Getting Outside

Did it just suddenly seem to go from cool to hot where you are? It absolutely did here in east Texas. The only benefit is that we can now officially use the pool we put in! We entertain often, and staying outside during the summer can seem fun in theory, but it’s often too hot to just sit around.

Aside from the pool, I absolutely love to play yardzee…it’s just a much larger version of Yahtzee!

This one has a reusable score board, which makes it fun to truly play. If you’re crafty with tools, you could also try to just make it on your own.

We also enjoy playing corn hole with the kiddos and friends during the warmer months. This set that I found on Amazon is much less expensive than any of the others. I’m not sure it’s regulation size, but it seems to be full size and not a table-top size, which is really all I personally care about. I don’t plan to go pro any time soon.

What are your favorite things to do outdoors?

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The Best Way to Start Entertaining

I truly love having people over. I have an extroverted personality, and being around people refreshes me. My husband, though, is the exact opposite. He needs alone time to rejunvenate. I think for some introverts the planning and anticipation can often be as exhausting as the actual event.

Now that my kids are four and six and sleep through the night, I enjoy reading for a while before bed. One blogger I enjoy following, Money Saving Mom, has recently recommended the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.

So often we build things up that we become overwhelmed with just the idea of it.

The best way to start entertaining is to simply open up your home.

I believe we are social creatures, which is why etiquette has such a big part in our lives. Etiquette, at its core, is about respect of others. While etiquette is so much more than knowing which fork to use, using the correct fork is respectful of your host. Knowing that it’s respectful is what etiquette is all about.

Now, you absolutely don’t need anything other than an open door to entertain.

Having an open heart and an open door leads to lasting relationships.

Use what you have, which is yourself. Offer a compassionate heart and open ear. Just take that first step to allow someone into your home and into your life. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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A Fun Party Idea – Tea Party with Dolls!

I had a reader write in to ask what “just because” party she could do for her daughter. Her daughter is in the 2nd grade. They’re newer to their area, but they have already made several friends. I couldn’t think of a better party than a doll tea party!

While it’s still spring, you could take advantage of the warmer (but not hot) days by having the party outside. Have all of the girls bring a doll or stuffed animal with them. You could even lay out a blanket like a picnic for the dolls. If you have plastic play plates, set those out. If not, paper is perfect! It definitely doesn’t have to cost a lot.

For food, think easy-to-eat foods.

If your daughter loves PB&Js, go with that! Make the food your own. An easy-to-make craft is to have each of the girls make their own paper plate party hat!

You can find lots of tea-centered games and craft on Pinterest, too! If a little girl in your life loves tea and the classic 18″ dolls, this American Girl – Beforever Rebecca – Rebecca’s Teatime Traditions is amazing!

American Girl tea set

American Girl-brand items are always more expensive than their counterparts (Our Generation, My Life, etc.), and *surprise, surprise,* I don’t always like the American Girl items better. However, I do love the above tea set. My daughter has the 18 Inch Doll Tea Party & Dessert Food Set, Two Complete Doll Sets for Your Favorite 18 Inch Doll | Includes 64 Pieces of Pretend Doll Food & Accessories, which has plenty of items to share. It’s definitely a bigger bang for your buck, and, as often as we have friends over, it was the better choice for us!

18″ Doll Tea Party Set

Hospitality is very important to me, so I’m thankful that she is so willing and eager to entertain! If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, I highly suggest the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation. I first heard about this book from Money Saving Mom.

I feel like Garrett and I became overly busy at one point in our lives, and we’re getting back on track for making time for what’s important to us. Afterall, when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else.

I hope you feel inspired to have a party or get-together of your own! I’d love to hear about it if you do. 🙂

 

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Affordable Entertaining

Unfortunately, just like the myth that etiquette is for the elite is perpetuated, the myth that you must serve a seven-course meal anytime you want to have friends over is also perpetuated. I’m here today to help!

Entertaining does not have to be a super formal event, and potlucks are completely acceptable!

Here are my top 5 tips for keeping entertaining inexpensive and affordable.

  1. Cook with eggs – frittatas are beautiful and inexpensive. Bonus – you can use up leftover veggies!
  2. Have a one-pot meal. Soups and casseroles are well known for stretching meat further. They’re also delicious and filling.
  3. If your guests offers to bring dessert, let them. This is most appropriate if you’re having close friends or family over.
  4. Limit choices. If you want to make the evening feel special and have appetizers, limit the appetizers to one or two options. Much less with go to waste. Likewise, don’t feel pressured to have multiple drink options.
  5. Limit the number of guests. This is the one that surprises people the most. However, by limiting the number you invite, you’re not only saving money, but you’re also getting more quality time with those there.
  6. Bonus Tip: Entertain at an off time. Have a coffee or a tea instead of a full meal!

What other tips would you add? Thank you for reading!

How To Make Your Home Feel Welcoming On A Budget, Part 2

Can I tell you a little secret? Entertaining doesn’t cost a lot. Procrastination does. Every time I’ve gone over budget for a party or spent more than what I felt like it was worth (because what’s the point of spending more than you have to, right?), I’ve always regretted it. It’s also always been because I had too much on my to-do list.

For the past several years, I’ve been a big fan of Money Saving Mom. Not only does she have great money-saving tips and coupons, but she also promotes time management. Why? Because not only can procrastination eat up our time, it eats up our wallet, as well. Seriously, y’all.

We all have the same amount of time in our day. Something I’ve struggled with over the years is busyness. There’s just no point in being busy just to be busy. I’d much rather streamline my time to be productive. Think of our day as a budget. We all have a choice in how we use our time. Are you making the most of it?

Here are a couple of my tricks for entertaining while not spending a lot of money or time.

  • Pare down the menu – Stick with a protein, veggie and a carb. Add a bread if you really want to. Added tip – Utilize your crock pot!
  • Don’t overbook your day – This is especially true for the day of an event. Don’t have it where you’re coming home just 15 minutes prior to having people over for dinner.
  • Plan in advance – If you aren’t waiting until the last minute, you won’t overspend at the store for food. You might find some great deals a week before your dinner party that you’re able to freeze. Or, instead of buying a pre-bought dessert, you can use low-cost ingredients to make one yourself.

Check back for Part 3! What are some tips you use to help yourself not procrastinate? Thank you for reading!!