I have been humming "Be Our Guest" for weeks now. Ever since watching the new "Beauty and the Beast" on Netflix with my girls, the song has been in the air around our house. This past weekend we had Grandma (my mom and our most frequent guest) and my brother and sister-in-law visiting. These guests gave us the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and put our magic to the test.
By magic I mean our house was reasonably tidy and welcoming with minimal effort. With three girls eight and under in a 1300 square foot home, I believe that in itself to be pretty magical. We do not have a guest room or a toy room and we didn't run around grabbing things to shove in a closet or the basement. Since de-cluttering, hosting guests has been a lot less work.
We have a strategy for accommodating overnight guests that works out for us. Our girls each have their own room. The big girls have full-size beds. When grandma visits, they sleep together in one room while grandma gets the other. Since we had more than just Grandma visiting this past weekend, the girls slept on an air mattress to give up their beds to our guests. They like doing this since we make a thing of it by breaking out the sleeping bags.*
While I put fresh linens on the beds, the girls tidied up a bit. The issue of toys all over the house has been resolved since creating a toy library. It was no big deal for the girls to put away a few of the current toys being checked out.
After the marble drop and Legos had been put away, we moved onto their bathroom since the guests would be using it. Tidying their bathroom is the girls' Friday afternoon chore which is always convenient when preparing for weekend guests. They each have their own sink and mirror which they wipe down. If I ever need proof of my kids' teeth brushing, the toothpaste sprayed all over is pretty good evidence. Spraying cleaner on the mess is surprisingly fun to them. For our cleaning solution we use a recipe of 10 drops of a pure essential oil (peppermint, clove and eucalyptus mask the vinegar smell) to a half vinegar-half water spray bottle, in case you were wondering. I always tackle the other less fun parts of the bathroom.
With the "guest room" tidying complete, a finishing touch was in order to really dazzle 'em. Together they picked and arranged some flowers. We even listened to "Be Our Guest" (again!!) while they worked.
Getting ready for our guests in this way encourages teamwork and is a lesson in service and hospitality. It's also a fun way to build anticipation of their arrival. That's a lot of magic created without a singing candelabra and clock living here (that we know of). As for whether any beasts live here is a post topic for another day!
*They like it as long as we make sure our five-year-old hasn't caught any catnaps that afternoon which makes her too awake and intolerably chatty to her big sister.