We love to have people over. When Johnnie and I were first married he didn't love it as much as me but for me growing up there was always a party, bbq, celebration going on so after 11 years of marriage and 5 babies and one more on the way he now loves it as much as i do (i think) and we tend to have a lot of stuff at our home. This weekend we had some friends over a BBQ, swimming and games. John and I are very blessed we really do have some great friends.
Since our AC was out for what seemed like forever we had kind of been in a funk lately (more me then him) it is hard when you are used to seeing people then spend 3 weeks stuck in one or two rooms of your house where the ac works.
This year has been interesting to say the least we have moved into this great house but with that came some very unforeseen expenses that literally leave our checking account dry every pay period. let me just say it is not cheap to cool and heat this house and when you live in a town where it gets a 100+ degrees for 3-4 months of the year no AC is not a option, so lately entertaining has been on the back burner cause lets face it is not free to have a bunch of people over.
But this weekend we did one of the most ghetto things and invited our friends over and asked them to bring a side to share AND there own meat for there family. normally John and I would invite you over for a BBQ and provide the main dish and some sides too and maybe ask you to bring some thing small. Well it worked out great and no one seemed to mind. We will definitely be doing that again. i made a nice green salad, a big bowl of watermelon and cantaloupe, some cookies and drinks and everyone else brought the rest of the food. it took some of the stress off hosting and prepping too which is always nice. This also helps in dividing up the cost because we all know how expensive it can be to feed 20 people, and everyone brought what there family liked.
The kids swam for a bit then ran around the back yard and us adults played Mexican train game. There was 8 adults and 12 kids and it was fun and pretty low stress.
I find entertaining very easy and pretty low stress. I used to make a big deal out of every party or BBQ we had but as our families get bigger, people get more busy, finances get tighter entertaining does not have to be cut out. So here are some of my top tips for entertaining:
- have people bring something- that sounds simple and it is. you don't have to fork over the bill and cook the entire meal from start to finish. and honestly most people like to bring something. things i tend to have others bring are desserts, breads, chips and dip, fruit. Not things that are too hard to make, and usually they can just pick up on the way to our house if they want. And sometimes i just say this is what i am making ___ what would you like to bring.
- Entertaining with kids is fun but try not to get fancy, kids don't want to eat fancy appetizers, grilled lamb, and tons of different salads. they want to eat burgers, pizza or mac n cheese. Not to say kids don't like those things my kids like different things but it is easy to keep it simple when you are entertaining families.
- There is nothing wrong with paper plates, plastic cups, and paper napkins. Most of our friends have larger families so since i don't have place setting for 20 generally we use paper plates. on occasion if we are just having one other family over, or are serving something more substantial than hot dogs, or pizza we will use regular plates. It helps with the clean up too.
- work the grill. We grill year around here and i love it because my hubby does the main part of the meal and i just prep everything else and get the drinks together (which is almost always tea, sweet and unsweetened, most people like tea and much more affordable than sodas)
- Relax- your friends just want to come over to get out of the house and spend time with friends so don't stress it is just a meal it doesn't have to be the best meal they ever had (although always a bonus if it is =))
i have many more so i will post again on this topic later this week but this post is already too long.