Archive | March, 2019

Four Tips for a Stress Free Party

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all the little details of planning, styling, and setting up a party?

I mean if you’ve thrown any party ever you’ve probably felt that way.

Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peak at how today’s blog post can help make your next party a stress free one!

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The Four Things to Focus On For a Stress Free Party

It all boils down to doing just four things.  That’s right, only focusing on these four things you’ll be able to still have a great party and enjoy it because you won’t be stressing over a bunch of little details.

Are you ready to find out what those four things are?

One Focal Area

Don’t stress out over decorating your entire home for the party.  That’s focusing on way too many things.

Designate one area to be the focal point.  And then only decorate that area.

So how do you pick the focal area for your party?

First, determine where your party will congregate.

For an outside party, focus your decor on your patio or backyard.

If it’s inside, I can almost guarantee most people will congregate around the food, so decorate your kitchen or where the food is going to be staged.

For kids parties, focus the decor in an area where the kids will be playing.

A second way to focus on one area is to make a backdrop.  You can use the backdrop for a photo booth or the background of your dessert table.

Thirdly, and one of my favorite places to focus the party decor is on the party entrance.  That could be your front door, front porch, your driveway or sidewalk leading up to your house.

It’s also fun to decorate the foyer or entrance to your home and really hit your guests over the head with the theme of the party.  Then they can enjoy the party in the rest of your house.

The best thing about only decorating one area for your party?  There’s only one area to clean up!

Bigger Is Better

I think one of the things that’s the most stressful during party planning is all the small details.

Typically you get overwhelmed with everything that has to be done you forget about the little things.

You may have had good intentions with all those little water bottle or straw labels, but they become last minute things that usually don’t happen because you’re focused on the bigger things that have to be done or else the party won’t happen at all.  You know like food.

So my second piece of advice for a stress free party is to not even plan all those little things.  Focus on the big stuff.

Bigger decor is a great way to make things bigger.  Instead of a bunch of small decor items around your entire house, put them all together for a bigger impact.

Want to decorate with a certain item for the them of your party?  Why not make that item bigger than life.  Have a giant sized crown cut out for a princess party, or bigger balloons.

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Editing the Menu

Feeding everyone at your party can always be stressful especially if cooking isn’t your forte.

Edit your menu to provide one complete meal that’s stress free.

What do you need for a complete meal?  Just focus on a protein, some greens or a vegetable, and a starch.

If you stick to those three things you’ll have a meal that is satisfying to everyone without having to plan or cook an elaborate menu.

Try asking your guests to bring a dish in one of the categories we already talked about (protein, vegetable, starch).  Giving them that guidance will help them narrow down what they’re bringing and it helps to make sure you have something in each category.

If you don’t want to deal with the food at all, just cater it in.  You don’t have to get fancy or expensive either.

There are tons of fast casual restaurants that do catering.  Chick-fil-a (a favorite of ours), Zoe’s Kitchen, Chipotle, Qdoba, Noodles & Company just to name a few.

One Game or Activity

It’s always nice to have some sort of game or activity for your guests to do at your party.  This is almost necessary at any kid party.

If you don’t do something structured, the kids will destroy your house playing with toys.

Want to know my stress free way to do an activity?  Pick only one that doesn’t require much instruction or help.

Think of activities that require a couple minutes of instruction in the beginning, then the guests go and do the activity on their own.

For kids parties a scavenger hunt is my favorite way to let the kids do an activity that is virtually unsupervised. Win! Win!

Are You Feeling Less Stressed?

Does thinking of your party in only those four ways make it seem less stressful to host?

There are still multiple things to plan in each of these categories, but keeping them in mind when planning your next party will help you to realize what’s most important.

The most important thing is to enjoy the celebration and people in your home, not if each individual piece of candy has a Paw Patrol sticker on it.

Happy party planning!

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St. Patrick’s Day Family Memories

Happy March!  I feel like we’re getting into the time of year where we’re having warmer days and spring is around the corner.  St. Patrick’s Day is a great way to kick it off! And why not make some easy memories while you’re at it?

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I had a realization recently.  It’s going to take a minute to get there, so sit back and read through the backstory.

My husband and I try to regularly work on our marriage.  This has taken the form recently of asking the question “what is something I could do better for you right now?”

We ask the question knowing that whatever the answer is might upset us.  But we have to hear each other out and take the constructive criticism.

On Valentine’s Day my husband asked me that question and it prompted an answer I hadn’t thought of before.

I told him that I felt like creating memories and gifting fun things to our kids has fallen mostly on my shoulders as the mom.  He took it well and gave me some advice that we both could work on.  Shocker, it boils down to communication.

See, I had gotten a little gift for each of our kids for Valentine’s day and had made pink pancakes for breakfast, heart shaped pizza, etc.  Little things that I hope they will remember.  Or traditions we can do every year.

