After moving across state lines and getting settled in a bit, there’s really nothing greater than hosting some out-of-towners. Sure, it’s a little odd to act the part of the “local tour guide” while still needing to plug directions into your phone for everything, but knowledge and experience is relative! So if you know more than your guest, you get to be the expert for the day!
I had a blast hosting a big family this summer. On a personal note, I struggle with anxiety and I’m even a bit introverted so it wouldn’t seem like filling up my house with extra bodies to cook for, clean up after and entertain would be appealing. However, I just love it when I have a full house! I’m a very practical person, so maybe it’s that I love seeing every room being used and every seat being sat on – nothing going to waste. But I also love spending time with people that I care about and don’t get to see very often. I love the smiles and laughter, and the light-heartedness of having guests around after some stressful days of making much ado about nothing. It’s like opening a window and letting some fresh air into the house, and at that moment you realize just how stuffy it was.
The added bonus of having guests that have never been to your new state is that everything is new to them! We acted like kids in a candy store, reliving all our favorite local spots alongside them. Seeing their faces light up at all our town had to offer was such a nice confirmation that we really did pick a great place to live. My only regret is that they were here for such a short time – but we packed that weekend with as much as we could!
Because here’s the truth: I don’t always love it here. It was a lot of work, sweat and tears to get here so in the hard moments of crummy traffic, crazy weather and missing old friends, it’s easy to ask myself: was it worth it? Was it really worth all those sacrifices to move from beautiful California surrounded by family and friends to this strange new land of potatoes and urban country life? After just one weekend of show-and-tell (and knowing we only scratched the surface of things to do in Idaho), I would give a resounding yes!
Here’s what we did in the Nampa/Caldwell area… (Again, there’s so much more fun to be had if we had the time.) Our first stop was Indian Creek Plaza. While the younger kids enjoyed the splash pad, some of the older ones and adults enjoyed the shopping. We stopped in cute antique and collectible stores, and a plant store that had some natural beauties. Everyone enjoyed a treat at The Good Spoon Frozen Yogurt. And totally unplanned, we were there for a karaoke competition in the plaza which showed off our wholesome small-town vibe.
The next day, we spent the afternoon in downtown Nampa, where we ate at Holy Cow (super cute retro-80’s-pop-culture style restaurant with amazing food) and walked around to antique stores, the arcade and the library. Jeremy’s Arcade is a hidden gem – only $4 entry for unlimited play on all the games. Downtown Nampa had a little something for everyone.
We had made a stop in the morning at Rocky Mountain Fur & Fireworks to pick up a few things to set off that night. I didn’t realize just how special this would be for my sister-in-law who grew up in Nevada where all street fireworks are illegal. Even the little snappers and sparklers were exciting for them, so you can imagine their utter awe when we lit the cake ariels! (I love that fireworks are a year-round way to celebrate in Idaho!)
The next night we got to take a couple cousins to a baseball game in Caldwell. There’s a big team in Boise, but Caldwell is home to the “Idaho Spuds” collegiate team and it was a super fun time! It’s a small stadium but has a charming small-town vibe and great food. Before the game, the players let the kids come onto the field to play catch with them, and after the game the kids can come down and run the bases. And there was a faithful old lady a few rows over from us that taunted the opposing team’s batters every single time. Ha! I guess it worked! The Spuds won big!
We also got to spend some time at the house playing games and horsing around. Our house is the biggest blessing of all because it’s three times the size of our house in California. It’s such a joy to have people over, whether they are visiting from afar or just a group of local friends. This week we had a half-dozen jr. high girls over and it was such a delight to see them all have a fun place to hang out, bake brownies and be silly together. And maybe it’s wrong, but I do like it when I hear the girls groan when it’s time to leave.
I may not prepare a “guest cart” like my friend Erika… (It’s a fun idea, though! Check out her post here: http://redstateramblings.com/overnight-hospitality-3-simple-tips/…) But, I do my best to make my guests comfortable and feel at-home. It’s the least I can do if they are willing to make the trip here! I hope to have more overnight guests soon!