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Neighborhood Fall Festival Party Plan Checklist

Well, the days have started turning more crisp and you can feel fall in the air here.  It’s such a nice change from hot weather, but I’m not looking forward to what comes next. Good thing I’ve got an area to keep winter out of my house.  To celebrate fall I created this fun party plan checklist to host a neighborhood fall festival.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyWe have a pretty active neighborhood and have started having neighborhood gatherings a few times a year.  Fall is a great time to get together and celebrate. Use this party plan as inspiration and to gather your neighbors and celebrate the cooler weather. Just click on the picture and download the checklist to start planning your party today!

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyParty Theme and Decor

For your party you first need a theme.  There is nothing more synonymous with fall than plaid and pumpkins. Let those things be your guide for your party theme and decor.  Use plaid blankets as tablecloths and over hay bales for a fun seating area.  Set hay bales up in the street around a fire pit or bonfire to help you stay warm during chilly evenings.

Decorate the party with multi-colored mums and pumpkins. Create table runners from pumpkins for the dining area. The best part is that it will be heavy enough to hold down the tablecloths.

Guest List

Be sure to design an on theme invitation to send to all of your neighbors with all the details of the party. You can easily make one yourself with these tips and it’s free.  Walk them door to door or send them out via email. Because you’re inviting your neighbors there is no need to stamp an envelope.

Food and Drinks

Feeding a large group of people is hard, so don’t take on the task yourself.  Plan the neighborhood party as a pot luck.  I highly recommend assigning people a different dish or having categories that people sign up to bring.  Doing so assures that a full menu is covered and that there will be enough for everyone.

A delicious and on theme menu for any fall party revolves around soups, chili’s, and stews.  Start with that and then expand to include fall themed sides dishes.  Things like cornbread, stuffing, vegetable casseroles, and fall salads.  Check out my Pinterest board for lots of inspiration.

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with smore’s, especially if your party is set up around a fire pit or bonfire.  Another on theme dessert would be caramel apples.  You could make these ahead of time or set up a buffet station where guests could dip their own apples and cover them with a variety of toppings like nuts, chocolate, sprinkles, or crushed cookies.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyDrinking apple cider is kind of a must at this time of year so offering an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version will allow everyone to enjoy it.  You could also offer hot cocoa or mulled cider.

Activities and Games

If your neighborhood is like mine and full of kiddos, you’ll need some activities to keep the kids occupied so the adults can enjoy conversation and a bowl of chili.

There are so many fall themed activities you could include at your festival.  A pumpkin carving contest is a great way to get people excited even before the party since they’ll have to carve their pumpkin beforehand and then have it judged at the party.  You oculd elect judges or just do a simple voting system for the best pumpkin.

Bobbing for apples is a great game for the kids. Just be sure to regularly change out the water or have individual buckets for bobbing to keep things a little more hygienic.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyOrganizing a neighborhood hayride would be so fun.  If you don’t have a tractor and trailer, try making hayrides in wagons for the little kids or the back of a pick up truck for the older kids.

Other go to party activities would be to have someone talented do face painting or organize a fall themed neighborhood scavenger hunt.  Bike races for the kids are fun, and what toddler doesn’t love a bounce house?

Be sure to click the here or the image below to download and print your own Neighborhood Fall Festival Party Plan Checklist to start planning your party.

Fall neighborhood block party ideas, neighbor gift ideas, neighborhood parties, neighborhood fall partyA neighborhood party is such a great way to get to know your neighbors.  It helps to break from the monotony of just waving hello when you see your neighbors out.  It forces you to work together to put the party on, and get to know each other over a bowl of chili.  Who knows what you might find you have in common or what kind of friendship can be built.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Back to School Checklist

Well, I’m back after having a baby and taking a few weeks off.  It was nice, but I missed blogging more than I thought I would.  I especially missed the routine I had gotten into before having the baby.  He’s adorable and cuddly, so I’m enjoying that too!  Check out my Instagram Stories to see a sneak peak of the little guy.

I know most kids have started going back to school, at least they have where I live.  However, my daughter doesn’t start pre-school until August 21st, so I still have time to put this back to school checklist to use and I hope you do too.

I’ve compiled a few items that I think everyone probably needs to think about right before school starts.  I’m sure there are many more that aren’t included on this list that are specific to your school or grade of your child.  If you know of a really good one that we could all be reminded of be sure to leave a note in the comments for us to benefit from.

Click on the picture below to download and print out the checklist to use before school starts!

Some things like school supplies are a no brainer when getting ready for school, but others may need reminding.  Have you gotten all the forms filled out and turned in that are required before school starts? Why are there so many forms?  What about figuring out the routine of before and after school?  I’d recommend doing a dry run before school starts just so everyone in the family knows what they need to do.

Did your homework station survive over the summer?  Does it need a little effort into setting it up again?  Doing so will mean once the kiddos bring home homework they aren’t stumbling looking for a pen or a quiet place to read.

