Friday, August 15, 2008

Hospitable Hints

Over the years of living without Mom, I've learned a few tricks to help me seem way more thoughtful than I deserve. Most of them involve keeping things on hand in case of hospitality emergencies. Here are some things that I always have stashed away at home:

01. A couple packs of pretty blank cards. This has helped me out of many, "Oh crap I forgot to get them a card!" situations. I like writing little personal notes to people in lieu of greeting cards. It feels a little more personal that way. And seriously, aren't greeting cards way overpriced anyways? A cool pack of twelve cards is usually only $5 at Target. I do also love me some Hallmark, don't get me wrong. Sometimes they come up with stuff I could never dream of. I found a perfect birthday card there last year. It referenced Willy Nelson and pot smoking. Hilarious. 70 year old stoners are always good for a laugh.

02. Wine bags and wine. This one is easy and tough at the same time. The easy part is having the wine bags. People are always giving wine as gifts. Right? Maybe it's just to us? The bags usually are only used for about ten minutes and stay in good shape. Flatten them out and store them away. Done and done. The hard part is keeping a bottle of wine in the house. Most grocery stores will offer a 10% discount off of wine purchases when you buy six or more bottles. This makes it super affordable to have them ready in case you need a quick gift. The trick is to not drink them. Or at least don't drink all of them.

03. I just came up with this one a couple days ago... I went to the hospital to visit my grandmother and I picked her some roses from the bushes in our side yard. I was looking for something to put them in and found a small vase in the cupboard. Ahh, perfect! How simple yet thoughtful to give someone flowers from your own garden? I'm going to pick up some inexpensive bud vases next time they're on sale at Hobby Lobby so I always have a few in the house. Granted, this doesn't work in the middle of winter. But it's great for spring and summer months.

04. Rice Crispy Bars! These things are insanely easy to make if you're in a hurry. 6 cups of crispies, 6 cups of marshmallows, 2 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a large bowl in the microwave. Mix it with the crispies. Press it into an 8x8 pan and let it cool. There. You're done. The ingredients keep for a fairly long time so you don't have to worry about them going bad. Unless of course, you try to use an opened box of crispies and an open bag of mallows that have been sitting around since Christmas. Those might taste a little stale. Not that I did that or anything.

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