All of that to say, I realized that I like celebrating the “little holidays.”  You know the one’s like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, etc.

So if you’re like me and want to make some family memories or celebrate a “little holiday” today’s post is for you.

Little Ways to Make St. Patrick’s Day Memories

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St. Patrick’s Day Memories with Food

One of the first ways to make a memory with your family is through your food.  St. Patrick’s Day offers so many great options to make something that fits the theme of the day.

This is also a great way to make a tradition that you and your family look forward to every year.

One of my favorite ways to make these little holidays extra special is with pancakes.

We do pink pancakes for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, and sprinkles and whipped cream on birthdays.

It’s a simple way to do the same thing every year because we already have to eat, so it doesn’t take much extra time or effort to jazz up some pancakes.

Green Pancake Recipe

Here’s my quick green pancake recipe:

  1. Blend 1 cup of water or milk with a couple handfuls of spinach until there are no pieces of spinach.  Just green liquid.  I use my immersion blender for this.  I love that thing.
  2. Mix green liquid with 1 cup of pancake mix and 1 egg.
  3. Once it’s mixed and smooth, cook pancakes on a griddle or pan.

Super easy addition to the pancakes you’re already making for breakfast.  Plus, you’re getting some vegetables in your family without them even knowing.

Don’t have spinach?  You can always just add a few drops of food coloring to your pancake batter.

Make them even more fun with whipped cream and green sprinkles.

Dinner Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day

There are a ton of ways to incorporate a fun St. Patrick’s Day tradition with food.  Try some of these:

  • Classic corned beef and cabbage
  • Shepperd’s pie.  I love this recipe and use it frequently.
  • Pot roast with carrots and potatoes
  • Shamrock shaped pizza
  • Pasta with a pesto sauce (great way to make something green;)

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

Long gone are the days of drinking green beer with droves of people after a St. Patty’s parade.  Now with kids, I’m trying to find appropriate fun things to do with them.

I haven’t done any sort of activity in the past, but created one for you today.  I think it’s going to be a big hit and doesn’t require much work from you.

Just click on the picture below and download the printable.  Once you have a hard copy cut the shamrocks and rainbow out.

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You’ll use the shamrocks in a scavenger hunt around your house that leads to the rainbow.  Put a little treat with the rainbow and your kids will find their own version of a pot of gold.

I’m not planning any elaborate rhyms or clues for my scavenger hunt.  I’ll be doing something age appropriate for my four year old.

Some options I’m thinking about:

  • Writing the letters of her name on each shamrock and she’ll have to find them and put them in order to spell her name.
  • Numbers that she’ll find and put in order
  • Her sight words
  • Her birthday or our address (that’s what they’re working on in Pre-K this month)

For even younger kids try this:

  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Animal pictures
  • Cartoon characters

And let’s be clear.  By scavenger hunt, I mean that I’m going to place the shamrocks around one area of my house (like the living room) in very visible spots that they can’t miss.

We’ve done some activities like this before and both my kids love it, so I’m sure they’ll think this is fun too.  And bonus that they’ll get a little treat when they’re done!

St. Patrick’s Day Treats

Another way I like to make a memory on these little holidays is by doing a themed treat.

I love sweets, so this might be my favorite way to make these memories.  Plus, my daughter usually helps me and it’s a great way to bond together.

We tried our hand at some green and gold themed Oreos earlier this week.  They’ll make the perfect sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day and they’re super easy to make.

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We just bought a package of double stuff Oreos and some green Wilton candy melts.

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I love those candy melts because you can just warm them in the microwave for about a minute then snip the corner of the package and use it to drizzle onto anything.  How easy and convenient is that?

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I actually opened the package all the way to pour the melted chocolate in a bowl making it easier to dip the Oreos in.

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Super easy directions to create your own green Oreo St. Patrick’s Day treat below.

  • Melt green candy melts according to the package
  • Pour melted candy melts into a bowl
  • Dip half of an Oreo into the melted candy ensuring you cover both sides and the gap between the cookies
  • Place on parchment paper and sprinkle with gold sprinkles
  • Let dry and firm up for a few minutes
  • Enjoy!

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My Thoughts on Making Family Memories

Just to wrap up I wanted to make sure I shared that it’s easy to make these family memories and celebrate the “little holidays.”

All you need to do is jazz up one or two things that you’re probably already going to be doing for the holiday or theme.

It doesn’t take much time or money to do them either.  And if you do them year after year, your kids will love the tradition.

I’m firmly embracing the realization that I enjoy celebrating these little holidays and plan to do all three of the things that I suggested above.  But here’s permission to do you.  If you don’t have time or don’t care about making a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, it’s totally ok to pass on these ideas.

If you do try any of these, I’d love to see what you do.  Print out the shamrock printable, make a sweet treat, or jazz up your meals.  What are you planning on doing?

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Celebrating everyday!