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Posts tagged ‘summer’

Can you host/hostess well?

August is our last month of full summer and then we begin the slow transition into the fall and winter. From the first weekend in September when we celebrate Labor Day to the last week of December when we welcome in the New Year we are on a roller coaster of holidays and celebrations. Outside of summer it is often the busiest time of year for people to host parties and get-togethers. It’s a time to celebrate and create great memories that will last a lifetime. So, what happens if you do not feel comfortable hosting a party but you want to? Well, we have a few tips for you on how to be the “Hostess with the Mostess”. There are a few simple things to think about when planning a party that will make things go smoother and easier for you.
Step One: Give yourself plenty of time to organize the event. We often underestimate the amount of work it takes to throw a “simple” party together. Not giving yourself enough time puts stress on you right from the start that is not needed. Give yourself more time that you think you need. Seriously!

Step Two: We like to think we are Superman/woman but the truth is we can only do so much and a big mistake in party planning that people make is not asking for help. We often have a bigger support network than we think we do and people really don’t mind being asked to assist. Especially when they get to participate in the fun afterwards.

Step Three: Food can make or break a party. You can do everything else right but if the food is bad or mediocre it’s all your guests will talk about so keep your food choices simple. Parties are not the time to try out new recipes. Stick with favorites that are tried and true and easy to make. Better yet, find recipes that you can make ahead so you have less to do the day of the event.

Step Four: Set the tone for your party before your guests arrive. Turn on music that creates the environment that you want. Light those scented candles that invoke smells you want to linger in your guest’s mind. Post a little sign by the door if you want guests to take off their shoes. Open the patio door if you want guests to head out to your backyard. All these little things will set the tone and you will relax knowing that the feel for your party is set and ready to roll.

Step Five: Once the party starts – relax and enjoy your own party. People do not expect you to be perfect and in fact, relax more if they feel like you are just like everyone else. Watch the flow of the party and the guests. Keep conversation going, make sure people’s glasses are full and that they have eaten enough but don’t forget that the whole point of having people over is to enjoy their company. To have good conversations and make memories. You don’t want to be so busy “hosting” that you don’t even enjoy your own get-together.

Step Six: Say Thank You! It only takes a minute in our day of technology to drop a quick thank you for attending. Choose your most convenient way of contacting people but be sure to say thank you. Especially to the friends that helped you out or stayed late to help you clean up. Everyone likes a little recognition.

With a little bit of pre-planning and learning how to keep it simple you can have a great party. You may even decide that you are quite good at hosting parties. Before you know it, you might be “THE” hostess of all your friends.

Sweet summer nights

It’s been another glorious day in the Pacific Northwest and I have been sitting behind my computer feverishly working since 7 am. The great thing about summer nights is that I can work late and still enjoy the sunshine with my dinner and a late evening walk before it gets dark. 

I love that if I’m not in the mood to cook I can always get my husband to BBQ. I am also not ashamed to admit I’m all about using paper plates in the summer. I mean, who wants to be stuck in the kitchen washing dishes? Not me. I also love that my body naturally craves lighter, cooler foods. Pass me the salad, please! 

Of course I also happen to love a good campfire but I am so not a camper. My idea of camping is not having room service. Seriously! I don’t sleep on the ground anymore. The days of that happening have long since passed. 

There are so many things I love about summer. Perhaps that is another post. Summer is a really busy time for me both personally and professionally and sometimes I feel like it passes me by in a blur even when I try to take advantage of it the best I can. 

Here’s to the sweet nights of summer and may we all enjoy them as much as possible! 

Out my Window

As I work from home, the view out my living room window is my office view. I love being able to look out my window and see our lovely little neighborhood. Today the view out my window shows the last snowfall with the sun breaking through the trees. It’s quite lovely and serene.

Before long the freshness of spring will brighten my view and I will see colorful flowers peeking their heads out of the ground as well as the neighbors all getting active in their yards.

During the summer I love to have the windows open and get the smell of the roses by windows and the sounds of the neighborhood children laughing and playing. I love the hum of hummingbirds wings as they flitter in front of window at feeders too.

In the fall, my favorite time of year, I love to see the grey skies and the swirling smoke from the neighbor across the street’s chimney. I love the way our houses all snuggle amongst the evergreens.

There are times when I sit and stare out my window day dreaming because our neighborhood is so peaceful and inviting. Outside of an ocean view I really don’t think I could ask for a better view as I work.

Only Mid-Summer?

As much I love the summer…the sun when it shines warm and bright, all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that you can get in abundance at the Farmer’s Markets, picnics and barbecues, swimming, walking and bike riding at the Bay…my least favorite thing about summer is the kids being home from school. In my case – with three teenage boys – the days go something like this:

They sleep all day because the house is peaceful and quiet. Around noon they get up and immediately I start getting text messages, “What can I eat?” which by the way seems to be the prevailing theme of summer. They snack all the time. Even though I have left a note on the kitchen counter with their chores listed they often wait until right before they know their Dad will be home before doing them and they certainly don’t do anything more than what was asked. They play video games, computer games, myspace, download anime, listen to music, watch movies and on the occassion I actually discover that one of them has read all afternoon. When they know I am about twenty minutes from home I start getting phone calls, “What’s for dinner Mom?”, “Can you bring us home a Gatorade or a bag of chips?”, “When you get home can we go….”

I walk in the door and inevitably see ground zero or as I refer to it, my kitchen. Dishes and glasses everywhere…wrappers from packages they have opened. Crumbs on the counter top, trash can overflowing (if it wasn’t one of the items on the chore list for the day) Invariably my husband has rushed home and gotten on the computer because he is taking online classes at the college right now and is completely oblivious to the mess around him.

I get bombarded the second I walk in the door with all the questions my kids didn’t text or call me with during the course of my working day. My theory is to not engage with them until I have to. I put my stuff down, kiss my husband hello and ignoring the barage of questions or comments head straight to my room. It’s my sanctuary and I spend as much time as possible changing out of my work clothes into comfy clothes, washing the makeup off my face..pretty much anything to allow me to stay in the relative peacefulness of my room as long as I can.

When I exit my room I’ve made the mental switch from work to mom. I tell the kids they can talk to me in the kitchen. I spend twenty minutes picking my kitchen back up while the kids sit at the kitchen counter and talk my ear off. When they have run out of steam and are ready to go back to video games my kitchen is clean and dinner is going. I’ve become a master at cooking and cleaning as I go. Amazingly enough my kids haven’t figured out how much I get them to while we talk in the kitchen either.

When dinner is done and my husband is done with his class and homework everything settles down. Because we both have to get up really early we generally are in bed by 9. Sometimes 10. Of course that is the middle of our kids day. They are raring to go and end up staying up all night. Last night – point of example – at midnight I got up and had to tell the kids to be quiet so we could sleep and then again at one. It doesn’t make for a good night of rest. Before you know it we have to get up and the house is clean, peaceful and quiet and we start the routine all over again.

When does school start again? When do we get back to a routine that leaves my house clean and my sanity in tact? I love summer…I really do but I don’t enjoy the chaos that summer brings with my kids having no real daily structure and no reason to go to bed before the wee hours of the dawn. Myabe I should move somehwere warm so I can enjoy the weather year round and not lump the nice weather with summer break.

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