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House of Five: Family-Friendly Entertaining

House of Five: Family-Friendly Entertaining

You may have seen our newest catalog filled with tons of summer goodness—including clever tips and ideas from some of our favorite bloggers. We spoke with Ashley Hale of House of Five for some of her best family-friendly entertaining tips from her MacKenzie-Childs-inspired outdoor space:
How do you make your outdoor decor as kid-friendly as possible?
I’m a firm believer in having a kids’ table! When we get our entire family together, we love to make a space for the grown-ups that is elegant. But for the kids, we want them to feel comfortable too. So we might set out a small table with some pillows on the ground or some games to keep them busy and possibly distract them from any of the glass, decor, or anything else that doesn’t mix well with kids. We sometimes have little crafts like building paper airplanes, coloring, or tic-tac-toe. When we provide them with a place of their own, they feel included and comfortable all at the same time.
What extra touches do you add to make your outdoor space feel cozy?
I always want company to feel comfortable, so I start with plenty of seating and I try to keep all the necessary items like drink refills and snacks within arm’s reach. I want my guests to feel like they can kick their feet up and relax with us and they don’t need to get up. So creating a space where all their needs are met is my first priority.
What snacks do you prepare that are kid-friendly?
In the summertime, we love creating sweet treats around fruit, and leave the rich and dense desserts for the colder months. We love making pavlova in the summer—it’s light and airy and perfect for a summer gathering. The kids gobble it up! We also love filling waffle cones with assorted berries and topping it with whipped cream and sprinkles (a kid favorite around here). The kids have an easy cup to hold their berries in and the waffle cone is a tasty treat at the end of the snack.
What activities/crafts do you have on hand for kids to do when you’re entertaining?
We love to keep the kids busy with outdoor activities during summer gatherings. We set up a little net for badminton, and a blow-up pool with a slide is always a big hit too. One of our kids favorite summer activities is playing with bubbles. I find that setting up a bubble machine will keep the kids busy forever so I’m free to entertain. Plus I enjoy watching them have so much fun! It’s something that doesn’t create a big mess outside so that’s a win-win.
Any summer recipes that work well for entertaining?
My favorite summer salad is cubed watermelon with chopped fresh mint. To finish, season with salt and pepper. An easy summer breakfast favorite is a large bowl of strawberries topped with brown sugar, blueberries, chopped macadamia nuts, coconut shavings, and anything else you’d like. Then it gets topped with a splash of heavy cream.

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