Author Archive | dailyhostess

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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How to DIY Signature Greeting Cards for Valentine’s Day

We’re exactly one week away from Valentine’s Day today!  If you want to share your love for a special someone you should definitely see how I diyed my own Valentine’s Day greeting cards.

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I recently had to wait for some photos to be printed at Walgreens and while I was waiting I checked out the greeting card aisle.

I was blown away by how beautiful so many of the cards were.  The Signature line from Hallmark was especially gorgeous.

But you know what I wasn’t blown away by?

The price.  Most of the cards were over $5 and some were up to $12.  Crazy!

It’s a funny story because I always go back and forth with one of my neighbors about greeting cards.  She always ensures to attach a card to a gift.  I’m that person that will save the $5 from a card and spend it on the gift.

If I don’t include a card I usually just make my own or attach a simple to and from tag.

Well I got inspired in that Walgreens aisle to make my own “signature” greeting cards.

I took a lot of ideas from the types of cards below and tried to recreate them.

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Here’s the two main take aways I have for diying these kinds of greeting cards.

Layers, Layers, Layers

I noticed that most of the cards at Walgreens had lots of layers.

Layers add dimension, interest, and more to look at.

For the cards I made, I layered different colored paper on top of each other.

You can add more dimension by layering paper with different textures.

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Try glitter paper like I did.  Or linen paper, burlap, or metallic.

To make your layers even more fancy try cutting out shapes in the top layers to let the bottom layer shine through.  Simple shapes like hearts, squares, and circles work best.

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Because let’s be honest.  As much as I’d love a Cricut (especially this champagne colored one), I’m doing all of my cutting out by hand.  If I’m trying to save $5 on a card you can bet I haven’t bought an expensive machine to do the cutting for me.  Although if Santa is reading……next year!

3D Add Ons

The other theme that those expensive cards had were lots of 3D elements.

Some had flowers, pinwheels, fabric, all kinds of things sticking out from the paper.

Well, I can do that too, for a lot cheaper.  I just searched my house for dimensional things.

Cupcake liners, pom poms, tissue paper, and more paper were what I used.

DIY Valentine's day greeting cards, look a like Hallmark Signature cards, how to make cute valentine's day cards

DIY Valentine's day greeting cards, look a like Hallmark Signature cards, how to make cute valentine's day cardsDIY Valentine's day greeting cards, look a like Hallmark Signature cards, how to make cute valentine's day cardsTo make these glitter hearts more 3D, I layered them with contrasting colored paper and then folded them in half.

I only glued the “spine” of the fold to the card so that the hearts would be able to fold out away from the card.

You could do this same concept with other shapes, flowers, or even letters.

Greeting Card Supplies

Here are some of the things I used to make my greeting cards.

DIY Valentine's day greeting cards, look a like Hallmark Signature cards, how to make cute valentine's day cardsI went with a Valentine’s theme so I used pink, red, and glitter paper.

Other things I used to accent the cards:

  • pom poms
  • pom pom trim
  • washi tape
  • tissue paper
  • cupcake liners (not pictures)

How to Make Your Own Signature Greeting Cards

Here are a few general steps to take when making your own signature cards.

The biggest thing is just being creative with it and using the inspiration cards to guide what you want to recreate.

  1. Cut scrapbook paper into card sized pieces
  2. Add greeting card supplies to the cards with hot glue keeping in mind how to make layers and 3D elements.
  3. Write a message inside and deliver to the recipient!

DIY Valentine's day greeting cards, look a like Hallmark Signature cards, how to make cute valentine's day cardsNow I have some very unique greeting cards to give for Valentine’s Day or birthdays.

I’m pretty proud to say that all of these cards cost me $0!  So much better than spending $8 at the store. For ONE card!

If you don’t have a lot of these things on hand, you can still make these inexpensively.

I recommend starting with paper.  If you get four or five pieces of scrapbook paper from the craft store, you’ll only spend a few dollars.

Try layering the papers, folding them to make things pop off the paper and add other 3D elements from around your house to make the cards.

With just a few pieces of paper you can make at least three or four cards.

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What do you think?  Are you inspired to make your own cards?  Or would you rather just pay for pretty cards at the store?

Do you also agree that $6 for a greeting card is crazy expensive?

No matter how you get cards, I hope you’re able to send a greeting card to someone you love for Valentine’s Day next week!

 

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Printable Valentine’s Day Daily Love Notes

Hey friends, did you see the Valentine’s Day Date Night packages I posted yesterday?  I’m getting tons of feedback about how great they are, so you should definitely check them out.

Today I’ve got even more Valentine’s Day goodies for you in the form of love notes.  I’m just all about sharing the love this week!

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For a few years now I’ve been writing little love notes every day from February 1st through Valentine’s Day for my daughter.

