10 PM Meal: Impromptu is the Best!

Have I told you how much I love my center island? I’ve put it to really good use … almost every weekend! (nice and tidy when we first finished the kitchen …)

Even with impromptu meals, like this spaghetti feed a few weekends ago after the local Soccer CUP in town, we had a table-full of teens who came for dinner at 10 PM!

I set out a stack of plates.

Made sure the food was lined up.

And a place for the kids to sit.

The next morning my husband and I reflected on how the dining table was full, the back patio (lit with patio lights) had kids sitting on it, the guys were out by the fire.

The ladies were inside (serving, chatting, cleaning …)

Summertime is really a good time to have a lot of people into our home with different eating areas. Everyone had a place to mingle. To enjoy. And this night we filled those soccer players up with pasta!

I have to admit, since I have more space in my kitchen I’m more apt to do “impromptu” than I was before. Although you can’t let space or size stop you from creating memories. You have to get over the fact that certain situations aren’t perfect when practicing hospitality. That is what I’ve learned for sure. I am blessed now, but I don’t want to forget the few years where I struggled to make it work. It was a good lesson for me and one that I share often with others.

Are you good with impromptu, or do you let size, space, or even your cooking get in the way?

21 comments on “10 PM Meal: Impromptu is the Best!”

  1. You are one of the most inspiring mothers. I hope to be as nurturing to my kiddos as you are to yours.
    Just wanted you to know… :)
    .-= Mrs. B.´s last blog ..3 Little Letters =-.

  2. I aspire to be that home that the kids can come to at 10 PM for dinner. That was the home I grew up in. I LOVE to plan out parties, but think an impromptu gathering can be just as (and sometimes more) fun that a perfectly planned soiree.
    .-= Holly L´s last blog ..Things My Dad Taught Me =-.

  3. I’ll be honest my house is little but that doesn’t stop us from packing the friends in. Fortunately my kitchen is open and feels bigger than it actually is. I also have a tendency to bring home old chairs, you could say I am starting a collection and there are always floor pillows for when it gets completely out of hand. The point is having fun and sharing a few laughs.
    .-= Tickled Red´s last blog ..Pasta Fagioli with Eggplant =-.

  4. Great post Sandy! Thanks for continuing to encourage us (and stretch us) in opening up our homes! I had the neighbor ladies over, and their kids, for coffee and your strawberry bread yesterday! How fun! We are hoping to meet weekly this summer and take turns hosting. The best part – great conversations and sharing about life!!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..I’m Back! =-.

  5. I generally love impromptu….although I have had to quell almost anxiety like feelings if the house is really out of control. Only once that I can remember…but I remember thinking how foolish I was….and that I MUST have the house always “company ready” so I never had that feeling again. LOL! Not likely. Feeding a team full of teenage boys would make me sweat a bit about running out of food.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Second Peninsula 2010 =-.

  6. You seem to have such a fun home:)

  7. I believe I said in a post once, “My kitchen is roughly the size of an iPhone.”

    I have almost no counter space, and while I have an eating area in the kitchen, an actual dining room and a nice patio, I get a bit angsty about the preparation.

    Oh how I long for a lovely kitchen island!
    .-= Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points´s last blog ..The One Where I Don’t Get to Use the Title I Want. =-.

  8. Hi there,
    My mom turned me onto your site and I love this article (especially your kitchen!) :) I struggle with hospitality, even though I dream of being very hospitable. My husband and I live in our small townhome with a postage stamp sized back yard. Every summer, the slab ants find shelter from the heat in my kitchen. I feel like my home is too small to have more then 4 people over and that the ants (if someone finds one) will freak someone out. So I am a VERY reluctant entertainer and it hurts because I WANT to. I recently found the world largest punch bowl (complete with 12 glass cups and a 2 – 2 1/2 foot platter base) at an estate sale and want to use it! But I feel limited by my home. Any tips?? Thanks a million!

