Be flexible: you will be blessed!

I’m glad I could be flexible with our dinnertime last Sunday night. We really wanted to see our friends. And their commitments on this particular Sunday were going from one thing to another. They weren’t commitments of wasted time. They were commitments of reaching out. Touching lives.

So when we asked our friends to come over for a steak dinner, we were willing to push our dinner out and wait for them, as eight-thirty was the soonest they could get to our house. Not only did we want to see these friends, we knew that coming to our home would be a relaxing way to end a very busy day for them. I had also purchased some steaks at the “10 lb. Meat Sale” that we wanted to barbeque, along with veggies and salad from our yard (and of course yummy bread). My friend brought the dessert (delegation!).

We pulled fresh potatoes from our garden and after baking them first, we sliced and seasoned them. Using crookneck squash and lemon thyme from the garden, we added sweet onions and peppers, olive oil and fresh lime juice and spices. And preparing my steak the simple way, I rubbed olive oil on each steak, sprinkled with Stevia (or Splenda, or regular sugar), and Costco’s steak seasoning – all on both sides. The bread was sliced, wrapped in foil, and placed in the oven.

All food was prepared in 30 minutes and ready for the grill.

One thing I noticed early in the evening was that we usually have music playing as we’re preparing for our company. But as I was setting the table outside on our patio, in the quietness of the evening, I heard the popping sounds of the barbeque. It smelled and sounded just like a campfire. I loved the silence that surrounded this magical sound.

I stood there and shut my eyes and took it all in. I thought of our guests who were coming to dinner. I knew that our time would be good. It would not be taken up with wasted chatter or filled with dreary gossip. While eating our dinner, we’d be talking about things we are passionate about. Mostly relating to people and goals in life.

We all long for connection. We all long for purpose. And what this couple doesn’t know is that they actually help my husband and me to become better people. By cheering, supporting and encouraging us in many ways.

Yes, I’m thankful that I could be flexible last week. I wasn’t always that way! And part of what I am continuing to learn about flexibility is that it starts with a willingness to do something different. To be able to go with the flow, and make a schedule change.

With that willingness a blessing is usually right there ready to follow.

Sandy’s book, The Reluctant Entertainer

If you’re a recovering perfectionist, like me, then you need this book. It was such a breath of fresh air when I first flipped the pages, perused the photos and recipes, and read Sandy’s encouraging words.

Personally, I love entertaining, but in my life stage of three little ones wreaking havoc on anything that moves in my house, I tend to be a bit reticent to open my doors willingly to friends and family.  That shouldn’t be.

The Reluctant Entertainer gives us women of all ages a much-needed boost of encouragement to take a step of faith and use our home in service to others.  Filled with practical ideas, this book is a great tool for helping you flex those atrophied entertaining muscles.

Sandy shares both nuggets of wisdom from her personal experience and practical tips for setting the dinner table, so that you can courageously roll up your sleeves and prepare for guests in your home.

Win a copy!

This giveaway is now closed.

Five of you will win one copy of Sandy’s book, The Reluctant Entertainer.  Here’s how:

1.  Leave a comment on this post, answering Sandy’s question: “When was the last time you were flexible and able to go with a later dinner time? Or that you were willing to try something different?”

2.  For an additional entry, tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, including @SimpleMom, @SandyCoughlinRE, and the URL of this post (http://bit.ly/cJyNer) in your mention.  THEN – and this is important – come back here and leave another comment, telling me you tweeted.  Don’t mention it in the same comment for your first entry, or else it won’t be counted.

This giveaway will close this Saturday, September 25 at 11:59 p.m., and I’ll announce the winners soon after.  I hope you win!

282 Comments

  1. melissa@vidastyle

    The last time I was flexible with meal time was my daughters birthday lunch, we brought if forward a bit earlier to suit the hungry 3 yearolds.

  2. Kylee

    I tend to not do so well with spontaneous hospitality…so it hasn’t happened all that recently 🙁

  3. Melanie Schrock

    ACK! No doubt, this is me!! I once was the sporadic, live by the seat of my pants type of gal. Now, well yeah. With our home quasi painted, laundry quasi washed and folded-much less put away, homeschooling. Oh dear! But I know this is what life is made of, the truest parts of who we are, how we live. Why must I pretend to put on a fancy schmancy show??!!?!? Thanks for the post!!

    Melanie

  4. Margaret

    I was only a *tiny* bit flexible…. we had friends over and ate about 1/2 hour later than we normally do (but in toddler terms that’s a long time!) and then let the kiddos stay up later to enjoy the company. And the next day wasn’t horrible, so maybe next time we’ll be braver to stretch a little farther. 🙂

  5. Kristen Shumaker

    Oh! This can be a struggle. You’ve spent the work working like a dog to keep the laundry up, the clutter under wraps, and the floors clean and the thought of having company over to upset all the hard work is daunting. We had some friends over a couple Sundays ago and I didn’t stress. I let the dishes sit so we could chat and I let the kids play and play and stay up a tad later than normal. Relationships are more important than the mess. It’s just easy to forget sometimes. I am learning.

  6. Natalie @ Perrys' Plate

    What an awesome book. I think having two toddlers and a husband in a post-grad program has forced me to give up some of my perfectionism. But because his hours have been long, we’ve recently traded entertaining for some quiet nights at home alone. They’re rare. 🙂

  7. Kim

    The last time I was flexible was my daughters birthday dinner we had to move it up so that others could make other commitments later that evening.

  8. Christie Blake

    So I am new to your blog, and I appreciate your post about being flexible and being blessed. I actually just posted about that last night. I am a meeting planner, I plan out most of my life with an emphasis on work. So I very much count on my husband to be flexible in our personal life. Tonight my poor husband came home from work and I handed him our very crabby, did not get a long enough nap 10 month old baby. At 8pm after we played with him and put him to bed early I finally got to some much needed grocery shopping and grabbed some tacos on the way home for the hubby. I am not perfect and give thanks everyday for my husband for accepting me for who I am.

  9. Serena

    The last time was when my dad was coming over. We usually eat fairly early, but pushed it back later. It worked. 😉

  10. Talya

    My family has recently moved to a new country, so we’ve had to be flexible in almost everything lately, from mealtimes to meetings to church service times and everything in between. But through it all I am learning that life does not have to be perfect, and that people are the most important thing out there – not our schedules or plans!

  11. Alison @ Femita

    It’s not always easy to find the time and energy for entertainment. I’ve got kids and a husband to entertain and we all know how energy consuming that can be. Nevertheless, it’s important to have friends over and enjoy each other’s company. People share a lot of their best ideas over dinner. It’s not a coincidence that a lot of business deals are still made at the dinner table. Sharing a meal creates a relaxed, peaceful, stimulating atmosphere, and who doesn’t like that?

  12. Segolene

    I am so not flexible these days… I live by the clock. I know I should not worry so much about the time. But diner time is not such a big issue to me, last Tuesday we had a late diner followed by a late bed time story just because the weather was so nice we could not leave the day care without playing in the park first. I am glad I did, my 2 year old enjoyed this time and was still fresh the following morning. My main issue is morning routine. There I am so not flexible. I would love to win the book because I am trying to open up to other a bit more. I have an history of moving every other year (my dad was in the army), and it is hard for me to create deep long-lasting and meaningful connections.

  13. monique

    Ours wasn’t dinner but I hope it counts. We were preparing to go out for dinner and a movie (grandparents taking care of kids, doesn’t happen often as they live in another state) and my DH (who is on the quiet side, or at least used to be)ran into our new neighbors and right there on the spot invited them over for a few beers and we ended up having a wonderful time and meeting new friends…………..
    There was no worries about prepping, or cleaning we just waned to make them feel welcome in the new neighborhood and I think we did.

  14. se7en

    I am dying to read this book, I think it was written for me!!! Have a fun weekend!!!

  15. Debbie

    All the time….I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants.

  16. Fleur

    Completely understand the comments about it being hard to open up your house when your kids are causing mayhem…something I definately need to work on. This book sounds terrific and like it would be a great addition to my library!

  17. annie

    Last night!
    After dinner, we went outside and played in the moonlight. It was totally out of the box for us and absolutely wonderful. Your article was like a stamp of approval. Thanks!
    Will check out the book because, I too, am a mother of three young children and although I’m tired, my soul needs community.

    • Aimee

      Okay, this is so very cool. I love, love, love twilight and moonlight. What a great memory for your kiddos!

  18. CraftyMummy

    I’m super scared to push back dinner for fear of kids melting down and getting over-tired. But we recently had another couple, a workmate of my husband and his wife, come for dinner and it really was all ok. They thought the children were angels, and the kids coped better than I had expected. I know I need to try more often.

  19. Jessica Brewer

    I moved into a new apartment in August and I should want have had people over for a late dinner…but I haven’t yet. But the last time I did have a late dinner was two weeks ago when a friend I hadn’t seen in a while came into town.

  20. Laura M.

    Last time we had friend over, dinner didn’t go exactly as planned… and it never really does I suppose! I do try to let things go and “go with the flow”… not so easy sometimes!

  21. Susanna

    Last time i was flexible: My son and I went to our friends place (they have two boys) for a sleepover so that the adults could enjoy a ‘proper’ meal together.
    They only live two blocks away!
    But knowing that i didnt need to worry about the time or get organized to go home, and the excitment of the sleepover for the boys, made the evening wonderfully special for everyone.

  22. Tracy Safran

    At the lake this summer. We were spending time with great friends instead of eating our dinner that was in the kitchen ready to prepare. It was well worth it to connect with others and the meal tasted fine the next night.

  23. Megan

    Last time I was a flexible entertainer was for a staff pot luck this week – I “let go” of my need to come up with a dish that was a show stopper and put some little smokies in a crock pot with bbq sauce instead. As it turns out – I ended up spending the time I would have spent cooking after work reading and playing with my children & the pot luck dish was just fine – & we did spend time connecting and relaxing as a staff 🙂

  24. Jessica

    Just this week! My friend and her husband were on a waiting list to become foster parents and they got a call to come to the hospital to pick up a newborn baby! We took care of their other children and made dinner for them. Not knowing what time they would get done at the hospital, dinner had to be “ready to be ready” at a moments notice!

  25. SheilaScribbles

    My kids are no longer “little”, so now flexible means finding out when my teen’s work schedule is and trying to fit dinner around that so we can eat together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not sure flexible means this, but we just held a Labor Day Cookout on Sunday night instead of Monday so more people could come. Thanks for the post, this is good to think about.

