It all started with an idea in my head, and then I acted on it.

It’s time to get the neighbor ladies together. I think I’ll have a fall luncheon!

Pick a date
I came up with a date, put it on the calendar, whipped up a quick invite on the computer, and then I walked around my neighborhood and handed them out. I scheduled the day off from work, I pulled out my trusty notebook and made notes of who I invited, and then as they called to RSVP, I put a big red “Y” by their name.

Yes, they’re coming!

Plan ahead
I had 3 weeks to plan ahead and to think about what I wanted to serve. Simple is best – and serving something that I was familiar with is what I chose. And of course I used the power of delegation!

Menu & delegation
I made my mouthwatering, fresh-tasting Carrot Orange Soup. My neighbor to my left, Mary, brought a gorgeous Ceasar salad – and my neighbor on my right, Ellie, brought amazing fig appetizers. Pumpkin Pie a la Easy was served for dessert! (Recipes to follow)

Set table in a jiff
Standard white dishes which I always use, and brown tablecloths, worked perfectly with fall colors, pumpkins, candles, flowers and napkins. And guess what? My table only seats 8, so I added a table onto the end. I do that often – extend out the table. Not all the chairs matched, but that’s okay.

I bought paper napkins – on sale! And I pulled out of my cupboard the tiny orange candles that I bought last summer on the clearance aisle. I think they were about 20 cents each.

I cut fresh flowers from a fall bouquet that I had had in my house for over a week and put the whole table together, in less than 10 minutes!

When you use the same dishes, glasses and stemware – and you have it organized and put away from the last party – it’s so easy to pull out and complete a table setting for another party in a jiff!

The aprons
I took my daughter out of school for the afternoon and we had fun picking out which aprons we wanted to wear, and of course I picked my favorite Reluctant Entertainer, all starched up and ready to put on! (Thank you Cindy L. – my friend Cindy borrowed some of my tablecloths and aprons and she returned them in MUCH better shape than when she took them – perfectly starched.)

The conversation
On the invitation I asked each person to bring a picture of their home from when they bought it. Not everyone remembered, but from the ones who did we saw drastic changes with home improvements! It was really fun and generated interesting conversation.

Serving and entertainment
My daughter Abby, and her friend Megan who is homeschooled and lives down the street, joined me in helping with last minute details before the guests arrived, and then they served the guests as I dished up the food.

Abby volunteered to play her violin, which is always a real treat for the crowd! (By the way, I’ve never seen a violinist perform while wearing an apron, have you?)

Everyone joined in the conversation around the table, from old to young. It was wonderful to catch up with neighbors who you may not always see. We even had one lady who really isn’t a neighbor because she hasn’t moved into her house quite yet! But we included her anyway.

The results
We were all reminded of what a blessing life is – that we have so much – and that we can’t take it for granted, or each other!

I’m glad I went out of my way. Because if I had never acted on my idea, set the date, and planned ahead – the luncheon would never have happened. I caught glimpses into my neighbor’s lives that I did not know before. I felt more connected.

I would have missed out, and so would my daughter.

Yes, I’m glad they all came!

(Have you thought about inviting neighbors over for a meal? You can always do what I did and team up with a couple other ladies to share the meal preparation! )

By the way, the ladies that did not RSVP, I ended up calling.

Do you think it’s important to RSVP? Read my post on “RSVPing,” here.

Coming up: Tasty Fall Recipes, True Confessions of a Party-Giver, Apple Pie in a Jar, Dinner for a Prince – and more!

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