Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our first 'dinner party' and a sleepover with the littles

I've been wanting to have people over for dinner in our little apartment since the day we moved in. My plans were a bit hampered, however, by Frank's busy study schedule (two weeks til the bar!) and the size of our place (we only have four dining room chairs, so unless we use the couch, we can only seat two guests for dinner).

But finally I came up with a plan: we could have my little sister and her boyfriend over for dinner! They're only 17, so they wouldn't judge if we didn't have four-star service; in fact, it would be their first time being guests at a dinner party, so they were as excited as we were. We set a date for Thursday night.

I decided to pull out all the stops and use the cloth napkins. After all, you only host your first married "dinner party" once. 

Our darling guests, Caroline and Shawn:

They brought us the best host/hostess gift—a record of the first Mumford & Sons album! We played it on our record player during dinner.

Caroline had told us she loves Italian sausage, so we decided to serve a meal inspired by our honeymoon in Italy. For appetizers, I set out a charcuterie platter and bruschetta.

Meanwhile Frank made the most AMAZING homemade pizzas. This one copied our favorite pizza from a restaurant near our hotel in Rome:

In case you can't tell (which you probably can't—excuse my abysmal food-photography skills), that's a fried egg on top. Romans are so creative with their pizzas—it's really inspiring (and delicious!).

We had such a GREAT time having them over. We can't wait to do it again soon!

Then on Saturday, Frank and I fulfilled my littlest siblings' long-time dream. Since the day we got back from Rome, Joseph and Angela have been begging to sleep over at our apartment. We finally let them spend the night this weekend.

I've got to hand it to them—these two were impressively well-behaved and helpful. Joseph declared himself "master of washing dishes" and cleaned everything in sight, while Angela was at my beck and call for chopping, mopping, and gathering supplies.

A few days earlier, I'd gotten a little ambitious at the grocery store and bought a whole chicken for roasting. But our apartment is so small that we have to open the windows any time we use the oven, and it was so hot Saturday that Frank declared chicken-roasting to be entirely out of the question.

So I did what any girl would do and consulted my mom. She suggested I make Coq Au Vin—a very fancy French dish that requires 2 cups of Burgundy and a whole chicken, but which can be made on the stove-top. I looked at the two munchkins who were eagerly waiting to hear what we'd be cooking that night. They would have been happy with frozen pizza. Would it be a waste to make Coq Au Vin for them? But then I thought, how often do I get the chance to have two sous-chefs for the night? Coq Au Vin it was.

(More terrible food photography... I'm sorry!)

Joseph and Angela declared themselves my "minions" for the night (cue Despicable Me) and thanks to them, a few hours later we had a delicious French dinner and a relatively clean kitchen. I told them, "Thanks for your help—I couldn't have done it without you," and I meant it!

Turns out the fancy meal wasn't wasted on them. They both loved the Coq Au Vin and even consented to try the mushrooms (their least favorite food). Frank and I were so impressed with their excellent "company manners."

Yeah... most of the time.

After dinner we pulled out the sofa bed and they made a "nest" of pillows and blankets. Then we watched National Treasure, but first Frank surprised them with a bunch of "movie theater candy" he'd bought for the occasion (Skittles, Mike and Ikes, Peanut M&Ms). They were thrilled and gave him their highest compliment: "You're like a dad with no rules!" Ha.

The kids loved sleeping over, and it was actually really fun for us too. So those are a few of the little adventures we've been having lately.

Hope you are having a great week filled with lots of little adventures!


  1. Oh my, it does look delightful! I'm kind of in the same boat: I want to have a dinner party, but Peter's work schedule makes it difficult. So far I've only been able to tea and scones with sisters & girlfriends while he's at work.

  2. This is the most precious thing :) You're so lucky to have lots of little siblings and to have them nearby! I can imagine they feel SO grown up visiting their older, married sister in her apartment. So so sweet. We recently had my little brother visit us (ok, not so little...he's 19) and had a similar amount of spoiling and fancy foods and extra indulgences. It's the best.

  3. Bahh you are so cute. Wish I was there!

  4. You sound like such a great big sister! I bet these evenings made your younger siblings feel so loved!

  5. Um ... YUM. How about you have US over next time? ;)

  6. I absolutely love those owl plates! I remember doing this with my older sisters-those sleepovers were always very special occasions, with lots of pizza and ice cream :)