The Man/Woman/Kids Who Came to Dinner

I posed this question:
If there was a weather-related reason that you had unexpected guests stranded at your house, how would you keep them entertained? What would you do if the electricity was also down?

I was delighted to see how wonderfully The Foxes would rise to the occasion and The Hound used great ingenuity.

About nine years ago on my other blog, I did a five or six-part series on Family Emergency Preparedness. [] I should probably go back and update it, but most of the principles remain the same. I cover everything from heating and light, to OTC medical supplies and food, and where to find storage for everything.

I have always liked to be prepared.

Everyone needs extra towels, blankets and linens, and clean ones. Keep your laundry done and if bad weather of any kind is expected, do what is in your hampers, just in case of the electricity and water being off for any time.

I have had many unexpected guests who needed toothbrushes, and personal items and kids who visited, stayed later than expected, but who didn’t bring a jacket.

I once took three boys, ages 7-11 unexpectedly for a weekend. They had their clothes, but not their toiletries; I had extras and sleeping bags and everything they needed.

Bear it all in mind; you never know.

Food is the first thought and I have dishes ready in the freezer, plus canned goods ready to go, and a few dry mixes of rice and other sides. This is important because
 1) People get hungry and you don’t realize it for a while when the unexpected is thrown at you  and

2) if your stove or other heating is down, how are you going to cook?

Well, there are ways to thaw and warm food, which is much easier than trying to thaw and cook. I have prepared dishes or elements of dishes that could be thawed and be put together. (Premade meatballs with cans of vegetables of your choice to make soup or stew; cooked chicken put in green salsa, browned ground beef or turkey to toss into chili, BBQ pork pieces to add to a rice side, or frozen pre-made rice or quinoa. (Yes, I have that, along with canned meats, with which to do the same.)

When the three boys stayed, I had chili, corn dogs, hot dogs, frozen waffles, and other kid food in the feezer, plus crackers, cookies, etc. I made grilled cheese and canned soup. (You have to cater to your guests’ tastes, especially kids; keep them happy.)

It’s better to keep these in mind beforehand. Also, you want to keep your freezer shut as much possible to preserve the food and keep it frozen, unless there is only enough to eat in about a week…unless you have a LOT of guests!

If you stop and think about it when you have a chance, you might realize that you aren’t as prepared as you might think, and you might consider laying in some more supplies.

We lived in a small three-bedroom, one-bath house much of the time when I was growing up, before that, we lives in a small two-bedroom apartment, but we often had family drop in from out-of-state, and we all found room to put someone on a sofa, others on big chairs, some on piles of bedspreads on the floors and some slept in shifts. (The adults often stayed up playing pinochle or other games and snoozed in the day. My mother seldom slept.) With a good attitude, it’s easy.

All of us here realized the importance of cards and other games. Few people think to keep board and other games anymore. When we had our last big power outage during an ice storm where we were shut in, I actually got The Husband to play Scrabble by candlelight three nights in a row. He likes to play games on his own, those games of figuring out numbers of power vs other strengths and how those should be divided, but other games, not so much. If he had someone inclined to go for a marathon of Risk, he’d be on it! But I kept most of the games, from Operation and Harry Potter to Password and Monopoly, and others.
We have decks of regular cards, Uno and others.

If a person can’t find a book here that interests them, they simply don’t read. There are few topics or genres which we can’t cover, (indeed, we could hit everything with a couple of encyclopedias, push comes to shove.)

The Granddaughters have been given most of the craft and art supplies, but I kept some. If anyone is inclines, art paper to coloring books, crayons and art pencils to good markers are here, and at least, watercolors.

If the electricity stays on, we have movies that also cover most genre and topics.

Talking about ideas and telling stories should always be taken advantage of, especially when you are, well, stuck. Families no longer pass down many stories, friends seldom take the time to tell stories. They don’t have to be sensational, or airing dirty laundry, but simply anecdotal, be they fun or touching.

I met a woman the other day in Walmart. I was going to leave because they did not have some of what I wanted and I was going to go home and order them. She was in the area where they used to have the cock pots but could not find them. I knew how they had rearranged the store and since she was in a riding cart, I offered to show her. We fell into a conversation and I found that this lovely woman with smooth skin was 94 years old! We stayed in the crockpot aisle where I listened to her stories of food, her brother’s Italian in-laws, her late husband’s Middle Eastern family’s foods, (some of my sister’s in-laws were Syrian and a family friend married a man from Lebanon; the food was fantastic.). We spoke of the places we had lived and other tales. I told her some of my experiences. We exchanged numbers. I hope to visit her soon. She has no one to pass her tales to, as her family is scattered, and mine are not always interested. It’s a shame. We are all enriched by other’s tales and we can be enlightened by telling ours.

So, even though I waited

until Friday morning to dash this off, I think I covered it.

Are you ready for guests?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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10 Responses to The Man/Woman/Kids Who Came to Dinner

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I knew you’d have your guests well fed. It’s good to know that you’re prepared in other areas as well. With less space, I’d have to get more creative – but then, I rarely have even short-term guests now. Plus, I’m in a close-knit neighborhood with lots of people close by, so I’m sure that in an extreme emergency, we’d all pull together to help meet each others’ needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is wonderful that you have a sense of community, Patty; I am glad for you.
      Oh, I am waaaay prepped at this point if only in anticipation of even higher
      skyrocketing prices, but even so, I get creative on the blog. I have pretty boxes stacked, then extra, higher shelves in my closets, plastic shoe-type boxes on the floors of the closets…and boxes under the beds. It’s amazing where you can find storage.


  2. One thing is sure. You are definitely prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    very gracious of you to assist and befriend that woman in the grocery store.
    I wonder who won the scrabble games between you and the hubby?
    Sounds like you have all the food stuff totally prepared, along with many other things I had not considered: like toothbrushes!
    Another vital point you raised: OTC meds and Rx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I give Joe-the-Husband a run for his money, but he almost always wins at Scrabble. Of course, he probably wouldn’t continue to play if he didn’t.He isn’t a sore loser, but he hates to make mistakes and is very unforgiving of himself. Generally, though, he wins because he takes a lot of time to maximize his points. (Which MAY cause me to hurry when it is my turn!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Salter says:

        I’ve never been very good at Scrabble. I’m good making words, but my mind can’t / won’t shift over into the arithmetic while I’m doing the other.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I understand. I am bad at spelling out loud, I have to write it even if it is with my fingers sometimes. I used to make my teachers really mad during Spelling Bees, especially in competition with other classes. They thought I would win it, always getting all my weekly tests 100%, but I would be out y the 3rd or 4th round standing there.


  4. trishafaye says:

    Oh my birthday twin – you are SOOOO much more organized than I am!
    No, I wouldn’t be prepared at all. There’s probably enough I could pull from the freezer – but all the bedding and toiletries – nope, they’d be stuck.
    Loved your post. Good food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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