I’ve been waiting a year and a half to get my grubby hands on something.  It’s something that my friend and fellow blogger, Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer has been working on for like, as long as I’ve known her.  Every year at Blissdom, my sister and I room with our dear friends Melissa and Sandy.  And every year we look forward to hearing about her project.

Hanging out in our room at Blissdom 09 Kim, Melissa, Sandy, Amber, Emily

Y’all, Sandy wrote a book. And not just any book but a book that if you were to walk by it in the store you would stop and pick it up and pet it, maybe even rub it up against your face not that I’ve done that because that would be really weird.  I am totally a person to judge a book by its cover and this one is jacketless and smooth and matte and hardbound and large and glorious.  And then inside there are photos on pretty much every page!

Oh, besides having a great cover and pretty photos, it also has words.  Freeing words of wisdom.  Freeing words of wisdom about real entertaining for real people.  Entertaining is a way of life for Sandy and her family, and she has so many tips and tricks to make entertaining work for any family.  We all like to have people over right?  I mean, in EVERY. SINGLE. episode of HGTV’s House Hunters every couple on there talks about how they love to entertain.  I think we all love the idea of entertaining but, once again, perfection rears it’s perfectly daunting and shaming head and tells us that we have to wait until we have it all together until we can invite people into our life and home.

I got to read Reluctant Entertainer the book, a few months ago, before it was even printed in book form.  I was so inspired with Sandy’s ideas and encouragement that that evening, my husband and I hung lights out in our back yard.  We’ve made it a point to utilize the back yard when we have friends over, something in the past I was hesitant to do because of lack of perfection.

But, Sandy reminded me that the point of having people over is to connect with them.   So I decided I’d rather have friends over and serve store bought ice cream than wait until I bought an ice cream maker to make home made ice cream for them.

I also utilized another one of her ideas–when people are coming, make something you know well.  So I made this chocolate ooze cake thing that I’ve made a billion times.  Old standby, no brain cells were wasted and it always turns out yum.

I took Sandy’s words to heart again when we invited our neighbors over for Easter.  One drape on the windows, half painted walls, it was the first time many of them had been into the “renters” house.  I had to forget my dreams of having a put together family room and just enjoy the company.

By the way, Melissa and I liked Sandy’s book so much that we both endorsed it.  I’m telling you that for two reasons.  1. To brag because I’ve never had my name {ok, fake name but whatever} on the back of a book and 2. To point out that Melissa and I both used a form the word “gentle” in our description.  And that is exactly what this book is.  You don’t put it down and feel like you have something else to add to your to do list. You put it down and wonder why you’ve been putting off inviting your neighbors over and then you go call them.

Next weekend we are having some dear friends from Alabama come visit.  They have four children and we haven’t seen them for years.  We were close neighbors years ago and it would be very easy for me to start stressing over every detail this week before they come.  We’ll do a few fun things, have good food and hopefully, really have time to connect and laugh and just be together.  Maybe the shelves will be dusted, maybe they won’t.  I’ll be reading over Sandy’s book again this week and I think I’ll even pick out one of the many recipes included to try along with some old standbys.

Sandy is giving away a copy of Reluctant Entertainer to FIVE lucky winners.

All you need to do is leave a comment here, tell us when you are having people over next or, what your standby menu/food/dessert is that you are “known” for making.  If you would like to go ahead and preorder a copy in case you aren’t feeling lucky, Amazon has the books discounted to $12.23 {for a big hardback gift type book with color photos throughout!}.  I learned the hard way with my Pioneer Woman Cookbook that it seems like they discount books for preorder and then mark them up once they are released or relinquished or open to the public or whatever that fancy book term is.

Even in entertaining, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, worthwhile and meaningful!