Does anyone have memories of your Mom throwing cocktail parties? The excitement of a PARTY at your house (and it wasn't even any one's birthday!). And getting to see grown-ups at your house, and as you got older, maybe even helping 'serve'. I've mentioned before, but Aaron and I used throw a lot of dinner parties - Aaron is a great cook, and I love having people over. But I've found it's hard when little kids are in the mix. Now that my kids are somewhat older - I've found a great solution.
We have big open living room. Which we built with the idea of kids in mind. The whole area is pretty much childproofed, and there are plenty of toys for all ages. So what we do is I invite people to come over at around 5:30 or 6. The grown ups get a cheese plate, and the kids get a big 'party table' (a folding 6 foot table with a cheap plastic cover and balloons. Always get balloons).I feed the kids hot dogs, brownies and ice cream while the grown up mill around and talk and play with the kids.
In the meantime, I have the dining room set up with candles, real silverware, linens... and the 'grown up' dinner. Once all the kids are fed, I take tired Maggie upstairs, the guests are all chatting happily, and Aaron serves up grown up dinner. Then, the kids all all comfortable enough with each other that they play in the living room, while the grown ups can eat and drink and relax in the dining room! It's awesome!
Cam stayed up with the 'big kids' (I think the oldest was 10) until everyone left at 9:30 - and everyone had a great time.