Take some chaos out of the morning shuffle by setting up a lunch packing station in your refrigerator and pantry.  Encouraging your kids to pack their own lunches will also cut down the time to get out the door in the morning.  Having easy snacks, lunches, and drinks on hand and available to throw into a lunchbox will make it much more likely that the kids will do it on their own.

My personal favorite on the checklist is the last item.  I love the idea of hosting a back to school party or an end of summer soiree.  A simple neighborhood ice cream social or a back to school breakfast with a few friends is a great way to celebrate the anticipation of a new school year.  Here are a few parties that do a great job celebrating back to school.

Don’t forget to click on the checklist above and have a handy reminder of all that needs to be done before school starts.  And be sure to leave a comment with your best back to school reminder for us all.   Or let me know what you’re looking forward to the most this school year.

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Real Life Party: Bourbon and BBQ Birthday Party

This past weekend I had the privilege of celebrating the birth of my favorite person, my husband!  He’s kind of funny when it comes to birthdays.  He’s not like typical guys because he absolutely loves his birthday.

This year was kind of a milestone birthday (I’ll keep his actual age to myself ;)) so I wanted to celebrate in a bigger way.  We had a fun guy’s only bourbon and bar-b-q themed birthday.

Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barI took a lot of inspiration from this party that Pizzazzerie hosted.   Pizzazzerie’s Father’s Day party also gave me a lot of charcuterie inspiration.  My husband enjoys a good bourbon based old fashioned and more times than not he will order BBQ no matter what restaurant we’re at.  So this theme was perfect for him.

I had planned on catering the food so all I had to do was set up the bar, make a charcuterie, and bake a pie, but then my husband decided he wanted to smoke a brisket and ribs for the party.  You can see how he does that here.  It required a bit more work, but he enjoys the process of doing it and it always turns out super tasty.

Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barI started the party with this bourbon themed charcuterie board.  After a quick google and Pinterest search I found several items that would pair well with bourbon.  Things like walnuts, dark chocolate, parmesan, and dried fruit were best suited for bourbon.  This is probably one of my favorite charcuterie boards I’ve ever put together. Surprisingly, the guy’s pretty much tore it up. I’ll take that as a sign that it was good.

Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barUnfortunately, the weather wasn’t super cooperative and we had to move the food buffet indoors.  In the long run, I think it turned out for the best.  As I said earlier, my husband smoked brisket, ribs, and beans.  I rounded out the menu with a family favorite side dish of corn casserole and a couple cole slaws purchased from the deli department at my grocery store.

I also made my husband’s favorite, pecan pie.  He’d eat that over cake any day.  This is probably one of our biggest areas where we don’t agree, but if that’s it, then I’ll take it.

Adding in a few rustic elements like wood slices and an old whiskey crate made the set up more masculine for this guy’s only party.  Using a couple leafy plants instead of flowers was a way to add some life to the tablescape without being overly girly.

I even found the exact fabric for the table as was in my inspiration party.  The classic red, white, and blue plaid will come in handy for a lot of different events throughout the year.

Bourbon Bar

Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy'sBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barFor the bourbon bar, I again used some wood slices to highlight the bourbon choices and included a garnish bar.  Including a recipe was helpful to the guests when they wanted to mix up the specialty cocktail.  You can get your copy of the Old Fashioned recipe card here, or by clicking the picture below and downloading it.  It makes a great addition to any bar.

Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barBourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon barTo tie into the theme, I brought some more plaid fabric out to the bourbon bar.  This classic cocktail look so sophisticated with a skewered cherry and orange peel.  Probably the only time my husband will drink a cocktail with fruit in it.   Bourbon and BBQ themed guy's birthday, plaid and rustic birthday for guy's, bourbon bar

If you’re looking for a great theme for a guy’s party this will surely be a hit.  You can even mix it up a bit based on what type of drink the man in your life prefers.  I know my husband enjoyed having a guys only party where he got to eat and drink something manly.  And I enjoyed setting up the party and bringing my inspiration to life.

Another great birthday in the books!  What was your favorite part of the party?  Don’t forget to download your own Old Fashioned drink recipe.  Just click the picture of the recipe above.

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10 Tips to Quickly Unpack From a Trip

I recently returned from a road trip back home to attend my sister-in-laws super pretty backyard wedding.  Don’t worry you’ll get to see how cute it was soon.  When we returned from our 12 hour drive I had a strange amount of energy and got us unpacked so quickly.

After getting bags unpacked and put away so quickly I just had to share with you a few of the things I did to make it such a quick and smooth process.  I did a quick search and there are a lot of packing lists and checklists, but not many that will help you unpack quickly.  I’ll give you plenty of tips and tricks today, plus a free unpacking checklist to help you get it all done quickly.