  9. We just completed a major renovation in order to make our home more conducive to gatherings that allow people to mingle yet not be cut off from all that is going on and crammed into small rooms. It now has much better “flow space” as I call it. We love impromptu gatherings even when the house is messy. I have to remind myself that it’s about heart, not perfection. My greatest challenge is having something to pull out last minute that can satisfy the bellies. I’m trying to get better at having staples I can turn to, but still need to work on it. That’s why I read this blog!

    …and I would take a houseful of rambunctious boys any day! Now that my son is on his own, I keenly miss having boys in the basement on a regular basis.
    .-= Jan´s last blog ..A Love Story =-.

  10. I serve all of our meals buffet style from my center island! My oven/stove is in mine, like yours…and it’s great to keep the hot stuff simmering on a burner. Easy!
    .-= betsy´s last blog ..Theme Thursday = Camera =-.

  11. I love your website and love your 10 commandments! With summer warming up we are looking forward to lots of planned and impromptu dinners and I will be checking back for inspiration! Thank you! Emma @ Tightwad
    .-= Tightwad´s last blog ..Tightwad top ten: behold the paper bag =-.

  12. Oh, boy, did I need to read this today!!! I was just thinking yesterday about how I was going to be embarrassed to have the ladies from my MOPS discussion group leader team at my house for meetings b/c it’s so much smaller than some of the other moms. I have some serious “house insecurity” issues. :s Thanks for sharing today!
    .-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..::Weekend Bloggy Reading:: =-.

  13. I do pretty good with impromptu, though I don’t always have “easy throw together” things in the house…so that would be my only struggle. I probably need to make up some spaghetti sauce and freeze it so it can be thawed and cooked up quickly.

    We had some girls house sit one time and they had this conversation…”let’s see what we can find to cook really fast”…(which meant throw in the micro or open a can and throw in a pan). They went to my pantry, opened the cupboard and said “oh, man…that’s right we’re at Kirstin’s, we have to “make” something to eat”.

    I’m not known for having anything “easy” in my house to make…though my frozen burritos I made a few weeks ago went over so well that they’re all gone and I need to make more.

    Great post and I can’t wait to someday be in our next phase and have a huge island.

  14. I think this is a trick question, Sandy! :) Okay, I love impromptu – but only if my house is clean! If it’s not, then I’d rather spend the money to go out. I know!! That’s awful! But it’s true…
    .-= Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog ..Things I Love Thursday: Photo Gifts =-.

  15. I’m actually better at impromptu then planned out things because I don’t think they expect as much if you act out of impromptu. LOL!

    Either way I love to entertain and have people over. But sometimes I feel that people are just so busy these days, that it’s hard.

    .-= Kim @ Homesteader’s Heart´s last blog ..Friday Funnies! Girlfriend Likes Her Chocolate! =-.

  16. Apparently…. flunked spelling too…
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..A blond walks into a kitchen store… =-.

  17. look at those guys, standing patiently in line and helping out and passing stuff around! what an awesome group you had there.
    .-= The Training Table´s last blog ..Getting ready for Father’s Day =-.

  18. Oh, good grief… I’m horrible at impromtu! It’s that whole stupid imperfect thing again. My mother was SO GREAT at that when we were growing up. Your post brought back great memories of kids lined up around her table after a ball game or whatnot.

    Sigh… I flunked impromptu highschool mom 101….
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..A blond walks into a kitchen store… =-.

  19. These are some of my favorite meals! The ones that turn up unexpectedly! Thanks for sharing!
    .-= LoveFeast Table´s last blog ..Fancy Friday Kitchen Tables “Have A Seat” =-.

  20. Size doesn’t matter to me….when we host the big holiday meals, people are everywhere eating their dinner:, on the porch, outside, family room, living room…..doesn’t matter where really. They are just eatin’ and chattin’ and having a really good time. Have a super great impromptu weekend. (P.s. I think you were really brave having a passel of hungry young men for dinner! :) )

  21. I often have an issue with “perfect”. Perfectly cleaned, perfectly decorated, perfectly planned…but then I remember that the people who are coming are their to see me not my “perfect house”. I can create a memorable meal with great people anywhere! Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Create a Signature Dish! =-.

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