We had a bunch of our circuit pastors and their families over yesterday for our annual picnic.  It’s something we do every year, and we rotate who hosts the picnic.  This year was our year.  Around 28 people were here, with 15 of them being kids.  So we had to plan for a big group!

I didn’t have to do all the cooking, though.  Dan did all the grilling- we had pork steak, beef steak, brats and hotdogs. I made potato salad, and I also made cooler corn.

(What’s cooler corn?  Well, it is fabulous!  You take your sweet corn, husk it, and place it in a regular cooler.

Then you pour enough boiling water over it to just cover it.  Let it sit for 90 minutes, and your corn is perfectly cooked.  It was perfect for our crowd, especially since we had 4 dozen ears of corn, and that would have taken forever on the stove.)

Everyone else brought a dish to pass, and the food was delicious.  Even better was the company!  It’s always fun when our group gets together–the kids get along great and play until they drop, and we adults talk and laugh.

Cooler corn isn’t my only trick when I have a big group of people over.  I’m an old hat at entertaining, and I’ve learned some things along the way:

  • If someone wants to bring something, LET THEM!  Even better if you give them something specific to bring, like a dessert or a salad.  It takes the pressure off of you.
  • Wait to clean the house until the last minute.  As they say, “Cleaning the house while you have kids is like shoveling when it’s still snowing.”  I waited until Saturday to do most of my cleaning, and Sunday after church to clean the bathroom.  I didn’t want to spend my whole week yelling at the kids (and my husband) to keep the house clean.
  • Use paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic cutlery.  That way you won’t have mountains of dishes to do when the party is over.
  • Speaking of dishes, take care of those bad boys right away.  Get them in the dishwasher, and get the others to soaking.  You’ll thank yourself in the morning.  There’s nothing worse than waking up to congealed, dried on food on your dishes.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy your own party.  It’s no fun to be running around, picking up garbage and making sure dishes are full.  You don’t want to forget your hosting duties, of course, but you don’t want to miss the party.  Take time to eat, and to enjoy your guests.
  • GO WITH THE FLOW!  Things don’t always go as planned, especially when half of the guests at the party are children.  My clean house is now not-so-clean, but you know what?  The kids all left saying, “Thanks!  That was fun!”

See?  Hosting big gatherings like the one we hosted yesterday doesn’t have to be scary.  We were left wondering why we all don’t get together more often, because it was so much fun!

Do you like to host get-togethers?  What are some of your tips?  I’d love to hear them!

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