With a little creativity…

Mark and I have been trying to think of ideas to have fun, spend time with other adults, spend time with each other, and laugh more.  As you can imagine, with seven children, our social life is not that exciting!  One of the changes we are trying to make is to increase these opportunities for ourselves while sticking to our new budget.

One of the ideas we have come up with is to host once or twice a month small dinner parties here.  This will give me the chance to try out new recipes that do not have to be kid-friendly and Mark and I the chance to talk to other adults.  Most of our kids go to bed early so it is easy enough to feed them something easy, put them to bed, and then have our adult meal.

Friday was our first attempt and it went so well!  My only regret is not taking more pictures.  The one photo that Mark did take does not do justice to the food, the fun, or the decor.  We had two couples over, Mark’s brother E. and his wife C. and our good friends T. and B.

I planned a Thai theme because I had always wanted to learn to make salad rolls.    The decorating was easy and very inexpensive.  I bought a straw beach mat for $0.57 at an end of season summer sale and used it as our tablecloth.  I placed three tea lights on the table along with an ornamental pepper plant that was less than $3.  We already had some Asian dishes and I bought more on sale (less than $30 for six sets of plates, sauce dishes, chopsticks, and chopstick holders – we will use them again).  I also bought six Asian soup spoons for a few dollars in total.

The food was excellent!  B. brought a nutty chicken curry and a thai sweet rice dessert with mango.  I made a hot and sour soup that was not authentically thai but was a great kick-off anyway.  The salad rolls were spectacular, as was the satay sauce I made to go with them.  I cheated on the Thai Sweet Chili dipping sauce though and poured it right out of a jar!  For the main course, I made fragrant rice, green curry with peas, red curry with chicken and peppers, and a shrimp and vegetable stir fry with fresh basil from our garden.

The one area we did splurge on was drinks.  I made a strawberry lemonade with fresh lemons and berries and we bought Singha (thai) beer and wine.  We are not big drinkers, so this was an unusual treat.

The evening was full of lively conversation and laughter.  I was able to eat delicious spicy food and share in the company of great people.  All told, the evening cost less than it would have cost Mark and I to get a babysitter and go out for dinner by ourselves.  We are already planning the next dinner party and tossing around theme ideas!


4 responses to this post.

  1. What a great idea! My Hubby and I are always lamenting that we don’t get enough adult time with friends, or quality fun time with our 4 boys. This seems like a fun solution.

    We are going to host a dinner & game night with some friends and their kids, where in the first round, we can play something that everyone can play, then in the second round, maybe the kids could play something together while the adults played another game. Or we could just have adult conversation while the kids played the second round. Or something. We’ll figure it out as we go along.


  2. Posted by Deanne on September 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    What a great idea Sharla! Only thing missing around your lovely table is me and M! Sounds like you had a delicious and fun filled evening. We’re thinking of taking a Thai cooking course together this Fall for something fun to do. I just need to find one and get us signed up!

    Looking forward to hearing about your next dinner party adventure. 🙂


  3. Great idea! I might have to steal that one sometime soon!


  4. My hubbie and I were part of a gourmet dinner club for several years while we lived in Vancouver, and we loved it. There were four couples, and we each took a turn hosting once a year; then, two other times during the year, we went out for dinner to an ethnic restaurant of some kind or another.
    THe host was responsible for planning the menu (around a theme country), distributing recipes to the other three couples, doing the majority of the cooking, decorating, and purchasing any alcohol. I remember at least three nights that Geoff and I hosted: Mexican night; Italian night; and Greek night. Over the years, we got to prepare and eat samples from various countries around the world (never ET), and we loved it.
    Have fun.



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