Archive | Simple Celebrations

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!

stress free party planning, the only four areas you need to plan for a stress free party, party planning tips, #partyplanningtips #partyideas #stressfreeparty

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.

stress free party planning, the only four areas you need to plan for a stress free party, party planning tips, #partyplanningtips #partyideas #stressfreeparty

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!

1

Fourth of July Inspired Snack Tray

Can you believe it’s July already? This summer is flying by.  But since it’s July, it’s time for 4th of July festivities!  This is the second year that our block is throwing a block party for the holiday.  It should be a great time, and this year the kids are doing a bike parade!  That should be fun to watch!

If you’re planning on taking it easy this year for the 4th, then this snack tray is the perfect way to watch the fireworks!  This festive little set up doesn’t take much work but totally allows you to munch while celebrating our independence.

4th of July snack tray ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snack trayWhen sitting down to write this post I almost thought this is silly.  This idea is so simple I don’t need to write about it.  But then I realized that’s the whole reason I write this blog, to inspire small ways to celebrate every little thing.  So why not celebrate snack time, or a festive display for food on the 4th of July, or a way to present smores?

So that’s why today’s blog may be short, I had to share it anyway.  I hope it encourages you to take a few extra minutes to make something look nice while celebrating with others.

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksTo make this snack tray I found whatever I had that was red, white, and blue, and mixed it all together. I bought these little metal tins from the Target dollar spot a few years ago and they work so well for so many things.  They are a perfect size for snacks, but they make fun vases too. The dollar spot is a great place to get some seasonal or holiday decor inexpensively.

Snack Tray Food Ideas

I lined the bottom of the tray with some red gingham placemats from this party.  I made a salty and a sweet side of the tray and included some refreshing lemonade with garnishes.

Fun lemonade garnishes could be:

  • Fruit
  • Cucumbers and mint
  • Frozen flowers or herb ice cubes
  • Striped or festive straws

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksI just put out what we had on hand, pretzels, popcorn, and roasted nuts.  Other salty snack options could be:

  • Chips
  • Chex Mix
  • Trail Mix
  • Veggie chips

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksFor the sweet side, I used our ever present s’mores ingredients.  We always have them in our pantry.  Other sweet snack options could be:

  • Puppy Chow
  • Candy
  • Fruit Kebobs
  • Granola

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksSnack Tray Display Ideas

What I love about doing a display on a tray like this is that it’s so versatile.  This kind of display can work for snacks, but also would be a nice way to display condiments for a burger bar.  Or try it for toppings at an ice cream social.

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksIt’s also super portable.  Perfect for setting up on a food buffet, but then transporting outside when it’s time to watch the fireworks.  This is also a great way to make sure guests at your party are enjoying all the snacks, because you can just walk them around to each of them.

4th of July snack ideas, 4th of July snack buffet, outdoor dining, red white and blue snacksAnd lastly, putting a mini buffet like this together just goes to show that you don’t need a lot of space to entertain.  You could have your entire food buffet contained in one tray for a small gathering.  So not having the space is no excuse in my mind not to invite people into your home.  I once hosted a gift exchange in my dorm room.  Complete with a hot cocoa bar and dessert, so it can be done in small spaces.

I will say that that gift exchange in college was in my early days of entertaining so it wasn’t anything to write home about, but we created memories!  And I used crushed up candy canes to decorate the cookie platters, so I was trying, hehe.

I hope this encourages you to make a simple celebration more festive by adding in some red, white, and blue.  Just take your snacks out of their normal packaging and put them in a cute little container and you’ll be well on your way.

I hope you have a safe, festive, and fun Independence Day!

0

10 Ways to Make Hosting Easier in 2018

Hey friends!  Like I said in my last post, this New Year has started off quite slow.  Along with slowness, it always feels nice for things to be easier, right?  One way I’m making things easier is by saying no to various things this year.  You can see the full list here.

But to help you all, I’ve put together a quick list of ways to make hosting so much easier this year.  After being rushed and a bit frantic before several of our last parties, you can bet that I’ll be using some of these tips all year long.

how to make hosting easier in 2018, easy hosting tips, easy party tips, signature drink ice mold, party punch ice mold, bundt cake ice mold

How to Make Hosting Easier in 2018

1. Have a party decorating tool belt

Having all of your party decorating tools handy makes getting ready for a party a breeze.  I use this chef’s tool belt to pack away scissors, tape, twine, and other goodies that help to hang decor quickly before a party.

