Often I hear mothers of preschoolers tell me that they cannot have guests into their home without feeling completely overwhelmed. You already know what I'm going to say, don't you? A little organization and forethought can make blessing your guests both easy to accomplish and extra special for them.
But first you need a battle plan. I don't do well by the seat of my pants, so I like to have things at the ready all the time. I keep napkins ironed and ready to go, because I don't use cloth napkins regularly enough that keeping them ironed becomes a burden. We also have some sweet young ladies at church who are more than happy to iron napkins. It might not hurt to ask, especially if you have friends who are training their daughters to serve the body of Christ. Napkins are also easy starter projects for beginning ironers.
Can you keep your votives pre-filled with neutral-colored candles? Often a table with votives as a centerpiece is beautiful and soothing. Mine are filled with off-white candles that pretty much go with all my nice napkins and placemats. Votive containers and candles are really inexpensive at places like Cost Plus and Pier One.
The kids are really helpful getting the house ready because they love having guests and they know the extra work is worth it. What is on their to-do list will not make my home a showplace but it will make it tidy and comfortable for guests (and the bathrooms will be clean!)
Sit down when you have a moment and make a list of several menus you like to serve. My list has three for winter and three for summer. When I'm feeling really uninspired or am having guests on short notice, I can glance at the list and say, "We're having that!" Make out a shopping list to accompany each menu and half your work is done!
We have frequent overnight guests and so I gave them each their own plastic shoebox to keep things like toothbrushes and deodorant. When my mom drives up to visit for the day and then last-minute decides to stay overnight, she's not stranded without a few essentials. I also keep a basket of assorted diapers in our guest bathroom and those have come in handy plenty of times.
Hebrews 13:2 "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. "