone who's interested, I've copied the oatmeal recipe below. It's a favorite at our house!)
  • And while simple is usually best, sometimes a few small details can make a guest feel welcomed and pampered. When we have overnight guests, we often print out a picture of them and hang it in an inexpensive, plastic frame on the door of their room. We also have a basket we put in each bathroom that contains items like toothpaste, lotion, a brush and comb, and even extra toothbrushes in case our guests forget any of those things.
  • Remember that hospitality is a privilege not a chore. We have a small group Bible study in our home every other week, and there have been many times when I'm kind of grumpy about getting everything ready. But last year, God impressed on my heart the second half of 1 Peter 4:9: "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (emphasis added). Ouch!
  • Hospitality doesn't just take place in the context of your home. You can help people feel at home and welcome wherever you are. Practicing hospitality has more to do with your heart attitude than it does with your location.

So what are some of your tips for making the practice of hospitality easier? And if you have any recipes you want to share, I'd love to try them out!

Amish Baked Oatmeal
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup melted butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla   

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 9" x 13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Immediately spoon into bowls, and pour on milk. If desired, top with fruit or brown sugar.

About the Author

Mindy Kroesche

Mindy Kroesche

Mindy and her husband, Jon make their home in the heartland of Lincoln, Nebraska. They’ve been blessed with a son and daughter who remind them daily of God’s goodness and grace. Mindy is a stay-at-home mom who has the privilege … read more …


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