Grownup Entertaining with Small Children

Friday's wine tasting was a success! K, myself, and our husbands tasted three white wines and a rose over the course of several hours, appetizers, and sippy cup mishaps. We are still tallying the results, so stay tuned to get our recommendations for white wines under $10. In the meantime, here's my rundown on how to entertain with small children (Between K and I, we have 1 two-year old, and 2 one-year olds).


Rookie mistakes:

Timing: We scheduled the tasting for 6pm--right in the middle of our three kids' dinner and bedtime routine. We explained that this was a special night, a party, and that's why they got to stay up late and eat pigs in a blanket like they were going out of style. But comprehension at the 11-13 month age is not the best, so pretty much when we ran out of food, we had to assign a free safety to make sure the toddlers didn't toddle up the stairs while the rest of us sipped rose.
Water: At my house, we operate on the mi casa/tu casa mentality. So, if you need water, get some water--you know where the glasses are. In retrospect, we should have had bottles of water available to pace the wine and to serve as handy playthings for the little ones.


Unmitigated successes:

Food: The array of pre-made appetizers from Target and Trader Joes were perfect. We had 4 rounds of appetizers, each with their own sauce (mustard counts as a sauce). They were a hit with both kids and adults. Then I pulled out pre-cooked pulled pork and coleslaw for dinner. There was a fair amount of baking and heating going on, but minimal cost, prep, and headache.
Scorecards: Each wine had a color-coded notecard with scoring written on it. All we had to do was circle numbers in a variety of categories. This was great for the husbands, who had to be reminded to do their scoring.
Amount of wine: Four bottles for four adults sounds like a lot. But, we didn't drink all of every bottle, especially towards the end of the night. It is not a coincidence that the best of the bottles was finished fairly quickly and some of the others were used in pasta sauce the next day. Four gave us a variety to taste and the option to have seconds or dump and move on to the next bottle.


Lessons learned for next time:

  1. Get a babysitter.
  2. Start later, at least after the babies have gone to sleep.
  3. Have planned activities for older kids. I broke out the crayons and paper, but much too late to have much affect. Next time, we'll have a coloring station set up with lots of paper, crayons, and stickers. And kid-appropriate videos like Elmo and Dora for when coloring loses its panache.
  4. Have bigger scorecards. Mr. Idgie has an amazing turn of phrase and I'm afraid I missed out on some great descriptions because all he did was circle numbers. I wanted comments!



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