As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 27 ~ Welcoming Overnight Guests

Not to Impress, But to Bless

Entertaining overnight guests is not something that I have done a lot.  A couple of times we hosted members of a traveling choir.  My sister and her family lived in a different state for several years, and they stayed with us when they came home for a visit.  And I have told you that my son Ryan and his family have lived in three different states in the past five years.  So our experience in hosting overnight visitors is limited and I can probably sum up everything that I know about this topic in one post.  

Here goes...   

Plan and cook ahead.  

When having overnight guests for a period of days, I find it helpful to have a meal plan and work ahead.  I don't want to spend all of my time in the kitchen, so planning meals ahead is a necessity if I am going to have the time I need for Scrabble games and catch-up chats and sipping coffee and holding grandbabies!  

I make a rough plan for the number of dinners I'll need, and do anything that I can do in advance.  

Then the girls and I will have a big cooking/baking day and we'll make casseroles and side dishes and bake bread and muffins and a dessert or two.  

The day that the guests are arriving, I can spend a little more time in the kitchen, so that meal may require more cooking and preparation time.  The bonus is that it keeps me busy as I anxiously wait for the travelers to arrive.  

I cook breakfast most mornings, although we do rely on the made-ahead coffee cakes and muffins  and cold cereal sometimes.  I usually cook a hearty breakfast on the morning that they leave, so that they can travel longer before needing to stop.  

The plan is flexible, of course, and we're more than ready to change things up, or not use some items at all.  But dinner at the ready is like money in the bank when you want to enjoy your visitors!    

Plan for some pampering.

Kati offers her room for a mini suite.  It is our largest bedroom, and it has a double bed, a cozy chair and a window seat, and the most floor space.  
When I change the bed linens, I mist them with linen spray.  We lay lots of big cozy comfy blankets down for kid beds.  
We hang a multi-hook on the laundry room door for towels, and stock up on toiletries and lotions.   

Provide a snack basket.  

What about after dinner or late night munchies?  I don't want to plan too many goodies, and I certainly don't want my visitors to be too shy to ask.  So the past few times that we have had overnight guests, I have filled a snack basket.  In the weeks before the visit, I pick up snacky things (cookies, crackers, nuts, granola bars) and put them in.  Each night, we bring out the basket and set it in the living room for anyone to take or leave.  

Since I have shared a recipe each Saturday during the month of October, I am going to share one of my make-ahead main dishes.


  • 1-lb. box of pasta (penne, mostaccioli, you choose), cooked and drained 
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (homemade sauce or jar sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pasta, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and butter.  Press into greased or buttered 9 x 13 baking pan.  Top with 1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  3. In a medium skillet, brown ground beef; drain.   
  4. Add spaghetti sauce and oregano and mix well.  Spoon meat mixture over pasta.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.  
  6. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven just to melt cheese.  

~ I use my own homemade spaghetti sauce which has meat, so I omit both the ground beef and the oregano in this recipe.  

~ If you're going to make this ahead, assemble (except for the remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella) but don't bake.  Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours before you will serve it; bake as directed.  

What are your tips for hosting overnight guests?


  1. Hmmmmm...that recipe sounds yummy and easy...two of my favorites.

    The only tip that I have is when having guests from away is not to overschedule their time. I have entertained two of my college friends at different times for a week and both times I scheduled too many activities and wore them out. Sometimes our guests just like to enjoy hanging out like the rest of us. So when I asked my last guest what her favorite thing had been (after going to Boston, to the ocean twice, the mountains, a harbor tour...) she said that her favorite evening had been the one where we went swimming at the lake and had popcorn with friends. Go figure!

  2. Oh and I always love the one who gives up her room for the cause! What a sweet bedroom and a wonderful window seat.

  3. We do not often have overnight guests. These are wonderful ideas.
    I am still thinking on not apologizing and inviting!

  4. These are great ideas. I especially like the snack basket one. I always like to leave a glass or two in the guest room or bathroom for drinks in the night. I bought one of those carafe and cup affairs and that works well.

  5. I like the snack basket idea...and I can't wait to try the Pasta Pie recipe. It is right "up OUR alley"!

  6. I love your snack basket idea too. I usually put some bottled water and some chocolate in our guest bedroom. I have enjoyed your 31 days of hospitality and your blog very much!
    Martha Ellen

  7. How on earth did I miss this post????

    Ah, overnight guests! Your snack idea is great and thoughtful!

    We usually give our guests our room, if it is a couple without children, or we give them Lindsay and Emily's room if it is a family. That way they have their own bathroom.

    I make sure there are magazines and books of interest in the room they are staying in. That way they can have something to read while relaxing...



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