Last year we sent out an email to the whole church asking if anyone would like to come to our house for Easter lunch. As expected, most people already had plans, but two sweet families joined us and we had a great time. This year, however, our church has added a ton of new members, so as much as we would have loved to send out an open invite, our little house just doesn't have the space. We asked around and ended up with three families that have been great friends to us since we started attending Berea.
In case you didn't know this about me, I have a laid-back personality most of the time, with a Martha Stewart alter-ego lurking below the surface. If there is something to be cooked, color-coordinated, or covered in crepe paper I start planning with cheetah-like intensity. Usually I talk myself down from purchasing all new tableware to match a color scheme and hanging decorations from anything that doesn't move. But it takes some effort. In fact, I usually walk a tight-rope between making a big deal out of a special occasion and making guests feel comfortable. My mom and her mom are great at putting together a nice meal, setting a beautiful table, and making any occasion feel special. But in this age, people don't know what to do with a pickle fork. So I try to remind myself that it's not fancy dinnerware that makes an occasion - it's including details that are meaningful to your guests.
|Yes - that is a pickle fork.|
|This picture won't turn around, but they're bunnies and chicks|
decorated with fondant and royal icing.
The week before Easter I picked up some springy table cloths, some lemons and limes for an easy centerpiece, coordinating napkins, and sweet little buckets to hold candy for the older kids. I usually hate the look of disposable plates, but these pretty plastic plates feel fancy without needing a run in the dishwasher. Everything came from Target. I was really pleased with the way all of this looked together, but I'm glad I didn't spend any more because once the room was packed with people the decorations kind of got lost.
While we were finishing up preparations for lunch we snacked on deviled eggs, cheese straws, almonds, pickles, sugar cookies, and Easter candy. As much as I prefer to serve food family style, our table would have been way too crowded. Having a buffet table also allowed parents to go through the line and make plates for their children before the adults settled in for our meal. Another thing I'll remember for the future is using big cups for adults and small cups for kids. I hate drinking out of tiny disposable cups. It's a weird peeve of mine. But large cups are way too easy for little hands to spill. The easy solution: buy both.
The necessary components of an Easter lunch for me include: ham, deviled eggs, potatoes, a spring vegetable, and a fruity dessert. So, I planned to take care of those and Emily, Lydia, and Amanda filled in the rest. We ended up with far more food than we could possibly eat and everything was delicious. You can follow the links to get my recipes.
Easter MenuOrange Glazed Ham
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Macaroni and Cheese
Easter Sugar Cookies
That really does look like a ton of food! Even with 15 people we barely made a dent in most of the dishes. If you've ever hosted a large meal you know things are way too busy to stop and take pictures. I'm so glad our guests were thoughtful enough to bring their own yummy dishes. Emily's broccoli casserole and mac and cheese were the ultimate in comfort food. And Lydia's pineapple casserole went so well with the ham that it might have to become part of my standard Easter lineup. Amanda's banana pudding was super rich and fortunately I have the recipe, so I'll definitely be making it in the future.
Before and after lunch the kids entertained themselves outside by hunting Easter eggs and swinging in the hammock. It's so fun to have friends with adorable children!
As always, the best part of lunch was the conversation afterward. We love sharing our home with our friends and look forward to the next time we get to be hosts.
Here's the best sight a wife can see: her wonderful husband doing the dishes! He was so sweet to help me get everything done, from cleaning and cooking to mowing the lawn. After everyone left he and Fitz indulged in a well-deserved nap.
In case you're wondering, the easiest way to host an awesome Easter lunch is to have fantastic guests! So, Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend!