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February Party Round Up

It’s the first of the month, and time for another round up of celebrations to take you through the entire month.  February is chocked full of fun days, events, and holidays, but you can never have too many reasons to celebrate, right?

February party ideas, quick Superbowl party, Valentine's day, Mardi Gras, and National margarita day

First up is the Superbowl.  It’s February 4th, this Sunday!  If you haven’t put much thought into what you’re doing, don’t worry. To Have + To Host has one of the simplest, throw it together at the last minute party ideas for you.  Check out all the details here.

I love this season leading up to Lent, and this year it’s extra special because Valentine’s day falls on Ash Wednesday.  So much to celebrate in one week!

Before Lent starts is Mardi Gras!  I’m from St. Louis, and did you know that St. Louis has the biggest Mardi Gras celebration next to New Orleans?  There’s a big parade and everyone comes out in their purple, green and gold drinking green beer.  Since I’m not in the area to celebrate, and life looks a little different, I wanted to include this cute and simple kids craft to celebrate the occasion.

Happy Hooligans uses paper plates to make cute and easy Mardi Gras masks.  Paper plates are so versatile, and if you have kids, you probably have a bunch at your house already.

Take your Mardi Gras celebration a little further and make purple, green, and gold pancakes for breakfast too!  I love blending spinach up into the pancake batter to make them green, and add a few hidden vegetables!  You could use purple carrots or beets for the purple pancakes.

Right after Mardi Gras, not only does Lent start on Ash Wednesday, but it’s also Valentine’s day.  And a friend of mine at church said the best thing about them being on the same day.  “It’s the perfect time to fall more in love with the Lord.” How true!

Try sending out funny Valentine’s cards to keep the day light and not overly mushy.  These funny printable cards from Printable Crush have the cutest little sayings.  Pop one in your kids’ school lunch or your spouse’s work bag for a funny little surprise.

I’ll be showing you a fun Valentine’s kid’s craft and a Valentine’s themed playdate party in the next week or so too.  Be sure to come back to check those out.

Lastly this month, is a really special day.  February 22nd is National Margarita Day!  Now that’s a reason to celebrate a random Thursday.  If you’re trying to stick with your resolution and looking for a healthier margarita alternative, give this recipe from 40 Aprons a try.  It takes out all the sugar and replaces it with honey.

Whew, so many things to celebrate this month.  There are even more I didn’t mention like February being Black History Month, American Heart Month, or the Chinese New Year starting.

With all of these special days, there’s a reason for everyone to celebrate this month.  What do you plan on celebrating?

 

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Pantry Checklist for Hosting with FREE Printable

Happy Hump Day!  I just have not been able to get into a regular blogging routine, definitely something I need to work on. But here I am today with a post I promised you last week.

Speaking of last week, have you been liking the posts all about hosting in the New Year?  I’ve given you lots of ideas of how to celebrate this year and 10 ways to make hosting your celebrations easier.

Today I’m going to give you a little help getting organized for all of the upcoming parties and celebrations this year.  My thought process is that if you’re organized to throw a party at any point, then you’ll be more likely to do it.  Make sense?

Let’s start with getting your pantry prepped for a party.  I’m so lucky to have a good sized pantry in this house and I’ve definitely utilized it not only for food, but to host.

It’s a great spot to keep the majority of things to throw a quick party because it’s centrally located in my house and right by the kitchen which is where most parties end up anyway.

Here’s a handy checklist of items to keep in your pantry to throw a party.

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The first category makes sense to keep in your pantry for a party.  You’ll need things like plates and napkins to throw any kind of party.  I like to keep a couple different neutral themed plates and napkins so they’ll go with any kind of party I host.

party pantry checklist, organized pantry for a party, how to host a party with what's in your pantryIf you have space, keeping all of your serving ware in your pantry makes party set up a one stop shop.  I keep serving platters, cake stands, and serving utensils in my pantry.

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Cheese Markers

The next group of items are not something you would normally think to keep in your pantry.  However, if you throw a lot of parties, it’s nice to have some simple decor handy as well.  I just keep all of these things together in a large basket in my pantry.  I just pull out the basket and am able to set a table, buffet station, and decorate the party.  All from one basket!

Simple things that fold up or pack well are pinwheels, tissue paper, and honeycombs.  It’s also a great idea to throw a pair of scissors, twine, or tape in your party basket too.  Having a couple different sizes of vases is great too, because the easiest party decor you can use is a bouquet of flowers.

The last category is all about food and drinks.  There are just some things that are good to always have in your pantry or kitchen to help you quickly throw a dinner or party appetizer together.

I always make sure I have some pasta and any kind of pasta sauce.  There’s nothing easier (or more well loved) than throwing together a quick spaghetti dinner for a dinner party.  You make the spaghetti, and have your guests bring a salad, bread, and dessert.  Super easy dinner party idea!

Also having crackers and cheese is a must in our house.  I love to whip up a quick charcuterie and with those two things, it’s pretty easy.

I also like to keep a variety of drink mixers in my pantry.  It’s nice to be able to mix them for a signature cocktail or to make a kid-friendly party punch.

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What do you keep in your pantry to help you host more easily?  Were any of these tips helpful to you?

Be sure to click on the checklist above to print out and help you organize your pantry to host.

*Affiliate links are used in this post, but only for products I highly recommend.

 

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50+ Celebration Ideas for 2018

Happy New Year friends!  I’m only like eight days behind the power curve (face palm).  I hope you and your family had a great Christmas season.

