Thanks for joining me in my “30 Days of Summer Entertaining” series. (Scroll down to the bottom for the entire series) :)

Summer entertaining can be really fun and lively, or it can be really relaxing and relational.

As my 30 Days Series of Summer Entertaining comes to a close, I want to thank you for joining in, and for all who left comments and supported my endeavors, I offer this story that took place in my backyard.

One hot summer’s night I remember vividly.

The friends who came got babysitters, and I was able to put my kids down early, with the older boys watching a movie in our room.

Dessert was a treat. We served one of our favorite summer recipes, Affogato al Caffè, and then we moved over to a different setting.

There were 8 of us total and I started massaging my guests hands.

One by one …

It was not planned.

It was intimate.

It was relaxing.

It was relational.

To this day these friends are very close to our family and part of our lives. I love unplanned moments that transform us into who we are today.

So many of these moments have happened in our home, when we invited others in.

The benefits of entertaining are far greater than good meals and checking off our to-do list of potential guests.

The benefits for my husband and me, since we’ve been entertaining for 20 years now, have been the people.

As I said in Day 1 of this series, it’s all about the people.

Affogato al Caffè with Storyville Coffee
Serves 8

1/2 gallon Premium Vanilla Ice Cream
Shots of Espresso
Unsweeted Scharffenberger Cocoa

1. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each of 8 small bowls (I used 1/2 pint canning jars), and put bowls in freezer for at least 1 hour.
2. Pour a hot shot of espresso onto each bowl of ice cream.

3. Sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa.

4. Serve to your guests immediately.

(If you want to read more about Storyville coffee, you will find their story very inspiring.)

Now that “30 Days of Summer Entertaining” is over, will you share what kind of entertaining you’ll be doing this summer?

Here are the 30 Days to Summer Entertaining:

Day 1: Summer Entertaining is About the People
Day 2: When Perfect Robs You of Something Good
Day 3: Who To Invite to Dinner
Day 4: Planning the Menu for Outdoor Entertaining
Day 5: Setting the Table Using What You Have
Day 6: Using One Classic Water Glass
Day 7: Napkin Options for Summer Entertaining
Day 8: When You Feel Like Canceling the Party
Day 9: Leave Your Technology at the Front Door
Day 10: Candles That Enhance Good Conversation
Day 11: Serving Flavored Herb and Fruit Water
Day 12: Leafy Greens and a Tiny Bit of Agave
Day 13: Keeping Nut and Fruits and Cheeses on Hand for Easy Appetizers
Day 14: Move Your Table to a Different Space
Day 15: Greek Salad on a Stick and Getting the Kids Involved
Day 16: Three Lies of Perfectionism that Ruin Entertaining Moments
Day 17: Be Creative When You Run Out of Linens for Your Dinner Party
Day 18: Gather Around a Fire for Intimate Summer Entertaining
Day 19: Last Minute Father’s Day Invite and Pork Chops with Glazed Apricots
Day 20: Summer Entertaining GIVEAWAY from National Pork Board
Day 21: Create a Simple Appetizer Basket for Last-Minute Guests
Day 22: How to Change the Menu When Guests Cancel & Sweet Summer Salad
Day 23: Keeping the Conversation Strong with Summer Berry Crisp
Day 24: Music at a Summer Dinner Party
Day 25: Adding Dried Rosemary to your Barbecue
Day 26: Using Accent Dishes to Compliment Your Table Setting
Day 27: How To Barbecue Salmon on the Grill
Day 28: Summer Entertaining GIVEAWAY
Day 29: Keeping Kids Busy During a Summer Dinner Party
Day 30: The Night Ends with Affogato al Caffè

(The winner of The Hip Hostess apron and a copy of my book, The Reluctant Entertainer, is Sarah from Upscale Downhome blog. Congrats, Sarah!)