Tuesday, January 3, 2012


This is Sara- the cute one on the left.

She's one of my dearest, dearest friends.  Besides being a great friend, Sara is a super-duper Mom, wife, runner, cook, encourager, you name it.  But today I need to tell you about her hostessing skills.  I'm serious.  She learned from the best (love you, Mrs. O!) and goes above and beyond in taking care of her guests.  Our trip to their house went so smoothly because of her fore-thought and planning.  It absolutely could have been a disaster having 4 boys under the age of 3 in one small house, everyone with different needs and expectations.  But it wasn't and I was IMPRESSED.  I learned so much from Sara this past week that I thought I would pass it on to you.  You know, just in case. (This post especially applies to folks with young-ish children)

1. Eating

In a perfect world all of our children would eat anything you put in front of them at anytime because they have sophisticated palettes and understand that their parents know what is best for them.  But let's face it, in most families if one kid does eat great, the other doesn't.  Especially in our family.  Ahem, G.  This can become even more stressful when you are away from your own kitchen.  Two weeks before our arrival Sara and I spoke about food, likes and dislikes of our kids, and veggies/fruit/snacks that my kids were used to that she might not have on hand.  She put together a flexible menu schedule (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for each day of our trip, with times added when we would eat out.   I usually do this in my head when company is coming, but have never thought to run it by my guests...the people I want to enjoy the meals.  Anyhow, we agreed on the menu and she still had plenty of time to shop for groceries and organize her kitchen.  The meal schedule was hung in the kitchen so that there was no guesswork during the trip.  Also, she picked up some extras that I needed for my kiddos ahead of time so I wasn't running to the store once I got there- and I paid her later.  This also helped us estimate how much we would be spending on meals out, which is an expense that can sneak up on you if you're not aware.

2. Activities:

Joe and I always make the mistake of going on vacation and once we get there not sure what we want to do.  We know there is lots to do in a specific place but we haven't researched it well enough or don't know what the hours are, etc.  And then we are disappointed at the end of the trip when we realize all that we missed out on.  Close to a month before our arrival Sara asked us what we would like to do/see in London.  She gave us some options and then after we gave her feedback her and Allen looked into the different activities: best days, times, and cost.  Again, she made a tentative schedule and sent it to me.  We planned which days we would take the boys into London, when we would stay near the house, and even hired her baby-sitters ahead of time so that we could have adult-only time.  I realized how important it was (especially with young children) to have plenty of down time.  If you are going non-stop every day everyone will be miserable.  We still had plenty of fun on quiet days by getting outside and exploring their neighborhood and town.

3. Sleeping:

Someday our boys will be big enough to throw in one room with a bunch of sleeping bags...but not today.  If you and your children aren't getting any sleep on a trip, there will be an overload of tantrums, and the kids won't be happy either.  Sleeping arrangements was another thing that Sara and I communicated in-depth on.  Where?  who?  In what?  We had a Plan A and a Plan B.  We ended up going with Plan B after the first night, which was fine, because there was a Plan B.  Joe and I didn't have to be stressed out over who was going to sleep where, which is certainly was a blessing!  Did our kids ever wake up early from being in a strange bed?  Sure.  But they slept great for the most part.  And in turn, so did we.

Sara Joy-  I can't say enough how much fun we had on this trip.  Joe and I were both amazed with your forethought,  organization, and care.  You taught me so much about what it means to be a gracious host and I am very grateful! You do your Mama proud.  Love you so much!

Enjoying a girls' afternoon at the cutest tea shop you ever saw. 


  1. Where a scheduled vacation used to stress me out - with kids it actually destresses. Funny how that works =) Yay for Sara!

  2. Wowee! I am reading and learning! As someone who has out of town guests with small children a lot this is really helpful. I have a lot to learn when it comes to being a hostess! And I think I want to go visit Sara next time we're in London ;-)