Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flexible Entertaining

I am prone to impatience and Type A control freakishness. If you did not know this about me, now you do. Yay. I bet you want to keep reading this post now, don't you?

After reading Sandy's Coughlin's book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I've really been making an effort to remember that just because we can't afford to host a cookout and serve 30 guests lobster tails on gold plated china, doesn't mean that we can't still host a barbecue.

We started small and invited our local family members over for a 4th of July cookout. T worked up until dinnertime, so I spent the day at home making the girls clean up all their toys and hiding stuff I didn't want people to see.  Aside from the weeds in the flower bed I didn't get to, we had a nice greeting for our guests.

I even made a quick wreath for the front door with a Dollar Store garland:

Things were going well; both sides of the family were visiting nicely, babies were swinging, sisters were getting along.

I tried to dress up the ratty old picnic table (the one we stole from the trashy ghetto neighbors), while Michaela Byrd, who insisted upon wearing her winter patent leather dress shoes, performed an interpretive dance while she recited the Pledge of Allegiance. We are nothing if not patriotic.

The girls also insisted that their Statue of Liberty "torches" from VBS be we worked them in...

We had just set the hamburger buns out when the rain started.

Instead of throwing a hissy fit (which is what Natalie did), I got everyone to help cart things back indoors and we had a lovely "cook-in."

We were eventually able to go back out for a bit to let the girls play with sparklers, and I noticed how much happier I was by not getting all worked up about having to bring everything inside.

Because enjoying the time with our guests was what was most important!

And in case you don't remember how it goes, here's a video of my 3 year old saying the Pledge. Her sister, ever the enforcer of liberty, was quick to point out that she forgot the "justice," but I say give her a break. She really seems to love that flag, after all.

{How did you spend the 4th?}


  1. That is one smart girl, haha! She is so cute and looked so serious holding that flag. Love it! :)

    I need to take a look at that book, I want to entertain more, but I think I have the same inner struggle that you mentioned. Things looked great out there, the picnic table looked shabby chic, loved the torch centerpieces, and weeds? What weeds? ;)

  2. That sounds like such a fun time! I am a big time planner so I don't host many informal get together....usually just birthday parties that are planned for months:) I love all your cute 4th decorations and your girlies are the cutest of all!

  3. Your daughter is so smart & so adorable!! She did a GREAT job!!

  4. Looks like a fun evening!

    I'm definitely guilty of thinking that everything has to be perfect when people come over!

  5. Michaela is precious! It looks like everyone had a great, including you.

  6. Great post! Looks like a fabulous time. Thanks for your honesty, girl. I think this post is so inspiring!

  7. Looks like a great get together...and for the record, I'd prefer a cookout to lobster tail served on china :)

  8. Haha! Pledge of Allegiance interpretive dance. Why are interpretive dances not a part of EVERY holiday?!

  9. That rain was definitely a pain, wasn't it? We had friends over for water play and ate until we were stuffed and then ate some more, made S'mores over the fire and then waited under canopies until the rain let up enough to do some fireworks. It was great!

    Glad you all had a great night! :)

  10. Wowza, these are adorable pictures!
    We have a firecracker, Gus, who turned 10 on the 4th.
    Not to be outdone, our youngest threw off her training wheels and conquered the big girl bike in time for our neighborhood parade!
    Happy Post 4th of July!!!! (Get it? POST?)
    Kerry at

  11. What a great post. Inspirational and patriotic all rolled into one. I totally get what you mean about having to make an effort not to get tense because the party had to move inside. Lately I've been trying to pretend I'm at someone else's house where I would cut them slack (obviously) so why shouldn't I cut myself some slack. It's not easy though, is it. :) Sounds like your day was fabulous.

  12. I love having family/friends over. I have to mentally tell floor will get filthy, I always do buffet style, I always do paper products..(china..what), my upstairs game gets slammed. But,... my kids have wonderful memories, we draw closer together as friends and family, and I get to eat until I'm sick!! Btw..your little chickens are adorable.

  13. Oh what a darling dance and pledge. I think God smiles when children show their joy of life.

    You deserve kudos for adapting to circumstances. I could take a few lessons from you.


  14. Love that rendition of the Pledge! So adorable!

    Looks like a fabulous time was had by all, and also - now I want a burger.

  15. Love that rendition of the Pledge! So adorable!

    Looks like a fabulous time was had by all, and also - now I want a burger.

  16. Don't get creeped out....I forgot to log out of my husband's profile when I started reading and commenting on blogs! Sorry - but that was me! ^

  17. You've declared independence from stressful perfect party planning! Go girl! Free at last!

    Looks like a lovely time. I need to remind myself to let it go sometimes. Things don't have to be perfect. And real life isn't perfect. But it's still beautiful.

    Happy 4th!

  18. LOL about the white patent leather shoes and interpretive dance. And little kids reciting things like that are hilarious--when she was in kindergarten, my little sister thought "My Country 'Tis of Thee" went "land where my fathers died, land where the pigeons fried." :P

    Glad you were able to have a good time even if the weather didn't cooperate!

  19. Looks like a great party! I love to host parties, and I try to get all the work done prior to party time so that I can relax and enjoy along with my guests. We spent the 4th with friends at their lake place...swimming, BBQ and a spectacular fireworks display :)

  20. Swe Michaela! She did a fantastic job and I just love that we get to hear what your voice sounds like. That's weird, right?

    Looks like y'all had a great celebration, even if it was a cook-in.

  21. Very cute! Also, a great reminder that having people over doesn't have to be a huge expense, I tend to go overboard or not do it at all.

    Love the tap dancing. Too cute!

  22. Bummer that it rained, but good for you for rolling with the punches!
    Michaela did a great job. Adorable!


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