  26. Vicki

    The last time I was flexible with dinner was last Sunday. My mom was here baking with the kids and it went long. The kids had a great time baking with Grandma and she stayed for dinner 🙂

  27. Angela

    I had visitors (a family of 5) drive 10 hours last week to visit and I learnt to be flexiable. My clutter “to be sorted” was covered over with a sheet and explained as a work in progress. Food wise I did a weekly plan and made sure I had the food before they arrived. I pulled the kids from school and as a group we went to the zoo for the day (being a sports day, not much was missed). I was very happy as we had the most wonderful time. Our kids fitted together and it will be another 18 months until we see each other again. You see these friends are very special to me, they were the best friends of my late husband and love my hubby whom I have been with for 9 years. They only gave me 2 days notice that they were coming and my stove was out of action (has been for the last 3 weeks). A friendship like we have is well worth the effort and time and we will be friends for life.

  28. SheilaScribbles

    P.S. Just “tweeted”. 🙂

  29. katy

    we have unusual living circumstances at the moment and entertaining is a challenge! The ability to be flexible is an enormous step for me, what a timely post.

  30. Lori

    We were called to be flexible recently when some friends of ours could only come over for dinner at 4:30 pm. Rather early for all of us, but they needed to pick someone up at the airport later in the evening and this was the only night for a while that we could get together. So we enjoyed an early dinner with them, and then all decided that they would return later with their friend for dessert! I would love to own Sandy’s book as I could use her great ideas and recipes.

  31. Sarah Park

    Oh, I would love to have this book! I recently borrowed a friend’s copy of “Introverts in the Church,” and have been scouring it for help in this area. I am definitely a recovering perfectionist, and an introvert to boot, in the sense that (while I love low-key time with friends, in small groups) I really need solitude to recharge. Solitude is something I don’t get a lot of these days, with three small children. So I’ve just kind of thrown in the towel when it comes to hospitality, but am nagged by a sense of that not being quite right.

    The last time I was flexible when it came to entertaining was hosting our dear, dear friends for a week, right after we’d ourselves moved. I think the only reason I was capable of doing this is that we are so close with those friends. Normally I am just paralyzed with fears of not “doing it right” or “doing it well.”

  32. Jen

    Um…well…It’s been a while. Honestly, I can’t remember. We had some friends over a long, long time ago and I think that was the last time I had to push dinner back an hour or two to accomodate them. (This is why I need this book!!)

  33. Anne

    I really need this book! I was most recently flexible when my brother came over for dinner. He tends to show up whenever it’s most convenient for *him* as he is single and has no kids and doesn’t understand! Also, he is a vegetarian and we are not. So I have learned to be relaxed and flexible when he wants to come over and visit his nephews. But he’s only ONE visitor! I think I would have a panic attack if we were hosting more people 🙂

  34. Marta

    I can’t remember a specific time, but I know when my husband says, “hey, let’s have so-and-so over for dinner tomorrow”, I don’t seize up and think, “no way, jose!”. It still gives me pause, but I can say yes now! I would love a copy of this book. Thanks!

  35. Beth Hemmer

    I’m another one who just flys by the seat of her pants. Haven’t entertained since my kids were very young – maybe 10 yrs ago. Would love to again!

  36. Debra Schramm

    The last time was flexible with dinner time was when I was eating at someone else’s house so that probably really doesn’t even count. I’m so bad about spontaneous hospitality and I want to change. The Reluctant Entertainer is actually on my Amazon Wish List. I’d love to win a copy of it.

  37. Laura Glover

    Oh, do I need to read this book. When it comes to inviting people into my home, I am a perfectionist and if it isn’t “perfect” in my eyes, it doesn’t happen. Needless to say, we don’t invite friends over. It’s sad for me, my husband and my children. I need to let go and learn a way to just enjoy.

  38. Eleanor

    The last time I was flexible about dinner time was before I got married. Somehow I married a morning person who goes to bed early.

  39. Ellen Bitler

    I am learning to feed the kids at the same time every night and wait to eat with my husband. Tired, cranky, hungry kids do not make for “family dinner”!

  40. Kristin

    Last week I stepped out of my comfort zone and hosted a clothing party (where a rep comes in and shows clothes for the group). I’m definitely an introvert and so this was pretty overwhelming for me as I sent out the invite to about 50 people! Since it was on a Friday in the late morning, only a handful showed up and we had a wonderful time! It was nice to see old friends, and get to know others a bit better. And, with all of my worrying about the amount of food (just bagels and fruit, mind you), nobody ate a thing! 🙂

  41. Sara

    Changing meal times is difficult while my children are young, but sometimes it is nice to give them a pb&j sandwich, then have a nice dinner with guests after the kids are fed and happy. Sometimes I even put them to bed a bit earlier to allow for more adult conversations. I dont necessarily have a difficult time changing the times of the meal, but rather trying to make everything in the house perfect when having guests over. It makes it so stressful to have guests over.

  42. betsy

    We’re at the kid stage of life…so pretty much anytime we have someone over for dinner, the timing of the meal has to be fairly flexible depending on naps, how kids are playing together, etc. I guess the last time was a couple of weeks ago.

  43. sylvia

    that was a long time ago, probably before our now 10 month old son was born… i guess the thing we ARE flexible about now is not insisting on a bedtime for him when we have guests and just let him be part of the evening….

  44. sylvia

    and i tweeted about it!

  45. Susan DR

    My husband was injured last Thanksgiving and we spent from early in the morning until 5 pm at the hospital. Although I had prepared a lot of our dinner for 15 the day before, there was still plenty to do that day. My kids were very helpful, and with many, many cell phone calls they were able to prepare some of the dishes. When we got back home, everyone helped set the table, cook the things the kids didn’t do, and we go dinner on the table about 3 hours later than planned. Our guests went with the flow, and we had one of the best Thanksgivings ever because we realized that it was being together and not the perfect meal/table setting/decorations etc that mattered.

  46. Amanda

    I have to be flexible with dinner all the time. My husband frequently doesn’t make it home in time and I feed Little Man and put them to bed before I cook our dinner.

  47. Sherry

    Had to be flexible yesterday as thought we would have deer meat ready, so I could make a roast but dh forgot to get it in time and it was frozen. So I had to adjust our meal plan. 🙂

  48. Dana

    I think my answer has to be… I can’t remember when:-(, especially not with entertaining. The other night we did keep to our “make pizza at home” plan rather than grab supper through a drive-through (it was tempting) even though it was going to be later than normal when we got home. Does this count?

  49. Joy G

    We’re so used to eating at a regular time, when the little people get hungry. But at my parents’ summer house about a month ago, we opted to feed the little people at their regular time, and then barbeque supper with my parents later – it was fabulous!

  50. suzie in mo

    I have had years of training in delaying dinner! My husband is a small town doctor and has very unpredictable hours. Early in our marriage, it drove me crazy! Eventually I learned that the people are more important that the food; even perfectly cooked veggies went down hard if my frustration had spilled over into angry words!

  51. Martha

    Last night we squeezed in a 5 minute supper so that we could accommodate our three friends who have come to stay with us!

  52. Denise C.

    A few weeks ago, my husband was smoking a pork shoulder on our big green egg (ceramic grill), & our pulled pork sammies were not ready until 9:30 at night. After the kids were asleep. He was so happy, I waited to eat the super yummy dinner with him, & it was indeed yummy. 🙂

  53. Mamabear

    I delivered baby #4 in March, and as I was still in the delivery room, my husband called his brother with the baby stats and agreed to host Mothers Day!
    It turned out lovely and everyone pitched in to help with the dishes, but as I am also a recovering perfectionist, it very easily could have overwhelmed me! Instead it was a day to share our blessings.

  54. Danielle Krouch

    Living in Cambodia we have ample opportunities to be stretched. We had three birthdays to celebrate this week, and with my oven out of commission, we had to improvise. As much as I love baking things for friends and family, God knew I needed a break from baking in this heat (I’m also pregnant!) and I let myself enjoy ordering cakes from a nearby bakery. Not the “home-made” touch I like, but still special to our friends.

  55. Bonnie

    For me it was just a few nights ago for my daughters 7th birthday. It was on a school night and some of our family couldn’t make it until later in the evening so we waited for everyone to start the celebration…..we celebrated past bedtime, the kids didn’t mind (:

  56. angela

    Just yesterday!!! 3 moms and all of their children descended upon my house making a total of 8 CHILDREN & 4 MOMS!!!! Thought it would be stressful but instead it was pure joy and a great way to unwind – surprising, uh??

  57. BW

    With 6 kids, every day is “flexible.” Sometimes to my chagrin. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

  58. Lexie

    A few weeks ago, my husband’s family came over for a last minute meal. It overwhelmed me quite a bit, but I tried my best to work through it!

  59. JD

    My husband and I have crazy schedule and no kids (yet) so dinner time isn’t a set thing. Dinner has to be flexable a lot, especially if we want to eat together. Also, in my family flexability is key to not going crazy. We are all very laid back people who get some where when we get there.

  60. Kelly Wiggains

    My husband and I wanted to invite our neighbors over to the house for dinner, but we had a busy week and never really got to it. Monday of Labor Day, I, on a whim, told my husband to call them. We were making burritos with all kinds of fixings, and I figured we could stretch the meal for two more people. He called them, and they were making tortilla soup, so they brought over their soup to go with the burritos. It turned out to be tons of fun, which is the point of having people at your house, not to show off. A lesson I need to remember!

  61. Bethany Stephens

    Ironically, sites like Simple Mom have allowed me to gain enough control of my life to be exceptionally flexible. The common theme is family dinner together, and certain things about that are inflexible (we sit down at the same time, we use cloth napkins, we do not get up from the table and wander around, we use manners) and lots of things about it are completely random and flexible (sometimes we wear a boa, sometimes we’re in PJs, sometimes we just came in from a soccer game, sometimes we take our plates out to the front porch and eat barefoot by candlelight).

    We’ve always been pretty flexible at our house about entertaining and understanding that you can’t wait for your house to be impeccable, the remodeling complete and the kids poster children for Emily Post. Life passes you by if you wait. So, we hold holiday cookie exchanges, summer parties and the like, and simply mention the issue (sorry that bathroom’s a little sloppy!) and move on. No one wants to visit the home of an obsessor.

    Would love to nab a copy of the book! Have a baby due TOMORROW (!) and suspect life will get chaotic again, and it would be a good reminder of the keep it simple philosophy. Great post.

    • Aimee

      Bethany – I wish I was like you – this is great! Best wishes with your new bundle of joy!

      • Bethany Stephens

        Thanks for the kind words, Aimee!! Best to you!

  62. Bethany Stephens

    Just tweeted via @bethanystephens:

    Enjoyed reading Be Flexible: You’ll be Blessed! http://bit.ly/cJyNer by @SandyCoughlinRE via @SimpleMom, one of my new favorite blogs/sites.