2. Only do a quick five minute clean up before people come over

Focusing just on the areas where your guests will be keeps the pre-party cleaning to a minimum.  I promise you can clean the main areas of your house in about 5 minutes with this checklist.

3. Have your pantry stocked to always be able to throw a party

Soon, I’ll be showing you how to have your pantry stocked to be able to throw a last minute party.  Stay tuned for that!  But the basic idea is to have a few food items to be able to make a quick appetizer or dinner.  And keeping your most used party gear handy.

4. Streamline serving ware by only using white dishes

Make hosting any party, any time of the year easier by streamlining your serving ware.  If you invest in simple white servingware and dishes you’ll be able to throw any kind of party.  No need  to buy serving ware for every different occasion this way!

5. Use decor you already have to decorate for your party

Along the same lines as streamlined serving ware, using what you already have as home decor cuts down on all that one time use party decor.  So, using things like tables from around the house, various holiday decor that fits your party’s theme, or use artwork from other parts of you house as a party backdrop.

Click here to see how to use home decor as party decor. Decorate a party with what you have.6. Ask the floral department at the grocery store to arrange flowers for you

how to make hosting easier in 2018, easy hosting tips, easy party tips, signature drink ice mold, party punch ice mold, bundt cake ice moldThis is a great tip if you’re pressed for time, but want to include flowers for your party.  Pick a bouquet of flowers and ask the floral department at your grocery store to arrange them for you while you shop for party food.  Most grocery stores are more than willing to do this for you.  It’s one less thing you’ll have to do once you get home.

7. Use easy to put together food

Party food is sometimes overwhelming for some, so I suggest just doing really easy party food.  My go to easy party food ideas are frozen appetizers from Costco, ready made cheese trays from the grocery store, or precut veggie and fruit trays.

8. Decorate one area to create a party focal point

Only decorate one party area.  It’s less to buy, less to hang up, and less to take down.  Plus, it creates a really nice party focal point.  Try a photo booth backdrop or a dessert table background as a focal point.  Use this area to include your color scheme and party theme.

9. Have one signature drink

how to make hosting easier in 2018, easy hosting tips, easy party tips, signature drink ice mold, party punch ice mold, bundt cake ice moldLimiting the options of beverages you offer at your party cuts down on how much money you’ll spend, how much work you need before the party, and how much clean up is to be done after the party.  It’s always a good idea to have water available to your guests, but if you are wanting an alcoholic option, try serving just one type of drink instead of a full selection of beer, wine, liquor and all the mixers.  A seasonal cocktail or punch is a great idea.

10. Keep the guest list limited

I mean when two or more gather it’s still a party right? Jesus even said that when two or more gather in my name I am with them.  Less people makes party hosting a lot easier.  It’s great to have a big party occasionally, but having fewer people attend means less food, drinks, and less clean up.

I hope this list encourages you to keep hosting simple and easy this year so you are more inclined to open your door and celebrate with others.

Do you have any special tips and tricks to make hosting easier?  If so, share them in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

 

1

5 Ways to Get in the Mood to Cook Dinner

Well, I officially feel like a real blogger!  Last week I had my first photoshoot for the blog.  Thank goodness for talented friends that can come photograph you on short notice.  I definitely needed help with these photos since I’m in them.  They all turned out so good and sorry if you get sick of seeing my face today.

I’ve recently been trying to use up the food we already have in our house without going to the grocery store.  However, trying to throw dinner together without menu planning isn’t very inspiring.  Normally I menu plan, and doing so I’m a little more excited to get dinner started.  So if you aren’t feeling very inspired to cook dinner, I’ve put together a little list to help you get motivated.

1. Make yourself a snack

What better way to get in the mood to eat, than to just eat.  I mean you normally have an appetizer at a restaurant right?  Why not have one at home too?

how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinnerhow to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinner

I love throwing a small cheese board together to nibble on while I’m cooking.  Other great ideas would be a bowl of pretzels and some dip or carrots and hummus.  Anything that will get you excited to be in the kitchen is a great place to start.  It will probably even attract some others in your house, and company in the kitchen is great too!

how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinner

3. Pour yourself a drink

If you are already snacking on something, you’ll probably need something to drink too.  A glass of wine is usually my go to, but there are so many other options too.  Try jazzing up your water with some lemon or lime juice.  If you want something with bubbles, open a can of La Croix or add a few berries to some sparkling water.

how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinnerhow to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinnerCheers!

how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinner

3. Have a clean (ish) kitchen

There is nothing more de-motivating than having to start dinner with a messy kitchen.  If you have a sink full of dirty dishes or cluttered counters it makes it really hard to spread out and get dinner cooked.

