Keep it Simple with Guest Mandy Ballard

Hi gang! Don’t forget to post on yesterday’s piece if you have a decoration idea to share. So many fabulous ones have already come in!

Today, we have a wonderful guest showing us some ways to keep it simple. Welcome my new friend Mandy Ballard:

Mandy is a follower of Jesus, the wife of one very wonderful man, and
the homeschooling mama of four little ones eight years old and under.

In her “spare” time she loves to shop at thrift stores, teach
kickboxing and weight lifting classes, bake sweets, have friends over
for dinner, and work on all sorts of DIY projects around her 116-year-
old home.

You can find Mandy writing each week about faith, family,
fitness, food, fashion, and more at her blog, Biblical Homemaking.

Keeping Hospitality Simple

Imagine inviting your friends over for dinner 30 minutes from now, or
even 2 hours from now.

Would you be breaking into a cold sweat? (I know there are times I

Hospitality should be natural and easy, right? These days, our must-
have-it-all-together culture has made entertaining much more difficult
than it should be.

What if I told you having people over could actually be simple?

I am, and it really can.

Being prepared for hospitality will make those spur-of-the-moment
invitations possible. Here are three ways to simplify your

1. Try to keep a clutter-free home.

Easier said than done right? I know! I have four small children under
8 years old. Hospitality seemed far from easy or simple when we
started inviting people over for dinner as a family with several
little ones.

Here’s what I’ve learned: having less “stuff” to clean in your main
entertaining rooms will make it easy to do a quick pickup before you
leave home, and keeping the living area and the kitchen semi-
presentable most of the time can make it easy to have others over on
short notice (and don’t even worry about the bedrooms and

And don’t be afraid to cheat on your housework a little here or there:
wiping down the counters in the kitchen and a quick run of the vacuum
will make your house seem neat, even when it isn’t! And don’t worry
about the dishes in the sink- we’ve all seen them before, right? It
really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things, and worrying just
makes hospitality less fun.

2. Serve simple meals.

Our favorite last-minute meal to share with others is homemade subs:

French bread, lunch meat, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a side can be
picked up in quick stop at the store. Sandwiches are so simple, and so
filling.  Maybe you like to serve spaghetti, or something else-
find your favorite easy dish to make and use it as your go-to for
simple hosting.

Serving a simple dinner can actually put your guests at ease,
too. A few years ago, I invited our new neighbors over and I
decided to bring a home a take-and-bake pizza for dinner that night
instead of cooking.

After dinner, my sweet neighbor told me she felt so relieved we had
pizza because she wasn’t a cook and she’d been worried that I was
going to make a fancy dinner! The Lord knew exactly what I needed to
serve that night.

3. Relax and enjoy your time with others.

You’ve kept cleaning and serving simple, and now it’s time to relax.
Light a candle and put on some sweet worship
music. You might find you’re starting to enjoy yourself a little more!

Make your guests comfortable by welcoming them in, and if you’re still
working in the kitchen, invite the ladies to come and chat while you
work. Not being ready is okay, really!

No one expects or even wants perfection. If your friend invited
you to her pristine home and made the most delicious dinner ever, how
would you feel? :)

When your guests arrive, try to turn off the to-do list and just enjoy
being in their company! Listen to their stories, ask them questions,
and don’t worry about how everything looks and tastes. It’s not about
you, anyway, right?

Be a light to your friends by loving and focusing on them in
your time together.

Keep it simple, allow yourself to be imperfect (we all are!), and have
fun, and chances are, you will be the perfect hostess.

Thanks Mandy!

Now, to be entered in today’s giveaway, a $15 Bath & Body Works gift card for you to buy a candle for your home, leave a comment with what you have most enjoyed about the study or the book so far.

Have you snagged a new recipe, a decorating idea, a fresh perspective on some aspect of hospitality?

Do tell…


  1. I really enjoyed today’s post on keeping hospitality simple, and how we should teach our children to make our guest the main focus. I also like the peanut butter pie recipe!

  2. I’ve loved hearing all the fantastic little touches people do to make others feel welcomed and special. Such neat ideas to hopefully put into use!