  63. Jenna

    I was flexible last weekend when we had my son’s second b’day. He had a ten minute nap and my floors didn’t get mopped before company arrived. AND i didn’t get to clean up properly until four days later as i had Uni classes to go to….ewww!

  64. Maureen

    I have no trouble delaying dinner, it is getting my house company ready that prevents me from inviting people over – so when I do we often order take out – not enough time to clean and cook.

  65. Deb Freeman

    I have to be flexible as my kiddos are 17, 15 and 13 and to have dinner together, we have to be willing to eat at different times. We have grilled in the dark and eaten many “overdone” meals, but that is ok……..

  66. Jennifer

    I wish I could say that I am flexible all of the time so that I can socialize at dinner more…but I can’t. When my daughter was first born I didn’t want to be a parent that had a schedule with meals and naps at regular times but necessity won out! If I don’t feed my daughter at 5pm then I can’t really get her into the bath at 6pm for bedtime at 7pm. We are expecting our second child in December so I don’t think that this will change anytime soon. But I hope to be able to be more flexible in the future when they are a little bit older and don’t need such a strict schedule everyday.

  67. Mrs. M

    Had a family dinner planned for last Sunday at 5 pm and each family had some assignments. Well, my assignments weren’t quite done at 5 pm; luckily, the other 2 parts of the family were also running a bit late. We were all flexible together and ended up having a lovely dinner with no one upset (possibly a miracle).

  68. Arielle

    A few months ago we had our church “small group” over for dinner for the first time. The lasagna was a new recipe and I doubled it to boot. It took 30+ minutes more to cook than I expected and we all had to sit around and wait. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as we enjoyed talking and catching up instead of rushing into dinner. :o)

  69. Rachel

    Well, this is something I seriously need to work on. Last time I was flexible about dinner would probably be a picnic this summer that was at 6:00 (we normally eat at 4:30 -I know- because my husband has low blood sugar and our 3-year old is usually cranky after 5:00). We just have to go with the flow sometimes. I would love a copy of this book!
    Rachel

  70. Linda Meziere

    I have a friend who invites us over and we have a good time. She kept hinting that they’d like to come to our place so I broke down and invited them. I stressed so much over everything that I was miserable the whole day before. I actually felt sick when they were just 5 minutes late but I hung in there! But we all survived my attempt at hosting. And we even had a lot of fun. I’m still trying to get the courage to do it again.

  71. Emily

    With my husband working long hours most days, and with only one car, both of us have to be flexible with dinner times. Some days it’s at 6pm and others, like last night, it’s 8:30 pm. before we even get home from running errands. I’m very thankful that my husband is so understanding and flexible.
    I would love to win this book, I definitely have a phobia of entertaining! I worry that people will criticize me or my food won’t be good…and so many other ridiculous things 🙂

  72. Kate

    We are pretty flexible, as it seems everyone around us has a busier schedule than we do, but I would love to learn the art of hospitality…having people over is a major source of stress for me!

  73. Emily

    I tweeted about this giveaway!

  74. dyan

    Years ago, while traveling, we stopped in to say hello to a cousin and family. The husband invited us to stay for dinner. The wife was very upset and it made for a very awkward situation. I couldn’t wait to leave. Remembering this, I have tried to be much more flexible when guests “show up” or are invited. I want everyone to feel welcomed when they visit my home.

  75. Abra

    That book looks awesome! I am pretty flexible because I am single, so there are less people to coordinate on my end. However, I often feel like I am expected to be the flexible one for that same reason. I think this book would be good for me. I still sometimes hesitate to invite others over if things aren’t “perfect.”

  76. Christine S

    We are very flexible with our dinnertime… maybe too much! But it does make it easy to entertain, especially when you are having people over who don’t have kids. Its all about the friendships.

  77. Heather

    I would say that I’m pretty flexible on a daily bases and it seems to work for us!
    Thank you for the giveaway!
    God Bless!

  78. Dana Schultz

    Wow, I can’t EVER remember being flexible enough to entertain early, late or spontaneously! I am the woman who waits until the house is clean and perfect and my hair looks good and there is money in the bank and, and, and…. You get the idea! How nice to just flow with life. Yes, I need this book!

  79. Sonya

    The last time I was willing to be flexible was last weekend, letting my daughter stay up late so we could go for a moonlight walk. (but then I felt like I was rushing the walk along) I am not too flexible!! And reading this post made me YEARN to be. I feel like any bending of the time constraints or schedule just makes everything off track! But I DO want to enjoy company, We moved into our new home 1yr and 3 months ago, and are in a new city and have made new friends. We have been invited to others homes for dinner, grilling, fun, etc. And we GO…But when I want to reciprocate, I have a part of me that wants to “entertain”, but then the little voice starts talking- oh, the work, we’ll eat too late, what will I make, it’ll be too much to clean up…! The voice won’t be quiet! SOO, I have to figure out a way to balance, and open my home to others, and enjoy being flexible, without trying to rush through my flexible time.

  80. Aimee

    This was a very interesting post and certainly thought provoking. You know what I really struggle with, though? What to be flexible about. This is not a fully baked philosophy and the spirit of the post isn’t lost on me but there are some things I’ve decided I am going to stick to except in really unique situations. Ironically given the post , one of those is nighttime routine. I find that my kids sleep better and wake more contentedly if we stick to their bedtime routine and lights out time. I’ve also found that my blood sugar and in general “how I feel” is significantly better if I don’t eat meals late at night and stick to a modest bedtime snack. For this reason, I do not accept social commitments with dinners beyond a certain time. No doubt that will change as they age (7 months and 3 years currently) but for right now, these boundaries enable us to have a much smoother and contented evening/night/morning.

    As to other areas I try to be more flexible…what I serve for dinner – I’ve started serving a simple soup and salad with a good bread for company dinners occasionally. No one seems to mind and several people have commented how enjoyable it is to have a lighter/less formal dinner. Trying to be more flexible with our daughter (the 3 year old) to change plans (e.g.., I have a great craft I’ve been prepping and she wants to play outside/finger paint/etc.). Trying not to be upset when my husband decides to go to the gym at night when I had hoped we could spend the evening together after the kids went to bed.

    I’m certainly not great at any of these but I am trying. 🙂

  81. Tina

    hmmmm…..I would have to say I’m a little bit flexible. My housekeeping always needs work so I find myself only inviting those over that I don’t think would critique my place too much ( I really need to have my place in order to invite more people over, so then I can learn to be flexible!)

  82. Tara

    I am a very reluctant entertainer due to the state of my house–I need to make it more of a priority. I am flexible with family coming over (whenever), but start to sweat when a friend mentions dropping by!

  83. Missy June

    I’m a recovering perfectionist, too! Just last night I had dinner ready and the table set, but my three little ones were enjoying time outside. I determined that playing in the grass, sidewalk chalk and carefree races were more important in the waning warmth of evening that keeping to my schedule. When we did eat (45 minutes ‘late’), they were very hungry and ate extremely well. So totally worth it!

  84. Naznin

    I look to your website to give me structure, flexibility I’m good at, but so much so that I’m on the wishy-washy, disorganized side of flexibility. My husband works very irregular hours, so he can be home any where from 3pm to 8pm, so I have to be flexible in the dinner hour. I also work part-time straight night shifts as a nurse on the weekends, so when I have to have normal hours with the kids, things are a little out of whack then too.
    Anyway another comment, I don’t mind trying different things with my family, we can handle that. What I can’t handle is introducing any of my other mom friends to our “flexible”, somewhat disorganized lifestyle. I look forward to reading this book to help me open that door to others. I am a social person, but I have had such a hard time after kids having guests in my home. When they are here, they are only allowed upstairs because downstairs is my staging area for processing stuff to trash, goodwill and craigslist. I am trying to cleanse my house, but it is a long process when you are working on a masters, working part time, and being a SAHM.

  85. Amy

    Flexibility for dinner meals is just not an option at our home…unless they are earlier of course. We have 2 gals with bedtimes that simply cannot be compromised…unless you want bears to rise out of the beds where you put 2 angels down to sleep!

  86. Marilyn Holeman

    I think “flexibility” is my husband’s middle name! We tend to be spontaneous here. And my son, who is now in college, is constantly reminding me to invite someone over from “our list” (people who are acquaintances from our church meetings, etc. but whom we don’t know very well yet.) I tend to be more reluctant, but my family reminds me it’s the PEOPLE who are important, not the house. I’d love to read Sandy’s book. Thanks for the encouragement!

  87. Jen Hahn

    A few months ago we decided to make a little more for dinner a few nights a month and invite some neighbors to join us. The invitation was always spontaneous and sometimes worked out, sometimes didn’t. But the times it did we had wonderful conversation and got to know the people on our street a little better.

  88. s

    We go to a family vacation home a few times every year and I used to be very vocal and regimented in eating at a particular time for my kids. But, the past couple of years I’ve pushed back that rigidity so that everyone else’s plans can be accomodated. This might mean I give my kids a smaller lighter dinner mid afternoon so we can do a later restaraunt dinner (where the kids get maybe an appetizer and dessert) if that is the plan. The thing I try to focus on is that its the spending time with family, the little moments, that are important and if I need to be flexible (while still meeting my kids needs so they aren’t up at all hours or starving and cranky) then we all can enjoy our time together.

  89. Lauren

    I had to become more flexible about late dinners very recently when I started working until 9:30 at night! Thanks for the giveaway!

  90. Heather

    Last Sunday we had a spur of the moment dinner date with neighbors. I had to take some deep breaths because the house wasn’t clean and presentable. In the end, it was so worth it and our time together was worth shedding the baggage of perfection that I tend to carry.

    I’d really love to read this book!

  91. Jennifer

    It is REALLY hard for me to be flexible in this area. I grew up with a stricter family where it was expected that you were on time for meals and any commitments. That said, I’ve been working on my flexibility. A lot of times I’m not really sure when my fiance will be done with work and be able to come over for dinner, so that has stretched me in my flexibility. That’s just one recent example. I would LOVE this book! 🙂

  92. melnola

    Just the other day when we went out to dinner with our friends later than normal with our 1 year old! Lessons learned. Dinner and bedtime need to be on schedule! Things aren’t like they used to be and it’s ok!

  93. Miranda

    I can’t remember the last time I was flexible! I guess that’s good to know. But your post has inspired me to introduce some flexibility into my life. Thanks.