How to unpack quickly from a trip, packing and unpacking tips, travel tips

1. Dump out all of your laundry right in your laundry room

No matter if you wore all of your clothes or not, washing everything that has been in your suitcase will give you a fresh, clean start.  Dumping it all out on the laundry room floor makes it easy to sort and start laundry right away.

2. Have a ready made meal for dinner

I highly recommend having a quick frozen meal ready to throw in a skillet or the oven once you return home.  You will definitely not feel like cooking after traveling.  Having something ready to go makes your life so much easier.  A great option is one of those one skillet Voila frozen meals.

3. Sniff Sniff

If you have gone on a road trip you most definitely will need to air out your car and make it smell nice again.  A simple way to do that is to place a cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil on it in your car for a day or two.  It will smell so nice afterwards.

4. Put your suitcases away right away

There’s nothing worse than feeling like it takes forever to unpack because your suitcases are left out.  If you get them put away right away the trip is visually over and you’re ready to get back into your routine.

5. Clean your house before you leave

Picking up big messes, making beds, and cleaning out the refrigerator before leaving for your trip will make unpacking so much easier.  Plus, coming home to a clean house is so much nicer than walking into a mess.

6. Keep separate bags

Keep toiletries and chargers constantly packed in a separate bag.  All you’ll have to do to unpack is take the bag out and put it away. No need to put everything inside of it away.  This means you’ll have a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, phone charger, etc. but they’ll all be grouped together and packing and unpacking will be a breeze.  All you will have to do is throw a toiletry bag in your suitcase and not have to fish out everything you need from your medicine cabinet.

7. Take care of the car

If you are taking a road trip, schedule an oil change or car detailing within a few days after your arrival.  Set this up before you leave to help you get back into your routine.  This will also take care of any car issues that may have come up on your trip.

8. Set a Timer

For procrastinators it may help to set a timer once start unpacking.  Have a time limit will help you get motivated to get everything out and put away.  Give yourself a prize if you need to for finishing unpacking before the timer goes off.

9. Don’t repeat

When unpacking, be sure to put like items together.  One way I do this is to put everything that needs to go back upstairs on the bottom step. This way I’m not running up and down the stairs a bunch of times, but can take everything at once.  If you use a central location to unpack, like your laundry room, you can even just make piles of items by which room they need to go back to.

10. Enlist Help

You probably didn’t go on a trip alone, so you shouldn’t be the only one doing all of the unpacking.  Get your husband, kids, or hey call a neighbor if you need to to help you.  Having someone sorting laundry while someone else is cooking dinner will make the unpacking go much faster.

Now that you’ve gotten some great tips, feel free to click on the image below to print out a quick cheat sheet to help you unpack.  I highly recommend just posting this in your laundry room or central unpacking area as a reminder.

How to unpack quickly from a trip, packing and unpacking tips, travel tips

Do you have any other unpacking tips?  If so be sure to leave a comment so I can reply.  I hope you get to go on a great adventure this summer! I’m sure it will be a breeze to unpack with these tips when you return home.

 

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FREE Printable Father’s Day Cards

Well, Father’s Day is only about a week away.  If you weren’t sure when it is, it’s this Sunday June 18th.  Isn’t Father’s Day always so much harder than Mother’s Day to make special?  Dads are just hard to buy gifts for in general.

I’ve got you partly covered today with a few Father’s Day cards that you can use in a pinch if you need something to give your Dad.  Super easy to just print out on cardstock, cut out, sign, and place in an envelope for your Dad.

Here are a few Father’s Day gift guides that you might find helpful if you are still in need of a gift.  Mine from last year, this one from Jones Design Company, or this one that’s a full grilling gift guide.  My husband personally has a few items off the grilling gift guide and he loves them!

Either way, if you get a gift or you don’t you’ll need to write a special little note for your Dad.  Feel free to print off any of the cards I designed below.  There’s one for an awesome dad, a hard working dad, and the world’s greatest dad.  Just click the picture to download the card.

Free printable Father's Day Cards, awesome dad father's day card, green and blue father's day card

Free printable Father's Day Cards, hard working dad father's day card, blue and orange father's day card

Free printable Father's Day Cards, greatest dad father's day card, camoflauge father's day cardI sometimes find that cards in the store are either super vague or way to mushy for my taste.  These cards are pretty simple, but give you lots of space on the back to write something specifically for your dad.  Card prices are out of control! I hate the idea of spending $4-$5 on a card, it’s ridiculous!  These are free!

Be sure to click on the images above so you can print out your free Father’s Day cards.  Then all you’ll have to do is add your personal message to the back and pop it in an envelope.  Either attach it to a gift or give the card all on it’s own.  These would also be great to give along side a gift card if you plan to go that route.

What are you planning on getting your Dad, husband, or grandfather for Father’s Day?  I already have quite a few ideas for my husband, but he reads these posts so I won’t be giving him an spoilers.  I hope you have a great rest of your week and your Dad has a special day on Sunday!

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Celebrating everyday!