Monday, April 10, 2017

Getting Ready: Preparing For People

Inviting guests to your home, whether friends or family, can be both an exciting yet equally daunting time - especially if they’re staying overnight or for a little longer! There’s a lot that you have to try and get ready, so many things to plan and it’ll all be over before you know it. It’s like a lot of build up for something that will fly by, just like Christmas or a special birthday. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and enjoy the build up. The best way to do this is to learn a few little hacks which will cover everything in the time that you need it to be done, if not quicker.

Making Bed Space

The problem that a lot of people suffer with nowadays when it comes to housing guests is that they don’t necessarily have the room for them. You end up giving up your own beds and make do on sofas, look into booking rooms at nearby hotels, consider parking caravans on the drive to create a ‘home away from home’ experience and all sorts of other things. If you are making room for a couple to stay over, see if you can fit two twin beds together to make a king size (don’t worry - you can buy split king sheets to go over them and help bring the mattresses together to stop them from falling down the middle of it).Airbeds are getting comfier with every new prototype made, and are extremely easy to store. So easy, in fact, that you may find that when it comes to storing them away until next time, you may forget where you had put them - such is the convenience of them and how small they are once properly packed away. Keeping lightweight sleeping bags on hand is always a bonus, as they can be used not just in the house but for camping trips, school sleepovers and all other sorts of occasions that will require them over the years. They’re actually quite a sound investment to make, regardless of whether you have visitors often or not.

Catering For Diets

Rather than cooking up a meal for everybody and taking a chance on any allergies or exclusions that they have for their diet, the best thing that you can do is create a buffet. Don’t get into the mindset that buffets are for kids parties and cheap social events - they can be as elaborate or minimalistic as you want them to be, and are brilliant for providing for even the pickiest of eaters. As long as you make sure that you have a wide array of nibbles for them to make their choice from, there shouldn’t be a problem. Phone in advance and ask if there are any really severe allergies that need to be catered for. For example, if somebody has an extreme peanut allergy, there is no way that any of the food that you are presenting should have any traces of this trigger in them, near them or around them. As long as you are aware of what needs to be completely avoided, you can go wild with anything else. Remember to make it age-friendly as well - kids aren’t too fussed about eating cured meats, fancy breads and olives, for example. If you provide a platter that’s healthy, easy to pick from and enjoyable, this will go down a storm. Crudités such as cucumbers, carrots and celery sticks can easily be dipped into pots of salsa and hummus, and it’s this mixing and matching of foods which both adults and children alike enjoy. If buffets aren’t really your thing, making a crock pot of a dish that can be dipped into throughout the day (or a couple of dishes if you’re feeling particularly adventurous), alongside rice/potatoes and salad is a surefire way to keep everybody happy.

Not a particularly great cook or not confident in the kitchen? Either eat out or ask your guests if they’d like to help you cook. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Entertainment For The Adults

There is only so far that chat can get you, especially if you’re lacking on gossip! It all depends on how long it’s been since you have seen your guests, how well you can relate to them on a level and just how much you’ve got in common. It helps knowing the same sort of people. If this isn’t something that is appropriate or that you can do easily, it’s time to crack on to other things. Board games such as Articulate, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit seemingly never fall out of favor, and with continual updates to keep questions up to speed, there is nobody who won’t be able to join in. If you can’t find a store that sells them, try looking online. You could pick a movie for you all to watch, or even start a series on a streaming site such as Netflix. The world is your oyster when it comes to entertainment; if you have childcare available, you could take them for a night out where you live doing what you’d normally do. It’s a lot more fun going out for a night when you’ve got friends with you, especially if you’re taking them to your favorite haunts. A lot of entertainment can be had over a meal, however, and integrating said entertainment into a meal can be a way of killing two birds with one stone. Murder mystery nights are great fun, although your visitors may need a fair bit of warning; they usually require some element of dressing up. There are also dinner games that are available to buy for you to play along with between courses or after it’s all finished. It’s a brilliant way to relax but still keep the fun going.

Entertainment For The Kids

One of the most tedious things that you can pick up on (and this is more so true if you’ve got kids yourself and have experienced it) is a lack of entertainment for the children that are due to arrive at your house. Most kids can make their own entertainment if they’ve got somebody to play with and are at the age where they utilize their imagination for most of their fun, but this is quite a niche time of their life and usually occurs just before they start preschool. If you have children of a similar age, this can be brilliant; they’ll usually form their own bonds and can make up their own games together. If the age gap is a little more than they would like to hit it straight off from the start, see if a neighbor or friend can lend you any games/toys or have a look at setting up something that kids of all ages will enjoy. With this, you need to take into account the things to do that can be spread across many age levels. These include craft tables, outdoor building kits, dress-up boxes and decorating kits (for baking, cookies, ornamentation and so much more). They’re fairly easy to do, and as cheap as you want them to be. It’s not hard to paint up some pasta shells and get some string for them to be threaded onto to make a quick homemade necklace, and kids of all ages love doing stuff like this; some for the nostalgia, others for the creativity and imagination element. It’s so much better if the weather is fair outside, as this allows you more options to choose from. It also gives you a lot more room for them to run around and wear themselves out without getting under your feet. A win-win all round!

Tripping Out & Sightseeing

There is more waiting for you on your doorstep that you know about. It’s usually the way that with attractions that are around you and that you’ve grown up with/become complacent with, the more unlikely you are to have actually visited it. It’s sort of a “well, it’ll always be there…” kind of thing. Chances are that you’ll never really get round to seeing it, but if you make a point of visiting these places with your guests, it’ll be an exploration for everybody that is at least conveniently located. There are sites online that will easily be able to tell you what’s on around you, and especially if you are unaware of all of the attractions that are open to visitor, it’s great to get a good idea. Sometimes all it takes is a quite typing of your location on Google to alert you to the nearest places of interest around you. The old fashioned method of asking friends and neighbors for recommendations is always a winner. It could be that they know of a specific event, gig or attraction that is happening on the days that your guests are staying, and it’s always refreshing to be able to get out and about with them to somewhere that’s new to you.

Preparing for guests shouldn't be stressful. With these simple ways you can make your next get together a blast! Whats your go to theme when you have to be the host? Comment down below!

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