  94. Fun Mama - Deanna

    I tried something different last night. I made a tomato based sauce out of some yellow tomatoes I had left in my garden. I don’t often make fresh tomato sauce and these aren’t even sauce tomatoes. I tried a new to me technique and cooked the garlic, basil and onions in olive oil while the tomatoes cooked down. When the tomatoes were ready, I added some of the olive oil to the sauce. My family had to be flexible too. Eating yellow spaghetti sauce was not something they expected!

  95. Holly

    This summer we had a family from Spain stay with us for a little over 2 weeks. The night before they left, we said our goodbyes, shed some tears and promised to stay in touch. Honestly, the next day I was surprisingly sad to have a relatively quiet house. During my kids nap time, I was thinking about our newfound friends when I heard someone knocking on our door. I went to the door to find the mother of this family peering through the window with tears in her eyes. Their flight had been overbooked, their bags had left on the plane without them and they couldn’t fly out for another 2 days!
    I struggle with being spontaneous, especially when entertaining, but of course I welcomed them back into our home for 2 more days. Those 2 days were full of more quality time than the previous 2 weeks. We had many talks and long walks discussing God and their questions about faith. Sometimes flexible entertaining holds unexpected blessings for all involved, and it surely did in this case!

  96. jen

    yesterday, my husband was really late coming home from work, but dinner was ready and my girls needed to eat. we would usually wait until his return, so we can eat as a family. i set the table and served up dinner for just my girls and i and they were shocked and complained about eating without daddy – which was actually nice to hear. now, i know how special family meal time is to them!

  97. Sara Harris

    The last time I was flexible with mealtime was a week ago. I am caring for a little boy, his mom was running late, we had to get to the store, so I squeezed in a quick dinner for the kids-eggs, applesauce, broccoli. Not the most amazing combination, but they ate every bite! I have a hard time deviating from my schedule, with 3 little ones in the house it always feels like a house of cards toppling down if something goes awry!

  98. Laura Tawney

    I wasn’t always flexible when my kids were younger. As I’ve grown I’ve let up on the need to be so structured and scheduled and have grown to be flexible and adaptable. I think that is one of my greatest attributes now. My kids and grandkids came over for breakfast and instead of eating earlier we ate later in the morning around their schedules and incorporated pampakes (as my granddaughter calls them) at the last moment.
    Laura T

  99. Lisa

    As a very recent empty-nester (just finishing Week 3!), I am becoming a bit too flexible about mealtime. Last night, for example, MY meal was a bowl of raisin bran after my husband and I got back from taking the dog for a walk, while my husband’s meal was a bowl of tunafish around 9 and then a chimichanga around 12:30. Oh, dear. Reading this makes me feel even worse.
    When it comes to entertaining, though, I feel like things need to be next-to-ideal before I’ll even consider it. I bet you can guess that we don’t do a lot of entertaining.
    I reckon I’d have a lot to learn from this book.

  100. Elizabeth B

    “When was the last time you were flexible and able to go with a later dinner time? Or that you were willing to try something different?”

    Last week we had a dear friend over for dinner and just took our time visiting and preparing and drinking wine and just enjoying each other. It was nice to just let go of the perfection for once and have everything on a schedule. It’s not easy for me to do that though..this I struggle with! My husband is a chef and we would LOOOVE to entertain all the time but our house is small and we feel like we don’t have the room for it. We need to let that go….

  101. Pam Keener

    As a reluctant entertainer I find that I have not been spontaneous or flexible in my meal plans. It is 7 pm everynight. I truly need this book *wink*.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam

  102. Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales)

    OMG…I can’t tell you when the last time that I was flexible with entertaining. Probably last Christmas Day when I had a set time for dinner, but accommodated the craziness of people coming in and out at all times.

  103. Tisha

    I usually always end up being flexible with meals on weekends-I’m only structured during the week.

  104. Rae

    This book sounds great! I’m not good at being flexible – I want things to be juuuuust right. I was invited into someone’s home for a last-minute playdate a few months ago, and, despite the fact that it was far messier than mine would be when I was inviting someone in for the first time, it didn’t change the way I thought of her, and, I was so grateful for her hospitality and the chance to get out of my house with a small baby. A good lesson!

  105. The Tutor

    We’ve started having open house on Sunday afternoon. Anyone can come over. No notice required. So some days it is just our family. Other days, there are 20 adults and children. When people come, they often bring something to share, so I have to find a way to incorporate their offering to our communal lunch. We also often don’t have enough dishes, glasses, or silverware so I am quickly learning to live with eclecticism in table setting. Makes my need for order have convulsions, but I’m getting better. Slowly.

  106. Courtney Hurd

    I love entertaining, so I have learned to be very flexible when it comes to times. Many of our friends work until 6 or 7, so it’s 7:30 or 8 before they are able to join us for dinner. Friends are worth it!

  107. Pattie

    I have rarely done this. I am in a rut. Would love to read this book and pull myself out of it!

  108. marina

    Our family is pretty flexible with last-minute meals any time of day. We give ultra-high priority to meals with friends and family. In fact, we’ve been known to eat a late lunch, then have friends call and invite us over for an early dinner and with zero hesitation we are there, picking up a dessert or salad on the way there, helping to throw together a great meal and eating like we haven’t eaten in days. It’s all about the hang-time and the food usually turns out great! I never care if someone else’s house isn’t “company-perfect” why should I stress out if my house hasn’t had a fresh coat of paint or my baseboards need dusting??!?!!

  109. Belinda

    “When was the last time you were flexible and able to go with a later dinner time? Or that you were willing to try something different?”

    We had guests over the other night without cleaning up first. Usually it needs to be just so and we still enjoyed ourselves. The guests didn’t say anything and we still enjoyed ourselves.

  110. Teresa

    The last time I was flexible was actually last night. I needed to plan ahead because I wouldn’t be getting home until 7:30 that evening, so I asked my husband which he wanted of two prepared meal options. He looked at me and said “Pot Roast!” Which was not one of the two I mentioned. I laughed and pulled the crock-pot down. You know what? The roast was delicious and took less than half an hour to prep. I am glad I listened instead of fussing at him for not answering my question.

  111. Sarah

    I have set myself a goal of inviting someone into our home at least once a week. This requires a lot of flexibility, especially since my husband’s job is a weird rotation where he leaves at 6 pm and often works weekends. Sometimes we have people on Sunday afternoon, sometimes it’s a mom and her kids for lunch and playtime. Recently, we had our friends for an early supper before a Thursday evening Bible study that we would both be attending, then we went there together.

  112. Jess

    The last time for me was when trying to get together with old time girlfriends.The desperate state of all of out schedules meant we had to meet late. So glad we did!

  113. Sassy

    I think our dinnertime is like that daily! And, the last time I tried something new… dumplings… ewwwwwww… hehehe

  114. Tammy Valdivia

    2 weeks ago a single mom couldn’t make it to our home until an hour after we usually eat. It actually worked out better for me in the long run & I was able to pamper & love on her w/o me feeling frazzled in the effort. Very rewarding! 😀

  115. Emelia

    Instead of trying to fit in dinner with two families of toddlers, we had a dessert party, complete with pj’s. It was easy to pull out a pack n’ play and let the little ones go to bed, while still enjoying a great time with dear friends.

  116. Chrissie

    Flexibility is a new concept for me! I’m a new mom of a 3 month old, so he’s teaching me a deeper understanding of flexibility and patience each day (I’m loving it!). At this point dinner is always flexible – it’s done when I can get a few moments away from the baby to prepare it and when my husband can get home (he’s a busy teacher with many after school commitments.) I’m still waiting for the opportunity to entertain again. We’ve had people over to see the baby, but I’ve felt more like the guest in my home as our friends and family have generously brought us dinners,fellowship, and more arms to cuddle the baby!

  117. Dee

    I’m getting better at being flexible but it’s a work in progress. It was about a week ago that I was last flexible. I could really use a copy of this fabulous looking book!

    Thanks!

  118. Leah

    With 2 little boys (2.5 and 1) it’s hard to have a later dinner since they don’t understand flexibility – just hunger! That being said, my husband and I have set a goal for ourselves to entertain more – at least once a month – so we will all need to learn flexibility and graciousness. This book would help motivate us to stick to our goal and give me the confidence I need to just go and invite people over already!

  119. Johanna

    I served an unexpected lunch to a friend when she came for coffee and ended up staying much longer. The extra fellowship was wonderful.

  120. Michelle

    I have to be flexible most of the time. I have two busy teenagers who are always involved in something or working. Sometimes we eat a 5pm sometimes not until 9. It’s just part of our lives and we go with the flow.

  121. Cassie

    With a 12-month old who’s nap and bedtime schedule is in flux, I’ve been flexible about dinner time nightly this week!

  122. Laura

    Never.
    Think I need to read this book.
    Thanks for the chance.

  123. Michelle

    Tweeted too!

  124. Regina Williams

    I am not very flexible with an 8 month old, but my parents do a cookout for my birthday every year and we stayed later. It was hard but I know later on it will get easier when bed times are not so important.

  125. Kim

    The last time I had to be flexible with supper was about a month ago. I was making burgers, and my husband asked if there was enough for us to invite some new friends. My gut reaction was, “no way!” but when I really looked at what we had in the house, however last minute and thrown together it would be, it really was enough. We had a great time – and more than the food, I remember the time shared with friends. It’s always that way – after having people in our home I am always happy we did, but I really am reluctant every time. This book sounds great!

  126. Christina

    We’ve learned to be very flexible, since we’re now living with my parents and are in limbo trying to sell a house and move. It wasn’t too hard to adjust myself and our three little ones to my parents’ schedule and different ways,but it did take a little time and patience. Also, on the weekends when Daddy gets to come see us (YEAH!!!) we get to eat later once he’s here and stay up later too!!!! (YEAH!!!) I’m quite the “recovering perfectionist” but this whole process has pushed my “recovery” ahead light-years! God is definitely teaching me (and our family) a ton–one biggie being flexibility! Thank you for the great giveaway! I hope I win!

  127. Cori

    The last time I was flexible with entertaining was, well….probably never! I often just pass up on opportunities if it does not go with my plans. Sad, but true. It’s hard to entertain when it’s not on your terms. Could probably use a little heart nudging on this topic…

  128. Stacie

    Im a little bit flexible. I like to keep meal and bedtimes somewhat set for my 3 and 4 year old boys. I used to be more flexible before kids!

  129. Angela @ Homegrown Mom

    Changing dinner times doesn’t bother me much. We have family that eats as early as 4 and friends that don’t like to start until 8, so we’ve been pretty flexible! I do get freaked out about planning ahead, though, so I’d love to be more spontaneous and have the skill to throw something simple but beautiful together at the last minute.

