Some of my favorite memories of dinners with friends have been thrown together on the fly-- last-minute texts with my friend Amber saying things like "I have chicken!" and "I have a bunch of veggies we can roast!" or spontaneous neighborhood potlucks or playdates that go too long and turn into dinner dates. Those memories are awesome. The settings were never formal, the meals were haphazard, the kids were chaotic, but there have been lots of beautiful shared meals like that, that I've completely loved.
Every now and then, it is certainly fun to put a tad bit more effort into the details. I always like to do this around Valentine's day with our community group, or sometimes for birthday dinners, or on holidays. But sometimes there isn't really a special occasion, there is just simply... time.
My kids spent the night at my parents' house on Monday night so I could host the ladies from my summer group-- what we call Women's Summer Discipleship-- for a relaxing little dinner. The weather was perfect for patio dining, and not only did I have time to cook dinner and clean up (while listening to my new favorite podcast!), but I also had the time to put out a few special touches, like my Mr. B's Luminaries and a handful of the many "treasure" shells that we've brought home from the beach, and my fancy flatware that was my grandma's.
Dinner itself was simple: baked BBQ chicken thighs, baked potatoes, and dilly carrots (more on the cookbook this recipe comes from forthcoming); bubbly juice and iced tea to drink. One friend brought a fruit crisp for dessert, too.
After dinner, I busted out a stack of cheap composition books, and my scrapbooking supplies that have been collecting dust for over seven years. We got to work, decorating our notebooks that we will use this summer as we study Mark, learning more about inductive Bible study methods with this book.
It was such a solidly good time of connecting, eating, getting to know each other more, silly selfies with Amanda's phone, little June cracking us up from her high chair, and even using a bit of creativity. And as a busy mom of little ones, it's amazing what a little quiet time can do for prepping a nice evening (thanks, mom and dad!), and what pleasure a little beauty and fun can bring to my heart.
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