During one of the many discussions that Tim and I had while we were on holidays a few weeks ago, we talked about our favourite childhood memories. Most of those memories were the impromptu BBQ's with friends and the cricket matches that followed. You know the memories I'm talking about? The ones where your parents would go to a get together at a friends house and it would turn into a whole evening of backyard games, a swim in the pool, dinner and then late night chats with friends.
We became all to aware of how we had started to shut people out of our life when things had started to get busy for us. We have always craved quiet nights together because most weeks we are out 6 of the 7 nights a week. And so planning to have friends over, getting the house respectable and prepping the food had just seemed like far to much effort. It was during some of our conversations that we spoke about the need to change our way of thinking. That even though we might have been exhausted from a big week, we needed to focus on what was really important and for us that was having friends over and enjoying other people's company. Sure we have one or two people over frequently - sometimes its Tim's friends that come over for a movie night, other times it's a couple that come for dinner - but we very rarely planned anything that might have seemed like an effort. Most of the problem came from pressure I was putting on myself to plan a huge menu and have a sparkling house before people walked in the door. Crazy! I can nearly guarantee that none of our visitors care about the state of our house and wouldn't bat an eyelid if I had have served sausages on bread.
We are now on a mission to have an open home - a home where people can pop in and out at any time for a coffee or for dinner without feeling like they need to 'book in' weeks in advance. A home where people come for afternoon tea but end up staying for dinner. A home where other mum's can come when they are having a tough day and need a break - where we can sit and drink a coffee together while the kids play in the backyard. You know those homes? I'm determined to make one!
On Saturday night we had 14 adults and 13 kids over for a BBQ. We provided the drinks (simple - orange juice and water) and the dessert (a giant homemade fruit salad served with coconut and vanilla sorbet) and everyone brought the meat to be cooked for their family and a salad to share. Let me tell you - there were some delicious salads that were brought over on the night! So damn good. Some of the guests brought breads to share, others bought chocolates to enjoy after the dessert. It was a lovely night and the easiest evening we have ever hosted! We spent less than an hour in the kitchen on Saturday making the fruit salad and our garden salad to share with everyone. It was so easy! To make it easy we used disposable plates and because everyone was outside for the night and the meat was cooked on the BBQ there was hardly any mess left when everything was brought inside to be washed.
Here's the evidence - 14 adults and 13 kids later and this is ALL that needed to be tidied up. It took 2 dishwasher loads and a wipe down of of the bench and the house was back to itself. I must admit that I did still do the tidying and floors before everyone arrived this time - but the bonus was that after everyone left and I'd tidied the kitchen - the house was in tip top shape and I didn't need to do any housework on Sunday.
Another good thing? Tim spent an hour or two in the garden tidying up and doing odd jobs that we had meant to do weeks ago. I snapped a few photos of the backyard yesterday while I was enjoying the 'cleaned up' feel.
Our plan is to invite different people over each time. We are already thinking of doing a night where people come over after they have had dinner and we enjoy dessert and coffee, a backyard cricket tournament for the adults and kids (in the park) one afternoon and some fondue fun another time. The list is endless! Hopefully we'll be making lots of memories for the boys and in the meantime will also be stopping the 'glorification of busy'. No more excuses about how busy we are - it is time to live life!
So tell me? What side of the fence do you sit on? Are you one of the people that is always entertaining or on the other hand are you on the same side as we were?