This New Year has started off pretty slow for us.  We’ve been out of our routine since pre-school wasn’t in session.  With all the parties and groups of people we’ve been around, both kids are sick now too.  Including a hospital stay for one of them.  We’ve been cooped up inside under a mountain of tissues trying to get them better.  I should just know to mark January off as a month of sickness.  This is the second year in a row.

Plus, I haven’t gotten my new planner yet, which basically means the year hasn’t officially started haha! So with all of that I haven’t felt the rush to start this year running out of the gate.

Even moving slowly, I know that this year is going to be full of celebrations, and many of them the last for us, for awhile anyway.  More on that later.

I wanted to give you a jumpstart on planning what to celebrate this year, so I put together a list full of ideas for you.  There are lots of holidays to celebrate, life milestones, and accomplishments.  The most important thing though is to take the time to recognize the occasion and share it with others.

What will that look like for you in 2018?  Will you have people over to your house more to celebrate?  Will you organize a celebration for someone else that deserves it?  Or will you step out of your comfort zone and celebrate one of your own big accomplishments?  Whatever the occasion, there is always a reason to celebrate and have a party.

Feel free to download this list and place it somewhere handy.  Check off the things you celebrate throughout the year as a reminder of all the fun times you’ve had.  Or use it to look ahead and see what things you may want to celebrate in the future.  Just click on the picture below to download.

50 celebrations in 2018, how to celebrate in 2018, celebrations throughout the year

This year on the blog I’m hoping to give you more party inspiration, hosting tips, and great party recipes.  I’m also wanting to try some new things, like working with other bloggers and influencers, creating products for my readers, and teaching classes.  What’s something you’d like to see more of?

This blog has been fun to work on over the last couple of years, but I’m ready to scale this thing and make it bigger, bolder, and better for you!

My wish for you this year is the typical health and happiness, but also a year full of memories made celebrating!  Happy 2018!

 

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Christmas Cookie Exchange Printables

Fa la la la la la la la lots of cookies!  Christmas is synonymous with baking, eating, and exchanging cookies isn’t it?  I’m sure there are many a cookie exchanges planned that you are preparing for.  To help you out I’ve created some super easy cookie exchange printables to go along with your favorite cookie recipe.

I’ve talked about how to host a cookie exchange before here.  I think they’re a great way to find new recipes, try new cookies, and mix up the selection you have at home.

Now if you’re invited to a cookie exchange this season all you have to do is print out these tags and add them to your plate of cookies.  Be sure to include the recipe so the other party guests will know how to recreate your favorite recipe.

Cookie Exchange Printables

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These tags are great to tie onto a plate of cookies, but they are simple enough to use for gifts and presents under the tree too.  Just click on the picture, download, print, and cut the tags out.

Do the same with the recipe cards below.  These would also make a great gift if you wanted to do a cookie mix in a mason jar.  Just attach the recipe to the mason jar full of cookie ingredients (only the dry ingredients) and deliver to friends and neighbors.

Need an even faster gift?  Print the recipe cards out below and attach to a store bought cookie mix.  Add a festive kitchen towel or mixing spoon and you can wrap all you need for this gift up at the grocery store. 
Cookie Exchange Printable, cookie exchange ideas, cookie exchange tags, gift tags, recipe card, Christmas recipe card

Growing up I loved being in the kitchen making cookies with my mom.  We usually did the standard chocolate chip cookie.  We did it so much growing up that I have the recipe memorized and it only takes me a few minutes to whip up a batch of these cookies.  This is a double edge sword though.

It’s great that I can quickly throw some cookies together, especially if I’m in a time crunch.  But when I’m craving chocolate chip cookies, it’s almost too easy to make some and then they are too accessible around the house for munching.

Want to know my biggest piece of chocolate chip cookie baking advice?  Buy this butter flavored Crisco to replace the butter in the recipe.  It gives you perfectly chewy cookies.  #nocrunchycookiesplease

What’s your go to Christmas cookie?  Do you have any special cooking baking memories from growing up?

 

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3rd Annual Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline Printable

Every year I go on and on about how I don’t have double ovens, and then every year I do this post because it’s so helpful.  If you only have one oven like me, then you need this oven rotation cooking timeline printable.  It will save your life!  One of these days I’ll get double ovens, even if I do only use them on Thanksgiving, ha!

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It’s so helpful because it allows you to plan out when and how you’re going to put things in the oven to make sure everything gets cooked and is still hot when it’s time to eat.  Just click here or on the picture above to download and print out your free cooking timeline printable.

You can see the last two years printables here and here. Looking back I think my design skills have improved a ton too!

Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are a few of my top tips when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Always cook things with the highest temperature first, so there is less time for the oven to cool down rather than heat up
  • Be sure to thaw your turkey WELL in advance
  • Brine your turkey so you can cook everything else while it rests and it won’t get dried out (brine recipe I used last year)
  • Do as much prep work as possible in advance (chop, cut, mix things the day before)
  • Bake pies a day in advance, they can sit for 24 hours and still be delicious
  • My favorite Thanksgiving recipes here
  • Check out last week’s post about a stress free Thanksgiving

What are your top tips for cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  Is there a favorite dish you must have? Please share in the comments below, I love seeing what you have to say!

I sincerely hope you have the happiest Thanksgiving surrounding a table full of delicious food that brings back memories and surrounded by those you love and those that love you!  I’ll be taking a little blogging break this week to spend time with my family.  I hope you can do the same!

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Celebrating everyday!