An Impromptu Party Idea For All Ages: Kids Think It's Fun, Adults Know Better!

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My sister-in-law is a genius, one of those mothers who always knows how to have a good time while maintaining decent parenting technique. She started "F Friday." The children think the "F" stands for "fun." Their parents know it stands for the chance to slack off, not worry about making dinner, and hang with their friends. This is how it works.

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The first parent to realize she (or he) has no sitter, no plans and nothing for dinner on a Friday night texts the usual suspects, and opens the fridge to see what's inside. Impromptu appetizers, often really creative stuff, make up the F Friday menu. Leftover lasagna cut into squares and fried? Perfect. Jerusalem artichoke relish from the back of the pantry as a dip for chips? Yum. And that ham? Make tea sandwiches, or just serve it with toothpicks. Ooh! Radishes! Kids love radishes! Right? Right.

The party starts small, a few minutes after the school bell rings. After work, soccer and piano lessons, the crowd grows. The table fills with whatever guests bring — a bunch of grapes, half a pizza, a hunk of cheese and some crackers. Creativity in the kitchen abounds, fueled by necessity and a glass or two of wine. Did you know Greek yogurt with curry, cumin and cayenne pepper makes an excellent dip for veggies or chips? Let's thaw that ground meat — whatever it is — and make meatballs! If the situation gets truly desperate and the larder is empty, a late arrival picks up a pizza or three.

Children play far enough away so their shouts don't interrupt adult conversation, but close enough to be safe. It really does take a village...to feed them all on Friday night. One of the best things about F Friday is that we are adults now — adults who have to wake up the next morning to make breakfast, hit the farmers' market and drive young people to weekend activities — so the party is over by ten. Though there have been exceptions. If the adults are reluctant to go home, the children can watch an all-ages movie, if they behave, which they always do, because they're exhausted from running around in a pack. F Friday is the perfect start to the weekend, proof that it's time to relax.

What do you do for fun on the weekend with children? And what's your favorite easy appetizer? (I need ideas for tonight!)

Related: Tailgating and Beyond: 10 Simple Dip Recipes, Fridge-Clearing Cooking Without a Recipe

(Images: Anne Postic)

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