The Organized Life, Keeping the “E”s in Entertaining this Summer

Entertaining has 2 “E”s….

To make sure they stand for Effortless and Easy, not Effort and Exhausting, while you’re entertaining this summer,

Try simplifying things with these recipes and ideas


I have to hide/store things in plain sight at the beach house due to limited space, so I like to make a centerpiece on my island that serves double duty

Not only does it look fresh and bright, it holds fresh produce and dishware handy for serve yourself meals


For Memorial Day, a runner fashioned out of star place mats was topped with a “boatload” of paper plates and napkins

paper plate boat

I added red white and blue serving pieces and corn holders

stars and stripes centerpiece

Everything within easy reach for grabbing

candy bowl

Memorial Day weekend was the first test of our new rules

Beach house rules copy

These were not well received at first…

“What???”  😱

“Mom, aren’t you being a bit anal?”  😳

“Let’s just give it a try….”  😎

cabinet sign

I put some reminders around

paper please

I set up a beverage station next to the refrigerator and glass cabinet

beverage station

I found this Ahoy tray at HomeGoods and used tiles to designate everyone’s spot, except for HH & I, we are the “proprietors” after all… I did put my water tumbler on the tray at night when it was wine time 🍷

tiles on tray

The kiddos all got new insulated cups in different designs and styles according to their age and likes

beverage station tray

They did a great job putting their cup back on their tiles when finished,  much better than the adults!

personalized cups

Another reminder hung on the glass cabinet

where's your glass?

Not only did this reduce household and counter clutter by 100%,  it cut running the dishwasher down from 3 x a day to 1   👏

shoe basket

I made a flip flop basket for corralling shoes and sand, a suggestion from Scribbler Unfocused, thanks Ellen!

The basket {Home Goods} was already painted dark blue around the top, and I added wooden flip flops {Hobby Lobby} which I jazzed up a little with paint

flip flop beach basket

Everything I made was a 5 Minute Prep recipe

Even chips and dip presented in a festive manner, look exciting

bacon onion dip

Add a garnish and it’s party ready

provide a spoon with dips

Provide a spoon with a bowl of dip so people can put some on their plate along with some dippers and not hover around the dip bowl

This 5 minute recipe was adapted from Dessert Now, Dinner Later

Cheesy Ranch Bacon Dip


  • 4-6 slices cooked bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise {Duke’s}
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dry dip mix or 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dry salad dressing mix
  • 4 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 green onions, optional sliced, reserve some for garnishing


  • Crumble bacon, reserving some for topping. Mix everything together and refrigerate until serving. Garnish with reserved bacon and green onions. Serve with sturdy chips, crackers and crudities


*cook bacon 1-2 days ahead on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 350 for 15-25 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and refrigerate until needed

Sunday Breakfast was Bacon Biscuit Bake from Pillsbury.  I used the rest of the bacon I had cooked several days before for the Cheesy Ranch Bacon & Onion Dip, cut up the biscuits, added grated cheese and tossed it all with a milk/egg mixture.

bacon biscuit bake

Breakfast was ready in 20 minutes and it was easy to grab a nibble or two or have a plate full

biscuits and bacon

It’s good the next day too if you are lucky enough to have some leftover

Bacon Biscuit Bake

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American, Southern


  • 8-10 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 can large biscuits like Pillsbury Grands
  • 4 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T milk


  • Cut biscuits into 1/6s.
  • Place in a greased baking dish, like a 10 x 10. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.
  • Beat egg with milk and pour over biscuits.
  • Toss biscuits to distribute ingredients and spread out in an even layer. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden and done in the center. Serve immediately or at room temperature
Keyword bacon, bacon biscuits, biscuits, breakfast casserole, easy breakfast

We also had these 5 Minute Prep recipes

Southern Sour Cream Cornbread accompanied grilled chicken fajitas with roasted peppers, onions and guacamole

sour cream cornbread bake

Southern Scalloped Pineapple with Pecans was a great side with BBQ ribs, along with green beans

Southern Scalloped Pineapple with Pecans

Magic Potatoes are perfect with steak and a green salad

magic potatoes

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to put the “E”s in your summer entertaining-

Easy Entertaining

Tomorrow I will show you how to put together a last minute appetizer party, without even a trip to the grocery store!


