One of the biggest lifestyle changes many new parents encounter is the bedtime "lockdown" or at least that's what we call it at our house. Once the kiddies are in bed, there's lots of time for house chores, bill paying, tv watching - anything that involves staying in the house.
We often use this adult time to invite our friends over for a simple meal or dessert. Here are some tips for stress-free entertaining while the kids are sleeping:
Prepare some simple appetizers.
This way if you're running a little late with the bedtime routine, your guests won't be starving.
Have a quick tidy up plan.
We use a large basket for picking up stray toys quickly. Later we sort through the basket to find the proper place for each item. Also, pick up some fresh flowers to instantly dress up the room.
Turn on the white noise machine.
Usually our friends are good about not being too loud but it's definitely more boisterous in the house so turning on a white noise machine or using a fan in the room keeps loud guffaws from waking sleeping babes. We also have a friend who uses draft protectors to help block out light, sound, and smells from cooking.
(pic via Living Etc.)