Summer Happy Hour Tradition

This summer will be the 5th that I host a summer time Happy Hour on my deck. As one of the kids who regularly attends put it, “You know, Happy Hour!  Where kids play and the grown-ups have a glass of wine”.  As a Stay-at-Home-Mom, it’s my effort to stay connected with grown up friends during the lull of summer, between school and vacations. No, my deck isn’t fancy and it doesn’t have a great view but I do have a table, umbrella, chairs and a small yard for children to play in. 

When the children were smaller, this was a weekly event.  The small ones would play in the sandbox or beneath our feet.  Now that they are old enough for camps and to entertain themselves a bit, I have it monthly.  I choose a time after morning camps, after naps for small ones, but before I need to start thinking about making dinner.  3-5pm seems to work perfectly for our crowd. 

Each end of the school year, I make an email list of friends I know I want to see during the summer. I add people I have wanted to get to know better but never seem to have time to connect. I add other stay at home parents, friends with flexible schedules, my teacher friends out for the summer, and a couple of friends who I know just want to visit and wouldn’t mind popping out of work early one afternoon of the summer to connect.  I will often add a friend who’s visiting from out of town so that we can see one another, because I’m not meeting one more friend at the Space Needle.  I keep that list handy and about a week before the proposed Happy Hour I send out an invite.  I used to just send an email but lately I’ve been getting fancy and using  It keeps everything in one place, instead of dealing with extra emails. 

I don’t want having-people-over break my budget so I keep it real simple.  I always express on the invite that I’ll have a bottle (or two, dependent on the amount of positive RSVPs) and a small snack to start us out. I usually put out fruit or veggies and hummus cause it’s nice on the waist line and the adults and kids both enjoy it.  If I know I have a larger group coming, I might put a little more effort and make caprese skewers or an easy bruschetta.  I mention on the invite, that friends are free to bring something to share but don’t have to.  Someone might bring that bag of chips that they are too tempted with at home or a chocolate bar or a bottle of fizzy water cause they don’t drink.  It all seems to work out.  It’s snack time, not a full meal.  Usually it’s the kids who end up eating most of the food while the adults lightly nibble.

No one is getting drunk during these two hours.  There is rarely time for a 2nd glass and we’ve all got shit to do with the rest of our day, but it’s 2 hours that we get to catch up and our children (if we bring any) are entertained by each other.   Both are nothing short of a gift during the long months of summer.