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs

Celebrate and DecorateRustic and Refined,

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop, Something to Talk AboutA Stroll Thru Life    Inspire Me Monday

Crafty Staci,   Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday

Full Plate ThursdayWork it Wednesday

Home Matters, Idea BoxPoofing the Pillows

Sweet Inspiration

25 Responses to “The Organized Life, Keeping the “E”s in Entertaining this Summer”
  1. Jodi says:

    You are the bomb Jenna! Rock on! 😝

  2. Lynn says:

    Congrats on the new rules, it sounds like they’re working well! It won’t take long for everyone to see that they keep things nicer for everyone:@)

  3. Jenna, you are the Queen of Easy Entertaining! Your rules seem to be working and your food ideas sound wonderful and filling! Wishing you lots of memory making at the beach!

  4. You run a tight ship Jenna! I love love love the tray with drink tiles…my pet peeve in a household of all men! Glasses EVERYWHERE! Great ideas.

    Johanne Lamarche


    • Thanks Johanne, it made a huge difference, everyone was much more aware, helpful, and actually we joked a lot about it…as in “isn’t that a rule violation” 🙂 It was a good trial run as they will all be here for 10 days soon 😱

  5. Rosie M. says:

    Oh, Jenna, I LOVE your ideas! Next month, I will be having an all family get-together and I will be using your glass tray idea FOR SURE!! I cannot tell you what my kitchen counter looks like on a holiday: every sippy cup and plastic cup from my storage bin is left out with maybe an inch of liquid in it and nobody ever can find their cup, so they grab another one. Even if I use paper cups, they are never re-used and just left everywhere, helter skelter! But , this time will be different. Thank you for the idea! And I think the kids are going to love having their very own cup and a tile to store it on. I can see them “police-ing” each other right now! Thanks for the ideas! Rosie

    • Good luck Rosie! I can’t tell you how life changing these few little rules were…I think it made my children realize they had been slacking a lot, when everyone left, the house was neat and tidy, beds made, sheets and towels in laundry, toys put away and we weren’t exhausted. They are always helpful and thoughtful, but this was a huge improvement! I can’t wait to hear how it works for you. And yes, we had a lot of fun teasing each other about it! >

  6. Anonymous says:

    What wonderful ideas! I think sometimes our grown children do not realize we are not running a free hotel! A rule I had to make and enforce with my son is that you keep to our schedule with meals and bedtimes. Left to his own devices he will stay up all night and sleep all day. Then come strolling into the kitchen at odd hours and expect to be fed. I really had to put a stop to this! He is pretty good about cleaning up any mess he makes in the kitchen if no one else is eating, but still: I am not running a hotel and diner!!! Glad the flip-flop basket worked out — the basket I keep on the back porch for Ray’s outdoor footwear has really cut down on a lot of the debris he was tracking in from the yard. Of course, you made yours cute — I just plopped a basket by the screen door! (Well I did spray paint it purple…)

  7. You my friend are a genius and I think I’m going to need those wooden flip-flops and I am definitely making that pineapple.

  8. Hi Jenna, I sometimes think I will put two dishwashers in next time, as we are always running it full of glasses and mugs when everyone is home! I think I need to start some of these “2 Es in Entertaining” ideas in my house too! Thanks for the inspiration. Glad you had time to trade your tumbler for a wine glass! 🙂 Linda

  9. Mary says:

    Jenna, Your tray with the tiles for marking everyone’s drink is brilliant! Cups are always a challenge with guests/family and a small house even if it’s just for the weekend.,,,a bottomless wine glass helps 🙂 Love the flip flop basket too!

  10. Jemma says:

    Everything looks great and that dip sounds so yummy:)
    Thanks for sharing at TOHOT!

  11. Bravo! Bravo! I am giving you a standing ovation Mom!! You got them organized even if they didn’t like it. LOL

    I love love love your ideas and will be stealing a lot of them! I love the hanging notes and reminders, you my friend are a genius!

  12. JESS44903 says:

    Wow…everything turned out SO cute! And the treats look yummy! 🙂

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for Recipes and Crafts:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  13. Helen Adams says:

    Hi Jenna,
    We love entertaining in the summer and these recipes would be awesome to try. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

  14. Julie says:

    Hello Jenna,
    Well you are the queen of entertaining and you seem like you really enjoy it. Thanks for sharing these tips and recipes each week with us at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the end of the week and weekend.
    Julie xo

  15. Sandy Park says:

    OOOOOOOOOOO Jenna, you’re just full of wonderful ideas. I especially love the tray where everyone puts their glass. What a dishwashing time saver.

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