Sunday Supper Lessons (or, guest post at Joel + Kitty)

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Hello, friends!

Today it’s my privilege to send you over to Kitty Hurdle’s blog, where I spill all of my feelings and thoughts about my growth in the area of hospitality. It’s a fitting place, since she’s rather like my online hospitality sansei.

Kitty married a friend of mine from high school, and though I think we’ve seen each other in person two times—my wedding, and a serendipitous run-in at a Chick-fil-A in Nashville—I feel I know her well through her writing, which at times is raw, hilarious, encouraging, practical, and full of the on fleek (??) things that kids say these days.

Something tells me that Kitty’s always been a natural, gracious hostess. But also she’s had years of hosting college students and organizing events; and so her blog is full of ideas to make cooking and planning for all sizes of gatherings easier and better.

My guest post will take you through the ins and outs of our year hosting Sunday Suppers, including a few recipe links and practical tips I picked up.

I hope you’ll find a useful tidbit, whether you’re wanting to have people over more, or maybe you feel kids have thrown a kink in your style, or maybe you find yourself in what I’m beginning to suspect is a near-universal dilemma: you’re an adult and you want to get some friends.

Read it here, and then do me a favor. Today is Sunday: pour a glass of wine, turn on Otis Redding, enjoy some chili (or whatever; it’s still cold here) and raise a toast to friendship, family, to the security and freedom we have to take risks and feel foolish.

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Use What You’ve Got

So, it’s February and I shall now let you in on my 2012 resolutions!

Before green was chic, my great aunt Reba was rinsing out plastic baggies to recycle them for another use. Likewise, my dad has been known to gain more joy from scavenging ribbons and gift wrap than from the presents themselves. (My dad, the original Greenzo.) Why buy it new when you already have something perfectly good?

With them as my inspiration, this year I’m not buying any new books.

I was also inspired by the book we gave my younger brother for Christmas, Howard’s End Is On the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home, in which author Susan Hill chronicles a year journeying through the books in her own house; rereading and recalling the associated memories, and reading some books for the first time. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read it myself, only the first few pages, but I love the idea.) So far I’ve read two books I already had, and it feels good.

I have goals in the same spirit in the areas of exercise, cooking, and español:

  • Master all of the songs on our Kinect Dance Central game. It’s exercise! Fun, right? So far I’ve dominated “Poker Face,” “Hey Mami,” and “I Know You Want Me.”
  • Try each recipe in the cookbook that Aunt Reba gave me before I got married. Progress: zero, except for the ones I’d already tried prior to this year.
  • Work through Rosetta Stone (levels 1, 2, and 3), which I’ve had for awhile, but probably haven’t used in two years. Progress: however far I got in 2009.

I really like this goal concept for a few reasons. First, I get strange gratification from using things up, like when a bottle of lotion or shampoo is completely empty and can be thrown away. Sometimes I read things, like the Sunday paper, just so it’s done and I can then throw it away. (You might argue that if I didn’t want to read it, I could go ahead and toss it, saving time and creating space, and you’d probably be right.)

Second, much of the time there’s no need to buy new stuff. It’s like when you need to chew the bite that’s in your mouth before shoving more food in. I’d like to break myself of that nasty habit, metaphorically.

Third, I know that I need a lot of grace with any goals this year, so I didn’t want to put very specific numbers and time periods on them, like read x number of books per month, or practice Spanish for an hour each day. January was a crazy month; we moved—don’t worry, I didn’t pour a beer on Israel’s head, so it was successful—and of course we’re all still adjusting to life as a family of three. But even though I haven’t made a lot of progress so far, the resolutions aren’t dead!

What do you think? Do you have some other areas to work on using what you’ve got?