  130. Carol

    My last bit of flexibility (and I’m a recovering perfectionist too– and a pastor’s wife!) was on a trip with the kids and my husband. I was all prepared to make sandwiches for everyone but my husband said, let’s just take meat and cheese and snacks. It was so easy and I was glad for flexibility!! And seeing how I’ve never won anything in blogland, I sure hope to this time. I’d LOVE a copy of Sandy’s book!!

  131. Jess

    the last time I was flexible to go with a later dinner time was last week. my husband and I took our boy to the park, then got pizza at a nearby place. usually I am reluctant to go to restaurants with a 2 year old, and it was almost past his bedtime, but I’m glad we went b/c we ended up having the best family night together. we ate, walked around downtown, and enjoyed one another’s company.

  132. Jess

    I tweeted about the giveaway!

  133. Lee

    With my four kids and their friends, there is constantly people coming and going from our home. Any help would be appreciated – by everyone 🙂

  134. Joy

    A couple of weeks ago, we had a pastor and his family candidate at our church. There was a 2 pm picnic scheduled, leaving about a 2 hour gap between church and the picnic. This pastor was an old friend of mine, with a wonderful wife and 2 small boys. Even though we had just moved into my in-laws’ place (both recently deceased) and had boxes upon boxes and were not prepared to “entertain” (meaning that things were in their usual, non-company, 2-small-boys state), I sucked it up and invited them over to pass the time. This was no small accomplishment for me, having only VERY recently made a committment to be more real and authentic and honest with the world. My inner voice was still screaming, “You can’t let them see the real you, and your real house and your real mess!”. But the experience was a tremendous blessing for all involved. Yay for flexability and authenticity! Would love to have a copy of this book, describes me perfectly! 🙂

  135. linda t

    Oooh, I would LOVE to win Sandy’s book!
    The last time we entertained, I made a point to wait till our guests arrived to put the finishing touches on the meal. Normally they walk in and we immediately eat. Another words, I am learning to not rush the meal, but create a relaxing place to share an appetizer and mingle before we eat.

  136. Lain Ehmann

    Oh, such a good point! This whole month we’ve had to work on flexibility with dinner, as the kids are all going in a different direction. One has soccer 5:30 to 7; the other has football 6-8. 8 is pretty late for dinner, but I figure it’s more important for us all to eat together than it is to have dinner at a “set” time. It all goes in with my site motto: “Life doesn’t have to be good to be perfect!”

  137. monika tribe

    The last time I was flexible with a later dinner was two nights ago. And last night we ate early. Even though my family tries to eat at the same time each night, with 8 kids ranging from 1 to 17 that all have very different schedules, we often get to adjust things. It has been worth it, though, to have the time with our kids, since often this is the only time we can actually get everyone together. Sometimes just seeing everyone together is enough to keep the sense of family going.

  138. Lindsay

    It’s less often than I want but when it does happen, it’s almost always worth it. Being flexible means not missing out on those unplanned moments.

  139. Sandy Simmons

    The last time I was flexible with a dinner & tried something different was this past Labor Day…my sister wanted to come over to my house and relax by the pool, grill hotdogs and enjoy ice cold watermelon. But, our Dad was wanting to have a cookout at his house (smaller, farther away and no pool)…she was really torn, and didn’t want to hurt his feelings. So, I decided to plan and execute a Labor Day Pool Party at my house for the entire family (at the last minute)…we made smoked ribs, shrimp scampi, hotdogs, macaroni salad, baked beans and yes, ice cold watermelon. A great time was had by all, and I was happy to find a “flexible” way to get my sister out of the middle, and spare my Dad’s feelings!!! Oh, and by the way….since thunderstorms were predicted that afternoon – I moved dinner to an earlier time..just shifted the entire party so that it would be sunny, warm and enjoyable for all. 🙂 Hope I win!!

  140. Juanita

    “When was the last time you were flexible and able to go with a later dinner time? Or that you were willing to try something different?”

    Just last week. We have always set up tables for guests, making it formal in a sense, but last week, we just didn’t have the room to set up tables for all of our guests (the invite list just kept expanding!), so we had one table for those guests who would feel more comfortable eating there and everywhere else we had small tables for small groupings of about 2-4 so they could set down their glasses and/or plates if they wanted to. The buffet table was set up like always and we know that everyone went home having had a good time and no one went home hungry!

  141. Mallie

    The last time I was flexible was last night. My husband is a second shift engineer/manager and He never knows when he is going to get supper or when he is going to get off. I really like to eat supper with him since I don’t see him that much. And I try my hardest to be awake when he gets home late at night.

  142. Jandell

    Sounds like a great book! My brother-in-law and his family are the kind of people that you can’t really make plans with. They’ll just show up at your door or call and say ‘we’re on our way over, are you guys hungry?’. In order to truly enjoy our time with them, I had to learn to be flexible and just enjoy the companionship long ago.

  143. angie

    I tweeted your awesome giveaway! @angiemb31
    thank you!

  144. LaToya

    I’m not too flexible with dinner time. My kids are little and need to be in bed by 8 so we usually eat at 5 sometimes if I’m really behind 6. I did do something a little strange for dinner one night . . . smoothies!! Veggie juice, fruit, some protein powder. It was good enough for me!

  145. Tamrah T

    The last time I was flexible was quite a while ago, unfortunately. In our household of two younger children, I really try to maintain structure during the school year. Our summer vacation seems to be the most flexible as the days are longer, and we play outdoors more and eat later…then, impromptu BBQ with the neighbor friends.

  146. angie

    I enter these give aways all the time and never win but this is one book I really, really want.

    My husband and I have a couple that we just clicked with. We always have a blast when we are together the kids are close in age…you know the kind of friends.
    It had been some time since we had visited with them (we had moved away.) They were suppose to be at our place for dinner at 6 but they had all kinds of delays and didn’t get there till about 8pm.
    So we just kept dinner as warm as possible. Since they were arriving later we took advantage of that and set our home to be as calm and inviting with music and lighting. (It was the 1st time they were coming to our new home, they got lost and fought through quite a bit of traffic. Enough to make anyone’s nerves rattle)
    We were up till well after 1am still carrying on and enjoying our company over good food and drinks.
    Ha…we are in the works of planning another right now. They were just the friends we needed that wkend, even if they were late. It didn’t matter. We had the best time.

  147. Monica

    This past Sunday, I frustrated about eating late because nobody would answer “What do you want for supper tonight” and we were close to going over our grocery budget for the month. So, I set up a menu plan for the very first time — just wrote it to myself in email! Then late Monday, and my DM (dear man!) asked if I’d join him at a discussion meeting about 2 hours out of town on Tuesday evening. They would be talking about a documentary called “Into the Fire.” Lo and behold! I was curious enough about how this group of people would respond to the film that I agreed to make a change in my first-ever planned out week. We grabbed drinks on the way out, and used our “personal pocket money” (allowances!) to buy salads and sandwiches for dinner. The film was amazing — I strongly recommend it as a DVD alternative for a bookclub meeting! I took notes during the film and conversation afterward, to help my DM with the training program he is developing for volunteer firefighters.

    Oftentimes, when I set my mind to trying a new program (like making and sticking to a weekly meal plan), I become so committed to making it work that I forget the idea that Real Life is what happens while I’m out doing (or avoiding) my “plans.” I’m so glad I could see the importance and value of shifting gears this week. The opportunity was not going to come around again, at least not any time soon. I was able to give my DM the extra perspective he wanted, and I was privileged to listen to people talk about about what calls them to be firefighters in their communities. It was fascinating! My menu plan is still intact, as is our grocery budget. Best of all, by using our pocket money together, it was a bit like going on a date together, and we had a lovely time with just the two of us talking on the drive to and from the event. In the midst of a busy week with not enough “us time,” that was the best part of all.

  148. Jamie

    Living in a one bedroom apartment with hand-me-down furniture, every entertaining venture seems to require flexibility. It’s easy to feel like people wouldn’t want to come over to a cramped place with mismatched chairs. But I know I never remember how someone’s house looked when I visited, I remember how I felt while I was there. I think this book would be encouraging to me.

  149. Jamie

    I tweeted about it. I’m mrsgowins.

  150. Michele M Fry

    I too am learning this lesson. I just had a birthday party for our two year old that involved family and friends. Instead of worrying about her nap schedule and getting her to bed at her usual time I just choose to enjoy our company and decide that she could catch up on her sleep in the next few days. Because of that choice I was able to be much more present with our guests and enjoy the day more!!

  151. Jennifer Ott

    The last time I was flexible?! When we ate out the other night after having to have our house exterminated for fleas (we don’t have pets!). I need this book; with three kids (5, 4, and 2) and a baby coming in December, I can’t seem to get my house clean enough to want to have people over! I just need to get over myself (although we will wait until the fleas are gone!).

  152. Karen

    this book is on my wishlist! just last night we had some people over, and later i was trying to think how i can make things go a little easier, and wishing i’d have this book to read now! 🙂 i can’t think right now of a specific time that we changed plans on the spur of the moment, but i know it happened…i can almost remember, but not quite. 🙂 we have sometimes invited close friends over for snack or a meal without much notice (as in a few hours before), and we usually end up feeling blessed.

  153. Jaime

    Mine wasn’t dinner, but lunch. My mother in law visited us at church and then came over to our house to spend time with the kids. Dh is a pastor and got held up at church, so I pushed lunch back and made a quick tray of cheese and crackers to snack on while we waited. It worked out great-my MIL had tons of fun time with the kids, and then the adults got to visit during nap time.

  154. courtney

    The last time I was flexible with dinner was the other night — I prepared an out of the normal dinner for my husband, but after finding out he was running late. I just put the meal in individual crocks, feed the babies and reheated them upon his return home. Turned out to be a nice, quiet late dinner!

  155. Carol

    We eat late all the time… and I’m ok with that. However, I’m NOT flexible on entertaining if the house isn’t MAGAZINE READY!!! So the last time I allowed myself to entertain was when dear friends popped over unexpectedly and I almost wrecked it because of the shape of my house….. I was ABSOLUTELY STRESSED!!!! However, I took many deep breaths and tried to concentrate on realizing that they like us for us and not for our house! (hopefully 😉 )

  156. Jaime

    Tweeted about it.

  157. Jennifer L.

    The last time I allowed myself to be flexible and go with a late dinner time was 3 years ago – before I had my first child. Oh how I miss the whimsy of a late night visit.

  158. ~M

    I’ve learned that sometimes the kiddos need to have a late snack, have their bath before our friends come to dinner and let the friends read them stories while we clean up. It makes it fun for all of us!

