Having young kiddos in the house often means that when my boys have play dates, I do as well. It is such a wonderful way to get to know other moms, and build that village we want to raise our babes in. But, knowing a seemingly simple play date will likely turn into more of an event can easily derail even the best laid plans and often feels a more like a chore, than something laid back and relaxing. Since I want my boys to be fully socialized, skipping this isn’t precisely an option, so naturally I have attempted to find some shortcuts that help me pull something together quickly and easily, but still set the stage for an enjoyable afternoon for kids and adults alike. Luckily there is a Target store less than two miles from my house – this is my number one trick of the trade.
Brass Handled Vase / Stoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Plastic Beverage Dispenser / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl
STOCKPILE + SAVE
My first life hack for easy impromptu entertaining is to buy kid and outdoor friendly entertaining pieces whenever possible, and have a stockpile of chic disposables on hand and in bulk, at any given time. If you don’t need to stress about what everyone will eat with or whether something precious will get broken, you are already way ahead of the game in my book. I now keep my shelves stocked with gold striped paper napkins, chic melamine dinnerware and a stylish collection of serving platters and other various pieces to fill with snacks or utensils.
Brass Handled Vase / Stoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl
GATHER + REPURPOSE
I am on a kick to declutter and streamline all areas of my life right now, a major spring cleaning if you will, and décor tends to be the major culprit in all of my chaos. So for an item to come into my home, it needs to be both beautiful and functional, not simply one or the other. If it can serve more than one purpose then all the better to enjoy it with. Which leads to my next newly discovered life hack of repurposing items I use in my everyday life, for special purposes when I am entertaining. The amazing plant stands I bought the other day, look amazing as is, or as a center piece that simply screams spring and as it turns out the larger plant stand base is the perfect size for my drink dispenser. A great way to quickly whip together some lemonade (which I also keep on hand for exactly this sort of thing) or maybe a lemonade inspired adult beverage that sits out of reach from prying hands…
REINVENT + REINVIGORATE
Chances are, if you are heading to my house for a playdate, you definitely have kids and you are probably exhausted as a general rule of thumb. Kiddos are not for the faint of heart, but they certainly keep you young at heart… when you aren’t sound asleep before it’s even dark outside. So, what could be better than a short little getaway and a bit of rest and relaxation – without actually leaving your kids behind and all of the planning and prep that comes along with it? Not a lot…
In the spring, it starts to heat up around here and the sun can be intense for anyone older than the age of 12. And yet, the kids always want to play outside regardless, so I like the idea of reinventing my outdoor space to bring in a little of that quiet enjoyment I experience on vacation. By simply adding a few creature comforts and some relaxing entertainment, I can set the mood for a carefree afternoon all within direct sight of the little ones who aren’t old enough to run wild just yet.
Chaise lounges, good reading material, and easy to handle refreshments all under a gorgeous umbrella, to shield me from the heat… It is just so simple and lovely, requiring only the effort of filling a pitcher and grabbing a tray with something easy to snack on.
PERFECT THE GROCERY RATIO
When I shop for groceries, I try to buy a mix of things that are fresh and things that will keep. Some of my absolute favorites for outdoor entertaining also happen to be things I buy on a regular basis, so I don’t have to go far to find some fabulous and simple options to feed a crazy crew with a lot of different age groups. When I am entertaining in the hot, hot sun, frozen or chilled fruit is the perfect way to cool down and hydrate a bit. Buying fruit as I normally would and leaving everything unpeeled means there is little waste for what isn’t eaten and a more importantly, no need to worry about prep or leaving things out in the sun with the bugs.
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF
Since these mom dates are often much like first dates, it helps to have open ended activities for both kids and adults, that will keep the small talk at bay. We are huge fans of outdoor games here at Casa de TDC, and pulling out the macrame net, over sized badminton rackets and gorgeous Kubb set, makes for quite the icebreaker. Whether merely an instant conversation starter or a fun ongoing activity to get everyone moving and having fun, outdoor games are always well paired with a chic refreshment area to help beat the heat and stay hydrated. Having a front row seat also makes for great people watching - or kid watching, in my case.
If there is one thing I love, it’s a no hassle solution to food and décor, that doesn’t involve skimping or skipping the things I love. Target is always my first stop and I can always count on them to have the perfect things to add to my arsenal that let me enjoy an afternoon with my guests instead of slaving away and stressing out.