Above is the proper way to set a table for a casual meal.
Of course, we don't have time for this everyday with kids running around and jobs. It is a good thing to know for the next time you have your in-laws over for supper. Not to mention the fact that it's pretty!
So you invited a girlfriend over this morning for coffee. You've had a lovely time catching up but a quick cup of coffee has turned into a 3 hour gab fest. You have things to do and need to get started with your day. What do you do??
We are all busy. Yes it's true. We all have things to do and people to see. Sometimes, we are so busy that we just don't have time to hang out any longer than a few minutes.
So what do you do when you need to get some things done, but a friend wants a larger than normal piece of your time? If you follow these guidelines, you are sure to get what you need, without hurting anyone's feelings. Honesty is the best policy, so here we go!
1. Start with a compliment. A heartfelt compliment will make even the worst news a little bit more bearable. Let her know that you enjoy her company and look forward to spending time with her. A spoon-full of sugar if you want to call it that.
2. Explain your issue. Let her know what is going on in your life, but make it short and sweet. A little detail will let her know that you aren't making things up to get her out of your hair (or are you??). Explain that you are running late and must start getting things done or you'll have a very angry hubby later.
3. Make a Plan. This will let her know that you really are interested in spending time with her. Maybe Monday at that new coffee place you've been dying to try? (Hey, write it down so you don't forget, busy bee!) That way, she knows that you value her friendship and are making a genuine effort to maintain it. You also, hopefully, won't get stuck with unannounced visits.
It's an awkward situation to be sure, but when handled properly and politely, everyone gets what they need with no loss of friendship.
P.S. If you have an awkward situation you just can't figure out the solution to, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment!
OK kids, get ready for a quick tip on things not to ask in public...proceeded by the situation that inspired this post.
So yesterday, we were having a nice, quiet family meal at the local burger joint. You know. The one with Shakes and Steakburgers. But I digress.
Into the booth behind us files a man and his two children, both quite young (the children). The waitress, again quite young, comes to take their order and realizes she knows them. Note: I promise I wasn't eavesdropping. This girl's voice carried. Bonus: If you are going to be that loud in public, you're fair game honey!
So she proceeds to ask them a slew of questions. Normal questions you would ask of someone you went to church with or worked with before. Uninterested, I go back to my cookie dough milkshake. (Yum!)
Another lull in conversation hits at our table and I hear the waitress again. This time, I severely wish I hadn't. In front of God and everyone (not to mention his kids) the waitress asks the man "Are you still married?".
I wish you had been there to see my reaction. Or maybe not as I'm told my "looks can kill", I guess I display a little too much with my emotions. I think I might have a french fry in my lung too. Not pretty. It took every bit of training in me not to say something to her. I decided not to embarrass him any further. I can only imagine the man's reaction as I was looking at the back of his head and could see his tension from behind.
Seriously? I hope we all understand that a person's marital status is not an appropriate topic of conversation in public. Let alone in front of the kids! If you don't know this, let my experience be an oh-so-sweet warning... this is a No-No! Keep those topics private, if even discussed at all.
Has anyone ever asked you something inappropriate in public? I hope not, but if so... share it here!
You're not made of glass, and neither am I. Therefore, I cannot see through you and vis-versa.
So you are driving along and you arrive at stop sign to turn right. There is another turn lane next to you to turn left at said stop sign. You look right...all clear. You look left and suddenly there is another car in your line of sight. Whoops! Now you can't check the road for oncoming vehicles. You struggle in vain to catch a glimpse of oncoming traffic through their car windows. Yeah... no luck.
Please don't be that person in the left lane. The appropriate thing to do is, if you are second at the stop, wait for the other person to go and give them some room to see. I'm not exactly sure if this "blocking because I'm in a hurry technique" is legal or not, but it is definitely NOT good manners. Whoever arrives first, gets to go first! Just as if you were at a 4-way stop.
This happens to me all the time leaving the post office. Has it happened to you recently??
When my uncle passed away a few years ago, it was the first funeral I had ever been to. During the procession to his final resting place, I noticed that (most) of the other cars on the road had pulled over and stopped their vehicles to show respect. This was all new to me but I was in awe! What manners!
Since then, I have been on both sides; in the procession and passing by. It amazes me the kindness shown by complete strangers. It also shocks me when I see people not stopping at all or even speeding to get around them! Yikes! In case you were wondering, thats a big no-no.
Just a little tidbit that might help you the next time you run into a funeral procession. Pull over! Show a little respect :)
I've also seen people turn their headlights on.... what do you think??
Now that we've got the eating part under control, what do we do when the kids are finished eating?? That's simple!
1. Children should remain in their chairs until everyone is finished eating. We do this for several reasons. One being that once one child gets up from the table, the others want to get up too, regardless of if they are finished eating or not. The second reason is so that Mom and Dad are having their meal disrupted having to watch children. Bottom line, stay in the chair. It's just good manners!
2. When everyone is finished eating and it is time to get up, kids should be taught to ask to be excused from the table. This works well for older children as well. If you want to let them up before you are finished and they can handle not being watched, they should ask. Teaching them this early will make your job easier when they get older.
3. Kids should help clear dishes and wash up too. Yes.... toddlers can do this I promise. You may lose a few forks to the garbage at first, but it teaches them how to clean up after themselves. We like to use plastic plates, bowls and cups from Ikea. These are very inexpensive and wont break if dropped. Less stress for Mom.
Check them out: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90096908
And that's the end of this series on Toddlers and Table Manners! I hope you learned something and you're kids will too.
Stick around! There's much more to come! Next week is all about "Unspoken Rules of the Road".