  3. I am so fearful of having friends over- with five children the house is not always put together, hence the blog name Frazzled Five ;)- But throughout this series, I have realized that entertaining can be accomplished, if I break the whole process down into manageable pieces and do not wait until 45mins before the guests arrive to start getting the kids to pick up their shoes and bookbags…

  4. I th ink the most important thing I’ve learned which all IS good. Is making my home a place of refuge and making the company feel welcome. Having my home clean through just looking, not behind the doors.

  5. I think my focus has started to change from the surroundings to the company. If I can keep the focus on them and serve what I have, we’ll both have a moment we enjoy!

  6. I love how simple everything is. In a good way! I have 2 daughters, I am a full time student, and my husband works 3-5 nights a week! I am always running around trying to get things clean and worrying about how to make guests welcome. I honestly thought that you had to create this super amazing space but come to find out, it can be beautiful with less effort than I thought. I love that I can see comments from other women that I relate to and hear there stories and get their ideas! Truly amazing!

  7. Remembering that this can be simple, easy, and a part of life as much as I want it to be. Thank you for all fo the encouragement and reminders!

  8. Ive learned a couple of s – first is I CAN DO THIS. The other is be prepared for the unexpected – for instance, I should have ordered the book sooner so I would have it : -(

  9. Contemplating that hospitality is more about the state of my heart than the state of my home. I keep saying, “If there is vroom in my heart…”

  10. I am trying to be more hospitable so others that don’t think they can do it see that you don’t have to have a perfect place with perfect food to have great fellowship.

  11. I have enjoyed most is all the different ideas from all the different posters who bring their own perspectives!!! Oh, and the comments!

  12. This has been an awesome time! I have been encouraged on keeping it simple! I am working to get our home to the point that when unexpected friends and/or family show up I am not in a panic!
    Thank you for all the great ideas!

  13. I have been building up my confidence to entertain more at home without fuss. We usually entertain the same two families and rotate to each others homes. The host makes the entree and the guests bring a side dish and dessert.

  14. I have just really been encouraged and convicted about how I need to open my home more. I have learned that it is more important the way someone feels in my home than what it looks like, how small it is, etc.

  15. My favorite thing so far has been the encouragement to pray for my guests before they come over. This morning I had company arriving at 9:30. So I made 8:45 my cut off time and devoted the 45 minutes before they got there to pray for my guests, read God’s Word, and prepare my heart to be open and ready for God’s love. It was so full of His love that it couldn’t help but to overflow on to my girlfriends as they gathered in my home. It was a great morning of Godly-fellowship and hospitality. It truly warmed my little southern soul:)

  16. All the posts have been a great encouragement. I think they have all inspired me to remember the joy there is in having people in our home, to refresh them by keeping it simple.

  17. I like the idea of writing or typing your own bible verses and putting them around you house in simple frames, as a banner or stenciling them. To keep this idea fresh adding pretty backgrounds that match the verse. You can also give these as a gift.

  18. I really like the easy sub sandwich idea, I am always trying to think of easy to prepare meals for spur of the moment!

  19. When my eyes are on Jesus I focus on serving my guests; when my eyes are on me my focus is on my house, and my food, and what my guests will think of me. Keeping my eyes on Jesus and remembering that being a good hostess is ultimately not about my house or the food, or me actually helps to make me a better hostess.

  20. There are so many ideas I’ve gotten through the course of this hospitality study that I don’t know if I can pick just one…… the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s perfectly okay not to have everything just perfect!! We are all in the same boat generally and just making someone feel welcomed is more important than anything else! It’s not about showing off our stuff, but rather about showing the love of Christ to others!! Man – I LOVE THIS site!!!!

  21. I think I have enjoyed most the carefree attitude .. Reminding us to keep it simple .. that we don’t always have to impress!! Thanks for the gentle reminders .. :)

  22. I am LOVING this study! I’ve learned so much, relaxed about it more and am inspired to keep “practicing”! I guess I could say that I especially loved the 5 senses to hospitality – I thought that message was practical and easy to remember. Thanks for this study and ideas.

  23. I love Mandy’s focus on transparency. If we could learn to be more real and honest with people, we would so gain their trust more. Christians aren’t perfect…we are just forgiven. We should strive to be more transparent with our failings….This is a beautiful study. I love it!

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