  159. Emily

    Oh my, I need this book. My husband is wonderful at entertaining (he does all the cooking at our house, and those who get invited over certainly feel treated by his hard work), but I am definitely more reluctant to let people in. I’m worried about messing up schedules, what they will think of the house, what will I say to them, will they like me as much as they like my husband (In his defense, he always says we have friends because of ME, not him. Great guy, huh?), etc., etc. I’m usually cajoled into entertaining, but I would be a lot happier if I were more comfortable with it.

  160. Emily

    I tweeted about it! (@ejfalke)

  161. Sarah

    What a refreshing post. Just what I needed to hear. I don’t like being very flexible and have to say, I would have been the one to miss out on that amazing experience. I push dinner, but only when forced to due to kids sporting activities running late. Thanks for reminding me of several important things today!

  162. Lilly

    I guess at my husband’s birthday dinner. I usually tend to plan things to death, and then spend tons of money trying to make a big impression. Must be the fact that I am seven months pregnant, but this time, while I did plan some, I also relaxed my expectations, and my need to please, and I think everyone had a much nicer time.

  163. Rana

    This happened to me a couple of weekends ago. We were hosting a BBQ in our backyard. Unfortunately it started to storm so the whole party had to be moved inside and dinner was a bit later because of bbqing in the rain. We all had a great time and everything turned out well in the end. It pays to keep a back up plan handy and not to sweat the small stuff when things like mother nature step in. I think this book would be great to have for an entertaining resource.

  164. Rachel

    I am a perfectionist. “Flexible” isn’t in my nature. Yet in the recent weeks, I’ve stretched myself to become a better wife and mom. Giving birth to our first son in July, it’s been a big time of adjustment because I have no choice but to let things go once in a while, but I’m also learning to be more disciplined in the ways that matter. Before our son was born (and in the first weeks after) I usually just whipped up some Trader Joe’s concoction every night and dinners were getting boring. I was getting frustrated with the same five meals (all involving pasta…hmm…) and though dinner was usually ready by the time my husband got home, they were all seriously lackluster meals and not the healthiest.

    In the recent weeks, I’ve been beginning to look up recipes and stretch my boundaries. I actually made chicken lasagna for the first time and though it took an hour and a half (I’ve never spent that long on dinner before), I did it! And on top of it all, it was absolutely delicious! I feel a new sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I know I’m giving my family a balanced meal. Additionally, this week I made a meal plan that stretches out for the next month (with gaps for flexibility in plans)! I’ve never felt so confident about my cooking and feeding skills and I can’t wait to continue on this journey.

    I’m also an entertainer at heart and cannot wait to share some of my new recipes with family and friends. Though I am a perfectionist, I don’t get outwardly overwhelmed easily – my insides just crumble when I don’t get things right. I need to figure out how to let myself be flexible without feeling like a failure and figure out how to construct dinner in a timely and healthy manner. Overall, it’s a great learning process and I can’t wait to see who I become on the other side of things!

  165. soraya

    Last week, I had to be flexible when a college student asked to do his laundry at our house. Glad we had a pot of chili, that stretched!

  166. Catherine

    That would be this past Wednesday when my husband asked if he could invite a friend over for dinner on his way out the door home from work. Luckily, I’m used to this – but its always a little reminder to try to bless, not impress people who come to our home (when there’s 45 minutes notice blessing is much more likely than impressing!).

  167. Stephanie

    I’m trying to be more flexible with our schedule and playdates. The other mom is really good at this and can go with the flow and I’m trying to be more like her!

  168. Mae

    I’m flexible all the time…except when it comes to having people over. At that point, I become a nervous wreck. I put on a decent “show” being outwardly upbeat, but I don’t enjoy myself.

  169. Melissa

    Honestly, it was probably 3.5 years ago – before the children. I hate to admit it, but we are VERY inflexible. I need to work on this!!

  170. Ashley

    would love to read this — not as good at this now that we have small kiddos!!! 🙂

  171. Ame

    sadly…I cannot recall the last time I was able to be flexible. It was probably over the summer when our schedules weren’t so crazy.

  172. Rachel

    This morning I was flexible with my time. My toddler is looking for a particular toy to buy with his birthday money and I had planned to go to Toys R Us and look for it and then drag him along on a bunch of errands for myself. But when we didn’t find it at Toys R Us, we abandoned my errands and went to two more stores to try and hunt it down. No success, but it was fun to devote the time to shopping with him instead of worrying about getting the things on my schedule done! Even though we didn’t find the toy (YET!) we had a great morning together.

  173. Kim @ Homesteader's Heart

    I myself am actually okay with being flexible but when you have kids who get tired, hungry and grumpy when not fed it makes it a lot harder to be flexible. So I really try to stick to a schedule. Not to say an improv late dinner never happens because they do!
    Love Sandy and can’t wait to get a copy of her book in my hands!

  174. Kristin

    For several weeks, my husband and I had been trying to arrange an evening with friends who are also mentors. Blockades included: couldn’t find babysitting, too uninspired/prepared to entertain due to intense schedule, budget didn’t allow going out.

    Finally we took some risks…First, we stayed in, inviting our friends to our house. Second, we paid our 10 year old and 8 year old children $1 per hour to read stories and put the 6 year old and 4 year old to bed. The older kids were allowed to stay up and watch a movie together upstairs. Third, (and this may have been the hardest) I accepted my friend’s offer to bring the main dish, while I provided a side and dessert.

    I’m so glad we “flexed” on all these points, because everyone gained something, including our children in their relationship with one another. And we experienced a much needed rich and fulfilling evening with some favorite friends.

  175. Karen F

    the last time I tried something different was an accident! I was cutting up a banana for my 1 year old and my 3 year old needed something. I mindlessly put the rest of the banana down on the baby’s tray and attended to my 3 year old. When I looked back at the baby, I realized she was taking bites of the banana! So I realized I don’t need to cut it up for her anymore. Sometimes I can be so set in my ways and forget to take cues from my children!

  176. Reagan

    I have actually become very flexible over the past few months and enjoy having many playdates and lunches at my house. However, my husband, who was raised in a home where the show for guests was extremely important, is having more trouble with the idea of hosting couples for dinner, kids or no kids. The last time I tried something new was Tuesday night when I made apricot-almond chicken and veggies for a friend who came over. It was quite enjoyable!

  177. Kori

    My husband and I are very flexible with one another’s schedules, but we rarely entertain. It always seems like too much work. Something I need to improve on.

  178. Shannon

    The last time I was flexible? I’m not sure I’m as flexible as I could be but having a toddler kind of forces it on me. I may have one thing planned but his needs dictate a completely different plan. I just try to go with it.
    I love to entertain but its often a lot of work and I just wish I felt comfortable having friends and family come over at anytime without worrying if the house is clean.

  179. Shannon

    I just posted this tweet:
    Enter to win a copy of @SandyCoughlinRE ‘s book The Reluctant Entertainer on @SimpleMom http://bit.ly/cJyNer

  180. Alisha

    We live in an 8oo sq. ft. home, kinda tiny, but not terribly small. That has always been my excuse for not having many people over.. and I have never been to confident about my own cooking. Last thanksgiving, we invited a younger couple over to have a thanksgiving supper with us. In the 2 years we had been married I had never made the effort to cook our own Thanksgiving meal, let along invite people over to eat with us. Well it worked out, and as far as I know everyone had a great time, even if it wasn’t just picture perfect in my mind…the point was I stepped out of my comfort zone and it was lots of fun. This book sounds just wonderful to read.

  181. Karen

    As we live far off the beaten path, when our friends visit it’s never an early evening! We have some great friends that attend church services on Saturday night, while we spend Sunday attending and serving. Dinners with them are usually after church on Saturday night. It’s late & we’re all quite hungry by the time we eat, but it’s so worth being flexible and it’s always worth it!

  182. Katie

    The last time I was flexible with a dinner time was about 3 weeks ago. We had some good friends bring us dinner after I arrived home with our newborn son and they couldn’t make it until late. My two slightly older children couldn’t wait that long so we made up some quick dinners for them and just a small snack for the adults. We had a wonderful time with our friends, and tasty food too, although it was later than we normally eat. I’m so glad we didn’t cancel the whole thing because it didn’t fit in to our regular schedule.

  183. manizor

    i have yet to be that flexible with the kids. but my husband and I have pushed our dinner back for the sake of a later evening with good friends (while the kids slept away….) it was delightful!

  184. Julie Holland

    As far as dinner, I’m flexible quite often, with a teenager, a toddler, and a husband with health problems. I think it’s a lot of work to remain *truly* flexible, though–not just on the outside but the inside, too.

  185. Megan

    Oh, its been a looooooong time since we’ve had a flexible dinner time. My baby seems to have a 6:30 pm internal alarm clock that signals her bath and bed time. We take it slow around here. My three year old daughter and I spent all day picking apples from our yard and baking a crust and apple pie to celebrate fall.

  186. Mac an Rothaich

    It isn’t easy to do but the times I am flexible enough to just bless people I am so very very blessed. Specifically my husband has a young single friend who comes over every now and then on Sunday (I never know when he is coming or not) to work on music. I could have ignored the visit but I now find a way to make feeding him work. He doesn’t get a lot of home cooked meals being single and I understand being single he doesn’t have the habit of giving a lady warning when he is coming over but he also never complains about what I place before him and is always very appreciative.

  187. Kirstin

    I love Sandy’s book! I love her encouragement and simple ways of doing things.

    Great post Sandy!

  188. Danyelle

    I am not good about being agreeable to have a later dinner time because it feels like if I say we can have it a little later, then it always turns into two or three hours later. I did agree to a later dinner time last month on my birthday and it went well enough.

  189. Katlyn

    We went to the park to hear my husband play a concert with the symphony. Mind you my kids had NO naps that day and I thought they were going to have food vendors there. We ended up eating 2 hours past our dinner time. In “kid speak” that is FOREVER! Thank GOD for goldfish crackers. We all had them as our “appetizer”

  190. Lesley Kuhn

    I love trying new things, my husband–not so much! So when I am invited to my daughter’s home for lunch, I can indulge in things new and wonderful..and that I’ve brought home and now cook here. The lastest is just simply fried zuchinni, who knew it was so good but I guess anything thinly sliced and then gently browned in butter and garlic should be yummy.

  191. Tan@tan/green

    In recent years I have gone a long way to being flexible in entertaining…but still have a ways to go. on the plus side I find when I am flexible my guests are too…helpful when there are kids and dogs running about! A few months ago a friend was coming for coffee..then brunch and it was nearing 1 when she arrived…but she came bearing soup and bread and we enjoyed each other’s company. Thanks for asking!

  192. Stefanie

    I am pretty flexible but only with our family. I am very much a reluctant entertainer so we have not had anyone to entertain for quite a while now

  193. Carrie K

    We had to be flexible with one of our guests who came to our party but could only sit in one place due to back trouble! We took turns as host & hostess sitting with him so he still felt part of the action and not isolated.

