So last year I had a brilliant idea if I say so myself to change things up in our family and do a brunch instead of a dinner for our family’s Easter celebration. I shared last year all of the set up leading to my brunch but as Easter approaches I’d like to revisit it. I actually do this kind of evaluation after every event I hold to see what went well, what would I adjust for the next time and where to hide, I mean store all my décor items.
I won’t go in to the on-going efficiency storage battle the organization obsessed homeowner that is me goes through except to say I am always on a quest to find new, better and more efficient ways to store my holiday and party items. What I do want to share are my, “Yeah, that actually went well” and “Ah…let’s put that one in the just learning category”.
What DID Go Well
No One Left Hungry
To say that my family likes to eat is somewhat of an understatement. As a standard operating procedure, I generally plan to feed an army when I cook for my extended family of 12. Yep army = family in this household. So there was plenty of food and everyone enjoyed it.
Divide and Conquer
I will admit that I had help in making sure everyone left with a full stomach. Continuing a now long standing tradition in our family, I asked everyone to bring a favorite brunch item to share in a semi-potluck style meal. Most families brought two items. I tried to leave the hot and ha d to be prepared right before the brunch to my list – such as bacon, eggs, etc. But the hot food was supplemented by bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruits with granola and yogurt and so much more.
There is nothing like the personal touch to an invitation but that doesn’t have to mean that it is snail mail invitation. One of the best decisions I made for the brunch was to send an e-vite that I made. Using the computer scrapbooking program from My Memories, I created what I thought was an adorable e-vite logo and then sent it out to each family. What was awesome was everyone could reply what they were bringing so there were no duplicate food items. And as it got closer I could just send it back out as a reminder. No stamps, no cost and pretty simple.
With disposable food trays, clean up became super easy. I just let everyone take the leftovers they wanted, bagged and refrigerated the rest and tossed the metal trays. Best idea every! Okay I did have plates to wash but I will take plates to pans any day of the week.
What I’m Calling My Learning Curve…
Buffett Means Move Around – Not Traffic Jam
Okay so not one of my finer ideas but I thought we will make it buffet so the dinning table can stay cute. (You see the priority here…the dinning table needed to stay cute.) I have this great bar countertop in my family room/kitchen that screams “use me” so as you see in my post last year, I used it as my buffet. However, what makes a buffet work well is circulation…which that does not have the best of. There is a nice trapped moment that occurs at the end where people try to figure out how to move past the table and not clobber the person behind them.
The solution for this year actually came in a piece of temporary furniture that I am storing for my mother…a true buffet. What’s cool about it is the large surface and since it is currently located in front of my staircase, people can easily circulate from the dinning table to the buffet in the living room-ish area, and then circle around through the family room and back into the dinning room. No traffic jams needed.
Too Much Food
I mentioned that no one left hungry and I said that they took their desired leftovers with them. What I didn’t say was how many leftovers there were…TONS!!! I made food for an army and normally that is what’s needed but I think I made enough for two armies last year. My challenge was that while I knew exactly how much too count for as an appropriate serving for our traditional Easter dinner, I was off on my brunch…by a lot.
My solution this year is definitely something I wish I had known about last year. It is a super cute, super awesome Easter Brunch Calculator from Shari’s Berries. I love the graphics – I’m a sucker for cute marketing and I just had to peek. It took me a little bit to realize that you have to click on the text and not the graphic to get it to calculate (what can I say, I was distracted by the super adorable food graphics). But once I got it, it is so easy to use. I entered my guest number (smaller than normal this year at 7), they average type of eaters I have (4 girls who are all watching their weight and 3 bottomless pit men who are not), which I decided was average. Then I selected the foods I would like to have and the amounts appeared at the bottom.
Shopping list is done and should I need some inspiration, there were links to various posts from bloggers around the web based on the different items I selected I wanted to serve. I hope they expand some of their items next year to include other brunch items in addition to the once they already have on the brunch calculator. I know I will be looking to use it again come this time 2016.
All in all despite my traffic jams and over indulgence in my menu amount, a good time was had by all and it was spent with the family I love and care for deeply. In the end, celebrating life and love ultimately is the message behind Easter any way. And that I would say I got! Lots of love and lots of life shared.
Question for you: What lessons have you learned from hosting brunches, dinners and parties? What do you think every hostess should know.
See you all next post!
Note: There are links within this post to outside sources. At the time of this post, they are not affiliate links nor am I compensated for them.