Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Days, Two Parties

I love parties. I love a good time.
-F. Murray Abraham

Two parties in two days. At Freeman House we're either crazy or really loving life. Hmm. Can't decide which.

The silverware is clean and shiny. The floor is swept. The yard is mowed. The ice trays are cracked. The Coq au Vin is bubbling away. (Thanks, Grace.) Even though the dining room isn't yet decorated - not formally - she is painted thanks to Amber's Saturday save. Reckon this old mid-renovation home is about as ready as she'll ever be for another influx of hungry, happy people.


Do you entertain much? I notice I have ... increasingly so... since buying this house. Perhaps it's because I have the space. And a good location. And no one, on a daily basis, to cook for. Of course, it's more fun when you find ways to do it on the cheap. Here are my three stand-by rules for dinner parties:

1. Skip pricey bottled water for pretty pitchers filled with cool tap water and lemon slices or rosemary sprigs. And brew your own tea and coffee. Pre-bottled drinks (water, sodas, etc.) will run up a tab very quickly. Likewise, the more food you handle yourself - even breads and salads - the more you'll save. Pre-packaged food, including bagged salads, is so expensive. This week my grocery store had bunches of lettuce on 2-for-$1. Compared to $2.99 for a little bag of wilted-looking greens, DIY salad was a no-brainer.

2. Use cloth napkins and your own dishes and utensils to save on paper products. And look for things around the house or yard or park to serve as centerpieces. Throw in some candles and great music and call it a party.

3. Most importantly, I think, is shying away from buffet-type meals when you're the only one paying and cooking. (Occasionally I'll do a dessert buffet with a hot chocolate bar. Something like that. That's one thing; all-you-can-eat, serve yourself feeding frenzies are another.) When you're doing a knife-and-fork meal and dish up the plates before they leave the kitchen, you can really control the amount of food that's prepared and consumed. And you don't have to deal with leftovers.

It all adds up, doesn't it? Even the napkins and bottled water. I like knowing I can throw a great party on a tight budget. And I like knowing people can come over and enjoy a good meal without me skipping the water bill next month.

So, yeah. Two days, two parties. I've promised myself that this weekend I'm going to be impossibly lazy. I'm going to sleep until 8 o'clock in the morning and eat a cheeseburger and watch Catch and Release and start reading The Glass Castle....

...But first we have to get there.

Party on.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! I thought you'd read all the books listed on your blog. Silly me. I read it before you did, and got the recommendation off your site. I loved it, and have passed it on already. Thanks for the great fun site here. I love looking around and getting ideas! You're cool. Auntie M

Betty said...

Brin, great party ideas....thanks for sharing.....Betty

bellacolle said...

hope your parties where fab!

Haus Frau said...

This past year has been impossibly busy so very little energy went into hosting dinners or desserts...painfully few as compared with years previous.

What we have done though are impromptu dinners - calling good friends and inviting them on the spur of the moment simply because we were making a feast and couldn’t possibly eat it all! Each feast was enjoyed with friends who didn't mind lending a hand, who weren't waiting for me to bring out my former catering habits, who were loving just being together after a long day at the office, hospital, etc. And when I think of these times, I do believe they're my favorite.

There are seasons for everything under heaven. Perhaps this year will mark a party season once again, or the season of simple dining may just continue with impromptu guests invited and popping over.

I hope your parties are well attended this week. I love the pictures you shared - minimal and lovely. Yes, less is more. Beautiful.

Robyn said...

Great ideas! And lovely photos! Hope the party was a success...which I am sure it was as you were the hostess!

Felicia said...

Wonderful party advice.

Kathleen Grace said...

Your dining room looks beautiful, I would love to see more of Freeman house! Hope you have a grand time at your parties:>)

Brambleberry said...

I also enjoy throwing parties. I think the best are enjoyed casually with friends.

Love the yellow of your living room!

Sue said...

Add me to the list of those who love to entertain, such a good way to get creative and share yourself a little. I bet Freeman House is alive and happy!

That Girl said...

Lovely pics and great ideas...but what gave me a start was when you lumped "impossibly lazy" weekend with "sleeping in until 8 o'clock in the morning." Well if that's not living la vida loca! Don't overdo the slumber there, sweetie! LOL. Really...8 am?! On a weekend following a busy week? That's still good sleeping time to this gal! :-)

Deb said...

Everything looks beautiful ~ I noticed the picture of the young girl hugging the dog in the background- we have the same picture & I love it! Hope you had a wonderful time at your parties.

Liz said...

I'm so glad to have stumbled upon your blog! Your writing is moving, and as a woman in my late 20's, facing some serious life decisions, I can identify. Thanks for the inspiration.

Terri and Bob said...

I hope you include your entertaining tips in your book!
I love entertaining, too. I am going to look up your recipe, too.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Sounds like a great time..wish we could be part of your party crowd. You'll have to tell us how it went!

Rhoda

Jen said...

Great tips. I hope your party was a huge success.