  194. Melanie

    As the mother of 3 young boys, I’ve learned that being flexible with things like dinners and outings as things come up make for a happier family and a happier mom. Last week my husband and I wanted to take the kids bowling. Hubby had to work later that night so we rescheduled it for the upcoming Friday evening so that he could be there as well. We had a great time!

  195. Kelly Hollstrom

    Haven’t in a while…..we just moved into a small apt and don’t feel we have the room. This book would prob help me with the confidence to step out and do it anyway.

  196. Jennifer M.

    My daughter is a high school choir teach AND teaches piano in her home most evenings. She is so busy, and quite often her plans have to change. If we’ve made a date to have dinner together and something unforseen comes up, I can either pout and cancel, or show her how proud and supposrtive I am and just go with the flow. I’m the one who really wins….I get to spend time with her.

  197. Melody

    I can recall times that I’ve made meals that will wait easily, like stew, so that our traveling guests didn’t feel pressured to arrive at certain time. It feels good to be able to say, “Just get here when you get here!”. Or to be able to be creative in menu planning enough to work around allergies and food sensitivities. For people who are used to having lots of limits on them, this can be such a blessing to people. To tell them it’s no trouble – and to make the same meal for everyone!

  198. Debby

    I feel that everything must be perfect if I invite people to my house, so I’m afraid I don’t do it very often. Recently, however, some dear friends from far away called and said they were going to be in town for just one night. I invited them right over, and of course it was wonderful. I need to remember this.

  199. Jackie

    It is fun to be flexible and we have had some great experiences…however, sometimes I my dear friend has said “if I were any more flexible, I’d be a pretzel! Would love to win a copy of your book!

  200. Mel

    Quite often…when I get calls in the late afternoon from my husband telling me his arrival time at home has changed.=)

  201. Weedwacker

    I’d love to win the book! I am trying let go of the perfectionist part of me when it comes to dinner. These days, I have to be flexible in cooking from one to four people at any dinner. I still like to have my food look nice on the plate though.

  202. Jessie

    When ever my husband works late we wait to eat with him 🙂

  203. Traci

    We were actually flexible with dinner time on vacation a couple weeks ago. We stayed with my sister who tends to have dinner later in the evening than we normally do. Here’s to stretching my OCD boundaries!

  204. Diane B

    We have family dinner with at least seven members present every Saturday. It’s a necessity for me to give myself permission to fail when the food doesn’t quite come out the way I had planned. We continue on with the meal and enjoy the company much more. I love your encouragement to continue on with hospitality.

  205. Jaimie

    I tweeted!!
    jmebowman

    Win a free copy of “The Reluctant Entertainer” at http://bit.ly/cJyNer @simplemom @sandycoughlinre

  206. Jaimie

    I had to be flexible TODAY when a plan I had fell through majorly (it is too long to write out). It was funny that this post was written in such perfect timing for me. I was devastated earlier today and decided to “roll with the punches” instead. We are going forward but had to make some major changes. I keep thinking that the relationship is more important than the plans! 🙂

  207. Christy

    I hosted my in-laws for lunch when they called me the evening before!

  208. Nicole

    Last Monday, when my husband was coming home from work and was asked to fill in and referee a soccer game. That moved dinner back an hour, made him (and my daughter) miss choir and I was late for something I had to do. C’est la vie, or “LIFE HAPPENS!”

  209. kathy

    Any time we get the chance to spend time with friends or family we try to be as flexible as we can. We end up having a great time even if its just hot dogs. This is what memories are about.

  210. Lori Jennen

    The last time I was flexible was…. when inviting a couple over from church ended up in 4 couples and the pastor. (my husband extended it….) I did not have enough food in the crockpot at home, but we put out extra things , not necessarily what I would of served with the meal, and it was great. We had a fab time visiting and getting to know these people and our pastor better.

  211. Kimberly Windsor

    I am pretty flexible with having people over, just horrible at preparing a great meal! My last spontaneous meal was having a friend and her children over for lunch. I had no idea what to prepare, so I made a medley of food – carrots, celery, grilled cheese, hummus with crackers and some strawberries. The kids hardly ate, but us moms had a great visit!

  212. Margaret

    I can’t remember the last time I was flexible with dinner time. My unborn baby seems to be pretty demanding when it comes time to eat 🙂

  213. Christina

    We used to drag my 4 year old around all the time even when he was smaller. He’s such a trooper and loves going out. We just had another baby and we have not had much spontaneity in a while now. Hoping that changes soon. I like schedules and kids do well with them, but it is good to have the kids be able to be flexible too. If they are not used to being flexible then it is very hard to adjust.

  214. Lori

    I need this book!

    I can’t remember the last time we pushed dinner out voluntarily. Probably over a year ago when my husband and I had a one-on-one “date night dinner” at home after the kids were in bed.

    I’m not good with entertaining but I have gotten a little better about the possibility. It’s still hard for me to invite people into my “not perfect” home but I’m getting a little better about it… especially with our friends who also have kids. LOL! I’m trying to learn to let go and relax about giving up control and accepting that the house will look like a tornado afterward, creating even more work for myself. I need tips on how to relax because the most important thing is to connect with people we care about.

  215. Valerie

    I try to be more flexible when we have family visiting or we are visiting family. My kids have early bedtimes (because they are early risers), but I try to be flexible and let bedtimes slide to some degree to fit in meals out, etc.

  216. Debbie

    I just Tweeted: Win a copy of The Reluctant Entertainer! @SimpleMom, @SandyCoughlinRE, http://bit.ly/cJyNer

  217. Debbie

    I have to be really honest and say that this is an area I totally struggle with! I want the house to be perfectly clean and everything in order before someone comes over for a visit. Having three kiddos does lend itself to more flexibility, but I still struggle with inviting folks over at the last minute if I my house isn’t “perfect”! I am a work in progress :’) So I could really use a copy of “The Reluctant Entertainer”!!!

  218. Heather Boyd

    Our condo had been up on the market for 7 weeks this summer so we were getting quite flexible taking our 9 month old to the park for picnic dinners during `showings`. It turned into a lovely way to spend time in and around the neighbourhood we had grown to love, but would soon be moving away from. I would have missed out on some lovely picnics, walks, and exploring had it not been for the ìnconvenience`of selling our home. One of the last times we had to do this the real estate agent was late, and it was well past our son`s bedtime, it was dark out, and we were getting cold. Our son`s flexibility and resilience in coping with this has helped my own approach to changes in our plans.

    (PS The couple that was waiting for their agent that night put in an offer and have now bought our home!).

  219. logsplitter

    I am so reluctant…this book is right up my alley! The last time I ditched my entertaining plans was on my son’s recent birthday…I took the easy, flexible, casual route, instead of the usual big party, and it was so enjoyable for everyone, mostly for him! Can’t wait to read the book.

  220. Janna Cooley

    I was flexible today! I fixed a more “supper-ish” lunch because hubby was home with us, taking a bit more time (and trip to grocery store), but it was yummy and worth us all enjoying a noon meal together.

  221. Mother of Pearl

    I’m afraid we are the ones for whom other people must be flexible. We have little ones and people always ask what time would best suit their needs.

  222. Jodi

    I’m flexible with dinner every night! But the last time I had anyone over, was Christmas, and I certainly wasn’t flexible. I was panicked and a wreck — I sure didn’t enjoy it! I wish I would have.

  223. Christine

    The last time I was flexible was when I was supposed to be making a spagetti dinner for a dear friend of mine. She was supposed to come on a Wednesday but wasn’t able to make it at all that night. We rescheduled for a couple of days later. It was still an amazing evening and another good friend even joined us! Good company is always worth the wait. Thanks for the post!

  224. Beth

    We were flexible last night! We usually eat around 5:30, but my husband was going to be late from work, so I made a special dinner with my two small daughters. We cuddled on the bed and watched the Tigger Movie (movies are rare and special for us) while eating. Then when “daddy!” got home, we all played together before the girls went to bed. After that I made a simple second dinner and my husband and I had a “date.” It was nice to break out of our usual routine for an evening.

  225. Barb

    I was flexible a couple weekends ago when I reluctantly agreed to take our 4 kids to hubby’s friends’ house for dinner. They have no children, and I hadn’t seen them in over 10 years. After griping at hubby about it for two days, it turned out to be lots of fun.

  226. priest's wife

    The last time I had to be flexible with guests was when they didn’t show up! They called right when we were expecting them with an emergency- I could have been peeved- but luckily I didn’t let it get to me and my family and I had an extra special dinner and leftovers

  227. Prerna

    These days with my husband at home nursing his TMJ pain and my toddler recovering from a coloring pencil stuck in her forehead, I have learnt all sorts of flexibility. It means a brunch instead of breakfast since the husband wakes up late, early dinners and mid-evening snacking:-) It also means shifting chores around, reworking meal plans to accomodate visiting relatives and basically going with the flow.
    Flexibility is taking on a whole new meaning for me and hopefully, will become a part of my life.

  228. Christi

    I wish I could say the last time I was flexible was recently. I’m definitely a recovering perfectionist also.

  229. Jani

    We live in a tiny apartment (with four kids in less than 1000 sq.ft.!), so it is very difficult to entertain in our home. I love to entertain, but have to get creative to do so! We’ve met friends for a picnic dinner and fun at our local children’s museum. We’ve also met several friends and all their children at a nearby park for dessert. I have also arranged to host events (such as baby showers) at someone else’s house–that is, I do all the work of preparing food, decorations, etc., and my friend just gets to enjoy the event in exchange for donating her house to the cause. A win-win for all, I think. I’ve tried not to let the size of my apartment stop me from reaching out to others.

  230. Ad K.

    I am always “flying by the seat of my pants”. My husband is home because of illness and so we eat when he is hungry. Of course, that’s a different time every day. Sometimes friends and family stop by to visit without much notice and I just make the best of it. We have a friend that is a vegeterian so I always have things I can fix for him also. Somehow things always work out and we enjoy the time we have to share with each other. That’s more important than the perfect meal or a spotless home.

  231. Christie

    I recently went on a long trip with my husband and son (almost 2 yrs old), and we had to be flexible with other people’s schedules, which was difficult. But, by the end of the trip I had realized that it wasn’t a big deal to eat late, go to bed late, or even skip his nap (gasp!) if necessary. It helped me learn not to be such a Nazi, having to have everything ideal!

  232. Denise

    I have a tendency to entertain elaborately. At my daughter’s recent family birthday party, I held back and just made chili and easy sides. One family was an hour late — food held up well while we wanted and my anxiety stayed low since the food could sit and sit while we waited.

