Short-cut Hospitality with Guest Joy Forney (And idea swap & share)

It is Friday swap and share for our online study of A Life That Says Welcome. Before we share our decorating ideas and links, let’s hear from today’s guest, the lovely Joy Forney.

Here she is!

Hi! I’m Joy from Grace Full Mama and I’m so glad to be here today! I am the wife of a missionary pilot and mama to 5 and we live in Indonesia.

I love hospitality….in my head.

Early in the week, I am feeling full of energy and ready to invite people over for fellowship on the weekends.

And then…. the weekend comes and I wonder, What was I thinking?

The house is a mess, I am tired, and all I feel like doing is getting in my jammies with a good book.  It’s in those moments of exhaustion that I need a pick me up both physically and mentally so that I can truly enjoy the company that I have invited!

Here are my quick tips to prepare for company, especially when you are feeling a bit run-down:

1. Prepare the day before. Is there anything I can do ahead of time to make it easier? Can I make cookies ahead or prep any ingredients?

2. Plan a simple yet fun dinner.  One of my favorite go-to meals is BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Coleslaw, and Baked Beans.  Just throw 4-5 chicken breasts in the crockpot with a bottle of BBQ sauce on low for about 5 hours {it will make your house smell great!}, shred the chicken, and serve on rolls. Simple and tasty!

3. Take a nap. Schedule a little down time before your company comes to rest a little so you have full energy to welcome other into your home.

4.  Light some scented candles, turn on some soothing music, put some flowers in a vase, and turn down the lights! Ambience will help you as well as your guests relax and enjoy the evening!

5. Relax and have fun! Now your guests are here and you are ready to embrace them with love and welcome!

Great ideas. Thanks Joy!

Now, Joy has a giveaway for one of you; a $25 Target gift card to buy candles, music or a decorative item.

The winner will be chosen at random from one of you who shares a decorating tip today. Do you have a simple idea? A homemade craft? A link to a clever centerpiece or do-it-yourself project? A way to use old items for a new purpose?

Leave your idea in the comment section. Or leave a link with a clever idea you have stumbled upon on the web. (don’t leave more than one link per comment or my site will reject it)

Or, if you have a blog, use the link up below to showcase your blog post here with your decorating piece. I can’t wait to see your ideas!

Don’t forget to come back over the weekend for more encouragement.

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270 Comments

  1. I desperately need help in the decorating department, so I doubt you would want any advice for me. :(

  2. I keep decorative napkins in a pretty basket in the guest bathroom. It is a sanitary indulgence for my guests to dry their hands.

  3. I make sure to have decorative napkins in the guest bathroom set out in a decorative basket. It is a beautiful and sanitary indulgence for my guests to dry their hands.

  4. when i have guests in my home i like to have fresh cut flowers in mason jars + scented/unscented candles lit throughout the house. oh and of course a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies!

  5. I don’t have a lot of room for decoration or any that would survive a 2yr and 9yr old boys. I tend to have all the items on hand for my Potporri in a pot. I cut up one orange, one lemon throw in cinnamon stick, whole cloves and sometimes mint leaves from my garden. When they come in the house smells wonderful and if the windows are open the smell will even great them before they come in. If I can afford it I do like fresh flowers.

  6. I appreciate Joy’s honesty about the enthusiasm she has at the beginning of the week for hospitality and how that can get drained by the end of the week. Her ideas for how to prepare for those feelings are very helpful. My family has some extra challenges since I have two sons with life-threatening food allergies (milk, wheat, egg, peanut, and nuts!) and making food everyone can enjoy is always the first thing on my mind. One thing that has helped is keeping frozen allergen-free cookie dough in my freezer just for my sons. I make the cookie dough in a big batch and then use my cookie scoop to make cookie dough balls that are oven-ready anytime.

  7. I will definitely try the tip to google a reference and printable blog. I am not a decorator but I do buy flowers at Walmart and put them in three small vases ( so you can see the person sitting across from you) and use them as a centerpiece for my dinner table.

