Sunday, August 19, 2012

House Guests 101

This post may seem pretty innocuous and straight forward, even basic and juvenile, for some of you.  You might entertain all the time and have overnight company twelve times a year.  But when Mr. Steady and I invited a family of 10 to stay for 3 nights with us recently, I wasn't sure exactly what to do.  I searched the Internet for ideas and suggestions on how to host house guests and found the results either quite shallow or overwhelming.  So I thought, for my own journaling purposes and record keeping, I would share what I did to prepare.

First off, a little background.  We have only had houseguests three times previously, we have hosted my mother-in-law twice and a pastor and his wife.  I had a lot of fears of inadequacy and insufficiency but I remembered the words of a mentoring friend who shared with me some time ago, "It's about hospitality, not entertaining".  Opening your home up to someone is not about impressing them, it's about loving them, sharing life with them, giving them a soft, warm place to sleep and food that comforts and sustains.

Dad & Mom and their youngest son (in a pack & play)slept in our room.  The Reader enjoyed putting Hershey's kisses on each pillow.  Because the family arrived late in the evening after church services, I made sure to turn on lamps before leaving the house for the night. 
 I also left a small gift (a package of pretty tissues, a notepad, special chocolates, and almonds) and a note on their bed, thanking them for visiting us.
 Because we have a limited number of towels (our family used beach towels for shower time), I laid out a towel for each guest so they would know which one was theirs.  I also filled a small basket with necessities that might have been forgotten.  I get free samples from different companies of shampoos, body washes, and other things and hold onto them for traveling. 
 I put fresh flowers on the night stands of all the ladies.  Mr. Steady picked up $12 worth of flowers from the grocery store and I was able to make 3 medium sized bouquets and 3 tiny bouquets for various places around the house.  Current reading materials were placed on the bottom shelf of our nightstands.
 This love seat is in our bedroom and I made it up for their youngest daughter to sleep on.  She ended up deciding she'd rather sleep with her sisters, which allowed her parents to have a private place to relax and Mom to nurse the baby.
 I tried to personalize each bed a little bit, putting out reading material that would suit each person.  I also tried to pick out a special blanket for each person.

The girls slept in the boys' bedroom.  Luckily we haven't done any decorating in this room so it's pretty neutral.  I spent some time at the library picking out books for young girls - I am not sure if they read them or not but I have been in places where I would have *loved* something to read.

 I took off the boys' blankets and replaced them with more feminine ones and put pretty flowered pillowcases on for the girls. 
 This picture cracks me up, I had a little more organization in mind for the boys, who slept on the floor of schoolroom.  But then I guess when you let them make their own beds - you get what you get.  The school table is where the children took their meals so the boys had to pile all of their blankets and pillows back into the blue totes every morning.  Then they pulled the table out, put the chairs around, and ate their meal.  Then, because this was also their play area, they had to put the table back and fold up the chairs until the next meal.  Not exactly ideal but I never heard anyone complain.
 This is the beautiful family that stayed with us, on their last morning.  They don't look too starving or tired, do they? :o)
I will post tomorrow about how I fed everybody!


  1. Wow Jenny, you rock! That would intimidate me right over to the nearest hotel!!!!! I always say I don't have room for guests - and my hubby is NOT into giving up his bedroom!! Way to go - I am impressed! You are such a blessing in so many ways!

  2. LOVE this! I can't wait to hear about food....are you sure you don't want to tell us right now??? I love this post...looks like such a neat family! Wish we could have been at church to hear their story!

  3. Jill, I have always said we didn't have room either. And my hubby had to have some convincing to give up his room, not because he wasn't willing to sleep on an air mattress in the nursery but because he thought it was weird to give someone the master and he didn't think he'd feel comfortable sleeping in someone else's master bedroom.

    Kristy - they are a really neat family, it was a blessing to get to know them better. His messages are on the website.


I love to hear your thoughts and reflections!