It’s really helpful to just get everything out of the way.  If that means moving all of the counter clutter to another room, another counter, or even the table it will help make room for dinner.

If your dishwasher is empty, a few minutes before starting dinner, put everything in there just to get it out of the way or to empty the sink.

4. Turn on some music

Listening to something while making dinner will really get you motivated.  Sometimes I like to listen to music and other times a podcast or training call.  It kind of keeps me entertained while I’m cooking.

how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinnerI love this little pop up speaker.  It’s bluetooth enabled so I can have my phone plugged in somewhere else, but move this guy around the kitchen with me.

Stashing your phone in your pocket and popping in headphones is a great way to be totally undisturbed while cooking.  It also doesn’t bother anyone else that may be within ear shot.

5. Have your recipe and ingredients handy

Isn’t it so annoying to constantly have to keep checking a recipe while cooking?  I like to have my recipe handy either on my phone as a screenshot.  This way I don’t have to keep going back to Pinterest or the internet to find the recipe.

I’m cooking out of a recipe book, I keep the book on a book stand right on my counter.

I also think it helps to gather all of your ingredients at one time so you’re not constantly running back and forth to your fridge or panty.  how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinner
how to get motivated to cook dinner, what to do to prep for dinner, how to get in the mood to cook dinner
If you have time earlier in the day, it’s also really helpful to prep dinner ahead of time.  If your recipe requires a lot of things to be cut up, do that earlier so all you have to do is throw things together.

Check to see if things need to marinate and be sure to do that earlier in the day.  And the biggest tip I have for being motivated to start dinner……set out anything that needs to be defrosted in the morning.  There is absolutely nothing worse than going to make dinner and having to defrost something first.

I hope a few of these things get you motivated to cook dinner tonight.  Do you do any of these already? What’s your biggest complaint when it comes to cooking dinner?  Tell me in the comments!

Thanks to my A-mazing photographer, Tricia, with Tricia June Photography.  Check out all of her work here and get in contact with her at tjephotos@gmail.com if you are in the Colorado area.  She does amazing family photographs!

2

Goals: The Follow Up Post

Remember the beginning of July when we were talking about making goals and what to do to achieve them?  This month I thought I’d do a follow up and let you all know how well I did and whether or not I accomplished all of my goals.

Goal ListMy goals for July were broken up into three categories: personal, blog, and Rodan + Fields. 

Personal Goals

  • Read one book
  • Cardio three times a week
    • Run at 8:30 p.m.
  • Print Family Photos

Blog

  • Network with two potential blog supporters
  • Collaborate with one blogger
  • Reach 250 likes on Facebook
  • Reach 120 followers on Instagram
    • Post four times a week

Rodan + Fields

  • Power Hour three times a week
  • Two new consultants (only one)
  • Three new preferred customer’s (only one)
  • Two three-way calls per week
  • Follow-ups completed from 1 June-30 June
    • Done by 15 July

In my original post, I had said that these goals were pretty lofty and with an extra busy month I knew it would be difficult to accomplish them all.   Even with all of those things against me, I’m pleased with everything that I was able to accomplish.

The biggest thing to take away from goal setting is not to beat yourself up if you don’t reach all of your goals.  It’s easy to get down on yourself if you don’t do what you say you’re going to, but I find it best to focus on the things that you did accomplish.

It’s a great time to reflect on where you focused your energy, see if that’s what you should be focusing on, and then adjust.  I definitely plan on “rolling over” a few of my July goals to August.  Also, I’m going to focus on just one goal from each category and then only have three goals for the entire month.  Doing so will make it much more likely that they all get accomplished.  Plus if there is only one goal from each category I can be sure to complete what is the most important.

So here are my goals for August:

August GoalsI hope your month is off to a great start. Be sure to take the time to think about what you want to accomplish this month.  There are also a lot of fun things planned this month.  Great content including a recap of all the weddings I’ve gone to recently,ways to celebrate back to school, and several parties.

Signature-2

 

2

Celebrating everyday!