  8. This might sound silly, but I use my glass trifle dish as a fruit bowl on my dining room table. The colors of the fruit are soothing, and having fruit out in the open makes it a more appealing snacking option.

  9. I put out a large bowl of apples and oranges. It looks lovely and is available for anyone who may need a small, easy snack.

  10. My decorating tip is MASON JARS!!! They are great for ANY decor. Flowers for a casual, rustic look with some tied on twine. Filled with sand and shells for a more coastal vibe. Rocks and a candle, notes left inside, painted or colored to coordinate with decor. The list goes on!!! Super cheap, super cute and easy :)

  11. We have a lazy Susan in the center of our table filled with seasonings, honey, etc, so that things are handy for anyone wanting to add something to the meal we’re having. I also like to keep a small candy dish out filled with a variety of small treats. I, too, keep new Tupperware specifically for sending food home with guests or for preparing a meal to take to someone…it’s nice for them to not have to worry about returning containers! LOVE all the ideas here!!!

  12. Sounds a bit crude, but I fold the corners of the TP on the end of the roll before company gets there, so it looks as elegant as a TP roll can look. I also make sure there is an interesting article or something to read in the bathroom, and that there is an option for diffusion of smell handy.

  13. I have a Southern Living at Home Hemingway Hurricane that I use on my coffee table to celebrate the seasons. Each season I center a seasonly-colored candle in the footed hurricane and anchor it with other seasonal items; such as, black-eyed peas for January, conversation hearts, jelly beans and Easter grass, sand and mini-seashells, or candy corn, etc. It makes me happy to look at it.

  14. I love the decorations and pictures or crafts that my kids make. They bring joy to a room and give my kids a chance to show them off to our guests. They also receive praise and encouragement from our guests on their creativity. :)

  15. I am entering this one for my brilliantly crafty daughter Kristen. I couldn’t come up with an idea for party favors for her lovebird themed bridal shower. She ran out to Ross picked up a square country blue dish with 2 birds on it. She hand painted the words Let Love Grow and filled it with a variety flowerseed packets for guests to choose from as they left, and they loved the gift! This idea could be used not only for party favors, but a packet of seeds with a small clay pot as a placecard or on the nightstand in the guestroom with some gardening gloves ,etc…

  16. When the kids in the neighborhood are selling things to raise money for school, I always buy the pre-cut frozen cookie dough. I can pop those in the oven before guests arrive (my guests in this season of my life are around 10 years old!) and the house smells good and they are happy.

  17. we bought a fire pit last fall for the backyard. We would have people over to roast marshmallows. It was inexpensive and I didn’t really have to worry what my house looked like b/c we were outside the whole time!

  18. Free decorating tip: when I have a desire to invest in home decor, but money isn’t available, I’ve learned to take something from one room and put it in another. This works with photos, pottery, pillow, end tables, lamps, candles. It feels like you bought something new without having to spend any money.

  19. I love to cut fresh flowers from my garden to help bring the outside in and freshen up the house. I also find opening the doors can freshen up the house and move any lived in smells outside. For a quick dinner I keep ingredients for speghetti on hand for those last minute meals and we always have veggies cut up in the frigerator to place on the table. I look forward to following this blog. It is a real blessing to find a fellow bliever, housewife and homeschooler. My kiddo’s are a little older, they will be 14 and 16 within a couple of months.

  20. I often use a clear glass bowl or basket of fresh fruit as a centerpiece. It is pretty and it encourages my kids to grab fruit instead of asking for junk food.

  21. I love placing small flower arrangments in little places around the house when having house guests….I usually just purchase the least expensive cut flowers I find at our local supermarket and divide them into small cups, mason jars, etc.

  22. I have a number of clear glass bowls, hurricanes & cake stands. I fill them with fruit, Easter Eggs, Christmas ornaments whatevers easily available. I also use them to serve food & beverages from.

  23. Fresh flowers, a homemade table runner, music in the background, board games or cards for after dinner.

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