From the Editor

Entertaining can be nerve-racking — the planning, shopping, inviting, arranging and cleaning up. Why are tablecloths such a pain to iron? Why must it rain? Why must whipped cream be whipped at the very last minute?

That’s one way of thinking before a get-together. Then there’s the way that my friend and neighbor Eileen taught me.

This is how Eileen works: It’s a gorgeous summer day and the moms are sitting around watching the kids play. She’ll zip inside and return a half hour later with a miraculous pasta dish she whipped up with ingredients she had on hand. Someone else will then grab some sandwiches and juice boxes for the kids and, voilà, we have a party.

Every spring, Eileen hosts an Easter egg hunt in her backyard. If her schedule permits it, she’ll bake and cook for the party. If time is tight that year, she skips the outdoor buffet but still invites everyone over for the hunt. Either way, all the neighborhood children will grow up remembering the tradition she created.

When she had her third child, Eileen slowed down a bit, but nothing could stop her penchant for turning a moment into a memory. Just the other night, she walked down the street, pushing her baby in a stroller. In the bottom of it she’d stashed a few quick appetizers, and before we knew it we were dining al fresco on the driveway, enjoying the warm night air and a front-row seat to a game of tag.

To entertain often, you have to do it like Eileen, seizing the moment and then going with the flow. Her parties always evolve organically. And they are always fun.

So it is with the family featured in our cover story this month. The DiBenedettos of Avon Lake, Ohio, have people over at least a dozen times a year. The key? Turn to page 38 to find out.

In the department we added this month (On Board, page 36), we feature another family that likes to have fun. The Verduns of Grosse Ile, Mich., hit the water on their boat every chance they get, sometimes for a weekend trip, sometimes just for an hour jaunt. We’ll feature a different family in this new department every issue. If you’d like to be considered, send me an e-mail with the subject “On Board” at Include your name, contact info, a brief description of your boating lifestyle and maybe a photo or two.

Those aren’t the only photos we’re after, though: We’re accepting submissions for our 2010 Photo Contest. The rules are at; send submissions to The deadline is Oct. 6, 2010, and the grand prize is a $500 B&H gift card, so get out there and take some pictures. We can’t wait to see them.