Disclosure: I received sparkling wine and #LiveGloriously party supplies from Gloria Ferrer. All opinions are my own.
One year ago, this giant trampoline lived in our dining area. (It’s so embarrassing. I had to hunt for quite some time to actually find photos to share.)
Ack! For over two years–27 long months to be exact–this monstrosity affectionately known as “the bouncy bean” lived in our downstairs great room.
It was Ronin’s 4th birthday gift and honestly it was–and still is--the most used gift of all time. To this day, three years and three months later, the bouncy bean is used every.single.day. so it was well worth the cost. I just didn’t realize when we bought it that it’s cost would include hosting holiday dinners in the living room, and being embarrassed to have guests in our home.
So on December 23, 2013 as I looked toward another Christmas Eve dinner smooshed in our living area, I had one of those moments where nothing would stop me. The bouncy bean had to go. Miraculously we were able to force fit the trampoline into Ronin’s bedroom (by sheer force of will) and our downstairs officially became trampoline free. I was filled with joy!
Then during 2014, I remembered what it was like to love having parties and company over once again. I even got to blog about it, and make money for our family. I started to get my entertaining groove back and it’s felt so so good!
So as we hosted our family for Christmas this week, I flashed back to how it once was in our bouncy bean-challenged home, and loved celebrating one full year being trampoline free.
When you have kids, there are so many obstacles and challenges when entertaining, but really it can be a lot of fun too. So I thought I’d share a few tips to kick off the New Year. Let’s hope entertaining in 2015 can be awesome, even without a babysitter.
Tips to Entertaining When You Have Kids
Tip #1: Get the Trampoline Out of the Dining Room, i.e. Reclaim Your Entertainment Space
Of course this one was literal for me. For you it might be that giant pile of toys and books haunting your entertainment space. Even without the trampoline, our toy hoard builds up so quickly, but when it’s a mess I do not want to have guests. So we try to keep moving it upstairs. We’ve also created a somewhat hidden toy storage space behind the couch because it’s practically impossible for us to keep the room 100% toy free. I didn’t realize until we finally got the trampoline and most of the toys out of the dining room, that it really was affecting my enjoyment of our home.
Tip #2: Kid Activities
Speaking of the trampoline. I also wanted to mention how wonderful it was to get it to fit into Ronin’s bedroom. Even though it stressed me out in some ways, I did not want to lose it. Why, you ask? You know those moments when the kids go stir crazy and need to burn off energy? Or how about when you have guests and the kids need a distraction? That trampoline–upstairs–has been a life saver. Like this Thanksgiving when we actually got to eat adults-only while the kids were upstairs jumping!
Don’t have a trampoline? Be sure to have a good kids party activity handy. This blow up bowling set down an unused hallway is fun, or even just having the iPad ready for those moments when you want a bit of quiet. Yes, I fully support screen time during a dinner party.
Tip #3: The Beverage Center
For me, one of the most important things when entertaining at home is our kitchen bar filled with an array of beverages (with easy access for the adults!)
On one end the champagne, wine and other alcoholic beverages, and on the other, water and the Keurig with coffee, tea, hot cocoa and apple cider. That way there’s something special for everyone.
This holiday season we have thoroughly enjoyed the sparkling wine sent to us by Gloria Ferrer. For our big family Christmas dinner, (an Italian meal prepared by me and my mother-in-law Philomena) the adults enjoyed Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut with raspberries. Gloriously yummy! And Blanc de Blancs was another favorite. I’ve saved a couple bottles for New Year’s Eve too. What’s a New Year’s toast without champagne?!
Tip #4: Have Fun with the Food
I have to admit, we were super rushed cooking this Christmas. I delayed grocery shopping until the very last minute, so when cooking began we were all hands on deck. (So I suppose Tip# 3.5 should be get groceries early!) Because, when I have enough time, Tip #4: “have fun with the food” can make things extra exciting for the kids, and for your guests too. It does not have to be difficult, but does take a little extra planning. You’ll find more info about these very simple party foods here and here. I love simple, don’t you?
Tip #5: Relax and Enjoy the Ride!
Say it with me! “A dinner party does not have to be perfect to be fun!” And most of the time when kids are involved, it won’t be perfect. There will be messes and spills. You may not have time for a pinterest-worthy spread, or perfectly positioned tablescape. And that is A-OK. It’s the company that matters, and this holiday we had lots of wonderful company. I hope you did too.