Usually when we invite over families with kids for dinner we all end up huddled around the kids table, eating while standing, and then entertaining the kids in the living room for the rest of the evening. Which is great and all, but always seems kind of chaotic and not really relaxing for the parents. I tried a few new things a couple weeks ago for a family dinner party that made it so much more easy and enjoyable and thought I’d share them for today’s Tuesday Tip…
1. I made a pasta dish beforehand that I kept in the fridge and simply had to pop in the oven for 30 minutes right before the guests arrived. Really, any baked ziti or or lasagna would work here. I made one of my favorite weeknight meals, tomato pesto pasta which is such a cinch to prepare but delicious. I also made plain buttered noodles for some of the pickier kids. One of the guests brought a green salad.
2. I made homemade foccacia bread but most of the time is spent letting it rise. Another quick bake in the oven when the pasta comes out during appetizers.
3. The dessert was also made earlier that day (it was this delicious banana pudding). Even better if it’s made the day before!
So, it was pretty stress-free in the moments before the dinner. I even had time to get dressed and put on lipstick. We just had to pick up the house (which required a lot of work as always) and set the dining room table.
Here’s the big trick though that made the night:
4. Jared and I fed the kids in the kitchen nook as soon as our guests arrived at 6pm. There were 6 kids, all ages 3-8 with the exception of Edie. Adults were having drinks and digging into the cheese plate in the living room. Once the kids were fed, we put in the movie UP for them and shut the living room doors. Edie was put to bed. It was about 7pm I think at this point. We lit candles and had a nice, quiet, relaxed adult meal at the dining room table (which actually, is a folding table that I put a nice tablecloth on since the dining room is also Jared’s office). Every once in a while a kid would come in for a drink of water or something and sit on their parent’s lap for a bit, but for the most part they were all chilled out watching the movie. When it was dessert time we invited them to our table. It worked so well, we’ll definitely have to try it again.
Any dinner party tricks with kids up your sleeve?
PS A kid-friendly cheese plate is great for these kind of family dinner parties
More Tuesday Tip ideas right here (a relatively new series where I focus on simple, smart ideas for family life)