Party Planning 101

Once you have a child, you can expect to have a house full of people every year for their birthday.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned that make party planning a whole lot easier.

Here are a few of the items I know I will always need to put on my shopping list:

Decor:

  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Plastic Cups
  • Table Cloths

Food/Beverages:

  • Food (see ideas below)
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alcoholic Beverage
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Condiments

Other:

  • Game / Cards

Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the years:

  • You can always put out more food but you can’t always save extras that sat out all day
  • If you have helpers, assign everyone a job for the day as soon as they get there so that you don’t have to keep reminding people what you need help with throughout the day  (greeter, filling up empty food dishes, emptying the garbage, writing down who gave each gift)

I have come to find, that when it comes to the food that is provided at parties people love variety. Here are a few of my favorite party menu themes:

Cheese Burger Bar

  • Beverage: Milkshakes in Mason Jars
  • Items in Bar: Burger Toppings (relish, mustard, mayo, pickles, fried eggs, onion straws)
  • Side Dish: Season your own French Fries
  • Decor: Cookout/Grilling, red and white table cloths, baskets instead of plates)

Sundae Bar

  • Beverage: Soda (of Juice) in Tall Ice Cream Glasses with Red and White Striped Straws
  • Items in Bar: Multiple Flavors of Ice Cream, Sprinkles, Waffle and Cake Cones, Fudges, Syrups and Sauces, Marshmallows, Fruit and Candy.
  • Side Dish: Small Sandwiches
  • Decor: This could go two different directions
    • Option A: Sprinkle Theme – Bright Colors and “Sweet” Quotes
    • Option B: 50’s Sock Hop / Retro
  • Notes: I avoid inclusion of Peanuts unless you are certain all of your guests are positive they don’t have allergies.

Taco Bar

  • Beverage: Margaritas (or beverages in Margarita glasses)
  • Items in Bar:  Meat/Seafood, Salsas,
  • Side Dish: Chips and Salsa
  • Decor: I like to go with bright fun colors (orange, red, yellow) and white table cloths.
  • Notes: If you are putting out a variety of salsa flavors, make sure to label them so everyone knows what to expect.

Cookie Exchange

  • Beverage: Milk in Mugs
  • Items in Bar: Cookies from each participant (for the tasting contest of course)
  • Side Dish: Chicken Noodle Soup in Mugs
  • Decor: Think simple and romantic. You should feel like it’s the night before Christmas. Excited but SO comfortable.
  • Notes: Tell everyone to wear their pajamas (assuming that’s appropriate for the crowd).

What are some of your favorite tips, tricks and tasty treats?

Suitcase Packing Checklist

What if someone offered you the trip of a lifetime if you could be ready in 30 minutes – could you do it? Now, I don’t expect this to ever happen but a girl can dream right?

Here is what I keep in mine (additionally, I have an emergency duffle that I keep in the car if I were to forget anything important):

Pick one color scheme and carry it through all your clothing and you can mix and match for days.

  • Swimsuit
  • Pre-packed travel size of your favorite products
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush
  • Gym Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Little Black Dress
  • Comfiest Outfit of Your Choice
  • Bathrobe and Slippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Supplies for a Quick and Easy Hairdo
  • Simple Heels
  • Simple Flats
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Cardigan

What am I missing? What would you keep in your bag?

Blogging 101

There are a lot of things I have learned as I develop my blog. Here are a few of my top tips!

  1. Outline your plan
  2. Understand categories and tags
  3. Make production efficient (don’t try to overcomplicate things and have a set checklist so you don’t miss something for each post)
  4. Ask questions and polls
  5. Create a service (consignment, craft show, home parties)
  6. Create a strategy
  7. Keep it simple
  8. Don’t make it overly emotional (at least all the time)
  9. Be creative
  10. Proof, Proof, Proof
  11. Be consistant
  12. Create a timeline / calendar
  13. Consider your audience
  14. Learn about Legalities
  15. Never overpromise your readers
  16. Have Fun
  17. Keep Learning!!

Apple Cake

Every fall my families heads out to Patterson Fruit Farm for our yearly apple picking trip.

While I would like to say the goal is to pick the most delicious apples, we actually just end up stuffing our faces with hot apple fritters, cider and of course apples straight off the tree.

My mom always gives us a limit on how many apples to pick and then of course we end up picking about 50 pounds more.

What to do with all the apples?? Apple cake!

Items Needed:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are a great choice)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Frosting Recipe:

  • ¼ pound butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Cake Directions:

  • Combine items in order listed.
  • Spread in a 9″ x 12″ pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Frosting Directions:

  • Frost while hot
  • Bring frosting ingredients to a boil
  • Cook for 2 1/2 minutes
  • Pour over cake

My Favorite Mommy Hacks

As I embark on this journey called motherhood, there are a ton of tips and tricks that I wish I knew as soon as I became a mom.

I can’t wait to share them with you! Enjoy!

  • Onsies are designed so you can you can just pull them off babies shoulders! No need to do acrobatics to get that poo covered diaper off baby!!
  • Invest in a good thermos, like a really good one. Sitting down for a full cup of hot coffee is a thing of the past. A good thermos that keeps your coffee hot for hours is a game changer!!
  • Invest in a water bottle you love and stay hydrated.  This will helps you keep your energy up. It’s even more important if you are breastfeeding.
  • Find healthy snacks and meals you you can prepare and eat with one hand.
  • Diaper blow outs typically happen when you need to go up a size in diapers.
  • You don’t need need a lot of cute outfits early on. Invest in one cute outfit for each age (newborn, 3 month, 6 month…) and then a lot of easy onsies/sleepers.
  • Zippers make life 100 times easier. Skip the snaps!
  • Leave a packed diaper bag in the car and a bag of essentials at places you go often (like grandmas) just incase you forget something or need to drop baby off quickly.
  • Put a pair of small scissors in your diaper bag. Makes cutting up food much easier, not to mention those extra long straws they put in kids cups!!
  • Keep a few empty ziplock bags in your diaper bag. You can use them to store pacifiers, half eaten snacks, dirty diapers if you need to change one in the car and so much more.
  • You won’t be able to entertain them all the time. Find this they enjoy that you don’t have to do for them. A 15 minute educational TV show is the difference between wearing the same clothes for 3 days or having clean laundry.
  • Plan to live your life in 2-3 hour increments based on their sleep schedule.
  • You can schedule all your babies doctors appointments for their first year at the first visit.
  • Don’t pre-open diapers and don’t pre-wash all clothes. Leave the tags/receipts on them. Babies grow fast and you might need to return or exchange some of them.
  • Ask lots of questions at the hospital. Don’t be shy. You only get one chance.
  • If something makes you uncomfortable, raise your voice – you have a choice!
  • As long as you listen to everyone’s advice, you don’t actually have to take it. Listen to your gut!!
  • You will get overwhelmed, tired, scared, mad, frustrated, sad. Take time for yourself. If you need a minute, put baby in a safe place and walk away. Sometimes you just need to reset to stay sane.
  • People will offer to help help with the tasks they want to do. If something makes you uncomfortable you can tell them you need help but with a different task. “I appreciate that you want to help but it makes me uncomfortable having someone else wash my dirty undies/laundry. Would you mind helping with X, Y or Z”
  • No is a complete sentence.

Babies don’t move fast, slow down with your little one and enjoy watching them grow. It goes by way to fast!!