There are several things that I do when planning for company that ease any stress. I clean early in the week. Okay, yes...I'm very regimented and do things on specific days. Grocery on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, laundry on Wednesday, floors on Thursday, cook on Friday...company is always on Friday or Saturday. See!? Seriously, it really does set me up to not have a TON to do all on one day.
Establishing the menu early (always done while making the grocery list) allows me to plan and prepare as much ahead as possible. Tonight we are having a Greek Feast! Gyros, Greek Potatoes, Roasted Garlic Tsatziki , lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh pitas, and Marvelous Mocha dessert! The only thing that I'll have to cook when/right before they arrive is the meat for the gyros. The Greek Potatoes go in an hour or 2 ahead...which is when I'll prep the meat. The Tsatziki, veggies, and desserts are all done and waiting.
My grandma (and Mom) maintain that a normally neat house is a good house for guests. If it looks squeaky clean (every thing exactly in place) people feel ill at ease. For me, that isn't a problem...my two Sweet Boobahs create a very "lived in" atmosphere. Cleaning earlier in the week allows me to not feel harried when company arrives too. I do have the kids TIDY their toys, etc about a half an hour before...but we aren't mopping, or vacuuming as people pull into the drive. I have my kids tidy for DadE each night anyway...poor guy doesn't want to walk into a nightmare of the toy jungle kingdom.
Aprons are a good thing...just remember to take it off. I worry it makes people think you're fishing for a cooking compliment if you leave them on after the meal has started. I have an old BRIGHT purple one...that belonged to my great grandmother. It NEVER matches what I wear...but I still love it....and so do my ungreased clothes.
I cannot find the recipe to Marvelous Mocha Pudding Dessert...so here's kudos to whoever did create this recipe...and I'll tell you really quick.
1 chocolate pudding mix (serves 4)
1 1/2 c. milk
1 cool whip
12-14 oreos crushed
4-5 whole oreos
1/2 c. strong coffee (ALL coffee I make is strong)
Mix pudding mix with 1 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. coffee. Poor into four pretty glasses...leaving about 1/2 c. in the container leftover. Fold cool whip (all of it) into remaining pudding mixture. Put about 1/3 c. crushed oreos into each cup. Put cool whip mixture on top to fill cup. Refridgerate. Top with whole oreo when serving.