I usually just use some paper hearts I pick up from the store. Or make my own using scrap paper at home.  But this year I decided to make my own and share them with you.

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Every day I write a new message, encouraging note, or praise for something my daughter has done well and post it on her door.  She loves waking up and finding new notes every morning.

This year I may focus on incorporating more of her sight words.  She’s been very excited anytime she sees some of them so hopefully she’ll be as excited to see them on her door every morning.

The love notes I made this year, and am sharing with you, have a few prompts to make coming up with something to say even easier.

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I specifically put four cards on one sheet so each day I can print one sheet and write notes for everyone in my family.  I’ll use one for my daughter, one for my son, and one for my husband.

Who knows? I may even write myself an encouraging note each day with the fourth one.  But I may be secretly hoping someone else in my family will write me a note too.

Why Moms Need to Write Love Notes to Their Kids

What I love about doing this is that it forces me to really think of the good things throughout the day.

A lot of times, especially as stay at home moms, we are in the trenches and are just trying to survive the day.  It’s nice to pause and reflect on the good things that happened instead of all the things that went wrong, didn’t get done, or ways that we had to discipline our kids.

I hope these easy, print at home cards make it easy for you to show those in your family how much you love them.

I know they’ll appreciate it and it will be good for you too.

It also spreads out the celebrating throughout the month.  Which just shows that you don’t need to rely on one day to show someone how much you care.

Valentine’s Day Love Note Challenge

Now here’s my challenge to you.  Print out a bunch of these cards. Every few days post a picture on social media of the love notes on your kids’ doors with #tdhlovenotes

I’ll be checking the hashtag and will give you a shout out when I see your cards displayed proudly.

Just click the picture below to sign up for our resource library where you can download your own love notes.

Valentine's day love notes, love notecards for kids, valentine's day cards

Once you put your email in, you’ll have access to these love notes. And all of our other printables in our resource library.

Now get to printing and writing!  And don’t forget to share your love notes on social with #tdhlovenotes

Find me on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

 

 

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Valentine’s Day At Home Date Night Packages

Launching today!!!  Valentine’s Day at home date night packages!Valentine's day centerpiece, Valentine's day at home date night, Valentine's Day tablescape, beatifully set tablescapes

Do you typically go out to celebrate Valentine’s Day?  Or do you usually stay in?

I’m firmly in the stay at home camp.  I’m not all about fighting the crowds trying to get a reservation, trying to find a baby sitter and dealing with prix fix menus.

So if you’re like me I’ve got a great alternative for you today.

I was thinking about all of the table decor I have just sitting around.  You know, tablecloths, napkins, chargers, flatware, vases, etc.  And thought why don’t I put it to use?

I have just the right amount to make four beautiful Valentine’s Day tablescapes.

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But they aren’t for me!  They are for you!

If you’re a local reader, then you have the chance to have a beautifully styled Valentine’s Day dinner right at home.  I’ll bring everything you need right to your door.

Where to get all the details

You can get all the details on these at home date night packages (pricing, what’s included, etc.) by going to my Services page on my website.  Just click here to check it all out.

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I think this is such a great way to show your spouse or partner that you put a little extra thought into celebrating your love.

I mean you already have to have dinner on Valentine’s Day anyway.  Why not spend just a little extra time to make the experience just that, more of an experience?

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It’s all about putting in a little effort for something you already have to do anyway.

Who are these packages perfect for?

I’m especially thinking this would be a great gift idea for guys who have no clue what to get the woman in their life.  So ladies if you want your man to wine and dine you, send him my way.

Wouldn’t it work best if you ask your wife to put the kids to bed a little early. They’ll probably need it after the Valentine’s Day sugar crash from all the school parties.  Then set up your beautiful, special date night table while she’s dealing with the kids.  Once their asleep enjoy a quiet, celebratory dinner just the two of you. She’ll be so surprised!

The value is really incredible too.  Most of the time a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day averages around $40-$50 for a dozen roses.  Crazy!

So for not much more you’re getting the bouquet, chocolate covered strawberries for dessert and everything you need to set a beautiful table.

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Plus it’s all delivered to your door with a no fail diagram of how to set everything up.  You get to keep the flowers and just pack everything back up for pick up within a couple of days.

I think it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Want to get your own date night package?  There are only four to choose from and when they’re gone, there aren’t any others so act quickly.

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Go here to get more specifics and email or call me to customize your package today!

Other Date Night Inspiration

If you’re not local and able to take advantage of these date night packages, I hope you at least get some inspiration from these designed tablescapes.

Try making a special dinner at home with a more formally set table and your Valentine’s Day will be so much more memorable.

You can also take some inspiration from this at home date night post. Just click here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  There is going to be more easy Valentine’s Day fun this week so be sure to check back for other simple ways to make this holiday a little more special for everyone in your life!

 

 

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Celebrating everyday!