  233. sara

    every night this week i was flexible with dinner time. Friends stopped by and the kids played outside and time got away from us.

  234. Henita

    As a pastor’s wife I am REQUIRED to be flexible. And God always humbles me when I am most unwilling (and struggling with bad attitudes) to have guests that those visits can be the most blessed times to me personally. I am such a hard learner! I would love to have this book, as it is a very important part of my life to be hospitable and I don’t always feel the desire!

  235. Naomi S

    With two young kids, moving dinner times around can be catastrophic. However, I’m flexible with what I make for dinner or can meet a friend for a meal during the weekends on a last minute basis. As long as the kids can have a snack on the way! LOL

  236. Brittany

    We ended up making plans to have two couples over for Sunday dinner on Sunday morning at church. Rather than stress about going to the store and making an elaborate meal, we just all agreed to order pizza. Saved memmuch stress and an entire afternoon!

  237. Brittany

    Tweeted about it!

  238. lisa

    I love reading both your blogs! The last time we were flexible – well, we’re always flexible.
    With a large family and extended family, I try to never set rules or goals, just relax and enjoy the ride. My hubby and I are good at impromptu get togethers and have been known to have two dinners on one night to accomodate our guests.
    Dinner at Sandy’s sounded wonderful. We’re not big steak eaters, but do love our grill!!

  239. Veronica Houston

    Talk about being reluctant! I think I have to have everything perfect: perfect house, perfect food, perfect dishes, etc. You get the idea. When the economy was good for us, we entertained a lot, and relished in having company. The down economy hit us hard and we lost almost everything and moved to a real fixer upper with no funds to fix ‘er up.
    My husband’s 50th birthday came around and I had been tucking away funds to get his favorite dinner planned. I wanted it to be very special for him and decided to swallow my pride and get over my inadequate surroundings and invited our pastor and his lovely wife over to celebrate. We had a wonderful evening with lots of stories and laughter. Gathered around our “down-sized” table were blessings in abundance!
    I’d love to win the book, but if not, I hope someone else who reads my post will be encouraged to not cave in to “less”, but see the “more” in sharing themselves with others.
    Veronica

  240. Kathy

    The last time I was flexible was about a month ago when we changed the day and time 3 times so we could have a meal with our friends. It was SO worth it.

  241. Sarah O

    I can be flexible if it’s just our family dinner, but when it comes to entertaining, I feel I *have* to plan so far in advance… I think it’s been probably a year since I had people over who ended up being late, and I kind of had to roll with it, and make it work. And then, it stressed me out. =p

  242. Gail Hinds

    Wow, I struggle with being flexible when having people over. I’m not naturally a routine person and I have had to work hard to establish some. When I do break our bedtime routine for example ( I have a 4 and 6 yr old) , I feel there is always a high price to pay the next day. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have enough margin in my life. Hm.. Thanks for this post. It’s a great thing to consider.

  243. Cristie Carter

    Last Sunday I was flexible. I had 35+ people here for root beer floats and cookies. Basically it was a five family wedding shower which ended up being fun and easy. I put the little kids on the kitchen floor … tablecloths under them to catch the spills.

    We had such a fun night, but initially I was worried that we didn’t have enough space in the house to have that many guests. I’m so so happy that we had the party anyway. ccc

  244. Hannah Marcotti

    Every time I make dinner I open up to flexibility, in each child’s preferences and whether they are able to actually sit still at that moment. Sometimes dinner comes at 4:30 in the form of a platter of food on the picnic table for the kids and my husband and I eat later in the evening with the always awake two year old!

  245. RG

    I get to be flexible because my husband works later when there is concrete to put in at his job. Fall is prime time for late nights, because they have to pour foundations before the ground freezes.

  246. Kelli

    I think I am frequently flexible… although not always with a good attitude. I have three little ones under 4 and another on the way, so our house is all about flexibility because things definitely don’t always go my way. However, I am still getting used to it four years after first becoming a mom. It’s hard sometimes!

  247. Kathy

    I am very much a reluctant entertainer…actually a stressed-out, want-everything-to-be-perfect entertainer. It’s made entertaining something that I rarely do or only do with a lot of effort. My most recent flexibility is letting my kids have over neighbor kids for impromptu play, even when the house is pretty messy. Last night we had kids over and fed them rotel on ritz crackers for dinner…everyone had fun!

  248. Carrie

    We are flexible with dinner quite a bit, due to my husband’s variable work schedule. I definitely have to work on flexibility in many other areas, though!! Sandy’s book sounds wonderful–I have a desire to be more hospitable, but at this point in life with 3 little ones, it doesn’t come easily to me, sometimes. I would love some inspiration!

  249. Sarah Park

    Just tweeted!

  250. Jennifer

    Sadly I can’t even remember when I was flexible about entertaining later, past the kiddos’ bedtimes! I’m sure it was in the summer when I could rationalize it a bit more. This book looks great!

  251. Merrill

    I would love this book. I had to be flexible….last week we went to a concert in the park and I realized I forgot to put the main dish in the cooler. We snacked at the concert then had dinner when we got home. Everyone survived!

  252. Dawn Camp

    I have to be flexible all the time. My problem is accepting that my house can be less than perfect to entertain.

  253. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker

    My husband invited 2 adults & 3 kids over for dinner at 4:30 one day…when I made my special super spicy chili :).

  254. Pat

    It really is true…being flexible can bring many blessings. I was faced with this a couple of weeks ago with friends. A plan had been created, however, at the last minute things changed. This would have really bothered me in the past but I kept telling myself to “go with the flow” and yes, it was totally worth it!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win. I would LOVE to have this book!

  255. Shannon A.

    Well, my third son entered our family a week ago, so I guess you could say I have had to be flexible about a few things lately. I have to just breathe and let a lot of things go. That’s not always easy to do!

  256. LauraEmm

    I seriously need help with this! We never do anything spontaneous but I really want to! My friends all have kids and seem to have it all together, and the only time we have people over is when we can “seem” to have it all together. The fact is, we are all just faking it and would be a lot happier if we were just honest with each other!!

  257. Mary Mom

    Had an unexpected guest which put my o c d tendencies into a tail spin. I fixed a meal with what we had on hand and it turned out to be a memorable evening with much laughter and good conversation. If I were more flexible I’d do it more often instead of trying to over plan and make it more complicated than needed. Great book giveaway!

  258. Tanya

    Wow…this book is so me! I’m flexible in our day to day life, maybe sometimes too flexible. But when it comes to having company over, I’ve really shyed away from it since my daughter (number three) was born 2 years ago. Dinner guests and the witching hour are crazy together…not to mention the fact that my DH often isn’t walking in the door until the guests are. This is where I’d love to learn to be more flexible….enjoying time with people in our home without feeling the pressure to make our life “perfect”. Thanks for the reminder that hospitality is not about entertaining :o)

  259. Cecilia

    The last time I was flexible with a late dinner was also when we had an out of town guest coming. He arrived late so I fed my toddler son at the usual time, and the grown-ups were able to have a relaxed dinner after he was in bed.

  260. Deborah

    We were supposed to go to an outdoor festival the other day with another family, but it rained. So we all went bowling and then decided to pick up a 50 piece chicken nuggets meal from McDonalds and bring it back to our house to eat. I’ve been trying to think more about hospitality and less about entertaining. I want to be welcoming, and to have some special touches, but I have to let go of some of my ideas about what it means to have people in my home. If I wait to have a perfect house or all the right china or recipes or dishware, then I’ll never invite anyone over. So … sometimes it’s an impromptu meal of McNuggets! And hopefully other times it’s a more deliberate meal that I actually cooked.

  261. Jessica

    After several attempts to get together with friends, we gave up on the usual evening meal/visit and opted for brunch at a pancake house this morning… This was a departure from our usual get-togethers, but a lot of fun nonetheless!

  262. Jana

    We’re always flexible on meal times when visiting my parents… I think their normal dinner time os around 8pm, and with two toddlers that’s late!

  263. Hannah

    This sounds like the book for me!

    Let’s see, this wasn’t “in our home,” but last night we spontaneously packed up half of a pie I had made and walked it over to our neighbors’ home. On the way I prayed that this pie would minister God to them. 🙂 It was such a joy!

  264. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    I’m maybe a little too flexible when it comes to meals. Probably the last time I was flexible was last week when we invited extra people to dinner and just made a few more things to make sure there was enough to go around. I love inviting people over at the last minute.

  265. Heather

    Unfortunately not since I had kids. I tend to worry about the messes, our schedules, etc. Would love to be able to be more spontaneous, and I am sure my family would love it too!

  266. Lauren

    Last night I fed the kids a late snack and per the 4-year old’s instructions, went to the local science museum and out for pizza…we ate at 7:30…the usual bedtime. Everyone was happy. We could have been cranky. We could have held to the rules about dinner time and bedtime, but we didn’t and we had a ball. Note to self: be more flexible more of the time.

  267. Patricia

    Haven’t had a situation lately where I’ve had to do that. I guess I’ve been lucky in that dept. But I do love the look of your cookbook and would be ecstatic if I won a copy!

  268. Elisa | blissfulE

    It has been a while since we’ve had a late dinner – like us, many of our friends have small children and someone would have to hire a sitter in order to have a late dinner with us. We tend to have abnormally early dinners with friends.

    For the last time we had a late dinner, we had an engaged couple over for dinner and it was later than planned because of the prep involved, but very fun!

  269. Tamara Chewning

    I’ve learned that with two kids flexibility is necessary for survival. We are constantly being flexible weather I like it or not.

  270. Libby's Library

    I’m flexible just about every night, because I never know when my husband is going to get home:-(
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  271. Cindi

    The last time our family was able to be somewhat flexible and enjoy a
    later dinner is just two weeks ago. My husband has been traveling overseas
    lately and had just returned from a week in Japan…
    His plane times were changed and he arrived home later than expected!
    We still enjoyed a very late dinner as a family…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  272. Maren

    Last week. Thanks for the chance to win!

  273. Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

    Oh I would love to win this book…I also feel the tug of war that happens right now in life when I want to connect and share our home with family and friends more often, but feel resistant because life with three little ones feels chaotic and messy.

    Thank you for the great post and the reminder that today is a perfect time for hospitality, mess and all!

  274. Christy @ Sumners In Scotland

    This looks like an incredible book! Thanks for sharing. I almost can’t remember the last time I was truly flexible with entertaining. Maybe a few months back when we met a couple who had just moved here, looking to connect. We invited them over after church and I was able to throw together some stew for lunch. It wasn’t dinner, but it felt great to be able to be flexible and connect with them.

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