Courtney

Courtney

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hosting Tips

Good Wednesday morning!

More nature shots in the Gallery this morning. I'll be taking people shots ALL day today, so if you're in my neighborhood, be sure you look your best.

RANDOMNESS #1 - In 15 years, we have not gone a whole year without camping. Sometimes we camp in the Fall (my favorite time to camp), but in recent years, it has been necessary for us to go in the Spring because of volleyball, football and general Fall "busyness."

Since we had decided to try the train trip to New Orleans this Spring, I made up my mind NO MATTER WHAT, we would camp in the Fall.

It's a lot of pressure.

If we go in the Fall, that means we'll probably just have ONE AND ONLY ONE weekend conducive to everyone's schedule. One and only one weekend if we're lucky!

If we go on the one and only weekend, weather will not be relevant. We will HAVE to go if it is 15 degrees. We will have to go if it is raining. We will have to go if a member of The Faulkner Five is ill... and take them with us.

We will simply HAVE to go.

Because in 15 years of camping, we have never missed a year. Never. Ever.

And although I appear to be a hip, cool, go-with-the-flow Mom of teenagers, I have to be honest. I am a tightly wound, regimented, don't-mess-with-the-schedule 50 year-old menopausal mess... sometimes. Okay. Most times.

But in the defense of 50 year-old women everywhere, this didn't just happen recently. I was born that way!

"Why don't you just tent camp in the summer?" you may ask.

"Bees, heat and not enough deodorant this side of the Mason-Dixon line to contain all the teenager/semi-adult male body odor in a tent," I will answer.

"Well. Why didn't you camp during Spring Break and go to New Orleans on the train in the Summer?"

"Mosquitoes, heat, HUMIDITY and not enough deodorant this side of the Mason-Dixon line to contain all the teenager/semi-adult male body odor in a smallish hotel room," I will answer.

"What would happen if you just skipped a year of camping?" you finally ask.

"The world, as we know it, would end," I will honestly answer.

And I'm not kidding.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Okay. On to Plan B for our Spring Break getaway. Here's the itinerary... so far.

1. Saturday we travel to The Westin in Huntsville.

The Westin will give us a room with "heavenly" beds.

The Westin has an indoor/outdoor heated pool.

The Westin is on the same property as a large new-ish shopping mall.

We will enjoy all of the above until 7:15 p.m.

2. At 7:15 p.m., we have reservations at Connor's Steak and Seafood (also, on the property).

We will leisurely enjoy said steak and seafood.

3. At 9:00 p.m., we will stroll to Maggie Moo's and enjoy milkshakes/ice cream for dessert.

4. At 9:45 p.m., we have tickets to see The Hunger Games at the adjoining Monaco Theater.

5. Check-out isn't until noon, so we can sleep in, swim, shop, ride in a gondola, etc. and head home.

It has something for everyone. A bed for Austin. A steak for Josh. Shopping for Roxie. And Hunger Games for all.

I think it might work.

We'll see.

Wednesday Wisdom - I cheated and did the "Quote of the Day" thing. Some of them are pretty good, too.

Quote of the Day

"Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much." Blaise Pascal

Art Quote of the Day

"It takes a long time for a man to look like his portrait." James Whistler

Funny Quote of the Day

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house." Lewis Grizzard (I don't agree, of course, but it is pretty funny!)

Hosting a Girls' Weekend Party

I'm totally going in a different direction than planned. I read Nesting Place this morning under My Blog List, and she had a fantastic party (with pics) all posted, nice and neat. I'll share some of her ideas with you, but for the pictures and other specifics, head to her blog today. (Just click on Nesting Place under My Blog List and it will take you there in one second!)

I love hosting. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I try to focus on doing things I like, and I try to avoid doing things I hate, even when it comes to hosting. (The Enchanting Belinda says, "GREAT ADVICE!")

I’ve learned that I enjoy decorating for a party with easy, creative designs, and I enjoy being able to cook for everyone (but not to the point where it keeps me in the kitchen).

1. Enjoy looking forward and anticipating the weekend. (I start setting up a week before. No one cares if pink decorations are out for a week at my house.)

2. Decide on a theme based on something general or an overall feeling.

3. Buy fresh flowers because I LOVE them, and they make me feel good. (Do something for yourself!)

4. Decorate with inexpensive "WOW" factor ideas.

5. Cook something I’ve made before, but only cook for the first meal. Also, make a few things ahead of time.

6. Buy some food pre-made. Semi-homemade works great for a fun weekend.

7. Say yes when someone offers help. (Ellen lives close enough to come early. She helped prep dinner and brought breakfast for the next morning!)

8. Enjoy the people when they are here and don’t worry about cleaning every part of the kitchen to perfection. I can do that when they leave.

I LOVE for my home to look festive, pulled together and extra special when I have a get-together, but I learned long ago not to try to come up with some elaborate theme (although having a general theme or purpose can be helpful). I wanted the theme or feel of the weekend to be girly, fun and relaxing. When you choose a theme, you want it to be something that will be a workhorse for you, not something you have to be a slave for. I used a few five-minute ideas that quickly added some whimsical girliness into my house.

(The Enchanting Belinda says, "She has a ton of pics with simple, but pretty, decoration ideas. Please visit her blog today.")

It’s impossible to capture the very best part of the entire weekend (with pictures). The real connections, risky sharing, tears, laughter, vulnerability and true friendship that continues to grow. I am so grateful this group of girls rose up and said “Hey, let’s get together.”

What part of your personality comes out when you are hosting? What’s your favorite and least favorite part?

Great post. Great ideas. Great pictures. It makes me want to host something today... or maybe next month!

Have a great Wednesday. This Spring Break is flying by, so make the most of every day you have with your kiddos... little or big.

I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage, a fun Date or two and more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

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